God says : «He it is Who gathereth you at night and knoweth that which ye commit by day. Then He raiseth you again to life therein, that the term appointed (for you) may be accomplished. And afterward unto Him is your return. Then He will proclaim unto you what ye used to do.» (Al-Anaam : 60) If I am a good believer that warning should be enough to remind me that God ( ) and ( ). If that warning is not enough, if I don't really feel that God takes my life every night, well, here's another warning that appeals to me directly : ( ) I have experienced this firsthand. I was a student in a dorm where I could not have a shower for a whole month –simply because water was scarce that year. We could barely find water to drink. Water shortage kills. Drought causes huge fires. God says : ( ) Up to this day man has been unable to solve the problem of drought. Engineers have bombed clouds but apparently that hasn't worked. It takes more than bombing a thousand clouds to fill a river or save a forest from an imminent blaze. And when it does rain there's the risk of floods and mud slides.
Also God says : ( ) ( ) This might look highly unlikely for a non believer scientist but not entirely impossible for an ordinary believer like myself. All I know is that something fell from the sky in ... and injured many people in Russia, which has got an advanced space program. Yes, I concede that's rare and not so much dangerous, but should I wait for the sky to fall over on my head so as to believe? God also says : ( ) I am not a scientist to check that out. So should I know or believe ? Scientific knowledge is not static. Many things that are now obvious were not known a century ago.
God also says : ( ) What can I say about this ? Well, once again, I can only judge by what I notice. I have noticed that many farmers content themselves with sowing the seeds and working the land for a few days or weeks and then they go to sleep. One day the first green vegetation emerges from the ground. How did it emerge ? I don't know. Then bees come around and do their precious work, for free. Bees are the best volunteers in this world, aren’t they ? We humans take many things for granted. God says : ( ) We have seen how people move about in space. They can't walk as they do in the earth. God says : ( ) It is easy to argue with God because God is not going to argue with you NOW. But God is not dead. ( ) Speaking to God is not like speaking to a dead body. To God the real dead are those who want to argue with Him. ( ) Just as God revives the land after its death so does He revive the souls of men who suddenly feel the light of wisdom. ( ) "Signs for people who believe". I believe first, then I look for the signs. ( ) How can I be ( ) if I don't think about what's happening around me ? You know, temperatures in such beautiful Moroccan cities as Fez and Marrakech reach 40 to 45°C in the summer these last years. A recent joke says that if you want to marry a girl from one of these cities her father will demand a climatiser among her dowry ! God says : ( ) Also about Heaven He says : ( ) How can I feel, as a believer, the importance of this last piece of description if I haven't felt the difference? ( ) Is walking in the shade like walking in the baking sun ? A good believer knows that the shade is a great gift from God. A good believer would thank God for the mere sight or smell of a fruit, let alone eating it ! ( ) ( ) ( ) Those are the minority of the minority. Those are ( ).
What can I understand from the verse which says : ( ) ? As I said before, non-believers produce the good things for believers in this life. Most believers will only get a fraction of all that production, but even a king's stomach can't hold more than a few kilograms of food! In the Hereafter only believers will find the good things; nobody will produce such things for non-believers in Hell. God Himself says : ( ) God knows that people who really care about Him are few compared to the total number. And yet He makes these few suffer ! He deprives them of things they love. God says : ( ) Why doesn't God "fear" to lose that minority of the minority ? Well, He knows that they love Him. He knows that they will be patient and, on top of that, GRATEFUL ! Because they have ( ). That's why He made general norms (to rule the world) for the sake of that specific population. People marry and enjoy themselves generation after generation and as they do so a few souls are born in every generation and stand out with their hearts so as to join the lucky club of ( ) ( ).
God knows what He is doing. ( ) ( ) How many people care ? God says : ( ) ( ) Did God do that just for us to enjoy ourselves in this world, just for us to play and sing and dance and have sex ...? No, ( )
Good believers ( ) because they hold God in high esteem. ( )
God says : [14.32] [31.20] Why all this ? Just for us to play and sing and dance and have sex? God says : ( ) Disasters are warning me everyday. How can't I fear ?
Shall I live in this world for ever? What would I do if I found out upon my death that I had only been wasting my life away? The Quran says : ( ) ( ) I did not fall with the last rain. I know what's happening in this world. I know that people commit suicide in rich beautiful countries. People get depressed despite all their financial ease. People lose faith easily. People feel lonely in homes where everything is available. People use drugs to forget their unforgettable problems. People fear death.
We are all God's guests in this earth. The earth belongs to God Alone, Who can act as He pleases ( ), whether we like it or not. God was here before we were born and He will be here after we are gone. He allowed us to ( ) according to certain rules. Suppose somebody put at my disposal his home and said make yourself at home, faites-vous plaisir, would that mean that this home will be mine ? I know that I only came after thousands and thousands of generations who all had quite the same dreams and desires and that I too will go one day. ( ) ( ) But God also says : ( ) ( ) ( )
The question is, where do I go from here ? The previous generations nous ont légué un patrimoine partly red partly green. France, for example, is due to ban fuel-engined cars by 2040. That's because everybody has been aware of the dangers of air pollution. One does not need to be an intellectual to notice that our prosperity has had side effects. We all know that each one of us is partly responsible for what has happened to our earth. Deforestation, over exploitation of fisheries, corruption, and so on are the results of our own greed. Our leaders have understood that no single country, no single continent, can solve such problems alone. Hence all that quantity of world summits on this and that. Only now are we convinced that all Men are one. God was the first to address men as one. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) What is amazing, though, is that man has acknowledged his "sin" perpetrated against this earth; he has acknowledged his weakness; he has acknowledged his responsibility towards future generations.. but how many men have acknowledged the role of God in our lives ? God says : ( ) How many men are willing "to return" ? How many men are willing to listen to God ? ( ) Even those who, like me, pretend they listened to God, listen to what God says about them : ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
God said to the prophet (pbuh) : ( ) God wants mercy for us all. ( ) Our leaders can be good and well qualified, but they can't replace God. God says : ( ) For mankind. Unfortunately, some of our leaders are erecting frontiers and borders and imposing visas. Why ? Well, every leader fears for his dear country. That's comprehensible
God doesn't "fear" for His Kingdom. ( ) ( ) The problem is that some of our leaders give us the impression that they can give us everything we want. Well, that's questionable. God says : ( ) ( ) He even says : ( ) And that's true. If leaders in the past owned ( ), no empire would have fallen, no economic crisis would have torn societies apart. ( ) If I don't believe that, God says : ( ) ( ) ( ) When I realize the greatness of God, when I realize the grace of God, I can only feel rest in my heart. Even when I feel the fear of God my fear is immediately followed by rest in my heart. God says : ( ) ( ) ( ) Even on the day of resurrection, as the prophet (pbuh) said, ( )
A non-believer would say : why should I fear God if, as he says, ( ) ? That's a good question. But why do I look at ( ) and don't I look at ( ) ? The full verse says : ( ) Why don't I try to do good and avoid evil as much as I can and then hope to be one of those whom God will forgive, since He is ( ) ? But, at the same time, if I make a silly mistake, I ( ) because ( ) God says : ( ) As I said in a previous chapter, God wants to scare me in order to save me. He says : ( ) He also says : ( ) Wouldn't I be stupid if I missed such a golden opportunity ? If there's so much space in Heaven, why don't I hope to be one of the lucky dwellers of that beautiful world ?
God says : ( ) God is speaking to ( ). Who are ( ) ? ( ) The mosques we pray in are built by the rich, not the poor. Can't those people make better use of their money ? Don't they have minds to think ? ( ) That's the best investment, isn't it ?
Why do angels say to Heaven dwellers ( ) ? Well, the prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) An Olympic gold medal is not Heaven, but can anybody be an Olympic champion without making sacrifices ? Can you get a high university degree without making sacrifices ? The right question is, is Heaven worth such sacrifices ? No doubt our world is beautiful, otherwise there wouldn't be any such thing as tourism, with the myriad sumptuous hotels and resorts and campings... But there are also tragedies. ( ) There's no ( ) in Heaven. There are no problems in Heaven. So to get a chance to go there I have to endure some kind of suffering in this world.
Some people commit suicide because they can't have a lasting feeling of happiness. I too have suffered, but I have also had a lot of happy days. I should be grateful to God for that. If I am patient and grateful in this world God will make my life better in this world and hopefully grant me a place in Heaven. ( ) Do I really need to be in Heaven after my death ? Well, Ibrahim (pbuh) ( ) and ( ) And yet he said : ( ) How can't I pray to God to grant me a place in Heaven too ? The prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) You know those kind of radio shows where you are invited to send answers in SMS text messages. They give an easy question so that a large number of people send in a large number of text messages. Well, for you personally, to increase your chances of winning you send as many text messages as you can afford. Why don't I do the same when it comes to Heaven ? An ordinary Muslim who keeps his duty to God is entitled to Heaven, but to avoid "bad surprises" I should try to do better than a mere Muslim. Why don't I try to be a moomin (a believer), that's a higher grade ? I should try to secure a place in Heaven first, then try to philosophize the whole thing. In the first chapter of this book I talked of "my safety first". Now, how do I understand the story of Heaven ?
[ ] God made the earth before Heaven and Hell. He made part of the earth look like Heaven and part of it look like Hell, as a reminder for the future dwellers of this planet, for us. God describes the Quran as a reminder. Now that we are here we should ask ourselves questions. The Quran says : ( ) I can't over-interpret these verses. They are clear. God wants man to worship Him.
Does this mean, though, that God needs man to worship Him ? God Himself answers this question. He says : ( ) If God needed to be adored He would have spared at least those who adored Him in the best way in the past, but we all know that even prophets and saints died. Would God be interested in the number of worshippers or in the quality of worshippers or in the quantity of worship ? Again, ( ). Suppose God was interested in the number of worshippers or in the quantity of worship, how much would "my worshipping" weigh in all that ? Would I deserve eternal happiness in Heaven for this little worshipping I do in my short life ? This doesn't make sense. The prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) And yet God doesn't want us to go to Hell. God says : ( ) ( ) The question is, why does man want to go to Hell ? True, ( ) But you and I know what man is like. Many men love defiance. Many men are reckless. Even many smart men make silly mistakes. Think of AIDS, drugs, bad food habits, etc. So it’s easy to generate question after question. Some people ask questions so as to understand, others just to argue for the sake of argueing. Those who ask questions so as to understand can understand that God made Heaven to show how great He is, how merciful He is, how gentle He is, how grateful He is, how lovely He is. God made Heaven to share with believers His beauty bounty. Therefore He is worth worshipping. Not because He has got a Fire « in His back garden », not because ( ), but because He is ( ). These people will understand that God would be worth worshipping even if there were neither Heaven nor Hell. But there must be Heaven and Hell. There must be a way to diffrenciate between the grateful and the ingrate. God will not accept to be worshipped for free. ( ) God will guide you, if you are willing to listen, and pay you for the slightest thought of Him. ( ) He will pay you even in the life of the world. But there’s something more precious than Heaven. Can you guess ? It’s ( ) That’s why ( ) And because God is not just anybody. His ( ) is hard to obtain. Hard but not imossible. It requires sacrifices.
I do things out of love of God, out of respect of God, not out of kindness. God does not need my kindness. God wants me, as a believer, to love Him and to know why I should love Him. I love God because He is beautiful, bountiful, merciful, forgiving, loving. I love Him for His intricate qualities. I love Him because that’s the natural course. I would love a human for much, much less virtues and qualities than that. Likewise, just as I would love to see a wonderful resort created on earth by a human like myself, I would love to see Paradise which was designed and prepared by God Himself for the faithful. I believe in God and I don’t know what He is like. I believe in Heaven and I don’t know what it really is like. I can’t even imagine it. Now I believe in the invisible as the only way –decided by God– to pay for a ticket to Paradise. In other words, I don’t only think of Heaven from a religious perspective, but also from an intellectual perspective. For this idea to be cleacer, take one person. Imagine a man by the name of Juan Toledo Iglesias, a 22-year-old teacher in Lima, Peru. This man comes across a Muslim couple in his city. These Muslim man and woman are not Arabs. They are Peruvian. The teacher, accustomed to Western lifestyle, asks himself questions. He does some research on the Web. He reads books, then travels to an Arab country. On his arrival, he is shocked to see that many people in this Arab Muslim country do not really give him the impression that this is Islam. So what does he do ? Does he go back home and say why should Islam be good to me while these Muslim people do not practise true Islam in their own country ? Or does he say « I don’t care of the people. I came here to discover more about the religion » ? Suppose he ignored the people and focused on the Faith as such, what could happen to him ? Well, many people went through a similar process and ended up becoming cleriks and imams who preach Arabs and non-Arabs on true Islam ! Imagine the happiness of such cleriks and imams.
God says : ( ) ( ) ( ) Should I take this as an excuse and say if God wants me to be a good believer He would make me a good believer ? Well, that’s like staying at home and waiting for God to bring you what you want to eat, etc. That’s like giving birth to twelve children that you can’t feed.
As I said before, the Quran speaks to ( ). That’s means, I use my own mind, my own personal experience to know the truth, and when I know the truth I have to heed it. Even good believers –who are already believers– say : ( ) They always to say : ( ) If I use my mind I can only strengthen my faith. ( )
Here’s an innocent question : why do ill people and pregnant women fast Ramadan ? Sometimes the holy month of Ramadan comes in the heat season and yet many men insist that they should fast it although ther are ill and many women insist that they should fast although they are pregnant ! God says : ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
It’s not Islam that is pushing ill men or pregnant women to fast Ramadan or these hungry people not to eat from a meat that is normally forbidden. It’s these people’s hearts that push them to do so. It’s their love of God that is making them to behave in that way. It’s for such people that God made Heaven. The prophet (pbuh) said : ( )
Now compare these two groups :
Group A :
Group B :
Just think of two people you made friends with. One is increasingly good to you, the other is increasingly nasty. If you had a little heaven and a little hell, what would you do with these two friends ?