For many people religion is a problem ; religion is a synonym of a long set of restrictions ; religion is a natural enemy of freedom and individual liberties. Even for religious people religion is not always easy.
Now, is religion a problem or a solution ? There’s not a clear cut answer to that. The safest way to approach that question would be to say that religion is a set of soluble problems. ( ) ( ) ( ) Even the best religious society, led by the best religious ruler, would go through problems, but they are solvable problems. Societies are tried just like individuals. An individual believer can lose his job, a society can suffer drought or an economic crisis. So what’s the use of religion if it will only add more problems to my problems ? If I put that question bluntly, I will get nowhere. If I put it in good faith, as I said before, there’s room for discussion. God says : ( ) ( ) ( ) That means religion is a mercy, it is a divine favour, not a problem. Why should God bother to send thousands of prophets and messengers in so many languages to so many people over a long period of time ? What’s the use for God to do that ? Isn’t that "problem" for God ? When God says : ( ) ( ) what good would that add to God ? What interest would God have in prohibiting sex outside of marriage, for example ? Yes, Islam says don’t do this, don’t do that. A lot of restrictions. But in this chapter I will focus on the do’s. Many people would love to move up from Islam to Iman to Ihsan. Many people would love to elevate their nafs from ammara to lawama to mutmaina. Many people would love to approach beauty and greatness in the light of the Word of God. Many people would seek godly solutions rather than lament over Satanic problems. But that’s the minority of the minority. God says : ( ) That’s the Elite. And in this elite (the saints, asseddeeqoon) come immediately after the prophets and before the martyrs. Who are asseddeeqoon ? God says : ( ) At first sight these criteria do not appear to be unattainable. So can I be a seddeeq (a saint) ?
Let’s first see how (al-muhsinoon) are described in the Quran and then we’ll see whether you and I can attain that. Let’s just dream a bit !
Grosso modo, it’s all about gratitude towards God and solidarity between humans. The details may differ from one verse to another, but the major guidelines are the same. "Ihsan," as the Prophet (pbuh) said, "is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet He sees you." How can I translate this into acts ? Well, the Quran answered this is the verses above. That’s what (al-muhsinoon) do. But suppose I can’t do that. For one reason or another, I can’t fast very often or worship God at night while people are sleeping, for example, and yet I aspire to be among al-muhsinoon. What can I do ? Well, if I can’t do what al-muhsinoon and asseddeeqoon do in terms of acts of worship I should not expect to get the wages they get or the special place they get near God. Playing in the school games is not like playing in the Olympic Games. However, I can still rise in my Iman and stand out in the Eyes of God. How ? I should have a strong faith, an unwavering faith. If I hear ( ) my heart will say before my tongue NO ! I have to be among ( ) That means no ( ), no ( ), no ( ). ( ) If I have a problem I implore God. ( ) In addition to praying I keep my duty to God. ( ) If my prayers are not answered quickly, I presevere and keep hope. ( )
By doing so I discover things that I can only read about in the Quran and the Haddith. It’s my problems and how I see them solved by God, by the power of God, by the knowledge of God, that will show me whether this religion is about truth or about dogma. If I don’t have a problem, how will I know that ? ( ) It’s my personal experience (what I feel when I have a problem, what I do to solve that problem, how I do it) that will teach me on God better than any scientific or religious book. These are the signs that affect my life directly. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
Si quelqu’un me parle de raison et d’obscurentisme, eh bien je lui réponds qu’il y a des choses que l’on ne peut jamais rationaliser. Si vous devez un jour passer par une vraie experience d’amour, il est fort probable que vous soyez confronté à des situations où la raison n’y peut rien.
That’s why I devoted the previous chapter to intention (good or bad faith). And I put the question : what do I care about ? What do I want ?
Ihsan is not a prerequisite to Heaven. An ordinary Muslim who keeps his duty to Go dis entitled to Heaven. Ihsan is a chance given to ambitious believers who would like to stand out with their work, to express their gratitude to God in the best way possible. It’s a further step towards God who made this world and gave me a chance to live in this world. Many people in history began as low-ranked soldiers and became army leaders or even kings. It’s a matter of ambition. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) –ce n’est pas donné à tout le monde.
Do I want to stand out in the eyes of people or in the sight of God ? Do I want to be talked about by people or by angels ? Do I want to be a celebrity in the earth or a celebrity in the heavens ? Do I believe in God because I am sure that He is God or because I want Him to give me a job or to give me a match or a child… ? These are essential questions ! My intention should be clear and pure. Do I do what I do for the sake of God ? If only my initial faith (intention) is good, God will take care of the rest. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) If I am a sinner, God says : ( ) If I want God, God says : ( ) If I forget, si je me relache from time to time, God reminds me. ( ) If my faith is not that good, if it’s not pure, well, God will yet give me another chance, but through a trial, maybe two, maybe more. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
My trials will show whether I really want God. It’s then when I am supposed to do my best not to succumb to the lure of worldly enjoyments ; it’s then when I have to show that I remember the Creator, I remember Him as I would remember a loved one. ( ) My trial will not necessarily be a hardship. I may be tried with a very good job, with a very happy family. And that may be even harder than being tried with a hardship. In either case, I have to show what I want for myself in this world. My belief in God entails a responsibility on my part, otherwise I'll be of those of whom God said: "And when it is said unto them: Spend of that wherewith Allah hath provided you, those who disbelieve say unto those who believe: Shall we feed those whom Allah, if He willed, would feed? Ye are in naught else than error manifest." (Ya-Sin : 47) There’s good in all of us. The problem is that many of us don’t want that good to bear fruit. We prefer evil to good because evil is often easier than good. It’s easier to lie than to tell the truth, for example. I can lie to people, but unless I am a pathologically complexed person, I would not lie to myself. I know my mistakes. If my faith i salive there will be a struggle between me and my conscience. It’s in fact a struggle between my nafs ammara and my nafs lawama. The mere fact that I have this nafs lawama is a good sign. It’s a sign that I care about my faith. When my nafs lawama is stronger than my nafs ammara, what do I do ? Well, I know that ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) So I beg God’s pardon. I know Go dis just : ( ) I implore God to forgive all my mistakes. That’s how I move up on the scale of my faith. ( ) ( ) ( ) God does not expect me to be an angel. God expects me to be honest with myself first. I should be the engineer of my own redemption. In theory, if I personally am good and my family is good and my neighbourhood is good, who will ever be bad ? God says : ( )
Let’s imagine this. My brother and I are at the same university, at the same campus ; we have the same amount of money, the same amount of free time : I personally buy books or papers to learn more about the world, my brother buys beer and cigarettes ; I go to mosque, he goes to nightclubs… When I go to mosque I don’t find a devil who prevents me from entering ; when my brother goes to the nightclub he doesn’t find an angel who prevents him from entering. C’est ça la liberté de conscience. ( ) The judgement will come on the Day of judgement.
But suppose God gave me the power to judge people, what would I do ? Well, this is not an absolute utopia. In the Quran we read : ( ) Would I be fair in my judgement ? Wouldn’t I be subjective, impulsive in my judgement ? God wants me to be honest, free from contradictions, fair in my judgement. "As for man, whenever his Lord trieth him by honoring him, and is gracious unto him, he saith: My Lord honoureth me. But whenever He trieth him by straitening his means of life, he saith: My Lord despiseth me. Nay, but ye (for your part) honor not the orphan, And urge not on the feeding of the poor, And ye devour heritages with devouring greed, And love wealth with abounding love." (Al-Fajr : 15-20) If I can be fair in my judgement I should judge myself first. If I judge myself fairly my nafs may move up from ammara to lawama to mutmainna. When I shed tears of repentance that’s a good sign that my nafs is on the right way to reconciliation with God. When I see my brother or my sister are not as good as me I should implore God to guide them. ( ) Am I sure I will remain as religious as I am until the end of my days ? Am I sure my brother or my sister is not going to become as good as or even better than me ? A Moroccan proverb goes : ( ) Am I sure I am a religious person ? God says : ( ) Do I ( ) ? Religious people would say : ( ) Don’t I expect ( ) when I do good to somebody ?
That’s the kind of education Islam wants for me. Islam wants me to be honest with myself. I should do as I say and say as I do. Otherwise I’ll be only lying to myself. It’s a matter of (good or bad) faith, once again. ( ) Islam is not only about the veil or the beard. Islam is about every aspect of our life. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
Religion gives meaning to my life. That’s why I am writing about my religion, ISLAM. I am writing about it as a writer and a human being.