Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Surah 59 verses 18-24

18. Oh you who believe! Fear God, and let every soul look to what (provision)he has sent forth for the morrow. Yes, fear God, for God is well acquanited with all that you do.

19. And be not like those who forgot God, and he made them forget themselves! Such are the rebellious transgressors!

20.Not equal are the companions of the fire and the companions of the garden: It is the companions of the garden that will achieve felicity.

21. Had we sent down this Quran on a mountain, surely you would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of God. Such are the similitudes which we propound to men, that they may reflect.

22. God is he , than whom there is no other god; he knows all things both secret and open; he, the most gracious, the most merciful.

23. God is he than whom there is no other god; the sovereign, the holy one, the source of peace and perfection. The guardian of faith, the preserver of safety, the exalted in might, the irrisistible, the justly proud, Glory to God! (High is he) above the partners they attribute to him.

24. He is God the creator, the originator, the fashioner, to him belong the most beautiful names: whatever is in the heavens (universe) and on earth, does declare his praises and Glory: and he is the exalted in might, the wise.

"The deep ethico-religious value of the fear of God, the lord of the day of Judgement, is largely due to the fact that it cannot but arouse in the mind of the believer a clear consiousness of life and incite him to moral ernestness and responsibility. Act always as if you were standing at this very moment before a divine Judge, before the judgement seat of Allah on the day of reckoning"----Toshihiko Itsuzu, The ethico-religious concepts in the Quran.

Taqwa =God awareness---Love of God that fears dissapointing him.

William Blake wrote

"Love seeketh not itself to please,

Nor for itself hath any care,

But for anotehr gives its ease,

And builds heaven in hells despair"

So sang a little clod of clay,

Trodden with the cattles feet,

But a pebble of the brook,

Warbled out these meters meet,

"Love seeketh only self to please,

To bind another to its delight,

Joys in anothers loss of ease,

And builds a hell in heaven's despite."

It is only when we truly care about someone that we worry about dissapointing them---their opinion of us matters because their love and approval matter. But not all love is other-centered.

"Love" can be divided into 2 types, the self-love and the selfless-love , the first type strives to fullfill the needs and desires of the self, the 2nd type strives to fulfill the needs and desires of the other. When we speak of Love of God---there is a problem because God has no needs or desires. So how do we express "Love of God"?---By willing submission (Islam). God has given us the Guidance, the Criteria (Furqan) to follow (which is for our own benefit) and by doing that, we hope to seek his pleasure. The other side of the "Love of God" is fear. The fear of dissapointing him, the fear of incurring his displeasure. When these two aspects are in balance--it creates harmony---we are neither filled with overconfidence/arrogance nor are we filled with despair.

The more we practice "love of God"---by willing submission/Islam---the more we become aware of his love, compassion and mercy. Our hearts fill with gratitude for his blessings , but this must be balanced with humility/awe of God. When we see only God's blessings, we can become proud/arrogant---and consider ourselves the special/beloved of God. This creates an imbalance/distortion. In order to restore harmony, both gratitude and humility must be balanced .

"humility, that low sweet root,

from which all heavenly virtues shoot" ---Thomas Moore.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Surah 2 verses 30-39

30. Behold, your Lord said to the angels; I will create a vicegerent (representative) on earth." They said : "will you place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?--While we do celebrate your praises and glorify your Holy (name)?" He said: "I know what you know not"

31. And he taught Adam the name of all things; then he placed them before the Angels and said: "Tell me the names of these if you are right."

32. They said: "Glory to you: of knowledge we have none, save what you have taught us: In truth it is you who are perfect in knowledge and wisdom."

33. He said: "O Adam! tell them their names." When he had told them their names, God said: Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of the heaven and earth and I know what you reveal and what you conceal?"

34. And behold, We said to the Angels Bow down to Adam:" and they bowed down: Not so Iblis, he refused and was haughty. He was of those who reject faith.

35. And we said: "O Adam, dwell you and your spouse in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as you will, but approach not this tree, or you run into harm and transgression." 36.Then did Satan make them slip from the (Garden), and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. And we said "Go down all (you people) with enmity betwen yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time."

37. Then learnt Adam from his lord certain words and his Lord turned towards him; for he is oft Returning, Most Merciful.

38. We said: "Go down you all from here; And if, as is sure, there comes Guidance from me, whosoever, follows my Guidance , on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

39. "But those who reject faith and reject our signs, they shall be companions of the fire; They shall abide therein.

'The movement which is the existence of the Universe is the movement of love"----Ibn Arabi

Why did God create? Perhaps the words "The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful" at the start of every Surah hold a clue. As Ibn Arabi points out, God creates from Love. Perhaps a love so great, so vast, inevitably overflows and is manifested as the created, the finite. We are all from God and we will all return to God. But creation is an act of division, of becomming apart from God the Infinite, the Uncreated.

The story of Adam (pbuh) does not begin with his creation--but with a dialogue between God and his Angels. God reveals his plans for a representative who will manage his creations on earth. The Angels, who perfectly carry out God's will, ask how a creation so imperfect ("one who sheds blood"/has free-will) would manage such a task---when they themselves do it so well. God does not answer the question directly but proceeds to demonstrate the answer. He teaches Man and then places them in front of the Angels, asking them to inform him of the nature of Man. The Angels cannot for they have no knowledge. Then God turn to Man and asks them the nature of Angels---and Man answers. The Angels have limitations because they are only able to carry out to perfection God's will, they have no potential for imagination. But Man has free-will and his potential is limited only insofar as his self-imposed limits to his imagination. It is in this creative power of the imagination that Man becomes better than the Angels.

But, God does not send Mankind directly to earth. Though Mankind is supposed to be a vicegerent on earth, God nurtures him to maturity in the Garden for a while. Why? Because Mankind has yet to demonstrate his ability to use free-will. God gives the instructions to not approach a certain tree and Satans tempts Mankind. At this point Mankind has a choice---he can choose of his own free-will not to approach the tree in spite of Satan---or to choose of his own free-will to be tempted. This excercise of free-will catapults Mankind into the role he was created for---to do God's will on earth. But the choice of Mankind has consequences, for instead of excercising free-will to refrain from temptation, Mankind excercised it to fall into temptation.

Yet, God is most Compassionate, most Merciful and forgives those who repent. Mankind is forgiven and promised Guidance. But with the blessings of free-will comes the responsibility. We must all choose of our own free-will to follow Guidance or to reject it just as Adam(pbuh) did. Our life on earth is not a gift or a punishment---it is a test/trial. God has empowered us, through our free-will, to choose our ultimate destiny---Paradise or Hell.

Those souls who enter Paradise are gently cleansed, while those souls who enter Hell are cleansed fiercely---in the end all creation returns to God.....to Unity.

"That is why the love of the Tao is in the very nature of things" Lao Tzu

"It is he who is revealed in every face, sought in every sign, gazed upon by every eye, ....Not a single one of his creatures can fail to find him in its primordial and original nature." Ibn Arabi.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Surah 44. Ad-Dhukhan verse 38-46

38. We created not the heavens and the earth, and all between merely in (idle) sport.
39. We created them only for just ends: but most do not know.
40. Surely, the day of sorting out is the time appointed for all of them,
41. The Day when no protector can help his client in anything and no help can they receive.
42. Except those that receive God's mercy: for He is exalted in might and Most Merciful.
43. Surely the tree of Zaqqum
44. will be the food of the sinful
45. like molten brass, it will boil in their insides.
46 Like the boiling of scalding water.

"The only Divine plan is that which allows humankind to shape its own destiny"----Maimonides.

Some people ask why a Merciful and Compassionate God puts people into Hell. People seldom wonder why the same Merciful and Compassionate God created Paradise. The Quran answers, ---Good and Evil are not the same.

Our earth is a place where we determine our destiny. God created Paradise as a place without evil and so, those who have chosen evil of their own free-will, cannot enter it. In order that people will choose paradise instead of hell, the Quran describes hell in the most graphically horrifying terms. We can use these images as a force of deterrence, or, if we are foolish, choose to ignore these warnings. ---its our destiny, and therefore, our choice.

Free-will empowers us, but its powers are also conditional----Epictetus explains"...Some things are within our control and some things are not. It is only after you have faced upto this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and cannot control, that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible."

Our ultimate destiny of hell/paradise, is our choice...it is within our control. This choice is a God-given gift to us---but with it comes the responsibility of facing the consequences of choosing wrong belief. What is wrong belief?---Epictetus explains "We are born into essential goodness, endowed with natural intuitions about what is good and worthy and what is not. The appropriate response to bad deeds is pity for the perpetrators, since they have adopted unsound beliefs and are deprived of the most valuable human capacity, the ability to differentiate what's truly good and bad for them. Their original moral intuitions have become distorted, so they have no chance at inner serenity."

How can we prevent ourselves from adopting wrong belief?----A good starting point is an attitude of humility. Rabindranath Tagore said "We come nearest to the Great when we are great in humility". God-awareness (Taqwa), helps remind us of right belief. ---which is, to develop right intentions that create right actions for the benefit all of God's creations.

"of all the causes which conspire to blind man's erring judgment and misguide the mind, what the weak head with strongest bias rules is pride, the never ending vice of fools."----- Alexander Pope.

Surah 38, verses 27-29

27. Not without purpose did we create heaven and earth and all between! The (opposite) were the thoughts of the unbelievers. But woe to the unbelievers because of the fire (of hell)
28. Shall we treat those who believe and work deeds of rightness, the same as those who do mischief on earth? Shall we treat those who guard against evil, the same as those who turn aside from right?
29. (here is) a book which we have sent down to you, full of blessings that all may meditate on its signs, and that people of understanding may receive admonition.

"God puts into hellfire only those who refuse to go anywhere else"---Prophet Muhammed(pbuh)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Surah 76 Ad-Dahr verse 1-9

1. Has there not been over man a long period of time, when he was nothing, not even mentioned?

2. Surely, We created man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: so we gave him (the gifts) of hearing and sight.

3. We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful

4. For the rejecters, We have prepared chains, Yokes, and a blazing fire.

5. As to the righteous, they shall drink of a cup filled with kafur (Comphor)

6. A fountain where the servants of God drink, making it flow in unstinted abundance.

7. They fulfill their vows and fear a day whose evil flies far and wide

8. And they give food out of love of God, to the indigent, the orphan and the captive,-

9. (Saying) We feed you for the sake of God alone: No reward do we desire from you nor thanks.

Scientists speculate that the universe is approximately 14 billion years old. Light began to be formed around 400,000 years after the Big Bang. These are "earth-centric" time periods. They seem very long when we compare them to our own life span. Comparatively, our life-span on earth would seem like the blink of an eye. In the short time of our life-span, God asks us to remember him so that we may treat all of his creation with compassion and mercy. By being grateful for all of God's blessings, we acknowledge the value of these blessings in our lives and this increases us in compassion and mercy, with which we grow in our spirituality.

In order that we may accomplish this simple Divine request to remember him, God has gifted us with the senses that help us interract with our world, the intelligence to understand, and the free-will to implement our understanding. Because of his immense compassion and mercy, God has given us a short time period in which we can fulfill his simple request so that we are not overburdened. When we do good for God, we open our hearts to inner serenity and tranquility. As Epictetus explains, "happiness and personal fulfillment are a natural consequence of doing the right thing."...and by doing right, we become better human beings and by this effort, we become worthy of paradise. As Seneca explains "A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials."

Siox prayer

Grandfather Great Spirit

Fill us with light

Give us strength to understand

and the eyes to see

Teach us to walk the soft earth

As relatives

To all that live.

"Then do remember me; I will remember you. Be grateful to me and reject not faith."---Quran Surah 2, verse 152

Monday, January 3, 2011


Surah 3 verses 45-52

45. Behold! the Angels said: "O Mary, God gives you glad tidings of a word from Him: his name is Massih Isa, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the hereafter and of those nearest to God.

46. He shall speak to the people in childhood and maturity and he shall be of the righteous.

47. She said "O my Lord, How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?" He said, "Even so, God creates what he wills: When he has decreed a matter, he but says to it "Be" and it is.

48. "And God will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Injil,

49. "And appoint him a messenger to the children of Israel, "(with this message): "I have come to you, with a sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God's leave: and heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I bring the dead into life, by God's leave; and I declare to you what you eat and what you store in your houses. Surely there is a sign for you if you did believe."

50. "(I have come) to attest the Torah which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. So fear God and obey me."

51. "It is God who is my Lord and your Lord; Then worship him. This is a way that is straight."

52. When Isa found unbelief on their part he said: "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) God?" The Diciples said:"We are God's helpers, we believe in God and you bear witness that we are muslims."

Miracle=An effect or extra-ordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

Though language can clarify and edify, words can also be used to veil the truth, to delude. Sometimes, the use of too many words, get in the way of the simplicity of truth....and we miss it in our attempts to decipher the jumble of meaningless words........like the definition of the word "miracle" above.

All known human or natural powers must be ascribed to God if we are to understand truth at all. For, if God wills it "Be" and it is, and this is called a "miracle", then our very existence from our birth to the minutae of the events in our lives to our deaths is also a "miracle" for none of it would "Be" if God did not will it so. Therefore, the very supposition that some things are "extra-ordinary" and only such can be ascribed to the Supernatural/God/Divine....is actually veiling the truth of God.

Today we use defibrillators for those whose hearts have stopped. We use robotics---various "forms" made of metal and silicone that function with a switching on of a button, We are exploring the possibilities of repairing damaged organs and restoring health using stem cell research......maybe these things seem ordinary, maybe not, but none of it would be possible if God did not will it so. Yet we do not see God's compassion and mercy behind our human achievements for, in our muddled use of language, we forget to ascribe them to God. We become blind to the "signs of our Lord."