Question: How are we going to reconcile between trusting in God and taking precautions? There is a verse in the Quran that says that one should not throw themselves into destruction i.e. in a state that destroys you. Do not throw yourself into destruction, i.e. we must refrain ourselves from doing such. Here is the verse:
“And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.” (2:195)
The Quran always tells us about any matter not only for the “Here & Now” but more so for “the hereafter”. The Quran gives the message that those people who did not accept God as the Creator of their needs, preparing this universe for human beings, then such people are bound to be destroyed. They cannot escape from feelings of dissatisfaction in their existence in this world as well as in the next creation, hereafter . In other words, if anyone does not refer to the existence of something to the Creator of the universe, then they are bound to suffer from lack of confidence in their existence.
- The Quran says to call all your things to which you assign Divinity to anything except God. This is a challenge: Can nature provide me anything that my feelings require in this world, more so, when I die, will nature fulfill those needs of eternal happiness?
That is the point the Quran makes by challenging me that whatever I may deem as divine, I should call them to provide for my needs. I should know that nothing in this universe is divine or holds such quality. Can water give existence to itself; does it possess the quality to quench my thirst from itself?
The signs about the hereafter are so obvious all around us which are observed physically in the universe and corroborated non-physically via our feelings and senses as well. The Quran mentions something along the lines of: “Don’t say that I did not hear about resurrection? While I was training you with all the different opportunities in the world with appointed messengers, you didn’t pay attention to anything.” Each one of us has the potentiality to be aware of the truth and we know how much we are being responsible about our existence. Do you think that the One that has created you and gives you existence Now is not aware of what you are up to?
Example: a husband and wife are in a close relationship and cannot hide anything from each other. Similarly, the Creator of you and I know how we are being responsible with our existence.
Some may say that I am not convinced about the legitimacy of the message of God brought by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Again, each one of us must study the message for ourselves and apply it in our living. After the death of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), all his students/wives were big admirers of his practices. That is, they were so convinced with the message that they wanted to follow the teachings of the Quran in a loyal way. None of them had any excuse to blame the Prophet. The latest wife/student, Aisha (pbuh) who at a very young age observed the prophet’s/husband’s (pbuh) way of living. She ingested his way of living and became the most pious in her personal life and admired the Prophet a lot.
To believe in God is a personal decision for everyone. In other words, if you do not believe in God, then in the hereafter you will be left with what you believe in. It’s so simple!
We must be honest within ourselves when making sense of our existence because God gave us the sense to know what is harmful for us. Sometimes, we experience undesirable events according to God’s plan but in any case, we are always responsible for anything which is within the grasp of our freewill. We must take care of our responsibilities within the conditions of the universe. That is, we cannot do anything which endangers our lives bodily and spiritually. The Quran explains it clearly. The description of hell in the Quran is generally known by the followers of the Quran as fire which burns. How about the hereafter? Well, that new creation (in the hereafter) will be completely different from what we envision here. What does it mean? It means that we cannot say that in the hereafter, the fire will burn us as we experience here. Generally speaking, hell is something that we do not want to be in. We all need Paradise.
How many of us are preparing for Paradise here, the eternal happiness and satisfaction?
Here and Now, we are just opening the gates of Paradise for us and begging God for: “I was not conscious always, when something good happened then I said: “Thank You God”. I am sorry about being selfish and greedy. This now makes me realize that I am wanting infinite Mercy, I do need it, although I do not deserve it”.
We deserve nothing at all, but we see the whole universe serving us. We may consider being in undesired conditions but the whole universe is being taken care of alongside with me. Although we deserve nothing, Paradise is prepared for the believers. The people who acknowledge God will deserve Paradise. What does this mean? Why are we made in a way of desiring eternal happiness?
Who prepared this feeling?
Even the wild animals that eat another animal protect their young and do not eat them. We observe the same phenomenon in plants where there are seeds that bear fruit. How do we explain this order that we observe?
What is Paradise?
God never wrongs any of the human beings. Paradise is nothing but Mercy. Hell is equal treatment according to the usage of human freewill i.e. how do we understand the truth.
- God creates according to people’s choices.
Some say how is God going to burn his creatures. If there was such a God who created the universe, why would He punish His creatures? God does not punish. Rather, I may misuse my given freewill. It is as if God says in the Quran: “I am begging you not to choose the wrong option because your feelings look for eternal life. My message is a confirmation of your own reality which I created in your soul. Take it and benefit from it”.
- Human beings wrong themselves. God never burns anyone, but we burn ourselves, that is our choice. We have to be ready to experience the result of our own choices!
Question: How should we understand “muhsin” (the one favored)?
This word “muhsin” is mostly translated as those who do good. “Muhsin” is a word which driveses from “Hasana” which means doing something good. “Husn” means beauty and “Ihsan” means somebody does something in the form of a favor.
We must worship God as a “muhsin”, which means: “Please God this is what I present to you, please accept it according to the capacity of your Infinite Mercy.”
Let us understand this state of worship with a quote/story from an insightful Muslim scholar (Rumi):
- Quote: “Whoever asks anything from the king, the king gives it”.
- Story: There was a family living in the desert, in the near east that couldn’t make ends meet. All their animals perished because of lack of plantation. The wife insisted to the husband to go to the king to ask for some provision. They thought they should take their most precious present to the king. The family who is residing in a desert decided to take in rainwater which they would collect in their leather bags placed outside their tent when there is rain. After traversing the long journey to the city by the river Tigris and Euphrates which belonged to the king, the husband presented the most precious gift according to them i.e. rainwater to the king. The king really appreciated their most precious valuable wealth and as a result said that: “I will treat you in return with my most precious treatment”. Coming from the desert and having rainwater as the most precious thing compared to the continuous flowing water of the rivers is what the generosity of the king is shown to the traveler. The generosity of the king is unfathomable.
- You can ask God as much as you know His capacity!
The moral of the above quote/story is that we will present our prayers as the most precious gift to God and when the next creation is realized i.e. when we are resurrected, we will see that the rainwater will be next to us. Because of our sincere intention, God will say this is your most precious property presented to Me, and I will present to you My most precious place, Paradise.
Now, what does “Muhsin” mean? It means that Here and Now, we will do good as much as we can, but we will present it to the One who owns the names of all the beautiful qualities. He will treat us with His most beautiful qualities.
- Hadith: you pray to God as though you see Him although you cannot see Him. But you know that He sees you. That is, make sure that you are aware that He sees you and understands you. What does it mean?
- We must understand how He is going to treat us.
- We must try out our utmost endeavor to acknowledge Him, be aware of Him and He will do His treatment according to His capacity: “You are Absolute and I cannot encompass you and cannot grasp you”.
Acknowledging the incomprehensibility of God is the most conscious acknowledgment of God. Infinite is something which cannot be described with any number. That is the human reality here which makes me express: “There is no source of Mercy in this world but the One who is the source of Mercy (Lailaha illallah). The One who is the Source of all kinds of Mercy. “You are the Source of Infinite Mercy.” “You are the Administrator of the whole universe.”
- That is Ihsan i.e. I only worship the indescribable One.
Let us continue with the verses from “Al Buruj”
“Those who persecute the believing men and the believing women and thereafter do not repent, then certainly for them is the punishment of hell, for them is the punishment of burning.” Quran (85:10)
The conditions are mentioned as to what leads to punishment. One may be sarcastic to the believers that these people do not know the reality of this universe. You can think seriously if you choose to and not understand this universe as a natural happening. Have you ever experienced something happening by itself? Ask yourself: How is the digestive system working? Is your human body a result of a series of accidents? Just like the cleansing of your lungs and cells cannot be accidental, the air cleaning the atmosphere cannot be accidental either.
- You can repent about the past as a “believer”: “I neglected You and forgot and it’s a mistake, I admit it”.
The realization of God has endless degrees but at least we must be on the way, on the path which goes to God (fisabeelillah). There is no other path which reaches God besides fisabeelillah i.e. whoever is on this path is a believer.
“Those who believe and do righteous works, certainly for them are the gardens beneath which rivers flow. That is the great triumph.” Quran (85:11)
Who are the righteous people? That is not our concern because we are not talking about people. Rather, what is the most important thing for me here? How do I establish my living here? I have the option to prepare for hell or be a candidate for Paradise.
The Quran is revealed within my living conditions here and now. “Paradise” is whatever my feelings, desires are in terms of lasting happiness. Take your reality and present it to God: “I want to be happy and be secure in my existence, I do not want to get bored in an eternal life, please change my state continuously so that I will entertain myself in Paradise continuously.”
We must educate ourselves to confirm this reality within ourselves. We must not accumulate information without confirming it.
Tags: Al-Buruj, Buruj series, Creation, Prophethood, pure spirit, Repentance, Turn back to God