By April 3, 2019 Read More →

Chapter Ma’un – Part 2

107: 1 “Have you considered the one who denies the religion?”
107: 2 “Such is the one who treats the orphans with harshness,”
107:3 “and does not encourage the feeding of the needy.”

Recap: Paying back what I owe as pertaining to my existence.  The debts that you owe to the Source of your Existence. This involves realizing the multifarious favors given to each one of us. The One who gave you existence should not need anything to be paid. He is the Creator and He created it as He wills. I did not ask Him to create me. What do I owe to Him then? In acknowledging that the existence does not belong to me and it is only a gift to me. Do we have the feeling to be grateful to any favor given to me? Yes. Then, this feeling of gratefulness is also given to me. Why not use it in this respect as well. There is a wisdom in the existence of this feeling. Do not contradict yourself and use it. If you are aware that your existence is a gift to you, then be grateful to the One Who gave it to you. That is what we owe to the Giver of the gift. This is what we need to do: acknowledge the One Who gave me the gift. I have to be consistent in the way that I am right now.

Do you have a concept of religion in your life?

Why do you follow religion?  This question is not asking what is your philosophy of religion, rather what does it mean for you to follow a religion?

  • To have a consistent life by making sense of my existence, so that I will feel secure in my life.

What kind of security you found in following a religion?

  • One common answer may be: Community, a sense of belonging to a support group.

Is your community helping you with getting answers to your human expectations which you have within yourself? 

Usually, when you follow a philosophy, your following it depends on the questions you ask and how satisfied you are with the answers you get.

  • Everything must be your own conclusion without imitating your previous answers to questions.

Comment: People need a Point of Support for the meaning of their lives to connect with especially in times of calamities.

  • If you are happy with your life, then don’t you need religion to connect to, a Point of Support for your existence?

How should we understand religion on a personal level?

Religion should mean an understanding leading to practice, which gives security to my human side in any case such as a desperate situation, extreme happy life or experiencing meaninglessness.  If everything goes smoothly, then don’t we need a Point of Support for our existence to rely on?

Can religion be reduced to a social context only?  THINK ABOUT THIS SERIOUSLY!

I may follow a religion as belonging to, or inherited by, a community.  I may even do actions for the sake of people who care about me, appreciate me or, after I die, will remember me.  Who would you like to leave a legacy for in terms of fame?  You are gone and do not know what is next, so how does fame at this juncture benefit you?  We are so lost in “idolatry” concepts, as if people should worship me.  Similarly, what do I worship?  Are there people or things in my life that I am worshipping?

  • Idols are something that we feel proud of or something that is the source of our satisfaction. Example #1: This sweet mango gives me satisfaction.  That is like worshiping a statue or idol.
  • Example #2: I work for a famous company. If one thinks that the company s/he works for is the source of her/his sustenance, then s/he is taking the company as if it is her/his idol, instead of taking it as a means of getting her/his sustenance provided by the Creator of sustenance.

What do physical idols signify?

People have a need to idolize something in good times and hard times which represent the source of their satisfaction.  Statue reminds me  of the quality “Mercy” that I experience here, rather than the Source of Existence of Mercy.    If someone does not recognize that the qualities manifested are coming from an Absolute Source, then they fall into idolism.

Similarly, “Ka’bah”, being the simplest and empty building, is a symbol for Muslims representing the chain of Prophethood which reminds us that the One Who Creates human beings sends guidelines for human understanding of life. The Creator cannot be represented by anything of this universe: Ka’bah representing devoid of any value as far as being the Creator of anything is concerned. It only reminds people that they should not take anything from this world to be worshipped.  How can I represent Absolute?  If someone does not question and conclude that the Source of Existence of this universe is Absolute, then s/he is bound to fall into idolism.

  • God means the Absolute Being which means something that must able to give existence to something else. If something was not Absolute, then it would never be able to give existence to a single atom, let alone your satisfaction, your pleasures.
  • God means the Creator of every single being within the existence that I am experiencing. The satisfaction and nourishment I get from the mango which itself needs to be given existence, for example.  Can mango be the Source of Existence of itself, its taste, color and pleasure?

Verse 1 is drawing our attention that: “Have you ever thought within yourself and taken consideration into yourself that you deny the religion?  The point is not about denying the institutionalized religion.  We must redefine “religion” within our own space time restrictions.  Am I denying that I need any advice from my Creator? If not, then “religion” means for you the Guidance from your Creator.

  • Lailaha (there is no source of existence in the universe), therefore there must be a Source of Existence of everything in the universe, called God (illallah).

I need to establish my way of understanding the practical side of religion.

How am I going to imagine the Source of Existence as being Absolute?  In other words, what is the way of reaching into Absolute so that the relationship between my attitude, my ideology and my conviction will be established in such a way that I should not deny my “religion”, the way I understand the meaning of my life under the guidance of my Creator?  “Deny” means the one who denies his conclusion, not his tradition.

Let there be no confusion about the content of the meaning of “religion.”

Let us understand the notion of Absolute by studying Chapter Absolute (sura ikhlas) of the Qur’an.

  • Verse 1: God is being “ahad”e. there is no equivalent to Absolute within the universe.
  • Verse 2: God is being “samad”e. the only one who does not need anything, but everything is in need of It to be given existence.
  • Verse 3 (lamyalid walamyoolad): The Absolute Creator has not given birth i.e. created anything here which has inhered the quality of Creatorship. I cannot compare Absolute with anything of this universe, not even for a fraction of its quality.

If a thing was able to give existence to something of this universe, then that defeats the definition of Absolute.  Ka’bah represent God’s guidance sent through the Prophets, chain of Prophethood presenting the idea of God which is Absolute.

In Mathematics, infinite represents all numbers.  Does infinite need any number added to it or taken away from it to lose its definition of infinite?  No.  Similarly, Absolute does not need to get anything from another Source in order to become Absolute (walamyoolad).

How do we reach the conclusion that the Creator of this universe must be Absolute i.e. the One who gives existence to everything in the universe?

  • Will I need a huge mind to comprehend the Absolute? No!
  • If something is comprehensible in the universe, then it cannot be Absolute. The Absolute Creator simply means the Creator of the universe cannot be thought of as a being within this created universe; It cannot be imagined within the conditions of the universe; It is the Creator of the universe.

Nothing in the universe has Absolute qualities or can give existence to something.  Everything here is subject to an established order or already created set of principles.

In order to give existence to something which does not exist require the existence of a Conscious Source Who will prefer to give existence to it.  Everything here comes into existence within the already existent order and things.  Example: pass me the laptop.  All you do is follow the order in the universe i.e. give me an already existing laptop available in the order of this universe.  Every step in the process is a new process.  That is, everything needs Absolute at every moment for its existence.

Everything declares the Absolute qualities of the Creator. 

There is nothing in the world which does not glorify (declare) the qualities of its Creator.  Can you be the Source of Existence of your own brain?  Even your thinking ability declares the Necessary Existence of an Absolute Being.

The dictionary definition of the words in the Scripture is reduced to the validity of this world.  However, the reality must be understood within the whole context of the teachings of the Quran.  That is, one verse needs to be interpreted within the whole context of the Quran.

  • Quranic vocabulary must be understood within the whole context of the Quran, rather than the dictionary content of the words of the Quran.

How do I know that the Creator must be Absolute? 

Creation, by definition, should have no preceding existence.  Example: I “will” for a mango to exist.  Voila!  It is already here.  I am following the order which already exists in the universe and use things which already exist in the universe when I may think that I am creating something.  Without using the elements already existing in the universe and following the order, you cannot bring anything into existence.  With our experiences, we are bound to reach the Absoluteness of the Creator because in this world, everything needs to be brought into existence and cannot come into existence by itself and so there must be a Source of Existence giving existence to everything continuously.  If someone is not able to give existence to anything at all, then it cannot be the Source of Existence i.e. Absolute (not of the nature of this universe).

Example: Artists are using the already existing materials when they say that they are the creators; they only use their already existing ability and the order in the universe.

If I call myself or anything else “zero”, then it does not mean that I am worthless, rather, I do not have the ability to create.  Anything that exists claims that I can only be brought into existence by a one which has no limit.

I cannot represent Absolute Being in this universe because I cannot comprehend it.  Nothing in this universe has the ability to give existence to any quality in the universe.  From zero (the quality of the universe being zero to create) we should reach one, the Necessary Existent One and from there, the Necessary Existence of Infinite (Eternal Absolute One) because the universe exists, and its existence needs to be explained.

  • Infinite cannot be represented in terms of numbers.

If I do not have a proper establishment of Absolute in my mind, then I do not understand how existence takes place in this universe as referred to in the verses such as “Be and It is” (kun fayakun).  The order in the universe demonstrates the Necessary Existence of an Absolute Will, not of the nature of this universe.

  • We should process the following in our interactions here:
  • 0 to 1 (existence) and 1 to Absolute (Lailaha illallah)

Again, to be the Source of Existence of any quality, we and the thing itself are zero.  That is, in order to be the creator of anything, I am zero, but my existence is not zero because I am out here.  My existence necessitates that an Absolute Being must be the Source of Existence of my existence.

“Religion” starts from investigating the nature of this world.  What is the Source of Existence of any quality within your body? Who can be the Source of Existence of my feelings?

I must continue reasoning and reach satisfaction in my existence.  Cultural assumptions should not bluntly be denied, rather put aside to be investigated and then applied after confirmation of its truthfulness, if the culture has any truth in it.  Example: A good teacher gives you the answer to a question.  Now, it is your responsibility to attempt to solve the problem to reach that answer.  If the presentation of your solution is correct and your own work, then you get a good score, otherwise you get a zero by just copying the result that was given by the teacher without yourself solving it.  Similarly, belief means one’s own personal investigation to confirm the answer, not copying any “religious culture.”

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