The Reasonings (page 121)
“In addition, you should purify the mirror of your heart from childish attitudes and enmity, both of which tend to searching for and taking shelter in pretexts. Also, do not look through the eyes of the customer who sees only defects and failings. Furthermore, when guidance the shining light of truth that comprises all the signposts along your way, so that you can dispel the darkness of groundless doubts and whims that may appear. Finally, listen with an attentive, careful ear, and do not object before my words are finished. All that I will utter amounts only to a sentence. When I have said all of it, you can voice your objections, if you have any.”
The author has been talking to human consciousness and walking us through on how to attain evidence for the truth by going over some principles as follows:
- Not to take the “intentional opposition” attitude.
- Do not lose yourself in your whims and fancy, question them: Is it something I made up or is it really true?
- Not to judge a community for what they perform outwardly as that never depicts the true ideology of a religion as the majority of the people might not be able to represent the ideology as it is supposed to be.
In order to learn the truth, we must purify the mirror of our heart, i.e. free it from all sorts of prejudices, a very difficult subject indeed.
What are childish attitudes?
All negative attitudes or opposing any idea without thinking through it. In other words, looking for an excuse to oppose anything which may lead to enmity towards others. If you notice, a child always says “no”.
Looking through the eyes of the customer who sees defects means approaching an idea with an existing bias attitude. The author is suggesting us to approach any idea with a fresh and open mind-set.
- While hearing something and without checking in for yourself, do not take any stance for any ideology.
We can take the same attitude towards commentaries on any scripture. Take in whatever make sense and reject any thing that seems irrelevant.
There are two attitudes that one can take while studying scriptures:
- look for the faults
- look for good.
Gospel contains biography of Prophets. Torah has enormous supplication and description of God, like the Quran. Do not look at it with the customer’s eye. Some old commentaries on the Quran have irrelevant information like the Torah and taken from the Torah without giving reference to the Torah (mostly called “Israelite” i.e. oral narrations from Jewish tradition).
- If you look for what you can benefit from them, then they are useful.
- Analogy: A car junkyard contains parts that people can benefit from. Similarly, we may benefit from parts from old scriptures by discarding the other irrelevant information.
- It is difficult to find the pure truth only without mixing it up with parts from other books.
How am I going to interpret the existence of this world and meaning of my existence? When you look at this question, you find only one source to answer it, scriptures. If you know how to deal with the Quran including any irrelevant part, then you can benefit from it. That is, if you have not received training on how to read the Quran, then you cannot benefit from it properly. We need to train on how to read the Quran i.e. what is the definition of the Quran and what to expect from the Quran. Without knowing this, studying the Quran does not benefit us fully.
- We must look at every source without applying the customer’s eyes i.e. weed out points that do not make sense.
Question: Are you saying that if one was to approach the Quran, do it in a way to get whatever make sense from it?
Methodology of reading the Quran is different from selecting the good and bad parts from a scripture. That is only valid for traditional commentaries on the Quran and Torah, not the Quran itself. One must have training on how to benefit from the Quran and for what purpose. Before you take the Quran in your hand, you must have a definite expectation of the Quran.
- Why am I reading this?
- Why do I need to read the Quran?
- What am I expecting from the Quran to teach me?
- What is the Quran?
- More so, what am I expecting from God to teach me?
- Do I really need it? For what?
- What am I going to do with it?
What am I expecting from God to teach me? It must be my own human needs. I can benefit from the Quran only as much as I have questions concerning my existence. That is the prime article in the list of principles. I cannot learn anything from the Quran more than what I have questions about.
- One must feel the need for guidance to approach the scripture.
Weigh accurately refers to what?
Weighing accurately means comparing correctly without being bias. What does the Quran say? What does the Torah say? Compare it. Scripture speaks in black and white terms, definite distinction between true and false. We cannot say that there are parts in the Quran that have not been explained.
If you have not been convinced about certain concepts, then you cannot put it into practice. That is why the Quran does not bother about putting concepts into practice because you are not ready or gone through the necessary education. Example: in the education system, they teach you first in class and then take you to lab, not the other way around where you mess up in the lab and then are taken to the class to teach you. That is not human!
We need to first establish the theoretical base of our belief system and then accordingly act. For example, for some people, drinking liquor is a way to warm up from the weather and it is beneficial for the body. They may be right, but the Quran’s concern is not the health of the body primarily at all. It is included, and it is called “wisdom”. No one should bother to fast because it is healthy or makes you feel better. A nutritionist may guide you on that.
- The purpose of the Quran is to educate our human side.
People talk about some matters that have been changed in the course of time in the Quran which are all related to practical matters and actually, they are not really changed. After understanding the purpose of your existence in this world, now your understanding and perspective change and it will reflect in your actions.
- Your actions are expected to change accordingly, and the Quran puts these rules accordingly.
Comment: The practical side has to do with fulfilling the purpose of your body?
The practical side has to do with putting the ideology into practice which can only happen in physical bodily form. In other words, practical side has to do with putting your understanding into practice.
But when people look at the practical side only, they may take it from the perspective of the relationship with the body. That is why they say why should I fast during Ramadan because I can fast anytime as it is good for the health? When it comes to the main teachings of the Quran, it is related to the moral characters and it is spoken in black and white terms. Example: If you believe in God, then you will be in Paradise eternally. If you do not, then you will be in Hell, eternal torture. Either the universe is created by God or it is not. There is no in between such as things are evolving on their own. Either every single moment is given existence by the Absolute One or nothing is created by It and everything is given existence by itself.
- Again, we need to think of everything in black and white terms. Either this world exists by itself and we are the products of accidents or we are given existence to be candidate for an Eternal Life.
The teaching of the Quran is black and white i.e. lailaha (there is no God) illallah (there is One God that gives existence to everything.) Example: “He creates the food, but I plant it” is an “in between” thought. God created the cells and now cells are developing, and evolving is another example of “in between”. If a thing acts on its own will, then why do you say that you believe in a Creator who is Absolute? Please compare all acts seriously! Can the cells have any affect in coming into existence in time-space? Can the cells give existence to themselves and their new position or they cannot at all because everything is created by the Creator of the universe who is Absolute? Without getting this point, we cannot benefit from the Quran.
- A thing is either right or wrong. Example: 2 + 2 = 4. That is correct. Apart from number 4, any number is wrong including 3.999 or 4.01
Human behavior such as hurting someone’s feeling is different, but we are talking about ideology (i.e. understanding the meaning of things, what the meaning refers to or the purpose of their existence).
Comment: How do we figure out what things refer to? Is that when we need guidance or consult the scripture?
This text we are reading will study that step by step. We are just in the beginning.
First, do you need guidance? About what? Decide about this first and foremost and then move forward. What do you need guidance for? Do you have any problems? If you say that my tooth is aching, then call a dentist. Solutions to such problems are created in the universe and you can learn it. It is already explained in the creation.
The Prophet is not a dentist, a nutritionist or an adviser, he is there to educate your spirit and your humanity. What are you reducing him to? People wrote volumes of book about it and that is so irrelevant. Experts such as dentists, nutritionists and scientists are studying about the rules and discovering it in the order of the universe. God does not give superfluous information that is to be found in the universe. One’s human questions are not answered in the universe. That is why we need extra information which answers my questions that I cannot find in the universe, but I can find it within myself after learning it.
The guidance we get from the Quran is not within the universe but within human potentiality. We can understand it and grasp it after being taught. That is why we need teachers. These potentialities do not really develop if it is not trained and educated. Example: Can you learn how to drive without doing any exercises by living here for 500 years? Potentially you are able to drive but if you do not do exercises; you cannot learn how to drive. Similarly, if you have the human questions, the answers are within yourself but if you are not taught, you cannot learn about it.
We say that whatever is revealed or put into practice within the order of the universe, we must discover it. That is how we become an expert in a given subject. Order as a sign points to something which is beyond the capacity of the order itself. Example: look at a bird what does it say? It says: “I am not the result of accident. I cannot be the result, the choice of my cells as they have no ability to choose. I cannot really exist eternally as I am continuously subject to change and I have no say about my existence and my life and my death. It is all given”. O bird, tell me what are you then? It says: “Look for it. I am not the Source of my qualities”. Then you say: what is the source of existence of the qualities of this bird? If you are bothered by this question, then the Quran answers it. Otherwise, if you do not have the question, the Quran does not answer. Most people read the Quran to find out the religious requirements.
Comment: As a customer, I need to examine critically the product to see that it fulfills the purpose of my existence.
The author is suggesting to compare correctly. This part works, and this part does not work. As a customer, if you look for any defect, then you cannot see the beauty of the product. If there is no defect, then you can buy it. If you look for only defect, you cannot see what is right. Your attitude is to look for what attracts you and if you see defect, do not buy it. We are making this principle as a general principle for any matter.
Scriptures teach specifically about belief matters. Scriptures by definition are expected to be Divine guidance which is about educating our human qualities. Human qualities can only be educated by using our consciousness. Our consciousness always questions the meaning and purpose of existence and what we need from our Creator to teach us because we need to be taught. After being taught, we can discover and understand what is right or wrong. We are not taught something that is completely alien to our nature. We know nothing, and God knows everything is a WRONG understanding. God created you with the potentiality to understand everything that It is going to teach you, but you need to get educated. Without getting the education, you will not know. You will find a confirming agent within yourself (yes that is true) but only after being taught. If you are not taught, then you are not aware that you have this potentiality within you. After being taught, you can confirm it.
Scriptures teaches us the main fundamental principles which are absolutely right and wrong. There are no vague points in the teaching of the scripture. I must know that either it is absolutely true or wrong. There is no in between.
Why does the Quran emphatically say do not call anything next to me as God? Yes, God nourishes me, but my father brings the food, or my mother cooks tasty food. As if taste of the food is created by the mother or a famous cook. God says, “everything is from me the rest is means that I employ and create as a vehicle”. Nothing should be ascribed to anything else but the Creator of the universe.
Make the comparison when you take the Quranic teachings. Example: Quran says I am light. Make the comparison between light and absolute darkness.
Wala yuhituna bishayim min ilmihi illa bimashaa (You cannot comprehend anything from His knowledge except what He willed you to know) (2: 255.). It means that we know with the permission of the Creator. Otherwise, how can you manage your brain, where did your ability to learn come from? It is already given to you. That is the permission from the Creator. We cannot ourselves know It. We need and It creates. That is the process.
Main teachings of the Quran are to glorify God but nothing else. Every single being glorifies God and there is not one atom which does not glorify God. There is nothing in this world which glorifies something else other than God. “I am the product of the Creator of the universe everyone and everything declares that”.
- Even the sub-particles of atom say that I can exist only as a result of the will of the Absolute One.
If you concentrate only to investigate faults, you cannot benefit from it. Look at the product in terms of what it is, while investigating it, if you see fault in it, do not buy it.
While looking for evidence of the truth, we need to have a way to reason and investigate for the truth. If you are a searcher, you will find it. If you are not a searcher, you will not find it, although you may be next to the product. We must have this need that we have to learn the truth of the purpose of our existence.
What is dangerous is being born in a certain religious family and taking religion for granted. The problem is with us. If you identify yourself as a Muslim, then you think that Islam is the best religion. Have you studied it? How do you know? This is a dangerous attitude in the way of searching for the truth. “I am a Muslim and I have not studied Islam much and let me ask the scholars” who may tell you what to do and what not to do. Some scholars may have a reason why they chose Islam. Most people who embrace Islam later is because of the social factors (this should not mislead us) because they are not happy with the corruption of the civilization, religious traditions of the society (because it does not make sense) and they start searching. This is a real reality that one must look for another alternative for an explanation of their existence: Why are we here is the main problem for everyone?
- Take it seriously: Why am I here and what am I supposed to do here?
Friend and marriage relationship are nothing to be taken seriously and does not bring much benefit to anyone as compared to the existential questions. Any idea which will have an impact on your human side must be the result of your search for an answer to your question. Does not matter what background I come from, which kind of questions I have and am I really seeking to find answers to such questions?
Quran is open to any challenging question, let me see and investigate it. It is so simple! If you find anything approvable and acceptable according to your potential and conscious i.e. human reality, then it is confirmable to your consciousness. The ultimate aim is not to contradict myself. That is what belief is.
- Anything which does not contradict my reality is correct. I cannot look for another source to confirm that this is correct. I must find it within myself.
When you study the Quran you will confirm it with your own human qualities.
- If my human qualities are corrupt, then I am corrupt.
- You need to have an honest attitude not to cheat yourself and mislead yourself.
Am I going to cheat or mislead myself? Most of the time, we have unspoken hidden agenda and our conscious knows it. Example: these religious people are horrible, let me find an answer to what is the purpose of my existence and what is this world really? Barrier here is that religion is ugly. Can you find the truth? No, because you have a barrier and are seeing things with the eyes of a customer. You need to have a 100% open mindedness. Another barrier is: My religion is 100% correct and let me learn more of it. Here, you cannot get the truth as well.
Quran says that before you start reading me, seek refuge with the Creator, God. First, say this universe is full of everything that needs to be discovered and this world cannot be the result of accidents. We are purposefully here and let me understand my reality now. Where is the purpose coming? If someone says that this universe happens to be like this eternally, then I will look for the truth. That does not work either because existence of the universe is attributed to an eternal existence by itself. That is a bias attitude similar to saying that the universe is created by God. Instead, say things cannot make themselves come into existence.
We need to have a base. I do not know where things are coming from. What is the source of existence of this universe? Then search starts with investigating now. Can it come into existence by itself? Can things give existence to themselves? Things are here, look at them. Bias is taking a negative attitude. Open mindedness is really being open with no prejudice.
For many people it seems that we must accept God first and then study religion. No. We should have no boundary in the way of our search, but we have to know that things are not really so clear that I can understand why and how they happen. After that, questions follow it.
Comment: We are all searching for evidence for the truth. The author is giving us principles to go along the way of doing that. One must have an uncorrupted nature in order to allow for the speech to penetrate into one’s being as in it should not contradict one’s nature.
Corrupt nature has nothing to do with being biased. No one says that I am corrupt. Openness with no bias is correct. No one says that if you want to understand the truth, you must have an uncorrupted nature. Does anyone say that I corrupt my nature? I should not have any biases and I shall be open to all ideas. Be free and then read scriptures in order to find answer to your questions, questions related to the meaning of your existence: Why am I here? How come I exist here?
Do not read any book or listen to anyone half sleepy and thinking about other concerns. Body is there but mind may not be fully present. Take the precautions before. Go to bed early and get enough sleep. Have breakfast and come. Mind should not be anywhere else. If you are hungry and food is there, eat food first and postpone praying because your mind is there. Our mind should be concentrated on what is said and the reasoning behind it. Try to understand the argument first and then judge about it.
Etiquette of arguments require to exchanging views and benefit from others, nothing to do with quarrelling. Wait until the section finishes and then voice your opinion.
Tags: Arguments for Messengership Series, Belief, Fancies, Free, Human Feelings, Messengership, Prophets, Quran, Wisdom