81:3 “and when paradise is drawn within reach”
Here is another verse to understand the above verse:
“But those who were conscious of their Lord will be led in crowds to paradise till, when they reach it, they shall find its gate wide-open, and its keepers will say unto them, “Peace be upon you! Well have you done, enter, then this [paradise] to dwell therein!” Zumar (39):73
Recap: One goes to Hell at their own will. What do we mean by “conscious of their Lord”? Literally, it seems to be talking about that I am here and Lord is somewhere else and I am aware of it. But the way we read the Quran in this class, “belief in God” should not be distanced from us rather we should be experiencing it within our existence. When someone says that I am created by God or God created me, how can we be sure? Through my own investigation about my own ‘created-ness’ i.e. internalizing belief within your own self. Do not make it into an external thing that It created you. Yes, the Creator is there but how do we know It? As far as my responsibility of knowing the Creator is concerned, the journey starts within myself (my own created-ness). If someone does not accept that s/he is created, you tell him/her to think about his/her own created-ness because no one can make one think that they are created. Think about your own being/existence! How do you explain that I am as I am? We are not expected to use any prior knowledge. Just think about the question within yourself. GO AND THINK OF YOUR OWN EXISTENCE!
- Proving existence of God has nothing to do with proving something up there and external to you.
Example: when I look at the laptop, how do I know that it has an Engineer? Have I seen the Engineer making this laptop? The Engineer externally exists. The Engineer is not within the computer but how do I know that there is an externally existent Engineer? Have I seen the Engineer? No. How do we know that the laptop has an Engineer?
Comment: I was told that it has an Engineer.
Someone’s narration has nothing to do with you. You do not have to be told. You just need to work on the laptop and you will find out that it is made by a knowledgeable and conscious being. This kind of approach to belief matter is useless and wrong as it does not make your heart satisfied. “I am told but I have not experienced it.” We are told by the Prophets that the universe has been created by God. I do not know because I have not seen the Prophets. When you start using the laptop, you conclude that it cannot be created by itself. If someone says prove me that God exists, then tell them that you have nothing to prove just go home and think about your own being, who you are and how you explain your existence.
Since the Engineer is not the laptop itself, similarly, the universe cannot be God because it needs to be given existence. That is what we are searching for, what is the Source of existence of this universe or what is the Source of existence of yourself? Go and think about yourself.
Do not listen to anyone else but listen to your own consciousness and your own being. If you conclude that I cannot come into existence accidentally because everything is perfectly done without any accident. Accident cannot guarantee perfection, purpose and order. But in the universe everything is existing within an order. Order demonstrates that accidents cannot exist. From there you have to be aware of your own reality.
Example: we got permission to use this room and everything is provided and has been set for us. This perfect arrangement shows that there is an administrative body here and every administrative body needs a good organization. Organization needs conscious arrangement and conscious arrangement needs responsible people outside of the room. When it comes to your Lord (the One who gives you existence, takes care of you, grows you and arranges everything for you…), it is not external to you. But that does not mean that your Creator does not exist externally because in acknowledgment of your Lord and consciousness of your Lord, that starts from yourself: FIRST INVESTIGATING YOUR OWN BEING!
However, this is not how God consciousness (taqwa) is presented by the general public. Most people think of the term “taqwa” as meaning fear of God. That is a ridiculous understanding as if God is a monster out there.
- Investigation starts from yourself.
Does God really exist? Do not bother about bringing any evidence that the universe needs a Creator and look at the universe how it is perfectly arranged. First think about your own existence. To be conscious of my Lord, I need to start the process from my own self. In my own existence, I have to conclude the necessity of a conscious being who made me. How? If I remember and understand that I am made. As soon as I acknowledge that I am made and given existence, automatic language is that I must have a Creator. If I do not start from I must have a Maker, there is no need to talk about the universe must have a Maker. Without realizing that they are made purposefully, people think that religion is just a fable talking about God somewhere out there, like a mythology where one is imagining God out there making the universe. How ridiculous!
How can you be conscious of your Lord after this explanation? You have to realize your Lord within your own existence. It is the starting point of acknowledging that you have a Lord through your own existence. We always say that the Quran must be read within your own reality right here and now as you are. It means that I have to be conscious of my Lord through my own existence and my conclusion will be: “Yes, I have a Maker. I am not the Maker.”
If you are conscious of your Lord means that any human feelings that you have is arranged by the One who gave you existence. Being conscious of your existence means thinking about yourself, thinking about your feelings, thinking about your human qualities and who has given them existence and arranged them, who has made you aware of their existence.
“Consciousness of their Lord” must be experienced within your existence right now as you are living. We are given various feelings at a given moment.
Stage 1: I have this feeling and this feeling must be given to me by the One who gave me existence.
Stage 2: What is the purpose in giving me these feelings?
Why has the One who gave me existence, must have given me this feeling? Is that without purpose? Just to tell me: “entertain yourself and at the end I will be slaughter you”. Is this the purpose of the existence of the feeling given to me by my Maker? What is the purpose of the existence of human feelings that are given?” Is that an accident? Is it meaningless? Can all human feelings be purposeless? No.
Why do you think my Maker has given these feelings to me? We call them human qualities. Have you ever thought about it?
Comment: We are given feelings to make decisions about how to act. My feelings tell me what to do i.e. I act based on my feelings.
You act and act and die. Human qualities are given to you and at the end you die and disappear. Why are these feelings given to you and at the end you will die? The One who gave you prefect feelings such as hopes, desires, likes, dislikes, anxieties, expectations…they are all perfectly working for what?
Comment # 1: All feelings have been given for us to experience, acknowledge and draw a conclusion that our reality within this creation is not perfect.
According to the transient nature of creation, this does not fit our feelings because our feelings need to be perfect eternally.
Comment # 2: I think that creation provokes a feeling within us before we have a pre-disposed feeling towards the creation.
Creation has no conscious will and it cannot do anything to our existence. If you are pre-disposed to act a certain way and you acted accordingly, how did you do that? Did you have to correct the universe, the cosmos? Did you correct how the tree grows? Did you correct how Creator gives them perfect disposition? The effect of humanitarianism which is mixed up with religious language has destroyed the belief system.
Comment # 3: All human qualities i.e. feelings are tools for me to internalize what I observe. When I internalize it, it forces me to reflect on it. I reflect upon it to reach some sort of conclusion and use that as a means to live my life. Part of the feelings is that I want to feel happiness eternally and as a parent I know that my children will not need me anymore, eventually we will all die.
We are in a serious situation!!! We are not told what is happening in our lives, why we are here and what we are expected to do. We are busy with observing the disaster through media narration without realizing that we are ourselves in a disaster and meaninglessness. All the three comments given above talk about the same thing i.e. how to arrange one’s life in a better way.
Let us work on answering the question.
Does this laptop or table have some sort of qualities? Yes. Do you think that they are aware of their qualities? No. For me, the table has no consciousness. In reality, though, no one knows if the table has consciousness. As far as I am concerned, I have to think about things according to my own criteria. Things are not conscious of themselves so they are not expected to evaluate or utilize their own qualities. But as far as we are concerned, we are conscious of our own qualities. The One who made me, made me with the consciousness that I am aware of my own qualities. That is, this One made me conscious of what I have been given and endowed with. I have to think: My Maker gave me some qualities and I am aware of these qualities. Is there a correlation between my qualities and my being aware of these qualities? What is the relationship between my qualities and my being aware of these qualities? My Maker has deliberately endowed me with these qualities. If I am aware of this, then what is going on? Do you think that because you are conscious of your own qualities (i.e. I am made in this way), there must be a purpose in my being in this situation? All the qualities are given to me by the One who made me.
A personal reflective answer to the initial question of what is the purpose in being given all our feelings (you are free to accept or reject): When I am given the ability to be conscious of my human qualities, the One who has arranged this for me and has given me these qualities in order to know It through the qualities manifested in my existence. That is, in order to know which kind of qualities my Maker has through the qualities that It has invested in my own existence. That is the purpose of my existence, to get to know the Source of my existence and which kind of qualities this Source has so I will connect my existence to my Maker i.e. “You are the One who is the Source of all these qualities and you made me aware of these qualities.” That is the purpose which is that: “I should know You through all my qualities.”
- KEY POINT: Being Conscious of Your Lord.
Using your qualities for the life of this world is transient and meaningless because I am not made for this world. Here, I am made and given life and I will be given death. We always say that we are students in the school of this universe learning. Learning what? Physics? Chemistry? Learning a subject for the sake of the subject only. No, all the qualities that I observe and become aware of all the qualities manifested in these disciplines that I am studying. All these qualities are the signs of the qualities of its Maker. What we are used to in our secular education system is totally baseless. Example: we take a painting and study the painting for the sake of the painting. Our minds are conditioned to think on this line and we are made into robots. Painting will be destroyed and I am going to die. For what? For nothing? Painting has certain qualities such as art but we never associate the qualities that we can deduce from the painting to the Artist of the painting. “the Artist of this painting has all these qualities.” Appreciate the Artist; not the painting itself.
All secular education (psychology, sociology, mathematics…) that you are getting appreciates the painting not the painter. What a dreadful indoctrination! Even in my existence, I appreciate and use the qualities within me for the sake of the qualities within me in this world, nothing to do with their Creator. If we concentrate on the act we observe or we do for the act itself we forget about questioning the source of the qualities manifested in those acts. For example, why do we go to the mosque and pray? God is Great! For what? Because I am asked to say these words during the prayer. That is our tradition. In your reality, you do not have any consciousness of your Lord.
God consciousness is very simple, it is with you. Just use your consciousness to understand that you are made, not to appreciate yourself and others but to appreciate the Artist (as per the Artist example). Which kind of Lord has given you existence so that your consciousness will be comfortable: “I belong to the One that has given me this sense”. Whatever feelings you have in your being, it is from It letting you know that It is the Source of this sense.
Human beings are given freewill and we can always use alternate ideas. Example: you are given the sense of helping others and you are given the sense of loving your family. But for what? Until you die, you are given all these wonderful amazing feelings, senses and qualities for your life here, is that it? There must be a real higher purpose in our existence. What is that? To attach ourselves, associate our existence to its Source, that is called “God consciousness”. God consciousness happens within you. Never pray or do rituals because you are afraid that God will punish you. Instead, pray or do rituals to express your reality, what you have become aware of in your reality, so express it: “Yes, I am very happy with you my Creator. I belong to You. You are the Absolute One, I belong to the Absolute One and I appreciate You, really. You are my Owner. My existence belongs to You.”
Comment: what if I do not feel like expressing my reality?
Work on it. While you are praying, question: What am I doing here? Is God satisfying Himself by commanding you to pray as your boss? The Creator of this universe must be so generous that It has created you with perfect and endless qualities and the universe is endless and perfect. Even if you study one atom, you cannot get to the end of the qualities in the existence of the atom. The Creator of the atom says: “I am the Creator who is Absolute and if I was not Absolute, I would not be able to give endless qualities to the atom.” It means that we can conclude from the existence of the atom that the Creator is Generous.
Do not be afraid of God. Be afraid of cutting yourself from God and externalizing it from your existence. Otherwise, you would have an understanding of God who gave you existence and endowed you with wonderful endless qualities, He becomes a monster commanding you to do something by satisfying Itself. That is imagination, not God! Come to yourself and you will understand that praying and rituals are to be done in acknowledgment of the Source of existence of these qualities i.e. you are putting them into practice. While you are practicing them, you will say: “This is the precious gift from my Creator to know It.” That is the perfect understanding of worship of God. We are created to worship God means this.
Comment: I pray because I fear being ungrateful to God.
That is also external to you. If you fear, then God is already external to you. When you are grateful, that is a true feeling within yourself. Belief is internal, not external. If you do not feel like it, then why do you pray? There is something wrong there. That needs to be investigated. Why do you have to be grateful? If you do not realize that all the qualities within you are the signs of the qualities of God and attach yourself to your Source of existence which is called God, then you cannot be grateful to It.
Comment: In order to be grateful, I first have to acknowledge that the qualities are given to me.
Why are these qualities given to you? When you feed the dog, he is grateful to you as well. What it means is that I am a human being, I am not a dog. I cannot be grateful temporarily or for something temporary. Even gratefulness needs a deeper consciousness which must be the result of previous preparation. Sometimes to repair old building in their original form costs much more than building a building from scratch. Restoration cost is very pricey. Before starting belief training and coming to this class, destroy “the heard” religion because it is too hard to restore it.
“I have to express our thankfulness to God” is a common heard expression. Where did you get the idea of God? Because we are using our senses as “our senses” and they are to be used in this world, nothing to do with the acknowledgment of the Creator. For the sake of this world, why are you thankful to God who is going to slaughter you and kill you at the end? You cannot love this God who is going to kill you at the end. Who gave you life? Who is going to give you death? This good God becomes a murderer, It kills me. What is the nature of this creation? How can I be thankful to the One who kills me. It is rhetoric. It is difficult to restore the ruin ideas. It takes decades. Do not use value-laden vocabulary and present any case to people. “We have to be thankful to the Creator who created the universe.” People will laugh at you. How about yourself? Yes, He created me. How about your feelings? I am going to take care of me and my loved ones who will be killed by the Creator that I am grateful for. How can you be grateful to a murder? This is impossible and full of contradictions. It is difficult to establish your understanding based on this and making it your personal conclusion with full confidence in your confidence in your existence without giving any reference to any external source (which is your own belief) is very difficult and uncommon.
It is very easy if you are careful about the structure of the language of the Quran. It gives you guidance and helps you how to get out of these contradictions because we mostly neglect these contradictions in our reflections.
Analogy: Mother prepares the food. You are thankful to the mother. Similarly, you thank God for giving you existence but God is not your mother rather the Owner of your feelings. The Owner of the feelings say says that I am the Source of thankfulness. Mother is not the Source of thankfulness, she is external. God is not external to you. The existence of this sense of being thankful to your mother is given to you by your Creator in order to understand that It is the Source of thankfulness. You are given the sense of compassion towards others, why? In order to understand that your Creator is thankful.
God is “shakir” and “mushkoor” at the same time. God is thankful (shakir). If you acknowledge that these senses belong to Him consciously, It is going to be thankful to you, that is Paradise. The Creator is thankful to you, what does it mean? Everything is guaranteed and you feel that I am in Paradise because I realized that my Creator is a thankful One. That is why everything must be attached to God. The description of the scripture says, “In the Name of God”, what does it mean? In acknowledgment of God, in acknowledgment of the Source of existence of whatever feelings that you are experiencing and practicing. Example: if you are learning something, God is the One who is the source of knowledge.
Secular education indoctrinates you and imitative religion blocks your way of freethinking.
Comment: I feel that consciousness is not a goal in itself but it is a tool to be used to connect to the goal i.e. the Lord as per the verse.
Yes, that makes sense. As a result I am already in Paradise. That is, as soon as I use my consciousness and understand the purpose of existence of all my feelings, which are the means of introducing my Source of existence and making sure that I belong to the Eternal One. Nothing worries me and death becomes nothing because I belong to the Eternal One. Death just becomes a transformation from one type of existence into another. As a consequence of this interpretation and understanding, you are in Paradise with no fear. Believers have no fear, no sadness or anxiety. They don’t worry: What will happen to me? What will happen to my daughter if I lose my job? They just use the opportunities presented to their freewill to work on them.
What is a believer? Someone who carries this attitude. As soon as you are conscious of your Lord, you are in Paradise. Don’t wait for it until you die.
Comment: Some of the feelings given are negative.
Never think of any subject without taking freewill into account. Freewill is given to you in order to realize the truth and reality in contrast to what is not real at all. You are free to destroy your feelings and interpret your existence as a result of accidents. That is not your reality. If you think that you are the product of accidents, then you cannot bring any evidence to it. The freedom to choose must be understood seriously. Everything has one reality and its counterpart is an option which has no reality i.e. you cannot prove it. When you distort your feelings, you do the opposite. That is, rather than being Merciful, you can be harsh towards someone. This feeling of harshness is just an option but you may choose it. And you know that when you do something harmful, you also know that you should not do it. You should not do it but you are doing it because you have the freedom to choose and you have chosen that way. You know it within yourself that something is wrong. This is how consciousness functions to make you realize what is right and what is wrong.
Comment: If we are experiencing sadness, then that is a negative feeling.
We do not have the negative feelings; we have the option to choose the feelings that are negative. 2+2 makes 5, can my tongue say that? Yes. Does it have a reality? No. Have you seen anything existing in this world which gives evidence that 2 + 2 makes 5? No. Human beings are free to say that 2 + 2 makes 5. It is an option in order to understand that 2 + 2 makes 4 but nothing else. Lailaha (2 + 2 cannot make 5), now search for it, experience it and you will see that illallah (2 + 2 makes 4 and nothing else). You are given the false option to make sure that you are choosing the right one. Belief is a choice and your conclusion. That is, concluding what is wrong and this is right. No one can say that this is right and that is it. As oppose to the wrong (lailaha), this is right (illalah). Go from lailaha to illallah. Prove it. If you beat up someone with no right, don’t you know that you have done something wrong?
Bad feelings and good feelings are secular languages. There is no bad feeling; it is just an option which has no reality. Secular science does not accept this because per them there is only one option. Example: the universe exist and nothing else. Some people have another option that everything is created by God.
We have to be open to lailaha illallah. This is not right because I have the evidence and confirmed it. If someone does not go through this stage of rejecting the mistake and approving the right, this person cannot have a belief. That would be just imitation.
The options that make you come to the right need to be used to correct yourself by applying the option to the reality that you are experiencing. How to go to the reality? In the universe, look for the signs.
When you reach it, you find Paradise within your own being: “I am secure from all side”. It is already there. You do not have to knock at the door. The doors are open. Angels are the keepers of hell and paradise in the language of the Quran. When you do something wrong, angels come to you saying you cannot have any evidence, think about it and go back: “why did you come here, it is wrong, investigate”
The keepers of Paradise are also angels saying that “you have done right, that is perfect and correct, I approve it.”
Angels are the carrier of the meaning that we extract from creation, especially our own creation. In the language of the Quran, they are the signs of the Creator of the things themselves. These meanings come to you through something and these something are called “angels”. When you conclude that 2+2 makes 4, you understand that angels are welcoming you. When you conclude this way, angels say welcome, peace be upon you, you will find the comfort in confirming by your own being. You do not have to be told.
Example: As a dentist if a patient comes to you with a severe pain and you do a treatment on this patient. As a result of the treatment, the patient’s pain goes away. He is happy, how about you? The angels say you have done right and when you share this feelings with others, angels bring you the news that you have done something right. You experience it within your own existence automatically.
Enter in Paradise eternally because you understood that all your feelings belong to an Absolute One that is your Lord. Don’t worry about anything!
- You do not feel any hardship to get into Paradise. You discover it within yourself but you are free to choose to ignore it.
Tags: At-Takwir, Quran and Universe, Takwir Series