By March 16, 2017 Read More →

Reading the Quran Here and Now: Chapter Muddaththir – Part 2

74:6 “And do not show favor to obtain increase,”

This verse draws our attention not to aim for this life. Asking for wealth and property to increase should not be sought after just for the sake of obtaining wealth. When you question your existence, you will find out that living for the sake of obtaining goods in this world only is a circular and meaningless aim. It does not negate the fact that you should not desire or strive for success here, on the contrary, you should use this desire and endeavor to search or connect your-self to the Source of the properties you desire and your being.

Mostly, people who are proud to have more property are ruined in their understanding of this universe and their own self. In the Quran, Abu-Lahab refers to a character that relies on the wealth he has and wants more and more for the sake of boasting his/her own ego. This also applies to one’s abilities and talent. Example: if you want to strive in your career and increase your talent for yourself or others in order to be self-sufficient and use it as a means of boasting, then this attitude is no different than Abu-Lahab’s attitude. One may argue that if we are created in this material world, then it is inevitable not to desire more and more. Although, that argument is true but without paying attention to the transient nature of this universe or the meaning this universe conveys, one can never attain full satisfaction here without realizing and acknowledging the Source of existence of this universe and yourself.

We have to focus on what this universe points to. More importantly, we have to zoom in on the existence of this universe. Let’s say at the end of the day, Joe gets one-fourth of his plate full while Jane gets a full plate which is over flowing. What is the difference between the two? Clearly, one has more than the other.

Should Jane use Joe to thank God?

Using creation to make comparisons and thanking the Lord is not the teaching of the Quran. This type of quantitative reasoning is biased because Jane thinks that God favored her with a full plate.

  • Quantitative reasoning is rejected by the Quran.

Similarly, when we instruct our children to finish their plate and be thankful because people in other countries are starving. What message are we sending to these little ones? Again, comparison through quantitative reasoning does not make you a believer.

Is Joe more likely to be grateful to God than Jane?

Probably yes because he learns that it takes a toll to get the one fourth portion of the plate and is likely to appreciate it better. But if he is ungrateful for that amount, then he ruins his life by being miserable.

Is Jane luckier than Joe for inheriting a full plate?

Shut up! First of all, there is no such thing as “luck” in existence. We are all given and put in certain conditions according to the order of the universe which is consciously arranged and created. Jane’s full plate is by the will of her Creator. If she acknowledges that, she fulfills the purpose of her existence. Otherwise, by being ignorant, she ruins her life.

Should Joe strive for more?

Yes, one should use their full potential to attain something but without acknowledging or awareness of the Source of existence of the potentiality, striving for more will just exhaust Joe.

The following attitudes are DANGEROUS:

  1. I have more money so I should thank God.
  2. I do not have more so why should I thank God for?
  3. Not realizing anything concerning the meaning in the objects which are created for us.

Points to remember:

  • Don’t run after property for the sake of it, work for it but it should not be your aim.
  • Reason of existence of food/water for example is significant rather than amount.
  • Why is the water created?
  • Why do we think the universe in its material form exists?

The word “dunya” or universe (property, wealth…) means to disdain to obtain. That is why we are created to question the existence of everything. Example:

What is the purpose in the existence of the water?

  • To question its existence.
  • In order to train me in this world to know which kind of Creator It is.
  • In order to understand that the Creator is Absolute.

How much am I aware of the existence of water?

  • Water and I are created for me to understand that the Creator is Absolute.

Existence is of two types:

1.     given existence

2.     essential existence- nothing in this universe exists whose existence is essential to it. That is, nothing necessitates its existence from itself or nothing here is self-sufficient.

  • Is there anything in this world that has the quality to be self- sufficient?

Watch out! Do not refer to the Creator of the universe as a “higher Being” as it puts a limit to Its existence. That is similar to categorizing objects as living thing, non-living thing, stone, tree, water, etc., a pantheist ideology: infers that some of the beings have “higher” quality from itself.

In summary, awareness in the existence of things is important. Less or more is not important.  Looking for more water is not the point at all. How did someone get more water is not the point either. In reality every amount points equally to its Source of existence whether it be a drop of water or a full glass of water. The purpose in being given one drop of water or a full glass of water is how much you appreciate the water and acknowledge its Creator.

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