Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The Creator in His infinite wisdom had created diverse cultures, languages and social groupings (peoples, nations and tribes). Why was such diversity created? The Quran gives the following reason:

“O mankind! Indeed We have created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Indeed the most noble of you in the sight of God is the one who is most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things”. (Quran: 49:13)

The purpose is for us to get to know each other. If we do that, we not only learn amazing things about life, we also see the greatness of God. There is no nobility or honor per se belonging to any single social grouping – “Malay”, “Chinese”, “Indian”, “white”, “black”, “Caucasian”, etc. The most honored is the one who is most righteous ie does good deeds and lives decently.

However, some human beings have insisted on turning this diversity into problems and sometimes into causes of immense misery. “Devils” or “Satan” is not necessarily of the Stephan Spielberg Hollywood types. They live among us in the shape of evil minded human beings. They create fears, make empty promises, they rouse people to hate each other and be suspicious of each other. DO not worship such evil people. If you allow them to influence you thoughts and your heart that means you are worshiping them.

"Did I not enjoin on you, O Children of Adam, that you should not worship Satan; for that he is to you a clear enemy?- (Quran 36:60)

Fortunately, many more human beings celebrate this diversity and enjoy the pleasure that comes from it. This choice of behavior makes sense – why agonize when you can enjoy? Why hate when love is healing and creates bonds of solidarity between us?

For the life of me, I cannot imagine anyone who claims to believe in a Creator to ever discriminate negatively between human beings on the basis of God’s decision to place them into a specific social grouping. If they do, maybe they should review their belief.

“Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful penalty” (Quran 3:105)

The signs are clear – divided we fall, united we stand.

My Quranic Understanding: FACING LIFE'S CHALLENGES

(Image taken from here with thanks)

As we journey through this transient life, there certainly are moments when we are challenged by circumstances, and what seems as hindrances. We feel weak and helpless at times against what we see as problems laid in our path. We go through internal conflicts and prayers of hope. We wish the problematic situation would just dissipate into thin air, go away.

I have always believed that nothing happens in our life in vain. However trivial it may seem to us at the time, there is a purpose for the event. However painful the experience, it is either functional towards our self or preparatory for our continual journey.

Sometimes, the burden of life may seem unbearable and insurmountable. This is not true. The Creator who created us knows the endurance, stamina and capacity of us of each. He does not place on us any burden that we are unable to bear. Each of us can overcome and face the respective challenges in our life. The Creator has promised that. I have always believed in it. 

“On no soul does Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) "Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which you did lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith." (Quran 2.286)

We must have faith that we have been sufficiently equipped to undertake this journey in life. WE must not be influenced by the others who lack faith and tell us that we are incapable. We must recognize our strengths and use them to overcome our weakness.

“Allah desires that he should make light your burdens, for man was created weak (in flesh)” (Quran 4.028)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Quranic Understanding: FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY

“Remember Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them, and said: "No one among men can overcome you this day, while I am near to you": But when the two forces came in sight of each other, he turned on his heels, and said: "Lo! I am clear of you; lo! I see what ye see not; Lo! I fear God: for God is strict in punishment." (Quran 8.48)

It is so often that money, power, family, influence and such leads us into a state of false sense of security. When, whatever we touch seems to turn into gold, we get into a mindset that we are almost immortal. Nothing can ever go wrong, we are duped into thinking. We have it set.

This false sense of security if unchecked may lead to a more dangerous situation of “silent arrogance”. “Silent arrogance” is where, without us being aware, we behave arrogantly towards life. We betray our own promises to ourselves to do the right thing.

We forget what it was to be lacking. We allow the sin of pride to slowly consume us or even worse, we develop a self-righteous personality that becomes detrimental to others’ well being.

We foolishly allow ourselves to deny the reality that whatever is with us must one day be gone. Due to this foolishness or “self cruelty”, we become overcome by the illusion of life.

When the hammer falls, we are usually left alone to ponder, where did we go wrong, why did we do what we did? We are left alone in the lurch because the evil whisperer had fled.

“When distress seizes you at sea, those that you call upon - besides Himself - leave you in the lurch! but when He brings you back safe to land, you turn away (from Him). Most ungrateful is man!” (Quran 17:67)

“Do you then feel secure that He will not cause you to be swallowed up beneath the earth when you are on land, or that He will not send against you a violent tornado (with showers of stones) so that you shall find no one to carry out your affairs for you?” (Quran 17:68)

who would ever imagine the sea and the waves coming onto the land in the form of a tsunami and snatching away lives from otherwise "safe places"? Who would ever imagine houses and building collapsing?

Something to ponder.

Peace !


Monday, March 9, 2009


The whole of last night I could not sleep thinking of Buddha. In fact until now, I have yet to sleep. What kept me awake was the excruciating pain that my tooth was giving me. It was terrible and you just do not know what to do. Toothaches affects both your ears and your head. All dentists are closed and today being a holiday too.

While sitting on my bed, "enjoying" the pain, my mind keeps floating back to Buddha and his questions on pain and suffering. He had asked why is there pain and suffering in life. I am asking the same question now but rhetorically. In one sense, the pain became "bearable" only because I was not sure whether there may be any more painful experiences that I may have to experience in the future. But at this point in time, the pain felt unbearable.

Between the wait for daylight to come and the hope of my dentist friend accommodating me on a holiday, there my mind floated among philosophical questions.

The ying and yang of life. The pain is physically unbearable but I told my mind that that is the yang of life before the ying (joy) comes later .

I always remind a seven year old friend that life is about balance. Ying and yang.

While I wished the toothache would just dissipate and promised to all that is good once it is over (so typically human!), I also could not avoid the thought that it just reminded me again about how dispensable I am in life. One toothache and all my plans go haywire. Human proposes and God disposes becomes so real.

When you have a severe toothache, all you can think about is for the pain to go away. Lofty ideals and the business of life seems suddenly so trivial.

Suddenly all else seems unimportant. You realise that you may have taken life too seriously. Imagine all these thought just due to one toothache. What if I had experienced worse things????

Thank God, 8 am finally arrived and I called up my dentist friend of Maha Dental Surgery, Taman Tun Dr Ismail. He kindly opened his clinic and treated me - being doctor and nurse at one go! Bless him for relieving my pain and working on a holiday. As always, he was kind and as gentle as possible. Do you realize it is difficult to find dental clinics open on public holidays?

The "aftermath" of pain is always the most joyful. I only wish my memory could record it accurately forever as a constant reminder of the things to be grateful for...and not to take life too seriously.