Muslims, here is an offer I don’t think you can really refuse.

Many of the best among you spend their time rolling your beads and chanting Astaghfirullah, …, and other similar things. Every one of them more wonderful than the other.

Then, at the end of the day, you go home, thinking you have done your “Good Deed” for the day, even as Allah’s world burns and crashes around you.

Even as the hungry go unfed; the naked go without clothes; and the weak and the meek are set upon and pounded to dust by all kinds of bullies and thugs right in front of your eyes.

Some of you might even call what you do – I mean your chanting of Subhanallah and Alhamdulillah – ‘Amal Saalih.

And I am not saying it is not.

And some of you might even spend the rest of the day, and even part of the night, counting all the blessings you might have raked up doing those chants.

And keeping track of all the Houses in Paradise that you might have won as a result.

All those Gardens.

And all that Real Estate.

Now, here is my offer to you, Muslims:

I have heard there is some choice Real Estate for sale in Paris, Rome, New York, Amsterdam, … and some other very nice places.

I know these places and I love them. Take it from me, they are beautiful.

I suggest you go down to those places – to Paris, Rome, New York, Amsterdam – and meet the property owners, and do some very nice chants singing the praises of the owners of those properties.

And see how many deals you can clinch that way.

How many real nice properties you can walk away with.

No, I am not being nice or nasty. All I am trying to do is make you an offer you cannot possibly refuse.

Actually, I am also thinking about this most glorious Aayah of the Qur’an – and all Aayaat of the Qur’an are most glorious indeed, one more than the other – that raises some profound questions about the approach that many of us have to Islam – and to life in general.

I think it is from Surah At-Tawbah, Surah 9 of the Qur’an, and I think this is how that Aayat Karimah goes:

A-Ja’altum Siqaayatal Haaj-ji waImaaratal Masjidil Haraami Kaman Aamana Bil-laahi wal Yawmil Aakhiri wa Jaahada fi Sabilil-laah?

Laa Yastawuun!

Just let me know.

I mean when you come back from your successful trip to Rome, Paris, New York and Amsterdam, with all the Plum Real Estate Deals you can get for doing nothing but chanting the praises of the owners of those properties, drop me a line and let me know.

So, I can spend the rest of my earthly life chanting your praises: chanting how great – and how smart – you are.

Do you think that is part of why Allah said in the Qur’an that Islam is really for smart people?

END

With regard to anything, just because you don’t see it does not mean it is not there.

For, as all educated people know — or they should know — that with regard to anything: “Absence of Evidence” is by no means “Evidence of Absence” with regard to that thing.

I am suggesting we use the same universally accepted scientific principle — that same self-evident logic — with regard to the existence of God.

In other words, what I am saying is: Give God a Break!

Just because you do not see him does not mean he is not there.

But when it comes to God, the evidence available to human beings is not just plentiful, it is overwhelming.

What most humans do not have in their hands is the Smoking Gun, as it were — the critical, clinching proof.

That God keeps in his hand.

For, just think about it. If he gave that away, the game will be over, don’t you think?

END

Human beings have much to be modest about.

Their life on earth is only a matter of decades — for the best placed among them.

And the most robust among them in health could be laid low by an organism they cannot even see. 

And those who think are the most powerful and indomitable among them are in a holding pattern for death, which no one knows when it will strike, how and where.

Not one of them has ever beaten the odds of death, decay and turning to dust. 

And human knowledge is so pitiful that it barely goes beyond a few random facts of dubious validity tagged on to some ill-formed guesses and hypotheses. 

Against such a backdrop, the thought that an All-Powerful and All-Knowing God exists is tantalizing. 

And the belief — for a belief is all it is — that he is also a Loving, Caring God is overwhelming. 

END

Human life is a mixture of joy and sorrow.

All human beings laugh and cry at one time or another. Some do more of one, while some others do more of the other.

And we all cry and laugh for a lot of different reasons.

I do my share of both. But what I cry most for is humanity.

That is right. I cry over the condition in which I find human beings.

Not in any one particular place, but all over the world. With some variations, the story of humanity everywhere is pretty much the same: ignorance; poverty; wretchedness; injustice; cruelty; slavery; greed!

How can someone love humanity and not shed tears at what one sees.

END

For all too many people, how easy it is to talk Islam. 

That is partly because Islam is so beautiful, so wonderful, so easy, so logical, so systematic, and so great.

Islam is so perfect in every way, and so clear in everything it says, that it is easy to talk about it. 

And it is the most natural thing to do: to talk about Islam and do so in the most glowing of terms.

That is because Islam is from God. And, being from God, it cannot be anything but perfect.

But all too often, how hard it is for the same people to do Islam. To practice Islam.

To live Islam the way it ought to be lived. The way Islam deserves to be lived.

That is because we humans, who all the time hanker or pretend to live or do Islam, are beset by so many imperfections. And by so many impurities in our mortal, sinful hearts and minds.

We are prey to flawed motives and questionable intentions. And we are creatures of imperfect characters and deformed personalities.

We are, all too many of us, not the gold that Hadith talks about. But base metal — all too many of us. And we bring our impurities and imperfections into Islam.

And because our egos — our Nafs — are all too often so bloated. So oversize. So untamed.

Where, then, is the surprise if we say one thing and do something else? At times just the opposite of what we say?

The great Tamil sage, Tiruvalluvar, said, about 2000 years ago how the bad influence of those given to disparity between words and deeds would haunt you not only in your waking life, but also in your dreams.

And Allah warned the Believers in the Qur’an in even more stark terms: 

“Believers! 

Why do you say things that you do not do? 

Don’t you know what a great sin it is, in the eyes of God, that you should be saying things that you do not practice? 

END

Part of the challenge of living life on earth is to be able to figure out where something begins and where it ends.

That is why science and its methodology are such pitifully inadequate and pathetically artificial and limited human constructs.

Even though they are the best and the most useful and practical tools God has placed in our hands to be able to live our lives on earth successfully.

Maybe that is why every time I write something, I feel that it is my last. And this is the end.

But then, before I know it, something else comes along. And Allah gives me something better.

And life jumpstarts all over again!

The difference is between Bismillah, which is the beginning, and Alhamdulillah, which is the end.

END

When I use the expression “Ultimately” in relation to God Almighty, every time I use it, here is what I mean by it – and I mean it in all its micro and macro connotations; and in all its conceivable dimensions.

So here is what I mean:

(a) In the beginning.

For, God is the beginning of all things.

Huwal Awwal!

(b) In the end.

For, God is the end of all things.

Wal Aakhir!

(c)  And in the middle – and at all other stages of that thing, whatever it is that I am referring to.

(d) And with regard to everything that meets the eye.

For, that is who God is.

Waz-Zwaahir!

(e) As well as with regard to everything that is hidden from the eye.

Wal-Baatin!

No, I did not make any of this up. It is all directly from the Qur’an.

Here is the Qur’an in its own immortal words:

Huwal Awwalu Wal Aakhiru Waz Zwaahiru Wal Baatin!

Paraphrase:

“He is the first and the last and the manifest and the hidden.”

Every time I read this Aayat Kareemah – this most noble and glorious passage of the Qur’an – it sends my head spinning and my whole body tingling.

Sometimes I feel if I had been given in all my life nothing but this one most glorious Aayat – not a thing but these eight words I posted above – my life would have been the richest and the most complete and the most fulfilled.

And I would not have dared to ask for anything else!

END