Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Facing the enemy's deceits

Enemies are real. They don't only show up in fictional cartoons, movies, or books. They are real, even though sometimes we don't know who or where they are. It can be the most unexpected person. It can even be your co-worker trying to make his/her way to the top (and thinks that you are an obstacle).

Well, I believe that no matter how good a person we are, we are bound to make enemies in some point of our lives. The Qur'an also informs us that even the prophets of monotheism had their enemies. Yusuf (Joseph) a.s. had to face his jealous brothers and the deceits of his master's wife (when he was a slave), Moses a.s. had to face the not mighty pharaoh, Isa (Jesus) a.s. had to face the Jewish rulers and priests, and Muhammad s.a.w. had to face the Quraish leaders (and even now after his death he still has to face many forms of enemies).

One of the assault weapons that people use nowadays are lies and deceits. The war happens in the media. The art on how to create and direct opinions of the public. The prophet Muhammad (and Islam literally) has recently been battered by several media games (the cartoons by jylland-posten in the name of free speech, the "fitna" movie by Geert Wilders, and other forms of mockery), which was responded inelegantly by most of the Islamic community by doing disrespectful actions (by burning flags, vandalism, etc).

I know everyone is upset and angry, but how should we respond?

According to surah Al An'aam (112), insults, mockery, lies towards Islam is by Allah's will.

Here's the 'aayah:
وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نِبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا شَيَاطِينَ الإِنسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِي بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُورًا وَلَوْ شَاء رَبُّكَ مَا فَعَلُوهُ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُونَ

The approximate meaning is:
And thus it is that against every prophet We have set up as enemies the evil forces from among humans as well as from among invisible beings that whisper unto one another glittering half-truths meant to delude the mind. But they could not do this unless thy Sustainer had so willed: stand, therefore, aloof from them and from all their false imagery!

He, The Almighty has promised it in the Qur'an, and has also given us instruction on what to do. The best respond is to not make it a big deal. We should counter it by straightening the misunderstanding, say that it's wrong, and just move on and continue being good muslims. If we get eaten up with the issue and overreact, we have successfully fallen into their trap...

May we all be given the power to stay poised and patient in facing all our enemies...

Keywords: Muhammad Mohammed Mohamed Cartoon Danish Newspaper Quran Terrorism Islam al an'aam al anaam 112

Monday, May 05, 2008

Our insignificant knowledge

Human beings are curious creatures. We try our best to understand what we don't understand, and do a pretty good job in doing so. We've came a long way since the beginning of history. From only knowing how to use modified rocks, to being able to understand and utilize complex matters such as chemical compounds, microbes, genes, and nano-materials. Without doubt, science plays a very strong part in our current way of life. As through it we are able to enjoy the luxury of the things we currently enjoy, such as electricity, internet, soap, and gazillions of others that are too much to mention.

Humans were destined to be great. We are the only creatures that can build and use our knowledge for our benefits. It gives us the potency to be most noble among all of God's creatures. There are thousands of scientific papers and articles that report new findings at a daily basis (which also shows that there is still much to learn). However, our overwhelming knowledge can be too much to handle sometimes. As it can often make us over confident and even worse, arrogant. It makes us think that we can control and solve EVERYTHING. Acting as god... We tend to be ignorant that all the knowledge that humanity has gained, is actually insignificant to what is NOT known... Like a drop of water in the big blue ocean.

One of the ultimate questions that is yet to be solved by science is the mystery of life and death. Nobody can predict when someone is going to die, how the process is, and so on. And nobody can predict the exact time a baby will be born. The matter is beyond our knowledge and science, and I believe that it is a secret that only God knows. Besides life and death, there are many questions that humanity is still baffled about. The entity of time, the magnitude of the universe, the work of the brain, are just several among the unsolved questions we have.

Furthermore, our knowledge is also prone to mistakes. An article in newscientist published in 2005 describes that most reports in scientific papers are wrong. Claiming that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true (it probably also applies for the article itself). Which is astonishing, as the scientific community and the papers they publish represent the front liners of scientific development, and science itself.

The wrap up is that our science and knowledge is limited, insignificant, and prone to mistakes. So we should stop being arrogant, and accept that we have our limits (but it doesn't mean we can stop learning! Just stop being arrogant). So how insignificant is our knowledge anyway? I believe that it is so insignificant that there will always be something new to discover until the end of time.

May we all be given the heart to stay down to earth no matter how much we know...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thinking about the choices we make

Whether we realize it or not, we are faced with options everyday.

We choose whether to take the bus or the train, to wake up early or late, to eat in or eat out, etc. The examples above are relatively easy to choices to make.

However, there are also times when we are faced with difficult ones, choices that will alter our way of life, such as when we are faced to choose a career, choose a partner in life (husband or wife), choose to have children or not, choose to do good or bad, choose a religion, etc. Even though we have made extensive research, there is still a large possibility that we become unsatisfied with the choices we make, and think that we've taken the wrong options.

So how do we know that we've made the right choices or not? Well, at the time we take the choice, we don't know for sure. All we can do is have confidence (hey, we've done our research right?), take the consequences and what is equally important, is to pray that our choices are correct and that whatever happens is for the best.

The maze of choices in life

Our life is like a maze with many right paths. Each choice we make contributes towards where we end up. But we have to beware that there are also dead ends. So pay attention to the clues and signs that might randomly show up. As in a maze, we can sometimes get lost in this world with all its offerings and glitters, which we should be aware of. For Muslims, we are lucky to be obliged to pray and be reminded for at least 17 times every day in our prayers to stay in the right path, "shiraathal ladziina an'amta 'alaihim", at least to protect our awareness.

May we all be guided on the path of righteousness, and be blessed with whatever choices we make in life.