In the name of God, the Almighty, the Beneficent, the most Merciful

 

 

The Matrix, Islam & Life - a short discourse..

 

I have no choice but to start writing this.

I have never written anything before, so this may not be well written.

Nevertheless it needs to be written and conveyed.

Being passive is the same, if not worse than doing bad.

 

This book is dedicated to all the Muslim youth living in this modern era.

They find themselves at crossroads. On the one hand they are surrounded by science, technology and ‘cool stuff’ that seemingly lead towards materialism and atheism, agnosticism at best. On the other hand, they have grown up as kids listening to the traditional stuff, which is probably more ritualistic than spiritualistic and seems to be at loggerheads with the modern world.

What path should they take, going forward?

Which is the right path?

I see the world confused.

People seem to think God and  Science are a dichotomy, a bifurcation - that it’s Science vs God. This is a mental folly.

How silly is this comparison. You cannot compare God and science.

Science is to know - knowledge.

Knowledge of “everything perceived - both concrete and abstract”.

God is the Creator and Sustainer of creation - everything created both within and beyond perception, including our own consciousness that has the capacity to perceive.

Technology like the internet, google, rockets, iphones and drones are just applied science.

Thank God for science !!

 

I think people shy away from God, because they shy away from religion.

They shy away from religion because I agree; it has brought more misery than happiness. People have exploited and committed atrocities in the name of religion throughout history all around the world.

I almost died in religious clashes in India.

I had taken my Hindu friends to see the famous Brindavan gardens in Mysore and religious riots had just begun to cool down. I was advised not to go, that, things were not that settled yet. But my friends were visiting, so I took them.

It’s a long story, but the summary is that my Hindu friends were spared and a group of us four Muslim boys were beaten up brutally by a Hindu mob of about a 100 people. I almost died that day.

Anyway, that did not lead me to start hating the Hindus. In fact, I married a Hindu.

There are good and bad apples in every society.

And that’s just that.

 

But that dear reader, I point, is a problem with organized religion.

Not God.

So if you despise religion. Throw it away.

But don’t throw away the baby with the bathwater.

Don’t discard God.

BTW, the word religion is made of two words - re - meaning again - and liga - meaning connect. It means to re connect. To who? To God!

 

The scientific era with its superficial scratching at attempts to unravel the truth has led (misled) people into discarding God.

That is the reason for suffering.

The reason for suffering is that people are no longer God conscious (in Arabic, Taqwa).

 

There is a God.

Your God. My God. Our God. One God.

What proof do we have?

I‘ll share some with you.

The big bang theory. You have swallowed the pill in the name of science. But not in the name of God.

Let me explain. Everything that you see, yourself, this book, your family members, your ancestors, the TV, this earth, the furniture around you – the entire Universe, is now assumed to have started with the ‘big bang’.

From what?

From nothing pretty much (I say pretty much, because the whole universe was supposed to be smaller than an atom – called the singularity).

What?!? (And then again – what was the singularity surrounded by? What was it contained within? )

And you swallowed this pill? Just because some scientists said so.

That everything around you, including yourself came from NOTHING.

And yet when we say God created everything from nothing, we have trouble accepting that.

 

And then when we consider the ‘big bang’ and the Universe coming into existence, have you thought about where all this matter and energy came from? – to keep consistent with the first law of thermodynamics.

 

The creation of the Universe from nothing points to the existence of God.

God – the Originator - The uncaused cause of all causes.

That is the first miracle of God.

We need to stop denying God.

 

A few words on the word Universe. The other day I was reading the Quran as I generally do (Mohammed Asad’s translation) after my dawn prayers.

I noticed that the Quran uses the word ‘AYAT’ for signs of God or miracles. The word AYAT is also used in the Quran for the verses of the Quran. So it seems it is a clever play on words to use them for both ‘miracle’ and ‘verse’.

Then I saw my kid’s book lying on the table in front of me on ‘The Universe’.

I read the word Universe again. It means Uni (ONE) and Verse (AYAT – miracle).

Universe = One Miracle?

I thought that was interesting.

 

 

Another miracle? How about everything? Consider everything.

Everything and anything is made of matter (or antimatter).

Matter is made of atoms.

Atoms are made of electrons and the nucleus.

Electrons are sometimes particles and sometimes waves. Now how is that for weird!

The famous double-slit experiment has shown that depending on “your observation” the electron will either behave as a particle or a wave of energy.

Don’t take my word for it, read a nice book on Quantum physics.

Read it up on the internet – Google it.

Not convinced? Just watch this short video clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc

 

Now consider the nucleus that is made of protons and neutrons.

These two particles are considered made of quarks.

Going further inside quarks we have to rely on the latest and greatest String theory.

String theory says that these quarks are made of vibrating strings of energy.

So now, we have just said that the nucleus is nothing but a wave of energy.

So is the electron (at least when it is not being observed).

Therefore the atom itself is nothing but energy, some wave of sorts.

There is nothing solid then.

That is to say, that everything is made of nothing.

The chair that you are sitting on is made of nothing – yet it is solid to the touch and you don’t fall right through it. Your body is also made of atoms – it's nothing but energy and waves and yet it FEELS solid – just feel those muscles and bone.

And yet it appears only so to the observing mind.

 

How about another wonderful miracle?

Try this exercise.

Try writing a little story that is a page long, any story.

But you have to make sure that every letter in it is a multiple of 7.

e.g. in the above line, the letter ‘e’ appears 8 times – had it appeared 7 times – that would have made it a multiple of 7 i.e. 1 x 7

If ‘e’ had appeared exactly 14 times then again it is a multiple of 7 = 2 x 7

Can you write a story one page long wherein every letter is a multiple of 7?

I’d ask you. No, not ask. But challenge you dear reader to try it. Dare you. Double dare you.

To say the least, it would be a hard task.

Now wouldn’t it be something to write an entire book like that, let alone just one page.

What if the book has a few hundred pages?

That would be something really.

Now what if I told you such a book exists.

And better yet, it doesn’t do it in multiples of 7, but with something even more difficult – multiples of 19. Yes, multiples of 19!

This book has not only stories (parables) in it but also provides spiritual guidance.

Not only that, it is also in the form of beautiful poetry.

And it was written 1400 years ago in the middle of a desert. And there was not much writing, let alone printing at that time, definitely no printed books.

This book is the Quran.

This is a living miracle, verifiable by the very language of science, math!

For detailed information visit these websites 

 

http://submission.org/App1.html

http://www.masjidtucson.org/quran/miracle/simplefacts.html

 

Want another example of God’s miracles?

Have you ever thought about the floor you are standing on, so stable. And yet you are on a ball that is spinning. This floor that you are standing on is spinning at about 1000 miles per hour – faster than a jet plane.

Have you ever thought about what keeps this ‘big ball’ spinning?

What started it spinning?

Don’t just give into and hide behind scientific sounding terms – like gravity or conservation of angular momentum. But think for yourself.

Just think!

 

After pondering that, think about the fact that the solar system and our Galaxy itself is spinning even faster than 1000 miles per hour. The Milky Way is moving at about 1332000 (1.3 Million) miles per hour! (Did you realize you are moving at 1.3 million mph!!!??!!). If a plane travelled at that speed we could travel from the USA to Japan or China in less than a minute! And you don’t feel the ground move an inch under your feet!

 

And yet these spinning, moving celestial objects – the billions and billions of them are in perfect harmony! They are not in chaos crashing into each other randomly!

 

These, my dear reader are all miracles – proofs of God!

 

There are miracles everywhere and in everything – just ponder!

No wonder the Quran says “it is a book for men of understanding” or “people who think”.

 

Now these are a few examples I have discussed with you. Look around, look at the complex human body – miracles abound!

 

Evolution scientists say that ‘somehow’ chemicals ( which in turn came from the nothingness of the big bang ) came together to form protein molecules and somehow that came together to form DNA - by sheer chance?

If I told you the Sears tower was formed ‘somehow’. That somehow the iron became steel and somehow silica turned into glass and the Sears tower somehow came into being with all the steel and glass ‘somehow’ coming together – you would think I am crazy.

And yet! The human body is so complex. DNA is itself a complex entity and yet we nod our heads in agreement when we hear that it ‘somehow’ came together and that it somehow created the complex human body. Just read up on how complex the eye is or any other part of the human body.

 

Here’s another thing that I find so incredulous - The ‘theory of evolution’.

 

You have read Darwin’s theory of evolution and have swallowed that pill too, eagerly at that. Why? Because it was given to you in school textbooks, endorsed by scientists.

Instead of readily gulping down the ‘evolution pill’ have you ever put a thought into it? Here’s a glaring example of its flaws.

Struggle for existence amongst the species is like a race. And this is what caused us humans to evolve to the top. We are the Olympic gold medal winners in the evolution race.

This is kind of like in your class in school there are top performers and there are bottom dwellers. There are students with ‘A’ grades and students with F grades with most falling in between the two.

We as humans are the A grade winners in the evolution race amongst the million other species. We have invented the space shuttle and the microprocessor. We have invented antibiotics and the nuclear bomb. We have invented calculus and printing. We have invented the internet and clothing. We have invented cars and printing and languages. We definitely have done well to deserve the A grade in the evolution race.

 

But…

 

I ask, and so should you, where are the B graders in the evolution race, where are the C graders? Look around you. Do you see any species that deserve the B grade? It seems like every other species deserves only a pathetic F grade – at best!

Can you show me a species that has invented the steam engine? Or an IC engine?

How about clothes? All animals still go shamelessly naked!

Can you compare the invention of clothes to things like the internet and satellite TV and the space shuttle? No comparison.

Can you show me a species that has invented language, printed knowledge - books?

How about a very simple invention like cooking their food?

Think about it. There are no second place holders in this evolution race.

 

Don’t swallow the evolution pill. Instead, think for yourself.

Think! For God’s sake! For your sake!

 

In an open race you would expect the second place and third place holders.

The second place holders would have most of the achievements of the first place holders but not all. The third place holders would have most of the achievements of the second place holder but not all and so on.

But this is not so.

In this evolutionary race there is the top placeholder, us humans, and every other species is at the bottom.

No species in between????

And to top it all – think about this - reptiles have been around longer than us.

Yet the lizard and the snake still crawl around naked.

 

If we ask ourselves the question what made the difference? How are human beings so advanced? It can be attributed to our thinking, our building on collective thought - the accumulation of knowledge (recorded knowledge, attributable to writing and printing) over the ages and across cultures. If knowledge was not recorded we would not be able to ‘Stand on the shoulders of other Giants’ and build on it further. Without writing we wouldn’t have been able to learn from one another and build further.

Recorded knowledge let to the accumulation and further building of knowledge.

 

Read the first revealed verse of the Quran. Remember, this happened over 1400 years ago in the middle of a desert amongst ‘barbaric’ illiterates.

 

·  96:1 READ  in the name of thy Sustainer, who has-


·  96:2 created man out of a germ-cell


·  96:3 Read - for thy Sustainer is the Most Bountiful One


·  96:4 who has taught [man] the use of the pen –


·  96:5 taught man what he did not know!


·  96:6 Nay, verily, man becomes grossly overweening


·  96:7 whenever he believes himself to be self-sufficient:


·  96:8 for, behold, unto thy Sustainer all must return.


·  96:9 HAST THOU ever considered him who tries to prevent


·  96:10 a devotee [of God] from praying?


·  96:11  Hast thou considered whether he is on the right way,


·  96:12  or is concerned with God-consciousness?


·  96:13 Hast thou considered whether he may [not] be giving the lie to the truth and turning his back [upon it]?


·  96:14 Does he, then, not know that God sees [all]?

 

If you ponder all this and ponder deep with sincerity, you have no choice but to acknowledge the Creator.

 

 

On one of my flights to California, I was thinking about the plane I was flying on. We take it for granted that this metal object that weighs over a ton can fly. I was marveling at the genius of man who has achieved so much compared to his fellow species. It is really an amazing achievement. But let that not make us so arrogant as to make our necks stiff. Stiff to the point that they will not bow down to the Creator who gave human beings the capability to accumulate knowledge and use it to their benefit.

In the 2nd chapter of the Quran the human (Adam) is shown as superior to the angels – due to this capability – the God given knowledge.

 

2:31 “And He imparted unto Adam the names of all things”.

 

Also, in the 2nd chapter of the Quran, where Satan is talked about for the first time, the Quran says he was arrogant. So let’s not be like Satan. Let’s not be arrogant.

Instead, let science, deep science lead us to acknowledge the greatness of the Creator.

 

Scientists are human and just like everyone else, prone to mistakes.

This is beautifully illustrated in Stephen Hawkings’ book ‘On the shoulders of giants’.

Throughout history, mankind has thought they knew everything there is to know or at least that their current theory is the truth. As an e.g., for a thousand years the Aristotle view of a geocentric universe was universally and undisputedly accepted as the truth. And for a thousand years it's not like life did not move on. It did. Think about that for a minute. For a thousand years the scientists of those times thought they had figured out everything and the apparent truth at that time was that the earth was the center of the universe. Today if I tell that to a 5th grader he or she would laugh at me like I was crazy. But for a thousand years this was the accepted truth – by the leading scientists of those times. Until Copernicus came by.

And then Galileo came by and things changed drastically.

Then Newton came by and that was our explanation of how the Universe worked.

And then Einstein shook up Newton’s world about 90 years ago and said ‘crazy’ things like time is relative and so is matter or space.

This ‘crazy stuff’ is now the accepted truth. For now. At least till the next great scientist peels the next layer.

 

The point, my dear reader, I am trying to make is that we humans with our intellect will continue to peel the onion of this ‘created’ world and every time we  think we have figured it all out, the next person to stand on our shoulders will peel the onion further, ad infinitum.

 

Bottom line is, each time we peel the onion further and see onto the horizon further, let that achievement not make us arrogant. On the other hand let it bring to us humility with the realization that there is a lot more to peel – probably infinitely.

Let it not then make us ‘deny the truth’ that this is all created by the Creator.

The word KAFAR in Arabic, usually used for disbeliever, means someone who “denies the truth” and also has the connotation of someone who is ungrateful ( to The Creator ).

 

67:4 Yea, turn thy vision [upon it] again and yet again: [and every time] thy vision will fall back upon thee, dazzled and truly defeated….

 

I believe this is the age of heightened materialism and arrogance.

It has become fashionable to deny God. To deny the ONE that has created.

There is no belief in the hereafter, there is no remorse to one’s actions.

Hardly anyone believes that they will be held accountable for their actions after death. And this is the root cause of misery in this world.

This materialistic world is seen as the only reality and increasing material comfort/wealth is seen as  the only logical goal to pursue.

 

 But reality is far from that.

This world is MAYA (a Sanskrit word, that means illusion of this world – an ancient Hindu term), an illusion.

I’ve already mentioned how deep physics will show you that EVERYTHING is made of nothing solid – it is all vibrations of energy.

Combine this with the double slit experiment which also shows how the electrons behave – as a particle or wave – depends on the observer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc

They behave like particles when there is a conscious mind observing them.

When not being observed, they are just waves of energy!

Think about that.

Read about that.

And think deep on that some more.

 

Further, reflect on consciousness.

How does consciousness arise from dead atoms ?

How does the the observer/consciousness make the wave function collapse ?

Human beings are the most conscious of all animals – if not the only true conscious living things. It seems to then follow that consciousness has been provided for the perception of this world. ( BTW, Erwin Schrodinger reflected on who the Original Observer was that caused the initial reality, the collapse of the wave function and started the time arrow ).

God has created this MAYA/illusion for the human being ( the conscious mind / soul ). This beautiful illusion has been created to test us. It is a place for the advancement of our soul.

 

As the prophet said ‘We are all asleep when alive and will wake up when we die”.

 

This statement of the prophet reminds me of the scene from the movie ‘The Matrix’ when Neo is unplugged by Morpheus. He then realizes that his world that he took for granted as ‘Real’ was actually an illusion created by the computers to keep the humans in a lull. If you haven’t seen The Matrix, I’d highly recommend you watch it. The action in the movie can very easily distract you from the main theme.

Pay attention to the underlying story – you’ll then understand MAYA better.

Especially the particular scene when Neo is unplugged from the matrix (MAYA).

They should have called the movie MAYA – not matrix.

 One big reason for misery and chaos in this world is that the created being (us humans) undergoing this test, takes his lab (MAYA) too seriously. To the extent, that he or she thinks this is reality. That this material world, made of nothing but vibrations of energy is the ultimate reality – since that’s all his senses can perceive.

Combined with excessive greed, the human then becomes a slave to pursuing this MAYA, obsessively with a total disregard to the Creator of this MAYA.

Disregard to the extent that he thinks he will not be held accountable for any of his actions!

 

Another fundamental issue of providing proof of God is this aspect. That to prove anything we first need to define it. So what does GOD mean ? What does the word GOD mean ?

It will mean various things to various people - from an Elephant ( Ganesh ) to a human/saint/prophet like Jesus Christ to Wakan Tanka ‘The Great Spirit’ to Allah to Jehovah etc. etc.

But we can all agree on one thing - that GOD is The Creator.

If we agree on that common definition - then the proof is obvious.

The creation is proof of The Creator !!

Simple !

Creation includes everything, you, me the saints, iphones, the planets,  the Universe etc.

There is a world within ( your mind/consciousness ) and a world without ( outside/”not you”). That is creation - not The Creator.

BTW, the definition of a word is created by humans, therefore an opinion. This includes the man-made definition of the word GOD. Therefore it's just another “human opinion”.

Herein lies the significance of revelation ( not human opinion ) - because revelation provides the definition of God from God i.e. The Absolute defining itself. Chapter 112 of The Quran is God defining itself.

It's a short chapter  - http://www.openburhan.net/ob.php?sid=112&vid=1

 

Now if all this still hasn’t convinced you of the Creator, consider another branch of science – math, probability to be specific.

Imagine an atheist and a believer arguing; there is a 50% chance that one of them is right. God exists OR doesn’t.

Now they will both die one day.

If there is no God – no problem then – they are either ashes or dust.

But on the other hand if the other 50% is true - there is God – the believer is in better shape than the denier.

Whose shoes would you rather be in given the 50% chance??

If you knew an airline has a past record of 50% crashes, would you EVER fly it?

I don’t think so.

  

Finally, I leave you with the following verse.

 

6:35 And if it distress thee that those who deny the truth turn their backs on thee - why, then, if thou art able to go down deep into the earth or to ascend a ladder unto heaven in order to bring them a [yet more convincing] message, [do so;] but [remember that] had God so willed, He would indeed have gathered them all unto [His] guidance. Do not, therefore, allow thyself to ignore [God's ways]

 

Therefore, let’s not be hasty in throwing the baby away with the bathwater.

 

 

The theory of relativity, morals and the  

We are swimming ( or rather drowning ) in the world of the relative.

Relativity not just applies to perception of this world, but also our morals.

Where do you get your morals from ??

What makes something right vs wrong ?

To me, eating chicken may be morally ok. To a jain it is evil. To a muslim, pork is wrong. To the sikhs, tobacco is. So on and so on.

The same applies to sex or war.

When is war ok ? Is war ok at all ?

Should you always show the other cheek ?

Are you getting your morals from your forefathers ? your inherited culture ?

Is there any absolute at all ? Or is it all relative ?

If it’s all relative, then everything is ok - since there is no right or wrong, including incest and genocide ( as the saying goes...you kill one man, you are called a murderer, you kill a thousand, you are called a conqueror - especially if you remain the conqueror that writes history ).

Search your soul. Where do you get your sense of right or wrong from ?

And if you don’t know, how the hell are you living your life ?

You don’t have a compass !!

How will you nurture and advise your children ?

How do you lead a country ?

On what basis ?

Besides morals, think about perception of reality, which is beautifully illustrated with the allegory of the blind men and the  elephant.

One blindman holds the tusk and says, that in truth “the elephant is like a spear”. Another, holds the tail and says “ the elephant is like a rope”, etc.

Each blind man thinks, he has the truth.

Now, a “seeing” person walks up and feels pity for the blind men - ‘cause he knows they are all wrong about the elephant. And all because, the seeing person has just one extra sensor than the blind men - the eye. That is the reason why we need to understand basic concepts in philosophy - like Plato’s cave.

Think about it - just 1 extra sensor, changes the perception of reality.

The human is limited by the 5 sensors ( or whatever others he has invented like infrared, which in turn are sensed by the 5 ).

All “seeing” humans then agree that the elephant is not a rope or a spear, but a big pachyderm, while pitying the blind men.

But...wait...what if another entity walks in, that has a new extra sensor. What then happens to this elephant ? Then another species of extraterrestrials walks in that has one more sensor and so on…

What then is this elephant thingy ? It seems to keep changing with the sensors.

What is reality ?

Who knows ? Maybe the elephant knows ? It should seem that, instead of asking observers, we should ask the elephant what it is. Right ?

Wrong !!

Do you know what you are ??

And you are more conscious and communicative than the elephant.

So, if the elephant itself does not know itself, who knows it ?

The One that created it !!

For e.g. I can make a cup ( or a cup of tea ). Since I made it, I know what it is or rather the purpose for what I made it. Albeit, you could use that cup of tea as a weapon and smash it on my head. But, it still does not make it a weapon, just because you used it as such.

So, one has to put a thought into and come to a conclusion of whether it’s all relative or if there is an Absolute. And live by it.

Like I said earlier, if it’s all relative, then why get appaled by incest. Why would you get upset if someone called you motherfucker ? What makes having sex with your own mother wrong ? Morals are all made up anyway, if you are drowning in the world of the relative.

So what sense does it make?

 

 

If there is a God, why are children born crippled? Why is poverty and hunger there? What about wars, atrocities and genocides? Why do innocent babies die of cancer? Why do people suffer?

I’ve heard some people say, if there is a God, why doesn’t he intervene? Why doesn’t he answer prayers and so on? Why does he allow suffering and injustice?

To explain all this you need to see things from a believer’s perspective.

 

From a believer’s perspective this life is a test, a temporary place for us to grow in the direction of our choosing.

The life after this is the real life that lasts forever – with this world/Maya/matrix being a temporary test ground.

An average human lifespan is about 80 years. Even if it is a 100 years, how does it compare to a life that lasts forever? That’s like dividing 100 by infinity. Therefore, even if you lived a hundred years on this earth, compared to the hereafter it is nothing, almost a zero.

So if you start with that premise, where does the suffering and joy in this world stand?

It is definitely fleeting – relatively speaking.

 

Another thing to keep in mind is we don’t really know what is good or bad for us.

I have heard of stories of so many lottery winners whose lives have taken a turn for the worse after the winning.

There is a story in the Quran in surah Kahf about Moses following a wise old man to learn wisdom.

The wise man kills a baby to which Moses obviously objects.

When Moses asks why he did that, the old man says that the child would have caused a lot of grief and sorrow to people around him as an adult.

 

I am sure if Hitler was born a premature baby who needed tender care, he would have gotten it from those around him. Perhaps this care could have come from a compassionate Jewish doctor or nurse. Hitler would have felt no remorse sending the doctor who saved him to Auschwitz along with the thousands of other Jews.

The Doctor who saved him would have thought he is doing a good thing, without realizing it’s after effects.

 

We really don’t know what is good or bad for us.

The Quran says about this, ‘A thing may be good for you and you may dislike it or a thing may be bad for you and you may like it’.

After almost 50 years of experiencing life, I’ve reached a similar conclusion.

This concept also connects well with what everyone wants.

Ask that question of anyone. What do you want out of life? A majority will answer, they want happiness. Doesn’t it go something like this - Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

 

But how does one obtain happiness? What is this thing called happiness?

Some people have confused happiness with excitement.

This is quite common among children.

They are happy as long as they are excited, especially the ones weaned on video games.

Other people think that material comforts and amassing material wealth is what gives happiness.

Some others think it is love and care of the kids and family – although sadly quite a few times these expectations lead to disappointment.

Yet others think it is maybe leading a balanced life.

Just visit http://www.thetenquestionsoflife.com/browseopinions.aspx?q=3&rs=show

The Quran says that the social relationships a human being has are but a test themselves. You could be tested through your parents or children. You could be tested by being given comforts and again tested by hardship and suffering.

 

I believe true, lasting happiness comes after making peace with God.

The Quran says, be God-conscious so that you may attain to a happy state.

And it further says that ‘salat (regular contact prayer) is enjoined on you so that you may remain God-conscious’.

Salat(regular contact prayer) leads to God consciousness that leads to happiness.

Salat  God-consciousness  Happiness

There is the key to happiness as defined by the Quran.

BTW, the word SALAT means to “come close”. Close to who ? Close to your Sustainer!

That means true happiness comes from establishing close contact with GOD - The Source of Peace.

Why are we here? What is the meaning of life?

That is one question that will never get answered.

The Quran says that God made this world for a reason.

 

Man has been given the tendencies towards both good and evil. He has also been given consciousness and the power to think and choose. Maybe, this is a place for us to choose how we want to develop ourselves – towards good or evil. And we then reap the rewards of what we sow – heaven and hell?

 

Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss) in his notes in the ‘Meaning of the Quran’ puts it this way. Let’s take for e.g. what would happen if you jump off a building or a plane –without a parachute. You’d get hurt. Why? The answer may be something like – Due to Newton’s laws of gravity, everything is attracted to the earth and therefore you fall and get hurt. Herein is a problem. I think it has crept in due to the arrogance in humankind. It is not Newton’s law of gravity. Gravity existed even before Newton was born. It is God’s law of Gravity that Newton discovered. But we never heard it like that in school. But it is due to God’s law of gravity that anything (not just the earth) with mass attracts another thing with mass. And since when we jump off a building we are attracted towards earth and hence we fall down and get hurt.

So, even though we were aware of God’s law of gravity we broke it and got hurt.

God wills that gravity behave that way. You break the law and hence you are hurt.

 

Similarly, there are other laws laid down and you are given a conscious choice.

Depending on how you choose – you could end up suffering (hell) or you are in peace (heaven). And hence the Quran says it is Allah’s (By the way, Allah is not an Arabian god. It is two words AL and ILAH. AL means ‘The’ and ILAH means ‘God’ – therefore ALLAH means ‘The God’) will.

 

Allah just willed the natural laws that way. I think the Hindus and Buddhists may call this the Karma theory.

 

 

The Quran does not make the creation of man clear. I guess that is supposed to remain a mystery after all, for now. There are verses in the 2nd chapter about how man was made from clay ( with God breathing into the clay ). About Satan’s arrogance and about Adam (mankind) disobeying a rather arbitrary command from God -  “dwell as you like in this Garden, but do not approach this tree”.

 

I found it interesting that it is so arbitrary – “this tree”.

 

And then in the 2nd chapter there are verses that say that God said to the angels ‘ I am going to create an inheritor/a vicegerent/ a caliph/ a deputy on earth’.

 

And the angels said ‘Why do you want to create one who causes bloodshed and mischief’.

And God tells the angels ‘I know what you don’t know’.

 

The mystery is not explained.

 

I also find it interesting that all men are referred to as causing bloodshed. All men, not just Hindus, or Muslims, or Christians or Jews. It is in reference to mankind in general.

 

 

One thing I do want to say at the outset is that we will never have ALL the answers.

For God’s sake we will never have ALL the Questions in the first place.

Why?

Because we are limited by our brains, our senses, our perceptions and bounded by space and time. Plato’s cave is an ancient allegory of this.

 

Let’s explore the verse from the 2nd chapter about the tree a little more.

It says “Adam, dwell here in the Garden with your wife and eat freely of it. But do not approach this one tree”.  It does not say what kind of tree. It could have been one of many and chosen arbitrarily. And then Satan tempts man and Adam breaks this ‘arbitrary rule’. God is not upset at Adam after that. He turns towards him in mercy.

 

Now I think, that is what life's all about, are we willing to submit our will to God? - which is an obvious follow through once we realize that God is the true guide - and not our limited senses and thinking.

BTW, the word MUSLIM means someone who has ‘submitted’ or ‘surrendered’ to God.

The opposite follows that, if you haven’t surrendered yourself to God, you are in a state of rebellion to God who is the source of peace and truth.

The Quran also talks about how each “community” has its own rules. God says in the Quran says “If I had so decided, all communities would have been one, but this diversity is part of the test, so race towards righteousness.”

And each community has been given its own arbitrary “tree” that they are not supposed to approach. For Muslims (Mohammedans) it may be not eating pork. For Hindus it may be not eating beef. For Jews it may be something else and so on. So adopt a path towards the worship of The Creator. But do not violate your own laws, whatever they may be.

At the end of the day it boils down to two things – “akhimus salat, waatu zakat” - your relationship with The Creator ( salat ) and your relationship with God’s creation ( zakat ).

 

So, as the Quran says, let's stop arguing with each other as to who is more righteous and instead ‘race towards righteousness’ with our actions.

 

 The Quran is weird ! 

 

The Quran has lots of “weird” or “very strange” things in it. I could write a whole book on that. But let’s take the muqattaat for instance.

The muqattaat are combinations of letters – 2 to 5.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muqatta'at

The most famous combination is ALM. They are Alif Lam Mim – in Arabic.

Several chapters start with them.

E.g. chapter 12 starts with ‘ALR. These are the AYAT of a clear book’.

 

Now I was really baffled.

Why the heck would you have random letters at the beginning of a chapter?

 

The Quran doesn’t explain what they are. The prophet didn’t tell anyone what they were. Ask any traditional Muslim – they’ll just say ‘Only God knows their meaning’.

Nevertheless, I pondered over them.

 

E.g. 28:1 – ‘TSM. These are the AYAT of a clear book’.

 

Now, as I said before the Arabic word AYAT can be used for verses or miracle.

Therefore most translators translate this as – ‘ALR. These are verses of a noble book’. But when it is read ‘ALR.These are the miracles of a noble book’, things start looking different. And then you ask yourself – why/how are these muqattat miracles/signs ???

 

Well, Rashad Khalifa, a PhD from University of Arizona, asked the same question and stumbled upon the 19 based miracle I talked about earlier.

These muqattat hold the key to the 19 based miracle of the Quran.

For detailed information visit these websites 

 

http://submission.org/App1.html

http://www.masjidtucson.org/quran/miracle/simplefacts.html

Refer to the appendix in Rashad Khalifa’s translation of the Quran.

By the way Rashad was assassinated by the Al-Qaeda in 1990.

He discovered the miracle in 1974. And the miracle and reason for number 19 is only mentioned once in the Quran – in chapter 74.

Read ( Iqra ) for yourself.

And the Gregorian date 1974 is the date 1406 in the Islamic calendar. And 1406 = 19 x 74.

.

 

For several reasons I believe that Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be upon him and all the other prophets of God) is not the author of the Quran.

 

First, it would be impossible for him (even with a computer) to keep all the 19 code intact throughout the book.

 

Here’s the second reason. Nowhere has he given the relevance or meaning of the muqattat.

 

Third, in several places the Quran portrays him as just another fallible human being. If one authored a book you would not expect that. E.g. 80:1 (Asad) ‘He frowned and turned away’. This is in reference to once when the Prophet paid more attention to the rich influential Quraish rather than a poor blind man who approached him.

 

Fourth, although the Quran also called the Furqan (the criterion) is supposed to give you guidance to live your life. It does not say ‘doing this or that is good’. Nor does it say ‘God tells you to do this or that’. It actually is very commanding and authoritative and seems first person from God himself. E.g. the chapter 69:verses 44 to 46 “The prophet speaks what we dictate to him. Had the prophet inserted his own ideas or thoughts instead, even a word, we would cut off his main artery”.

 

Fifth, when you read the Quran, you will notice other “weirdness”. An e.g. is how tense seems to flow. You may notice the past, present and future flowing and intermingled in the same sentence. An e.g. is where it says the people on judgment day have seen the reality; like it has already happened.

 

I thought there was something wrong with the use of tense perhaps.

Then I thought about Einstein’s theory of relativity – about how time is relative.

I thought this certainly applies well to a being that is God. To God, time is not a constraint - and therefore, the apparently confusing (confusing to us humans) use of tense by the author.

Confusing at first glance, dismissed as an error at second glance and then finally truly understood as it should be after some deep thought.

 

 

Do muslims really follow the Quran ?

 

 

Let’s talk a little bit about the Friday sermons. I think it is a great idea that once a week the local community gets together. This is in fact part of knowing your neighbors, both near and far. That way you would know how people are doing around you.

Once a week you get to meet people from around your neighborhood (Friday prayers). Once or twice a year you get to meet people from your town (Eid prayers). Once in a lifetime you meet people from all around the world (Hajj). The concept is beautiful as it promotes mingling with society and thereby both benefitting from it and providing an opportunity to benefit others if possible.

Although the internet is doing the same nowadays – it lacks the personal touch.

 

Now as a child when I attended Friday sermons, the priest would shout rhetoric at the top of his voice to the point, as a kid I would be scared.  As I grew up and started understanding and paying more attention I figured he wasn’t mad at me after all.

But most of the time, let's be honest, at best it is a waste of time and at worst it is either nonsense or even incendiary.

Most of the people sleep through the sermon and are eager for it to be over. On the average in a mosque if there are a hundred people attending. It is a waste of a 100 man hours. What a criminal waste of time.

That time should be used to provide spiritual guidance from the Quran or talk about contemporary issues as they relate to spiritual matters.

It is imperative that we have priests fluent in local languages.

The other day a priest used about 30% Arabic words in the sermon and my son kept asking me what it is he was talking about. Now how can I my blame my son for not paying attention and falling asleep during the sermon.

 

There is one chapter in the Quran titled ‘Juma’ (Friday/Congregational prayers). Not once in my lifetime (I’ve attended sermons in India and US for 40 years) have I ever heard any Friday sermon about it. And for God’s sake it is only about 12 verses.

For that matter I hardly hear the Quran discussed or explained.

It would be so nice if at every sermon they took a few verses from the Quran and talked about that in detail. Instead, we hear stories from here and there – mostly hadiths.

One time I was attending a sermon with my daughters and the priest was saying that how it is a bad thing to eat or even touch food with your left hand. He went on to say that people who do that are bad, they are shaitan! Now both my daughters are left handed and they were shocked, hurt and angry at such a statement. I am sure they lost most of their enthusiasm to attend Friday sermons after that. They were shocked because they didn’t except the Quran to say any such nonsense – which it doesn’t. So I had to explain to them it is may be ‘weak hadith’ or something like that and not from the Quran.

 

Maybe I have the wrong impression, but it seems that a lot of mosque dwellers are not sensitive to people’s feelings. The Quran and the prophet encourage you to be nice to others. That even a smile is like an act of charity. There is even a story of how during the early times of Islam a Bedouin, who had not been in a mosque before and not used to proper etiquette, defecated in a mosque. The companions of the prophet were enraged at this to the point that they would have killed him. But the prophet stopped them right away and instead cleaned the place himself. After which he spoke kindly to the Bedouin explaining to him that were better ways to relieve oneself and showed him the proper place for that.

 

Where do you see such compassionate and gracious behavior in mosques nowadays? People don’t smile. They are unfriendly almost to the point of being hostile. My wife and daughters complain that they are constantly badgered by someone or the other if even a speck of hair shows from their head cover – even during Salat!

This attitude needs to change if our mosques are to be places where our youth go willingly and happily. Right now they are a place to be dreaded!

 

 

The first thing about Muslims is that they probably don’t understand the word Islam and Muslim. They confuse the Arab and Middle East culture and traditions with Islam.

 

The word Islam means – submission/SURRENDER to God. And a Muslim is the person who has done that. Period!

It does not mean you have to spout Arabic from your mouth nor do you have to be called Ahmed!

If you have submitted your will to God you are a Muslim. And that’s all there is to it !!!

 

At first I used to think, when I was growing up, as a child in India that Islam was a chauvinistic religion - Because I grew up hearing and believing all Hindus or all non-Muslims go to hell.

And we are the only ones saved. And then I read the Quran.

As a kid we used to call any non-Muslim a ‘kafir’. And of course all kafirs go to hell – that’s what I grew up with.

But the Quran doesn’t say that.

The real meaning of the word kafir means someone who denies the truth, someone who covers the truth. It comes from kufr.

Now what is the truth? The truth is that this world was created by the Creator.

So I understand now that it is not the non-Muslims that are kafirs, it is the atheists.

So if you deny God or you are ungrateful to God, you are a kafir.

 

I guess the Hindus are better described, probably, using the Quranic word ‘mushrik’.

Mushrik is one who does shirk. What is ‘shirk’? The Arabic word ‘Shirk’ is to ascribe divinity to anything besides God.

Polytheism is Shirk. I will not engage in a discussion of monotheism vs. polytheism. I will leave that for you to think over.

I think followers of other religions commit shirk too. Christians use the trinity – it's not just plain God. It is the trinity. Or for that matter, even Muslims who give an equal or more importance to the prophet than to God .

As a kid I used to notice plaques in homes with Arabic calligraphy on them. They are still very popular. One of the most popular of these plaques is a pair of them.

One says ‘Allah’ and there is one set right next to it, same size that says ‘Muhammad’. As a kid I used to think they were two divine entities at par with each other.

 

Why, just recently my father gave me, with good intentions, a piece of printed paper that had drawings of shoes. I asked him what it was. He said it was the drawing of the prophet’s shoes. He recommended me, with good intentions obviously, to hang it in my house. He explained it was to drive away evil spirits. Now then, that is hero worship of the prophet taken to an extreme that could lead to shirk.

 

Try this. Next time you hear a Friday sermon, count how many times the prophet’s name is taken and how many times God’s name is taken. In my counts, God always has come second, unfortunately. It may not be so in your case – I hope not. But try it out just the same to test this statement of mine.

 

2:62 -“VERILY, those who have attained to faith, as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians  -all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds-shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.”

 

There it is; the quote that “Any who believes in God and the last day and does righteous deeds”.

 

And that’s all there is to it. Where does it say you have to be an Arab or spew mouthfuls of Arabic?

 

The problem is that 99.999999999% ( and maybe I am not exaggerating ) of the Muslims haven’t the slightest clue what’s being said in the Quran – the Furqan – the guidance.

 

Why? Because they don’t read it!

If they do read it, they do so in Arabic. And since most don’t understand Arabic – it is mumbo jumbo!

And those who speak and understand Arabic believe that The Quran is way above them to understand - and they then defer to other sources for guidance - for their day to day living.

So where do they get guidance from – the religious heads, from some weak hadith and mostly from hearsay. Quite a few times I’ve heard “This is how our forefathers did it”.

Sounds so much like the response from the Quraish when the Prophet first preached to them.

Why? I say, why don’t they READ!

For themselves.

IQRA! For God’s sake, for your own sake.

It is ridiculous that the Quran started off with IQRA (Read) and that’s the one thing that the Muslims won’t do.

  

The word Muslim means anyone who has submitted his will, but when I use the word Muslim in this writing I am using it in the traditional sense – to refer to the ummat of the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be on him and of course all the prophets of God) i.e. people who follow the path as conveyed through him.

 

Another thing I want to point out is that if I wrote Jesus without ‘Peace be upon him’, traditional Muslims may still find that acceptable.

But if I wrote the prophet’s name without following it with ‘Peace be upon him’ – they would be offended.

 

And yet the Quran says we should not distinguish between the prophets !!

 

4:152 (Y. Ali) To those who believe in Allah and His apostles and make no distinction between any of the apostles, we shall soon give their (due) rewards: for Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.

There are many different paths yet all leading to God.

Prophet Jesus and Prophet Moses were born centuries before the Prophet Mohammed was born. In the Quran, God calls all these prophets as ‘Muslims’ – yet they didn’t have Prophet Mohammed and the Quran.

Although I caveat that the path provided via Prophet Mohammed is probably the least changed over the years. If the human being is one point and God is the other point, Islam is the shortest path and straight line between the two points.

 

  

19:31 (Asad) and made me blessed wherever I may be; and He has enjoined upon me prayer ( salat )  and charity ( zakat ) as long as I live

 

The above passage from the 19th chapter is one where Jesus describes himself who has been enjoined “Salat and Zakat” – Muslim concepts way before Prophet Muhammad!

 

The straight path is although, I admit getting a little obfuscated with the hadiths and various sectarianism like the Shia, Sunni, Hanafi, Shafi etc.

Not the Quran.

It is pure and unchanged. Take a copy from any part of the world – the Quran is identical. There is a lot of math behind it. I can’t go there in depth – but refer you to the site http://www.submission.org.

 

The pure Islamic way got hijacked at the time of Fitna, right after the death of the Prophet. It reached its immediate peak under Abu Sufyan’s son Muawiyah who founded the Umayyad dynasty which then later led to the Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad. The first leader of Islam, the Prophet Mohammed, PBUH  ( I keep adding PBUH so the traditionalists are not annoyed - otherwise pious souls like the prophet are already in peace, God willing ), although he ruled a kingdom, lived in a hut with not more than a pair of clothes and most of the time had barely enough to eat – he gave everything to the poor. But with Muawiyah there came the establishment of the palaces and the harem and all the classical sensual pictures associated with the Ottoman Empire – which are true to today.

 

Look at the Arab rulers – their original leader lived in a hut. They now “need” cars that are gold plated and studded with diamonds. They are the very antithesis of Islam.

How can they then call themselves Muslim?

Bill Gates an American is probably ‘more Muslim’ than they can ever be.

He has decided to give away all his money to charity.

Now isn’t that more in congruence with the Prophet’s way?

 

I could be in a lot of trouble for writing all this.

But I have to speak up now – irrespective of the consequences.

 

3:110 (Asad) “YOU ARE indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind: you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in God.”

 

So I will enjoin what is good and I will forbid what is wrong – God willing.

 

5:48 And if god had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto, you. Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto god you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ.

 

2:136  Say, "We believe in GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters."

 

10:84  Moses said, "O my people, if you have really believed in GOD, then put your trust in Him, if you are really submitters ( muslims ) ."

 

2:148 (Asad) for, every community faces a direction of its own, of which He is the focal point. Vie, therefore, with one another in doing good works. Wherever you may be, God will gather you all unto Himself: for, verily, God has the power to will anything.

  

So let's not dispute or debate.

Let us then race towards righteousness.

Let then our actions speak for us instead of our altercations, debates and empty chatter.

 

The Quran doesn’t say that it’s a book for a new religion. The religion is the eternal religion of ‘Submission to God’. When you read the Quran, you will find out for yourself that it says that God has been sending his guidance to mankind throughout time and to all people. And this particular book happens to be ‘guidance for those who never received guidance before’. This then seems so congruent with when it says the believers should not discriminate between any of God’s messengers.

 

This connects with the Perennial Philosophy  very well. Perennialism – look it up, says the same thing; that God has been sending guidance to mankind – and that is the perennial wisdom. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_philosophy )

Martin Lings ( who in turn was a student of the perennial philosopher and genius in religious studies - Frithjof Schuon  - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s2H0ScJSMY ), look him up, who I would consider a Sufi of the modern times was a big proponent of perennialism. During his initial search for truth, he looked deep into Hinduism and even learnt Sanskrit as he studied the religion. He later on chose the Islamic path for the one simple reason – he believed that the Quran is the only perfectly preserved guidance. The others have been diluted, corrupted or have been allowed to be abrogated.

The Quran is the EXACT SAME no matter where you get a copy from, China or America, Sunni or Shia. The math code would have crumbled even if one single letter changed.

Of course, all paths lead to God – no matter what major religion.

But I would say to avoid confusion and meandering, make use of God’s guidance that has been mathemagically preserved – the Quran.

If you sincerely turn to your Creator, The Creator will turn to you.

This is the story of The Quran.

Muhammad turned towards The Creator sincerely, looking for guidance, and The Creator turned towards Muhammad and gave him guidance - The Quran.

Other prophets/saints were given various miracles - like Moses parting the sea, Jesus walking on water, Krishna lifting the mountain on his finger, etc.

The miracle/AYAT/proof given to this prophet Muhammad is the mathemagically preserved Quran.

Again, If you sincerely turn to your Creator, The Creator will turn to you - and guide you.

 

In spirit with the philosophy of perennialism I would like to mention another thing in the Quran that appeared weird to me.

The Quran gives exacting details as to how wealth should be distributed as inheritance when someone passes away -  just read Surat An-Nisa.

And yet nowhere does it say how to pray. It constantly says that ‘Salat and Zakat’ are the main things. But nowhere in it does it say how to do salat (although it does say how to perform ablution – wudhu).

That means to me that prayer can be done in any way you want.

No doubt, the 5 times salat that Muslims do as taught by the prophet has several benefits and advantages. One thing for sure, it brings uniformity. Look at my discussion on benefits of Salat.

 

From my childhood to my late teens I did follow Islam, but in a different way than I do now. Let me explain.

In my childhood, I had not read the Quran (I mean read and understood – I did read it in Arabic but I had no clue what I was reciting – it just sounded mystical and poetic). Since I did not read it myself, I was reduced to following what my elders and other people “in the know” had to say.

I grew up believing for e.g. that I had to pray for God. That for e.g. if I missed my afternoon prayers, a horrendous python with fangs as big as elephant tusks would bite me for “my sin of missing that prayer”.

I grew up believing that it is EXTREMELY important to wash your privates with water after you urinate. But your clothes could smell and bathing just once a week only was recommended. That one drop of urine on your clothes or body would burn with the fire of hell after we are dead.

What nonsense!

This is unfortunately due to people not reading and understanding the Quran for themselves.

The Quran doesn’t say anything like that.

It does talk about and strongly suggests we keep ourselves clean, in mind, body and clothes. E.g. Surat Mudatthir says “Keep your garments clean”.

 

And now, I don’t pray or fast for God. I do it for myself. For my own good.

And it’s not just for good in the hereafter – it’s so that I may attain to a ‘happy state’ here in this material world – here in this Maya. So that I can be happy and peaceful.

To me that’s the key to happiness.

As a matter of fact even believing in God has to be done because it is good for you – right here in this world.

Benefits in the hereafter are just an added bonus as far as I am concerned.

 

I have never understood this other prevalent practice among Muslims – where they just bathe once a week – on Fridays. It probably came from the Arabs. The Arabs lived in the middle of a desert where water was scarce. And yet traditions made it mandatory that they shower before attending the congregational prayers. I think the Muslims have misunderstood it to mean that they should shower only on Fridays.

Why? Water and plumbing are common amenities now days.

You are no longer in a desert !!

And remember the Quran says – keep yourself clean. Not just your private parts!

 

The other day when I was attending Juma prayers, the guy next to me was choking me to death with the pungent smell of dried sweat in his clothes – I suspect they had not been washed in weeks. But I am willing to bet his privates were washed thoroughly.

I am not saying you should not wash after going to the toilet.

I am saying that in keeping with the spirit of the Quran, cleanliness is more than just that. It encompasses your body, mind, clothes and environment.

 

 

The verses of the Quran are holy, obviously. Muslims believe that reciting them “protects them”. Some even make amulets and charms (taweez) out of them.

I used to wear one myself around my neck for protection (against evil spirits!!??!!) for several years.

It’s only after I read and understood the Quran – that I understood how the Quran protects you.

It protects you when you read, understand and follow the guidance – putting it in practice. It is a manual for ‘Now that I am born – how the heck do I live my life?’

You then follow the user manual provided by your Creator.

You then know what is right or wrong and follow the right path.

Following the wrong path will lead to pain.

And that is how the verses of the Quran protect you – from pain.

But if you just recite it in Arabic without understanding it is not going to protect you.

 

I quote a verse of the Quran to argue my point here.

Verse 62:5 says ‘The people who receive guidance and don’t follow it are like a donkey carrying a ton of books on its back’. The donkey doesn’t benefit from the books it is carrying.

So God is saying, if you don’t read, understand and follow, you are a donkey (or an ass! – depending on the translation you read)

 

The first time alcohol has been banned in the Quran is in Surat Baqra. The Quran says ‘Don’t come close to salat (prayers) under the influence of alcohol, because you may not understand what you are saying’.

So, as far as I am concerned, in light of this verse, people who recite Quranic verses without understanding them are like drunkards!

 

The other day my family was praying along with another family who are very traditional Muslims. One of the girls constantly kept pushing a single strand of hair back into my wife’s head covering (believe it or not – right during prayer!!). It was obviously very annoying to my wife, let alone the fact that this girl was disrupting the prayer. I think she did it because she believes that she is more religious than my wife – a common misconception/prejudice among women who wear the hijab about women who don’t.

After the prayer, we got into discussions of Arabic and Quran and salat. I mentioned that a lot of Muslims don’t know what they are saying in prayers. I said for e.g. take the invocation ‘ Sami allah huliman hamidah’ ( means ‘God listens to those who praise him’) which is said when you get up from after you bow down.

To my surprise, the girl who incessantly bothered my wife about that little speck of hair had no clue about that, nor did anyone in her Muslim family.

By the way they have been praying, and saying ‘Sami allah huliman hamidah’ perhaps for the past 30 years or so.

According to the Quran this is the equivalent of PUI (praying under the influence – duh!).

The question is not of this path (religion) or that path (another religion).

 

The bottom line is this – Do I believe in God?

And if I do, with what conviction?

 

I believe most other paths except Islam have given into the western ideals (should I say materialistic ideals) – to some extent or the other - which I must say lean so close to either total atheism or agnosticism.

Spirituality then becomes a personal matter.

Belief in God is considered something for the ignorant.

Belief in God then becomes a part time activity – restricted to the time you are in a temple or church.

Belief in God is not reflected in day to day activities.

God has been pushed into the background - hushed up.

 

In which community would you, in a middle of a business meeting, interrupt it to say that it is time to bow down to the Creator?

Imagine this for instance, everyone is busy talking about some marketing plan – and then someone says – “Guys can we take a break to pay tribute to our Creator?” after praying together they then get back to their meeting.

This dear reader happens in the Islamic community and is not only considered normal but is encouraged.

 

So you see, although we are all righteous and good it is only the Muslims who put God first in their day to day lives. Whereas the rest of us have made it into a part time hobby – at best.

 

No wonder the Muslims are under attack. I think it is an attack by Satan.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not calling anyone a Satan. But Satan, as in the instigator of mischief, evil and confusion.

Satan doesn’t want anyone worshipping God truly. Part time worship as a hobby is ok. Because that really doesn’t mean anything. At least it doesn’t have a social impact.

 

The other day I was having a casual conversation with my neighbor about the current condition of the economy.

We were trying to analyze what got this country into this gloomy situation.

The first suspect was the crash of the housing market. What took it down?

It is the sub-prime market in which anyone whether credit worthy or not could get a loan. This led to a flurry of buying and selling, with prices going up artificially. Why were the banks so eager to give out loans? Main reason is that the more “sales” they made, the more their CEOs and executives made in bonuses. Greed was the motivator.

Not that greed is bad, but unbridled greed is not far from evil.

 

By the way, the Quran prohibits Usury – an abuse of interest charging.

It also prohibits gambling.

The housing market crash had both usury and gambling at its roots.

Usury – subprime borrowing.

Gambling – the dubious derivatives market tied to the mortgage market.

Read it up for yourself. I will not get into details here.

 

 

Another reason for the current condition of the economy is that there are no jobs.

Where did all the jobs go?

They got off-shored. Look at Detroit; once a bustling town, now reduced to a ghost town due to the manufacturing jobs that went to Mexico and other countries that offered cheap labor.

They say all this off-shoring is good for the consumer. An argument is the Wal-Mart               phenomena. Before Wal-Mart, you had to pay almost double for the locally produced TVs and radios. Now you pay less than half that price for all those ‘Made in China’ electronics. Of course, this means that these consumer goods are more accessible to the common American.

But the other ugly side of the coin is that the local industries couldn’t compete and had to shut down. This means loss of jobs. And soon the common American worker will reach a point, due to lack of jobs, that he will soon not be able to even afford the same inexpensive off-shored goods that he is so addicted to.

 

The same thing is happening in the service sector. Let’s take my case. I came from India to the U.S. and am working as a software developer. But those same jobs have moved right back to India and here I.T. workers are having a hard time finding jobs now.

 

What is the biggest motivator for all this off-shoring?

Unbridled Greed again!

The CEOs and executives get more bonuses as they cut costs – at the expense of the jobs of the common American.

 

The CEO of Wal-Mart made about $30 million in compensation last year.

The average Wal-Mart worker made about $15,000 dollars per year.

The CEO made 2000 times more than the average worker.

The average worker would have to work 2000 years (at least 20 life times if not more) to make what the CEO makes just in one year.

The CEO is not 2000 times as smart as the average Wal-Mart worker. Maybe twice or 3 times - probably. Not 2000 times.

Nor does he work 80000 hours a week instead of the 40 – maybe 80 max.

 

Does the CEO really deserve this kind of compensation?

 

Some of the CEOs actually take the companies down and yet they make a killing due to ‘golden parachutes’ as part of their contracts - just Google up ‘golden parachutes’.

Would you get paid a million dollars for screwing up on your job?

Not unless you are a CEO!

This is corruption.

 

I have just used Wal-Mart as an example. I have nothing against them.

Go watch Michael Moore’s ‘Capitalism, A love story’.

I am not promoting socialism.

I am just trying to point out what happens in a God-less society.

 

By the way, what is euphemistically called lobbying in this country is called bribery in India. And although prevalent, it is illegal in India.

By the way, the AMA (American Medical Association) is one of the biggest lobbyists.

No wonder they have a stranglehold and healthcare sucks in this first world country.

 

Unbridled greed = Unbridled capitalism (seems to be the culprit)

 

All this would not happen in a God-Conscious (Taqwa) world.

Think about the corporate meeting atmosphere where the board of directors takes a five minute break to remember their Creator.

When they get back to the meeting, hopefully the greed for material wealth would have been at least slightly dampened.

 

About the Prophet

 

Let’s talk a little about Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon him and all of God’s Prophets).

Let me tell you why I decided to read his biography.

Recently I read two biographies of Arnold Schwarzenegger. After reading them I couldn’t believe I did that – that I read not one but two biographies of this man!

Then I thought about different biographies I read in recent years – Ross Perot, Ben Franklin, Gandhi, Malcolm X….and then the thought struck me. I had not read a single biography of the man in whose religion I was born into.

 

I then decided to read up on him. But I didn’t want to read something written by a Muslim – I knew they’d make him walk on water. So I first ordered Robert Spencer’s book to get a very different perspective. But I threw away the book in the garbage can for the reason that, Spencer’s purpose to write the book was to make him look bad. Not unbiased. Totally biased that makes the prophet look like a demon.

 

I knew it wasn’t the truth for this one simple reason – I knew the prophet was the ruler of a big kingdom – and he was charitable to the extent that he lived in a thatched hut and barely had enough food or clothes for himself – when he was the king of a big kingdom. To me that’s an amazing thing. Look at the Saudi rulers now who allegedly practice Islam – they live in palaces and drive diamond studded cars. Definitely not what their leader did. Matter of fact I haven’t found that trait in anyone. Gandhi was not a king – although he lived modestly too. The Buddha was a prince who gave up his kingdom and became an ascetic.

Show me one soul who had the burden of being a ruler but simultaneously lived in a hut and had barely enough food or shelter??

 

And since Spencer didn’t even mention this incredible attribute – I deservedly pitched his garbage into the trash – really.

 

Now I read another biography after that – this time from an opposite point of view, obviously from a Muslim. It won an award for the best biography awarded by none other than the government of Saudi Arabia. It’s called ‘The sealed Nectar’. That is yet another book I would not recommend if you want to know the man. It has more details about the wars he fought. And of course he walks on water.

 

The best one I read is by Karen Armstrong. It portrays him as a human being with all his flaws and greatness combined – a package deal like most of us human beings are. The one by Martin Lings is good too, but is a little more elaborate for the casual reader. Both of them rely on Ibn Ishaq as the primary source of information.

 

 

Spencer, along with some popular websites, have taken it on themselves to show the prophet in bad color. I’d like to address this smearing. One of the first things that they bring up is the prophet’s marriage to Aisha. She was very young. Keep in mind this is not from the Quran. There are various hadiths on this,a popular one says  she was married around the age of nine and the marriage consummated when she was around fourteen. Another says she was in her 20s.

At that time, the prophet was about 52.

Even if you believe this story which is not from the Quran, it may seem shocking. Even if it’s true, you have to understand, we are talking about a different culture in a very different time. Why? My parents in law were betrothed when they were less than ten. My mother in law was married at 14 and my grandma at 15. And this was less than 70 years ago in India. The prophet lived 1400 years ago in Arabia. That was the culture at that time and place, their generally accepted practice.

 

The other popular slander is that he was a pirate. Well, if you read the biographies ( which are again NOT FROM THE QURAN, BUT FROM SOME HADITH ) you read about how he raided the Meccan caravans. Even if it was true there was a reason for the Meccan caravans being raided. Don’t forget the same biographies/hadiths describe the Meccans had ostracized the Muslims to the extent that many died of starvation. As a matter of fact, Khadija, the prophet’s wife for 25 years died due to this.

That is why you need to to stick with the Quran. Or at least verify stories/hadith against it.

The Quran says the prophet was of the most noble character. So if a hadith seems to contradict it, then discard it !

Keep in mind, the hadith have lots of fabrications and lies. 

Here's a link about hadith -

https://docs.google.com/document/d/16-hfYsYTk04_FnyrMHFPN77o0elgmki0LzQRv_V38Wk/pub

For the longest time Benjamin Franklin was my hero. He was a statesman, a scientist, entrepreneur and a great swimmer.  But it used to always bother me to have him as a role model. The reason being his private life (family life) was a disaster. He was screwing around with the French ladies all the time. He used to live in Europe so often that he hardly saw his wife and kids.

 

Take Gandhi also for that matter. Now there is no doubt that Gandhi was a noble soul. But when it came to his personal/family life it was a different story. Matter of fact, his son was so estranged from the family that when he died on a road, nobody even knew whose dead body it was.

 

On the other hand, Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) was a regular, average merchant who didn’t cause any waves until he was 40. Although he still was considered a noble person, one who was truthful and just.

Once he hit 40 and received divine guidance things changed suddenly.

He then became very multifaceted; he was a religious and social leader, he was a general that led his army and was in the battlefield as a soldier. He managed to keep several wives happy (we have a hard time keeping one happy). And he was a great father and grandfather.

This man amazingly balanced all of these roles perfectly.

 

 

Finally let’s not forget, the prophet was a mortal human being, although a noble soul, who was chosen by God to deliver divine guidance (the Quran) to a people who had never received guidance before.

 

25:7 (Asad) Yet they say: What sort of apostle is this [man] who eats food [like all other mortals] and goes about in the market places? Why has not an angel [visibly] been sent down unto him, to act as a warner together with him?”

 

Let me remind you gently, that the Quran itself talks about the prophets as human beings. And that they were erring human beings all the way from Adam.

Here’s a verse addressed by God directly to the prophet -

93:7 He found you astray, and guided you.

 

Read the story of Prophet David who had many wives and concubines and yet coveted his General’s wife ( according to some Biblical stories, but these details are not in the Quran, only some references ) . 

David was a prophet, but a human being at the same time. And God knows and says in the Quran – “The human being was created weak”. And God is all merciful.

 

38:24 (Asad) Said [David]: “He has certainly wronged thee by demanding that thy ewe be added to his ewes! Thus, behold, do many kinsmen wrong one another  [all] save those who believe [in God] and do righteous deeds: but how few are they!” And [suddenly] David understood that We had tried him: and so he asked his Sustainer to forgive him his sin, and fell down in prostration, and turned unto Him in repentance.

38:25 (Asad) And thereupon We forgave him that [sin]: and, verily, nearness to Us awaits him [in the life to come], and the most beauteous of all goals!

 

And don’t forget Adam himself disobeyed God in the first place !

 

Salat – Contact Prayer

Salat - the root word in it means to “come close”.

 

Let's talk a little about the five times prayer in Islam.

Now, one may argue that prayer can be done anytime and in anyway. And I agree with that. But there are a lot of benefits of praying 5 times a day.

First of all the 5 daily prayers have to be done on time. Period. There is no postponing (no Qaza)

 

Salat brings a wholesome discipline to your life. You are awake before sunrise ( Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise ) for your dawn prayers ( fajr ). You meditate before you go to bed ( isha ), you calm down. During the day you are forced to take a break for the other 3 prayers, zuhr ( afternoon ), asr ( late afternoon ) and maghrib ( sunset ).

 

The most important thing is that you take a break, no matter what you are doing.

Imagine this setting. There is a board of directors meeting in full swing. It is time for zuhr prayers. The chairman of the board pauses the meeting for 10 minutes to lead the board in prayers. When they reconvene it may be a little hard for them to do unscrupulous things like giving each other a million dollar bonus when the employees are getting laid off.

 

Imagine another situation. You are in a party, singing, dancing. Then you realize it is time for maghrib prayers. You take a 10 minute break, pay tribute to your Creator and get back to the party.

Or let’s say there is man who is at his office working late. He has a chance to cheat with his secretary. He knows that he will have to shower before isha prayers and is discouraged. Or maybe he has just finished Maghrib prayers, during that for 5 minutes he thought about God and the afterlife – this discouraged him from the wrong action.

 

More than anything, you get to take a break. Let’s say you won the lottery at 5 pm. You are ecstatic, on cloud nine. But it is time for Maghrib and in spite of your excitement you pray. And after that you realize all the wealth comes from God. And one day you have to return back to Him. This sobers you up. You calm down.

(Yes, I realize that lottery is gambling and is prohibited – but, don’t forget, the Quran also says that the human being was created weak).

 

Or maybe there is a death in the family. You are very sad, in mourning. But you break away from your mourning for performing the 5 prayers. You are reminded that this life is a test anyway and God tests by both giving and taking away. Your pain is eased.

If you are regular with Salat, the movements keep your body supple during old age.

The ablution performed 5 times a day keeps you clean. Helps prevent spread of germs and disease – you wash your hands 5 times daily.

 

 

Thus Salat if performed regularly is like magic. It can keep you calm. It helps both at a personal and a social level. It can prevent bad actions. It is the antidote for antidepressants. It is the secret to achieving a calm mind and maintaining internal peace. It helps you bring balance in life. No matter what you are doing you have to take a break from it when it is time for Salat. It gives you time to get some perspective into your daily activities. It helps bring wholesome discipline into your life.

 

Salat is part of divine guidance and I am extremely thankful to God for this wonderful guidance/gift.

Thank you God!

 

 

Quran in a nutshell

 

After reading several translations (Khalifa, Pickthal, Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Asad and Arberry) and pondering over it, I believe this is the essence of the Quran.

 

1) Recognize the One that has created you and me.

2) Know that you will be held accountable for your actions (Judgment day).

3) Pay regular tribute (pray regularly) to your Creator

4) Be nice to others (be charitable)

 

And that's all there is to it.

This is the summary of The Book.

 

Since this message was sent down throughout humanity - you will notice it is pervasive among all religions.

 

After pondering more on the Quran – I could squeeze it further into these two core ideas –

 

1) Your relationship with your Creator (point 1 and 3 from nutshell)

2) Your relationship with His Creation (you, me everybody, animals, plants, the environment etc.) ( point 2 and 4 from nutshell )

 

And I think that is the bottom line. And that’s all that matters.

Your relationship with God and your relationship with his Creation.

You need to be at Peace with both.

No more. No less.

In the Quran this is oft repeated with ‘Akhimatus Salata waatuz Zakata’

Salat – meaning prayer – your relationship with God.

Zakat – meaning purifying yourself by being charitable – your relationship with others.

This formula is also seen in the oft repeated verse - “Amanu wa amilus salihati” - those who believe and do righteous deeds.

 

98:5 (Y. Ali) And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship God, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.

 

 

 

Let’s talk about the first few verses in the Quran.

I love the beginning of the Quran (both parts, the chronological (96) and in placement (1)).

The Quran was revealed slowly to the Prophet over 23 years. Most verses were revealed on an ‘as needed’ basis.

The Quran is not compiled in chronological order. The first sura (chapter – by the way, there are 114 (19 x 6) chapters) in order of the compilation of the book is the Islamic oft repeated prayer – The Fatiha (The Key, The Opening).

I’ll try to put it in my own words here -

In the name of God, most beneficent, most merciful.

All praise is to God, Sustainer of all the worlds, Master of the Day of Judgment.

You alone we worship and you alone we ask for help.

We ask you to show us the right path, not the path of those who have gone astray or of those who have incurred your wrath.

 

This is the prayer that is repeated by Muslims five times a day.

I used to find it amazing, even as a kid, that when we pray we praise God and then what do we ask for? Not for wealth, not for health, not even happiness (at least not explicitly). But what is being asked is the request, the cry for help to ‘show us the right path’.

Isn’t that what all the commotion in this world about, the answers to the questions of life, the basic question? How do we live our life? Life is complex and complicated. There are too many opinions just visit my website www.TheTenQuestionsOfLife.com . How do we know which is the ‘right way’ to live life?

And therefore the prayer - ‘Show us the right way’.

I’ve also wondered about ‘not the path of those who have gone astray or of those who have incurred your wrath’. Let’s first talk about ‘those who incur the wrath’.

If you jump off a plane without a parachute, you will most likely hurt yourself – even if it is still standing on the tarmac – for sure, if the plane is at around 30,000 feet above ground. Why? Because of gravity – obviously – duh! Now if we get into ‘why’ is it this phenomenon happens – that is we jump of plane and fall down to the earth and get hurt. Some of you may answer – because of the ‘law of gravity’ or Newton’s law of gravitation. Now right there – I’ll pause and correct you. It is not the ‘law of gravity’, it is the ‘law of God’. It is not ‘Newton’s law’; it is ‘God, almighty’s law’. For God’s sake, gravity existed even before Newton was born. Now to the question of why does gravity exist – that’s a question for Einstein (he has a complex, space warping answer – check out his general theory of relativity). I’ll just answer by saying, that’s how God created things – it is God’s law. So, if you break God’s law i.e. defy gravity by jumping off a plane without a parachute – you will incur his wrath – i.e. you will get hurt or maybe die. That’s just how it is with other laws of God, even on the spiritual side. If you lie and cheat for e.g. you will break God’s law and end up incurring his wrath. There are good chances you will cause hurt to others and yourself.

As for those ‘who have gone astray’. These are the ones who are not fully aware of God’s law or who have not correctly understood it.

And therefore we seek the ‘right path’, the straight path to a good life, both in this world and the hereafter. Amen!

 

Another interesting observation is how the first chapter, which is essentially a prayer to ‘show us the right path’ where we are seeking guidance, connects with the second chapter.

The second chapter starts by saying “this (the Quran) is a divine guidance to people who have attained to faith”.

The first chapter is the question, the plea for guidance to ‘how to live a successful life’.

And the beginning of the second chapter provides the answer.

  19 Nineteen

 

The mathematical miracle of the Quran is built on the number 19.

http://submission.org/App1.html

The number 19 is the combination of the first (1) and the last (9) number.

0 is nothing. 10 is a combination of 1 and nothing (0).

The 1 and the 9 denote the characteristics of God – the alpha and the omega – the beginning and the end.

The first verse of the Qur'an (known as "Bismillah") consists of 19 Arabic letters.

The Quran has 114 chapters = 19 x 6

The 96th chapter ‘Alaq’ is the first one revealed in chronological order. It is placed 19th from the end of the Quran.

In Alaq, the very first revelation had 19 words.

19 is the smallest prime that is equal to the product of its digits plus the sum of its digits.  

Earth's mass (5.9736 * 1024) and volume (1.083*1012) are both multiples of 19. Earth's volume is in fact a multiple of 192.

http://www.greatdreams.com/grace/170/171pl19chem.html

Rashad Khalifa was assassinated in 1990 - 1+9+9+0 = 19.

Terrorists!

 

It so happens to be that as I type this, I noticed it is Sept 11 - the dreaded 911.

No book about God, Islam and Muslims would be complete unless something is said about terrorism. Nowadays the words Muslim and terrorist seem to be synonymous. Note that the use of the word terrorist is rampantly used for refugees and sometimes the innocent. Once a group is labelled that, it becomes legit to oppress and terrorize them. The world then either stands passively or worse, joins in, because now they are officially “bad”.

Let’s start here -    http://theothersideoftruth911.blogspot.com/

Have you ever thought why people blow themselves up? Leave their families and dear ones behind and kill themselves and take innocent lives?

  

The obvious western answer is that they believe they are going to heaven and will be with big bosomed huris. Although, there may be some truth to that, it is a quick, naïve, biased and un-researched answer.

 

The Quran strongly condemns aggression. It prohibits killing innocent people.

 

2:190 (Asad) AND FIGHT in God's cause against those who wage war against you, but do not commit aggression-for, verily, God does not love aggressors.

 

50:24 (Y. Ali) (The sentence will be:) "Throw, throw into Hell every contumacious Rejecter (of God

50:25 (Asad) [every] withholder of good [and] sinful aggressor..

 

Here are the reasons of Arab/Muslim terrorism from my perspective -

 

  1. The Arabs abandoned IQRA. Although God commanded them to Read and get educated, they have taken IQRA to mean reading or rather just reciting the Quran like a parrot – over and over again. This was not the case during the prophet’s time. The prophet said ‘Go as far as China if you stand to gain some knowledge”. No wonder the Muslims around then grew strong. The Muslim Empire lasted for about 1200 years (from Umayyad to Abbasids to the Ottomans) ending in the First World War. Compare this to the American empire which is less than 50 years old, or the British empire that lasted about 400 years or the Roman empire that lasted about either 500 or 1000 years ( depending on how you look at it ). The Ottoman Empire was long lasting because of the knowledge gained and used by them.

The achievements of the Arab scientists like Ibn Sina, AL-Kharizmi, Imam Ghazali (Ghazali was a pioneer in the field of logic) etc. were then leveraged by Europe during the renaissance. Then were built upon further and spread about with the help of the ‘moveable type’ during the renaissance – thanks to Castor & Gutenberg’s printing press. By the way if you notice, the East was always leading the west for thousands of years. The west then leapfrogged over the eastern civilizations right around the renaissance times – it was due to the mass distribution of knowledge with the help of the printing press. The west leapfrogged the Islamic empire because it followed God’s command – IQRA!

Whereas the Muslims missed the whole point of IQRA!

Not only that, the Muslims banned the printing press making it haram.

Also the Islamic empire got hijacked by the politicians who said IQRA means to recite the Quran only and they lost it all.

 

What I am saying here is that lack of education is the biggest factor for terrorism.

 

 

  1. Oil and wealth. This comes in a close second. The oil and wealth have become a curse for the Middle East. If there was no oil there would be no Arab terrorists. The Middle East would be like some remote African country nobody has heard of – there would be no reason for the interest.

By the way did you notice that the advent of the model-T and the west needing more oil for its masses coincided with the Balfour declaration that started settling Jews in Palestine? Just a coincidence? I highly doubt it.

 

 

 

  1. Why did an existing country – Palestine, have to be carved up to create a new country, Israel? Why in Palestine? If the Germans were guilty of crimes against the Jews it would have made sense to create Israel in Germany. Or if we are so benevolent, how about in Idaho or Wyoming?

I’ve heard that the reason Israel is there is because it belonged to them briefly (which they usurped from the philistines in the first place) a few thousand years ago (Hey! India belongs to the Dravidians).

Creation of Israel coincided with the need for Arab oil. No oil – no terrorist. Matter of fact I think I heard something like that in the movie ‘Blood Diamonds’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

How would the US feel if a country for the original Americans (Indians) was created in say Alabama – and this country was given the latest and greatest weapons? Every time the US tried to match up by arming up it would get world sanctions that made its citizens starve. I think we would have American terrorists – created due to starvation.

Incidentally, have you read the details on Operation Ajax ? -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d'%C3%A9tat

 

 

  1. Israel is flush with American tax dollars supplying them the latest weaponry including having nuclear weapons since the 1960s. No Arab nation is allowed to get these weapons. Otherwise they have sanctions. Now if they don’t have the same weapons as Israel how are they supposed to fight? Are we giving them a choice but to resort to terrorism? Give them the same weapons and instead of terrorism there will be war, plain and simple – not terrorism. The Intifada (Palestinian uprising), by the way, was Palestinians armed with stones and slingshots against Israelis soldiers with American machine guns financed with your tax dollars.

 

  1. In the 911 tragedy we lost 2985 lives. Do you know how many Palestinians have lost their lives since Israel was created in Palestine? About 2 million.

Another 1 million other Arabs have died related to this. Apart from that over 500,000 Iraqis (civilians, not soldiers) have died since the 2003 invasion to flush out the “weapons of mass destruction”. The US supported Israeli occupation of Palestine, has created over 4 million refugees. Plus hundreds continue to suffer and die every day, including today as you read this. Who is the aggressor here? I wonder?

 

 

  1. The Arabs have so much wealth and land yet they did/do not take care of their fellow Muslim/Arab Palestinian refugees.

 

  1. It is of benefit to various countries that the Arab world remains at conflict.

Why? Because of the revenues from arms sales to that region – in his book ‘The Arabs’ David Lamb quotes, from 1975 – 1985 arms worth $250 Billion were sold to that region. I was just googling what it is now. It is way more than the $25 Billion per year, almost double. Google it yourself. And who is the biggest arms dealer in the world? I’ll let you guess or Google that up.

So, conflict in the Middle East is just good business!

  1.  The crazies - These are the extremists.

The main reasons for this -

  1. Following hadith and other sources besides the Quran OR not using the Quran as the criterion against which hadith has to be checked.
  2. Instead of reading and following the entire Quran, following just one verse or taking it out of context while not keeping the whole Quran in mind.
  3. It’s hard to say if these crazies are “genuine crazies” or puppets of some other entity - or perhaps a combo of both.

    9.  Neo-Colonialism - Read this - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neocolonialism

In the “good old days” of colonialism, one powerful country or race directly and overtly dominated and subjugated the weaker one.

With neocolonialism, puppet governments are installed by covert organizations like the CIA and the enslaved country is oppressed and exploited covertly. People who resist are covertly taken out or/and the media is involved to give them derogatory titles - like terrorist. A poignant example is Operation Ajax - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

10. MEDIA - The so called “news” is not from the point of view of the “terrorists”. E.g. is the role of the BBC in Operation Ajax. There is a ton of stuff written against Islam and muslims.

The common man fighting against covert and overt Neo-Colonialism can be labelled a terrorist. The muslims’ “news” and online media presence in order to present their perspective is minimal and pathetic.

11. Muslims, at large - especially from the middle east need to realize that the Crusades are over. They lost. It all ended when the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the First world war. And then the ummah/empire was divided into middle east countries that did not even exist ( Saudi, Jordan, Iraq, Syria ,Palestine, Turkey etc - via typical divide and conquer tactic ). So, the reality is that they will be divided, humiliated, manipulated and this is just the reality faced by any loser, unfortunately.

 

 

All the above are some of the reasons that contribute to Arab/Muslim terrorism.

 

 

 

  

Benefits of the pillars of Islam

Shahada -

Believing in God relieves the mind of stress. You end up attributing everything to god. You end up doing the best and leaving the rest.

Believing in One God without a name unifies everyone.

Salat -

Helps you bring balance in life. No matter what you are doing you have to take a break from it when it is time for Salat. It therefore gives you time to get some perspective into your daily activities.

It also helps stop bad habits. E.g. if you are promiscuous, it curbs the habit. If you have had sex, you have to now shower before salat.

It helps bring discipline into your life.

Zakat -

It helps the poor. It also helps the rich relax their sense of greed. It helps you budget your money.

 

Fasting –

There are too many benefits to fasting and I will let you research that for yourself.

Hajj -

You see people from all around the word of different colors and languages come to one place to bow down before God.

It gives you a world perspective on society. 

Dress code and chastity -

When women dress provocatively, men get tempted and this may cause problems. E.g. a man goes to work, sees a flimsily dressed woman, and gets tempted. Now his married life is disturbed.

Islam the religion and its followers have been stigmatized. I think it is the Satan instigating it. Why? Because I feel, all other religions although they should all lead to the Creator have been compromised. They are willing to bow down to western ideology, be modern and shed their roots easily. Not that this is bad in every way. Progress is good. But I am afraid it may lead to atheism or the worship of material things as opposed to the sincere devotion to the creator.

The problem with this philosophy is that TAQWA ( God consciousness ) becomes a part time activity – only when you go to the masjid, temple or church. Our society and humanity would be more beautiful by uniting under the Creator and being conscious of the creator all the time and not just part time.

This God consciousness needs to be ingrained in our hearts. Imagine a world where leaders have this in their hearts. Will executives then take the million dollar bonuses when they know the plight of the laid off workers? Will political leaders continue playing politics when the country is going into ruins? Will people engorge themselves when they know children in impoverished countries go hungry in the night?

 

Lessons Learned

This is a capture of all the lessons I've learned in life that I think can benefit others.

 

 

Why are we here?

Most people don't even bother to ask it or answer it.

Generally this is how most  people live their lives  -  to achieve the next material success or the pursuit of the next excitement or in doing tasks that are made part of your life - obligatory tasks, part of you duty - or to just earn your daily bread. 

This life is a test. It is a maya/matrix from which we will wake up one day.

We are here to pass the test.

How do we pass the test?

By recognizing the Creator.

 

 

 

Know yourself

You have to know your personal philosophy. Without that you are living life without a compass.

I think there are two extreme views of life.

One extreme is a completely materialistic/hedonistic point of view. 

This one believes that this is one life and there is no accountability. Once you die, it’s all over. Therefore have a ton of fun, ton of money, who cares, whatever, etc.

The other extreme is a Sufi point of view i.e. this world is an illusion or even more, a pain in the butt on the way to the path to God. There is accountability for all your actions.

Most people are somewhere in the middle.

But it’s important for you to know where you stand on this – are you more of a Sufi or a hedonist?

Parents

Parents generally do what they think is best for their kids.

Everyone needs to ask the question if being a parent is for them and not just end up being a parent due to their life being on autopilot.

It’s instinctual that we take care of our kids, whereas we have to work to take care of our parents.

 

Work

As kids we are at the mercy of the adults. We are kept busy with school and play. Then we start working. And then we may also establish our own home and family. It seems to me it is all a conspiracy to keep us busy. To keep our minds occupied with day to day minutia which is given tremendous importance to by society.

You are not given time to think. You are not given time for your mind to breathe freely.

See, I wake up at 6:30 am, pray, exercise and am at work at 8:30am.

I take a lunch break then work till 5:30 pm.

I reach home at 6 pm. Chit chat with the family for a couple hours, have dinner, tuck my kid into bed - its 9:45 pm.

I am tired and sleepy and sleep by 10:30 pm.

Busy, busy, busy....

No time to think.

Why should we think? So that we can live efficiently!

 

Passive & Active people

 

I believe people fall into these two categories - passive and active.

Active people THINK --> PLAN -- >EXECUTE

Passive people are the tools/part of the plan of the active.

Passive people bitch/complain about how the world is unfair to them.

E.g. of active people - kings, politicians, executives of companies, entrepreneurs, inventors.

E.g. of passive people - you and your neighbor - people who work as employees.

Since active people are driving all the time, it is hard for them to have a balanced life.

On the other hand passive people may have more time on their hands.

Active people are the ones that make the rules, write history and create companies.

Passive people follow the rules, bitch about the rules but have no choice ( due to their own choice to be passive ) but to work/be used(exploited) for/by the active people.

Active people make way more wealth compared to passive people at the expense of passive people. E.g. what the CEO of Wal-Mart makes as bonus in a year is more than what the average Wal-Mart employee in the store makes in his entire lifetime.

 

 

 

Exercise - keeping the body fit.

Not exercising leads to too many problems to be listed here, from physical, mental to emotional.

It’s just not worth to not exercise.

Here's a simple but effective exercise.

It consists of doing squats, push ups and crunches.

Start with squats - do 1 set of 10.

Immediately without rest do 1 set of 10 push ups.

Again, without a break follow this with a set of crunches - 10 again.

If you are not able to do 10 reps in each set for any of the above, do as much as you can 7 or 5.

After the crunches, immediately start back with the squats.

But now do as many reps as you can - you have to push yourself to the max. When you can no longer do any more go on to the set of push ups and then the set of crunches.

Repeat.

You should at least do 3 sets of each.

As you gain strength and stamina - increase the reps and sets.

This is an efficient exercise that works out most of the major muscles in your body. You don't need a gym or any equipment - all you need is motivation !

The squats strengthen your lower body.

The push ups, your chest and arms - by varying the style of push ups in each set you can work out a different set of muscles - for e.g. for one set keep you hands far apart - for another bring them in as close as you can.

The crunches strengthen your abs and back.

In addition, since you are not taking a break when you go from one set to another - you also get a great aerobic workout for a healthy heart and lungs.

Try it!

About careers.

You have to recognize what society rewards during your time and place. For e.g. in the US the medical profession is well protected ( the AMA is a big lobbyist )  and rewarded. You could be a dumb doctor and yet make a lot of money - that’s just the way the society works. On the other hand you could be the most brilliant teacher - and yet society decides your pay will be lesser than the dumbest doctor.

In my family I've seen a brilliant guy who took up a veterinarian career and I've seen not so smart people choose a medical doctor career. The brilliant vet makes way less than these doctors.

Take my case, I am a software engineer. My brother is one too. We are in constant worry about being laid off and delivering on our work. On the other hand, the doctors have none of these worries - layoffs, less salary or delivery at work. You go to a primary physician and if he can't prescribe you a painkiller he'll send you off to a specialist. Simple, no headaches there. And he collects his $300k per year easily.

Therefore learn from this and choose your career smartly. Otherwise this is an aspect of life that will constantly worry you - career/money.

I think trading is a good thing. You buy low and sell high.

Writing is good.  A lot of people write but the key is to write what sells, like Harry Potter for e.g.

Money & Making money

There are a lot of books written on ‘how to be successful’ – what most forget to mention is that an important ingredient is to ‘want it badly’ i.e. motivation. They also don’t discuss the consequences of pursuing the path to success, resulting in a lack of a balance in life.

 

God, Spirituality & Religion

 

Try to be spiritualistic and not ritualistic.

 

 

 

Recommended reading

 

Wise sayings

 

 

 

Thinking

It is not easy to think.

It is not easy to hold your thoughts to a certain topic for a long time - especially without motivation.

The mind wanders.

And more than the wandering of the mind, it is constantly bombarded by input from the sense organs. You see something, hear something and a new chain of thoughts is started only till the next sensation is input and there is yet another chain of thought and so on.

Faith and believing in the unseen

People cannot see God.

God is not palpable directly to the senses.

Therefore people have a hard time believing in God.

 

But deep thinking makes you want to believe.

It is easier on you when you believe / have faith.

 

God sends messages.

 

This life is a test.

 

Don't know WHY we were created. But I am not omniscient, that’s why I don't have ALL the answers or for that matter even ALL the questions.

 

Due to his mercy God gives us hints to pass the test. These hints are messengers and the messages they brought.

E.g. Quran.

 

Quran has mathematical proof.

 

Science, pure science is a tool for us to understand nature. But it fails to give us complete understanding e.g. the evolution from Newtonian physics, Quantum to String theory.

Solids made of atoms, it turns out are made of energy vibrations.

The big bang theory says and we believe in it that everything came from NOTHING.

Both of these are in congruence with religious books. i.e. the universe was created by the creator from nothing. And it is an illusion that appears solid to us although at the core it is all vibrations of waves.

 

You are either a believer in the unseen or not !

 

It is hard to believe in the unseen. But we have to think deep and let science take us to an understanding of creation.

It is also hard, if not harder, to be an atheist.

 

If you don’t believe, you have no divine guidance to live your life by.

You then end up living your life based on either your opinion or someone else’s opinion.

And since they are only opinions, they at the best take a circuitous path to peace, if that.

 

It is easier to be at peace with faith.

 

Having faith, certain faith, is seen as ridiculous. Sometimes it is seen as a sign of being a fundamentalist, unfortunately.

  Gratitude for His mercies

Thank you God for...

 

The breath I take easily. My respiratory system seems to be fine, in good working order.

 

The pollution free air that I breathe.

 

For giving me education so that I can type this - so that I can appreciate your mercies and be thankful for them.

 

Thank you for making me realize what this life and this world is all about - a test that I have to pass.

 

Thank you for your guidance. Please continue providing it.

 

The coffee I drink that has probably come from a foreign country, yet it smells so delicious and tastes so perfect.

 

Thank you for providing me the sense of smell and taste so that I can appreciate and enjoy the coffee.

 

Thank you for growing the coffee plant from a dead seed from dead soil.

 

For the rain and water that was needed for the plant to grow.

 

Thank you for the technology that allows me to type this in. You have indeed taught mankind.

 

Thank you for my eyesight. Thanks for the sources of light, including the Sun and the electric lamp.

 

My hands and fingers are fine, thank you for that. I am not handicapped.

 

I am disease free.

We live in a nice place - its nice weather,

Thank you for providing me a decent job - so that I can provide for my family.

Thank for providing me good kids.

Thanks - we were not born in a concentration camp.

Thanks - for not letting an asteroid hitting us.

Every time I fly you bring me back safely - thanks for that.

We weren't born into slavery.

Thanks for providing us good health - both physical and mental.

Thanks for keeping us on the straight path.

We are in a good country. Thanks.

Thanks for giving us guidance so that we even acknowledge you.

Thanks for providing us means of entertainment and the financial capability to use them.

Thanks for our caring parents.

Thanks for keeping our family safe.

Thanks for keeping the Universe in order.

Thanks for medicines.

Our leaders are not as corrupt - thanks for that.

Thanks for keeping us safe when we drive.

Thanks for the leisure time we spend together as a family.

Thanks for providing me a comfortable home.

Thanks for clothes.

Thanks for glasses so we can see.

Thanks for good people around us.

Thanks for sending our kids to good schools.

Thanks so we can walk.

 

Thanks that we have the capability to understand that we should give Thanks.

All praise and thanks belongs to God !