CULTURE OF ISLAM

82 Contemplating the Real Truth
Imtiaz Muhsin 15-Jun-12

The main objective of these talks (and therefore the scripts of these talks), is to stimulate thinking. Sensible, rational and logical thinking. So, my message, think, think & think! Be sensible, be rational and be logical.

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82 Contemplating the Real Truth

Please Note
1. I have had the great privilege, (since Aug 2010), of presenting talks on the weekly Radio Program ‘Culture of Islam’ [Every Friday 8 to 8.30 pm, Radio Sri Lanka - FM 97.4] 2. Since these are Radio Talks, I refer to, or address the audience as ‘listeners’ 3. I am well aware that the audience to these talks would consist of people belonging to a variety of faiths. So as to make people of all faiths feel included, I very often use words and names that are common to all religions. 4. For these reasons, I use the name GOD, as well as Abraham, Moses, Jesus etc as well as the names Allah, Ibrahim (Alaihis Salaam), Moosa (Alaihis Salaam), Easa (Alaihis Salaam) etc 5. Muslims by habit usually say ‘Sallallahu Alaihiwasallam’, when the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned, and ‘Alaihis Salaam' when the name of a Prophet is mentioned. However, in these series of talks I have reduced the use of these prayers & sayings to the bare minimum. 6. Muslims, also by habit, use a number of Arabic prayers or sayings, such as Alhamdulillah, Insha Allah and so on. Again, I have reduced the use of these prayers or sayings to the bare minimum. 7. Sometimes I have to write Arabic words in the English script. I have devised my own way of writing Arabic in English, as follows;

‫ت‬ ‫ط‬

th TH

‫س‬ ‫ث‬ ‫ص‬

s Ss SW

‫ض‬ ‫ظ‬

DHL DHZ

‫ه‬ ‫ح‬

H h

‫ع‬ ‫غ‬

Gh GH

    

Information on these talks along with all download links can be found on my on my Blog (http://imtiazm.wordpress.com/) The dates or the schedules of these talks can be viewed on the Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/ImtiazMuhsin786) The Scripts of these talks can be downloaded from www.ScribD.com (www.ScribD.com Author – Imtiaz Muhsin) The audio files of these talks can be downloaded from YouTube (YouTube Channel – Imtiaz Muhsin) The YouTube Link to this talk is at

All Praise and Thanks is due to Allah and Allah alone Alhamdulillah! P.S. The picture on the cover is of a Mosque in a remote village in the Ampara District, which is located in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka

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82 Contemplating the Real Truth

82 Contemplating the Real Truth
Dear Friends, Assalamu Alaikum, Today, I wish to initiate a series of talks, discussing many questions that have been troubling my mind for a number of years. I am sure that these questions would have been troubling your minds too. The questions are so deep and perplexing that I have always postponed sitting down and trying to think out the answers, or the logic that would lead me to the answers. What I needed was oodles of free time, and what I meant by free time was not just idle time or transition time between tasks or projects, but time where my mind would be free from other pressing commitments, distractions or even irritants, so that I could get in to a focused meditative mode and try to work out the answers. Alhamdulillah, it was a few years ago that I decided that I should devote some time in trying to work out for myself the real meanings of the Aayaths in the Holy Quran. I began to allocate time, and I found the reading and research to be very absorbing. Alhamdulillah, I was pleasantly surprised to see so much reference material available on the Web. Anyway, as time went on, I found that I had to gradually keep on increasing the time spent on this reading and research. Because of my interest in doing research in the Holy Quran, I have found that my mind has now begun to take on or you could even say ‘mentally grapple’ with the many questions that arises as I keep on reading the Quran – in a way you could even say that I have now found that almost every word that I read in the Holy Quran, creates a reflex question, I prefer to use the phrase ‘reflective question’ – that would better describe the phenomena. I will, Insha Allah explain more about this phenomena, later on, as we go along. This thinking out process becomes so interesting that without you even realizing, you find that you are devoting more and more time, and the more you think, the more questions keep on arising, and you find yourself really and truly getting absorbed in to this sorting out process. So you find a number of new questions arising and you now also begin to discover a number of Aayaths that indicate some pointers or some fresh areas to the answers. So, tons of material to work on, tons of material to think on. It is a very interesting and an absorbing experience. In fact I began to tell my friends and relations, that in this world there are a number of pleasures, but every pleasure has a limit, at some point you reach ‘enough level’, but the pleasure of thinking, or the better word would be ‘thought processing’, is something the mind loves to be absorbed in and a person would never or would rarely say ‘enough!’ At this point an Aayath that I would like to quote, an Aayath that describes an objective of the Holy Quran.

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82 Contemplating the Real Truth

(38:29) This is a blessed Book We have revealed to you, so that they meditate in its Aayaths, and so that the men of understanding may do zikr.

ِ ْ ﴾٩٢﴿ ‫كتَاب أَنزلْنَاه إِلَيْك مبَارك لِّيَدبَّروا آيَاتِه ولِيَتَذكر أُولُو اْلَلْبَاب‬ َّ ٌ َ ُ َ ُ َ ٌ ِ َ َّ َ َ ِ ُ

Q1 – Now, getting on to the first question. I would like to begin by asking a simple question,
‘What is a Religion?’ There would be many answers; however a simple one would be, teaching a person to be good. Then we have this question, what do you mean by good? This could bring up a number of answers, but these answers would all fall in to two broad categories, namely the ethical good and the religious good. Now again we have these questions, what is ethical good and what is religious good? Well ethical good is what all human beings agree on as being good. Like, telling the truth. Being kind to your children, being sensitive to the needs of your neighbors, being punctual, being clean or hygienic, being a useful member of society or your community, being prompt in payments etc etc. Everyone would say that this is good. This is ethical good. Then we have the category which we refer to as religious good. When we say religious good, it could vary from religion to religion. For example all religions would say that it is good to follow the rituals of that religion. The religious rituals from religion to religion are different. As Muslims, we agree, that praying 5 times a day is good; fasting in the month of Ramazaan or even catching Sunnath Fasts is good, learning and reading Quran is good, and so on. Every Muslim would understand the meaning of religious good. Now, we would all agree that the model or the exemplary standard for all good is that shown or demonstrated by our Prophet, Prophet Muhammad (Sal) Now when we look at our lives, we find that we lack in perfect goodness. There have been many instances in all our lives where we have not been ethically or even religiously good. For example, I could say that in my life I may have been scolded around a thousand times, I am sure that the scolding’s were justified in at least 950 times. It may be that there would have been some misunderstanding around 50 times. So the reason why I have got scolded or even abused or even had some aggression directed at me would in all probability be because I have done something wrong or something not good. Now I ask this question, if the Prophet Muhammad (Sal) or even all the accepted Prophets have been good, not just good, but the models of goodness, why should people abuse them? Why should people even create the conditions where these Prophets have had to leave their home towns? They had to migrate! Who was being aggressive? It was their own relations, their own kith and kin. So I ask why??? If they were so good why should abuse and aggression be directed at them?

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82 Contemplating the Real Truth

If abuse or aggression is directed at me, I would admit it was because I have done some wrong, and that wrong is recognizable. The Prophets who did only good, they were the models of goodness, they were in fact incapable of doing wrong – because if a Prophet told a lie, his entire credibility would be gone, and that is something we cannot even imagine about a Prophet. So the question is why were the Prophets, scolded, abused and even persecuted out of their own home towns? I find it very difficult to understand. Let me explain further. As Muslims we are given advice, always to be good. We hear this advice from our Parents, from our relatives, from our teachers and from well meaning people. We hear this advice at Jummah Kutba’s, at Bayans in the Mosque, in talks by religious dignitaries through various media. Now if we were to list out all the ‘good’ that we have been listening to, the probable list would read as follows; 1. Do not tell lies 2. Obey your parents 3. Pray 5 times a day. 4. Fast in the month of Ramazaan 5. Pay your Zakaath 6. Perform hajj or Umrah 7. Help the poor, the orphans the needy 8. Help to build, renovate or maintain Mosques, Madrassahs and institutions of religious importance 9. Give importance for education 10. Cut down on wedding expenses 11. Recite the Holy Quran 12. Learn Masnun Dhuas 13. Get involved in religious social reform activities 14. Assist the government in good works 15. Generously give Sadaqa, Hadhiya etc Now the point I wish to make is that if this list is shown to anyone, be he a Muslim or a non Muslim, everyone would say ‘Correct, this is how a Muslim should be!’ The leaders of our Country, the leaders of our community, even personalities like Mahatma Ghandhi or even Albert Einstein I am sure would say, ‘Correct, this is how a Muslim should be!’ I am quite sure that in any Muslim community or society, the person who excels in these many listed points would automatically be chosen by his people as the most suitable person to lead the community, to be the Trustee of the Grand Mosque of the locality, to be a Director in the Orphanage, the Madrassah, any other social organizations etc. The leaders of the country would often seek his advice and support for many of the projects they hope to implement. Now the troubling question, ‘If this is an explanation or an elaboration of the phrase ‘a good Muslim’, and the Prophet and his close companions were models of this goodness, why were they all scolded, abused, persecuted and even after they had migrated over 400 kms away, a 12 day journey through the desert, their kith and kin did not forget them, but came over to Medinah to wipe them out. WHY???!!!

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82 Contemplating the Real Truth

I am very very certain that we are missing out on something very very important. We are all well settled in what I would call the ‘comfort zones’ of goodness, but the true goodness, the goodness that is bitter for us to swallow or even think about, we have conveniently avoided, we do not even mention it, leave alone talk about it. Our goodness is all ‘comfort goodness’, we operate in our comfort zones. So if there is goodness that makes some or all of us uncomfortable, what is that goodness??!! Why does it not strike our minds??!!

Q2 - Now on to question No 2, let me describe to you another perplexing question.
In Surah Baqarah, Allah Ta’aalah describes the Kaafir as follows in Aayath Nos 6 & 7;

(2:6) Surely for those who have disbelieved, it is all the same whether you warn them or you warn them not: they do not believe.

ِ ‫إِن الَّذين كفروا سواء عَلَيْهم أَأَنذرَتَ ُم أَم لَم‬ ْ ْ ْ ْ َ ْ ِ ٌ َ َ ُ َ َ َ َّ ﴾﴿ ‫ُتنذرهم َل يُؤمنُون‬ ٦ َ ِْ َ ْ ُِْ ‫َ َّ ع ُ ِ ْ َ ع َ ْ ِ ِ ْ َع‬ ٰ َ‫ختَم اّلل ََلَ ٰقلُوبِهم و ََلَ َٰسعهم ۖ و ََل‬ ُ َ ِ ِ ِ ﴾٧﴿ ‫أَبْصارهم غشاوة ۖ وَلُم عَذاب عظيم‬ ٌ َ ٌ َ ْ َ َ ٌَ َ ْ ِ َ

Now who are these people? Let us see how Allah describes them.

(2:7) Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing; and on their eyes there is a covering, and for them awaits a mighty punishment.

Now, what troubles me or worries me is that, obviously there has to be a number of disbelievers or the Kaafir around us. But I do not see people who are deaf dumb and blind. Now the obvious answer to that is that in this case Allah Ta’aalah is not referring to the physical act of seeing, hearing and thinking, but He is obviously referring to the thought processing that should arise from seeing hearing and thinking. In other words true believers would have an added faculty or facility of thinking hearing and seeing, which the Kaafir or whom we call the non believer, would not have. But again, what troubles me is that I do not see anything different to what Muslims think hear and see to what anyone else would think hear and see? So, what could this mean? It could either mean that everyone on Earth including those whom we recognize as Muslims and even those whom we think are Kaafir or non Muslim, are we all equally thinking, seeing and hearing or the more frightening thought, is it that all of us, all the Muslims, non Muslims and even those we recognize as Kaafir are all equally deprived? Now that is a very frightening thought. The next Aayath in Surah Baqarah, does not comfort us. Let us see what it says;

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82 Contemplating the Real Truth

(2:8) And among men there are some who say, “We believe in Allah and in the Last Day”, yet they are not believers.

ِ ِ ِ ِ ‫ومن النَّاس من يَقول آمنَّا بِاّلل وبِالْيَوم اْلخر وما‬ َ َ ِ ْ ْ َ َّ َ ُ ُ َ ِ َ َ ﴾﴿ ‫هم ِِبؤم ِنني‬ ٨ َ ُِْ ُ

To me, this is probably the most frightening Aayath in the Holy Quran. Here He is referring to a group of people who really believe that they are Mu’mins or believers, but Allah tells us that they are not, and the best part – they just do not realize!! (Wamaa Yashghuroon) So who would this group be? How do I identify them? Am I one of them? Are we in this group? How do we find out? How do we rectify ourselves? Allah describes them in the next few Aayaths; (2:9) They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they are not deceiving anyone except themselves, although they are unaware of it. (2:10) In their hearts there is a malady, so Allah has made them grow in their malady; and for them there is a grievous punishment, because they have been lying.

‫ُُيَادعون اّللَوالَّذين آمنُوا‬ َ َ ِ َ َّ َ ُ ِ ﴾٢﴿ ‫وما َُيْدعون إَِل أَنفسهم وما يَشعرون‬ َ ُ ُ ْ َ َ ْ ُ َ ُ َّ َ ُ َ َ َ ِ ﴾٠١﴿ ‫وَلُم عَذاب أَلِيم ِِبَا كَانُوا يَكذ ُبون‬ َ ْ ٌ ٌ َ ْ ََ ۖ ‫ِِف قلُوبِهم مرض فَزادَهم اّلل مرضا‬ ً َ َ ُ َّ ُ ُ َ ٌ َ َّ ِ ُ

Who are these people? Am I not one of them? Are we all in this category, or are we not? How do we find out, before it is too late? Are these not huge questions? Now, another question that bothers me. This is question No 3.

Q 3 - There are 2 words. One is belief and the other is conviction.
Now all of us know that conviction is a deeper or a stronger level of belief. Now let us look at Aayaths No’s 2, 3 & 4 of Surah Baqarah (2:2) This Book has no doubt in it - a guidance for the God-fearing, (2:3) who believe in the Unseen, and are steadfast in Salāh (prayer), and spend out of what We have provided them;

﴾٩﴿ ‫ذََلِك الْكتَاب َل ريَْ فِيه هد لِّلُْتَّقِني‬ ً ُ ِ َ َ َ ُ ِ َ ٰ َ ُ ِ ِ َ َّ ِ ‫الَّذين يُؤمنُون بِالْغَيَْ ويُقِيُون الصَلةَ وِمَّا‬ َ ُ َ ِ َ ْ َ َ ِ ﴾٣﴿ ‫رزَقْنَاهم يُنفقون‬ َ ُ ْ ُ َ

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82 Contemplating the Real Truth

(2:4) and who believe in what has been revealed to you and what has been revealed before you; and they have conviction in the Hereafter.

ِ ِ ِ ِ ‫والَّذين يُؤمنُون ِِبَا أُنزل إِلَيْك وما أُنزل من قَبْلِك‬ َ َ َ ْ َ َ ََ َ َ ِ ِ ﴾٤﴿ ‫وبِاْلخرةَ هم يُوقِنُون‬ َُِ ْ َ َ ْ

The point I wish to draw attention to is that Allah Ta’aalah describes a MuttaQi and tells us that one quality of this MuttaQi is that he will believe in the unseen – Yu’minoon bil ghaib Now again in Aayath No 177 of this same Surah, Allah Ta’aalah elaborates on the ingredients of Yu’minoona bil ghaib

(2:177) Righteousness is not (merely) that you turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteousness is that one believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets,

ِ ِ ْ َ ِ ِ ْ ْ َ ْ ُ َ ُ ُ َ َّ َ ‫لَّيْس ال ِِْب أَن ُتولُّوا وجوهكم قِبَل اْلَشرق واْلَغْرب‬ َِ َْ ِ ِ ْ ِ ِ َ َ َ ْ َ َ َّ ِ ‫ول ٰـ َكن ال ِِْب من آمن بِاّلل والْيَوم اْلخر واْلََل ِئكة‬ ْ َ ّ َ َ ّ ِ ‫والْكتَاب والنَّبِيِّني‬ َ ِ َ َ

So it follows, that when Allah says Yu’minoona bil ghaib, He means that the MuttaQi would believe in these 4 things viz: Aamana BilLLaaHi Wabil Yaumil Aakhiri Wal Malaa’ikathi Wan Nabeeyeen And then in the end of Aayath No 4 Allah Ta’aalah tells us that the MuttaQi would have YaQeen or conviction in the hereafter. Why does Allah Ta’aalah say Yu’minoona Bil ghaib and then follow it with wa bil Aakhirath Hum YooQinoon – and they have conviction in the hereafter, which would mean a stronger level of imaan or a certitude, a feeling of certainty! In the next Aayath Allah informs us; (2:5) It is these who are guided by their Lord; and it is just these who are successful.

ِ ‫أُولـ َئِك عََلَ ٰهد من ربِّهم ۖ وأُولـ َئِك هم اْلُفلِحون‬ ُ ْ ْ ُ ُ َ ٰ َ ْ ِ َّ ّ ً ُ َ ٰ َ

So we could infer that those who are rightly guided and are successful should believe in the unseen, but should have conviction in the hereafter. How could we understand this? An analogy I would draw is about a student and an important exam. All students know about the exam, they believe that if they do not fare well at the exam, their future career could be jeopardized, but only those who are convinced of this would seriouls devote all their time to studying and preparing for this exam. Those who believe but are not fully convinced are easily distracted. Thus we have to believe in the unseen and have conviction in the hereafter.

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82 Contemplating the Real Truth

We should be able to observe the world and all its happenings and rationally become aware that man can do anything in this world. We also observe that people do good and people do evil. We also observe that in trying to fulfill our desires we have to compromise, and in most instances these compromises we make are sinful. We also observe that there are those who do good. They do not compromise but make sacrifices. Apparently what we see in this world is that those who compromise become wealthy and powerful whilst he who makes sacrifices apparently becomes modest and is consequently disdained by society. So, where is the justice? These views of the world should convince us that it is when we die that we have to give account of our lives and how we lived it. This conviction should become stronger and stronger as we keep on witnessing the ways of the world. But does this happen? Are we like the student who knows that there is an important exam in front but lacks the conviction to devote time for its proper preparation? Why is it that we do not have this conviction? Dear friends, in today’s talk, I brought up 3 questions that bother me about the truths of this world. There are many more questions. The purpose of voicing these questions is that you listeners too may start thinking about them and other questions too and maybe Insha Allah reality will dawn on us soon. In brief the 3 question were; 1. Why is it that our description of what a good Muslim should be, would meet with everyone’s approval, whilst the Prophet and his close companions, who were the best of all Muslims, faced abuse, aggression and had to migrate? 2. Who are these people that Allah describes as deaf dumb and blind? Are we in that group? 3. We should believe in the unseen, but have conviction in the hereafter. Why is that? And do our deeds and actions reflect our real conviction in the hereafter? May Allah guide us all and accept us all! Jazza Kalla Khair!
Imtiaz Muhsin Colombo Sri Lanka crescent786@hotmail.com

You Tube Channel - HaneefanMusliman

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82 Contemplating the Real Truth

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