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Messages - HOPE

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Discussions / secularism
« on: September 02, 2013, 06:38:59 AM »

Discussions / tadabbur
« on: August 31, 2013, 05:57:10 AM »

"5% think, 10% think they think, 85% would rather die than think." — Anonymous

In Islam "enlightened thinkers” are known as Raushanfekran.

"Afalaa utadabbaroon al-Quran?

(4:82)" Do they not do tadabbur in the Quran?

So says Allah in the Quran. Tadabbur means highly concentrated goal-oriented critical thinking like the way scientists do when challenged to find something new or when they embark upon solving a difficult problem.

Qur'anic view of creative reflection is called al-Basira. In Islam Ijtihad or independent thinking is used as a principle of creative and critical thinking; rationality and scientific rationality in a secular perspective.

The Quran encourages us over and over again to think, reflect, ponder, understand and analyse. However, very rarely do parents encourage children to question. Our response to difficult inquiries from our children is to say "do it because I said so." This discourages the children from developing critical thinking. They become lazy and complacent and easy prey to cult type following. To take things at face value makes us vulnerable.

Reason is the common bond of all humans, a means of connecting to the world and to others, the same reason through which Plato and Aristotle communicated their views. Reason and intellect represent the only way of understanding this world, even though this understanding is too relative to guide us to ultimate truths. Our great thinkers, while aware of the indispensability of reason, knew that reason alone could not discover all of reality. Our religious tradition claims that it is ultimately faith of the heart, not the intellect that comprehends the whole of reality. (11)

If we think of reason and faith as contradictory and opposed to one another, because reason achieves more instrumental impact in this world, faith will be sidelined. It is important to note that the faith I am talking about exists alongside and parallel to reason, not in opposition to it.

Reason can merely take us to the gates of the afterlife. Even though it is aware that the world is not limited to the material, it cannot go farther than this world. It is here that faith must step in. Humans cannot do without reason in their lives as they encounter practical matters, and if they have to choose between faith and reason, they will choose the latter. Interpretations of the world based on reason are relative, a relativity that also permeates our perceptions of religion. But if our understanding of religious tradition and the Quran gets moribund (declining) and in need of transformation, this does not mean that tradition and the Quran have aged themselves. Our intellect is capable of adapting to the current world while also remaining attuned to tradition and the Quran, such that the solid essence of religion is not harmed. Our religious thinking is bound to evolve. (12)

Due to the regime of taqlid or blind imitation, imposed in the name of religion from about the 12th century until the end of the 19th century, the Muslims swallowed the teachings of the so-called `Four Great Imams', even the wholesale medieval theology and jurisprudence, in toto.

There were many factors that gave rise to this blind imitation regime of that period and we cannot discuss them here. Nevertheless, it is important for us to realize that after nearly a hundred years since the reopening of the door if ijtihad or critical thinking by Muhammad Abduh's reform movement, this taqlid regime is still with us. (13)

One should develop critical thinking ability in one's studies first: in science, mathematics, computers, and economics, whatever subject one has chosen. If you cannot develop this ability most probably you would not understand the Quran.

Also, understanding of the Quran is a long and hard and a lifelong process. And it requires lot of patience and perseverance plus it demands sacrifice. Therefore, you should first try to take few important verses of the Quran (the ones dealing with human relationships and character building) and try to integrate them in your life and studies. Of course it will be very hard and there will be lot of temptations to skirt. But try to avoid them. But keep in mind that we are human beings. We make mistakes. So, don’t feel too bad or don’t be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes. Just make sure that next time you are careful. (14)

by Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D.
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.

Discussions / Re: hypocrisy
« on: August 29, 2013, 12:42:35 PM »
Peace Sardar

It is in English.  NasrTV

Discussions / hypocrisy
« on: August 29, 2013, 08:01:33 AM »

dangerous flaw of the soul that might lead to WWIII

May God save us!

General Discussions / Re: forgiving
« on: August 28, 2013, 02:11:06 AM »
Salaam brother,

Your points are clear but my mind isn't.  Afuw, Ghafoor, Ghaffar are Divine attributes.  What you are saying is that Ghaffar conveys forgiveness and insulation from sinning.  I wonder now if it is why the Shia imams are believed to be masum because they are insulated or protected?

Where does Afuw fit in.  Is this redemption?  Is ghaffar keeping the errant soul on the al-mustaqeem (lateral level) and al'Afuw brings ascension because of deletion ?

How does this compare to human behavior? 3:134 wal-ʿāfīna the people Are these the muhsineen, do they forget and forgive for the sake of God?

General Discussions / Re: forgiving
« on: August 27, 2013, 01:10:03 AM »
salaam Optimist,

We are defining the same thing with different terminology.  What you describe as protection, I describe it as repentance.  You get forgiveness after repenting.  Forgiveness covers past; protection is for future.  You seek forgiveness for something you have already committed.

Prophets and Messengers / Buddhist impermanence
« on: August 26, 2013, 11:12:06 AM »

Peace to you all,

All formations are impermanent.

When a bird is alive, it eats ants.
When the bird is dead, the ants eat the bird.
Time and Circumstances can change at any time.
Don't devalue or hurt anyone in life.
You may be powerful today, but remember
Time is more powerful than you!
One tree makes a million matchsticks
Only one match stick is needed to burn a million trees. . .
So be good and do good!

There is a single source of Knowledge in the universe...

Discussions / Re: intolerance at epic proportions
« on: August 26, 2013, 08:18:43 AM »

Exactly, it is really alarming.  I do not know Arabic, thus could not read those comments but I can relate because I read them in English and Turkish.  I could not follow the conversation in the video other than that  they were questioned if they were Sunni. 

Thanks for watching and sharing your views on this subject which is very dear to my heart.

General Discussions / Re: forgiving
« on: August 26, 2013, 08:01:52 AM »
Peace Optimist,

Thanks for the lengthy explanation.  I believe 'Forgiveness' fits better than 'protection'.How will you get into Allah's protection without doing anything?  How am I going to vie with others for His protection.? Couple of verses prior, the subject was on riba. That and other shortcomings, if I repent which means to turn around, then I can hope for His forgiveness.  Seeking protection from the satan and all the others listed in Al-Falaq are conditions or situations which I'm not 100% responsible for.  I do not need to apologize for the evil of the envier when he envies.  But if I exploit you regarding your money, the crime is mine .

Discussions / intolerance at epic proportions
« on: August 25, 2013, 09:15:43 AM »
Salaam all,

Apologize for posting this graphic video but I feel it needs to be addressed.  Sunnis stop the traffic going to or exiting Syria to determine the sect of the drivers.  If you are Alawi, may God protect you.  It makes me sick and angry to hear God's name while perpetrating these murderous acts.

General Discussions / Re: About good and Evil
« on: August 24, 2013, 04:39:40 AM »
Peace b. Ahmad,

Then why does the verse say "what comes to you of evil, [O man], is from yourself

God being the source of all goodness, al-Birr, any negativity we experience stems from our limited understanding, IMHO.  Testing is not necessarily offered as a Pass/Fail situation but a remedy for a deficiency.  Sometimes the suffering and pain can serve as healing agents in their own right.  It may teach us to become strong, compassionate, faithful.  Like addicts, people do not change unless they hit the very bottom.  We can always find solace in the promise that God will not lay on us a burden greater than our capacity to bear.  We must experience the bad, the evil, the ugly so we can appreciate the goodness of virtue and want it for ourselves.

General Discussions / Re: forgiving
« on: August 23, 2013, 08:03:13 AM »
Salaam brother,

In 3:133, al-muttaqeen seek ways to get  Maghfiratin/ forgiveness from the Lord; I assumed maghfirati would be to forgive  But the next verse talks about Al-Muhsineen who pardon   wal-ʿāfīna

Different words of action for different grades of people: muttaqeen and muhsineen.  My view is that  the latter do everything the former do and then more.   Former will forgive when he is wronged for different reasons maybe one of them is to get into the Paradise, so there is an exchange of benefits.  Whereas the muhsineen lovingly pardons to attain higher consciousness.

I wanted to know the slight difference between these verbs of forgiving and pardoning if it makes sense to you.

General Discussions / forgiving
« on: August 23, 2013, 02:51:41 AM »

Is there a nuanced difference between maghfirati and afinna as in 3:134?


General Discussions / Re: 49:3
« on: August 22, 2013, 09:24:36 AM »

Thanks for the reply sister.  I was looking for the Quranic examples of taqwa where the derivatives of the word is used in the example.  Luqman's advice of moderation in walking and voice emphasizes arrogance. 

I guess it will suffice since from a sufi perspective in order to act on taqwa, one must abstain from all those that displeases God and arrogance tops the list.  Taqwa is such an umbrella term that can apply to unlimited situations.

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