Sunday, March 27, 2016

Chapter 32; Those Who Do Good Find Good, Part 2

Those Who Do Good Find Good, Part 2
(Chapter 32 in “The Quran and the Life of Excellence” by Dr. Sultan Abdulhameed)
And when it is said to those who are conscious of God, “What is it that your Lord has revealed?” They say, “What is good.” For those who do good, there is good in this world, but the reward in the hereafter is better still; for how excellent is the abode of the God conscious!
During our regular bi-monthly Meetups in New York City which are based on the book by Dr. Sultan Abdulhameed, our practice is to discuss one chapter from Dr. Abdulhameed’s book two times in a row. On March 7th, we discussed Chapter 32 (summary of the chapter and some thoughts of those present were posted previously) and on March 21st, we discussed the same chapter again.
When we thought about this chapter again, we thought that a person of faith is always hopeful and always tries to help self and others. It seems that a majority of Muslims is stuck and so paying attention to what we think about when we think about God, if we at all think about Him - which in and of itself is a problem - and reevaluating our beliefs should be our priority. We must understand that by following rituals blindly, memorizing Quran without reflecting on it and doing what others tell us we should do because that means piety, we tend to not think about what we are doing nor do we think about God. It is possible to go through our lives without once reflecting on what it is that God wants to tell us. Consider an example of an engineer memorizing a book on building a bridge; who among us would say that that bridge would not collapse? Being passive and accepting misery are states that are opposite of what this aya teaches because in order to do good and receive good, one has to actually think about what one wants to achieve and then act, that is, do something.
Reflecting back on the part of the chapter where Dr. Abdulhameed stated that a lot of us feel that we need an expert to tell us what is the right way to think because we are not learned in religion, we feel that trying to live through someone else’s mindset makes our lives complicated and difficult because that other person, that is, an expert, did not have the experiences in life we had. If we try to live our lives through someone else’s eyes, then we tend to compare ourselves to others. What can comparing ourselves to others mean to us and for our own lives? We must lay ourselves bare before our own selves because we are bare before God no matter what. So, why not be honest and brave with ourselves and ask ourselves what is it that we believe and why do we believe that and what is it that we want to achieve in life? We must ask so that we may receive.
What complicates things in many Muslim communities is that when we were taught the basic tenets of our religion, we were not taught to quiet ourselves so that we can hear ourselves and think deeply about God and the things He said to us. Our Prophet used to spend a third of the day and a third of the night by himself. Why? So that he may quiet himself in order to think and reflect. Any deep insight is not gained by cursory reading. If we think about something deeply, then we become resourceful.
Dr. Abdulhameed has also developed an exercise for each chapter to help us internalize the ideas behind the chapter. The exercise for this chapter states:
1) Write a paragraph about an interpretation of religion which results in harm. Describe an alternate interpretation of the same teaching that can be beneficial.
2) Write a paragraph abut a belief you had in the past out of which you have evolved. Describe how this change occurred.
3) What part of your life can be described as doing good to others?
Summary posted by Alma Subasic

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