On November 14th, 2016, during our meeting in NYC, we discussed Chapter 36 from the book, The Quran and the Life of Excellence. Our discussion was based on the following ayas:
Sura 16; Ayas 78-81
And God has brought you out from your mothers’ bodies not knowing anything – but He has given you hearing and sight and feelings, so that you may be grateful.
Have they not seen the birds flying in the air? None but God holds them up. In this surely there are messages for people who have faith.
And God has given you houses as places of rest, ad tents from skins of animals – easy for you to handle when you travel and you camp – and furnishings and goods for temporary use from their skins and their wool and their hair.
And God has made for you, in what He created, means of protection: thus, He has given you places of shade in the hills, and garments to protect you from heat and cold, as well as such garments that protect you from danger.
In this way, He bestows blessings on you, so that you might acknowledge Him.
Looking at the ayas above, we can see the emphasis God places on acknowledging Him and His favors as we contemplate the world around us through the senses which have been given to us. It is clear that we are not responsible for having the bodies we have and for sensing what we sense. It is all created to serve one God and He is asking us to help ourselves by simply taking heed for a few minutes every day. To the extent we think about Him regularly, we will come to the conclusions expressed in the Quran.
Focusing more specifically on how we can help ourselves, we need to make sure that we acknowledge many gifts we have in our lives. Even if we are facing great problems, there are some things we can think of which are helping us and for which we can feel grateful, such as: we have a room or a home to rest in, we have clothes to protect us from hot or cold, we have the ability to her and speak, etc. Changing our focus from what is bothering us to what is helping us, shifts our spiritual energy from negative to positive.
We clearly can’t ignore our problems because we have to protect ourselves as that is our inherent need. It is the mindset with which we approach our thinking and doing anything about our problems that makes the difference. Talking about our problems continuously prevents our minds and bodies from getting out of the negativity which we have attracted within and without ourselves, but when we look to see how else we can approach the predicament we are in, will, in time, bring some ideas that we can use to resolve our problems. God is here to help us go through everything we face in life, not to constantly intervene and remove problems from our lives. If we think about it, we will, in time, realize that no strength of spirit or of body can come without significant amount of work.