On January 9th 20017, during our regular meeting in NYC, we discussed Chapter 44 from The Quran and the Life of Excellence. Our discussion was based on the following excerpts\ from the Quran:
Sura 17 Aya 11
People ask for things that are bad as if they were asking for something good, for people are prone to be hasty./People pray for things that are bad as if they were praying for something good, for people are prone to be hasty.
Man is a creature of haste (21:37)
These words tell us what God is seeing among people and is asking us to think things through before asking for something. This clearly addresses what God is repeatedly emphasizing throughout the Quran, which is that we need to take heed and reflect on what we are doing because neither a prayer without conscious belief nor an unexamined life will get us what we are hoping for and feel we are entitled to because, in our mind, we follow God’s precepts to the best of our ability. Only, and we can clearly say, only a life that incorporates our having consciously striven to understand what God is looking to teach us through our own unique difficulties and lenses will, with patient perseverance and holding on to His rope at difficult moments, in time, lead us to the right kind of understanding, increased faith, and a life truly lived in service to Him and through that, in service to the humanity.
To bring this closer to each of our lives, what is important to understand here is that we cannot assume that the self-evaluation and a plan made at the age of 20 is the same as at the age of 40. Because each one of us is unique, we each have a unique combination of skills meant to produce a specific result for this world. The wise thing to do is to reflect as much as possible but to also ask for an advice from people whose opinions we value at that stage in our lives. If we think deeply about that, it is very possible that each of us will be able to come up with one such person. I say this because by reading this chapter, we may be quick to say to ourselves that it is of course true that when we make any plan, those who have thought about it, benefit. But life isn’t very clear for a good number of us depending upon our life experiences leading up to the time when we have to make any decision. We constantly make decisions that are based on incomplete and sometimes conflicting information, to which we must add the time variable that we feel is pressing on us. Oftentimes, decisions are made for us. The idea is to incorporate within ourselves the notion that with God’s help we will continue to adjust and will continue to keep growing from each and every experience and through all of that to understand God’s work and wisdom behind it all -- that however painful and uncomfortable it currently is or has been, that each and every experience/amount of burden was measured out/calculated to help us eventually reach a better and more peaceful state in this life as well as the next.
Summary/Commentary by Alma Subasic