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April 23, 2014 | Jumada Al-Thani 22, 1435
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IslamiCity > Articles > Spiritual Awakening and the Future of Our World
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We, who call ourselves as Muslims - who wish to lead an Islamic life - need to be more aware of when our passions and evil forces are attempting to make us act contrary to the higher virtues, values and characteristics.

Spiritual Awakening and the Future of Our World
1/22/2013 - Religious Social - Article Ref: IV1111-4921
Number of comments: 3
Opinion Summary: Agree:3  Disagree:0  Neutral:0
By: Asad Khan
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The Future does not equal the past, does it?

Ever since man was created, the Angels questioned the Creator about the bloodshed and mischief that would be manifest due the actions of man. Almighty God, the Greatest, replied "I know that which you do not" (Quran 2:30). God knew that He had created a being that was capable of bringing the forces of nature under his control - so long as he acted aright and with full reliance in his Maker. And so man was set on Earth to fulfill the noble mission of this stewardship: to ensure that the environment, nature, and all people co-exist peacefully with due rights and consideration given to all the elements.

But man was created in a complex fashion - his mind, heart, body and inner-self would be in constant flux and imbalance, with passions and desire often getting the better than reason and intellect; with negative attitudes such as arrogance, greed and envy getting the better of virtues like humility, charity and forgiveness. This battle of the inner and outer forces of man are the very basis of his 'testing period' here on Earth, as God, the Almighty states "Who created death and life in order to test which of you is best in deed" (Quran 67:2).

The crowning glory of every man is to be successful on the The Great Day when he will be held responsible for all his thoughts, intentions, feelings, motives and actions. There will be no escaping from the Accountability of Almighty God in His Great Court - all of a person's life will be laid bare - his own limbs, emotions and motives will give evidence to testify either for or against him. Successful will be the man who earns God's grace That Day and successful will be the ones whose balance of good is weightier than his bad deeds.

Islamic Awakening of an individual can only occur when every person realizes his and her own personal duty towards themselves, their neighbors and society, towards nature and the environment, and ultimately towards God. This realization will lead to a heightened level of personal honor and a sense of nobility - that he has been created by God "Then He (God) fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him a spirit from us (the soul)" (Quran 32:9). This realization combined with an attitude of accountability will help create an atmosphere of responsibility and due care. 

Every child, mother and person knows what it means to act with love, care, kindness, patience and understanding. These virtues are recognized the world over as they are a part of God's nature: as all good belongs to Him, emanates from Him, and returns to Him alone. We, who call ourselves as Muslims - who wish to lead an Islamic life - need to be more aware of when our passions and evil forces are attempting to make us act contrary to the higher virtues, values and characteristics. We need to understand that our benevolence, grace and compassion are much greater at winning the game of life than when we exercise our lesser selves - acting with anger or irrationality will only debase our own credibility, it goes against our moral nature, and is not befitting for our purer soul.

In this way, Awakening occurs precisely due to Awareness: the keys to this awareness are many, but to mention some important ones here (a) every person has to increase their knowledge of life, the truth of this world, and the grand scheme of God; (b) they ought to ensure that they use the 'aql (intellect), which has been bestowed upon humans to differentiate them from other living entities, working for the greater good through beneficial innovation, functioning within the framework of God's Law; (c) to retain a healthy level of critical thinking, to have an attitude of curiosity, and to question openly the norms of our times, life, history and nature. 

As well as this personal responsibility given to every man, there is an added responsibility upon the leaders of every nation to help 'navigate mankind's ship to a safe and prosperous destination'; as Muslims, we believe this is the fulfillment of the soul's yearning - to be in proximity with its Creator. On Earth, we are guided to seek this divine proximity through prayer, devotion, positive contribution, self-sacrifice and charity. There is not a person on Earth who will not recognize a genuine act of kindness, care or charity. We must give more back than we take, if man is to reach the heights that have been destined for him.

In Surah Al-Ma'ida ('The Table Top', Chapter 5 of the Final Testament, The Holy Quran)  (Quran 5:15-5:19) we read:

15. O people of the Book! There has come to you our Messenger, revealing to you much that you used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary). 

16. There has come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book - wherewith Allah (God) guides all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leads them out of darkness, by His will, unto the light - guiding them to a path that is straight.

17. In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then has the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every - one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He creates what He pleases. For Allah has power over all things."

18. (Both) the Jews and the Christians say: "We are sons of Allah, and his beloved." 

Say: "Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay, you are but men - of the men he has created: He forgives whom He pleases, and He punishes whom He pleases: and to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all)"

19. O People of the Book! Now has come unto you, making (things) clear unto you, Our Messenger, after the break in (the series of) our apostles, lest you should say: "There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner (from evil)": But now has come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner (from evil). And Allah has power over all things.

When we wish to understand world events, we cannot really dissociate the spiritual dimension from the physical one, as this will only lead to a lesser understanding of causes and effects. As believers in God's Message, His Book and His Messengers, we must trust in His Judgment and Wisdom at all times: that He is ultimately The One Who controls all affairs and to Him is our final return. Despite confusion, turmoil, politicking, double standards, negation of rights, injustices, propaganda, subjugation, oppression, denial of truths and fairness, we must remember that "God (Allah) has power over all things."

Much can be said about the world events and current 'Islamic Awakening' but the central point, as it always is, is about higher matters of fairness, justice and trust in God, His Commandments and His Order. Herein lies the 'test' referred to earlier, of not only every individual, but of also the nations and states that constitute such people and races. God's mercy and bounties are distributed freely - imagine for a moment that there are now over seven billion people inhabiting the Earth, and still there is more than sufficient food, water, shelter and clothing to for all. Truly, "Allah has power over all things."

When people are taken away from this central point of acting in accordance to God's commands, they rely on their own senses and faculties alone - perceiving that their strengths and judgments are greater than any other. This only happens when a person, or a people, who are depending on God's mercy anyway to live on this Earth of His, begin to consciously deny God as the rightful Owner, Creator, Provider and Master of the Universe. Steeped in self-indulgence, the luxuries and comforts surrounding them dull their spiritual senses and arrogance, false pride and jealousy take over. This arrogance leads to corruption and abuse of power, which in turn leads to acts of greed and monopolization.

Greed, Envy, Corruption and Over-Consumption

This is precisely how the rulers and dictators in the Middle East region have been behaving over the past 40 to 50 years or so. They are no different to a dictator from any other region of the world, as the nature of a dictator is the same whichever country he maybe ruling: to rule with tyranny and disregard of basic freedoms of speech, consultations, debates and democratic processes. But sometimes, it can be argued that a people bring to power such dictators, or rulers, as they themselves deserve: it's a two-way process. Let us continue with Surah Al-Maida (Quran 5:20-5:26) and hear what Allah instructs us:

20. Remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! Call in remembrance the favor of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples.

21. "O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah has assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will you be overthrown, to your own ruin."

22. They said: "O Moses! In this land are a people of exceeding strength: Never shall we enter it until they leave it: if (once) they leave, then shall we enter."

23. (But) among (their) Allah-fearing men were two on whom Allah had bestowed His grace: They said: "Assault them at the (proper) Gate: when once you are in, victory will be yours; But on Allah put your trust if you have faith."

24. They said: "O Moses! While they remain there, never shall we be able to enter, to the end of time. Go you, and thy Lord, and fight you two, while we sit here (and watch)."

25. He said: "O my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother: so separate us from this rebellious people!"

26. Allah (God) said: "Therefore will the land be out of their reach for forty years: In distraction will they wander through the land: But sorrow you not over these rebellious people.

The Children of Israel were granted manifest bounties from God, not least the land, opportunity to thrive, power, provisions, free-trade, commerce, travel and security. But they abused their position and became weak-hearted after Moses led them away from the bondage of Pharaoh towards Mount Sinai. Clearly they had rebelled, which led to their own ruin. Rather than working for their own inheritance and future with faith and courage, they relied on Moses and his God to turn out the enemy first. In God's law, we must work and strive for what we wish to enjoy.

This passage of events is not only referred to in the Final Testament (The Quran), but also in the Old Testament in the Book of Numbers, where we are informed how Moses sent a group of 12 men to examine the land North of Sinai. They came back with reports of "a land with milk and honey" - a rich country full of delights like pomegranates, figs, olives and grapes. Joshua (who took the leadership of the Israelites after the "forty years of wandering.") and Caleb were the only ones amongst the twelve men who reported back positively.

However, the remaining ten men reported badly of strong men - the great stature of the Canaanites - in the new land, and this further inflamed the crowd, who were prepared to stone Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, and return back to Egypt. Their reply to Moses was full of irony, insolence, blasphemy and cowardice. In effect they said: "You talk of your God and all that - go with your God and fight there if you like - we shall sit here and watch." The people of Israel had no faith, nor courage, and Moses remonstrated with them.

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