Ramadan Inspirations 08

If we consider God and the cosmos as two different realities, the object of human love may be God or something that is ‘other than God’. However, Nursi reminds us constantly that everything in the cosmos is a reflection of God, and therefore it soon becomes clear that even if we think we are loving something ‘other than God’, we are not, for ‘other than God’ actually has nothing in or of itself that is worthy of being loved: it is, after all, only a reflection. And so if we understand that the cosmos is nothing but the manifestation of God’s attributes, we also come to realise that there is nothing that can be loved apart from God. This applies to unbelievers as much as it does to believers. Nothing is actually loved for its own sake except God, for nothing actually points to itself, although naturally it appears to do so when we uproot it from its Divine soil and refuse to acknowledge its connection with the Creator. We may think that it is money or power or fame that we love, but on closer inspection it becomes clear that those things are not loved for themselves but for the qualities, attributes and effects that they represent. And those qualities, attributes and effects are all connected to the attributes of perfection which belong to God.

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Ramadan Inspirations 07

Clouds are endlessly fascinating, appearing often as if from nowhere, bubbling up into amazing forms and shapes, and then disappearing as quickly as they came. One of God’s names is ‘Munshi al-Sahab’ – He Who brings together, and separates, clouds – which in turn symbolise motion, flux and continuous creation. Motion and flux are everywhere in creation, even in the hardness of the mountain, which often seems impervious to change. But the Quran says that if you look at the mountain, you may believe it to be hard and tough. However, if you were able to see it as it really is, you would find that the mountain is in constant motion and endless flux. In fact, the Quran says that if you were to look closely, you would see that the mountains are moving ‘as though they were clouds’…(27:88). Amazing to think that these creatures are everyday fixtures in our skies, yet we hardly ever stop to look at them and marvel at their creation, 
and their significance.

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Ramadan Inspirations 06

While God allows evil, He is not ‘pleased’ with it. In this sense He is like a baker who wants people to taste hunger but not to remain hungry, for if they did, they would not want his bread. God wants us to taste hardship and misfortune, to taste earthly life and death, not because He wants those things for their own sake, but because He knows that if we do not suffer the limitation of mortality, we will never realise that we are immortal. We are like fish in water. The only way a fish can realise it is in water is if the fisherman catches it. It wriggles around on the hook, struggling to breathe, tasting the hardship and misfortune of life out of water, until it is thrown back again. Being ‘taken out of the water’ is painful, but it is the only way of realising where we come from.

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Ramadan Inspirations 05

O wretched people of misguidance and dissipation! What accomplishment of yours, what art, what perfection, what civilization, what progress, can confront this awesome silence of the grave, this crushing despair? Where can you find that true consolation that is the most urgent need of the human spirit?

What nature, what causality, what partner ascribed by you to God, what discovery, what nationality, what false object of worship, in each of which you place so much trust and to which you attribute God’s works and His sustaining bounties – which of them can deliver you from the darkness of death that you imagine to be eternal annihilation? Which of them can enable you to cross the frontiers of the grave, the boundaries of the intermediate realm, the marches of the plain of resurrection, the Bridge of Sirat? Which of them can bring about your eternal happiness?

–Said Nursi

Ramadan Inspirations 04

WE HEAR MANY PEOPLE who neglect the five daily prayers ask, “What need does God have of our worship that He should threaten those who give up worship with the fearsome punishments of Hell?” Well, the answer to this is simple: God Almighty has no need of your worship; nor, indeed, has He need of anything else. No, it is YOU who needs to worship, for in truth you are sick. As we have proved in many parts of the Risale-i Nur, worship is a sort of remedy for your spiritual illnesses and wounds. Now, if a sick person advised by his doctor to take medication regularly were to ask the doctor, “Why do you need me to take my medicine?”, you can understand how absurd he would sound!

–Said Nursi

Ramadan Inspirations 03

By God, as Muslims our enemy is not the West; our enemy is not the USA or Europe or Russia or China; as Muslims our enemy is not capitalism or poverty or the questionable morals of modernity. By God, as Muslims our misfortunes are not caused by this or that external force, or this or that external cause. Our problems are not the result of colonialism and imperialism, of failed ideologies such as socialism and communism. By God, our enemy is none of these. As Muslims, we should not look outside our own community and experience for scapegoats, because by God it is a digression. We Muslims are our own worst enemies. We are beset by ignorance, by spiritual detachment from God, by a chronic aversion to critical thinking. We are beset by religious externalism, by dry, hide-bound legalism and jurisprudential superficiality. We are beset by sectarian hatred, by racism and sexism, by an inability to engage with each other without judging, condemning and alienating. We are plagued by insincerity and lack of etiquette in social relations. We are plagued by insecurities, by a collective inferiority complex, by a fundamental self-loathing. Our intellectual and emotional growth is stunted; we are in fact emotional cripples who come alive only when we are criticising and castigating others, or when we use the club of takfir to beat about the head those who happen to disagree with us. We are plagued by the inability to realise that we do not have a monopoly on the truth, and that while we may say ‘my way is best’, we have no right to say that ‘my way is the only way’. We are enemies to ourselves, and the most dangerous enemies in our midst are the would-be scholars, the wannabe muftis, mullahs and mujtahids who read a book or two and play at being Plato. We Muslims are our own worst enemies, and the worst of the worst are the faux-scholars, the fake ustads, the pretend philosophers, the self-aggrandizing appropriators and regurgitators of knowledge who neither benefit anyone with their half-understood and badly digested doctrines, nor take benefit from them themselves. Ignorance, misplaced zeal, lack of humility, pretensions of scholarship, delusions of intellectual grandeur – these are slings and arrows that are being launched day-in, day-out by our celebrity sheikhs, our Internet Islamevangelists, our DIY muftis and self-styled experts in ‘the Deen’. So let’s not pretend that we have identified our enemy and now all we need to do is ‘throw off the yoke of capitalism’ or ‘fight jihad against the occupiers of Muslim lands’ or ‘re-establish the Caliphate’ so that all our problems will somehow disappear. Because even if we defeat capitalism, throw the Zionists out of Palestine, take back ‘our’ Muslim lands from the hands of the oppressors and unite the Muslim world under a single ruler, tragically the problem will remain. Because we will still be us. We will still be who we are today, with the problems that we project onto causes other than ourselves, with all of the negatives that we choose not to see because it hurts, because it clashes with the over-hyped vision we have of ourselves as the ‘chosen’ ummah, the middle ummah, the blessed ummah. By God, the enemy is not at the gate; the enemy is inside the house, looking out. And it’s later than we think.

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

 

Ramadan Inspirations 01

In this world everyone is preoccupied with a separate affair. One is in love with women, one is in love with wealth, another is engaged in acquiring possessions, another in acquiring knowledge. Everyone believes that their cure, their joy, their pleasure and comfort can be found in that one thing. And that is a Divine mercy, because when they search they cannot find, and so they return. After they have waited a while, they say again, “That joy and pleasure must be looked for. Perhaps I didn’t try hard enough. I will search again.” Then they look again, but still they cannot find their desire. So they continue, until that time when Truth removes Its veil. Then they know.

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)

Don’t work out! Live…

Here is why you should not work out but live your life:

I mean live your life!

Live fully… Does farmer Joe put on his sneakers and drive to the gym? Does the janitor end his 12 hour shift and go jogging? Des the waitress mom count her plunges before picking up the kid from daycare? No, they don’t. Because they spent hours walking, bending, picking up weights, etc. AND they made money doing it. They produced something in return. They were living life.

They didn’t waste energy on a stationary bike.

You may not have a physically demanding job. In fact you might be sitting at your desk all day. Well, then.

Go home and wash the dishes (by hand!). Do your laundry and hang up the clothes outdoors. Vacuum. Clean. Iron. Cook. Tidy up.

These are constant requirements of a well-running household. They are needed multiple times a day.

Why not drop the maid and the nanny and the dry cleaning…? Why not try to do most by hand? Save money. Be greener. Enjoy the satisfaction of producing something. Experience the joy of self-sufficiency. Connect with your family and share the chores while taking care of your own needs.

Play with your kids! Run wild with them until you fall on the ground from exhaustion. It would be the most enjoyable work out of your life.

Dance around the house… dig the earth and plant herbs. Experience the miracles of life. This is why we are here. The sooner we reconnect with the earth and find our purpose, the happier we will be.

Take charge of your life and life fully: reclaim the natural rhythm and balance of your life.

It is good for our body and your soul.

Living for Today, Tomorrow, and Eternity

As humans we are inclined to doing everything we do in order to benefit ourselves in this life however we should also consider the life in the hereafter. Live as if you will live together because everything you do will affect today, tomorrow, and eternity!

“If you doubt the existence of a hereafter, consider this: The baby in the womb has eyes with which it cannot see; a mouth through which it cannot eat; and lungs with which it cannot breathe. It is clear, then, that eyes, mouth and lungs were created not for the world of the womb, but for the world outside the womb. Similarly, we in this world have imaginations that can embrace infinity; we have desires that reach out to eternity; and we have needs that are truly never-ending. It is clear, then, that imaginations, desires and needs were not created for this world alone, but mainly for the world which is yet to come…”

–Dr. Colin Turner (author of Islam the Basics)