Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Case for God

"Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?"

"We shall show them Our portents on the horizons and within themselves until it will be manifest unto them that it is the Truth. Doth not thy Lord suffice, since He is Witness over all things?"
- Translation of the Quran by Pickthall - 41:53

Friday, December 26, 2014

What does it mean, to read?

Just finished a book called ' The Lost Art of Reading' by David L Ulin.   It discusses about what we achieve from reading and also the ability to read and sustain our attention to a book - quite challenging in our times - these times of endless distractions.   Distractions that come in many forms, mostly the Internet and the TV.   So it got me thinking about this whole idea of reading.

I have written before that the way we read now,  is also shaping our minds into shortening our attention span.  Most of the time, when we read online, we don't read a story and let our thoughts and feelings dwell on it.  We read, feel a bit and jump on to the next topic.  Just like that.   

I think this shaping started with the newspapers and the news on the screen media.   It's in these news, that we are trained to read or hear about stories and move on to the next.  The newscaster on TV may be delivering news about a disaster in a town, and then 'on a brighter note, at home' she delivers news of the great sale.

Then, there is also the case for information overload.  Let's not even talk about social media, loaded with trivia, mostly of no importance and irrelevant. 

Let's just talk about books. In the old days, there are some important and good books to read and even memorised by the learned.  But now the number of 'good books' are so numerous and so I question - Is it necessary to read all of those 'good books' to be in the know?

'Be in the know' - about what?  Do we even know what we want to know? - what we need to know - what is relevant to know?

What is relevance?  For me, relevant knowledge is a knowledge that will benefit me.   Benefiting me means it allows me to use the information to create or do something useful, be it for me or for my community.  If a knowledge does not do that for me - then it is irrelevant and just noise.

Then it brings me to this : what does it mean to read, as one who submits their will to God - in short, as a Muslim.

To be continued, insyaa Allaah.

Friday, December 19, 2014

7 types of people God loves

7 types of people God loves - as mentioned in the Qur'an.

1) At Tawwabiin (One who turn to Allah / repent constantly)
Excerpt from Al-Baqara [2:222]
إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.

2) Al Muttaqiin ( One who constantly tries to be taqwa - God conscious, acts aright, wards off evil)
Excerpt from Ali Imran [3:76]
فَإِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ
verily Allah loves those who act aright.

3) Al Muhsiniin (One who constantly does good)
Excerpt from Ali Imran [3:134]
وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
for Allah loves those who do good;-

4) As Sobiriin (One who is always patient, firm and steadfast)
Excerpt from Ali Imran [3:146]
وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الصَّابِرِينَ
And Allah Loves those who are firm and steadfast.

5) Al Muttawakkiliin (One who always puts their trust in God)
Excerpt from Ali Imran [3:159]
إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).

6) Al MuqsiTiin (One who is always just)
Excerpt from Al-Ma'idah [5:42]
إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
For Allah loveth those who judge in equity.

7) Al Muttohhiriin (One who always keep themselves clean, physically and spiritually)
Excerpt from At-Tauba [9:108]
وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ
and Allah loveth those who make themselves pure (keep themselves clean)

** Note, these are not the only ayats where God's love for a type of people is mentioned.
It can also be found in other ayats, but as a whole, it's these 7 types of people.
And of course, all of the above traits are found in the most beloved man, our Prophet S.A.W.
So, if we want to be loved by God, and to be safe, let's try our best to strictly follow the sunnah of the Prophet SAW.

Ali Imran (3:31)
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Say: "If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

As shared by Ustaz Hidayat in Quranication class 16th Dec 2014.
These list of 7 types of people has been mentioned in numerous books/articles written on the subject. The one Ustaz referred to was from an article written by Dr Muhammad Rateb An-Nablusi, which he quoted from Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawjiyyah (751H) in his books 'Madarij As Salikin' (The Understanding of the Seekers) and Raudhatul Muhibbin (Garden of the lovers).  

Ustaz also shared a beautiful Arabic proverb that was used by Ibn Qayyim to explain the love of Allah SWT. 

ليس الشأن أن تُـحِبَّ ، إنما الشأن أن تُحَبَّ

Roughly translated as : It is not something amazing that you love someone, it is amazing the one you love, loves you back. 

The arabic phrase is cool because it has wordplay n interesting transition from kasrah in the first
 تحب to fathah in the second. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

23:50 - Reflection

وَجَعَلْنَا ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ آيَةً وَآوَيْنَاهُمَا إِلَىٰ رَبْوَةٍ ذَاتِ قَرَارٍ وَمَعِينٍ

And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign: We gave them both shelter on high ground, affording rest and security and furnished with springs.
Surah Al-Mu'minuun, 23:50
(English translation Yusuf Ali via iQuran

Reflections :
Isa (Jesus) A.S. was created not as a form of divinity, but as a proof of God's divinity.
Jesus was born to a mother, without a father. This is as possible as God creating Adam A.S. without a father or mother.

And then this ayat relates a good home with availability of good provisions around it and it's surrounding.
Security and stability enables one to focus more on worshipping God.
If there is no stability, security or provision, people have to busy themselves with these needs rather than worship better.