Did You Ever Think Repetition May Be How Things Work in Life?
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Come to think of it, repetition may be key to the entire life cycle. It seems to me that is how the Cosmos itself works.
And I am saying this for a particular reason. It strikes me that sometimes those who think they are Working for Allah wonder why we have to keep doing the same thing over and over again.
Why do we keep working so hard and see such minimal results, they may ask themselves.
Why do we all follow the same old style of doing things, they may say? Why do we keep on preparing and distributing literature the way we do; keep on producing the same old-fashioned audio and video and print and computer material; keep on designing and populating the websites the same old-fashioned way?
Why do we keep on doing everything as it was done over a 1000 years ago: reaching out to people; inviting them to Allah; giving them the message of Islam; showing them the miracles of the Qur’an; and trying to share with them the joy, beauty and perfect practicality of the teachings of Islam?
And it is perfectly natural for them to feel and wonder about things in this way and to ask these questions of themselves and others. After all, they are human beings – are they not? – even though they carry a super-human burden on their shoulders.
And even though they have chosen to be in a very special category of human beings: those who have dedicated themselves to Work for Allah and to serve his creation selflessly, tirelessly and fearlessly.
And do so without expecting anything in return, and without asking anyone for any reward or recognition.
Not too many words of gratitude for them. Often not even a Thank You Note.
And, along the way, they put up with all the trials and tests that God Almighty chooses to visit upon them in this most arduous path that they have chosen for themselves.
What a way to live indeed!
But the fact is that they are still human. And they are subject to all the laws, vagaries and vicissitudes of life on earth. As a result, it is not unnatural for them to wonder why we cannot do things differently. Why do we have to follow the same old routine, all the time, every time?
And it is quite likely that this personal agonizing, and this quiet search for solutions, is good for them, provided they do not falter and they stay the course.
Provided they persist and they do not quit or turn tail and run away.
If Islam is all about Iman – the most basic act of Belief – and it is about doing Good Things (Saalihaat) and it is about telling and inviting each other to the path of Truth and Justice and Honesty and Integrity (Haqq), as the Qur’an says, it is also, at the same time, about being strong and persistent and about staying the course (Sabr).
Sabr is a very important quality that Islam expects from you. And God holds Sabr so dear in the character of his slaves that God says he is with those who have Sabr.
Innallaha Ma’as Saabireen.
Hear the Qur’an devote an entire chapter to explicate this most amazing divine formula for successful human life on earth –Iman, Good Acts, Inviting Everyone to Truth and Sabr:
Innal Insaana La-Fi Khusr.
Wa Amilus Saalihaati,
Wa Tawaasawu Bil-Haqqi,
Wa Tawaasawu Bis-Sabri”
(Surah #103, Wal-Asr: Time).
Here is my broad paraphrase of this most glorious, compact and comprehensive Surah (chapter) of the Qur’an:
“History is living testimony to the fact that humanity is in a great state of loss.
The sole exception is those human beings who have developed a firm foundation of Faith – Belief.
And they sustain and demonstrate that Belief by doing all kinds of Good Things in life.
And they don’t stop with that, but go out and tell and invite everyone else to come to the Path of Truth and Justice and Honesty and Integrity.
And they do all this on a regular, consistent and long-term basis.
And then, thereafter, when, as a result of their Belief, and of their Good Acts, and on account of their Free Speech in support of Truth and Justice, they are subjected to all kinds of persecution and harassment by Forces Hostile to Truth and Justice, they do not give up or run away.
But they stay the course and continue on the Path of Belief, of doing Good Things, and of Inviting the World to Truth and Justice that they have chosen for themselves.
They remain constant and true.”
I hesitate to use the term “Righteousness” as in “Do Righteous Deeds.” That is because “Righteous” to me is a Christian, Judaic, Biblical Theological expression and, therefore, not entirely or necessarily suitable for our purposes in Islam.
For, Islam is neither Theology, nor is it laden with mystery. To the contrary, Islam is a simple desert-system that consists of certain simple beliefs that are intelligible to all and some very practical things in everyday life that anybody can do anywhere.
It has neither any mysteries nor any priests to explain those mysteries and preside over them.
Unlike what the world calls “Religion,” much of Islam is Common Sense and a great deal of Islam is in fact Science.
So, our language and our vocabulary need to be sensitive to these unique and very special features of Islam. And words and expressions like Righteousness – or even Faith for that matter – do not serve our purpose very well.
This is not to show any disrespect to anybody. That is how things are in Islam and both Muslims and non-Muslims need to understand that.
I would venture to say that borrowing blindly and uncritically from Christian and Jewish Theology, or from the Bible in general, as so many of us seem to do so glibly and routinely, may even distort the true spirit and teachings of Islam, and hinder the progress of the world, and deprive humanity of the God-given opportunity to recover from its errors – and from its downward spiral of State of Loss in which the Qur’an says it is mired forever.