And I realized that Islam and Mediocrity could not, and did not, mix. And if I found the Muslims swimming in a Sea of Mediocrity and Make Believe, it was their own doing. It was Operator Error, as I called it elsewhere, and not System Error.
Meaning, it was Muslims dropping the ball and not Islam, Astaghfirullah, leaving anything incomplete or unaddressed or incapable to solving the problems of the world.
So, every time you see the world in trouble, it is mostly a case of Muslims defaulting, or coming up short, on their responsibilities. And of course, non-Muslims wallowing in their ignorance, arrogance and hostility to Islam and Muslims.
Let me quickly complete this train of thought and get to the point I was trying to make at the start of this write up that we all need, and could use, a little Pep Talk from time to time.
Thus, while the Hadith was my early passion, my own deleterious life came in the way of keeping up with the Hadith. Naturally, the relationship became strained. As a result, while there was a time when I practically knew every Hadith from the Sihaah cold, now I have to struggle to recall the exact words and in several cases even the content and the meaning of Ahaadeeth -- plural for Hadith.
And the other thing that happened, and that led to the weakening of my close contact with the Hadith, was that my relationship with the Qur'an, Mashallah, grew by leaps and bounds. The Qur'an, that eluded me, and was coy with me, for the longest time, suddenly became my best friend and my closest companion.
More about it later inshallah. But the upshot was that I became so absorbed in the Qur'an that there really was not much time -- or need -- for anything else, including, no matter how preposterous this may sound, the Hadith.
And the Qur'an then proceeded to provide me the most amazing, complete and satisfactory answers to every question and doubt that I ever had. A man whose whole life was so full of doubt and questions was finally united with the Book that was free from all Doubt.
I was home at last. Wal-Hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Aalameen!
So, here then is the answer of the Qur'an to the questions I raised at the beginning of this Write-Up. Not just one answer, but all the answers you will ever need. My short answer is: Read the Qur'an and you will get the picture.
It is amazing how generous Allah himself is -- with his praise and appreciation, when he wants to be, and for whom he chooses.
Addressing his Rasul, Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam, Allah says in the Qur'an:
Innaka La-Alaa Khuluqin Azeem.
"You possess the most amazing character."
And, addressing the Muslims, Allah says this:
"You are the best there is."
Words in the Aayat Karimah:
"Kuntum Khayira Umaatin."
If only Muslims understood where and how Allah says this about them, and why, this whole world would become a very different place than the kind of sorry mess it is today.
But life is not all about unqualified praise. Allah does not hesitate to chastise those whom he wishes and provide them warning of terrible consequences if they did not make changes to the lives they were living.
Allah does not spare even his own messengers when he has to.
In humans this requires the ability and the skill to be able to give, receive and handle criticism when such is warranted. Negative feedback as it were.
Just like praise and appreciation, human beings also need criticism. A critique of sorts. Direction and ideas for course correction, if you will, when the occasion calls for those.
That is the nature of human life on earth. That is how human nature seems to unfold in this world.
As a result, the ideal human situation, ideal human society if you will, can be said to be one in which every human being provides free, frank, fair and honest advice to every other human being in that society.
Just like a mirror does.
You look in the mirror, and the mirror, if it is not broken, or crooked, provides you free, fair, honest and fearless feedback about what exactly you look like: your beauty spots as well as your warts, zits and all other blemishes and sore spots.
In other words, the mirror provides you "perfect" feedback. That is why every household totes a mirror of some kind. Even the ancients, before modern mirrors were invented, polished up metal of one kind or another to perform the function of a mirror.
Similarly, a "perfect" human society will also be one in which every member of the society acts like a mirror to every other member of that society. By constantly interacting with one other, members of such a society will give and receive continual feedback about their life, conduct and behavior. By rubbing shoulders with one another, they would know what they are doing right, and what they should do different or better.
Allah, Allah, Allah! What a great and "perfect" society such a society will be! Ideally, such a "perfect" society, with such a "perfect" feedback system in place, will live happily ever after, as they say, in a state of "perfect" and blissful homeostasis.
And such a "perfect" society can only be a society of Believers: Mu'mins.
Al-Mu'minoon, as the Qur'an calls them.
And that is because:
(a) The Believers will be conscious of how God Almighty's vigilant eye watches and monitors their every thought and word and act.
(b) And how they will have to render a full account of their every thought, word and action before God Almighty on the Day of Judgment, after they die and resurrect again.
(c) As a result, the Mu'minoon -- Believers -- will be most selfless and sincere in both their praise and criticism of others.