The Qur’an for Youthful Minds
Surah No.2, Al-Baqarah
Syed Iqbal Zaheer
 And, if you are in any doubt about what We have sent down on Our servant, then produce a piece equal to it, and call your witnesses apart from Allah (to help you out), if you are true (in your claim).
 But if you cannot do it – and you will never (be able to) do it – then fear the Fire whose fuel is human beings and rocks, prepared for the unbelievers.
If there is any doubt in the hearts of the adversaries of Islam – whether the Qur’an is truly from God – then they can apply a simple test: produce one verse like the Qur’an. It should be as beautiful and as meaningful as the Qur’an. They may seek the help of anyone to do this. There are many million Christian Arabs in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, and other countries. Many of them are experts in Arabic language; and many of them do not believe that the Qur’an is from God. There are many universities where even science courses are taught in Arabic.
The most famous dictionaries of Arabic into other languages have been written by non-believing language experts. In fact, it is hard to find a dictionary written by a Muslim. Arabic courses are offered in major universities in USA, Britain, France, Germany, Holland etc. In fact Holland has produced a voluminous Encyclopedia of Islam, prepared from original Arabic sources by hundreds of scholars. Index of the Qur’an and Hadith has been prepared by scholars who were not Muslim. Most successful translations of the Qur’an into European languages are products of Jews and Christians.
Now, seeing that this challenging verse appears right at the start of the Qur’an and repeated several times throughout, challenging every translator, and every thousands of non-believing scholars engaged in a literary war against Islam, since more than a thousand years, then there is justification in saying that if people have not been able to write down even one verse like the Qur’an then, either they must accept the Qur’an as from Allah, or they will be punished in the Fire of the Next World. The fire is so hot that it will burn even rocks, although the melting point of rocks is higher than the melting point of iron.
Falling in Love
By Amatullah Kareem
I was a typical teenager and believed in everything my friends did. I grew up reading magical fairytales that always had a handsome prince falling in love with a princess and carrying her off into the sunset to live happily ever after. I watched Snow White and Cinderella that all focused on “falling in love” and “having a good life.”
And I too grew up believing this is what life is all about. This is why we are here – to find the perfect soul mate and live happily ever after. I was addicted to reading novels that told me an exciting, romantic life was the essence of our existence, that spoke of gorgeous women, enticing dashing men before they zoomed away in their private yacht to an exotic island.
The songs I heard would tell me “love was waiting for me,” I would find it or die of a heartbreak in the process. How beautiful it all seemed. It would take me some time to come back into the real world that seemed mundane in comparison. Then too, I would keep thinking about some scene stuck in my mind from a book or a movie, “the way he looked into her eyes,” “the way she swirled in a breath-taking dress as she danced.” I wanted to be like that – to be beautiful and happy and madly in love. Every movie, every song, every cartoon and book led me to believe that “love is all around me” and “to live without love is not to have lived at all.”
Valentine’s Day would see all our friends discussing clandestine stories, gifts or cards or flowers from a secret admirer, declarations of long hidden love. Those who had no one would hope and wait for the next year. We all felt the compulsion to fall in love at least once – or face the prospect of having experienced nothing “exciting” in life. Most of us succumbed to this compulsion.
Well, all this was until one day I woke up. Yes, I woke up and came out of the fake world around me to realize that reality was much more vivid and lasting than its celluloid version. The culture of romanticism that had captured our hearts and brains was a ploy to keep us away from reality.
Ironically, that too happened through a book. But it wasn’t like any book I had read before. It spoke in a way that made shivers run down my spine, made me cry as if my heart would break, as if the words were coming not from a book because they struck so deep within my soul. It was the Book of Allah, my Creator. It was more powerful than all the fantasies I had been fettered with. I broke free at last.
Today I dislike Valentine’s Day not just because it is an un-Islamic, innovated celebration – and a lewd one at that. But because it is part of the culture of lust that has betrayed us all. That created in our impressionable minds a false image, that drugged us with the sweetest drug of romanticism, and made us forget the real reason why we are here in this world.
Just like in the movies, a hero would be assigned the mission to save the world and would go to a planet on a mission to destroy the enemies and retrieve a precious life-saving potion. But the enemies have a deadly weapon – an illusion. They show him a beautiful place with the woman of his dreams and he goes into a stupor completely forgetting his mission.
The planet is full of temptations and illusions that are projected according to his most coveted desires. He loses all track of time, even the fact that the world will be blown up any second and all that matters to him now will not exist anymore. Lost in an imaginary, transient world, he forgets his purpose and hence loses everything.
That’s exactly what our greatest enemy has done. He has duped our minds into thinking that the images we see on TV are real, the glamorous lifestyles of superstars are achievable, the Valentine’s Day hotspots are desirable, the romance in tear-jerker movies is the greatest and that we must have a huge amount of fun in this world because that is what will make us happy.
While the clock ticks, Shaytan takes away our life before we can do anything productive with it. He has made us forget why we are here in this world and that our mission is like that of a space hero. What could be worse than that because it means we are losing the battle. We have laid down our arms and chose to watch “the reality show” while reality is passing us by.
That is why we are told of a future scenario in the Qur’an:
“(The hypocrites) will call the believers: ‘Were we not with you?’ The believers will reply: ‘Yes! But you led yourself into temptations, you looked forward for our destruction; you doubted (in Faith); and you were deceived by false desires, till the Command of Allah came to pass. And the chief deceiver (Satan) deceived you in respect of Allah.’” (Qur’an, 57:14)
I thank Allah (swt) that He gave me a husband who taught me the true meaning of love and caring for the sake of Allah (swt). This kind of love transcends all boundaries of space and time and is truly everlasting as it continues even after death into the next life. There is no happily ever after yet, because we are still in this world of test and deception.
Origins of the Rat Race
The first beginnings of the mad rush for worldly competition among humans today can easily be imagined to have been as follows:
Iblis (Satan) organised an international conference, which was attended by his followers from all over the world. In his opening address, he said:
“Oh my friends and helpers, we cannot stop righteous, pious people – believers in Allah, from going to the mosques. We cannot stop them from reading their Holy Book and familiarising themselves with the Truth. We cannot stop them from establishing a deep and meaningful relationship with Allah (swt). But remember, if they are successful in establishing this relationship with their Rubb, we will lose our hold on them. Remember, Allah has told me about them: ‘Indeed, over My (believing) servants there is for you no authority.’
“So let them go to their place of worship and let them continue with their normal routine. But snatch one thing away from them – their time. Then they will not be able to establish the required connection with their Creator. This is what I want you to do. O my followers! Make them inattentive and careless in achieving that closeness, that important relationship with Allah (swt), which is the purpose of their existence. Without bonding with Him, their lives will become meaningless.”
The delegates loved every word he said. This mission gave meaning to their lives. They sat up and asked: “How shall we do it, O Master?” “It’s not difficult,” said Iblis. “Just keep them preoccupied and contented with the unimportant, unnecessary things in their lives. Be creative. Invent numerous ways to keep them busy, busy, busy.”
“Incite them to spend extravagantly and then go around borrowing for their needs. Encourage the wives to spend and spend. Plant ambition in the husbands – they must be ahead in the race for money, status, power. Let them work and work 18-20 hours a day, seven days a week, to compete in fulfilling the demands of their material self. Deprive them of time to spend with their children. As the family gradually becomes dysfunctional and falls apart, their homes will cease to be a source of peace. With the increasing pressure of work, reluctant to go home, they will look for that peace outside. Make their minds so occupied, they will not be able to hear that small voice crying out to them that something is not right.”
“Encourage them to turn on their radios, CDs and cassettes when they are driving. At home, make sure their PCs, TVs, VCRs, DVD Players and radios are operating round the clock. Let their mobile phones ring incessantly. Their minds, numbed by all the activity, will have no time to think of Allah (swt) or their duty to worship Him, at least in the way they should. This way their connection with Allah (swt) will be weakened.”
“Fill up their tables with magazines and newspapers. Assault them with a barrage of news, so that their minds are constantly occupied. On the road, let them be distracted by massive billboards and ads, tempting them to buy things they don’t need. Flood their mail-boxes with letters and junk mail. Whatever little time they have left, will be taken up by this.”
“In their recreational activities, let them be excessive. When they return home, they will be so tired and irritable, they will remain so the whole of next week. And don’t let them go near nature, in case they ponder and reflect on Allah’s signs in the universe; instead send them to concerts, cinemas, and stadiums. Keep them busy, busy, busy.”
“Convince them that religion is ‘personal,’ the inherited beliefs of their ancestors are best and that ‘majority is authority.’ Even when they attend assemblies of Allah’s remembrance, keep their minds preoccupied with worldly thoughts. Or let the arguments between religious scholars where each one claims that he is the only one on the right path, make them so disturbed that they will not go to such assemblies again. And make them waste their goods deeds by gossiping and backbiting.”
“March forward, my commandos. Busy them in winning each other’s hearts and flood their lives with so many good aims, they will have no time to ask Allah (swt) for help in achieving them. Very soon they will exhaust themselves, sacrificing their health and their family life for these ‘lofty’ goals. This will be good; this will be super; this will be great!”
What a convention it was! Such a roaring success! What a thunderous applause! With great zealousness and enthusiasm, all the delegates – Satan’s forces went their respective ways and got cracking with their assigned tasks.
So Iblis succeeded in his mission and the believers were seen running around here and there, busy, busy, busy.
Iblis means ‘deprived of hope’, ‘in utter despair’ and his abode is Hell. He has set out to destroy Adam’s descendants, “except for few.”
May we, by Allah’s grace, be amongst those who recognise Satan’s wiles and do not fall prey to them.