Monday, September 1, 2008

What's going on?!?!

salam/peace to all those who might come across this blog,
I decided to start a second blog that is solely for Quranic reflections/ruminations...
So what does that mean?
I keep a journal (handwritten) where I randomly pick a verse of the Quran and just reflect upon it... I would say that it is NOT a tafseer (scholarly interpretation) of the Quran in anyway, but just the thoughts of day to day struggling Muslim in America.
I started keeping this journal about 3 months ago, because I felt like I was completely disconnected to the book that is supposed to guide my everyday action, my every thought, in essence, my life. Rather than reading huge chunks of it, since I felt like it wouldn't help me developmentally, I started doing this... I guess, I decided, that since I'm on a computer more than not, I should might as well start it as a blog... So, again, I just pick a verse at random and reflect, I could be be wrong... I could be right... God knows, but this is a personal thing where I'm trying to tie my personal faith to my everyday life, to the book that is supposed to guide me till the day of my death...
(oh the translation of the Quran that I typically use is "The Noble Qur'an" by Al-hilali and Muhsin Khan)
so again, i just pick up the quran and flip through till a verse pops out at me....
thanks for reading, and comment away.

Surah Jathiya (45: 23)

'Have you seen him who takes his own lusts (vain desires) as his ilah (god)? And Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?'

While I sat there reading this verse, the first thought that popped into my head was this: 'damn... i'm screwed' (and yes, just because these are reflections on the Quran, doesn't mean that I'm gonna start filtering my terminology, well to an extent).. but honestly, more often than not it is our own desires that we follow most, put as our ultimate voice of reason. The interesting thing is, even when you follow the 'desires' of other people, you are in essence following your own desire to be accepted, liked, or whatever you want to call it. The point is this: when you follow your own desires, you lead yourself. When a person follows their own desires they seal their own fate. Meaning, there is only one way or the other (in my personal opinion) you could lead yourself by following your desires or you could lead yourself by following what God wants. Both ways you lead yourself, you just put one opinion over the other.
When you lead yourself in pursuit of your desires, then you become deaf to all that is around you (not literally, but to the voice of spiritual reason). This you do see all the time. Think of the big shot CEO who will do anything to get on top of the food chain. Or the video game addict, who thinks everything in the world is just a game. Or how about that sex fiend, who spreads his potentially sexually transmitted disease, just because he doesn't think it's a biggie because getting some is more important. Or that simple person who justs wants another chocolate bar, and swipes their ATM card for a dollar, and gets charged $36 for the overdraft fee, ect. It isn't about 'really bad stuff' but real stuff. I mean not everyone is going to be an evil CEO person or sex fiend, like in the movies, but everyone has some desires that they put before everything else, without really, truly considering the repercussions of their actions. For example, I personally am addicted to soda (or as michi's say, pop) and if I don't have some, I don't care if I show up half an hour late to work, or chewed off someone's head, spit it out, stomped on it, and then dug it under the ground, I want my soda. Get what I'm saying, it's not evil per se, but I guess the verse is talking about not going into extremes where your desires become the rule of thumb.
Other than a symbolic deafness, one becomes symbolically blind, which is similar to being deaf, you really don't see what's going on around you, you aren't in tune with the rest of the world, you see everything the way you want it to seem.
I think that the scariest aspect of this verse is the concept of your heart being sealed, and the concept of not remembering God. Once your heart is sealed, it seems irreversible. Like 'hi, i'm forever heartless, no one can breach my cold, frozen heart' but the verse actually isn't saying that (in my opinion), but that this is a possibility. The reality of the situation is, when you come across a verse such as this, it is a warning of sorts, telling you that, by following your vain desires, you are sealing your fate, but if at some point you change, you can turn back, and that is through remembrance of God. If you remember God, you found the proverbial key to your locked (sealed) heart. And when you remember God, your desires become secondary.
I don't know, God knows best, but what I am trying to say, is this: the verse hit home because 1) we have a tendency to follow our desires 2) vain desires are a handicapping tool, when they become your primary expression of life 3) the way to unlock your deafness, blindness, and sealed heart is by remembering God. and finally 4) desires aren't necessarily a bad thing, but following them like a blind sheep can lead you straight into the wolf's den.


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