Godly Beliefs

Believing is very important as it drives the action or behavior of people. Knowing does not result in behavior but belief does. Knowing (knowledge) lies on the brain while believing exists in the heart or soul. 

People behave according to what they believe, not what they know. Is it possible that two people who have the same religion have different attitude on the same problem? Is it possible that two people graduating from the same university, studying the same subjects from the same lecturers, have different opinion about the same issue? Is it possible that two religious preacher have different attitude on the same religious issue? Of course it is possible, because they have different beliefs in their hearts. Their knowledge is the same but their beliefs are different. 

So, people who have the same background, education, and experience turn out to behave differently upon the same issue. Again, that's because their beliefs are different. 

Furthermore, many people do outrageous, unbelievable things that we can't imagine. For example, many people steal, corrupt, abuse the people around them, kill other people simply because of the skin color & race, ruin the environment for gaining lots of profit. Many people are addicted to drugs, alcohol, fornication...and many more… What drives them to do that..? It's their beliefs, not their knowledge. Surely they know that killing, abusing, stealing, corrupting etc are wrongdoings but they still do that. They only 'know' that it is wrong but they don't believe it is wrong.

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Belief in someone's heart or soul will determine his behavior, attitude, and action. Morale values that a person has depends on the belief in his heart. The differences in attitude, behavior, morale value, and action are due to differences in people's beliefs in their hearts.

However, why African tiger has the same behavior with Sumatran tiger? Why elephants all over the world have the same behavior? Of course it's the same… Animals don't have heart or soul!

A person needs the right beliefs so that his attitude is right as well. But what sort of belief that a person must have in his heart? What is the criteria for the right, flawless belief? Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "I leave you two thing in which if you hold on tight on them, you will never get lost. Those two things are Kitabullah (Al Qur'an) and my sunnah (Prophet's way of life and sayings)."

So, what a person needs is beliefs that are in accordance with the Qur'an and the Prophet's sayings and his way of life. Those beliefs are called Godly beliefs. The more Godly beliefs a person has, the stronger,healthier, and cleaner soul he has. Having the right beliefs in our soul will lead to noble behavior. Having the wrong beliefs in our soul will lead to sinful behavior. 

Some examples of Godly beliefs as contained in the Qur'an are:

  • The prosperity of every person is different. God doesn't give the same prosperity to people around us. If a person has this belief, he will not be jealous of other people's fortune. Allah (God) says in the Qur'an chapter 4 verse 32: "And in no wise covet those things in which God hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others…"
  • There is only one God worthy of worship. If a person has this belief in his heart, he will not worship other than God (Allah) alone. God says: “Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him…” (ch.4:36)

  • Being kind is God's command. If a person believes it he will stay away from cruelty. God says: "…and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.” (ch. 4:36)

  • Ruining the environment is against God's will. If a person has this belief, he will take care of the environment. God says: "And cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation." (ch. 7:56)

  • Convert to other religion equals hell. If a person has this belief, he will not desire to change his own religion and he will not allow his family members to convert. God says: "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good)." (ch. 3:85)
  • God's decision is always good. If a person has this belief, he will not complain, he will not be sad, and he won't be disappointed if bad things happen to him. God says in chapter 41 verse 46: "…nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His servants." Furthermore, chapter 2 verse 216: "…But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not."
  • Whoever holds his anger, heaven is the reward. If a person has this belief, he will never be angry at all and he has no problem in not getting angry. God says: "And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord's (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, their abode will be the heaven." (ch. 79:40-41)
  • Backbiting & negative assumptions are sinful. If a person believe it, he will not gossip and avoid prejudice. God says: "O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful." (ch. 49:12)

…and there are many more of Godly beliefs. The Qur'an consists of 6,236 verses. It is equal to 6,236 Godly beliefs.

So, it is clear that having Godly beliefs, as many as possible, is very important as such beliefs can calm down the lower desires of human being and can deflect the provocation of satan. If a person has wrong beliefs in his heart, then his attitude and behavior will also be wrong and that's very dangerous. If a person has wrong knowledge, to some extent, it is still tolerable as knowledge doesn't determine behavior/attitude/action. It is the belief that forms the behavior. 

Gaining knowledge is important… But gaining Godly beliefs is more important…!

 

Faith without knowledge is like light in the hands of a baby… knowledge without faith is like light in the hands of a thief…

​Knowledge without action is like lightning and thunder without rain (saying of Prophet Muhammad)

Videos: The Purpose of Life

             Jesus, A Prophet In Islam

Twitter: Maharani

 

 

Spiritual Contemplation

for life and spiritual contemplation… To contemplate means to think deeply, to ponder. But what sort of contemplation that a person should do? When he contemplates about life and spiritual matters, does he simply use his brain?

Spiritually, to contemplate means to 'read', not with physical eyes but with mind and heart. The mind or reason is used to observe and analyze while the heart is used to feel. So, spiritual contemplation is the integration of brain (mind) and heart. The result of the activity of spiritual contemplation is Godly awareness or Godly belief that grows in the soul (heart). The Godly belief will make people easier to obey God's rules and commands. 

Let's contemplate… why planets in the universe don't crash each other? Why we receive sunlight during the day but see the stars at night? How come the elements in the universe can work in harmony? That's because they obey God's rules and commands! Human being can also be in harmony just like the universe. The harmony that human being want in this life is peace, serenity, no worries, no anxiety, no sadness and always be truly happy. Can a person be like that all the time? YES, he can, as long as he obeys God's rules and commands. Remember Allah (God) says in the Qur'an chapter 2 verse 38: "…whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."

What sort of things that should be contemplated so that Godly beliefs grow in our soul? 

  • Contemplation of the signs of Allah's Greatness which will make human being humble. He realizes that how small a person is in front of The Creator.
  • Contemplation of all the things that Allah (God) has given which will make a person loves God and always be grateful to God.
  • Contemplation of God's promises as written in the Qur'an which will make a person willing to do good deeds. 
  • Contemplation of God's punishments as written in the Qur'an which will make a person afraid to make sin. 

Another important thing for us to contemplate about the journey of human being. It is informed in the Qur'an that every person experiences the following journey: 

soul world —-> mother's womb world —-> this world —-> grave world —-> hereafter (heaven and hell)

If we look and contemplate the journey of a man, it can be concluded that actually what a man does in this world is simply traveling. He is a traveler. For a traveler, the real joy is when he arrives at the destination. So, it is a great loss when the traveler arrives at a horrible destination, instead of a good one. Having awareness that there is heaven and hell at the end of the journey, will make a person be careful and be conscious in what he does. He will not be engrossed in the materialistic world. He will always try to obey God's rules and commands so that he can arrive at the destination he wants. He will not do evil things while living in this world.

Spiritual contemplation plays important role in reaching the goal of mankind, that is being happy in this world and in the hereafter. That's because by doing the contemplation, Godly beliefs will be generated which will make it easier to obey God and to follow His messenger (Prophet Muhammad). And as God promises in the Qur'an, whoever obeys Him, there will be no sadness, no worries, no anxiety.

spiritual contemplation —> Godly beliefs —> obeying God —> happy in this world and in the hereafter

However, not so many people want to do spiritual contemplation due to imbalance of the soul. The imbalance is simply caused by the inclination towards worldly pleasure or fun so that there is only a tiny space in the heart or soul for spiritual matters. The inclination for worldly life is due to the existence of human's desire. This desire will make it difficult for a person to obey God's rules and commands in the Qur'an, leading to unhappiness in this world and in the hereafter. 

If a person is willing to have spiritual awareness, then he must make the effort by himself, which means the willingness to do that genuinely comes from within himself. That's because such awareness can't be transferred by even the most pious person. Unlike a wood or a stone that must be carved by someone else to be a beautiful statue, a person must 'carve' himself to become 'beautiful'. He 'carves' himself by struggling to obtain Godly beliefs. 

What happens when a person stops doing contemplation? Automatically, his spiritual awareness will diminish and it will be difficult for him to obey God and finally he will not be happy in this world and in the hereafter.


The following is the road map to achieve an everlasting happiness in this world and in the hereafter:

spiritual contemplation —> Godly beliefs —> |human desire = difficulty| —> obedience —> The Qur'an —> happiness in this world and in the hereafter

Explanation: The ultimate goal of all human being is to be happy in this world and in the hereafter. That can only be achieved by obeying the rules of God as written in the Qur'an. But, being obedient towards the Qur'an is not easy as there is desire. However, the desire can be calmed by having Godly beliefs and those beliefs can only be achieved by doing spiritual contemplation.


 

Set the Purpose

Every action is conducted for a purpose (goal) and the goal is determined from the last result. Let's take cooking for example. When a woman goes to the kitchen, she just grabs any vegetables, chicken, and spices and then when she is asked what she is going to cook, she simply answers,"I don't know." It means she doesn't know the purpose of the ingredients she grabbed. She doesn't know what dishes she will make. In the beginning, she has to know what she is going to cook, then gets the ingredients and cook them. That way, she knows the purpose of the ingredients, i.e. to be made into chicken curry, for example. 

When someone decides to learn about religion of Islam, he must find out the purpose for learning the religion. When he attends religious group and preaching, he must know what he is looking for. What is the expectation out of learning about religion? Is it to increase knowledge? Is it to calm himself? Or is it to change his attitude?

He must choose only one goal as it is impossible to reach them all. If the goal is increasing the knowledge only, please remember the saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): knowledge without action is just like lightning and thunder without rain. If the goal is to calm himself, it can be sure that such thing is for temporary only. 

So, the goal of learning religion that must be sought is the changing in attitude, that is,  increasing the quality of obedience towards Allah (God) The Almighty. Logical consequence out of this expectation is that a person must choose proper method of learning religion. He must choose the method that requires him to think or contemplate about the teaching (of Islam) and life. Doing contemplation actually means bringing the knowledge in the brain to the heart (soul). If it is already transferred to the heart (soul), then certain belief will be formed. And from that strong belief, there will be action related to that strong belief.

Contemplation (thinking) —-> belief ——> attitude, behavior

Attitude and behavior are the reflection of what a person believes. If a person believes that stealing is wrong, he will not steal. If a person believes that it's alright stealing from a rich person, then sometimes he steals sometimes he doesn't steal, depending on how rich a person he meets. If a father has a belief in his heart that all religions are good, he will not object when his daughter or son wants to convert to  religions other than Islam. However, if a father has strong, deep belief that only Islam approved by God, he will not allow his daughter or son to convert. Another example, if a mother believes that her son belongs to her, she will have no doubt hitting him and yelling at him. However, if the mother has a belief that her son is a mandate from God, then she will not dare doing any harm to her son.

Attitude and behavior cannot be determined by the knowledge in the brain. In other words, they cannot be determined by "I know". When thieves are asked whether it is right to steal, most of them (if not all) will answer that stealing is wrong. When killers, murderers are asked whether it is alright to kill, again, most of them will answer that killing is wrongdoing. They know but they don't believe. That's why, the knowledge in the brain can't determine the attitude and behavior. The knowledge must come down to the soul, through persistent contemplation (thinking) until it becomes a belief. Attitude and behavior are the reflection of the belief. 

A person must reach the belief by himself. Unlike a wood or a stone, he must 'carve' himself to become 'beautiful'. That's because belief is not transferrable. A teacher can transfer his knowledge to the students. Parents can transfer some skills to the children. However, a belief can't be transferred by someone else. A belief can't be transferred by famous religious man. A person must do the work all by himself. 

In addition to life contemplating or thinking quality, when a person wants to learn religion, he must find religious group or preachers that are serious or not fooling around. Many preachers mix their public preaching with jokes. Often, the jokes are more than the religious talks. If a person is serious in pursuing his goal of obtaining change in attitude, he must find the religious group or preacher that doesn't mix the jokes with the truth. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Do not mix the truth with jokes, for the truth will be thrown out by the heart. Too much laughing hardens your heart".

​So, set your goal and start 'working'…

There is in the body a lump of flesh. If it becomes good, the whole body becomes good and if it becomes bad, the whole body becomes bad. And indeed it is the heart.(saying of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh)

 

Logic Versus Truth

When we argue with someone about something, we often use our logic or reason. If our argument or explanation is more logical than his or hers it means our explanation is the true one. 

Is logic identical with truth? If something is logical, if something makes sense, does it mean that it is the truth?

In the Qur'an, Iblis refused to obey God's command to bow to Adam. The Qur'an chapter 7 verse 12: (God) said, "What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" He said, "I am better than he. Thou didst create me from fire and him from clay." Verse 13: (God) said, "Get thee down from this, it is not for thee to be arrogant here. Get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures)." 

Iblis, as well as angels, were created by God long before God created human being. And before human being was created, Iblis always obeyed God and worshipped Him only. However, when God had created Adam and commanded Iblis to prostrate before Adam, he didn't want to bow down to Adam because it didn't make any sense. It is not logical to do so. Iblis felt that bowing down to Adam was not a correct thing to do. It was a disgrace to Iblis to do so.

Knowing that Iblis was much older, more loyal, and was created out of better material, it seems logical that Iblis didn't want to bow down to Adam. It seems it's an acceptable attitude. "Who is he anyway?? He was just created, out of something of low quality! And I had worshipped and served God much longer than him!" That's, more or less, the reasons of Iblis.

So, learning from Iblis, what is truth anyway? Truth refers to God's revelation. The final God's revelation is the Qur'an which contains the rules of God. Thus, truth is something that is in accordance with the Qur'an. Truth is things that God allows or permits and things that go along with God's rule. In conclusion, truth is the Qur'an. If someone says something that sounds very reasonable, yet, it is against God's rule in the Qur'an, then the things he says is NOT the truth, despite the logic.

The reasons why Iblis refused to obey God's command were logical, but incorrect, therefore he was sinful. So, the refusal was not the truth. The truth was obeying God's command, bowing down before Adam.

God is our creator, the All Knowing, meanwhile the capacity of human brain is limited. That is why we need a book containing instructions from God, the dos and donts that we must follow while living on earth. Since the instructions are from the Creator of the universe, the All Knowing and the Wisest, we the creations can't always use our logic in order to comprehend God's rules. Our duty is to obey the rules, not to question them with our logic.

Often, we behave just like Iblis. We slip into the arrogance and the feeling of superiority of Iblis and we depend too much on our logic from our limited brain and neglect the truth from God, Who is the Wisest and the All Knowing.

​Logic is not always true… Logic is not always parallel with God's rules… But whatever parallel with the rules of God, that is the truth…

 

Religion of Islam

Almost everyone of us has a religion to believe and becomes the follower of the religion we chose. But, what is religion exactly? Is it just a 'name' for us to write in our identity card? Is it just a status so that we are accepted in certain society? Or, is it something that doesn't have any meaning at all but since everybody has a religion then we follow one without understanding it…?

What is religion? Basically, religion is a compilation of teachings in which when a person applies those teachings he can achieve his goal in life. The ultimate goal of every human being is undoubtedly being happy in the world and being in the heaven in the hereafter. Every person, whether he is rich or poor, sick or healthy, wants to be truly happy where ever he is. 

Islam is a religion and it is a compulsory 'tool' for human being to achieve the ultimate goal of being truly happy in the world and in the hereafter. The teachings of Islam, as contained in the Qur'an, such as doing shalat (praying), fasting, sincerity, gratitude, charity, honesty, doing good deeds, making effort, destiny, etc, will lead people to the true happiness in this world and in the hereafter. Since it is a 'tool' that can bring us to the ultimate goal, we have to realize that religion is not an obligation. Religion is a need.

Islam is a final religion that had gone through improvements from previous prophets and finally reached its perfection in the time of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Allah (God) says in the Qur'an chapter 5 verse 3: "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion". And the Qur'an is the final scripture confirming the previous scriptures of the previous prophets as God says in verse 48 of the same chapter: "To thee We sent the scripture (Qur'an) in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and guarding it in safety, so judge between them by what God hath revealed…"

The consequence of choosing Islam as our religion is that we must be willing to be ruled by Qur'an, the holy book of Islam. We must think, speak, and act according to the rules of God. The Qur'an is our life guidance and we need it for our lives in this world, NOT for the life in the hereafter. All the teachings and rules in the Qur'an are for us to be implemented in our daily life in this world. What will happen to us in the hereafter, either hell or heaven, is the result of our implementation or our negligence of the rules of God.

The religion of Islam provide human being the instructions, the 'how to' for achieving the ultimate goal of true happiness in the world and in the hereafter. However, it's up to us whether we want to grab it or not.

"Verily this Qur'an doth guide to that which is most right (stable)…" Qur'an chapter 17 verse 9

 

Pleasure Versus True Happiness

Some people, perhaps most people, are easily influenced by what happens around them. They are happy for 10 minutes but then something happens at the 11th minute and their feelings change into upset, angry, sad, worried, prejudice, etc. They can't be happy for the whole day or their happiness doesn't last long. 

Yet, there are people whose happiness is intact. No matter what happens around them, they are able to keep their happiness in their hearts. This is what is called true happiness. True happiness is a state or condition of peace whereby there is no worries, anxiety, and sadness in your heart.

Many people unconsciously seek for pleasure or temporary happiness. We are pleased when people around us behave according to what we want. We are pleased when things run according to what we plan. So, elements that make up pleasure are usually people or things around us such as good children, good husband/wife, a lot of money, good health, nice in laws, nice boss, helpful friend, warm working environment, and so forth. What do those elements have in common? All of them are actually EXTERNAL FACTORS. Factors that are outside ourselves. Pleasure is obtained when the external factors behave in accordance with our will. Unfortunately, since the factors are external, outside ourselves, we cannot control them. We can't always ask them to behave according to our wish. People around us can't always be nice. We can't always be healthy, rich, and successful. We can't run away from natural disasters & accidents… Hoping for true happiness out of external factors is something unrealistic and impossible.

Meanwhile, true happiness is formed by INTERNAL FACTORS. Internal factors are Godly beliefs that are rooted in our heart. Since the beliefs are internal, in our heart, they are all in our control. We do have the power to keep Godly beliefs always stay in our heart. If we do that, then no one or nothing can take away our true happiness. 

If we are truly happy, then whatever happens around us will not affect our feeling or emotion. We will stay peaceful and worry free when things around us don't go along with what we planned. Naughty children, nasty boss, unhelpful neighbor & friends, demanding parents & in laws, accidents, and other uncomfortable situations will be tackled by Godly beliefs that we have in our heart. 

So, pleasure or true happiness…? The choice is ours.