The Justice of God

Allah (God) is the One Who is The Most Just, The Fairest of all. When God creates human being, God creates with the attribute of being the most just. Yet, how do we, as creation, comprehend the attribute of God being The Most Just? How do we understand about the justice of God? Let’s ponder the following situations…

My friend lost some money, being robbed on the street. The next day, he earned more than he lost because his sales were good. "God is the Most Just. God has replaced the money I lost yesterday," he thought.

A naughty boy slapped a girl at school. The following week, a bigger, naughtier boy slapped the boy who slapped the girl. "Truly, God is the Fairest!" screamed the girl's mother with victory.

A murderer, who didn’t have a chance to be punished as he was always on the run, finally got hit by a truck. People say, "You see, God has done justice to the murderer."

Is that what it means by God being The Most Just? Anyway, the expressions above are familiar for us to hear. However, such perception of God’s justice is confused with the law of karma and there’s no such thing as karma in Islam.

In order to understand God's attribute of being The Most Just properly, or to avoid misunderstanding about God's Justice, we have to go back to the creation of human being, i.e. the essence of human being, the purpose, and the ultimate goal.

Before we were born, our souls were created in the spirit world (soul world) where all of us had covenant with God to always worship God. We don't remember about it, yet the Qur'an has reminded us about it and that's one of the functions of the Qur'an, as a reminder. Then, God blew our souls into our mothers' wombs and after nine months we were born to the world.

God says in the Qur’an chapter 51 verse 56, "I have not created men and jinn so that they worship Me." So, the purpose of our existence on earth is to worship God, that is obeying all the rules of God in the Qur'an. If we obey, we earn reward. If we disobey, we earn sins. When we die, that is when our souls leave our physical body, our souls stay in the world called the grave world. Don't literally understand the grave world as the one in cemetery…not like that at all. The grave dimension is the world where the souls wait until the day of judgment come. It is in the grave world that the souls experience the torture or the joy. Again, don’t imagine that there will be beating or burning in fire there. Torture and joy in the grave world is the feelings that the souls have. The souls of the sinners in the grave dimension will always be restless, knowing that they will go to hell eventually. They wish to be able to go back to the world so that they can do things that God commands, but they can’t! Such a feeling is a great torture indeed. Meanwhile, the souls of good doers will always be happy, calm, and full of excitement welcoming the day of judgment, knowing that they will end up in heaven. And when end of the days come, when all the people on earth die, all the souls will be in the hereafter. We (the souls) will be scaled, according to our deeds on earth. If our good deeds exceed our bad deeds, we will enter heaven. If the bad deeds exceed the good deeds, we will enter hell. And that is the end of the journey of human being. 

So it’s clear that life on earth is basically a competition of collecting reward. Whoever collects the most reward, that is whoever obeys God’s rules most, he or she will win the competition meaning he or she will go to heaven.

Furthermore, as human being, what is the ultimate goal in life both on earth and in the hereafter? As discussed earlier, the ultimate goal of human being is to achieve true happiness both in the world and in the hereafter, i.e. there is no sadness, anxiety, or worries while living on earth and finally when we die, our souls will go to heaven.

Thus, the justice of Allah (God) can only be applied in one thing which refers to the goal of human being. God is The Most Just means that God gives ALL people THE SAME OPPORTUNITY to ‘win’ the competition (of collecting reward on earth) in which the final reward is heaven. Also, God is The Most Just means that God gives ALL people THE SAME OPPORTUNITY to achieve the ultimate goal of being truly happy in the world and in the hereafter. In conclusion, God is The Most Just means God gives ALL people THE SAME OPPORTUNITY to obtain heaven. God’s justice can’t be applied in other situation other than this. All people – the sick, the healthy, the poor, the rich, the young, the old, the genius, the famous, and the laymen — all have the same chance to obey God’s rules so that they achieve true happiness. It’s just a matter of whether they want to do it or not, whether they choose it or not.

God says in the Qur’an chapter 17 verse 19, “Those who do wish for the (things of) the hereafter, and strive therefore with all due striving and have faith, they are the ones whose striving is acceptable (to God).” Thus, whoever he is, let he be rich or poor, healthy or sick, genius or not, old or young…as long as the person does efforts to obtain happiness in the hereafter, God will ‘pay’ his effort. 

God also says in the Qur’an chapter 3 verse 132, “And obey God and the Apostle, that ye may obtain mercy.” God’s mercy doesn’t depend on the wealth, health, career, fame, education, and the position of human being. God’s mercy simply depends on our obedience toward God’s rules. And the willingness to be obedient to God and the Apostle (Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) truly requires clever soul whose vision go as far as the hereafter. And how to have clever soul? There's no other way than gaining Godly beliefs as many as possible. And how to gain those beliefs? Simply by doing life and spiritual contemplation….

 

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Ultimate Goal of Human Being

The Ultimate Goal: True Happiness in the World and in the Hereafter

When we decide to do something, we must have a goal. Fat people go on diet with the goal of having ideal body weight. Sales manager has a goal of increasing sales. Scientist has a goal of making invention…etc. Talking about goal in relation to the existence of human being, what is the goal of human being…? When we live in this world, what is exactly our goal? Have we set the goal? It is very important to have a goal to achieve in this world. What happens if we don't have it? Our life will have no clear direction, we might go to the wrong direction, our time is wasted, and we cannot evaluate ourselves. 

The Qur'an is the manual book for human being. Regarding worldly life, Allah (God) says in the Qur'an chapter 47 verse 36, "The life of this world is but play and amusement…" Also in chapter 57 verse 20, "…And what is the life of this world, but goods and chattels of deception?" Since God has already warned human being about amusing and deceiving worldly life, it is therefore improper and mistaken to make the world as a place to pursue fun and pleasure. Many people have set wrong goals while living on earth. Some of them want to be always healthy, but people can't always be healthy during their lives. Some set the goal of having bright career but that's uncertain as there are always smarter, more ambitious people out there, not to mention the uncertain economic condition. Some set the goal of always to be rich, yet, calamities and disasters are out of our control. Some set the goal of having great children but we don't know whether our children will live longer than us…etc…etc. Such worldly goals are abstract, in a sense that not all people can achieve them and people can't have them all the time. Those goals are out of our control. So, what is the right goal?

The right goal for human being is of course the one set by The Creator. God has already given clues what human being should achieve in life, in the world and in the hereafter. God says in chapter 2 verse 38,"…whosoever follows my guidance, on them shall be no fear, not shall they grieve." Chapter 4 verse 13, "…those who obey God and His Apostle will be admitted to heavens…" Living on earth with no fear at all, no grieve at all, and finally when we die, we'll go to heaven. Now, that is the ultimate goal that every human being long for, that is the state of being truly happy in the world (no fear, no sadness, no grieve) and happy in the hereafter (admitted to heaven). Have you ever thought of higher goal than that? It's impossible. And such ultimate goal can be reached by all people – the rich, the poor, the young, the old, the sick, the healthy, the one with children, the childless. 

So, the ultimate goal of human being (as stated in the Qur'an) is true happiness in this world and in the hereafter (heaven). However, every goal needs a strategy to reach it. That's because if the goal is already set but the strategy to achieve it is wrong, then the goal will not be achieved. What's the strategy? As stated above, the strategy to achieve the ultimate goal is by following the guidance or rules of God in the Qur'an and following the Apostle of God, Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

It sounds easy to achieve the ultimate goal. Simply obey the rules of God. But, is it that easy? It turns out that it is not easy because there is the barrier, which is the low desires of human being. How to beat or calm the low desires? We can beat them by having Godly beliefs in our heart. So, Godly beliefs are very important as they are the means to achieve the ultimate goal. And how to obtain Godly beliefs? We can obtain them by doing spiritual and life contemplation. Thus, it goes like this:

Contemplation —-> Godly beliefs—-> Low desires– —–> Obedience to the rules in the Qur'an —-> Ultimate Goal achieved (true happiness in this world and in the hereafter).

Being focused in reaching the goal as well as being consistent in doing contemplation are perfect combination for a person to reach the ultimate goal, which is true happiness in the world and in the hereafter.. 

Let's contemplate… If a person has a goal of true happiness, when he gets sick, will he be stressful? Not at all as he realizes that sickness is the sign of God's mercy. God erases his sins through the sickness.

If a person has a goal of true happiness, when his child dies, will he be sad? No, as he realizes that the child is not his. The child is a trust from God and God can take the child at anytime He wants.

If a person has a goal of true happiness and his business collapses, will he be frustrated? No, as he realizes that he can only do the best effort for his business, but still the final result is up to God, not up to him. 

True happiness is a clear, reachable goal given by God Almighty. Due to His Mercy, God also reveals us, human being, the strategy to reach it. Simply obey God's rules because the rules are all for the sake of the happiness of our hearts or souls… 

“For any adversity a true believer suffers, Allah (God) erases some of his sins, even though it may be no more than a thorn pricking him”  – (saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) –

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RIGHTEOUS SOUL

There are two kinds of desires within the soul or heart of human being, namely, good desire and bad desire.  The examples of good desire are helping others, being friendly, being generous, and so on. Meanwhile, bad desires are anger, jealousy, greed, cruelty, and so on. Following bad desire always leads to regret because it ends with disaster, materially and immaterially.

The most common bad desire that people do is anger. We often get angry over many things, even over small issues. We get angry when the bus comes late.. We get angry when we can't find things we want at supermarket. We get upset when our children disobey us. We are crossed when our friends laugh at us. We are infuriated when traffic jam lasts longer than expected… and the lists continue… 

Since anger is common occurrence in daily live, it is considered normal and humane to be angry. However, is it true…?

The Holy Qur’an is the manual book for leading our lives on earth. It is a guide so that human can survive both in the world and in the hereafter. Therefore, all the rules in the Qur’an, the dos and donts are for the benefit of human being. God says in the Qur’an chapter 79 verse 40, 41: “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.” Thus, whoever restrains from the low or bad desires, the reward will be heaven. We can rephrase the verse above that whoever satisfies their low desires, their abode will be the hell. Is anger low or bad desire? Absolutely. So, by saying that restraining from low desire will earn the heaven, Allah (God) actually commands us NOT to get angry. If we disobey, we simply increase our chance for hell.

Not only anger but other bad or low desires such as jealousy, envy, arrogance, pride, showing off, negative thinking, and greed undoubtedly have negative impact on our mind, nerve, and soul. So, how to deal with bad desires?

Conventional approach for dealing with bad desires is to control them. So, when there is something that triggers our low desires, we control ourselves for not following the desires. Anger, for example… If there is something that triggers anger, we deal with it by telling to ourselves "don't be angry, don't be angry" many times or we might take a deep breath, close our eyes, bite our lips, so that anger doesn't burst out. Yet, based on experiences, such an approach works temporarily and it is mentally exhausting. 

However, there is an approach which is much better, if not the best, to deal with low desires. That is making the desires calm or composed. What is the difference between the two approaches? Controlling bad desires merely changes the behavior. The approach doesn’t target the soul but focuses on the behavior through a series of practicing, thus, the ability to ignore the bad desires is temporary. If a person is about to get angry, he quickly goes out of the room or changes his position from sitting down to standing up to get rid of the anger. If a person is about to backbite about others, he bites his lips. If envy attacks, he takes a walk trying to enjoy the scenery so that he doesn’t feel envy anymore. It might works for a while but one day he can’t bear with it any longer and he will burst out his low desires.

Making bad desires calm is about changing the perceptions or beliefs in our heart. In order to calm the bad desires, the heart or soul must be filled with Godly beliefs or beliefs from the Qur’an. That’s because ungodly beliefs are very good means for bad desires to breed.  Therefore, the only way to make bad desires calm is to have as many Godly beliefs as possible so that low desires can't grow. When a person has many Godly beliefs, he has made his bad desires calm. A person with many Godly beliefs has righteous soul.  A righteous soul definitely has righteous desires.

Some behaviors of a righteous soul or a person with many Godly beliefs in his heart are as follows:

  • When someone slaps his face, he is not angry and he doesn’t slap back as he believes that he gets reward from God for not being angry.
  • When his friends backbite about him, he is not upset as he believes that when they backbite, they actually earn their own sins. Backbiting is sinful.
  • When he gets sick, he doesn’t complain as he realizes that sickness can erase some of his sins.
  • When his child passes away, he is not carried away in sadness as he realizes that it is God Who Owns the child, not him.
  • When his friend doesn’t pay the debt, he will remind his friend nicely to pay, and when he finally doesn’t pay, he will not be upset at all as he realizes that the person who doesn’t pay will have to be responsible in the hereafter.
  • A parent always behaves gently to the children as he realizes that children are trusts from God.
  • Whenever he is tempted to be dishonest, he realizes that God takes into account every action he does and that he will be responsible for every action he takes.

It is not difficult to have righteous soul. However, it is difficult to change our old perceptions or beliefs into Godly beliefs or beliefs according to the Qur’an. Due to strong influence from the beliefs in the society, most of us don’t want to change the old beliefs into the ones favored by God Almighty. However, we MUST change them now so that we have righteous soul and deserve the heaven.

 

“(To the righteous soul will be said:) “O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back thou to thy Lord, well pleased (thyself) and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter thou, then, among My devotees! Yea, enter thou My Heaven!” (Qur’an chapter 89 verse 27-30)

 

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Rational Actor

God created the world complete with laws which are called sunnatullah (the laws of Allah). Since we, human being, are the inhabitants of the world, consequently we have to know and understand the sunnatullah. If not, we will not survive.

There are two types of God's laws on earth. First, the laws of physics. Examples of the laws are water flow downward not upward, ice is cold, fire is hot, knife is sharp in which if you cut yourself you will bleed, and so on. Most of us already know, accept, and believe the existence of the laws of physic. Since they are visible, they are easy to understand.

The second laws of God is the laws of metaphysics. Unlike the visible laws of physics, the metaphysical ones are unseen. Despite the invisibility, both the laws of physics and metaphysics are definite to occur.

So, what's rational actor? Rational actor is a person whose behaviors go along with the laws of God, both the physical and metaphysical ones. A rational actor will not reject both laws as rejection will be disastrous. If someone wants to survive physically and spiritually living in this world he must accept the visible and invisible laws of God.

Now, what are the examples of metaphysical laws of God? Some of them are as follow:

  • There is no consistency in this world. We might be healthy today but tomorrow we might get sick. We can't be always healthy and we can't be always sick. So if there's a person who always wants to be healthy for as long as he lives, it means that he doesn't go along with the metaphysical law of God. When a rational actor is sick, he will not be fussy or will not complain about his condition as he realizes that nobody is always healthy.
  • People have different wealth and riches. Some are poor and some are rich. If there is a person who constantly complains about his poverty or about other people's poverty, it means he rejects God's law of metaphysics. When a rational actor finds that many of his friends are much wealthier than him, he will not be jealous about it. On the contrary, if a previously rich rational actor becomes poor, he will not be stressful.
  • Comfortable and uncomfortable situation take turn to occur in our lives. The pair are certain and unavoidable. So, if a person is allergic to discomfort in life it means he rejects the law of God. We can't have comfortable life always. Calamity and disaster are definite. Comfortable situation will make a rational actor be grateful to God for it meanwhile uncomfortable situation will NOT make a rational actor sad or depressed. 
  • There's always ease after difficulty, so a person will not experience an everlasting difficulty. A rational actor will face difficulty with big heart while doing maximum effort as he realizes that as long as he does maximum effort, ease will definitely come.
  • Satan, in the form of human being and jinns, will always provoke anybody who obeys or tries to obey God's rules. Thus, nobody is free from other people's harassment or annoyance. A rational actor will not expect anybody around him behaving like angels. At the same time, a rational actor always strengthens his heart or soul by obeying God’s rules, to face the satans.
  • There are two wills in this world, i.e. God's wills and our wills and we don't know which one and when that will happen. It's against the metaphysical law of God if we want our wills to always happen. A rational actor will not hope for all his wills to be fulfilled. When they come true, he is grateful to God. But when they don’t, still he is grateful as he knows God’s wills are the best.
  • We can only give advice to other people, we can't change people. So, when a rational actor has been talking for hours to give advice to someone but still the person doesn't listen to the advice, he will not be upset. He realizes that his job is merely to convey the message, not to change him.

Most of us are already fluent working with the laws of physics. When we see fire, we put it out. When we want to have a glass of cold drink, we put ice cubes in the glass or put the drink in the fridge. When we want our plants to grow beautifully, we give fertilizer to them. When we want to get money, we work or do business. The laws are easy to deal with because they are visible, tangible and we only need our brain to face the laws. But how about the laws of metaphysics? Most people have difficulty in dealing with God's metaphysical laws. Sickness, lack of wealth, calamity, disaster, and other uncomfortable situations are always rejected by our heart. People behave negatively towards such things. The reason why it's difficult to face the laws is because of lack of Godly beliefs. Dealing with the laws of metaphysics need Godly beliefs to be in our heart or soul. We are able to obtain those Godly beliefs by contemplating about the origin of human being, the purpose of life and the rules of God in His Book, that is the Holy Qur’an. The action of contemplation requires the capability of the heart, not brain. Therefore, dealing with metaphysical laws needs the "intelligence" of the heart, instead of the brain. Unfortunately, since we were born, we use more of our brain than our heart, ending with failure in comprehending the metaphysical laws of God.

As said earlier, if we fail in dealing with sunnatullah (the laws of God), we will not survive. Failure in dealing with the physical laws of God surely causes us material or tangible loss. However, what happens when we fail in understanding the metaphysical laws of God? When that happens, frustration, anxiety, disappointment, and anger will occur. Those feelings are against the rules of God and they earn sins, increasing the chance for hell. On the contrary, success in coping with the metaphysical laws of God will earn rewards, increasing the chance for the place in heaven and that means the ultimate survival for the life of human being.

 

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Human Being in the Qur’an

The discussion about human being in the Qur'an includes the origin, the characteristics, the capability and the weakness of human being. The Qur’an explains that the first human being was created from clay and after the shape was perfected, God then blew His spirit into it. It’s stated in the Qur’an chapter 38 verse 71-72, “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to create man from clay. When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.”

As the Creator of human being, it is no doubt that God knows exactly what He has created. God knows the vices and virtues of human being. Some of the good and bad qualities of human being as stated in the Qur’an are as follow:

  • He is created in the best of shape. God says in chapter 95 verse 4 of the Qur’an, “We have indeed created man in the best of moulds.”
  • Human being is honored, as in the Qur’an chapter 17 verse 70, “We have honored the sons of Adam…and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of Our Creation.”
  • Man is unjust and ungrateful. Chapter 14 verse 34, “…Verily man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.”
  • Human being is impatient and fretful. Chapter 70 verse 19-20, “Truly man was created very impatient. (20)Fretful when evil touches him.”
  • Man is contentious. Chapter 18 verse 54, “…But man is, in most things, contentious.”

Since human being has both good and bad sides, a person can then choose whether he wants to follow his good characters or his bad ones. He himself chooses whether he wants to be a good person or a bad person.

Allah (God) had appointed human being as His vicegerent on earth, as stated in the Qur’an chapter 2 verse 30, “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.”  Thus, as representative of God, the duty of human being on earth is merely applying God’s rules, not anyone else’s rules. Therefore, the purpose of life of human being is to worship or serve God only. God says in chapter 51 verse 56, “I have only created jinns and men that they may serve Me.”

In order to successfully perform the duty as vicegerent, God equips human being with the following:

  • capability of knowing about many kinds of objects and things. Chapter 2 verse 31, “And He taught Adam the nature of all things…”
  • God gives human being understanding or mind, and senses. Chapter 67 verse 23, “Say: “It is He Who has created you (and made you grow) and made for you the faculties of hearing, seeing, feeling and understanding…”
  • God bestows human being the ability to change life on earth. Chapter 13 verse 11, “…Verily never will God change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)…”
  • Finally, God makes the earth and everything in it, i.e. animals, plants, seas, mountains, rivers, planets, etc, submitted to human being, so that people can use them for fulfilling the duty given by God. It’s clearly stated in chapter 45 verse 12, “It is God Who has subjected the sea to you, that ships may sail through it by His command, that ye may seek of His bounty and that ye may be grateful.”

However, human being also has limitations or weaknesses:

  • Most people only know about worldly matters as God says in chapter 30 verse 6-7, “(It is) the promise of God. Never does God depart from His promise; but most men understand not. (7) They know but the outer (things) in the life of this world but of the end of thins they are heedless.”
  • People also know very little about soul or spirit or ruh, what will happen to the spirit when we die, where the spirit will go, the difference between the spirit itself compared to when the spirit still stay in the physical body, etc. Some people, such as fortune tellers, clairvoyants, claim that they know a lot about the spirit or soul of human being. However, what they have is false believe. God says in chapter 17 verse 85, “They ask thee concerning the spirit (of inspiration). Say: “The spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord; of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you (O men!)”.
  • Human being also has little understanding of what is good and what is bad for them. People think that having abundant of wealth is good for them but that is not always the case. People think that getting sick is bad for them, and again, that’s often good for them. God says in 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.”

Allah (God) is the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful. God does not let human being, with limitations and weaknesses, without a complete guidance to live on earth. That is why the Qur’an exists to guide people to live, to become vicegerent on earth that is to lead their life according to the rules of the Creator.  Therefore, it is very important to understand the Qur’an so that we can fulfill the purpose of life successfully which leads to true happiness in the world and in the hereafter.

 

Watch: The Bible & The Qur'an; Christ in Islam; Jews & Muslims; The Purpose of Life

Our Covenant With God

Naturally, every human being is able to feel God in his heart.  That’s because before the soul was blown to the physical body in the mother’s womb, the soul already made a covenant with God in the spiritual world, as stated in the Qur’an chapter 7 verse 172: “When thy Lord drew (forth) from the children of Adam-from their loins- their descendants and made them testify concerning themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord (Who cherishes and sustains you)?” They said: “Yea! We do testify!” (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: “Of this we were never mindful”.

All people were born in state of purity with the awareness of God and willingness to serve God only. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “No baby is born except that he is in his natural tendency (to worship Allah alone). It is his parents who make him a jew, a christian or a majusi (fire worshipper)."

Thus, every person has actually admitted that there is no god but God (Allah), that he will only worship God. The testimony also bears a consequence that during his life on earth, a person must not make other things as gods to him. Testifying that there is no god but God means that a person is not allowed to make worldly matters such as money, position, fame and fortune as god to him. He has promised that only God’s rules that matters.

Despite the fact that human being have made their covenant with God in the spiritual world, before being born to the world, generally people don’t feel or don’t remember at all that they had made such a covenant. However, what happened in the spiritual world can be proved in daily lives. The godly covenant still can be traced in our lives. There are many people who say that they don’t believe in God but when they are in despair they finally turn to God in one way or another.

Actually, it is normal when a person doesn’t remember his covenant with his Lord million years ago in the spiritual world. A person can’t even remember what happened and how he felt when he was still in his mother’s womb.  Let alone what happened in the womb, a person couldn’t remember his childhood or what he did a year ago, a month ago and even a week ago. That’s why God reminds people about the covenant through the Qur’an, the manual book for life.

Unfortunately, when some people are reminded about their covenant with God, they deny it and become angry instead. What makes people refuse to recognize their covenant with their Creator? What makes them refuse to be reminded about it?  It’s because the strong influence that surround them. The attack of materialism, secularism, atheism, and hedonism is so powerful that people are carried away by the deceit of worldly pleasure. Other gods in forms of money, wealth and riches, popularity, position, even women and men appear in the hearts of human being. One of the characters of God is that God doesn’t want to be taken partners as stated in the Qur'an chapter 4 verse 48. Once a person takes other things as god, God will go from his heart.

It is time to recall our covenant with God (Allah) and the covenant entails total obedience towards our Creator.

 

God forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with God is to devise a sin most heinous indeed. (Qur'an chapter 4 verse 48)

 

 

The Attributes of God

 
Allah (God) is the Creator of all living things. We, human being, are the creation of God. God creates human being simply to worship Him as God says in the Quran chapter 51 verse 56, "I have only created jinns and men, that they may serve Me." That means human being is the servant of God and that makes God as the Master of human being. 
 
As a servant, a person must know the characteristics or nature of his Master. It is very important for him because by knowing the characteristics of his Master, a person (servant) is able to understand the commands of his Master and is able to serve the Master better. He will not misunderstand the rules set by the Master. Furthermore, by knowing the nature of his Boss, he knows how to behave.
 
When we (people) talk, we sometimes make mistakes in what we say. Sometimes we are not consistent in what we say. And sometimes we are not being honest in saying certain matters. However, God is not like that. God is The Truth, God doesn't make mistakes, God is not inconsistent and God doesn't break promises. Therefore, the best way to know and understand the characteristics of God is of course straight from God's words, that is the Quran, which is never changed since 1400 years ago and which has been proved many times through science as the truth.
 
By understanding the Qur’an, a person can find out the attributes or characteristics of God, the way that God “think” and “behave”. And if a person believes that God’s characteristics are the ones explained in the Qur’an, he will never be worried, sad, or stressful in whatever he faces. By understanding the “mind” of Allah, a person knows how to handle problems in his life. Believing in he attributes of God is one of the godly believes that human being must have.
 
Some of God’s attributes as stated in the Qur’an are as follows:
1.      God values human being merely based on his or her righteousness as stated in the Qur’an chapter 49 verse 13, “…Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you…”. So, God doesn’t consider a person’s wealth, cleverness, fame, beauty, status, and descendant to determine someone’s quality. God only considers the level of obedience towards God’s rules or the righteousness. The more a person obeys God’s rules, the more righteous he becomes and the higher his rank is in the sight of God. If a person truly believes that God has this attribute, he then will not be influenced by hedonistic perceptions that a person is successful if he is rich, famous, and so forth.
 
2.      Allah (God) will not change our condition if we ourselves don’t try to change it, as stated in the Qur’an chapter 13 verse 11, “…Verily never will God change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)…”. So, if, for example, a person has financial difficulties and he believes this attribute of God, he will focus on his efforts in trying to change his situation. He will not focus on the result of his efforts because the result is under God’s care. Because of that, the person is free from stress or worry.
 
3.      God gives fortune or prosperity to human being differently. In the Qur’an chapter 16 verse 71 God says, “God has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others…” A person who believes that God gives sustenance differently among the people, will not be jealous of other people’s greater fortune. If, after working hard and trying his best effort, the result is not as good as his friend who doesn’t work as hard as him, he will not be disappointed. He will just say, “Praise be to Allah Who gives wealth more to others…”
 
4.      God does not put a burden greater than a person can bear, as in the Qur’an chapter 2 verse 286, “On no soul doth God place a burden greater than it can bear.” Actually, God knows the capacity of every human being. So, if calamity or bad thing happens to someone, God knows that he can handle it. The problem is the person doesn’t want to deal with the problem with his own capacity. He only wants to have easy way out. It’s just like a student having an exam tomorrow. If he studies hard days before the exam, of course he will pass with good grades but if he doesn’t study hard, he will fail! Thus, if a person believes that God will never put a burden beyond his capacity, when trouble comes, he will try with all his might to solve the problem as he believes he can handle it.
 
5.      God is not unfair to human being, as stated in the Qur’an chapter 10 verse 44, “Verily God will not deal unjustly with man in aught. It is man that wrongs his own soul.” When bad things happen, people often say that God is so unfair to them. “Why is it happening to me…? It’s so unfair.” God is the Creator of the universe and God is The Most Merciful, The Most Gracious, The Most Noble, The Most Wise and The Most Knowing of what is good for every one of us. Is it possible that out of such a Creator then come unfair things…? No way! The reason why people think that God is unfair is because people have different perception of what is good and what is bad for them. To people, good is when things happen according to their ego and desire, and bad is when things does not happen according to their ego and desire. Meanwhile, to God, when something can make people go to heaven, it is good. And when something can make people go to hell, it is called bad.
 
6.      God is with people who are patience as stated in the Qur’an chapter 2 verse 153, “O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer for God is with those who patiently persevere.” If a person has difficulty in his life and he believes in this attribute o f God, he will do the best effort and at the same time he will be patient as well as pray to God. God helps people who make efforts, pray, and patient in doing the efforts.
 
7.      God will test human being with good and bad things. Chapter 7 verse 167 “…We have tried them with both prosperity and adversity.” Chapter 21 verse 35, “…And We test you by evil and by good, by way of trial.” Many people pray to God so that no calamities, problems, sickness or other bad things befall upon them. Actually that’s the wrong way to pray. It is God’s nature to give human being both good and bad as tests in life, as a sign of God’s mercy upon human. Thus, a person must pray to God, “O Allah… Please make me strong in dealing with Your trials…”
 
8.      God will give reward to people who restrain from their desire as stated in chapter 79 verse 40-41, “And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, (41) Their abode will be the heaven (garden).”  Corruption, stealing, cheating, stinginess, being prejudiced, unwillingness to help others… Those are low desires and if a person follows such desires, he will only get sins from God. But if a person has an intention to cheat, and then he remembers God and he restrains from cheating, that person will earn great reward from God. 
 
9.      God will give relief after difficulty. God says in the Qur’an chapter 94 verse 5-6, “So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief, (6)Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.“ So, God will never give never-ending difficulty to a person. But, this characteristic is guaranteed as long as the person does good effort in handling his difficulty (look at no. 2). If the person doesn’t do anything, God will not help him in giving the relief.
 
There are many more of attributes of God that can be learned from the Qur’an. The above are just some of them. It is important to understand the Qur’an so that the attributes of God can be understood well. Understanding the characters of the Master (God) will help us serve the Master better, therefore, earning the rewards that we need for our next life in the hereafter.
 
 

The Qur’an as Manual Book

Every gadget, machine or tool, has specific way to be used. Most of the things we use in our life have manual books or instruction guides. If a person buys a brand new car, he has to know how to operate or run the car. He can get a complete information about the car in the manual book which explains the elements of the car, how to take care of it, the dos and don'ts, and many more. In order to successfully and safely use the car for a long time, he has to follow all the instructions or rules in the manual book of the car. If he doesn't follow or if he changes some of the rules according to his own limited knowledge, then sooner or later the car will be broken.

Human being is the product of God, the creation of God. Therefore, human being also need manual book for living on earth. The Qur'an which was revealed by Allah (God) through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a manual book, a complete guidance for all people on earth. People have limited mind. People can't solve everything based on his limited knowledge. That's why, God sent the Qur'an and it is a proof of God's love towards human being as the Qur'an is truly a guide for human being in how to live on earth so that human being is happy not only in this world but also in the hereafter. Whoever wants to achieve happiness in both worlds, he must use the Qur'an as his manual book. 

However, the Qur'an is often treated or used in the wrong ways. Basically, based on what happens in the society, people use the Qur'an in one of these three ways:

1. the Qur'an as rhymes or recitation,

2. the Qur'an as magic formula,

3. the Qur'an as manual book for life.

If a person uses the Qur'an as rhymes, then all he has to do is to make sound or to recite  the Arabic letters perfectly and beautifully, according to the rules of Qur'an recitation, without the need to know the meaning. There are competitions in Qur'an recitation in which the winner is the one who is able to recite it the most beautifully. Sadly, there is common perception in the society (muslim society) that people who can recite the Qur'an beautifully are pious people, kindhearted people. This perception is of course wrong as such people don't understand the meaning of what they are reading. Even if they understand, doesn't mean they implement the rules of God in the Qur'an.

If a person uses the Qur'an as magic formula, then he doesn't have to recite it perfectly or beautifully, but what matters to him is which verses or chapters that he has to recite (say) and how many times he has to recite it. People dealing with jins or black magic, fortune tellers and witchcrafts often use verses from the Qur'an. They will say something like these: "If you want to be rich, you have to read chapter 114 of the Qur'an for 100 times every night!". "If you want to be successfull, you have to say "laa ilaaha illallaahu" for 200 times every morning!" "Say 'astaghfirullah' for 99 times every day, then your sins will be forgiven by God!"… those are examples of using the Qur'an as magic formula.

The correct way to use the Qur'an is to make it as manual book for life. If a person uses the Qur'an as his manual book then he MUST understand the meaning of the Qur'an. Besides reading the Arabic part of the Qur'an, he will read the translation of the Qur'an, he will try to understand it and implement the rules of God as stated in the Qur'an. If a person uses the Qur'an as his guide in his life, he will find solutions for his problems and he will decide every issue/problem according to the Qur'an. In short, using the Qur'an as a manual book means following the teaching of God in whole, not in parts. 

What will happen if the Qur'an is not used accordingly? Well, what will happen if a person doesn't obey the manual book when he tries to operate or fix his washing machine? If he doesn't do as the manual book's instructions, the machine will not last very long and finally it will be broken. The same thing happens when people don't use the Qur'an correctly. Using the Qur'an in the wrong way will definitely result in great loss for human being. It will cause a great loss as the ultimate goal of true happiness in the world and in the hereafter will not be achieved. And the action of using the Qur'an improperly or not using the Qur'an at all in life will be accounted before God in the hereafter.

God truly wants all human being to have the ultimate happiness and to enter paradise. God says in chapter 2 verse 38, "… And if, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." God has provided human being with perfect manual or guide book to follow. All we have to do is to understand and obey the guidance.

On the contrary, God doesn't favor people who don't use the Qur'an in their lives and condemn those who don't refer to the Qur'an for solutions. God says in chapter 5 verse 44, "…If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (no better than) unbelievers." Verse 45, "…And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (no better than) wrong-doers."  Verse 47, "…If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel." And there is no place in paradise for the unbelievers, wrong-doers, and those who rebel.

The Qur'an is truly an awe-inspiring book. It's such an amazing book that God says in chapter   verse 31, "If there were a Qur'an with which mountains were moved, or the earth were cloven asunder, or the dead were made to speak, (this would be the one!)." However, such a qualities can be felt or sensed only when the holy book is used according to the purpose, that is the manual book for life on earth. And the manual book must be understood and the instructions must be obeyed. 

Indonesia is a country where the muslim community is the highest in number in the world. If the muslims use the Qur'an properly, that is if they understand and follow the teachings, the country should be prosperous and noble qualities such as honesty, cleanliness, and discipline should prevail. However, looking at the situation and condition of the people, it is obvious that the Qur'an hasn't been used properly. The Qur'an lies only on bookshelves at homes. The people only read aloud or recite the Arabic letters beautifully. Or, people just position the Qur'an in the brain, that is as knowledge. Most of them don't have the Qur'an in their hearts, meaning they don't have belief that the Qur'an is their manual book. Remember, knowledge will not result in action but the belief will.

It is interesting to know that the habit of using the Qur'an as rhymes or recitation is the result of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia for more than 300 years. At that time, whenever people recited the Qur'an, the Dutch would say, "Let them recite the Qur'an, do not disturb them! By reciting only, they will not know the meaning, so just let them recite." The colonizer actually had read the Qur'an and they knew that if the people knew the meaning and teachings of the Qur'an, surely they would not let themselves being oppressed and enslaved. God forbids oppression and slavery.

The Qur'an is guidance for mankind containing wisdom and rules in how to lead our lives on earth so that we survive in this world and in the hereafter. Using the Qur'an in a wrong way or not using the Qur'an in our lives will be a great loss. Don't let it happen…

 

Verily this Qur'an doth guide to that which is most right (or stable), and giveth the glad tidings to the believers who work deeds of righteousness, that they shall have a magnificent reward. (Qur'an chapter 17 verse 9).

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Satan the Eternal Enemy

Satan, devil… Those words are often heard or read somewhere. But, what is exactly satan? Is it a creature with two horns on its head, two fiery bulging eyes, red face, and devilish smile..? When we say 'satan', do we really know what we say? What is the difference between jinn, iblis, and satan?

Human being was created out of clay. Angels were created out of light. Meanwhile, jinns were created from fire. Satan is often considered as another creation of God just like human being and angels. Satan is often thought to be created from fire, just like jinn. When God creates something, the creation must fulfill the purpose set by God. What is the purpose of the creation of human being? Human being is created merely to worship God. If a person obeys God, he will earn reward and if he doesn't obey, he will earn sin. Now, if satan is a creation just like human being, what is the purpose of the creation? Most people will say the purpose is to mislead people on earth or to make people disobey God. So, if the satan is successful in misleading people, will satan earn reward and go to heaven..? Misleading people or making people doing evil deeds is sinful, so satan must go to hell. Now, if satan doesn't succeed in misleading people, will satan go to hell because satan couldn't fulfill the purpose? It's funny to think that satan will go to hell whether or not satan fulfill the job. What a poor creation! God is unfair!

Satan is often associated with iblis. Satan and iblis are often considered the same entity. However, the Qur'an explains that iblis is creature of God among jinn who disobeyed God as stated in chapter 28 verse 50, "And behold, We said to the angels "Bow down to Adam", and they bowed down except iblis. He was one of the jinns and he broke the command of his Lord…" ​It is clear that ​among the jinns, there are some who disobey God and such jinns are called iblis who vowed to mislead the descendants of Adam until the last day comes. The intention of iblis is clear in the Qur'an chapter 38 verse 82, "(Iblis) said: "Then by thy power, I will put them all in the wrong." 

Meanwhile, satan is manifested in the form of human being and jinn as stated in the Qur'an chapter 6 verse 112, "Likewise did We make for every Messenger an enemy, evil ones, among men and jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception…" Furthermore in chapter 114 verse 4-6, "From the mischief of the whisperer (of evil), who withdraws (after his whisper). (The same) who whispers in the hearts of mankind. Among jinns and among men." 

Therefore, satan is not another type of creation of God. Satan is attribute or nature, or character. Iblis is satan because iblis mislead people from the way of God. Whoever disobey God's rules in the Qur'an is satan. If a person has desire to do evil deeds, the desire itself is satan. If I have a friend and my friend asks me to steal money, then my friend is satan as he provokes me to disobey God's rule. If I follow his desire to steal, then I become satan too. If I repent and regret, then I'm no longer a satan. If a father suggests his son to lie then the father is satan. If his son follows the father's suggestion, then his son is satan. But if the son rejects to lie then the son is not satan. 

It is mistaken that satan is powerful. Satan can only do the provocation or suggestion as said in the Qur'an chaper 14 verse 22, "And satan will say when the matter is decided, "It was God Who gave you a promise of truth. I too promised but I failed in my promise to you. I had no authority over you except to call you, but ye listened to me. Then reproach not me but reproach your own souls. I cannot listen to your cries nor can ye listen to mine. I reject your former act in associating me with God. For wrong-doers there must be a grievous penalty." Satan can't force or make people to execute the evil deeds. It is up to us whether or not we want to follow satan's provocation or whisper. Human being is truly free to decide what to do and what to choose. Satan is actually very weak as satan only whispers the idea of doing sins.  

Jinn can also be satan and provoke human being from obeying God's rule. Satanic jinns or iblis often take forms – human, animal, and other kinds of forms –  to deceive human being. Iblis usually take forms of dead relatives and imitate the way they speak and behave when they were still alive. The purpose of such action is to make people believe that the souls of dead people can come to earth which is not true and against the teaching of the Qur'an. Empty houses often have devilish jinns inside to disturb the residents. And there are many more ways that iblis do to make people go astray, to disbelieve God.

Why are we often provoked by satan? That's because satan come in the form of people we are familiar with, so we don't realize that at certain time, they are being satan. People still think that satan is another creation of God with distinctive physical features so when facing a familiar person being satanic they don't see satan but someone they know. 

It is important to be able to handle satan. That's because satan prevent human being to achieve the ultimate goal of being happy in this world and in the hereafter. Satan's provocation or suggestion is only one kind, that is asking people NOT to follow the rules of God in the Qur'an. If the rules are not implemented, it can be guaranteed that a person can't be happy in both world.

Human being — SATAN–> Al Qur'an ——-> true happiness

​Some characteristics and actions that belong to satan as mentioned in the Qur'an are arrogance, stinginess, prejudice, backbiting, dishonesty, extravagance (in life style), killing, ruining the environment, corruption, stealing, violence, and many more. And there is no better way to beat the evil whispers of satan than seeking refuge to God all the time, which is commanded in the Qur'an chapter 23 verse 97 & 98, "And say "O my Lord! I seek refuge with Thee from the suggestions of the evil ones. And I seek refuge with Thee O my Lord! Lest they should come near me." 

Satan is eternal enemy of every human being. Even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was accompanied by satan in the form of desire and iblis. The Prophet said, "None of us is without satan. I myself have satan, however with God's help I can beat the satan."

So, hold tighly the rules of God in the Qur'an and seek refuge to God whenever there is the provocation of satan.

 

 

 

Believing The Hereafter

Some people believe that there is no such thing as hereafter. They believe that people are just like candles. When they die, they simply vanish, like the light of the candle being blown. No responsibility or whatsoever for what they had done on earth. Thieves and murderers as well as pious people will end up in the same situation.

Believing in the existence of the hereafter is one of the Godly beliefs. Allah (God) warns human being about the existence of hereafter in the Qur'an chapter 6 verse 32, "What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But the best is the home in the hereafter, for those who are righteous. Will ye not then understand?". Qur'an chapter 29 verse 64, "What is the life of this world but amusement and play But verily the home in thereafter, that is life indeed, if they but knew." And God says in the Qur'an chapter 17 verse 10, "And those who believe not in the hereafter, (it announceth) that We have prepared for them a penalty grievous (indeed)."

But as a matter of fact, even without the verses from the Qur'an, it is logical for a person to believe in the hereafter. All he has to do is to function his mind and heart or contemplate spiritually.

We all agree that a person must be responsible for every action he makes.  If we spill coffee to the floor, we must clean the floor. If we lose our parents' valuable item, we must replace it. When a person hurts someone physically, he must be responsible, at least by paying for the medication. When a person lies, he must face the consequence of his lying. When person steals or kills or rapes someone, he must face the laws for his evil deeds. So, basically, a person must be responsible. However, what if a person doesn't have a chance to be responsible or to receive the consequence of his actions when he was still alive on earth? Let's say a person who has done corruption for many years but never get caught or never get punished on earth and then suddenly he dies due to heart attack. Or a killer who never get caught and punished until he dies at his old age. It is just not fair, it is just not logical and it is against the common sense that such a person will just disappear from this world with his evil deed without being accounted for his action. On the contrary, it is logical that he will be accounted for his evil deeds 'somewhere' and 'somehow'. And that 'somewhere' and 'somehow' is the hereafter, in the form of either heaven for good deeds or hell for bad deeds.

Let's contemplate further. Imagine there are two dead bodies in front of us. One dead body is a kind, pious person who used to implement the teachings in the Qur'an when he was still alive. The other dead body is a bad person who used to disobey the teachings of God in the Qur'an. He used to lie, get angry, hurt people's feelings with nasty words and attitudes, and did things based on his desires. Those two dead bodies were wrapped by white, kafan fabric, special fabric for wrapping dead bodies. They both look the same, nothing different. When the faces are totally covered by the fabric, the living ones couldn't make the difference which one was a good person and which one was the bad one. It is against the common sense that the two people will just vanish or will not receive the consequence of their actions which are very different to each other.  So, the only perfect place for complete and fair calculation is the hereafter. God will give reward for the good deeds that haven't been rewarded on earth and God will give punishment for the bad deeds that haven't been paid on earth. In short, the hereafter with heaven and hell is the manifestation of God's attribute of being The Most Just.

Knowing that the hereafter exists is not enough because knowing will not result in action. Knowing lies in the brain and if it stays there, it will not give benefit at all. But bear in mind that knowing (knowledge) is important in a sense that it is the 'raw material' for being processed further in our heart. What is the most important is believing or having faith that hereafter exists. The believe, which lies in the heart, will result in action. What is the prove that someone does believe in the hereafter? Simply take a look at his behavior or action.

If a person still likes slandering or gossiping about other people, it means his belief of the existence of the hereafter is not yet strong. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Gossiping feels good on earth, but it can lead a person to hell in the hereafter."

If a person still feels in his heart that he is better than others it means his belief of the existence of the hereafter is not yet strong. God forbids human being to be arrogant.

If a person still does many bad things such as stealing, lying, cheating, hurting other people, it is then clear that he doesn't have strong belief, or he doesn't believe at all, of the existence of the hereafter. 

And if a person still refuses to help others or rejects to do good deeds, it means that he doesn't have strong belief, or he doesn't believe at all, of the existence of the hereafter. God promises in the Qur'an chapter 43 verse 72, "Such will be the garden (heaven) of which ye are made heirs for your (good) deeds (in life)." Furthermore in chapter 2 verse 82, "But those who have faith and work righteousness, they are companions of the garden (heaven). Therein shall they abide (forever)."

Thus, it is clear that if a person has a low quality of belief of the existence of the hereafter, his actions or behavior will not be good as God says in the Qur'an chapter 16 verse 60, "To those who believe not in the hereafter applies the similitude of evil…" 

Having a solid belief that hereafter exists will undoubtedly drive us to do as many God's rules as possible. It will be much easier for in accepting and comprehending the rest of God's rules. 

​Please recall the journey of human being:

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

In the end, there are only two places that human being will arrive. Make sure that we have as many Godly beliefs, including the belief that hereafter exists, so that we don't end up in the wrong place…

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Twitter: Maharani Hasibuan http://twitter.com/mzanirah