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CULTURE OF ISLAM

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1


Imtiaz Muhsin 16-Nov-12

The main objective of these talks (and therefore the scripts of these talks), is to stimulate thinking. Sensible, rational and logical thinking. So, my message, think, think & think! Be sensible, be rational and be logical.

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

Please Note
1. I have had the great privilege, (since Aug 2010), of presenting talks on the weekly Radio Program Culture of Islam [Every Friday 8 to 8.30 pm, Radio Sri Lanka - FM 97.4] 2. Since these are Radio Talks, I refer to, or address the audience as listeners 3. I am well aware that the audience to these talks would consist of people belonging to a variety of faiths. So as to make people of all faiths feel included, I very often use words and names that are common to all religions. 4. For these reasons, I use the name GOD, as well as Abraham, Moses, Jesus etc as well as the names Allah, Ibrahim (Alaihis Salaam), Moosa (Alaihis Salaam), Easa (Alaihis Salaam) etc 5. Muslims by habit usually say Sallallahu Alaihiwasallam, when the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned, and Alaihis Salaam' when the name of a Prophet is mentioned. However, in these series of talks I have reduced the use of these prayers & sayings to the bare minimum. 6. Muslims, also by habit, use a number of Arabic prayers or sayings, such as Alhamdulillah, Insha Allah and so on. Again, I have reduced the use of these prayers or sayings to the bare minimum. 7. Sometimes I have to write Arabic words in the English script. I have devised my own way of writing Arabic in English, as follows;

th TH

s Ss SW

DHL DHZ

H h

Gh GH

Information on these talks along with all download links can be found on my on my Blog (http://imtiazm.wordpress.com/) The dates or the schedules of these talks can be viewed on the Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/ImtiazMuhsin786) The Scripts of these talks can be downloaded from www.ScribD.com (www.ScribD.com Author Imtiaz Muhsin) The audio files of these talks can be downloaded from YouTube (YouTube Channel Imtiaz Muhsin) The YouTube Link to this talk is at http://youtu.be/oPa6OCiyst4

All Praise and Thanks is due to Allah and Allah alone Alhamdulillah!

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1


Dear Friends, Assalamu Alaikum, Every human being is full of ambitions, goals and distractions. Or I would like to say our lives or my life is full of ambitions, goals and distractions. This is what gives us our drive, our motivation. This is what keeps us going and we may even say that sometimes, this is what keeps us from not going Because when pursuing ambitions and goals there can be many disappointments as well. We call them ups and downs in life. When we are down, we suffer a condition known as depresion and this is where our friends and relations rally round us trying to get us up and running again. Now like I said, there are ambitions, goals . and .. distractions! Now what are ambitions, what are goals and what are the distractions? Is it the distractions that give the disappointments? Could it be that if we had just focussed on our goals and ambitions and kept away from distractions we would not have to face dissappointments? If this is so, is it not important that we first learn the correct descriptions of these valuable terms, ambitions, goals and distractions? Only if we know how to recognize what are correct ambitions and correct goals and also identify what are distractions, would this knowledge not be a great aid to being properly focussed? Now when we go in search of this correctness, we find we have entered a vast and diverse field. There are many conflicting messages. But then as Muslims it is to the Quran that we should turn to, to find out what should be our ambitions and goals as well as to find out what would be our distractions. The Quran is instructions to us from God, and all Muslims hold it as very very sacred. We are familiar with a number of the Aayaths in the Quran and at the same time not familiar with many other Aayaths. There are may reasons for this. Though I say we are familiar with some of the Aayaths many of us have not taken the time or the trouble to sit down, note down these Aayaths and try to work out the connections between these Aayaths or at least to try to make more sense out of them. Let me in todays talk make an attempt to read some of these Aayaths, the Aayaths that most of us are familiar with, and try to see or to work out the relationships between these Aayaths Insha Allah!

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

First let me read some Aayaths from Surah Fathiha. Surah Fathiha is the opening Chapter or the Opening Surah of the Holy Quran, it consists of just 7 short Aayaths and is easily the most read Surah in the whole Quran. Muslims pray five times a day that is when we count what is referred to as the compulsory prayers. In these 5 daily prayers we recite this Surah Fathiha 17 times. There are many Muslims who pray the Sunnath and the Nafl prayers as well, which in that case they would be reciting Surah Fathiha maybe up to 50 times a day. Thre are many facets to looking at Surah Fathiha and we are examining the topic ambitions, goals and distractions so let us look at 3 of the 7 Aayaths of Surah Faathiha. (1:5) You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help. (1:6) Guide us on the straight path. (1:7) the path of those on whom You have bestowed Your favors, not of those who have incurred Your wrath and not (of) those who go astray.

Now this describes what our real, true ambitions, goals and distractions are. Now this describes what our real, true ambitions, goals and distractions should be. Is it so? How, do we make it so? Or, how, do we comply? There are many points emanating fromt just a brief reading of these 3 Aayaths Let us list these out. The Surah describes the ideal relationship we should have with God What is it? We worship only Him and we seek help, only from Him. In English, the word worship can sometimes give a wrong connotation of what is actually being expressed here. To many of us worship is performing the rituals of religion. But actually the word used here is naghbudhu derived from the noun ghabdh which means slave So naghbudhu would mean We serve God, but this service should infact be so devoted that we refer to it as worship. So we serve only God and we seek help only from God. That is how a true Muslim should be. After stating; (1:5) You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help.

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

We come to the next Aayath which tells us the bigggest help we can ask for, our biggest need that is true guidance from God, so we pray; (1:6) Guide us on the straight path.

And then this path is described, by portraying what we need and what we do not need; What do we need; (1:7) a. the path of those on whom You have bestowed Your favors,

And what do we not need; (1:7) b. not of those who have incurred Your wrath and not (of) those who go astray.

So what are the points? 1. We Worship only Him 2. We seek help only from Him 3. Our biggest need is guidnce on what is described as the straight path 4. We do not want to be on the path of those on whom His wrath descends, nor those who have gone astray. Now who are these 2 sets of people or we may describe them as 3 sets of people. 1. Those who are guided on the straight path 2. Those who have incurrred Gods wrath 3. Those who go astray. How do we know whether we are on the straight path or whether we have incurred Gods wrath or whether we have gone astray? Now, I like to ask a very serious question. Does not gone astray clearly imply those who have been on the straight path first only then can they have gone astray, because gone astray has to mean gone from . where? Has to be from the straight path, so these are probably those, who were initially, on the straight path that to me is an important point, a v v important point. So now we have many key words, intriguing key words; 1. Naghbudhu We Worship 2. Nastagheen We seek help 3. Ihdhi guide us 4. SWiraathal Mustaqeem the straight path 5. anghamtha ghalaiHim -Those who have Gods favors bestowed on them 6. Maghdhloob ghalaiHim those who have earned wrath on themselves 7. Waladhlaaleen those who go astray.

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

What do all these words really mean and how do we understand the true meanings and benefit from them? One obviously point that should strike us is that the Quran describes the lives of many personalities there are the stories of the Prophets which obviously portray righteous examples of those who are rightly guided. Could not these personalities be described as examples of the anghamtha ghalaiHim - Those who have Gods favors bestowed on them Similarly we have stories of evil personalities such as Firaun and Kaaroon are these not examples of those who could be described as the Maghdhloob ghalaiHim those who have eared wrath on themselves and the dhlaaleen those who go astray? Should we not try to compare their lives with our lives and try to see how much we have in common with these two groups of persons and then try to work out, honestly, as to which group do we belong to? This needs serious soul searching doesnt it? Now let us see as to how we think. That is important. When we say anghamtha ghalaihim - Those who have Gods favors bestowed on them, we think Surely, Gods favors have to be wealth, spacious house, good vehicle, extensive lands, popularity power, influence etc When we say Maghdhloob ghalaiHim those who have incurred wrath on themselves and the dhlaaleen those who go astray surely these must be people who are experiencing poverty, scoldings and rejection from society, those who become isolated, those who do not possess wealth or power or influence? But then there is something bothering us. We just do not know how to deal with it. It is a nagging thought always there at the back of our minds. We want to bring it in forn and examone it. But we just do not know how to do that. What is this nagging thought? When we read the stories of the Prophets along with the stories of those whom God dislikes, we see a very different picture from what we think and what we read. It is the Prophets or the good persons who apparently experienced poverty, scoldings and rejection from society, and it was they who became isolated and apparently dicd not possess wealth or power or influence. Again it is those whom God dislikes, like Firauwn and Kaaroon who have had wealth, spacious houses or even Palaces, extensive lands, backing from the people, power, and influence etc Do not things look very confusing or should we say very revealing? Prophet Abraham or Ibrahim (AS) had to endure the ignominy of being sentenced to death by burning. Society told him we do not want you, you are a rebel, a threat to our prosperous and peaceful ways of living But then, he comes out alive!

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

Now, what does he do next, he decides to go on a journey to the middle of nowhere. In to the desert, to a place that was later-on established as a city named Mecca. But in Prophet Abrahams time there was no city. It was just a vacant place in the middle of a hrash desert and maybe over a 700 miles from wherever he would have been, probably somewhere around Palestine. He takes along with him, his second wife named Hajara and their infant son Ismail. His first wife Sara is left behind. How would society have described him? Just think??!!! The we have the story of Prophet Joseph or Yusfr (AS) Prophet Joseph or Yusuf (AS) had to endure the deep hurt of being cast into a well and abandoned by his own brothers 11 of them. Then being taken out by a caravan and being sold as a slave, being falsely accused of trying to rape his Masters wife, and then spending a few years in jail described by his Masters wife as and certainly be of those who are disgraced (12:32) Surely, he will be imprisoned and certainly will be of those who are disgraced. Prophet Noah or Nuh (AS), where his own people tell him; (S Al Araaf - 7:60) The chiefs of his people said, Indeed we see you in an obvious error. (011:027) (S Hudh - 11:27) So the chiefs of those who rejected, from his people (min QowmiHee), replied, We are not seeing that you are anything more than a man like us, and we are not seeing that any people have followed you except those who are the lowest of us (araadhzilunaa), immature in opinion (baadhiya rayee) and we have not seen in you people any superiority or merit over us (ghalaiynaa min Fadhli); rather, we think you are liars.

Prophet Moses or Moosa (AS) had come seen two people fighting, and had gone to the assistance of the one whom he thought was the weaker perosn and had hit the opponent, only to watch the person he hit, fall down and die.

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

Prophet Moses or Moosa (AS) had to flee to Madyan and live a life of seclusion or hiding and returned to his home town only when till he was appointed Prophet and instructed to go to Firauwn. The task a person who apparently had no worldly means was asked to go to the biggest dictator and oppressor at that time the Firauwn or the Pharoah and ask him to accept God and his message. Remember Firauwn or the Pharoah is calling himself God, not just God but the Supreme God Rabbukumul aghlaa (S Naaziath - 79:24) and said, I am your Rabb, the Most High. (026:029) (S Ash Shuarah - 26:29) He (Pharaoh) said, If you take a God other than me, I will certainly make you among those imprisoned (023:038) (S Al Qasas - 28:38) And Pharaoh said (to his people,) O Chiefs! I do not know for you any God other than me.

Many eye opening lessons in the story of his life as described or explained in the Holy Quran.

Then on the other hand we have the lives of people like Firauwn and Qaaroon. We read a few Aayaths from the Quran that describes the personality of Firauwn or the Pharaoh, now let us read a few Aayaths from the Quran that describe this wealthy person Qaroon Let me read a few Aayaths from the Quran that instruct us about the life of Qaaroon. (S Al Qasas - 28:76) Indeed Qrn was from the people of Ms, then he oppressed (fabagha ghalaiyhim) them. And We gave him such treasures as their keys would weigh too heavy for a group of strong people (bil Uswbathi ulil Qoowathi). When his people (Qauwmuhu) said to him, Do not exult (laa tafrah). Surely, Allah does not like the exultant (InnaLLaaHa Laa Yuhibbul farri-heena). (28:78) He said, This is given to me because of the knowledge (I have) with me. Did he not know that Allah had destroyed, from the generations before him, those who were stronger than him in power and greater than him in accumulation? And the sinners have not to be asked about their sins. (28:79) Then (once) he came out before his people in his adornment (zeenathihi). Said those, who are desirous of TheWorldly life, Oh, Would that we had the like of what Qrn has been given! (Yaa Laiytha lanaa MiSsl Maa Oothiya Qaaroona) He indeed owns a great fortune. InnaHu laDhzoo Hadhzdhzin Adhzeem)

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

(28:80) And said those who were given knowledge, Woe to you, Allahs reward is much better for him who believes and acts righteously. But this is not granted to anyone except the Swaabireen (those who observe restraint) (Walaa YulaQQaaHaa Illas Swaabireen). (28:81) Then We made the Earth to swallow him and his home. So there was no group besides Allah, who could help him. Nor was he one of those who could defend themselves. (28:82) And those who wished to be in his position the day before, cried out, (Waiyka AnnaLLaaHa Yabsuthur RizQa Liman Yashaau mIn ghibaadhihee waYaQdhiru) Oh, it seems that Allah extends provision to whom He wills and straitens (for whom He wills). Had Allah not favored us, He would have made us sink (too). Oh, it seems that the rejecters (the Kaafiroon) do not succeed. (28:83) As for that Ultimate Abode (the Hereafter), We assign it to those who do not desire exaltednes on earth nor mischief. (Thilkadh Dhaarul Aakhirathu najghaloona lillazeena laa Yureedhoona Uluwwan fil Ardhli, walaa Fasaadhan) And the (best) end is for the God-fearing (Wal Aaqibathu lil MuththaQeen) Now are there not many lessons in each one of these Aayaths. Now a question, why is it that do we not look in to the meanings of these Aayaths, if we do look in to the meanings, why is it that we do not give it much thought. We think Oh that is for Qaaroon. We are not like that! Would it hurt to do some honest thinking. Even better do some deep soul searching Does not that last Aayath give us a clear indication as to what our ambitions and goals should be? Do we not, at least now, realize that our ambitions should be hitched to the lives of the Prophets and that we should not be distracted by the temptations and the show of Qaaroons and Firauwns life styles? Now, how do we do that? Let us delve a little further again reading in to the Quran reading the Aayaths that we are familiar with and seeking the connections between these Aayaths that would portray the greater picture. Let us read a few Aayaths that outlines objectives. There are many such Aayaths in the Quran. Let us read three of these objectives; 1. The objective of the Quran 2. The Objective of the Prophets especially of Prophet Muhammad (Sal) 3. The objective of the creation of man First the objective of the Quran there are a quite a few objectives of the Quran and they are described, again, in quite a few Aayaths, but let me read to the objectie described in Surah 38 Aayath No 29 this is an Aayath I have read many times during these series of talks

104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

(38:29) This is a blessed Book We have revealed to you, so that they deliberate in its verses, and so that the men of understanding may heed to advice.

So when we read the Quran there are 2 things that we can do 1. We can (Li Yadhdhabbroo Aayaathihi) deliberate or contemplate on its Signs or Aayaath, or, 2. If we are men of understanding (Ulul albaab) we would do Zikr of these Aayaths. Now does that not show that Zikr is obviously a higher status than just thinking or contemplating or meditating. Next let us see how the Quran describes the objective or the purpose or the duty of the Prophet again there are many Aayaths that describe this noble objective. Aayath No 2 of Surah Jummah is a good example. For claritys sake, I shall just read to you, phrase by phrase, the 4 objectives; 1 2 3 4 who recites to them His Aayaath, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the wisdom

So, in short, Allah has sent the Prophet, 1. Who will read the Aayaths Yathloo ghalaihim Aayaathihee 2. God will purify those who listen obviously with devotion and sincerity WayuzakkeeHim 3. All will then teach them, this group, the book Wayughallimuhul Kithaaba They listen to the Aayaths, but then Allah will purify them and teach them the book the collection of all the Aayaths 4. And God will teach them wisdom or Hikmah wal hikmatha Great isnt it? Now for the objective of the creation of Man. (S Dhaariyaath - 51:56) I did not create the Jinns and the human beings except for the purpose that they should worship Me ( serve me with devotion & sincerity)

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104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1

Now how do we worship God? There are many explanations we hear from so many people, but it is the Quran that describes this best I shall read to you the Aayaths from Surah Zumar; (39:17 - d) So, give the good news to My servants (39:18) who listen to what is said, then, follow the best of it. Those are the ones whom Allah has guided, and those are the ones who possess understanding.

What are the points emanating from these Aayaths? Some of them. First in the Quran the word ghaabidh appears many times and has been translated as servant, as slave and also as worshipper. In this explanation I use the words devoted servant 1. Oh my devoted servant fear me 2. Avoid the Taghooth why? Lest you become a servant of that Taghooth 3. Then turn to Allah 4. If they do that, (avoid taghooth and turn to Alah), then give them good news bashaarath 5. (Repeats) Give good news (bashaarath) to my devoted servants 6. What do they do? liten to what is said and follow the best of it Yasthamighoonal Qauwla fa yaththabighoona AhsanaHu! 7. Then Allah promises them 2 things; a. It is they who are guided Ulaa Ikallazee Hadhaa HumuLLaH b. It is they who possess understanding Wa Ulaaika Hum Oolul albaab I leave it to you listeners, to think as to what our ambitions should be, what our goals should be and where our real distractions and thus our true disappointments really lie. Insha Allah I hope to cover many apects of this topic ambitions, goals and disappointments in future toics too. May Allah Taaalah accept us all and guide us all Jazza Kalla Khairan Assalamu Alaikum
Imtiaz Muhsin Colombo Sri Lanka crescent786@hotmail.com

You Tube Channel - HaneefanMusliman

The YouTube Link to this talk is at http://youtu.be/oPa6OCiyst4

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104 Ambitions, Goals & Distractions Part 1