Wednesday, September 27, 2006

If You Are a Porn Addict …

Then this Ramadhan-ul-Mubarak is just right for you. Here are a few tips to get you off the hook …

  • Develop insight: That is, develop the understanding that you are indeed hooked on to the wrong thing. If you think that pornography is “OK”, then you’ll never develop your spiritual side, alas.

  • Develop motivation: Why do you want to get rid of your addiction? The best motivation is to do so for the sake of Almighty God and His Beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).

  • Avoid the wrong situations: As much as humanly possible, avoid those situations where porn is easily accessible, e.g. company with the wrong people, watching television, lone hours at the internet, etc.

  • Follow every bad act with a good one: Such as two nafl of prayers, or a sadaqa (charity).

  • Stay busy: An idle mind certainly is the devil’s workshop, so involve yourself in something constructive.

  • Say the five prayers: Be staunch on the five obligatory prayers. If you don’t pray them, then start NOW. Do it, no matter how hard it is for you. Even if you have to shower before every prayer. Try to do the fardh, sunnah, and nafl rak’ats, all of them.

  • Say the tahajjud prayer: No kidding here. Not only say the tahajjud prayer, but also spend some time crying before the Lord. If you can’t cry, then make a crying face (no kidding again). Such remembrance deep in the middle of the night will break the spell of the nafs and will work wonders for your overall personality.

  • Keep nafl fasts: Remember that fasting is one of the strongest ways to keep the sexual urges at bay. Fast on a daily basis in Ramadhan. In the other months, you may consider fasting every alternate day or every Monday or any other schedule that suits you. (However, fasting on a daily basis has been recommended against in months other than Ramadhan.)
  • Keep company with the Awliya (Friends of God) and the Sulaha (Pious People): At the very least, avoid company with people who will detract you.

  • Update (Jan 21, 2007): Please read this link on how to give up masturbation.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Superior Logic of the Qur’an …

وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَـكِنَّ اللّهَ رَمَى

“And you threw not when you threw, but it was God who threw”
[Qur’an, 8:17]

The verse of the Qur’an quoted above refers to the incident(s) when the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) threw gravels or pebbles at the pagans in war and miraculously hit them individually in the eyes. The traditional exegesis of the verse is that since it is humanly impossible to achieve such a feat, Almighty God attributed this feat to Himself.

However, the sacred verse puts the logicians in a quandary since it could be broken into three statements that are apparently not mutually consistent:

(1) The Prophet (pbuh) threw the pebbles
(2) The Prophet (pbuh) did not throw the pebbles
(3) God threw the pebbles

The problem seems to lie with the fact that statement (1) and (2) are contradictory, and yet the Qur’an is acknowledging both statements within the same breath – “and you threw not when you threw”! While on the one hand, this apparent contradiction serves to detract the hard-hearted disbelievers, it also gives us a glimpse into the superior logic of the Qur’an.

The conflict can be easily resolved if one realizes that, broadly speaking, every object and every event has two realities: an apparent reality and a hidden reality. The apparent and the hidden realities are different and could seem to be contradictory, but this apparent contradiction is only because of change of perspective. The case in study – the event of throwing of the pebbles - also had two realities: an apparent one, namely throwing of the pebbles by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), and a hidden one, namely throwing of the pebbles by Almighty God (glorified be He). Both realities are true in their own perspective, and denial of any one is tantamount to kufr (disbelief). Thus, statements (1) and (3) quoted above are both true, while the conjunctive statement (2) prevents the literal equating of (1) with (3), an act that would be tantamount to shirk (associating partners with God).

But logic aside, this sacred verse is one of the most endearing expressions of love you would come across. They say that Love leaves Logic in its wake, so it is not surprising that the blessed Sufis, who immerse themselves in the hidden reality, have a way of understanding this verse that leaves the blind logicians in the proverbial dust. At the supreme height of Love, the Lover equates the action of the Beloved with his own, and says by way of explanation, “That action that you did, you know, I am the one who did it, not you”.

God bless the Sufis.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Schizophrenic Love of Some Conspiracy Theorists …

Some schizophrenic people create artificial quarrels between the Friends of God (Awliya Allah) and divide people on groundless grounds. Thus there are ostensible Sunnis who acknowledge the Khulafa Rashidun but deny the spiritual dominion of Syedna Ali (may God ennoble his face). On the other hand, there are ostensible Shias who allege fealty to Syedna Ali (may God ennoble his face) but accuse Syedna Abu Bakr, Umar, and Usman (may God be pleased with them) of usurping power. These extremely dangerous trends are borne out of an atmosphere of ignorance and prejudice.

In my observation, many people are simply confused. The confusion in their minds is in dire need of resolution. It is in this context that Sheikh-ul-Islam wrote his book, The Ghadir Declaration. The book is available online free of cost and is a must-read for the knowledge-seekers. The preface of the book resolves the conflict created by the conspiracy theorists.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Description of the Beloved …

I once posted on Umm-e-Ma’bad’s description of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). The portrayal is beautiful because of its use of metaphors. Yet it falls short of the mark precisely because of its use of metaphor. Syedna Pir Mehr Ali Shah (may God be pleased with him) was once blessed with a vision of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). He described the vision in a short, succinct Punjabi verse that said it all:

Koiy misl nahin dholan dee
Chup kar Mehr-e-Ali
Ethay jaa nahin bolan dee


There is no metaphor for the Beloved
Be silent, O Mehr-e-Ali
This is no place for making similes!