Had an interesting discussion with my mother the other day about the difference in opinion between Mormonism and Islam as far as the purpose of life goes. According to Mormonism, the purpose of this life is to get the experience of having a physical, human body, because supposedly God has a human body Himself, and in order for us to all become gods with our own planets to run in the next life, we all need to know what having a body is like. Don’t ask me, it’s not my religion. Ask my momma.
Anyways, the purpose of life in Islam according to the Qur’an is Ibada- worship or service to God. (Surah 51:56) A lot of people misunderstand this purpose, and think that God created humans just to pray 24/7, which seems impossible as well as restrictive as far as life and human nature go. In order to worship 24/7 you wouldn’t be able to have a job or a family or go to school or basically do anything, right?
Wrong. That misunderstanding comes from not knowing what exactly Ibada is, not knowing what exactly an act of worship is.
Worship can roughly de defined as an act of devotion or religious service performed with the intention of pleasing or earning favor. What that means in that any halal (permissible) action performed with the intention of pleasing God is counted as an act of worship, an Ibada. This obviously includes the formal acts of worship like prayer, charity, fasting, Hajj, etc, but it also includes things like eating one’s Cheerios.
Compare these two scenarios.
- Guy wakes up in morning, falls out of bed, brushes his teeth and eats his Cheerios.
- Guys wakes up and thanks Allah for another day alive. (ding! An Ibada!) He stands up and makes the intention to try and do things right today for the sake of pleasing God and being the best person he can. (ding!) He brushes his teeth. (ding for good hygiene?) and says Bismillah and eats his Cheerios. Ding!
One very lovely concept in Islam is that actions are judged by their intention (1) and an act that is intended to/ devoted to pleasing God counts as an act of worship. This means that if you eat your Cheerios and remember to thank God for the favor and intend to eat your good and halal breakfast as a service to the body He has given you, then you are performing an act of worship. On the other hand, a seemingly religious act that is devoid of the right intention doesn’t count for squat. Compare:
- Guy praying to thank God and seek guidance.
- Guy praying to impress how religious he is on other people.
Both these guys are praying, but the difference is that one if praying for God’s favor and the other is praying for the people’s favor, much in the same way that the first guy was eating Cheerios because they pleased his stomach (Honey-Nut, not plain) and the other was eating the Cheerios because the Zikr (God-Consciousness, Remembrance) associated with the eating of the Cheerios pleased Allah and fulfilled a right that his body had over him. We will call this The Cheerio Theory.
The Cheerio Theory also applies to other things, such as:
- Smiling (is considered an act of charity in Islam)
- Doing homework (learning more about Allah’s creations and the world, striving to become the best at whatever you are for the sake of utilizing the brains Allah gave you.)
- Working (making more money because more money made means more money can be spent on charity.)
- Taking a shower. (with the proper intention and order, your shower can he turned into Ghusl, which is like wudu, and washes away sins from your head to your feet.)
- Writing a blog. (I get blessings for anyone who reads this and makes sense out of it, Allah is Most Generous, Most Kind.)
In Islam worship encompasses every aspect of human life that’s done with the proper intention, and there is no concept of ascetics or monks or hermits who have to withdraw from human society and live in forests wearing hair-shirts to further ‘mortify the flesh’ because they found they could not overcome the desire to live in a house, sleep in a bed and have the comfort of a wife or family. These things are all natural human inclinations, and to deny them all for the sake of ‘worshipping’ by withdrawing entirely for society is impossible. This concept- withdrawal from society to worship 24/7- is not Ibada, and is found in Early, Middle, and even Modern Christianity (nuns? Jesuit priests?) but not in Islam.
Which brings me back to the original point I had: that although the purpose of life is worship, worship is not restricted to the prayer rug, and worshipping God 24/7 is neither contrary to human nature nor impossible. Which is why I love being a Muslim. Now excuse me while I go eat some Cheerios…
(1). Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him says in a Hadith: "Actions are but by intention, and every man shall have but that which he intended…” Bukhari and Muslim
Computer is busticated again. Aargh. I think this might be Sven's
People who know me will look at this layout and go: 'Abez, what happened? You don't even like pink flowers!!!' Then they'll die of disbelief. Or maybe just roll their eyes. Aniraz did anyway.
I think I just needed a change. It was either this or get a drastic hair-cut. Chances are I'll change the layout some time next week, right after I get irritated with the pink flowers, but for now the girly layout stays. So nya.
You know how there are some annoying people who can't leave well enough alone? Who waste alot of time trying to fix things
that aren't broken?
Guess who's working on a new layout.
Amreekistan II: Pretty please with ketchup and cheese
Setting: the US luggage inspection counter at O’Hare airport, the day of our flight home.
(to security officer) Excuse me, but this suitcase is torn and we didn’t notice it, do you guys think you could tape it up so it doesn’t bust open later?
Yeah, you might wanna tape it up, cuz after we take it it’ll be throw around a couple time like a volley ball. A few guys might play catch with it…
Jump up and down on it a few times…
Do you guys think you could tape it up?
That depends on whether or not you ask nicely.
Pretty please with ketchup and cheese?
With ketchup and cheese? What kind of a please is that?
Well, I was going to say hummus and tahini but I wasn’t sure if you’d know I was talking about…
Hummus? I know hummus! See, that’s racial profiling, you think just because I’m black that I don’t know what hummus is. I know hummus, and falafel and lots of other Arab food…
Now that’s racial profiling cuz you’re saying I should know what these foods are because you think I look like an Arab.
No, you’re not an Arab, none of you are. (actually one of us was, half-Arab anyway). Now that one, she’s Urdu. Aren’t you.
Urdu’s a language. I’m Indian.
Same thing. My co-worker over there, he’s Urdu too.
The suitcases were eventually taped. Amreeka is such an interesting place…
This, folks, is the beginning of the scatter-braindedest travelogue that ever was, and ever will be. For I, Abez, will not be recounting my vacation in chronological order, but rather, by subject, and nuts to sequence.
Amreekistan Part I: Snot snot snot, I’ve got a lot.
Of all the exciting places I saw in the US, the one where I sent the most time was the cold & flu remedy section of Walgreen’s pharmacy. It was a lovely place, all clean and shiny and packed from ceiling to floor with colourful boxes of cold remedies I couldn’t have:
Nyquil- 10% Alcohol.
Robitussin Cough & Cold Gelcaps- Gelatin
Walgreen’s Cough Syrup: 15% Alcohol
I racked up countless hours reading, re-reading and comparing ingredients of cough & cold medicines, most of which were unsuitable and other of which were ineffective.
AlkaSeltzer Cold: effervescent nothing
After an extensive (and somewhat expensive) trial and error study of the cold remedy section, the judges finally declared the winners!
Tylenol Cold: Multi-symptom Night time Complete.
Tussin (generic) cough & cold syrup. Alcohol-free!
A combination of Tylenol and the occasional chug of Tussin straight from the bottle helped get poor Abez through the last three snotty weeks in the US, but true relief came only when we (the nose and I) touched back down on Pakistani soil and had the best cold remedy of all, Haleem.
You may laugh, but the first bite of super-spicy cleared my sinuses instantly and more effectively than any of the over the counter medicines I brought from the US. It was also tastier, and the side effects were limited to burning mouth, watery eyes, and fullness. This is compared to the Tussin cough-syrup, which caused jitteryness, sleeplessness, and voices. Lots of them. Whenever I laid down to sleep, I found that the silence in my head had been interrupted by an endless chattering of unconnected thoughts.
Cold cold cold, this bed is cold. Like ice cream. Yummy. Wonder if there will be ice cream at the camp mess hall today. Mess, what a mess, there was mud all the way from the door to the bunk beds, and it had to be mopped up. Yep. Up. Ice cream?
I maintain that the side-effects still linger, because I would like an excuse for the ridiculousness of this blog. Humor me folks, I drank too much cough syrup.
Got home about five minutes ago. I'll blog as soon as I've had something to eat. In the mean time, have a seat.
Packing, shopping, packing, shopping, packing, shopping, panic.
Notice how 'shower' doesn't seem to fit in there. It's sad when other people ask if you've had a bath.
Guess who has a new obsession
. Okay, maybe it's not an obsession, maybe it's just a wanna-be obsession, because you can't be obsessed with something you don't have yet, right? I dunno, you tell me.
Some people may say that DDR
is just a game, well they're wrong. If Playstation says it's a game then they're wrong too, because I sez it's a piece of home-fitness equipment, and I will tout it as such when I whine and use the full force of my daughterly-wiles to ask my daddy if he'll buy me one.
Alright, so my daddy doesn't actually read my blog, and I'll probably be buying one for myself, but the point is: I can't remember the last time that I had that gimme-gimme feeling, probably not since I was about... oh.... twenty (he he) but I'm having that tingly new-toy kinda feeling, and I'm hoping I can justify such a huge purchase by relabeling a PS2, dance-pad and video games as a health-related purchase. Fox news seems to agree, not that their opinion counts for much, but hey, I found this link!
And this one too
. Interesting, very interesting...
PS: Leaving for summer camp tomorrow morning and won't be back until the 13th. Amuse yourselves in my absence.
I'm being a bad blogger, and I know it. *hangs head*
It's not that there's nothing exciting going on, or that I don't have anything to say, but I simply don't have the time to sit down at the computer for more than half-hour increments, time enough only to check my email and give brief replies. Even sitting down has become a luxury, dramatic as that may seem, due to the constant GO!GO!GO! of preparing for camp/finalizing workshops/being on vacation/partying till midnight.
You know how that works. You wake up at ten (entirely too early I say) and get to a meeting. You work for a few hours, and then someone suggests food. You go out for food and come back to work. You finish eventually, and then someone breaks out the DDR Max and you have no choice but to play until your body is sore and your face hurts from laughing so much. That would be till about 11:30, and by then your whole day has gone by and you still haven't sat down on a computer, let alone had the time to write a blog.
Camp begins on Saturday morning, and from that Saturday until Friday the 13th (*gasp!*) we won't have any phone/computer/internet access. Such is camp.
But yeah, back to the point. Due to the fact that I am deficient in both brain power and time, I'm getting bad at this blog thing. So instead of a proper blog, we'll just do a FAQ session, ok? You may leave proper (though not necessarily relevant) questions in the comments of this post. You can
ask anything, just don't expect me to answer it if I don't like the question. MWAhahaaa!!
Backstage at ICU Baji's engagement party. Explanation and reviews coming soon to a blog near you.