The Here-After: An Inconveniencing Truth

In our discussion group at Middle Ground, lately we have discussed one the maladies plaguing modern western civilization, namely the selfish pursuit of happiness. In reflecting on how this has influenced modern attitudes towards belief — and doubly so religion — we were reminded of a quote from the 20th century Polish poet, Stanisław Lec,

“Pity that the only way to paradise is in a hearse.”1


1. Márquez, Jesús Silva-Herzog. Trans. Tanya Huntington. The Idiocy Of Perfection. Houston, Literal Publishing, 2017.

Re-Defining Success For the American Muslim Community

Ultimately the definition of success in the Muslim community has to move beyond the bifurcation of worldly success and Here-After success. We are indeed fooling ourselves if we think one does not contribute to the other, either in a positive way, helping us achieve the Here-After, or in a detrimental way, denying us the Here-After. The illusion that they can be mutually exclusive endeavors shows us just how far we have departed from the spirit of Islam, hence our modern spirituality of no inconveniences. And if we think we have issues with this, image how completely taken and enraptured our children are with this. After all, they aren’t working the 80 hours a week to achieve the house, the spouse, the car, etc. They do not see or experience the means that justify our ends. They only see ends; it’s as natural for them as rain water and thus, nurtured in this environment, they will have few incentives to buck this trend or system.

وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“Let there be a community among you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success.” Qur’an, 3: 104.

Inculcating Taqwa In Our Lives

Verily all praise belongs to God [known as Allāh in the Arabic language] – thus do we praise God, seek God’s Divine aid, seek forgiveness and repent our sins to and from God, and in God do we place our trust. We seek protection in God from the evil whisperings of our own souls as well as from blameworthy actions and deeds.

For the one God has chosen to guide, there is no misguider for him. And as for one whom God has misguided, there is no guidance. And we bear testimony that there is no god but God, Allah, One is He, with no partner, Lord of lords, Causer of all causes, the Fashioner of the Seven Heavens, Creator of all that is. We also bear witness that Muhammad, the Unlettered Prophet, is His slave and messenger, Seal of the Prophets and most noble of the Messengers. May God send peace and blessings upon him, his family, his wives, his companions, his helpers, and his progeny. Surely God and His Angels send blessings upon the Prophet therefore O’ you who believe!, send prayers and blessings upon him abundantly.

Let it be said that responsibility is one the primary charges leveled at the human being. Not a responsibility to provide for his or herself, but rather the responsibility each and every one of us has towards the Creator, so long as each one of us is a sane and capable human being. Let us take to heart the supremely wise words of the Almighty in the Qur’ān, as a guide and a warning for us to help sculpt our thoughts and actions:

إن ربهم بهم يومئذ لخبير

“Surely, on that day, their Lord shall be well-acquainted with them.” [Q: 100:11]

More importantly, reflexes should be seen as a self-defense system and it is from here, the idea of self-defense, is where we will look at and examine taqwā. Continue reading “Inculcating Taqwa In Our Lives”