Iman and the Quran

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Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but  righteousness is – to  believe in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the messengers and give wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveller, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establish salat and give zakah; [those who] fulfil their promise when they make a promise; and [those who] are patient in hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous. (Sahih International: 2:177)

The fabricated Shari’at was nothing but a collection of rituals, the observance of which was held to be the purpose of Deen. This is not at all the case. According to the Divine Law, the essential purpose of Deen is not fulfilled by a mechanical performance of rituals e.g. turning eastwards or westwards during  Sal’at, but requires:-

1. Ei’man’ (belief) in Allah; in the Law of Mukaf’at; in the life Hereafter; in Malaika; in Anbia and in the Books revealed through the Anbia (2/4); and

2.  Following from 1 above)  the establishment of a system in which resources are made available to help those who

a)   are left without protection or support in society;

b)   lose their means of livelihood or are incapacitated to work; and

c)   cannot earn enough to meet their needs. This system will also provide assistance to those outsiders who, while passing through its territory, become indigent, and arrange for the liberation of slaves from bondage.

In brief then, you should establish a system wherein members of the society adhere to the Divine Laws voluntarily and means of development are provided to all who need them. You should honour your promises and commitments. If hostile forces confront you, then face them with steadfastness and fortitude, and do not let fear and despair weaken you.

Those who follow this path unswervingly vindicate their claim to be true believers and they, can rightfully claim to be upholders of Divine Laws (rather than those who claim to inherit heaven by observing certain rites which they claim is Deen).  (G. A. Parwez: 2:177)       

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And Allah created the heavens and earth in truth and so that every self is recompensed for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged. (Sahih International: 45:22)

They do not know that Allah has created the universe for a purpose (and not as a useless and destructive thing.  The purpose is that)  Every human being is fully  recompensed for what he has done; and no harm is done to anyone. (G. A. Parwez: 45:22)      

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Few Quotes of Interest

 

  • The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why – Mark Twain (HBR Review may 2014)
  • Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside us, unplayed. – Oliver Wendell Homes (HBR Review May 2014)
  • Don’t pursue happiness, instead pursue your goals happily - (someone quoted during an interview on the BBC 4..)
  • A day is wasted, if I have not done at least one good to someone else – Thought for the day – BBC 4, Wed, 10 Jun 14
  • I think therefore I am -  René Discartes (1596-1650)

 

 

Some Barriers to Thinking: 

  • Economic deprivation e.g. poverty
  • Social environment
  • Organisational environment e.g. values, leadership, etc
  • Absence of desire
  • Always done this way attitude
  • Beliefs – egocentric thinking
  • Assumptions
  • Emotions e.g. prejudices, competition, envy, jealousy, hatred, past, etc
  • Social pressures
  • Short term gratification/gains
  • Absence of education and training
  • Why should I think? – need?
  • Preference for Status quo
  • Absence of incentive(s)
  • Busy life – a perception ….

 

Iman from the root A-M-N “اَمَنْ” (aman) means:

  • To trust
  • To accept, or not deny
  • To certify, to agree on something being the truth, not to deny it.
  • To trust and be secure about something
  • To accept, to obey, to bow one’s head in acceptance.

 

Some Applications:

  • “اَمَنْ” (aman): to free somebody of worries and unease, to give peace to somebody, to take the responsibility of protecting someone.
  • “اِنْتِمَانٌ” (intemaan): to trust someone, or to make someone trustworthy.
  • “نَاقَةٌ آمُوْنٌ” (naqatun amoon) is a female camel which is pretty strong, as such its limbs and habits are trust worthy. Something one can be sure about, that with continuous use, it will not weaken and not stumble and fall on the way.
  •  “مُوْمِنٌ” (momin) is someone who guarantees peace, one on whom a person can depend with equanimity, the guarantor of world peace.
  •  “آمَانَةٌ” (amanat) is something which is kept in trust {M}.
  •  “اَمِيْنٌ” (ameen) is someone without fear, as regards one’s safety or trust. One who is dependable.
  • “بَلَدٌ اَمِيْنٌ” (baladun amen) is the city which has peace and security (95:3).
  • “مَقَامٌ اَمِيْنٌ” (maqamun amen) the place where there is complete contentment (in the above meaning) and security (44:52) {L}.

 

Iqbal on Human Self

  • In its essential nature, then. Thought is not static; it is dynamic and unfolds its internal infinitude in time like the seed which, from the very beginning, carries within itself the organic unity of the tree as a present fact.
  • The main purpose of the Quran is to awaken in man the higher consciousness of his manifold relations with God, and the universe.
  • Thus the character of man’s knowledge is conceptual, and it is with the weapon of this conceptual knowledge that man approaches the observable aspect of Reality

 

Quranic Iman Defined:

if they have Iman the way you do, then they will be considered to be on the right path

Except for those who have Iman and (as a consequence) do righteous deeds and advised each other to Haqq and advised each other to persevere and remain steadfast.( Sahih International: 2:137)

They (Jews and Christians) say: “You can be considered to be following the right path only if you follow our way.” Tell them: “Why do you not invite people to follow Abraham’s way? Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian (G. A. Parwez: 3:66). He was a true follower of the Divinely Ordained Path and did not associate anyone with Allah.” (G. A. Parwez: 2:137)

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And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant, then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you are truthful. (Sahih International: 2:43)

Abandon this course of action and (after adopting the Quran as your Code of life) establish Niz’am-us-Sal’at, keeping open to mankind the means for its development. You will, thus be amongst those who submit to Divine Laws (G. A. Parwez: 19:119, G. A. Parwez: 89:29). (G. A. Parwez: 2:43).

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Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans - those who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness - will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will they have, nor will they grieve. And among them are unlettered ones who do not know the Scripture except in wishful thinking, but they are only assuming (Sahih International: 2:78).

These people practice deception not only on others but also amongst themselves. The illiterate ones amongst them do not know what Allah has revealed and refer their questions about theShariat to their religious leaders. The latter frame the Laws of the Shariat themselves but tell the former that these Laws are Divine. Thus they deceive others just to secure a paltry price for it, not realising that their fabrication of the Shariat and their use of it as means of livelihood will bring about their ruin (56/82). (G. A. Parwez: 2:78).

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And establish salat and give zakah, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves - you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah sees whatever you do  (Sahih International: 2:110).

Your programme will be completed with the establishment of Niz’am-us-Sal’at and Zak’at. During the initial phase you will feel that your efforts do not bear fruit. Be sure that your efforts will not be wasted. In due course of time you will see the fruits of your labour according to Allah’s Law of Mukaf’at (2/3). Surely all your deeds are under constant monitoring by Allah’s Law of Mukaf’at. (G. A. Parwez: 2:110).

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That is a nation which has passed away. It will have [the consequence of] what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be questioned about what they used to do. (Sahih International: 2:141)

At any rate, if despite what has been explained to them fully, they remain adamant that their forbears had taught what they believe, this does not change the truth. As stated earlier, their forefathers will answer for their deeds and they will have to answer for theirs.

And you will not be held responsible or judged on the basis of what they did. (G. A. Parwez: 2:141)

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This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who are mutaqeen (Sahih International: 2:2)

 Allah, the Wise and the Knowing has said: “The guidance you long for (1/5), is preserved in this Book (15/9) wherein there is no uncertainty, ambiguity or psychological perplexity. This Book shows to the Muttaqeen the path leading to the ultimate destination prescribed for humanity. (G. A. Parwez: 2:2)

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Who believe in the unseen, establish salat, and spend out of what We have provided for them, (Sahih International: 2:3)

In order to achieve this objective, they establish the Nizam-us-Salat in which all human beings follow the Laws of Allah, and after retaining that much which is necessary to meet their basic needs (2/219), they keep the remaining material resources open for the needy ones for their nourishment.  (G. A. Parwez: 2:3)

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And who believe in what has been revealed to you, and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. (Sahih International: 2:4)

The Muttaqeen believe in all the truths revealed to you (O Nabi!) and those revealed to the Anbia who came before you. (The latter are, however, no longer in their original or unadulterated form). Believing in these truths (which are now all in the Quran) implies believing in the fact, which is corroborated by historical evidence, that whenever Allah’s Plan has been followed, the same beneficial results have been achieved, namely, a blissful life free of anxiety. They, therefore, believe that now, again, adherence to the Laws of Allah will bring about the same good results and their striving in the present will make the future bright, and that this process of evolution will continue even beyond death (57/12, 66/8). (G. A. Parwez: 2:4)

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Those are the ones on the right  guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful. (Sahih International: 2:5)

The Muttaqeen are blessed ones who lead their lives according to the Laws of Rabubiyyat and whose efforts eventually bear fruit (23/1-11, 31/2-5). They wish to follow the right path, warding off dangers inherent in taking the wrong path. (G. A. Parwez:2:5)

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And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided. (Sahih International: 2:186)

In the context of the obligation to fast, do not think that by restricting the fulfilling of human needs to prescribed times and by abstaining from material indulgences, one is attaining closeness to Allah (as was believed to be the case amongst monastic cults). (O Rasool!) when My devotees ask you about Me, tell them that I am close to them at all times. (This means that) when anyone calls upon Me to lead him to the right path, My Guidance which is preserved in the Quran, answers his call. Therefore, tell them that the way to attain the nearness of Allah is to adhere to My Laws fully, believing implicitly in their validity (7/56, 8/24, 32/15-16, 40/60, 42/26). By following these Laws they will be able to walk firmly upon the right path of life. (G. A. Parwez: 2:186)

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Mankind was [of] one community  [before their deviation]; then Allah sent them messengers as bringers of glad tidings and serve as  warners and sent down with them the book in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed. And none differed over the Scripture except those who were given it - after the clear signs came to them - out of jealous animosity among themselves. And Allah guided those who believed in the truth concerning that over which they had differed, as per His Law. And Allah guides as per His Law to a straight path. (Sahih International:  2:213)

 

Not only the history of Bani-Isr’ael but that of humanity bears witness to what has been stated above. As mentioned in the story of Adam (2/30) originally mankind was a single community, free of dissension. Then human beings created mutual differences (10/19) and since these differences could not be resolved by means of human intellect alone, Allah sent a series of Anbia and Books for this purpose, who would give them glad tidings provided they lived together as one family and warn them about the consequences of a disintegrated society and resolve their differences in accordance with the revealed book. After departure of the Anbia who had accomplished their appointed tasks, their followers again created differences amongst themselves in their desire to outdo andout-strive each other. Those from amongst them who followed Allah’s Guidance were able again to resolve their mutual differences. This is how Allah, according to His Laws shows the right path to those who seek it (2/136, 3/83, 3/183, 16/92, 57/25). (G. A. Parwez: 2:213)

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And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you. They invite [you] to the Fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and to protection, as per His Law. And He makes clear His signs to  mankind that perhaps they may  use their intellect and reasoning. (Sahih International: 2:221)

The ideal social system which you wish to establish should begin with your family life. Here, the fundamental question is what should be the criterion for the selection of spouse. The criterion should be unanimity of ideology and purpose. It follows from this that a Momin man should not marry a Mushrik woman until she accepts Islam. A Muslim woman who is a slave [*3] is better than a free Mushrik woman no matter how pleasing she is. Likewise, Muslim women should not marry Mushrik men until they accept Islam. A Muslim man who is a slave4 is better than a free Mushrik man, regardless of how pleasing he is. It is evident that marriage between persons of differing ideologies makes family life a veritable hell. On the other hand, marriage between spouses with a similar ideology creates a paradise-like family life. Such Laws of Allah bestow on you a happy-home life and protect you from the various unpleasant things. You should keep this Law of Allah in mind while deciding such matters. (G. A. Parwez: 2:221)

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Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He multiplies it for him many times over? And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned. (Sahih International: 2:245)

For the consolidation of your order, finances will also be needed. Whatever you give for this purpose will come back to you with manifold returns. Mind it! give and take should always be according to Allah’s Laws towards which you should always look. (G. A. Parwez: 2:245)

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O you who have believed, spend from that which We have provided for you before there comes a Day in which there is no exchange and no friendship and no intercession. And the disbelievers - they are the wrongdoers (do injustice to themselves). (2:254)

Differences amongst human beings can be overcome if they subordinate their wills to Divine Guidance and establish a Quranic Order. To do that financial support is required.( G. A. Parwez: 2:254)

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There is no compulsion in Deen. The right path has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold which will never break. And Allah is all Hearing and all Knowing.  Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into the light. And those who disbelieve - their allies are Taghut. They take them out of the light into darknesses. They are the owners of the Fire where they will abide eternally.

And the example of those who spend their wealth seeking means to the approval of Allah and thus strengthening their own-selves – their example is like a garden on high ground which is hit by a downpour - so it yields its fruits in double. And [even] if it is not hit by a downpour, then a drizzle [is sufficient]. And Allah knows what you do. (Sahih International: 2:265)

 

On the other hand, those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah and for the strengthening of their personality, may be likened to a garden on an elevated place which will yield two-fold its fruit if it rains heavily, and will produce a harvest even if it rains lightly. Allah sees all what you do. (G. A. Parwez: 2:265)

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Your selfish sentiments will frighten you by persuading you that if you give away to others what you have you will be reduced to poverty, and teaching you to collect wealth by indecent means. Take note, however, that the Divine System will ensure protection against any calamities, and abundance of means of livelihood for Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (Sahih International: 2:268)

 

Satan (inner desires) threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality, while Allah promises you protection from Him and bounty. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. (G. A. Parwez: 2:268)

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The Messenger has believed in what is revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His messengers." And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your protection, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.“ (Sahih International: 2:285)

These Laws have been revealed by Allah; and the Rasool, as well as the Jama’at-ul-Momineen profess Ei’man in Allah, in Malaika and in Rusul and in His Books, and do not differentiate between the Rusul (2/136). They say: “We have heard and we obey. Each step we take is directed towards the Divinely-appointed Goal.” (G. A. Parwez: 2:285)

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It is He who has sent down to you, the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise - these are the foundation of the Book - and others are allegorical. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is allegorical, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah and those firm in knowledge – they say, "We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord." And no one will be understanding it except those who use their intellect and reasoning. (Sahih International: 3:7)

 “O Allah! having found the right path, may our hearts not swerve from it. Grant us means of development. You alone are their bestower. We know that at this time there are differences amongst mankind but are sure that one day all humanity will become united by following Your immutable Laws. Surely Allah never fails to fulfil His Promise. (G. A. Parwez: 3:7)

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They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous. (Sahih International: 3:114)

This does not mean that the Jewish people as a whole have lost the capability of adopting the right path. There are some amongst them who have accepted Islam and then rehearse Allah’s Message during the night. They believe in Allah and the Hereafter and enjoin what the Quran recognises to be right and forbid what it considers to be wrong. They strive eagerly for the good of humanity. These are the ones who will be called the S’aliheen, whatever good they do shall by no means go unacknowledged. Allah is well-aware of the Muttaqeen. (G. A. Parwez: 3:114)

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And hasten to protection from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the righteous (Sahih International: 2:133)

The Jews and Christians put up a united front against you, but have serious mutual enmity. The Jews accuse the Christians of having no true religion and the Christian retort likewise. The paradox is that both claim to follow Books of Revelation. Like them, the Arab Mushrikeen who are bitterly divided amongst themselves are united in their opposition to you. They also assert that their beliefs are founded upon truth though they have no revealed books. Conflict is the necessary result of factionalism. Their differences (which are a sign of being alienated from Allah – 3/104) will not be obliterated until a system in accordance with the Quran has been established and all obey one single Code of Laws (11/118-119). (G. A. Parwez: 2:133)

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O’ you who have believed, be persistently stand firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents or relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then remember Allah is acquainted with what you do. (Sahih International: 4:135)

For this purpose justice should prevail. Justice depends mainly on evidence. O Jama’at-ul-Momineen, if you are called upon to give evidence, do not appear as a witness on behalf of either party, but for Allah. Be truthful in giving evidence even though it be against your own-selves or your parents and kin-folk, whether the party concerned be rich or poor. Allah safeguards the interests of both parties. Do not follow your own inclinations lest you should swerve from justice. Do not foist your statements nor show aversion to appearing as a witness. Allah is well aware of what you do. (G. A. Parwez: 4:135)

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And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer - those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed. (Sahih International:  4:124)

On the other hand, those – men or women – who are Momin and do good shall enter Jannat and not the least injustice will be done to them. (G. A. Parwez: 4:124)

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Paradise is not [obtained] by your wishful thinking nor by that of the People of the Scripture. Whoever does a wrong will be recompensed for it, and he will not find besides Allah a protector or a helper. (Sahih International: 4:123)

Mark it that paradise-like life cannot be achieved through wishful thinking – be it yours or that of Ahl-ul-Kit’ab. Whoever does wrong shall reap the consequence thereof and shall not find anyone to protect and help him except Allah. (G. A. Parwez: 4:123)

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Developing  Quranic  Conscience:

  • Inner need for a change (Intellectual Discontent)
  • Questioning human existence
  • Poverty and deprivation
  • Desire for guidance – making efforts e.g. study, questioning, discussion, etc
  • Unhappy with the existing state
  • Global outlook
  • Non emotive approach
  • Death – why it is universal?

 

Can Quran be a human thought product?

  • Human beings have free will
  • A strong sense of identity
  • Desires
  • Emotions
  • Memory
  • We gradually learn about our self
  • No inner guidance
  • Death
  • We create conflicts
  • We are social

 

How Do We Think?

  • Egocentric thinking – self justification, beliefs, attitudes, group loyalties, religious affinity, etc
  • Immediate gain or results
  • Inner inertia
  • Attraction for wealth and material conveniences
  • Emotive – default position
  • Desires – arise continuously; one desire fulfilled another arises
  • Greed –
  • Selfish – may be relative
  • Prejudice
  • Jealousy
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Competitive
  • Compromising
  • Lack of empathy
  • Accusing – provides excuses to do nothing (not my problem attitude)
  • Doubts and suspicions
  • Relative values
  • Role models – generally celebrity culture based on wealth, power, religion, political, parents, family, cast, etc.

 

Psychological Resources:

 

  • Ipsy = M x Belief {(Job +Family + Opportunities + Problems + Language + Power + Health) + (Birth + Country + Aging + Gender + Colour + Death) + (Emotions + Friends + Wealth + Thinking + Memory)}
  • Ipsy – our psychological resources
  • Belief – in our control resource and is a critical resource multiplier (Finite or Infinite)
  • Red – partial control resources
  • Blue – not in our control resources
  • Green – in our control resources
  • M – a constant dependent on our personality traits not covered above
  • Metacognition – Why

 


  • We have the ability to think a lot – what are our thinking limits?
  • We are prone to error and are fallible – require careful monitoring and regulation.
  • We wish to communicate –  to explain and justify our thinking to others
  • In order to survive and prosper ( this life and the next) – need to plan ahead and critically evaluate.
  • To make weighty, carefully considered decisions.
  • We have need for inferring and explaining psychological events in ourselves and others.

 

Communication

It is usual to think of communication as a two way affair: there is someone intending to send a message and someone trying to understand it – what message the universe including (human beings) around us are trying to give me?


Iqbal on Human Self:

  • A keener insight into the nature of conscious experience, however, reveals that the self in its inner life moves from the centre outwards. It has, so to speak, two sides which be described as appreciative and efficient.  On its efficient side it enters into relation with what we call the world of space.
  • A deeper analysis of conscious experience reveals to us what I have called the appreciative side of the self.
  • If he studies life as manifested in himself, i.e. his own mind freely choosing, rejecting, reflecting, surveying, imagining the future, he is sure to be convinced of the inadequacy of his mechanical concepts.
  • To exist in pure duration is to be a self, and to be a self is to be able to say ‘I am’. It is the degree of the intuition of I-amness’ that determines the place of thing in the scale of being.

 

Iqbal on Human Self

  • The nature of the ego (self) is such that  in spite of its capacity to respond to other egos it is self-centred and possesses a private circuit of individuality excluding all egos other than itself….of all the creations of God he (man) alone is capable of consciously participating in the creative life of his Maker.
  • Endowed with the power to imagine a better world, and to mould what is into what ought to be, the ego aspires, in the interests of an increasingly unique and comprehensive individuality, to exploit all the various environments on which he may be called upon to operate during the course of an endless career.
  • Reference: The reconstruction of religious thought in Islam By Iqbal

 

Some Signs of Iman:

  • Reference to the permanent values
  • Allah as a model (Including His Attributes)
  • Increased awareness of the world around us
  • Helping others depending on means  (Develop it as a desire/need)
  • Minimising own needs
  • Being aware of desires on a continuous basis
  • Use of meta cognition within the permanent values
  • Comparing with those who do not have Iman
  • Comparing with previous own states as a reference
  • Referring to the Quran frequently
  • Global outlook  - mankind as one community
  • Recognising other selves as an independent entity
  • Recognising human limitations especially differentiating between emotive and rational thinking
  • Being aware of human mortality
  • Desire to work for a system called Deen i.e. system evolves from individual to collective
  • Never giving up and getting frustrated – being aware of Allah on a continuous basis

 

Life in the Hereafter:

  • No gender – just self with a new expression
  • Equality
  • Creative activity – metacognition and memory
  • Further development  - more stages
  • Positive emotions?
  • Whatever wish, will be achievable
  • Choice will stay i.e. free will
  • All permanent values applicable
  • Will retain memory of this life
  • space and time … not sure what form
  • Communication will exist
  • No trials and tribulations of this life
  • Allah will stay as a model with stronger Iman..
  • Perception will increase as part of self-development ..

 

Training Issues:

  • Teaching the Quran – basics, cross references, meaning, interpretation, the Law of requital, models, Divine Attributes, etc.
  • Economic system
  • Permanent values
  • Application – scenarios in daily life
  • Thinking – critical, lateral, vertical, rational, etc

 

Conclusions:

  • Iman is the basis on which we decide our direction in life
  • It brings inner change and provides motive to study the Quran
  • This leads to righteous deeds
  • The inner change can be sign posted by becoming more self-conscious
  • Interaction and discussion is part of this self-development process

 

 

by

 

 

Ejaz Rasool 

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