Friday, March 7, 2008

Comfort in Islam

This has been a particularly hard week for me because of some bad events that occurred to a close friend of mine. Thus, I naturally sought comfort in my faith and God. I tried reading through random surahs in the Quran. When seeking comfort with the Bible, my random page selections would, more often than not, yield something that spoke to me and addressed whatever needs and concerns I had. However, I can't say that my random Quranic selections were terribly applicable.

I read at least six surahs and they all seemed to have a similar message, the evil will ultimately be punished and the good will be rewarded. However, although that offers some comfort in the long-term, little immediate comfort was offered. I think it all goes back to my previous observation of Islam being a religion of the mind versus Christianity being a religion of the heart. Islam seems to focus on God's mercy whereas Christianity focuses on God's love. Luckily, even though my reading wasn't very fruitful, my prayers are always able to focus on whatever aspect of God I need at the moment.

Of course, it wasn't very helpful that the khutbah at jumuah today was rather depressing also, focusing on the current situation in Gaza. I went in hoping for something uplifting and instead was just further depressed.


Courtney said...
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Anonymous said...

I so much admire your wrestling and struggle to find truth. Please know that you are being prayed for...


Azooz said...

For Comfort read Sowra 55 (alRahmaan) it is the most beutiful peice of writeing on Earth, the shear wonder of it's wording often distracts from what it is saying. Verse 46 - 5 words describing Heaven on Earth (like Nirvana) and how to reach there. Fear God in your life and you will live your Earthly life as if in heaven - that's a promise to all - two Heavens for all those who fear God.

Islam does not concentrate on either God's mercy or God's love - the Fear of God must always come first. The concept is called Taqwa and worth looking into - I can not do it justice and it takes lots of time to understand. Love and Mercy are great, but work against you if you depend or concentrate on them - worship is to put the fear of God first, that way you know that sins are to be avoided and not to depend on special favors and special mercy - there is no Respect of God in either Love or Mercy without the Fear of God.

When you read the English Quran, have pity on the translators - there are no translators on Earth that good, what you read is a very diluted English translation, not of the Quran itself - but of it's words. It takes some getting used to - even in Arabic, but you'll see it yourself - it always has lots of new details for you yourself to find and contemplate.

Take a great spiritual man like Gandhi - the question to ask is what was he afraid of, and then to learn to fear like he did in his life time. He had list of things he would not do (sins), and a list of things to do (good deeds) - it was his fear that made him stick to that list.

Muslims try to learn that fear, learning Taqwa is our spiritual journey and our comfort - the sins tempt us and the fear (Taqwa) protects us by makeing them repulse us - good deeds do not tempt us, the fear makes them tempting.

I am sorry for your friend and pray his problems become easier to accept. The tests are hard, but with Taqwa they become like nothing, just small bumps and nudges in this life of ours to remind us that there is a God - with no problems we humans tend to drift away from God - so the reminders are comfort to.

Try to read the first sowra of the Quran before you read from where you last stoped - it gives the Quran more perspective. We read it at both wedding and funerals and even when a baby is born - the bad events happen just as sure as good events happen - that one page helps with both :)