Saturday, October 15, 2011

Deceptions in the world and its variations

1.
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a malo.


And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from darkness.
- Prayer of Blessed Christ

And it is Allah: the Divine Being who brings the faithful from darkness into the Light of guidance.
- The Qur'an


All the greatly illuminated beings, Divinely Inspired Informers (Nabi) and Message Bearers of God (Rasul) were illuminated, were inspired and transmitted the same message universally about the transitory nature of this present life and the eternal world to come where a new reality shall be unveiled for human essence. But out of ignorance, and despite many open signs all across the spectrum of our horizons we continue to cover up this reality and remain deaf, dumb and blind. As days progress, increasingly it is becoming out of fashion to even speak about these reminders. But may truth be spoken about many ways in which we are being blinded through our engagement with illusions in this fleeting life. One of the sign of spiritual bankruptcy of our time is that we have started to forget the hereafter even in the called 'spiritual' discourses.

Thanks to our very very limited knowledge and myopic vision of the grand reality, we are like an unborn baby inside mother's womb who when communicated about the large and vast world waiting outside for him would deny it and takes the atmosphere inside the womb all and everything.

Maulana Rumi said, "Man, we say we know, originates from far away; so far, indeed, that in speaking of his origin, such phrases as ‘beyond the stars’ are frequently employed. Man is estranged from his origins. Some of his feelings (but not all of them) are slight indicators of this . . .Man has the opportunity of returning to his origin. He has forgotten this. He is, in fact, ‘asleep’ to this reality." Just like we are veiled from our soul's mysterious origin, we, ordinary people are also veiled from the final destination of our soul. It is through the guidance of the greatly illuminated beings, who are the informers of the Kingdom we are yet to experience - we are informed of a post-resurrection reality. But the more we remain engrossed in the present world and it's vanities, its illusions and temptations - the more we are veiled from that reality of the Kingdom.

The present life is like a field in which the people of real intelligence cultivate their crops so that they may harvest its fruits in the hereafter. The present world even though its ephemeral, yet it is of great significance for the seeker of truth and those who yearn to live in truth, by truth and for the sake of truth - simply because the transaction for this time bound world is the Eternal Kingdom which is unbound and unrestricted with time. "Thy Kingdom comes!"

Every one shall taste death…. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (Q 3:185).

In a teaching offered by a scholar, it was said, "Ad-Dunya Mazra'atul Akhirah. The world is the cultivating ground of the Hereafter.

This means that the world and the Hereafter are not two separate things but a continuous process whose beginning is the world and the end, Hereafter (the Kingdom). The relation between the two is the same as between cultivation and crop. You plough the land, then sow the seeds, then irrigate, then look after the field till such time as the crop is ready. Then after reaping it you feed yourself with it comfortably throughout the year. You will naturally reap whatever you have cultivated in the land. If you sow wheat, only wheat will grow. If thorns are sown, only thorns will grow. If nothing is sown, nothing will grow. Whatever mistakes and errors are committed by you in the course of ploughing, sowing, irrigating and looking after the field, their cumulative effect will be noticed by you at the time of reaping the crop. But if you have carried out all the necessary things properly without any mistake, you will see its benefit also at the time of reaping. This is exactly the position in respect of this world and the Hereafter.

The world is like a ground for tillage. Man has been sent into this field for the purpose of raising a crop for himself with his own efforts and hard work. He has been allotted time to do this task from birth till death. Whatever type of crop he has grown during this period, he will reap the same crop in his next life beyond the grave, and the produce will be his mainstay for his life in the Hereafter."

But while we discover our mysterious existence in this fleeting life, often time there are many deceptions which deceive us and lead us into temptations, into wrong actions. Thus at every turn of chosen age, the masters of guidance, even the most purest of souls felt the great urge to warn against the danger of such deception. Jesus Christ taught in the Lord's prayer to pray that we are not lead by ourselves (nafs, ego), by the world (dunya) or the the Deceiver (Satan) into temptation.

In this post I highlight a few important areas in which we are the most easy prey to the deception and temptation in the world.

fa AAtabiroo yaolee al-absar.
So take warning, O you with eyes (to see)!  (Q 59:2).


2.
Allahumma, Ara'ani kullu shay'in kama hiya.
"O Allah! Show me things as they (really) are."

- Prayer of Venerable Prophet Muhammad, to him thousand salutations of blessings and peace


"If only you relied on Allah a true reliance, He would provide sustenance for you just as He does the birds: Look how they fly out in the morning empty and return in the afternoon with full stomachs." - Sacred Tradition of Islam

Deception around Rizq or Sustenance / Provision:

One of the thing that excessively occupy the heart of man is his concern for his provision, his food and the money for necessary consumptions. Rizq is Arabic word used for Divinely apportioned sustenance and it is communicated by the Prophets as well as in the Final Testament or the Quran that just as the Creator apportion food and abode for all the creatures in the creation, so it is for man. Rizq is already planned Divine grant to man and other creatures.

Allah is the One Who created you, then provided for your sustenance, then He will cause you to die, and again He will give you life. (Q 30:40)

And there is not a creature on earth except that the responsibilities for its sustenance is upon Allah, and He knows (the time and place of) its definite abode and its temporary deposit. All is recorded in a clear Record. (Q 11:6)

Also Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the disbelievers run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
"

What people eat, drink and what they cover themselves - everything that a man make use of these are sustenance of people or their Rizq. 

People hoard excessively and delude themselves that it is their wealth which will save them, will give them security. But this is one of the most vain hope upon which man rely which is often the cause of his ruins. They dont understand the wisdom of Rizq or Divinely apportioned provision.
  
All aspects of a person’s subsistence and livelihood fall under the definition of rizq, including but not restricted to wealth, status, transactions and children. What Rizq means is that everything that we need to maintain and nourish ourselves and beyond that we are not able to use them even though we may "have" them in our temporal possession.

Here are few examples of how we are deceived by the world on our agitation and worries on sustenance. A person may go on putting excessive effort in earning, sacrificing his time, often healthy relationship with family, even bond with his children - with vain hope that all the money that he may think he owns will be his. But the fact of life is, he may not realize that it is only what he eats on his plate and what he wears on his body and other necessary usage is what he is really using.

He may delude himself in thinking I have XYZ amount of money in the bank, but not all of it belong to his rizq or divinely apportioned sustenance. So what happens is that such wealth become fruitless. Either he develops a bad health condition and the general tendency is that the wealthier the person is, the more money he spends and give away to the hospital and the doctor in very small amount of time. In this case the money that he earned, was not really his but the hospitals and the doctors. Not only those money is gone but also it brings in additional suffering, treatment of this disease which is caused mostly by the lack of nourishment of the soul and over anxiety over materialism.

Worse even his medical condition may force him to eat very restrictively. Thus even he might be a wealthy person, but he cant even enjoy a simple meal. Or one of his family member may suffer badly from certain health condition and their treatment will cause him to spend much of his wealth over night. Or he has a very bad fight over the divorce with his wife (often the most richest person in the world are those who lack true wealth, i.e. love the most) and what he earned in the last 10 years, working like dogs from morning till late night, all are gone in a matter of a week and also comes with loads of excess anxiety. In this case again what he earned in last 6 years was in reality was the earning of few lawyer for 2 weeks. But we are so blind that we never think of it, even though hundreds of such examples are around us.

There is a simple rule. After the necessity of life are met, the more wealth one has, the lesser "innocent happiness" one has, the ability to be content and peaceful diminishes with the acquisition of excessive wealth. Thats why one of the important spiritual rule is not to hoard money or wealth.

In all the above illustrations, a man whom the world deceived by thinking 'oh I am a millionaire or a billionaire' but at the end of the day, even the amount of food on his plate is being made restricted and he can eat only what his rizq permits him, no matter how much wealthy he or she may think himself or herself. Whatever money he may think belongs to him, costing valuable time in acquiring them during his peak seasons of life, goes out of his bank and pocket - sometime to medical bills, or to lawyer or to something else. In all of these cases, the money he thought he earned just came and went. And in the process the person ruin himself from developing spiritually and thus he gets the worst bargain of losing goodness in the hereafter in exchange of greed in present life.

Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the cost of price of the hereafter. Their torment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped. (Q 2:86)

But those who cover up the truth prefer this worldly life, although the hereafter is better and more lasting. (Q 87: 16,17).

And indeed the hereafter is better for you than the present life of the world. (Q 93:4)

There are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us (only what is) in this world!" but they will have no portion in the Hereafter.  And there are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of the Fire!" To these will be allotted what they have earned; and Allah is swift in taking account.  (Q 2:200-202)

Even an excessively career driven father working in the Wall Street days in and out, weeks after weeks, years after years, may think I am earning all these money for the sake of my child, but at the end of the day, because of excessive preoccupation of running after that very money making business - there is very little bond with the children and no long-lasting relationship really develops. He ends up with separation from wives, fighting over custody of children and lose the simplicity of peace.

Other may think 'I am earning all these money so that I may live a secured future later in my life', but alas due to over stress he suddenly have a heart attack at the stock market at the age of 44.

He has lost this world as well as in the Hereafter that is an evident loss. (Q 22:11)

When our rizq is over, we can not even take one more morsel from this earth. Sudden death is a sign when our Rizq or Divine Grant in this life is over and  no matter how much we have hoarded in the bank, they no longer belong to us, even though the world may have deceived us in thinking we are their inheritors. Everything in the heaven and the earth belongs to God and we are their temporal custodians.

And in the heaven is your rizq and what you are promised and by the Lord of the heaven and the earth, this is indeed as true as your ability to articulate. (Q 51:22-23)

According to the sacred knowledge of the divinely illuminated beings, the gnostics of God - sustenance or Rizq is already apportioned for each creature. All creation is provided by their sustenance, including man; but there is a difference. Through excessive preoccupation with the sustenance, man divorce the blessings of his sustenance and hence fall from the grace and become slave of his running after for the provision and until the fears and anxiety for lack of it seizes his heart. Then heart become blind and forgetful of the Creator Who in reality is the Sole Provider (ar Razzaq). But those who rely upon God, its promised that they shall be provided from places they even can not imagine. Quran transmits the tremendous truth, "Whosoever trust on God, God is sufficient for him."

God declares about excessive preoccupation with Rizq which is unnecessary: "Oh son of Adam! I created this existence for your sake and I created you for my sake so do not busy yourself with what is yours and be distracted from what you owe." And this is why Jesus reminded, "Seek you the Kingdom of God first, and His Way and all these things will be given to you as well."


Deception around Time:

Human beings are greatly deceived by another element of this present life, and that is time. We claim that that technology and scientific discoveries are suppose to help us to do more things, at a faster pace. So naturally we should have more time to ourselves, but do we?

We are warned against the deceiving nature of time which once lost, never comes back.

By the sign of Time.
Indeed, mankind is in loss.
Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
- Q 103

We often think we have enough time, but we dont. In fact with every second gone we are fast approaching our exit from this world and it is said in the Quran that when we die and we are questioned about our life, our gifts in life, many will be sorry and would ask a second change to return so that they may not waste their life again. But alas! There is no return from alam al-barzakh, the intermediary world.

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough challenges of its own. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? - Jesus Christ

We can easily understand the ephemeral and deceiving nature of time by looking back at our past. We will know how fast time passed over us! It is not only that our childhood went by really fast, not only that our youth went by too fast, even whatever age or time we may be in, if we think, we may realize how fast even the last week came and went by. Time is a great token and its nature is a constant reflector of the true nature of this transitory of life of the present world. Being under the delusion that one’s lifetime will surely be long - is from the darkness of the heart whereas not expecting to live for long is from the illumination of the heart.

(On the Day of Resurrection) when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more relationships between them that Day, nor will one ask after another!
It will be asked: "What number of years did ye stay on earth?"
They will say: We tarried by a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep count!
It will be said: "Ye stayed not but a little,- if ye had only known!
(The Divine Voice shall declare) "What! did you then think that We had created you in vain and that you shall not be returned to Us?"

- The Quran, 23

Time is indeed perplexing in the way it passes. Yet people’s heedlessness is even more perplexing. Everything that is due to arrive is indeed close, Yet death is closer than everything else.

Here are some of the paradoxes of our time:
- Today we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time;
- We have more degrees, but less common sense; more knowledge, but less wisdom.
- We have more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
- We spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get to angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too often, and pray too seldom.
- We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too little and lie too often.
- We‘ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.
- We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
- We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
- We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
- We've conquered outer space, but not inner space. We've split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less.
- We've learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies, but have less communication. We are long on quantity, but short on quality.
- These are in the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships.
- More leisure and less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition; more incomes, but more divorce; fancier houses, but broken homes.


[To be continued]

There are other areas in which the life of this world continues to deceive us and Inshallah, God willing, I will try to touch on those subjects in the coming post [ Deceptions of the World and Present Life ].


The life of this world is no more than illusion and vanity, while the abode of the Hereafter is far better for the God-conscious. Will you not understand?
- The Qur'an


# Further:
* Surah al Hashr
* The meaning of Rizq
* Materialism Theory of Life and its Malicious Effects
* Every age has a dominant vice and its counter-balancing virtue
* What is Time: Kenza Saadi 
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