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Article appeared Friday, September 1st, 2017 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (491) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD


In how many ways can God be approached? Regardless of our religious background, or the
claims that we make regarding our personal beliefs, when in trouble, we look for and seek out
God. For example, if in the middle of the ocean and the boat that we are in appears to be
sinking, or we are in a plane; 40,000 feet above the earth and the plane suddenly drops 20,000
feet, what do we do what do most of us do? How many of us look to God the Almighty to save
us? The following Verses from the Al-Quran point out our general behavior in times of trouble.
He it is Who enables you to traverse through land and sea; so that when you board
ships and sail with a favorable wind you rejoice; then comes a stormy wind and the
waves come from all sides and you think you are being overwhelmed: you cry to God
sincerely offering (your) duty to Him saying, "If You deliver us from this we shall truly
show our gratitude!" But when He delivers you, behold, you transgress insolently through
the earth in defiance of right! O mankind! Your insolence is against your own souls as an
enjoyment of the life of the Present: in the end to Us will you return and We shall show
you the truth of all that you did. [10.22 10.23]

And in general,
When trouble touches a man he cries to Me (in all postures) lying down on his side or
sitting or standing. But when We have solved his problem he passes on his way as if he
had never cried to Us for the trouble that touched him! Thus do the deeds of
transgressors seem fair in their eyes? [10.12]

What attitude do these Verses spell out? They essentially imply that we instinctively know who
the Sole Owner of Power is and realize that only He can save us from the disaster! We
therefore approach Him in any form/way to relieve us of our problem. The question is does this
approach spell belief in God? Or are we simply calling on Him as a possible option to get us out
of trouble?

To help us answer, we need to differentiate between the two approaches implied using the
following questions, formulated essentially to understand the question of belief. Have we just
created a god in our minds to serve our purpose and needs? Or has God created us to
recognize who He is, His Powers, acknowledge Him and be grateful for His favors? A closer
analysis of the thought processes may reveal that we do things to selfishly serve our personal
needs, our egos and the status we enjoy in our societies without considering who we are
approaching. Who then or rather whose needs are important? Do our needs override the
purpose of creation? To help us understand this, God gives the following Verse in the Al-Quran.
Have you seen he who has taken as his god his own vain desire?... [45.23]

We run the risk of making ourselves a partnering god. In addition, in an attempt to fulfill our
needs/desires do we feel that other things like money, power, lucky charms (rings, pendants),
scripture written on doors or wrapped in wax, personal intelligence, people and/or political
figures have power over our life. So we approach anything and/or anyone to fulfill our needs
just in case something helps. So God becomes just one of the gods who might help. Do we lend
a thought to God, who has lovingly made us and has Power over everything in our life?

In the Al-Quran, God furnishes the reason behind our attitude.


19.81 And they have taken (for worship) gods other than God (Allah) to give
them power and glory!
Rather than power and glory, human beings have been put on earth to learn righteousness, as
the following Verse points out.
O you people! Adore your Guardian-Lord who created you and those who came before
you that you may have the chance to learn righteousness. [2.21]

Life on earth is therefore an opportunity to learn about the Creator and adore Him in return for
creating us and giving all the abilities that we have. How does one learn? It is by questioning
and analyzing the ability of each object that we feel has power, just like Prophet Abraham did
[4.125], for example as reported in Verses 26.69 26.85. Glory will belong to those who have
learned to question and become righteous. On the contrary, things other than God that we feel
have power will turn against those who thought they have power on the Day of Judgment.

19.82 Instead they shall reject their worship and become adversaries against
them.
How? Perceived gods would bear witness that they were worshipped without just cause; thus
proving disbelief.

19.83 Do you not see that We have set the Evil Ones on against the Unbelievers
to incite them with fury?
The only way to protect ourselves from the emotional thoughts that Satan (Evil One) injects is to
ask logical questions regarding each thought. For example, against thoughts of poverty [2.268]
that Satan injects, a question that can be asked is: has God created me to deprive me? On the
contrary, if we refuse to learn to ask logical questions and blindly act on the thoughts injected by
Satan we will be in trouble with God. God enjoins that,

19.84 Be not impatient over them for We but count out to them a (limited)
number (of days).
God extends the rope [19.75], to those who do not wish to consider the purpose of their creation
so that they have time to fully prove/disprove their attitude towards God (Allah). What will
happen to those who learn and become righteous?

19.85 The Day We shall gather the righteous to (Allah) Most Gracious like a band
presented before a king for honors.
And what will happen to those who do not wish to learn and continue to approach imaginary
powers to fulfill their needs? Such are classified as sinners,

19.86 And We shall drive the sinners to Hell like thirsty cattle driven down to
water.
It is a misconception to feel that pious people can intercede or plead on behalf of sinners. Can
the burden of ingratitude be borne by anyone else [53.38 53.42]?

19.87 None shall have the power of intercession but such a one as has received
permission (or promise) from (God) Most Gracious.
God therefore repeatedly warns that He has no partners in power or decision making,
They serve besides God things that can neither hurt them nor profit them and they say:
"These are our intercessors with God." Say: "Do you indeed inform God of something He
knows not in the heavens or on earth? Glory to Him! And far is He above the partners
they ascribe (to Him)!" [10.18]

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