January 29, 2017

The immigrant creed

President Donald Trump's ban on Muslim immigrants to the USA comes as a shocker to many of us in general and to Muslims specifically. Immigration has been a phenomenon of this world from eons past. The whole of humanity has been a melting pot of genetic and cultural idiosyncrasies that have amalgamated into what we have today. Even in today's world, more so than in the past, the modalities of communication has opened national borders to immigration and intermingling as never before. Yet the biggest and most prosperous nation that we all look to as a model of development in the modernising world had squelched this flow to a drip and for some the tap had been completely closed.

Those versed in human psychology tell us that those who are in a state of anxious anticipation are those that work hardest to get ahead in life. They put their effort into overtime to make them matter in the schemes of things in the community they have been given a chance to live in. They burn the midnight lamp to study and produce and sell to pump the local economy.

In the case of USA this has been the lifeblood of the Nation from the time of the pilgrims. And the rise of national wealth and power is directly related to the hard work of the immigrant. Over time wave after wave of immigrants to this nation have provided the development dynamic that kept it on top as the world's most powerful nation and its President the most “powerful” person in the world.

And now this wall of a move to keep everyone out. A wall on immigration and a wall down south of the border. This is exclusiveness when the whole world calls for inclusiveness. These are barriers to the flow of both wealth of matter and mind when the force of globalisation calls for easing the barriers. It seems that this nation has turned upside down in a kind of jingoistic paranoia to turn history on its head. From the Machiavellian perspective, the end justifies the means and this argument may flow well with the supporters of the Republican ilk. By this measure, it would seem that the US public voted for exclusiveness; so it seems that the policies are justified to go on that track. But reality of the world being different, the most powerful nation must exemplify the behaviour they should expect from others as we create the future. It cannot be a charade played out with serious nations on doing “whatever we want whenever we want”. The prevailing pretext of protecting the US citizen from the danger of mischievous immigrants seem on a statistical scale negligible when compared to the danger to that citizen from the mischief of these very 'legal' citizens themselves. So why the fuss? Sad to say it seems that the bipolar affliction has now moved from the poor citizen (acceptable and need to be medically treated) to a whole nation (not acceptable) and needs the spade to be called a spade, and relevant treatment taken.

I pray for this nation to revert to its past wisdom and compassion of its founding fathers who invited into its portals, the world's weak, the persecuted and the downtrodden.


January 15, 2017

Life’s journey

From the moment we are born to the moment of our death we are on this journey of life. It is interesting to note that when we board the ship we are crying (perhaps because we already know the hardship of life) and others are laughing. And when we disembark at our death, others are crying and we are laughing (if we have lived a good life).

So how do we live a good life? How do we make that happen? We can do so by accumulating wealth and indulging in the pleasures of life with not a bit of thanks given to the provider of all this bounty. We indulge in this kind of hedonism when our eeman is low and we have no thought given to the advent of the Hereafter. Some of this group actively believes that there is no Hereafter. What we have is here and now. Still, those that believe so know they are on a journey but for them it is more a cruise ship of fun than a moment's ride to a destination.

Metaphorically, our ship of life, as is any ship, is guided by two very important groups of people; the captain of the ship and the crew of the ship. If we can imagine our body to be the ship, the captain is our conscious mind and the crew is our subconscious mind. Whatever command the captain gives the crew follows because the subconscious mind does not evaluate the command and give a feedback to challenge the captain’s command. They follow orders. Now we must know that our subconscious mind is the confluence of such commands it has received over time from the time we wore born to this time in our lives. It has defined our personality, our habits and our values and our assumptions right or wrong. So we guide our ship in this collective consciousness imbued by this historical and cumulative experience which we call our basic wisdom framework. So we are wiser than others. And yet others are more creative or compassionate or cruel or deceptive or resentful
than others; all based on how our captain has commanded the crew of our body.

But Allah is wise and so he created us not in complete hard wiring but with the ability to rewire and become different as we wish. But the change has to be based on changing the captain’s command. When the captain can be made to change the command for some length of our temporal time we can change old habits and beliefs. Our power of self will and choice is what gives the responsibility for ourselves. Yes, this world is a test and each one of us believers in a supreme being must pass the test to achieve the hereafter  Just like our achievements on our school prize giving day or the winning of trophy in game of physical endurance, Allah will handover to us our report cards on the day of judgement. Some will be enthralled in joy while others will have their share of tears. Yes, now is the time to struggle and accumulate the goodness we need for the goodness of the hereafter. We need to fill our baggage with the right kinds of goods we can use in the hereafter. This requires a conscious packing of our suitcases and baggage and make the captain give the right orders right from the beginning of our journey.

We can ask Allah to give us hidayath for in the asking is the answering. When we don't ask we don't get. That is the power of dhua or supplication. The popular book “the secret” also has distilled this spiritual wisdom when it states the law of attraction - that what we actively set out mind to wanting (asking) is when the doors of Providence opens up for us.

Metaphorically our journey is made in the ship of life. How should we make our actions most relevant while we are on this ship? Should we not carry the right goods? Should we not leave some goods behind, or leave the ship itself in good condition for others to board? That will be the benefit for society.

Looking from another angle of us actively contributing to society, firstly see that we do no harm. It's not enough just to focus on doing good, but quite as important also is about not doing harm to others. Indirectly this is also doing good but more with the other person in mind rather than just on doing good to ourselves in isolation.

Allah SWS calls on us to enjoy this world as we seek the Hereafter. But why is it that some people commit suicide? Some want to leave the ship even before time. They don't want to be with the ship. Why? Much research shows that they left because of another person's hurtful action. Otherwise no one will leave this ship by themselves through their own volition. In other words the sad act of suicide rubs off on us also when we hurt others and they are driven to this end state of a personal decision. So don't hurt others to the extent of pushing them off the ship. While we may not be doing it in awareness but in ignorance, still it is indirectly, our action. So let's not make that happen to others. When we don't engage in hurting others, we do a great service to mankind.

A story may give more emphasis. A king needed to harvest the fruits from his orchard and so he gave two pickers two empty baskets to fill. The king would not supervise the work but would just weigh the baskets at the end of the day and give them a commission for their work.   Both went to the field and had a weighty basket at the end of the day. One man was dishonest and filled weighty trash into his basket along with some fruit to top it all, and in his laziness he had only picked the low hanging ones. The other one meticulously picked the best and high hanging ones. Once the baskets were weighed the king did not give them a commission this time, but to their surprise gave the whole basket with its contents to each of them to take it as the day’s reward for work. What happened then is not hard to imagine. The lazy and deceptive one had the cry and the honest one had the bounty. 

In the same vein we must fill our baskets with the best of what we can use in the hereafter. And that is the best of deeds; not money or wealth or fame or position in this worldly society. Surah -Takasur attests to the folly of being distracted from the Akhirah in our desperate accumulation of worldly wealth.

To get Dhuniya we have to do fikr and to get Jannah we have to do zikr. May Allah allow us to partake in His Hidhayah. 


January 1, 2017

Happy New Year

Greetings to Rukkuri readers:

Another year welcomes us into its midst. Another one passes by into a sea of fondly cherished memories or a painful body of regret. We all have the same time in the 24 hours we have everyday and we all use it in different ways.

How must out time be used? If we perceive a purpose in life, then time will have a goal to achieve. and the new year moment has become a convention over time for such decisions to be released into the universe. We all make new year resolutions as if that is the only time we can set our resolve to move us from our inaction. Some use this as an annual event to renew their lethargy rather than their energy. Many also find new and varied and creative excuses not to begin and showcase many obstacles to imbue rationality to that excuse.

Dear friends, as the great thinker Goethe says, "whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it" Until one is committed, there is hesitancy and the chance that one will draw back from the decision. When one makes a commitment in sincerity and definiteness, the Universe kicks in and what we sincerely wish for comes true. This is the law of attraction working in unison with the pure potentiality that fills the universe. When our commitment and intention is weak, and infused with negative or wavering thoughts of "will it work or wont it?" then the Universe does not open the doors because it is the will that drives destiny. It is not the strength of the body that moves the universe, it is the power of the mind and thus our strength of commitment. Indolence has no space here. We underestimate the power of our 'niyah" or intention and so our seeds are often planted in unprepared soil and the seed will not sprout; or even if it does, it will not grow strong and healthy. We humans manifest the world we live in by the power of our mind. Nations and whole civilisations rise and fall with the power of the mind that sprouted it, sustained or weakened it.

In this new year, let us begin to understand the power of the mind that Allah has given us in His infinite wisdom and has given us our free will to exercise it as we like. Yes, the decision is ours, and only ours. The will with which we exercise it is the defining power of our success or failure. One failure will surely not end in a chain of failures because we have the power to learn from our mistakes and rewire our systems for ever greater efficiency. Our body, mind, and spirit combined has the potential for us to be whatever we want to be.

Thus in this new year, let's wish liberally, yet be focused on goals that are beyond the stars. The magic will happen if we have focus, and we will InshaaAllah, have a great year ahead when our cherished dreams will transform our lives; to one of loving kindness to others -- our brothers and sisters in humanity. We can overcome the negative emotions that pervade our social sphere, when we choose to not dwell on our differences and begin to think about the myriad factors that unite us.

A very Happy New Year in 2017 to all!