Too Much

We often hear the criticisms of other telling us that we do not do enough of what we are supposed to. Seldom, however, do the words, “you have to do less” fall upon our ears.

In a society of more is merrier, and bigger is better, we strive to accumulate all that we can as quick as we can. This means more studying for students, more exercising to reach our fitness goals, and more work to earn even more money! Thus arises the term workaholic and the likes, which our disdain for is nothing more than a pseudo-attempt to put our selves at ease at the sight of those who are bigger and better than ourselves. Deep down inside, however, find our inner voice questioning itself, asking itself, “how do they do it?”

I, for one, have lived and breathed the negative sides of too much. For months on end, I worked and worked. Praised by my family, friends, and acquaintances on my progress, those were but empty words falling on deaf ears. I wanted more. And so to get more, one must do more… I thought… But how wrong I was.

Attached to the good blessings that I accumulated from simply not trying, I could not accept that what was in my hands was steadily and surely slipping away like sand from a shell. I worked day and night grabbing onto every passing grain; and the more I got ahold of one, the more slipped away beyond my vision. I was too blind to see that the road I was to take, was of another colour, better yet, of another world.

LESS!!

Less was the route I should have took when I embarked on my journey. Walk slower, take it easier, worry less! Less is the mentality of a runner, realising that he cannot sprint a marathon. Less is the words of a writer trying to cut down his linguistic perfection into the word limit. Less is in the mind of a artist trying to sculpt his masterpiece to a fault of none. As perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

But what if I want to get faster? What if I wanted to reach the end in half the time? Is more not then the solution? I never said work less, my dear friend. I simply suggested to worry less. As a sprinter who trains to reach the finish line quicker, so must you first train your ability to accept results as they come in order to further yourself as much as you can. Focus not on attaining more, as there is simply too much to attain, but rather giving more, as that is in plentiful abundance, and oh so sweet are the fruit of such labour. Give, and you must not worry about keeping. Give, and you will be showered with pleasures, gifts, and happiness. Is that not truly why we work?

Branches of a Tree

We were once inhabitants of The Garden of Eden. As children, we grow up in a world of wonder, where joy, play, colours, and spectacles excite us at every turn. We grow, and with us grow our appetite and aptitude for desire and greatness. We search for the mechanisms behind a moving car, an airplane wing, a door lock and handle. We feel that our sadness takes away from us our eternal joy, and imprisons us in our own minds. We crave a constant feeling of security.

Our craving, knows the devil of our minds, can only be satisfied by the apple of knowledge. The forbidden tree looms to greatness at the far side of the garden. Closer and closer we take towards it, strolling, wandering at first, but soon we notice that we are running, galloping towards the very thing that was forbidden our nearness. Our palates watering, we stand tall and strong, alone, under the eyes of none, but One. Of course we forget that He is watching, so we pluck the bight coloured fruit that to our eyes dwarfs the whole garden and its trees. And stare at its vibrant flush, feel its smoothness and strength in our grasp, smell its freshness, almost taunting us to take a bite. And so we do…

The forbidden fruit is knowledge, is desire, is the very incarnation of evil. Not all knowledge or desire. No no. But only that crafted by the hands of the horned one, the promisor, the creator of mirages, the caller to pleasures. He takes hints at what the deepest parts of our hearts crave, and tugs lightly, patiently at the rope of our hearts in hopes of us responding with an inch. That is all he needs, an inch, and he is in.

He promises us fame and fortunes, the pleasures of the here and now. And we took the bait. No longer can we sing and dance, free of timidity and self awareness. No longer can we sail the waves of time, unafraid of being scathed. Need only we a bite of the fruit of knowledge, and the shadows of the world become evermore defined.

Now, you ask me, what is there that we can do? How must we act to save ourselves from the torment of everlasting days of illusion and false promises? These questions are futile. The correct question, dear reader, is: did this so-called promisor plant the Tree of Eden?

Art-icles

I just tried to write a post by the name of “Care,” but failed in my own standards. I seem to not be able to write how I want to, or used to. I sound so like the articles that I am constantly reading now online. My, so called, Art with words is gone.

I wouldn’t say “gone” as much I would like to say dormant, for it is always there, but buried under deeper sands. Still, I find it increasingly difficult to funnel out the nuances that I once could spike at ease, or excite my mind with a word that seems to have given the sentence a weird twist. “Weird,” seriously? I never say weird…

Read bro. Don’t let this mild entertainment with those fads get to you as it has done to many, filling them with empty wishes, and vain hopes. If you surround yourself with the fast, you will tend to speed up, and if you surround yourself with the leaders, you are either bound to pick up your game, or be soon swept out of the race, having being proved unworthy. Prove your worth, don’t linger among the page long pieces of “advice” that have little evidence to back them up. Pick yourself up man. Keep rising. Surround yourself always with the best of writers, the funniest of comedians, the most beautiful of characters. Watch them. Emulate them. Surpass them, because there is little point in doing what someone else has already done. The true purpose of reaching the heights that they have long after they have gone is for others worthy in heart and soul to stand on their shoulders, and see what remaining roads they have left untramped.

The Self

You are a thing, and your self is another. You want beauty, morals, and ideals, and she wants pleasure and distraction. Drive her, and she will respond. Shove her, and she will jostle back.

Do not limit her pleasures, wants and desires: she is to them entitled, as is a child to his toys and play. Rather persuade her and use gentle coercion, and you will find she is more understanding than you once thought. If she gives you something, thank her and give her a treat. Give her gifts and deal with her gently, so is the dealing of one with a child.

Scoff you may. “Where is the likes of this so called self?” Is it in my head, my chest, my ears my toes? Maybe it’s on display on my bedside shelf. “It is you!” I respond, “but not the you you understand.” It is not the you you can hold in your hand. Nor can you see it, smell it, or give it away. It is not yours to keep, it will leave you one day. It is your unspoken desires, thoughts, feelings of no regret, it is just as smart as you, don’t let it make you forget.

As such we go in life, from one relationship to the next. This one, however, we did not choose. We are given it, safekeeping it in the vaults of our hearts. Deal with what you are given well, give it respect, be gentle and harsh when need be. In your hand is one end of the rope, pull it as hard as you want, but do not underestimate how hard it can pull back…

Institutionalise

Our times oblige us to focus on too many a thing our mind and body cannot cope with. We want to do, to be, everything that we can. We want to be like our idols, our heroes, and those we admire. We want to change, and to bring about change. Yet, something always beats our ever growing ambitions, laps every one of us, time and time again. And we see our rival everyday, from the moment we open our eyes to the moment they shut back closed, wondering if they will be opened once more. What mightier a foe than that which controls our very pulse and breaths, and marks our births and deaths?

Time. The clock is inanimate, but its hands are forever on the move.

Humans are therefore inherently weak, not even able to surmount their own selves, let alone their surroundings. Their shell is a soft tissue, penetrable to the slightest stone or needle. Their hearts are a malleable muscle that drives a light liquid to the material body and mind, and drives emotions to the spirit. Be the mind a mountain, then the emotions are a waterfall, flowing down the easiest route and clinging onto straws and dirt for colour and substance. Why were we made so weak? That a single blow stuck to a vital point can send us to below our feet, that a single word can change our lives, that a single experience once experienced can set the course of our lives. At the same time, how were we made so strong? That a single voice can move the hearts of thousands, and a pebble tossed by hand can set in motion an avalanche that when begun, does not think twice about destroying a house or burying an entire forest,

What is the difference, then, between weak and strong? Are we debilitated by our surroundings, or do we surmount them?

The answer, I think, lies outside of the individual, of emotion, talent, or intelligence. It lies, rather, in the collective. What better a rope to tie a man with than that of guilt or shame? What better food for the heart than promises of gold and fame? A single shriek may set us on our tows for a day, but the angry horn of mob united in heart and soil – yes soil – speaks within a people for the rest of their days.

Why not, then, use this powerful weapon for good, as surely it can be for evil. Become a leader of others, before yourself, for indeed, that is what gives you the power to change yourself, before others.

References:

A man once famed for his impeccable manners was asked how he had come to obtain them. He replied, traveling obliged me to meet people, those of their manners I admired, I followed, and those which I disliked, I avoided.

Read

Read. Reading is the rock with which the tool of the mind is sharpened and honed. It is the shaper of the heart, and the vessel that contains the flowing water of human thought. Read and you will be quick with your tongue. Read and you will be interesting. Read and you will never be lost for words.

Ideas and memories take little to make their mark in the brain, but they are inviscid in nature, and are hence soon lost to the cycling winds if not solidified. Continuous reading – and what I mean by reading is the exposure to ideas in any form – is the only solution to mental frigidity. When something is read, it is understood, and when it is understood, it is remembered, and when it is remembered it is recalled, both within the frame of the mind, and in the realms of action.

When a fact is told to a child, and understood, it is truly remembered for life. “Swallowed gum takes 7 years to digest.” That is because the child has little else to base their thoughts and actions on. As such, the more emotional weight something has, the more it is ingrained in a human, in both thought and action. That is the job of an educator – educator and not just a teacher. Also, the more time passes from when something is initially learned, the emotional weight behind that thought is much lost, as is the memory or idea itself. We seldom open up the topic of how our day was a year or ten ago. “How was your day today?” and not, “how was your year?” or the like…

A note about wavelengths. As human beings, we like to follow the easy path. I strongly affirm this statement. You may say that actually, with willpower, we sometimes push ourselves to follow the more difficult one. But here, you are only referring to physical difficulty, as with someone who uses his mind to coerce his muscles to sprint up a steep hill. When motivated, remember, this path is the easier one emotionally and to the heart, as when the heart desires something, there is little more nourishing to it than satisfying its passion. And so remember when advising people, that you should not work on their actions, but rather their passions, for that is where their hearts peek, and are waiting for the race gates to open, to gallop at wind speed. Remember, a change in mind is a change in interests. A change in interests is a change in passion. And a change in passion is a change in heart. Remember, befriend only a person who you do not mind being the same as in heart. Instead, choose them for no other object but their heart: truly it is sufficient enough a reason.

Some questions remain, but I leave my post open ended, perhaps to fuel the readers’ (if any) thoughts, and perhaps to fuel my own. On a side note, please refer to my Snapshot post. Please comment if there is anything of interested to be added, I’m most sure there is…

Khutbah: Friday, 20 January 2017

Bismillah Wassalatu Wassalamu 3ala rasulillah

The three stages to success.

What is success? Success seems to be the goal that everyone is striving for in our world today. From doctors to engineers, office workers to politicians. As muslims who believe in Allah SWT, we must strive for success in both this world and the next.

Allah says: “And from the people there are who ask for this life, and this amounts to nothing in the next. And from them that ask for good in dunya and good in akhira and to be excused from the punishment of the hellfire. Those are the people that get a rightful amount from the good that they have done, and Allah is quick in judgement.”

Why strive for success? The prophet SAAW said “hold on tight to what will benefit you.” And this benefit as we have mentioned is in this world and the next.

Allah SWT has created for us the framework that we need to use to attain this success in any endeavour that we strive for, and has lightened our burden with the promise of his help. So before anything, ask Allah to grant you the success that you wish for, make dua to Allah in secret, as he has commanded:

“And your lord has said, ask and I will grant.” This is the promise of Allah, the secret weapon of a believer. When Allah SWT is on your side, then who is against you? When Allah SWT is against you, then who is on your side?

What is the first step? But once you have begun your journey, you must also act to the best of your ability having trust that Allah will deliver upon you the results. “Verily Allah loves those that give their best”. Allah has promised the muhsinin (people who do their best) the knowledge, wisdom, and power to deliver upon what is right. In the story of musa AS “When he became of strong and balanced age we gave him wisdom and knowledge, and that is how we repay the muhsinin.”

This goes hand in hand with seeking Halal means of success, for there is no point in success attained through means and methods that are not inline with what Allah has commanded, such as taking upon interest, or the sale of haram products, or success that requires the missing of obligatory deeds. In fact ihsan comes hand in hand with doing such good deeds, as Allah has revealed: those who keep the prayer, safeguarding themselves, giving zakah, and staying away from useless talk. Any success attained without these things my brothers and sisters is no success at all!

The second step that Allah has put for us is patience, for not as soon as one strives to act that results come flying, but with time. When one of the early students of hadith was walking as a young man, he thought of quitting his study as it was too difficult to continue. Upon seeing a rock which was indented by the dripping of a single water droplet over time, he knew that he needed to be patient, and that Allah will grant him goodness if he is patient, just as He has struck a hole in the rock with little effort from te droplet but time. This student proceded to become one of the major scholars of hadith in the islamic tradition. Allah says: “Seek help from Allah through patience and prayer, verily Allah is with those who are patient.”

Then what? Finally, success is in the hands of Allah. It may come and it may not. And if it has been attained, what should one do to make sure that it does not fade away and that we can benefit from it in the akhira. Many have attained knowledge in some form, but soon forget what it is that they learnt. Allah says “Allah has decreed that if you are grateful, you shall be given more, and if you are ungrateful, then verily my punishment is severe.” Thank Allah for the blessings that he has bestowed upon you! Know that these results have not come of your own doing, but from Allah. Be humble to Allah SWT, and he will give you more. And saying alhamdulilah is only the first level of gratitude. The second level is using what Allah has given you for good, “And seek with what Allah has given you the next life, and do not forget your portion of this life.” Finally, the last level of gratitude is helping others to obtain the same success, for the prophet SAAWS said that jealousy should be avoided except in two instances, “The man who Allah has given wealth, and he spends his nights and days spending it in truth, and a man who Allah has given wisdom so he uses it and teaches it to others.” This is giving back.

Second khutbah:

You may say that these ideas are abstract, but they are in our own book that Allah SWT has sent down upon us. In the story of Yousef AS, how would Yousef have survived and attained knoweldge if he did not possess ihsan? How would he have gone through years of prison without having patience? And finally, Allah granted him the opportunity to use what he has been given. How would he have benefitted from this is he did not thank Allah for giving him this opportunity.

I would finally like to reiterate the Hadith that I have mentioned in the beginning of the khutbah, a beautiful hadith:

المؤمنُ القويُّ خيرٌ وأحبُّ إلى اللَّهِ منَ المؤمنِ الضَّعيفِ ، وفي كلٍّ خيرٌ ، احرِصعلى ما ينفعُكَ ، واستِعِن باللَّهِ ولا تعجِزْ ، وإن أصابَكَ شيءٌ ، فلا تقُل : لو أنِّي فعلتُ كان كذا وَكَذا ، ولَكِن قل : قدَّرَ اللَّهُ ، وما شاءَ فعلَ ، فإنَّ لو تَفتحُ عملَ الشَّيطانِ

Una Pirámide Única

La pirámide de población de Arabia Saudita muestra calidades muy mysteriosas e interestantes.

saudi-arabia-population-pyramid-2016.gif

(Fuente: CIA World Factbook, 8 Octubre 2016)

Un mysterio evidente al primer vistazo es el gran número de juventud con edad entre 0 a 44 años. La forma del pirámide es casi reflejado entre su mismo a ambos lados, sin embargo hay numero mas grande de hombres que mujeres.  Además, ¿porqué hay un aumento repentino en el numero de personas de ambos géneros de 20 a 40, como la que no hay en otros partes de la pirámide y en efecto en las pirámides de población de muchos otros países en el mundo?

Los datos son impresionantes. Al ritmo actual de jovenes que obtienen una carrera universitaria, no será raro decir que el país tendra la oportunidad de ser el gran future en el desarrollo de ideas y la economía global. Invertir en educación es invertir en el future. Y eso no es algo que esperamos dentro de cientos de años, sino en la próxima generación, considerando que la edad media de su poblacion es solo 27.2 años (Fuente: CIA World Factbook, 8 Octubre 2016).

Hay que ver tambien la cantidad de tramos de edad 25 a 40, los expatriados con una grande énfasis  a los varones especialmente, a pesar de que hay ambos varones y hembras. ¿Qué hara Arabia Saudita con el problema de paro juvenile que les preocupa mucho? En el camino politico de crear oportunidades para esos jovenes Saudis, espeicalmente las mujeres,  empiezó la ‘saudización’ junto con esfuerzos de permitir las mujeres a conducir. Muchas piensen que nunca pasará, sin embargo es una realidad mas cerca de que pensamos, y de verdad al doblar la esquina.

En conclusion, la pirámide de poblacion de Arabia Saudita revela muchas secretas de la realidad del país entre su mismo y en relación con el futuro del mundo. La juventud prometen un futuro brillante e intellectual, fortalizando a sus mismos y además la mujer en la sociedad. Finalmente, con menos dependencia de esfuerzos economicos externas como las de los expatriados, Arabia Saudita es en el camino a realizar sus visiones.