In Light of Sadness and Love

Sadness washes over me this evening like something I am not sure I have felt before.  I am flabbergasted at how we treat each other.  Our teachers, those great stalwarts of truth, compassion, mercy and justice commissioned by the One in whose hands all our souls reside, would…no…must be crying at how we act towards each other.  None of them ever taught that we should act in such a degenerate manner.

Our Creator revealed in the Last Revelation:

By the Fig and the Olive

By Mount Sinai

And by this Sacred City

Truly We have created man in the most noble mould

Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low

Except those who believe and do good works; for they will have an unfailing reward

What can, after this, contradict you as to the Judgement?

Is not God the wisest of all Judges?

What the world needs more than ever now is Love.

Love is one of the greatest mercies endowed among humans. It binds us together and is the impetus that fuels our ever growing population and what makes us hold on to those who have passed away. Love is that emotion, that emotive force that drives the lover to do anything for the sake of the beloved willingly without hesitation even if it is not in the best interest of the lover. The lover not only loves the beloved, but loves everything that the beloved does, or makes, or says. When this love is directed towards the Creator, the lover’s love becomes unlimited and extends to everything that the Creator has ever touched, done or will do as everything is in the fold the Creator’s Will. In fact one of the 99 beautiful names of God happens to be The Loving as our Creator is indeed One that Loves His creation so much so that even in spite of our transgressions we still enjoy every blessing we could think of. But to love the creation like that, for the sake of the our Beloved, The Loving, would move us to a high station indeed. What mercy could extend to others if we loved them the way God loves them? How many wars would cease? How few there would be that were hungry, or thirsty, or homeless or orphaned? What a world this would be if our hearts popped with the Mercy of Love!

My Heart Pops

My Heart Pops

And the great man, Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, who is decried in our times taught:

“The merciful will have mercy shown to them by the Most Merciful.  So have mercy to those who are on the earth and the One who is in Heaven will have mercy on you.”

Please for your own sake, be excellent to each other.


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Guarding Mercy

Shawwal Crescent 1433

Shawwal Crescent 1433

Over 1400 years ago as the Mercy to all of Creation fled persecution from his birthplace in Mecca to his eventual resting place in Medina, he looked up to the sky and saw this heavenly body, the same moon that we see in our sky.  He called out while looking at a crescent in supplication: Oh God, bring us into this month with this moon, in safety and faith, and in peace and in submission to you.  Then as he pointed to himself and then to the moon addressing it and said: My Lord and your Lord is Allah (God).

From that day onward, the Muslims have used the new crescent moon to mark the months and years of their calendar, a purely lunar calendar.  It is a unique calendar in the entire world.  Many other cultures rely on the moon for their calendar as well but include the sun with it forming a luni-solar calendar, which has intercalations that add additional months every so often to keep holidays aligned in certain seasons.

The Islamic calendar however is cyclic with respect to the seasons and the tropical year, which is governed by the sun, or more accurately by the orbit of the Earth around the sun.  The months in the Islamic calendar begin traditionally by the sighting of the new crescent moon the same way the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, did during his emigration and establishing this tradition.  The lunar cycle however is not one that is completed in an integral number of days; rather its average length is 29.5 days (varying between 29.2 and 29.8 days).  What this amounts to is that some months the moon will only be seen after 30 days and some after only 29 days, and with the number of months fixed at twelve the Islamic year is only 354 or 355 days long.  This forces the months in the Islamic year to occur 10 to 11 days earlier each tropical year and taking 33 years for the Islamic months to cycle through the Tropical year.

Astronomy has reached a level of sophistication that the position of the moon in the sky and its cycle can be calculated with amazing accuracy.  However, the science behind when and where the new crescent moon can be seen is altogether different.  Seeing the new crescent moon depends on many factors.  These factors include, the age of the moon past conjunction, the elongation, the percent illumination, its altitude above the horizon at the time of sunset, and the lag time or how long it will be in the sky after sunset before it sets as well.  Each of these parameters has specific values that must be met in combination in order for the crescent moon to be “seen” in varying degrees.  Those degrees include easily visible with the naked eyes, visible with naked eyes under perfect sky conditions, visible with optical aid, visible with optical aid under perfect sky conditions, and finally the Danjon Limit, under which the moon is impossible to see under any circumstances.

The calculation methods used to determine to what level the moon is visible is not a formulaic theoretical computation like that of the position of the moon in the sky.  Rather it is a regression analysis of data on crescent moon sightings and non-sightings from archival records, originally from the Ottoman Empire and as of late from modern observation data added to the original pool.  The predictions are statistical in nature and although they have a high degree of correlation are still subject to outliers.

However, what these predictions cannot take into account is the weather.  The weather is completely outside of the realm of predictability as sky conditions can change on the hour and hence the crescent sighting predictions can only be that, predictions.  And by weather I do not just mean clouds in the sky.  A cloudless sky does not constitute perfect viewing conditions.  Other parameters like atmospheric pressure, relative humidity of the air, air quality and pollution, haze,  light pollution, altitude of the viewing location and even the geography on the horizon all play a factor in the visibility of the crescent.  In addition to all those factors every person who goes out to look for the moon brings with then their own set of variables that are never even considered, things such as experience, knowledge, eyesight, patience, prudence, etc..  These, of course, cannot be determined from a visibility prediction chart, nor from a very brief conversation one might have with that person in discerning if what he or she actually saw was the moon.

It is because of this and the juristic condition of seeing the moon to start an Islamic month that having someone actually go out and physically see the moon is still an activity that is played out each month among Muslims.  In fact, juristically, it is considered a communal obligation that at least one person from each community be charged with the task of discerning the beginnings of each Islamic month so that when the important months like Ramadan and the month of Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, arrive they are started and ended correctly.  In addition, juristically, looking for the new crescent moon becomes an individual obligation on each Muslim when its appearance brings on individual religious obligations like fasting in the month of Ramadan.  Note that seeing the moon is not the obligation, rather just looking for it is the obligation.

In the last few years, many calculation schemes have been put forward to bring some expediency to the starts of the Islamic months.  Some of them make sense and some do not.  What I find troubling about them is that they all find reason to avoid having to look up in the sky a day or two after conjunction to physically see the new crescent moon.  Establishing a date is not what is at stake here.  If that was the case, then simply determining sun-moon conjunction times, which are exceedingly accurate, plus one or two days added to ensure moon visibility could be used to nail down the beginnings of months with 100% accuracy.

What is at stake here is tradition.   The body of Islamic Jurisprudence on a whole, which covers every aspect of human life, is and always has been a means for ANY Muslim to learn and understand how to perform the religious obligations on their own.  For example it would be considered to much of a hardship if everyone was required to learn how to compute exact conjunction times of the moon and sun in order to establish the times when fasting in Ramadan was to commence and end.  However it is not out of the question to ask individuals to simply go out and look in the western sky after sunset to see if the new moon is visible or not.  In addition to this, following the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in fulfilling religious obligations is also an obligation in itself.  The ‘how’ of many of the religious obligations outlined in the Qur’an, are just that, outlines.  The ‘how’ was left to the Prophet, peace be upon him, to explain to the believers exactly how to perform the obligations.

The traditions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, are second to the Qur’an in understanding the religion and how its obligations are to be performed.  The traditions are so important, in fact, that they have been preserved with the same level of preservation as the Qur’an itself.   Immense volumes of traditions are memorized word by word, including information on who narrated it and the entire chain of narration leading back to the Prophet, peace be upon him, himself, with additional notation on the character of each of the narrators in the chain resulting in various levels of authenticity for each tradition.  In fact, there is no other historical record of what any human being said or did that is more accurate and exact as that of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.  To say the traditions are not important is to deny most of what Islam is.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was referred to by God in the Qur’an as a Mercy to all of Creation.  An examination of his blessed life gives credence to that.  Everything he did or said brought mercy to those of his time and to those who followed afterwards, and when taken with sincerity and practiced, mercy is what is found in his traditions, and not just to humans, but also to animals and plants as well.  One of the aspects of prophethood is that prophets elucidate what the future holds for people, not in specific, but in general.  The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, left no stone unturned when it came to matters of the end of days.  I won’t delve into those matters as that deserves its own study, but one thing that I will say is that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, did relate that knowledge of Islam and his traditions would slowly vanish over time and one of the last things that would remain before the end of days occurred was prayer.  For one reason or another, much of what came with Islam through the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has already eroded away. Watching his traditions erode away and die off is like watching the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, scrubbed from existence entirely.  However, if we hold onto the traditions it is like keeping him alive, and if we revive one of his traditions that did die it would be as if we had revived him.

In the Prophet’s time, there were many battles between the believers and idolaters of Mecca.  In one of the battles, the Battle of Uhud, in what initially looked like a Muslim victory turned into a rout and victory for the idolaters.  In the midst of the rout, as the Muslim ranks were breaking and men were fleeing from the battle, the Prophet and a few of his companions were surrounded.  Among those who were surrounded was a woman, Umm ‘Umara Nusayba bint Ka’b.  She was among those who came to the battle to provide water to the soldiers.  Her husband and two sons were also in this battle and were surrounded in the rout.  One of her sons was injured during the rout and she tended to his wound, only to find herself wielding a shield and sword and in the midst of the battle.  She threw herself in front of the Prophet, peace be upon him and defended him.  Later the Prophet, peace be upon him, commented that in Uhud, no matter where he turned to face in the battle he saw Umm ‘Umara in front of him fighting.  Umm ‘Umara had the courage and the love in her heart to stand up and guard the life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, when even men fled in fear for their life.  In the course of that battle she sustained 13 sword and arrow wounds to her body and among one of the sword wounds was a sever one to her neck which required an entire year to heal. In the midst of that rout, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, supplicated that Umm ‘Umara and her family would be among his companions in Paradise.

In a time when threats to the Prophet’s life were real, the men and women around him were willing to sacrifice their own life to protect his.  Today in a time when threats to life and limb in a civilized world are far and few in between, I find it alarmingly astounding that we can sit by and allow the last vestiges of the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be on upon him, to fall by the wayside because it is not expedient to wait until the moon is seen to mark our days.  Rather, it has become the fashion to know the dates of holidays years in advance that we may plan our perfect little lives around them.  I know that my actions in following the traditions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, will never bring him back to life, but doing so brings me a deep sense of comfort and certainty that he, peace be upon him, is still alive in my heart and that I can expend a little effort to emulate my beloved.  I do not think for a minute that the little that I do in keeping his tradition of sighting the moon each month alive would get me into Paradise.  However, I can find solace that on the day when the debts fall due and I am standing in front of my Lord, I can say with certainty that I did not let the Prophet, His most Beloved, Muhammad, peace be upon him, die in my heart or in my actions.

Festive Moon of Shawwal 1433

Festive Moon of Shawwal 1433

I beseech all of my Muslim readers to take up this tradition and keep the spirit of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, alive in their own lives.  Moreover, to those readers, who follow another of God’s Messengers, hold onto their traditions as well.  In our days, it is these traditions that keep our connection to our Lord healthy and strong.  Do not rob yourselves of the deep spiritual connection that can be formed with the Creator as you see the moon emerge in the evening sky from apparent non-existence into the realm of existence right before your very eyes.

Peace to you all.


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Mercy: Day 10 – Forgiveness

“To err is human to forgive divine” –  Alexander Pope’s words from An Essay on Criticism.  True in every sense but one.  Why can’t emulate the attributes of the Divine?  In fact we find within us many of the attributes of the Divine and forgiveness is certainly one of them.  However, what usually manifests among us humans are not the Divine attributes that raise us to high stations but rather degrading states of blameworthy actions that debase us.

Rather than Generosity we commonly find Avarice and Greed.  In place of Justice we often find Inequity.  Instead of Truth we hear Lies.  Rather than Forgiveness we find Blame.  And while all of these rarely found attributes in humans are mercies on to themselves, I think the greatest of all divine attributes missing from our human discourse is Forgiveness.

To forgive someone for a slight, trespass, injustice or any wrong perpetrated against the wronged would place that person in a very high station indeed. It is difficult to act accordingly when indignation takes hold of one’s heart.  However we do need to remember that to show forgiveness is a great act of mercy.  And if we desire that mercy be shown to us, we must act accordingly.

Need I remind, as the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, said in an amazing tradition – “Those who are merciful will have mercy shown to them by the Most Merciful.  Show mercy to those who are on Earth and the One who is in heaven will have mercy on you”.

Forgiveness is an overarching act of mercy in that in spite of the wrong perpetrated, the forgiver can still allow the one seeking forgiveness absolution.  If we find it difficult to forgive others, maybe its because we cannot forgive ourselves or possibly that we have never sought out forgiveness so that we may taste its sweetness and desire it for others as well.  That would be the ideal, however most often than not, forgiveness only comes about through a sincere beseeching of the one wronged by the one who did wrong.

In this way, the forgiver can see that the who committed the transgression is sincere in having forgiveness shown, then a compassion in the heart can arise that would allow the one wronged to even consider forgiving.

Now think of yourselves.  Right now.  Can you forgive?  Have you ever sought out the Mercy of Forgiveness?  Have you ever felt remorse for something that you did?  Did you turn to the one who you might have slighted and asked for forgiveness?  Did you get it?  How did you know? How did it feel?

I know, as humans, we have transgressed our selves to no end.  We have transgressed against the Earth in unimaginable ways.  And we have slighted our Merciful Sustainer in ways that would shake the very firmament of our existence if we understood the gravity of our slights.

I want to be shown the Mercy of Forgiveness from the Most Merciful for what I have done.  And if it means that it could only come by The Forgiver to have mercy on every single one of us inclusively then I would wish for everyone alive today and for everyone whoever lived and for everyone who will live in days to come to be forgiven so that I may be so as well.  I hope that you, my dear reader, can find such mercy in your heart to hope for the same.




P.S.  And so concludes the 10 days of Mercy.  We move now into the the 10 days of Forgiveness.  Its now time to get to work.

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Mercy: Day 9 – Golden Rule

We all know the famous words immortalized in time Do unto others as you would have done unto you attributed to Jesus the Son of Mary, peace and blessings of God be upon him. However, this moral code of conduct was not something new in his time but has been a part of every culture and religion through out time. Nonetheless, it makes it no less important.  In fact it has many variations that all lead us as human beings to reach a very high moral character.  Nearly every Prophet we know of, philosophy or culture has the same teaching, grant it in some variation in the wording.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, taught it as well and repeated in several of his traditions.  He, peace be upon him, was recorded as saying “None of you truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself”.  In another narration “None of you truly believe until you love for people what you love for yourself”.  And in his final sermon while on his final pilrgimage to Mecca, there is this excerpt, “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you”.

When I read these words, I find a lump in my throat and I can feel the tears starting to well up in my eyes.  I have true certainty in the Messengers and Prophets of God. Among their attributes there are four that are necessary for them to be true prophets or messengers of God.  Any true messenger of God must have these four following attributes: 1. They are truthful – that is they never lie, their words are true, and I mean TRUE.  2.  They are trustworthy in their mission of guidance and delivering the message given to them, if they were given one to deliver.  3.  They deliver the entire message sent with them, holding nothing back or hiding any of it.  And 4.  They are intelligent and consciously aware, that is they are not heedless of God at any moment and can’t be fooled.  So when I read their words I hold them in high regard and take them to heart and put them to practice as best as I can.

As I grew up I came across many instances when someone would do something to me that I most definitely did not like and in fact sometimes found the action quite abhorrent. When those situations would occur, I would make a deep mental note not to do the same in return to that person or to anyone else.  I hope that following such a path has made me a better person, and a better believer.

When I think about the possible consequences of putting those teachings into practice on a global level I shudder.  The awe that overcomes me when I think that we could live in harmony with each other by simply doing good to each other is sometimes to great.

I want to be respected for who I am.  Is it that hard to do the same to everyone else?  I want to feel safe in my home, my city, my country.  Is it so hard that we can’t extend that feeling to everyone, everywhere?  I do not like getting hurt.  Is it that hard to restrain my hands or my tongue from hurting others?  You only have to put yourself in another’s shoes and ask if you yourself – would I like it if what I am about to do to this other person is something that I would like done to me?  If we asked ourselves this question I think we could bring this world to a very peaceful state.  The difficult part is not in acting thusly, but it is in being conscience people about our actions and reflecting about the consequences of our actions before we do them.

And I know the criticisms that have come up about the golden rule and its “loop holes”.  I don’t want to entertain those as they are the words of critics and critics rarely have anything good to say about anything.  To them their life and to me my own.  I know… that if this golden rule is the guidance of those Beacons of Light sent to us by The Most Merciful, The Compassionate, then it is one of the greatest mercies that this world has ever seen and it is worthy of following it, no matter what.

True Colors

True Colors

Till Tomorrow, Peace.

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Mercy: Day 8 – Teaching

Imagine if we had to grow up without anyone teaching us a thing.  What if our parents did not teach us how to walk?  Or if they did not teach us how to speak, or to eat with utensils, go to the bathroom, how to wash our hands afterwards, how to get dressed, comb our hair, brush our teeth.  What might we have turned into?

What if we did not have someone to teach us how to read and write, how to add, subtract, multiply and divide.  What if no one ever taught us at all,  how would we know anything?  How many times have you confronted something that you were ignorant of and felt overwhelmed and wished you had someone to walk you through the first time so you could learn how to do whatever it was you were trying to do?  I know I have.

We are all born ignorant and all knowledge is acquired in one way or another. Given a proper education and we can live an erudite life, remain ignorant and an ignoble life is all we will find.  Obtaining an education is not all easy especially without a teacher. Teaching is one of the noblest of all callings that I can think of. The transmission of knowledge from teacher to student is scared whether the knowledge itself is sacred or secular.  It is an intimate relationship, one that fosters communication between student and teacher.  A student cannot learn, no matter how great the thirst for knowledge is without a teacher willing to give what he or she knows.  A teacher cannot instruct a person who does not come asking to be taught.

The teacher has contained within his or her heart wisdom of immense worth that can only be given to those who appreciate it, desire it and in the end honor it by teaching it to others as well.  Give it to those who do not want it, care not about it and toss it aside as if it was a trifle and it would be as if one gave pigs pearls. They know not what they have and trample over them and soil them in filth.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, came as both a teacher and as a Mercy to all of the worlds.  The mercy afforded to those who are taught by a teacher is unfathomable.  There is no measure to the depth of mercy and benefit the one acquires from the teacher.  Teaching is one of our greatest mercies bestowed upon us.  How unfortunate that we do not honor the teacher in our day and age.  Perhaps that is an indication to the lack of mercy that exists in the our world today.  Maybe all we need in the world is the impression of a teacher to bring Mercy back into the world.  We should ponder on that.



Till Tomorrow, Peace.

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Mercy: Day 7 – Love

Love is one of the greatest mercies endowed among humans.  It binds us together and is the impetus that fuels our ever growing population and what makes us hold on to those who have passed away.  However to often love is mistaken for infatuation and unsubstantiated passion.  Love is much deeper than that and while those feelings do come along with love in some cases, true love does not need those facets to exist and grow between us.

Love is that emotion, that emotive force that drives the lover to do anything for the sake of the beloved willingly without hesitation even if it is not in the best interest of the lover.  The lover not only loves the beloved, but loves everything that the beloved does, or makes, or says.  And when the there is reciprocation, a bond is formed between the lover and the beloved that can’t be broken.  Compassion forges it way in that bond as well and protects each from harming one another.

As love grows it becomes a safe haven, a port of protection from the ravages of an unruly world out for self gain and self aggrandizement and it fills the heart until it flows over its brim and spills out into the world to infect others who happen to be too close to the outpouring.

When this love is directed towards the Creator, the lover’s love becomes unlimited and extends to everything that the Creator has ever touched, done or will do as everything is in the fold the the Creator’s Will.  In fact one of the 99 beautiful names of God happens to be The Loving as our Creator is indeed One that Loves His creation so much so that even in spite of our transgressions we still enjoy every blessing we could think of.  But to love the creation like that, for the sake of the our Beloved, The Loving, would move us to a high station indeed. What mercy could extend to others if we loved them the way God loves them? How much violence would remain in the world? How many wars would cease?  How few there would be that were hungry, or thirsty, or homeless or orphaned? What a world this would be if our hearts popped with the Mercy of Love!

My Heart Pops

My Heart Pops

Till Tomorrow, Peace.

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Mercy: Day 6 – Shade

For anyone who lives in a region of the world where it is hot, like in a desert, I think it goes without saying that shade there is a great blessing and mercy.  Temperatures in the shade can easily be 20 to 30 degrees cooler than in the sun.

However, I want to look at shade in a different way.  Actually from a different meaning altogether.  If we understand light then we should know that light, pure light, is invisible.  I have mentioned it before in this journal that right now, there is light passing between you and this monitor and you cannot see it.  Likewise, in the total absence of light we can’t see anything either.  Mix the two, pure light and pure darkness and the result is shade.  It is only in the shade that we can actually see.  This mixing produces a spectrum of intensities that range from pure darkness to pure light.  Also, depending on the physical objects basking in this shade, we also see hues of varying color.  Mixed with the intensities, we get all the millions upon millions of possibilities in the visual spectrum that we observe in the world, all of them emanating because of shade.

In spite of the digital nature of Creation, in its continuous flip-flopping between existence and non-existence at the hand of the Sustainer, the resulting interaction of shade produces a continuous spectrum from pure darkness to pure light.  It leaves the heart in awe and the mind in unfathomable perplexity.  At the same time, by permission of The Light, one of the 99 beautiful names of God, we are given a glimpse of this amazing Creation through the mercy of shade.  It leaves me in humble awe every time I look out to see.

Postscript Light

Postscript Light

Till tomorrow, Peace.

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Mercy: Day 5 – Knowledge

It has been said that knowledge is power.  Likewise the saying, Ignorance is bliss.  They seem diametrically opposed, however both are true.

Having knowledge of something is what brings tranquility to the heart when it is troubled with something foreign.  Ignorance of something brings fear, and fear brings caution and sometimes aggression which leads to oppression of ourselves and of the object of our fear.  Knowledge can dispel all that.  If you fear something learn about it before you cast your first stone.  You might find that instead of being held captive by fear, you will be liberated by what you know.  In that, knowledge is a true mercy.

At the same time knowing some things can be very detrimental to our well being.  Certain things are hidden from us and will never be known, like the moment when we will leave this world for the next life.  And in some part what life is like beyond the veil of the unseen world is also a mystery.  Having knowledge of that moment would only bring angst and worry as it approached.   The spectacle of death is not something easy to experience.  It is well known that people will die in the manner that they lived.  Live a wretched life and death will be the same.  Live a graceful life and death will mimic that.  I have witnessed a person who showed patience in life come to their end in the most dignified and patient manner.  I know of an angry and ungrateful person who died in a manner where he went out with a blaze of profanity emanating from his tongue that would embarrass even the most brazen of people.

Ignorance of the state in which we meet our end and when we meet it is mercy as well.  Not knowing that and knowing that would, I hope, encourage us to be the best of people in the interest of dying with dignity.

To attain dignity in life become a person of knowledge – know things.  Not just information, that false enlightenment served up in our modern world under the guise of knowledge.  To know something is to know it intimately in the heart.  Think about somthing that you know inside and out, something that you could teach someone without having to find a reference for or look up in a book or on the internet.  That is true knowledge.  It empowers, enables and endows the knower, bringing peace and tranquility to the heart and is a mercy to the knower and the one seeking to know.

Lifting The Veil

Lifting The Veil

Till tomorrow, Peace.

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Mercy: Day 4 – Diversity

Living in the United States, and North America in general, poses some interesting problems.  One issue that is absent from practically every other nation on the face of the planet is that of diversity.  We have ethnicities from all over the world living within these borders.  Not only that, this country was built by a diverse ethnic labor force, that spanned the globe.  Almost every people have had a hand in making the United States what it is today and it is also what keeps the nation going.  Some unfortunately see this as a problem rather than a strength.

The only other nation that experienced such a diverse make up was that of the Muslim nation.  Within 100 years of the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, Islam had spread as far west as Morocco and Spain and as far east as China.  Islam brought with it one unifying trait and that was to recognize that the Creator was One.  Other than that and the primary tents of the faith, such as daily prayer, alms giving, fasting in Ramadan and making pilgrimage to the ancient ancient house of worship in Mecca, the faith allowed for much diversity.  All strata of life and from all corners of the Earth, people were accepted as who they were and seen as equal to any other person, regardless of skin color, language, or financial class.  The only trait that distinguished a person from another was that of piety, and that could only be judged by the Judge Himself on the day when we all return to Him.

This diversity is what made the Muslim nation so powerful and why whenever Muslims went to new lands, people accepted what they brought as a new way of life.  The Muslims also incorporated what these new cultures had in the way of philosophy, science, industry as long as it aligned with the tenets of the faith and this propelled civilization to great heights during the 800 years of the golden age of Islam, as it has been called.  It was on the shoulders of this Giant that the new world benefited from greatly in its formation.  However, this time, the diversity came to the new land rather than diversification coming to it.  Growth and prosperity seemed to follow diversity wherever it appeared.

However as of late, there seems to be a push toward conformity, purity, and indistinguishability.  The unfortunate by-product of such an idea is that of oppression and, I don’t want to say ethnic-cleansing as that is to narrow a view, but rather a difference-cleansing.  Anyone that is different needs to be removed from society and expunged from history.  And whether this is coming from here in the West or from the East, it is a corruption and the very antithesis of not only diversity but Creation itself.

Just look out into the natural world and count the number different types of trees, fish, mammals, insects,  or anything else for that matter.  The beauty of this is that every one of those different entities have a role to play in the grand scheme of the the universe.  Diversity is the hallmark of all of Creation.  In a scared tradition or hadith qudsi from the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, the Prophet said “When God decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: My mercy prevails over my wrath”.

This being the case and the fact that we can see an incredibly diverse universe should be self-evident that diversity is Mercy.  Why anyone would want to remove oneself from the Mercy of God is beyond me.

Unity, true unity,  comes from within through the recognition that we are all the same and that we can be in concert with the rest of Creation unified in the glorification of The One who made us all.

In that we will find beauty, peace and a Mercy from the Most Merciful will pervade us all and we will exhibit that to each other.



Till Tomorrow, Peace.

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Mercy: Day 3 – Water

Its 4 AM again and we all stumble into the kitchen to prepare our morning meal only to find that the water purifier reservoir is empty!  What do we do without water for the day?  I quickly fill the purification tank and allow the filter to do its job while we prepare our food.  By the end of our meal, there is enough water for us to drink for the day and we begin our fast.

Every living thing in the world is made of water.  Life cannot exist without the presence of water.  We search the planets in our solar system for signs of water in the hope that someday we might be able to inhabit that planet.  We ourselves are made mostly of water, about 70% of our bodies are and consist of water, the remaining 30% sold matter.  Is it a coincidence that the Earth is made up of the same ratio of water to dry land?  The Earth is after all out mother and when we meet our end in this life, we return to the earth decomposed into dust.

What is hard to fathom is that all 6 billion plus humans on this planet survive not on that 70% of water, for most of it is salty and brackish, but on only 1% of the total water on Earth, 1 percent.  Only 3% of the water in our world is palatable and most of it is not usable as it is either locked up as ground water or as glaciers or ice caps. only 1% of all the water on the Earth is actually usable.   Of all the resources in the world it is water that is vital for our existence and it is what will ultimately limit our population.

Many think that it is space or food that limits the unencumbered growth of humanity, but its water.  For example,we can take all 6 billion plus inhabitants of the Earth and we can put all of them in the state of Texas and each person would have about 1000 square feet of space, that is the size of a small house or a large apartment.  Don’t believe it here’s the math – the area of Texas is 268,820 square miles or 7,494,271,488,000 square feet.  The world population at 04:32 UTC  Aug 15, 2010 was 6,862,438,430 people.  Now divide the area of Texas by the population and we get 1,092 square feet!

Some more math will show how long we could survive on the currently available water.  The total volume of water on the planet, is about 333 million cubic miles (See Here).  Of that over 96% of it is saline and cannot be used by us.  Of the total fresh water available, 68% is locked up in glaciers and ice caps.  And another 30% is ground water leaving about 0.007% of the total water (about 22,300 cubic miles) in lakes and rivers which the majority of the population relies on.  Lets see how many glasses of water that gives each person on earth.  A glass of water is 8 oz.  In a cubic mile there are 140,942,994,870,000 ounces.  In that, by dividing by 8, we can get the number of  “glasses” of water – 17,617,874,358,750.  That’s over 17 trillion glasses of water.  Now divide that by the population and we find that each person gets 2,567 glasses of water.  If each person drank 8 glasses a day, the recommended amount, that person would have enough water for 320 days, about 1 month shy of a year, and this does not account for the other uses like cooking and cleaning.

I suppose it is a good thing that water keeps cycling from salty to fresh.  For that amount of fresh water is what is available at any given time.  If our water cycle was to cease, we would have about 1 year of life left on earth; a sobering thought indeed.

But through the Mercy of the Sustainer, the water cycle continues to bring us fresh water continuously.  And it is through rain that fresh water makes it way back on to dry land and into our lakes and rivers.  The rain is in essence the Mercy of God.

When the Prophet of God, Muhammad (peace and blessings of God upon him) prayed for rain, he said:O God! Provide water for Your servants and Your cattle, display Your mercy and give life to Your dead land”.

Rippled Reflection

Rippled Reflection

Water, use it wisely and do not squander the Mercy that falls down upon us.

Till tomorrow, Peace

P.S. Just another interesting tidbit – the salinity of ocean water is the same as that of our blood.  I find that interesting.

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