Interesting is it not that no one has seen Almighty God yet everyone wants to be near and dear to Him? If you look at history, you will see that a lot of conflicts stem from the basis of religion or religious beliefs. Most people use force to camouflage their bigotry in the name of God. Hence, once you invoke God or God’s will, you pretty much get a clear and unconditional signal to use whatever force necessary. There you have it: a recipe for perfect disaster.
As an ordinary observer, I can say with my extremely ordinary intellect that we human beings are extremely selfish, greedy and ruthless. We use the name of God to fulfil our petty earthly desires, hence creating a never-ending cycle of confusion and violence, which seems never ending. Before I receive the title of someone trying to criticise my own faith, let me clarify that I am comfortable with who I am and what I believe in. Thank goodness I have no doubts about who I belong to, to whom I owe this life and to whom I am answerable on that final day. That often brings me to shudder with the fear and the horror of that final day when everything will be accounted for. I honestly feel that, on that day, no one will come to my rescue, not even my loved ones, nor the ones I befriended, not even the ones I may have extended any favours. Just myself buried in my deeds, worth nothing. What I sincerely hope is that, on that final day, the Almighty becomes “Most Merciful” as I have nothing to show. Without His mercy I will be absolutely empty handed and completely worthless.
I know we are told about the wrath of the Almighty and we are told that, on that day, His judgment will take effect. It is rather puzzling to see how He gives a lot to a few and lets others suffer here. Perhaps it will be on that day that the ones who are deprived here will get everything they yearn for over here. Many people who left us here, perhaps we will get to see them again. At least this is what we believe in. No one knows, no one can say for sure because no one has returned from that world to give us an honest and credible account.
Life in itself is a search for your own self and that deity. I remember an analogy of one of my professors who picked a very famous beach of our town and told us that we can reach our destination from various highways or streets. Some of us will take longer and some shorter routes but, eventually, all of us will end up at the same destination. I firmly believe in that analogy. All of us are headed to the same God who is known by different names, yet He is the one, the Lord of all of us. The most Beneficent and Merciful.
His love for His creation is unfathomable, because we cannot understand Him. Even if we get 1,000 lives, we will not be able to understand Him. Yet we have the audacity to criticise others because of their way to search for Him. All of us have that quest: to search and understand who our creator really is. To me, a real Sufi, perhaps a Yogi, perhaps a quiet and innocent person not publicising his relationship with his/her Creator is far nobler. Their love and meditation for their Lord is praiseworthy. Their affection and their relationship are unquestionable and pure.
I know I am very materialistic, very human and ask my Lord for a lot in this life, and yes for the afterlife as well. About the afterlife, I have some points of reference based on religious teachings and my imagination. God is one mystery whom only His chosen messengers and a few near to Him can understand. The rest of us cannot give an absolute or unquestionable account. We all use our imaginations to create images, to satisfy a question mark.
I know I will perhaps offend a few but what the heck. I certainly do not subscribe to the theory that, as Muslims, we will enter paradise and that the non-Muslims will be barred from entry. That paradise belongs to Him and it is up to Him to let whomever He wishes in. We have no say in this and should certainly keep ourselves out of His business. Where I have a major issue is when people kill each other in the name of God and justify their heinous act as a way to cleanse God’s earth of the ‘unwanted’ people. He is the Creator of those so-called not-so-pure and not-so-pious people too.
As a business graduate, I have another analogy to share. Imagine you have a stellar product and you have to capture the market share but you end up alienating your prospective target market. Now, no matter how good your pitch or product may be, without buyers it is worth nothing. At the expense of the displeasure of a few of my brothers and sisters, I believe we, as Muslims, are very poor marketers of our faith. Our faith has a captive audience and the entire world as its target market. Yet we are completely ignorant and oblivious to our real potential. Our pitch is, in essence, “We are the best, take it or be ready for hell.” This is the wrong approach and, needless to say, the response is quite obvious. As a not so final thought on this endless subject, we say we are the servants of the Lord yet we act like we are the Lords. We create so much chaos and disaster on His earth, and often disregard what servants are really meant to do. O Lord, help us all.
The writer is a Pakistani-American mortgage banker.
He blogs at http://dasghar.blogspot.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at http://twitter.com/dasghar