Posts Tagged ‘qu’ran’

2012 – End of the World or Golden Age of Peace?


There’s something in the air. There’s a kind of expectancy. Many believe that the end of the world is nigh. But is it going to be a time of mass destruction or will it be the end of an era, bringing a new world order or a golden age of peace?

Since the beginning of the 20th Century we have seen an increase in disease, wars, famines and natural disasters, in particular the two world wars and epidemics such as Aids. 2011 has seen a further increase in such things, with revolutions in the Middle East, protests around the world, global recession and the tsunami witnessed in Japan earlier this year.

The bible talks about the signs of the times or the end of the world. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus said,

6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Matthew 24: 6-8, New International Version (NIV)

Some believe that these things are a sign that Armageddon is coming, when God will destroy the world, while others believe it’s a sign of a new world order or golden age of peace.

Both the bible and the Quran speak of new heavens and a new earth.

Revelation 21:1-4 (NIV), states

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

The Quran states:

“The day will come when this earth will be substituted with a new earth, and also the heavens, and everyone will be brought before GOD, the One, the Supreme.” 14:48

 

Some believe that human consciousness is changing and we are becoming more spiritually aware. As we do so, we start living our lives in spiritual ways, with love, peace and truth and this in itself will bring about change.  It doesn’t matter what religion you follow, if any, all that matters is love for the Divine, love for ourselves and love for others. There are many paths, but they all lead to the same place or as my friend Alicia puts it, there are many flavours of ice cream, but they’re all still ice cream.

Albert Einstein predicted, “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology.” – sourced from http://www.esoterictube.com/spirit-science.html.

People all over the world, including well known teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsch and lesser known ones, such as Jordan Duchnycz, are teaching people about the changes and how we can facilitate such change.

For too long the world has been controlled by governments, religions and multi-national banks and corporations. The time has come when people are refusing to continue being repressed and are taking things into their own hands. Prime examples of this are the revolutions in the Middle East, Occupy Wall Street and websites such as Wikileaks and Demand Progress. These actions, along with the shift in consciousness, help to make the new world order possible.

A lot of people consider that this change will take place on 21st December 2012, as predicted according to the Mayan calendar and that the year 2011, leading up to this time is also significant.

Joseph Robert Jochmans says “Both the Hopis and Mayans recognize that we are approaching the end of a World Age… In both cases, however, the Hopi and Mayan elders do not prophesy that everything will come to an end. Rather, this is a time of transition from one World Age into another. The message they give concerns our making a choice of how we enter the future ahead. Our moving through with either resistance or acceptance will determine whether the transition will happen with cataclysmic changes or gradual peace and tranquility. The same theme can be found reflected in the prophecies of many other Native American visionaries from Black Elk to Sun Bear.” – http://www.adishakti.org/mayan_end_times_prophecy_12-21-2012.htm

So is this time going to be one of destruction or one of peace? My personal belief is that things are probably going to get worse before they get better, but a golden age of peace is coming and we can facilitate that by doing everything we do with love and increasing our spiritual awareness by means of practices such as meditation that increase our intuition such as Tom Kenyon’s “The Crystal Palace Within and Opening the Halls of Amenti” meditation.

Times are changing and we have the choice to continue destroying ourselves and our planet or to live our lives with love. Imagine how the world would be if everyone lived their life with love and followed spiritual principles.

What will you choose?

Insha Allah – God Is Willing and So Am I


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When I first came to Egypt, I quickly got used to hearing the words “Insha Allah” used on a regular basis. “Insha Allah” means “God willing” or “by the grace of God.” As I consider myself to be a somewhat spiritual person, I like this sentiment. I feel comforted by the sense that everything is in God’s hands and that He has everything under control.

The term Insha Allah is based on teachings from the Qu’ran. Surat 18: Al Kahf (23, 24) says, “Therefore do not say, ‘I am doing something tomorrow,’ Except if it be the will of Allah.”’

“Devout Muslims say “Insha Allah” whenever they make a statement about a plan to do something, as a way of requesting God to bless the activity. The phrase also acknowledges submission to God, with the speaker putting him or herself into God’s hands, and accepting the fact that God sometimes works in inscrutable ways.” – Wisegeek.com.

The Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him), tells the story of a man who said, “Tonight I will go to all my wives, so that each one will have a son who can fight in the name of Allah.” An angel reminded him to say, “If Allah wills.” The man ignored the angel and only one of his seventy wives gave birth, and that was to a half-formed child. The Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him), said, “By the One in Whose Hands is my soul, had he said, ‘If Allah wills,’ he would not have broken his oath, and that would have helped him to attain what he wanted.” [Saheeh Muslim (vol. 3,
no. 1275)]

In Egypt, both Muslims and Christians use the term Insha Allah. Wikipedia states, “In Arabic speaking countries the term is used by members of all religions; meaning the term in and of itself does not denote a religion, but simply means ‘God willing.’”

Christians also believe in the concept of ‘God willing’. James 4: 13-17 reads, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

An Egyptian friend of mine learned the wisdom of using the term Insha Allah at an early age. He took a social studies exam that all children have to take at the age of 15. My friend found it easy, so when his father asked him how it went, he told him that he had passed. His father said, “Say I passed, Insha Allah.” To which my friend replied, “Why do I need to say Insha Allah? I know I passed.” Guess what? He didn’t pass.

This also reminds me of the story of Goha and the donkey. Goha met some people on his way to the market. They greeted him, “Hello Goha, where are you going?” Goha replied “I’m going to the market to buy a donkey.” The people said, “Why don’t you say ‘Insha Allah, I’m going to the market to buy a donkey?’”Goha said, “I have money in my pocket, the donkey’s at the market, why do I need to say Insha Allah?”

When Goha arrived at the market, he found a donkey that satisfied his needs and agreed on a price with the seller. As he reached to take the money from his pocket, he discovered it missing. As Goha had been walking through the crowded market, a pickpocket had taken his money.
The seller asked him if he was going to buy the donkey and he said, “Insha Allah, I will buy it next week.”

Later that day Goha returned without a donkey. The people said to him, “Goha, where is your donkey?” To which Goha replied, “Insha Allah, I wanted to buy a donkey. Insha Allah, I lost my money. Insha Allah, I will buy it next week.”

Both of these stories illustrate the wisdom of using the term Insha Allah. But once I had been here in Egypt for a short while I discovered that the term Insha Allah can be misused and I became increasingly frustrated by it. I realised that a lot of people use it as an excuse or another way of saying “maybe”. When someone says Insha Allah my heart sinks, as I think the chances of my request being fulfilled are slim. I think that if they say, “Ok, I’ll meet you in the morning at nine am, Insha Allah,” then what they actually mean is “I’ll meet you in the morning at nine am, if I
can get out of bed in time,” or “I’ll meet you in the morning at nine am, if I don’t have anything better to do.”

Wisegeek.com says this about the term Insha Allah.“Visitors to the Middle East often hear Insha‘Allah used as a euphemism for ‘we’ll see,’
which can be a source of frustration for some people. It can help to remember that most people are too polite to say that something simply will not happen, so adding Insha Allah to a statement can express the idea that something is, in a sense, up to God, whether it be catching a train
at the right time or completing a deal to sell a house.”

We are probably all aware of the Egyptian ‘IBM’ syndrome. IBM stands for Insha Allah, Bukra, Malesh, which translates to “maybe
tomorrow, if God wills, and if not, never mind, I’m sorry.” Incidentally, bukra means tomorrow in the loosest possible sense, and don’t even get me started on “bada bukra”, meaning after tomorrow. The Egyptians give a whole new meaning to “manyana, manyana.” In some ways this laid back attitude can be a refreshing change in contrast to the hectic pace of the UK and other Western countries, but when it goes too far, it can become rather tedious.

Another friend (half-Egyptian and half-British), who works in a predominately ex-pat company recently overheard a European colleague say, “Let’s leave God out of it shall we? Is the answer yes or no?” when his request for a much needed report was met with the answer, “Insha Allah”. This may seem controversial, but I know both ex-pats and Egyptians who are bothered by misuse of the term.

A different friend (Egyptian), let’s call him Magdi, works at a big oil company. He was recently working on a project with a client, one of the biggest multi-national oil companies. The head of the project was a man from Iran. Every day he would hold a meeting with the team and ask them if their tasks would be completed that day. As he went around the room, everyone, except Magdi, answered with the term “Insha Allah.” Every day as the head of the project became more and more exasperated by this response, he began to say, “Tell me one of the three,
will your tasks be completed today, yes, no or Insha Allah?” Everyone other than Magdi still insisted on saying, “Insha Allah”, while Magdi said either yes or no. One day the head of the project couldn’t take it any longer and he said, “Don’t tell me Insha Allah,
just tell me yes or no!” He went around the room until he came to a particularly devout Muslim; the man in question looked very uncomfortable and was sweating profusely. “Yes,” he said, “Insha Allah.”

Incidentally, the head of the project turned and pointed at my friend Magdi. “I like you,” he said. “I always get a direct
answer from you. It’s either yes or no.”

In the paper “The Contexts of Insha Allah in Alexandria,” by Stanford W. Gregory, Jr. of Kent State University and Kessem M. Shafie Wehba of Alexandria University, the authors note that “foreigners’ theories concerning the use of the expression are often deprecatory,” and “the use of the expression is a mechanism of social interaction rather than a simple means of shirking responsibility.” The paper goes on to say “the expression is
uttered appropriately when one makes any plan for the future…only God has control of knowledge concerning future affairs; therefore when any kind of human design for the future is made, the expression Insha Allah must be uttered to show one’s deference to God.” The paper continues “‘I
will have my car tomorrow Insha Allah,’ means that I will do all I can to get my car tomorrow, but only God know if this will be the case,’ thus indicating that we have to meet God halfway.”

Dr Wayne Dyer says in his book Your Sacred Self that instead of saying “God willing”, we should instead say, “God is always willing and so am I.” He puts forward the idea that we should remove phrases that mirror doubt and instead use phrases that reflect knowledge and faith. It’s the difference between believing something and knowing something.

When we use words that mirror doubt such as “God willing” or “hopefully,” we behave accordingly. Just as when we use phrases that indicate our certainty, such as “God is willing and so am I” or “I know I can do it,” we act correspondingly. According to the law of attraction, what we say and think, even if we don’t believe it yet, becomes our reality. We are giving messages to our unconscious mind and consequently we take physical
action. It’s so important to be alert to our thoughts and speech and when we speak we should do so with confidence and trust in the Divine.

When Dr. Wayne Dyer was writing the aforementioned book, his family had a lot of doubts about his ability to do so since he had not written for many years. He says, “I simply responded with sentences like ‘I trust that I am able to do it. I am not alone and I will be given the guidance and the assistance I need to create this book.’”

Using expressions that indicate our certainty, such as “God is willing and so am I,” gives us some power over our destiny, meaning
that we meet God halfway and that we are prepared to put in some hard work ourselves.

According to A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, “Muslims believe in Al-Qadar, which is Divine Predestination, but this belief
in Divine Predestination does not mean that human beings do not have freewill. Rather, Muslims believe that God has given human beings freewill. This means that they can choose right or wrong and that they are responsible for their choices.”

To illustrate this point I use the example of a person searching for a job. Someone could be without work and say “Insha Allah, I will get a job” and then sit back and wait for God to send him a job but not actually make any effort to find a job for himself.

There’s a joke about a woman that was drowning in a tsunami. Her house was filling up with water and the water was rising so she climbed up to the roof and prayed to God to save her.

After a short time someone came past with a boat. He called to the woman, “Quick, get on the boat, and I will save you.” The woman replied, “No I’m fine thank you. God will save me.” Then someone came past on a raft. He called to the woman, “Quick, get on the raft, and I will save you.” The woman replied, “No I’m fine thank you. I trust in God that He will save me.” Finally a man flew over in a helicopter. He called to the woman, “Quick, get in the helicopter, and I will save you.” The woman replied, “No I’m fine thank you. God will save me.”

Shortly afterwards the woman died and went to paradise. When she arrived, she met God and she said to Him, “God, I have been a devout follower of you all my life. I was a good person. I trusted in you and I prayed every day. Why did you let me drown?” To which God replied, “I sent you a raft, a boat and helicopter. What more did you want?”

The moral of this story is that we have to make an effort ourselves. We have the power over our destinies. We create our own lives and our own luck.

This is similar to the concept that “God helps he who helps himself,” which is part of Greek mythology, as told by Aesop in one of his famous fables. The story goes that a farmer was driving his wagon down a muddy track, when the wagon got stuck in the mud. The farmer stood there feebly and kept calling to Hercules for aid. After a while Hercules appeared to the farmer and told him to make some effort himself and that he could not expect anyone to help him if he weren’t prepared to take action himself.

I agree with the sentiments of the Qu’ran and the Bible when they advise, do not say you will do something tomorrow, except
if it is by God’s will, but I would like to propose that we change the way we use this phrase. Let’s replace “Insha Allah, Bukra, Malesh,” with “Insha
Allah
, God is willing and so am I.” I have a mission to remind Egyptians of the original meaning of the term Insha Allah. I want people to say it and intend to do their utmost to follow through and make the effort to meet God halfway. How much would things in Egypt
change if this were the case? My goal is for all Egyptians to say “God is willing and so am I”, after they say, “Insha Allah.” Please join me in my campaign.