Angels, Jinns, and Humans

I agree with @skyrunner7 when it comes to ghosts and jinns. The media capitalizes off this belief that there are supernatural beings that live among us. Most of these exorcist movies and real life ghost hunter people are all frauds. I don’t really know how often Jinns interact with our world in a way that is obvious to human beings. I was taught in my Islamic school that Jinns eat bones and live in dark and dirty places. I guess if they are made of fire, they don’t have to be afraid of germs because the heat will just sterilize everything. That was a joke. skyrunner7 also made a good point that this is a major distinction of the Abrahamic religions. I know that in Christianity, there isn’t a clear belief of what angels are or where they exist. Because they believe the devil is an archangel that fell out of God’s favor, but in Islam that is impossible.

In my psychology class we talked about multiple personality disorder. the medical term is actually dissociative personality disorder. This is when people have multiple personalities (as high up to 100, but it’s usually between 8/9 for men and 15 for women). The diagnosing criteria is different based on the culture that the individual is a part of. In some places for example, people who behave in this way are thought to be possessed by a jinn or a spirit. In the US, no doctor will tell you that you are possessed by a jinn. But in Islam we do believe that it is possible. However, going back to the media and their portrayal of possessions, this whole phenomenon has been really warped. Now it’s so confusing trying to figure out what is a possession, what is a mental illness, and what is just nonsense.

Fear of______[Death]

“Fear is such a weak emotion, that is why i despise it”- Lupe Fiasco

When I think of fear, I think of two things: fear of Allah swt and the fear that shaytan or the Devil uses to control us with. ¬†In the case of shaytan using fear to control us, then yes I agree that it is weak. The other day I stopped by my friend’s place unannounced and was buzzed inside. She called me right after and said no one was home. I was afraid that I wasn’t wanted there and that my friends all didn’t like me and talked about me behind my back. When one of them texted me, I realized I felt desperate which means I would hang out with them, even if I didn’t feel like it anymore. I can see how in this situation, shaytan could have used my fear to push me to do something wrong, if that meant hanging out with my friends. In the case of Allah SWT, we should be afraid of displeasing Him, but fear shouldn’t be the only emotion we feel towards Allah SWT.

@helloo123 talks about the irrational fear of death that human beings have. Your actions reflect how you believe in death, according to helloo123. I can agree with this as well. If you live life knowing that you might die at any second, then you start to do things that are good for you, and stay away from things that harm you. or you don’t procrastinate because you realize that you don’t have all the time in the world, and the longer you are alive the closer you are to death. The clock is just ticking away. And if you realize this then you spend your time differently. It reminds me of a music video that I saw once where everyone was walking around with timers floating over their heads. And when they ran out of time, they just died. I’ve always known this, but thinking this through makes me realize this more.

Is there a God?

There is no way to prove or disprove God. I spent a whole semester in Philosophy 132, a Tier 1 philosophy course, talking about the existence of God. Ok it wasn’t the whole semester, but it was a big focus for a majority of it. We started with Descartes and then moved to some guy who talked about the idea of something greater than something which does not exist. Ultimately, this guy said that the idea of God had to come from God because we as humans can’t construct this concept of a greater being out of nowhere. It had to come from God. But then there were all these other philosophers who argued other things, and there was no straight answer because they each manipulated logic and reasoning to make their point. but someone could always find a hole in it (ahh the beauty of being human).

I don’t know what makes me more discontent: knowing that the philosophers’ arguments really prove nothing at the end of the day, or that the belief in God is, as @whattherocksays said, a matter of faith. This makes me want to know where does this faith come from? as a muslim i would say it is from the messengers and prophets that Allah sent down to tell us about Him. and that this legacy has lived on to provide a means for us to understand the world we are in. But how about someone who isn’t Muslim? What are they thinking? Are they dissatisfied? Because I still don’t understand why Allah would create all this, just to then either bring us back to heaven inshallah or discard us in hell (a3uthobillah God Forbid). But I also accept that Allah is the All Wise and knows the answer. I am just starting to realize what a blessing it really is to be Muslim Alhamdullilah

Surah Al Baqara

Minnimonmon had a really good analysis of what the surah was alluding to with the story about the person in the rain storm. I remember my partner and I had trouble figuring out what each of the three scenarios meant. I remember we thought the lightening had a positive connotation because there is light involved. In class we said that life is a series of choices that we make. The hypocrites are the ones that are choosing the easy route consistently and want to profit as easily as possibly even when it is the wrong way. The case of the lightening is the perfect example. The lightening offers a cheap source of light that the hypocrites can use to get ahead. However, it is of great risk to them, but they still do it because they think they are actually gaining something.

“The dreams we choose to share and share aloud all the time, are the ones we don’t really care about. We give away that thought, cheaply because it does not mean very much to us. Or it doesn’t mean as much as those dreams and hopes we have, that we keep to ourselves. That we are reluctant to share or to expose to the world. Instead we put in time to cultivate this dream silently or in whispers. Then one day the result is clear.” This is a thought I had when I was thinking about the hypocrites. They are the ones who usually boast loudly about things or make a big ruckus, because on the inside they don’t really care. What they do care about is making things easier for themselves, but they won’t tell you that. That is a secret they keep inside. But Allah SWT is the seerer of the unseen and the knower of all things.

Surah 49, doubts and role of Religion

I think we live in a time where there is kind of an informal social movement among teens where it is cool to break the rules or have bad manners ( maybe this is just teens in general actually lol). I had a friend in high school who purposefully didn’t follow the little niceties that people use daily just to be polite or keep order. She would say what she wanted when she wanted. But her intentions weren’t anything bad, she just wanted to keep it real and not be fake to other people. It made me think about what then is appropriate behavior and when is it ok to blatantly speak your mind and when it is not your place to do so. Surah Hujarat gives a good answer: manners and etiquette are there so that we can uphold the dignity of each person and ensure that their rights are not transgressed. The overall theme of Islam is peace and submission to Allah. We do what we think will please Allah, and we treat others in a way that would please Allah, even if it means swallowing your pride or anger towards someone. It amazes me how much wisdom can be drawn from such a short surah.

Helloo123 mentions that Islam is a way of life. This statement is thrown around a lot that I forget what it really means. I guess Islam is just a way of viewing the world, a philosophy that we use to make decisions in life and make sense of the complex and ever changing world. We talked about this in class as well, about Islam being a psychology and a philosophy. The list that we made about where we find religion being implemented covered a wide range of areas. It was practically every area you could think of in my opinion. This reinforces the idea that Islam is a lifestyle not a list of rules that you follow. One thing I love about Islam is that Allah SWT encourages us, if not demands us, to question our beliefs to cure our doubts. At the end of the day, if you are looking for the truth then Allah swt will be with you. He is your safety net as you explore and push your boundaries. If you find that you tested something and realized later it was not the best for you, then you repent and keep going with Allah’s guidance.

Surah Fatiha

I have never thought about why surah Al Fatiha was the opening chapter of the Quran. It already made sense because it seemed like a really easy way to renew your intentions and to include Allah in whatever you were doing (because the surah opens up with Bismillah Arahman Araheem: in the Name of Allah The Most Gracious the Most Merciful) But I didn’t realize that it was pretty much summing up all of islam or setting the perspective for what Islam is. God has 99 different names or attributes that believers can use to call upon Him whenever they wish. This surah denotes two attributes of Allah as the ones that believers should use to construct their image of God. And that is of one who is Gracious and Merciful. Allah SWT will always forgive if you repent in this life.

Ciniminion brings up a good point that I overlooked. In the second half of the surah, the believer is asking Allah swt to guide us on the straight path, not the path of those who have gone astray. The people who have gone astray are also the people who are full of anger. And anger is a sign of ingratitude because you are unable to see the blessing of Allah swt in your life. Allah has given all of use blessings in our lives and if we can’t see them then we become angry at God and keep our distance from him. I never realized that our view of God translates into our view of the world. So if we are angry at God, we also have a pessimistic view of the world. I wonder if there have been any psychology experiments done about this. What about people who have a pessimistic view of the world but love God. Is there such a thing?

Color of Paradise

The Color of Paradise was one of the saddest and most heartbreaking movies I have ever seen. I really liked watching it because it was so different from American films. There was actually a really deep concept and message to the story. And the characters looked like your real average human being, instead of looking like made up movie stars who look fabulous even when they are on the brink of death. The grandmother in the Color of Paradise reminded me a lot of my own grandmother. She is very spiritual and holds a lot of superstitions. But she doesn’t separate the superstitions from worshiping God. It’s like she believes that God created things to work with the superstitions. I think it has to do with lack of formal education.

In response to @ciniminimon, I also admire Muhammad for his ability to see everything as a sign of God. I remember in my intro to Islam course, we talked about the different levels of spirituality (iman, ihasan and Ikhlas?). The highest one was when you could look at anything and remember Allah swt. I try to do that as much as possible but sometimes it’s hard to because this world seems like such a hard reality that you don’t realize it symbolizes something more. The father in the movie was really sucked deep into his life and the miseries that he couldn’t see the good things. It made me really annoyed because he was literally making his own life miserable. I don’t even know how he was married in the first place, because I know I would not be able to love a ¬†person like that. It just drags you down and makes you feel hopeless.