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and the Destiny of Man
Table of Contents
Charles Le Gai Eaton was born in Switzerland and educated at Charterhouse and King’s College, Cambridge. He worked for many years as a teacher and journalist in Jamaica and Egypt (where he embraced Islam in 1951) before joining the British Diplomatic Service. He is now consultant to the Islamic Cultural Centre in London .
Misleading Ways of Satan
Tactics which Iblees Shaytan or Satan uses to misguide us. We also see how time can be an ally or an enemy to him. Time well used is his enemy and time wasted, minute by minute or month by month, is his weapon against us. Time goes by very fast, and often before we know it, so much time has slipped by and when we look at what we have done in that time, most often we are disappointed and we ask: 'How?' We need to look at the bigger picture of life, as it is lived by the cradle to the grave, and see what we need to do in that time. Then our days and years fit into that picture with the end in mind. We are not immortal, though we often forget that we aren't. We will die, we will be buried, we will be raised again, and we will stand before Allah and be accountable for what we have or haven't done.
Some of the 12 Chapters of this book
Excerpt from the Introduction:
Time is one of the most deceptive realities known to man. Little by little the seconds pass, the minutes, the hours, the days; passing by inconspicuously. Time deceives through its turtle pace of progression; its mountains are built pebble by pebble, its nations multiply generation by generation, its forests grow thick and dense covertly, inch by inch, tree by tree. Man is of such an intellectual nature that he does not notice the things which change slowly, such as the child who grows day by day, those in constant contact with the child will not notice his growth, for they witness the microscopic difference everyday, and do not pay attention to it. Although such minute change over a long period is overwhelming, time cloaks the reality of growth in a cover of graduality.
The believers need to take this reality into consideration, because similar deception can occur in our lives if we do not maintain a constant guard. We do not notice that day by day, through things which we deem 'small', great things arise out of those many 'small' things combined. Its small but consistent effort makes a difference in the long run, but in the immediate present nothing seems to change; that is the wisdom and the curse of time
Time is the central force that regulates our existence, seasons, years, hours, minutes, etc. The whole of reality as we know it, actually, is based upon time, and progress through time. I would venture even so far as to say that our sciences, and math, and logic are based upon the consistency of time. The stability that ensued from the harmonious creation allowed man's thoughts to be gathered, organized, and developed following the consistency and predictability of our surroundings. Were the universe to have been 'chaos' as some assume, no intellectual progress could ever have been made, no idea developed, because the basis for our ideas even is based upon a principle of consistency, or logic. Within ourselves we have the tools, provided by Allah (SWT), and in our environment we found the exterior realities which provided us with a suitable context through which to develop ideas, science, math, etc. Allah (SWT) provided us with a suitable setting in which to cultivate our capacities, dormant within us. A suitable circumstance to organize intellectually. One finds further proof for this in the fact that when we are in a messy place, we feel out of place. It is part of a great blessing, which is the relationship between our mind and the environment. Time actually is the fundamental basis for our progress, and achievement.
This can also be witnessed in the intellectual consequences of being in an environment which is unorganized. If a physical environment is "unkept", "dirty", "messy", etc., then such bothers people. We feel as though we cannot progress, and so the natural human tendency is to "clean" the environment in order to be able to work. People who do live in such chaotic environments have often certain dimensions that are unstable, being in one way or another confused. This is not always true, as exceptions always exist. But its truth in general supports the idea that the organization of the universe by Allah has helped man to develop
The slow, yet progressive development of time is apparent in the world of nature. The heavens and the earth were created in 6 days, and every species has its own process of development. Forests do not become lush in one generation, but rather as the trees which do exist, shed their leaves, fertilizing the ground, and then they shed their cones which contain seeds, which fall to the ground, disintegrate, and then grow. The process is slow, yet through time it becomes successful. A similar development occurs with people, from their birth, as they grow and develop. Parents often do not see the growth of their children, because they witness every small growth, which is so small that we do not see it as a change. Yet as the years pass, the many small growths accumulate into something big. One day the parents will look at their children and say: 'Oh! How they have grown!' The small things we do not notice, but it is the small things which, with time, make a difference. The Prophet said in his farewell sermon:
"Beware of Satan, for your safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things."
As well one of the scholars said: "A mountain is made up of small stones." From the time of the Prophet (pbuh) till now we can understand the depth of this saying. What one later generation left, the new generation grew without. And then this new generation left something, which their children grew without, and on and on, until very little is left at all.
In a small village in Lebanon there was a cow who had had a baby. Each day, this cow would lift her child, move it, and then clean it, to put it back once again in the same place. Some years later, the villagers were amazed to see that, even the baby cow had grown quite a bit, the mother cow continued the same routine. This is so, because how much does a cow grow each day? The mother cow became accustomed to its small growth each time she lifted it, and hence as the cow grew, she became accustomed, and was able to grow in strength as her child grew in weight. Seeing the mother cow lift her child, even though her child was big, is an amazing thing, astonishing. Yet, the process leading to that capacity was gradual, and so as each day passed, she did not notice any great difference.
The human intellect also mirrors this process of development. Our whole way of thinking, and logic, is also based on accumulated knowledge, and experience. With the knowledge of cognitive development in people (ie, we learn through a process, by stages), Allah (SWT) revealed the Qur'an in stages:
"And with truth We have sent it down (the Qur'an), and with truth it has descended. And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) as nothing but a bearer of glad tidings (of Paradise, for those who follow your Message of Islamic Monotheism), and a warner (of Hell-fire for those who refuse to follow your Message of Islamic Monotheism). And (it is) a Qur'an which We have divided (into parts), in order that you might recite it to men at intervals. And We have revealed it by stages. (in 23 years)." (17:105-106)
"And those who disbelieve say: "Why is not the Qur'an revealed to him all at once?" Thus (it is sent down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages. (It was revealed to the Prophet SAW in 23 years"). (25:32)
"Verily! It is We Who have sent down the Qur'an to you (O Muhammad SAW) by stages." (76:23)
These ayat show clearly the wisdom from Allah (SWT), as He knows how humans learn, creating a foundation of faith, then to build upon that the rules and regulations which follow. Patterns of human learning have only been recently discussed, but the Qur'an has shown a genuine and true understanding of how people learn. The stages, from the first revelations which look upon the signs of Allah (SWT)'s existence and Unity in this world, to the Jurisprudence, dealing with divorce, and inheritance, etc. The latter are built upon the former, leading the human mind from the basic, to the complex. This is why it is not advisable to begging studying Islam through the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), because in order to understand, and truly appreciate the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), one has to have faith, and certainty in the existence of the hereafter.
the One who made the sun a (source of) radiant light and the moon a light
(reflected), and has determined for it phases so that you might know how to
compute the years and to measure (time). None of this has Allah created without
(an inner) truth. Clearly does He spell out these signs to people of (innate)
knowledge: for, verily, in the alternation of night and day, and in all that
Allah has created in the heavens and on earth, there are signs indeed for
people who are conscious of Him."
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"And say: truth has arrived, and falsehood has perished: for falsehood is ever bound to perish." [TMQ Al-Isra:81]