Mar 20, 2012

The long winding road to God

There is a saying in all the holy books that invite you to come close to God and God will come closer to you. Drawing nearer to God means dispelling all things evil from your life. You cannot read your holy book in the morning, and in the evening rob someone of his dignity or self-esteem. It is better just to be a common sinner then; God despises hypocrites. Drawing nearer to God is a desire to live life having cognizance of those around you. You can’t buy a ticket to grant your salvation. You can only reach God through love and service to others.

Guidance and Mercy

There is a saying in the Qur’an (x.57): “O mankind! There hath come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts, and for those who believe a Guidance and a Mercy”. The commentator and translator, Yusuf Ali in footnote 1446, explains: “Those who do wrong have a disease in their hearts, which shall cause their spiritual death. God in His Mercy declares His will to them, which should direct their lives and provide a healing for their spiritual disease. If they accept Faith, the remedy acts; they find themselves in right guidance and receive God’s forgiveness and mercy.”

A clean heart and a willingness and desire to benefit mankind are therefore necessary attributes in order to draw nearer to God. This does not mean that you engage in prayer all day and neglect your duties as a parent and a provider, and that you have no care or regard for the plight of others.

You kill and covet

In the Bible, James 4:1-3, it states: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

One can benefit from the guidance of all holy books. We live in a material world. We are greedy and envious and think that our wealth comes only from hard work. We dismiss the beggar on the corner and find an excuse not to give. We want to repent for our sins at the last moment when there is no life left anymore to continue our arrogant and avaricious behavior – and even then from our grave want to direct how the money should be spent.

Money is the earthly deal breaker in almost every transaction in our lives. We covet money. We want more. And when we have it we want to accumulate it and watch it grow in leaps and bounds on the internet. When someone asks us for money, we become haughty, and say: “Why don’t you get a job?” We are insulting as well as greedy, and pull away in a rush of speed in case guilt should overcome us and we give the man a one rand coin. When the Angel of Death is upon us we want to shower him with all the money we have to secure a spot in heaven, but money has no currency in paradise; only your good deeds count.

The road to God need not be a circuitous one. You can take the long road and continue a selfish life, or a short one through submission and love. The mere thought of submission will unlock the hardness in your heart. No matter how you may resist the notion of a Higher Power, there is a Protector and a Sustainer.

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