Are Muslims Allowed to Donate Organs?

Contributed by Ahlulbayt TV

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Reflections on the Soul: Questions to ask during the holy month

by Muhammed Nafih Wafy – courtesy The Muslim Vibe

Hardly do we bother about doing a regular checkup to keep abreast of our soul’s health. Have too much intake of entertainment and spiritually relaxed sedentary lifestyle pushed our sugar level up?

Healthcare is a multitrillion-dollar industry and one of the fastest our soul’s of human knowledge powered by innovative researchers, spiritually relaxed know-how, highly sophisticated infrastructure, and above all, continuous investment of some of the brightest human brains in this field globally. As several health indicators reveal, the revolution set in motion by modern medicine has been phenomenal in terms of containing mortality rates, fighting against the spread of epidemic diseases and improving the overall physical and mental wellbeing of humans in general, despite the fact that a large chunk of world population has unfortunately been exempted from enjoying its fruits.

Eternal soul vs. transient body

The number of fast-multiplying specialties and sub-specialties in modern medicine indicate our efforts to safeguard human body against diseases and a desperate attempt to make it invincible. In addition, we have a fast thriving cosmetics and fashion industry ensuring that we take better care of our body by beautifying and adorning it from time to time.

But all this fuss is about protecting and treating the human body, which is transient and is destined to perish after a few years, while we maintain a wanton disregard for the health and safety features of the soul, which is, instead, guaranteed an eternal existence.

The naysayer in me protests: “No, the medicine is all about making the God-given human life more enjoyable and life-worthy in this world, while at the same time, making the human body more equipped and powerful to work for the hereafter. Medicine is all about making the God-given mechanism more efficient to make it work for God. At the end of the day, like any other branch of knowledge, medicine is a blessed mission to invent God’s solutions to our physical and mental problems. So, dear mystic, do away with your misplaced antagonism towards medicine.”

“Don’t be so emotional,” is what a layman or an uneducated mystic told me, and as I interrupted.

“Don’t take it for a sweeping scathing about modern medicine. But I was hinting at how we are getting the priorities wrong. We lack seriousness when it comes to the diseases of the soul which requires urgent treatment.”

Do we care for our soul?

Hardly do we bother about doing a regular checkup to keep abreast of our soul’s health. Have too much intake of entertainment and spiritually relaxed sedentary lifestyle pushed our sugar level up? Has a less disciplined life, with too many unnecessary talks (lying, slandering, backbiting etc.) and less consumption of Touba (confession) of high nutritional value caused our soul’s cholesterol level skyrocket, risking an impending cardiac arrest? Need we urgently undergo a spiritual angioplasty? Are we suffering from acute syndromes of obesity because we don’t exercise our compulsory charity regularly nor we pay our voluntary charity? Does the acute shortage of compassion, love, generosity, and tolerance cause the growth of cancerous cells in our soul?

What about several vitamin deficiencies that we are afflicted with? Do we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner cereals enriched with sufficient vitamin of Quran, or do we require taking vitamin pills of Tasbeeh, Adhkar or Salat at frequent intervals? What about taking a penicillin injection of fasting or a preventive I’tikaf, or even transplantation in the form of a pilgrimage? Is our soul exposed to a highly contaminated surrounding, incurring the risk of asthma and numerous chronic diseases? Is there diarrhea caused by eating usury or are we diagnosed with leukemia or even brain-death due to indulgence in pornography? And above all, is lack of reading, knowledge, thinking, and meditation leading us to a complete paralysis?

There is no dearth of specialization in the department of the soul’s medicine. And these are not lesser diseases when it comes to the overall health and well-being of an individual and society as a whole. We are in dire need of potential therapeutic expertise, technical prowess, and innovative infrastructure. The naysayer nodes in affirmative, though he is noticeably discomfited!

We need to take care of the health and beauty of our heart because it is with that extra sensory organ that we communicate with Allah. And that is the organ which we should keep illuminated with the Divine Light. As the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

Allah does not look at our outward appearances, but He looks at our hearts and deeds.

Let us impress our Lord with a sincere, pure and beautifully illuminating heart.

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Are our respected religious Scholars competent and current with times?

by Nasir Jaffer (Toronto, Canada)

Mind (Supramental) has the ability to influence matter (from the simplest example of stimulating good or bad chemicals within your physical body to psychokinesis and beyond, one may call Mysticism). Unfortunately we have been complacent and comfortable over the centuries with the tailored promulgated knowledge at the level of understanding creation as linear and deducing it’s meaning based on species-specific (in this case human) understanding and that too within the bounds of matter as Maya (veil/illusion), as a result human inherently tend to get entangled with the basic requirements of life like hunting for sustenance (hunger/greed) and associating itself with ego resulting in search of wealth, power and identity). Needless to say, there is also that aspect of selflessness relative to acquiring knowledge and disseminating, essentially understanding the essence of knowledge that will take us to greater heights (to include noble actions) for the sole purpose of discovering Allah versus for the purpose of the transmitter to be remembered,

For as long as we continue to remain aloof and only respond based on input our eyes see (perception rather than reality), the meaning of life will remain within the confines of individual’s limited knowledge framework (subject/object split) and at the mercy of rigid do’s and don’ts. One sometimes wonders if our learned scholars were only prepared at the level of ‘basic’ standard sharia related knowledge (since this is generally what we hear from the pulpits) and more so along the narrations of our aima’s injustices faced (conveyed repeatedly over the centuries that too we have now come to realisation that some of the narrations are indeed in question, this include volumes of earlier sources?). We hardly hear much about current changes and challenges we face and experience on various issues.  Do we for that have qualified learned, knowledgeable scholars with vision and guidance to intellectually engage the common mass (as majority of us traditionally depend on the knowledge transmitted through the pulpits and taken as word of God with closed eyes) with advices (apart from ensuring segregation between men and women according to sharia at the centres are observed or for that be repeatedly told that our branch of belief is superior when compared to other school of thoughts and how wrong they are and lately internal war on ideologies to include misquoting ‘competent’ scholar/s right on the pulpit!) and assisting us in progressing with our views of life beyond what we see, independent thinking, etc. including risk factors, mitigating measures to be considered as a result of cause and effect based on various available studies, resources and information?

We note many of our community members like to listen to the ‘likes’ of Brahma Kumari’s as the knowledge they gain from such lectures are not to be heard from our centers (as an example) though we generally continue to attend functions at the mosque for social purpose, listen to majalises to get thawab (indoctrination works however, at the time of communal prayers the number of attendees generally tend to decline) and finally the obvious, overcome that guilt. You will also notice that there is hardly much to gain from our lectures. The general material delivered on ‘basic’ good actions invoking our revered aima’s name really can found in any religion or texts for that?  

Our respected Scholar’s knowledge must be competent and remain current especially with exceptionally advanced Information Technology notwithstanding Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolutionizing the way we think, totally transforming our traditional mentality of the past. Some of the do’s and don’ts of the past no longer work or remain valid for that, relatively speaking. Human memory (brain-machine interface implant/ ‘digital brain layer’ – Neuralink, see various interviews by Elon Musk) can be downloaded and saved on line, internal thoughts can be tracked and exposed, minds could be manipulated through AI en masse with human brain interface constantly connected (soon will outmode the likes of facebook, twitter), etc. – AI is now seen as a projection of human limbic system (haven’t touched on medical revolutionary advancement and how our sensitive static sharia as traditionally understood could be of a challenge to implement). Human interactive supercomputers could prove to be deadly (existential threat) if not regulated. They could very well be like a cancerous cell as they could outsmart exponentially and control human as they would have the ability to learn and transform (independent ‘will’) exceptionally fast.  As the saying goes, imagination is free to run wild!

Contents considered as unacceptable or for that sinful in the past is now part of the system and prevalent/accessed at once from anywhere in the world through daily use of gizmos (Cyborg?) filled with myriad of information let alone basic daily  news  notwithstanding discussions held at very early age in ‘schools’ as part of curriculum on awareness, etc. System, circumstance, understanding, meaning, reasoning, politics/mentality, etc. have changed the way we interact and respond to the environment.  How much are we aware aside from simply flowing with the current?

Will we go through a phase of ‘out of control’? (is this even a relative term? A classic example would be our women at early age were groomed to be domesticated and obedient house-wives not only to cater to their husband’s needs but also in-laws to the extent if she wanted to visit her biological parents she would have to ask for permission. She would be disciplined when deemed inconsiderate, dare not speak until spoken to, so on and so forth. Would present day therefore be considered as an ‘out of control’ situation when compared to up to a couple of decades back?…in the meantime we patiently await to be ‘told’ by higher authority if women should be allowed to vote at the Jamaat administrative level, year 2018!)

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My Logbook to Barzakh, Part 1

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A Debt of Gratitude

by Mohamedarif Suleman – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

One of the things that we all seem to have forgotten about, nay, taken for granted, is that we have a debt. Now before you jump to conclusions, and start justifying how debt-free you are, take a second glance at the article title – it pretty much gives away the mystery out of this statement.

I have been fortunate to live though multiple phases in my life, whether economic, social or personal turbulence, I have been there, and this in itself has provided me with the unique opportunity to understand that variance in life and the correlations that life produces, are not just natural phenomena, but at times, also essential for our own self reformation. In making this statement, I am essentially expressing gratitude, am I not? For the lessons that life teaches us, are immense, but few of us take time to appreciate events that we regard as unfavourable, as having been those precise turn around moments in our lives, that took us toward one form of betterment or another.

The debt we owe our creator is nothing short of that – to be able to see the good in things and then be grateful for them – an extremely difficult thing to do, but one that remains a debt, regardless. And whereas I had always though I will postpone this thought for the twilight of my life, I am having second thoughts knowing well that one cannot be too sure after all about the span he has been granted, to be grateful for.

As the world economy nose dives by leaps and bounds, and as analysts and pundits forecast gloom, it is no longer extraordinary to see our friends and acquaintances engage in toxic discourses of Armageddon. Well, that would be a bit extreme, but the most common feature is the idea of migration. And whereas moving from one place to another is certainly a good thing, most of the times, it becomes very difficult to understand when very well settled individuals, with alpha lifestyles grumble thus. And as the poem becomes a lyric, then a rhyme and a song, you can probably see this as a predominant feature much like the weather stories of the United Kingdom.

‘Gratitude is a sign of the noble’, goes a proverb, and simply means that people who are grateful, or people who show gratitude by saying things like thank you, are good people that we can all admire. In other words, people who are happy with and are thankful for what they have, have good qualities; such as generosity, honesty, and others. And so it seems, that this admirable trait leads back to us and then goodness around us is sure to radiate. This is probably something we have all read in those monthly psychology magazines, but have perhaps failed to relate to ou daily routine lives.

Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury, in her article ‘The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety & Grief’, she remarks “We all want a happy life. A cushy job, a perfect family, financial stability, and a great social life! And in this indefinite pursuit of happiness that is mostly like a mirage, how often do we spare a minute to thank what we already have at this very moment? Gratitude is a powerful human emotion. By conveying and receiving simple ‘thank you’ messages, we can truly derive the pleasure that we seek everywhere else. Gratitude, derived from the Latin word ‘gratia’, means gratefulness or thankfulness. In its simplest form, gratitude refers to a ‘state of thankfulness’ or a ‘state of being grateful’.”

Jeffrey Tucker in his write up ‘Gratitude Is Essential for a Free Life’, makes this incredible point: “A friend of mine described what it was like for her to discover the meaning and implications of economic liberty in the world. Before, most of her formal education put down enterprise, business, corporations, and wealth creation, talking only about their downsides. The world was dark, with the monsters of exploitation, pollution, and inequality lurking around every corner. But learning economics changed all that. Suddenly she saw that the consumer products all around her are not given by nature; they were created through a process that involved an amazing human drama of risk and reward. Within the commercial sector we find an orderliness that no one designed but is inclusive of everyone who wants to participate. Commerce is expansive, exciting, creative, and benevolent, always working to uplift the human spirit. Business is glorious. It serves humanity. This is a huge difference in perspective, and discovering it can rock your world. What is the key change in perspective? It has something to do with how you see the world around you. All the blessings that surround us can be seen as either a given fact of reality that deserve a severe criticism, or as blessings that do not have to exist but nonetheless are available to us as gifts of the heroic exercise of the human spirit. To me, the key to the shift is gratitude, which comes from an awareness that all the awesomeness around us does not have to be. It comes to us for a particular reason: because people created, invented, invested, and made it happen for you and me. And let’s go one layer deeper. What kinds of institutions incentivize and coordinate all this activity? It’s not government, which has no resources of its own and creates nothing truly new. It comes from the institutions of the market economy: private property, and signaling systems like prices and interest rates.

Now let us ask ourselves, if we truly try to be grateful. Do we really practice that and then teach our children the magical words ‘thank you’, or do we usually take it as our right and privilege to be served and assisted by all and sundry. In many cultures, for example the Swahili culture, ‘ahsante‘ and ‘nakushukuru‘, form so much of a speech protocol, that it is easy to annoy or diorientate someone when he or she is not acknowledged for their role or performance. Now, of course, some days this is stretched too far than others, but in sum, the idea to pass here is that we cannot be invincible, indispensable and all powerful. Gratitude words breed humility and we should use them all so more often. And lest we forget, let us thak the Almighty as we bow down in prayer today and at the end when we can chant in unison, shukran lillah.

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