Dear DR. Tow
In a responce to my last post DR.Tow Khee Kin from Malaysia asked a few questions at a social media website. It was DR.Tow’s questions that I was looking forward to be asked. I really loved them and decided to reply in detail. Since DR. Tow had asked those questions on an open forum, I take the opportunity to reply to them at a public forum as well. I really am grateful and thank ful to Dr. Tow for asking those, for had not he asked, I would not have perhaps shared this all with you for for another some time. Below are the questions as well as the answers.
I concure with you that design of nature is very important in life. Unfortunately, many people can not achieve this. Can we predict the future in life?or let the nature take its course? Do we work hard to improve our destiny? Warnest regards Dr. K K Tow
And below is my reply :
Dear DR. Tow
Thank you for going through my words.
i. You mentioned that many people cannot achieve this. I would rather put it like “” many people do not see this “”. There can be so many reasons for why people do not see this or cannot see this. Some of those could be:
1. Lack of love for themselves (we do not love ourselves enough to grow)
2. Lack of ability to see beyond what is thrown at us in the form of
a. Products ( latest gadgets, toys, cars, etc),
b. Events ( new album releases, movies , Oscars, concerts, elections etc),
c. Services ( face book, emails, etc )
that we really do not find time to talk to our true selves.
3. Not being able to think beyond thoughts of the social set up fed to us. If we see some thing as always, we never think it can be wrong or there can be other approaches to see it. Or if we have seen our parents handle an issue like always in the same manner, we begin to see their approach as “the solution.”
4. Lack of willingness to move out of our comfort zones.
5. Lack of silence in our lives. To understand some thing in reality, we have to be silent.
6. Being caught up in the myth of being busy. We keep on being busy but rarely try to think if being busy is really improving the quality of our lives. It is just like the concept of real income in economics. If a person gets a salary raise of $10,000 but the inflation has made prices higher by $6,000, his real income is the net effect $4,000.
Its same as that. Our quality of LCD screen has improved but our burden of interest amount payable has risen by an addition of $170 per month. We have gotten into a newer, larger, impressing the neighbours n cousins house, but our net monthly drain has increased by $880 and with that an immeasurable amount of stress, anxiety, increased arguments and every thing that creates tension and annoyance.
7. Valuing the tangibles more than the intangibles.
ii. Your second question goes like can we predict the future? Prediction of future has always been of an immense interest for us human beings.
Almost all of us want to see or predict the future. The wish to see the future originates from the wish to control it. The wish to control it has its roots in wanting to be in control.
We want to see only that happening to us that favours us and want to change every other thing that does not. We want to change the rules.
The principles are to trust the invisible hand and to trust the principles. Do not go for the outcome, go for the principles. For the reason, that the desired result or outcome or future, may or may not be achieved, but a calm joyful heart shall always be. The design of nature is to not let you always get what you always want, but to let you grow in mind and spirit first. If givig or allowing you some thing involves growth, you shall receive it. If your growth is better achieved through disallowing, you wont ever get it. In Quran or Koran, as is said, there are things that you like but we do not allow cause they carry a disbenefit and there are things that you do not like and we give it to you, for they carry a benefit.
This is exactly the philosophy when we read the proverbs from Urdu and Persian language, saying “Neki kar , darya meyn daal “ , do good and throw that into river, meaning, do good and do not remember it for the results or for an expectation of a benefit.
The same has been taught by the Great Buddha e.g. to be honest without the will of being rewarded back. Being honest is following the principles, being rewarded back is expectation of future.
If we follow the principles ( and that is only asked of us), we do not find a need to see the future ( predict it).
Future shall always be unpredictable, perhaps unwanted. That is exactly what Hussain a.s. did. When at Karbala he fought with only 72 men against an army that is today quoted to be 120,000 to 900,000. Just follow the principles, and do not be worried about the future.
iii. The third question is do we have to work hard to improve our destiny? The shortest answer is Yes. The explanation is here: Our destiny is comprised of two factors. some things that we can control and some things that we cannot control or which are beyond our control.
We can control to not smoke or to not jump from a building, but once if we do, then principles of nature take over. Once a Saint quoted that at a given point in time, we have 40 different paths to choose one among them. Each one of them can take us to an entirely different series of events and eventually to a different place or point in life. We always have a choice, contradictory to the favourite statement “I didnt have a choice”, most often quoted in movies from holly wood on teen agers and high school issues.
To choose any one of them or not to chose any one of them is in our control, but once we have made the choice, the principles take over. The same question was once asked to Master Ali Ibn Abu Talib, but in slightly different words, “What is an example of us being in control (mukhtaar) or lacking it (majboor) ?” He asked the person to raise his one leg, the man who had asked the question, did that. Ali asked him to raise his other leg as well. The man said, “I cannot.” “That is an example of how much you are in control or lack in it”, said the wise Ali.
A final example would make it very clear. Imagine if you are an examiner of a group of students. You have set the pass standard, lets say at 50% and have set the rules (the principles). The student who studies the course for 50 prescribed hours shall be able to make it. The one who gives more time, say 70 hours shall get better grades, an A for example. The won who gives more time, practices more, works out the previous tests and their solutions, gets a few extra books from library as reference study might get a double AA or an A+.
You don’t want to fail any of your beloved students, but you let them fail.
You want all of your students to have an A+, but you do not let them, because of a certain criteria you have set. This criteria or principles set is called fate or destiny or taqdeer.
It’s the same principle the God, the Invisible hand of Universe or the hand of God, the mother nature or whatever you call it has set. Destiny is not fixed but the principles are as clear as are the laws of gravitational force.
The setting up of these principles is called destiny, and not fixation of certain results for individuals.
“If every thing is fixed by destiny, then why should we pray for it?” asked a fellow to Jafar al Sadiq, a great scholar 1300 years ago in Arabia. “For it may be in the destiny, that you would only get it, if you pray for it”, smiled backed Jafar al Sadiq at him.
I hope the questions are answered.
Thank you for your time.
Syed Hassan Abbas