Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

Must the World End? (Part II)

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Last time, I posed the question that – if we believe that there will be a Last Day, that the world must end so that all the injustice we see will be accounted for and judged, should we just live our lives and not do anything about the wrong we see around us?

Absolutely not. In fact, we must seek to make the world as best of a place possible, even with its inevitable End, because on that Last Day, “[on that Day] every human being will come to know what he has prepared [for himself].” Our response to the cruelty of our world will also come into play on the Last Day. I

If we had the ability to help the victims of the flood along the Mississippi river, but neglected to do so saying, we will be held to account. If we had the ability to prevent a crime against an innocent person, but neglected to do so, we will be held to account. If we had the ability to speak out against injustice, but neglected to do so, we will be held to account.

Doing nothing and saying: “Well, there is going to be a Last Day” is not an excuse, and we will be held to account because of it.

No, we cannot control when a hurricaine, or tornado, or earthquake, or flood will strike a certain place. And such occurrences are not “punishment” for this deed or that. But, we can control our response to such disasters, and our response will be judged by the Most Just King on the Last Day, which will inevitably come one day (and it was not May 21, 2011).

The terrible injustice that abounds our world has caused many to lose faith, and indeed, it is a difficult test. I myself have suffered through the loss of my child to cancer, and it was – and still is – the worst thing I have ever, ever experienced. I struggle through the pain every single day of my life.

But, I know that I will see her again – and hold her again in my arms – on that Last Day that will definitely come one day. And in that thought, I find some comfort and solace. Some may see this as delusion, but it does not affect my belief in the least. In the end, we will see who is the one that is ultimately right, and I believe it will be me.

Must the World End?

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Now that the world has not ended, and we have survived the coming of the Rapture, and Mr. Camping has once again been discredited, a question arose in my mind: must there be an end to the world? Must there be a Rapture? Or a Judgment Day? Or a Final Reckoning?

Indeed, most, if not all, religious traditions talk about an end to the world, where all will come again before God for judgment and reckoning. The Qur’an is full of vivid references to the Day of Judgment, such as this:

O men! Be conscious of your Sustainer: for, verily the violent convulsion of the Last Hour will be an awesome thing! On the Day when you behold it, every woman that feeds a child at her breast will utterly forget her nursling, and every woman heavy with child will bring forth her burden [before her time]; and it will seem to thee that all mankind is drunk, although they will not be drunk – but vehement will be [their dread of] God’s chastisement. (22:1-2)

Here is another example: 

WHEN THE SUN is shrouded in darkness, and when the stars lose their light, and when the mountains are made to vanish, and when she-camels big with young, about to give birth, are left untended, and when all beasts are gathered together, and when the seas boil over, and when all human beings are coupled [with their deeds], and when the girl-child that was buried alive is made to ask, for what crime she had been slain, and when the scrolls [of men's deeds] are unfolded, and when heaven is laid bare, and when the blazing fire [of hell] is kindled bright, and when paradise is brought into view: [on that Day] every human being will come to know what he has prepared [for himself]. (81:1-14)

Why?

Why must there be a day when the “seas will boil over”? Why must there be a day when the earthquake “will be an awesome thing”? Why must there be an hour when “Heaven and earth shall pass away” (Matthew 24:35)? 

The Qur’anic passages give the answer: “[on that Day] every human being will come to know what he has prepared [for himself].” On that Day, the cruelty of this world will be reconciled; the iniquity of many shall be recompensed; the deeds of the wicked shall be called to account. On that Day, all will be made whole, and everyone will answer for what he or she have wrought.

In fact, it is the cruelty of our world that – in my mind – necessitates a Last Day. All over our world, it seems that good people are punished and made to suffer while truly wicked people are left to roam free. Parents – who try to be good people and live good lives – suffer from watching their children battle cancer and other horrific diseases. Parents – who try to be good people and live good lives – watch their children die before their eyes. Natural disasters wipe out entire cities – taking thousands of people with them – seemingly without rhyme or reason.

If our world was “it,” and there was no Last Day, no Judgment, no Hour, it would not make any sense at all. Yet, along with the belief in an All-Powerful, All-Beautiful, All-Merciful God comes the belief in a Last Day, when all will be made whole. And this Last Day will be the beginning of a new era where everything will finally be right, and whole, and proper. No more cruelty; no more injustice; no more unbalance. That is why this world must end, although no one knows when this end will be, despite the predictions of many to the contrary.

Yet, with the belief and knowledge that the world will end, does this mean that we should just remain passive and do nothing to effect change? If the Lord our God is in charge – which he is – then should we just live our lives with no concern for what is happening around us?

To Be Continued…

Do Good Until the Very End

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful

I must have missed the memo, because I reserved a tee time on early Sunday morning. Apparently, however, the world will end on May 21, 2011. That is according to a group called Family Radio, and they figure this out by this mathematical formula:

In Genesis, God told Noah that he had seven days until the flood. Using the language of the book of 2nd Peter, one day is 1,000 years. They believe that since the Flood happened in 4990 B.C., the day of rapture will be 7,000 years after, 2011, A.D. Through some more complicated math, they came up with the date…May 21st. “We didn’t know, no one knew, but the Bible has been opened up and we know,” said follower Oscar Moultrie.

The man behind this, Harold Camping, has made a similar prediction in the past (which…uh…clearly was wrong), but this time, Mr. Camping is absolutely certain. Most, if not all, Christian theologians and leaders disagree with him on this, but this has not dissuaded him at all. Some people, in fact, have actually emptied their bank accounts to help Mr. Camping buy advertising space to spread the message.

Now, in both Islam and Christianity, the exact time of the Last Day is not known. When the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was asked about the timing of the Hour (another word for the Last Day), he replied, “The one being asked knows no more than the questioner.” In the Bible, Jesus said: “But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) Camping, however, must know something that both Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them both) did not.

Yet, say he is right: say the world will end on May 21st (hopefully I can still watch my daughter’s softball game…), what should be our response?

Should we, like some have done, empty our bank accounts and indulge in a streak of luxury? Should we stop working (although…it is convenient to end the world on a Saturday…we can finish out our work week and not have to take paid time off)?

We should keep on doing what we are doing, up until the very end. That is according to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who said: “If the Hour [Last Day] were to occur and you had a seed or small plant in your hand, and you are able to plant it before that, then plant it.”

We should continue to do good, to make the world a better place, up until the very last second of the very last minute of the very last hour of the world. We should continue to spread peace and love and justice until He calls us back to Him, before Whom we will all be judged. That way, when He asks us about how we were before the end, we can answer with happiness, “We were doing Your will, our Precious Lord, until the very end.”

But, I don’t believe Camping one bit. Although I can’t say for certain that the world will not end on Saturday (it is possible that it will), I am planning to play golf with my friends Sunday morning.

I really have to work on my horrific slice/shank/blade/chipping/putting…

Shock and a Plea For Patience

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful

As most, if not all American Muslims, I was shocked to learn of the arrest of two imams in South Florida on charges of material support for the Pakistani Taliban. The best thing to do is reserve judgment and let the five men accused have their day in court. If what is alleged against them is true, it is a truly terrible crime. No matter how much you disagree with our foreign policy, it is never correct to support murderous barbarians who have no compunction over killing innocent people.

But let us have patience…there should be no indictment of the entire Muslim community in America generally, and the Muslim community in South Florida specifically. The Muslims in Miami were just as surprised as everyone else. I’m sure there are some who count this as another “proof” that Muslims are all terrorists who cannot be trusted. Yet, the reality is that these men – if what is alleged against them is true – do not represent the whole of American Muslims, just as pedophile priests do not represent the whole of Catholicism or Catholic priests, many of whom I have personally known and admired.

In the weeks and months ahead, would that level heads reign supreme.

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