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When a machine is produced it is accompanied by a set of instructions for its use. An engineer is also commis-sioned to give a practical demonstration of how the machine functions. Man is an even more intricately de-signed but animate machine. When he is born, he suddenly finds himself in a world where no mountain bears an inscription answering questions concerning the nature of the world, or explaining how he should live on earth. No educational institution produces experts who know the secret of life or who can provide man with practical guidance.

To satisfy this need felt by man, God sent His prophets to the world, every one of whom brought with him the word of God. In the scriptures revealed to them, God has explained the reality of life to man, and has made it clear what man should and should not do. They showed man what sentiments and ideas he should adopt; how he should remember his Lord; how he should live with his fellows, what he should associate himself with and disassociate himself from. The prophets' lives are a practical demonstration of how a person should live a God-fearing life.

God has given everyone the power to distinguish between right and wrong. He has also placed countless signs in space and on earth from which man can learn. Moreover, His revelations have been set down in human language and several of His servants chosen from amongst mankind as prophets, so that there should be no doubt as to the true path.

Along with creating man, God started a chain of prophethood for human guidance. In every age and in every nation prophets have come and conveyed the message of God to men. The Quran says.


Has he not heard of what is preached in the books of Moses and Abraham, who fulfilled his duty: that no soul shall bear another's burden and that each man shall be judged by his own labours; that his labours shall be scrutinized and that he shall be justly requited for them; that all things shall in the end return to God? (35:35-43)


While provision for the sustenance of life remained constantly available in this world, the principles of how to lead this life were sent to man by God again and again as the occasion demanded. Each prophet was truly a representative of God. But, with the passage of time, the books brought by the messengers were altered and marred by the interpolations of their followers. Thus the original divine guidance became veiled by these human additions. Ultimately God sent the Arab Prophet with the Qur'an. And God Himself undertook the responsibility of preserving the Qur'an in toto so that it might remain a source of authentic guidance for mankind for all time to come.


The essence of the reality revealed by God through the Prophet is that everyone will necessarily be rewarded for his actions in this world. None can escape the consequences of his actions, nor can anyone save another. Those who fail to take heed of the warnings by the Prophet are the most foolish in this world.


So far as man's relation to God is concerned, everyone is responsible for his own actions. None can share in the consequences of another's deeds. Nor will anyone reap a harvest in the next world other than what he has sown here in this world.

It is un-Islamic to consider reconciliation as cowardice. If we opine so, what will we think about Prophet Muhammad? There is no other instance in history where reconciliation was done by unilaterally accepting the terms of the opposing party. This is an extreme example of reconciliation. Mr. Sajid Anwar told of an instance where the distribution of the Quran to non-Muslims was being discussed. An attendee interrupted the discussion and raised the question that if a non-Muslim disrespects the Quran and throws away the copy, who would be liable for punishment? In response, another attendee cited an instance whereby, a dawah contingent was sent to King of Iran. A companion took that document, which had Quranic verses. When he gave it to the King, he tore it away. So, the attendee asked who would be accountable in this case. This is no logic. It is misguidance from Satan so that Muslims refrain from doing dawah work. Reconciliation is not cowardice, it is wisdom and according to Quran it is the best way!

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Speaking Tree| TOI | April 2, 2011


Youth is full of aspirations. One needs to learn the art of controlling one's desires. Most young people follow their whims and fancies, often with undesirable results. They hanker after things which they think are important in life, but they are mistaken in their belief. Glamour doesn't last long, but the knowledge they acquire will stand them in good stead all through life.

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This is a common complaint in joint families. In blood ties, when differences emerge, which is almost daily, are managed. But when the ties are not of blood, and differences emerge, then it is difficult to manage them. Marriage happens outside ties of blood.

Now in joint family, mother in-law and wife develop differences as difference is a part of life. Then, the wife would want that when she complains to the husband, the husband should side with her. When he is not able to do so, she develops feelings against them. In this case, the responsibility is 50-50. Both should think about the options they have - either they do not live in a joint family or if they do then they should know that this would happen and they must know how to handle it. Greater evil is to become emotional and not be ready to adjust as wherever you go, there will be some differences which will arise. Lesser evil is to be patient and adjust.

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In general, I can say that normally people think that they should want an ideal life. A woman wants an ideal husband and an ideal family etc. which is not possible in this world. If this law of nature is understood, there will not be any such stress.

I read in the newspaper that Shahrukh Khan travelled to America and for two hours he was detained and checked. People created a lot of hue and cry that Americans should seek forgiveness. I thought that Shahrukh Khan and all others should think that it was only for two hours but soon a day will come when I will be checked for everything and so I should pray that the same happens in the hereafter and we get past quickly. It is because of these things that people take negative lessons. A positive person is one who takes a positive lesson from such instances.

Source: The Seeker’s Guide

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At a Doordarshan panel discussion on 'The Scientific Temper', (New Delhi, June 2, 1998-including, besides myself, a central Minister, a social activist, a professor, an English journalist and a lady educationist), I quoted Pandit Nehru as having said as early as 1947, that what his country required more than anything else was just that-the scientific temper. I further made the point that we need to know exactly what is meant by this expression. Broadly interpreted, it means having a realistic attitude. In one of his prayers, the Prophet is recorded as having asked God to enable him to see things just as they are (Allahuma arenal ashyaa kama heya). This clearly indicates that having the scientific temper, or pursuing a scientific line of thought, is the equivalent of coming to grips with reality.

We live in a world, which has an existence of its own, functioning according to its own immutable principles. Scientific thinking is, therefore, extremely important for the successful development of both the individual and the nation. The secret of success is to see the world around us with an open mind and to acquire an understanding of the laws of nature. This approach will produce positive results, enabling one to form correct judgments about things as they actually are. This is what is meant by having the scientific temper. In this world, the real achievers are those who, by fostering this bent of mind, are able to confront the truth.

Scientific thinking, largely, is a question of ratiocination based on facts. This applies equally to the world of matter and to human affairs. For instance, if you have to build a bridge over a river, the science of engineering will tell you to build it from iron and not from clay. Similarly, if you want to harvest a particular crop, the science of horticulture will tell you not only that you must sow the seeds of that crop (and not for example plastic pellets!) but also how to irrigate and fertilize them.

Similar principles apply in the human world. Good results can be achieved only if full account is taken of all of the relevant facts. Failing this, the desired outcome will remain elusive. If, for example, you want someone to be your supporter, the science of psychology will tell you that you must activate his conscience and appeal to his better feelings. But if, on the contrary, you speak or act in such a way that his ego is hurt, you will turn him into an enemy. If you want to receive something from someone, you shall have to become in his eyes a giver, and not just a beneficiary, for it is a matter of common experience that most people are used to giving only to those from whom they receive. Then, if you aspire to a position of honour, you had best be unassuming in demeanour, because it is the modest man and not the egoist who makes the greatest impression on the better side of human nature. It is the unpretentious individual who is most likely, therefore, to attain to a position of honour and prestige.

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"I have reached my present position by climbing a ladder and not by coming up to it in a lift." This observation was made by a tailor who had started with nothing but his own two hands and the will to work, and who had become eminently successful in his line of business. "Making a good coat is not child's play. The whole process is so complicated that without detailed information as to how to proceed, long experience and a high degree of skill, it is almost impossible to accomplish. It is only after a lifetime of hard work that I have succeeded in running a prosperous shop in the city."


The tailor went on to explain how he had served his apprenticeship under the guidance of an expert tailor. Just learning the art of cutting and sewing had taken him five long years. When he opened his own little shop, he discovered that he had difficulty in giving his customers a good fitting. This was because during his apprenticeship he had never really grasped the fact that people could be of such different shapes and sizes. He therefore set himself to the task of studying human anatomy, but it was only after many years of effort that he could make a coat with an absolutely perfect fitting. He eventually became so expert in this that he could even give perfect fittings to those who unfortunately suffered from deformities-such as hunchbacks. "In any type of work, there are many things which one has to learn on one's own. Often one cannot foresee these things at the outset, and each obstacle has to be overcome by hard work and ingenuity."


The tailor talked of many things of this nature concerning his skills, and it seemed to me as though I were listening to a lecture on the building of the nation by some very experienced person.


In truth, the only way to solve our economic and social problems is to follow the example of the tailor. After this initial apprenticeship, he had gone ahead and done things on his own. He had gone up by the stairs and not by the lift. There are no buttons, which you can just push and then automatically reach your goals. You can only make progress step by step. Progress can seldom be made by leaps and bounds. By means of the ladder you can progress even to the stage of owning the lift, but you cannot make a success of your life by starting with the lift and expecting it to do everything for you.

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