Some English versions of the Holy Qur’an translate Surah eight, ayat fifty-three with this combination of words: “Allah will not change the condition/state of a people until/unless they first change what is in their hearts/souls.”
These are words that require deep consideration, or we may think and say that which insults Allah, the Author of the original Arabic words.
These words bear on the subject of this article.
I’m reflecting on two events, which are described in the scriptures, which, on the surface, seem to be the complete opposite of each other. Yet, in my view, both are in the process of being fulfilled, (simultaneously) although one will precede the other in time, in terms of its complete fulfillment.
One could be summed up under the symbol of a cross. The other could be summed up under the symbol of a signet ring. One revolves around the figure of an unusually great and good man, who at a certain point in his life, was seemingly forsaken—even by God—except for a seemingly few weak followers. The other revolves about the rise of a man whose rise from obscurity and from gross injustices, to a position of tremendous power—by the sheer force of his righteousness and with God’s backing—was so noble, so outstanding, that the Holy Qur’an calls the Surah [chapter] which bears his name, as “the most beautiful of all narratives.”
The current fulfillment of certain prophecies, especially in the histories of Joseph and Jesus, makes me to think deeper on the magnificence of the work and the endurance of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan—a man in possession of excellent qualities of soul, mind and character.
Even though Minister Farrakhan continuously helps others in their self-development—from that which he has been blessed with—there are those who envy him and/or are jealous of him. I intend to explore these evils: what produces them; some of the ways they are manifested; how we may permanently rid ourselves of them.
Meanwhile, there are superb insights in the lessons contained in Minister Farrakhan’s Study Guides that bear on a quality we all must do more to foster within ourselves, especially now. It’s called fortitude. Among its meanings are: “the strength to bear misfortune, pain, etc., calmly and patiently, and with firm courage.” Again, it is “the strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.”
Sometimes the terms: “intestinal fortitude” or “guts” are used to mean “fortitude and stamina in coping with what alarms, repels, or discourages.”
Minister Farrakhan exemplifies the quality of fortitude, to an exemplary degree, but without arrogance. The word “exemplary” means: “serving as a deserving imitation; commendable; deserving emulation because of excellence; serving as an example, instance, or illustration.”
Alright. So now you’ve been treated unjustly. You are in from-now-on pain. You are suffering non-stop-misery. You are totally upset. You just cannot relax for a few hours, to gain a newer perspective; not even for a day, due to your agony.
You have discussed this matter with him/her/those who have mistreated you. No satisfaction. No justice. Now you have gone up the ladder, so to speak, in one appeal after another for relief.
And now, you have taken it to the only one left: The All Wise Powerful Merciful God of the universe Himself. You agree that He is the Best Knower. You openly acknowledge that He understands everything—including yourself and every aspect of your situation. But, no relief is in sight. So now you have either given up on God or you feel even He does not care enough about you to come to your aid.
It is a fact that God does not always immediately intervene on our behalf, when we are being dealt with unjustly. But is this really true? Could it be that He has something better; more significant for us, than that which we would have received if He had openly and immediately intervened and obtained justice for us, in that circumstance, during which we cried out for justice?
Could it be that His seeming silence was/is in fact His open invitation to us to become—not merely deserving of—but to become better qualified to receive that “better” which He has already deemed He would grant to us, after we became qualified to receive it—in spite of what we are presently going through which is so painful?
Could it be that He is asking us to stretch ourselves, to reach up higher to Him for greater or deeper understanding and guidance, commensurate with the nature of that “better,” which He has already determined to give to us once we are ready, or have grown, in His eyes to handle it properly?
Could it be that we need a deeper or fuller grasp of reality and further spiritual development, which is required for us to do the right thing with that “better,” which He already planned to grant us? Could it be that the right or proper time for Him to so bless us, includes our becoming better qualified than we are at present?
Could it be that we need to have our spiritual eyes and ears more open to His voice in response to our cries? Could it be that we are crying so loud that we cannot hear His response to our cries? Could it be that we are too self-centered and not sufficiently God-centered to listen to Minister Farrakhan: God’s Man on the Straight Path? He took up the subject of how to become God-centered in his Study Guides. Why not re-study that?
Just as certain exercises increase the capacity of the physical lungs to take in more oxygen, so does the exercise involved in our properly reaching out to Him, result in the expansion of our spiritual lungs, if you will, thus empowering us to take in more of His inspiration and wisdom, which would make us more capable of utilizing the next level of our existence and the next phase of His guidance, which is part of that “better” He intends for us.
Allah in the Holy Qur’an puts it this way, that “… whenever He intends to increase us in guidance, He first expands our breast for us.” This wording of course, is an idiomatic expression in the Holy Qur’an, intended to convey a truth of great spiritual value not easily conveyed in ordinary language.
Now one may ask, why does God choose such “bad circumstances” in which to increase us in guidance, in understanding, in qualifications? And again, how are we to understand that which seems to us to be His silence, as we writhe in agony—which oft-times [but not always] is all out of proportion to what really occurred to us?
Is it not true that we too often do not seek Him and His guidance as and when we should to get the justice we seek—not to think of that “better” which Allah intends for us? Is it not true that our conception of when, and how, we ought to receive “justice” is very limited and greatly colored, or even warped by our reaction to the discomfort of our circumstances? Then when something “bad” happens to us, that is the time when we cry out to Him from the depth of our hearts. In those circumstances, and from our narrow perceptions of reality, we don’t get what we see as ours, our rights, etc., when and how we think it ought to come to us, we then become enraged and/or enter into despair. Some of us then—under the guise of blaming and cursing others—are really blaming and cursing God Himself.
Now, the reality of the motivation and the overall quality of our hearts, out of which comes our cry—on every level, over time—is what God is looking at. While He looks at and waits on us to reach a certain level of purity, in our motivation, at the same time He wisely and lovingly stimulates our growth, in various ways. He hears our cry. But to a degree infinitely above our understanding mothers, who love us, He tends to our needs, not necessarily our wants, always in the manner He knows is best for us.
If we would only recognize more of His ways—the way God acts—we would more often than not see that His stimulation of us to greater growth may often come to us through the words of others, or in other experiences that are not what we might give ourselves, and come from sources we might never have expected.
The Holy Qur’an teaches that if we keep our duty to Him—despite “bad” circumstances, He would provide a way out of it and He will bless us from sources we would never expect or could not ever imagine. (See Holy Qur’an 65:2,3, in more than one translation,)