Channel: Bilal Philips
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wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah.
All praise is due to Allah and we lost peace and blessings beyond the last messenger of Allah.
The purpose of life
which all human beings ask themselves at some point, or points in their lives? Why am I here?
What is my purpose?
What is this life really about?
For the majority of human beings in the world,
that question is understood as Why did God create me?
For most human beings,
they believe in God.
And so the question of purpose goes back to God, for what purpose? Did God create me?
For a minority of human beings, a very small minority?
They look at this whole question
as a pointless question.
Because our existence, in their estimation,
is the product of a cosmic accident.
So, the whole concept of God for them, is the result of a global delusion. Human beings all around the world, are deluded by this idea that there is a God, it is of our own making.
So to them, belief in God is irrational, it's illogical. And it's based on blind faith.
However, the reality is that it is just the opposite.
The belief in God is rational. It's logical.
And it's not based on blind faith. For some people, yes, it may be. But that belief is in fact,
in agree we meant with human intellectual reasoning,
and it is the opposite the denial of God's existence, which is irrational, illogical, and based on blind faith,
because the founders of logic,
or we could say, the first civilization that was known to codify logical arguments was the Greek civilization.
They laid out principles of reasoning, if A equals B, and B equals C, then A must equal c.
They, human beings, of course, had been using this anyway, naturally, but the Greeks went and codified it, you know, wrote it down, wrote down all the principles, well, the leading
thinkers, the leading minds of Greece,
Plato and Aristotle, they argued, using the same logical principles, why there must be a God.
So, if it was so irrational, and so illogical, what happened?
The reality is that Plato argued that there must be a God because design indicates a designer
where things are formed in a particular pattern, etc. This indicates that this was something deliberate. It is not accidental. Yes, sometimes accidents do produce what looks like a form.
If you take a bucket of paint and you throw it on the wall, it splatters on the wall. It might look like a hand because that sort of looks like a hand or that looks like a head that looks like Muhammad.
Something like that. Vaguely.
But now, if you were to take
Take the primary colors, red, blue, yellow, pour it into a bucket
with a little bit of white, little bit of black, and then throw it on the wall and come up with a Mona Lisa.
What do you think about the chances of that one happening?
Well, according to these logical rational atheists, it's possible.
If you do it enough times, you have enough paint enough walls. Yeah. One of the times you could come up with a Mona Lisa, we say this is illogical. This is unreasonable. Common sense tells us No way.
Or the other way of looking at things since science now agrees that we came from the Big Bang, everything happened, right? This huge cosmic accident of the earth with human beings living on it, plants, animals, everything was a result of the Big Bang. We say, okay, Big Bang.
What if we dropped atomic bombs in a junkyard? You know, you got a junkyard with all bits and pieces of cars there. And you drop atomic bombs in there? What are the chances of an atomic bomb dropping in that junkyard exploding an out rolls a Rolls Royce
engine powering the door open for you to just step in and drive away? What's the chances of that one happening? For the atheist? It's possible.
Know, anything's possible. If you give enough time you make enough attempts anything can happen.
We say Are you serious? Are you rational?
This is there argument. So as a result of that, the vast majority of human beings have always believed in God.
Because that fringe group, which denies God's existence is based on
Reason an intelligence points to the existence of God. But they deny what is obvious before them
trying to ascribe to accident that which could never happen as an accident.
Aristotle on the other hand,
his argument could be summed up in the domino theory,
if you lined up dominoes,
and I'm sure you've seen programs on TV whatever, where they push the dominoes and they go around and they knock things over and they form patterns and you know, huge let you know hold places like this laid out with one domino push that one end and it does this all this beautiful work till it comes to the end.
So, Aristotle was saying basically that if
we didn't have somebody to push the first domino,
nothing would have happened. All that you saw all this one knocking the other one knocking the other one would never take place. If all you had were dominoes,
nothing would take place.
Now, if you understand one domino knocking over another Domino, as being the cause for the falling of that domino, the first domino at the end depends on the domino before it to fall, and the one before it to fall and so on and so on and so forth. So, if you say as atheists will say, the world has no beginning. Matter is eternal.
There is no beginning to that process. Then how are we here?
How did we get here?
Because if you don't have a beginning point
wherein that beginning, action is not from the dominoes, then there's no reason for us to be here.
There has to be someone some force some being that causes the first domino to fall, who cannot be a domino
because if he was a domino, then he would need somebody else or not.
domino who would need another domino would need another Domino. And if we never find someone who wasn't a domino, then the whole process would never begin.
That's how I stopped login.
You cannot go back infinitely in time, there must be a beginning point. Our existence here and now is proof that there was a beginning.
So these great minds from Greek culture,
as we said, argued, for the existence of God.
And what they argued was what human beings throughout the world have agreed on.
It's not the mass delusion.
It is a delusion on the part of a small number of people who claim there is no God.
In fact, in 1997,
neuroscientists at the University of California at San Diego, they found dedicated neural machinery in the temporal loads, lobes of the brain, that is in the frontal lobes, which were when stimulated, causing mystical, spiritual experiences in the part of epileptics. And when they
analyzed people who were highly religious very much into their religious faith, etc, they found the similar areas stimulated. So they concluded from that, that the human brain was hot wired for belief in God. And these were non Muslims, non Christians, they were just playing scientists analyzing data.
we can move on, when looking for purpose to life,
to the creator of this life,
did he have a purpose for human beings creating human beings are not if he had a purpose, did he reveal that purpose to human beings,
we have a body of human beings who have accepted there's there has to be a god.
A lot of people who were belonging to religions at one point in time, but after seeing some of the behavior or
irrational practices of some of the religions, they left these religions where they still retain the belief in God.
But they concluded religion must be man made God created the world and left it to run on its own
is called deists.
Most Christians today fall into this category.
They used to go to church.
But when they didn't find answers in the church,
they still believed in God because it made sense. But the church didn't make sense.
So they ended up in this category.
The question is, if God
is the supreme being,
and with that,
being also the supreme intelligence in this world.
We recognize in human behavior, behave human behavior, that purposeful action is a natural product of human intelligence.
When we see people doing things without purpose, you ask them somebody builds a machine.
Very fancy looking thing with pulleys and wheels turning and smoke coming out of one end and everything you asked him, you know, what's the purpose of this machine? says no, has no purpose.
We look at them and say,
Why did you do it?
Just like that.
We're gonna think there's something wrong with this person. It doesn't make sense. You're gonna go to all that effort to produce something which doesn't do anything. It has no purpose behind it. No, this is people. Usually people like this we call 911.
Don't come take this guy away. He comes knocking on your door. You ask him, I? Who do you want to see? I don't know.
Why are you standing on my door? Not sure.
How did you get here? I don't know.
911, please, no person without purposeful actions, we say He's lost it, he's mad, he's insane. We put them away in hospitals. So if we recognize that for human beings, this is unacceptable behavior, then to attribute to God that he would create this world, I just leave it to run on its own, no purpose behind it, etc.
That is to attribute to the Creator.
ignorance, foolishness, nonsense. That doesn't make sense.
Now, if one says, okay, there is a purpose, but he didn't tell us. Well, come on. He didn't tell us then. That's like a formula for disaster and chaos?
Would we ever find our way if God didn't tell us? Of course not.
If you send your kids to school, and you didn't tell them what they're supposed to do at school, what do you think's gonna happen, they're gonna just march into classrooms, sit down, wait for the teacher to come. No way. They'll go straight to the playground, get on the swings, the slides have a good time, did somebody say, Hey, you're supposed to be in the classroom.
Somebody has to tell them what they're supposed to be doing there. So this otherwise is chaos. Businesses don't work like that. You set up a company, you hire people to come work for your company, but you don't tell them what they're supposed to do, how successful is your company going to be.
So, we understand that the need to tell what the purpose is, is real. And therefore any intelligent being who sets up a system must inform the members of that system, what their purpose is.
Now, that purpose,
revealed by God
came in the form of what we know today as religion.
The purpose of life was explained there.
what human beings are supposed to be doing in this life was explained, explained.
it became confused. In time, it became confused.
So people looking around trying to figure out purpose, they kept running into different explanations and arguments, whether they look at Hinduism or Buddhism or Christianity, etc. They had difficulty finding what really is the purpose? You know, if you ask Christians, you know, what is the purpose of life?
Most will say, I'm not sure.
I think it has something to do with Jesus.
You asked most Jews, what's the purpose of life is not sure. I think it has something to do with Moses.
And so on and so forth. You know, you ask around you don't find clear answers.
Can you show me in your scripture? Some people say, Well, it's because of this or because of that, you know, philosophers, etc. But then you say, show me your Scriptures where it says this? Well, that's just what I think
but where purpose is a product of individual opinions?
We have these individual opinions,
clashing with each other.
How does human society find direction? There needs to be clarity.
What we find
when we look in the Quran,
the final book of Revelation according to Muslim belief,
we find in their clear statements
in the 51st chapter, verse 56, we see God stating, well, my follow up to Gina will insert in the abdomen.
I only created the Gen spirit spirit world and humankind.
For my worship, to worship Me,
the purpose is clearly defined that of worship,
not worship because God needs human worship,
but worship, because human beings need to worship God.
However, when we speak about worship,
people in general tend to think of worship as something you do in the temple, or the mosque, or the church or the synagogue, whatever, at specific times, in the week,
or in the year.
Whereas the true concept of worship is living one's life,
in accordance with the commandments of God.
includes everything that a person does, from the time he wakes up, or she wakes up in the morning, till the time they go to sleep at night.
This specific acts of worship which are prescribed by God,
that is, they are to help human beings be conscious of God throughout their daily lives.
So worship in Islam, fundamentally, involves consciousness of God, it's a goal, the goal of worship is to heighten and to develop the human beings consciousness of God in his or her life, in order that they would live
righteous, wholesome and good lives.
from the Islamic perspective, this message was given to Adam.
It's not something new, which Prophet Muhammad may God's peace and blessings be upon him and upon all of the prophets that he brought. It's not something new. It is a revision, or a reviving of the original message, a message which was brought by Jesus, but which got garbled after its time, message which was brought by Moses, but which was also garbled after his time, and so on and so forth all the way back to Adam, the first human being, and the first prophet of God.
And Prophets were sent according to the Quran, to all nations and tribes. It's not just this, the true mention in the Bible mentioned in the Quran, but beyond them,
to all nations and tribes, because the need for that knowledge is everywhere.
helps human beings fulfill their purpose,
is not truly one religion.
As human beings are one, human race, all of these divisions that people have made up ethnical, Caucasian,
this is all nonsense. We are one human race, we may be in different colors, different heights, shapes, etc. Unlike cats, you find little little cats you find big cats furry gets short here, cats out there all cats.
So similarly, human beings are won.
In this world, which is one world
with one God.
And the way of life, which God wants from human beings is also one.
He didn't give one set of human beings one religion and give another set another religion which says do this another one says, do that and one here and there. No, this is human corruption.
of worshiping God
of living lives we're in one is conscious of God.
is needed by all human beings everywhere,
not just by a particular group, he favored over other groups gave it to someone didn't give it to others No, it's given to all of humankind.
Of course, in fulfilling that purpose of worship,
the most essential principle is that God the Creator, is the only one who deserves to be worshipped,
because he is the only creator.
So worship should be directed to him alone.
Consequently, the greatest possible sin, that a human being can commit
is to worship others besides God,
or along with God,
thinking they are God, whether they're people or animals, or whatever, statues, stones, trees, planets, this is the greatest sin that a human being can commit.
It's the one sin, which God will not forgive, if a person dies having not repented from it. This is as stated in the Quran.
this life with regards to our purpose, the life that human beings are created in
is a life of tests. This is something we all experience.
We're all challenged at different points in our day, or week or year, throughout our lives, we're challenged.
And these tests and challenges are ultimately for our own spiritual growth and development. It's not because God likes to make things difficult for us to create difficulties and problems in our lives, etc. No, it is there for our spiritual development, because I development is dependent on
This is what makes us unique, out of all of God's creatures, we have choices, we can choose to do this, or we can choose to do that.
And in this choice, we choose between right and wrong what we believe to be right and wrong. In the animal kingdom, they don't make these kinds of choices.
When a lion sees a deer,
he jumps on the deer and eats it devours it, the fact that the deer might have little
baby deers that it's looking after he's not going to stop and think.
Should I be merciful?
He's angry, he's human beings, they stop and think, oh, that deer has got young ones. If I kill the bigger one, the young ones may not have somebody to take care of them, etc. So we make choices like that.
The animal kingdom doesn't.
So this life involves the series of choices. And in everything that we have in the life, there are tests for us to do the right thing.
Test so that when we do the right thing instead of the wrong thing, we grow. This is how we grow spiritually, whenever we make the right choice over the wrong choice.
So for example,
has made us on different levels economically. Some have more than others.
It is a test for both those who have more, as well as those who have less.
Those who have more. I challenged should I share what I have with those who have less or who don't have
or should I just go for myself?
I make an excuse Well, the reason why I have is because I worked hard and they didn't. It's their fault.
If I give them a lonely make them lazy.
We find all these excuses. Why not to give why not to share.
when we reflect
and we realize and accept that we have more, because God gave us more. It's not simply because we work so hard. Because if the richest people in the world
were the richest, because they work so hard.
Then what about the people who actually really work hard, who from the time they wake up in the morning, they're out in the fields, plowing the fields all day till the night they just, you know,
finally go to sleep. That's their day working really hard. What happened to them? They're not the richest, they were working so hard.
Well, the other person will say, Well, you know, I'm working hard mentally.
It's mental, hard work that counts.
Again, there are other people who are working much harder than you mentally, and they don't have what you have.
You happen to be born in that family, you happen to go to that school, you happen to find that job, all of this
is not by your choice.
You can say it's by my good luck.
There's no such thing as good luck.
This is the destiny of God, what you have, is because God gave it to you, so that you would share it with others, and grow spiritually.
Because truly, in all of our societies, no matter where we are,
the person who is generous, is always respected, we have to say, that's a good person.
We see that that is a higher state,
to be benevolent, to share with others, what it's for everybody, it's not just for them.
We all have each and every one of us has more than somebody else. So we all need to look into our own lives and see where we can help others and we can share with others, because it's God who has put us on these different levels. And he put us there for a reason. There is a purpose behind it.
If we wake up and recognize it, then we benefit and we grow. If we don't, then we lose that opportunity. And we sink in this world. Because of course the life today is focused on material existence.
Those who look at life as being this big accident. Well, it's you know, it's just about enjoyment.
That's why you find some people when they get real sick, they want to
commit suicide. You know, there are people who have petitioned to governments to give me the right to commit suicide. Why? Because life is not happy anymore. It's not pleasurable anymore. So life is supposed to be a happy life. So unless it's happy, it's no good. That's because we're looking at things from a purely material perspective. And when we look at things in that way, you know, where we end up, we end up in all of the corruption that's out there. The corruption, whether it is from drugs,
whether it is from pornography, pedophilia, paedophilia, all of these channels are channels for enjoyment and pleasure.
But these are destructive whenever we've made this world, our goal, that our purpose here is just to accumulate as much of it as we can. Then the product of it is corruption. And that's why we see some of the people were supposed to be the happiest people in this world. They have all that we seek, they have the wealth they have the places they have the cars they do yachts. Their life seems to be so perfect yet we find them killing themselves committing suicide,
their families are dysfunctional. Say why? Why? Because when we make our purpose here,
on that material side of life,
we have no way to go, we cannot grow,
we have lost really
what we are supposed to be here for.
So, we have to look at these tests in life as a means for our own spiritual growth. For those people who didn't have what the others have, we are also being tested.
Should we band together and take away the wealth from the wealthy, communism, I, the workers were the workforce, those bourgeoisie who are living that comfortable life, they don't deserve it, because it didn't work like we did. So therefore, we need to take over society
and share this wealth equally.
So how many atrocities are committed? In the name of communism? How many people did Stalin wipe out millions mouths a tomb wiped out cultural revolution.
what is required of those who have less is that they be patient.
They be patient.
This is God's destiny in their lives, if their patients with less
accepted, having tried to get more as no harm and trying to get some more, but not that you become crazy with trying to get that more so you end up stealing, cheating, and all the other negative things that come with it know your patient, after you've made legitimate
efforts, that this is what is best for you, you're patient with it, then you have grown.
Because we grow in generosity, and we grow in patients
and societies in general, again, they respect those people who are patient,
they have control over themselves. And that's why the Prophet may God's peace and blessings be upon him. Muhammad had said,
don't look at those who have more than you those above you. Instead, look to those below you. Because it is better to remind you of God's favor in your own life. Because there's always somebody below.
You're always better off than somebody else. Yes, theoretically, there's somebody who is at the very bottom, who there's nobody worse off than him. But where is he? Where is she? All of us can look at somebody else and say, they're worse off than us. That's how life is so
which try to we use the circumstances to grow in.
we find in our lives. Besides the tests of how
products or commodities or possessions of this life have been distributed. We also find in our lives, calamities,
calamities, which strike from time to time.
For those people who don't worship God, normally, this is the time when they start worshiping God, sincerely.
This is why
worship is something one does throughout one's life.
Five times a day. Some people look at it and say, Oh, that's a lot.
Five times. I'm busy. Life is busy, or you get time to go pray five times in one day once a week is not enough.
Or should you pray when you really feel into it? You know, when your heart feels like God
rather than praying it in this regimented way morning, midday afternoon sunset, like
the point is that
if it's left up to us, and how to how we feel we may not feel God today. So we don't break this week. This month. This year, years will go by we don't have that feeling so whenever brave, but when do we pray when the calamity strikes? Then you're oh god, oh god.
What is the value of that prayer?
When one turns to God, in the time of calamity
have very little value. If one has not been turning to God on a regular basis continually, then it has lost its meaning even the person who says there is no God at all.
Like those people, for example, we're on top of the World Trade Center when the plane hit.
And the first tower starts to go down. There are people there who said, there's no God. But guess what? When that happened, you think they just said, tough luck? Oh, they were screaming, oh, God, oh, god, oh god, louder than the people who even believe in God.
Because there's no way out what else to do? Let me try that.
Maybe there is. So
the point is that
when these calamities strike,
one needs to be patient.
That patients which one learns, and, and develops, because of the differences that God has created in our general lives, that helps us through the trials, the time when they come.
That's why the Prophet may God's peace and blessings be upon him, it said, that the fear of the true believer is amazing.
Whenever good comes to him or her in life, they are thankful they're grateful to God.
And they are rewarded for what was given to them.
And whenever bad times come what they perceive as bad times, they're patient with it. And God rewards them for that also.
So it's a win win situation, whether calamity, weather success, they are on an even keel, they're able to handle the variations in human life.
Also, calamities serve. As a reminder, you know, sometimes, many of us, we say, we believe in God, but we get distracted with daily life things, just has a so busy, we don't have enough time to give to God, so to speak. When the calamity strikes, it's also a wake up, hey,
I need to get back on track. If we take it that way, then we have benefited, and we have grown, we've gotten back on track. If we don't understand it that way, then this calamity for us, then becomes punishment. We suffer, we might scream, cry, etc. But it's punishment.
So when trials come in our lives, we determine ultimately what it is for us. Is it a benefit by which we grow closer to God? Or is it a punishment for having strayed away from God? Or is it a reminder to get back on track and repair our links with God?
Also calamities expose those people who claim to believe in God. But when the trial comes, we see their real face.
When the trial comes in the person is why me?
Why did this happen to me?
And this is one of the big reasons why people end up going into atheism.
Where calamity strikes, they have no explanation as to why. So they say they can be a god.
A lot of times when I talk with people who are atheists, that's what they usually come back to. You know, I had Aunt Mary. She was a wonderful woman used to do so much good and help everybody and everything. And then one day she's walking across the street and a big lorry came and hit her back. Why?
Why her? There's so many evil people out there. Why is it getting the evil people
don't have an explanation as to why they can't be a god. Where's the fairness in all of this?
So for them, the presence of evil in the world is proof that there is no God.
You will hear this often. Where did the evil come from?
If there is a God, who is all powerful,
and he's a merciful God, a good God, not an evil god, then where did all this evil come from?
That is the question there is, of course, reality is that
everything that happens ultimately in the world is by the permission of God, no doubt.
And what God has permitted, no matter how evil, we might see it, there is a good aspect to it that we can see.
Sometimes we see it later on. Sometimes we see it a long time on sometimes we see it shortly afterwards, how many times something happened to us? And we said,
terrible. I did that happen. A couple of days later, something else happens. Because of that. We say, Ah, that was a good thing.
Two days before I thought it was horrible. Today, it was a good thing. We all experienced that. And these are the signs
that even though something may be there, which takes place, which we think is not good, we can't see any good, isn't it? The fact that we can't see good in it doesn't mean there isn't good. All it means is that we can't see the good. We don't have the knowledge to be able to see the good. But what happens is that people conclude since I can't see good, that can't be any good.
So usually, after some discussion like this, somebody will say, What about the tsunami?
Where's the good enough tsunami?
Okay, so I can't tell you where the good isn't the tsunami. But does it mean there's no good simply because I can't tell you.
We have enough things in this world.
some bad for greater good.
To let us know that.
Simply because we can't see the greater good, doesn't mean there isn't any.
when we take our child for the first time to the dentist,
they have to get a feeling.
And the child you know, we prepare them for the dentist, the dentist is a nice guy. It's got this long white coat, you know, it's gonna give me some candies. Nice guy.
So the kid comes in happy, nice guy can be until the drill hits their tooth.
And they're screaming.
As far as they're concerned, this guy is a bad guy. Next time you have to take him to the dentist, you're gonna have to fight to get him out that door. You can't convince him that what is happening in the dentist chair is a good thing. He can't see the good in it. All he knows is the needle it went into his gum and the drill that went into his tooth at all he can see.
But because he couldn't see the good in it doesn't mean there was no good. So this is the nature
of our lives.
Ultimately, God is good.
And He has created us for good.
And our purpose here is to worship Him throughout our lives in order that that good would be manifest in our lives.
Through His mercy, through His love, through His grace is forgiveness. All of these characteristics are manifest in our lives when we are conscious of God, and we act in accordance with the way that he has prescribed for us.
And this world in which we live, the world
has been put there for our benefit
for our use.
As the Prophet may God's peace and blessing the Parliament said the world is beautiful and green. And Allah has made you governors over it, to see how you will act in it.
We have a responsibility to the world, to the environment, etc. To look after it. We are governors. We use it and take benefit from it.
Those people will say well, the animals we shouldn't eat them.
You know, let's just eat vegetable things. Let's all be you know, vegetarians. Why eat those animals. So God gave them to us.
He gave us teeth, which are for eating meat type things
where we only to eat vegetable matter then we would have just had molars in our mouths just to grind it up. But he gave us
sharp teeth in the front for purpose that's to eat meat.
So either you're saying, Well, God gave us something which is of no benefit to us really not good for us, which is
not logical or reasonable, you know, or you have some kind of hidden agenda. And of course, those who are against the eating of animals
it comes really from the belief of some people in what is known as reincarnation.
There is a belief system, which teaches that, you know, depending on how you are in this life, you move up the ladder of
living existence, if you're bad, you go down the ladder.
So, if you're not a good person, this life, maybe next time you wake up, you will be that chicken, the same one you wanted to cut his head off, that was you.
So, when you have that level of belief, then you want to save all the chickens. Right? So that's the hidden agenda behind that system of belief. But reality is that God has made us and given us these creatures to utilize not to abuse, you know, not to go out and hunt for sport. So we can cut their heads off and stick them on the walls and things like this. No, we take the life of animals with purpose, not sport.
Because we need to eat, we need to clothe ourselves, make shoes whenever we take their lives, that is the way that God would have us do it.
And even the animals have rights with regards to looking after them. The vegetable matter that we live in the animals themselves are to be taken care of. And when Muslims slaughter animals,
it is not
a celebration of bloodletting. Some people think because Muslims cut the necks of the animals, that they just love to see blood flow. You know, we Muslims are blood thirsty individuals, right?
I remember, some years back in New York, there was this front page news where
some people had they had a neighbor was a Muslim, and used to go to the marketplace and buy a chicken, bring it home, and then
cut the neck of the chicken in the kitchen
and cook it up and eat it.
And the people, his neighbors, you know, they would see him everyday come and do this. They wanted to stop him.
So they call the SPCA society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. And the Friday when they came home with this chicken is inside the door bursts and they come rushing in and grab the chicken away from him before the grabs in front page. They save the chicken of this Muslim
Of course, this manner of killing the animal
is one when you actually analyze it, look at it properly. It is one which takes the life of that animal in a very natural and easy way.
The blood vessels, jugular veins of the animal cut while it's still alive, and the blood flows out and with the flowing of the bloodied gets weaker, weaker and dies a gentle process
we look at what is the alternative in the West. They put these animals on conveyor belts, then they dip their feet in water and they electrify the water so all the animals
their unconscious and then they chop their heads off. This is we cut their head off while they were unconscious. But you just zap them with electricity before that. They know that's not a nice thing. We've all been shocked at some time you know you know what that feels like?
Or for the bigger animals. They have the deadbolt guns
There's a piston in it, it hits the animal and the side of the head knocks it unconscious, then they string it up and they cut the neck. See, it's unconscious. When you cut the neck, you guys, you fight the animal down and you're cutting his neck.
But the point is that
getting that blow on the side of your head is like somebody taking a cricket bat, and whacking you inside of your head.
Is that a pleasant experience? Definitely not. You have put a huge amount of pain on that animal. And after it's gone unconscious because of the pain, you cut his neck, he said, You're doing it in a nice way. No, it's not a nice way. The nice way is the way that Muslims do it, they cut the neck, while the animals alive.
And in this way, they are treating the animal in a humane way.
there is guidance,
in all walks of life, found in Islam.
Islam, where the purpose of human existence is clearly defined.
We are here in this world,
to worship God,
not because he needs our worship,
but because we need to worship Him. So that
character, moral, spiritual, emotional character of the human being is realized the higher qualities that we have, are brought out.
And this comes ultimately with the remembrance of God. And that is why throughout the Quran, when you read about the different practices that Muslims are required to do, it always goes back to consciousness of God, this month of fasting, which is around the corner
is all about being conscious of God.
conscious of God, so that our actions would change, that we would become better people.
But in order to achieve that, it must be done in the way which was prescribed.
And when I say that,
I say that as advice to Muslims in the audience, Ramadan will begin day after tomorrow, actually, tomorrow night will begin probably taraweeh the night prayers and we begin that month of fasting
that for us to realize
our purpose in terms of closeness to God in this month, we must
take on fasting the way that it was prescribed, not the way that it has become traditionally for us, where fasting is shifted now into feasting.
Fasting, feasting, they both begin with F, but they're two different species, right?
Fasting is fasting feasting is something else.
So we need to go back to the way of the Prophet
where we begin are fast by a very light meal.
So who is not a three course meal
because that three course meal
only fills us up. Then we spend the rest of the day digesting the food till just before sunset. Digestion is complete. Now it's time to break the fast
this is something else. Yes, the letter of the law has been fulfilled. We didn't eat between Dawn and sunset. But we really didn't fast.
We really didn't fast.
So I do advise
our brothers and sisters here to stop for a minute
To make this Ramadan, a different Ramadan,
one in which we are fasting, truly
one in which we feel hunger, because we are fasting properly, when one feels hunger, because you're fasting having chosen too fast, then we can better appreciate those people like in Somalia now who are starving to death or dying not because they chose to fast, but because they have no food to eat.
But that fast would motivate us to want to share what we have with them.
Different from us watching on television,
these people, you know, in this destitute situation as we take a nice bite out of a chicken leg and you know,
the impact is different.
So let us try this Ramadan to really fast,
fast, so that at the end of the month, we can feel a difference. We come out of Ramadan, feeling that this was what I was supposed to be doing, which I haven't been doing for so many years, because I didn't know any better.
Everybody else around me was feasting, and I just joined in the feast.
concluding with our sense of purpose, the sense of purpose has to pervade every aspect of our lives, whether it is in the workplace, with our neighbors, with our families, with ourselves, between ourselves and God,
we should have a sense of purpose, know why we are here.
Know what our responsibility is to those around us. For Muslims, we have a responsibility, not only
to fulfill the commandments of God in our lives. And this is the requirements on all those who receive the messages from God, through the prophets of God, down through the ages. But also to share that message with those around us. We live in a plural society, where there may be many non Muslims with whom we work, who are neighbors, etc, we do have a responsibility to share that message with them, not to push it down their throats, not to convert them, but to share the message with them, to let them know what it really is. Because there's so much in the media, which has distorted the image of Islam. As we saw in the beginning before the lecture, how people in different parts of the world
considered Islam to be a terrorist religion.
Terrorism, and Islam have become synonymous. So much so that the recent bombing there in Norway, the first thing that came out in the news was Muslim terrorists, then everybody oops, it was a fundamental Christian.
But even when it became a fundamental Christian, everybody knew it. He was never called, and is he never called a Christian terrorist. Isn't that funny? Whenever a Muslim does it, it's a Muslim terrorist, Mother Muslim who has committed a terrorist act, but he is a Muslim terrorist. But none of the newspapers will refer to that individual as a Christian terrorists. This is deliberate.
So we have to change that understanding through our own
implementation of Islam in our lives, knowing Islam ourselves, being able to distinguish between our traditions, our customs, oftentimes, which have nothing to do with Islam at all, but just that is the custom of the people of this area, etc. And people from the outside they can't distinguish between what is Islam and what is custom. They see us who are supposed to be Muslims doing these things. They assume that Islam
So we need to clean up shop, clean up our homes, put these customs and traditions aside, which prove present a negative image about Islam to the world, so that the truth can become clear and available to people. People can realize their purpose, that of worshiping God, and find their way through
the teachings of Islam to live lives which are in accordance with the commandments of God,
as taught by Adam,
who was the first human being first prophet of God, first Muslim, because the Muslim is one who submits his will, or her will, to God.
Not a follower of Muhammad, specifically, but any follower, true follower of any of the prophets of God. They're all Muslims. And that's what brings the whole of humankind together.
So, with that, I will conclude the presentation
reminding you that
we do need whether Muslim or non Muslim, we do need to stop for a minute from our busy schedule busy lives and think about why we are here
and come to some conclusions and then act on those conclusions.
May God bless you all. And I'll give you an opportunity now to ask some questions. If you'd like to ask