Channel: Yassir Fazaga
I begin by greeting all of you as the Islamic greeting As salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon all of you. And if you're wondering why am I speaking last, we decided that it was going to be age before beauty. So that explains why I'm here.
to Pastor Brian Harper was talking about extending lives and people wanting to live longer and staying young. I am reminded of the advice that was given by Lucy from I Love Lucy, I do watch I Love Lucy. So there, he said, there are three principles that one must follow in order to remain young. He said number one, live, honestly. Number two, Eat slowly. And number three, lie about your age. And that is how you that's how you do. So in any case, this is this is really beautiful, the fact that we can come in and discuss such an important topic regarding the purpose of life.
It said that nowadays, the same way that there is a desire for us to live longer and be healthier and all that stuff. Also, by looking into the recent inventions that man has made, there is this idea of wanting to save time, we want to save time, we've made faster computers, we've made airplanes, we've made trains, we've made coffee makers, we've made digital coffee makers, the ones that will have your coffee ready in the morning so that you don't, you know, waste much time on it. And the question that we have is, well, what happened to all the time that we wanted to save, and we really did not save time, but rather what we did is that we just rushed ourselves. And that's where
Gandhi said, and this is so beautiful, he said there is more to life, than just increasing the speed of life.
There is more into life, than just increasing the speed of life. When we speak about a life with purpose, what we're talking about as to what map Do we have, that will give us a direction by which we know that we have lived a purposeful life,
a map that shows where we begin, and what the destination is? And how do we get about that place? So this is really basically what we're talking about. In the Muslim tradition, this question is addressed as to the purpose of creation. And it stems from the fact that God is wise. In fact, his wisdom is all perfect. So his creation cannot be one that is in vain. Therefore, if he is all wise, there must be wisdom behind our creation. And our attempt is one what was that wisdom behind the creation of God? Also, the core urn, and that is the Holy Book of the of the Muslims, addresses this issue very directly. It says one a genuine insect in Delhi, Abu Knievel, or men and jinn were
created for the sole purpose of worshiping God. what is being said, is to respond to the commands of God, to live out the grace of God. So that would be the simple answer. And that is, well, we being created, our purpose is to worship God. But then again, that becomes too vague of a of a statement. Well, what does that really mean? four points quickly. I like the number four, everybody's thinking about four, we might as well make four points here.
Number one, Islam asserts that life is beautiful, and that life is a gift. In fact, it's a Muslim tradition. And I know that this to be part of the Jewish tradition as well. And that is when you wake up in the morning, the first thing that we ought to do, not complaining about not getting enough sleep on my back hurts or I had a lot of nightmares last night. But it said that the very first thing that should be done is to praise God for giving you back life again. Because life means that this is an opportunity, either to make up for poor choices made in the past, or to enhance goodness that is already taking place. So life in itself is a gift. And the way that it is said al
hamdu lillahi wa de la yo he was mentally physically, all pages due to Allah who has given me my soul back. And he has permitted me in making a mention of him or him remembering him. So life is seen as a gift. It is not just a gift, but it's even described as in dunia. habia that life is a sweet life is green. We're in Allah Mustafa complete, and that Allah has put you in charge for now. They don't care if attackmen and then Allah who will judge as to how did you perform? So that is the very important starting point to a Muslim and that is life is beauty.
And that is why interestingly also in Islam, shunning life is never seen as a sense of religiosity. Rejecting life is not seen as somebody that ought to be praised, it is neither encouraged, nor is it something that is accepted. But rather, our job is to engage in life. Well, how do you engage in life, when we say that these principles come from from God, and by which the directions in that map are given. So Islam says that it is a set of beliefs, you must believe you must believe in God, the messengers that he has sent the books that is revealed, but then that belief, must manifests itself in Acts of obedience to God.
And these acts of obedience, because again, acts of worship or just acts of worship. They say that the acts of worship must impact the behavior of that individual. The point being, if what you believe in, does not impact how you behave, then what you believe in is not important.
How well you're able to verbalize your beliefs is really not important. If it does not impact how you behave, then it is very, very insignificant. So it's the set of beliefs that manifest themselves in acts of worship, that impact the behavior of the individual, and that can only be seen in our interaction is the creation of God.
It can only be manifested truly, as to who we are, and what do we do when we interact with the, with the, with the, with what God has created. So the purpose of life is to worship God, but going through this circle of four points. So Islam emphasizes that alive fully loved is the life where the person has actually lived with good, honorable character. You know, they say that to each and every one of us, there are three components, there is our reputation, there is our personality, and then there is our character. Our reputation is what people think of us. Our personality is what we seem to be and how we present ourselves. Our character is truly who we are. But what happens is that it
seems like we put a lot of investment and we direct a lot of energy into our reputation, because it takes very little effort, and the reward is almost immediate. And then next to that, there is our personality, again, we put a lot of effort simply because the investment is not that great and the reward is immediate, but truly who we are, is our character. So Islam emphasizes that you must live life with good character. And that is why For example, we have many traditions that speak directly about the character of the of the individual. Now you may know how to convey to the Prophet peace be upon him would make statements like a stuffy man who plays tequila, a man will adapt a stuffy
Melissa said a truly a person is not applied in faith, unless he's always speaking the truth unless he's always telling the truth, he refrains from line. So character is a very important component. But that in itself is really not good enough. So the purpose of life becomes to obey God in the way that we interact in good character with the creation of God, creation of God being the most important, our fellow human beings.
What kind of a person are you when you interact with others? In fact, this is so beautiful, that the way that Jesus represents himself, you know, in the Muslim tradition, we do believe in the miraculous nature of the miracles birth of Jesus. So it is said that Mary brought Jesus and she's holding this infant, she comes in, and the people know that Mary is married to Joseph, but they have not really lived together. So where are you bringing this child from? So she comes in and the Quran documents this so beautifully. She presented him to her people, and they inquire or marry, where did you bring this time from? Your father was neither an evil man nor your mother was unchaste. Instead
of were talking the Quran says that she pointed at him, Shara LA, and they inquired How can we speak to an infant that is still in the cradle. And they say that Jesus spoke in the cradle. This is this is something that we have in the Muslim tradition that I do not believe there is at least in the canonized books in the the 27 books of the New Testament. So Jesus has spoken the cradle, and this is how he presented himself. He said all in Abdullah, he said, I am the messenger of God or I am the servant of God as number one at any Al Kitab. He has given me scripture which Allah need every year and designated me as a messenger. And then he beautifully says was al and he Mubarak and a NEMA and
that he made me a man of blessings and benefit to those who
around me, wherever I may be. And that is how does your existence? How does your presence in a certain locality, how does that impact that locality? What kind of impression did you leave behind behind you? What kind of legacy did you leave behind you? And Islam asserts this idea of leaving an impression, and leaving a legacy behind, because believe it or not, we are constantly leaving an impression behind. I'm reminded of the story of the woman that was on she was on the bus, and she was on the phone, and she was very loud, and she was cussing and cursing and using profanity, and people in the US were just absolutely bothered by this by this woman.
And it just happened that you know what, she needed to depart, and demount the bus. And as she's making her way out of the bus, the bus driver, an old wise man, he said, Man, excuse me, you left something behind. And she looked back at him and shield and said, What did I leave behind. And he said, You left a very bad impression.
And we have a tendency to leave that bad impression, beat on the people around us or beat even in the environment that we live that we live in. Hence, Islam says that, wherever you have existed, you make sure that the impression that you left was a good one, you must leave an impression, and you must leave a legacy. But it must also be a good, a good one. To the point that, you know, it could be these little details, such as the Prophet peace be upon him would say, Do not cut down a tree for no reason that is seen as a major sin in some cutting down a tree. And on the other side, it says that planting a tree is charity, so long that humans sit under it for its shade, or the animals eat
for me that is seen as a continuous form of charity. In fact, the Prophet peace upon him said, it has been declared that you know what today is the day of judgment of today is the hour today is the end of times, you would think that a religious leader would say, you make sure you run to the necklace, the closest synagogue, the closest church or the closest mosque to you. But the Prophet said, if it has been announced that today is the day of judgment, and you happen to hold a bushel in your hand is an issue that you planted.
And that is again, part of making sure that the life that you live was a purposeful life that you live and that you left an impact behind behind you. Also part of it is well what do we do to the people who are around us because that is part of that of that map. That is the only way that we can find out whether our life was lived fully or not by the kind of imprint that we left on the people around us. And then this the Islamic culture, and the Islamic library is just full of sayings, such as the Prophet peace upon him would say, the best of people are those who lived longest, and they had the best of deeds. And then there are those who live long, but their deeds are absolutely sorry.
So the Prophet would say, enjoy life. And every day that God has given you in this life is actually an opportunity to do better and to become and to become better. So to the Muslim, Allied that is lived fully, or a purposeful life is a life where we were constantly engaged in the obedience of God. Now, it's not enough to just do, but Islam also puts a lot of emphasis on intent, because every action is preceded by intent. So even as we are doing the good, the good that we do, must be entirely directed to our Creator, it cannot be something that we are engaged in for form of or fortune, or our own personal interest, it must really be good. And that's why in the Muslim
tradition, we say,
don't do good to feel good. You know, we do this a lot. They said, Do not do good to feel good, however, feel good about the good that you do.
And there is a big difference in this, because the initial motive is my own feelings. And whenever you this is in Assam considered to be a form of associating others with God, that the deed itself was not really for the sake of God. We have a beautiful story. In in the tradition, it said that three students came to a wise master a wise man and they said, You know what? We've been debating what generosity is when is a person truly called generous? And you know, we need your help. He said, Well, why don't you tell me what's going on? All they said that the vignette or the scenario that is presented to us, a man comes to you and tells you that he's going through some difficult financial
times. And at that point, we want to define what generosity is. So this man said, well, generosity would mean that I put my hands in my pocket, and I would give him the money that he needs. And the master looked at him and he said,
You know, that is really good. But through speaking, the good that you have done was reciprocated by you know, thank you very much You are such a kindness and these words of praise was really the payback for the good that you have done, you are generous, but you're not really the most generous person, the other person said, Well, what I will do is I will find out where their car is, you know, put it in an envelope and put it by the windshield, so that when they come to drive their car, they will see the envelope, take it out, and they find the money, and they will never know who gave them the money.
And the Master said, was really generous, however, you will pay it back. But it was not paid back in your presence, because you probably be thinking to yourself, I bet you he went back and he found that envelope, and he's wondering who gave him the money. And he said, you know, how that person is going to be responding. He said, You are generous, you're more generous than the first person, but you're not the most generous. And that man, the last man said, what I would do is I will find out the path that they walk on as they are going back home. And I would put the money in such a way that they will find it so that when they come there and they see the money, they will pick it up. And
when are they going to sank at that point, say thank God, God knew that I needed the money. And God put that money on my way. So they said that generosity is any act of generosity that you have extended to others. And they don't even know that somebody has been generous to them. Okay, so the idea of intent. So it's not just enough to do the good. But the intent behind the good was also we must also be good. And finally, this is something that the in the Muslim tradition we shared with the Jewish tradition, and that is the con alum. And that is leaving the world a better place, especially nowadays, there is so much need, in the idea that we've got us, you know, a community of
the religious community, the community of faith, that we have got to live this place, a better a better place. You know, this world is not something that we inherited from our, you know, fathers, but they say that this world is something that we've actually bought from our children. So what we do today is going to determine what kind of a planet we will be leaving for the people behind for the people behind us. And that is one big huge
part of the teachings of Islam and that is leaving this world a better place in the form of number one is some emphasizes that this planet is for all while urba Baba halal nm. And this planet, Allah has facilitated for all people, not for the Muslims only, not for the Africans, or for the Europeans, it said that this world is for also, this is something that we must, we must share. Islam sees that anything that we do against the environment is actually a violation of the commands of God. Like I said earlier, you know, the idea that cutting a tree for no good reason. In fact, in Islam, we are taught that trees praises a lot. They are constantly praising God.
They have a tradition about the prince who asked one of his advisors to go to the garden and get him the most beautiful flower.
The advisor goes out and he doesn't come back. He doesn't come back until the very, very late evening. And he's got a dead flower with him. And the king of the press gets very offended. And he goes, look at this beautiful garden about all these beautiful flowers. You go and you are late. And when you come back, you come back with a dead flower. He said, you know what I know. They're all beautiful. But every time I attempt to cut them flowers, I remember that this flower is praising God. So I say I can't I can't do this. So he said that I went around until there was this dead flower. And I said, Well, maybe now I can bring it on you.
I tell this story to my wife to tell her why I don't like to buy her flowers, but she doesn't like.
So this this idea of making sure that neither do we violate the environment. Nor do we, you know, do anything that corrupts it that makes it deficient because the way that God has created this world is created beautifully, but also making sure that we do not violate one another. And that seems to be a big huge problem. You can look into this in the way that power is distributed. You can look into this in the way that wealth is distributed, you can just look into so many ways of what it is that we are doing to one another. And sadly, sometimes we do this in the name of God. I mean, that is the greatest catastrophe of all, and that is when we do when we do. What does that mean?
When we do when when we violate each other in the name of God, and we all have had our fair share of misusing
abusing the name of God. Christians are guilty of it. Muslims are guilty of it Jews, Hindus, you name it. It is more disastrous that when we wrong each other, and we do this in the name of God, then that is absolutely catastrophic and that is absolutely disastrous. And just to the organizers and Mr Rosario here like you know, Pastor Brian was saying earlier thank you for hosting us and thank you for facilitating for this very, very important meeting. When you know you come back you come in here you leave as a Jew, you leave as a Christian you leave as a Muslim but with with more understanding of the other people's tradition. And remember that ignorance breeds feed. Our
ignorance does breed feed and the more the more little we know of each other, the more afraid we become of one another. However, the more we know of one another, the more comfortable we become with one another, and often on only if Muslims can become better Muslims and Christians can become better Christians, and Jews become better Jews and Hindus become better Hindus, then we can say that, you know, what, our our universe our planet does have a chance. Until then it is very bleakie. So thank you very much.