Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pearls & Gem : Qadar ,Qada' and Lailatulqadr

Friends ,

If one take an early morning or late evening strool in any park in Malaysia and count the number of Muslim men or women exercising their bodies for good health I can bet my bottom ringgit that the number would be less than 5 % ,on any given day .Muslims do not generally exercise ,a common fact .

In the hospital ,we are on the whole very much less than the perfect patients ,and that is a summary of 30 years of experience and observation .My typical Muslim patients are generally 'more laid back' ,oftentimes lack insight ,and have a higher propensity to look for unknown ,irrational and most often crucially time losing ,at most time idiotic ,occasionally bordering on the khurafah , simple ' miracle ' alternatives .

[...Doc ! Ozone therapy surely must work !And it is expensive ,therefore it must work . How come even the PM uses it ??!! That ,precisely my friend ,is why we currently are having all sort of problems with the country ! .You can go to Shah Alam and have a 'brain' and 'heart' transplant for a couple of thousand ringgit .It may also work judging by the number of Mercs and Jaguars queeing up .I am not sure the joint is still there ,must have shifted to Selayang or somewhere my friend .]

In 2008 this can be very frustrating for the ' care givers '.And to add insult to injury ,these folks are not so called ' simple people '.They have masters degree ,sometime even holders of PHD's .

At the market place ,our contractors generally do not deliver well ,our workers take short cuts ,our business people ,politicians and administrators on the whole do not think out their problems and potential solutions ,pitfalls and ' traps ' from A to Z .As a result we get for examples white ' elephant ' projects' everywhere 'littering' the place from 'mis thought' ,off the cuff Ministry of Education's plan playing havoc with our children's well being and future ,to the latest financial debacle ,the 500 million RM Maybank deal and /or Eurocopter 'miss deal' .[ The latter may be more complex than just a problem of lack of due diligence , more a problem of lack of iman , I would have thought ,just may be ,Allahualam ! ]

Even in prayers we are quick to expect miracles .Half baked ,half educated politicians go to Umrah ,whenever any problem of significance seem to affect them ,pray behind the Kaabah and presto expect everything to happen to them .We as a nation , are very quick to 'Sembahyang hajat' but slow and lazy at the proper planning ,thinking and implementation phase .We are slipshod thinkers at best .Sorry bruder !Statistics so far speaks louder than words !

The common denominator here is the excessive ,misguided and misplaced reliance on Fate and the undercurrent belief that Fate is beyond human Free Will ."Rezeki secupak tak akan jadi segantang" is not just a proverb applicable in only the Malay millieu but extend elsewhere within the Muslim ummah .We ,as an ummah may not officially subscribe to the Aljabariyah 'fatalistic' ideology but in practice we are almost there !

Is our Fate really already fixed by Allah !Is there really no free play for Man . There is as if Man's Free Will is non existent anymore the moment he is born as what some misguided Sufis and most of us misinformed ,ignorant practitioners of the faith hold as sacrosanct.

It is almost heretical to believe otherwise .This was certainly not so during the Prophet's time and the simple but succinct story of the Bedouin and his camel immediately came to light :

On being asked by the Prophet whether he had secured their camels well before they turn in for the night the bedoiun answered that there was nothing for the Prophet and his entourage to worry about because he had already read a few Quranic verses and read the Doa and thus safe to leave them in the hand of Allah .The Prophet retorted that he need to tie the camels securely 1st with proper ropes,then Doa and leave to Allah .

The slide towards this misinterpretation of Qadar and Qada' occured much later after the khalifah Al Rashidin's period to the extent that the great Imam Hanafi [ or was it ,Imam Hambali ? ,either one , I am not sure ]was called to the court of Khalifah Marwan to give his personal explanation of the alledged 'heresy' he had been preaching regarding "Free Will ".By that time , for many years lesser 'ulamaks of the istanas ' had for years already moved with the 'wind' to appease their rulers and interpreted hadith and the Quran according to the ' flavour 'and political expediency of the day .Qadar ,Qada' and Lailatul-qadr became only for the brave philosophers to discuss and tread on .In present day Malaysia ,an ISA-eable subject !

If I am not mistaken and I certainly stand corrected ,Imam Hanafi was one of the earliest big time real ulamak to be sent under 'ISA ' for spreading heresys and heretical thoughts !Almost akin to the present day dismissal of Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas by a bunch of junior clowns and court jesters !

To put it succinctly ,Qadar means Allah 's Decree or Law .There are Allah's Natural Law and Allah's Spiritual Law .If you throw a ball up it will fall down due to gravity and Isaac Newton as early as the 18th century already was able to compute the force of gravity as being inversely proportional to the square of the distance from planet earth and directly proportional to the mass of the ball .The Russians with knowledge in space physics and rocketry were able to send the 1st man ,Colonel Yuri Gagarin into outer space.One example of understanding Allah's physical and chemical elements which all follow Allah's natural law .

Albert Einstein later came out with the now famous formullae E=MCSquared ,meaning energy released from a matter is equal to the weight of matter time by the square of a constant which is actually the speed of light [180,000 miles per second] times by itself .That is considerable amount of energy from a very small mass .A few years later Enrico Fermi and his associates were able to produce the 1st atomic bomb working secretly under a stadium somewhere in USA .Of course there were the 'yellow bastards'in Japan for them to try on and see its effect on humans !

Several generations after the last kalifah Ar rashidin ,we Muslims began to get engrossed into the esoteric and exoteric arguments around Free Wills ,philosophical discourse and hidden meaning of each Ayat and hadith ,twigs and branches of the Faith ,and missed the 'main trunk ' of Islam ie Allah 's Din to guide Man to live life at the fullest ,to be His viceeroy on this planet earth ,to led those 'lost sheep ' to Allah's light and enlightenment .After the fall of Islamic renaissance in Cordoba and it's shift to Florence ,the Judeo-Christian world has not looked back .For some centuries now and more years to come if we do not change our ' hearts and souls ' we will be lead !

[...They have studied Allah's Qadar ,at least the 1st arm of it ,The Natural laws ,and control nature and the world !After the fall of the Ottoman Empire the entire subjugation of the Muslims was complete .Now if you are a too regular prayer at the London Regent's Mosque you may find yourself be' digitised ' in one of their super computers as a potential ' health hazard ' .This is too far fetch you may think , and it has not happened yet but it may .Obama is a health hazard to some Americans and he happened to have only a Muslim middle name ,not even a Muslim ]

At the atomic level ,the cellular level and the macro cellular level [ the human organism ],Qadar or natural law operates and there is limited Will .You throw a ball upward it falls .You fly an aeroplane upward against gravity ,it will go up but once the gasoline finish ,it will fall down to the ground like a rock following Allah's law of Gravity .The 'going up' followed Allah's natural law of propulsive combustion ,the 'going down ' ,His law of gravitation .

You mix hydrogen with oxygen atoms ,you get water and a lot of heat .You smash an atom you get so much of energy .At the super macro level ,ie the organism level ,A crazy human who thinks he is invincible walk in front of a 20 ton tanker would be crushed like a pancake .He tries to walk on water he will sink .His equally stupid son experiment with trying not to study at the U ,he flunk his year end examination .At other time he practice free sex with his classmates ,5 times out 10 he would get those equally stupid girls pregnant .

Likewise this same son of the chap who tested his 'immortality' by crashing into the tanker ,the 1st year college drop out ,has all the freedom in the world to choose a life of emotional and spiritual excellence or mediocrity ,or even outright depravity ,all on his own free will .An average family man with a stable job ,both feet planted to the ground ,doing the average thing that good stable Muslim youth of his age would do .Or he may continue to choose a life of continued self destruct ,stray into wrong company and end up as a drug addict etc etc .There is freedom of Will .But is he 100 % free ?

Not totally ,because the sum total of his decisions so far were skewed towards a downward spiral . .Unless Allah opens his 'heart and soul' to a higher calling in his mid life after the general drift southward .His not so clever father in the 1st place already serve as the wrong primary role model .His wrong lifestlye in the U push him further down the scale .His existing talent ,the friends and company he keeps ,his milieu , determine the direction he go .If he on starting work as a general clerk with say ,Nestle in Shah Alam , meets the right group of friends who could pull him back to the 'straight path ' he certainly could join the thousand others 'halal 'hard working workforce and an average good Muslim family man .

Of course Qadar in his case means even in 4 lifetimes he would not be say the President of The united States or even PM of Malaysia !

But on the other hand with no good role model ,' bad' friends and surrounding there is also the likelihood of him to continue his downward spiral,he can even sink to the bottom in no time !That in fact would be a more probable happening than say meeting a 'Ruuusma' at his work place and ending up as potential ' PM ' one fine day .

Emotional and spiritual balance ,and I am not hinting even at the upper echelon excellence ,is a lot of work .That leeway nonetheless is there .Our future is not iron clad ,as there are Free Will ,as well as Doa , and Prayer !It is easy to spiral downward and a lot of hardward just to remain sane and average let alone soar upward towards the Perfect Man idealism . The one million dollar question is ,do we use these avenues to the max ?

On the spiritual side ,Allah Spiritual Moral Code determines the boundaries and expectation of man in relation to his fellow men ,women and his families .It also determine his relation with his Maker .You live a lustful ,corrupt and careless life ,your souls degenerate further and further from the scale of the Perfect Man as exemplified by Prophet Muhammad .If you live within the constraint of the Spiritual Moral Code ,your souls move upwards to coalesce with the essence of your true Spirits and move nearer towards the embodiment of The Prophet .

[ Allah's Spiritual Moral Code is the ' movable ' aspect of Qadar unlike Allah's Natural Law .One has the Free Will to follow it a 100 % to the brim and in the process enriches one's soul to the point to put in 'sufic' expression able enjoy the spirituality of this life as if one is being given to sip Allah's fine 'wine' from His own cup . For this very elitist few,life's trials and tribulations no longer affect them as their ' naf ' are already emasculated and they are able to ' see ' and ' taste ' life figuratively through God's eye .On the one hand can just be an average practitioner or just above average ,ambling along like millions others .One can also easily be lulled into a continuous downward spiral of hideous self destruct behaviour through and through .Even Allah's Natural Law is relatively ' movable ' to some extent . A ball when thrown up will fall down under gravity ,but a rocket with chemical propulsive action can move up ,until there is no more solid fuel to push it forward ,then it follows the natural law of gravitation ].

For example when you give alms ,or keep your obligatory or superregatory prayers ,or just being a good father to your children ,you are not helping Allah an iota :you are educating your soul and moving your soul north ward towards the scale of the Perfect Man ,and ensuring it has at least a chance of keeping on the ' straight path ' and if veering away ,sometime ,may still have a tangible chance of coming back .

The reverse happen if you continuously veer away from Allah's Spiritual Moral Code .At the National level on the other hand when a corrupted soul can not only cause depravity to himself but also influence other lives around him and cause depravity in others as well ,would be the archtypal 'corrupt politician-statesman' ,a man of considerable influence .A politician may generally starts well but without proper religious education and background [ many consider not politically correct nowadays to even think about giving proper religious education to offsprings ] and nawaitu may initially consider a 5 million 'kick back' from a State's deal as being good enough and his ' birth right ',then 50 ,then even 200 million 'masih belum cukup '.His life will no longer revolve around Allah but around his political and personal expediency .""Power ,sex ,money" are the common denominators of so called ' successful leaders ' who lack religious background and the right aqidah .Goal post s can be change to look good .His soul veer further and further away from the 'straight path ' and unlike the Mat Rempit discussed earlier ,this chap affect or at least retard millions of other souls as well .His policy affect the Nation ,retards proper Islamic growth etc etc .[ see my blog on who wants to be PM !Friday Khutbah : Sept 12th ].His soul not only carries his excess baggage but the baggage of the rest of mankind his 'office' influence .Allahualam !

When there is a Will ,there is a way .Another simpler example than the above is to look at the ordinary folks ,say just a simple average student struggling at school .You can choose between being a straight A student or last in class of course within the partial constraint provided by your genetic and environmental and behavioral template provided by your parents .If you are born with an IQ of 80 ,you would not be a space scientist even in a 100 years !But if you have good supportive parents with good schooling provided by a welfare state you may end up as a reasonably independent individual .Without parental support and special schooling , you may even have difficulty working as a 'jaga kereta' boy .An example of some free play of Wills here and limitations set by the 'Natural Law ' aspect of Qadar ie the genetic ,parental ,and environmental component .

[ Looking this way that is why PARENTING remain an important issue in Islam .Good parenting can obviate some of the limitations set about by the relatively 'immovable ' negative aspect of genetics and environmental factors .And part of good parenting may in some cases mean mothers do stay at home to look after and bring up and educate their children rather than be fighter pilots or firemen etc etc ]....just a digression

To give further a sense of hope to His abdals ,the CEO of The Universe throw in 2 almost similar looking 'spanners' into the proverbial 'engine' : Doa and Prayer [ which are one of the same ], and the possibility that your Taubat [ repentance is also a form of Doa in a sense ] can be accepted or rejected downright .Everyone can Taubat but if one's soul is so low down the scale ,there is the real danger of the possibility of your soul not even thinking of Taubat in the 1st place ,let alone the Taubat being accepted by Allah .

That is half of the ballgame so far !Now the other half :Qada'.

Qada' is Allah's Judgement or System of Judgement .All embodied in the Quran and Sunnah .You lived a careless life ,drunk most time ,free sex ,devoid of spirituality ,not only corrupt in behaviour but corrupting to society [' bukan saja sesat ,tapi menyesatkan '] ,there is only one place for you .On the opposite scale you are a light to your family ,your society ,lived purely by the Syariah , not for show ,but for the celebration of Allah ,there is another place for you .In between this black and white ,the various shades of grey ,will be judged accordingly and fairly ,according to the Al Mizan , the Scale .

Again to throw the spanner in the engine ,some will be judged and judgement will be meted out rightaway ,Cash!

If you are almost 95 % Muslim but choose Pancasila or other system to live your collective lives ,you get more frequent 'Bala' than the fair share that other people get .If you as a people definitely is 100 % secular ,encourage futures trading ,debt trading ,and every thing under the Sun as if the is no Allah to answer to , and insist the rest of the world to follow suit in your way of life ,Allah will throw some hurricanes here and there ,some tornadoes and wild forest fires ,and occasionally a global financial crises here and there .To lull you further of course ,all of them appear man made and difficult to actually perceive that this is Allah's judgement ,right away ,CASH ,on earth !

So to speak within the constraints of Qadar and Qada', the post modern Man does have a lot of leeway to move around .It is just a question of Will ,whether he choose to soar and fly ,or be at the lowest of low .

On the Night Of Decree or The Night of Power ,yearly during the last 10 days of Ramadan the 'People of The Higher Plane' descent on planet earth to help assess ,tabulate , audit and recommend to the Final Arbiter ,The Most High ,on how we are to be judged for the closing statement for that particular year :

"In the name of Allah ,Most gracious ,Most Merciful .
We have indeed revealed This Message In The Night of Power .
And what will explain to thee what the Night Of Power is ?
The Night Of Power is better than a thousand Months .
Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission ,
On every errand :
Peace !.....This
Until the rise of Morn !"

Abdullah Yusuf Ali chose not to interpret ''better than a thousand months' leaving it as a mystical expression .I would rather concur with Sayyid Qutb's interpretation :Allah 's grace and rahmat befalling on his Abdal praying and beholden to Him on the instance of the Night Of Power ,though may be a few insignificant moment will be worth more than a thousand months for that Abdal for that particular year.If he is called to his Lord that year ,he has got it made !If not ,that rahamat and grace hopefully would put him in good stead for years to come with a proviso :Life between the highs and lows is an active flux .Iman and Ihsan has to be earned .There is no miracle in the LailatulQadr . We have to earn it and continue to earn it on a yearly basis . Fullstop !NO MIRACLE .

Man's piety and his highs and lows are a continuous struggle on a daily basis .It does not follow an All or None law .It waxes and wane like the tide .But lo and behold !Yearly on The Night Of Power ,to commemorate the 1st Night Of Power some 1450 years ago ,when The Perfect Man had his Visitor of On High ,we his followers and the rest of mankind are being Judged !

Allah 's ultimate knowledge of when and how we die ,what we do with our life ,which zenith we reach ,does not preclude His allowance to His abdals the choice of Free Will .Within the constraints of circumstances ,our genetic makeup our emotional and spiritual endurance and our environment ,we can still choose whether we want to SOAR UPWARD ,or just fly ,or swim with the current ,or sink to the bottom .

And lest you get depressed by your lack of performance so far ,do not feel despondent .After Qadar ,Qada' and the annual Judgement ,Allah being Ya Rahman And Ya Rahim has His very own KPI . Does not matter whether in 'realtime' life you end up as the Agong ,one of the Sultans ,PM ,CEO ,ordinary chaps on the street or an ordinary road sweeper ,His Key performance indicator is simple :Taqwa or God Conciousness in whatever you do .[ refer to my earlier blog on this :Surah Al Asr ,Allah's Key Performance Indicators ,Sunday 22nd , June ].And He does not judge you by the results but only by your good honest intention !

We come back one whole circle in this ballgame call LIFE :Qadar ,Qada' ,LailatulQadr ,and at the time of Mahsyar ,after the Al Mizan and all when even an 'atom's weight of good deed and bad deed were carefully measured ,Allah take away all the minute details of "warts ,boils and human failings" , and in order to make man pass the acid test easily , look just at man from the helicopter viewpoint :Taqwa .

Does this chap [ Agong ,President ,Sultan ,CEO ,Lawyer ,or just ordinary road sweeper ] do his all with God Conciousness in mind or because of other " gods " real or imagined .Man's failings ,unequal stature ,wealth ,innate talents or lack of it ,trappings of high office or 'no office' ,ALL LEFT behind .Only TAQWA .That is Allah , Ya Rahman , Ya Rahim !Mashaallah !

[ the avid golfers ,Dr Nik Isahak sounds unbelievably simple like golf ! With all the handicap system and all .But why not ?Man are not born equal in talent shape ,circumstances etc etc ,how else do One judge Man who come in various sizes ,colour ,ideology and shape apart from a very fair Key Performance Indicator .Remember ,that chap with the IQ of 80 . He did not ask to be born with that kind of handicap ,neither did the man who was destined to be King with all the inherrent silver spoons !Man is given a FREE WILL but come with all kinds of handicap .At the end of the day he and only he is accountable to his God for all his deeds on this planet earth .And mind you ,Allah did not ask for much ,except that in all that you do on this planet earth ,you do with Him in view .The Right Intention suffice [ nawaitu ],leave the results to Him . ]

Ya Fattah ,Ya Razak ,Ya Wahab ,Ya Ghoni ,Ya Mugh'ni ,Ya Khadim ,Ya Daim ,Ya Ahad ,Ya Wahid ,Ya Samad ,Ya Rahman Ya Rahim ,Ya Hayyu ,Ya Qayyum ,Ya Rabb ,Ya Zaljala Liwalikram ,give us peace in this world and the next and remove us from the torments of the grave and the Hereafter !

Allahualam !

Dr Nik Howk


Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Nik,
With regard to the psychic surgeon who claimed to have performed a cross-brain-transplant from an Islamic scholar to a psychotic patient, I believe he is no longer practicing in Shah Alam.
His patients are not confined to Malays, but also Chinese and Indians.
But the majority is Malays, educated, upper middle-class who have lost confidence on Western-evidence based medicine.
You talk to any Malay about mystics, they believe it beyond comprehension.
Likely due to culture-bound imprinting, deep rooted in their psyche.
To witness, during early formative years, how a bomoh performs his trance state treatment has left a significant imprinting. Under adulthood stress, mystical thinking dominated amygdala which is responsible for an equally trance state believer. High level beta-endorphine in hippocampus-amygdala has blocked pre-frontal cortex, so no more critical thinking to assist them. So, making them venerable to mystical suggestions.


Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Nik,
On the issue that Muslim men and women rarely exercise for optimum health, I do agree with your observation.
It's not they are not aware of the benefits but probably due to their strong belief in fatalism (Qodho & Qadhar).
Being a fatalist, they leave it to the Will of God.
Those who exercise relentlessly, he or she may be addicted to runners' high.

One question, is it better to have interval than continuous exercise?
Your expert opinion is highly appreciated.

Pearls & Gem said...

Thanks Dr RBH and Anon for your insightful comment .

I do agree with RBH we Malays are too tied up with mystics ,e wrong kind especially .And to think that Islam was introduce from prophet Adam right thru to Ibrahim and Muhammad to debunk superstitions .In Saudi ,bomoh and mystics are banned .s far as I know .I am not glorifying Wahabism but there are elements there that deals in no two ways with certain aspects of lifwe that can lead to kufr ,that are laudable .Obviously some of our home grown ulahaks need a lot of 'schooling'.Some of them cannot separate the leaves and twigs from the branches , and the branches from the trunk !

WRT our question about interval training and cardiovascular work anon ,the short answer is ,that Depend on your goal .

If you are just aiming for maintainence of good cardiovascular health and muscle tone ,the latter suffice .If you are aiming for a higher plane or preparing for competitive event ,then you add in interval training .

I am a horseman and train my Arabian for endurance competition .One month prior to a big competition,I add in interval training .In interval training though since you are pushing at the edge ,and it is easy to go beyond ,you have to take care to reduce sport related injury .