Sunday, August 22, 2010

Diary....On a hot,lazy and thirsty Ramadan Sunday 22nd August

"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps on this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools their ways to dusty death;
Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and futy,
Signifying nothing..."

Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'

On this rather hot,lazy and thirsty Ramadan Sunday, reading Macbeth's sonnet above sent by 'a friend' somehow reminds me of Syed Qutb's tafseer of Surah Al Takathur, Chapter 102, of The Noble Qur'an. Don't ask me why. Perhaps Shakespeare's look at life via his story Macbeth underlined the West's view of life itself as a foreboding tragedy. A reminder to me of that famous and most influential early 19th century German humanist-philosopher, Schopenhauer.

Life, according to Schopenhauer, is determined by the WILL to carry on and on. The tapestry of one's life is the interplay of Wills of surrounding individuals. At the end of one's time, one's life is a tragedy: old age, unfulfilled dreams, and subsequently death.From the Western perspective, Life indeed is a tragedy:The promise and vagaries of youth, old age and ill health, and death....Fullstop. Western philosophical thoughts almost never address death and life beyond death.The station at the end of the line is death. What their thinkers cannot comprehend is not there!

Surah At Takathur,on the other hand, even as one of the shortest chapter of The Noble Quran, does not mince words on life after death, and addresses the issue head on. It opens up man to future probability of eternal happiness despite also a promise of damnation if the formullae and mix is not correct..Life,for it not to be an eternal tragedy, has to be 'walked through' with certain knowledge.....

Rivalry for Wordly Gain
at Takathur

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful!

"Rivalry for wordly gain distracts you, untill you visit your graves.
Indeed you shall know! Again, you shall certainly come to know.
Indeed, were you to have certain knowledge ... You shall certainly
see the fire of Hell. Yes, you will it with your eyes. Then, on
that day, you shall be questioned about your joys and comforts."

Sayyid Qutb had this to say regarding life:

This surah has a rhythm that is majestic and awe-inspiring - as if it were
the voice of a warner standing on a high place and projecting his voice
which rings out in weighty emphasis. He calls out to people who are
drowsy, drunken, confused. They approach a precipice with their eyes
closed and their feelings numbed. So the warner increases the volume of
his voice to the limit: "Rivalry for worldly gain distracts you until
you visit your graves."

You drunken and confused lot! You who take delight and indulge in rivalry
for wealth, children and the pleasures of this life - from which you are
sure to depart! You who are absorbed with what you have, unaware of what
comes afterwards! You who will leave the object of this rivalry, and what
you seek pride in and go to a narrow hole wherein there is no rivalry or
pride! Wake up and look around, all of you ! For indeed, "rivalry for
worldly gain distracts you until you visit your graves".

May your Ramadan and mine be a blessed one!
'Peppered' by moments of taqwa and remembrance.

Dr Nik Howk

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