Please Note: The views expressed in this blog are my personal views and understanding. These views do not represent Islam. Since, I am a Muslim, all the views expressed are seen through the lens of Islam as I see it. It may or may not coincide with Islamic teachings due to my personal shortcomings. This is a Muslim's blog, not a website teaching Islam. Everything good that is written is from Allah, every mistake below is from my own self.  TaqabbAllahu Minni wa minkum wa astaghfiruAllah, All comments are welcome.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Which is bigger ? an ( optical ) Illusion but wait, there is more to it.....

Have a look and make your decision before reading further....

Most people answer, the right center dot appears bigger in size, but on measuring both the center dots, we find they are of the same size !

You must be familiar with this image ? If no, its a very popular example of an optical illusion.
Hey! but wait, I do not intend to talk about optical illusions here. There is more to it, keep reading.

The meaning of Illusion according to the Pocket Oxford Dictionary is:

illusion n. 1 false impression or belief. 2 state of being deceived by appearances. 3 figment of the imagination.  be under the illusion (foll. by that) believe mistakenly.  illusive adj. illusory adj. [Latin illudo mock]

In this particular example of optical illusion our eyes compared the two dots based upon their surrounding objects and thus we concluded that the center dot on the right side looks bigger because its surrounded by dots even smaller, whereas the center dot on the left side is surrounded by dots much greater than its size.

Now the real thing

How many times we find ourselves comparing something with something else and fretting about it ?
for eg: people tend to compare ourselves with the bad guys in our society and end up being content that "atleast I am better than them" never realizing that they are people much better than us and when we compare ourselves with them, we have a long way to go in reforming ourselves and bringing it on best path. We are in an illusion, we are like the 'center dot on the right side' compared to the smaller ones around we feel bigger and better, whereas the same dot looks small when in company of the more bigger ones :) So, when it comes to good deeds and amount of Taq'wah, we should be the central dot in the left side, always in the company of the pious and better people, and comparing with them so that we remain aware of our shortcomings and thus strive harder to get better.

On the other hand, when it comes to misfortune, we always tend to compare with the people who are affluent and well-to-do. " He has a Mercedes and I just get a Ford we lament !" People always tend to compare their worldly achievement with those who have more than they have.
Like the center dot on the left side, feeling small when comparing with the more rich and more affluent of people, wanting for more to get bigger and this vicious cycle continues with an unquenchable thirst for this world. But, why not look at the center dot on the right side ? Compare with people who have less than you, who have more problems, who struggle much more than you do, on doing so we realize how fortunate we are and how ungrateful for the blessings Allah has given us.

Lets not fall into this worldly illusions, as Muslims we know this world is just a small phase. A short journey to the final destination, we are but travellers and travellers do not build mansions enroute, they gather the resources for their destination and keep moving. Our destination will be decided according to what we carry with us. A ticket to Jannah or a decree to Jahannum.

Let us take an example from this optical illusion to avoid falling into illusions and comparing situations with wrong ones and falling into the illusion setup by the accursed 'Shai'taan. Such wrong comparisons tend to weaken emaan and that is the last thing a Muslim would want.

May Allah help us comprehend the truth and walk the path

Tawakkul ala'Allah - Complete (100%) Reliance and Trust in Allah alone as a source of help.

Blogs are such a great way to share, learn and teach these days, MashAllah.
I had a wise blogger who visited my humble blog home out of nowhere, and when I wanted to see who it was I visited the blog of that person, and Alhamdulillah, I learnt so much, the person has been blessed with an impressive style and skill in writing and the messages always invite you to ponder upon them.

I read an informative and eye opening post about the topic under discussion on that blog, although it was taken from a magazine, and being copyrighted I would not want to repost it here. Nevertheless I can include a wonderful famous story which is a part of that inspiring article about Tawakkul ala'Allah.

Have you ever felt low ? Forsaken and helpless ? Asking yourself, O Allah, I am a good person, I never abused anyone, nor cheated a soul, I follow your commandments, and here I am, struggling with misfortune and unfortnate events battering my life, making each day worse than the previous .... I cry out to you, day and night, in seclusion after each salah expecting that one day You shall remove this burden from me, You shall ease my path, but each day I sleep dishearted and it went on for years ....O Allah, I trust you, but why me, why me...

Does this tone remind you of a time you were in such a situation or maybe even now you are in such a situation, feeling miserable and helpless ? Here is the inspiring story first...

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island.He prayed feverishly for Allah to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements,and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.The worst had appened;everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “O Allah! How could you do this to me?”he cried.
Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island.It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of Allah.

Now we have seen innumerable examples of how Allah can turn the most unfortunate looking event, into something which was most needed. If the man's hut had not been aflame, the ship would not have located him and his provisions would be exhausted soon, would he even be alive till another ship should ever pass that way ? We can only imagine.

I now want you to go to that blog I am talking about, and read the whole article about Tawakkul, here > or click here

May Allah help us train ourselves, to gain complete trust in Him, and inculcate in ourselves this innate quality of a true muslim, a real momin - Tawakkul AlalAllah. MayAllah help us understand the weakness of worldly sources and how useless every mean of help we seek, apart from Him alone, neither the pharmaceutical drugs, nor the insurance companies, neither does any science can ever give us anything , except by Allah's permission. Nothing good or bad can ever befall us, without Allah's leave, and Allah does not 'need' any means to shower His blessings on us, He can cure us without a single medicine if He willeth so, and no medical team can help us, if He willeth not cure for us, same thing for every other situation. May Allah help us comprehend this eternal truth, the way pious sahabah did (ra) and their families did - a complete reliance on Allah as the provider, ALONE. , Ameen

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pebbles and the Girl

A very clever story I found while surfing around the blog world, I thought its worth being shared on my own blog too.

Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter.

His Game:

He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven. But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer's field.

As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag. Now, imagine you were standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her? Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.

3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend to the Girl to do?

This is what she did :

The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."

Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Most complex problems do have a simple solution.It is only that we don't attempt to think.

"Its not because things are difficult that we don't dare; Its because we don't dare, that they are difficult."