Stop Treating God Like Ebay Shopping Cart!

By Fatima Ariadne

I’m out from the land a lot recently, so maybe expect some fewer updates this year but I’ll try my best to update Decoding Eden with newer articles. And preparing my Islamic book draft of course :-)

Many people are asking me no matter how hard they were praying, their prayer is never answered. Personally, I’m very intuitive person and I can as if reading through the layers of people, knowing what their intention and core meanings behind their words. But only if I see and meet them face to face. Amid their complain, they often actually really mean to say this : ”God is useless to me. God is deaf and never help everyone. God is actionless.”

I was astounded, but not really surprised either. Some people are sunken in deep difficulty and somehow their blasphemous complain is forgiveable. Then they start looking upward to the sky and point the blame to God, as if God is a prankster who only knew how to ruin their lives. Some people are not in great difficulty, but viewing that God must fulfill their prayers perfectly in times and forms that they desire, like ordering something from department store. If the clothes they order is red, it must be only red, it can’t be in any color or size lest God is a failure.

Then I was meeting some other people who in their joyous times of their life. In curiosity, I attempted to dig them on what they thought on how God contributes to their happiness or success. Most of them responded like this, ”My success is due to my effort alone. I don’t pray so there is no God in this matter.”

Ahh, so that’s where the problem lies. This is interesting. But as the same time ironic. Also some people whom I came across who managed to go out from their hardship, most of them acted like they’ve never had hardship before but worse, they still acted similarly as before where God who put their lives upside down according to them, is not the same God who has released them from it. Suddenly in their happiness, God came last. God is out from equation.

Somehow it reminds me to this Quran verse :

”Human being is not weary of supplication for goodness, but if evil touches him, he is hopeless and ever despairing. And if We let him taste Our mercy after an adversity has touched him, he will surely say, “This is due to my effort alone…” (Quran 41 : 49-50)

 

One day, my great grandma was telling me like this,

”People of this planet are strange. If I burn a kitchen like an inexperienced housewive, I’ll surely blame my own hands and not God. People burn forest, kill people, polluting earth, but then they point their fingers to God for blame. They say it is God’s fault that all of these catastrophes happen.

People are selfish, they keep asking why God doesn’t help them, but when did the last time they helped humanity? When? If the answer is no, then why do they feel privileged to get God’s help first, if they don’t even want to help other people and care for them?”

 

Why is it that we credit God for the chaos in the whole world despite that we are aware these catastrophe come from our own hands, but we don’t credit Him equally for the happiness, beauty, and goodness in this world? Why are we so easily point finger to God for our hardship, but then after the hardship is over, He isn’t counted?

Where is God in your time of ease, happiness and positivity? Or is God only out there in you for causing the mess and negativity, but never the goodness?

”But verily your Lord is full of bounty for mankind, but most of them are ungrateful” (Quran 27 : 73)

 

Think about this school teacher and student analogy.

– Will teacher give exam to student just like that, without specific purpose?
– Will teacher give exam without preparing for its answer?
– Will teacher give exam about rocket engine and uranium fusion to kindergarden students?
– Can student uplevel to higher class or graduate from school just by sitting and passively attending the classes, without given exam or test to prove their worth whether they’re qualified or not?

This is school teacher. Leave alone Allah!

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Conversation With A Wise Friend

Just recently, a good friend who’s as ”eccentric” as me ;) took us round and round in my car. I told her that I’m sick of people who keep telling me that according to Islam ”life is meant to be trial” blah blah, and yet everybody accepts that statement like manna from heaven. She laughed out loud and said, ”those people are fucking idiots”. I was shocked at her use of such a strong words. But she reads my mind and,

”Of course. What else, seriously? If around my neighbourhood is a school where a bunch of bullies linger like wild rabbits on the mountain, I won’t put my kid to that school with reason so that the bullies will smack her or molest her. Ain’t no parent gonna put their kid to school with purpose so they will be smacked by bullies. Every parent schooling their kids so they will get better future. If parents think that way, leave alone God. Of course God is smarter than that. Regardless they think that God is a being with reptillian brain like them.”

I laughed out loud for her answer. And she continued,

”Sure some people are facing trial. But Adna, trial is not the purpose of life. Finding treasure is.”

”Treasure?”

“Yeah, treasure. In anything in life, there’s always treasure to be found and we’re just a bunch of treasure seekers” she was playing with her hijab while driving car like a silk, then saying again,

”I don’t believe that the sole purpose of life is to be monk spinning tasbeeh rosary beads. What a waste if the vast cosmos sits idle and unexplored, right? Look at those stars. What about the wormhole? What is the age of Time? Cosmos is such a Divine masterpiece to adore, and the more we find it, the more we can find God’s magnificence in every iota of it.

Adna, serving God comes in many forms. Allah is a hidden treasure for me, fascinating and intruiging. But so is the cosmos. So are life, mother nature, and human souls. They’re all treasures and we just ought to dig them deeper. Discovering them are purposes of life too.

We just do whatever our souls are called to do, making positive contributions in the world, while turning our faces to God as our compass. If worshipping God is all of our purpose of life, then angels can do that. But Allah has assigned humanity to be vicigerents of earth too.”

”Surah Al Baqarah”, I replied. And I re-told Adora this verse,

”Remember as your Lord revealed to angels, “Verily, I shall create upon the earth a vicigerent.” They said, “Why do You place upon earth a being who shall make destruction therein and spills blood, while we always praise You and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Verily, I know that which you do not know.” (Quran 2:30)

“That’s the proof of it. God didn’t just want another worshipper, He also wants vicigerent. A farmer for His large field.”

 

”Muslims are weird sometimes!” I complained to Adora how weird it is to frequently came across clerics and preachers boasting muslims shouldn’t be jealous to a more advanced Western civilization as ”we have afterlife but not with them.” Ugh, as if they are the master owner of afterlife! But at the same time boasting about the old times muslim scientists of golden age like Avicenna and how the West owed him so much.

She laughed upon the fact and said it’s an inferiority complex bad excuse, while mentioning that many muslim theologians including in Salaf generations are also scientists. For example Ibn Hibban who’s a geologist and hadith scholar, and Fakhruddin Ar-Razi who’s a scholar in Quran exegesis and cosmologian.

”I also dislike those who talks about Imam Al-Mahdi as if he is some shit cleaner of the earth. Like if he appears, then all of the world problem will poof, magically disappears.

My point is, changing the state of humanity is not just one man’s job. It’s unfair to place all the burden to Al Mahdi’s shoulders while everyone just sits and cross fingers. If you want to change the world, it is a collective work. You can’t just wait for Mahdi. Why wait for a hero if there’s a hero in everyone?” Adora said.

 

We quickly shifted back to philosophical talk again.

”And how to reply people who keep quoting the verse that this world is merely amusement, play and diversion, in order to teach fatalism?” I asked her.

”The verse is true but how they interpret it is wrong. If you are mindful to God, then wherever you turn is the sign of God or opposite of God, never otherwise. God is not something to be confined in a mosque, church, or temple. Allah’s sign is everywhere. Allah is not confined in our mind’s limitation, only in our heart expansion we can comprehend His greatness.

What Quran intends is the balance, not escapism or denial. You’ve told me once that God is our compass and traveler without compass is lost, it’s true.

In the sea, there is a pearl. In the depth of dark sky, the stars. Ever heard what Rumi said, the wound is where the light enters through to you? What do you think is that supposed to mean? Oh Adna. By the way, you wanna take the wheel, girl?” she asked again.

”I understand you have no car yet on your own, so drive along and fly along with mine!”, I answered. She smiled cheerfully and then I answered her question, ”I think people always try to avoid pain no matter what, and sometimes forget that the pain is there to show them something they have missed.”

We stopped by a very beautiful rocky sea, going out and competing each other on who throws the furthest rock. And her name, everyone calls her Adora as a nickname, although it’s not her real legal name. Not very long time we’ve known each other, but the chemistry is so quickly built up.

Adora was once mentally-ill person, a schizophrenic, but she overcome it and self-healed herself anyway in her own unique way. Now she is a respected teacher and scientist of astronomy in her middle age almost 50. Also one of the most pious muslim I’ve ever come across, who memorized the whole Quran. She’s always spirited to chat about the future of humanity. And the cosmos, of course, her fascination subject. Anywhere she goes, she told me she was seen and treated like a lost alien. Except she has a bad habit of speaking profanity, but I still like her anyway!

She tells me her story,

”When I was a child, my home was near the sea. People were keeping oysters in a farm, to get the pearls from. They always keep it in a deep place and I asked them, why is it so deep? Why don’t you grow them in a pond? And they answered, you cannot grow pearls within a pond. Only in the depth of sea you can grow pearls. High quality ones.

All my life I’ve been tested with unimaginable pains and hurts, disappointments. I used to think if I just shut myself off, I can numb the pain. Then I looked twice and asked myself, maybe it’s not without purpose? Maybe it’s there to warn me a lesson, to help me shift my perception, perhaps?

But if we just focus on the pain, we forget to see the message behind the pain. Our focus becomes in ”how not to get the pain no matter what” instead of…. how to seek the light in the end of tunnel. And how to improve the light. For others.

So many people prayed and expect an easy way out. But life isn’t there to be about all-ease and no-pain. It’s just about navigating your best and exercise your skill. I saw pain and pleasure now a natural part of life, a cycle just like night and day.

When we focus only to our ownselves, in this narrow cage called I-ness, our vision becomes as narrow as our world. But when we contribute and help humanity, suddenly your life has a meaning. Your world is expanding. You’re no longer a space parasite. Your world is more than just you and yourself, right?

If we want to have meaningful life, insha Allah, we must put a meaning on the things that matter. That’s it, I guess. The key to have meaningful life…is to attach a meaning on the things that matter.”

 

life meaning in islam

 

Then Adora gazed toward the far sight of the sea again and silenced. I was wondering at her calm reaction.

”How can you be so relaxed? I was suicidal and you were too, except that you’ve done it so many times and I’m not even dare to touch a knife?”

Adora smiled and laughed bitterly, ”Adna. I’m not always relaxed. I have the whole mountain in my shoulders. All I need is a good backpack.”

She continued, ”what’s the use of suicide anyway? I am so done. I don’t want to go to hellfire. First of all, I stop treating God as a shopping cart. Do you see how people make supplication to God? They’re treating God like shopping cart, or Ebay. Yeah seriously. And what the hell is that? Supplicating to Allah is not like ordering a used underwear from Ebay.

So there it goes. God is not a shopping cart. And secondly, in repetition there’s always a pattern. In the past, I used to have too much boyfriends that just became pain in the ass. Instead of blaming God, I asked myself, I must’ve done something really wrong here. Why did I always keep attracting the wrong weepy guys to my life? Like a saying, if you want to see different result, you must start doing different things.”

”Oh, it’s Einstein. He said, definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and yet expecting a different result!”

”Ah, yes! That’s it. You see? Life is a feedback of your repeated actions, not necessarily your sum of supplications. If you keep seeing the same things in your life, that’s just because you’re repeating a pattern. If you want to start seeing change in your life, you must break your pattern. Change your pattern.

In repetition, there’s always a pattern. Universe is never random, it’s as precise as petals of blooming flowers. There’s a pattern in everything, even in actions of people. And yourself.”

”I’m sick of people telling me all the time their lives are garbage and that God turns their lives upside down like a puppet. But I feel pity to them. What should I do, Adora?”

“Of course they’re just ranting. Don’t you think they’re that serious? People complaining all the time. It’s part of life. Everyone has a bad time some parts of their lives and they just need a safe little space to vent. It doesn’t literally mean they see their lives all-bad and no-good, at all.

If you feel anger or pain, and you complain about it to me, you’ll tell me as if the sky is falling, right? But after you vent out everything, you look at things more clearly and ”oh well, I think life isn’t that bad, after all”. These people just need someone, an ear to listen. They don’t come to you seeking therapist, they just seek someone to listen. Sometimes by just showing empathetic reaction, they will feel better. You can think or speak of a good solution but, a lot of times empathy heals.

Can you read body language like me?”

I nodded my head a bit, ”just a little, that’s how I read people but can’t do it accurately all the time. It may be correct or wrong.”

”Can you see that people who come complaining to you, if their reaction is showing signs of helplessness, but there is defensiveness at the same time? They don’t want advice or suggestion. They just want to vent. But if you see sign of openness, it means they seek an advice.”

She smiled and I can see from behind her big unusual eyes there’s a wisdom beyond years hidden in her. Despite the eccentricity and all. As if she’s a very old grandmother trapped inside a younger person’s body.

”We forget that just like the light can show, the dark can teach, and willpower transforms. Life is not meant to be all-dark or all-light, just like there is no all-night or all-day on earth. It’s always alteration between night and day.”

”Do you want to say that people are absurd to ask God their lives to be all-ease?”

“Not really, that’s human. But I learned that the darkness you see in your own life is merely extension of your inner darkness. If you shut the door, no light can enter.”

In many days afterward I didn’t see Adora since that very close meeting. Then afterward I heard some news that she has died, and my heart was like fallen leaves to the ground. My heart wilted very much and I prayed that Allah may safeguard her. But I had no news about her, and we live in different countries.

 

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You Were Slowly Being Purified

”Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We are faithful” and they will not be tested? Verily We have tested those before them, and Allah will surely make apparent those who are truthful, and He will surely make apparent the liars.” (Quran 29: 2-3)

Some people I’ve come across are acting as if they have the key to paradise in their hands. That God will give them paradise for free just because they’re embracing His correct religion, just like that, regardless that they are sinners and committing a lot of evil. Heedless that God is not blind to anyone’s evil.
They easily ignore the verses of Allah’s promise that Allah will absolutely pay any deeds even in wheat grain’s weight its recompense.

”Or do those who commit evil acts think they can outrun Us? Evil is what they judge.” (Quran 29: 4)

Even if you claim or believe to possess what you think is a key to paradise, the key can be crooked, and a crooked key can’t open any door. Aren’t heart, deeds, and sincerity also key to paradise and hell, apart from religious belief? Otherwise, why the verse,

”But as for one whose scales (i.e. of good deeds) are light, his refuge will be Hawiyah (hell)” (Quran 101: 8-9)

If you have $200 in your pocket and you passed a market to buy fruits, you want to only buy the best quality of fruits. You’ll never want to trade your hard-earned money in exchange of rotten fruit, or fruit that seems beautiful in the outside but secretly filled with worms inside.

Then leave alone Allah. There is no way Allah will trade your rotten deeds and hearts with His pure paradise. Allah is not blind, and Paradise is not that cheap.

It doesn’t mean that the harder the adversity, the nobler the person. Someone who carries 300 kg of weight is not necessarily better than those who carry less. The weight and size of the dragon is never a parameter to determine a warrior’s quality. Only how you slay the dragon and rise from it can determine your inner quality. Only how you wake and stand up from the fall can determine who you are and showing what you’re capable of.

And it doesn’t mean that we must seek hardship for example in religion as this is disliked even in Sunnah,

Rasulullah said ”A believer should never debase himself” , then the companions asked ”how come he debase himself?”, his answer was “by seeking burdens that he failed to bear” (Hadith authenticity : hasaan/fair)

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Edit : Just recently I went to the place near rocky sea and I thought I saw a ghost!!!! It was Adora my good friend with flesh and blood! Although she’s wearing black dress from head to toe, even black headscarf, it almost made me think she was a ghost!

I swear by Allah I was sooo happy to see Adora alive and how foul it was the news from around her that she’s dead in accident. She laughed out loud.

“Hahaha seriously? Ooh I don’t know that!”

“Where have you been, Adora!”

She’s just grinning and “Ah well, I just been sleeping too much in the wormhole! Then space and time dilatation are vomittting me back to life, you know?”

s always alteration between night and day.

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