excerpt from my favorite books:
“where am I going? This society? The whole human race?” These are questions which many of us today are asking urgently, deeply troubled about what we see happening in our world Our concerns may be quite personal ones, centered around our own particular life situation. They may be general ones, related to the state of things as a whole or both. For this is a strange and difficult time, a time when all the old values and traditions seem to have been cut out from under us without anything clear and definitive having been substituted for them. From every direction and every possible source, we’re being bombarded by the newfangled ideas, values and behaviors of the New Age in which we live.
The New Age is an age with many interesting features. One of these is confusion. Great numbers of us no longer seem to have a clear sense of right and wrong, good and bad. Under the impact of too much personal freedom and the flood of new ideas and values, we’re falling apart, frightened, uncertain, lost. After all, how is it possible to have certainty about anything when even the most basic, time-honored values are being called into question?
In comparison to earlier times, everything around us today seems upside-down and backwards. A great deal of what was previously considered right is now looked upon as outmoded, irrelevant or just plain dumb. At the same time, much of what used to be considered wrong is now accepted as right, normal and okay. Members of the older generation, like myself, still maintain our vision of what things were like in an earlier, simpler, less perplexing period. But when our generation goes, apart from people of strong religious faith, who will be left that still retains a clear vision of a saner, more stable society? That vision will have gone with the winds of change.
This turn-about in basic human values and morals has led to a steady unraveling of civilized standards and behavior, not only in the country but worldwide. Brutality, lust and all manner of other evils flourish around the globe; violence, vice and exploitation seem to have become the new order of the day. And fear hangs over the whole world. Those of us who are even slightly sensitive to the currents and energies around us realize that something is wrong-deeply, awfully wrong. And we carry the collective burden of humanity’s pain and turmoil deep within our hearts.
Day by day the fear and uneasiness increases. Often we sense that we’re at the edge of a terrible and dangerous abyss, surrounded by intense darkness. As the end of this millennium approaches, predictions of a worldwide Armageddon-like catastrophe haunt our minds. And how can it be otherwise when we sense deep within ourselves that things have gone so wrong that such a crisis is due? For each day, new and deeper holes appear in the social and moral fabric of mankind, and it seem obvious that when the holes become more than the fabric itself, it’s past repair.
Why? you may be asking. Why is our society, our world, so terribly disturbed? Why is there so much suffering, misery and evil on earth? Why is everything around us and inside us in such a state of upheaval?
Why are the rates of crime, violence, sexual misbehavior, family breakdown, substance abuse and suicide mounting day by day? Why are there so many problems within my family, among my friends, or in my own life? Why am I so anxious, depressed, stressed-out, uncertain, unable to find any peace of mind?
These are all-important questions. I’ve thrown them out to you, not in order to make you uneasy, but because they’re matters which we urgently need to address. Yet we seem unable (or perhaps unwilling) to put our finger on the cause. Social scientists spend years studying such issues, but even they often fail to understand the primary reason for this troubled state of affairs, much less what can be done about it. Why? One possibility is that in a secular society such as ours, the reason is one that few people want to admit or accept.
Can it be that we’re all suffering because a critical something is missing from our society and world in our time? And is it possible that because of this missing thing, a huge emptiness exists in a great many people’s hearts? Might it be that our attempts to fill this void, although without knowing what it represents, has resulted in our blind race for material solutions, material supports and material satisfactions, without taking into consideration our total human nature and its needs?
Then, we may further ask ourselves, can it be that the race to replace that vital missing element with material goals and goods has warped our spirits and, in turn, our values even more? To take this line of questioning further, is it possible that the drive for material props could be fuelled by an intense spiritual hunger, even starvation, which we try to fill in any way we can?”
-Suzanne Haneef, Islam: The Path of God, pages-7–24. [PDF]
*The Human Being*
“In the words of the Quran, the human being was “a thing not (even) mentioned.” (Quran 76:1) God brought him out of non-being into existence: from a sperm and an egg in the bodies of his parents into an embryo growing in his mother’s womb, then into independent life when he was born into the world; from helpless infancy into childhood, and from maturity into old age during which he becomes like a weak, helpless child all over again: and from thence into another life which will be the final state of all human beings.”
-Suzanne Haneef, What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims, page 21. [PDF]
So informative books written by an American Muslim convert. A summary of the Islamic beliefs, ways of worship, qualities, values, morals, standards of conduct, and, in concrete practical terms, the Islamic way of life. This is the classic English-language book for introducing Islam to non-Muslims in the West. It is a well-balanced book that does an excellent job of covering the basics of belief, practice, and culture, without overwhelming the reader in minutia. This is generally the first books that I recommend to people who are interested in learning about Islam.
The only way to know the truth about Islam is to study its teachings, for they are the standard by which the actions of Muslims can be assessed as being right or wrong. I encourage non-Muslims to read and learn more about Islam.