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A Muslims Reflection on Hawking and the Likes…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

As a student of Astrophysics, I have always found myself plunging into studying the cosmos. Lately I have also started reading about particle physics. In short I can describe my experience as breath-taking! I am stunned by the creation of Almighty.

At the same time, I always wonder, why the likes of smart people, highly intelligent, like Hawking (Theorotical Physicist – highly known for his work on Black Holes and Hawking Radiation, who died today), Ed Witten (proposer of M-theory) etc. did/do not receive guidance to believe in a Superme Creator..

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(Hawking has produced some amazing research on Black Holes. Hawking Radiation describes the process on how a black hole slowly evaporates and loses its existence)

I found my answer in the Nobel Qur’an, where Allaah عز وجل says,

وَعَادًا وَثَمُودَ وَقَدْ تَبَيَّنَ لَكُمْ مِنْ مَسَاكِنِهِمْ ۖ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ وَكَانُوا مُسْتَبْصِرِينَ

“And ‘Ad and Thamud (people)! And indeed (their destruction) is clearly apparent to you from their (ruined) dwellings. Shaitan (Satan) made their deeds fair-seeming to them, and turned them away from the (Right) Path, though they were intelligent.”

-Sura Al-Ankabut, Ayah 38

For anyone who knows the history of the people of ‘Ad and Thamud, it becomes apparent that they were highly intelligent, strongly built, carved homes in sand hills – a feat which requires planned engineering (refer Tasfir ibn Kathir). This becomes explicit in the ayah,

أَوَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَيَنْظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ كَانُوا أَشَدَّ مِنْهُمْ قُوَّةً وَأَثَارُوا الْأَرْضَ وَعَمَرُوهَا أَكْثَرَ مِمَّا عَمَرُوهَا وَجَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ۖ فَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ وَلَٰكِنْ كَانُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ

“Do they not travel in the land, and see what was the end of those before them? They were superior to them in strength, and they tilled the earth and populated it in greater numbers than these (pagans) have done, and there came to them their Messengers with clear proofs. Surely, Allah wronged them not, but they used to wrong themselves.”

-Sura Ar-Rum, Ayah 9

Going back the former ayah in Surah al-Ankabut, Allaah عز وجل uses the word مُسْتَبْصِرِينَ to describe the people of ‘Ad and Thamud – that means they were given baseerah – they were a people with deep insights. That’s why, Dr. Muhsin Khan and Taqi ud Deen al-Hilali (May Allaah have mercy upon both of them) interpreted the word مُسْتَبْصِرِينَ as ‘they (people of ‘Ad and Thamud) were intelligent’.

So it becomes explicit now, people with high intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be guided. Why aren’t they guided then?

Dr. Muhsin Khan and Taqi ud Deen al-Hilali mentioned the five reasons why people fall into major disbelief in the appendix of their interpretation of the Noble Qur’an,

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(To understand what a true Muslim believes and what are the six articles of faith, please download the concise thirteen page book here – Belief of a Muslim)

So basically, it is one of the reasons above, the well known scientists today persist in their disbelief and hence lack guidance towards the ultimate truth.

I’d like to conclude this article by including another ayah from the Noble Qur’an and سبحان الله , this from Surah al-Ankabut again,

Allaah عز وجل says,

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah’s Religion – Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinun (good doers).”

-Sura Al-Ankabut, Ayah 69

May Allaah عز وجل guide all those who sincerely strive to seek the truth.

– Compiled by Sarfarāz ibn Shuja

 

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Stressed Out?

There are times when you frequently forget about things, times of frequent mood swings, times of not being able to concentrate on anything.
Instead all you want to do is just lie down doing nothing because you just cannot bear another classroom lecture, cannot bear to listen to anything that requires the scratching of the brain.
You sleep restlessly, not physically present in the environment. You do not respond to situations and prompts, are mindless, lazy to do anything, show less interest, feel irritable, forget very obvious things, go extremely high on emotions in isolation.

Do you ever feel this way? Many people have been there. You were probably ‘just’ stressed out.

Though stress isn’t always a bad thing, it can give a burst of energy when competing or when speaking in public. (1)
But when stress becomes continuous, what happens? If you face it every day and every night, what will eventually happen?

Chronic stress actually begins to change your brain. It can affect the brains size, its structure and also how it functions.

When your brain detects a stressful situation, your HPA axis (Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal axis – a series of interactions between endocrine glands in the brain and kidney) gets activated and releases a hormone called ‘cortisol’. (2)

High levels of cortisol can cause the part of your brain associated with learning, memory and physical stress to deteriorate and keep diminishing. That answers why you couldn’t concentrate on your academics or chores or tried hard enough but couldn’t get through, striving with extremely high levels of stress over and over again.

Extremely high levels of cortisol can literally shrink your brain in size. Too much of it results into loss of synaptic connections (nerve impulses travel via this in the brain) between neurons and affects the part of your brain that regulates concentration, decision making, judgement and interaction with the surrounding. (3) This clearly means that chronic stress can make it difficult for you to learn and remember things. This leads to some serious mental problems like depression and so on.

But in the midst of all this we forget one thing. The presence of our Creator.

Our Creator, Allah the Almighty allowed our brain to repair itself. SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah). From among the most prominent and common ways to control stress are exercising and even better – praying with khushoo (tranquility) to connect with our Rabb, Allah.

The treasures that we hold of our belief in the Oneness of Allah and His Teachings are priceless, treasures that we cannot possibly begin to imagine.

If things don’t work out for you, it’s okay, this is just a temporary world. Everything that begins also comes to an end at its final destination. In your case it is death.
Would you really bother at your death bed about what you are crying for now? What would matter at that time? Why doesn’t it matter to you now? That’s important to understand. Catch hold of it while you still can.

Allah Subhana wa Ta’la (Glory be to Him the Most High) has the power to give everything to whom He wills and to take away from whomever He wills. Both the scenarios are a test. Usually the 1st case consists of people who take things and blessings for granted. So what if you lost your job or a person you loved or what if you couldn’t get an exam cleared? I know it’s difficult to lose someone or something you love, but at the end, everyone and everything has to leave. It was always meant to be this way.

Getting excessively stressed, crying, throbbing your temples until your nerves start to burst? Really? Are you that weak?

You will lose your brain. Are you ready for the bargain? And all this comes from ‘just’ being stressed out!

Remember to leave your matters onto Allah Subhana wa Ta’la and start believing that He will take care. Quit crying, do your job which is to make the effort; the effort to purify what lies in your heart which is the only thing that will be examined in the end.

The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children.
Except him who brings to Allah a clean heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifaq (hypocrisy)].

[Surah Ash-Shu’ra 26; Ayahs 88-89]

Written by Sidra Ali

Stressed Out

Footnotes:

(1) How stress affects your brain – http://ed.ted.com/on/xkIxB8xO
(2) The process of the release of cortisol, the hormone released during stress – http://www.youramazingbrain.org/brainchanges/stressbrain.htm
(3) Shrinking of the brain due to stress – http://share.upmc.com/2014/09/stress-affects-brain/

Please note:

We do not advocate any content that may be Islamically  inappropriate in the form of text, photo, audio, video etc. in the links above.
We provided the links to give you the resources we used that will also help you to get a better understanding of our article.

JazakAllahuKhairan and thank you for reading!