, by SYED HUSAIN PASHA
Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai,/ Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)
Fun, therefore, is what you get when you lose yourself trying to figure out the movement that the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, put together to help humanity discover its true destiny in this world. And its true origin in God.
Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilaihi raaji'oon, is how the Qur'an describes the simple fact of human origin and destiny.
Paraphrase: From God we come; to Him we belong; and to Him shall we return.
Islam, what a beautiful movement: so neatly packaged in these few words in the Qur'an from the divine master – from beginning to end.
Islam was, and remains, a movement whose methodology was service – service to God Almighty in heaven and service to his creation right here on earth.
It was a movement whose ultimate object was liberty, dignity, safety, security, peace and tranquillity for all human beings – in body, mind, soul and property.
It was a movement whose guiding light was truth and fear of God.
It was a movement that, for the first time in human history, ended “all forms of tyranny,” as Thomas Jefferson once put it, borrowing most probably from the Qur'an, “over the mind of man,” and set all of humanity free from subjugation, oppression and exploitation by kings, nobles and bishops – by both “sacred” and “secular” authorities of this world.
It was a movement that, for the first time in human history, liberated women from domination and intimidation by men and gave women rights just as it also gave men rights.
And yet, it was a movement that boldly refused to allow the question of women's rights and liberties to be turned into a ruse for the exploitation and objectification of women by selfish, unscrupulous, conniving, greedy, wicked and lustful males and females. And for the disruption of family life. And for the corruption and poisoning of the well of human life and society in this world.
What a man – Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – who made all this possible, in an impossibly and inconceivably short span of two quick decades, one of which was devoted to building the movement, while the other was dedicated to delivering on the promise of the movement.
And what a blessed movement it was that he built on the foundations of Islam!
A movement of love and peace and joy – and infinite “fun” – that had its origin in the concept and culture of As-Salaam that was not only from God but that was itself the very blessed and beautiful name of God Almighty.
And all of this packed in the four glorious words of La Ilaaha Illaa Allah!
If all of this is not a miracle, then what is it?
PLAINS OF ARAFAAT AND JABALUR RAHMAH
Fun in Islam is that amazing mix of emotions that takes you in its grip when you are standing at the plain of 'Arafaat.
Or when you have somehow managed to float or scramble up Jabalur Rahmah – Mount Mercy – under midday sun during Hajj, with your hands and face raised to heaven, completely oblivious of the tears gushing down your face, or the words shooting out of your lips, or the ocean of humanity, from every corner of the world, churning and milling about you, or the desert sun beating down on you with ruthless ferocity.
I am not sure there is another scene like that – or feeling, “fun,” joy, delight and bliss like that – anywhere in the world.
If anyone ever wanted to witness direct personal communication between heaven and earth, and between God and his special creation, the human being, then that is the place and time to see it. I don't think you are likely to find it anywhere else or at any other time.
The Pope and his followers – our Catholic brothers and sisters – may celebrate their “Mass” the way they want, in the language they want, and at the time of day or night they want, but, frankly, I don't think there is another example on earth, where you will find such a milling “mass” of men and women on earth below locked in such intense, excruciating, heartbreaking and personal communication with God Almighty in heaven above.
Now, that to me is fun. Pure and undiluted fun!
EVEN MORE FUN
Fun in Islam is when, on any ordinary day, you really managed to connect with one of your Salaats. Or maybe it is the other way around. I don't know.
Fun is when one of your special days of fast slowly but surely inched up to breakfast time.
Fun is when someone placed in your outstretched arms, for the first time, your most beautiful first-born baby.
If you know – and have experienced any of these things – then you know what I am talking about. Then you would know the true meaning of fun – the kind of fun Islam is and offers. The kind of fun God Almighty has packed a Muslim's life with.
If not, then there is no way anyone can truly describe those experiences – and that fun – to you. You will just have to wait till you decide to go after them. Or till they come to you.
And then you will know.
SCIENCE AND FUN
And to tell you the truth, isn't that the nature of all fun – the right kind of cortical stimulation and activation, whether it happens spontaneously or through external intervention or facilitation of some kind: chemical or electrical; or through the intermediacy of a wide range of social and environmental stimuli?
Isn't it basically jump-starting the right part – correct part I mean – of your cortex – brain I guess? Not the cerebellum or the long one in the back of your brain but the big roundish – or is it oblong? – one sitting right on top of both of them.
That means these results can be obtained through all kinds of chemical intervention, just as they can also be obtained through any number of bodily and physical activities and stimulation.
We can also get similar results through electrically tickling the correct parts of our brain and through encountering certain physical stimuli in the environment. Just as we can also get them through certain spontaneous mental activities such as the reading of superior quality writings; the study and contemplation of nature or great work of art; listening to certain types of rhythmic sound or music; or no more than a sheer lively imagination.
What do I know about any of this stuff, right? True.
Ask any of the people who really know about these things – medical specialists; neurophysicists; neurochemists; neurophysiologists; neuroanatomists; neurobiologists; neuropsychologists; neuropathologists; those studying “mindfulness” and “consciousness” and the rest of the folks of that ilk; that is, those studying either the physical composition, nature and structure of the brain or the broad spectrum of its working, functions and effects – and they will tell you.
I am not even sure I got their names right, but they are all out there somewhere, under one name or another, studying precisely these sort of things: the miraculous makeup and workings of the human brain – fun stuff I suppose.
Find them and ask them. And they will tell you. And then ask yourself how you can really and truly have Islam and not have fun.
THE MIRACLE OF A HEALTHY HEART
It is another miracle from God that Islam – and things Islamic – can be so much fun to those who embrace it with a good, clean, healthy heart. Those about whom the Qur'an says: Man atallaha bi-qalbin saleem.
Can you imagine that? In the beginning of the Seventh Century – well, you get the right date – the Qur'an talks about a wholesome, healthy heart! A disease-free heart.
And you want a bigger miracle than that?
And that too through the lips of an Unlettered Man – from among an Unlettered People steeped in an unlettered culture!
If that is not a miracle what is?
A good, nice, decent, sweet, loving, kind, contented, generous, strong and altogether well and healthy heart! In the Seventh Century – through an Unlettered Man!
What a miracle!