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Deep Thinking

Harun Yahya – Adnan Oktar



Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: "O Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire."(Surah Al ‘Imran: 191)



About the Author

Now writing under the pen-name of HARUN YAHYA, Adnan Oktar was born in Ankara in 1956. Having completed his primary and secondary education in Ankara, he studied arts at Istanbul's Mimar Sinan University and philosophy at Istanbul University. Since the 1980s, he has published many books on political, scientific, and faith-related issues. Harun Yahya is well-known as the author of important works disclosing the imposture of evolutionists, their invalid claims, and the dark liaisons between Darwinism and such bloody ideologies as fascism and communism.

Harun Yahya’s works, translated into 63 different languages, constitute a collection for a total of more than 55,000 pages with 40,000 illustrations.

His pen-name is a composite of the names Harun (Aaron) and Yahya (John), in memory of the two esteemed Prophets who fought against their peoples' lack of faith. the Prophet's seal on his books' covers is symbolic and is linked to their contents. It represents the Qur'an (the Final Scripture) and Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), last of the prophets. Under the guidance of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet [may Allah bless him and grant him peace]), the author makes it his purpose to disprove each fundamental tenet of irreligious ideologies and to have the "last word," so as to completely silence the objections raised against religion. He uses the seal of the final Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), who attained ultimate wisdom and moral perfection, as a sign of his intention to offer the last word.

All of Harun Yahya's works share one single goal: to convey the Qur'an's message, encourage readers to consider basic faith-related issues such as Allah's existence and unity and the Hereafter; and to expose irreligious systems' feeble foundations and perverted ideologies.

Harun Yahya enjoys a wide readership in many countries, from India to America, England to Indonesia, Poland to Bosnia, Spain to Brazil, Malaysia to Italy, France to Bulgaria and Russia. Some of his books are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Urdu, Arabic, Albanian, Chinese, Swahili, Hausa, Dhivehi (spoken in Mauritius), Russian, Serbo-Croat (Bosnian), Polish, Malay, Uygur Turkish, Indonesian, Bengali, Danish and Swedish.

Greatly appreciated all around the world, these works have been instrumental in many people recovering faith in Allah and gaining deeper insights into their faith. His books' wisdom and sincerity, together with a distinct style that's easy to understand, directly affect anyone who reads them. Those who seriously consider these books, can no longer advocate atheism or any other perverted ideology or materialistic philosophy, since these books are characterized by rapid effectiveness, definite results, and irrefutability. Even if they continue to do so, it will be only a sentimental insistence, since these books refute such ideologies from their very foundations. All contemporary movements of denial are now ideologically defeated, thanks to the books written by Harun Yahya.

This is no doubt a result of the Qur'an's wisdom and lucidity. the author modestly intends to serve as a means in humanity's search for Allah's right path. No material gain is sought in the publication of these works.

Those who encourage others to read these books, to open their minds and hearts and guide them to become more devoted servants of Allah, render an invaluable service.

Meanwhile, it would only be a waste of time and energy to propagate other books that create confusion in people's minds, lead them into ideological confusion, and that clearly have no strong and precise effects in removing the doubts in people's hearts, as also verified from previous experience. It is impossible for books devised to emphasize the author's literary power rather than the noble goal of saving people from loss of faith, to have such a great effect. Those who doubt this can readily see that the sole aim of Harun Yahya's books is to overcome disbelief and to disseminate the Qur'an's moral values. the success and impact of this service are manifested in the readers' conviction.

One point should be kept in mind: the main reason for the continuing cruelty, conflict, and other ordeals endured by the vast majority of people is the ideological prevalence of disbelief. This can be ended only with the ideological defeat of disbelief and by conveying the wonders of creation and Qur'anic morality so that people can live by it. Considering the state of the world today, leading into a downward spiral of violence, corruption and conflict, clearly this service must be provided speedily and effectively, or it may be too late.

In this effort, the books of Harun Yahya assume a leading role. by the will of Allah, these books will be a means through which people in the twenty-first century will attain the peace, justice, and happiness promised in the Qur'an.

To the Reader

A special chapter is assigned to the collapse of the theory of evolution because this theory constitutes the basis of all anti-spiritual philosophies. Since Darwinism rejects the fact of creation-and therefore, Allah's existence-over the last 150 years it has caused many people to abandon their faith or fall into doubt. It is therefore an imperative service, a very important duty to show everyone that this theory is a deception. Since some readers may find the opportunity to read only one of our books, we think it appropriate to devote a chapter to summarize this subject.

All the author's books explain faith-related issues in light of Qur'anic verses, and invite readers to learn Allah's words and to live by them. All the subjects concerning Allah's verses are explained so as to leave no doubt or room for questions in the reader's mind. the books' sincere, plain, and fluent style ensures that everyone of every age and from every social group can easily understand them. Thanks to their effective, lucid narrative, they can be read at one sitting. Even those who rigorously reject spirituality are influenced by the facts these books document and cannot refute the truthfulness of their contents.

This and all the other books by the author can be read individually, or discussed in a group. Readers eager to profit from the books will find discussion very useful, letting them relate their reflections and experiences to one another.

In addition, it will be a great service to Islam to contribute to the publication and reading of these books, written solely for the pleasure of Allah. the author's books are all extremely convincing. for this reason, to communicate true religion to others, one of the most effective methods is encouraging them to read these books.

We hope the reader will look through the reviews of his other books at the back of this book. His rich source material on faith-related issues is very useful, and a pleasure to read.

In these books, unlike some other books, you will not find the author's personal views, explanations based on dubious sources, styles that are unobservant of the respect and reverence due to sacred subjects, nor hopeless, pessimistic arguments that create doubts in the mind and deviations in the heart.



Contents

Introduction

Deep Thinking

What Do People Usually Think About?

What are the Reasons that Prevent Thought?

Those Things that Need to be Thought about

Thinking Over the Verses of the Qur'an

Conclusion

Introduction

Have you ever thought about the fact that you did not exist before you were conceived and then born into the world and that you have come into existence from mere nothingness?

Have you ever thought about how the fragrant and beautifully colored flowers you see everyday have come out of pitch black, muddy soil?

Have you ever thought about how mosquitoes, which irritatingly fly around you, move their wings so fast that we are unable to see them?

Have you ever thought about how the peels of fruits such as bananas, watermelons, melons and oranges serve as wrappings of high quality, and how the fruits are packed in these wrappings so that they maintain their taste and fragrance?

Have you ever thought about the possibility that while you are asleep a sudden earthquake could raze your home, your office, and your city to the ground and that in a few seconds you could lose everything of the world you possess?

Have you ever thought of how your life passes away very quickly, and that you will grow old and become weak, and slowly lose your beauty, health and strength?

Have you ever thought about how one day you will find the angels of death appointed by Allah before you and that you will then leave this world?

Have you ever thought about why people are so attached to a world from which they will soon depart when what they basically need is to strive for the Hereafter?

Man is a being whom Allah furnishes with the faculty of thought. Yet, most people do not use this very important faculty as they should. in fact, some people almost never think.

In truth, each person possesses a capacity for thought of which even he himself is unaware. Once man begins to use this capacity, facts he has not been able to realize until that very moment begin to be uncovered for him. the deeper he goes in reflection, the more his capacity to think improves, and this is possible for everyone. One just has to realize that one needs to reflect and then to strive hard.

The purpose of this book is to invite people to think in the best way and show ways of doing this. Someone who does not think will remain totally distant from truths and lead his life in self-deception and error. as a result, he will not grasp the purpose of the creation of the world, and the reason for his existence on the earth. Yet, Allah has created everything with a purpose. This fact is stated in the Qur'an as follows:

We did not create the heavens and the earth and everything between them as a game. We did not create them except with truth but most of them do not know it. (Surat ad-Dukhan: 38-39)

Did you suppose that We created you for amusement and that you would not return to Us? (Surat al-Muminun: 115)

Therefore, each person needs to ponder the purpose of creation, first as it concerns him himself, and then as it pertains to everything he sees in the universe and every event he experiences throughout his life. Someone who does not think, will understand the facts only after he dies, when he gives account before Allah, but then it will be too late. Allah says in the Qur'an that on the day of account, everybody will think and see the truth:

That day Hell is produced, that day man will remember; but how will the remembrance help him?

He will say, "Oh! If only I had prepared in advance for this life of mine!" (Surat al-Fajr: 23-24)

While Allah has given us an opportunity in the life of this world to reflect and derive conclusions from our reflections, to see the truth will bring us great gain in our life in the Hereafter. for this reason, Allah has summoned all people, through His prophets and books, to reflect on their creation and on the creation of the universe:

Have they not reflected within themselves? Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and everything between them except with truth and for a fixed term. Yet many people reject the meeting with their Lord. (Surat ar-Rum: 8)

From Mr. Adnan Oktar's Live Interview on Ahi TV (Kırşehir) on July-15 2008 …

ADNAN OKTAR: the works of Harun Yahya primarily aim at the signs leading to faith, and the importance of the signs leading to faith. Because it is very important for people’s faith to be strengthened before making a proposition. It is important that they have a very strong faith. and signs leading to faith are very important for a powerful faith. the marvels of Allah in Creation, in other words. I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed satan; Allah frequently says, "Do they not think, do they not reflect?” in the Qur’an. This is a subject that the great and holy scholar Bediuzzaman Said Nursi discussed as one of the greatest importance. It is a very, very important subject. in other words, for instance, the Turkish nation has a very strong faith. We see the effects of that faith everywhere, but this comes from their attaching importance to the signs leading to faith, to seeing Allah’s artistry everywhere and to being predisposed to hardship. Our nation is predisposed to hardship.

Deep Thinking

Most people believe that in order to think deeply, one needs to put one's head between one's hands, withdraw to an empty room, and isolate oneself from all other people and affairs. Indeed, they make such a big issue of thinking deeply that they find it too difficult, and imagine that it is a quality exclusive to philosophers.

However, Allah invites people to reflect and says that He has revealed the Qur'an for people to reflect on it: "It is a book We have sent down to you, full of blessing, so let people of intelligence ponder its signs and take heed." (Surah Sad: 29). What is important is one's sincerely improving one's ability to think and going deeper in thinking.

On the other hand, people who do not spend effort to that end continue their lives in deep heedlessness. the word heedlessness has connotations like neglectfulness without forgetting, abandoning, being mistaken, disregarding, being careless. the heedless state of those who do not reflect is a consequence of forgetting or deliberately disregarding the purpose of their creation and of the realities which religion teaches. Yet, this is an extremely dangerous course that may lead to Hell. Correspondingly, Allah has warned people against being among the heedless:

Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and fearfully, without loudness of voice, morning and evening. Do not be of the heedless ones. (Surat al-A'raf: 205)

Warn them of the day of bitter regret when the affair will be resolved. but they take no notice and they do not believe. (Surah Maryam: 39)

In the Qur'an, Allah refers to people who reflect and who, after reflecting conscientiously, see the truth and therefore fear Him. Allah says that those who blindly follow the superstitious beliefs and thoughts of their forefathers without thinking, are wrong. When asked, these people say that they believe in Allah. Yet, since they do not think as is due, they do not amend their conduct from fear of Allah. in the following verses, the mentality of these people is clearly laid out:

Say: "To whom does the earth belong, and everyone in it, if you have any knowledge?"

They will say: "To Allah." Say: "So will you not pay heed?"

Say: "Who is the Lord of the Seven Heavens and the Lord of the Mighty Throne?"

They will say: "Allah." Say: "So will you not have taqwa*?"

Say: "In whose hand is the dominion over everything, He who gives protection and from whom no protection can be given, if you have any knowledge?"

They will say: "Allah's." Say: "So how have you been bewitched?"

The fact is that We have given them the truth and they are liars. (Surat al-Muminun: 84-90)

Thinking Removes the Spell on People

In the above verse, Allah asks people, "So how have you been bewitched?" the word "bewitched" in the verse implies a state of mental numbness that takes control of people as a whole. an unthinking person's mind is benumbed, his sight becomes fuzzy, he acts as if he does not see the facts before his eyes, and his faculty of judgement weakens. He becomes incapable of grasping even a plain truth. He cannot be fully conscious of extraordinary events taking place right before him. He does not notice the intricate details of events. the reason for people's leading heedless lives for thousands of years and their staying away from deep thought as a whole, as if it is merely a cultural heritage, is actually this mental numbness.

We can explain one of the outcomes of this collective spell with an example:

Beneath the earth's surface lies a boiling stratum or layer called magma. the crust of the earth is very thin, which implies that this blaze is very close to us, almost under our feet. in order to have a better understanding of how thin the earth's crust is we can make a comparison: the thickness of the earth's crust in proportion to the whole earth can be compared to the thickness of the peel of the apple in proportion to the whole apple.

Everyone knows that there is a stratum boiling at very high temperatures right beneath the earth's surface, but few people think much about it. This is because their parents, brothers, relatives, friends, neighbors, the journalists of the newspapers they read, TV program producers and their university professors do not think about it either.

Let us try to make you think over this a little. Let us assume that a person, having lost his memory, tries to learn about his surroundings by asking questions of everyone around him. This person would first ask where he is. What would he think if he was told that beneath the ground he stands on lies a globe of boiling fire and that these flames could gush out of the earth's surface in the event of a strong earthquake or a volcanic eruption? Let us go further and suppose that this person was told that this world is simply a small planet and it floats in an infinite dark void called space and that space contains even greater dangers than those beneath the earth’s crust. for example, meteors weighing tons freely move around in space. There is no reason why they should not alter their courses, perhaps because of some gravitational influence from another planet, and collide with the earth.

Surely, that person would not be able to forget, even for a moment, the risky situation he is in. He would investigate how people lead their lives in such an environment to which they hang on by the skin of their teeth. He would realize that a flawless system has been brought into being. the inside of the planet on which he lives contains great danger, yet very delicate balances prevent this danger from harming people, except in unusual circumstances. the person who realizes this understands that the earth and all creatures on it live and continue their existence in safety only by the will of Allah, owing to the flawless balance He has created.

This example is only one of millions, even billions of examples upon which people need to ponder. Giving another example will be useful to help us understand how heedlessness affects people's faculty of thought and restrains their intellectual capacity.

People know that the life of this world passes away and ends very rapidly, yet still, they behave as if they will never leave this world. They act as if there is no death in the world. This, indeed, is a kind of spell carried over from generation to generation. This has such a strong effect that when someone talks about death, people immediately close the subject for fear of breaking the spell on them and facing the reality. People who have spent their entire lives in order to buy fine houses, summer residences and cars, and to send their children to good colleges, do not want to think that one day they will die and that they will not be able to take their cars, their houses, or children with them. Consequently, rather than beginning to do something for the real life after death, they choose not to think.

However, everyone, sooner or later, will definitely die and after one dies, whether one believes it or not, the eternal life will begin for everyone. Whether this eternal life will be spent in Paradise or in Hell depends on what one has done in the short life of this world. While such is the plain truth, the only reason why people behave as if death does not exist is this spell that has covered them because they do not think.

Those who cannot, by thinking, save themselves from this spell and therefore from a heedless state, will understand the facts by seeing them with their eyes after they die. Allah communicates this fact in the Qur'an:

You were heedless of this, so We have stripped you of your covering and today your sight is sharp. (Surah Qaf: 22)

As Allah says in the verse, the sight which here is blurred because of not thinking, will be "sharp" at the time when the person gives account in the Hereafter after death.

It should be pointed out that people deliberately impose such a spell on themselves. They suppose that by doing so they will live restful and relaxed lives. However, real amenity, peace, joy and comfort can be gained by this spell being removed. Besides it is very easy for anyone to make a decision and shake off this mental numbness, and begin to live with a clear consciousness.

Allah has presented the solution to people; people who reflect can dispel this enchantment while they are in the world. They thus come to understand that all events have a purpose and an inner meaning, and are able to see wisdom in the events that Allah creates at every instant.


One can Think at Anytime and Anywhere

There is no time, place or condition necessary for thought. Anyone may think while walking on the street, going to the office, driving a car, working at the computer, attending a friend's gathering or having lunch.

While driving a car, for example, it is possible to see hundreds of people outdoors. He who looks at these people can think about many different things. It may come to his mind that the physical appearances of these hundreds of people are completely different. None of these people look like one another. It is astonishing that, although these people share basically similar features such as eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, hands, arms, legs, mouths and noses, they all look so different from one another. Thinking a little further, one remembers the following:

Allah has created billions of people over thousands of years all different from one another. This certainly is a piece of evidence of Allah’s obvious existence and marvelous creation.

The person watching all these people rushing may be occupied by many different thoughts. at first glance, each one of these people seems like a distinct individual. Every one of them has his own world, wishes, plans, ways of living, topics that make him happy or unhappy, and tastes. Yet these differences are misleading. in general, every human being is born, grows up, goes to school, looks for a job, works, marries, has children, sends the children to school, marries them off, ages, becomes a grandmother or grandfather and finally passes away. From this point of view, there are no big differences between people's lives. Whether one lives in a neighborhood in Istanbul or in a Mexican city does not change anything at all. All of these people will definitely die one day. a century later, perhaps not even one of these people will be alive. the person who realizes all this, carries on thinking and asks himself the following questions: "Since all of us will die one day, why does everybody act as if they will never depart from this world? While a person, whose death is certain, ought to strive for his life after death, how is it that almost all people behave as if their lives in this world will never end?"

Such a person is one who thinks and reaches a very crucial conclusion from what he thinks.

A great majority of people do not think about these issues. If they are suddenly asked, "What are you thinking at the moment?", it will be seen that they think extremely unnecessary things that will not be of much use to them. However, man is able to think meaningful, wise and important subjects at every moment from the time he wakes up until he sleeps, and derive conclusions from what he thinks.

In the Qur'an, Allah informs us that in all circumstances the believers reflect and derive beneficial conclusions from their thinking.

In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for people with intelligence: those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Surah Al ‘Imran: 190-191)

As we are also informed in the verse, because believers are people who reflect, they are able to see the miraculous side of the creation and exalt the power, knowledge and wisdom of Allah.

Thinking Sincerely by Turning Towards Allah

In order for contemplation to benefit a person and lead him to the right conclusions, he should always think positively. for instance, a person who, seeing someone far more handsome than himself, feels inferior because of his physical inadequacy by thinking about the other person's good looks or who becomes jealous of this person, is thinking a thought of which Allah does not approve. Yet, a person who aims to earn the approval of Allah considers the good looks of the other person as a manifestation of Allah's perfect creation. Since he looks at this person as a beauty Allah has created, he derives great pleasure from it. He asks Allah to enhance the beauty of this person in the Hereafter. as for himself, he also asks Allah for true and eternal beauty in the Hereafter. He realizes that man can never be perfect in this world, because the world has been created with imperfections as a part of a test. His craving for Paradise increases. This is certainly only one example of sincere thought. Throughout life, man encounters many instances like this. He is tested to see whether he displays the beliefs and good manners with which Allah will be pleased.

In order to be successful in the test of this world and thus achieve the best Hereafter, one needs to derive lessons and warnings from the things one thinks about. for this, it is imperative that one thinks truthfully continually. Allah states in the Qur'an:

It is He Who shows you His signs, and sends down provision to you out of heaven. but none pay heed save those who turn unto Him repentant. (Surah Ghafir: 13)

From Mr. Adnan Oktar's Live Interview on Tempo TV on April-8 2009

ADNAN OKTAR: Human beings are created to serve Allah. Their duty is to serve. but Allah tests us; but after seeing what we will do in the test Allah has no need to determine what we are. Allah has already known this for all time before. Because Allah created all these. Allah knows what we do. Allah’s real aim in inward is to allow us to know ourselves; what kind of people are we? What kind of moral values have we? What kind of character do we have? ... If Allah chooses and we go to Paradise, we will develop a great love for ourselves by saying: “I was a very good person. I served, I communicated Islam, and I helped the poor and supported others in times of difficulty.” in other words, we will have attained a rich color in Paradise.

What Do People Usually Think About?

In previous chapters, we mentioned that people do not think as they ought to and do not develop their faculty of thinking. Yet here there is an important point that needs to be clarified. Surely certain things cross one's mind every moment of one's life. There is almost no moment, save at times of sleep, that the human mind is utterly blank. However, a great many of these are useless, futile and unnecessary thoughts that are of no avail in one's Hereafter, that lead nowhere, and serve one no good.

If someone tries to remember what he thought during the day and notes it down, then looks over it at the end of the day, he will see how futile most of his thoughts are. Even if he were to find some of it useful, he would most likely be mistaken. For, on the whole, thoughts that seem correct may not be of any use in the Hereafter.

Just as people waste time dealing with futile things in their daily lives, equally they spend time in vain carried away with futile thoughts. in the verse: "Successful indeed are the believers…who keep aloof from what is vain…" (Surat al-Muminun: 3), Allah points out one of the characteristics of the believers. Surely, this command of Allah holds true for people's thoughts as well. This is because thoughts, unless we control them consciously, continuously flow through our minds. One unconsciously jumps from one thought to another. While thinking about what needs to be brought from the shops, the mind suddenly starts to think about an old conversation with a friend. This uncontrolled and useless thinking may go on uninterruptedly throughout the day.

Yet controlling thought is possible. Everyone possesses the ability to think things that will improve him, his faith, mind, courtesy and his surroundings.

In this chapter, we will mention what sorts of things heedless people tend to think about in general. the reason for mentioning this is so that the readers may recognize in these heedless thoughts, ones similar to their own and realize that what they are thinking is not beneficial and useful. This will help in taming the thought process to think of subjects that are truly useful.

Useless Worries

When one fails to control thoughts and direct them towards achieving a good end, one may often feel apprehension or treat events that have not happened as if they have occurred and become led astray by unnecessary grief, distress, worry and fear.

The parent of a student sitting for an exam, may fear the worst consequence and as a result worry uselessly, for example, “If my child fails this exam then he will have wasted the money that I spent on his education, he will not be able to get married and then what will people say? What if my neighbor’s child passes but my child fails…?”

These misapprehensions are never ending but it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the student has not yet taken the exam. Someone who is distant from religion and its teachings cannot resist such useless worries. There is surely a reason for it. the Qur'an relates that the reason why people cannot be relieved of useless anxieties is their lending ear to the whisperings of satan:

(Satan:) "Most certainly I will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires…" (Surat an-Nisa: 119)

As seen in the above verse, he who is occupied with futile anxieties, who forgets Allah and does not think clearly, is always open to the whisperings of satan. in other words, if man, deceived by the life of the world, does not exercise his will-power and act conscientiously and if he lets himself drift in the course of events, he comes completely under the control of satan. One of the most crucial patterns of behavior of satan is that he causes people to become anxious. Therefore, all misapprehensions, pessimism and anxieties such as "what will I do if such-and-such happens?" contrived in the mind are caused by the whisperings of satan.

Allah shows people the way to save themselves from this situation. in the Qur'an, Allah advises people that when an evil impulse from satan provokes them, they should seek refuge in Allah and remember Him:

As for those who have taqwa, when they are bothered by visitors from Satan, they remember and immediately see clearly. but as for their brothers, the visitors lead them further into error. and they do not stop at that! (Surat al-A'raf: 201-202)

As stated in the verses, someone who reflects, sees what is right while someone who does not, goes wherever satan drags him.

The important thing is to know that these thoughts will be of no use to the person and will, on the contrary, hamper him from thinking the truth, reflecting on important matters, and therefore purifying the mind from these useless thoughts. Man can think properly only if he frees his mind from futile thoughts. in this way, he "keeps aloof from what is vain" as Allah commands in the Qur'an.

What are the Reasons that Prevent Thought?

There are many factors that hinder people from thinking. They may detain a person from thinking and seeing the truth. in this respect, it is necessary that everyone identify the factors that affect them negatively, and rid themselves of these, otherwise, one cannot see the real face of the life of this world, and that might bring great loss in the Hereafter.

In the Qur'an, Allah tells us the situation of those people who are accustomed to think superficially:

They know an outward aspect of the life of this world but are heedless of the Hereafter. Have they not reflected within themselves? Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and everything between them except with truth and for a fixed term. Yet many people reject the meeting with their Lord. (Surat ar-Rum: 7-8)

Following the Majority Causes Mental Numbness

One of the issues that mislead people most is their belief that what the "majority" does is right. Man is usually inclined to accept what he is taught by the people around him, rather than finding the truth by thinking for himself. He sees that things that seem odd to him at first sight are most of the time considered ordinary by people, and after a while, he too begins to become accustomed to them.

For instance, if the majority of the people in a person’s social circle do not acknowledge that they will die one day, if they avoid talking about death, then the person looks around him and says, "Since everybody is like that, there must be nothing wrong with my behaving the same way" and begins to live without remembering death at all. If, however, the people around him had acted with fear of Allah and struggled with due diligence for the Hereafter, most probably this person too would have changed his attitude.

As another example, hundreds of news items of disasters, unfairness, injustice, oppression, suicide, homicide, theft and swindle are covered in the media, and thousands of needy people are mentioned everyday. Yet many people who come across these news items are unaffected. in general, people do not think why there are so many of these kind of news items, or what has to be done and what kind of precautions have to be taken in order to stop them, or what they themselves can do about these problems. Neither do people around them think over those problems. Most people hold others responsible for these problems, employing such logic as, "What can I do about this?"

Mental Indolence

Indolence is a factor that keeps the majority of people from thinking. Because of mental indolence, people do everything the way they have always seen and to which they are used. to give an example from our daily lives, the way people do the cleaning is just how they have seen their parents do it. They generally do not think, "How could things be done in a cleaner and more practical way" nor try to find new methods. Similarly, when something needs repair, people use the methods they have been taught since their childhood. They are generally reluctant to practice a new method that might be more practical and efficient. Such people's styles of speech are also the same. the way an accountant speaks, for example, is just the same as all the other accountants he has seen in his life. Doctors, bankers, salesmen, people from all classes have particular styles of speech. They do not seek to find the most proper, the best, and the most favorable way by thinking about it. They just imitate what they have heard.

The solutions found to problems also reflect indolence in thinking. for example, the manager of a building brings to the building's waste disposal problem exactly the same solution as the one brought by previous managers. or a mayor tries to solve the traffic problem by looking at what preceding mayors have done. in many cases, because of not thinking he is unable to find new solutions.

Certainly, the examples cited here are issues from which people suffer harm in their everyday lives. Yet there are subjects far more important than these, which, if people fail to think about, may cause them to suffer great and eternal loss. the cause of this loss is one's failure to think about the purpose of existence in the world, and disregarding the fact that death is unavoidable, and that we will definitely meet on the Day of Reckoning after death. in the Qur'an, Allah invites people to reflect upon these crucial matters.

Those are the people who have lost their own selves. What they invented has abandoned them. Without question they will be the greatest losers in the Hereafter. as for those who believe and do right actions and humble themselves before their Lord, they are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, forever. the likeness of the two groups is that of the blind and deaf and the seeing and hearing. Are they the same as one another? So will you not pay heed? (Surah Hud: 21-24)

Is He Who creates like him who does not create? So will you not pay heed? (Surat an-Nahl: 17)

The Erroneous Indoctrination that "Thinking Too Much is Not Good"

There is an ill-judged belief prevalent in society that deep thought is not good. People warn one another saying, "Don't think so much, you will lose your mind". This is merely a superstition invented by people who are distant from religion. People should not avoid thinking; however, they should avoid thinking negatively or being carried away by exaggerations and misapprehensions.

Since those who do not have strong faith in Allah and the Hereafter think without committing themselves to fairness and goodness, but instead think negatively, then by their contemplation they achieve outcomes that are not entirely beneficial. They think, for example, that the life of this world is temporary, and that one day they will die, but this causes them to display great pessimism. This is because, conscientiously, they are aware that the life they pass without following the commands of Allah prepares a wretched end for them in the Hereafter. Some, on the other hand, are pessimistic because they have a superstitious belief that they will totally vanish after death.

A wise person who believes in Allah and the Hereafter draws completely different scrumptious conclusions when he reflects on the fact that the life of this world is temporary. First of all, his realization that the world is temporary causes him to engage in zealous struggle for his real and eternal life in the Hereafter. Since he knows that this life will sooner or later end, he does not become carried away by the ambition for worldly passions and interests. He is extremely resigned. Nothing in this temporary life annoys him. He always cherishes the hope of attaining an eternal and pleasant life. He also enjoys worldly blessings and beauty but keeps these things in perspective. Allah has created the world incomplete and flawed in order to test people. the intelligent person thinks that if there is so much beauty, which is pleasing to man even in this incomplete and flawed world, then the beauty of Paradise should be unimaginably more attractive. He hopes to see in the Hereafter the "originals" of all the beauty he views here. and he comprehends all of these by thinking deeply.

Therefore, it would be a great loss to worry about "what if I become pessimistic by finally seeing the truth?", and hence, avoid thinking. for a person who always entertains hope by virtue of his faith in Allah, and who thinks positively, there is nothing to be pessimistic about.

Avoiding the Responsibilities that Thinking Brings

Most people think that they might be able to evade various responsibilities by avoiding thinking and setting their brain to work on certain issues. by doing so in this world, they succeed in holding themselves aloof from many subjects. One of the greatest ways in which people are deceived, however, is in their supposition that they can escape their responsibilities to Allah by not thinking. This is the main reason why people do not think about death and life after death. If man thinks that he will die one day and remembers that there is an eternal life after death, he will necessarily have to strive strenuously for his life after death. He, however, deceives himself, supposing that he is saved from such responsibility when he does not think of the existence of the Hereafter. This is a great self-deception and if man does not attain the truth in this world by thinking, he will understand, with death, that there is no escape for him.

The stupor of death will come in truth. (And it is said unto him): "That is what you were trying to evade! the trumpet is blown. That is the day of the threat." (Surah Qaf: 19-20)

Not Thinking Because of Being Swept Away by the Flow of Daily Life

The majority of people spend their whole lives in a rush. When they reach a certain age, they have to work and look after themselves and their families. They call this "the struggle for life" and complain that they have no time for anything as they have to rush around in this struggle. in this so-called "shortage of time", thinking is one of the things for which they cannot spare any time. Therefore, they are swept away wherever the flow of their daily lives takes them. in this way of life, the majority of people become insensitive to events taking place around them.

The aim of man, however, should not be to consume time, rushing from one place to another. the main issue is to be able to see the real face of this world and assume a way of living accordingly. No one's sole purpose in life is earning money, going to work, studying at university or purchasing a house. Surely, man may need to do those things during the course of his life, yet there is something that he should always bear in mind while doing them: the purpose of his existence in this world is to be a servant of Allah, to work for Allah's pleasure, His mercy in order to achieve Paradise. All works other than this purpose can serve only as a means to help man to attain his true purpose. Adopting the means to certain ends as the real purpose is a serious deception with which satan misleads man.

Someone who lives without thinking may easily take these means as his real purpose. We can cite an example from our daily lives. It is undoubtedly a good act for one to work and produce beneficial things for society. a person who believes in Allah performs such an act eagerly and wishes for a reward from Allah both in the world and in the Hereafter. If a person, on the other hand, does the same thing without remembering Allah and only for worldly interests such as status and people's appreciation, he is making a mistake. and he will regret this when he faces realities in the Hereafter. in a verse, Allah refers to those who indulge in this manner in the life of this world:

Like those before you who had greater strength than you and more wealth and children. They enjoyed their portion; so enjoy your portion as those before you enjoyed theirs. You have plunged into defamation as they plunged into it. the actions of such people come to nothing in this world or the Hereafter. They are the lost. (Surat at-Tawba: 69)

Looking at Everything with "The Eye of Habit" and Therefore Seeing No Need to Reflect Thereon

When people come across certain things for the first time, they may understand the extraordinary nature of them and this may spur them to further inspect what they see. After a while, however, they develop a habitual resistance to those things and they no longer impress them. in particular, an object or happening they meet everyday becomes ordinary for them.

For instance, it makes a great impression on some prospective doctors the first time they see a corpse, or the first time one of their patients dies. This makes them ponder deeply. It may be that all of a sudden they face the lifeless, almost stuff-like body of a person, who was, just a few minutes ago, full of life, laughing, making plans, talking, taking pleasure, eyes sparkling with life. the first time a cadaver is laid down in front of them for autopsy, they think over everything they see in that corpse: that the body decays so fast, that a repugnant smell comes out of it, that the hair once so pleasant to look at become so unpleasant that it is repulsive to touch, are all subjects they think about. This leads them to consider that the composition of everyone's body is the same and everyone will meet the same end, and that they too will become like this.

Yet, after seeing a few cadavers or losing some patients, these people develop a habitual resistance to certain things. They begin to treat cadavers, and even patients, as if they are objects.

Surely, this situation does not hold true for doctors alone. for the majority of people, the same situation applies in many areas of their lives. for example, when a person who lives in difficulty is granted a pleasant lifestyle, he understands that everything he possesses is a blessing for him; that his bed is more comfortable, his house has a beautiful view, he can buy everything he wants, he can heat his house in winter as he wishes, he can easily move by car, and many other things are all blessings for this person. Thinking of his old state, he rejoices at each of these new things. Yet someone who possesses these means from birth may not think so much about their worth. So, his appreciation of these blessings does not become possible unless he thinks over them.

For a man who ponders, on the other hand, it makes no difference whether he possesses these blessings from birth or whether he attained them afterwards. He never looks at his possessions in a habitual way. He knows that anything he owns has been created by Allah and Allah may take them back from him at any time if He wills. for example, believers say the following prayer when they travel by any means of transport:

... "Glory be to Him Who has subjected this to us. We could never have done it by ourselves. Indeed we are returning to our Lord!" (Surat az-Zukhruf: 13-14)

In another verse, it is said that when believers enter their gardens, they remember Allah and say, "... It is as Allah wills, there is no strength but in Allah..." (Surat al-Kahf: 39). Whenever they enter their gardens, they think that Allah has created and sustains this garden. on the other hand, a man who does not think may be impressed the first time he sees a beautiful garden, but then it becomes an ordinary place for him. His admiration fades for the beauty therein. Some people do not realize these blessings at all since they do not think. They can be mistaken by taking these blessings for granted and "something that already had to exist". Therefore, they cannot derive pleasure from their beauty.

Conclusion: It is Imperative for Man to Eliminate All the Factors That Hold Him Back From Thinking

As we mentioned earlier, the fact that the majority of people do not think and live heedless of truth cannot be a sufficient excuse for one not thinking. Each person is an independent individual responsible to Allah by himself alone. It is very important to bear in mind that Allah tests people in the life of this world. the indifference of others, people who do not think, reason, and see the truth is, most of the time, a part of this test. a person who thinks sincerely does not say, "Most people do not reflect, and are unaware of all these, so why should I alone think?". on the contrary, he takes warning by thinking about the heedlessness of these people and takes refuge in Allah in order not be one of them. It is clear that the situation of these people cannot be an excuse for him. in the Qur'an, Allah informs us in many of His verses that most people are heedless and do not believe:

Yet no faith will the greater part of mankind have, however ardently you desire it. (Surah Yusuf: 103)

Alif Lam Mim Ra. Those are the signs of the Book. and what has been sent down to you from your Lord is the truth. but most people do not believe. (Surat ar-Ra'd: 1)

They swear by Allah with their most earnest oaths that Allah will not raise up those who die, when, on the contrary, it is a binding promise on Him; but most people do not know it. (Surat an-Nahl: 38)

We have variegated it for them so they might pay heed but most people begrudge aught save ingratitude. (Surat al-Furqan: 50)

In other verse, Allah announces the end of those who have gone astray by following the majority, those who failed to obey the commands of Allah by forgetting the purpose of their creation:

They will shout out in it, "Our Lord! Take us out! We will act rightly, differently from the way we used to act!" Did We not let you live long enough for anyone who was going to pay heed to pay heed? and did not the warner come to you? Taste it then! There is no helper for the wrongdoers. (Surah Fatir: 37)

For this reason, every person should, by getting rid of the reasons preventing him from thinking, sincerely and honestly think over every event and creature that Allah creates and draw a lesson and warning from his reflections.

In the next chapter, we will be discussing what man may reflect on about certain events and creatures he may come across in his daily life in order to provide the reader with guidance and help them spend the rest of their lives as people who think and draw warnings from what they reflect on.

Those Things that Need to be Thought about

Thus far we have mentioned the importance of thinking, the benefits it brings man and that thought is a very important faculty that separates man from other creatures. We have also mentioned the causes that prevent thinking. the main purpose in all this is to encourage people to think and to help them see the purpose of their creation and honor Allah's endless knowledge and might.

The following pages describe what a person believing in Allah should think about the things he encounters during the day, what lessons he can draw from the events he witnesses, how he should thank and come closer to Allah by seeing His art and knowledge in everything.

Certainly what will be mentioned here covers only a very small part of a man's thinking capacity. Man has the ability to think every moment of his life. the scope of man's thought is so broad that it is almost impossible to put any constraints or limits on it. the purpose of the next section will be to open a door for people who do not make use of their faculty of thinking as is appropriate.

It should be borne in mind that only people who reflect can understand and assume a different position than others. the situation of those who cannot see the miraculous events around them and cannot reflect has been related in the verses of Allah:

The likeness of those who disbelieve is that of someone who yells out to something which cannot hear – it is nothing but a cry and a call. Deaf – dumb – blind. They do not use their intellects. (Surat al-Baqara: 171)

…They have hearts they do not understand with. They have eyes they do not see with. They have ears they do not hear with. Such people are like cattle. No, they are even further astray! They are the unaware. (Surat al-A'raf: 179)

Do you suppose that most of them hear or understand? They are just like cattle. Indeed they are even more astray! (Surat al-Furqan: 44)

Those who are able to see Allah's signs, the miraculous aspects of the beings and events He creates, and who, therefore, can understand, are people who reflect. Such people can derive conclusions from everything, big or small, they see around them.

When One Wakes up in the Morning…

There are no special conditions or preparation needed for someone to start thinking. From the moment we wake up in the morning, plenty of opportunities for thought lie before us.

A long day lies ahead of us when we wake up in the morning. Most of the time, we do not feel tired or sleepy; we are ready to start everything over again. Thinking this, one remembers a verse of Allah:

It is He Who made the night a cloak for you and sleep a rest, and He made the day a time for rising. (Surat al-Furqan: 47)

Washing the face and taking a shower, we pull ourselves together and come more fully to our senses. Now we are ready to think about many useful issues. There are many concerns much more important than what we will have for breakfast or what time we have to leave home, and we first have to think about them.

First of all, the fact that we are able to wake up in the morning is a great miracle. Despite having lost consciousness entirely during the night, in the morning we recover consciousness and our personalities. the heart beats, we are able to breathe, talk and see. in fact, when we go to sleep, there is no guarantee that these favors will be returned to us in the morning. nor have we met any disasters during the night. for example, the absent-mindedness of a neighbor could have caused a gas leakage and a great explosion during the night could have woken us. a catastrophe could have occurred in our locality and we could have lost our lives.

We could have had other problems with our bodies; for example, we could have woken up with severe pains in the kidneys or with a headache. Yet, none of these things happened and we have woken up safe and sound. Thinking about all of this, we thank Allah for His mercy and protection.

Starting a new day in good health means Allah is giving us another opportunity to achieve more for the Hereafter.

Therefore, the best attitude to take is that we will spend our day in such a way as to please Allah. Man should, prior to everything else, make plans for this and keep his mind occupied with thoughts along these lines. One of the most important ways of pleasing Allah is to ask Him for help about this matter. the prayer of the Prophet Sulayman (as), peace be upon him, sets a good example for the believers:

My Lord, keep me thankful for the blessing You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and keep me acting rightly, pleasing You, and admit me, by Your mercy, among Your righteous servants. (Surat an-Naml: 19)

What Our Weaknesses Make Us Think

Realising our incapacities as soon as we get out of bed, we start to think. Every morning we have to wash our faces and brush our teeth. Seeing these, we start to think of our other weaknesses. for instance, that we have to take a bath every day, that there is only a thin layer of skin holding our bodies together, that our bodies are vulnerable to infections, and cannot stand sleeplessness, hunger and thirst. These are all signs of our weakness.

If the person looking in the mirror in the morning is aged, some other thoughts may come to mind. the first signs of ageing start to appear on the face after the first two decades of life. in the thirties, wrinkles begin to appear beneath the eyes and around the mouth; the skin is no longer as ruddy as it used to be, and deterioration can be observed over a great part of the body. With age, the hair turns white and even the hands age.

For someone who thinks about these things, old age is one of the most powerful events displaying the temporary nature of the life of this world and it holds one back from being attached greedily to this world. Someone who starts to grow old understands that a countdown has started in his life in this world. in truth, that which ages and for which the countdown is now underway is the body. the body gradually declines but the soul does not grow old. Most people are strongly influenced by the outward appearance of a person – whether they are perceived to be attractive or otherwise. Perhaps a person with outward beauty is more confident and arrogant than someone who feels that they are unattractive. Ageing shows how temporary the outward façade of the body is, that the only thing that is acceptable before Allah and the only things of benefit to fellow man are right actions, good qualities of character along with commitment to Allah.


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