July 22, 2008

My Epiphanies (IX)

Posted in Epiphanies, Islam, Knowledge, Literature, Quotes, Sufism at 7:07 pm by faith786

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum,

(I hope you know that according to some madhabs, if you see ‘Assalamu Alaikum,’ you should reply ‘Walaikum Assalam, written or verbally.)

I came home a while ago and my brother had the television and he was watching the first Matrix. (I swear I need to do a whole post series analyzing that movie.) The scene I walked in was when Neo and Morpheus were doing the simulation fight and Neo lost. Morpheus was like-“Do you think that is air you’re breathing now?”

I was obviously breathing and I help my breath for a moment. I started to take in deep breaths and I ran around outside for about 20 minutes. I obviously started to get out of breath and I was swallowing gulps of air. And I kept thinking about that quote–are we really breathing air?

I mean, obviously, we are breathing oxygen gas and we emit carbon dioxide. The world is obviously composed of the 118 elements (some still unknown), but is any of it real? One thing I love about The Matrix, it deals with the heavy issue of reality vs. mind projection. This is also heavily emphasized in 1984 and Brave New World. There is this idea that what we project as the image of the world can and to some degree, is different from reality. If we believe that a tree is hot pink, we can actually manipulate our minds to believe it. This empirical world is composed of rules, which all are based *in the mind*.

This begs the question then: If our minds constitute reality, is it really then real? So then we go back to the original question–is that air you are really breathing now? Is it possible that our brains are hooked up to some strange machine that projects this image of the matrix we live in? Is our *real* bodies somewhere else when our minds are here? Our bodies are our mental projection. I am not saying that the matrix is true, but the idea is completely possible.

Our souls cannot be seen or measured in this world. It can be that our true selves are somewhere else and this is all but a visit. It would make sense then when God says that our bodies are for rent. But I guess what I am alluding to is this idea that if none of this is real, if it is that when we die, we will wake up, (Prophet Muhammad) then why do we attach ourselves here? This world is really an illusion. It is only a means for another. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani once said that this life is just an illusion wrapped up in another illusion. The pretty problems we trouble ourselves with are nothing in the long run and this life is nothing compared to the eternity after it.

We think we are intelligent if we know everything about the world and how it works. If we understand chemisty, biology, physics, and math. But really, we are only studying an illusion. Imam Al Ghazali once said that anyone who is an expert at everything except God is actually dumb because that person does not know the most sublime of all things. This world vanishes, what happens to that knowledge? Does it dissolve with the illusion?

So when we learn anything, we need to keep in mind that they are not the end result. They are only a means to learn the most sublime of all things. We learn physics and chemistry not to understand the world, but to understand our position with God. We get so warped up in everything, we too, become part of the illusion. I understand we need to live, but people get indulged in that knowledge to the point it inhibits them from God. Ha. Knowledge can actually push you away from God.

Don’t believe me? Let me tell you the perfect example-Shaytan. He became Shaytan because of his knowledge. He used his logic to rationalize that fire is better than clay and refused to bow to Adam (as). That knowledge pulled him away from God. And that knowledge manifested itself as arrogance to Shaytan. So we have to avoid that too.

But back to the point–we think by learning, we are getting closer to God, but if our intentions are lost, then we get warped into this illusion. Don’t think for a moment that this world means anything. In a hundred years, it is most likely you and I will both be dead and this world won’t mean a thing anymore. So tell me, do you think that is air you are breathing now?

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