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Posted by Nahla Ghoneim on July 8, 2003 12:22:03 UTC

Mr. Michael,

Sorry I’m late. Among lots of things, my family and I are preparing for a cousin’s wedding, which was a big mess.
There is something you’re missing here. In Islam, your duty is to God and your responsibility is to Him. An American once told me that he likes the fact that in Islam your relationship with God is direct, there’s no third party.

So there’s no accusation/defense process about morals. But of course there is to acts that affect the society, and this is the Islamic law or shareea applied only by the state. If I need to know if something, I go back to the Quran and the sunna (the prophet’s sayings and deeds). If I don’t find it, I see what the scholars (someone who has studied Islam well in a renowned public institution) say about it. However, prophet Mohamed said, “A believer should consult his heart.” After getting the essence of Islam, you’ll be able to determine whether an act is over-pride or not.

God created us to know Him. And however god-consciousness you feel, there’s still more to DO. How do you know you’re feeling as much God consciousness as a typical human can experience? Prophet Mohammed said, “Work is worship”. That’s very important in Islam, being active and productive. As for worship acts like praying and fasting, they aim at knowing your duty to God and purifying your soul. Fasting helps you control your desires and anger. And as for praying, you cannot experience God’s greatness without kneeling to him, a moment prophet Mohammed describes as the closest you can come to God and at which you ask him for what you want.

Islam is an Arabic word which means 'Submission to the Will of God'. So I think this answers your question “Is the word "Islam" interchangeable with "God" in your experience?”

“Is Islam an entity which performs this of "condemnation" and/or its more developed process?”
As much as Islam condemns bad deeds and morals, it orders and encourages good ones. About pride:
- “And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, God likes not each arrogant boaster. And be moderate in your walk, and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the voice (braying) of the Language Removed. (Chapter ‘loqman’, verses 18 and 19)
- “God raises the one who is humble to Him “ (A saying of prophet Mohammed).

God-consciousness is truly a beautiful concept. Not only does is it help you be straight, but you’d never feel lonely. This is a saying of prophet Mohammed:
‘ Be God conscious wherever you are, and follow bad deeds by good deeds to wipe them, and treat people with good morals’.

This is a long story as and example, so you can stop here:
khalifa (ruler) Omar bin El-khatab (whom I mentioned in my post about women) used to go through the city at night. He was passing by a house when he heard this conversation between a mother and her daughter:
Mother: “Mix the mile we’ll sell tomorrow with some water.”
Daughter: “No, mother. The khalifa ordered us not to”.
Mother: “The khaifa can’t see us now.”
Daughter: “If he doesn’t, God does.”

Omar went back to his house and told his boys the story and one of them married her. Their grand son who was also named Omar also became the khalifa (but it was not hereditary). He was once writing something when his lamp went out. He wouldn’t let his guests go get oil nor would he let them wake his servant and he went to get it himself. What president would do that now?

Yours truly,

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