Sunday, June 8, 2008

Search For Beauty

As people of faith, we believe that God created a code of conduct. As Abou El Fadl says in his book "The Search for Beauty In Islam: A Conference of the Books" whom I have had the honour of meeting a few years ago in Singapore:

“From that single divine Book [was] created a civilization. From an inspiration, an idea, then a thought, then a system, then roads and signs. Why do Muslims insist on reinventing the wheel on every journey?… Are there any people who dare limit God’s manifestations to a single Golden Age and then live enslaved to the illusion of a re-created history as much as we do? Can’t we see that every age is God’s age and that every age is to be honored, studied, and absorbed but never reproduced?”

It seems to me that one of our responsibilities is also, not to recreate the code, but to learn deeply so that we are capable of finding that code again within and for every age and circumstance.

The people of the Books (the Abrahamic religions) each look at themselves as “chosen” in some way - Jews as the Chosen people, Christians as the saved, Muslims as those given the perfected religion.

What’s strange to me is how so many of us take this to mean that we can rest on our laurels - or rather, the laurels of those in the past - and stop exercising our intellect or seeking to excel in serving humanity.

I look at being “chosen” as something not to instill a sense of superiority in myself over others, co-religionists or not, but rather as a deeply humbling awareness imbued with great responsibility to God and humanity.

If one is chosen, then one has the highest ethical and moral standards of behavior to live up to - and much to answer for to God.

We are each chosen to serve in our own capacity - and that’s a very great, and possibly beautiful, responsibility indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you...abt serving in our own capacity.....thanks for the reminder though :) (Isa)