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to themselves, “this problem was caused by other people,
or by social circumstances beyond my control and therefore it is
up to other people or society to solve this problem for me. It is
not really my personal problem.” The extent to which people
will go psychologically to avoid assuming responsibility
for personal problems, while always sad, is sometime ludicrous.
God mentions in the Holy Koran that we are responsible for our
deeds and actions in this world and that we should not expect any
intercession in the hereafter. This means that God wants us to be
responsible for our problems in this world, and wants us to solve
them by seeking His guidance and help.
Dedication to Truth and Reality
The third tool of discipline is dedication to truth and reality.
This needs to be employed continuously if we wish to keep our lives
healthy and our spirits growing. Truth is reality. The
more clearly we see the reality of the world, the better equipped
we are to deal with the world. Our view of reality is like a map
with which we negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true
and accurate, we will know where we are and if we have decided where
we want to go, we will know how to get there. If the map is false
and inaccurate, we will be lost.
This is the truth from your Lord; do not harbor
any doubt (2:147, 3:60)
They said, "O our people, we have heard a book
that was revealed after Moses, and confirms the previous scriptures.
It guides to the truth; to the right path. (46:30)
While this is obvious, most people choose
to ignore it. They ignore it because our route to reality is not
easy. First of all we have to make an effort. The more effort we
make to appreciate and perceive reality, the larger and more accurate
our map will be.
But many do not want to make this effort. Some stop making it
by the end of adolescence. Their maps are small and sketchy, their
view of the world narrow and misleading. By the end of the middle
age, most people have given up the effort. They feel certain that
their maps are complete and correct. Only a relatively fortunate
few continue until the moment of death expanding the mystery of
reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding
of the world and what is true.
We have given you the truth, but most of you hate
the truth. (43:78)
The world itself is constantly changing. Our vantage point from
which we view the world is rapidly changing. When we have children
to care for, the world looks different from when we had none. When
we are poor, the world looks different from when we are rich. We
are daily bombarded with new information as to the nature of reality.
O people, God's promise is the truth; therefore,
do not be distracted by this lowly life. Do not be diverted from
God by mere illusions. (35:5)
In the Holy Koran, God wants us to seek His guidance to the right
path or map.
Guide us in the right path; the path of those whom
blessed, not of those
who have deserved wrath, nor the strayers. (1:7)
A practicing Muslim invokes God’s guidance many times daily.
Our problem in the morning may not be the same as in the afternoon
or evening or night. Accordingly God in His wisdom has asked us
to seek His guidance to the right path through the Salat prayers—five
The fourth and final discipline is balancing. By this time it
seems that the exercise of discipline is not only a demanding, but
also a complex task requiring both flexibility and judgment. We
should try to be completely honest. We must assume total responsibility
for ourselves. We must be organized and efficient. To live wisely,
we must daily delay gratification and keep an eye on the
Yet to live joyously, discipline itself, must be disciplined.
The type of discipline required to discipline is what Dr. Peck calls
balancing. For example, God mentions in the Holy Koran that we should
not be excessive and extravagant while giving the due alms to the
people (17:26). Thus God cautions us against extremism. Balancing
is the discipline that gives us flexibility. Extraordinary flexibility
and judgment is required for successful living in all spheres of
our daily life.
…The best enlightment indeed is what God recommends
for you… (4:58)