How to Increase our Level of Appreciation

Appreciative vs Unappreciative
[14:7] Your Lord has decreed: “The more you thank Me, the more I give you.” But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.

Therefore if we can increase our ability to be appreciative we can reach new levels of Submission.

Exercise #1 – Make a list of some of the things that you are thankful for.

  • Having two legs and the ability to be able to walk without any difficulty
  • Being able to take a walk and view the ocean and all the beauty that God has created. There is no reason why nature looks so amazing. God could have made nature look ugly, but just looking at the sunset and ocean is awe-inspiring.
  • Having a family for support and love
  • Having friends to talk to and support each other
  • Health and wellness
  • Balance. Something so simple as crystals being misplaced in your inner ear can cause your brain not to be able to tell up from down.
  • The companionship and love of a dog
  • Spouses that God pairs us up with to grow in righteousness
  • Children that teach us selflessness and compassion
  • Freedom of religion – to be able to practice our religion without being persecuted
  • God’s guidance
  • Life experiences and the ability to be able to analyze and learn from our life experiences through the knowledge of the Quran.
  • Analyze our life experiences under God’s light
  • The ability to be able to see all the colors in the world
  • Trees that produce us with wood, food, shade, paper, etc.
  • Rain that provides fresh water
  • Fresh warm water that allows us to enjoy showers
  • iPhone, iPad, iPod for apps and communication
  • Being able to help others through charity
  • Knowing God and having a book from our Creator that explains so much to us
  • Knowing what it means to be appreciative vs. unappreciative

Exercise #2 – Pick one thing in your life and imagine how different your life would be without that one thing

This is known as the George Baily Technique from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. This approach is different in that as oppose to thinking about the items we are thankful for where habituation can blind us to the value in this approach we imagine that we no longer had that item and what life would be like.

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/12/03/the-george-bailey-technique/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewe4lg8zTYA

Some of the examples that we discussed were the following:

Feelings: Imagine having no feelings. No feeling of love, care, joy, enthusiasm. Or no sense of feeling to pain or pleasure. Congenital Analgesia is the rare condition where someone does not feel physical pain. Most people who have this condition historically did not survive very long, because they would injure themselves and never know that their injury has caused an infection that needs to be treated. Pain is an indicator to us to gauge our behavior without, pain we lack the feedback to make good decisions about our health.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/magazine/ashlyn-blocker-feels-no-pain.html?pagewanted=all

Oxygen. The atmosphere is made up of 20.95% oxygen. This is the perfect ratio of oxygen to sustain life. If oxygen in the atmosphere increased by one percent then the likeliness of combustion increases by 70%. Meaning that our ability to put out a fire would be 70% more difficult and the likeliness of a fire erupting increases by 70%. Think of how difficult it would be to put out a forest fire under this context. Reversely if the amount of oxygen was diminished by just one percent then the ability to start a fire becomes 70% more difficult and this would have a major factor in regards to our ability to harness fire for our technological advancement.

Teeth: Our teeth are marvels of God’s creation. If we didn’t have teeth we would not be able to enjoy the satisfaction of biting into a potato chip, or steak or bowl of cereal. So much of our experience eating involves our ability to chew the food and it’s texture. Without teeth food would taste bland and many foods would be inconsumable.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/health/mary-roach-on-studying-food-and-how-humans-eat-it.html?pagewanted=all

Optimism: Imagine if you had no hope and were unable to think positively about the future. How depressing would life be. There is no comprehension that times of hardship or adversity could be turned around and that there is a good reason for everything.

Rain: Imagine if we had no rain. That all water would need to be piped in from the sea, rivers and lakes. How much of the world would no longer be habitable. How much harder would it be to grow the basic foods to sustain life. There would be no rainforest and most the life on land would be wiped out.

Spouse: Spouses bring contentment and tranquility. Without them we would lack this in our life and would not have someone to share these experiences with.

We need to be appreciative and look at life in awe and never turn unappreciative:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsOo3jzkhYA

29 year old hears sound for the first time. Are we this appreciative for the ability to hear?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99E9fDgZZuE

The awe of witnessing a double rainbow. Are we this in awe at God’s creations?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxmmvHsDeuI

Little girl witnesses rain for the first time. God be Glorified.

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2:63 – 2:76

Today we read: from 2:63 – 76.

Below are notes from today’s study.

What is a heifer?
Definition: A young cow before she has had her first calf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heifer

What is plowing?
[2:71] He said, “He says that she is a heifer that was never humiliated in plowing the land or watering the crops; free from any blemish.” They said, “Now you have brought the truth.” They finally sacrificed her, after this lengthy reluctance.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAc-X7itOYc

What is the message from the heifer

God’s messenger provides a commandment from God and as oppose to saying “we hear and we obey” they Children of Israel object and question Moses…”Are you mocking us?” 2:67

Most people are reluctant to follow God’s order

This is similar to the example of Moses and his teacher in 18:60 – 82

Even though we acknowledge God is doing everything our first tendency may still be to object

2:65 Discusses those who desecrated the Sabbath and this is regarding 7:163 – 7:166

Observing the Commandments Brings Prosperity
[7:163] Remind them of the community by the sea, who desecrated the Sabbath. When they observed the Sabbath, the fish came to them abundantly. And when they violated the Sabbath, the fish did not come. We thus afflicted them, as a consequence of their transgression.

Mocking and Ridiculing God’s Message
[7:164] Recall that a group of them said, “Why should you preach to people whom GOD will surely annihilate or punish severely?” They answered, “Apologize to your Lord,” that they might be saved.
[7:165] When they disregarded what they were reminded of, we saved those who prohibited evil, and afflicted the wrongdoers with a terrible retribution for their wickedness.
[7:166] When they continued to defy the commandments, we said to them, “Be you despicable apes.”

How do we know that the Quran is from God?
Unlike any other book in the world the Quran is numerically structured via a mathematical code similar to modern day encryption

Even the occurrence of certain words and phrases in the Quran are numerically coded

Appendix 1: Simple facts

1. The first verse (1:1), known as “Basmalah,” consists of 19 letters.
2. The Quran consists of 114 suras, which is 19 x 6.
3. The total number of verses in the Quran is 6346, or 19 x 334.
[6234 numbered verses & 112 un-numbered verses (Basmalahs) 6234+112 = 6346] Note that 6+3+4+6= 19.
4. The Basmalah occurs 114 times, despite its conspicuous absence from Sura 9 (it occurs twice in Sura 27) & 114= 19 x 6.
5. From the missing Basmalah of Sura 9 to the extra Basmalah of Sura 27, there are precisely 19 suras.
6. It follows that the total of the sura numbers from 9 to 27 (9+10+11+12+…+26+27) is 342, or 19 x 18.
7. This total (342) also equals the number of words between the two Basmalahs of Sura 27, and 342 = 19 x 18.
8. The famous first revelation (96:1-5) consists of 19 words.
9. This 19-worded first revelation consists of 76 letters 19 x 4.
10. Sura 96, first in the chronological sequence, consists of 19 verses.
11. This first chronological sura is placed atop the last 19 suras.
12. Sura 96 consists of 304 Arabic letters, and 304 equals 19 x 16.
13. The last revelation (Sura 110) consists of 19 words.
14. The first verse of the last revelation (110:1) consists of 19 letters.
15. 14 different Arabic letters, form 14 different sets of “Quranic Initials” (such as A.L.M. of 2:1), and prefix 29 suras. These numbers add up to 14+14+29=57= 19 x 3.
16. The total of the 29 sura numbers where the Quranic Initials occur is 2+3+7+…+50+68 = 822, and 822+14 (14 sets of initials) equals 836, or 19 x 44.
17. Between the first initialed sura (Sura 2) and the last initialed sura (Sura 68) there are 38 un-initialed suras 19 x 2.
18. Between the first and last initialed sura there are
of alternating “initialed” and “uninitialed” suras.
19 sets
19. The Quran mentions 30 different numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 19, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 99, 100, 200, 300, 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, 50,000, & 100,000. The sum of these numbers is 162146, which equals 19 x 8534.

Additionally the Quran has 29 chapters that begin with Arabic intials

No. Sura No. Sura Title Quranic Initials
1. 2 The Heifer A.L.M.
2. 3 The Amramites A.L.M.
3. 7 The Purgatory A.L.M.S.
4. 10 Jonah A.L.R.
5. 11 Hud A.L.R.
6. 12 Joseph A.L.R.
7. 13 Thunder A.L.M.R.
8. 14 Abraham A.L.R.
9. 15 Al-Hijr Valley A.L.R.
10. 19 Mary K.H.Y.’A.S.
11. 20 T.H. T.H.
12. 26 The Poets T.S.M.
13. 27 The Ant T.S.
14. 28 History T.S.M.
15. 29 The Spider A.L.M.
16. 30 The Romans A.L.M.
17. 31 Luqmaan A.L.M.
18. 32 Prostration A.L.M.
19. 36 Y.S. Y.S.
20. 38 S. S.
21. 40 Forgiver H.M.
22. 41 Elucidated H.M.
23. 42 Consultation H.M.’A.S.Q.
24. 43 Ornaments H.M.
25. 44 Smoke H.M.
26. 45 Kneeling H.M.
27. 46 The Dunes H.M.
28. 50 Q. Q.
29. 68 The Pen NuN

Some examples below:

[2:1] A.L.M.*
[2:2] This scripture is infallible; a beacon for the righteous;

[7:1] A. L. M. S.
[7:2] This scripture has been revealed to you – you shall not harbor doubt about it in your heart – that you may warn with it, and to provide a reminder for the believers.

[11:1] A.L.R. This is a scripture whose verses have been perfected, then elucidated.* It comes from a Most Wise, Most Cognizant.

[40:1] H. M.
[40:2] This revelation of the scripture is from GOD, the Almighty, the Omniscient.

[27:1] T. S. These (letters) constitute proofs of the Quran; a profound scripture.
[27:2] A beacon, and good news, for the believers.

[31:1] A. L. M.
[31:2] These (letters) constitute proofs of this book of wisdom.

Each of these letters in their corresponding chapters consistently occur in multiples of 19 within their respective chapters. For instance:

The Quranic Initial “Q” (Qaaf)
The computer data showed that the text of the only Q-initialed suras, 42 and 50, contained the same number of Q’s, 57 and 57. That was the first hint that a deliberate mathematical system might exist in the Quran.

Sura 50 is entitled “Q,” prefixed with “Q,” and the first verse reads, “Q, and the glorious Quran.” This indicated that “Q” stands for “Quran,” and the total number of Q’s in the two Q-initialed suras represents the Quran’s 114 suras (57+57 = 114 = 19×6). This idea was strengthened by the fact that “the Quran” occurs in the Quran 57 times.

The Quran is described in Sura “Q” as “Majid” (glorious), and the Arabic word “Majid” has a gematrical value of 57: M (40)+J (3)+I (10)+D (4) = 57.

Sura 42 consists of 53 verses, and 42+53 = 95 = 19×5.
Sura 50 consists of 45 verses, and 50+45 = 95, same total as in Sura 42.

By counting the letter “Q” in every “Verse 19” throughout the Quran, the total count comes to 76, 19×4. Here is a summary of the Q-related data:

1. The frequency of occurrence of “Q” in Sura “Q” (No. 50) is 57, 19×3.
2. The letter “Q” occurs in the other Q-initialed sura (No. 42) exactly the same number of times, 57.
3. The total occurrence of the letter “Q” in the two Q- initialed suras is 114, which equals the number of suras in the Quran.
4. “The Quran” is mentioned in the Quran 57 times.
5. The description of the Quran as “Majid” (Glorious) is correlated with the frequency of occurrence of the letter “Q” in each of the Q-initialed suras. The word “Majid” has a gematrical value of 57.
7. Sura 42 consists of 53 verses, and 42+53 is 95, or 19×5.
8. Sura 50 consists of 45 verses, and 50+45 is also 95, 19×5.
9. The number of Q’s in all verses numbered “19” throughout the Quran is 76, 19×4.

Glimpses of the Quran’s mathematical composition began to emerge. For example, it was observed that the people who disbelieved in Lot are mentioned in 50:13 and occur in the Quran 13 times – 7:80; 11:70, 74, 89; 21:74; 22:43; 26:160; 27:54, 56; 29:28; 38:13; 50:13; and 54:33. Consistently, they are referred to as “Qawm,” with the single exception of the Q-initialed Sura 50 where they are referred to as “Ikhwaan.” Obviously, if the regular, Q-containing word “Qawm” were used, the count of the letter “Q” in Sura 50 would have become 58, and this whole phenomenon would have disappeared. With the recognized absolute accuracy of mathematics, the alteration of a single letter destroys the system.

Another relevant example is the reference to Mecca in 3:96 as “Becca“! This strange spelling of the renowned city has puzzled Islamic scholars for many centuries. Although Mecca is mentioned in the Quran properly spelled in 48:24, the letter “M” is substituted with a “B” in 3:96. It turns out that Sura 3 is an M-initialed sura, and the count of the letter “M” would have deviated from the Quran’s code if “Mecca” was spelled correctly in 3:96.

Becca is the ancient name of Mecca, similar to Yathrib being the ancient name to Medina (33:13). Beca is referred to in Psalms 84:6.

Psalms 84
1 How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!
They are ever praising You. 

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.

Why 19?

Chapter 74: The Hidden Secret (Al-Muddath-thir)

[74:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
[74:1] O you hidden secret.
[74:2] Come out and warn.
[74:3] Extol your Lord.
[74:4] Purify your garment.

Note: This garment is the Quran. The purpose of the Hidden Secret is to purify this Quran.

[74:5] Forsake what is wrong.
[74:6] Be content with your lot.
[74:7] Steadfastly commemorate your Lord.
[74:8] Then, when the horn is blown.
[74:9] That will be a difficult day.
[74:10] For the disbelievers, not easy.
[74:11] Let Me deal with one I created as an individual.
[74:12] I provided him with lots of money.
[74:13] And children to behold.
[74:14] I made everything easy for him.
[74:15] Yet, he is greedy for more.
[74:16] He stubbornly refused to accept these proofs.

Note: The disbeliever refuses to accept the proof in the Quran.

[74:17] I will increasingly punish him.
[74:18] For he reflected, then decided.
[74:19] Miserable is what he decided.
[74:20] Miserable indeed is what he decided.
[74:21] He looked.
[74:22] He frowned and whined.
[74:23] Then he turned away arrogantly.
[74:24] He said, “This is but clever magic!
[74:25] “This is human made.”

Note: The disbeliever is calling the proofs in the Quran “clever magic” and “human made”

[74:26] I will commit him to retribution.
[74:27] What retribution!
[74:28] Thorough and comprehensive.
[74:29] Obvious to all the people.

The Quran’s Common Denominator
[74:30] Over it is nineteen.

Note: 19 is God’s answer to the disbeliever’s claim that this book is “human made”

[74:31] We appointed angels to be guardians of Hell, and we assigned their number (19) (1) to disturb the disbelievers, (2) to convince the Christians and Jews (that this is a divine scripture), (3) to strengthen the faith of the faithful, (4) to remove all traces of doubt from the hearts of Christians, Jews, as well as the believers, and (5) to expose those who harbor doubt in their hearts, and the disbelievers; they will say, “What did GOD mean by this allegory?” GOD thus sends astray whomever He wills, and guides whomever He wills. None knows the soldiers of your Lord except He. This is a reminder for the people.

[74:32] Absolutely, (I swear) by the moon.
[74:33] And the night as it passes.
[74:34] And the morning as it shines.

    One of the Great Miracles

[74:35] This is one of the great miracles.* 
[74:36] A warning to the human race.

Note: This miracle serves 5 purposes and is a warning to the human race.

Encryption is the process of encoding messages (or information) in such a way that eavesdroppers or hackers cannot read it, but that authorized parties can.

In an encryption scheme, the message or information (referred to as plaintext) is encrypted using an encryption algorithm, turning it into an unreadable ciphertext

The simplest form of encryption is letter swapping:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Q W E R T Y U I O P A S D F G H J K L Z X C V B N M

So when I write out a message it will come out looking like gibberish

It was actually in 850 that someone by the name of Al-Kindi, an Iraqui Muslim Arab philosopher, mathematician, came up with a simple way to decipher this form of encryption.

In any language the frequency of certain letters in that language can be determined using a large enough selection of text.

So when you have an encrypted text you can find the letter that is used the most frequently and assume that in English that letter would be ‘e’, then the second most common letter would constitute ‘t’, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_frequency#mediaviewer/File:English_letter_frequency_(frequency).svg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_frequency#mediaviewer/File:English_letter_frequency_(alphabetic).svg

The method of cracking encryption is called frequency analysis.

It was actually one of the insights God bestowed on to His messenger when he realized that the occurrence of the letters of any initialed chapter did not match the common frequency of those letters in a common Arabic text of the same length.

For instance Chapter 42 and 50 both have the initial Q. But even though Chapter 42 is twice the length of Chapter 50, the occurrence of the letter Q is 57 in both chapters.

This was one of the first major clues to the mathematical miracle of the Quran.

Now this entire field of encryption and decryption is known as “Cryptography

It is worth mentioning that the etymology of the word Cryptography is “Hidden Secret”

Cryptography:

  1. Computers Any of various mathematical techniques for encrypting and decrypting data in order to keep it private when transmitted or stored electronically.
  2. The process or skill of communicating in or deciphering secret writings or ciphers.
  3. Secret writing.

Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties (called adversaries)

God’s form of encryption is “sincerity”

Those who are insincere will have no access to it – they are blocked from cracking the encryption.

Only the Sincere Can Understand the Quran

[56:75] I swear by the positions of the stars.
[56:76] This is an oath, if you only knew, that is awesome.
[56:77] This is an honorable Quran.
[56:78] In a protected book.
[56:79] None can grasp it except the sincere.
[56:80] A revelation from the Lord of the universe.

How awesome is it that God created a text that is legible to all, because most encrypted text is unintelligible, yet the Quran is written perfect Arabic tongue with no nonsense, no gibberish.

Such that a believer and disbeliever can both pick up the book…

Read the book…

Yet the disbeliever will have no understanding of what he just read while the believer is overwhelmed with joy

Mathematical Miracle of the Quran*

[41:41] Those who have rejected the Quran’s proof* when it came to them, have also rejected an Honorable book.
[41:42] No falsehood could enter it, in the past or in the future;* a revelation from a Most Wise, Praiseworthy.

    God’s Messenger of the Covenant*
[41:43] What is said to you is precisely what was said to the previous messengers. Your Lord possesses forgiveness, and He also possesses painful retribution.

    Language is Irrelevant
[41:44] If we made it a non-Arabic Quran they would have said, “Why did it come down in that language?” Whether it is Arabic or non-Arabic, say, “For those who believe, it is a guide and healing. As for those who disbelieve, they will be deaf and blind to it, as if they are being addressed from faraway.”

Healing and Mercy

[17:82] We send down in the Quran healing and mercy for the believers. At the same time, it only increases the wickedness of the transgressors.

[22:46] Did they not roam the earth, then use their minds to understand, and use their ears to hear? Indeed, the real blindness is not the blindness of the eyes, but the blindness of the hearts inside the chests.

[47:16] Some of them listen to you, then as soon as they leave they ask those who were enlightened, “What did he just say?” GOD thus seals their hearts and, consequently, they follow only their opinions.

WHY 19!

As pointed out later in this Appendix, all God’s scriptures, not only the Quran, were mathematically coded with the number “19.” Even the universe at large bears this divine mark. The number 19 can be looked upon as the Almighty Creator’s signature on everything He created (see Appendix 38). The number “19” possesses unique mathematical properties beyond the scope of this Appendix. For example:

[1] It is a prime number.

[2] It encompasses the first numeral (1) and the last numeral (9), as if to proclaim God’s attribute in 57:3 as the “Alpha and the Omega.”
[3] It looks the same in all languages of the world. Both components, 1 and 9, are the only numerals that look the same in all languages.
[4] It possesses many peculiar mathematical properties. For example, 19 is the sum of the first powers of 9 and 10, and the difference between the second powers of 9 and 10.

We now understand that the uni-versal coding of God’s creations with the number 19 rests in the fact that it is the gematrical value of the word “ONE” in all the scriptural languages – Aramaic, Hebrew, and Arabic.

The number 19, therefore, pro-claims the First Commandment in all the scriptures: that there is only ONE God.

The Lord our God is ONE!
Therefore, you shall worship
the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
[Deuteronomy 6:4-5]
[Mark 12:29]
[Quran 12:163, 17:22-23]
Table 20: Why “19!”

Letter
Hebrew Arabic Value
V W 6
A A 1
H H 8
D D 4
19

As shown in Table 7, the Aramaic, Hebrew, and Arabic alphabets used to double as numerals in accordance with a universally established system. The Hebrew word for “ONE” is “VAHD” (pronounced V-AHAD). In Arabic, the word for “ONE” is “WAHD” (pronounced WAAHED). See Table 20.

Appendix 38:

The scriptures are not the only mathematically composed creations of God where the number 19 is the common denominator. It is profound indeed that Galileo made his famous statement: “Mathematics is the language with which God created the universe.” A plethora of scientific findings have now shown that the number 19 represents God’s signature upon certain creations. This divine stamp appears throughout the universe in much the same manner as the signature of Michelangelo and Picasso identify their works. For example:

  1. The sun, the moon, and the earth become aligned in the same relative positions once every 19 years (see ENCYCLOPEDIA JUDAICA under “Calendar”).
  2. Halley’s comet, a profound heavenly phenomenon, visits our solar system every 76 years, 19×4.
  3. God’s stamp on you and me is manifested in the fact that the human body contains 209 bones, 19×11.
  4. LANGMAN’S MEDICAL EMBRYOLOGY, by T. W. Sadler, is used as a textbook in most of the Medical Schools in the U.S.A. On Page 88 of the Fifth edition, we read the following statement: “In general the length of pregnancy for a full term fetus is considered to be 280 days or 40 weeks after onset of the last menstruation, or more accurately, 266 days or 38 weeks after fertilization.” The numbers 266 and 38 are both multiples of 19.

Overview of the Mathematical Miracle of the Quran

2:62

Unity of All Submitters

[2:62] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who
(1) believes in GOD, and
(2) believes in the Last Day, and
(3) leads a righteous life,
will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

2:62 is a condensed summary of the Sura 1

(1) Believe in God
[1:1] In the name of GOD, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
[1:2] Praise be to GOD, Lord of the universe.
[1:3] Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

(2) Believe in the Hereafter
[1:4] Master of the Day of Judgment.

(3) Lead a righteous life,
[1:5] You alone we worship; You alone we ask for help.
[1:6] Guide us in the right path;
[1:7] the path of those whom You blessed; not of those who have deserved wrath, nor of the strayers.

What does it mean to believe in God?
Believing God is knowing God’s qualities, not just God’s existence
Satan believes in God’s existence, but does not understand God’s qualities

The Majority of Believers Destined for Hell
[12:106] The majority of those who believe in GOD do not do so without committing idol worship.

Believing in God means that our devotion needs to be only to God

[11:23] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, and devote themselves to their Lord, they are the dwellers of Paradise; they abide therein forever.

What does it mean to lead a righteous life?
Leading a righteous life is commensurate to the amount of information someone has
If someone has read the Quran from cover to cover they will have more responsibility than someone who has not. For example, if someone read the Quran they are required to say God willing, while someone who hasn’t read the Quran may not be responsible to do this

Three Categories of People (1) The Righteous
[2:3] who believe in the unseen, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and from our provisions to them, they give to charity.
[2:4] And they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, and with regard to the Hereafter, they are absolutely certain.
[2:5] These are guided by their Lord; these are the winners.

Righteous are those who are conscious of God
Righteous are those who do good actions to please God
Righteous life in life requires action vs. righteousness in belief
Cannot do action without belief

Righteousness Defined
[2:177] Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who believe in GOD, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets; and they give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the traveling alien, the beggars, and to free the slaves; and they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat); and they keep their word whenever they make a promise; and they steadfastly persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and war. These are the truthful; these are the righteous.

2:2, 2:62 and 2:177 use three different Arabic words for righteousness…
Can’t achieve righteousness through wishful thinking: 2:111, 7:46, 15:3, 57:14

What does it mean to believe in Hereafter?
If someone doesn’t believe in the Hereafter then they don’t believe that the Quran is complete and fully detailed

Important Criterion
[6:113] This is to let the minds of those who do not believe in the Hereafter listen to such fabrications, and accept them, and thus expose their real convictions.

Quran: Fully Detailed
[6:114] Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt.
[6:115] The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.
[6:116] If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.
[6:117] Your Lord is fully aware of those who stray off His path, and He is fully aware of those who are guided.

If someone doesn’t believe in the Hereafter then they don’t understand the Quran – they are not sincere

Disbelievers Cannot Understand Quran
[17:45] When you read the Quran, we place between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter an invisible barrier.
Quran: The ONLY Source
[17:46] We place shields around their minds, to prevent them from understanding it, and deafness in their ears. And when you preach your Lord, using the Quran alone,* they run away in aversion.

If someone doesn’t believe in the Hereafter then they are not satisfied with God Alone and need to mention other names next to God.

The Greatest Criterion
[39:45] When GOD ALONE is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when others are mentioned beside Him, they become satisfied.

We need to be certain about the Hereafter

2:4 And they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, and with regard to the Hereafter, they are absolutely certain.

One’s actions need to align with one’s belief
Need to correspond with our innermost beliefs that only God is aware of it

[40:56] Surely, those who argue against GOD’s revelations without proof are exposing the arrogance that is hidden inside their chests, and they are not even aware of it. Therefore, seek refuge in GOD; He is the Hearer, the Seer.

Weak believer vs. Disbeliever and Hypocrite

The weak believer knows what is right and wrong and works to uphold it while the disbeliever or hypocrite is oblivious to their sins or convinced that their sins are righteous.

[7:155] Moses then selected seventy men from among his people, to come to our appointed audience. When the quake shook them, he said, “My Lord, You could have annihilated them in the past, together with me, if You so willed. Would You annihilate us for the deeds of those among us who are foolish? This must be the test that You have instituted for us. With it, You condemn whomever You will, and guide whomever You will. You are our Lord and Master, so forgive us, shower us with Your mercy; You are the best Forgiver.

Requirements For Attaining God’s Mercy The Importance of Zakat
[7:156] “And decree for us righteousness in this world, and in the Hereafter. We have repented to You.” He said, “My retribution befalls whomever I will. But My mercy encompasses all things. However, I will specify it for those who (1) lead a righteous life, (2) give the obligatory charity (Zakat),* (3) believe in our revelations, and
[7:157] “(4) follow the messenger, the gentile prophet (Muhammad), whom they find written in their Torah and Gospel.* He exhorts them to be righteous, enjoins them from evil, allows for them all good food, and prohibits that which is bad, and unloads the burdens and the shackles imposed upon them. Those who believe in him, respect him, support him, and follow the light that came with him are the successful ones.”

At some point someone will need to elevate from a weak believer to a strong believer, but God knows how much leeway individuals have to improve themselves
If we don’t try to grow in faith and righteousness do we really believe?

[36:65] On that day we will seal their mouths; their hands and feet will bear witness to everything they had done.
[36:66] If we will, we can veil their eyes and, consequently, when they seek the path, they will not see.
[36:67] If we will, we can freeze them in place; thus, they can neither move forward, nor go back.
[36:68] Whomever we permit to live for a long time, we revert him to weakness. Do they not understand?

We can always do better. If we think we can’t then we will be stagnant.

[82:5] Every soul will find out what caused it to advance, and what caused it to regress.

There is no limit to righteousness

[74:56] They cannot take heed against GOD’s will. He is the source of righteousness; He is the source of forgiveness.
[2:197] Hajj shall be observed in the specified months. Whoever sets out to observe Hajj shall refrain from sexual intercourse, misconduct, and arguments throughout Hajj. Whatever good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof. As you prepare your provisions for the journey, the best provision is righteousness. You shall observe Me, O you who possess intelligence.
[38:54] Our provisions are inexhaustible.

How do we know we are on the right path? How do we know we are improving? What is our gauge?
• How often do we remember God?
• What have we done in the cause of God?
• How reverent are we during our Contact Prayers
• Assume you are a hypocrite and prove yourself wrong

Happiness is a gauge of the degree of growth of our souls

Introduction – Perfect Happiness: Now and Forever
“One of the most elusive objectives of every human being is “Happiness.” The Quran reveals the secret of attaining perfect happiness in this life and forever. We learn from the Quran that happiness is an exclusive quality of the soul. Thus, a body that attains all the material successes it longs for – money, power, fame, etc. – often belongs to an unhappy person. Happiness depends totally on the degree of growth and development attained by the soul, the real person. The Quran provides a detailed map towards perfect happiness for both body and soul, both in this world and in the eternal Hereafter (Appendix 15).

In the numerous verses throughout this proven Testament, God personally guarantees the believers’ happiness, now and forever:

Happiness: Now and Forever
[10:62] Absolutely, GOD’s allies have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
[10:63] They are those who believe and lead a righteous life.
[10:64] For them, joy and happiness in this world, as well as in the Hereafter. This is GOD’s unchangeable law. Such is the greatest triumph.”

So the happier we are the better indicator that we are on the right path

Why are so many people who have so much wealth unhappy?
Life does not meet their expectations.
They thought that the wealth and material possessions would bring them happiness and when it didn’t they were left very disappointed and lost
They lack contentment
They worry
Their fear of loss is greater than their fear of achievement
The average person is more fearful of losing something than gaining something. For instance people value losing $10 more than the thought of gaining $10. When someone has a lot of material possessions and vanities the fear of loss is a lot greater. If people don’t realize that God is the source of all our provisions they think that they may lose their provisions at any time. This causes chronic stress.

Can happiness be used as a gauge to our degree of growth? Yes, if it is true happiness?
Happiness is a characteristic of the soul
Material possessions do not affect the soul
Sign of true happiness is the feelings of contentment and fulfillment – satisfied with whatever God provides for us
It is God’s promise to allow us to grow our souls to our highest capacity in this life
Never have to fear that we will miss out

“Unity of all Submitters” irrespective of name or creed

Ego and leading a righteous life are polar opposites. The more of one we have the less of the other.

No fear and no grief is a sign that we are on the right path
It is like being on a track and if we go off one side we have fear about the future, and if we go off the other side we will experience grief about things that happened in the past
When we have contentment and fulfillment in our lives we won’t experience either fear or grief.
Most people in the world live under fear
As submitters we can put all our fears away
When we fear God, we acknowledge that God is Most Gracious Most Merciful and that He is in full control

3:175 It is the devil’s system to instill fear into his subjects. Do not fear them and fear Me instead, if you are believers.

Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

We have nothing to fear because God – The Most Gracious – is in full control of everything
If we obey God we have nothing to fear…

[6:14] Say, “Shall I accept other than GOD as a Lord and Master, when He is the Initiator of the heavens and the earth, and He feeds but is notfed?” Say, “I am commanded to be the most devoted submitter, and, `Do not be an idol worshiper.’ ”
[6:15] Say, “I fear, if I disobeyed my Lord, the retribution of an awesome day.

To Be Protected From Satan
[23:97] Say, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the whispers of the devils.
[23:98] “And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they come near me.”

This is the antidote for not falling into fear or grief

Wisdom is knowing the majesty of God. When we know the majesty of God is when happiness starts. We are putting ourselves in the hand of the Master of the Universe. We give charge of our life to God.

If we have a bit of goodness in us then God will not let us go astray…

[15:99] And worship your Lord, in order to attain certainty.

[33:41] O you who believe, you shall remember GOD frequently.

If we don’t constantly focus on God we can get distracted by the blessings that God provides to us
By focusing on God not only will God give us more, but it is an opportunity to become even more appreciative

[14:7] Your Lord has decreed: “The more you thank Me, the more I give you.” But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.

God provides us with provisions to be appreciative, but then we turn these provisions to our focus and we suffer the consequences of forgetting God

It is an every day situation to praise God, be thankful and be focused on God. Not something we can ease up on.

The key to success in life is being appreciative. When we are appreciative all our worries and fears go away.
Appreciation should become part of our nature

Scientific Proof That Being Thankful Improves Your Health
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11819/scientific-proof-that-being-thankful-improves-your-health.html

Question from last post
Regarding the topic that “everything that happens to us is because we deserve it”
Did the believers deserved to be ridiculed, mocked etc.?
The word “deserve” may not fit into every situation.
Like the example in 29:10