Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Prayer for Humanity

I pray for humanity . . .

I pray for humanity to achieve everlasting life
I pray for humanity to be healed of its pain and suffering
I pray for humanity to see the light of God
I pray for humanity to be in a state of peacefulness and submission
I pray for humanity to find the straight path
I pray for humanity to be free and fulfilled with God's bounty
I pray for humanity to be grateful
I pray for humanity to be led to the promised land
I pray for humanity to recognize truth
I pray for humanity to dispel falsehood
I pray for humanity to embrace one another
I pray for humanity to resolve its conflicts
I pray for humanity to understand its needs
I pray for humanity to find divine love
I pray for humanity to come nearer to God
I pray for humanity to believe in itself
I pray for humanity to overcome its woes and failures
I pray for humanity to establish natural law
I pray for humanity to find its place in the world
I pray for humanity to overcome its fears
I pray for humanity to embark on pilgrimage
I pray for humanity to relieve its sins
I pray for humanity to spread love and happiness
I pray for humanity to keep hope
I pray for humanity to achieve salvation and paradise
I pray for humanity to live out its dreams
I pray for humanity to achieve transcendence
I pray for humanity to be harmonious with nature
I pray for humanity to find its way in the dark
I pray for humanity to discern from right and wrong

I pray with my all heart for God to hear our prayers . . .

Amen.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Please support our ongoing efforts in Haiti . . . speedily and mightily . . .

On Monday President Bill Clinton, the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, traveled to Haiti to deliver emergency relief supplies, assess needs, and meet with Haitian Prime Minister Bellerive regarding immediate and long-term recovery. Today President Clinton and President George W. Bush are continuing their work to raise funds to help rebuild Haiti.

Dear Friend,

Five days ago, we launched a major effort to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of the people of Haiti. Already, more than 130,000 people have responded by donating funds.

Thank you for being one of them. We are touched by the outpouring of support and compassion for our neighbors.

The challenges in Haiti are enormous, and the road ahead will be long. Our immediate priority is to save lives. Organizations are on the ground delivering aid to as many people as possible, but many more people need assistance. We're responding to the unmet needs.

One hundred percent of your online donation will go toward relief efforts and helping Haiti rebuild in the coming years. We are committed to quickly spending your contributions on the Haitian people's immediate needs and wisely investing in their long-term rebuilding.

Please consider making another donation -- and encouraging your friends and family to do the same -- at:

www.clintonbushhaitifund.org

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, making rescue efforts even more difficult. Much of the infrastructure has been destroyed.

We're doing everything we can to help those in most need of assistance. And, through the generosity of caring citizens like you, we will ensure these efforts are sustained.

With gratitude for your ongoing support,


Bill Clinton
George W. Bush

What is Beauty?

What is beauty when there is no one there to behold it?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Islam and Economics

I want to briefly devote a blog to economics and Islam. I have personally undergone a difficult financial period during the past year due to the sluggish economy and was reflecting on how Islam protects our economic freedom and sanity. I want to illustrate an important point with a simple economic paradigm - that of the farmer and the masses. To a large extent, a landowner or farmer can be seen as the first economic agent of modern civilization since industrialization is a product of agrarianism. Let's examine these concepts closely. Let us take the simple organizational model of the family farm. Here, a farmer who owns a piece of land is able to utilize simple or advanced farming methods to cultivate the land and produce crops that sell on the market. He might own farm tools such as wheelbarrows and plows, pitchforks and spades. He might also raise livestock and employ traditional or natural methods of farming and irrigation. The farmer is ultimately responsible for his farm and his machines, methods and know-how are essential for his continued productivity. The tools also depreciate in value as they are used over time. There is a unique balance that must be met for this type of economic activity to occur. Quality agriculture is almost always based on fairness and shared work ethics. The ability of the farmer's methods and machines to produce economic benefit is also an appreciable asset. The spade, one concludes, has investment potential and has depreciation value. Thus, the use of these tools must promote fair economic practices or they would be ill-used. Thus the farmer must maintain a unique agricultural balance to be profitable. The entire operation of the ideal farm is an economic greenhouse of sorts that sustains itself through a self-sufficient process. In reality, the farm benefits others who depend on the agricultural production. Thus, the farm supports civic and community life through the provision of food supplies to the masses. The masses must therefore be able to acquire the food at reasonable rates and apply it for their own sustenance or other needs. Thus, the farm is an essential component to the dynamism of civil life. For the farm to continue to operate in a proper way it must be supported by the masses, who in turn need to be highly sophisticated economic consumers. If this does not occur, the entire economic balance of the farm and the community it serves is threatened. This is where Islam can be most effective. Why - because its central tenets encourage good economic practices that support the natural order of economic conditions. It asks the masses to build homes, roads, mosques and schools to create thriving economic conditions that ultimately support and uphold agricultural efforts. Both are symbiotic and complementary. Ultimately, the burden is on the economic agents to fulfill their duties. Islam teaches us to be fair and fearful of God - and that is the ultimate check on our actions - thus, the farmer who is righteous will reap an abundant harvest and the public who buys his goods will also be well served if they are mindful of their roles and duties. Thus, the economy will thrive and individuals will prosper, civic life will flourish, peace and prosperity will spread and natural economic progress will be preserved. The farmer and the masses are a good basis for any discussion on Islam and economics.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Biology and Time

I'd like to follow-up my previous blog that addressed the topic of faith and time and the need for worship with a current blog on biology and time. Biology and time are important concepts and again share a symbiotic relationship. While time exists irrespective of biological beings, biology is a time sensitive matter. Why is that the case? We measure human and animal years in terms of time and over time, biology dramatically changes from the time we are born to the time that we die. Biology is an interesting concept and advances in science help us to prolong our physical states and increase our time on the planet. The planet too ages as we learn from scientific data and carbon dating, but does time age? Thus our relationship to overall time itself, is irrespective of our existence. Does science conflict with destiny? The answer is plainly no since science is a measurement of our collective human progress and is the result of our collective destiny. Why does time seem to evoke such wonder and awe for human beings. Animals and other biological organisms seem to accept life and death despite scientific intervention. One can contend that all is the result of divine destiny since biological inference doesn't preclude biology itself and only offers a vague objective view of the world around us. When we measure time, we learn that human beings as biological creatures have an average life span that they use to fulfill existential obligations like shopping, eating and working. However, when human beings utilize their free will for ill purposes, they undermine the value of time for the worship of God, which is our ultimate goal. While science prolongs our time, crime and other random occurrences can abruptly and arbitrarily end someone's life without a sufficient justification for time - though one can contend that all is the will of God. However, while we exercise free will, we acknowledge that crime and violence are a fundamental misuse of our time as it relates to universal laws. Time is the great onlooker that never lifts or rears its head to acknowledge our woes and suffering. Therefore, human beings must rely on each other. They must help each other cross the bridge of time that they traverse on their own two feet and worship in a collective manner to seek the favor of God. It is in our nature to accept the finite value of biological time when we are born and seek the infinite value of God's blessings. How do we cope as biological beings when faced with the uncertain and unpredictable nature of time and space and use our willpower to achieve good. Religion seems to be the key to unravel our worst fears. Every action that we take in this world is also inextricably bound to the dimensions of time and we must pursue our worldly goals in a way that does not obstruct our faith. We are able to love, pray, worship and care for one another not that this is a futile destiny but that this is our biological, human obligation. Time seems to stand outside of our ourselves and we seem to stand inside of time. What we endure as biological beings should not defile our souls nor our transcedence when we have carried out the will of God. We must heed the solemn words of Shakespeare when he writes:

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death, —
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, — puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know naught of?

And like Othello too, we must obey time and let time not slip but to seize the moment like a sharp sword and carry out God's will so that God will slightly reach out his hand. Our life is meaningless without sufficient adulation and praise for God.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Am In Love . . .

Such powerful words. I was wondering the other day how unfortunate we are if we cannot be in the state where we can say "I am in love". Love seems to me one of the highest virtues and when one reflects on history, we find that love has been a guiding force for much of our culture, art, and human progress and development. In Islam, sufis are often in this state of mind because they strive to be in love with the Beloved, which is God. Love is a fundamental aspect of Catholicism, Judaism and other religions. It seems to me that love is an underlying component for our salvation as mankind. When we can be in love, fall in love, be loved, stay in love, and say that we are in love, we can achieve greatness, transcendence and inner peace and harmony. Of course, the absence of love shows in the world but we must not let that deter us from pursuing this consummate state and thereby, relieve our personal tension, prejudice, conflict or disinterest. We must pursue such a state vigorously and thoughtfully so that we can be productive, caring, blessed and elevated in the eyes of the supreme being. There can be no greater feeling than when we can reach out to someone and say "I am in love". No questions asked. Why - because love is consummate; it is eternal and everlasting. It is our sole trace on a distant, forbidden planet where we can only depend on ourselves. When we can reside in a world where we can overhear these words spoke often - I am in love - while sitting at a cafe, restaurant, park, train, bus or our homes, our ears are still wanting and we have yet to hear the flute of heaven impart its sweet sound. I am in love - a wonderful phrase that not only creates bliss among us and for those that are mutually loved, but honors all humanity. Whether you are in love or not in love, there is a special power when you say, I am in love. Let that not be confused with any distorted view of how we must show our love . . . all that's needed is to speak these words from the heart and to let others do the same. One thinks why the pursuit of love is not an inalienable right in our Constitution. While that might not be the case, it is an unconditional, penultimate birthright for each and every one of us that should not be muted by our uncertainty. My new film Love Happens is devoted to my own enduring faith in love.