Cont’d from page 2
It is only after we become parents ourselves that we fully appreciate our own parents. Parents give their time, energy, provisions and independence to take care of a dependent child. They give their years to help in their children's lives even after they have left and had children of their own.
God is in full control of everything, including the family we were brought into, and we should appreciate Him for putting us with parents that would take care of us. However, if they advocate idol worship, we should not follow them, but continue to treat them amicably (6:74, 9:114, 17:23, 31:15).
If they try to force you to set up any idols beside Me, do not obey them. But continue to treat them amicably in this world. You shall follow only the path of those who have submitted to Me. Ultimately, you all return to Me, then I will inform you of everything you have done. (31:15)
As worshipers of God alone, we can be examples for our parents too. They may yet learn from our example.
Children are blessings
Parents should also realize that they do make mistakes, and always retain honest communication with their children. Children's frank questions often point out the fallacies in our complex thinking. Children are often included in the list of blessings (18:46, 71:12). Nevertheless, we must be conscious that children can also become idols (7:190, 63:9).
But when He gives them a good baby, they turn His gift into an idol that rivals Him. GOD be exalted, far above any partnership.(7:190)
So we must take care of our responsibilities to them as children, without neglecting our duties and worship of God. We know we can teach them the ways of righteousness and pray for God to guide them (2:132). We can also set an example of virtuous behavior for them.
The rest must remain between them and God.
The strongest bond
Choosing to make a bond with God and trusting in Him establishes a stronger bond than what we have with any parental figure. As parents or as children, we can take advantage of the closeness between family members in order to lead them to the same bond with God (31:22).
For most of us, our influence is greater on those closest to us and they are more likely to listen than others we give the message to.
For those who believed, and their children also followed them in belief, we will have their children join them. We never fail to reward them for any work. Every person is paid for what he did. (52:21)
[reprinted from September 1993 SP]
* * * * *
In the beginning, God gave mankind from the early civilizations the knowledge to calculate the time of the new moon. He also taught the human beings, for example, how to start the earth day after sunset. The calibration of the new moon by the visibility of crescent somewhere in the sky became marred by several factors; including, weather conditions, the season, the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, the angular distance of the moon from the sun, the observer’s situation and so on.
Thus, when the humans became civilized enough, God created some useful tools such as telescopes, computers and the knowledge of the Quran or science for them to determine the right timing and/or calendars. From the Quran and science,
we learn that our planet earth is set by God Almighty to travel around the sun in a path called an orbit. The shape of the earth's orbit is a closed curve called an ellipse.
The force of gravitation between the sun and a planet is always pulling the planet toward the sun. We do not fall into the sun because of the centrifugal effect of the earth orbital motion around the sun. In order words, the earth is kept steady in its orbit, like any other planet or satellite, by two balancing forces, the gravitational pull of the sun, and the centrifugal force due to its own speed, following the design of God Almighty:
“God is the one who holds the heavens and the earth, lest they vanish. If anyone else is to hold them, they will most certainly vanish. He is Clement, Forgiving.” (35:41)
The speed of the earth varies depending upon its location in relation to the sun. The earth orbits the Sun at a speed of about 19 mi/s (29.8 km/s) making one complete revolution around the sun in 365 earth days 5 hr 48 min 46 sec (365.25 rounded). As it revolves, it rotates on its axis once every 23 hours 56 minutes 4 seconds (24 hours rounded). The moon which is the natural satellite to the planet earth travels in a counter clockwise direction with an average orbital speed of about 2,160 mi/hr. (3,600 km/hr). The moon passes through its phases in about 29.5 days:
“They ask you about the phases of the moon! Say, “They provide a timing device for the people, and determine the time of hajj.” It is not righteous to beat around the bush; righteousness is attained by upholding the commandments and by being straightforward. You shall observe God that you may succeed.” (2:189)
The timing system in the scriptures
The timing system as revealed in the scriptures shows that when God created the universe, He created the lunar and solar calendric systems.
Cont’d on page 4