November 2014: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Muharram 1436

Volume 30 No 11

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Submitters Perspective

Monthly Bulletin of the International Community of Submitters Published by Masjid Tucson

Giving Thanks

They remember GOD while standing, sitting, and on their sides, and they reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth: “Our Lord, You did not create all this in vain. Be You glorified. Save us from the retribution of Hell (3:191).

Find a quiet spot in nature. Sit there silently for half an hour or so. How do you feel? Perhaps the same way I felt, for it helped me understand that not only do people have stories to tell, but so also do all of God’s creations (6:38; 16:68-69; 27:18-19, 23-24; 59:21; 88:17; 99:4). Some of these tales are joyful; some are sad; some are long; some are short. All are beautiful; all are important; all are part of God’s plan.

As I looked around, I realized that every tree whispers its story in the rings that encircle its heart, in the leaves and fruits that spring from its branches and in the wind that carries its seeds to new nurseries. But it’s not just living things that have a story to tell. Just as every species has an experience to share, so does every mountain, river, and ocean. Each, in its time, tells us about our planet’s journey through eternity (2:74; 27:88; 45:12-13; 59:21; 99:4). The winds travel faster and farther than people, and the sun, the moon, and the stars have witnessed more life and history than human eyes have ever seen.

Every bird, every mammal, and every insect appreciates this web of life in its own unique way. Having seen this, I ask myself why do we, humans, see ourselves as superior in all ways to the rest of God’s creatures.

Why are we so proud of ourselves? Are we the fastest creatures on earth? No; Peregrine falcons can travel 200 miles per hour while we humans, on foot, can move only slightly faster than snakes (when you think about it, snakes are pretty fast without legs). Do we live longer than all other species? No; Galapagos tortoises have a lifespan of 130 plus years, and lichens live thousands of years. Do we have better eyesight than other species? No; owls can see mice from a mile away; what can we see from a mile away? A shopping mall perhaps! Even more amazing is the fact that snakes can see heat. Do we see more colors than all other living species? No; bees can see ultra-violet light, which is invisible to us. And look at birds, they can fly because of the God-given gift of wings. We, too, have a unique and special God-given gift. One that allows us to understand the world around us, to build planes that let us soar with the birds, cars that let us race the falcons and, most importantly, build and do things that improve the lives of all living creatures.

It is the gift of a creative intellect.

This gift of intelligence is perhaps one of the greatest gifts God may bestow upon a creature. He has given humans alone the gift of an inquiring mind, and forward thinking (30:8). But such a great gift comes with a very great responsibility to appreciate and use this gift properly (23:78; 36:35-36). The word of God in scriptures to submitters of all faiths reinforces the importance of this gift and how great is the responsibility that accompanies it. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.” (Luke, 12:48)

We, of all God’s creatures, have the ability to provide stewardship for the whole world and all who live in it. We alone have been blessed to discover cures for diseases. We can provide support and compassion for those whose lives have been devastated by tragedy. We have the capacity to show kindness to complete strangers, and we do it without expectation (76:9). We, of all species, have the heart and soul to help others and the brain to turn that desire into action. That, I believe, is among the gifts God has given us that differentiate us from all other animals. God gave us stewardship over the earth and will hold us to account

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