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Daily Democrat, Woodland  – March 31, 2012

There are boundaries to light and darkness


If we look at sports, weather it is a game of Cricket, Baseball, Basketball or any other sport, there are boundaries for a specific ground and there are boundaries set for the players, coaches and all other involved and we all accept those set limits. But I have seen in some discussions that sometimes it becomes very difficult for people to accept boundaries set by a religion, even their own religion.KSaeed

A saying goes that, "Truth and common sense are simple. To deny them, leads to disaster."

The fact of the matter is that we need to apply truth and common sense in our daily life so at the end of day we can go to bed with a clear conscious, get a good night sleep, where we have not hurt anyone individually or harmed the society at large. The Creator in His infinite wisdom, while given us a free will, has also created boundaries for humans and asked us to live within them.

The Jewish and Christian holy scripture not only laid down ethical boundaries but even the regulations for work, "for six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work, you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns" Exhodus.

"There were boundaries for light and darkness." (Job 26.10), "and limits to human life and action. " (Job 14.5).

Similarly the Qur'an lays down clear ethical boundaries for life as well. There are many misconceptions,

and misinterpretations of Islamic Sharia law, while it is nothing more than a set of norms or beliefs that guides aspects of Muslim life to make it peaceful and harmonies in daily routines while living in a society, the family and religious obligations and also the financial dealings based on principals given by the Creator.

A key verse in the Quran God says, "I created the Jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me." (Quran 51:56). Does the word only means that we should always be sitting in a mosque, a church or a synagogue? If so then how can we make a living, have a social and a family life. Allah stopped sending Mann-o-Salwa, the heavenly meals consisting of meat and sweets long time ago even before the time of Prophet Jesus, so how would we feed and clothe ourselves if the only thing we are to do is worship HIM ?

The fact of the matter is that any and all lawful activity in Islam could be considered as an act of worship; and worship does not only mean the performance of certain religious rituals. If we perform our duties at a lawful job honestly within the boundaries prescribed by God, and within the set rules of the work place, that job is not only work to make a living it is just as important and is like our worship at a prayer rug in a mosque.

Even if we look at life from non religious point of view, the sets of boundaries in different areas of human life are vital in the maintenance of great civilizations. The great economic historian Karl Polanyi , in his book "The Great Transformation", argued that the regulation of the conduct of human affairs by law is vital to the maintenance of civilized society, and to the market, because , "robbed of the protective covering of cultural institutions, human beings would perish from the effects of social exposure; they would die as the victims of acute social dislocation through vice, perversion, crime and starvation ... neighborhoods and landscapes defiled, rivers polluted, military safety jeopardized, the power to produce food and raw materials destroyed."

A truthful, honest and principled life sometimes is a road less traveled and could be lonely, but, it is always a safe and peaceful way which takes us to the right destination.

Khalid Saeed is the Director of Woodland Mosque & Islamic Center, Woodland, CA