I had the chance to attend few training sessions and read few books on the so called "life skills development". Also I have tried to engage in written and oral dialogues with many individuals, from different walks of life, on how they look at their own life. I have observed one common factor while doing these exercises. Most of the present day lead trainers and writers are trying to pull back the modern man back to a track of "discounted spirituality", especially the technocratic youth who are leading a very shallow life.
The present day economic boom, in India for example, started in 1991. With a lot of money in hand, the youth of India had a steep growth in the standard of living. They acquired all what they could. Flats, Cars, Motorbikes, Computers, Mobile phones etc… But today most of them, at their 40s and 50s, are tired of running behind the gadgets endlessly. No wonder why you find these days huge number of attendees in life skill training programs and stress release programs.
Even though there is a big trend among the young technocrats to read and hear these writers and trainers, there is still a big vacuum existing in the air. The problem is that even the trainers and the writers are too much commercialized these days. During the hunger strike drama at New Delhi we all read that, if you want to sit in the front row of the Yoga class of Mr. Ramdev you have to pay more than Rs. 50,000/-! The writers on life skills will not mind to make certain compromises to keep their books in the best sellers list. To suit this situation all of them keep “RELIGION” away and promote the term spirituality, yes discounted spirituality. They all take the basic religious teaching out of religion and sell to the rich shallow minds in this new bottle called spirituality.
They talk about peace of mind.
They talk about development.
They talk about stress free life.
They talk about human relationship.
They talk about success in life.
They convince you that you can be a winner once you attend their yoga, workshop or read their books.
How many trainers, big or small, and books!! Sri Sri Ravi shankar, Chetan Bagath, Shiv Khera, Ravi Chandar, Stephen Covey…. you name them.
I fully agree that these trainers and writers have succeeded in reducing the stress levels of many technocrats and professionals. But are these trainers and writers giving you the full picture? NOT REALLY. They are compromising on few important links in the chain of TRUTH. Most of them tie their donkeys (not horses) near the neo-capitalistic life style and try to devise solutions from within the same boundaries.
I would confidently request the open hearted readers to learn Islam from where these trainers and writers stop. Soon you will reach the “Ahaa” moment of the real spirituality. The real meaning of our life - Our root - The philosophy of life - the inner strength we possess - the practical ways to apply the inner strength - the social context - the meaning of the real success - the destination beyond this life - the beauty of leading a peaceful, sustainable and successful life keeping the destination always in the context - The ultimate bliss of meeting your Lord.
The message of Islam is the message of the winners, irrespective of the number of gadgets they own!
In Islam a rich man can be a winner, a poor man can be a winner, a healthy man can be a winner, a sick man can be a winner, a wise man can be a winner, a ruler can be a winner, an employer can be a winner, an employee can be a winner. One can be a winner even if he loses everything he has – in the cause of Islam- including, the most precious possession, his life!
Yes. All members of the society can win together. A win - win situation for all! No class wars. No distinction on color, language or nationality. Equality, fraternity, freedom of choice and being responsible for the choice one makes in his life – it is all beautiful in a practicing atmosphere.
Islam liberated man from all sorts of manmade bonds. Remember the stimulus and response theory of Stephen Covey in his book "The 7 habits of highly effective people" and the example of the Jew in the concentration camp of Hitler. Thousands of examples can be quoted from the history of Islam where individuals were mentally independent while they were physically captured, tortured or suppressed. Unlike the Jew in the concentration camp of Stephen Covey, the heroes of Islam were having a much higher perspective of meeting their Lord in paradise, after their death. Only Islam can produce examples like that of Bilal (RA), Ammar (RA) etc.
Islam should be read as a continuation of the success stories of humanity against the forces of evil from pre-historic period: The success of Musa –Moses- (A.S) over Pharoah - The winners along with Prophet Nooh –Noah- (A.S) in the Ship - The series of messengers and their success stories in the Ibrahami (Abraham) communities including Yusuf (Joseph), Eisa (Jesus), Yahya …..(May peace be upon them all).
Prophet Mohammed came as the last messenger to deliver the ultimate teachings from the Creator to the humans till end of time. His life is well documented in the pages of history and is an open book to all mankind. He elevated mankind to its best. The life of his followers should be studied, if you want to taste Islam in its totality. Abu Bakar, Omar, Usman, Ali (Peace be upon them all), the stories of such followers will lead humanity to the right path till the end of time – Insha Allah.
The message of Islam is a light. Where there is light darkness cannot enter! This fact is clear from the present day world affairs. The more they try to suppress and defame the message of Islam the more popular it has become among the seekers of truth!
It is not required to force others to ISLAM. Holy Quran Says in verse 2:256 : Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
Quran says in verse 21:107 about prophet Mohammed (SA):
We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.
Yes. The message and messenger of Islam are blessings for this world at large. With lots of trial and error man will ultimately return back to “Fitrath”- the true state of affairs.
To be successful in life, be a NICHE or a candle lit from the niche of Islam, the ever green message to mankind from his Creator.
This article was written for the E-Magazine of "Focus Jeddah"