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Great technological advances have enabled man to manufacture cars, planes and other luxury goods. Yet such advances have enabled man to manufacture also nuclear and cluster bombs that can indiscriminately kill millions of people.
Great advances have been achieved in medicine leading to the production of vaccines that prevent disease and a variety of medicines that cure numerous illnesses. However, man managed also to produce killer viruses to use in germ warfare.
Human thought also advanced, producing philosophical theories that reduce man to the level of animals and even insects. Other theories justify the extermination of whole races so that only advanced races may survive.
Today, with the resources available to him, man is more able to achieve prosperity and happiness than at any time in history. Yet mankind still grope in the dark, plagued by wars, crime, famine, suicide and depression. The question many of us find perplexing is: why have we not made advances leading to happiness? Even more importantly, How can we achieve happiness then?
In short, the answer is: by moulding man.
The Moulding of Man
All around us we see concrete buildings rising high, while their inhabitants sink into the depths of fanaticism and ignorance, thinking only of their next meal or their next drink.
Luxury buildings have shining glass surfaces that reflect tiny objects like a mirror, while darkness spreads over the hearts of countless numbers of people who lead a life of misery.
Luxury jets travel the world, and passengers are comfortable in seats that turn into beds so that they may sleep as they fly through the night, while the majority of mankind suffer a life below the poverty line.
It is no surprise that a billionaire who has at his fingertip all that anyone can wish for, may need to take several sleeping tablets in order to get to sleep. He may even jump from the top of the palace he so eagerly built, sending his body into the abyss into which his soul had earlier sunk.
Islam attaches due importance to the moulding of man, as a structure of values, one supporting the other. Here is the value of mercy: On screen: Prophet Muhammad says: ‘No mercy will be shown to one who is not merciful to others’. And here is truthfulness: On screen the Qur’anic verse: ‘Believers, fear God and always remain with the truthful’ (9: 119) And here is honesty, and there is courage. Together they form a wall that shields man from temptations. Besides, here we find a cleansing tool that removes all the dirt of grudge, hatred, greed and pursuit of wealth. Under Islam, you live between one wall that protects you from all that is wicked and another that keeps you free from the temptation of desire.
Here is a pillar of support to lean upon when you experience a moment of weakness. You can thus maintain your dignity and refuse to bow before anyone. You will say to all: God has liberated us from servitude to anyone. We worship God alone. By contrast, when you have power, you will stop before a threshold that prevents you from the abuse of power. Thus, when those who have fought you find themselves subject to your authority, you pardon them in the hope that they will be guided to the truth.
Man always looks at his childhood with nostalgia. As a child, man reflects uncorrupted human nature. Nevertheless, he tries his best to kill that structure day after day. Ultimately, many are those who kill themselves. Today, suicide has reached unprecedented proportions.
We spend decades building our bodies. Is it time that we should take a backward step in order to start building our souls before it is too late.