I really do look at this life as a journey. One of the things I love about Islam is that there is a sense that each of us is born with a predetermined life. This doesn’t mean that we are going one place to do one thing only though because we are given free will in the area of how we choose to deal with situations as they arise and that is what determines where we are. When we are closer to what is ‘right’ for us, things go smoother and when we move away from it things become less smooth. If this sounds like Buddhism to you, you aren’t alone. It sounds like Buddhism to me too.
There are so many misunderstandings about religion. Within Islam, there are people who don’t understand the religion they say they practice, just as there are those who misunderstand Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, and every other major religious philosophical system.
Here are a couple of the things I love about Islam:
1) Islam says that Allah (God) is everywhere and in everything and cannot be understood. There is just one God with no divisions or multiple personalities and it is neither male or female, it is just God. Islam says that Allah (which means one and only God) is not comprehensible and so we shouldn’t even try, we should just accept that Allah is and is everywhere.
2) Islam says that in every people and every culture there have been men and women who were given special understanding of Allah and our place in the universe and that these people shared these messages with humanity. These include Jesus and Moses (Peace be upon them), but they also include hundreds of more, probably the Buddha, a human Krishna figure, Native American prophets, Nichiren, Lao Tzu, the Sikh Gurus, and the founders of every religion. Of course this also included Mohammad (Peace be upon him). The beautiful thing about the revelation of Mohammad is that it was revealed in 28 days and not a single word of it has been changed or modified, down to the punctuation marks. This is in marked contrast to the Bible which has been constructed and deconstructed and modified and remodified hundreds of times. So Islam says that Mohammad (Peace be upon him) was the last of the prophets who revealed the way to us humans. Anyone after him is a false prophet so that knocks L.Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith out of the running which doesn’t bother me too much at all. Mohammad, like all the prophets is a regular dude, a human being, and a humble and peaceful guy that respected women, life, and never tried to use his position to become wealthy or powerful. In fact it is Jesus that is the sort of power figure in Islam.
3) The fighting Jesus. Islam says that all men die except for Jesus who didn’t really die on a cross but whom God took up to a suspended animation state and who is being held in stasis until the antichrist figure rises on the earth. At this point, Allah will wake up Jesus and he will come back and chew bubble gum and kick ass. He will lead the armies of Mehdi against the antichrist and really do some serious ass kicking. None of this turn the other cheek Jesus, we are talking about a serious fighting Jesus. That’s the guy I’ll follow into combat.
4) Islam tells us that within each of us is a moral compass called a Fitrah. We are all born innocent and on the path of God (thus we are all Muslims or ones who submit to the will of God at birth) but our parents fuck us up and tell us all the wrong things they’ve learned. At this point, we forget to follow the directions of our fitrah and we start to suffer in this world. All we need to do to open up our hearts to allow ourselves to feel where that fitrah tells us to go.
As an example, I could have taken this whole ridiculous situation with my father to a dozen bizarre levels. I could have gotten angry and cussed at him, I could have decided to have a pity party and gotten incredibly drunk and somehow destroyed my life, I could have murdered him, there is no limit to how stupid we human beings can be when we refuse to listen to our fitrah. So instead of all that, I took a step back and listened and I am feeling the benefits of it nonstop.
Truth is I was working a lot and earning some cash but I wasn’t accomplishing some of the things I needed to take care of. One of those things was to get the hold taken off my drivers license so that I can drive again. It involved finding out about a ticket in North Carolina, paying it off, getting my name taken off the National Driver License registry, and then getting my license renewed in Hawaii. That’s actually four bureaucracies in three different time zones and I was living on a jobsite with a guy that liked to start work at 7 am and usually didn’t finish until 6 pm and even if I wanted to take a break, there would usually be a saw grinding outside the window of the room I was trying to work from. Sure, part of that frustration came from not wanting to feel the guilt of watching my 74 year old dad work while I was on the phone or the computer, so I can’t really blame him for it, but there wasn’t really an understanding from him when I would mention that there were things I needed to take care of. Instead he would ask me to give him a hand with the next project. So things weren’t really as they needed to be, no matter the cause.
My fitrah was telling me that I needed to go, but I wasn’t listening. So what happened happened and the way I chose to deal with it was what it was and here I am.
And today, I called about the tickets and National Driver License issues in North Carolina and a woman told me that it was all because of an open container (on a sidewalk mind you, not in a car) ticket that I hadn’t resolved. There was a part of me that wanted to rant and rave and be a real dick to this nice lady, but I didn’t. I just talked with her, remembered that she was a person doing a job, and calmly moved forward. She had me call someone else who had me call someone else and finally I talked with someone else who told me there were three tickets, warrants for my arrest had been issued over them, and that I was probably going to have to go to court and pay $1000 dollars and maybe it couldn’t be resolved over the phone at all. And I wanted to flip out but I remembered that this was just a nice lady doing her job and someone who probably really wanted to help me, but wasn’t able to.
I got off the phone and looked to see if there wasa statute of limitations that would run out on these tickets (for the record 55mph in a 40mph, failure to change my address on my license, and open container in public) but foung that states have no statute of limitations on these kind of things. They last forever. I found out Wisconsin and Michigan aren’t connected to the driver license registry and thought about taking a trip and getting a license there. Then that second nice lady called me back.
She told me that she figured the court should drop one of the charges and suggested I call the courts with her suggestion. I did, I called that first nice lady and left her a message.
A few hours later, she called me up and told me that she had taken a trip to the D.A. and he had opted to drop all the charges and tickets except the failure to change my address and all I would need to do was send $250 overnight and it would be taken care of by weeks end. The second lady had told me that if I solved the problem with the courts I would be able to solve the registry problem for $85. And these two ladies had made it all possible for me. And to think that there was a frustrated part of me that almost took my frustration out on them…
And so here I am, well on my way to solving one of the major issues I came here to solve, and not for $1000 but for a third of that. Feels like I’m listening to my fitrah…now the question is…where should I go next?