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When God planned to create man, the angels said
2:30 And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know."
Today, we ourself ask, Why with all the corruption and blood. But we should remember Allah is Greatest. He knows what we know not. Things are never in our control. But they are in Control of Allah. Never worry.
We have been studying a lot about illusions and it is time for the second test. Before that, here is a summary of things that we studied.
1) We studied an optical illusion and learned a few things from it. We learned that illusions usually happen when we dont have enough knowledge. It usually happens at a distance. We learned that common sense can be used to figure out the truth from Illusions
2) We learned that our senses, especially eyes, are more than what they appear to be. The information from our eyes undergoes a lot of processing and screening before we even become aware of it.
3) We explored surah Al Baqarah and understood the importance of belief in unseen. We learned that we have to practice this belief in the unseen by establishing regular prayers and giving charity. We also discussed the importance of knowledge in tackling illusions.
4) We saw a few more examples of optical illusions.
5) We studied how Prophet Yaqub handled illusions with his belief in the unseen and knowledge.
6) We studied a new type of illusion called the Illusion of Experience from examples in Surah Al Khaf. This type of illusion deals with the incorrect interpretation that we create from the information that is available to us.
So insha allah, our swiss army knife to tackle Illusions is getting better and better. So here is the test.
Now for the test, i have two pictures (left and right) :-
The TEST Question :-
From the two pictures shown above, which of the following is true.
Assume that you have never heard about the bending pencil illusion before :-
1) Picture 1 is an illusion while Picture 2 shows the truth.
2) Picture 1 is the truth while Picture 2 is an illusion
3) Both Picture 1 and Picture 2 and illusions
4) Both Picture 1 and Picture 2 are truths
5) Dont have enough information to decide
Now does that sound like a very silly question to ask. Well then, assume that you are 3-4 year old child and the pencil in the picture is your own pencil. Now does that change the way you look at it?
The first reaction of a child would be - Did you break my pencil??? How dare you?? Mummmmy....
The Important Lesson from this Test
An Illusion by itself is silly. But when it relates to one or when it somehow connects to one, then it might cause confusion and emotions and reactions. The child doesnt know about illusions but reacts, without thinking. Thats exactly what we do today too.
Today, we are bombarded with illusions from all around us. We have no way of verifying it or identifying it as an illusion or not. But we make decisions and talk about it and react to it. We dont know what else to do !!!
Answer : is 5 - we don't have enough information to decide. Because both are just pictures and we can't make any decisions based on pictures. We just dont have enough information.
So far, we have been studying illusions that are visual in nature. Those were called optical illusions because it involves our eye. The next set of illusions that we are about to study are called the 'Illusions of Experience'.
In such illusions, what we see would be the truth. But our interpretation of it would not be the truth. Here are some examples from the Noble Quran.
These examples are from Surah Al Kahf. Surah Al Kahf is full of explanations of different types of illusions. We will study the Illusions of Experiences here.
18:1 [All] praise is [due] to Allah , who has sent down upon His Servant the Book and has not made therein any deviance.
In the very first ayat, God says that Quran doesn't have any deviance - or illusions in it. What is given in the Quran is the truth. There are no illusions. That is one of the miracle of the Quran. No human being can write without illusions because what he writes is what he understands. And what he understands is what his mind figures out from his sensory inputs. A person can write only what he feels or thinks. He can write only what his mind figures out of the information supplied to it from his eyes, ears and other senses. It may or may not be the truth. But God says, Quran is straight without any illusions in it. Subahana Allah.
18:19 And similarly, We awakened them that they might question one another. Said a speaker from among them, "How long have you remained [here]?" They said, "We have remained a day or part of a day." They said, "Your Lord is most knowing of how long you remained. So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the city and let him look to which is the best of food and bring you provision from it and let him be cautious. And let no one be aware of you.
Here is a good example of the Illusion of Experience. The Seven Sleepers experienced that they slept only a day or part of the day. They didnt know the truth. But even if their senses and their feelings told them that they could have slept only a part of day or a day at most, they never allowed it to influence their thoughts and behaviours. They said, Only Lord knows how long we have slept.
This teaches us a very important lesson. Never rely on what we think or what we feel or experience. Only rely on those things that we have absolute knowledge of. Others could be Illusions. It takes time to figure out the truth.
18:26 Say, " Allah is most knowing of how long they remained. He has [knowledge of] the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth. How Seeing is He and how Hearing! They have not besides Him any protector, and He shares not His legislation with anyone."
God is above all illusions. He has absolute knowledge of the unseen. He sees clearly and hears clearly, without illusions. He is our only protector.
18:35-36 And he entered his garden while he was unjust to himself. He said, "I do not think that this will perish - ever. And I do not think the Hour will occur. And even if I should be brought back to my Lord, I will surely find better than this as a return."
In the story of the two friends. One of the friends got influenced by illusions of experience. His garden was a reality. God says so. It was not an optical illusion. But he thought that it would never perish and it was for ever. But soon, he found out that it was not true. His thoughts and experiences were an illusion.
18:45 And present to them the example of the life of this world, [its being] like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and [then] it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability.
This Life by itself is a reality. But the experiences that we get in this life is an illusion. It doesnt last.
18:71 So they set out, until when they had embarked on the ship, al-Khidh r tore it open. [Moses] said, "Have you torn it open to drown its people? You have certainly done a grave thing."
Story of Moses teaches a lot about Illusions of Experience. Here is one experience that Prophet Moosa had. When Al Khidr made the ship sink, Moses was shocked. Now, this was not an Optical Illusion. The ship sank. But Moses, after seeing the actions of Al Khidr, thought that Al Khidr did wrong in making the ship sink. He interpreted it wrongly - Illusions of Experiences. Al khidr asks Moses to have Sabr.
18:87-88 He said, "As for one who wrongs, we will punish him. Then he will be returned to his Lord, and He will punish him with a terrible punishment. But as for one who believes and does righteousness, he will have a reward of Paradise, and we will speak to him from our command with ease."
In Story of Dhul Al Qarnayn, we have an excellent story of how he mastered his illusions. He never made decisions based on his feelings or interpretations. He judged rightly. Only after proving that a person committed a crime was he punished. Only after it was proved that a person did good, He was rewarded.
18:110 Say, "I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord - let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone."
The incredible connection between the last verse of this surah and the first verse. In the first verse (18:1), God says that he has made this revelation STRAIGHT - WITHOUT ANY ILLUSIONS. In this last verse, God is asking Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) to say that he is just a man. i.e our Prophet is just another person like you and me. He is prone to illusions like us too. But the revelation that he brought is without any illusions. Both showing the miracle of Quran in that it cant be a work of any human being.
1) Never let illusions of experience make us make wrong decisions or do wrong. We have to be aware of such illusions. We have to be careful about what we think and the thoughts that we delve in. We have to understand the limitations of our understanding and our senses.
2) Sabr- Have Sabr. Give everything enough time before jumping into conclusions.
3) Instead of forming opinions without proper research, just say God knows best.
12:16 And they came to their father at night, weeping.
12:17 They said, "O our father, indeed we went racing each other and left Joseph with our possessions, and a wolf ate him. But you would not believe us, even if we were truthful."
12:18 And they brought upon his shirt false blood. [Jacob] said, "Rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe."
In Surah Yusuf, we have an incredible story. Yusuf's brothers put him in a well. Then they took his shirt and wet it with false blood. They then took the shirt to Prophet Yaqub and told him that Yusuf was killed by a wolf.
Now, this was a lie. ( AN ILLUSION ). Lets now see how Prophet Yacub handles it.
Prophet Yaqub doesnt believe what he saw. He didnt believe because he had strong belief in the unseen. He said, "Rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe."
Now, how did Prophet Yaqub know that they were lying. How did he know that it was an Illusion.
Prophet Yaqub had strong belief in the unseen. He didn't make his decisions from what he sees or hears.
We shouldn't get upset and act thoughtless from illusions. We have to be patient. God is the Greatest means that He is Greater than anything that happens too.
Here are some examples of optical illusions. This again proves that we shouldnt believe everything that we see.
If we look at the orange circle in the middle, the right orange circle appears to be larger. But, actually, both are of the same size.
The bottom line appears to be larger. But, both the lines are of same length.
Those lines are parallel, actually.
The curves appear to be of different sizes when they are the same size.
Illusions teach us a very valuable lesson about reality. If we are to protect ourselves from illusions of the modern world, there is no other way but to believe in the UNSEEN.
In the Noble Quran,
2:3 - Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them,
2:4 - And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].
God teaches us the characteristics of the successful people. One quality that they have is that they believe in the unseen. Belief in the unseen could mean many things but one could be that they don't take reality as what they see.
Illusions teach us that what we see around us can be very different from the actual reality. We saw a bending pencil but the pencil was not bend. How can we study such unseen. How can we save ourselves from the lies of illusions. How can be observe the unseen. Here are three points for a start :-
Step 1 :- Believe in the Unseen. There is more to this world than what can be seen or observed.
When we see a bending pencil we dont believe that the pencil is bend. We dont form opinions and decisions based on what we see. We believe in the unseen. We know there is a lot more out there than what we can see. We try to gather more information.
Step 2 :- Establish regular salah
We realize that we are helpless without the guidance of God. We humble down in front of him in salah. We need guidance and ask for His guidance. Salah is a tool that helps in the belief of the unseen. Like screwdrivers that makes it easy to work with screws, salah connects us with God and makes it easy to believe in the unseen.
Step 3 :- Help others with what God has given us.
Our actions are good. Our actions and decisions are not a result of things that we see. Because we now understand illusions and realise the limitation of our sight. Our actions are not decided by it. We do only good. We help others with what God has given us.
Step 4 :- Study history for history repeats in future
Knowledge is important. The more knowledge that we have the better. Knowledge is our spear against illusions. Remember how we used common sense to figure out whether a video was fake or not, common sense comes from knowledge. If we didnt know that there are no Ghosts, then how could we have used that common sense. If we didnt know that the pencil is always straight then how could we have known that the bending pencil is an illusion. We should learn as much as we can.
History is the most important knowledge that we should try to learn. Everything that happens has already happened in history in some form or the other. History provides valuable information that can be used to determine whether a news is an illusion or not. Take the Ghost youtube video as an example, if we study history of Ghost videos then there are plenty. But have you see seen any ghost, in real life, at all?? even a baby ghost?? has it affected you in any way!! So knowledge of history can help us in making our future more certain, free from illusions.
Here is a video that is viral today. Its a Ghost video. The video is from a CCTV footage showing a ghost pulling a man by his leg.
Now, from our discussions on illusions so far, can you say whether this video is real or fake??
can you?? try... think..
Here is how i see it. Lets use common sense :-
Common Sense says that there are no GHOSTS. Have you seen one? Nope, I dont think so. Then why are you even thinking about it. It is an ILLUSION. Its is not real. it is a FAKE.