New York - “The Quran teaches that God does not change people’s condition unless they change their inner selves. The change has to occur inside us first, in our beliefs and attitudes, only then can it be seen on the outside.” This is the central thesis of The Quran and the Life of Excellence.
New York – “The Quran teaches that God does not change people’s condition unless they change their inner selves. The change has to occur inside us first, in our beliefs and attitudes, only then can it be seen on the outside.” This is the central thesis of The Quran and the Life of Excellence.
In this remarkable book, Dr. Sultan Abdulhameed takes different verses from the Quran that teach methods of personal change and interprets them in clear and practical ways, unlocking their meaning and rendering them accessible to the reader. The practical applications of these teachings are incredibly powerful. They cannot fail to transform the reader’s life by infusing it with purpose and elevating it to new levels of fulfillment and excellence.
Coming across this book is like discovering a chest filled with boundless treasures. Each line is a gem. The applicable wisdom found in its pages unfolds gradually. Every reading provides new insights, invaluable guidance, and specific methods of personal transformation that are simple yet extraordinarily efficient and revolutionary. Reading the Quran with understanding, Dr. Sultan asserts, should have a dramatic impact in our lives for the better. This is how we should study the Quran, not merely in a ritualistic or superficial way. Our observance of religion should benefit us in practical ways.
Dr. Sultan’s book stresses the significance of avoiding empty ritualistic worship. It emphasizes the value of putting the time and effort to learn the meaning of each prayer we recite, of seeing prayer as an incredibly powerful tool to achieve real results in our lives. Prayer, Dr. Sultan explains, is a conversation with God, what you ask, He will give you. God always answers our prayers as long as we believe they will be answered. This is faith. Prayer is the key to success in life because very little is accomplished through will power alone.
Dr. Sultan repeatedly calls attention to the Quran’s exhortations to learning, self-examination, reflection, thinking, reading, writing, improving ourselves and using our intellect. As Muslims, and as human beings, it is our duty to do so.
The Quran and the Life of Excellence guides us toward finding a strong sense of purpose. There is purpose even in our problems and struggles. Problems, Dr. Sultan explains, are an inevitable part of life, and are in fact a sign of life. Hardships are put by God in our lives for our own benefit in order to push us to grow and expand. This idea is counterintuitive and life changing. The difficulties we face are not pointless or random occurrences or punishments meant to break us; they are there for our own growth and expansion. God, Dr. Abdulhameed explains, “is like a coach in the gym who wants me to jump over the bar. He sets it high enough so that I will hit the bar and fall, until I figure out how to jump higher.”
This powerful book forces the reader to accept responsibility for his or her life and the circumstances in it. It stresses the real function of religion, and the way to achieve fulfillment, which is to orient our lives to serving God through the service of His creation. If we want to find out what type of job we should have, for example, the question to ask is: What kind of contribution do I want to make in the world? Rather than, what will bring me the most glory and achievements? We reflect and discover what our talents and strengths are and how we can best use them to help humanity. We step away from the ego and from a self-centered life and we encounter God and find the peace, happiness and fulfillment we had been chasing often in selfish and self-destructive pursuits. When our intention in life becomes contributing to the well being of others, we suddenly find the true success that had previously eluded us. This book is a life changing treasure for which I am forever grateful. I hope as many people as possible will read it and benefit from its wisdom.
Dr. Sultan Abdulhameed is a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. He teaches the Quran at the Muslim Reform Movement Organization in their bi-weekly meetings. He developed the reform method of teaching the Quran which makes its insights accessible to people from a large variety of backgrounds.
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