Allahu Akbar (Allah is greater) — Ten Billion Times a Day

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

“Allahu akbar” (“Allah is greater”) is a simple statement. Any Muslim who is performing the daily salawaat is saying “Allahu akbar” 100 times aloud each day. (And saying it at least another 116 times silently.) (Salawaat is the plural of salaah, which does not mean “prayer”, the closest English equivalent being “purification”.)

“Allah” is the name of the one who created everything, and who is known by many names by all kinds of people in many languages all over the world.

Saying Allahu akbar 100 times a day — or thousands of times a day — will not convince anyone who does not already believe it. Its effect is to remind those of us who do believe it that nothing is more important than the one who created and sustains us.

If people treat us badly, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is more important. When we are beset with problems, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is more important. When our life or our well-being seems threatened, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is more important. When we learn that the cosmos is inconceivable vast, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is even more vast. When we learn that the cosmos is inconceivably ancient, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is even more ancient.

In the course of the five daily salawaat, Allahu akbar is immediately followed by bowing at least 30 times, by prostration at least 90 times, by asking Allah for forgiveness and mercy at least 30 times, and by reminding ourselves that Allah is generous and merciful at least 30 times. This is what at least a hundred million Muslims (or perhaps a billion or almost two billion Muslims) are doing every day all over the world.

If less then ten percent of the Muslims — only a hundred million Muslims — are performing the five daily salawaat each day, at 100 takbeers per Muslim (“takbeer” means saying “Allahu akbar”), that’s ten billion takbeers a day, a reminder that the generous and merciful one who created and sustains us is more important.

 

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The Three Big Mysteries

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

For the scientific community, there are three big mysteries — the beginning of the cosmos, the cause of life, and the origin of consciousness.

The Beginning

Evidence for what came to be dubbed “The Big Bang” was first discovered in 1962 (when I was 16 years old). Since then, more evidence has accumulated for what I prefer to call “The Initial Event” (a simple description which avoids saying that what happened was either big or loud). In the scientific community, there are those who say that this event came out of nothing — contradicting the logical dictum that nothing comes from nothing. And, there are those who are trying to find out what happened “before the beginning”. The question — where did the “Big Bang” come from is still a big mystery.

Life

How did physical matter become living beings, that is the question. The effort to answer this question involves biologists, paleontologists, astrophysicists, and specialists in other fields. The study of other planets includes the search for life in environments other than Earth. The study of ancient rocks here on Earth includes the search for the earliest living creatures. Biologists and biochemists are studying the nature of today’s living creatures partially with the aim of finding how life originated. So far whatever has caused life to emerge from non-living matter remains a big mystery.

Consciousness

What is consciousness? When and how did living creatures become conscious? Perhaps, if investigators arrive at a clear idea, or definition, of what constitutes consciousness, they can make better progress at finding its cause. Depending on how consciousness is defined, and on whatever evidence exists, consciousness in biological organisms may have emerged only a few thousands of years ago (in human beings) or many millions of years ago (in pre-human or non-human creatures). As it stands, the origin (as well as the nature) of consciousness is a big mystery.

Higher Realities

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

I love this statement. It is concise. It is straightforward. It has communicated to us for thousands of years of our history.

For tens of thousands of years, every human being — without exception — was convinced that the world is flat. The meaning of the phrase “heaven and earth” was clear. Heaven is up there — the sky. Earth is down here — the ground.

When we learned that the Earth is round — a reality that would have made no sense to earlier ages — we saw heaven as the enveloping celestial realm, in which moved the moon, the sun, the planets, the stars, and the occasional comet, and we saw the Earth as this central, unmoving, and solidly physical reality.

Once we came to realize that the Earth is moving — turning on its axis and revolving around the sun — the distinction between the heaven above and this Earth below created a problem in interpretation. In effect, the Earth is in heaven — in the sky, moving swiftly through the vastness of cosmic space. If we accept the first verse of the Book of Genesis, quoted above, as a statement from the All-Knowing and always truthful Creator, then it is reduced to a poetic conceit. Its all-encompassing message is reduced to clever simplicity.

I am convinced that the deeper message is that the word “heaven” refers to the higher reality — the non-physical reality — and that the word “earth” refers to this entire vast physical reality we call the cosmos. While the books of the Old Testament and of the Hebrew Scriptures contain little to support this interpretation, the New Testament — and common Christian understanding — supports the idea that heaven is a higher, non-physical realm, that has no location in this physical cosmos.

In both the Bible and the Qur’an, heaven is referred to in both the singular and the plural. Both the Bible and the Qur’an refer to seven heavens. I believe the number has symbolic meaning (for which I do not offer an interpretation here). What is important is that we are being told that there are higher realities.

Answers?

No. I just want to put the questions — the mysteries — in perspective.

In the Qur’an, the Creator is referred to as alive and aware. This means that life and consciousness existed before the physical world was created — before the Big Bang.

I look forward to all of the scientific findings regarding the origin of biological life and regarding how living creatures became conscious, and I love reading about everything scientific investigators learn about the origin of the cosmos. Believing as I do that the Qur’an is the authentic and perfectly-preserved final message from the all-knowing creator and master of all that exists, I would be astonished if investigators find conclusive evidence of anything that contradicts clear statements in the Qur’an about the nature of the world. So far, as documented in The Bible, the Qur’an, and Modern Science by Maurice Bucaille, nothing has been found in the Qur’an that contradicts the findings of modern science.

One thing is fairly certain, that the efforts of scientific investigators to find answers to these three big mysteries will lead to surprise after surprise after surprise.

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The Nameless One

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

Only in English. (Or in a few other languages.) But in the language of the Qur’an, anyone and anything that exists has an ism (pronounced “iss-mun”, with the “-un” case ending). Normally, ism is translated into English as “name”. But, in English, things have names because people have named them. So, until people come along and name things, those things don’t have names.

Not so with asmaa’ (the plural of ism). Everything in the entire vastness of the cosmos — big or little, humongous or submicroscopic — has asmaa’. If it is tiny, that is one of its asmaa’. If it has a magnetic field, that is one of its asmaa’. If it is spinning rapidly, that is one of its asmaa’.

As best we can tell, the cosmos — the entire physical world — came into being over 13 billion 500 million years ago. The cosmos — along with everything in it — has asmaa’. When we study the cosmos — when we study the galaxies, the stars, the planets, the components of stars and planets, the living creatures (if any), the molecules, the atoms, and the component parts of atoms — when we study these things, we are learning their asmaa’. Then we give them names.

The one (and only) who created the entire vastness of the cosmos and everything in it has countless asmaa’ — and he has had those countless asmaa’ since before he created the cosmos, before he created time and space. But when did he get the name Allah, or God, or any of the hundreds or thousands of other names that we people call him? Only recently. Once we started speaking. At most, a hundred or two hundred thousand years ago. Only an instant compared to the over 13-billion-year age of the cosmos.

I call him Allah, but he is the Nameless One.

He has countless asmaa’, but for countless eons before he created us, there were no people around to call him by a name or to argue over what name to call him. If you want to argue over the existence — or non-existence — of Allah, then reflect on the countless eons before people, or life, or even the Earth itself came into being, and reflect on the Nameless One — alive, aware, self-sufficient — who gave us the ability to study and learn the asmaa’ of things and to give them names, so that we can talk about them.

Allah does not need us to think about him or to call him by one name or another. We are the ones in need of names and naming. So that we can speak about things, and talk to each other, and speak about Allah and talk to him. He does not need a name. He has countless asmaa’.

He is the Nameless One.

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Trump Unbecoming

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

My Dad is so obsessed with Trump that I felt the need to share this thought with him:

Offer me a billion dollars — no, a trillion dollars, or even all the money in the world — I would not become Donald Trump. If you offer me all the money in the world to be Donald Trump for just five minutes, I would refuse. Why? It’s just five minutes. Well, it may be just five minutes, but an entire lifetime would not be enough time to recover from the trauma.

I am also absolutely certain that if Donald Trump himself discovered the opportunity to be some other person, he would leap at the opportunity — without hesitation. For one thing, his entire persona is an act. There is no real person there.

Reflect on this: In the entirety of human history, there has never ever been a single individual who has made such a colossal fool of himself in front of the entire world.

He could — possibly — have read a decent speech before the United Nations. But he couldn’t help himself.

Donald Trump is a person who needs to have billions of dollars — or seem to have billions of dollars — and become President of the United States in order to feel real.

And it still doesn’t work. Sad.

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Perspective

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

We are small.

We are small creatures living on a small planet. The volume of the Earth is less than one ten-trillionth the volume of a sphere with the diameter of Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

And yet, the orbit of the Earth is small. The volume of the sphere encompassing the Earth’s orbit is less than a half-trillion times the volume of the Solar System (going out to the Oort Cloud, one light-year from the Sun, about 6.6 trillion miles).

And, even the Solar System is small. The volume of the sphere encompassing the Solar System is less than one thousandth of a trillion times the volume of a sphere encompassing the Milky Way Galaxy.

And, even that is small. The volume of a sphere encompassing the Milky Way Galaxy is less than one thousandth of a trillion times the volume of a sphere encompassing all sighted galaxies (based on the Hubble Deep Field).

Here on Earth, we are small.

On Earth, ants and termites in Africa alone weigh over 25 times as much as all human beings put together. There are more gazelles than people, more domesticated cattle than people. The microscopic life-forms weigh more than all of the visible life-forms combined. All life on Earth (that we know of) exists in a thin layer less than one-thousandth the diameter of the planet.

If you have one trillion human cells in your body, you have ten trillion microscopic creatures living in your body. There are as many microscopic creatures living in your mouth as there are people on Earth. Those creatures – as far as we know – don’t know we exist. Our body is their home.

We are “Mister Big Stuff”. We are “all that”. We are so important. To ourselves. When we all die, the Cosmos will be unaffected. The creatures inhabiting our bodies may regret the loss of their home, but other creatures will delight at a new and abundant feast. And the Earth itself will not notice a thing.

We are small.

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Mass Shooting Day — 0075

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

In the United States of America, every day is a Mass Shooting Day. It is no longer news. It is the new normal. (The “new normal”?! What is this — a fashion statement?) It should never be normal. We need to reject it.

Just as the daily news reports counted the days of the Iran Hostage Crisis, so should we count the days of mass shootings — until we put an end to it. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Unless I hear otherwise, I assume that this day and every day is a Mass Shooting Day.

I started the count Saturday, June 17, 2017. Today (August 30, 2017) is day 0075. Hopefully, we will put an end to this scourge before I run out of numbers.

Mass Shooting Day 0075.

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Mass Shooting Day — 0074

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

In the United States of America, every day is a Mass Shooting Day. It is no longer news. It is the new normal. (The “new normal”?! What is this — a fashion statement?) It should never be normal. We need to reject it.

Just as the daily news reports counted the days of the Iran Hostage Crisis, so should we count the days of mass shootings — until we put an end to it. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

  • It’s not just the illegal drugs.
    • It’s not just the prescription drugs — the pain-killers, the psychiatric drugs, whatever the doctors give us to make us feel better.
    • It’s not just the over-the-counter pain-killers, antacids, and headache remedies.
    • It’s not just that we want to be entertained constantly — by everything that isn’t classified as “work” (which is to say, chasing money) —
      • Entertained by movies and television, by the Internet, by the latest apps on our smartphones
      • Entertained by a constant glut of music designed to make us feel good (much of it deliberately contrived to be addictive)
      • Entertained by anything and everything (to the extent possible) that we still read.
    • It’s not just that we want our food to be entertaining, even if it’s not nourishing.
      • We gladly eat fake food that’s imitation and artificial.
      • We are addicted to food that has too much salt.
      • We are addicted to food that has too much sugar.
      • We don’t find water entertaining enough, so we drink flavored sugar-water.
    • The problem is that, instead of facing, analyzing, and working to solve the problems in our lives and in our society, we work hard to kill the pain caused by unsolved problems.
      • As a result, the unsolved problems are getting worse.
      • And, in response to the worsening problems, we become even more addicted to killing the pains that are telling us — urgently — that we have problems that need to be solved.
      • This is the death-spiral of our society. The daily incidence of Mass Shootings is only one of the signs.
  • Is your church, mosque, or synagogue addressing issues of importance in the life of the society?
    • Do the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews even know what their books are telling them? Do they even realize than a sincere and intelligent reading of those books will help them to solve the problems of the society?
    • Is your church, mosque, or synagogue an uplifting house of enlightenment and compassion and intelligent commitment to reform and healing and helpfulness? If not, get the hell out.

Unless I hear otherwise, I assume that this day and every day is a Mass Shooting Day.

I started the count Saturday, June 17, 2017. Today (August 29, 2017) is day 0074. Hopefully, we will put an end to this scourge before I run out of numbers.

Mass Shooting Day 0074.

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The Crushing Disaster

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

Hurricane Harvey is already one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States.

I have been waiting — almost holding my breath — since the inauguration of the current regime. These people have created one unnecessary and artificial crisis after another since they — the Congress controlled by the Republican Party, and the President who is also, nominally, a Republican (but actually a godless maniac) — since they assumed office. I have been holding my breath because I have been convinced that that Almighty has caused real crises to be on hold. Until Harvey, has there been a real crisis that was not manufactured by these godless idiots?

Now they have a real crisis.

Now we shall see who has more sense — headless chickens, or the current regime.

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Mass Shooting Day — 0073

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

In the United States of America, every day is a Mass Shooting Day. It is no longer news. It is the new normal. (The “new normal”?! What is this — a fashion statement?) It should never be normal. We need to reject it.

Just as the daily news reports counted the days of the Iran Hostage Crisis, so should we count the days of mass shootings — until we put an end to it. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

  • We have self-styled religious leaders who are quicker to blame the massive sufferings of a natural disaster on what are (in their view) the sins of the society than they are to call on their followers to mount a serious effort to help those in need.
    • The biggest and all-pervasive sin of this society is that we are slaves to money, to materialism, to worldly gains. I’ve seen a video of one of the leading evangelists of the 20th century waving a Bible and proclaiming that Jesus approved of capitalism. Oh, really? “You cannot serve God and money” — but Jesus approved of capitalism?
      • And, at the same time, the struggle for health care is impoverishing tens of millions of people. Is this what Jesus meant by “Heal the sick”? Tens of millions of people are struggling to feed themselves. “Feed the hungry”? At last count — before we lost count, unable to count them — the number of homeless is over 1.5 million (the lowest estimate) and rising. While evangelists building mega-churches. Glittering temples to the money-god. Didn’t Jesus smash the tables of the money-changers?
    • The American people have chosen leaders who openly flaunt their faith in the money-god. Will they be surprised when those leaders reveal themselves to be heartless in the face of massive suffering?
    • Faced with the stresses of immediate personal catastrophe, why wouldn’t many of us just pick up a gun and start shooting? Who cares? (Other than the people about to get shot.)
  • Is your church, mosque, or synagogue addressing issues of importance in the life of the society? Urging their congregants to care? Urging their congregants to action?

    • Do the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews even know what their books are telling them?
    • Is your church, mosque, or synagogue an uplifting house of enlightenment and compassion and intelligent commitment to reform and healing and helpfulness? If not, get the hell out.

Unless I hear otherwise, I assume that this day and every day is a Mass Shooting Day.

I started the count Saturday, June 17, 2017. Today (August 28, 2017) is day 0073. Hopefully, we will put an end to this scourge before I run out of numbers.

Mass Shooting Day 0073.

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Mass Shooting Day — 0072

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

In the United States of America, every day is a Mass Shooting Day. It is no longer news. It is the new normal. (The “new normal”?! What is this — a fashion statement?) It should never be normal. We need to reject it.

Just as the daily news reports counted the days of the Iran Hostage Crisis, so should we count the days of mass shootings — until we put an end to it. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

  • I am stressed out by advertising (among a bunch of other things).
    • Junk mail — much of it made to look like something official, occasionally I get sent the key to an automobile (really?), or I’ve won something (just sign the check, right?).
    • TV commercials, magazine ads, pop-ups on the computer — we are saturated with advertising.
    • AND MOST OF IT IS LYING.
    • Why don’t we decide that we want to live in a society free of constant lies?
    • Lies cause stress.
    • Stress leads to frustration.
    • Frustration often leads to homicidal violence. (Another Mass Shooting today!)
  • Is your church, mosque, or synagogue addressing issues of importance in the life of the society?
    • Do the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews even know what their books are telling them?
    • Is your church, mosque, or synagogue an uplifting house of enlightenment and compassion and intelligent commitment to reform and healing and helpfulness? If not, get the hell out.

Unless I hear otherwise, I assume that this day and every day is a Mass Shooting Day.

I started the count Saturday, June 17, 2017. Today (August 27, 2017) is day 0072. Hopefully, we will put an end to this scourge before I run out of numbers.

Mass Shooting Day 0072.

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