Death of a Neighbour

Last week I was informed of the death of my parents’ next door neighbour. My parents have lived in their house for nearly 40 years, it was the house in which I grew up. In all that time they have had the same neighbours a Sicilian couple who had been married for 44 years. The late Antonio was a simple man not given to extravagance, he was a keen and skilled garderner who cultivated an allotment as well as his back-garden, he grew all sorts of vegetable and fruit and shared his harvet with his neighbours. He didn’t speak an awful lot of English but it was enough to make himself understood. He always had a kind word for people that he met and took a special interest in our family seeing as though he has watched us all grow up and then have children of our own. Over the last few years had been in and out of hospital and generally his health deteriorated but was always up and about and with a smile on his face. Most people in the street knew him to say hello to him and many people were shocked and saddened by his passing. He passed away at home in his wife’s arms.He is survived by his wife, a wonderful and lovely lady by the name of Alfonsa (she is always smiling!) and two grown-up children Gino and Margarete. Our family’s thoughts are with them.

It is strange, but it really does feel as though I have lost a family member and was very sad to hear of his demise, he was someone very familiar to all of us who lived and grew up in the street. My parents were particularly upset as they are currently out of the coutry at the moment as they have lost a really decent neighbour who they describe as a dear friend. I attended the Requiem Mass at their local Catholic Church and this was appreciated by the family and friends of Antonio.

It is at times like these that we come together regardless of race and religion, it is one of those times that a kind word, words of consolement and sharing of grief help to bridge divides and leave lasting impressions.

wa’as-salam

Mas’ud
www.masud.co.uk

Monkies, Typewriters and Shakespeare.

In my previous post I postulated that we are alone in the universe, the first thing people say is that based on the chance of the number of planets similar to the Earth in the Universe, it is likely that there is life out there. Now as a Muslim I don’t believe that life came about by chance and this position of probabilities and chance is a secular atheistic theory. One thing worth thinking about is not so much the complexity and intricacy of life but life itself, why do we exist as opposed to not existing? Why do we exist despite the chances of our non-exisitence being overwhelmingly weighted against us, there would be more of a chance of us winning the lottery every day of our lives than us being in existence and yet we are here?

A favourite example of atheists in support of their belief that life came about randomly through a series of highly improbable and unlikely events is “eventually a room full of monkeys bashing away randomly on typewriters can come up with the complete works of Shakespeare”! The example that should be given is, “give the same monkeys the raw materials for paint and canvas and get them to paint the complete works of Leonardo Da Vinci precisely” if you are talking probabilities then this is probably more accurate.

wa’as-salam

Mas’ud
www.masud.co.uk
PS Well done the Arsenal for beating Real Madrid 1-0 last night at the Bernabeu!

It’s Lonely at the top

I am of the opinion (and it is an entirely personal one) that, as a sentient species, mankind is totally and utterly alone in the universe. I have held this “belief” for many many years and it is something that I have given serious thought to. For me this is in keeping with the message of the Qur’an, maybe not explicitly but implicitly. Let me explain . . . the Qur’an (amongst other messages) tells mankind that we are the pinnacle of creation, man is the khalifa of Allah in creation, and that man is of great import and significance in the Divine plan. Now, coupled with this, the Qur’an (and the Sunnah) tells man to be humble, to realise that he is not, in fact, all that significant either, man’s very exisitence is by nothing other than The Divine Will. We are reminded by Allah of the fall of Iblis that haughtiness and pre-occupation with one’s self-importance debars us from the Realm of the Divine and therefore man takes his place in creation realising this.

OK so where am I going with this? Well the Universe and our place in it is symbolic of the Qur’anic message. The eminent significance of man is reflected by the fact that he is alone in the unimaginable vastness of the universe and yet how utterly insignificant he is that he is but a speck on the surface of another speck floating in space in a lonely corner of the cosmos.

wa’as-salam

Mas’ud
www.masud.co.uk