To Read, To Think, To Write and To Act: The Choices of How I Conduct This Life

In my previous article I had shown you one of many choices that can be your reference in defining life’s goal. As a Muslim, I offered you Islam as the ideology you can refer to, for it doesn’t solely base its tenets on reasoning and speculative knowledge as western culture does. In Islam, God’s revelation is considered the main guideline for Muslim to live this life. It, however, still welcomes reasoning and brain exploration in most cases.

When I base everything on God’s guideline, I believe it’ll fruit better and more. Then, I try to implement this belief into my daily activities, for life’s goal must be clear and detailed. The clearer we implement our life’s goal, the easier and the faster we achieve it. Thus, describing our life’s goal in detail plays a big important role in being a successful man; whatever we define the term ‘successful man’.

Well, it’s time to tell you how I define my life. Of course it comes from my interpretation of what God had revealed through His mighty Handbook of life; al-Quran. I’ve told you that before, right? Thousand verses written in al-Quran give me many inspiring ideas of how I should conduct this life.

Many Muslim scholars stated that the first verse revealed to Prophet Muhammad was Iqra [Read]. In this case, God obliged Prophet Muhammad PBUH to read in the name of God who created mankind. Then, it’s considered that reading has the significant position in Islamic tenets as it’s the first verse revealed to Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

Having inspired by this verse, I’m determined to list ‘reading’ as the first priority of my life. Well, I try to ‘read’ everything I find in my life. The objects are not only books but universe, events, phenomenon up to the bad things I face as well. I believe God never creates everything uselessly so I try to explore the hidden secrets of this creation.

Of course, the narrow definition of reading should be obviously avoided in this case, as the context of Prophet Muhammad’s first verse has the large meaning, but very large meaning. How came God ordered Prophet Muhammad PBUH to read, whereas he was illiterate? It vividly shows us that reading should be defined as wide as possible. Reading in Islam isn’t solely pointed out to what is written in the scriptures, but the universe itself is a very large object of reading that people can explore.

Through reading many resources, I often find many inspiring ideas of conducting this life. They often influence all things I do from the humble till the serious one. What I read exactly will determine what I believe and what I do. Then, I come to the thought that the selected reading objects are playing an important role in sharpening the quality of life.

I believe that a great civilization is initially built by reading habit. One of my friends ever said that a great civilization will be solely a dream; if the people don’t pay attention to what is so-called ‘the scientific society’ which is begun from reading habit. Then, I try to get accustomed to it and make it as the main activity of my life.

Very often, reading can be a good medium for accessing someone’s thoughts or messages. The compilation of what we read then bears other new ‘thoughts’ which endeavor to mix, modify, and interpret these previous premises. It can be done, if we don’t only focus on reading the materials but think and criticize them as well. So, after reading, I put thinking activity hand in hand with it as the main activities of my life. Thinking is contemplating, rethinking, reconstructing, and criticizing the ideas I’ve read. Through this activity, I come to many conclusions and definitions of the phenomenon of life.

My belief in God’s existence comes into being after reading His great creation in this universe. I conclude that Islam is my best path to walk on after reading many literatures on Islam and its opponents. These beliefs are the fruits of thinking and reinterpreting all what I’ve read. I don’t let my reading activity evaporate without giving me any benefit.

Islam, in its handbook of life; al-Quran, has mentioned the word thinking in its tremendous places. Thinking is considered very important in Islam, for Allah has ordered Muslim to think in many verses of al-Quran. When I wrote the key word ‘fakara’ which means to think in Quran Encyclopedia, I found more than nineteen verses talking about the importance of thinking. Well, thinking is considered urgent for all Muslims to do.

Reading is considered the activity acquiring many lessons and wisdoms from many various resources. Thinking then help me explore those raw concepts and modify them to be new concepts or thoughts. Finally, writing is my effort to spread these new thoughts all over the mankind in this world so they can get benefit from my activities.

Through writing activity, I try to exist in this world. You can know what I am and how I am from all writings I write, though you never meet me in the real world. You see, many people know Karl Marx and state themselves as his followers, for Karl Marx had written many books which successfully shook the world through his extreme ideology, Marxism. In short, writing can make one keep living after the years of his death. What a unique.

I’m really amazed when I know that in the victory ages of Islam, most of Muslim scholars documented their thoughts in tremendous amount of books. The House of Wisdom [baytul hikmah] was the central of the scientific activities where many Muslim scholars could enjoy themselves reading thousand books and translating scientific resources from all over the world such as Greece, Persian, Indian, etc. Then, they modified these thoughts to be the new ones; Islamic tenets based thoughts.

These previous activities, reading, thinking, writing, won’t benefit much if there is no action accompanying. To act what have been produced by these activities is very important; for Islam has pointed out that the fruitful knowledge can exist if we can do it in daily life. The knowledge on the danger of bribery will be useless if we go on bribing in our daily life.

One of distinguished American motivators ever said that the pure power will surely come from our ability to act, not our ability to learn. So, after sitting on my desk for many hours, I go to the real life and do what I’ve on my mind. I try to inspire my students with everything I’ve from these activities. Hoped, it would be considered the pious deeds before Allah the Almighty, amien.

Riyadlul ‘Ulum
Tuesday, September 28, 2010


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