The navigators: Charting a course for life

Published 11:33 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

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There are in scripture several examples of lives well-lived. These individuals, many of whom were prophets, possessed a specific characteristic that propelled them to internal peace and harmony in their lives—they all persevered patiently in the face of adversity. Scripture describes men like Joseph (Yusuf), Job (Ayyub), and Jonah (Yunus) as those who, in the face of difficulties, patiently persevered to achieve their righteous goals and in time The Almighty replaced their difficulties with relief. They acknowledged God’s assistance and increased in their reverence and devotion to Him, (Qur’an 94:1-8).

Qadir Abdus-Sabur

A similar story could be told with respect to the challenges faced by various people throughout history. In several cultural traditions there are narratives of oppression relieved by Divine intervention. Commonly known examples would include the story of the Children of Israel, Apartheid in South Africa and Chattel Slavery in America. What happens when affliction is removed but the recipients are ungrateful to The Almighty? They lose Divine guidance and wander in confusion to-and-fro.

Faced with religious oppression in Europe, many of the early settlers to this continent found relief and worked to establish an equitable social order—albeit for white men only. Their laws and educational objectives were infused with gratitude for the Creator. So the nation grew and prospered. Then greed and self-interest found fertile soil on the North American continent and gratitude to our Creator was displaced.

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Many have been thankful to our Creator and remain steadfast receiving Divine guidance, but some have not. As the ungrateful and greedy grow in our population our laws, norms of morality and public policy change. Social injustice is rationalized in support of the thirst for political and economic power. Today our nation is feeling the effects of man’s ingratitude to his Creator.

Although a minority, ingratitude to The Almighty is growing in our country and greed and self interest are gaining momentum. The challenge facing all God-conscious people is to hold fast to Divine guidance after adversity. We should not let our future be determined by greedy non-God-conscious people. Working cooperatively, an interfaith community shall prevail. Scripture reminds us, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Qadir Abdus-Sabur, Ph.D. is an Imam at the Islamic Center of Prince Edward. His email address is