The Islamic Original Sin

There are differences in the story of the “fall of man” or the “original sin” in the Islamic view. These are three I learned:

God had decided to send humans to lead the world before God created Adam and Eve

Before Adam was created, God had delivered his plan to the angels that he would create beings (humans) to become caliphs or leader on earth. Therefore, whether or not he tasted the fruit of the forbidden tree, in the end, he would definitely be ordered to leave heaven and come to earth to become its leader. The Quran does not use the word “expelled from heaven”. Because God knew it beforehand?

It did not start with Eve

Tempted by Satan or the serpent’s tricks, Adam and Eve tasted the fruit of the forbidden tree. Time and time again, The Quran emphasised that the devil’s seduction was on Adam and his partner, and they both tasted it. This means that mistakes are made by both of them. It is wrong to consider women as the leading cause of that original sin.

We did not inherit Adam’s sins

The Quran informs that Adam expressed remorse to God, and God accepted Adam and Eve’s repentance. That implies God’s will to forgive their mistakes, and God accepts their requests by removing their sins. This means that Adam and Eve’s sins have been forgiven by God. Thus Islam does not know the sin inherited from Adam’s. Not only because God has forgiven that sin, but also because in principle, God affirms that someone will not bear the sins committed by others, whoever that person is (Qur’an 53:38). This is one of the very fundamental differences between Islamic views and Christian views.

The Ultimate Question

You can ask: if from the beginning, God wants humans (Adam and Eve) to be on earth, then why Adam had to stop-over in heaven? One of the answers is to give them lessons about the tasks they will carry on earth, the challenges, and minimum targets they should achieve. On earth, they should strive to create a heaven-like situation like the availability of food, clothing, and shelter. Also, to establish security and peace. That heavenly experience encouraged them to fight their way back there.
Furthermore, it teaches that we shared the same enemy that is the devil. Following the devil’s temptation will have a negative impact. Thus human must be vigilant of the seduction of the devil while on this earth.

The most powerful outcomes are delayed

The most powerful outcomes are delayed.

The things you do now, won’t make differences now. But it does not go to waste either.

It’s like “I’ve been running every day for a month, so why can’t I see any changes in my body?”

James Clear calls it the Plateau of Latent PotentialUsually, that’s the reason why people quit. If only they could endure a bit longer.

A conversation between a master and his disciple from Anthony De Mello’s One Minute Wisdom:

Disciple: “Is there anything I can do to make myself Enlightened?”

Master: “As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.”

Disciple: “Then of what use are the spiritual exercises, you prescribe?”

Master: “To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”

Prepare yourself — small habit matters. These small actions will accumulate and compound. It’s how you make the big jump. Be patient.

Outsiders will call it an overnight success.

Me too. I’m still this fucking weak person who choose the path with least resistance. I want comfort. But comfort won’t do me any good.

Dream big then struggle. Don’t seek happiness, comfort, joy, or other positive shits because you won’t get it.

I’m not there yet. But, I’m here for the fight.



Thanks from your future

Demand the best of yourself.

We like to do bad things for whatever stupid reasons.

Control your self and channel your shadow.

Your shadow is the repressed side of you.

You won’t get any instant rewards. But that’s how you get mature and grow.

Your future self is going to thank you for something you did today, for a habit you formed, a penny you saved, a seed you planted.

Lead yourself if you want to lead others

Essay on leadership for Chevening scholarship application.

Everyone wants power, that’s the fact about human nature. At the minimum, you want to influence your immediate family. You want control. The underlying reason someone would become a leader is to control her surroundings. A leader has a wonderful opportunity to make a positive and lasting impact on their followers.

Someone is a leader when he has followers. And to attract followers, a leader has to work the extra miles. They have to master something that is hard and rare. The secret to being a great leader is the ability to master oneself.

Mastering oneself is never easy. I led myself into a darker place in life. After a successful childhood, my life changed once I entered University. Growing up, I was always the centre of attention in school or at home. I was praised, idolised, and loved. I lost all of that in University. There were people better than me in all areas. I was not getting the praise and attention I craved.

I felt useless, so I looked for diversions. I took drugs, alcohol, and tried everything to feel special. I kept the unhealthy habits until my professional work. When you are on drugs, the worst addiction is that your brain will always think about it at all time. I never studied well in University, nor did I take work seriously during my first three years as an employee.

The only way to change the world is to improve yourself. When you see yourself differently, you see the world differently. Thus, you are living in a different world. And to see yourself differently, you have to change your attitude. According to Carl Jung, attitude is “The readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way, based on an underlying psychological orientation.” Once you locked your attitude towards mastering yourself. You will slowly learn and earn the wisdom to be a great leader. The cumulative wisdom is what separates great leaders from average ones.

Mastering oneself is mastering self-control. Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius kept a “meditations” journal specifically for this. It is the hardest thing for me. Our lower self-acts as of those animals. Like monkeys, when presented with banana, it will be hard to resist. Until I saw patterns that usually the hard choices are the right choices. Always choosing the hard choices requires self-control.

You know you have improved when you have better problems. Once I beat drugs, I faced a better enemy. How can I learn faster to fulfil my potential? Your life situation will also change. Because you improve yourself, you see yourself as a better person, and that change how others perceive you. When you master self-control, you will be calm and decisive. Others will rely on you on important decisions, they will see you as someone with a purpose, someone who is capable of leading.

That’s how you gain followers. That’s what attracts them.

Lead yourself if you want to lead others.

Follow your thoughts

You know that learning is a powerful thing to do every day. It broadens your view of the world, it sharpens your mind, it makes life interesting, and it makes you interesting.

To really learn is to follow through on what you are thinking. Whatever you are thinking, you have an interest in, and that interest is the pre-requisite of learning. Following through is digging more and more about that thing.

One way is by writing it down. Have a blog, a journal, a book, writes whatever you think inside your head. Dig. Repeat.

I’m Too Afraid

I have not been writing recently. Because I was afraid. Fear has beaten me over and over again.

Here’s why. This is exactly it.

There was no physical danger in pursuing my writing.

Nobody was going to try to hurt me because they read an article I wrote about book marketing.

And yet, I was terrified.

I was so afraid to put something I wrote out into the world. It’s one thing to do the work behind someone else putting her work out there. It is quite different to do it yourself. But again, why?

What is so scary about sharing your creativity with the world?

When I am creating something, I am digging into my soul to expose something. These aren’t widgets being created on an assembly line somewhere. I am putting a piece of myself on the page and then exposing it to the world. When I code up a website and somebody doesn’t like it, I don’t feel like somebody isn’t liking me. But when someone doesn’t like my writing, it feels like that thing inside my soul is stupid and not worth being exposed.

That’s much more personal.

If you resonate with that kind of feeling. Read Tim Grahl’s new book.