Author: Yacoob Moosa
Review: Naseema Mall
Recently evidence of gravitational waves in space emerged; what Einstein had theorised a 100 years ago astonished scientists, not because they doubted Einstein, but because these gravitational waves have finally been confirmed.
So what do gravitational waves have to do with who we are? Nothing, if your perception of human existence is one of detachment from what goes on in space. But that is not the case as our physical state is inevitably intertwined with the universe and all that happens within it.
This reality is superbly espoused by author Yacoob Moosa in his book Hey! Who am I Really?The themes covered in the 230 page book are vast. The conversation begins with the creation of the universe and how the heavens and the earth were one entity until the ‘big explosion’ when they were ripped apart from each other. Our perceptual limitations cause us to believe that we are far removed from the rest of the universe. But as Moosa reminds us in the book “we live within a capsule of space and time.”As much as we believe that we are independent entities, by virtue of possessing a higher consciousness, the reality is that whatever occurs on earth and in the universe, inextricably impacts us whether we realise it or not, admit it or not.
The book is conversational and seamlessly flows from one theme to the next. Notably the book talks about attaining a higher level of consciousness. Naturally we cannot recall being souls in Jannah prior to emerging in the physical form on earth. The author underscores the soul’s desireto return to its original place, Jannah; that we toil in this world to return to the next afresh. To be acutely present in every moment by giving credence to the soul over our physical bodies is what allows us to reach a higher level of consciousness and reminds us of the unity of one God and our return to the one God.
We have no choice about being on this earth and we have certainty that we will leave this world for the next. But between the two we do have a choice of how we will conduct ourselves and how we will react to life’s vicissitudes, especially circumstances beyond our control. And this is the crux of the book: the balance between the spiritual and temporal. If we live our lives perpetually conscious of our thoughts and actions, we will reach a higher spiritual plain. If we strive to only satisfy the physical self, we distance ourselves from attaining nearness to God. In this way we debase ourselves and retract from God’s light. If we rejoice at the good things that happen to us but resent the bad things then we render our relationship with Allah conditional. Affliction is a part of life and whether or not it draws us closer to Allah reflects our ‘spiritual evolution.’
We will never completely understand the soul, and this is confirmed in the Qur’an. The challenge is to gear our actions to that which illuminates the soul and not to succumb to behavior that keeps us in darkness.
What is extremely pleasant about the book is that it is not stodgy. Instead the dialogue is played out between mostly the father and his son, with other family members offering their insight. While the father is firm in his point of view, he does not impose it on his son. Instead he gives his son the space to think critically and to reach his own conclusions. This is refreshing as it is a deviation from the norm where generally critical thinking is not valued.
All of us, at some point in our lives, begin to question and ponder the purpose of our existence and who we are beyond our physical realm. What is wonderful about this book is that it speaks to the “ordinary” person and shows us that one does not have to be a scholar of Islamic sciences to understand the connection between ourselves and the cosmos, and our souls and Allah.
The book is enriching and the author has well managed giving it depth yet keepingit uncomplicated.
Hey! Who am I Really?is an absolute must read.
It can be purchased for R249 at all leading bookstores countrywide, and is distributed by Crystal Brook. The book can also be purchased online, or available as an eBook. See the author’s website for more details. www.be.light.co.za