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The Language of Paths and Business 7 January 2008

Posted by MOZAFFAR in MOZAFFAR, Psychology, Spirituality.

We see two languages, among many, throughout the text of the Qur’an. One is the language of business. The other is the language of travel.

The Qur’an repeatedly mentions “trade” or “commerce” in referring to guidance. There are those people purchased misguidance at the cost of guidance, yet their commerce does not prosper (nor are they guided). God offers us in the Qur’an a trade, that will save us from punishment. The argument can even be made that the word we use for “religion” — Din — comes from the same word as the word for “debt.” God says that he purchases the lives of the believers.

Likewise, the Qur’an repeatedly makes mention of the language of the path or travel. Near the beginning of the text, we ask God to guide us to to the straight path. God mentions that those who struggle in His way, He guides them to His paths. And in terms of jihad, we constantly see mention of jihad in the way of such and such. The ideal jihad is the jihad in the way of God.

Even the term commonly used for Islamic law is associated with a path: shari’a. Likewise, the term commonly associated with spiritual development is also a path: tariqa.

If we define our interaction with the world from the perspective of a business-type transaction, what do we see? We have constant interaction. Further, our actions will lead either to profit or loss. It is a constant process. Even when we do not involve money, we are still doing business. Even when we do involve money, we are engaging in business of a higher order: spiritual transaction.

It may be that a monetary transaction is profitable in the materialistic sense, yet, costly in the spiritual sense; such is the stereotype of religion. But, in our outlook, we may have a transaction that is profitable in both the material sense and the spiritual sense.

Every action is a transaction with profit and loss. Inaction is a transaction with profit and loss.

If we add to this business-outlook the concept of paths, we add a few more concepts to our world-view. We have direction, and we have destination. Our transactions may push us closer to our destination, or they may push us away from the destination. Our transactions may push us directly toward our destination, or they may make us stray from the path. The destination is, of course, God.

Every action and every inaction propels you on a path in a particular direction.

The Qur’an has many more metaphors, including the metaphor of balance, the metaphor of the pair, and the metaphor of the tree. If God wills, we will explore them later.

For now, try to make these two concepts, business and path, part of your outlook.

Use your reading of this article as an example. Ask yourself how did you profit and how did you lose? Spiritually? Time? Material?

Then, ask yourself, in what direction, toward what destination did your reading of this article take you?

Think about it consciously, right now.

And Allah knows best.



1. darvish - 11 January 2008

It is no wonder that trading and commerce and the path is a part of the metaphors of the Quran, since it was given to the Arabs who made a living by trading and commerce via caravans traveling many paths, and could understand the metaphors. It is a good lesson though, and one worth remembering and inculcating into the heart :)

Ya Haqq!

2. MOZAFFAR - 11 January 2008

Salams Br. darvish,

Absolutely. I totally agree.

Omer M

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