In all of existence the human being stands out with one major quality: free will. Together with many other superior qualities, like speech and intellect, humans were also blessed with this priceless characteristic in the heaven. Free will played the major role in “the descent”and the curtain was raised to start the second stage of humanity’s drama on earth. The test Adam and Eve took in heaven was a prototype of human experience in this life, every second of which, for those who can discern it,is a question that is answered correctly by some, or failed by others. The lead article reminds us of this exceptional quality through which we may be granted a virtue that surpasses that of even the angels; we will be questioned about the optimum use of this “key to the secret codes” and if we can use this gift in the best possible way, then we “can manage to solve the most intriguing matters, illuminate the darkest points, open the strongest doors,and obtain the most valuable treasure.”
The month of Ramadan is an opportunity to put free will to a test for Muslims across the world. By fasting from dawn to sunset, Muslims do not only stay away from food, they are also expected to attain the most virtuous conduct by being generous in the heart as well as in charity, by shutting off their mind sand tongues to evil thoughts and words, and by appreciating every bit of food and water, the value of which we normally ignore. The Questions and Answers section in this issue focuses on this blessed month with a special emphasis on habitualizing the discipline we become accustomed to during Ramadan.
Ramadan is also a time for realizing the differences among multicultural societies. Many Muslims invite their non-Muslim neighbors to share fast-breaking dinners with them. Trish Madigan, a Dominican sister from Australia, illustrates how much she has learned from Islam in her article on such occasions, and she stresses that there are many issues that both Muslims and Christians can “resonate with” if they step forward to explore each other’s faiths.
Another example of sharing comes from Abdullah Aymaz. In his article, Aymaz recounts an interesting story of Ottoman donations to the Irish people who were desperately suffering due to the Great Hunger in the 1840s. The Ottoman sultan, not daunted by political or logistical obstacles, or the long distance,sent five ships full of food to Ireland. This act of charity is still being commemorated in gratitude by the Irish. This article narrates a great example of a humanitarian service in which no discrimination sullied the feeling of sharing.
This month’s issue also contains remarkable topics from biology, astronomy, and physics. In “Hearing for Deaf Ears” we will learn how the ear functions
and discover a new technology for those who cannot hear: Cochlear Implant (CI) systems. In “What Makes Planets Revolve Around the Sun” we will be presented with interesting data about solar activity, and in “Thoughts on Matter and Anti-Matter” we will be taken on a thought-provoking journey in atom.
We wish you a blissful Ramadan.