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How Much Are We In Control?
Sep 1, 2013

We are so saddened these days by what is going on in Egypt. People are being killed by their own army, and the world is silently watching. Their silence on Egypt is as deadening as it has been on Syria. What a pitiful situation this is!

It is perhaps not fair to expect a world with two faces to respond to this new atrocity with honor and honesty. This is why we should seek support and mercy from the One who is the ultimate source of all power and love. We are only as powerful as the length of our essays in this periodical. Thus, we call on the tyrants to stop their cruelties, for they should know that whatever the reasons they have committed them, it will not bring happiness. Happiness comes with virtuousness! We ask these leaders: who is your guide? Do not be mistaken by the fact that these tyrants happen to be in Muslim countries – this does not qualify them to be the rightful followers of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, for the Prophet, as described in the lead article “was utterly virtuous and contentedly happy. He … never, not even once, consented to anything that was not approved by the Exalted Creator. He was … never unfair and never acted unjustly to anyone. … he never preferred any worldly flavor to virtuousness. He … did not, not even once, fall into hesitation when distinguishing good from bad.” We hope these tyrants are brought to their senses as soon as possible, so that we are saved from our failure to fulfill our basic human responsibilities to stand up for life and dignity. In the meantime, we seek guidance and hope in the Almighty, because ultimately, He is the one with the power to bring these events under control. As we are so often reminded, our human capabilities are quite limited.

The so-called split between science and religion has led us to view life through a binocular with a rather short range. It’s a low definition, black & white range. We thought we were what our genes imposed on us; we believed that natural way would be to let that design unleash itself as genetically ordained. Is it truly so? Are we really nothing more than genetically engineered? Or are there other factors that are involved in making us who we are?

In this issue, “Are Genes the Source of Behavioral Disorders?” explores these questions in a cross-reading between what our biological structure prescribes, vis-à-vis other factors like our culture, parents, education, etc. According to this article “… each child is born with different inclinations and threshold values that are determined genetically and hormonally for each of his or her possible characters and behaviors. These potential inclinations and threshold values can surface depending on internal and external stimuli and educational styles.” So, we are not only what we eat or what we know; we become what we are as a result of a combination of things, some of which we can control, and others which we are born with.

“Why Do We Turn Over During Sleep?” is another article about a daily blessing that is out of our control but is for the good of our health. If we always stay in the same position, sleeping for a regular six to eight hours can cause a disruption in blood circulation, resulting in a pressure ulcer. Therefore, our body is blessed with a defense mechanism in which our position changes, consciously or subconsciously, so that skin integrity is not disrupted.

“Who Owns This Body?” is another contribution on the same theme. The author challenges the belief that we control our bodies, and that no one, not even the One who created us, can impose on our bodies what to do and what not to do. The author gives plenty of examples to show that there is so much happening in our body without our noticing it, that it is nonsensical to claim full ownership over it.