The Truth of the Matter — Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

Let’s admit it, truth is a slippery topic. Gandhi lived by the Hindu dictum: “God is Truth.” Al Haqq, or The Truth, is one of the 99 Divine Names of God in Islam. We all know that truth is important. However, there are so many aspects to truth, and we don’t all agree on what truth is, although most of us recognize and abhor falsehood when we encounter it. If this seems contradictory, please read on.

The Source of Abundance – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“We have bestowed upon you the source of abundance. So to your Sustainer turn in prayer and sacrifice.” (Qur’an 108:1-2)

“Do not barter away your bond with God for a trifling gain!” (Qur’an 16:95)

I am fascinated by all the verses in the Qur’an that use economic metaphors when talking about our relationship with Allah.

Praise and Thanksgiving — Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Are you not aware that it is God whose limitless glory all creatures in the heavens and on earth praise, even the birds as they outspread their wings?” (Qur’an 24:41-42)

“To God belong the most Beautiful Names.” (Qur’an 7:180)

We tend to think that only human beings can praise God, maybe because we think of praise as being expressed in words. Praise and gratitude are often expressed in words, but that is certainly not the only, nor even the most powerful way, they can be expressed.

Make Room for One Another — Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Make room for one another in your collective life, do make room; and in return God will make room for you in His Grace.” (Qur’an 58:11)

“Come out of the Circle of Time and enter the Circle of Love.” ~Rumi

The Qur’an enjoins those who believe in Allah to be inclusive in their communities. The Book addresses believers as men, women, people from all walks of life, all ages, all races and nationalities, and all classes. Believers are called specifically to embrace those whom others consider outcasts, such as widows, orphans, the poor and indigent, wayfarers, slaves, and immigrants.

Kindness, Compassion & Mercy — Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“We have sent you (oh Prophet) as a mercy for all humankind.” (Qur’an 21:107)

“If kindness were a visible creation, nothing which Allah has created would be more beautiful than it. “ ~The Prophet Muhammad
Have you noticed how often your mood changes during the day? One of the most puzzling aspects of my own life is how often my mood changes at “the drop of a hat,” it seems.

The Sacred Art of Listening — Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Those who listen closely to all that is said and follow the best of it; it is they whom God has graced with His guidance, and it is they who are endowed with insight. “(Qur’an 39:18)
“Listening is like putting your head on a person’s chest and sinking into the answer.” (Rumi)

Listening is not only an art and a skill, it may also be considered a spiritual practice. In our current culture, we tend to focus more on communicating rather than listening. . .

Restraining Anger – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“A paradise as vast as the heavens and earth has been readied for those who are conscious of God …who restrain their anger and pardon their fellow beings…” (Qur’an 3: 133-135)
“Raise your words, not your voice; it is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” (Rumi)
Anger is a complex emotion, one which demands intense scrutiny if we are to understand and learn to control it.

Rightly Guided Ones – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Find someone the sight of whom reminds you of GodThe awe of whom moves your heart, Who counsels you not with the tongue of words, but with the tongue of deeds.” ~Ibn Khafif

The great sages have given us warnings about who to avoid, and who to follow. In our hearts, we can usually discern who is leading us in the right direction, mainly from the way they inspire us to be our best self, without judgment. People learn best by example, not precept.

The Lord of Grace Abounding – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Allah is the Lord of Grace abounding.” (Qur’an 2:105)
“The character of a friend of God is based on nothing more than graciousness and generosity.” (Sufi saying)
“Whoever performs a good deed, We shall increase its goodness for him.
Indeed Allah is all-Forgiving, all-Appreciative.” (Qur’an 42:23)
“The equation is always in our favor! Allah’s Grace is certainly unbounded. If we could but comprehend this, it would help us to become a true friend of God, and mirror His/Her graciousness and generosity. . .”

The Grasping, Greedy Ego – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Those who are saved from the covetousness of their own souls, they are the ones who achieve prosperity.” (Qur’an 64:16)
“If the son of Adam were to possess two valleys of riches, he would long for a third one.” ~The Prophet Muhammad
Humankind has created so much havoc with our grasping, greedy ego. We are trapped in our own avarice and greed and have become addicted to the pleasures that they provide, even though they never truly satisfy us. . .