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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan


Pinning Your Hopes on the Eternal

Charles Moss Duke Jr. is an American astronaut. He was born in 1935 in North Carolina, USA. He did his studies and research in the space sciences. In 1966, he was selected by NASA for the fifth manned mission to space. Journeying many times in space, he has several missions to his credit. He travelled on the Apollo-16 mission to the moon and stepped on the surface of the moon on 16th April 1972. On 21st February 2008, two members of CPS International, Dr Rajat Malhotra and Dr Sadia Khan met Dr Charles Duke at the Ashoka Hotel in New Delhi for an interview that has been recorded. As a token of the meeting, he presented the team with a signed photograph of himself in a spacesuit standing on the surface of the moon. The subject matter of the interview was ‘spirituality’. During the interview, Dr Duke was asked if he was content and happy with his life. Talking about his life, Dr Charles Duke said: From the beginning, there was no peace in my life. I thought going to the moon would give me peace. I thought this great career as an astronaut, all these goals and these accomplishments would give me peace, but they didn’t. So, I thought I’ll change my career. I left my career with NASA as an astronaut and went into business. I made a lot of money, but I still could not find any peace. There was still something missing in my life. This matter is not peculiar to Dr Charles Duke alone. It is the case with almost everybody today. It is said that the present age is an age for ‘making it big’ or attaining great success. Today, there are multiple opportunities to obtain wealth, fame and power. People are racing against each other to acquire these things and many of them do manage to obtain them. Such people are hailed as ‘super-achievers’. But experience tells us that every such ‘big achievement’ has only turned into a ‘super-failure’ in the end, when these ‘super-achievers’ get afflicted with some new illness or malaise. Despite acquiring every material thing, these people failed to achieve inner joy. And, finally, they died in a state of despair and frustration. One such new malaise is tension or stress. People may have wealth and fame and power and all other such things, but despite these apparent successes, they are mired in tension and stress. Excessive wealth has become a cause for more illness and disease. Major share of the scientific research today is in the medical sciences, seeking cures for new types of diseases. As a result of this state of affairs, a new business called ‘de-stressing’ is in demand. In ‘de-stressing’ centres, experts work on methods to relieve people from stress. But facts show that tension and stress are continuously on the rise. It is said that the biggest danger of the present day is not the threat of World War III, rather it is the threat of tension and stress. The situation reminds us of this verse from the Quran: ‘Surely in the remembrance of God, hearts can find comfort.’ (13: 28) This same idea was expressed by the Prophet in these words: “There is no comfort, but the comfort of the Hereafter”. (Sahih al-Bukhari) This means it is only by making God one’s supreme concern, man can obtain peace. And that the life that man desires is only possible in the period of his life after death. In the life of this world before death, no one will be able to get the life they desire. Only by making God one’s supreme concern, man can obtain peace. The life that man desires is only possible in the period of his life after death. Before death, no one will be able to get the life they desire. This issue is directly related to the creation plan of God. The Creator made the present world as a testing ground. The present world thus cannot become a place of fulfillment of desires for anybody. For every person, the present world is only a temporary stage in the journey of life; it is the world of the Hereafter that is man’s eternal destination. While travelling in a bus or a train or a plane, if you want to enjoy the facilities of home, you will not be able to do so. This is because the vehicle is only a means of your journey, not a substitute for your home. In the same way, the fulfillment of one’s desires is simply not possible for anyone in this world. The person who seeks the fulfillment of his desires must work for the world of the Hereafter. This fact is explained in the Quran in these words: ‘It is for the like of this (Hereafter) that all should strive’. (37: 61)

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