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The chapter Al-Isra’ (The Night Journey) of the Qur’an points out a problem—that of mindset—which is common to all men and women: Say to them, ‘Everyone acts in his own way and only your Lord knows best who is rightly guided.’ (17:84)

Acting in one’s own way, that is, according to one’s own mindset, is a psychological phenomenon. It stems from a set of attitudes or fixed ideas that vary from one individual to another and are often difficult to change. The human mindset, according to which all men and women think, is conditioned by the social environment. But this mindset does not provide a set of moral standards. Only God Almighty can do that. It is the duty of every man and woman to examine his or her mindset when he or she reaches maturity. Then he or she must discover the norms that are approved of by God and try to come to terms with the standards set by their Maker.

This process can be called the de-conditioning of conditioned minds. It is this deconditioning from which one’s intellectual journey begins. It is the first duty of every human being to examine his conditioned mind, scrutinize it by intensive introspection, and then correct his way of thinking. Without undergoing the process of de-conditioning, one is bound to live by one’s own suppositions. De-conditioning purifies the mind. De-conditioning makes each human being aware of the Creation plan of God, of the laws of nature and of the external realities that have remained hidden from one’s mind because of conditioning. It is this intellectual process that guarantees right thinking, right action, and right planning in this world. Without deconditioning our minds, we are unable to understand the truth beyond our mental ambit. We are not able to comprehend the realities exterior to the human mind. Without undergoing the process of de-conditioning, one is bound to live by one’s own suppositions. Deconditioning purifies the mind.

Man is born in a world that is not of his own creation. The world was created by God and it is God who has determined the laws of this world. Man has no option but to discover this divine law and follow it with complete sincerity. And through de-conditioning, one enables oneself to carry on this process. As man cannot create a world of his own, he must follow the laws of the Creator of this world. This is a prime requirement for every man and woman. It is not a question of coercion: in reality, it is a matter of right guidance for the person who is trying to know on his own what is unknowable. Only the Creator can know what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. So one should submit to the divine will in all humility and sincerity. It is in one’s best interests to follow this path. One always thinks according to one’s mindset, and one’s actions are but the expression of one’s mindset. If the mindset is right, one’s actions will be right, but if the mindset is wrong, one’s actions will also be wrong. So it is essential for every man and woman to de-condition his or her mind so that he or she may be able to think in an unbiased manner.

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