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To Those Who Know Little About Islam

This letter is for all those who discount Islam without bothering to know what it is about.

I find it very perplexing that people who know little about the Qu'ran or the Hadeeth proclaim to be prodigious scholars on Islam, or are at least far too logical to bother to read about the logic of the Qu'ran. To this I answer with a simple analogy; when Nicolas Copernicus developed the telescope and announced that the earth rotated daily on its axis and traveled around the sun yearly, people thought he was mad. They broke his telescope. They called him a lunatic. This without even diving into the surface to find out exactly why he said what he did. This same thing happened to Muhammed (SAW) when he first came to Quraysh with the Qu'ran, and it seems those who have left Islam are unaware of the historical lessons implied by these events.

By this I mean specifically that the atheist Libyans and others in their desperate attempt to bring a new 'enlightenment' to the Ummah of Islam, because they read some books on some Europeans who were dissatisfied with Christianity, are making a big mistake. In technical philosophical terms, to make sweeping claims about religion and to presume automatically that weaknesses in other religions apply to Islam is called a logical fallacy. It is like saying that because a person with black skin is a thief, then all persons with black skin are thiefs. Do a little--no, do a LOT more thinking before you make silly conclusions like that.

As for Ziyad's recent letter to Hakeem on praying, it is so clear to me that brother Ziyad has never picked up the Qu'ran and read it. In fact, I think it is likely he cannot read arabic, which is a real shame.

Statement 1: (I)f God can actually intervene once, and save a life, why does his ability to save lives seem to diminish as people get older!

This does not necessarily require a quote from the Qu'ran, but there are plenty of responses in it to a statement like this. This question implies that God 'ought' to be saving peoples lives as they get older. I cannot count how many verses in the Qu'ran respond to it but the logic is simple: if people lived everlasting lives, what would be the point of asking God for anything? Needless to say, the purpose of Islam is to worship The God, to thank him for all his blessings, and to seek forgiveness from him for any wrongdoings.

God's ability to save a life does not ever diminish. He has chosen times for people to pass, and we as Muslims accept this. In fact, what we accept resembles the following:

Statement 2: Ultimately there comes a time where no amount of intervention, medical or otherwise, can extend life by a single moment.

This is precisely what Muslims believe and accept. Despite the 'faith' factor, if you present these facts to a Muslim they will acknowledge them and have similar responses. I will not deny that there is often a 'non-thinking' factor, but even those who opt for that behavior have the knowledge of Islam acceptable to them and can, with a little bit of thought, demonstrate the logic of Islam and the Qu'ran.

Statement 3: The only credible extension of life is accomplished through medical advances and improved hygiene and food supplies.

Precisely what is meant here by 'extension of life'? If this is a response to a Muslim, it would imply and awareness of a thing called determinism. This is not strictly an Islamic concept either; that fate has decided a time for a person's death. Allah has determined this time. Even with medical and hygiene improvements, a person's death is what is written.

Nonetheless, this does not mean that this statement covers all credible extensions of life. To take an extreme example, choosing not to shoot oneself in the head with a gun is a credible extension of life. Let us say that this person decides to shoot himself anyways; is it a guarantee that he would die? I am sure that in more than one instance people have been shot multiple times--in the head--only to somehow survive (with brain damage). Google it, see what happens.

Statement 4: In spite of the statistically insignificant contributions of prayers to health and life extension, people continue to pray.

Wow. Fabricated statistics. Do you have any idea how impossible it is to compile statistics on prayers and life extensions? Was this a United Nations report? No it wasn't. The word 'statistically' has no rightful place in this statement. Even without it, it is impossible to assert that claim; when Muslims get a minor cold, they pray, and they may or may not heal. This does not mean, however, that prayer-healing is a necessary caust-effect, which I will elaborate on.

Statement 5: How come God is willing to take credit only for positive outcomes and does not take any credit when outcomes are negative! What about deformed babies and all the children that are born with horrible diseases!

As for the first question, once again there are many verses in the Qu'ran that address it, and I strongly recommend some heavy reading of it. Again, one does not even need to read the Qu'ran to logically do away with this question. Aside from the simple misrepresentation of God--who does not need to 'take' credit--the question implies that God is not there when negative things occur. Amongst the traits of The God which Muslims believe in are The Wise, The Knoledgeable, The Omnipotent. Surely Muslims don't believe that earth was created as a problem-less heaven. If there were no problems with life, and we lived in a perfectly harmonious world of immortals, then obviously there would be no purpose in the existence of heaven or hell. Allah is perfectly aware of this and is wise to any act, and has designed the appropriate fate for all, including of course whether to heal or not to heal in accordance with the design of fate, for purposes that we cannot come to know, nor do we have the capacity to full understand (i.e. in our own lives, we do not know what we may see or do differently by taking the bus or driving or biking to work; we are not omnipotent and aware of all the outcomes before we make our choices).

As for the second question, there are many answers to it, depending on what specifically it is that you are talking about. In abstract, the answer will be the same as the former response. In specific, a disease like AIDS for example can only pass to a child in a limited number of ways, surely the fault of a man or woman, and in rare, bizarre cases, unknown forces of nature. (Hopefully I do not need to mention the reason for nor the existence of freedom of will and action as according to Islam). Why a specific child would be the victim over the next child is the working of fate (see the former response). According to Islam, God grants heaven to all who suffer and die from a disease, and likewise to anyone how suffers from a retardation. Allah does not 'take' credit for anything, because He has already designed our fates, and it is for us to decide how we live and react to what is before us. Again, if everything was perfect, we would be in heaven already, defeating the purpose of striving to do anything, which Islam places a heavy importance on.

*in reference to your insulting hospital-therapy analogy, I ask: How many Muslims do you expect to win over with your manner?

Statement 6: Now here we have a man who can command millions of Muslims to march into certain death, and he is the "Grand Ayatollah", the man who is very high in the religious hierarchy and certainly can have a much better access to God, yet he seeks the land of the "Kufar" when he is sick.

In Islam, there is no such thing as 'a much better access to God'. Anyone who wants access to God finds him. As for seeking the land of the "kufar" for medical attention, it would be too easy for me to find response in the Qu'ran and the hadeeth. Just to be clear, the reason why I am not quoting the Qu'ran or the Hadeeth is not because I can not, but rather, I would like to place the onus on those who deny the existence of any logic in the Qu'ran to take the time to read it and find out where and how it is logical.

Would a Muslim stand under a waterfall and say 'Oh Allah, please make me dry'. This is not a question if a Muslim CAN, because anyone can. He WOULD not because he is not STRIVING to attain his immediate goal, being dry. Why do you think Muslims pray 5 times a day? (and it could have been more, mind you). The reason is that Muslims must strive to achieve. You do not achieve without doing anything. Well another question would be, ok, how come the Ayatollah did not just let himself die and go to heaven. First, do neglect health is un-Islamic. The Prophet Muhammed SAW once said that he who wakes up with his health, it is though he has the whole world. Health is something we Muslims thank God for, but it is also an 'amanah', an entrustment from God. It is the duty of the Muslim to take good care of his health. Second, it is not for the Ayatollah to decide whether he goes to heaven. Even Abu Bakr El Siddiq, friend of the Prophet Muhammed who was guaranteed heaven, said that he would not feel safe if one of his feet was in heaven and the other was not yet. I am not saying that the Ayatollah is going to heaven nor hell, but he is surely aware that it is not his choice.

A. A. Omar

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