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
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