Disclaimer & Justification

// November 1st, 2006 // Blog

Thanks to all those who have commented on my blog. I only started blogging very recently so i apologize in advance if my manner of response is not to the standard you are used to.

I would like to state at this point that i am only an authority on Islam in so far as i am a follower of it. You will have to trust me when i say that i am not a muslim “missionary”. I do not speak about Islam as a living and i've only recently become more confident w.r.t. discussing my faith, even in the anonymous setting of the internet. Due to my “layman” understanding it is quite possible i may misrepresent Islam at some point, God-forbid. If a muslim or non-muslim was to come across any alternative views to mine they should always be considered in the light of Islamic textual evidence, i.e., quotes from the Qur'an, or proven sayings/actions of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). In addition the interpretation of these texts should be those that are widely accepted by the Islamic scholarly community. We all know how easy it can be to pluck out a single verse and analyse it subjectively for an unsuitable end.

Some advice for myself and to those whom the argument is being presented: in order to recognize and benefit from the truth one must be prepared to be objective, abandon any previous beliefs and most importantly, be prepared to swallow any pride one may have.

In response to some of the comments left on my entry titled “Homosexuality and Accountability”:

Thank you brother Yousef for the link. I haven't yet visited the website but i shall make time soon, God-willing.

Thanks also to Arthur for the warning. When two people are debating (a polite word for arguing!) a matter, especially one as controversial as this, it is inevitable at some point someone has to either give way, or we simply leave it at “we agree to disagree”.

Everyone appreciates good manners. In fact, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said at one point that he was only sent to perfect manners. Thus i will try my utmost to reply to any points i am able to in as respectful a manner as possible, though i am only human. Another lesson from Islam (though these are counted as universal truths): give people the benefit of the doubt and make excuses for them when they make a mistake to avoid rancor. If i use the wrong word here or there, one that may offend, God-forbid, please automatically assume that the response caused was unintentional. I do not enjoy cutting others with my words, just as i do not wish to be harmed. That reminds me of a lesson from another Prophet of Islam, Jesus (peace be upon him): do unto others… etc.

Being a member of the scientific community i am well aware of the sometimes hostile and belittling manner of a few high-profile atheists (i know “believers” can be just as hostile, sadly), to the extent that i rarely discuss my faith with my colleagues or superiors. I find it quite ironic actually. In the “dark ages” of Europe, scientists who went against the doctrine of the church were persecuted for voicing their opinions. Now it seems that the scientists are having their revenge! What is even more ironic is that Islam has always had the best relationship with its scientists, but Muslim opinion is often bundled with that of their Christian cousins.

Arthur, i will at some point in the near future respond to your comments about evolution and man's relationship with the animal kingdom. To understand, and hopefully respect, my opinion, it may help you to know that i am a biologist by profession. I graduated from Imperial College London with a BSc in Biology. I also have a Masters degree in Molecular Medicine, and now i am in the final year of my PhD. I'll admit that my field of study is not evolutionary biology, but you can imagine that as a research scientist it would be quite impossible for me to avoid this particular theory. It may be asking a lot of you to trust me at this point because trust has to be earned. So i understand if you wish to take my words with a “pinch of salt”. So far in my short career as a research scientist, i have never felt that my belief in Islam has ever interfered with my ability for critical thought. And similarly, my ability to objectively analyze the evidence has never acted as a barrier to my belief in God and my belief in Islam. I can quite confidently say where the two “callings” harmonize is in their definition of being seekers of truth. I do not live a double-life: the brain that i use at work is the same brain that i use to worship. At no point is my ability to reason “switched off” nor should it ever be! Islam does not require blind faith, it requires you to be honest with yourself and use the gift of reason to recognize the truth when it is presented to you.

To all those reading this – muslim and non-muslim – I do not say believe in Islam because it “feels good” or it “sounds right”. I say, read the Qur'an, read the biography of the messenger of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him), question the scholars, contemplate the order of the universe, contemplate the complexity of creation, contemplate your own life and experiences. Think, reason, open your mind. Do not look down upon someone simply because they say “i believe”, but ask “why do you believe?”. Take the time to find out.

I humbly ask you to reflect on the following quote from the Qur'an. In this verse Allāh [God] is making a unique oath to mankind:
By the sun and his brightness, and the moon when she follows him, and the day when it reveals him, and the night when it enshrouds him, and the heaven and Him Who built it, and the earth and Him Who spread it out, and a soul and He Who perfected it and inspired it with awareness of what is wrong for it and what is right for it, he is indeed successful who purifies it, and he is indeed a failure who neglects it .” (91:1-10)

I am sure we all agree that we would indeed be neglectful and thus be failing ourselves if we did not use the tools that God has gifted us with to search for the truth. And once we have found it, we have to be brave enough to accept it whole-heartedly and not care for the consequences.

Alhamdulillah [Praise be to Allāh], i have already done the homework and with the mind that i take to the lab with me everyday, i decided that Islam was indeed the truth – in its entirety. Thus whatever Allāh has said to be good therein, i accept is good. And whatever Allāh has said to be harmful therein, i accept is harmful. My ability or inability to explain why something is good or bad should not affect the validity of God's claim. This trust is based on my sincere belief that God is all-Wise, all-Knowing, the Just, the Merciful and the Good, and that belief was based on sound reasoning.

I hope that helps others to better understand why it is enough for me to say Islam is the justification for my stance on homosexuality, or the origins of man, or any matter for that fact. Alhamdulillah, God has given us the ability to understand some of His perfect wisdom, but we must realize that this ability is limited, because we as human beings are limited. We have been given sufficient intelligence to understand the concept of the Creator and to reflect on the argument that Islam is His way, but beyond that there is no guarantee we will comprehend all the details of His laws and prohibitions. At this point we are asked to hear and obey to the best of our abilities. Accepting the well known fact that i am “only human”, I think this is perfectly reasonable. May Allāh make it easy for me to follow His commands.

I end by thanking you for taking the time to read my entry. I know it was long! And also i apologize if at any time i came across as patronizing in my explanations.

I pray that Allāh guides us all to the truth, and allows us to die upon it.

Best wishes,

iMuslim

6 Responses to “Disclaimer & Justification”

  1. Arthur_Vandelay says:

    Thanks also to Arthur for the warning. When two people are debating (a polite word for arguing!) a matter, especially one as controversial as this, it is inevitable at some point someone has to either give way, or we simply leave it at “we agree to disagree”.

    I was being facetious, of course.

  2. Lucyp says:

    Welcome to the blogosphere imuslim. I can back up AV’s comments that the ‘debate’ can sometimes get spikey and there are a few who will disagree with you no matter what you say. There are also some decent bloggers who will be honest and debate objectively.
    I hope that you can just brush off the insultys of the former and i look forward to reading more of your blog.

  3. iMuslim says:

    Arthur, I only realised that having posted my entry, and then visiting Seeking Utopia. I did wonder who you were quoting when i read your comment!

    Lucy, thanks for your kind welcome. I hope my blog proves worthy of your attention.

    I’m may tone down my politeness a little though as i don’t wish to appear obsequious! hehe

    Best wishes,

    iMuslim

  4. Arthur_Vandelay says:

    I can back up AV’s comments that the ‘debate’ can sometimes get spikey and there are a few who will disagree with you no matter what you say.

    Absolutely–though that wasn’t exactly the point I was making.

    I was suggesting, rather, that appeals to religious belief are bound to carry much less weight in the context of a debate between people of different faiths then between those who share the same faith.

    That’s not to suggest that believers should remain silent: only that they would be better served, when debating certain issues with people of other (or no) faiths, by “secular” arguments (for lack of a better word).

  5. Robert Mangan says:

    it nice to talk [discuss]with each other, this shows that we are real, we communicate but one must hear the voice of God if He is real, if He can not talk to us then he is not God!
    from Robert.

  6. iMuslim says:

    Hello Robert,

    Thanks for taking the time to contact me. I am intrigued by your comments. I wonder if you are speaking literally or metaphorically?

    Literally-speaking, i only know of one man who had the honour of hearing God’s voice, the Prophet Musa [Moses], peace be upon him.

    Metaphorically speaking, God “speaks” to us in many ways, the most notable being the revelations He sent to us via the Prophets. Muslims believe the Qur’an is the final revelation, and is the literal word of God. If you take the time to read it, you will immediately notice God is addressing humanity in the first person. This is one manner is which the Qur’an is distinguished from the previous revelations, the Torah and the Gospels, which are in the narrative form. Thus the islamic saying: “If you want to speak to God then pray the salat [ritual prayer], and if you want Him to speak to you, then read the Qur’an“.

    In response to your second comment, I am happy to discuss issues of religion and faith with you. However i must stress something first. Mashallah, as a believer it is my duty to seek closeness to God through my faith, words and deeds. After considering the evidences, i decided that Islam was the ultimate means of achieving this aim. I am assuming you are Christian from the links on your blog. If your aim is to convince me that Christianity is the true way to God, i say: show me the evidence. I do not mean to be rude, but i am simply stating that for me to believe anything about God i need firm proof. Even in Islam, one can only say about God that which He has said about Himself through the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and that is only because there is evidence for the authenticity of these revelations. God reproaches certain peoples many times in the Qur’an for speaking about things of which they have no knowledge or proof, such as saying God is three (or more) and appointing men and idols as intercessors in worship. After all, would it not be reckless for anyone to gamble the eternal fate of their soul on an unfounded belief?

    So please keep this mind if you plan to propose that Jesus is God in human form, rather than a blessed man, a noble prophet and a slave of God. If you firmly believe in this, then it should not be at all difficult to show me why, especially as I already agree that God exists – that’s one hurdle out of the way!

    Respectfully yours,

    iMuslim

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