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Islam for non-Muslims
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anon123
 
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Quote anon123 Replybullet Topic: Fundamentals of organzed religion
    Posted: 29 August 2006 at 8:02pm
Let me start off with the fact that I consider myself as agnostic (i.e, i do not follow one particular belief system). The questions regarding the meaning of our existance have puzzled mankind from the beginning of time. Religion has been an important part of society in known history. Organized religions have the following two elements:

1) Belief in the existance of a creator (God)
2) Belief that a particular way of life (i.e religion) is what is required of us to follow.

The mysteries surrounding 1) are so complex and complicated that no one has come up with enough evidence to disapprove the existance of God. Neither have anyone come up with enough evidence to support the existance of God. Getting both elements right at the same time has a very small probablity. Look at it from a cat's prespective. A cat cannot learn how to drive a car since the skills required are beyond it's intelligence. Surely as humans, we must have a boundry to our intelligence too and there is a possibility that the question of existance of God is beyond our understanding. However, let's just put that question aside and assume that God exists.

This still leaves us with the second element; which is the way of life that God wants us to follow. This question has its own complexities. There have been thousands of religions in history and even today there are hundreds of religions. The followers of each specific religion blindly believe that their religion is the right. Understanding that part is somewhat easier. It involves social perception; a persons beliefs and opinions are mostly formed by the belief system of the society that surrounds him. A person growing up in an Islamic society or a christian society for that matter would see the beliefs that he grew up with as more appealing and hence would choose to follow the religion practiced by his society or people the person grew up with. Surely there are exceptions where people convert from one religion to another but that number is small and I am just considering the broader picture here.
All three major religions (Islam, Christianity , Judasm) share one common belief. The belief says that if you follow the basic elements of that religion you would eventually go to heaven (Belief in one God and last prophet in Islam, Belief in Jesus as the Lord in Christianity, and belief in being the chosen one in Judasm). All three religions contradict each other atleast on this matter.
Since this is an Islamic forum, I will talk about the Islamic belief system. As it is said, whoever believes in one God and his last Prophet will eventually go to heaven. Looking at it from the social perception's point of view, a person who is born in a muslim culture will most definately follow this belief blindly. The belief system also says that those who do not believe in one God and his last prophet will be in hell for eternity. If we were to believe that the people who were born in a muslim family were lucky then that in a way contradicts the Islamic teachings as they take every human being as equal. This type of belief more closely resembles the jewish belief system.
Of all the conversations I had with religious people, they all blindly followed their religion and for them, there was nothing better out there. They would conclude with the statement that I would eventually find out that their religion was correct in my afterlife.
In Islamic mythology, there is a story regarding a prophet who saw a person sitting under a tree praising his creator using wordly elements (e.g I wish I could prepare a nice meal for my creator). The prophet scolded the person for making such remakrs. Later on, it is said that God told the prophet that it was inappropriate to scold that guy as he was praising his creator in his own manner and that was appreciable.

That story is very appealing to me. I consider myself as a humanist. I believe that morals are innate and choosing right over wrong using your own morals would be far more appreciated by my creator rather than doing something out of the fear of hellfire. My reasons for doing the right things (Charity, helping people who are in need etc) are based on my own morals. However, a theist would still argue that I would burn in hellfire for eternity for not following a particular religion.

Please don't take me as being critical. I am writing this post to get opinions from scholars. Perhaps someone can help me resolve my misunderstandings and confusion.
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fatima
 
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Quote fatima Replybullet Posted: 01 September 2006 at 9:33am

Bismillah irrahman irrahim

Hi, well i dont think you will get a scholarly view here, for that you have to ask a shiekh but i will give you opinion of a common muslim inshaAllah.

first of all i dont think your views are critical at all, its inquisitive nature of human being which helps you seek the truth. Your first concept of islamic teaching that only followers of Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wassalam are entitled to enter Paradise is a misunderstanding. We as muslims believe that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala sent Prophets alehimus salaam to every nation in different times and our Prophet was last. The true followers of those prophets will all go to paradise by the will and leave of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Basic thing is having belief in oneness of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. If you never associated anyone with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala through out your life and did good but was not sure about other matter of religion then it is between you and your Lord. Scholars have discussed it for centuries and it stays that the reasons which stopped you following the Prophet of your time would need to be explained to your Lord. He is Most Just Judge and would never wrong anyone so no one can discuss beyond this because no one knows.

Second point which you raised is being born in a muslim family and its similarity to concept of 'chosen one'. Stats show that in US alone, about 100,000 people each year revert to islam. Islam does not say that to be a muslim you have to be born in a muslim family, there is no concept of chosen one. Yes people who are born in muslim family have more advantage but people like salman rushdi are too born in muslim family. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala does not prefer people because of thier lineage, its thier piety that matters to Him. Many hundred and thousands of born mulsim know nothing about thier religion and thier reckoning is going to be harder as Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala made it so easy for them but it did not avail them anything. In contrast majority of revert muslims are very upright muslims and try thier best to stay on the right path.

Lastly about being a humanist, yes its all right and true relying on your judgement for taking good from where ever you see it. But at the end of the day, humans are short sighted. We cannot see or predict too far in the future. Niether can we be totally selfless to decide for the good of all human race. There are few laws which deal with our creator and if we believe in one creator then next step is to follow the laws which are given to us for our own betterment.

wassalam

Say: (O Muhammad) If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, MercifuL
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s666
 
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Quote s666 Replybullet Posted: 02 September 2006 at 10:24am
Originally posted by anon123

A cat cannot learn how to drive a car since the skills required are beyond it's intelligence. Surely as humans, we must have a boundry to our intelligence too and there is a possibility that the question of existance of God is beyond our understanding.


the analogy you used is flawed.  on what basis you propose a boundary to human intelligence?  an invalid cannot walk does not mean that he is not human.

Originally posted by anon123

I believe that morals are innate and choosing right over wrong using your own morals would be far more appreciated by my creator rather than doing something out of the fear of hellfire.


thats what i believe too.  but the fundamental question remains, "what is right and what is wrong?"

for example hindus are defenders and buddhists are endurers though both of their fundamental principle is "ahimsa = non-violence".
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Quote anon123 Replybullet Posted: 02 September 2006 at 6:55pm
Originally posted by s666

Originally posted by anon123

A cat cannot learn how to drive a car since the skills required are
beyond it's intelligence. Surely as humans, we must have a boundry to
our intelligence too and there is a possibility that the question of
existance of God is beyond our understanding.
the analogy you used is flawed.  on what basis you propose a boundary to human intelligence?  an invalid cannot walk does not mean that he is not human.
Originally posted by anon123

I believe that morals are innate and choosing right over wrong using
your own morals would be far more appreciated by my creator rather than
doing something out of the fear of hellfire.
thats what i believe too.  but the fundamental question remains, "what is right and what is wrong?"for example hindus are defenders and buddhists are endurers though both of their fundamental principle is "ahimsa = non-violence".


Research shows that a dog is more intelligent than a mice, a monkey is more intelligent than a dog and a dolphin is more intelligent than a monkey and a human is more intelligent than a dolphin (maybe i messed up on the order but you get the idea :) ). We are the smartest species and there isn't anything more intelligent than us that we know of with a 100% certainity. Although, using these facts, it would be highly unlikely that our level of intelligence is infinite. If it was, we would have definate answers to all our questions :)
As for the second argument, I know quite a few atheists that do nice things, have nice jobs, give charity etc etc. Where did they get their morals from ? :) In an ideal enviorment, one type of species would always form groups naturally... although, there are circumstances when one kind of species would have differences among themselves and might even attack each other. It is very obvious if we look around us... humans and primitives both follow that.
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Quote anon123 Replybullet Posted: 02 September 2006 at 7:00pm
Originally posted by fatima

Bismillah irrahman irrahim


Hi, well i dont think you will get a scholarly view here, for that you have to ask a shiekh but i will give you opinion of a common muslim inshaAllah.


first of all i dont think your views are critical at all, its inquisitive nature of human being which helps you seek the truth. Your first concept of islamic teaching that only followers of Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wassalam are entitled to enter Paradise is a misunderstanding. We as muslims believe that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala sent Prophets alehimus salaam to every nation in different times and our Prophet was last. The true followers of those prophets will all go to paradise by the will and leave of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Basic thing is having belief in oneness of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. If you never associated anyone with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala through out your life and did good but was not sure about other matter of religion then it is between you and your Lord. Scholars have discussed it for centuries and it stays that the reasons which stopped you following the Prophet of your time would need to be explained to your Lord. He is Most Just Judge and would never wrong anyone so no one can discuss beyond this because no one knows.


Second point which you raised is being born in a muslim family and its similarity to concept of 'chosen one'. Stats show that in US alone, about 100,000 people each year revert to islam. Islam does not say that to be a muslim you have to be born in a muslim family, there is no concept of chosen one. Yes people who are born in muslim family have more advantage but people like salman rushdi are too born in muslim family. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala does not prefer people because of thier lineage, its thier piety that matters to Him. Many hundred and thousands of born mulsim know nothing about thier religion and thier reckoning is going to be harder as Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala made it so easy for them but it did not avail them anything. In contrast majority of revert muslims are very upright muslims and try thier best to stay on the right path.


Lastly about being a humanist, yes its all right and true relying on your judgement for taking good from where ever you see it. But at the end of the day, humans are short sighted. We cannot see or predict too far in the future. Niether can we be totally selfless to decide for the good of all human race. There are few laws which deal with our creator and if we believe in one creator then next step is to follow the laws which are given to us for our own betterment.


wassalam



It may be factual that Islam is the fastest growing religion. It is a very beautiful religion with a lot to offer. Although, would it be fair to use worldy statistics to prove that something is right? There are converts from Islam to other religions and vice versa. Perhaps the number of converts to Islam is higher because it is a great religion and makes more sense.
Perhaps I was wrong about my understanding of Islam that you have to believe in one God and his last prophet to ever see heaven. It makes sense if that is the case... you can go to china from the US if you fly either east or west....
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Quote s666 Replybullet Posted: 02 September 2006 at 7:57pm
Originally posted by fatima

Stats show that in US alone, about 100,000 people each year revert to islam.

Originally posted by fatima

But at the end of the day, humans are short sighted.


dear fatima, the above two statements do not gel well.
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Quote s666 Replybullet Posted: 02 September 2006 at 8:13pm
Originally posted by anon123

Research shows that a dog is more intelligent than a mice, a monkey is more intelligent than a dog and a dolphin is more intelligent than a monkey and a human is more intelligent than a dolphin (maybe i messed up on the order but you get the idea :) ). We are the smartest species and there isn't anything more intelligent than us that we know of with a 100% certainity. Although, using these facts, it would be highly unlikely that our level of intelligence is infinite. If it was, we would have definate answers to all our questions :)


it should be remembered that it is only 500 years (or eight lifetimes) since most humans believed the earth was flat and anyone who had the temerity to think otherwise was invariably burnt at the stake!  and until recently, pluto was considered a planet!

Originally posted by anon123

As for the second argument, I know quite a few atheists that do nice things, have nice jobs, give charity etc etc. Where did they get their morals from ? :) In an ideal enviorment, one type of species would always form groups naturally... although, there are circumstances when one kind of species would have differences among themselves and might even attack each other. It is very obvious if we look around us... humans and primitives both follow that.


one need not believe in god to do good, but as i have said the fundamental question remains, "what is good?"
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Quote fatima Replybullet Posted: 03 September 2006 at 5:14am

Bismillah irrahman irrahim

hi s666, i thought it would be rude not to reply but you know perfectly well that you took what i said out of context and made it look like non-sense. First the stats of reversion to islam could be taken as human being seeing the truth for truth and accepting it. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala requires us to do that and He has put enough wisdom in us to differentiate between truth and falsehood.

Secondly humans been short sighted is regarding the absolute power of law making. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has kept this for Himself knowing humans are not capable of it. Islam tells people to get married and then have physical relationship, islam forbids any ties outside marital bond, islam asks parents to bring up thier kids in best of thier capacity, give them love and security. Kids are told to respect and obey thier parents. This results in formation of good society. A stable home results in up bringing of another stable generation.

Compare this to where humans have taken initiative of not following the law. Kids growing up without a family structure end up playing with guns instead of toys and killing thier fellow class mates, all sort of psychological problems rise in society, old people's homes get filled up because kids dont want parents who dint want them when they were kids.

Hope this makes sense to you.

wassalam

Say: (O Muhammad) If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, MercifuL
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