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abdelhamidem
 
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Quote abdelhamidem Replybullet Topic: Why should one be muslim ?
    Posted: 19 April 2010 at 9:02am
Salam to everyone.

I'll be straight forward. I was born muslim and I've been struggling with my faith for many years. Downs and highs like many muslims experience I think. Last summer I decided to stop that yoyo faith, and ask myself why my faith isn't steady. The answer is because I'm not fully convinced. Why am I not fully convinced? I don't really know... I could list a few things that I don't understand or even disagree with Islam, but I think my real question, the one that would give me real strong faith if it was answer is:

WHY should one be Muslim ?

To me, there are only a few types of reasons why people are/become Muslims:

You "feel" it: Somewhere inside you, you know that it's the right path. But then, one must keep in mind that in other religions too you can find people who feel something strong for their religion. Who's right, who's wrong?
Or maybe you had that special experience (a dream, a sign, etc...). That happens in other religions too!! And allow me to say that I refuse to believe other people's experiences. You never really know what happened in their head. You can only trust YOUR own experiences, and even so, you have to be very careful. Our "unconscious" can be surprisingly misleading.

The Scientific data in the Quran: You probably heard/read thousands of times these verses that are supposed to prove something. And of course, there is a japanese/american/british scientist who's there to say how incredible that is, and that it's a miracle. When you look for that scientist on the internet... he doesnt exist or there is no reference to his opinion on Islam. And when you read the verses, they're either nothing special OR so confusing that they could mean anything.


The Miracles:
I really hate those. Miracles like "ALLAH" written on a fish....seriously??? Or trees/plants growing and forming some kind of "La Ilaha Illa Lah". Those are just fake. The last miracle I saw was that of a Jinn photographed in a cave in Yemen. Many arab newspapers were showing it frontpage, and I had many people around me who believed it. From all ages, sexes, and levels of education. But then, I found the same picture on internet, only in a different set. The "Jinn" was in fact a giant puppet in an amusement park in england.


The why:
Why would a man go through all that pain and risk his life just to deliver us a message. A book only filled with good advice for life. Don't steal, don't kill, do good, help your neighbour, give money to the poor, dont fool around, here is how you should share inheritance, etc...
So, what's in it for him? Well, I do not know. Maybe it was just a clever way to rule the country? Offer justice to people in need and they'll follow you. Maybe he was very clever, some kind of genius of politics.

I have a few other general remarks and questions:
The fact that it's important to read the Quran in arabic also bothers me. You have to master arabic if you hope to understand a smal portion of the Quran! That's what I heard. Even the best scholars don't master the Quran fully. Far from that.
So, What is God expecting from us exactly? Imagine I was born a chinaman, and one day I decided to look for the truth, search God. To be completely honest in my search, I should learn hebrew, the latin, arabic, maybe hindi ????
That's another problem. To be completely honest about your faith quest, you should read about allll the religions that exist. Or at least the main religions. Imagine you have to learn the original language of each religion to fully understand it.

Today, the only thing I'm certain of is that God exists. I'm just not sure about Islam anymore.

How can you answer me? And please, don't shoot. I'm a honest person, asking honest questions, honestly looking for answers.
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abuayisha
 
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Quote abuayisha Replybullet Posted: 19 April 2010 at 11:16am

The Words of Allah , Most High:

" Verily, you will not guide everyone whom you love, but Allah guides whom He wills and He knows best those who Will guided" (Qur'an 28:56)

Allah informs the Prophet that his assiduous pursuit of his uncle, Abu Talib in order to call him to Islam will be of no avail, that he will not be guided; for Allah knows all things - past, present and future, and none other than Allah has knowledge of the unseen. And He informs His Messenger that successful guidance comes only by His will, and He makes successful the guidance for whosoever of His slaves He Wills and that is because He knows best who deserves to be guided to success.



Edited by abuayisha - 19 April 2010 at 11:18am
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Chrysalis
 
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Quote Chrysalis Replybullet Posted: 19 April 2010 at 12:23pm
Originally posted by abdelhamidem

Salam to everyone.

I'll be straight forward. I was born muslim and I've been struggling with my faith for many years. Downs and highs like many muslims experience I think. Last summer I decided to stop that yoyo faith, and ask myself why my faith isn't steady. The answer is because I'm not fully convinced. Why am I not fully convinced? I don't really know... I could list a few things that I don't understand or even disagree with Islam, but I think my real question, the one that would give me real strong faith if it was answer is:

WHY should one be Muslim ?
 


Wa'alaikum salaam Abdel Hamidem,

As far as our Imaan (faith) is considered Brother, almost every many muslims go through times of faith tribulations. It is just not possible to maintain a constant level of Imaan throughout our lives, in very phase of life. Some - like you, hit a lower point than others. Doubt is part of being human. However, when a muslim comes to the point where they are actually thinking if Islam itself is right for them - there is a need to seriously address the issue. (which you seem to have realised already! Allahu Akbar!)

I would like to bring your attention to the fact, that you still thought it important to discuss your doubts regarding Islam with other Muslims. You did not outright go and abandon your faith. To me, it means there is still some faith. What do you think ?



You "feel" it: Somewhere inside you, you know that it's the right path. But then, one must keep in mind that in other religions too you can find people who feel something strong for their religion. Who's right, who's wrong? 


Yes, that is a very important aspect to having faith in any religion. I'm guessing you don't 'feel it' anymore? How about you try and think why that is so ? What is the root of the issue?

Is it Islamic injunctions you have a problem with (like reading Qur'an in arabic) - that sets you off? Perhaps it is just lack of awareness on your part? sometimes, when we don't really understand certain injunctions we can have a problem practicing them. For example I used to have a huge issue with Polygyny - until I read about it. I also realised that the reason why I had such an issue with Polygyny was because I only got to read the anti-polygyny information. . . never really got the information from the correct sources.

Are you debating Islam with non-muslims? Getting your information from anti-islam website? Sometimes they claim to be doing "constructive criticism" but note their subliminal writing style, tone & language. It can have a gradual effect on our thinking. It is better to fix ones own Imaan before exploring other religions or going into comparative religion or philosophy.

Were you raised in a religious upbringing ? Did you have any sort of religious education during youth ? I might be wrong, but that does effect the strength of your imaan, and the ease to practise/accept it.


Or maybe you had that special experience (a dream, a sign, etc...). That happens in other religions too!! And allow me to say that I refuse to believe other people's experiences. You never really know what happened in their head. You can only trust YOUR own experiences, and even so, you have to be very careful. Our "unconscious" can be surprisingly misleading.


I will have to agree. Not everyone has the wisdom to identify actual signs from no-signs-at-all. Rather a shaky premise to base your faith on, in my opinon. Faith needs to be based on something more substantial. Although signs could help.



The Scientific data in the Quran: You probably heard/read thousands of times these verses that are supposed to prove something. And of course, there is a japanese/american/british scientist who's there to say how incredible that is, and that it's a miracle. When you look for that scientist on the internet... he doesnt exist or there is no reference to his opinion on Islam. And when you read the verses, they're either nothing special OR so confusing that they could mean anything.


Do you believe in the Qur'an though? Do you think there is truth in it?


The why:
Why would a man go through all that pain and risk his life just to deliver us a message. A book only filled with good advice for life. Don't steal, don't kill, do good, help your neighbour, give money to the poor, dont fool around, here is how you should share inheritance, etc...
So, what's in it for him? Well, I do not know. Maybe it was just a clever way to rule the country? Offer justice to people in need and they'll follow you. Maybe he was very clever, some kind of genius of politics.


Do you believe in self-satisfaction? i.e. knowing you did something good/right. Or wanting to help others ? Having a sense of responsibility towards society ? Why does a man only need material reasons to do the above - like you suggest. (whats in it for him?)

Again, where are you getting your information/biography about the Prophet ?


The fact that it's important to read the Quran in arabic also bothers me. You have to master arabic if you hope to understand a smal portion of the Quran!


What makes you think it is necessary to master Arabic ? There are probably hundreds of thousands of Muslims today (and in the past) who probably were illiterate and couldn't even read their native language, let alone master a foreign one. Were they/are they any less Muslim ? Basic Islamic principle, Allah does not burden anyone more than their ability. If you don't have the capability to learn/read Arabic - don't. A few sentences worth of Arabic is all you will need as a bare minimum. Those who cannot even manage those, like converts in old-age, can pray in their native tongue. Allah made Islam easy - not a burden on us.



So, What is God expecting from us exactly? Imagine I was born a chinaman, and one day I decided to look for the truth, search God. To be completely honest in my search, I should learn hebrew, the latin, arabic, maybe hindi ????


You said you believed in God, yet you are doubting His Intentions and His methods. If you have faith in God - then the simple fact, that He is Just, Kind and Desires the best for us should be enough. Otherwise we will have to backpedal and reevaluate belief in God as well.



That's another problem. To be completely honest about your faith quest, you should read about allll the religions that exist. Or at least the main religions. Imagine you have to learn the original language of each religion to fully understand it.


No you don't. You don't have to learn Latin, Greek, Arabic etc to get your knowledge of Science, Medicine, Philosophy or Mathematics. So why should religious knowledge be any different? You rely on translations for the former subjects, don't you?

Today, the only thing I'm certain of is that God exists. I'm just not sure about Islam anymore.


It would be a good idea to work on your islamic faith - through good muslim sources. Also, curious, if you are not so sure about Islam, what is your alternative?



"O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they showed mercy to me when I was young."
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Gibbs
 
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Quote Gibbs Replybullet Posted: 19 April 2010 at 2:25pm
Well why should one be Muslim is like asking why someone wants to be Buddhist or Sikh. There are many paths and many truths to the One (even though Islam claims to be the only truth) so I Think whatever touches the spirit is where that one becomes immersed in the soul of the religion.
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Chrysalis
 
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Quote Chrysalis Replybullet Posted: 19 April 2010 at 11:15pm
Originally posted by Gibbs

(even though Islam claims to be the only truth)


As does almost every other belief system in the world Gibbs. Saying that a person does not believe that their belief-system is the "only truth" or "best truth" out there could best be termed being diplomatic. Why else would anybody believe in something - unless they actually believe in its truth ?




Edited by Chrysalis - 19 April 2010 at 11:16pm
"O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they showed mercy to me when I was young."
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abdelhamidem
 
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Quote abdelhamidem Replybullet Posted: 20 April 2010 at 4:56am
Thank you for you answer Chrysalis

Originally posted by Chrysalis


Wa'alaikum salaam Abdel Hamidem,As far as our Imaan (faith) is considered Brother, almost every many muslims go through times of faith tribulations. It is just not possible to maintain a constant level of Imaan throughout our lives, in very phase of life. Some - like you, hit a lower point than others. Doubt is part of being human. However, when a muslim comes to the point where they are actually thinking if Islam itself is right for them - there is a need to seriously address the issue. (which you seem to have realised already! Allahu Akbar!)I would like to bring your attention to the fact, that you still thought it important to discuss your doubts regarding Islam with other Muslims. You did not outright go and abandon your faith. To me, it means there is still some faith. What do you think ?


Yes, there is still some faith. I still feel something (weak though), but I just refuse to rely on my feelings anymore. Feelings are misleading. I grew up in a muslim family, in a muslim country... maybe that's the reason why I have these feelings. Would I have these feelings if I grew up in china? If I was adopted and raised in a buddhist family? I don't think so. What I'm looking for is a universal reason to be muslim.
I came to a muslim forum to ask other muslims why they are muslims. I didn't find the answer myself, even though I tried really hard...

Yes, that is a very important aspect to having faith in any religion. I'm guessing you don't 'feel it' anymore? How about you try and think why that is so ? What is the root of the issue?Is it Islamic injunctions you have a problem with (like reading Qur'an in arabic) - that sets you off? Perhaps it is just lack of awareness on your part? sometimes, when we don't really understand certain injunctions we can have a problem practicing them.


The root of the issue is that I realised that I had no really good reason to be muslim. Islam is just a set of rules, stories, etc... that have nothing special from my point of view. Good rules, yes. Wise stories, yes. But nothing extraordinary. Nothing a wise/smart group of men couldn't write.


Do you believe in the Qur'an though? Do you think there is truth in it?


What do you mean? If I believe it comes from God? No, I don't believe the Quran comes from God... nor can I prove it doesnt come from God. Why do YOU think the Quran comes from God?

Do you believe in self-satisfaction? i.e. knowing you did something good/right. Or wanting to help others ? Having a sense of responsibility towards society ? Why does a man only need material reasons to do the above - like you suggest. (whats in it for him?)Again, where are you getting your information/biography about the Prophet ?


yes I do believe in self satisfaction, but there's just no way to prove that the prophet just wanted to help other people.
I got my information about the prophet from books written by muslims.

What makes you think it is necessary to master Arabic ? There are probably hundreds of thousands of Muslims today (and in the past) who probably were illiterate and couldn't even read their native language, let alone master a foreign one. Were they/are they any less Muslim ? Basic Islamic principle, Allah does not burden anyone more than their ability. If you don't have the capability to learn/read Arabic - don't. A few sentences worth of Arabic is all you will need as a bare minimum. Those who cannot even manage those, like converts in old-age, can pray in their native tongue. Allah made Islam easy - not a burden on us.


What I mean is that to get a grasp of the miracle that the Quran is supposed to be, you have to master arabic. Reading translations is not enough to see the miracle. That's what everybody tells me.

You said you believed in God, yet you are doubting His Intentions and His methods. If you have faith in God - then the simple fact, that He is Just, Kind and Desires the best for us should be enough. Otherwise we will have to backpedal and reevaluate belief in God as well.


I do believe in God, and I don't doubt his intentions and methods are good... It's just that I don't know what they are. WHAT is God expecting from me? Be muslim because my parents are? Rely on my feelings? I refuse to do so, because it's just not right, not honest, and not smart.

No you don't. You don't have to learn Latin, Greek, Arabic etc to get your knowledge of Science, Medicine, Philosophy or Mathematics. So why should religious knowledge be any different? You rely on translations for the former subjects, don't you?


Yes of course I agree with you on that. But the Quran is supposed to be the work of God; Try to translate it and you're sure to lose something in translation.


It would be a good idea to work on your islamic faith - through good muslim sources. Also, curious, if you are not so sure about Islam, what is your alternative?


I have no real alternative. If I don't find a suitable answer to my question, I'll just be "gnostic", believing in God but in no religion at all.
I shouldn't need good or bad sources. My question is simple: why should I be muslim? My source is the internet, I'm posting my question all over.

Thank you for trying to help.
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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 20 April 2010 at 7:52pm
Asalaam Alaikum,

Welcome to the Forum. Why are people Muslim? I think you run the gamut of reasons. There is ONE answer.

i think you are asking questions in which we humans may not be able to give an adequate explanation. Like asking about languages.. and why "one" language. I think there often IS a struggle because we don't have all the answers.

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Quote Chrysalis Replybullet Posted: 21 April 2010 at 6:26am
Originally posted by abdelhamidem


Yes, there is still some faith. I still feel something (weak though), but I just refuse to rely on my feelings anymore. Feelings are misleading. I grew up in a muslim family, in a muslim country... maybe that's the reason why I have these feelings. Would I have these feelings if I grew up in china?


I'm afraid I don't get what you are implying. Care to elaborate? How does being born in a Muslim family & environment give rise to these 'feelings'? How would it differ if you were Chinese?

I don't think so. What I'm looking for is a universal reason to be muslim.


Well, Islam is a universal religion. One of the first (and only) to link people, continents, races, genders, ethnicities under the umbrella of faith - as an ummah. If you no longer believe in Islam - and have such strong misgivings about the Prophet's intentions, and the religion itself - will a universal reason help ?

What do you mean by "looking for a universal reason" ?

I came to a muslim forum to ask other muslims why they are muslims. I didn't find the answer myself, even though I tried really hard...


I doubt that prodding other Muslims to tell you why they believe in Islam will help. You obviously don't/won't agree with it. Especially if to you "Islam is just a set of rules, stories, etc... that have nothing special from my point of view."

If you really do want to "find a reason" to believe in Islam. A blunt yet honest suggestion from me - you may have to change your attitude & approach. Lets be honest, if you are going to start off by saying that Islam is just a set of rules, nothing special, whose Prophet's intentions (nauzubillah) are doubtful - are you really setting out to find something positive in Islam ? You will probably just find something wrong with it.

Adopting another Muslim's reason for faith is not going to help - unless it appeals to you. This is such a complicated question, needing such an indepth answer. Where does one start & where does one end? Islam is so holistic, that every muslim almost always has a unique or special affinity towards a certain aspect of Islam. You shall have to discover on your own what resonates with you. For some it is the Prophet's character, for other's it is the Qur'an, or women's rights, or ettiquette, or detailed coverage of life in general . . . . . .  I'm afraid this is a journey you need to make on your own. Since you know yourself best, and what appeals to you, what you need spiritually. Look at your areas of interest/concern and then research what Islam has to say.




Nothing a wise/smart group of men couldn't write.

What do you mean? If I believe it comes from God? No, I don't believe the Quran comes from God... nor can I prove it doesnt come from God.

 

There are obviously a lot of issues to address here ! Confused




yes I do believe in self satisfaction, but there's just no way to prove that the prophet just wanted to help other people.
 


See, even though you apparently don't have proof for either argument, you are tilting towards making negative assumptions ! There is also no proof that Prophet Muhammad was nauzubillah motivated by the selfish reasons you provided earlier - but you believe that.


 
What I mean is that to get a grasp of the miracle that the Quran is supposed to be, you have to master arabic. Reading translations is not enough to see the miracle. That's what everybody tells me.


If anybody wants to get deep into the miracle of the Qur'an - then yes, Arabic would be an added advantage. But I still fail to see how learning arabic becomes a must ? Like I said, it differs from person to person. There are millions of people out there who realise or see the miracle of the Qur'an through translations - not even knowing arabic. If you need extra proof, surely you are going to have to make some effort. So, learn arabic then ! but why complain about it ? And how can one possibly turn that against Islam ?


I do believe in God, and I don't doubt his intentions and methods are good... It's just that I don't know what they are. WHAT is God expecting from me? Be muslim because my parents are? Rely on my feelings? I refuse to do so, because it's just not right, not honest, and not smart.


Muslim-ness (imaan/faith) is a state of the heart & mind - unfortunately it is not genetic, so having muslim parents doesn't mean one is an actual Muslim unless they believe.

You also cannot completely disregard feelings in this matter, since it is virtually impossible for a human to base a decision on objectivity & thinking alone. Emotions play a huge role. So you'll need to deal with your negative feelings (and its cause) if you want to get back to Islam.


Yes of course I agree with you on that. But the Quran is supposed to be the work of God; Try to translate it and you're sure to lose something in translation.


On the contrary, when something is God's work - it doesn't lose its purpose/meaning or effect simply due to translation. Because there are Divine aspects involved. Guidance/Hidayat is not dependent on reading the source in its original text/language. Unless you want to get into nitty gritty details or deep research. In matters of religion, Islam in particular - your intention to learn/ gain guidance is what takes precedence.



I shouldn't need good or bad sources. 


Ofcourse you do. The quality of your information is directly going to effect your understanding, belief, knowledge and yes, faith.


"O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they showed mercy to me when I was young."
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