Why I am a Muslim

I am a Muslim because the Quran completes my picture of reality. Mind you, it is not a matter of my liking the Quran’s narrative better than other narratives. Neither is it a matter of my saying, ‘The smart money goes here’ or ‘This seems like the best bet’ (or any other variant of Pascal’s Wager). Instead, it is the only coherent picture ever presented by anyone. That is, you put One Transcendent God outside (independent of) the scheme of things, and the scheme makes complete sense; you remove God, and the scheme stops making any sense whatsoever. The scientists have for a long time been announcing that they are ‘working’ on the problem; that they are ‘getting there’. Believe me, they are doing nothing of the sort. What they are working on is how the universe evolves or behaves, not how it originated in the first place. There is just the one answer – that held by any sensible person, and which is confirmed by the Quran.

I am a Muslim because unlike many philosophers and religious systems, the Quran never proposes to prove the existence of God, because existence is inextricably intertwined with dependence on time and space. Instead, it insists on a Transcendental God (independent of time and space) that is responsible for the existence of everything else. The Quran has this way of dispensing, in a sentence or two, with lengthy and unwieldy discussions on infinite regress and questions regarding who created God. It does so by stating that God is not just another item in the universe, that there is nothing that is comparable unto Him.

- Advertisement -

I am a Muslim because the Quran tells me not to waste my time in questions that I have no way of answering. It advises man to focus only on things that he can wrap his head around. As for the essence of God, the nature of revelation and how God interacts with the physical world, it declares that man should recognize the limits of his understanding.

I am a Muslim because the Quran encourages its readers to face uncomfortable questions head-on instead of shunning or avoiding them by hiding behind walls

I am a Muslim because Islam teaches me that one cannot remain neutral on the practical issues of life. That suspending judgment on crucial questions is not tenable as it paralyzes life; and therefore, fancy armchair philosophies are useless because they cannot be lived. That at any given moment one must act according to the best of one’s knowledge and belief.

I am a Muslim because Islam teaches me to be responsible. It teaches me that I will be rewarded based on nobody else’s labours but my own. That I will be judged not on beliefs alone (which sometimes amount to little more than lip service) or deeds alone (which can be attributable to all the wrong motivations) but based on my beliefs as well as deeds.

I am a Muslim because Islam makes it clear that my beliefs and actions cannot affect God in aught; but that in the ultimate analysis my beliefs and actions only benefit or harm myself. That it is by no means the case of a jealous God that takes offence when a man is not dutiful to Him, and who therefore punished man for his transgression; but that man is punished, not for his sins but, by his sins. Because like the inevitable physical laws there are unavoidable moral laws, set in place by the same God.

I am a Muslim because Islam teaches that the only worthwhile motive for any action is that it conforms to the moral laws of the universe (the Will of God, in other words). That while any other motivation – being on the right side of the policeman, making the world a better place, assuaging one’s conscience – warrants its rewards too, but there is no comparison with the rewards for the same action if pleasing God is one’s motivation. Since everything else is bound to perish, that makes a lot of sense to me. I am a Muslim because Islam encourages me to think of others, and about the world at large, so that I think about God. That whether my actions make a great amount of difference in the world or no apparent difference at all, what makes my labours secure is my will to please God.

I am a Muslim because Islam tells me that closing my eyes to dangers of any kind is folly. That being under the influence of anything – be it drugs or porn or any other excitement that tends to temporarily distort reality for me (however entertaining and soothing) is like pulling a wire of a fire alarm. Even closing one’s eyes while praying is discouraged – a symbolic reminder of the importance of always keeping one’s eyes open.

- Advertisement -

I am a Muslim because the Quran encourages its readers to face uncomfortable questions head-on instead of shunning or avoiding them by hiding behind walls. Because it quotes every question and objection that was ever raised by anybody, and then proceeds to answer it.

I am a Muslim because Islam tells me that neither am I completely free, nor am I predestined to do everything that I do; that the reality is somewhere in between. And that I would only be answerable for the part I am in control of. That what I cannot change must not affect what I can.

I am a Muslim because the Quran tells me not to lean toward either of the two extremes: that of considering myself a beast solely at the mercy of whims and desires; or somebody capable of the kind of altruism that is obviously superhuman. It tells me that I have great potential in either direction; that it is up to me to make the best use of that potential.

I am a Muslim because there is no superstition surrounding the religion presented in the Quran, so much so that many external commentators have been known to observe that it is not a religion at all; that it is merely a collection of beliefs and practices based on nothing more than common sense.

Hasan Aftab Saeed
Hasan Aftab Saeed
The author is a connoisseur of music, literature, and food (but not drinks). He can be reached at www.facebook.com/hasanaftabsaeed

Must Read

Thailand ready to finalise FTA with Pakistan to improve trade ties:...

ISLAMABAD: Chakkrid Krachaiwong, Ambassador of Thailand on Saturday said that his country was ready to finalise a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan as...