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When Stones are worth Gold – Answering Criticism on Islam

by | Oct 24, 2021

When facing criticism, there are three possible reactions: accept it, ignore it, or refute it. But when it comes to Islam, the first option is void, since any criticism towards the religion that Allah has chosen for His servants is futile (However, it is important to note the difference between Islam and Muslims). Therefore, ignoring it or answering it are your choices.

Now, there are different degrees of response according to the level of criticism faced. And one must know how to answer if one is to answer at all. So, as a founding rule, a Muslim does not need to validate his religion; a Muslim does not need approval from anyone except from his Creator. The following verse sums up this attitude.

“… There is no [need for] argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is the [final] destination.”

Surah Ash-Shura (42 – 15)

Why is there no argument, because the truth has been made clear, and truth itself is self-sustainable, so it does not require justification (only explanation). Therefore, whoever refuses it, does so out of ignorance/arrogance or interest.

This however does not mean to keep all information to yourself, and not to respond to questions. On the contrary, all inquisitions (when asked out of curiosity and not disdain) lead to the truth. So answering these interrogations are essential in Islam. In the end, it is understanding that leads to belief.

On the other hand, discussing the issue of faith is important; not everyone is raised as a Muslim. When you think about it, practically every single Sahabi (Companion of the Prophet Muhammad ppuh) was an idolater. So spreading the word, discussing, exchanging points of view are primordial; and don’t think that with one answer, session, or argument, that that person is going to become the most pious in a snap. It’s a process.

So when discussing, this is the mindset to have:

The ˹true˺ servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk on the earth humbly, and when the ignorant address them, they respond with ˹words of˺ peace.

Surah Al-Furqan (25 – 63)

Therefore, for someone who is not aware (ignorant) of Islam, stay on topic, speak surely, don’t waver, keep speaking the message of Allah with his words and the words of the Prophet (ppuh). Just as Moses did when facing Pharaoh.

Pharaoh asked, “And what is ‘the Lord of all worlds’?”

Moses replied, “˹He is˺ the Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything in between, if only you had sure faith.”

Pharaoh said to those around him, “Did you hear ˹what he said˺?”

Moses added, “˹He is˺ your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers.”

Pharaoh said ˹mockingly˺, “Your messenger, who has been sent to you, must be insane.”

Moses responded: “˹He is˺ the Lord of the east and west, and everything in between, if only you had any sense.”

Pharaoh threatened, “If you take any other god besides me, I will certainly have you imprisoned.”

Surah Ash-Shua’ra (26 – 23-29)

However, when one starts acting ignorant (i.e. arrogant, aggressive, etc.), there is no more discussion to be had with that person. So in that case:

Be gracious, enjoin what is right, and turn away from those who act ignorantly.

Surah Al-A’raf (7 – 199)

Just ignore them. If they ever become receptive again, discuss once more. If they revert to the same attitude, ignore them once again. The Prophet (ppuh) did it for 23 years, I think we can put up with a few ignorant foes a couple of times.

This attitude actually reminds me of a proverb that my grandfather used to say often:

“If you were to throw a stone at every dog that barked, stones would be worth as much as gold.”

In sum, you answer rightfully and you ignore.

Next week, In Sha Allah, we shall talk about how to conduct a discussion/debate.

Probability, you won’t Get the Best of Me! – Scientific Proofs in the Quran

Probability, you won’t Get the Best of Me! – Scientific Proofs in the Quran

If anyone is a betting man, he knows that most of the time he will lose; it is a question of numbers. Winning every time is improbable and practically impossible. When flipping a coin, you have one chance out of two of getting it right. 50%, not bad; but repeat it four times straight; not too confident, are you?

Let’s transpose that example to the prophet Muhammad; he got every single verifiable (with our limited knowledge to date) phenomenon right. Not only he got them right, but most of them are also explained; not just enunciated or left for interpretation. Let’s say there are about 20 scientific/natural phenomenon (Actually, more have been mentioned and others left out since a multitude of authors have done a better job than me explaining them. Plus, 20 seems like a pretty round number, and we don’t want to sound boastful either) that were elucidated 1400 years ago, by an illiterate Arab that had no aspirations to science whatsoever… When you do the math: ½ at the power 20 is ½ x ½ x½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½. That gives you the possibility of 1/1 048 576 of getting it right. That is less than one in a million probability; becoming less and less a betting man…Keep in mind, considering that the questioning is in a yes or no format; true or false to a given question (without formulating the solution and adding all the explanation that comes with it in the Quran and Hadith).

The thing is, it is not because the prophet Muhammad was an expert in astronomy, geology, chemistry, nuclear physics, biology, botany, entomology, oceanology, or even historical science that he got it right all the time. It is because the only thing he got right out of all of this is that he wholeheartedly believed in Allah. All these, verses, signs, scientific phenomenon were not explained or tackled by the prophet Muhammad; they were brought forth by Allah, the All-Knowing.

And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.

Surah Al-Anam (6 – 59)

Faith

the process of belief