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Using the Brain to Examine a Scripture/Religion January 25, 2010

Posted by Salim Boss in articles.
4 comments

“God has given us more than fourteen billion cells and connections in our brain. Why would God give us such a complex organ system unless He expects us to use it?”

~ Ben Carson

He is the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. He is a Professor of Neurological Surgery, Oncology, Plastic Surgery and Pediatrics. He is also the author of Take The Risk (2008), The Big Picture (2000), Think Big (1996) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (1990). He has received numerous honors and awards including over 40 honorary doctorate degrees.

It is shaped a little like a loaf of French country bread, but the brain has been called the most complex object in the universe. Your brain consists of about 100 billion neurons*[1], “. . . the same order of magnitude as the number of stars in the Milky Way”[2] and which is about 16.6 times the number of people on Earth. The Oxford University biologist Professor Richard Hawkins said on man’s brain: “. . . if you unraveled a man’s brain cells and placed them end to end, there would be enough to go around the world 25 times”[3] These hundreds of billions of cells of the brain are interlinked through trillions of connections. Humans continue to make new neurons throughout life in response to mental activity. Every time you recall a memory or have a new thought, you are creating a new connection in your brain so why do people fear mental exercise. There are no pain receptors in your brain, meaning your brain can feel no pain yet people don’t want to risk thinking. Your brain uses 20% of the total oxygen in your body.[4] There are about 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain of which if they were stretched out they would circle the earth more than four times.

The composition of the brain is approximately 75 % water and we have been raised up knowing that water is life. “The average adult brain weighs about 1400g . . . .”[5] hence the human brain is 2% of total body weight (compared to 0.15% of an elephant’s brain), meaning humans have the largest brain to body size. And others argue over the “big brain-big ideas’’ assumption or rather ‘the bigger the brain the greater the cognitive capacity’ presumption! To further see the uniqueness of our brain, you will be amazed to learn that human beings have the largest and most complex cerebral cortex in the animal kingdom making them qualitatively different from other animals at the level of mental functioning. The cerebral cortex is the layer of the brain often referred to as gray matter and is responsible for mental functionings. In his book, Are We Unique, James Trefil, a Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University, author of more than thirty books, and a science commentator for National Public Radio states:

What distinguishes the human brain is not the existence of the cortex, but its size and organization. If the human cerebral cortex were flattened out, it would be about the size and shape of a large cloth dinner napkin. Our nearest relative, the chimpanzee, has a smaller cortex—something a little bigger than a page of this book.[6]

Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth should memorize the fact that what makes humans different from other animals is the human brain. Exactly what James Trefil voiced: “. . . whatever it is that separates us from the other animals has to do with the functionings of our brain. In that three-pound mass enclosed in the bones of our skull lies the secret to human uniqueness.”[7]

Our minds are still boggled at the thought of the speed of the information that can be processed by the brain. It has been estimated that neurons can send signals to thousands of other cells at a rate of about 200 miles per hour.[8] Ralph C. Merkle, researcher on molecular nanotechnology and cryonics writes, “It seems reasonable to conclude that the human brain has a “raw” computational power between 1013 and 1016 “operations” per second.”[9] Amazingly, the brain never stops developing and changing since embryonic times, till death. Trefil says the same thing: “Your brain never stops developing and changing. It’s been doing it from the time you were an embryo, and will keep on doing it all your life. And this ability, perhaps, represents its greatest strength.”[10] According to Brain Facts by The Society for Neuroscience, “Neuroscientists believe that the brain can remain relatively healthy and fully functioning as it ages . . . .”[11] After a study on intelligence of various age groups, Dr. K. Warner Schaie concluded that “. . . the decline in mental performance in many community-dwelling older people is probably due to disuse and is consequently reversible.”[12] Despite being told that the more we think, the better our brains function – regardless of age, why then, do people refuse to maximize the full potential of this unique organ?

While awake, your brain generates between 10 and 23 watts of power or enough energy to power a light bulb. “The brain works ceaselessly, even when you are sleeping, and it consumes prodigious amounts of energy.”[13] Even though it is 2% of your total body weight, your brain is the most energy-consuming part of your body because it uses 20% of your body‘s energy.

There has been a heart transplant, liver transplant, but there has never been a human brain transplant. We all know that reproductive organs (and other organs) are not endowed with maximum protection the way the brain is. The brain is best guarded in a protective skull and for enhanced security, the brain is further protected by three layers of membranes called the meninges (which comprise of the dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater).[14] Some would easily argue that anything of great value should be under tight security. There are cells in your brain called astrocytes whose work is to look after your neurons, repair the CNS (Central Nervous System) tissue after injury or damage by disease. Such cells help keep the environment of your brain healthy.[15] Those not using the brain will see the futility of their brain being kept clean and healthy. The brain rules all of the body’s organs, including the heart. When the body encounters a shortage of nutrients, it is the brain that is privileged with nutrients above other organs. You may underestimate the importance of the brain, but your body recognizes the significance of the brain in that when there is hypovolaemia (decrease in the volume of circulating blood), the blood is diverted away from other organs and directed only to the brain and the heart.[16] In just 10 seconds after the loss of blood supply to the brain, you lose consciousness.[17]

Incredibly, more electrical impulses are generated in one day by a single human brain than by all the telephones in the world. Those who are afraid of thinking will be caught in a bombshell to learn that the number of thoughts that is estimated the human brain produces on an average day is 70,000. It is also noted that the brain is capable of having more ideas than the number of atoms in the known universe. The computer would disappoint the user warning, “hard drive full” but that is not the case with the human brain. Humans have an unlimited capacity to learn. Michael J. Gelb, the author of the international best seller How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci and Innovate Like Edison says,Research shows that you begin learning in the womb and go right on learning until the moment you pass on. Your brain has a capacity for learning that is virtually limitless, which makes every human a potential genius.”

Because of the powerful nature of the brain and the scanty information about the brain, people in every age and time, have tried using their latest technology as a model for trying to understand it. Ancient Greeks thought the brain functions like a catapult, Gottfried Leibniz compared it to a mill, other people compared the brain as a water clock while others as a telephone switchboard, some thought that the brain worked like a telegraph system, Sigmund Freud often compared the brain to hydraulic and electro-magnetic systems, and contemporarily some compare it with the computer. Did you know that many groundbreaking developments have been made by brain, and not brawn? As a matter of fact there are some great achievements that can only be made possible by the brain and which computers may not be able to duplicate. Can your PC paint the monalisa portrait, or can it, on its own, write the equivalent of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, or can it imagine? After all, the metaphor of the brain as a computer is false in that the human brain is not much like a computer. There is no “off” for the brain – even when you are sleeping, your brain is still active and working whereas when the power to your computer is turned off, signals are not transmitted. You will acknowledge and marvel at the awesomeness of your brain once the British neurophysicist W. Grey Walter declares that, “At least ten billion electronic cells would be needed to build a facsimile of a man’s brain. These cells would occupy about a million and a half cubic feet, and several additional millions of cubic feet would be needed for the ‘nerves’ or wiring. The power to operate it would be around a billion watts.”[18]

A discovery of this century is that the brain, unlike a computer, is a moldable organ which rewires itself all the time (neuroplasticity).[19] Rewiring in the human brain occurs when the brain is stimulated and when we remain passive far less rewiring occurs. It appears that brain plasticity and metacognition are closely entwined. The brain is reshaping itself constantly in response to the intellectual activity going on. Learning to perform new and challenging activities can help keep the brain fit, thanks to the ability of the brain to rewire itself.[20] And I believe that challenges like reading scriptures and attempting to discover the true religion is in the interests of the brain. The overthrown dogma was that the brain is hardwired, fixed in form and function therefore an older person is less inclined to learn new things. But with the discovery of neuroplasticity, the aging adults who feared their brains will fade had to put the fear at rest.

In The World of  the Brain, it is stated that: “ If we could learn how to utilize more of the brain’s capacity, or even to expand that capacity, the discoveries that would follow would transform our world into a healthier, more comfortable, and more stimulating place.”[21] Moreover, the human brain has a vast storage capacity in that it can hold information of 1000 supercomputers. The potential brain capacity is estimated as at least equivalent to that of 25 million volumes, a 500-mile-long bookshelf![22] In the words of Ben Carson, “No computer on earth can come close to the capacity of the average human brain. This brain that we all have is a tremendous gift from God — the most complex organ system in the entire universe. Your brain can take in two million bytes of information per second.”[23]

Thus, even Isaac Asimov concludes that “The human brain, then, is the most complicated organization of matter that we know.”[24] And Keith Black, chief of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and who performs about 250 brain surgeries a year stated that, “If you look at the anatomy, the structure, the function, there’s nothing in the universe that’s more beautiful, that’s more complex, than the human brain.”[25] Susan Blackmore, a lecturer in psychology at the University of the West of England states:

In proportion to our body mass, our brain is three times as large as that of our nearest relatives. This huge organ is dangerous and painful to give birth to, expensive to build and, in a resting human, uses about 20 per cent of the body’s energy even though it is just 2 per cent of the body’s weight. There must be some reason for all this evolutionary expense.*[26]

Hippocrates, the Greek physician, mathematician and the Western father of medicine has also voiced the significance of using the brain when he made the following statement: “Men ought to know that from the brain, and from the brain only, arise our pleasures, joy, laughter and jests, as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs, and tears.” Others see it’s better to have weak kidneys, lungs, or other organs than having a weak brain. And Pasko T. Rakic, highlighting how unique we are from other species, say:  “The brain is the organ that sets us apart from any other species. It is not the strength of our muscles or of our bones that makes us different, it is our brain.”[27] And funny enough, the word “brain” appears 66 times in the plays of William Shakespeare.*

Now, if man is punished for not using such a powerful organ; the brain, then who is to blame? Man uses other organs for his survival. He maximizes the utility of his sexual organs for attaining sexual pleasures, he uses the organ eye to see even the microscopic things, the tongue is utilized by man to utter thousands of bizarre combination of words including backbiting and gossiping but why doesn’t he use his important organ, the brain to recognize the most important issue of life: the true religion? Of course man uses his brains but for other trivial things while ignoring to use the same brain to understand the purpose of life. This is no doubt a staggering display of ignorance. Are there better words than those of Edward Humphrey who quipped “true wisdom is to know what is best worth knowing, and to do what is best worth doing.” Astonishingly, you may see someone scratching his head toiling to solve puzzles (math puzzles, crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, jigsaw puzzle, word puzzles e.t.c.) while he is totally unprepared to scratch his head to examine religious scriptures to solve the puzzle of the authentic scripture. Solving math puzzles is good for the brain and solving religious puzzles is also good for the brain. What I condemn is priority disorder.

You also use your greatest helper; the brain, and not the Holy Spirit, to choose the best watermelon in a supermarket. It is a waste of human brainpower to blindly accept religions/scriptures. God gave you brains in order to use it, so use your brains to distinguish the true religion from the false ones. You can’t get lost. Just utilize your faculties of mind. Because humans have an intuitive sense of right and wrong and since “Truth stands out clear from Error” [Q 2:256], I believe we can discover the true religion. Never have a blind faith, use the brain to challenge the credibility of your religion. Galileo Galilei was absolutely right when he said, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” To show the magnitude of the crime of not using the brain, the Qur’an calls those who suspend reason as the worst of species. “Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason.” [Q 8:22] The brain has made it possible for us to achieve the wonders of walking on the moon and if well used we will surely achieve the wonders of walking on the surface of the Kingdon of Heaven.

Remember, brain is the top organ situated in the head then follows the heart which is situated in the chest. Superiority is from top downwards hence ask anyone where is God and he will point in the sky and not down. “Allahu-Akbar” is what Muslims normally chant, a phrase that means “God is Great” and this is a conviction which is in harmony with their Qur’anic verse: “Indeed, your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne.” [Q7:54] No wonder Bart D. Ehrman will resonate with the conception that a God would probably be the “. . . one who was above all else, far beyond what we could imagine . . . .” On further contemplation, Bart Erhman, the Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina and a leading authority on the Bible adds, “as we gaze out into the evening sky and consider the billions of stars and the billions of galaxies. He (i.e. God) was above and beyond it all. . . .”[28] And you have also heard jargons like “upward mobility” and “downward mobility.” The point I am trying to emphasize here is that superiority is from top downwards. Therefore, you should first use your brain (which is at the top) then secondly, you believe with the heart. We should doubt those who discover a ‘true’ religion through their hearts rather than their heads. Ben Carson, is the world-famous brain surgeon, who when he speaks on issues of the brain, attention should be provided and to raise your voice is utter disrespect to intelligentsia. He once said: “The human brain is the thing that makes you who you are”. Those who are blessed with quickness of thought will unblinkingly face a Muslim and say, “your brain is the thing that makes you a Muslim”. For the sake of justice, the same witted person will unblushingly confront a Christian and say, “Your brain is the thing that makes you a Christian”. And since two divergent religions cannot both be true and since Jesus did not tolerate the luxury of neutrality [Mathew 12:30] but insisted on one way leading to heaven [John 14:6], we can safely conclude that either the Muslim or the Christian did not use the brain to search for the true religion. I therefore request you to undertake the most cerebral of tasks: to find out the true religion. To those who are motivated to re−examine their scriptures/religions in the supervision of the brain, I strongly recommend Laurence B. Brown’s two books, God’ed and MisGod’ed.

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Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” For more articles from this author, please visit his blog; https://extremelysmart.wordpress.com/. Get your free eBook of “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” from the author’s website.

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[This article may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted and used on the conditions that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is introduced and that it should always include the title, author’s name, author’s website/blog, and this reprinting notice is displayed in the exact same form as the original.]

Notes


*A neuron is the principal functional unit of the nervous system, specialized for the receipt, processing and transmission of information. See Crossman, A.R. and D. Neary. Neuroanatomy. 2nd ed. Edinburg: Harcourt Publishers Limited, 2000.p 35.

[1]. Guyton, Arthur C. Textbook of Medical Physiology. 8th ed. India: Prism Books Limited, 1991.p.478.

[2]. Scientific American Sept. 1992.

[3]. Seymour, R. Ian.  Maximize Your Potential. Nigerian Edition. BeninCity: Joint Heirs Publications Nigeria, Ltd., 2002. p. 70.

[4]. Ganong, William F. Review of Medical Physiology. 22nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2005. p.617.

[5]. Ganong, William F. Review of Medical Physiology. 22nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2005. p.617.

[6]. Trefil, James. Are We Unique?: A Scientist Explores the Unparalleled Intelligence of the Human Mind. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997. p. 20.

[7]. Trefil, James. Are We Unique?: A Scientist Explores the Unparalleled Intelligence of the Human Mind. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997. p. 43.

[8]. Guttman, Monika. “The Aging Brain.” USC Health Magazine Spring 2001.

[9]. Merkle, Ralph C. “Energy Limits to the Computational Power of the Human Brain.” Foresight Update 1 Aug. 1989. No. 6. <http://www.foresight.org/updates/Update06/Update06.1.html#anchor171085&gt;

[10]. Trefil, James. Are We Unique?: A Scientist Explores the Unparalleled Intelligence of the Human Mind. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997. p. 78.

[11]. The Society for Neuroscience. Brain Facts: A Primer on the Brain and Nervous System. Washington, DC: The Society for Neuroscience, 2008.p.34.

[12]. The Human Brain. The Franklin Institute Online. 2004. <http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/exercise.html&gt;

[13]. Alvin & Virginia, Sivestein. World of the Brain. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1986. pp. 20-21.

[14]. Crossman, A.R. and D. Neary. Neuroanatomy. 2nd ed. Edinburg: Harcourt Publishers Limited, 2000.p.11 & p.49.

[15]. Young, Barbara and John W. Heath. Wheater’s Functional Histology. 4th ed. Edinburg: Elsevier Science Limited, 2002.p.134.

[16]. Ganong, William F. Review of Medical Physiology. 22nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2005. p.637.

[17]. Ganong, William F. Review of Medical Physiology. 22nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2005. p.619.

[18]. Seymour, R. Ian.  Maximize Your Potential. Nigerian Edition. BeninCity: Joint Heirs Publications Nigeria, Ltd., 2002. p.70.

[19]. “How The Brain Rewires Itself.” Time 19 Jan. 2007. For more about brain rewiring see a book titled “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Science.” by Norman Doidge.

[20]. A Jom. “Neuroplasticity: How to Achieve a Brighter Brain.” 3 Dec. 2007. healthmad.com. <http://www.healthmad.com/Senior-Health/Neuroplasticity-How-to-Achieve-a-Brighter-Brain.63961&gt;

[21]. Alvin & Virginia, Sivestein. World of the Brain. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1986.p. 2.

[22]. DeYoung, Donald B.  “Thinking about the Brain.” icr.org. < http://www.icr.org/article/thinking-about-brain/&gt;

[23]. Carson, Benjamin. The Big Picture. Nairobi: International Bible Society, 2002. p.50.

[24]. Hooper, J. and D. Teresi. Foreword. The Three-Pound Universe. Macmillan,1986.

[25]. Schreiber, Le Anne. “Determined to enter the brain in a friendly way.” Discover April 2004.

*In this quote, there is an element of evolution theory and it is important to clarify that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is not a proven scientific fact. In the Quandary of Evolution Harun Yahya writes: “Scientific discoveries and evidence reveal one unalterable truth: Life did not emerge as the result of a chain of coincidences, as evolutionists claim. The truth revealed by science today is that everything was created according to a flawless plan.” Those interested in facts and not hypothesis should read Harun Yahya’s books on the Refutation of Darwinism which include: 1)the Quandary of Evolution (encyclopedic) i & ii; 2) The Errors of the American National Academy of Sciences: A reply to the Book Science and Creationism; 3) The Collapse of the Theory of Evolution in 50 Steps; 4) Why Darwinism is Incompatible with the Qur’an; 5) The Error of the Evolution of Species; 6) The Perfect Design of the Universe is not by Chance; 7) The Evolution Deceit; 8) Darwinism Refuted; 9) The Dark Magic of Darwinism; 10) Confessions of Evolutionists; 11) Tell me about the Creation; 12) The Microbiological Collapse of Evolution; 13) The Collapse of Materialism; 14) The End of Materialism; 15) The Biggest Deception in the History of Biology: Darwinism; 16) The Collapse of the Theory of Evolution in 20 Questions; 17) The Collapse of the Theory of Evolution; 18) The Religion of Darwinism; 19) The Theory of Evolution; and 20) Evolutionary falsehoods. The books are available from Harun Yahya’s website http://www.harunyahya.com

[26]. Blakemore, Susan. “Meme, Myself, I.” New Scientist 13 March 1999.

[27]. Great Issues for Medicine in the Twenty-First Century. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sciences, vol. 882, p. 66, 1999.

*For more references on the complexity of the brain see, The Society for Neuroscience. Brain Facts: A Primer on the Brain and Nervous System. Washington, DC: The Society for Neuroscience, 2008. Trefil, James. Are We Unique?: A Scientist Explores the Unparalleled Intelligence of the Human Mind. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997; Ondigo, Yahya M.A. God’s Blessings to Humanity: Part iii. Nairobi: Abu Aisha Stores, 2009; <http://www.brainsource.com/amazing%20brain.htm&gt;; Sandra Aamodt, Sam Wang. “Ten amazing facts about your brain.” The Times 28 March 2008; <http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/facts.html&gt;;Disabled world. “Human Brain Facts and Answers.” disabled-world.com 19 Oct. 2008. <http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/brain-facts.shtml&gt;;”100 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the Human Brain.” nursingassistantcentral.com 2009. <http://www.nursingassistantcentral.com/blog/2008/100-fascinating-facts-you-never-knew-about-the-human-brain/&gt;;Gillman, Steven. “Ten amazing Brain Facts.” downthelane.net <http://www.downthelane.net/ten-brain-facts.php&gt;

[28]. . Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted. Kindle Edition. HarperCollins e-books, 2009.p.277

……………….

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Religion Is Difficult January 14, 2010

Posted by Salim Boss in articles.
2 comments

“You believe in God? So what? So does Satan. How are you different from him?” [1]

~ Dr. Laurence B. Brown, MD

Author of The Eighth Scroll, MisGod’ed, God’ed, and Bearing True Witness

“. . . had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together.” [Q 10:99] but life is a test, “In order that Allâh may distinguish the wicked (disbelievers, polytheists and doers of evil deeds) from the good (i.e. adherents of the true religion), and put the wicked one on another, heap them together and cast them into Hell. Those! it is they who are the losers.” [Q 8:37] Any first-rating thinker will agree with the verse:  “Verily! We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds.” [Q 18:7]. Many people are unaware that planet earth is an examination ‘room’ whereby “. . . the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.” [Deuteronomy 13:3] So we should always know that, “Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good” [Q 5:48]

The unintelligent wonder why God would devise such a design (i.e. test mankind instead of directly taking them to Paradise. Even others are further confused that God created Hell!) Who are you to criticize God’s Fashion? We will tell the one deficient in intelligence that, “. . . your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses . . . .” [Q 28:68]. And there is no one who can dispute with Him in that or reverse His judgment. What answer have you prepared if God tells you, “You did not choose me but I chose you . . . .” [John 15:16]? Moreover, “He (God) cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they (mankind) will be questioned” [Q 21:23]. Have you questioned God for creating you with five fingers and not seven, or have you filed a suit against God for making the sun circle and not in a rectangle shape? Then, why do you question God for designing life on earth as a testing field? We don’t even write a letter to the University Chancellor/Headmaster with the words, “why does your college torture the students with grueling exams? Can’t they just attend class and have their degrees after four years without going through exams?” But ignorant people think they are courageous when they question God’s designs and intentions? You will agree with me that both men and women don’t have a problem with God’s design of creating a woman with a soft voice, angelic face, pretty eyes, perfectly-sculptured nose, glossy dimples, fuller lips, long graceful neck, shapely breasts, a perfect waist-hip ratio, hourglass figure, curves that drive humans half-mad, “that leg!” . . . and other marvelous apparatus. That’s a creation of God who is Wise and it is also a creation of God for planet earth to be a testing ground. There is nothing we can do about it. And wishing things were different is a sure way of tormenting yourself.

The Muslim God is a God who “. . . does what He intends (or wills)” [Q 85:16] Unless you have authority above your God then you can gibber a yelp of protest against God’s design of testing mankind. “Woe to you who strive with your Maker, earthen vessels with the potter! Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, “What are you making”? or “Your work has no handles”?  [Isaiah 45:9]

It is true that there is hardship in adhering to commands and prohibitions of the true religion. If religion wasn’t hard, everyone would go to heaven rendering hell desolate. It’s the hardship that makes the worshippers great and unique. Hence the proverb: “The diamond cannot be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials.” However, the hardships in religion are divided into two:

a) The difficulties capable of being handled by man: For example fasting everyday from 5 am to 6:30 pm for 30 days (e.g. month of Ramadhan). Also, working from 8 a.m to 5 pm. This is a difficulty man can undertake.

b) Difficulties man cannot handle: For example, fasting for three months consecutively without eating or drinking whatsoever. This act will cause awful consequences to one’s health and can even lead to death. Another example is a employee working from 2 am to 1 am, seven days a week. This is a difficulty man is incapable of handling.

In this respect, the laws of Islam fall under category one i.e. The difficulties capable of being handled by man. Rising up at 5 am to go for work is a difficulty workers are capable of handling. Similarly in Islam, waking up before dawn for morning prayers is a difficulty which one can manage. Fasting for a month every year is a trouble men can endure.

Furthermore, there is no system on earth that is devoid of difficulties. There are rules and regulations at your work place. Maybe you are supposed to report to work by 8:00 am, leave at 5:00 pm, work hard, do what your boss commands, e.t.c. The toil and exhaustion at work place is neutralized by the thought of the end month salary but do we recall the infinite reward of the Kingdom of Heaven. “You desire the good of this world, but Allâh desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” [Q 8:67]. However difficult your job might be, if you get an assurance that you will be paid handsomely, tranquility descends but why don’t we rejoice when we are told that “God has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds [that] for them there is forgiveness and great reward.” [Q 5:9] When your company tells you that they will pay you good money, you don’t complain but when God tells you to “rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven . . . .” [Mathew 5:12] after toiling in the business of worship, you seem to raise issues. I believe and “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” [Romans 8:18] Those who expect to enter heaven must undergo the fatigue of achieving it. The pain and difficulty is temporary, but quitters will forever loose. “There is no substitute for hard work” (Thomas Edison, Life). Because we agree with Henry Ward Beecher that “the less pain, the less life-capacity”, for us to realize the eternal life, we need to persevere all the pains. It is common knowledge that hard work never killed anybody, but ignorantists feel that toiling for God is a violation of human rights.

Patriotism requires that you abide by your country’s law. The best spouse is who does what you want. Good kids should respect and adhere to the parents set of rules. Double standard is manifested when God ‘who art in heaven’ gives you the best rules and you say: “I don’t like the rules”. Religion is nothing but a set of commands from God and you will hear smart people say: “If you love God, follow His do’s and don’ts.” Let us reflect on 1 Samuel 13:13, “you have done foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which he commanded you . . . .” You have often heard people bewail, “religion has so many restrictions, so many rules and laws. It pisses me off”. Such are completely ignorant about Jesus’ mission. Jesus would want to see you abide by these restrictions and laws. That is infact a very important mission he was sent to accomplish. If you think I am kidding, then hear it from the horse’s mouth:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 5:17-19]

In actual fact, the next verse “. . . unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven”  [Mathew 5:20] Jesus points out that you better abide by the religious law even better than the most religious Jews, scribes and the Pharisees otherwise kingdom of heaven will be a hard-to-get abode. In crystal clear words, Jesus emphasized the importance of abiding by religious rules and restrictions: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” [John 15:10]. Actually, the verse demonstrates that even Jesus himself was not spared. He follows God’s commandments. So who are you to decry that religion is inconveniently stocked with many rules? Since Jesus did not come to abolish the law or the prophets but to fulfill, it is worth knowing the view of the prophets with regard to following God’s commandments. For that we are told that success, blessings and prosperity comes “If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments” [Deuteronomy 28:1] while curses, disaster, panic, frustration, pain and suffering “. . . shall come upon you, pursuing and overtaking you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God, by observing the commandments and the decrees that he commanded you.” [Deuteronomy 28:45]. What more proof do people want?

Now, listen to the following conversation between Jesus and a rich young ruler, then answer the question that follows.

Rich young ruler: Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life? [Matthew 19:16]

Jesus: If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.[Matthew 19:17]

Now, answer the following question:

Do you think religion is difficult? Choose one answer.

a) No, religion is easy. You just have to believe that Jesus died for your sins.

b) God is love and full of mercy, he can’t make religion difficult.

c) Religion is difficult because there are many rules to be obeyed.

d)  None of the above.

Assuming that you didn’t pick “none of the above”, you would have a 1/3 chance of getting the right answer. You can as well contact the author for the right answer. Otherwise, lets proceed with our discussion. Everyone knows that most laws are made to ensure benefits and prevent harm. The difference is that the Laws in the True Religion are formulated by God whereas the architect for the other Laws is man. Numbskulls believe that man-made Law is better than God’s Law. A son can question the relevance of the fathers’ rule since man is prone to error but to question God’s Judgment shows that you are either smarter than God or extremely ignorant.

Intelligent men know that Life is toil. You get worked up at job. You got to work hard in school. That’s no easy. Its toil. The farmer has to till the land. To recover from any illness you have to toil with the bitter drugs. The cook has to struggle in the kitchen. That’s hard too. Making babies is not easy. Sex is toil. Spouses have to undergo an energy-taking exercise for them to enjoy sex or make babies. They have to sweat for it. You just don’t sit and look at each other. You have to make things happen. If you see someone believing that God is so loving and that he does nothing or little in worshipping yet he claims that he will go to heaven then that guy has sought an unworkable shortcut to heaven. Why should the ‘lovely God’ punish him in hell? Stop and think that the same lovely God has designed that life is toil. You will never hear one say that God is love so I won’t suffer looking for job or hustle at work and I will still get salary at the end month through God’s immeasurable love and enduring mercy! One careful observer said “the truth is, everybody I’ve ever met who’s successful is a workaholic.” So how can the weak-minded hope to successfully enter Heaven without being workaholic in religion?

Spiritual hijackers tell us: “don’t worry, Jesus died for your sins”. In other words “don’t toil for God, just believe and that’s the magic formula to heaven.” We are told that God selected an innocent man (Jesus) to die for the sins of Osama bin Laden, Hitler and the others (including that man who raped a two year old girl). Ask any distinguished jurist if it makes sense! Any jury will unanimously say something equivalent of the Biblical verse “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” [Ezekiel 18:20]

Lawyers often say it is better to let ten guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man. And here we are told that God, (in His ‘fair’ Judgement!), chose a humble, sinless man to die for the six billion criminals currently on the face of the earth and the billions of sinners who came before us and the billions of criminals to come in future! Muslims will bring the verse from the Qur’an which says that God is “. . . the best of forgivers” [Q 7:155], and would wonder, “is killing one innocent person for the sins of mankind the best way of forgiving mankind? Murad Wilfried Hofmann, a graduate of Law at Harvard Law School (1960), former German diplomat and Director of Information for NATO writes: “What kind of God is this, goes the question, who cannot correct something going wrong in His creation except by conceiving a son of His and sacrificing him in the cruelest of fashions.”[2] And if Jesus indeed died for our sins, why is it that children are born with sins (original sin). Is it not double jeopardy? If IMF pardons Kenya her debt, and still demand to be paid, can we really call that pardoning? If Adam was the one who made the sin of eating the apple, then why didn’t God allow Adam to be crucified? God can do anything, why didn’t he bring Adam back to atone the sins?

Overwhelming scriptural evidences prove that Jesus’ philosophy is that of “every-one-for-himself-and-God-for-us-all” (i.e. toiling for God). He said: “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” [Matthew 7:21] Any quick-witted person will understand the phrase “but only the one who does the will of my Father (i.e. God)” to mean actions and anyone whose sense is common knows that actions come with difficulties. In fact, Jesus likened the person who doesn’t follow the do’s and don’ts of religion as foolish and the one who keep God’s laws as wise. Jesus said:

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock . . . but everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand . . . . [Mathew 7:24-26]

Basing on Jesus’ benchmark, men on earth are either extremely wise or extremely foolish. Or should I stand on the pulpit and preach:

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. [James 14:26]

The preceding sermon was delivered by James, a very authoritative figure. We therefore see that the necessity of following religious laws is exerted and exhorted by James, the leader of the Church in Jerusalem and who was also Jesus’ own brother (as reported in the Bible). No wonder we are told to “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Mathew 7:13-14] Imagine someone telling you, “Salvation hinges on individual acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour.” No one doubts that accepting Jesus as personal Saviour is the easiest thing on earth. Where is the narrowness in that? The Way/Religion of Jesus was no joke. It was hard. It was difficult. It was narrow. You had better “Enter by the narrow gate”.  Even non-Muslims admit that Islam is a religion full of ‘narrowness.’ Critical minds will read Mathew 7:13-14 and notice these phrases: Narrow Way and Broad Way.

Narrow Way: Is the True Religion which is always characterized with difficulties. Few have the audacity to cling to the difficulties of this True Religion.

Broad Way: Is the False Religion(s) – comfort and luxury is its hallmark. Many choose to be emancipated from the difficulties of the True Religion by walking in the Broad Way.

If Christianity is the True Way/Religion, whoever discards its do’s and don’ts is still walking in the Broad Way. If Islam is the True Way/Religion, whoever refuses to be disturbed by the Islamic sharia is still walking in the Broad Way. To such, the Kingdom of Heaven remains elusive. Let us use our brains before they become atrophied or completely vestigial. Are there people who had seen the narrowness of the way of Muhammad than his companions in Makka? They were severely persecuted to an extent that Muhammad asked some to emigrate to Abyssinia to receive protection under the Just Christian ruler, the Negus. Hearing the attempted emigration, the Non-believers of Makka dispatched a group which reached Abyssinia appealing to the King to return the Muslim migrants. In a commission of inquiry summoned by the King which included both parties, Ja’afar, Muhammad’s follower, presented their case:

O king! We were plunged in the depth of ignorance and barbarism; we adored idols, we lived in unchastity, we ate the dead bodies, and we spoke abominations, we disregarded every feeling of humanity, and the duties of hospitality and neighbourhood were neglected; we knew no law but that of the strong, when Allah raised among us a man (Muhammad), of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we were aware; and he called to the Oneness of Allah and taught us not to associate anything with Him. He forbade us the worship of idols; and he enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful and to regard the rights of the neighbours and kith and kin; he forbade us to speak evil of women, or to eat the substance of orphans; he ordered us to fly from the vices, and to abstain from evil; to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe fast. We have believed in him, we have accepted his teachings and his injunctions to worship Allah and not to associate anything with Him, and we have allowed what He has allowed, and prohibited what He has prohibited. For this reason, our people have risen against us, have persecuted us in order to make us forsake the worship of Allah and return to the worship of idols and other abominations. They have tortured and injured us, until finding no safety among them, we have come to your country, and hope you will protect us from oppression.[3]

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from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” For more articles from this author, please visit his blog; http://www.extremelysmart.wordpress.com. Get your free eBook of “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” from the author’s website.

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[This article may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted and used on the conditions that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is introduced and that it should always include the title, author’s name, author’s website/blog, and this reprinting notice is displayed in the exact same form as the original.]

Notes


[1]. Brown, Laurence B. MisGod’ed: A Roadmap of Guidance and Misguidance in the Abrahamic Religions. USA: BookSurge Publishing, 2007.p. 210.

[2]. Hofmann, Murad Wilfried. Religion on The Rise: Islam in the Third Millennium. Maryland: Amana Publications, 2001.p. 136.

[3]. Al-Mubarakpuri (2002) p. 121.Also see Ibn Hisham, as-Seerat an-Nabawiyyah, Vol. I, pp. 334—338

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Hope For Change January 6, 2010

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“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know’ and thou shalt progress.”

~ Maimonides

Because it is commonly known, even by the journalist Abdulrahman al-Rashed, that “self-cure starts with self realization and confession”, we are confident that there is always hope for change but as long as you are conscious that you are ignorant rather than pretending you are smart. Let there be a club in the footsteps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which should be designed to help the ignorant become smart. And it should be called Ignorant Anonymous (IA). Just like the first meeting at AA, you have to stand up and say “My name is so and so and I’m an alcoholic” similarly those people suffering from the agonies of ignorance should unflinchingly stand up and admit, “My name is Atti Tude and I’m ignorant of the religion of Islam. The only knowledge I know about Islam is from these biased media and antagonists of Islam.” Others should clap at his courage of admitting the reality so that another person is encouraged to say “my name is Sahara Fried-man and I am ignorant of existence of the word of God. I regret for not having read the entire Qur’an/Bible and as a consequence, I found myself accompanied with confusion, distress and misery.” After other members burst into a “Hello Sahara!”, Mr Poppin should proceed with, “I’m Poppin Sparkle and I am unaware of Muhammad’s Prophethood. However, I am recovering from naivety and I am now reading the biography of Prophet Muhammad.” Before the meeting ends, the last person at IA would stand up with his sobering confession: “my name is Pilot Inspektor and  I’m ignorant of the authenticity of Qur’an. I have to admit that my busy life has distracted me from verifying the genuineness of Qur’an as a word of God.”

People who have a chance of becoming successful are those with the courage of saying “maybe you’re right” or the flipside of it, “maybe I’m wrong”. And if you believe that prejudice never shows much reason then we may want to ask, have you ever let the following statement cross your mind: “Maybe Muslims are right and we are wrong?” We should have the audacity to say like Marcus Tullius Cicero: “I am not ashamed to confess I am ignorant of what I do not know.” Or like the determination of Saul: “. . . I have been a fool, and have made a great mistake.” [1 Samuel 26:21] And obviously, learned men will nod in vigorous agreement with Richard Cecil’s statement: “The first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant.” However, after recognizing who we really are, we should then dispel the curse of ignorance through studying about God and end up submitting to Him. It is those who are infinitely ignorant who are denied access to the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, all of us were born ignorant of many things but it was through study and examination that stupidity vaporized. And if you treasure the advice of Benjamin Franklin, then heed his precious words: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.” You can always be smart unless you proudly chose to be a bastion of ignorance. “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” [Proverbs 1:22]

Reason and seeking knowledge about God can wrestle and overthrow ignorance. And whenever the know-nothing criticizes you for becoming a serious questor after the Truth of religions, always remember to “. . . turn away from the ignorant” [Q 7:199] Be humble and emulate the model of righteous people who walk on the surface of the earth in humility and sedateness, “. . . and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” [Q25:63] and keep on doing good because “. . . by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” [1 Peter 2:15]

The yes-we-can philosophy can help you jump from the planet of ignorance to safe landing in the Empire of Smart people. We believe that by becoming a member of smart people you will reap a great deal of benefits for “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” [Proverbs 13:20] Whether sin is ignorance or ignorance is sin, what is worth-celebrating is that there is always a way out. The Qur’an has this message to the ignorant:

Allâh accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allâh will forgive and Allâh is Ever All­Knower, All­Wise. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent;” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment. [Q 4:17-18]

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Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” For more articles from this author, please visit his blog; http://www.extremelysmart.wordpress.com. Get your free eBook of “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” from the author’s website.

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[This article may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted and used on the conditions that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is introduced and that it should always include the title, author’s name, author’s website/blog, and this reprinting notice is displayed in the exact same form as the original.]

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Sara Bokker January 2, 2010

Posted by Salim Boss in People Who Changed.
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“I could never dress like that.”

~ Sara Bokker (before embracing Islam) commenting on veiled Muslim women.

Sara Bokker is a former actress, model, fitness instructor, and (and now) an activist. She is an American woman, who had lived in Florida and on the South Beach of Miami. She abandoned her bikini, a symbol of her liberty as she used to perceive it, for niqab (face veil).

Despite being raised as a Lutheran, Sara didn’t believe in the “church stuff” such as singing, worshiping pictures of crosses and Jesus, and eating “the body and blood of Christ.” As she says, “It just did not make any sense to me.” As years passed by, she found herself on the wrong side of history. Stress and confusion were her two best companions. Sara had much disgust and hatred for herself. She turned to alcohol, dropped out of college and at the age of 19 she left South Dakota, where she grew up, for Florida by herself. Still, sadness followed her while in Florida, and she turned to psychology, self-help books and tapes, and exercise.

Trying to conform with the Florida lifestyle, Sara found herself a slave of her looks. Her money was mostly consumed by hairdresser, manicurist, gym, mall, and other beauty-making expenses. “It cost a lot of time and money to look good.” She says. Even falling in love did not alleviate sadness and stress. Then she began looking into all types and kinds of religions. She came to be interested mostly in metaphysical studies, and some sort of Eastern-type meditation and yoga. She adhered to those but she found herself craving for more than that. Eventually she went back to college, where she developed a passion for International Relations.  It was in college where she learnt the ugly truth about “American History” and “US Foreign Policy.”  She says, “I was horrified with all the injustice, racism, and oppression. It broke my heart. I was so saddened by the suffering in the world. I decided I must do something about it.” She embarked on a self-appointed duty to educate the local high school and college students about the injustice in the Middle East. She went as far as organizing local activists to travel to Washington, DC, to protest the upcoming war in Iraq.

During this process, she met a Muslim man who had dedicated his life to fight for justice and human rights. The man had started his own organization, to which Sara worked as a volunteer so that she could learn more and help in the struggle. As they worked together, the Muslim guy taught Sara stories of Prophet Muhammad, his disciples, and the civilization of Islam. “I was shocked to hear these stories, as I knew nothing about this history. I became enchanted with Islam and read all I could about it, eventually reading the Qur’an.” She said.

Finally she found the truth in Islam.  To all her queries about Islam, she got the answers which, according to her, were “very logical and amazingly functional.” She discovered that Islam is a complete way of life possessing guidance and answers to even the smallest of details, like how to eat and sleep.

In January 2003, at the age of 29, Sara reverted to Islam. “A blanket of comforting peace embraced me.” She explains the experience, “I felt so calm and sure and full of joy.  All of a sudden I had a purpose in life, a reason to exist.” Sara pronounced her Shahadah (testimony of faith) at a public groundbreaking for a new mosque. And as soon as she said the testimony, two rainbows appeared in the sky! The Muslim sisters present went to hug her. “I was crying from so much joy,” She says. The following day, eager to show the world her new religion, she went to a local Middle Eastern store to buy hijabs (headscarves) and dresses appropriate for a Muslim woman. From that day forward, Sara dressed decently. She walked down the same streets and neighborhoods where, days earlier, she had walked in shorts, bikini, and other indecent western attires. ”Free at last!” she said. “I had broken the chains of fashion and physical enslavement enforced by a superficial society. Honestly, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer felt the pressure to dress and look better than everyone else.” This is what she advices women who wish to have true liberation:

As an ex non-Muslim, I insist on women’s right to equally know about hijab, its virtues, and the peace and happiness it brings to a woman’s life as it did to mine. Yesterday, the bikini was the symbol of my liberty, when in actuality it only liberated me from my spirituality and true value as a respectable human being. I couldn’t be happier to shed my bikini in South Beach and the “glamorous” Western lifestyle to live in peace with my Creator and enjoy living among fellow humans as a worthy person. It is why I choose to wear niqab (face veil), and why I will die defending my inalienable right to wear it. Today, niqab is the new symbol of woman’s liberation to find who she is, what her purpose is, and the type of relation she chooses to have with her Creator. To women who surrender to the ugly stereotype against the Islamic modesty of Hijab, I say: You don’t know what you are missing.

Sara was married by the man who introduced her to Islam exactly one month after her reversion. As a couple, they continue to work against injustice throughout the world. They have been travelling throughout the Middle East and they have now moved from America to Egypt to live in an Islamic environment. “My heart is complete. The sadness and loneliness are gone. I now feel I belong. I am somebody.” She says.

Currently, Sara is the Director of Communications at The March For Justice, a co-founder of The Global Sisters Network, and producer of Shock & Awe Gallery, a historical documentation and evidence of the U.S./British Crime of the Century.

Contact Information:

Email:srae@marchforjustice.com

Website: http://www.marchforjustice.com

[References: Bokker, Sara. “The New Symbol of Women’s Liberation.” Marchforjustice.com <http://www.marchforjustice.com/showdetails.php?id=174&gt; ; Bokker, Sara. “Why I Shed Bikini for Niqab.” The Pak Tribune 4 Jan. 2007; Bokker, Sara. “From Darkness to Light.” Radiance Viewsweekly 28 Dec. 2006. Vol. XLIV No. 28; http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/1640/>%5D

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The following story has been excerpted from this Book: “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” by Salim Boss. You can visit the authors blog http://www.extremelysmart.wordpress.com for a free downloadable copy of the book.

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Not Embracing the True Religion after Discovery January 1, 2010

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“Proper diagnosis and medication mean nothing if the patient fails to swallow the pills on his night stand, on time – or at all.” [1]

~ Murad Wilfried Hofmann

Once we unleash sense, reason, and intellect in the quest for the true religion, the answer would easily surface. Guatama Buddha totally agrees with me for he said, “three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” The extremely ignorant person is the one who discovers the Truth and decides not to embrace it. Robert Pirsig puts it this way, “The truth knocks on the door and you say, go away, I’m looking for the truth, and so it goes away. Puzzling!” Once you discover the truth, you will be left with two choices, either to believe or be damned. God’s punishment is meant for those who ignored the truth after it has reached them. There is no excuse. Winston Churchill once said that, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” It is these ignorant people who deserve God’s wrath. The Muslims have a verse that reads: “Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his ownself. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning).” [Q 17:15]. Those who say, “our problem is not perception. Our problem is implementation” and they make no effort to implement what needs to be implemented, they shall have themselves to blame when God’s wrath descends upon them.

The unintelligent person is he who knows the true religion and decides not to embrace it. The Christian apologist Richard Sisson once said that “People do strange things when they are cornered by facts. When evidence cannot be denied, men who care nothing for the truth simply become illogical. Minds become willfully ignorant and emotions turn hostile.”  To avoid the ignorant label, men should burry their prejudices and surrender to facts. Samuel Butler, English novelist, essayist and critic, (1835-1902) states that, “the truest characters of ignorance are vanity, and pride and arrogance.” The true religion is the only vehicle that will take you to heaven. If you discover the true religion and, out of pride or arrogance, you refuse to follow it, the automatic outcome will be Hellfire. “Is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection?” [Q 41:40]. Those who have purchased ignorance for smartness are stubbornly denying the true religion.

Men who have enthroned ignorance are those who whenever they are exhorted towards embracing the true religion, despite the consciences knowing it’s the truth, they themselves despise it. “And when it is said to them: “Believe as the people (followers of Muhammad) have believed,” they say: “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Verily, they are the fools, but they know not.” [Q 2:13]. A fool is the ignorant, simple-minded person who has little knowledge in areas of benefit and harm. When a kid tears or discards a 100 dollar note, we know he is simply not past the ignorant stage, but when a mature person discards a religion which brings most benefits and prevents much harm, he is a thoroughly ignorant person who should be arrested or taken to Guantanamo Bay prison without trial. An ignorant person is he who refuses to follow a religion offered to him by a low-status person.  Even when your son tells you, “O my father! Verily! There has come to me of knowledge that which came not unto you. So follow me. I will guide you to a Straight Path.” [Q 19:43]. The intelligent will humbly submit to the New Religion discovered by the son whereas adherents of Ignorantism say: “Do you forsake my gods, son? If you do not stop, I will kick your . . . Get the hell out of me.”

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Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” For more articles from this author, please visit his blog; https://extremelysmart.wordpress.com/. Get your free eBook of “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” from the author’s website.

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[This article may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted and used on the conditions that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is introduced and that it should always include the title, author’s name, author’s website/blog, and this reprinting notice is displayed in the exact same form as the original.]

Notes


[1]. Hofmann, Murad Wilfried. Religion on The Rise: Islam in the Third Millennium. Maryland: Amana Publications, 2001.p. 194.

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“I Think Syndrome” December 29, 2009

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“But what human judgment outweighs the commandments of God on the scales of opinion? What “person of God” would ever say, “Well, yeah, God forbids it, but I think it’s okay?” [1]

~ Dr. Laurence B. Brown, MD

Author of The Eighth Scroll, MisGod’ed, God’ed, and Bearing True Witness

You can’t say, “I think the earth is square” when there is an established fact that the earth is spherical. You can’t say “I think Switzerland and Swaziland are neighboring countries” when there is an easily reachable atlas indicating that Switzerland is located in Western Europe while Swaziland is in the African continent. You should not say, “I think Obama and Osama are twins because their names closely match.” You can’t say “I think it’s ok to drink sulfuric acid because it looks like water” when you can get a litmus paper to conclusively determine whether the solution is acidic or not. Similarly, you can’t say, “I think all religions are right, they worship the same God”, “I think Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism e.t.c. represent differing paths to the same destination!”, “I think the true religion is . . .”, “I think the purpose of life is to eat, live and die”, “I think when people die, they go to heaven . . . ”e.t.c., when there is an authentic source to factually answer all these questions. Mere opinions which are not backed by scriptural evidences are unreliable. With opinions, you certainly have a right to be wrong but with facts, you don’t have a right to be wrong. This resonates well with Thomas Sowell who said “reality is not optional.”

The true word of God is enough to eliminate the “I think syndrome”. The true scripture contains the words of God. And when God says, it is a fact not a hypothesis/assumption/possibility. God’s Word is truth [Psalm 119:160; John 17:17] and God “. . .  cannot lie . . .” [Titus 1:2]. All doubts are normally silenced in confidence of divine guidance. It is an act of total ignorance to pretend you are smarter than God. By disagreeing with what He informs you through His (authentic) scripture for He is All-Knowing. “Should He (i.e. God) not know,- He that created? and He is the One that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well-acquainted (with them).” [Q 67:14.] The authentic scripture will factually answer what the true religion is? What is the purpose of life? What happens during and after death? Who will go to hell? How to live on earth? . . . and any other dilemma humans have. There is no room for thinking when the right answer is readily available. Ignorance in the absence of information may be excusable, but willful ignorance in the face of the True Word of God is a global disaster. Samuel Johnson said: “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know the subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.” Now, wanton display of ignorance is when we don’t know the subject ourselves and we don’t bother knowing where to find information on the subject. However, when one is pushed to make an opinion, he should know full well that it is not a fact. He should say “that’s just my opinion,” but he must always end with, “I could be wrong.”

A semblance of success will be seen when we discard the unfounded opinions or attitudes vis-à-vis religion. As it is said, “Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.” Amazingly, the Muslim Holy book elucidate on people who are doomed by saying that “. . . most of them follow not except assumption. Indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do.” [Q 10:36] And Prophet Muhammad said, “. . . there will remain ignorant people who, when consulted, will give verdicts according to their opinions whereby they will mislead others and go astray.”[2] There is another story where some knowledge-deficient men gave an opinion which was to be followed by their sick fellow. As a result, the sick man died because by implementing the opinion suggested, it aggravated his sickness. On hearing this, Prophet Muhammad became very angry at these men who gave a wrong opinion. “Why didn’t they ask (from an authentic source) when they were ignorant,”[3] the prophet said.

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Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” For more articles from this author, please visit his blog; https://extremelysmart.wordpress.com/. Get your free eBook of “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” from the author’s website.

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[This article may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted and used on the conditions that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is introduced and that it should always include the title, author’s name, author’s website/blog, and this reprinting notice is displayed in the exact same form as the original.]

Notes


[1]. Brown, Laurence B. MisGod’ed: A Roadmap of Guidance and Misguidance in the Abrahamic Religions. USA: BookSurge Publishing, 2007.pp. 275-276.

[2]. Bukhari, Vol. 9, Bk. 92, No. 410.

[3]. Narrated by DaraQutny.

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Blind Faith December 28, 2009

Posted by Salim Boss in articles.
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“By doubting we come to inquiry; and through inquiry we perceive truth.”

~ Peter Abelard (1079 -1142). He was a French philosopher and theologian.

“Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.”

~ Robert King Merton (1910 – 2003). He was a distinguished American sociologist, one of the first sociologists elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the first American sociologist to be elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He was the first sociologist to be awarded the US National Medal of Science. Some of his books are Social Theory and Social Structure, On Theoretical Sociology, and On the Shoulders of Giants: The Post-Italianate Edition.

Some, if not most, of our habits (religious or otherwise) have been acquired from someone else. Not excluding culinary habits such as eating a full plate of rice with chopsticks, or slicing a sausage with a fork. Even, in times of horror/excitement, exclaiming, “Jesus” or “Allahu-Akbar” is a habit copied from someone else. In other words, we wouldn’t do what we do if someone else hadn’t done them. You are what you copy and others copy not only from human beings but also from animals, insects, jinns and the devil. You have also copied, “so what!”

Were Pope Benedict XVI born in Makkah, he would probably be facing the Kaabah (the black cubed-shaped building in Makkah) praying while reciting Qur’an from memory. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter Makkah or Madinah hence any Makkan/Medinan is by default born and raised Muslim. Had Osama Bin Laden been the son of George Bush senior, he would probably be a born-again Protestant Christian busy forming coalitions to fight terror. Mark Twain summarizes what I am trying to say in these words: “In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.” Therefore, one step to solve the puzzle of many religions is to objectively study these inherited religions. Those who preserve, protect and defend ignorance say “. . . we found our fathers following a certain religion, and we will certainly follow in their footsteps.” [Q43: 23]. In another Qur’anic verse, we are urged to ponder on the stupidity-scale of these fathers we inherit from: “And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they say, “Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing.” Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided?” [Q2:170]. We should really investigate our religions before accepting them. Those who refuse to exercise their brains choose to just have a blind faith. Mary Pettibone Poole (from A Glass Eye at a Keyhole, 1938) states: “To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains.” And the Chinese have a proverb that says: “A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.” Therefore, it becomes a commendable act to pass our religions through a rationality filter before accepting them.

Despite being told that, “Truth stands out clear from Error” [Q 2:256], and despite the encouragement to “Test all things; hold fast what is good” [I Thessalonians 5:21] and not forgetting Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together. . .” and William Adam reminding us that, “faith is continuation of reason.” Even with, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” [1 John 4:1] Despite being given the instruction of wisdom by Solomon: “The simple believe everything, but the clever consider their steps.” [Proverbs 14:15] Even after being told by Elbert Hubbard that “the recipe for perpetual ignorance” is to “. . . be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.” Despite God’s announcement: “My servants, all of you are liable to err except one whom I guide on the right path, so seek right guidance from Me so that I should direct you to the right path.”[1] And despite being shown in Psalms 25:4-5 how to pray for guidance: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.” Despite the maxim of “search, and you will find” [Matthew 7:7] and the promise that “. . . everyone who searches finds . . . .” [Matthew 7:8]. What’s more, Charles E. Garman couldn’t be left behind but unleashed his advice: “Reason inspired by love of truth is the only eye with which man can see the spiritual heavens above us.” Despite being advised by Dr. Laurence Brown that “sincere seekers need a blanket of evidence to warm their convictions.”[2] Despite all these tips, we still adhere to blind faith. Are those who are smart equal to those who are ignorant? “It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition.”[Q 39:9] Moreover, God is asking mankind to seek him, giving the promise that He shall answer them: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  [2 Chronicles 7:14]. Extrapolating from this verse, I see that we are supposed to:

1)   Humble ourselves before God

2)   Pray to God to show us the true religion

3)   Use our faculties to seek for the true religion

4)   Turn from our wicked ways and just embrace God’s True religion

We should never be confused by the words of Desmond Tutu: “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.” Any brilliant person would figure out that the scripture is the basis of most, if not all religions. Hindus derive their creeds from Vedas, Christians from the Bible, Muslims from the Qur’an, and adherents of Capitalism /Democracy from the ‘We the People.’ That is why, for Christians, the best reference for Jesus is not The Washington Post, Hello Magazine, Cosmopolitan, National Geographic, Guinness Book of Records nor the encyclopedias but the Bible or more precisely the New Testament. Hence no amazement is encountered to hear Paul Scott stating, “Arguably, apart from the Gospel the church has little to offer the world.” The Muslims say the best reference is the Qur’an. But have we bothered to examine these scriptures handed over to us by the light-skinned people (Jews, Greeks, Arabs). “The key to wisdom is this — constant and frequent questioning . . . for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.” Maybe Peter Abelard’s intelligence was at work when he was uttering such a witty statement. Taking the Scriptures blindly is not a matter of faith, it is a crime against the brain and an insult to Faith. Why do you have the brain if you don’t use it here? Will Rogers would console me by saying: “You can’t legislate intelligence and common sense into people.”

We should admire the audacity of the doubting Thomas who couldn’t succumb to authority blindly but, like a scientist; he went further to verify the resurrection by feeling Jesus’ hands for the imprint of the nails. Jesus did not discourage objective analysis of events but facilitated: “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” [John 20:27]. If rooting out the problem is the best way of solving our problems, then can’t we reach the Bible/Qur’an and objectively examine it? If you are well-read in the Bible, you will be familiar with Jesus’ statement: “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did” [John 8:39]. But we fail to recognize that among the many things Abraham did not do was to wear a cross, pray while kneeling, believe in Trinity, worship in churches, blindly follow his father’s religion. . . . All the three renowned religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) revere and emulate Abraham, the friend of God. But the dilemmas which appear irresolvable are: Was Abraham a Jew, Christian or Muslim? Are the religions we blindly inherited from our parents the same religion practiced by the friend of God, Abraham? The part of the problem is solved by the Qur’anic verse: “And who turns away from the religion of Abraham except him who befools himself?” [Q2:130]. The other part of the solution, I strongly believe, has to do with the brain.

Notes


[1]. Muslim Bk. 32, No. 6246.

[2]. Brown, Laurence B. God’ed: The Case for Islam as the Completion of Revelation. USA: BookSurge Publishing, 2007. p.17.

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Right Revelation December 26, 2009

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“The difference between the almost-right word & the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

~ Mark Twain, Letter to George Bainton

Just as the best manual to operate the Nokia phone should be made by the Nokia Company and not ShoeLace Company similarly the best manual for man should be from the Creator of Man. It is common knowledge that God communicates through revelation sent to His chosen Messengers. From God’s Scriptures is where man gets all the answers to the dilemmas of life.

The person who uses his intelligence will undoubtedly affirm that man is naturally greedy and selfish. In his book, Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes described man as cruel, greedy, and selfish, and if not caged, they would fight, rob, and trouble each other.[1] An intelligent person knows that man can do anything to serve his personal interests. Man is a potential anything. Man is a potential truthful person, man is also a potential liar. Anyone can be anything. That man you respect and trust could one day be a thief, a liar, corrupt, rapist . . . . Immanuel Kant, the German writer and philosopher echoes the same thoughts by saying: “Man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild.” Therefore, a smart person knows that God’s scripture can be a victim of man’s corruption. Like any other valuable commodity, scripture can be counterfeited. Unless there is divine intervention, man can corrupt the Holy Scripture for reasons best known to this greedy man. At least we evidently know few bad men who have the audacity to corrupt a country’s constitution for their vested interests. Placing your salvation on the wrong scripture is like leaning a ladder against the wrong wall, the steps you take, slowly but surely, gets you to hell.

I sometimes feel like crying when I go to a bank and see the teller passing the money given through a Bank Note Detector. Because the same person would go to Church and be given a book called the Bible and without passing it through an authenticity detector, he/she blindly believes it to be a genuine word of God! Sometimes I believe people will go to hell because of double standards. You work hard at work, but you don’t want to work hard in religion. You don’t accept money till you verify its authenticity but you accept scriptures without verification. The way we have genuine and fake notes, we also have genuine word of God and fake scriptures. But the ignorant thinks that religious scriptures can’t be forged by professional counterfeiters such as Satan and his allies. “Do not consider it proof just because it is written in books” Maimonides cautioned long time ago, “for a liar who will deceive with his tongue will not hesitate to do the same with his pen.”

The one who uses his brains will investigate the scriptures at his reach to verify if the scripture is free from fabrications inserted by corrupt men. How would someone be given a scripture and without careful scrutiny he completely believes in it. The world is a den of evil men. Maybe the righteous are outnumbered by men of evil. Eleven centuries before Thomas Hobbes* told us that “man was cruel, greedy, and selfish”, the Qur’an had already declared: “And truly, most of men are rebellious and disobedient.” [Q 5:48] Maybe the scripture you are reading is in fact a man’s masterpiece and not God’s revelation. The halfwit are those who are unaware that man is capable of committing the greatest vices as well as the greatest virtues. The smartest don’t accept any scripture without scrutiny. How wonderful are these words of wisdom echoed by Buddha:

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Bart D. Ehrman, a leading scholar of the Bible cogently suggests not to even accept the ilk of the preceding quote without rational evaluation:

In my opinion, people need to use their intelligence to evaluate what they find to be true and untrue in the Bible. This is how we need to live life generally. Everything we hear and see we need to evaluate—whether the inspiring writings of the Bible or the inspiring writings of Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, or George Eliot, of Ghandi, Desmond Tutu, or the Dalai Lama.[2]

We have blindly accepted the scriptures as unchallenged authority without verifying whether the authority is indeed unchallenged or not. “If a word in the dictionary were misspelled, how would we know?” so said Steven Wright. Right as he was, I take the pleasure to paraphrase that and say, “If a word in the Bible/Qur’an were concocted, how would we know?”

At least the Qur’an doesn’t shield its readers from rational inquiry by mandating people to have the Holy Spirit for them to study it. The Qur’an, without bashfulness, invites men and Jinn to examine and analyze it and probably that is because truth fears no questions. The Qur’an claims to be the word of God and asks mankind to prove it wrong. If at the end of his answer sheet, a student writes: “This answer is perfect. There are no mistakes in it. Find one if you can!” Do you think the teacher marking that paper would take it lightly. No way, he will not sleep until he finds a mistake. He will try to find even a slight mistake such as a spelling mistake. Qur’an challenges men saying, “Do they not consider the Qur´an (with care)? Had it been from other Than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.” [Q 4:82]. In other words the Qur’an says if you think that it’s not a God’s revelation; find any faults (discrepancies) in it! To paraphrase that, it would be something similar to, “this Qur’an is a perfect word of God and you will not find even a single mistake in it, prove me wrong by finding any faults (be it contradictions, scientific errors, grammatical errors, false prophesies, linguistic deficiencies, whatever . . . .” The Qur’an has presented itself clean and transparent. Now, with the Bible’s case, are we going to examine it objectively’? Billy Hughes was not objective when he said “when having my portrait painted I don’t want justice, I want mercy.” However, for us to know whether the Bible is the Right Revelation, we should analyze it with the lens of justice not mercy. If you rephrase the preceding Qur’anic verse in the context of the Bible it would read something like this: “Do they not consider the Bible (with care)? Had it been from other than God, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.” I challenge anyone who claims the Bible to be an inerrant word of God to go to the nearby bookshop and buy Bart Ehrman book Jesus, Interrupted. If absence of discrepancy in scripture is a hallmark of divine revelation, then by the time you finish reading Jesus, Interrupted, you will certainly agree that the Bible is not an inerrant word of God.

Muslims acknowledge that the Bible is a mixture of both the true word of God and man’ s corrupted insertions and hence they disdain the Bible because they are extremely cautious of half truths, they don’t want to risk getting hold of the wrong half. And since it is twice as hard to crush a half-truth as a whole lie, the propensity of distancing away from the Bible increases even further. Moreover, Muslims will argue that since the central purpose of life is to worship God, then there is an uncompromising need of using an error-free,100% accurate manual of worshipping God. No one doubts that in the Bible, mankind can extract amazing advise and information but if we go with Thomas Fuller’s adage: “Good is not good where better is expected”, Muslims will evidently show that the Qur’an is a 100% pure, unadultered word of God, and that it should be followed by anyone who has a habit of making smart choices. Let us not be like those men who when in love with a woman’s dimple, they make the mistake of marrying the whole girl but let us only admire the good part of the Bible and refrain from the ugliest segments. “I had started seminary as a born-again fundamentalist,” the Bible scholar Bart Ehrman says, “by the time I graduated (i.e. with master’s of divinity Degree) I was moving toward a liberal form of evangelical Christianity, one that still saw the Bible as conveying important teachings of God to his people, but also as a book filled with human perspectives and mistakes.”[3] This is the intellectual honesty which is fraught and applaudable in Qur’anic text.

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Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” For more articles from this author, please visit his blog; https://extremelysmart.wordpress.com/. Get your free eBook of “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” from the author’s website.

◘◘◘

[This article may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted and used on the conditions that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is introduced and that it should always include the title, author’s name, author’s website/blog, and this reprinting notice is displayed in the exact same form as the original.]

Notes


[1]. Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. 1651.

* Thomas Hobbes died in 1679 A.D. By the time Muhammad died in 632 A.D. the Qur’an had been fully revealed.

[2].  Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted. Kindle Edition. HarperCollins e-books, 2009.p.281-282

[3]. Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted. Kindle Edition. HarperCollins e-books, 2009.p.16

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Why Would God Forsake Us? December 24, 2009

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“. . . for His (God’s) mercy endures forever.”

[Psalm 136:1]

This one sentence is repeated 26 times in the 26 verses of Psalm 136. What a miracle!

The Nokia Manufacturing Company would not manufacture a phone without supplementing it with a Manual. Just recently, I had bought a new Nokia Phone, a 1203 Nokia Model. It came with a User Guide (manual) detailing important information on how to use the device. In the General Information corner of the manual, it read:

Check http://www.nokia.com/support or your local Nokia Web site for the latest version of this guide, additional information, downloads, and services related to your Nokia product. On the website, you can get information on the use of Nokia products and services. If you need to contact customer service, check the list of local Nokia contact centers at http://www.nokia.com/customerservice. For maintenance services, check your nearest Nokia service center at http://www.nokia.com/ repair.[1]

Now that is what I call caring for the customers. The Manual went further to provide a diversity of resources for helping customers to properly use the phone. On page 6 of the Manual, it warned: “Read these simple guidelines. Not following them may be dangerous or illegal. Read the complete user guide for further information.” And we hear shameless people wanting us to believe that God is a “don’t carer” because He didn’t provide us with simple guidelines on how to use the planet earth in the most efficient way. It is only those who prefer to die than endure the pain of thinking, who assumes God created them without a manual. Some consider thinking is the greatest torture, some believe thinking is the hardest work on earth and others have the conviction that if you think hard, you will die, and some are made to believe that if they think, they will go to hell, hence very few people take the risk of thinking.

God made the sun to provide light during the day and at night the moon reflects the Suns’ light assisting us to fight waves of darkness. And the stars had been useful for navigation. God gifted creatures with perfect systems best suited for their conditions and needs thus you hear that migrating birds can navigate, even on overcast days, by light polarization. The pit viper (a type of snake) uses a natural infrared sensor to sense warm-blooded animals. Animals give off different heat signatures. The pit viper senses body heat from animals and gives the snake a ‘picture’ of that animal. This helps the snake to find prey in the dark and defend itself against intruders, even in complete darkness. Sharks possess what is called passive electroreception; they sense electric fields hence they can identify obstacles, potential prey, or even a mate. Using such sensory system, the sharks can even locate living fish under the sand. Bees use the earth’s magnetic field for comb building and navigation. Bats and dolphins “see” with sonar. Whales migrate by “reading” the Earth’s magnetic fields. The mentally-handicapped and those who take little or no pleasure from thinking would have the right to say animals were endowed with a perfect and systematic program of survival while man was totally neglected. “And they did not appraise Allah with true appraisal when they said, “Allah did not reveal to a human being anything.” [Q 6:91]

Imagine if we would try to count all the favors of God on mankind! I doubt if there is someone capable of counting them. Those demanding ignorance think God has bestowed us with infinite favors save the favor of a Life-Manual. Among the blessings is that:

. . . the grazing livestock He (God) has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat. And for you in them is [the enjoyment of] beauty when you bring them in [for the evening] and when you send them out [to pasture]. And they carry your loads to a land you could not have reached except with difficulty to yourselves. Indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful. And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know . . . It is He who sends down rain from the sky; from it is drink and from it is foliage in which you pasture [animals]. He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought. And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason. And [He has subjected] whatever He multiplied for you on the earth of varying colors. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who remember. And it is He who subjected the sea for you to eat from it tender meat and to extract from it ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships plowing through it, and [He subjected it] that you may seek of His bounty; and perhaps you will be grateful. And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided. And landmarks. And by the stars they are [also] guided . . . And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [Q 16:5-18]

All these God does for His creation. All the innumerable favors which God bestows man, all these favors . . . I mean, in all the immeasurable favors, God did not include the favor of a revelation/divine book/blueprint whereby man can know how to live according to God’s wish. More grippingly, loving parents guide their children by providing good education, good health, protect them against harm and so forth. Sometimes your mother will provide you with some recommendations such as: It’s going to rain, don’t forget to carry your umbrella! Carry a jacket, its really cold out there! Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise! Wash your hands before you eat! For strong and healthy teeth, brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste! Son, carrots are good for your eyes! Don’t eat too much candy dear! I don’t want to see you walking with those thugs! e.t.c. No one doubts that such do’s and don’ts have a lot of benefits. I am wondering that our mothers (just human beings with limited knowledge) could give us such useful recommendations while our good and loving God (the All-knower of what harms and benefits mankind) decided not to list some tips of smart living on the surface of earth. I beg to differ.

At the time of Prophet Muhammad, there was a woman who was frantically searching for her baby in a crowd. Naturally, mothers have overwhelming feelings of love, tenderness and mercy for their babies. So when she finally found the baby, she took it in her arms, cradled it next to her chest and suckled it. Then the Prophet asked his disciples, “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” Of course our fast and furious reply would be “hell no!” and similarly the disciples responded by saying that the woman would never do such a thing. The Prophet then said, “Allah is more merciful to His slaves (i.e. human beings) than this lady to her son.”[2] In Psalm 23 God is described as a “shepherd” who cares for His sheep but which kind of a shepherd is this, one may ask, who does not provide a map/manual/textbook/scripture which would lead people to the right path?

Those who are not deprived the right to think will know that God can never condemn us to Hell without revealing to us what it takes to be a candidate of Hell. What is the point of the government establishing prisons if they don’t set to its people what is lawful and what is unlawful. It would be accusing God of felony criminal neglect if he will let us suffer on earth and later be cast in tormenting Hell Fire because He fails to give us perfect guidance on the most important aspect of life which is how to worship God. It is really funny that everything has been figured out, except how to live! Men who employ just a modicum of commonsense will agree for sure that God must have given us a perfect and systematic guidance of worshipping him.

There is the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights yet we are selfish not to give the Creator of the Universe a chance to make some few Declarations of Rights. We are living in a world of rules and regulations. Every game has a rule; you’ve also heard safety rules, rules of grammer, rule of law, rule of the land, rules of engagement (ROE), military rule, library rules, rule of court, rule of thumb, rule of force e.t.c. but intellectual dwarfs launch protestations when God frames His rules. When invited to someone’s house, you will struggle to conform to the standards and rules of that home. The while-in-Rome-do-as-Romans-do principle otherwise don’t go to Rome. But stupidity of man is manifested when he is invited in a home called planet earth, he does not respect the Owner and His rules, and to make things worse, man decides to establish his own rules (Way of life/Laws/Policy/Religion/Ideology). “Do they then seek the judgement of (the Days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm Faith.” [Q 5:50] And to escape from reality, man pretends that God did not reveal a certain code of behavior. Almost every country has a constitution. Some marvel at the ingenuity of this man-made document as in the example of a British prime minister, William Gladstone describing the US constitution as “. . . the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”[3] When you open the American Constitution, the first thing you will come across is the following statement:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.[4]

Someone might inquire: “Did your God ever ordain any document that is meant to establish Justice, insure domestic and international Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to people?” Again, am still troubled at hearing that God did not establish a constitution for mankind.

We are told that, “When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, “My Mercy overpowers My Anger.”[5] Moreover, Psalm 136 goes with repetitive message that “. . . His mercy endures forever”, but why would God abandon us on this planet without supplementing us with a systematic way/formula of living? According to the Qur’an, after Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were expelled to earth, but God in his mercy promised them that He will send them a Manual from which the dwellers of earth will get guidance. Addressing them, God said, “Descend from it [i.e., Paradise] – all, [your descendants] being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance (i.e. manual/revelation/scripture) from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer. And whoever turns away from My remembrance (revelation) – indeed, he will have a depressed [i.e., difficult] life. . . .” [Q 20:123-124] So we see that through God’s enduring mercy, man is given a Life-Manual but because of man’s ignorance of the existence of the manual, his life becomes enveloped with difficulties. Those who assumed God didn’t lay down a systematic code of living didn’t utilize their huge frontal lobes to come up with a better idea. Behind wrong living is wrong thinking and just like operating any garget without a manual (or using a wrong manual) is distressful, similarly living without a God-given manual is stressful.

We know man should have a divine guidance either in the form of a Prophet or a Scripture, but what about those generations that lived prior the Torah, Gospels and Qur’an? The answer is very simple. God’s knowledge of the past outmatches the knowledge of all world historians and record keepers. The Qur’an describes God in the following format: “Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills . . . .”[Q 2:255] That is a God who knew the number of all galaxies even before man came up with the Hubble Telescope. And as you haven’t imagined, “. . . with Him (i.e. God) 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.” [Q 6:59] As we browse through the verses of the Qur’an, the following message pops up: “. . . No fruit comes out of its sheath, nor does a female conceive (within her womb), nor brings forth (young), except by His (i.e. God’s) Knowledge.” [Q 41:47] So it means that God even knows the birthdays and deathdays of all the 6 billion people on earth! “And not absent from your Lord is any [part] of an atom’s weight within the earth or within the heaven or [anything] smaller than that or greater but that it is in a clear register (i.e. God knows it).” [Q 10:61] So Allah knows the word count of this book! And what if I say I have a secret that is confined in my heart and I haven’t confided it to anyone, would you say that Allah knows of it? “It is the same (to God)” Qur’an Chapter 13 verse 10 states, “whether any of you conceal his speech or declare it openly, whether he be hid by night or go forth freely by day (Allah knows all that).” In fact, even a mystified pregnant woman heading to hospital for an ultrasound check may get a miscarriage when she astonishingly discovers that “Allah knows what every female bears, and by how much the wombs fall short (of their time or number) or exceed.” [Q 13:8] He is a God who knows the weight of every mountain, a God who knows the exact number of litres of waters present in our oceans, a God who knows the exact number of raindrops when it rains. A God who knows all the leaves of plants and trees, a God who knows the precise number of people sleeping at this minute on this planet and the number of people who will wake up after exactly one hour from now. When we read the verse “And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. . . .” [Q 11:6] does it mean that God knows the room I slept in last night? You should also know that God even knows that right now, right there, you are reading this book! So you mean “Allah is the All-Knower of everything.” [Q 64:11]. That’s my point.

Now, when such a God says “. . . We certainly sent into every nation a messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allâh (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Tâghût (i.e. all false deities)….” [Q 16:36], no clever person should dispute. Even Muhammad was not fully aware of past history of divine guidance. God taught Muhammad saying, “And We (i.e God) have already sent messengers before you. Among them are those [whose stories] We have related to you, and among them are those [whose stories] We have not related to you.” [Q 40:78]. So not only is God aware of the fact that every nation had a messenger preaching the true religion, but also there is a “. . . Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) when Allah will resurrect them (i.e. mankind) all together and inform them of what they did. Allah has kept account of it, while they have forgotten it. And Allah is Witness over all things.” [Q 58:6] Because God is Just and “. . . His mercy endures forever.” [Psalm 136:1], every people/generation was given a manual on how to worship God. But because of the injustice of man, he doesn’t want to know whether God sent divine guidance and even if he acknowledges the existence of the Guidance, he doesn’t care its do’s and don’ts.

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Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” For more articles from this author, please visit his blog; [www.extremelysmart.wordpress.com]. Get your free eBook of “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” from the author’s website.

Notes


[1]. Nokia 1202/1203 User Guide in English. 9211638/ Issue 2, 2008.p.9.

[2]. Bukhari Vol.8, Bk.73, No.28. Also see Muslim, Bk. 37, No. 6635.

[3]. The Constitution of the United States of America, Analysis and Interpretation. Preface. By Alexander Willey. Washington D.C.,: United States Government printing Office, 1953.

[4]. The Constitution of the United States of America, Analysis and Interpretation. Washington D.C.,: United States Government printing Office, 1953. p.19.

[5]. Bukhari Vol.4, Bk. 54, No. 416. Also see Muslim Bk. 37, No. 6628.

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Loon, the former Bad Boy artist December 17, 2009

Posted by Salim Boss in People Who Changed.
2 comments

“I need a girl”

~ Loon’s song before his conversion to Islam

His stage name is Loon, his birth name Chauncey Lamont Hawkins, and his Islamic name is Amir Junaid Muhadith. Loon was born on 20 June 1975 in Harlem, ‘The Home of hustlas and money makers’ and  attended the prestigious “Beverly Hills High School” where his classmates included Angelina Jolie, Monica Lewinsky, the Menendez brothers (Lyle and Erik who murdered both of their parents with a shotgun and were later sentenced to life in prison without parole). And of course, Loon was raised a Baptist.

Loon evolved from the ghettos of Harlem, to street-hustling and to the rap world where he became part of P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Records. In addition, he has performed songs with notable artists such as 50 Cent, Jermaine Dupri, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott, Jamie Foxx, Ginuwine, Busta Rhymes, Faith Evans, Toni Braxton, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz among others. Loon enjoyed global audiences and there was no country he could go without people recognizing who he was. Loon has also involved himself in acting and has appeared in films like “Happy Hour,” “State Property 2” and “Death of a Dynasty.” This is a guy whose materialistic ambition is captured in his statement: “I’m gonna get money. I’m from Harlem. Ours is a 24/7 hustle. Gimme an inch, I’m taking a yard. Gimme a rope, I’m a cowboy. . . .” Some of his records are: “I Need A Girl (Part One)” P. Diddy featuring Usher & Loon); I Need A Girl (Part Two)” , P. Diddy & Ginuwine featuring Loon, Mario Winans & Tammy Ruggeri; “I Do Wanna Get Close To You”, 3LW featuring P. Diddy & Loon; “Hit The Freeway”, Toni Braxton featuring Loon. Indeed, bad boy is not for life, and as a matter of fact, all religious scriptures tell us that all bad boys will not enter the kingdom of heaven. In 2004, Loon ended his relationship with Bad Boy and founded his own label, Boss Up Entertainment. With all the fame and the bling bling, there was one thing that was abundantly elusive: loon could not purchase peace.

Loon left all those lifestyles and embraced Islam in December 2008 whilst on tour in Dubai, UAE. How did he come to Islam? The thing that drove him to Islam was just the adhan (Islamic call to prayer) he heard while touring in Dubai. He says that the adhan was more beautiful than any song he has ever written in his life. The call for prayer which was recited in the most beautiful, melodious and captivating way from Mosques’ loudspeakers made him study its background, meaning and significance. Studying about Islam, he would sometimes go to bookstores to buy books on Islam; sometimes he would ask questions to people of authority of Islam and at the end of it, Loon thought that it is the smartest decision to embrace Islam. Oh yes, the other thing that attracted Loon to Islam is the way Islamic acts of worship are consistently done in a unswerving formula. “Everyplace I went (in the Muslim world)” Loon says, “I could see one consistent practice and worship of one true God . . . this is something that I want to be part of,  because (in the non-Muslim world) there are a lot of inconsistencies in the way people practice and worship but what I saw in the Muslim (world) was very consistent.”

Since his reversion to Islam, Loon has appeared in various TV and Radio interviews such as on Al Jazeera TV, Al-Shahed T.V, Kuwaiti T.V, The Deenshow and on Talk Radio Show. “Islam brought peace that I couldn’t find in my life,” Loon vibrantly exclaimed in an interview with Eddie of the Deenshow. Fellow Muslims may tell this brother who needed a girl that if, he strictly adheres to Islam, God will not only give him numerous virgins in Heaven, but he can now have four wives on this transitory planet called Earth. In Islam, you are not restricted to just one marital partner, the ‘I-need-a-gal’ mentality is automatically supplanted with ‘I-need-wives’ mindset. Just before the end of an interview, Eddie of Deenshow submitted the following question to Loon: “What advice do you have for those who are trying to mimic the hip-hop phenomenons and the people in your positions?” Since Loon has been in that field, I think it is respectful for the music-lovers to heed the advice he gave:

If you trying to incorporate a love for music just be mindful that there is a lifestyle that comes with the music that kind like destroy the whole positive effort of trying to exercise the love for music … you can’t have one without the other, you do the music you are going to indulge in the lifestyle that come with the Music. And the lifestyle itself is definitely something you don’t want to get involved with. It draws the guts out of you, it draws everything that is pure inside of you, it removes the peace of mind that you might been having before coming into the business….Take my advice.

Currently, Loon grasps any opportunity to learn more about Islam, on one interview with Sheikh Nabil Al-awadh in Kuwait, Loon could recite, from memory, the first chapter of the Qur’an. Being an experienced singer, Muslims anticipate that he may one day be one of the world’s Qur’an top reciters. One of his messages on Twitter was: “My quest for knowledge has just gone into overdrive. May Allah guide us all to seeking the knowledge of Islam!” His seriousness into Islam is manifested in his adoption of Prophet Muhammad’s model of life by keeping a full beard. In addition, he has already performed an important Islamic ritual known as Umrah (lesser Hajj) which is a visitation to Makkah to perform certain rituals of worship. But what’s amazing is that he has become ‘better in speech’ by taking an initiative of calling upon music addicts to abandon such a distressing  life, by calling upon non-Muslims to read about Islam, by calling  upon Muslims to strictly adhere to their religion, by calling people to the religion of Allah. And of course we may wonder if, by becoming a God’s spokesman, he is not better in speech then “who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah, and does righteousness and says, “I am one of the Muslims.”?”[Q 41:33] Or should he go back to the hip-hop world and glorify killing, violence and (pre-marital) sex? To those who are enslaved with music and its lifestyle, they got to hear Loon’s message which was aired by AlShahid TV:

The Music lifestyle was overbearing and overwhelming for me. To be removed from that lifestyle, I would be a fool to return back to the place which I was guided from. In that case, anyone who is involved in Music. . . to the Muslims knowing that the Qur’an teaches us that Music is Haram (i.e. Prohibited by God), I was saying to those who are struggling with this matter (i.e. Music) to try to refrain and invest more time and energy reading and extracting emotions from the speech of Allah which is in the Qur’an.

However much you are loved or revered, the moment you decide to change for the good, you will be sure of becoming a public enemy just in an overnight. Some of Loon’s fans were not an exception. But one big-picture thinker posted the following message on worldstarhiphop.com in order to silence the detractors and boast up Loon’s motivation “As-Salaamu Alaikum brother Amir (i.e. Loon)!” the comment read, “and Salaams to all the other brothers and sisters out there! There are alot of ignorant people on here bashing what they have no knowledge of! If you know nothing of Islam please don’t speak on it!”  Junaid Muhadith  (formerly Loon) is now writing a book whereby he would document his life and his transition to Islam. “[I’m] happy to be accepting Islam,” said Loon, “and finding the peace of mind I was always searching for in the music business . . . Thanks to Islam I was able to complete my search and now I’m very much at peace. Bad Boy days are over, I’m now what you call a good boy.”

Websites:

http://www.loon2amir.com

http://www.dawahinthewest.com/loonamir/?p=29

http://www.bossupentertainment.com

[Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” For more articles from this author, please visit his blog; [www.extremelysmart.wordpress.com]. Get your free eBook of “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant” from the author’s website.]

[References: “Interview with rap artist turned Muslim.” 5 July 2009.  YouTube.com. Online video clip. Accessed on 17 Dec. 2009. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZFueqQnops&gt;; “Interview Former Rap Artist Loon accepts Islam –TheDeenshow.” 13 Aug. 2009. YouTube.com. Online video clip. Accessed on 17 Dec. 2009. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhLWOXKlHys >; “Loon Converted to Islam.” 9 Dec. 2009. YouTube.com. Online video clip. Accessed on 17 Dec. 2009.  <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SZ6RTD1jXw&gt;; “Muhammad Awadh meets American Rap Artist who converted to Islam.” 13 Sept. 2009. YouTube.com. Online video clip. Accessed on 17 Dec. 2009.  <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trv5XeE8C6s&feature=related&gt;; AbduSalaam, Ismael. “Rapper Loon Converts to Islam, Changes Lifestyle.”  6 July 2009. allhiphop.com <http://allhiphop.com/stories/news/archive/2009/07/06/21748711.aspx&gt;; <http://www.bossupentertainment.com/article/buy-the-album-now-loon-no-friends&gt; retrieved 5 July 2009; Hall, Rashaun. “Loon Leaves Bad Boy ‘Amicably,’ Forms Own Label.” mtv.com. 14 Dec. 2004. <http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1494820/20041214/loon.jhtml&gt; ;<http://bossupentertainment.com/&gt;;“Amir Junaid Muhadith, formerly ‘Loon’ of Bad Boy Entertainment.” islaam.ca 6 May 2009. http://www.islaam.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=265:amir-junaid-muhadith-formerly-loon-of-bad-boy-entertainment-new-york-usa&catid=63:n-america&Itemid=181>%5D

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