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Religion Is Difficult January 14, 2010

Posted by Salim Boss in articles.
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“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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Comments»

1. Muhtasim Yusuf - January 24, 2010

Assalam Aleiykum Bro,,. I really like yo work bro,,kip it up n mabruk inshAllah…..tek cr..

2. Mohammed Kamil Abdul Salam - October 12, 2010

Had the link to your blog just this morning from a brother on iqrasense.com. I must say, I have really been enlightened. All I can say is may the Almighty Allaah grant you more knowledge as you educate us.

If you could also create a facebook link for your blog, we could suggest it to brothers to also benefit from you work. however, if you already have one, do send it to me via my email.

Assalamu Allaikum


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