A Case Of Bad Gas
Earlier this week, I was making Salaatul Isha at a local Masjid when someone in the row before me (I was in the last row) passed gas.
He didn’t just pass gas. He farted. The whole Masjid had to have heard it. Your Masjid probably heard it too.
It was a whopper. And it actually sounded…wet.
Praying next to me was a teenager. He was literally shaking with compressed laughter. He was trying to hold his laughter in but was doing a poor job. I could hear him laughing under his breath in Sujuud (prostration).
Ten years ago, I would have had a hard time holding my laughter in also. Heck, maybe even three years ago.
But this time, it was pretty easy (Alhamdulillah).
The temptation to laugh was definitely there. I don’t think the temptation would have even come up had it not been for that boy next to me trembling like an old car. But hearing him laugh made it easy for the Shaytan to make me want to laugh.
However, every time I felt laughter coming, I forced myself to remember the many, many people I buried over the past year and a half working for the Muslim community in Birmingham, Alabama.
I remembered the many bodies, wrapped in white cloth, of all sizes and shapes being lowered into the ground.
I remembered ordering the backhoe driver to fill the graves up and watching the buried bodies quickly disappear beneath the earth.
I remembered helping the families fill out the death certificates for the state records, consoling them, advising them to be patient, reminding them to pray for their family.
I remembered locking the gate on the Muslim cemetery on the way out (I was often the last one to leave), knowing that after I left, that person would soon be visited by two angels.
When I remembered these things, all humor drained out of my body.
Benefiting From Tragedy
Dealing with Muslim funerals were always demanding and emotional.
But they were also spiritual.
After burying so many people, I soon found myself yearning to learn more about Islam, to become a better Muslim, to spend my life spreading the message of Islam.
That was part of the reason I reignited this website back in July 2010.
But I’ve noticed of late, as my knowledge (and hopefully my faith as well) has increased, some of my articles are a little edgier. There’s a little more bite to them.
I don’t apologize for that. I don’t mean to offend anyone; I just want to spread the message of Islam. I wish I could please everyone while doing this; but I know that’s impossible, ineffective, and weak.
An Atheist’s (I Think) Comment
Nonetheless, I will be tolerant of any Muslim who wants to learn more, or is lacking in certain qualities. I will also be tolerant of any non-Muslim who wants to understand Islam more, even if they don’t want to convert.
But when someone has something smart (or dumb) to say about Islam on this website, that’s when the gloves come off.
This is why I decided to turn my response to the following comment from the article posted here, into a full article itself.
Mr Ibrahim…..I read your column with interest – I am not a Muslim and personally can’t believe in a Creator who demands his creations to put him on a pedestal and worship him 5 times a day with strict conditions re washing beforehand
…..I don’t expect my children to worship me or wash their hands before talking to me….and I created them! But I am impressed by your patience in answering the questions of non-believers….so many Muslims take great offence at questions about their beliefs.
Belief in pre-destiny , it seems to me leads to all sorts of questions – and the questions here show that a lot of believers are struggling to get to grips with it. You told someone that if they got murdered, it was because God allowed that murder (- for reasons best known to him) to take place ie….it was pre-destined.
On this basis, why do Muslims get angered for example, at Salman Rushdie – who only wrote his books…because God allowed him to??? Also, the illogic of this reasoning is further highlighted when , for example, you consider babies being hacked to death in African countries…..God allowed this???
or when a plane crashes killing everyone on board…..God allowed all this people to come together….in order for the engines to fail and all die???? Come on….can’t you see the illogicality of this train of thought?
How much more logical to accept that like all accidents and good fortunes that it was just coincidence rather than a divine act of God.
The questioner (named A. Syam) left another comment which I’ll refer to later.
Judging from his name, I believe A. Syam to be of Indian descent, and I’m going to assume he’s a male too (forgive me if I’m wrong; just an educated guess). Also, his IP address has him as being from the UK, so presumably he has a decent education.
Before diving into this, let me first remind my Muslim readers that Allah has already communicated with us. He has given us His communication in the Quran and it is perfect and without flaws.
Nothing New Under The Sun; Not Even Doubts
Allah has answered all of Mr. Syam’s questions in the Quran. The hypocrites and disbelievers during the time of Prophet Muhammad asked similar questions.
Like many others before him, his questions are always the “Why does God do this…” and “Why won’t God do that…” It’s like everyone has an opinion of what Allah should do and how Allah should act.
And those who associate others with Allah say, “If Allah had willed, we would not have worshipped anything other than Him, neither we nor our fathers, nor would we have forbidden anything through other than Him.” Thus did those do before them.
Chapter 16 Verse 35
But the interesting thing is that all of these people (Mr. Syam included) really do worship a god. He doesn’t call his god “Allah” or “God.”
He calls his god “fortune.” Or “coincidence.”
How much more logical to accept that like all accidents and good fortunes that it was just coincidence rather than a divine act of God.
How is that logical? How is saying a mysterious, invisible, force named “Allah” caused something to happen more illogical than saying saying some mysterious, invisible force named “coincidence” caused something to happen?
So right there, his argument is null and void. He just wants me to worship his god of “coincidence” rather than Allah. Which to me, sounds very illogical since “coincidence” can neither punish nor reward me.
Okay, now let’s deal with this comment piece by piece. From this point on, I will be addressing Mr. Syam.
I am not a Muslim and personally can’t believe in a Creator who demands his creations to put him on a pedestal and worship him 5 times a day with strict conditions re washing beforehand
…..I don’t expect my children to worship me or wash their hands before talking to me….and I created them!
Alright, now it doesn’t take a genius to know you did not “create” your children. You had sex with your wife/girlfriend (once again, I’m assuming you’re a man) and that was it. Everything else was on autopilot. Other than contributing your genetic code, you had very little to do with the “creation” of your children.
And on the off chance you’re a woman, the same still applies. You were impregnated and Allah (you might say “nature”; another one of your “gods”) took care of the rest.
You said you can’t worship a God demands you put Him on a pedestal and worship him? That doesn’t make any sense at all. What kind of god would you prefer to worship? One that asks you to denigrate and curse him? Is that why you worship coincidence and fortune? Because it’s easy to curse bad luck (another name for coincidence) when things don’t go right?
You told someone that if they got murdered, it was because God allowed that murder (- for reasons best known to him) to take place ie….it was pre-destined.
I believe you’re referring to this comment from another poster:
God knew that the person was going to kill you.
The Right path must have been shown to the killer but the killer rejected the path.
God knows that the person may do a bad thing and will make him feel that thing is wrong but if he rejects that its on him.
God authorized your death for a reason that only he knows (sometimes its called El 3ebra = sign to others )
And my response was:
Interesting comments Tamer. For the most part, you are right. God does what He does for reasons He only knows.
You must have misunderstood me. Let me break it down:
- Allah knows everything that is going to happen, both the good, the bad, and everything in between (He is All-knowing, after all).
- Nonetheless, He has given man free will (not the fatalistic, nihilistic belief you are accusing us of). Certainly, you will not dispute that you have the freedom to make your own decisions and that Allah is not forcing you to do anything. Because if you did, that would mean you believed in Allah, in which case this whole conversation is pointless.
- Allah is The Most Just. You don’t believe in Allah anyway, I’m not going to waste too much time proving this to you.
- Since Allah is the most just, and since mankind does have free will to make his own decisions, both good and bad, there must be reward or punishment for those decisions. Otherwise, there would be no justice.
Sounds pretty simple to me.
On this basis, why do Muslims get angered for example, at Salman Rushdie – who only wrote his books…because God allowed him to???
This is where you start sounding illogical again.
Do you mean to say that you would rather God step in and punish everyone, immediately, for every single bad thing we do? If you do, you’re not the first.
And when they come to you, they greet you with that by which Allah does not greet you and say among themselves, “Why does Allah not punish us for what we say?” Sufficient for them is Hell, which they will burn, and wretched is the destination.
Chapter 58 Verse 8
Like I said, you’re not saying anything that wasn’t said 1400 years ago.
Anyway, just because we believe Allah allows some people to do evil, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get angry about those people doing that evil.
Yes, Allah allowed Salman Rushdie to write his book. And Allah also allowed some Muslims to get angry. Why should one event nullify the other?
Your words smack of arrogance. Not only do you presume to know how Allah should act, you also presume to know how we Muslims should act! It’s like you expect us all to drop what we’re doing and just worship you since you think you know better than Allah and 1.5 billion Muslims.
To Pharaoh and his establishment, but they were arrogant and were a haughty people.
Chapter 23 Verse 46
And (Pharaoh) said, “I am your most exalted lord.”
Chapter 79 Verse 24
Allah Has You Pegged Perfectly
I can go on and on, but the rest of your comment is just more of the same. As for your followup comment:
Meanwhile, please consider another point which I would like to raise albeit somewhat politically sensitive : If Allah/God either decides to allow or disallow someone’s action and the outcome is deemed to be ‘Allah’s/God’s will’ (ie Inshallah),
that would imply Allah/God permits the suicide bombings so prevalent in the Middle East and consequently the loss of innocent life. Indeed, nearer home and today’s court hearing – Allah/God allowed Anders Breivik to slaughter 70+ innocent students.
Indeed, nearer home and today’s court hearing – Allah/God allowed Anders Breivik to slaughter 70+ innocent students. It would further imply that Allah/God allowed Josef Fritzl to keep imprisoned his daughter for 24 years and constantly rape her.
How an ANY creator allow this sort of action???
It is for this reason that I don’t believe prayers work….if Allah/God intervened in peoples lives directly, surely he would have done so in these horrific cases.
You’re pretty much saying the same thing: “If Allah exists, why does He allow this to happen?”
First you asked why does Allah allow natural disasters and accidents to happen. Now you’re asking why does He allow evil people to evil things. Well, let’s take your logic to its inevitable conclusion.
Just how much should God intervene? Should He not allow any natural disasters at all? Should He have not allowed the 2005 tsunami? Or the 2010 Haiti earthquake?
Should He have also stopped the floods in Bangladesh and Pakistan the past two years? Should He have stopped Hurricane Katrina? Should He have stopped the Alabama tornadoes last year that killed hundreds of people?
What about disasters that happen to other creatures? When it rains, some bird’s nest somewhere gets destroyed. There are some flies somewhere drowning in a puddle of water even as we speak. For these creatures, these are natural disasters. So using your logic, Allah should not let any of these things happen.
And you also believe He should stop all bad people from doing all bad things all the time. But how bad does something have to get before you’d expect Him to step in?
You say He should have stopped the Norwegian shooter and the suicide bombers. What about other bad people who do bad things? What about burglars? Pickpockets? People who download kiddie porn?
Do you really expect God to personally intervene in every bad thing that every person does? If not, at what level should He do so? Only when a death occurs? Only when a rape occurs?
Do you think He should have stopped the corrupt bankers who caused the current global recession? Should He do something about folks who cheat on their taxes? What about kids that steal cookies from their mom’s cookie jar?
I think it’s obvious that your argument is pointless and without merit.
Atheism Defies Logic
It is not us Muslims who are illogical.
It is you.
Your logic, as you have put before us, makes no sense.
Besides, this is not a question of logic. This is a question of belief.
You simply do not believe in Allah. That is what this all boils down to.
And since you like talking about what Allah should and should not do, I’ll leave you with this one to chew over:
But those who deny Our signs are deaf and dumb within darkness. Whomever Allah wills – He leaves astray; and whomever He wills – He puts him on a straight path.
Chapter 6 Verse 39