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Why Do We Need Islam? Aren’t We Better Off Without It?!

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Nov 06, 2016

Question

Religion is really a waste time of people. Religion is waste to everyone. People died for the sake of countless "gods". Long before the birth of Christ and Islam, our ancestors worshiped the sun, moon, fire, animals, etc. People worshiped for the sake of worshiping. There is a sixth sense in their mind that there is an existence of the "superhuman". One that possesses absolute ability. With such comfort of existence in place, humans pursue spiritual guidance but do not challenge its "existence". Questions such as... "Are we alone in the universe?", "Does God exist?", "Why monkeys do not worship gods?", etc so and so... Take Islam for example. If Islam is so perfect, the entire world would have been the Muslim’s earth of today. Many of the teachings of Islam is becoming obsolete with time. Such is the example of Muslims men can have 4 wives. But our genetics chances of males & females is 50-50. If every Muslim man have 4 wives today, three quarters of the Muslims men would now be bachelors. As for the chopping of limps for stealing, this form of amputation have been practiced in ancient China, long before the birth of Islam. However, such justice has been intermixed with religion. Such practices are currently banned throughout civilized nations. Plus the stoning to death by adultery, and so on. The way women dress, why not men too? Is men wearing western or American blue jeans a form of "un-Islamic"? The eating of pork is a tenet of Islam. As far as I am concerned, If Mohammad dislike eating pork, please do not encourage his followers likewise. There is a saying, you narrow your quest, you narrow your mind... Such method only encourages "inward" self. At that time, Mohammad the messenger of Allah, only rides on a camel to spread the teachings of Allah. If Allah "Almighty" is so powerful, why not give him a space ship to travel... faster? Also, religion should come from the heart, not justice and laws, etc.

Consultant

Answer


Why Do We Need Islam

Salam (Peace) Dear Brother,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

It is my pleasure to correspond with you. Your question is rather more than one question, but if you permit me, I will try to answer you. Bear with me as my answer will, of necessity, be quite long. You say one thing but perhaps you really believe something else? Let me see if I can explain to you some of the benefits of Islam.

For example, I believe Man first came to earth with knowledge. He was not ignorant. He had been taught by God. It was only when Man lost contact with God that he became primitive and took to worshiping idols. It is up to each one of us to find our way back to the One True God.

Let us look around us. What do we see; we see cars, buildings, planes, boats, bridges railways and so on. All of which have been constructed by mankind. In other words, Man can utilize the resources available but he cannot make the resources. Then, if we look again we can see animals, vegetation, birds, mountains and valleys, the sky, stars, moon and the sun, along with mankind.

Where did they all come from? These are the things that man did not make. Do they just happen to be there? Can man create an egg or a seed? Even the woman comes into the world with her life-time supply of eggs. So, Man is not a creator, he can only utilize the resources, which are already provided.

Let us look again, this time at the desert either sand or ice. We may see tracks or bones. Do we have to see the creatures that made the tracks or left the bones to know what they were? In general, we can tell a lot from the tracks or the bones as to what type of animal it was, without even seeing it.

In the Empty Quarter, the big desert in the south of Saudi Arabia, the desert Arabs can tell the age of the camel, the sex of the camel, whether the camels were lightly loaded or more heavily loaded and to what tribe the camels belonged, simply from the tracks left in the desert. So, we do not have to actually see something to believe in it.

This is true for God. Man cannot see God. We see Him by His signs. His signs are His creation. A mountain reflects the glory of its Creator, it cannot do anything other than be a mountain. This is similar for every aspect of God’s creation.

While our own tongue may be denying God, our bodies are functioning exactly as He created them. In our own life-times our heart will pump about 40 railway wagons of blood in each month, and a river of blood in our life-time, generally with no help from ourselves. This is an example of the signs of God!

You give an example of the ‘monkeys do not worship God’. I would ask, How do you know? For example the ‘dawn chorus’ of birds may be their form of worship of God. Any part of creation is reflecting its Creator simply by being itself. A monkey cannot be other than a monkey. It functions as a monkey because it was created to be a monkey.

In India, there are monkeys which if they eat a plant which is poisonous to them, they know to eat some other plant which is the antidote to the poison. How do they know that? Who taught it to them? I would suggest their Creator. There are many such examples, which we take for granted simply because we don’t want to believe in a Creator…

I went away from Christianity and became Muslim some eight years later. I, too, was a little skeptical. However, I didn’t believe we were like birds coming from where we knew not, through a window and into a room lit like daylight, where we spend some time and then exit by another window into total darkness to where we know not. I felt there had to be more to life than that.

Islam answers questions like:

  • Where did I come from?
  • Why am I here?
  • Where am I going?

Allah tells us in the Quran, He created Man from sounding clay and breathed into him the soul. Allah also tells us, He created mankind and spirits to worship Him. He created Man in the best possible mould to do this. He also tells us, We will return to Him. Why Do We Need Islam

So, we should prepare ourselves for that meeting. Only then will we know if we have been successful or not in this life. We trust in the mercy of Allah that we will be successful… After all, Allah promises us that if we follow the guidance that is coming from Him – in the form of the Quran and the practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – we shall have no fear nor shall we grieve, meaning that we will be successful in the next life.

As for your comment: “if Islam is so perfect”, well, in Chapter 5 verse 3 of the Quran we read he meaning of:

{Today have I perfected My favor upon you, and completed your religion for you, and chosen Islam as your way of life.}

Complete and perfect: no omission no commission, no addition no subtraction, no modification and no editing…

Also, the whole earth has been declared a mosque for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers. So, it is not even necessary to have a building to be able to pray or to worship God.

Now, you suggest: “many of the Islamic teachings become obsolete with time.”

Personally, I – and many Muslims – would dispute this with you. Islam has the solutions to the world’s problems for all time. Let me come back to that as you raise the point of a Muslim being allowed to marry four wives and with the population being split more or less evenly between males and females, this resulting in many men (75%) not being able to find wives! Let us look into this…

First, your figures of 50/50 are not quite right; there are probably more women than men in the world. In New York there are more than a million women than men. However, during the war between x-USSR and Afghanistan there were many Afghan men killed. Similarly, in the Iraq/Iran war there were many men killed on both sides. At times like these there is an imbalance in the population, what are the women to do?

Islam safeguards them by allowing a man, provided he can afford it and can treat them equitably to marry up to four wives. It is conditional on the man treating all his wives equally, something which is very difficult in real life. So, you see there are times when such an allowance would need to be applied more than at other times.

Not only for the reason already given, but some men are simply not satisfied with one woman, they have affairs. Who suffers: the children and the wife? Islam allows for this situation by insisting on the second woman being a wife. This way she has rights and obligations and so do the children.

In Islam, the woman is a sister, a wife, a mother or a daughter. She is not a mistress, a concubine nor a kept woman. The woman has her status and respect.

In China, the government brought in the 4 grand-parents, 2 parents and 1 child system. It has caused some problems as I found out when I was there in 1989. Who looks after the children when the parents both want to go out to work and the house is not big enough to house the child’s grandparents?

Since the girl, when she gets married, goes to live with the husband’s family, who looks after her parents now that the family can only have one child?

There have also been instances where boys are preferred to girls and drastic steps may be taken. Islam came to abolish child infanticide, the killing of baby girls at birth.Why Do We Need Islam

This was a practice prevailing at the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and it was stopped by the Prophet (peace be upon him) when Islam came. Islam encourages extended families.

These are just a couple of instances where Islam is certainly not obsolete.

I said Islam has the solution to the problems of the world for all time. May I request you make a list of the problems you think are prevalent in the world, then compare those with Islam and see for yourself if Islam does have the solution? For example: I might suggest the following: drugs and alcohol; sex, prostitution and illegitimate children; wars; crime; interest and usury etc.

For drugs, Islam totally forbids them. For alcohol, there is some benefit and some harm, the harm outweighs the benefit, do not come near to alcohol – totally prohibited.

As for sex and prostitution, I have already given the status of women in Islam. Also, the four wives is a solution for those men who are not satisfied with one woman. There is also control for those who aren’t married. “Marry as soon as you can afford it,” Muslims are advised, and if you cannot afford it and have trouble controlling yourself then fast.

A young man told the prophet (peace be upon him) that he wanted to fornicate. The companions of the prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) were aghast and tried to stop him talking.

The prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Let him speak.”

Then the prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Would you like someone to do it to your sister, your mother, your daughter or your wife?”

Here, the young man promised he would not indulge in fornication. With societies following such guidelines, I think you would agree there would be a drop in the number of births outside marriage.

As for wars, this is always difficult but I will simply say: “Where are the Muslims fighting wars of aggression? Where are the Muslims fighting for something that has not been promised to them? Where is the justice?”

You must know the situation with the Uighurs and what has happened to them. The Philippines promised an autonomous region for the Muslims with the 1960 Tripoli Accord, only it was never implemented.

The Middle East is racked by the Palestinians being displaced by Israeli’s. Yet, at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, the League of Nations called for a State of Israel alongside the State of Palestine. Where is the State of Palestine today?

In Afghanistan it was the Russians who caused the war. In Yugoslavia it wasn’t the Muslims who caused the war and they had no weapons to fight with due to an embargo. We could go on… Even in China I think you would agree there have been wars which have not involved religion. It is not the religion, it is Man’s greed. Why Do We Need Islam

I mentioned crime in general, but specifically let us consider cutting hands. I sometimes think people assume amputations of hands for stealing is an automatic punishment.

The fact China used to cut the hand suggests there may be good things in Chinese culture if only the wisdom was understood today. To suggest “good things are intermixed with religion” is not quite right.

In any way of life there will be some things that are ‘disliked’ by some. Some things will seem harsher than others, but would it be a good system if there was no or next to no punishment?

It would be best if people believed in the system they lived by, then everyone would simply do their best. They would not be interested in doing their best at the expense of others.

In fact, Islam is not simply a religion but a total way of life. There will be some things we will find harsh. Some punishments have been decreed by Allah. These are fixed. Man cannot change them.

However, to assume a hand will be cut automatically for theft is wrong. Sharia (Islamic law) is only applied to the maximum if there are no extenuating circumstances. If I were to tell you that there were only four amputations in Saudi Arabia in the past decade you will have some idea of how flexible, rather than rigid, the system really is.

This writer spent 23 years in Saudi Arabia and I only saw one severed hand. This was for a policeman who had been on duty outside a bank when Saudi Arabia was using cash. People would take bundles of notes to and from the bank in their pockets or in brief cases.

This policeman had watched some 37 people put brief-cases full of notes into their cars and then go off shopping. He broke into the cars and stole the brief cases. Since he was considered beyond rehabilitation his hand was cut.

Now, look at the impact on the society. The whole area, Dhahran, was quiet for weeks afterwards. Every one was remembering the amputation when they went to the Mosque.

Contrast this atmosphere with the Great Train Robbery in the UK where the amount involved would be about the same as the total amount the policeman stole in Saudi Arabia. People were openly speculating as to whether the criminals would be caught and what would be their punishment.

In fact, they even made a film about it. Wasn’t this a way of glorifying crime? What was the impact of this crime and the criminal’s punishment on society compared to the incident in Dhahran? Vastly different and very ineffective, in my opinion!

As for your mentioning of clothes, in Islam both men and women are told to cover certain parts of their body when they go out. For example there is a specific type of swimming costume for men and another one for women – when women are swimming with women. Men are supposed to wear long shorts to their knees when they play football for example.

Women are told to cover their hair and to pull their jilbab (wide long dresses) around them when they go out. They are also told only to show their hands and their feet. As for covering the face, it is optional. How would you prefer your wife to dress when she goes out, with or without you? Should she display herself or should she dress modestly?

Your comment concerning ‘American blue jeans’ does have some merit, as men are supposed to avoid wearing tight fitting clothes especially trousers. There is nothing anti-Islamic in the blue jeans style, except the tightness. That is whether for blue jeans or any other styles.

Then you come to dietary restrictions, e.g. pig products. Since Muslims believe that total knowledge is with Allah, that nothing exists outside of His knowledge, and the future is already known to Him; if He tells us something is bad for us, or forbids us to eat it that is perfectly acceptable as He knows and we don’t know.

On this basis, I believe we should not try to rationalize what Allah specifically forbids us. It is not a question of Muhammad (peace be upon him) liking or disliking, it is a question of Allah forbidding. Why Do We Need Islam

Your comment on Muhammad (peace be upon him) riding a camel while he could travel faster on a space-ship goes against the basic element of learning. It is not a question of speed. It is a question of how fast or how much can be absorbed. The Quran was revealed over 23 years.

Do you think if it had all been revealed at once, people would have learnt it and acted on it? Their hearts, as you so rightly point out, have to accept and absorb the message of the Quran.

If you read the Quran from the back, you will find these generally short chapters were revealed to strengthen the faith of the people. They deal mainly with one problem in the society at a time.

They also show how uniquely intertwined was the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the revelation. Actually the revelation did come to solve problems in the society, and the society did learn and apply the teachings in the Quran.

In fact, people used to memorize 5 verses at a time and only when they were acting on them would they learn another 5 verses and act on them and so on. At the time of Muhammad (peace be upon him) there were some 18 people in Makkah and 12 in Madinah who could read and write.

The desert Arabs were wielded into a coherent group that eventually swept out of the desert and, within a few years of the demise of Muhammad (peace be upon him), Islam had spread to the borders of China and the borders of France and Austria. This wasn’t done by coercion, force or the sword. How many people would be needed for that? No! It was done by assimilation.

I totally agree with you that religion is in the heart. Once it is there it should control all our actions, we should be our own policeman. Police forces are something from the 18th century; they are not something from early civilizations. Man has forgotten how to control himself.

Justice is how one deals with fellowman, with the rest of creation, and the relationship we have with our Creator. If faith and belief are not in the heart we may see people saying one thing and doing another, or people arguing simply for the sake of arguing. If faith and belief are in the heart then we should see people living what they are saying.

Another point worth mentioning is usury. We only have to look at the third world and developing countries to see the impact of debt and usury. The World Bank and the IMF are quite happy lending money but they want more back than they lend, which is the case for every bank. Is this guaranteed unearned practically risk free income fair to the borrower?

Look at the number of people in debt and at the countries also and one can only wonder why such a system is allowed to continue. We are told by UN reports, the world’s richest 200 people own more wealth than the world’s poorest 1.5 billion people. Does this suggest capitalism is working? If you ask 200 people the answer will be, Yes! But if you ask 1.5 billion the answer is, No!

Islam seeks to redistribute wealth over about three generations by the laws of inheritance and by the obligatory wealth payment (zakat) of 2.5% of any annual accrued wealth (above a certain minimum). Zakat can only be paid to some eight categories of people as their right. This also helps us to remember that whatever we have is not ours, we hold it in trust from Allah, for as long as He wills.

I apologize for the length of this article, but you raised so many issues. I feel, even after all this that I haven’t done justice to all the points you raise, so forgive my shortcomings. Please feel free to ask more questions if you would like to.

However, I would like to share with you one last point:

Allah:

The unique usage of Allah as a personal name of God is a reflection of Islam’s emphasis on the purity of belief in God, which is the essence of the message of all God’s messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a deadly sin which God will never forgive, despite the fact He may forgive all other sins.

The Creator must be of a different nature from that of the created, because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the Maker is not temporal, He must be eternal. But if He is eternal, He cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside of Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that He must be self-sufficient. Why Do We Need Islam

Thus, if he does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is, therefore, Eternal and Everlasting. He is the first and the last. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the Ultimate Cause of whatever happens to them.

If the Creator is eternal and everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then His attributes are absolute. Can there be more than One Creator with such powerful attributes? A moments thought shows it isn’t feasible.

May we all learn the purpose of our lives and strive to do the best we can to improve ourselves, the society we live in and humanity in general; and may we help to make the world become a better place, amen.

Thank you again for your question and please, do keep in touch.

Salam.




About Daud Matthews

Daud Matthews was born in 1938, he embraced Islam in 1970, and got married in Pakistan in 1973.

Matthews studied physics and subsequently achieved Chartered Engineer, Fellow of both the British Computer Society and the Institute of Management.He was working initially in physics research labs, he then moved to computer management in 1971. He lived and worked in Saudi Arabia from 1974 to 1997 first with the University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran,and then with King Saud University in Riyadh. He's been involved in da'wah since 1986.

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