By trying to live as a devout Muslim, I have come to feel close to God and I don’t think I have ever experienced a love as great as the love of Allah. In the past few weeks, I have even found myself in tears during supererogatory prayers.
I was reading your article on the importance of searching for and submitting to whatever it is that we perceive to be true. When I look back at my reasons for becoming a Muslim (in the true sense of the word), I am at once struck by disappointment and fear. I was sloppy in my search for the truth, for I did not thoroughly study other religions, philosophies or forms of spirituality. I needed God in my life and so I quickly resorted to the most familiar and accessible option, which for me was Islam. I had briefly studied Judaism, Christianity, Bahaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but I never accomplished the kind of careful research and analysis that is evident in (for instance) your article about corruption in the Bible. My reversion to Islam occurred out of feelings of emptiness and desperation, at the expense of intellectual and academic honesty. I feel guilty and I suspect that God is not terribly pleased about this. So far, these are the steps I have taken to solve this vexing problem:
I have repented and asked for God’s forgiveness
I will remain a Muslim, but will undertake a serious and thorough study of other religions, forms of spirituality and philosophies (including atheism).
If, somehow, I realize that I was wrong about the truth of Islam, I would take the necessary steps to submit to whatever it is that I understand and perceive to be the truth regarding the meaning of our existence.
I was hoping that you may be able to give me some advice, as I am not quite sure if my efforts at reparation thus far are adequate in God’s sight. May Allah bless you and reward you for all your efforts in His way.
My referred writing does not imply that a person should not adhere to a creed or religion, as long as he has not completed a thorough study of all the philosophies and religions of the world. In fact, I would consider a thorough and comprehensive study of ALL religions, simultaneously, to be almost impossible for an ordinary human being, like myself. On the contrary, in my referred writing, I had only implied that a person should always keep his mind and heart open for any and every truth that may come his way. He should never allow his arrogance and any prejudice with his existing set of beliefs to hinder him from submitting to something, which even though is different or contrary to his existing set of beliefs, yet is actually the truth.
To further elaborate my point of view, I’ll try to give you a practical example. Take the case of a person who ascribes to religion X. Now, what I imply is not that the person should take up a thorough study of each and every religion and then, submitting to the ‘truth’, should ascribe to the religion which he understands to be based upon God’s truth. On the contrary, what I imply is that the person ascribing to religion X should keep his heart and mind open for all information that might come his way, even if that information is against his existing set of beliefs. Generally, information against one’s existing set of beliefs can either be in the form of information, which refutes the bases of one’s existing set of beliefs or in the form of one, which exposes one to a set of beliefs, which is based upon stronger reasoning and is more coherent with the inherent values and nature of man. In either case, the person should be willing and open to acceptance of whatever he understands to be the ‘truth’.
One may have any reason to ascribe to a particular creed or religion. This reason may range from spiritual gratification to intellectual satisfaction. None of these reasons is condemnable, as such. Nevertheless, if one’s ascription to a particular creed – for whatever reasons it may be – hinders him from accepting a ‘truth’, which one becomes exposed to, even after being fully convinced of it and even after having thoroughly investigated it, then such ascription is more condemnable than commendable.
This attitude of keeping one’s heart and mind open and receptive to what one understands to be God’s truth, is as much a requirement from a Muslim as from a person ascribing to any other creed.
I hope this helps.
August 31, 2001