Thank you for reading my previous entry entitled Answering 10 Most Glaring Misconceptions About Islam. I was so surprised by the higher-than-usual traffic according to the WordPress’ statistical report. I hope that it answers most of the questions, especially for the non-Muslims who wish to learn more about Islam.
Today, I plan to answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posed by internet users in their quest to search for the truth about Islam.
As a start, we have to acknowledge that we are living in the era of the open world, or the borderless world. We can get any information about anything from the internet and social media. Youtube, for example, would suggest more videos according to our past activities and preferences. Therefore, we are more likely to receive suggestions for videos that suit our liking.
But, how about those who want to get more information about something that is related to “the truth about Islam“? Can they still get the right answers to their questions despite the geographical barriers and boundaries?
Here, I plan to pen down some explanations to the three most frequently asked questions by the “truth seekers” within the online social media platforms. We sometimes can get better answers from famous scholars on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, but I would like to provide alternative explanations for their inquisitiveness.
Q1. If “hidayah” (or spiritual guidance) is from Allah, then why are the people who did not get the hidayah are sent to hellfire or being penalized, whereas it is not their fault for not getting the guidance?
First, we have to understand that humans are born together with the “tools to receive” the hidayah. Similar to utilizing a compass in a quest to get to the right destinations, our main tool to receive the hidayah is actually called “the brain“.
Let say if we had to find our teacher, and we are given a GPS or a Google Map app on our mobile phone, what should we do?
We, of course, must first and foremost have the desire “to seek for the truth” which in this case, the sense of urgency “to find a teacher.”
What do we need to do? Do we just sit back and do nothing though we know that we must find a teacher let say for the purpose of preparing for an examination?
If I were a guy who’s told to find a teacher but just simply goes around using the GPS and asks for help from the wrong people, like a madman or an unknown stranger, then I would probably be sent to a wrong place.
But if there was a guy who is clearly smart and can use his own “brain and thinking faculty” by asking the right people, in the end, he might be given an answer like the coordinate of his teacher’s place or a specific address.
Even, if it is possible, by asking the teacher himself, he might get the answer quickly and positively. On top of that, the teacher would feel very happy that the student is working so hard in searching for an answer.
It is also similar to our daily lives. We should use our ears to listen, our eyes to read, our hands to make use, our feet to walk or to move, our hearts to feel and our brain to think.
But, the real guidance is about using all the above “correctly“.
The best way to know about the truth is by asking our creator Himself on how to use this equipment. We can ask by just talking to him like, “Oh my creator, I know that you always listen. So please guide me to the truth, to you.”
Actually, the art of talking to God is very easy. You just simply talk, because He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing. That was what happened to the famous revert from the United States of America, Syeikh Yusuf Estes. He was a Christian priest, but then he asked God for an answer not long after he met an Egyptian Muslim who told him about Islam.
When you want to know the truth, you can straight away realize that you are on the right path or you aren’t. But if you are not looking for the truth, all you can see and think of are the excuses.
Take for an example you want to find a place at a foreign land. You don’t know whether the Google Map is showing you to the right place (or not). Because, based on your logic, the place should not be that far, but Google Map says it should take 4 hours to reach the destination. In that case, what should you do?
A right-minded person would immediately ask someone he can trust. If that someone says, “yeah it is the right place that Google is showing. Google wouldn’t lie!”
But your logic still says that it doesn’t make sense. The next best thing is by calling the person you want to meet or perhaps the people who live in that country because they should know better.
This is the simplest way we can understand the terminology of “seeking for the truth” in theology.
Asking the person you want to meet (or the destination) in a foreign land means similar to asking Allah for His guidance to the truth or to be with Him.
If you cannot do this for whatever reason, you can ask the people of that land or the natives, to show you how to get to the place. It is the same as you ask the Muslims about their religion. Because they are the natives of the Muslim world!
Q2: Why Muslims in the past allow a child or a very young girl to marry an adult man?
First of all, no man should marry newborn babies, young children or even to force them to marry someone. Marriage must be due to the willingness of both the bridegroom and bride to become a husband and wife. Their parents must also be willing to allow their adult children to get married and be consented to do so. If they do not have parents who are still alive, they should be represented by a matured and wise adult to give blessings for the arrangement of marriage. This is the norm in any civilization or culture.
Human beings, must also live their life naturally and not against nature. It means that they must marry the opposite sex and not the same sex. So, if someone marries the opposite sex, then that is normal. What we are facing in this world today is that marrying the opposite sex is considered lame and boring, but the same sex is something that we must accept. This is absurd! If this is already happening, why are these people are complaining about child marriage?! These Donald Ducks can be only called “the confused people” actually!
Secondly, in the past, not only the Arab culture promotes arranged marriage, but also other cultures and religion. Sometimes, the Malay tradition also allows parents to conclude future marriages or to engage their children at a tender age to their relatives, cousins, friends, and people with stature. This is now considered as “backwardness” but not in the past. In the past, the loving and caring relationships can be developed after the marriage has been concluded, or perhaps even after they have tied the knot.
As time goes by, when the information is already made opened and the new generations are more exposed to the “modern concept of love“, then Muslims parents nowadays allow their young adult children to get to know their future partners before they can decide whom to be their future son or daughter in law. In most cases, Muslim parents still control the decision making of their children by giving them some boundaries or principles such as the ability to provide the family with good and stable income, the level of education, the understanding of cultures and so on so forth.
Therefore, there is no problem with the marriage principles as this is truly dependent on the culture of one society. If one person does not like one culture, he or she cannot force other people to follow his or her preference. On the other hand, Muslims cannot force other people to accept the openness of marriage in Islam such as polygamy and arranged marriage.
Q3: Why Islam allows the men to marry more than one wife or polygamy?
In the Quran, it says that men should marry one, two, three or four, but if you cannot bring justice to the wives, then marry only one!
Well, this is, of course, the principle. But, if you conduct a survey, Muslim men are not the type of creatures who like to find trouble and get married more than once. The majority of them are a very polite, responsible and good father and husband.
However, my view is that this should not be used as the opportunity to put Islam in a bad light. In Islam, marriage is a sacred institution and a man cannot by any means treating women unjustly. They also must put women higher than men, such as the saying that “heavens are at the feet of your mothers!” and “wives are the source of strengths of the prophet.”
In Islam, we have acknowledged the importance of women. One of such exemplary woman is Sayyadatina Khadija r.a. who was the first wife of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. She was a leader in her community, a businesswoman and also the first one to embrace Islam. When she was alive, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w has never married to other women except her.
In this sense, we can understand the two example. As Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is a Prophet who was sent down as a blessing and also example to the mankind, Allah s.w.t with all of His Wisdom, allowed Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. to have two phases of marriage lives. One when he was married to only one most beloved wife, Sayyadatina Khadijah r.a., and then the next is when he was allowed to marry more than one wives although this was not due to his own wants (but merely due to Allah’s decree and in most cases, the requests by his companions). It was also the culture of the nobles during the past golden era of human civilization like 1,400 years ago, where Kings and Chieftains were seen as of higher stature in the society if having more than one wives!
So, the conclusion is that Islam allows you to marry more than one, but it is up to you to decide whether you want to commit yourself into the trouble (of managing the emotions of many wives) or just be peacefully living your life with just one wife. Haha!
If you ask me whether Islam is the truth? As a Muslim, of course, the answer is that Islam is the truth!
However, if you use a logical sense of your thinking faculty, you must be mad to ask the question about, “whether Islam is the truth or not?”
You should be asking, “why Islam exists in the first place?”
Also, you should ask, “why, after Judaism and Christianity existed more than 2,000 years ago, Islam is still the fastest growing religion? And it is probably the biggest religion in the world, which the majority of its followers are following the principles and the tenets of Islam?”
In my opinion, Islam is the final opportunity for mankind to accept the call from our creator whether we really want to be His servants or He can just simply replace us with other creations that can do what we cannot do. Ironically, compared to other religions, Islam is the only widespread religion that has now really reached the whole area of the world as Allah has promised in the Quran:
“And [thus, O Prophet,] We have sent thee as [evidence of Our] grace towards all the worlds.” (Quran 21:107) and “[Be patient:] for this is nought else but a reminder [from God] to all mankind.” (Quran 68:52).
Therefore, since it is already fulfilled (which was considered impossible in the past as the Quran was not heard in New Zealand or Iceland 1,400 years ago); but now with the internet and borderless world concept, anything is possible!
There you go! The truth is already here. It is up to you to decide whether you want to seek further the truth, or just ignore and put this aside.