There is nothing so bad that there is no good in it. This has proven to be true in every challenge or struggle I’ve ever experienced in my life. Most recently it has once again proven true in my engagements with a group of atheists on Facebook. I’m constantly cautioned by those around me that engaging with them is a futile exercise and will only create doubts in my own mind about what I believe to be true. I respectfully disagree.
By engaging with these atheists, I am forced to rationalise my beliefs, my faith, my subscription to a set of laws that have proven to transcend specific periods of time, and in this there is much to be gained. It confirms that man-made laws have to constantly be adapted to cater for the changes in society, but laws based on sound principles are applicable at every stage of human development.
Muslims generally avoid taking a critical view of Islam because of the fear-mongering Imams that discourage such questioning. If you believe in something blindly, can that really be called faith or iman? Assuming that it can be considered as iman, how is blind belief ever going to strengthen that iman? Will that iman not then stifle and be fragile the moment it is challenged rationally by one that does not hold Islam in such high regard? Isn’t it then true that by not rationalising or clarifying your beliefs or at least trying to understand the logic behind the Islamic injunctions, you’re actually exposing yourself to a greater risk of misguidance or deviation, let alone the risk of being ‘convinced’ that your belief system is not credible, thereby resulting in you either holding on because of the fear of letting go, rather than holding on because you actually believe? Worse still, doesn’t it then expose you to the very real possibility of having that iman stripped away from you because of doubts that others could sow in your heart?
I strongly oppose the views of many that suggest that we must simply do and not question. How we question is the critical differentiator. But that we must question is unquestionable. That we must understand is undeniable. Yet we have mobs of Muslims running through the streets destroying private property in their display of outrage in defence of the image of Rasulullah (SAW) whilst at the same time being oblivious to the fact that Rasulullah (SAW) himself or his companions never responded in such a despicable or barbaric manner when the very person of our beloved prophet was directly and infinitely more abused and attacked by the disbelievers in Mecca and Taif and so many other incidents. When the entrails of a goat was thrown on Rasulullah (SAW) he didn’t pronounce the death sentence over those that did it. When he was stoned out of Taif and had the opportunity to have the entire town destroyed, he made dua for them to be guided and didn’t rally the companions into mobs to harass or destroy the property of anyone that got in the way of their ‘protest’.
This dignity and patience is absent in the mobs that profess to be protesting in the name of defending the honour of Islam and the Prophet (SAW). All they’re doing is revealing their barbaric tendencies and ignorance of the true values that Islam inculcates in us. I still maintain that the Muslims are directly responsible for the tarnished image of Islam today. If we conducted ourselves with integrity and dignity in line with Islamic principles, we would be above the reproach that is being levelled against us, because it would have been easy for the layman atheist to even determine that any such unfounded criticism against us is exactly that, unfounded.
It’s time to stop blaming cartoonists and pathetic attempts at sensationalism for the attack on Islam, and start looking inwardly at our own communities and personal behaviour that maligns the honour of the Prophet (SAW) much more than any despicable cartoon or video could ever do.