Welcome to my blog!

This blog is an honest look at what life is like for this particular American convert to Islam. We're taught in Islam to cover our sins, to not air them, for fear of lessening the severity of sinning. In this blog, I may relate past indiscretions from time to time. This isn't to make light of them, but in the interest of educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to the realities of life as an American convert, I present my mistakes honestly. I make no excuses for them, nor do I claim that they were okay to make. I am not perfect, and I make no pretenses as to that. If others can learn from my past, know that Islam, and religion in general, is open for people no matter what mistakes they've made, then I will gladly air my sins when needed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Logical Faith

Looks like Mondays and Thursdays are my scheduled posting days. We'll see how this goes. :)

I was told recently that once one knew the rules of a faith (Islam, in this case), once one knew what God wanted one to do, then one couldn't possibly apply logic to the rules, only blindly follow.

I took issue with this.

I came to Islam through a logical process. I've tried being atheist. It didn't work. Agnosticism only worked slightly better. The thought of multiple gods, though appealing at one point in my life, was no longer working. I've always felt a spiritual power in life, whether or not I identified it as such. Buddhism and Taoism, though paths that I greatly admire and respect, don't quite do it for me. It seems there's something more, something they don't quite get, to my mind. I never got the concept of the Trinity in Christianity, either.

When I was 17 and playing a World of Darkness mortals game, I made my character Muslim. I had to do a lot of research into Islam, because I'm anal like that. The more I researched, the more it appealed to me. What it says about women and women's rights, about how to treat others, about how to fight wars, about how violence ought to be a very last resort, is inspiring. While still raising questions, and while my faith still fluctuates in a quite natural manner, Islam has always been a very logical faith to me.

Therefore, you can imagine the irritation I felt when I was told that I had to blindly follow orders, without question, even to the detriment of my physical health.

I refuse. Faith necessarily includes a suspension of logic at times (logically, I'm going to be jobless and poor for a damn long tie, but I have faith that I'll get a job soon, that something will happen in my favour), but it should also make sense. You should know why you do something, and you should be encouraged in seeking knowledge about it.

So I ask questions. I feel that I'm required to not drink alcohol, but why is that prohibition in place? Actually, that's a bad example. I don't like alcohol and alcoholism runs in my family so I stopped drinking long before I converted, so I haven't looked into that particular prohibition.

I'm prohibited from eating pork. Why? What is it about pig meat that God deems unclean? Are animals spiritually unclean? How can they be, since they have no free will and are therefore acting in complete accordance with God's will? Pigs are more muslim than Muslims. So why can't we eat their flesh?

Have you heard of trichinosis? According to Science, it's a parasitical infection caused by eating raw or undercooked pork. What about neurocysticercosis, which causes the same Swiss-cheesing of the brain that Alzheimer's causes?

In a time when people wouldn't accept the reality of bacteria and other invisible creatures, and weren't aware of proper cooking temperatures for meat (what we now call "proper," at any rate), that prohibition makes sense. There's logic to it.

The Qur'an extorts us to seek knowledge, every single Muslim (Qur'an 20:114, 26:83-84). Numerous hadith also implore us to constantly learn (Ibn Majah 1/224 andTirmidhi 218, Bukhari 1/67, Muslim 6518, Tirmidhi  222). Islam is hugely against blind faith. Yes, we follow God's laws as best we can. Yes, sometimes they don't make sense and we question them, hopefully whilst still following them. But it's not wrong to question them. I'm not questioning why I can't eat pork in order to be difficult or to find a way to be able to eat pork. I'm questioning because I want to know why - I want to better understand God's laws.

"Because I said so" only works for so long. Eventually, children grow up and start thinking on their own and if adults can't give them a good, solid reason to act a certain way, they'll often rebel and do something different. A responsible parent will respect their child's curiosity and self-determination and explain why, as well.

Many, many times the Qur'an will lay down a command, or, more often, a suggestion, and will follow it up with a reason that it should be followed (Qur'an 33:59). God explains things for us in the Qur'an. God doesn't just say "Do this because I said so." God says "Do this, and this is why." Or, "You can do this, but doing that is better, because of this other thing."

I demand that my faith be logical. I won't stop asking questions. I will do my utmost to not take things on blind faith and follow them without having a good reason why. If this upsets some people, so be it. But faith should always make logical sense to those who have it.

My take on muslim/Muslim coming on Monday, God willing! :D

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