Letters to the Editor
Q: The following are questions asked by non-Muslims these days.
Non-Muslims do not ask ‘these days,’ but rather, have always been asking. However, in a new trend, it is (non-Arabic knowing) Muslims who have begun to ask these questions ‘these days’ in greater earnestness. They seem to be having some problem with their Lord.
Qushayri (fifth Islamic century) has stated:“He who asked, ‘why’ is driven away from his Lord’s mercy, care and presence.”
Q.Muslims always attack the Christian concept of Original Sin and the Hindu/Buddhist concept of Karma.
Muslims do not attack the said concepts. They have been prohibited by the Qur’an to attack other people’s beliefs. It says:
“And dispute not with the People of the Book save with that which is better,except for those among them who do wrong; and say (to them), ‘We believe in what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God is One; and to Him we have surrendered.” (29: 46)
But the conflict ariseswhen Muslims are antagonized by other religionists, whose purpose appears to be an effort to deflect the Muslims.
For the Muslim, problem starts with the Qur’an. Theyrefuse to submit themselves to any but one God, Lord of the world besides whom there is no God. That they do on the strength of the Qur’an itself. And that because, with a little study, they discover that it would have been impossible for any human to have produced it. So they study it some more, to, so to say, double check, and, not surprisingly, with their faculties of reason enhanced, they come to the same conclusion. Their conviction only gains strength. Could Muhammad (saws) have written it? The unhesitant answer is in the negative. So they apply to the Qur’an with greater earnestness. But, the outcome is the same as the Qur’an has worded in a different context:
“(Allah is) He who created the seven heavens one over another. You will not see in the creation of the All-compassionate any inconsistency. So, return your gaze, do you see any fissure? Then return your gaze again, and again, the sight returns to you humbled, and it is aweary.” (67: 3-4)
A reader of the Qur’an is humbled. He feels that if he accepted ideas and concepts that run contrary to the Qur’an, he would be unreasonable and dishonest to his conviction. This is where the problem starts. His detractors are angry and he becomes a target for criticism.If he replies that the said concepts have no basis in reason or revelation, he is told, “You are attacking our religion!”
The concept of ‘Original Sin’ (which, by now, the Christian world has discarded), is given no weight by the Qur’an, which states in no ambiguous terms:
“Have you then considered him who turned away?
He gave a little and then withheld?
Has he knowledge of the Unseen so that he sees.
Has he not been informed about what is in the Scriptures of Moses?
And of Abraham who fulfilled?
That no bearer of burden will bear the burden of another.
And that there is no more for man than what he strives for.”(53: 33-39)
Note in the above quote the verse: No bearer of burdenwill bear the burden of another.
Accordingly, in Islamic law, a father is not responsible for his son’s crime and vice versa. The Jewish holiest of the holy book, the Torah says that God punishes seven generations for the sins of one generation. Influenced by Islamic Law, most nations have adopted the same principle in their legal systems. However, its application is restricted to their own citizens.
As for other nations, they have filled volumes in history with accounts of savage killing of the innocent during wars. After the cessation of conflicts of the Second World War, the British destroyed whole of the German town Dresden, killing a quarter million people. Note the on-going killing of peasants, artisans and children by the Western powers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, etc. in our own times. Now they have coined a new cunning word ‘co-lateral (damage or responsibility)’ to justify their reckless and relentless killings.
With such dire results, are Muslims expected to ignore the Qur’anic injunction, and embrace the Christian concept of ‘Original Sin’? When Muslims reject what Christians have rejected, they are told, “You are attacking our religion!”
What applies to the above doctrine, also applies to the doctrine of Karmah. No court in India, will accept the excuse from a criminal that his crime was the result of Karmah.It was pre-destined to have happened.
Nevertheless, Muslims have always refrained themselves from criticizing Karmah, or any other Hindu/Buddhist religious doctrine. They follow the Qur’anic dictum, “(Say), to you, your religion; and to me my religion.”
Q. So how do you explain innocent children being born with AIDS?
Who gave the virus to the child: God, or his parents?
Q. Or being born deformed? Is it Allah’s will to make innocent children suffer?
You may answer your non-Muslim friend(s): Hopefully you know the connection between pollution of the earth and appearance of newest diseases that previous generations didn’t know about.
Who is responsible for the extensive use of pesticides in farms and fields that have corrupted the lands? Who is responsible for release of toxic industrial waste materials into land, water and air? Who decided to set up nuclear plants that leak radioactive elementspolluting the earth? Did you ever ask Americans, when you encountered one of them, why did they drop atom bombs on Japan although they were close to surrender? Or why did they use depleted uranium-coated bullets and bombs in Iraq? You are questioning God, but are you too scared of question the Americans why they and, following their threat to peace, other nations have been polluting the earth with the manufacture of nuclear bombs, that go a long way as one of the causes of deformed births?
A hypothetical question regarding deformed births, and God’s role in it,takes away your night’s sleep, but thousands of deformed actual births in Iraq do not. The objections raised by mischief mongers worry you but not the contaminated fish and milk found in several parts of the world!
Q: Does God think it’s funny to create Hermaphrodites and Schizophrenics?
God – glorified be He – doesn’t do anything funny. Watch out!
Your question arises out of ignorance of both ‘revelation’ as well as science.
Normally, there are two separate chromosomes in the cell that determine sex, one from the mother and one from the father. The female has XX chromosome, while the male carries an XY chromosome. When the sperm and egg join together at fertilization, the chromosomes of the egg and sperm will produce an embryo with either XX or XY chromosomes. Normally, XX will result in a female foetus while XY will be male. However, in very rare cases, when chromosomal abnormalities take place and the normal XX or XY does not happen, Hermaphrodites occur.
Now, Allah has designed an amazing and impossible-to-imitate replicating system that works unfailingly to a stunning accuracy. Afterfertilization, millions upon millions of changes and developments take place at the molecular, atomic, and quantum levels within the body.
If something goes amiss during the next nine monthsof pregnancy (or even later), then, it is not the occasion to challenge God on grounds that,‘Your system doesn’t work,’rather, it is time to thank Him that, miraculously, despite millions upon millions of changes, and chemical reactions, a new human being appeared at all. It is time to look into causes and efforts at cure for any deficiency. For instance, a report says that,
“In nearly every Indian state, fewer children are dying in infancy. Other findings are that while anaemia is widespread, rates have declined. Currently, over half the children in ten States and over half the mothers in eleven States continue to be anaemic.”
Medical care then can reduce fatalities. And, until causes and cures are found, and, if not found, then it is a scientific failure… until then, submission is the only pathway to avoid unhappiness, depression, and a rush into Kufr.
Veins: A singlemismatch, misplacement, or severance could mean a fatal disease
In addition to the complication visible above, there can be millions of other mismatches that could leadto disastrous results. It is Allah’s power that generally none of the millions go wrong. For example, there are three billion base pairs in the DNA housed in every of the 70trillions of cells in a human body. These three billion base pairs replicate (doubling up) within each of the trillions of cells of the body, every few hours. But the copying is faultless. For example,a single change in the order of amino acids in a chain of 146 amino acids causes a disease called Sickle Cell (haemoglobin).The replication fork of the bacterial chromosome moves about 1000 nucleotide per second. So, it is a miracle that despite millions of action, reaction and counteraction going on every moment, within the human body, within every cell, they remain normal, most of the time during their lives.
Put it this way: Imagine there are ten million people in a field running across each other, each in a different direction. One of them slips and falls. Are you going to question God for why he slipped, or should you, instead, attempt to determine reasons of the slip?
If you believe that God is responsible for that slip, you have to first give Him the credit for those 9,999,999 right moves, every second, in every cell of the body.
Now, there can be, and are, moral reasons too, based in wisdom, when God does not intervene once in a 10,000,000 instances to prevent that one misstep that could lead to schizophrenia or other diseases during or after birth. For example, by allowing that single misstep to take place, God tests out a man: Would he give thanks, praise Him, and submit to Him for those 9,999,999 right steps, or disbelieve in Him for that one misstep where He did not intervene but rather allowed natural laws to work as usual?
Q.When a child dies suddenly, then what happens to the soul? If the parents’ pray for the soul, does it help the soul of the child?
It does. It helps the parents too.
As for the soul, it returns to God.
Q: Is it the bad Karma of the parents that takes away the life of a child?
There isn’t anything like Karma in Islamic doctrine.He who gives life, has the right to take it away.
Q:Basically… a child did not experience any test in this world? So, how would He decide Hell or Heaven for him?
Perhaps you have not yet decided to read the Qur’an – at least once –which says: “Isn’t Allah the best of judges?” (95: 8)
This is what the Prophet implied when he was asked about the children of the polytheists. He said, “Their Lord is better knowing of them. It is He who created them and so knows them best. He knows how they would behave (had they not died young).”
According to another report, the Prophet sent a squadron to fight off an enemy force. They overcame them and killed most of them, including some children. When the Prophet came to know of it, he said, “Are not the best of you children of the pagans? There isn’t a child but is born on the Nature of Islam (and remains so) until he begins to talk. (It is at that point) that its parents make a Jew out of him, or a Christian out of him, or a Zoroastrian of him.”
There are other reports on this topic, but, after all, this is not a thesis for a degree that we should mention them all. A little bit of learning through self-learning might benefit the sincere.
However, it is an occasion to chant out glory to Allah for having shown special mercy by making us offspring of parents who were Muslims, such parents as who raised us Muslims. It also increases our reverence for our Prophet and love for him that he, once again, proves to be the ‘mercy of the two worlds,’ by having said that, “I prayed to My Lord not to torment children of the pagans, and He granted (the prayer).”
So, let your non-Muslim friends be consoled that any of their children dead in infancy, are, by virtue of the merciful Prophet, safe and sound in Paradise. Let them try and join them.
Q: Animals troubling humans or humans troubling animals:what is the justice to animals or the people?
Allah said in the Qur’an:
“Forbidden unto you are carrion, blood, swine’s flesh, what has been consecrated to other than Allah, a (beast) strangled (to death), or (died) by a violent blow, or by a fall from a height, or one gored with the horns (to death), and (that which was killed and) devoured by the wild beasts – unless you slaughtered them duly (before their death)– and what is slaughtered on the altars, (or) that you seek shares (in disputed divisions) by the divining arrows. All that is impiety. This day the unbelievers have despaired of your religion. But fear them not, rather, fear Me (alone). This day I have perfected your religion for you, have completed Myfavor unto you, and have approved for you as religion al-Islam. However, whoever is forced in extreme hunger (to resort to the unlawful) without any inclination for a sin, then, Allah is All-forgiving, All-kind.”(5: 3)
In the verse above (which is a single verse), Allah has said that He has completed His religion. No surprise then that His Messenger spoke on a topic not discussed in any other Scripture. He said, “Every oppressor will be made to compensate to the one he, or she, oppressed, to the extent that a hornless goat will receive retribution from a horned goat (that had struck it without cause).”
The Messenger also said, “A Prophet of Allah took rest under a tree when he was woken up by an ant’s bite. He ordered the nest burnt down. He was reprimanded, ‘Did you burn down a whole nest for the bite of a single ant?’”
Q: Is playing chess and carom, haram in Islam?
Carom is allowed, but betting is disallowed.
On chess, the majority opinion is that it is disallowed.
It is said that when the Sheikh Ameen al-Hussainirepresenting Palestinian and Syrian lands met Hitler, he offered him a simple gift: Seeds (called fusfus that Arabs chew commonly). Hitler inquired what it was, and when told, he remarked that “only those would need it who have lots of free time.”
Young Muslims playing chess in today’s circumstances are like a pack of goats surrounded by hungry wolves, picking up one here, another there, but the rest frolicking between themselves hoping that sooner or later the wolves will go away.