The Importance of Establishing Your Own Faith

Skepticism: not sure that you can even know anything.

Cynicism: not really matters.

Nihilism: the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.

Many of us have substituted personal faith, personal convictions, personal principles for abstracts: justice, equality, etc.

But what happens if you are unable to attain (different than strive for) justice or equality?

Abstractions: progress. We are fed a myth of progress but what progress can there be without a personally held belief and conviction in God?

This is why so many have turned to activism as a substitute, not a supplement, to faith, religion, and deen.

Many of us are unaware of the tyranny we live under: the tyranny of ideas and abstractions that coerce us into expressing our Islam through it. And often when we are unwilling or unable to do so, we jettison Islam in favor of this new form of revelation.

Knowledge, experience, and meaning: this is our crisis but it’s also our way out.

Knowledge of la ilaha illa’Allah, as witnessed through the creation.

Experiencing Allah’s oneness, power, mercy, wisdom, judgment, etc.

Putting these two together to conclude: there is meaning to life.

Treating the problem: stop seeing Islam as some sort of abstract collection of beliefs, rules, and regulations. There are rules, but they are part of a grander goal, objective and meaning.

The downside of this approach with our Islam is we tend to look at all problems and challenges in life theoretically, whereby real situations are reduced to mere possibilities and the people around us are reduced to objects.

Real situations are reduced to mere possibilities: we must have an Islamic state/society or our Islam cannot be fully realized.

The people around us are reduced to objects: non-Muslims/the kafir is [wrongfully seen] as something to either overcome, subdue, or if unable to accomplish that goal, assimilate to and subjugate ourselves to their rubric of reality.

Surah al-‘Asr [Qur’an 103: 1-3] and the Fundamentals of Reality:

وَالعَصرِ
إِنَّ الإِنسانَ لَفي خُسرٍ
إِلَّا الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّالِحاتِ وَتَواصَوا بِالحَقِّ وَتَواصَوا بِالصَّبرِ

  1. By the passage of time (and no matter the time), Man is lost [1-2].
  2. Except for the ones which [3]:
    • Personally believe and
    • Do good works.
  3. Faith/conviction of immutable morals/truths give one the strength to overcome, not others, but oneself.
  4. One’s ability to purify and dominate one’s self allows one to act selflessly (good works).
  5. From there one is ready work with a collective, striving for
    • the Truth and
    • persevere through all forms of adversity.

Cynicism: One of the Challenges Facing Muslims Today – A Khutbah by Imam Marc Manley

 

The Qur’an is a gift. And it is the means by which we can live well:

وَما أَرسَلنا مِن رَسولٍ إِلّا بِلِسانِ قَومِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُم ۖ فَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَن يَشاءُ وَيَهدي مَن يَشاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ العَزيزُ الحَكيمُ

وَلَقَد أَرسَلنا موسىٰ بِآياتِنا أَن أَخرِج قَومَكَ مِنَ الظُّلُماتِ إِلَى النّورِ وَذَكِّرهُم بِأَيّامِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ في ذٰلِكَ لَآياتٍ لِكُلِّ صَبّارٍ شَكورٍ

“We have not sent any Messenger except with the language of his people so he can make things clear to them. Allah misguides anyone He wills and guides anyone He wills. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (4) We sent Musa with Our Signs: ‘Bring your people from the darkness to the light. and remind them of the Days of Allah.’ There are certainly Signs in that for everyone who is steadfast, thankful. (5)” Qur’an 14: 4-5

Allah breathed life into us. By taking a deep breath (literally or figuratively) we can orient ourselves, not panic, and gain perspective.

So … take a deep breath!, and focus on what’s important.

Skepticism: One of the Challenges Facing Muslims Today – A Khutbah by Imam Marc Manley

وَجَعَلنَا اللَّيلَ وَالنَّهارَ آيَتَينِ ۖ فَمَحَونا آيَةَ اللَّيلِ وَجَعَلنا آيَةَ النَّهارِ مُبصِرَةً لِتَبتَغوا فَضلًا مِن رَبِّكُم وَلِتَعلَموا عَدَدَ السِّنينَ وَالحِسابَ ۚ وَكُلَّ شَيءٍ فَصَّلناهُ تَفصيلًا

“We made the night and day two Signs. We blotted out the Sign of the night and made the Sign of the day a time for seeing so that you can seek favour from your Lord and will know the number of years and the reckoning of time. We have made all things very clear.” Qur’an 17: 12

Harvey Sarles, writing in his essay “An Epistolary Exchange” in Humanism Today about skepticism,

“The skepticism of the Enlightenment concerning facts of nature has entered our thinking, leading to skepticisms about the very possibility of knowledge, sliding to various cynicisms, and the meaning-destroying nihilisms of frantic modernists.”

That modern philosophers and naysayers deny your claim to The Law-Giver, all the while they are unable to even conceive of a framework in which to express themselves which doesn’t confirm the claim of a law-giver?

First off, these “laws” are not in fact laws but in reality, generalizations based off of human experience and observation. In the Muslim tradition we call these the Sunan of Allah. They are not laws that nature has dictated.

Natural laws: does not every law have a law-giver? An enforcer? Requires a decree?

This is the result of not understanding what cognitive framework you are living and thinking in.

Skepticism: There cannot be an infinite regression of finite attributes. If there were such a thing as infinite regression one would not be able to arrive at the present.

That which has the potential to change, or has changed, cannot be pre-eternal or pre-existent.

The intellect, to which the five senses and empiricism are beholden to, is superior. Nothing created is pre-eternal no matter how ancient it may be. And if a thing is not pre-eternal then it must point to that which has made it temporal.

Allah draws our attention constantly in the Qur’an by reminding us of the alternation of night and day, in other words, temporality:

خَلَقَ السَّماواتِ وَالأَرضَ بِالحَقِّ ۖ يُكَوِّرُ اللَّيلَ عَلَى النَّهارِ وَيُكَوِّرُ النَّهارَ عَلَى اللَّيلِ ۖ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمسَ وَالقَمَرَ ۖ كُلٌّ يَجري لِأَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى ۗ أَلا هُوَ العَزيزُ الغَفّارُ

“He created the heavens and the earth with truth. He wraps the night around the day and wraps the day around the night, and has made the sun and moon subservient, each one running for a specified term. Is He not indeed the Almighty, the Endlessly Forgiving?” Qur’an, 39: 5

Why is it Allah talks to us about night and day? So that we know what time it is? To spout poetry? Or so we can find temporality and meaning.

Cynicism is like recognizing the truth or seeing something meaningful but having neither the heart nor the intellect to capitalize on it.

لتتبعن سنن من كان قبلكم شبرًا بشبر، وذراعًا بذراع، حتى لو دخلوا جحر ضب تبعتموهم قلنا يا رسول الله: اليهود والنصارى؟ قال: فمن

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, stated that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you, span for span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered a lizard’s hole you will enter it, too.” We said, “O’ Messenger of Allah, do you mean the Jews and the Christians?” He said, “Who else?” Sahih al-Bukhari, #7320

Skepticism, Cynicism, and Nihilism: Three Challenges Facing Muslims Today – A Khutbah By Imam Marc Manley

Fear can make you do some funny things.

The word “fear” is much maligned: many young Muslims think if we fear Allah then we can’t love Him as well.

“Muslims don’t realize what they’re buying into.” Shaykh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali

Humanism has brought about a number of challenges for believers. Three of them are:

  • skepticism;
  • cynicism;
  • and nihilism.

“The skepticism of the Enlightenment concerning facts of nature has entered our thinking, leading to skepticisms about the very possibility of knowledge, sliding to various cynicisms, and the meaning-destroying nihilisms of frantic modernists.” Harvey Sarles and Andreas Rosenberg, “An Epistolary Exchange,” from Humanism Today

Imagine being a doctor and trying to treat the illness of your patient but you don’t understand the fundamentals of health? This is the problem with Eurocentric (Enlightenment) science is that it fundamentally gets the nature of reality WRONG: this is why the environment is suffering.

لتتبعن سنن من كان قبلكم شبرًا بشبر، وذراعًا بذراع، حتى لو دخلوا جحر ضب تبعتموهم قلنا يا رسول الله: اليهود والنصارى؟ قال: فمن

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, stated that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you, span for span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered a lizard’s hole you will enter it, too.” We said, “O’ Messenger of Allah, do you mean the Jews and the Christians?” He said, “Who else?” Sahih al-Bukhari, #7320