Thursday, February 12, 2009

Even Angels Ask (1)

I am currently reading Even Angels Ask by Jeffrey Lang.

In his forward, Murad Hofmann writes:
"Jeffery Lang wrote this book first and foremost for his children-leading them through the Qur'an in an eye-opening way and introducing them to the five pillars of Islam worship in a manner which stresses spirituality rather than legalistic routine."

Lang starts by imaging this dialogue between a non-Muslim & a Muslim living in America:

  • NM:"Why did God create us to suffer here on earth?"
  • M: "I believe He created us to test us."
  • NM: "So your religion rejects the omniscience of God, for otherwise what could He possibly learn from testing us that He does not already know?"
  • M: "No that is not quite it. Ah! Yes!! We are created to worship Him!"
  • NM: "Then you must believe that God has needs and weaknesses, for why else would He demand our worship?"
  • M: "No! Adam sinned and his punishment was this earthly life!"
  • NM: "It appears that you believe that God is unjust; for why punish all of Adam's descendants for Adam's sin? Why not give each his own chance? Do you Muslims also believe in original sin?"
  • M: "No! No! Of course not!"
The game is over!!

This dialogue is meant to illustrate the questions Muslims living in non-Islamic countries may confront, for they are part of the intellectual basis of western civilization. Sometimes the result may be a loss or, even an abandonment, of faith since the immigrants and and their children, are not used to facing or answering such questions that are rarely raised in their countries of origin.

This book is a Journey to Islam in America, that is meant to find answers to the above and other similar questions. To embark on this journey, you need to know:

What to pack?
Lang advises us to leave behind as much religious baggage as possible, ideally you should pretend you are an atheist, with perhaps many objections to belief in God, yet open-minded enough not to dismiss a point of view without at least considering it.

How we will get to our destination?
Lang informs us that our guide will be the Qur'an, the principle source of guidance and spiritual compass for billions of Muslims and, for many newcomers to Islam, their main introduction to the faith.

So as you see, this book might not be suitable for the faint of heart. But if you are still interested even after this unusual introduction, please check out the next post.

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