How could I, the average Muslim, without any scholarly credentials, ever understand anything? And since I can't, and since I'm not qualified, why bother even trying to understand the only book worth reading, the Quran? I will just shut my eyes, my ears, my imagination, my creativity, my thoughts, my feelings, my logic, my rationality, and I will just do as told, for that is the surest way to eternal bliss in the next life...
I am a Muslim. I am religious. I am devout. I believe God is the creator of all things, and that He specifically authored a book – the Quran – revealed through the tongue of His messenger; a book of light and guidance. How could any other human-authored book compare? Why would I ever need to read any other book? Why would I ever need to consider any other human thought? What human education could surpass God’s education? What human law could surpass God’s laws?
It is no wonder, then, that I disdain all man-made systems and man-made ideologies: capitalism, socialism, communism, liberalism, anarchism, structuralism, rationalism, materialism, nationalism, and all of philosophy from Thales and Socrates to Foucault and Chomsky. How could any of these possess any value, when compared with the Quran? Why should I bother consider any of them, when God already gave me the complete guidance to life and afterlife?
But do I really read the Quran? Or do I just listen to what bearded men in white tunics tell me about it? Did I read the verse that instructs me to “walk the Earth and contemplate how life began”? Or the verse that tells me that the truly guided ones are “those who listen to all ideas and follow the most worthy”? Or the many other verses that ask me to seek knowledge, beauty, and truth, and not rely on other men for guidance? Or the most recited chapter – Al Fatiha – in which I pray to God to show me the right path? If the path has already been shown, why ask God 17 times a day to show me the straight path?
But how could I, the average Muslim, without any scholarly credentials, ever understand anything? And since I can’t, and since I’m not qualified, why bother even trying to understand the only book worth reading, the Quran? No, I’ll just listen to the bearded men in white tunics, they will surely tell me what I need to know, for they are devout and scholarly, and they don’t kowtow to secular governments or accept money from them, and, like the messenger of God, they do not seek fame or money or any other earthly rewards. I will just shut my eyes, my ears, my imagination, my creativity, my thoughts, my feelings, my logic, my rationality, and I will just do as told, for that is the surest way to eternal bliss in the next life.
I am like a child in awe of his heavenly father’s awesomeness. Compared to Him, I am nothing. I claim to possess the ultimate truth, beauty, and knowledge in my Quran; a truth so majestic I can never comprehend; a beauty so overwhelming I can never see; a knowledge so vast I can never grasp, and will never grasp. Hence, I am blind, deaf, and as ignorant as can be, and yet I am 100% certain that that’s how I shall enter paradise! Like a passenger on an airplane. I know nothing about airplanes, aviation, engineering, mechanics, physics, geography, satellites, or telecommunications. All I know is that if I fasten my seat belt and breathe normally, I will somehow arrive at my destination.