Wednesday, January 22, 2014


A carefree life is based on the false premise that God does not exist, and that there is no life after death.
Md Asham Ahmad
SELF-DECEPTION and forgetfulness, according to Imam al-Ghazali (d. 1111), are the causes of destruction and misery in the hereafter. Self-deception is a “disease” of the heart that inflicts almost everybody; even the scholars and religious people are not spared from it.
We are reminded of its danger by the Quran: “O mankind! Keep your duty to your Lord, and fear a Day when the parent will not be able to avail the child in aught, nor the child to avail the parent. Lo! Allah’s promise is the very truth. Let not the life of the world beguile you, nor let the deceiver beguile you, in regard to Allah.”
Md Asham Ahmad is Senior Fellow at Ikim’s Centre for Syariah, Law and Politics.
Md Asham Ahmad wrote that article above in The Star today. I have not published the entire article but you can click the link if you wish to read the whole thing.

Now, after ‘taking on’ Dr Azmi Sharom of the Faculty of Law of the University of Malaya yesterday (READ HERE), today I would like to do the same with Md Asham Ahmad, the Senior Fellow at Ikim’s Centre for Syariah, Law and Politics.
Asham, more or less, talks about atheism versus believer. However, he talks in the context of belief in Allah as the One and Only God, Muhammad as the Prophet of God, the Qur’an and Hadith as the Books of God, and Islam as the religion of God.
That, in a nutshell, would be Asham’s interpretation of ‘believer’. Those who not endorse or accept this are non-believers, and hence infidels (kafir).
This is clear in Asham’s statement as follows:
For those who do not believe, this statement or any other statements about the hereafter would be meaningless, and they will not change anything as far as their lives are concerned.
As for those who truly believe, they will be constantly guarding themselves by doing what is enjoined by religion and leaving what is forbidden. In between are those who claim that they believe, yet they do not take it seriously, meaning they do not act upon it.
Asham uses the word ‘religion’ in the statement above, as if he means that this is a universal concept of ‘religion’. However, the ‘religion’ he talks about is not the universal religion but specifically the Articles of Faith exclusive to Islam. Hence Asham should have replaced the word ‘religion’ with ‘Islam’.
This is not about the belief in religion but about the belief in Islam. And the fact that he quotes Imam Ghazali, the Qur’an, and so on, makes this point very clear. There are no quotes from the Old Testament or New Testament, only from Islam’s Holy Books.
That is my first observation regarding this thesis. Hence is this an unbiased article regarding belief versus unbelief (atheism) or an article asking the reader to believe in Islam?
Asham has divided the world into two groups, theists and atheists. So it is ‘them’ versus ‘us’ all over again.
But the world is not divided into just two groups, even in matters of religion. We have agnostics, atheists, theists, monotheists, ditheists, tritheists, polytheists, animists, etc. Hence the world is not just about atheism and theism. And theism is not just Islam while all the rest are infidels (of course, it would be if we look at it just from the point of view of Islam).
Now, on the second point, Asham wrote about the belief in God and the belief of a religion as if both are the same thing. In other words, if you believe in God then you also believe in a religion, and ‘religion’ here being Islam, as I said.
But there are those who believe in God but do not believe in religion. Or they believe that there is some sort of higher power but they have not decided yet what it is. Or they are not sure whether God does or does not exist so they are keeping an open mind about the matter for the time being.
These are agnostics. They are neither theists nor atheists. More importantly, though, even if they do believe in God they do not subscribe to any religion and they are of the view that religions are all manmade and thus absolute nonsense.
People always argue about believers and non-believers or theists and atheists but no one wants to talk about agnostics — those who take the middle road, the third force so to speak, or those who think that both sides may be wrong about what they believe.
Let me play the devil’s advocate here. And I will only talk about the Abrahamic belief, not about the other religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and so on.
Let us say that the Abrahamic doctrine is correct. Let us say that God did create the universe and on the sixth day God created man (the first one named Adam) and then later God created a companion to Adam, Eve.
The Abrahamic religions then tell us that Iblis (Satan, the devil, etc.) refused to bow to man. And we are told the reason why and what happened after that. In short, Iblis entered into an ‘agreement’ with God that he was going to mislead humankind to prove to God that humankind is weak and that he (Iblis) was not wrong in refusing to bow to this weak creature, humankind.
Okay, taking the Abrahamic doctrine into consideration, Iblis has now embarked upon a campaign to mislead humankind. I am sure Iblis would have planned his strategy well and would have come out with the best plan on how to achieve this objective.
One strategy would be to mislead humankind into believing that God does not exist, which will be the strategy that people like Asham would agree is what Iblis is adopting.
If I were Iblis, though, instead of trying to convince humankind that God does not exist, which is harder to do, I would convince humankind that God does, in fact, exist and that God has a religion.
I would then create many religions and confuse humankind into believing that the religion he or she was born into is the true religion while all the others are false. I would then sit back and let humankind fight with each other and kill each other in God’s name and then join me in hell in the Afterlife.
Hey, I am not the Iblis. I am just the devil’s advocate. I just said that if I were Iblis that is what I would do. But then I am not Iblis, am I? Or am I?

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