Voices

As a Matter of Doubt

If you are a believing Muslim, you probably won’t agree with much that I have to say. You will likely have your own explanations and rationalizations for many of the contentions that I have with the religion of Islam. You’ll disagree with my interpretations of its particular version of God. You’ll be upset by my characterizations of its self-proclaimed prophet. And you’ll dismiss, through one means or another, the flaws that I find in its holy instruction manual.

You will likely argue that I am taking things out of context or that I am failing to understand matters correctly.

Or you may claim that some scholar somewhere else, who just happens to know more than the both of us and everyone else put together, has suitable answers to the issues I raise, even if you yourself don’t.

Or perhaps you’ll just tell me that “Allah knows best” and that I’ll see the truth on the “Day of Judgment.”

All of that is fine, really. I don’t expect much more. If you are content with your faith, then I have absolutely no desire to ruin it for you. Be happy. Really.

But if you are one of the many who have begun to grow suspicious of Islam’s claims of private and exclusive rights to The Truth, then I’d like to show you why you are well within your right, and well within the realms of reason, to doubt.

Your doubt is not evil. Your doubt is not a fault. Your doubt is neither the product of devilish whispers nor the result of sinful behaviors.

Your doubt is justified.

You are the jury. It is your duty to be skeptical. Put all claims to trail, weigh all of the evidence, hear all of the sides, and reach your own conclusions. Ask all of the questions that your doubt stirs up inside of you. Seek their answers. Be wary of anyone who would tell you to believe without asking. Be wary of anyone who would threaten you with threats or bribe you with bribes because of the questions you ask or the conclusions you reach.

For if Islam is really as true and clear as is claimed, and if eternal torture in hell is really as becoming of those who are skeptical as the Qur’an asserts, then there can be no room for reasonable doubt. If you find yourself becoming more content with the answers you find elsewhere, then have no fear. No just judge can ever chastise the jury for reaching its verdict.

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Al-Maʿarri - Arab skeptic and rationalist

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