October 2003: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 2


Cont’d from page 1

[21:23] He is never to be asked about anything He does, while all others are questioned.

Questioning by its very nature means being doubtful, freethinking, examining, disbelieving. We frequently deny these human qualities in others and ourselves despite the fact that we were created with this very nature.

[18:54] We have cited in this Quran every kind of example, but the human being is the most argumentative creature.

Many of us become self-righteous prosecutors hiding behind the Quran when our own individual interpretations of it are questioned /examined.

Defenses of the ego can make us intolerant of questions that doubt our understanding or interpretation of the Quran. This defensive mechanism contributes to our suspicion of each other. We make unjust accusations against the questioner to defend our egos, even resorting to the labeling of questioners as disbelievers.

Efforts to explain the unexplainable with multiple meaning verses, may satisfy our ego’s need to demonstrate superiority of knowledge, however we could find ourselves guilty of doing exactly what the Quran warns us against in Sura 3:7

[3:7] He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses—which constitute the essence of the scripture—as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate

a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, "We believe in this – all of it comes from our Lord." Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.

To harbor means to refuge, shelter, hide, foster. The Quran mentions the “harboring of doubt” frequently while informing us that all of our doubts will be brought forth.

[50:16] We created the human, and we know what he whispers to himself. We are closer to him than his jugular vein.

Therefore we should not cover our ears, eyes and minds out of fear of doubt.

Questions by their very nature challenge us to examine our doubts and many of us fail the test of taking a stand for God alone in denial of our doubts. As the ego fights the challenge, all too often we end up trying to defend ourselves with multi-meaning verses to extract a rationale for our individual position rather than referring to the straightforward verses of the Quran. We circumvent questions with answers that are opinionated and indirect to the question.

An unanticipated question exposes doubt and uncertainty of all; therefore even believers fear their doubts being exposed. Those of us who are students may have experienced this phenomenon when asking an innocent question of an instructor who does not anticipate it. Some instructors only invite a recitation of their own teaching and uninvited questions and responses are abruptly dismissed.

Curiosity vs Inquisitiveness

We often cannot distinguish between curiosity (innocent sincere

questions) and inquisitiveness (meddling, prying, and challenge to our authority/beliefs). Perhaps this occurs when we frame our responses from a personal context or due to paranoia from previous malicious attacks in our experience. In anticipation of such attacks to our belief system perhaps we become so defensive that we begin to recite rehearsed responses before allowing ourselves to hear another’s questions.

As a curious talkative child I was indeed a test for my parents. They described me as curious rather than bad. Often my questions were dismissed or given illogical answers (especially about God). I can remember being punished merely because my questioning such answers (talkback) had insulted a parental ego. Despite my attempt to be courteous, I shortly realized that the sin I had committed was my rejection of a vague answer and my persistence to have my question answered in a way I could comprehend. I am striving to be a submitter today because my search for knowledge led me to this path.

I remember having a recent conversation with my mother. She stated that I converted to Islam because they could not supply the answers to my questions and my response was, “yes, that’s how it happened.”

[29:8] We enjoined the human being to honor his parents. But if they try to force you to set up idols beside Me, do not obey them. To Me is your ultimate return, then I will inform you of everything you had done.

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