You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them. (17:36)
A dear friend of mine whose opinion I deeply respect once told me that one of the greatest rights we can have in this life is the freedom of choice: the ability to choose our own way of life or our own religion without any interference and without any restrictions. I agree with his statement about the significance of freedom of choice, but I also feel that there is an inherent responsibility associated with this freedom.
This responsibility is to examine, to research, and to carefully scrutinize all the various choices and all the possible consequences that may be related to the action we choose to exercise. For example, if you are suffering or are in pain, you are free to take any medication or consult with any doctor. Before you choose a particular treatment, however, you investigate and examine all the possibilities and choose the appropriate remedy that will serve as the best cure for your pain and suffering.
At the age of nineteen, a sense of uneasiness, confusion, and trepidation became pronounced in my life. This anxiety was caused by a void in my life. A void that I later found to be related to a lack of faith. I told myself that I would examine and explore various religions in order to fill this emptiness. I began with Islam (Submission) since I was exposed to that religion the most. Although my mother was a devoted believer and encouraged me to follow her path, I did not accept her words on blind faith. I began to read the Quran for myself in search of the many perplexing questions that were occupying my mind and plaguing my life.
As I read the Quran, all the questions I had were answered one after another. As soon as I would raise a question, it seemed to be answered in the following verses as I read on. It was magical. It was as if someone knew exactly what I was thinking and would respond to my inquiries with amazing clarity and assurance. I was suddenly overcome with an overwhelming sense of freedom and happiness.
My fear was replaced with joy and exhilaration. The void in my life had now become ruled. I became a devoted Muslim and a submitter to God. Practically overnight my life was changed. I gave up all the actions that violated God’s commandments and replaced them with actions glorifying God. In return, all the burdens, worries, and preoccupations that I had were lifted from my consciousness.
I was suddenly relieved of the tremendous weight that I knew I would have to carry throughout my life. It was as if I was climbing up a very steep mountain carrying a heavy load on my shoulders. When I looked at the peak of the mountain and thought about the long journey ahead, I would become scared, discouraged, and sometimes even thought I would never make it to the top. As soon as I became a believer, I felt a sense of security and protection. I knew I could not only make it up that steep mountain but I could run up and down its steep paths many times.
While the road that I used to follow came to an end, I embarked upon a new road, a new journey, a new life. I was cured by the healing powers of the Quran. The revelations of God were so overwhelming and so convincing that I did not need to explore other religions in order to confirm my beliefs. After all, what other book can you read that will lead you to completely change your lifestyle forever in a matter of a few days.
People may wonder how I can be certain that I chose the right path when it is the only path I explored. I respond to this inquiry by reciting an example of a woman who is suffering from a terrible disease and who is in constant pain every time she moves a part of her body. The pain is beyond description—it is agonizing.
Every day, every hour, every second she must live with this pain and the pain gets worse each day. If one day, after years of research, a medicine is discovered that will cure her disease, end her pain, and eliminate her suffering, will she take the medicine or continue to seek other cures? Most definitely, her search will be over. Her suffering has ended.
As human beings, most of us are fortunate to be endowed with the gift of eyesight, hearing, and intellectual capacity. Unfortunately, many of us have taken these senses for granted. For example, despite the overwhelming proofs that can be verified in the Quran through examination, billions of people have blindly chosen to follow religions and practices that contradict the logical nature of human existence. The reason for this is simple.
These people have not exercised their responsibilities associated with their freedom of choice. They have neglected to use their God given senses of reason and perception to examine and study their own religion as well as other possible religions. Since these people have neglected this responsibility, God has sealed their hearts and minds: they will never understand.
While those who scrutinize, explore, and sincerely search to find the right path are attracted to one religion that eliminates their problems and worries, those who accept words on blind faith end up following different religions and practices that merely cover up
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