Islam
 

Introduction To Islam -Part II

 

POLYTHEISM / CREATING ALTERNATIVES FOR ALLAH

In the Qur’an, the oneness of Allah is mentioned more than the existence of Allah. According to the Qur’an, the existence of Allah for humans is so indispensible and natural that expressions of astonishment are used for those who do not believe that.

Atheism (denial of God) is something that is developed as a reaction against religion.Nowadays, the new joiners of atheism select deism (accepting God, refusing religions); which is a more cautious standing. Since I have realized that this choice of theirs is an emotional reaction resulting from their personal touchiness, I found the situation quite tragic.

Should we direct our resentment resulting from the religionists of our personal history towards our religion? I believe a person that is developed mentally and personally should be able to separate memories from beliefs. Doesn’t the fact that a person that takes the negative memories he has experienced as the basis for determining his beliefs (or disbeliefs) shows that, in fact he is not freed from an egoist point of view? Actually, the self of the person enjoys interpreting those memories in a way that is going to cause denial.

Atheism (denial of God) is something that is developed as a reaction against religion.

Most people do not believe. Also, the majority of the people that believe cannot do so without creating alternatives for God (acting as polytheists) (Yusuf surah 106). Even though a person succeeds in reaching the belief in the existence of God despite all internal and external obstacles, why does that person create alternatives for God (act as a polytheist)?   

Can this distortion is the result of filling the emptiness that is resulting from not knowing Allah with all his attributes with one’s own imagination or with the effect of the heritage of thinking that has been evolved through the effects of the traditions of polytheist religions that has come subconsciously throughout centuries? 

If polytheism is resulting from not knowing Allah as needed, then the knowledge of Esmaül Hüsna (the most beautiful names of Allah) is a splendid preventer of polytheism.

As mentioned by Erich Fromm, another reason of polytheism happens to be; “the fact that people cannot acknowledge a God that is transcendent, that cannot be observed, seen, experienced and talked about, profoundly enough to internalize God in the daily life.”    

The rebellious attitude that men take on against the negativities of life and the fact that men do not want to see any flaw or deficiency in themselves happen to be one of the routes that take them to polytheism. Because of that, the awareness of servitude is significantly important. Man is deficient. He is in need of the Creator. And life is a test. 

Man is deficient. He is in need of the Creator. And life is a test.

When you want to be perfect and flawless, if you believe in Allah, you pray and request the things that look good to you insistently. Sometimes, when the answer is late (according to you) resisting for an emergent solution and insisting on the results to be the way you wanted make you look for alternative ways. Generally, when we take a step towards the roads that looks as if they are going to give us the opportunity to reach our wishes from a shortcut (making a vow in tombs, applying to fortune tellers, and healers who claim to cure by breathing, and etc.) we enter into a road to polytheism, God forbid.

Another comment was made by Seyyid Kutup. According to him, instead of believing in a divine might that has an unquestionable authority among him, man prefers to believe in a god that he creates and controls which he finds to be much more comfortable. If I decide on what kind of a god I will believe in and the rules that god is going to set, there is nothing I need to obey that is against the self of mine. In fact, this is the same with saying “There is no God”.  

 Why would a person become polytheist? Why should he constantly create new gods? And what are the various appearances of this throughout history? A study about the factors that lead people to polytheism should be done with a multidisciplinary point of view by benefiting from the data of psychology, Sufism, history, sociology, economy, and other social sciences. 

In “Psychoanalysis and Religion,” Erich Fromm says: Today, what we classify as psychiatric disorders are the same with the rituals of polytheist religions of history.He says, what we see as an extensive addiction to mother and father today was the cult of ancestors in past and fixations, obsessions and many other problematic behaviors happen to be the reflection of the rituals in past to our day.”

In other words, people should know that when they become polytheists, their souls is / will be sick. The weakening of belief; belief in oneness is at the basis of mental health disorders (we should not say that someone first became a polytheist then became sick, because people can have mental health disorders even if they believe).

In “Psychoanalysis and Religion,” Erich Fromm says: Today, what we classify as psychiatric disorders are the same with the rituals of polytheist religions of history.

Every person has a tendency within to become polytheists. These are actually the holes in our personality. The problem is the fact that they are not closed with a conscious belief.

A study should be conducted about symbols. No symbol is innocent. The basis of polytheism is symbolization.

IS PERSUATION NECESSARY IN THE MATTER OF BELIEF?

I believe that the person who is telling Islam should not have a purpose like convincing his addressee. When the first aim of telling people Islam becomes convincing them, there is a danger that the things that are going to be told can be shaped in a manner that the addressee will want and can adopt. The destruction (the alteration by the human hand) of celestial religions happened mostly because of this reason throughout history.

Furthermore, while the individual tries to convince himself in the matter of his beliefs, he may deviate to gloss (gloss: forcing the meaning so much that it may go beyond the limits of wording) to satisfy his mind (or his self/ego).

Edgar Alan Poe once said; “I do not feel the need to convince anyone since I am already convinced.”I am impressed because I also believe that the attempts of persuasion in relationships with people are in fact resulting from the fact that the questioning of those people in their inner worlds has not yet finished.

Edgar Alan Poe once said; “I do not feel the need to convince anyone since I am already convinced.”

A person who believed with a mind and heart at peace should not feel the need to show effort to convince when he is making declaration. After all, “declaration” means announcing, not convincing.

Especially, when we attempt to convince our self/ our ego under the effect of uneducated incentives, gloss or indirect denial that is done with various wordplays becomes unavoidable. When we read the Qur’an from beginning to end, does our self like all information, every order within the Book? No. If our belief is more prominent than our emotions, then we completely accept the content (by leaving the comprehension of some provisions to time) of our book as a whole (resignation), exactly as it is; if not, we either abandon religion, or, if we are not that brave, we gloss religion in accordance to our perception and emotions.         

DOES SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT PERFORM THE PRACTIVES LOSE HIS FAITH?

Most of the people also include practice into faith. After counting the principles of faith, they include the condition of living in accordance to these principles as well. When you say this, a person that does not live the rules of religion is assumed to be faithless. Yet, that is not the case. Someone, who believes in the principles of faith (the six musts that we know from creed), is a Muslim. If that person does not live in accordance to these principles and does not comply with the principles of living that are declared by the Book, then he becomes a sinner Muslim. If he shows effort to comply with these principles, then he strengthens his faith.

Because of this, tenets do not mention practice. The concern of tenets is only to believe. Living is the subject of fiqh, morality and Sufism. Tenets tell the lowermost step of Islam from which one cannot come down any lower. In other words, the moment you come down any lower than that, you abandon religion. For instance, not believing in angles makes you abandon religion but not practicing does not make you abandon religion.

Believing is enough for being a Muslim. A person does not abandon religion because he does not live the rules of religion.

Believing is enough for being a Muslim. A person does not abandon religion because he does not live the rules of religion.However, if that person mocks with these rules, despises them and considers them as unnecessary, then that person abandons religion. This is an obvious requirement of intelligence. A person shows respect to the principles that he claims to exist. Being disrespectful towards those principles is the result of not believing. However, from time to time, we may not obey the principles that we believe in and consider as necessary. We pay the price of that as well. This is the situation of a Muslim that lacks practice. By reason practice is a compulsory result of belief; however, in the case of its deficiency, that person does not abandon religion. Hz. Prophet has a hadith about this; “No Muslim commits adultery as a Muslim”. This means, when a person performs behaviors that Allah forbids fiercely, that person put his Muslimism on hold, as if he has hit the pause button.

According to what psychology tells us, in order for a thought to be transformed into an action, emotions should be added to it. Probably, because of this reason, in the hadiths of our Prophet, the necessity that belief should be nourished with love is emphasized insistently. The hadiths stating the fact that if the love of Allah and the Prophet is not placed above all other loves, one cannot really believe is the expression of this truth from another angle.

Thus, a solid religiousness is established upon a solid character. The greatest guarantee of religiousness is character. The stronger the person’s willpower the more honest and braver that person is; the stronger that person’s faith become. Cowardice is a great obstacle in practice. People become polytheists and steal because of cowardice and anxiety disorders. Because he does not feel secure, he constantly felt the need to do something for himself. However, an exceptional morality and character is not a guarantee for that person becoming Muslim sooner or later.

It is not possible for everybody to pull away by refusing the prevalent and establishing a new life.

In some cases, an individual may believe in every condition of the tenets of Islam, but in terms of belongingness he cannot define himself as a “Muslim.”The incident that our Prophet performed the funeral prayer of the Emperor (Necaşi) of Habesh in Medina, when he heard his death is quite interesting and it sets light to this topic for us. The Emperor lived as a Christian, carried a cross on his neck all his life, and while he accepted the prophecy of our prophet and the message he brought, he did not live his life in accordance to that. Thus, he did not have resistance against the society he was in.         

It is not possible for everybody to pull away by refusing the prevalent and establishing a new life.Or we could not have declared or reached enough to have people make this decision. In the tenets of Islam the principle is the following; “When you see a presage in someone’s faith, dominate his faith not his curse”. This means, with regard to faith, you need to follow a road where you can keep people in the circle of faith as much as possible. He drank, he committed a sin; and thus he abandoned religion. There is no such thing.

However, whenever a person says “I am not a Muslim” clearly and unmistakably, then at that case, that declaration is accepted as the basis. Just like we do not have the right to tell “no you are not” to someone who says “I am a Muslim”, it is not possible to treat someone who keeps on saying “I am not a Muslim” as a Muslim.


Fatma Bayram is a Turkish writer and Islamic educator based in Istanbul.

Introduction to Islam Part I
Introduction to Islam Part III
Introduction to Islam Part IV

 

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