[Disclaimer: This article represents the author’s own views on Jordan Peterson and not that of MuslimMatters. MM’s views are best represented here.]
For six years, not solely was I an atheist, however I hated faith and God.
Alhamdulillah, Allah guides whom he wills. Until I die, I’ll remorse nothing greater than that period in my life. Too typically, we make errors, and in our haste, we attempt to rush away from our errors and bury them in time. However until we sit and mirror on our errors, we’ll be doomed to repeat them. This goes for our communities and us. Sadly, the Muslim neighborhood has typically operated as if acknowledging an issue and reflecting upon it’s the similar factor as endorsing it, so the issues that plague the Muslim neighborhood proceed to develop unchecked.
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In the present day I’m unbelievably humbled and grateful to have discovered conviction, and as a lot as I want I might transfer on and faux it by no means occurred, I can’t. I’d turn out to be the issue if I did that. Islam will not be saved alive in books; it’s saved alive by Muslims continuously going again to the roots and conserving it alive. As time goes on, every little thing decays, buildings, corporations, and even religions- until individuals make investments power and a focus. in conserving them alive. Islam is the oldest faith; the core educating of Islam, submission to the one true God, is the widespread thread in each faith all through human historical past, and it might be silly of us to faux it hasn’t skilled decay. Not in its beliefs or teachings –I’m not advocating for something resembling a reformation- no. Islam’s decay has been in how we Muslims observe our deen. Maybe I ought to say it’s not Islam that’s decayed; it’s Muslims.
As I used to be penning this piece, my spouse noticed the primary line, and he or she received nervous. I perceive why she received nervous; little doubt many individuals are taking a look at this piece with deep skepticism, however I ask you this, how lengthy will we faux that my case will not be remoted? We are able to’t afford to show a blind eye to this situation the identical means we’ve turned a blind eye to many different points in our neighborhood. Each time we flip a blind eye to a problem in our neighborhood, a younger, honest baby sees hypocrisy in Muslims and conflates it with Islam. Each khutbah that doesn’t focus on the youth dying from drug overdoses hardens the center of a brother who misplaced his bro to an overdose. Each sheikh who speaks on males main the properties however by no means discusses the epidemic of home violence is making certain extra youth develop to hate Islam. When Islam is held up as crucial factor, and it isn’t addressing crucial issues, guess what? The Muslims will finally imagine Islam is the issue. We’ve hit all-time low, so to talk; we will’t run away from this downside. We are able to’t maintain pretending atheism and apostasy aren’t issues. If we’re not going to handle Muslims resenting Islam and leaving, what else is there to debate? I perceive your discomfort studying this, however the illness is worse than the treatment.
The Rationality – Atheism Pipeline
In the present day we stay in an unprecedented period. Science and know-how have created doubt in God, in contrast to any in recorded historical past. The abundance of our technology has lower us off from actuality and the conception of God. Our ancestors lived in a continuing state of insecurity and ignorance; it wasn’t laborious for them to imagine in God. The abundance we’ve inherited right now has fooled us into considering we don’t stay in a state of insecurity and ignorance. We’re one nuke away from sport over and we don’t actually know as a lot as we expect.
We stay in an period the place we’re standing on the shoulders of giants; giants who believed in God – Newton, Maimonides, even Socrates -, however right now we’re glad to eat the fruits of their labor and never burden ourselves with their perception in God. That’s all God has turn out to be to many individuals right now; a burdensome archaic perception not becoming trendy individuals. Our society prizes rationality above all else, and it’s not laborious to see why. Rationality has eradicated ailments, gifted us with know-how, and allowed us to govern and form our world. Moreover, rationality by no means asks for a leap of religion; rationality guarantees certainty right down to the smallest decimal. Unsurprisingly, our age of rationality has shaken the religion of thousands and thousands because it actually shook mine.
As I started to view the world via the lens of rationality, I struggled to suit God & Faith into the image. All of it started to appear like the strategy of these unable to assume rationally and critically.
If my dad was sick, I’d relatively he didn’t pray and get surgical procedure than pray and never get surgical procedure.
Folks all over the world believed in faith as a result of faith had at all times been round, they usually had been raised on it, however certainly their religions would fade away into storybooks identical to the tales of Thor & Zeus.
Rationality praises skepticism in pursuit of the reality, faith not a lot. One strategy desires you to assume; the opposite doesn’t.
So step by step, my religion started to fall away, and it was laborious. I didn’t wish to lose my perception in God or Islam, however I couldn’t trick myself into believing. Strolling away felt just like the noble factor to do; I used to be standing with the reality. What I didn’t notice then is the concept creator Donald Kingsbury fantastically said in his quote, “Custom is a set of options for which we have now forgotten the issues. Throw away the answer, and also you get the issue again….” Rationality & Logic had me satisfied I used to be rising above the ignorance and blind religion of faith, whereas actually, all I used to be doing was opening Pandora’s field.
It’s straightforward to see the restrictions in faith. It’s a lot tougher to see what lifting the restriction will result in down the road. For instance: You possibly can’t drink alcohol. That’s the restriction. Elevate that restriction. Now you possibly can bask in alcohol and the pleasures it’d carry you. However now you even have to hold the hangovers, the unhealthy selections made if you’re ingesting, and the burden achieve. Let’s zoom out: societally, now you’ve opened the door to fetal alcohol syndrome (the incidence of FASD is 50 occasions decrease in predominantly Muslim international locations). The US couldn’t defeat alcohol for 13 years throughout prohibition; Islam’s defeat of alcohol has lasted for 14 centuries (and counting). It’s not a stretch to say it is a modern-day miracle.
Much more miraculous than its defeat of alcohol is the power Islam offers the devoted to endure ache. Ache is a actuality of life. Everyone seems to be destined to harm. Our deen teaches us that “Certainly, with hardship comes ease.” [Surah Ash-Sharh- 95:5] However if you’re falling away from the deen, that ayah sounds much less like reassurance and extra like pacification. Ache in a significant life is manageable, even pleasurable, however when there’s no which means past the ache, life turns into insufferable. Sadly, most Atheists who take the rational strategy arrive on the conclusion that life is meaningless. Jewish Austrian Psychologist Viktor Frankl famously mentioned, “When an individual can’t discover a deep sense of which means, they distract themselves with pleasure.” I embodied this quote to the T. Pleasure was one of the best painkiller there was. On the ripe younger age of twenty-two, I felt like I’d cracked the code. Life is painful. Faith is only a means of pacifying the ache. We’ve confirmed faith is fake, so there isn’t a use in abiding by it. Pleasure and delight of life grew to become the very best purpose.
As a Muslim, you exist in the neighborhood of Muslims, and the neighborhood is self-policing. Sounds fairly restrictive. You possibly can’t do no matter you need across the different Muslims as a result of they’re gonna police you. So now you gotta keep away from the backward people who’re gonna choose you. If solely they’d stay and let stay. Improbable, now you are able to do no matter you need.
To start with, the world is your oyster. Freed from all restrictions, no matter your coronary heart needs is yours so long as you may get your palms on it. You inform your self you’re not a nasty particular person. You may have one life to stay, and also you’re residing it to the fullest. The one rule there may be, don’t damage anybody. So, you take pleasure in every little thing life has to supply, and it’s heaven on earth. Until it’s not. See, right here’s the factor nobody desires to confess: pleasure is finite, and after some time, nothing is pretty much as good because it was the primary time. However you’re hooked. You’re nonetheless chasing pleasure, but it surely’s a phantom. The ache you had been operating away from remains to be there, and now the painkiller doesn’t work. Melancholy units in. Nervousness as nicely.
Your loved ones will not be joyful you’ve turned your again on the deen. This isn’t serving to your wrestle. You gained’t admit it, however issues are getting worse. You’re feeling damaged. You’ve sinned towards your self, your loved ones, and your folks; your single-minded devotion to pleasure and delight has destroyed every little thing good in your life. You’d by no means kill your self, however you now perceive how individuals get there. However, it doesn’t cease there.
You by no means realized it, however your lifestyle has begun to taint these round you. Maybe your family and friends aren’t doing precisely what you’re doing, however your audacity at flouting the principles has emboldened them in their very own methods to flout the principles. Congratulations, what began in you is now spreading by way of you. The melancholy and anxiousness you suffered are actually spreading to these round you. Time goes on, and also you’ve damaged your one rule, to not damage anybody. You by no means thought life might get this unhealthy. You have a look at your self within the mirror, and also you wouldn’t admit it, however you hate your self. The sensation you reside with on a regular basis is actually the identical feeling you might have in a nightmare. You lose your job, your loved ones, and your self-respect, and worst of all, you’ve turn out to be weak. Your fixed pursuit of enjoyment has made planning for the longer term, impulse management, and doing something tough with a reward unattainable. You’re damaged.
The ache goes all the way in which right down to your soul. You want you may return to being a toddler. You notice you possibly can’t maintain this up; you gotta pivot. Again to the drafting board. Let’s analyze this rationally; there’s no afterlife, no goal which means to life; you create your individual which means, maximize pleasure, and decrease ache. You learn philosophy. You discover Nietzsche, the Twentieth-century thinker who foresaw the autumn of faith and taught that the subsequent step was for males to create their very own means ahead. He says those that can determine their very own beliefs and keep on with them will inherit the earth. Nietzsche calls the individuals who do that: Supermen; they’ve overcome their predecessors, the spiritual. The Supermen aren’t sure by the identical guidelines because the old school rule followers. So, you go forth.
You assume you’re forward of the curve now, philosophy is justifying you, however slowly you begin to notice – it’s unattainable to craft your individual morals. This single realization leads you to a psychology professor on YouTube who sort of seems like Kermit the Frog. His title is Jordan Peterson, and he’s speaking about a number of the questions you’re now pondering. Peterson’s recommendation is beneficial and actionable, and as you apply it, you start to really feel higher and extra hopeful concerning the future. Then you definately discover his work on the collective unconscious. Every thing you’ve thought for the previous few years is blasted aside in quarter-hour. Peterson argues that the truth that individuals have comparable tales throughout cultures is proof that our basic beliefs and beliefs will not be socially constructed however are biologically and psychologically in-built. As you take heed to this man, you notice that not solely is it unattainable to craft your individual morals, however that the morals constructed into faith are common; in the event you deviate from them, you’ll pay dearly; your life was a residing testomony to this. Slowly, as you take heed to this man, you start to grasp you’ve been mistaken this entire time. Your dismissal of faith was based mostly on weak factors. You had wished to comply with your needs. You sought solutions from rationality that had been unattainable to reply rationally. You took an strategy that weakened you over time. Maybe you couldn’t calculate it upfront, however there’s no query about it; a life with out deen is damned to distress.
Message to Jordan B. Peterson
As I continued on my journey, I used to be slowly led from Peterson’s research to a hodgepodge of theologies and eventually again house to Islam. It’s a kind of peculiarities of life that the grasp at figuring out the issue isn’t essentially the grasp at figuring out the answer. Peterson and his work led me away from chaos, however they might solely take me up to now. At a sure level, I solely discovered development, conviction, and peace in Islam. I could also be biased, however I nonetheless imagine Jordan Peterson is honest, and I pray that he sees the reality staring him within the face. Worldly success and fame solely go up to now, Dr. Peterson. Islam encapsulates the last word truths within the Gospel, the Torah, and all of your research. I believe you imagine you might have the capability to make a historic affect on the world. I imagine Islam is how you are able to do it.
Make the Ummah Nice Once more
Our prioritization of rationality over religion is arguably our largest blunder. We disregard the truth that rationality was nurtured within the womb of faith. Rationality will not be match to function the inspiration for human existence. A completely rational universe disregards the ache of mourning and the enjoyment of overcoming. We don’t like to contemplate it, however the basis that underpins our world right now is faith. Within the absence of the God-given faith, individuals will create a brand new faith. We noticed this with the rise of Nazism & Communism and guess what – when individuals try and create religions, they wind up destroying the world. Nietzsche’s name to craft our personal beliefs and turn out to be Supermen is a singular concept, but it surely’s unattainable. The one means for us to beat and turn out to be Supermen is thru Islam.
Solely by submitting to the Grasp and His Plan can we obtain our highest potential. The rules of Islam are, actually, the pure pointers all people really feel deep down. Islam speaks to the purest elements of the collective consciousness. Society tends to scoff on the restrictions in our deen, after which as time passes, the results of the transgressions show the validity of Islam. Take into account the hyper-sexualization in our society. A skyrocketing divorce charge is nothing to be joyful about. Sexual indiscretions between women and men are to nobody’s profit. The ever-increasing gender wars are a menace to every little thing. As individuals now start to contemplate options, lots of the concepts proposed sound like Islam, such because the latest name for gender-segregated gyms to stop males from leering at girls. The reality is antifragile. When Islam is attacked, and other people stray from it, they inevitably expose themselves to chaos, and in that chaos, as individuals start to search for an answer, they arrive upon Islam. The illness creates the demand for the treatment.
We Muslims are the inheritors of a fallen empire. Whereas the Western World descended into the Darkish Ages and labeled Aristotelian logic as heretical, the Muslim sages translated it into Arabic and handed it on to posterity. The sudden rise in apostasy and atheism within the Muslim world is only one indicator of how far we’ve fallen. People are instinctively drawn to what’s good and pure; the rejection of Islam reveals that the deen has been warped within the eyes of many. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung mentioned, “Till you make the unconscious acutely aware, it would direct your life, and you’ll name it destiny.” This idea completely represents the difficulty of atheism and apostasy within the Muslim world right now.
To the credit score of right now’s Muslim leaders, the perspective in the direction of this situation previously few years has begun to shift. The truth that a Muslim Journal requested me to pen this piece speaks volumes. Islam is the reality. Avoiding the subject of atheism and apostasy solely strengthens it. A perception system that craters delivery charges and breaks households can do no hurt to the divine fact on earth. The trail Atheism guarantees is a dead-end; it chokes all “irrational” conceptions of the Aristocracy, honor, heroism, love, and fervour. That is why in the long run; victory can be with Islam. Rationally I can not clarify it, and I gained’t as a result of to take action would cheapen it. The hearts that know Islam realize it.