Question: If Islam is really from God, why does it not make sense to me?
Some people ask: if Islam is really the true religion from God, and God wants me to believe in it, then why does it not make sense to me? Why does it seem foreign? Why doesn't God send a new message in my own language and during my own time so that it makes more sense and is more applicable to my life?
In fact, Islam is the most logical and comprehensive religion/ideology. A fair, balanced and unbiased assessment would lead any neutral person to come to this conclusion. The following paragraphs try to explain logically why and how Islam is the most logical, natural and fulfilling way of life.
First of all, you have to consider the issue with a fair, unbiased and balanced approach. You must do your best to try to get rid of any preconceived notions that you may have. If you think Islam was spread by the sword, or that it treats women unfairly, or that it is too restrictive, or that it preaches violence and hatred, try to set aside all of these notions and emotions in order to be able to think about the issue fairly and without any bias. You may refer to other questions and answers on this web site in order to help you overcome some of these biases.
Now that we are ready to think logically and calmly without any bias, let us take a deep look at Islam.
Let us first start with the purpose of life. Do you really believe that there is no meaning to life? Do you believe that it was all just a random accident and that it means nothing at all? Even if it was an accident, how did it happen? What existed before life, and before the universe 'happened'? Have you looked into the sky one day, and were suddenly overcome by awe at the number of stars in the sky, and the distances between these stars and the huge and truly unimaginable size of the universe? Do you sometimes get scared thinking how little we humans really know about the universe, and how awesome this world really is? Do you realize how perfect the Earth is for life? If it was slightly closer to the sun, all life on Earth would burn. It it was slightly further away from the sun, everything would freeze and die.
Have you even seen a nature show on TV, and realized the magnificence of the different living creatures that exist on Earth, from the deepest oceans, to the highest mountains, and from the hottest deserts, to the coldest poles of the Earth? Take the mosquito as an example. Have you ever seen a mosquito buzzing around and wondered about how amazing this creature is? Sure, it is quite annoying and its bite can be a pain, but it is such a magnificent and efficient creature. It is so tiny, yet it can fly, walk and find its own food. It does not need a battery to run. It is self-sufficient. It can fly around and find its own food and survive on its own. It doesn't need service or oil changes. It has excellent night vision that allows it to find its prey in complete darkness. Even with all of our technological advancements such as flight, miniaturization and night vision, humans are still to this day incapable of creating something like a mosquito. Maybe someday we will get to that point, but we are not there yet, as of the year 2009. Remember, however, that the mosquito has existed for millions of years! How could the mosquito and all the other creatures and objects in this universe have happened just like that?
There must be a creator! All of this cannot simply be a coincidence! Really, if you think about all of this, honestly and with all seriousness, you will come to this simple conclusion. It helps sometimes to just be alone, looking into the sky, and just think about all of this deeply. The only logical answer is that there is a creator, a God, that has created this entire universe and all that exists within it. In fact, there is only one God, because if there were multiple Gods, the universe would not be so perfect and seamless. Everything matches and fits perfectly together in this universe. Everything that exists follows the same laws of nature, the same laws of physics and chemistry. There must have been one God that created all of these elaborate and intricate systems, and made everything in the universe fall into place and work together to produce this wonderful and awe inspiring world that we live in.
In fact, you must also conclude that this one God is perfect in every sense of the word. This one God is all-knowing, having knowledge of all that is in the past and all that is in the future. How else would this one God have been able to put together all of these laws of nature, physics, chemistry, biology and everything else in the world? Not only that, but to have all these systems work together for millions of years without it all breaking down and coming to a halt. To have created this universe and this Earth for humanity to flourish in. Indeed, God is also all-powerful, able to do anything. After all, how else would God have been able to create mass and energy from nothing? How else would God have been able to create such a magnificent and perfect universe, that is so detailed from single atoms to huge stars and solar systems? In fact, God must have all the attributes of perfection. If God created mercy, then wouldn't God be the most merciful? If God created justice, wouldn't God be the most Just? If God created time, wouldn't God be eternal, existing outside of the restrictions of time? Therefore, God has all the attributes of perfection and is elevated above having any attributes of weakness.
So just by observing the universe and pondering upon it, one can come to the conclusion that there is one God who created the entire universe and everything that exists within it, and that this God is all-knowing, all-powerful, most merciful, most Just and has all the other attributes of perfection. This belief, that there is one God having all the attributes of perfection, is the foundation of Islam. Everything else is built upon this belief.
So what is the purpose of life? Did our God who created us leave us without any guidance and without any purpose? Were we created for no reason at all? There must be a reason. There must be a meaning to our life. It cannot be just a matter of living, eating, reproducing and then dying. There must be something more to it. God must have sent us guidance on how to live our lives in the most perfect and pure way, and in the way that would bring us and the entire human race the most happiness and success.
Indeed, God has sent us many messengers and prophets, each of whom was carrying and preaching a message. These messages are the holy books, such as the Torah, Bible, Quran and other books that were lost through the ages. These messages contain the recipe for happiness and success in life for all humanity.
However, God also knew that not all humans will want to follow this guidance. God created humans with many good attributes and many faults and weaknesses as well. For example, God created honesty, love, mercy, generosity and many other excellent traits in humans. But God also created greed, selfishness, jealousy and other evil traits. Some humans are able to overcome their evil traits and enjoy living in peace with others, sharing their wealth and caring about others. However, other humans are driven by greed and jealousy to commit crimes and injustice against other human beings and the rest of the creation. Their greed drives them to steal and murder in order to increase their own personal wealth and power.
It is not possible that God, being the most Just, would treat those two types of people in the same way. It is not possible that the murderer and the murder victim have the same fate, that they both just eventually die and disappear and that is all. No, justice must be done, and for this purpose, God created heaven and hell in order to establish justice.
So you might ask, why didn't God simply force all humans to behave a certain way? God certainly could have, however, as humans, we were given free will. We were given the ability to do good and bad, and the choice was left up to us. This is our test, and our chance to prove our goodness and integrity. In order to help us make the right choice, messengers and prophets with guidance were sent to us. It is up to us to follow their path or to abandon them and continue to live our lives blind to this reality.
The last message God sent was Islam, as explained in the Holy Quran and the teachings of prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Islam was meant to be suitable for all people living in all regions of the world at any time until the end of time. God has told us in the Holy Quran that he has sent this message as a mercy to mankind. It is meant to be a mercy upon us, to help us live an honourable, happy and fulfilling life.
So why doesn't God send us new messages? Why doesn't God send us messages in all languages? Again, God could have created us with no free will at all. God could have created us like robots, just to do certain actions with no free will and no ability to decide. However, it was the wisdom of God to create humans with free will, and to subject us to this test. Our life is our chance to prove our character and to prove that even when given the opportunity to commit evil, to hurt others, to steal and to be unjust, we resisted all of these evil forces and chose the straight path. The path of honesty, peace, justice, honour, and kindness. This also the path for happiness, for there is no human being who commits evil without feeling guilty and living a miserable life. The only way to achieve true happiness in this life is to live a life of integrity and morality.
Also, God has sent many messages before, to many different people in many different languages. In most cases, the people rejected the message and did not believe in it. They refused to acknowledge the existence of God, and they refused to live a life of morality. They chose to continue to follow their lusts, desires and greed. Therefore, it was from the wisdom of God, the all-knowing, that Islam was chosen to be the final message. Why? There could be many reasons, but only God knows, as he is the most wise, the all-knowing. But we as humans can only speculate.
One such speculation is that perhaps, given the increasingly interconnected world we live in, God knew that this message of Islam would reach everyone on Earth. Many messages before were sent to different nations in different parts of the world, but were lost with time. The languages they were revealed in have been forgotten and lost. However, the Arabic language, which is the language that Islam was revealed in, still exists today in the exact same state that existed 1400 years ago. Therefore, perhaps God knew that this message would survive the ages and would carry humanity into the modern era, where knowledge and information flows across the entire world in seconds. Given that the Arabic language has survived to this day in the same form as it existed when the message of Islam was revealed, any person on Earth could translate and understand this message, and then choose whether they would like to believe in it and follow it or not. This is just one speculation, but it is ultimately based upon the wisdom of God.
This is Islam. This is what Muslims believe in, and this is why we follow the teachings that we find in the holy Qur'an, and the teachings of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). If there is only one God who created the entire universe and everything in it, and this God had so much mercy upon us to give us life, food, water and to make the Earth such a perfect place for us to live, then how can we not love our God and wish to follow God's teachings. After all, these teachings were sent as a mercy to mankind, to allow us to live happily and comfortably.
Someone will say: "Sure, all of this makes sense, but it doesn't make sense to me why Islam teaches the punishment for stealing is the cutting of the hand. This sounds harsh and quite brutal. Why can't we amend this teaching, or remove it from Islam?"
First, one must realize that Islam is a religion that was revealed 1400 years ago. It is meant to be the last and final message for all humanity to follow. This includes everyone living in any place and at any time. Therefore, the teachings and rulings of Islam must be applicable to all times and all places and all people. It is from the wisdom of God, the all-knowing, that these rulings and teachings were chosen in a way to fulfill these requirements. God, the all-knowing, has given us a set of laws and teachings that if we follow, we will achieve happiness in this life and in our afterlife as well. If we really and truly believed in God, the all-knowing, then who are we to judge God or to question God or to reject the wisdom and knowledge of God? Do we really think that we know better than God, or that we have more knowledge or that we can come up with a better system than the one God has prescribed for us? God created us and the entire universe, and knows all of our thoughts and feelings and everything about us. Therefore, we should trust God to teach us how to live and how to achieve happiness.
Going back to the specific example of the punishment for stealing, one must also realize that Islamic law is meant to prevent crimes before they even happen. So Islamic law is meant to be preventative, more so than being meant to be implemented. The punishment is severe, so the crime will be minimized. It is a deterrent. If the punishment for stealing is just a monetary fine and a few days or weeks in jail, this is an acceptable price to pay for many criminals. This has been proven in many societies that are lenient on crime. Punishments must be severe, not to take revenge against criminals, but even more so to help them to stop themselves from committing these crimes. Islam envisions a society were the crime of stealing is such a major crime and such a rare instance, that this punishment would seem fitting. Of course, living in our society today were stealing is very common, it seems very harsh. But Islam cannot be taken in pieces. It is a complete system that is to be implemented as a package. In an Islamic society were people truly practiced Islam, stealing would be a very rare instance indeed.
Also, one must realize that Islamic law is quite strict about how crimes are to be proven in court before any punishment takes place. For example, fornication (sex outside of wedlock) is a crime under Islamic law. In order to be proven in an Islamic court, such that the offenders are punished, four witnesses must testify that they saw the act of fornication occurring before their own eyes. Clearly, this is not possible in almost all cases. Fornication usually occurs in secret and is so well hidden that no one would be aware of it, let alone actually witnessing it. Therefore, it is clear that God has prescribed these laws for us to realize how much these crimes are hated, and how serious they are. They are meant to help us prevent our desires from pushing us into committing crimes. This in turn leads to a healthier, happier and more peaceful society.
One last important note to make is that you should not judge Islam based on the actions of Muslims. There are many people who are born Muslims and claim to follow Islam, yet they do not really practice all of the teachings of Islam. So if you see a Muslim steal or commit any sort of crime or other action that you dislike, then do not generalize this to all Muslims or say that this is what Islam teaches. Humans are not perfect, and they commit mistakes. If you want to judge Islam, study it in detail and judge it based on its teachings, not on how it is implemented, and especially not on how it is implemented in a far away country were ignorance and illiteracy are commonplace.
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today. One out of every 5 people in the world is a Muslim. The rate of people accepting Islam and becoming Muslims is accelerating every year. What is the secret? We hope that this answer has shed some light on this topic, and that you will now at least appreciate this great religion and have some understanding of what the followers of Islam believe in. Such understanding between the followers of different religions and belief systems should lead us to respect each other and accept all people as our fellow human beings, just as we would expect them to accept our choices and our beliefs.