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Article appeared Friday, December 3rd, 2010 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (157) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD


Before voicing an opinion, how many of us collect data on related facts? Without the backing of
facts, opinions are at best possibilities, if not fiction. If we do collect data on facts, the difference
between opinion and fact may surprise us. As the American humorist Samuel Langhorne
Clemens (1835–1910) better known by his pen name Mark Twain, put it:
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities;
Truth isn't.” {1}

Is researching facts therefore important? To highlight the benefit of research, Jacqueline Jill
Collins (born 1937) better known as the British author Jackie Collins writes:
“I don't believe in writing anything that I don't know about or haven't researched about
personally. I like to transport the reader to places, and in order to do that I have to do the
research.” {2}

Having written 27 novels and sold 400 million copies translated into 40 languages {3} Jackie
understands the importance and benefits of doing a thorough research personally and not
relying on opinion or propaganda. Similarly, is researching facts and finding the truth important
when it comes to belief? In the world today there are hundreds of religions and sects. Each
religion or sect takes pride in its own way of doing things, yet most people say that they believe
in the Creator! Is it then worth researching the concepts of belief and disbelief? To help explain
what disbelief means, examples from the Qur’an include:
“He it is Who enables you to traverse through land and sea; so that ships you board sail
with a favorable wind and you rejoice thereat; then comes a stormy wind and the waves
come from all sides and you think you are being overwhelmed: you cry to the Creator
sincerely offering duty to Him saying, "If You deliver us from this we shall truly show our
gratitude!"” [10.22]

Equally,
“When trouble touches men they cry to the Creator turning back to Him in
repentance…” [30.33a]

In our personal lives, how many times has trouble touched us? Whom do we approach and
plead to when in trouble? Do we approach the Creator directly? Having pleaded to the Creator,
when the Creator brings us out of trouble, whom do we credit? Do we simply forget to thank the
Creator or do we later believe that it was luck, or the lucky charm we purchased, or it was
because of ancestors, or religious leaders or prophets or our own skill that got us out of trouble?
By subsequently not thanking the Creator and/or not carrying out the promises made, what do
we indicate about our belief?
“…but when He gives them a taste of Mercy as from Himself behold some of them pay
part-worship to other gods besides their Creator.” [30.33b]

“But when He delivers them, behold! They transgress insolently through the earth in
defiance of (what is) right! ...” [10.23]

To help clarify disbelief, the Qur’an places the following logical questions for analysis:
“Say: "Who is it that sustains you (in life) from the sky and from the earth? Or who is it
that has power over hearing and sight? And who is it that brings out the living from the
dead and the dead from the living? And who is it that rules and regulates all affairs?"
They will soon say "Our Creator." Say "Will you not then show piety (to Him)?"” [10.31]

Therefore, the Qur’an recommends:


“Turn back in repentance to Him and fear Him (alone): establish regular prayers and be
not among those who join gods with the Creator.” [30.31]

The Verses from the Qur’an demonstrate the need for a personal study on what we do when in
trouble as well as whom we thank when we get relief – disbelief therefore may not be as
complicated as opinions may have it. Each of us needs to do research to find out the truth for
ourselves. Research includes study and corroboration of scriptures with our own need to do
what is right.
“Those to whom We have sent the Book study it as it should be studied; they are the
ones that believe therein; those who reject faith therein the loss is their own.” [2.121]

As all inclined may not equally have the resources or ability to study, the Creator recommends:

3.104 “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good
enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain
felicity.”
A group in each locality should therefore collectively do study and research. They should make
the results available to those who wish to know. We should all be prompted by a desire to do
what is right, e.g. place credit where credit is due. If the Creator has Given us existence and
Gives us constant blessings, it is up to us to thank Him individually. He owes us nothing; on the
contrary each human being is totally indebted to Him. If there is One Creator, should there be
hundreds of religions? Should we be working on researching what the Creator wants or be
creating our own brand of religion and thereby create divide and discord?

3.105 “Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into
disputations after receiving clear Signs; for them is a dreadful penalty.”
What message does one give out when one claims adherence to a particular sect or religion? Is
the implication that I am right and all others are wrong?
“The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah—that
which We have sent by inspiration to thee (O, Muhammad) – and that which We
enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: namely that you should remain steadfast in
Religion and make no divisions therein: …” [42.13]

3.106 “On the Day when some faces will be (lit up with) white and some faces will
be (in the gloom of) black; to those whose faces will be black (will be said): "Did
you reject faith after accepting it? Taste then, the penalty for rejecting faith.”

3.107 “But those, whose faces will be (lit with) white they will be in (the light of)
Allah's Mercy; therein to dwell (for ever).”

3.108 “These are the Signs of Allah: We Rehearse them to thee in Truth: and Allah
means no injustice to any of His creatures.”
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{Notes}:
{1} http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marktwain122865.html
{2} http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jackiecoll263748.html
{3} http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Collins