I recently had the opportunity to sit in on an interfaith discussion that focused on the beauty of God and His existence. It was running ordinarily. Everyone was discussing their religion’s point of view and trying to get the other to see the beauty of their own beliefs. The dialogue was rich with stories from faiths across the board. It was beautiful hearing the sheer enthusiasm revolving around the beauty of God. However, there was one individual who, unfortunately, shared in our beliefs but not in our enthusiasm.
Whenever a topic was brought up, this individual would give his point of view and explain rather apathetically how those beliefs came to be. After some time he abruptly raised the question, “Can we even prove God exists?” The lively conversation reached a sudden standstill. The entire time, this young man contributed to our conversation, but he was not only insincere, but he doubted the basic fundamental principle around which that our entire conversation revolved! SubhanAllah (Glory to God), it turns out that this young man was a recognized community leader within his congregation who secretly held atheistic views. The others on our discussion table were frozen in shock. No one could believe that this young man who was a leader within his community could have such questions or thoughts. This was an individual who studied the religious texts, taught it to others, and was an example for others to follow.
After a moment of silence, we each took it upon ourselves to prove God exists. By the end, we had mentioned everything: the Islamic proofs, Christian proofs, logical proofs, and even some scientific proofs, but to each one, this young man argued in favor of luck, evolution, and chance. It eventually hit me that there was no 1-2-3 process one could perform to prove God exists. Without a spark to light belief there could be no belief, and to each and every one of us that spark was different and unique. We kept running in circles, until finally one of the Christian sisters said, “At the end of the day, you only have two options: either choose to believe in God or don’t. Either way, you have to take a leap of faith, but which one is easier?” SubhanAllah, this powerful statement hit me so hard; It was so simple, but so true. A life without God leaves you to in a state of constant uncertainty, chaos, and anxiety, but one with God leaves you to be in a state of security, serenity, and contentment. My proof for this is the young man who was so clearly insecure and anxious about his disbelief in God. He wanted so badly to have certainty and tranquility, but because he refused to take this leap of faith, he was left unhappy and discontent.
This experience caused me continuous distress in the weeks after, because the story mentioned above is also prevalent in the Muslim community. Too many of us fall into phases of doubt, and it is most times those of us who were born and bred into Islam. Those of us who were spoon-fed Islam from an early age, but only followed it because we did what we were told. Growing up we performed the actions of our religion physically, but not spiritually. And, when we grew older, we began to question the beliefs we shared with our parents, and decided that we, when thinking for ourselves, could not really discern if God truly exists. And so, we began living a double-life; we went to the masjid (mosque) and looked like Muslims, but when it came down to it, we didn’t truly believe. Like the young man who is afflicted with doubt, we are looking for concrete evidence of God’s existence. We don’t want to hear the religious proofs, or possible “scientific” evidences, we want to see Him, hear Him, and feel Him—not metaphorically, but literally. We hear of His bounty and grace, but we aren’t aware that we are experiencing it first-hand, and so either He doesn’t love us or He must not exist. And, because God would not be God if He didn’t love us, then He must not exist!
This reasoning and conclusion is common to many of us. And, unfortunately, no one can make us believe any differently. By taking the wisdom from our Christian sister, I leave myself, first and foremost, and you with these final statements: think for yourself and find Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala – exalted is He) in your own way. Don’t choose a life of unhappiness, because you choose to be blind. Instead, take a leap of faith, keep your eyes open, and be patient. With an open mind and an open heart, you will surely find God and see Him all around you insha’Allah (God willing).