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CanuckGirl

Agnostic Reverts?

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Hi everyone,

Was anyone here agnostic/atheist before reverting? I currently call myself agnostic, and as much as I would like to believe, I just don't feel it, so I'm wondering what made you realize that there is a God?

Thanks!

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(salam)

Just thinking about the miracles of the world/universe. The largeness (sky, planet, space, star system, galaxies) and the smallest (molecules, particles, electrons), the ecosystem, animal kingdoms etc. It's just too remarkable, and no matter how much our studies and theories (science) can explain things, it still leads to being absolute miracles. There must be some power behind it, a creator. There is no evidence to disproove that God exists, yet there are evidences that proove his existence. The arguments that disprove his existence are not valid (at least to me, I did not find them to hold a strong argument, there is nothing to deduce and it's been non-conclusive). The scale tips much over to the side that God does exist. In my opinion of course.

Also when I take into account the "human" miracles, thought, feelings, abstract thoughts such as the soul etc, faith, how it can change many things, mood, stress, health, the human miracle also tips the scale over to God must exist. Again, my own opinion, maybe I haven't worded this well.

I think logically there is a God, it's peoples interpretations of religion and their misguidedness or mistakes that show the illogical side of religion.

ws

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Hi everyone,

Was anyone here agnostic/atheist before reverting? I currently call myself agnostic, and as much as I would like to believe, I just don't feel it, so I'm wondering what made you realize that there is a God?

Thanks!

Belief isn't just about feeling, it is about reasoning. The feelings are amongst a set of proofs which support the reasoning process.

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Just thinking about the miracles of the world/universe. The largeness (sky, planet, space, star system, galaxies) and the smallest (molecules, particles, electrons), the ecosystem, animal kingdoms etc. It's just too remarkable

Therefore god exists; its quite remarkable also that a sun is blowing up every second. Quite some intricacy.

, and no matter how much our studies and theories (science) can explain things, it still leads to being absolute miracles

How so?

There is no evidence to disproove that God exists, yet there are evidences that proove his existence

There are proofs, not evidences however to disprove the existence, but however this is a weakness in its own its inability to be purported with evidence, and unfalsifiablity.

The proofs for his existence are not evidence. Just plausible assertions. None of which are really great...

There must be some power behind it, a creator

Must be Zeus. This gets you to the deistic position, in which no one really can even prove yet.

it's peoples interpretations of religion and their misguidedness or mistakes that show the illogical side of religion.

True that.

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I was raised as a Christian but considered myself agnostic before I reverted to Islam. I always believed in God(s.w.a) and always believed in His mercy. I was always into astronomy, as a hobby and I knew about the big bang. I knew that the entire universe including all matter and forces (gravity, electro-magnetism, strong force) were created in a single instant about 10 billion years ago and before that nothing existed that we knew of. I knew that there is no possibility that the big bang was a random event and that there is no evolution when it comes to this event since before this, there was nothing to 'evolve' because nothing existed, not even time. So even though the main premise of Christianity, which is the Trinity, didn't make sense to me, I didn't stop believing in God because I knew that there were too many proofs all around us in our world of the existence of God and the unified existence of God. If you take regulation of matter, for example, it is dependent on three forces, and two of those forces (gravity and electromagnetisim) are both dependent on one force (the force which holds together the nucleus of the atom, which scientists call the strong force) because without this force (the strong force), matter would not exists, or at least not exist in the form we know it. The universe was created from a single event (the big bang) and all human beings began life as a single cell. Also, everthing that we know of is governed by the law of cause and effect and all cause and effect can be traced back to the Prime Cause, which is the creation event, which occured sometime before the big bang, and we don't know how long because time didn't exist then.

So if you look out at the universe and within ourselves, there is actually very little that is random and left to chance. These things are very well regulated and the regulation has nothing to do with us and is not within themselves, but is governed by an outside force, which scientists call 'Nature' and we call Allah(s.w.a) or God. These are just a few of the facts that made me turn toward consideration of God and religion. I can post more if you request but these are enough to get you thinking, if you really ponder on them.

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(salam)

For me it was the question of Soul and Death.

However much we know about human body, we just can't explain the soul and death. I couldn't find any decent/reasonable explanation about soul. I needed to know if I can exist without my body and where did the soul originate. I also needed to know what will happen to me once I die. Science doesn't even try to go there. Only Islam has given me a very satisfying answer.

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(salam)

Quote

, and no matter how much our studies and theories (science) can explain things, it still leads to being absolute miracles

How so?

For example, you can explain how a baby is born. It's still a miracle.

Quote

There is no evidence to disproove that God exists, yet there are evidences that proove his existence

There are proofs, not evidences however to disprove the existence, but however this is a weakness in its own its inability to be purported with evidence, and unfalsifiablity.

The proofs for his existence are not evidence. Just plausible assertions. None of which are really great...

Proof and evidence mean the same thing. Attempting to disprove God's existence without evidence, then would be weak proof. Yes, prooving God's existence is a difficult task, and it's also an area perhaps without solid evidence (or easy evidence). Everyone has to judge based on their own understanding and thoughts, and level of knowledge. The arguments and notions for God's existence still out-weigh the arguments against his existence (in my opinion). Also, with reasoning and logic the arguments against his existence still offer very minimal weight if it can even be awarded that amount.

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Proof and evidence mean the same thing. Attempting to disprove God's existence without evidence, then would be weak proof. Yes, prooving God's existence is a difficult task, and it's also an area perhaps without solid evidence (or easy evidence). Everyone has to judge based on their own understanding and thoughts, and level of knowledge. The arguments and notions for God's existence still out-weigh the arguments against his existence (in my opinion). Also, with reasoning and logic the arguments against his existence still offer very minimal weight if it can even be awarded that amount.

This point has been discussed by many of our ulema throughout history. To summarize, I would say that you can prove the existence of God, or Allah(s.w.a), but you cannot use the method of deduction. For instance, there is no such an argument that goes like 'Because A and B, therefore C (God exists)'. Methods of deduction are only valid when all variables can be quantified. Since God, or Allah(s.w.a) is infinite, and therefore cannot be quantified, we need to use a different method in order to prove the existence of God. The methodology used by the Holy Quran as well as our ulema is an inductive methodology. The Quran constantly asks us to look at creation in order to induce the existence of the Creator. This is an inductive method, and just as valid as deduction, from a logical point of view. In science classes, you will hear silly statements by 'learned' professors, such as inductive method is not science and not scientific, although they themselves depend on induction in order to prove their deductive arguments. The theory of evolution is an inductive and not deductive argument or case. Salams,

Edited by Abu Hadi

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Honestly, I think I am an agnostic. I would like to be a real Muslim, though. I don't feel that I believe in God in my heart. I believe in Him in my head, but I feel nothing in my heart (belief-wise). I believe in God because I think that there needs to be order, and I think that living in a world without God is pointless. I want to believe in God, but I don't. I agree with Islam on an intellectual level, I think that it makes sense and is very beautiful; but I think I am an agnostic at heart. :unsure:

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Honestly, I think I am an agnostic. I would like to be a real Muslim, though. I don't feel that I believe in God in my heart. I believe in Him in my head, but I feel nothing in my heart (belief-wise). I believe in God because I think that there needs to be order, and I think that living in a world without God is pointless. I want to believe in God, but I don't. I agree with Islam on an intellectual level, I think that it makes sense and is very beautiful; but I think I am an agnostic at heart. :unsure:

When I first reverted to Islam, I believed in it intellectually, like you, but my heart was not fully into it. I used to believe that there was a clean seperation between feelings, thought, and actions. Actually now, and according to most modern research into the brain, that is not the case. There is no clean seperation and what you do also influences how you think and how you feel. So if I were you, since you have some belief, I would start to do more actions like extra prayer, fasting, giving charity, volunteering to feed the homeless, etc. You will see that as your good works increase, your Imam(faith) will also increase and thus your feelings will change. It will be gradual but the changes will be lasting and you will someday start to enjoy the ibadat (acts of worship) and not consider them a chore. Also, any involvement in haram activities will definitely undermine your Iman and your feelings toward God and the religion of Islam. So getting rid of the haram habits is just as important as doing good works. I , now, truely believe that you are what you do and what you don't do and this is the basis of faith, and it is not merely an intellectual point or a feeling. Salams,

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Thanks for all the responses!!

To be honest, I don't know what my problem is! I believe is an afterlife, and I believe in ghosts which someone in another forum said could be jinn, so I don't know why I have such a hard time accepting that God exists. And I really do want to believe so I'm not sure what's holding me back. I think part of it may be the beliefs in science that I have (Big Bang, evolution, etc) but none of those things rule out the possibility of God.

Right now I'm starting to feel really upset about this. Almost like if there is a God, He's forgotten about me or doesn't care. I have prayed for help and guidance but I don't feel help or guidance. I try to live a good life, so sometimes I feel that either I'm not good enough, or maybe God just isn't real.

Sorry, I'm rambling. But I've been feeling this way for a while and I don't know what else I can do. I was thinking of fasting for Ramadan even though I'm not Muslim, so maybe that will help? I don't know. I'm just starting to get frustrated :(

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(salam)

CanuckGirl,

Maybe you haven't read enough about Islam/God? :unsure:

You can start with reading the nahjul balagha http://www.al-islam.org/nahjul/index.htm

Start with sermon 1 http://www.al-islam.org/nahjul/1.htm

Read one sermon a day.

Please feel free to ask or if you need more clarification. We are here to help all the newbies (to Islam) and those who are interested to know more about Islam.

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Thanks for all the responses!!

To be honest, I don't know what my problem is! I believe is an afterlife, and I believe in ghosts which someone in another forum said could be jinn, so I don't know why I have such a hard time accepting that God exists. And I really do want to believe so I'm not sure what's holding me back. I think part of it may be the beliefs in science that I have (Big Bang, evolution, etc) but none of those things rule out the possibility of God.

Right now I'm starting to feel really upset about this. Almost like if there is a God, He's forgotten about me or doesn't care. I have prayed for help and guidance but I don't feel help or guidance. I try to live a good life, so sometimes I feel that either I'm not good enough, or maybe God just isn't real.

Sorry, I'm rambling. But I've been feeling this way for a while and I don't know what else I can do. I was thinking of fasting for Ramadan even though I'm not Muslim, so maybe that will help? I don't know. I'm just starting to get frustrated :(

Here is the key to that. First, you have to have sincerity in your heart. You have to be really seeking guidance from God only and not praying for some other reason, like a particular situation or outcome to happen. Second, you have to be willing to accept the answer, even if it may seem strange or uncomfortable to you. In Islam, life in this world is like one long examination. Like Imam Ali(a.s) says, this world is the world of sowing, and the next world is the world of reaping. Whatever you do, in terms of work in this world, you will get the great majority of the reward for it in the next world. You do get rewarded in this world for you efforts, but this reward is usually an internal reward which takes the form of peace of mind and heart and not something external (usually). This system is set up by God to sort out the ones who are truthful and truly seeking guidance from the ones who are liars and only after something in this life and don't really care about truth. So if you are seeking truth, sincerely, you will find it but it may not be in the place and form that you expect or is comfortable for you. This is the first part of the test, like I said. If seeking and finding guidance was easy and in the expected way and place, everyone would find it easily and there would be no test and no criteria to sort the truthful ones from the liars. Pray to God with a sincere and humble heart for guidance and you will find it, that is for sure. Peace, Salams.

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Thanks for all the responses!!

To be honest, I don't know what my problem is! I believe is an afterlife, and I believe in ghosts which someone in another forum said could be jinn, so I don't know why I have such a hard time accepting that God exists. And I really do want to believe so I'm not sure what's holding me back. I think part of it may be the beliefs in science that I have (Big Bang, evolution, etc) but none of those things rule out the possibility of God.

Right now I'm starting to feel really upset about this. Almost like if there is a God, He's forgotten about me or doesn't care. I have prayed for help and guidance but I don't feel help or guidance. I try to live a good life, so sometimes I feel that either I'm not good enough, or maybe God just isn't real.

Sorry, I'm rambling. But I've been feeling this way for a while and I don't know what else I can do. I was thinking of fasting for Ramadan even though I'm not Muslim, so maybe that will help? I don't know. I'm just starting to get frustrated :(

Religion is based on faith in God, you cannot find true satisfaction in faith unless you do not try to understand what sort of thing God is. Read the teachings of the Imams about Allah

http://www.al-islam.org/anthology/1.htm

& this post has additional narrations of the Imams about Allah

Edited by JimJam

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Hi everyone,

Was anyone here agnostic/atheist before reverting? I currently call myself agnostic, and as much as I would like to believe, I just don't feel it, so I'm wondering what made you realize that there is a God?

Thanks!

I hope this finds you well. While the intellect can lead one to faith in terms of contemplation on the Universe and wrestling with issues like the so called problem of evil, this is only a very rough starting point. "I was a secret which wanted to be known," God wants you to know Him. One who truly seeks God will find Him. its like magnetism or gravity. If you take a step towards Him, He will take ten towards you, if you walk towards Him, He will run towards you.

If you have ever had a spiritual experience that is God knocking on the door to your heart asking you to open it and allow Him to enter.

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I hope this finds you well. While the intellect can lead one to faith in terms of contemplation on the Universe and wrestling with issues like the so called problem of evil, this is only a very rough starting point. "I was a secret which wanted to be known," God wants you to know Him. One who truly seeks God will find Him. its like magnetism or gravity. If you take a step towards Him, He will take ten towards you, if you walk towards Him, He will run towards you.

If you have ever had a spiritual experience that is God knocking on the door to your heart asking you to open it and allow Him to enter.

Thanks for all the links...I'm slowly making my way through them all.

Abu Muntazer...I haven't had a "spiritual" experience, at least not one that I've recognized as spiritual. To the part I bolded...I feel like I must be so far away to not have found Him yet...I'm taking the steps as best I know how, but nothing :( It's frustrating. Sometimes I want to give up...

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Thanks for all the links...I'm slowly making my way through them all.

Abu Muntazer...I haven't had a "spiritual" experience, at least not one that I've recognized as spiritual. To the part I bolded...I feel like I must be so far away to not have found Him yet...I'm taking the steps as best I know how, but nothing :( It's frustrating. Sometimes I want to give up...

Perhaps you're path to God is not of the type most would call "spiritual". That is, perhaps you don't feel attuned to a more feelings-based approach to religion, or experiential, mystical one. That's not to say you have no way to finding your place in religion. Perhaps, like myself, you're approach would be more an intellectual one, less emotional in its orientation. For that, I'd recommend feeding the intellect. Our religion in fact highly stresses on the relation between the intellect and faith, so don't feel at all bad if you find yourself more attuned to that end of things. Do that, and the emotional end might follow suit. Or not. Doesn't necessarily matter in the end, so long as you're taking a road to the end goal of truth. And don't worry about "finding" God, He isn't lost. All you need to do is first, for yourself, assent to His unique existence (note I said assent, I did not say you have full knowledge and conviction by this point). The rest (developing faith, conviction, certainty), that follows afterwards and can take a long time.

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Thanks for all the links...I'm slowly making my way through them all.

Abu Muntazer...I haven't had a "spiritual" experience, at least not one that I've recognized as spiritual. To the part I bolded...I feel like I must be so far away to not have found Him yet...I'm taking the steps as best I know how, but nothing :( It's frustrating. Sometimes I want to give up...

MacIssac gives excellent advise regarding feeding the intellect.

But I have to ask, have you never been overwhelmed by the beauty of a sunset? Or experienced unbounded joy in the adoration bestowed upon you by a loving child? Those feelings and experiences (substitute in which ever experience best applies to you) are sparks of spirituality.

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Peace, CanuckGirl.

I'm not really much of a spiritual person in that sense. I've always prized the intellect, even if the truth is bitter to me. Check out this article I composed: http://www.pathofisl...ining-muhammed/ It's an intellectual examination of the Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings be upon him and his chosen family. I wrote it ages ago (before I was Shi'i), so it has the occasional error but its principles are still valid. Check it out!

Peace.

Edited by Perseverance

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Right now I'm starting to feel really upset about this. Almost like if there is a God, He's forgotten about me or doesn't care. I have prayed for help and guidance but I don't feel help or guidance. I try to live a good life, so sometimes I feel that either I'm not good enough, or maybe God just isn't real.

God hasn't forgotten you, otherwise you wouldn't be here speaking about this. Remember that separation makes the heart grow fonder. Sometimes you need to experience being without a thing to really appreciate it when you get it. Struggling for something is also another factor which makes a person really appreciate that thing when they get it. For example a mother's love for her new born only increases with the struggles that she had to go through before birth. Also you may not be ready or in the right situation to experience those spiritual feelings. However when it happens, you will know it. You need to work on it in the right way.

Have you ever been to a mosque?

I think part of it may be the beliefs in science that I have (Big Bang, evolution, etc) but none of those things rule out the possibility of God.

They prove God. For example:

Edited by Muhammed Ali

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(salam)

God is something that transcends our human minds, but this doesn't mean we dont have proof for His existence.

I can never truly express the surity I have that God exists, it would be like someone trying to define love, you will never get the full meaning I want to convey, no matter how many words I put.

The only way I answer to why is that my intellect (mind) and my heart (my feelings) and my soul (spirituality) have never been joined together in such a way to exude "There is no God but Allah". Unless someone else is convinced in their mind of His existence and his/her heart says yes to it and their soul has a longing desire to please/meet him, it's hard to relate.

For me the major proofs if I had to be very very brief would be personal experience, common sense and Qur'an and Ahlul Bayt. Like another poster said, it took me a while to go from believing Him as a academic point of view to feeling His presence in my heart.

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Perhaps you're path to God is not of the type most would call "spiritual". That is, perhaps you don't feel attuned to a more feelings-based approach to religion, or experiential, mystical one. That's not to say you have no way to finding your place in religion. Perhaps, like myself, you're approach would be more an intellectual one, less emotional in its orientation. For that, I'd recommend feeding the intellect. Our religion in fact highly stresses on the relation between the intellect and faith, so don't feel at all bad if you find yourself more attuned to that end of things. Do that, and the emotional end might follow suit. Or not. Doesn't necessarily matter in the end, so long as you're taking a road to the end goal of truth. And don't worry about "finding" God, He isn't lost. All you need to do is first, for yourself, assent to His unique existence (note I said assent, I did not say you have full knowledge and conviction by this point). The rest (developing faith, conviction, certainty), that follows afterwards and can take a long time.

I've been trying to learn as much as I can about Islam as I think you're right - I need to start with the intellectual approach and go from there.

MacIssac gives excellent advise regarding feeding the intellect.

But I have to ask, have you never been overwhelmed by the beauty of a sunset? Or experienced unbounded joy in the adoration bestowed upon you by a loving child? Those feelings and experiences (substitute in which ever experience best applies to you) are sparks of spirituality.

I've never really thought about those as spiritual experiences...

Last year I was in the Czech Republic and visited some caves. There was one section where the cave roof had collapsed, so suddenly we were in this bright area full of lush green grass. We literally came out of the dark into the most beautiful scene you could imagine...but I never thought of it as a spiritual experience...it was just awe at how beautiful nature is.

But that's kind of the feeling I want with faith...to feel like I'm coming out of the dark and into the light...

Peace, CanuckGirl.

I'm not really much of a spiritual person in that sense. I've always prized the intellect, even if the truth is bitter to me. Check out this article I composed: http://www.pathofisl...ining-muhammed/ It's an intellectual examination of the Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings be upon him and his chosen family. I wrote it ages ago (before I was Shi'i), so it has the occasional error but its principles are still valid. Check it out!

Peace.

Thanks for the link! I will check it out later (have to get back to studying - Boo!)

God hasn't forgotten you, otherwise you wouldn't be here speaking about this. Remember that separation makes the heart grow fonder. Sometimes you need to experience being without a thing to really appreciate it when you get it. Struggling for something is also another factor which makes a person really appreciate that thing when they get it. For example a mother's love for her new born only increases with the struggles that she had to go through before birth. Also you may not be ready or in the right situation to experience those spiritual feelings. However when it happens, you will know it. You need to work on it in the right way.

Have you ever been to a mosque?

They prove God. For example:

No, I've never been to a mosque. Too shy...

(salam)

God is something that transcends our human minds, but this doesn't mean we dont have proof for His existence.

I can never truly express the surity I have that God exists, it would be like someone trying to define love, you will never get the full meaning I want to convey, no matter how many words I put.

The only way I answer to why is that my intellect (mind) and my heart (my feelings) and my soul (spirituality) have never been joined together in such a way to exude "There is no God but Allah". Unless someone else is convinced in their mind of His existence and his/her heart says yes to it and their soul has a longing desire to please/meet him, it's hard to relate.

For me the major proofs if I had to be very very brief would be personal experience, common sense and Qur'an and Ahlul Bayt. Like another poster said, it took me a while to go from believing Him as a academic point of view to feeling His presence in my heart.

Yeah, I've asked coworkers (both Muslim and Christian) why they believe and they say the same - that's it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't "get it"

How do you go from believing from an academic point of view to believing because you feel Him? I've been thinking of observing Ramadan this year...would that help?

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Last year I was in the Czech Republic and visited some caves. There was one section where the cave roof had collapsed, so suddenly we were in this bright area full of lush green grass. We literally came out of the dark into the most beautiful scene you could imagine...but I never thought of it as a spiritual experience...it was just awe at how beautiful nature is.

But that's kind of the feeling I want with faith...to feel like I'm coming out of the dark and into the light...

There is a verse in the Qur'an which reads in part, "God is the Guardian of those who believe; He takes them out of darkness into light. . . ."2:257. I immediately thought of it when I read your post. The wonders of nature are continuing signs from God to us calling us to Him. It is also striking to me that you had this experience in a cave, as the practice of our Prophet (pbuh) was to go to a cave to mediate. The angle Gabriel (as) came to him to inform him that he was a prophet and delivered the first revelation to him there in that cave. That your experience parallels that of this verse and the experience of our Prophet (pbuh) is in and of itself miraculous.

I am personally not an academic. I can tell you that the feeling you experienced in the cave is exactly what faith is like. Know that the difficult task is not finding faith it is keeping it vibrant. This is why we pray five times a day, and why contemplating the signs in nature is so important. Be ready to be at times overwhelmed.

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Thanks for the link! I will check it out later (have to get back to studying - Boo!)

Aww. Yeah I know what you mean. I'm studying too :(

No, I've never been to a mosque. Too shy...

Awww. Don't worry. Just don't bring a pet pig to the mosque and you should be fine haha. All joking aside, when you do go God-willing, it's best to take a bath, wear something modest, not sit on the seats provided for elderly or disabled women. Before entering the actual prayer room, put your shoes on the shoe rack provided. If someone says "salaam" (peace) or "salaam alay-kum" (peace be upon you), you respond "wa alay-kum sal-laam" (and upon you be peace). Don't talk too loudly. Don't walk directly infront of a praying person (i.e. leave some space), cos praying people go on the floor in prostration during their prayer. Feel free to socialise and ask questions.

Yeah, I've asked coworkers (both Muslim and Christian) why they believe and they say the same - that's it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't "get it"

Probably because they can't provide evidence for their belief...Although not everyone is like that.

How do you go from believing from an academic point of view to believing because you feel Him? I've been thinking of observing Ramadan this year...would that help?

You don't need to "feel" Him. Some people have a Christian viewpoint where they expect miracles and swimming in spirituals feelings and experiences. Nope. It's much more subtle than that. And it comes after time. After worship. After intellectual pursuit of Islam.

Do read the link I provided when you have time. Now get back to revision ;)

Peace.

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Faith is much greater.

How can you know the intensity of her feelings? The experience she had in the cave was beautiful. Perhaps she was unable to associate it with spiritual feelings because her understanding about spirituality is narrow. She only admitted to experience something profound after the brother gave her everyday examples. But you couldn't know how much greater it felt for her since you cannot feel what she felt.

Sorry to be off topic a bit but I had to say that.

(salam)

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Asalam alaykum, I too was once like you, I had a hard time grasping religion for a while. Islam changed all that for me. For me it was more that the Quran was a remedy and correction for the broken history of the bible, it being changed by man and all that. But I was also a very logical thinker and I put a lot of faith in science. It wasn't until a little while after I converted that I found this verse, which I belive essentially talks about the big bang and evolution all in the same verse.

Sura 21 verse 30

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together before We pulled them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then belive?

I think this verse speaks volumes about the wisdom of the holy Quran.

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CanuckGirl,

Hi. I would classify myself as a skeptic and up until a few years ago, considered myself to be an agnostic. My wife still does. I can't offer you a concrete, definite proof for God. I think that doubt is built into the system. Just look at it. We live here on a speck of a planet, carving out an existence against all odds. Whether it's a rogue black hole, a burst of radiation from space, or just a big enough chunk of dirt colliding with the planet, there are a number of seemingly meaningless ways for life on earth to come to an end. At the very least, we know that the sun is getting hotter. Over the next billion years, the circumstellar habitable zone will get pushed out further and further and life on earth will simply be cooked into extinction. Did I mention that our galaxy is also on a collision course with our closest neighbor? Or that the vast majority of creation is a sterile, desolate waste? We can talk about how countless species have come into being only to go extinct seemingly without rhyme or reason. Can it possibly be that all of the major species of the jurassic simply lived so that we could have oil and fossil exhibits at museums? So that paleontologists could have tenure? The honest answer is that I don't have answers to any of these.

We used to think that we were nestled in the center of a very small universe. All of creation consisted of our star system, that the planets were there to occupy our heavens, that the stars existed to guide us at night, that the sun and the moon where there to illumine our lives. And just beyond the stars was heaven, where God sat on his throne and had his eye focused right on us. There was a clear purpose, a clear design. We have none of that ancient certainty now. In a lot of ways, humanity is still trying to deal with that reality, and none too successfully. On one hand, we have people who think that these discoveries mean that the old revelations lack authenticity - that they represent best guesses and dated fairy tales, rather than the voice of God. On the other, zealots try to shut down their minds, plug their ears and doubt their eyes. It's said that the Anti-Christ, when he comes, will be one eyed - and I don't have proof for it, but I tend to think that it's this sort of one-sided, narrow thinking is a sign of his coming.

I know it sounds pretty hopeless, but I don't think it's nearly as grim as all of that.

There are a lot of reasons to doubt, but that's good. Doubt is a friend who is there to keep you honest, to compel you to think about and own your beliefs rather than let someone else spoonfeed them to you. True faith isn't created by beating down your doubt - that sort of repression creates neuroticism and nothing else. Faith is strong enough to exist alongside doubt and eventually to guide it. There is a tradition handed down to us that I think illustrates this dynamic really well:

In Sahih Muslim Book 39, Number 6759:

A'isha the wife of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), reported that one day Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) came out of her apartment during the night and she felt jealous. Then he came and he saw me (in what agitated state of mind) I was. He said: A'isha, what has happened to you? Do you feel jealous? Thereupon she said: How can it he (that a woman like me) should not feel jealous in regard to a husband like you. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: It was your devil who had come to you, and she said: Allah's Mes senger, is there along with me a devil? He said: Yes. I said: Is devil attached to everyone? He said: Yes. I (Aisha) again said: Allah's Messenger, is it with you also? He said: Yes, but my Lord has helped me against him and as such I am absolutely safe from his mischief.

Comparable statements related to us have the Prophet saying that he also converted his devil to Islam. Similarly, our doubt - like our libido, our ferocity, our competitive drive - is a voice that when unchecked can become an destructive obsession, but when brought into the larger context of the person and his relationship to God and others, can be a source of strength.

So like I said, I can't offer you a definite proof for God. What I can offer you is how I came to really believe in God. My faith begins with the soul. Science presents a living thing as cells organized into tissues and systems to create the phenomenon of a life. Given a sufficiently complex organism, there will be a well-developed consciousness. And that's science's domain. Physical things can be measured and theorized about. Evidence can be provided and reasonable proof can be offered. In line with the notion that all phenomena are reducable to physical causes, that means that our personalities are due to our genetic programming in concert with our experiences. Our emotions are neurochemicals firing off and being interpreted by our brains.

I don't buy that. Sure, I might see someone look at my wife and feel jealousy and there's a good evolutionary reason for that. I want my genetic specificity to move on into the future. But can you explain to me why my wife and I put up with each other's quirks, why we're willing to sacrifice our individual ease to help the other find fulfilment? And why isn't happiness simply a matter of fulfilling our genetically programming? Why is it that when we let our biological programming - sex, consumption, power, lack of pain, heightening of pleasure - dominate us, we actually move into the realm of mental illness (and spiritual disease)? Why do we sublimate these desires to cultivate a "higher consciousness" and a deeper level of satisfaction? Why do we gain intrinsic joy from creating art? How do firing neurochemicals and evolution give us a sense of what "ought" to be, particularly when that "ought to be" is so fraught with intangibles like justice, self-sacrifice, and beauty? This isn't a simple "soul of the gaps" argument, either. I genuinely believe that human beings are drawing parallels between our world and a timeless sense of what is right and wrong. We have a spiritual dimension, and what's more, that spiritual dimension seems to be encouraged to transcend itself. Someone is there who wants us to have experiences which are rooted in a state of being that is beyond our narrow definitions of self and transitory sources of pleasure. That inner world is the soul, and the voice that guides us and the power that drives it is God. I can't prove it to you, but the conclusion seems inescapable to me.

As for the question of "why islam", it just seemed like a natural fit. Islam doesn't try to beat down the life of this world. Rather, the things of this world are put in the context of being sustenance for the spiritual journey. God creates because He is a hidden treasure and wishes to be known. The human being is created as the vicegerent of God on earth, to be guardian over His creation and empowered by God with spiritual depth, free agency, and the ability to learn and understand the world around him. What do we do with that freedom? Will we try to grow and understand God and ourselves more? Or will we try to hold onto a momentary sense of power just to see it slip through our fingers? And as I've read the Qur'an and turned over God's words, I've found more than just helpful advice or perspective or hope - I've discovered my best friend. I've been introduced to Someone who understands me better than I ever could. It's these things taken together which give me a sense of certitude that the Qur'an is God's word and that Islam is the reality that underlies all of our spiritual lives, whether we realize it or not.

Anyway, if nothing I said works for you, I hope you at least take away from this thread that there are a bunch of people out here who really think you have your heart in the right place. For my part, I know that if you stay true to yourself you'll find a place to call home.

with love and prayers,

Jesse

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Yeah, I've asked coworkers (both Muslim and Christian) why they believe and they say the same - that's it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't "get it"

How do you go from believing from an academic point of view to believing because you feel Him? I've been thinking of observing Ramadan this year...would that help?

Ramadan is the best time for this. Open up the Qur'an and read whatever strikes you, God willingly, you will start your intellectual journey. No one can make you believe in something until you yourself agree on it, so if you embrace anything, you add your own flavour to it. So the Islam I see in my eyes may be different to Islam of someone else. This doesn't mean that s/he is right I am wrong etc. It just means that religion is personal.

You come to the world alone and you leave alone. Only God will be there, at all times, no matter what.

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I was atheist before I found Islam.

Basically I read a lot of stuff in Christianity and other religions that was un-scientific and just flat out ridiculous, I wrongly assumed the same about ALL religions.

I came across Islam because I just got curious one day, I saw a Qur'an and I'd heard horrible things about Islam in news and so on, but I decided to take a look.

I decided to keep an open mind about it, as I had when looking into other religions previously.

At first I was a bit disturbed at some of the passages about Jews but I though "lets keep an open mind, don't judge a book but jsut a few passages of ONE english translation" - then I realized this was N.J. Dawood's translation and he was jewish yet he was translating Muslim scripture - I saw a conflict of interest there: he made the Qur'an sound very biased and anti-Jewish and I didnt' think this could possibly be correct. so I decided to find Muslim translations like Yusuf Ali. these were better and more accurate and cleared up a lot of questions, there were some followers of Musa (as) that betrayed him and slew other prophets, so this was not bigotry, it only referred to specific individuals guilty of specific actions, and not a whole religion. Of course, I realized that the whole notion of a "chosen race" is nonsense too.

A couple of things made me decide Islam was correct - first, the clarity of the message, especially in verses like the "Verse of the Firm Handle" and many of the verses about hypocrites and disbelievers. Allah describes the psychology and personalities of the hypocrites perfectly, even 1400 years later it's like these verse pertained to actual people I had encountered in my life. It's not a long boring narrative like the Bible - the stories are short and to the point, and they actually make you THINK about their meaning and what the lesson is. There you go, the revelations are right there in front of you. Then I realized that the Qur'an had already refuted all the "objections" of the Islam-haters over 1400 years ago. And it had issued CHALLENGES that they had never answered successfully! The bible never did this! The Qur'an actually challenges you to ponder over it and question it and put it to the test - the Bible never said that! There's no blind faith in the Qur'an, you are given permission to think and ask questions. And this is something you just don't find in other religions.

And the fact that there's only ONE version of the Qur'an, not millions of versions like the bible. And that ONE version has remained unchanged. Also the descriptions of heaven and hell were VERY graphic. I saw that Islam is a religion that isn't afraid to tackle the issue of hell and punishment, Allah truly pulls no punches and there's no ambiguity that YES, the evil unjust people will be punished. So even if you see evildoers prospering in this world today, all of their current power and success is only a trial from Allah, and if they do not change their ways, it will all become a curse for them on judgment day. Having gone through a lot of difficulties and harassment in my life it was a relief to know that Allah (swt) isn't satisfied with people suffering unjustly, that He does not simply "turn the other cheek" or look the other way when bad things happen. And when He punished people, it's only for bad things that they actually did, not things your ancestors did. No "original sin", the only sins you're punished for are YOUR OWN. It just made so much more sense!

Also I realized that all the "war" verses were just that - verses that apply specifically to times of war. The fact that the Qur'an forbids suicide or killing of civilians. The fact that Allah does not love aggressors of any faith. made it clear that Islam is not aggressive or violent. Christians were lying about Islam's stance on Jesus too - the Qur'an doesn't curse him, it praises him as no less than a true prophet! This really made me interested.... a religion that loves and respects Jesus but doesn't worship him or demand that you idolize him and call him "Lord and Savior"? Obviously "believing in Jesus" was something a lot more logical and straightforward to these Muslims, but in a way that is totally alien to christians, and perhaps they never considered it!

And finally a lot of scientific miracles made perfect sense when I read the Qur'an. There's no mention of "behemoths" or literal 6 day creation. 6 days in the Qur'an is metaphorical for six long periods of time - which is exactly how the universe evolved. The main reason I had been atheist is that I thought religion can't explain nature. But then I saw that we can't even create a Mustard seed, no primordial soup experiments have actually CREATED life.... and for all the billions of chemical reactions a second that enable a cell to work, it has to get it right every time! This is truly a miracle, not an accident. Allah's signs of creation are abundant in the Qur'an, how without Him all life would stop. the development of the embryo is another sign in the Qur'an that convinced me that no human could have known this 1400 years ago.... western medicine didn't even know how embryos developed until the 20th century! And indeed even the basic laws of the universe are connected to revelations in the Qur'an. This PROVES that it wasn't man-made.

As for all those who claimed that the Propheet invented it himself, the Qur'an also refutes their claim "Invent ten chapters like it, if what you say be true!". And the unbelievers failed to produce ten chapters like it, or even one chapter, or even one verse. And if Muhammad (saw) had written it himself, then why is he barely mentioned in it? If someone was really a trickster or a "false prophet" and simply wanted to invent a religion to make money or get power, he would claim to be God, and write things that make him very big and important.

But the Qur'an barely mentions Muhammad (saw) at all... he's merely bringing the message of Allah, and the message is FAR greater than any man! It's not really so much about the Prophet as much as the signs of Allah and the hereafter. This is not some forgery made to self-serve his own gain. No, the Prophet indeed brought a message that was not out of his own desire. A message that's NOT all about himself. He underwent years of persecution and threats to his life to bring this message to people. And once he defeated his enemies, he didn't take any of their wealth or property for himself. He died as simply as he had lived. A true prophet of God, has no need for self-aggrandizement or the wealth of this world.

Then I re-examined evolution and saw that there are BIG patterns in it of a divine hand guiding it. Animals did not evolve randomly, in fact many times unrelated beasts evolved into very similar shapes. What made sense was repeated over millions of years. The Qur'an also repeats many themes, so that it's hard to miss anything. At that point I realized that Islam has no conflict with science, and it's got the purest message of peace and justice, fair dealing, honesty and consistency that I've ever come across - and it's as true and relevant now as it ever was. And I became Muslim.

Edited by Shia Shahid

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I would say i was always agnostic with a leaning/connection with Jesus (although not from a particularly religious family). I dont have a scientific background, but any exposure ive had to science theory/fact has never snuffed out the feeling in my heart that there is so much more than we can fathom. I dont believe our human minds can concieve of the hugeness and complexity of things; we live in a certain, restricted environment and although we have been blessed with awarenesses we can only grasp the hem of the reality of it all with our sciences and may well never evolve to fully understand. Our science can only take us so far and so far it hasnt been far enough to satisfactorily explain our experience of being human and in the whole scheme of time and space and possibilties we must accept that we are probably ignorant of so much that it might not be unreasonable to consider ourselves still clueless.

We can all reason with our intellect, but all that anyone is left with when all is considered is the feeling left in their heart (and though its hard to explain, everyone knows what i mean when i say that). In my heart i feel there is a great unfathomable force behind our every experience, a force more multifaceted and complicated than i can comprehend. Its not human-like, its not like anything on earth but everything on earth is it. I think for me it was a matter of opening up my mind to possibilities and not letting myself be limited with the blockages that previous reading material/experiences had put in me, prejudices, if you will.

Reading the bible would always confuse me a bit, because it seemed that God would be made anthropomorphic some how and this didnt sit right with me at all. I think humans try to make God anthropomorphic so we can understand better and maybe that has to happen to an extent for a kind of understand to exist.

So i go with my heart and my heart led me to jesus again and again and my heart has led me here to investigate Shia Islam and it feels right, so i will continue on my journey :) InshaAllah

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Salam to all,

I wouldn't say that I was exactly and "Agnositc" before I accepted Islam, however, I did have "Agnostic tendencies". I think I always believed that God existed but for much of my youth I had no specific religious affiliation (like many Americans)...although I was raised Christian.

There are many different paths that lead to the acceptance of Islam, although this acceptance is really the end of a short trip and the beginning of a much, much longer journey. Some people are more emotional by nature and find Islam in a blinding flash of inspiration. Others are less emotional and find Islam in the library or classroom. There is no "right" or "wrong" path, just different ones. Once you find something valuable the finding loses it's importance.

The only brief advice I would give to those struggling to reach certainty in their beliefs is to look to your behaviors and actions throughout the day. Are you behaving in a way that is contrary to the path of spiritual enlightenment? If your actions are at odds with your path then you will make little progress.A "soft heart" is necessary for spiritual progress. Sinful, selfish, aggressive, immodest or rude behavior hardens the heart and prevents you from perceiving the Noor ("spiritual light") of Allah (s.w.a.) that envelopes all creation.

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