Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
August 21, 2011
The Bible is ambivalent about alcohol at best, while the Holy Quran gives a clear prohibition against alcohol
There is an Op-Ed in CNN today titled, Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?
Now this is an unfair and biased question! To give the readers the best chance for cure they should have asked, which religion or what treatment can give the CNN readers the best hope for curing any addiction including pornography. The discussion seems to be framed in a way to lead people to Christianity, rather than an honest examination of the issues facing millions of addicts in our society, who are suffering for one reason or another. I made a comment there:
Islam can do better than Christianity in curing any addiction. Partly because the Holy Quran is literal word of God, unlike the Bible. Try my articles here and in Islam for the West. I know Islam has had a good track record in Alcohol Anonymous.
Within five minutes, rather than debating the issues the Islamophobes gathered around the comment in a distasteful manner to kill rather than promote dialogue. So, I decided to present my thoughts here.
Islam, by its profound teachings, firstly aims at preventing any addiction, be it alcohol, gambling or sexual addiction. This was the theme of our March, 2010 Alislam-eGazette: Utilitarian purpose of Islamic teachings. The false teaching of atonement in Christianity, by its false reassurance, actually encourages sin and creates problems like sexual addiction being discussed in the CNN editorial. So, far from being a cure, Christianity is the root cause of the problem.
How can the Bible which is half forgery according to Prof. Bart Ehrman do any better than the Holy Quran, which is genuine and literal word of God?
The true Quranic teachings about One God, in a remorseful reader, create awe, respect and discipline that truth inspires compared to make belief. So, my suggestion here, to any addict, is to come to the truth for it will set you free!
The holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Promised Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has written a book, precisely on this issue, How to be Free from Sin?
The Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him, writes that man is by his very nature averse to things he believes to be harmful, and if he commits sin it is only because he does not truly believe in the existence of God and in the Day of Reckoning. Had he possessed the same certainty about the accountability of sin, as he does, for instance, about the harmfulness of a poison or a snake, he would never even think of transgressing Divine commandments.
The Promised Messiah also argues that a true religion must be judged by its ability to lead its followers to certainty about the existence of God. The holy author makes a detailed comparison between Islam and other major religions, and concludes that Islam alone can lead man to perfect awareness and, consequently, to freedom from sin.
Someone might raise the question that while we know that God exists and we also know that sins will be punished, yet we commit sins, which shows that we need some other way of avoiding sin. Our answer would still be that which we have already given. It is not at all possible that realizing fully that with the commission of a sin its punishment would fall upon you like lightning, you would yet dare to commit sin. This is the philosophy that is not open to any objection or exception. Reflect well that when you are quite certain of being punished for a sin, you will not act contrary to this certainty. Would you thrust your hand into the fire? Would you jump down from the top of a mountain? Would you jump into a well? Would you lie down in front of a running train? Would you thrust your arm into the mouth of a tiger? Would you present your foot to a mad dog? Can you stay somewhere where lightning is striking repeatedly? Do you not run out quickly from a room the roof of which is about to fall down? Is there any one of you who would not jump out of bed on perceiving a poisonous snake in it? Is there anyone who would not run out of a room in which he is sleeping and in which a fire has broken out? Tell me, why do you do this and run away from all these harmful things, but do not run away from the sins to which I have drawn your attention? The only answer that a wise person can give after full reflection is that there is a difference of knowledge in the two cases. In the matter of sins, the knowledge of most people is defective. They consider sins as evil, but do not look upon them as they look upon a tiger or a serpent. Hidden in their minds is the notion that the punishment of sins is not certain. They even doubt the existence of God and if they believe in His existence they doubt whether the soul survives after death; and if it survives death, they do not know whether there is any punishment for these sins. They may not be conscious of it, yet most of them have these notions hidden in their minds. But with regard to those occasions of danger of which I have cited instances, and which they avoid, they are certain that if they did not move away from them they would be destroyed and so they run away. Even if they encounter any of them by chance, they run away from it in terror. Thus the truth is that with regard to these things man has certain knowledge that they are fatal, but with regard to religious commandments their knowledge is not certain and is only speculation. One is a case of seeing and the other is only a story. Sins cannot be avoided by stories. I tell you truly that not one Jesus even if a thousand of them were to be crucified, they would not procure you true salvation, for it is only perfect fear or perfect love that rescues from sin. The death of Jesus upon the cross is in itself a fiction, and in any case it has nothing to do with stemming the tide of sin. This is a claim which is all darkness. Experience does not support it, nor is there any relationship between the suicide of Jesus and the forgiveness of other peoples’ sins.
The philosophy of true salvation is that man should be delivered from the hell of sin in this very life. Consider then whether you have been delivered from the hell of sin by these tales or has anyone been so delivered through tales which have no truth behind them and which have no relationship with true salvation. Search in the East and the West and you will not find any people who had through these stories achieved such true purity whereby God becomes visible, and not only one is disgusted with sin but one begins to enjoy the heavenly delights of truth, and one’s soul flows like water and falls on the threshold of God and a light descends from heaven and dispels all darkness of the ego.
When on a bright day you open all the windows of your room, the light of the sun will enter your room under a natural law, but if you keep your windows shut, the light will not come in merely by virtue of a tale or story. To obtain light you will have to get up and open your windows and then light will enter and will illumine your room. Can anyone quench his thirst by thinking of water? Indeed not. A thirsty one must somehow or other arrive at a spring of water and apply his lips to the water. His thirst would then be quenched. Thus the water that will satisfy you and will remove the burning sensation of sin is certainty. There is no other means under heaven of getting rid of sin. No cross can deliver you from sin. No blood can restrain your passions. These things have no relationship with true salvation. Understand reality and reflect over verities. As you try things of the world, try this also and then you will soon understand that there is no light beside true certainty which can rescue you from the darkness of self. Without the clear water of perfect insight nothing can wash out your inner filth. Your burning cannot be assuaged without the refreshing water of beholding the Divine. False is the person who proposes other remedies to you, and ignorant is the one who desires to subject you to other treatment. These people cannot bestow light upon you but push you into the pit of darkness. They do not give you sweet water, but increase your burning sensation. No blood can be of any benefit to you but the blood which might be generated inside you by the nourishment of certainty, and no cross can deliver you but the cross of the straight path; that is to say steadfastness in the way of truth. Then open your eyes and see whether it is not true that you can only see with the help of light and by no other means, and that you can arrive at your goal by following the straight path and in no other way. Worldly things are close to you and the things of the faith are far away. Then reflect on that which is close and understand its law and then apply it to that which is far, for it is the same One Who has framed both these laws.
To read additional excerpts from his writings about salvation and repentance, click here.
To read my review of the book, How to be Free from Sin, click here.