Sunday, 21 August 2011

The story of the disbelieving scholar

There was once a scholar who was well learned in the sciences. His knowledge was wide and deep, and he was known among the people as a man of wisdom. However, this scholar for all his knowledge and supposed wisdom did not believe in the existence and the omnipotence of Allah Most Great.

“The existence and the creation of the world does not need a god to explain it”, he proclaimed. He thought that he had found how the world was created, and he believed that his theory did not need God. He could not see that before his theory, there were many other theories. Each one, the people of the time thought explained everything, and each one was, with time, shown to be wrong. This is the nature of human kind. Whatever we make might seem to be the best, but time will always show things that are even better. Only Allah Knows the true best.

The disbelieving scholar proudly spread his misbelief. He gave many lectures and wrote many books that belittled the people who believe in Allah. Because he was known to be knowledgeable and respected for his knowledge, many weak hearted people followed him. They too did not believe in Allah, and they too looked down on the people that believed in Allah.  They thought them foolish because they (the believers) were not on the same side as a knowledgeable man. As if the scholar knew better than the Creator Himself. As if the scholar had the knowledge and ability to create even a single fly.

One day, the disbelieving scholar decided to go visit his friend in a distant land. So, packing up his clothes and a bag full of books, because scholars never go anywhere without a good supply of books to read, he took the first ship that left the jetty.

The  journey to his friends country would take many days and they would have to go through many dangerous waters, but the disbelieving scholar had his books to read and the Nautilus was a big ship that could brave even the most treacherous waters. The disbelieving scholar was not bored through the journey, or afraid of storms or sea monsters.

One sunny day while the disbelieving scholar was telling some fellow passengers about his ideas that god did not exist, a little girl came up to him and asked: “Why don’t you believe in Allah mister?”. It was an honest question from a pure heart that could not understand how one may not see the obvious, that Allah Most Great Exists, and that He is The All Powerful.

The disbelieving scholar knelt down to look the little questioner in the eyes. “I do not believe in what I cannot see”, he said. “If god exists, then where is he?”.

That night there was a mighty storm. Although the Nautilus was a big and strong ship, it rocked violently in the storm. How powerless humans are before the Might of Allah, yet most men do not see.

At first the disbelieving scholar did not worry about the storm. He did not believe that anything could happen to the Nautilus. He was very wrong.

A gigantic wave as tall as a skyscraper hit the side of the Nautilus, causing the behemoth of a ship to almost turn over. The disbelieving scholar who was reading in the ships dainty library was thrown out the window, over the side of the ship and into the raging water.

The disbelieving scholar was a very good swimmer, and he used to think that he would never be scared in the water. However, the stormy sea pulled and pushed and twisted him everywhere. The water was dark and freezing cold, and no matter how he struggled, he was powerless against the stormy sea.

Darkness closed in around him, the cold gripped him, and the air left his lungs. He struggled to find the surface, but the current battered him back into the endless depths. In his desperation for a gasp of air, he breathed in the icy water which only caused him to suffocate even more.

He was going to die, and he knew it. There was nothing he could do, nothing anyone could do. No one knows that he was drowning in the storm, no one was going to come save him.

In that moment of desperation and hopelessness, when no one and nothing can help him, that was when he saw his last hope. In fact it was not his last hope – it was his only hope. It was always his and everyone’s only hope.

And the disbelieving scholar humbled himself before Allah.

Oh Allah, please, please…help me…

Suddenly his head broke free above the waves. The once-disbelieving, but who was now the humble scholar, took in a deep gasp of air. It was the second sweetest thing he had ever tasted. He never knew that breathing was such a beautiful thing despite all his knowledge. He never even thought about it.

By the Grace of Allah, the storm subsided, and the Nautilus found the humble scholar. He was saved. From the brink of death he was Given another chance at life. Another chance to serve His Lord, Creator and Most Merciful Sustainer.

From that day on, the disbelieving scholar became the humble scholar. He devoted his whole life, his wealth and fame to spreading the beauty of Islam (da’wah) and to educating the believers (tarbiyyah). And of course, the sweetest thing that he has ever tasted, is the taste of Iman (faith).

May Allah bless the life and efforts of the humble scholar. May Allah Give us strength to give our lives, and our wealth to the Greatest Cause, the spreading of peace (spreading and empowering of Islam). And May Allah Guide those who have yet to see, to discover the beauty of faith. Amin.

Note: I have re-named the disbelieving scholar to the humble scholar after his discovery of Iman rather than to the ‘believing scholar’ because the strongest feeling one feels when one has found (or rediscovered) Iman is humbleness. To be totally and utterly humbled before the Majesty of Allah Most Great. Indeed Iman is the greatest gift one may receive, and to be given it…the feeling of endless gratitude that we feel towards our Lord Who has Deigned to Grant it to us; that feeling causes us to be totally humbled before Allah.  

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