How the @#*! Does One Go About Discovering God and Religion?

There’s nothing like the death of a parent to smack some sense into you. Or maybe, rather, to smack confusion into you. Or perhaps it’s more like smacking you into realizing

Michelangelo's Finger of God

you need to confront the confusion you already had but did not want to face.

My father taught me almost everything I know about religion; i.e. Islam. I did my own readings, of course. I had a phase of about six years while studying medicine in university when I became a bookworm of Islamic knowledge. Just the other day I decided to organize my personal library at home. I thought I’d organize my books according to subject. I came across the books I bought during that time and I was horrified. Besides a number of books that guide one to the best methods of preaching Islam to others, and other books about how to purify oneself to a place of high moral and ethical standards according to Islamic philosophy, there were books such as Leadership and Following in Islam, Dying with Passion, and The Methods of Ideological Invasion. My books were chosen usually as either required or recommended reading by Muslim Brotherhood “sisters” and “brothers” who were mentoring me at the time. It was pounded into my head that one should not stray from books written by certain authors so as not to have my head messed with, basically, by writers following a non-pure path of Islam. And since I was still young, impressionable and pretty much ignorant and incapable of making up my own mind for myself – or so I was made to believe – I was instructed to follow the advice of those brothers and sisters who were more worldly and knowledgeable than me.

Many years later, I now clearly see how cult-like that part of my upbringing was. My head became lazy. I turned into a person who resorts to certain authorities on religion, i.e. Islam, rather than figuring things out with a mind open to all possibilities.

My father was my most trusted authority of all. He spent his whole life studying Islam and doing comparative readings on the world’s religions. He came to conclusions of his own. He talked about his conclusions with me, my brothers and sister quite frequently. When we needed advice on what was right or wrong according to Islamic law, we’d resort first and foremost to our father for guidance. He always had an answer. I didn’t really need to do much homework of my own. My father had already done it all for me.

It’s been awhile now, years really, since I realized that something was wrong with the way I had been approaching religion. Firstly, the only real knowledge I had, if you can call it that, about religion was about Islam. I have hardly any real understanding of other world religions and philosophies. And my understanding of Islam itself is very narrow and stems from a limited number of resources.

Over the past five years, perhaps more, I’ve had questions spinning round and round in my head about Islam, religion, and God. The most I’ve ever really done about those questions is to tweet, Facebook, or blog about them; discuss them with some trusted friends; or experiment a little.

My dad’s death made me come face to face with my own mortality.

No. That’s not it. That’s a load of crap.

My dad’s death meant the loss of my main trusted source on religion. And the realization that it’s about time I grew up and did what my father did and figure things out for myself.

I’m no longer concerned about where a path of spiritual/religious discovery might lead me. This was a major concern of mine many years ago. What if I come to question Islam so much that I feel it’s not the right religion for me? What if I come across another religion that suits me better? What if I continue to like Islam but I come up with my own understanding of it that conflicts with traditional views? What if I start questioning the existence of God? What if I die while going through this process, having doubts about God and religion in my head, and God then sends me to Hell because of it?

But the Qur’an itself encourages people time and time again to think and to question. That’s an integral part of the religion. The thing is, this is frequently interpreted to mean that non-Muslims are required to think and to question until they ultimately realize that Islam is the one true religion. That interpretation doesn’t make much sense to me. In practice, my experience has been that if I myself start questioning and thinking, I’m judged as being a bad Muslim on the verge of disbelief. Why do we Muslims think it’s an obligation of non-Muslims to discover the one true God and the one true religion but we don’t require the same open process of ourselves?

I’m not worried about this anymore. I don’t care what society thinks about my questioning and doubting. It’s my right, my obligation even, to doubt and question and think and arrive at my own conclusions and personal convictions.

The big question is where do I start? I’ve been asking myself this question for years. Years seems to be a recurring theme in the past paragraphs. Damn it! Why is it taking me so long to start working on this?

I’ll tell you why.

First of all, reading religious texts bores the hell out of me. Any religious texts. They are difficult to understand and tedious. There is something that is just WRONG about that. If God expects normal, everyday people, illiterate slightly unintelligent people even, to believe in Him and/or in a certain religion, why would He make the manuals so difficult to understand of one’s own accord?

Someone might answer: that’s why God sent prophets and learned scholars. But even some of the things they say are difficult to comprehend or just simply aren’t very logical.

If there really IS a God, I can’t help but believe that He would have devised a way for a simple-minded person like me to get the information that I need in a way that is suitable for my intelligence level and my aptitude for learning.

For example, I have never been one for learning much through reading and academic study. I learn through doing. And there are so many people out there who are like me. How do I go about discovering religion and God through doing? What do I do? And how do I find the time to do it – whatever “it” is – and still do the other things I need to do like making a living and taking care of my family and myself? How do I go about figuring out God and religion without turning it into a life-long process? I want to be able to find at least SOME answers within a reasonable amount of time! Or is it that God expects us to go through the process itself and not that we need to come to conclusions? But wouldn’t that be cruel of God? Leaving us (well me anyway) in the dark like this? Shouldn’t simple people like me be able to go through a relatively short but important process that allows us to reach at least some convictions of our own that we weren’t brainwashed into believing?

I’m desperate, folks, as I’m sure you can see.

I have some ideas of what I’d LIKE to do to get this process started. I’m not certain I can actually do what I’d like to do, though.

Before I make a final decision on how to start my process of spiritual and religious discovery, I thought I’d throw these thoughts out into the blogosphere. Maybe someone out there has an idea for me that will click.

PLEASE don’t tell me to read books. Just don’t go there.

PLEASE don’t tell me to sit in on religious sermons and lectures. Blah and major nausea.

PLEASE don’t preach to me your own religious thoughts and convictions. As I revealed above, I know all the sneaky methods there are to know about trying to convince others that one’s own thoughts are the one true thoughts.

Be innovative. Be creative. Think out of the box.

Give me some ideas!

117 comments

  1. Nadia, you have all my (useless) support!

    I don’t know how to express my mix of astonishment, admiration and friendly laughter reading this.

    You really break all the possible stereotypes about “veiled muslim women”.

  2. Watch the people you meet on your travels. Listen to their words. Who focuses on the legalistic side on a belief system (you must do this, you must not do that) and who focuses on simple faith to the point where they’re not worried/anxious on certain things? Who acts out their faith to be seen or make a point, and who lives it regardless of who is watching or even if it might be dangerous for them? Who thinks they are better than others and who puts themselves in a more humble position?

    As for is there a God? Take a look at the natural world around you? Think about the way the body is put together, the complexity of the brain. Was it put together by a creator or by chance?

    1. As a Jesus’s follower I had to write: Ask God, instead of ask Allah, but for the rest I totally agree. May be also because I’m a Westerner and I’m more used to the word God (actually “Dieu” since I’m French-speaking) than to the word Allah.
      God became real to me because I decided to seek Him wathever He will be.

      Surely it totally reoriented my all life.

      But I must confess something: Until this spring I was totally sold to the anti-islam propaganda prominent in the West.

      But I followed several people from Arab countries (including you Nadia) in the Arab’s Spring and it radically changed my view of Muslims. I read on Twitter many prayers from Egyptians, Libyans and other Arabic people which were similar to prayers from Chrisitians.

      I have learn to respect Muslims a lot.

      Thank you NadiaE

  3. I see that your mind never stops working. Thanks for sharing these inner works.

    Nadia says: “Or is it that God expects us to go through the process itself and not that we need to come to conclusions? But wouldn’t that be cruel of God? ”

    I consider by far more cruel of a God to allow children die by wars, by famine, by diseases that could be preventable. These are things that took me to my current agnosticism.

    Best wishes.

  4. You don’t want books and sermons, which is understandable.

    You want something approachable, which is also reasonable.

    Try the physical. Visit places valued by other religions if you can, seek religious art. Get a quiet sense of the mood of other religions. Observe. Inhale. Soak it up.

    Then start to ask a few questions. Ask people, ask Google. Watch for opportunities for constructive discussion. Find out the basics of the theology; first the simplistic, then fill in some sophistication.

    Maybe find others with a similar quest — who are not Muslim — and give gentle answers to them about Islam. Being a good teacher is very enlightening.

    But beware: much religion is about simple faith not thoughtful examination. Too many questions can cause trouble.

    -kb, the Kent who is western, secular, but not completely ignorant of religion.

    1. Well, I think that “religious art” is tricky.
      In Italy a lot of “Sacred art” was commissioned by the church to artists who were not at all religious themselves, and put their art – not their faith – in their work.

      1. I think “sacred” art is, indeed, merely the work of mortal man. But it is still an expression of the sacred; the art which is embraced by the church is a partial reflection of the church.

        I might be simple, but there is something wondrous about sitting quietly in one of Italy’s great churches, something that I think conveys a bit of what that church is. Looking at the allegorical details in some of that art, and pursuing a few questions, is a way to learn some of the theology.

        Certainly visiting a building is not equivalent to Enlightenment, but it is a door to further inquiry.

        -kb, the Kent who has been in many religious buildings, spanning many religions.

  5. Hi. I subscribe to, and enjoy reading your blog. I totally agree that God is not as complicated as His “representatives” often paint Him to be. I also agree that within any religion, fear is a poor and effective motivator. If a religion is worth having, then I don’t have to feel a need to “protect” it. Questions are never a problem for God. I believe strongly that He reveals Himself to those who seek Him. You asked for suggestions, so mine is both single and simple: ask Him. Tell God your questions, your concerns, your fears, your doubts. He is more than big enough to handle the questions that come from our limited understanding of both Him and the world. If He’s not big enough, then we have begun to worship someone small……….

  6. Nadia, I’m new to following your blog, but I would like to ask you to try an experiment. Just ask Jesus to show you his father and see what happens. You don’t have to “believe” in Jesus to do this but you do have to try it sincerely. Blessings on your quest. Liz Johnson

    1. Hi Elizabeth, are you aware that Muslims believe in Jesus as a beloved prophet? There is a wonderful chapter in the Quran entitled, Mary, or Marim in Arabic, which tells the story of his mother and his birth. There are miracles attributed to him mentioned in the Quran that are not mentioned in the Bible. What Muslims do not share is the belief that Jesus is God or part of God. This does not diminish his importance as a prophet. Thought I’d share in case you weren’t aware.

  7. First of all, I love your courage in bringing up topics and sharing thoughts that do not sit well with most people and infuriate many others.

    I’ll try to answer. I’ve had similar phases, did many readings, went into many conversations. I have to a conclusion that those questions of faith and “choosing the right religion” are as important as we like to think. People love to have identities so they can relate to a certain group or so they can feel they know themselves better.

    There are never easy answers to those questions (if any). We need to embrace uncertainty. It’s hard I know but I feel much more comfortable now embracing it!

  8. Salam Nadia, what you are doing now is exactly what every conscious person of faith should do – discover a deeper understanding of their faith and its position in the world. This is not to be shunned but rather is what the Quran calls for – to seek knowledge. Asking a question is the first order of learning. Let me make a point on the significance of the shadahah is at the core: La Ilaha Ilallah = the belief part, which comes from knowledge gained and affects the heart; Muhammadan Rasulullah = the doing part, as in the sunnah. The shahadah is incomplete if one of these parts is missing. You cannot be a practicing Muslim of faith if you a a passive receiver of words in books nor if you mindlessly prostrate in prayer without any understanding of the significance is of what you are doing. Muhammad, phuh, was socially aware and socially conscious of his followers and his neighbors who were not Muslim. He was an environmentalist, a charitable giver of his time, his resources. He was a leader, yet was humble next to the meekest. There are several people who have discovered Islam either as a new way of life or rediscovered it again as born Muslims who I recommend to add to your learning repertoire: Hamza Yusuf, Tariq Ramada, Amr Khaled. They all are respected, contemporary scholars that emphasize learning, understanding, comparative religion, and most importantly the societal application of the faith in the modern world. Hamza Yusuf in particular has emerged as the most influential western scholar of Islam in the U.S. He asks questions, he dissects long held interpretations and opens the door for dialogue. He spent years studying Islam through traditional sources in various countries and academically as well and he became fluent in Arabic. His position comes from one of deep knowledge and cross cultural understanding, which far exceeds many well-known Islamic scholars today. I am an American Muslima, alhamdulillah, 17 years now. I still remember the days when I read the Quran as an intellectual pursuit for the first time not really knowing what I’d find. As I held the book and turned the pages, I’d find them wet from the tears that streamed down my face. The emotion was profound, seemed to emerge without and it overwhelmed me. What I discovered beyond becoming a Muslim that year is that Muhammad, pbuh, was much more tolerant, much more forgiving, patient, and moderate than many of the world’s Islamic leaders today. Allow yourself to find the true meaning of Islam for yourself on your terms and allow yourself to compare the various interpretations without guilt. In the end, your faith is between you and God, no one else. You will find a place where your heart rests with ease and your convictions become strong, inshaAllah. Your father would be proud.

    1. Jenny, you have written this beautifully. I think your words are perfect for anyone who follows purely in any religion. I’m a believer that no matter which religion you practice you should be at least somewhat knowledge of the primary source of other religions or beliefs. I thank you for your suggestion on readings. I am always in search of any source of enlightenment. I hope Nadia finds some help and comfort in your words, whatever path she finds, inshaAllaha.

  9. Belief in the existence of God is 90% based on faith.

    If you believe in the absolute necessity of the existence of God, then just ask Him for directions. When He directs you to read a book or to attend a lecture it’s going to be something to really enjoy not get bored of. He Created you and He Knows the way to deal with your very mind. Just maintain you open mind and let Him Show you the way.

  10. Nadia, I think you show the right attitude for seeking what you seek, You have a keen mind that sees and rejects the insular religious teachings and also a good heart that seems to be telling you that there may be something valuable under all this but how to go about it?
    You certainly don’t need a new set of “instructions” in your quest including these words I am writing to you.
    As you have realized by now, if you are to have “faith” then it must be your very own and has nothing to do with what anyone else says. Also notice that “faith” is not the same as belief. Belief is firmly believing that something is true when there is no evidence for it. I feel that belief is a impediment to spirituality.
    If I may suggest something, start simple and open your heart and mind as wide as you can and make a deep wish then go to a place that you identify with (open green field or evening by the Nile etc..) and “release” this intense wish to know God into the universe.
    Keep your eyes and heart open but have no expectations at all.
    Sometimes the forces that changes us do not look friendly at first sight.
    Pay attention and keep checking against your heart. It may not even look like it has anything to do with your quest but keep at it and some doors will start opening for you.
    One attitude that is very helpful is to maintain a mind that is not per-occupied with thoughts, ideas and arguments. A quiet mind will see the truth faster.
    Good luck and good hunting.

    One more thing about why the religious writings are convoluted. Every religion is based on the experience of their founders. These are mystical experiences that many of us do not relate to or understand. Instead of admitting this we make up doctrines and “interpretations” of the experience of the founders so we can have something we can speak about. It becomes the “teachings” of that religion.

    1. I like your suggestion that Nadia keep her eyes and heart open and have no expectations. This is when we do the most learning!

  11. Dear Nadia, i believe that everyone -who is automatically raised by muslim parents – as a muslim or as a MB member will face this point when he questions his beliefs. I had the similar thing as regard MB early in my residency years. I ended up by refusing to a member of the MB, they do things that i am not convinced with and i
    don’t like them saying do and don’t because the leaders said so and so,, i don’t like anyone to abolish my mind… The jan 25 revolution was the climax for freeing my mind…so wgat u r facing is normal and healthy, very healthy,, as regards ur belief in god ya nadia, u don’t need to read anything, u just need to follow ur heart,, deep inside ur heart u will know him,, u will feel his great love embarcing u in everything,, in ur healthy body, in ur intelligent mind,, in protecting u all through ur life,, in ur beautiful children,, the perception of his love and mercy will let u believe in him,, then u will start to love him,, this love will guide u to undrstand all what he asked u to do and not to do,, just love,, the purest love ever is to live Allah,, then u will feel that u like to talk to him, to ask him things, to ask him guidance, to ask him to protect u and ur family,, u will feel him very close ya Nadia,, this is faith,, nothing more,, this is what i want my kids to feel towards faith and religion,, and then everything comes next,, i don’t bother how much quran they recite,, or how my daughter will think about hijab,, it is this sparkle of faith that i am trying to ignite in their hearts,, dear nadia both of us have been upraisin wrongly as regards lots of religious aspects and as regards MB, what u r facing is a normal maturation process ,, but i believe u will find the way to the most gracious and the most merciful Allah,, live u very much ya nadia… Mona Rabie,,

  12. Where is God, is he in the nature, or in the religions? Is God in Google? Or in the museum? We are created by God’s hand in his image, we live by His spirit on us. If you want to find or know God, look inside yourself, talk to him directly in you. There are no barriers or boundaries between you and your creator. Talk to God as you talk to your dad, ask questions, object, reject, get mad, repeat the question again and again until you find a satisfied answers. God loves you, God will never strike or kill you or send you Hell because of it. God will never become annoy of you. Just go to him and talk to him.
    Grow in Grace.

    1. I second the motion (except that it may end up being counterproductive if your goal is discovering god and religion).

      And if you want to discuss about it with a Jewish believer (Jews don’t want to convert anyone) and an agnostic-leaning-toward-atheism our door is always open😉.

      1. Fabio might have a point there.

        I often say to never trust an exile to be a typical representative of the land s/he left or was thrown out of. But that doesn’t mean an exile has nothing interesting to say…

        You want a broader perspective on religion without being subject to a conversion effort (“PLEASE don’t preach to me your own religious thoughts and convictions.”).

        Maybe you want to talk to a few “exiles”: atheists. Educated atheists.

        An overlooked fact about atheists is that they are usually very specific about *which* God they don’t believe in. That is, which religion they rejected. (Catholic atheist, Jewish atheist, etc.)

        Which leaves a valuable resource. Atheists frequently know a lot about at least one religion, possibly more. You will get a biased perspective, but the bias will be very clear, you can adjust for it. Most likely the atheist isn’t going to be selling his/er rejected religion.

        One problem with this is that, for obvious reasons, finding an admitted Muslim atheist might be difficult, but you already know a lot about Islam.

        Another problem is that you might get a sales pitch in favor of atheism. Solution: find old and tired atheists who are bored with arguing. Also, try to get more than one kind of atheist in the conversation together, I expect they will show a certain competitive fondness for their rejected God in contrast to some different God, one that they didn’t need to reject.

        You wanted ideas that were outside of the box!

        -kb

  13. Nadia, your blog is wonderful; I enjoy it very much. So much to consider, so many folks sharing great thoughts, and thank you for sharing your journey.

    If you are looking for an interesting font of ideas, I would recommend the writings of Joseph Campbell. He made it his life’s work to study the world’s religions and mythologies in search of the common threads, the great truths, that all of them are sincere human attempts to get a grasp on, so we can fill our lives with meaning and make the world richer for our being here (hopefully!).

    His “Masks of God” series is fabulous.

    Personally, as I look at the history of religion and spiritual practice (not all of which presents itself as “religion,” strictly speaking, though I think they rightly should be considered in pursuit of the same goal), it seems to me that any tradition must be a living one that accounts for the free will of its members if it is to have meaning.

    When a religion presents a rule to be followed, to me, the rule is empty if it is followed out of mere obedience, but rich with meaning if it is followed out of a mindful appreciation for the reasons it exists.

    I have an old friend who is very religiously observant within his tradition; more even than his parents. It brings him joy and meaning, it is done with reverence, and is part of what makes him such a valued member of his community.

    I consider myself very spiritual, reverent, and observant myself, though my fashion of being so is very different from his. But I value him as a teacher more than words can say.

  14. I hear you. I fought against religion for years. A few years ago I realized that all my values and core beliefs of right and wrong came from my Christian upbringing. Therefore I must be a Christian.

    As to how do you find religion – I think spirituality is part of our human existence. I find it myself in looking at the beauty of our planet earth and the power of nature. Even hurricanes and floods and earthquakes make you realize the tremendous powers beyond our human existence. Spirituality requires you to recognize something far greater than yourself and humans.

    So finding God and religion means humility and awe of that which is greater than yourself. When you look at the awesomeness of earth and the universe, you can’t help but believe in something far greater than yourself.

  15. Nadia,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog for some time now, though I can’t remember how I came across it. It is very inspiring to watch you go through these experiences of growth, and whether you realize it or not you have already been on the path for finding answers for a while.

    I agree that I think your father would be proud. To know God and have faith (not to be confused with religion) is a very personal relationship that only you can find yourself. You ask when will you find time outside of your busy life to search for the answers to your questions. To this I say, many of your answers may be right in front of you with your family, your job and all that life throws you. You have many fears and fear is the main thing that can get in your way go from moving forward in anything, especially faith in what is right, right for you. Will you go to hell if you die before you figure it out? I don’t believe God is that cruel and it sounds like you don’t really believe it either even though you question it. The religious texts (our interpretations of) and teachings of the prophets are reminders of how to live , compassionately and lovingly with faith. Comparing different religions and their teachings is wise and it can be confusing to try and read the texts. I don’t know your accessibility to leaders of other churches and religions, but any of them would take time with you to personally talk and answer some of the questions you may have. Finding the common thread that all of them teach about love and, faith, and compassion may help you. It may bring you back to a better understanding of Islam so that you may choose to practice it with purity of heart. It doesn’t matter the religion a person chooses to follow, if it’s not a personal path then all they are doing is going through the motions. Some people realize they don’t need a particular religion to follow to still have a strong sense of faith and relationship with God but many find comfort in being part of group that follows rituals and texts. It helps them focus and worship their faith.

    For me, it took a dramatic life event of me getting sick and knowing I was dying, leaving behind a one year old child for me to renew and strengthen my faith. I had already had my experience where God had made himself known to me but I was so angry and confused I began to question it. I literally would stand in the middle of the room and have arguments, telling at him like a crazy person with no answers. My answer came when I was given a second chance at life and I breathed in light for the first time. Now I see “him” in the beauty of my child, my family, the world around me. I still practice my choice of religion everyday and read blogs of other peoples’ inspiration and beliefs. It feels right for me to connect with others.

    That’s just my own experience of course and I wish I had other suggestions. I will say that you will never have all the answers. Spirituality and faith, and constantly learning and becoming wiser is a life long journey. Let go of your fears, love your family, look for the signs in front of you, talk to others with open heart, read blogs if you don’t want to read other books (not just religious texts), and most of all believe in yourself that by asking questions, you will find answers. Take time to sit quietly and be with yourself and talk to god. You will eventually find your path. I can tell you are strong to find it.

    Jacquellyn

  16. Congratulations Nadia, your mind is starting to work on its own now. A tad bit too late for such a bright doctor like you; but you’re still alive anyway.

    I’m an ex-Muslim turned agnostic at the age of 35, 30 years too late in my opinion. My mind was suspecting it all when I was 5- but I didn’t listen- unfortunately.

    I want you to start reading about “Brain Washing”; and you will be stunned how much religion is exactly a process of brain washing. A way to control the minds for a certain purpose. Not a good purpose though. They just want power for their own welfare. Who are they? Those who’d convince you to give them your life savings in a trip to visit God’s house so as to be forgiven your sins. God is to be bribed?! And what happens to the poor who can’t go? You’re forgiven only if you’re rich? Isn’t that fishy?😉

    And yes, the religious texts are not only boring, but utterly incoherent and really laughable (let alone inhumane, cruel, and violate human rights in so many ways it’s simply shameful to claim anything else.)

    Go to the mental hospital and see how many schizophrenics claiming prophecy and listen to their own “Qurans”; and you will find them much more enjoyable and coherent than the one we read as the word of God!

    And think with me. Take this small example: In this endless universe, do you think God would give a shit about whether a woman covers her hair or not?

    If you want to start: Watch this guy- all his videos:

    And I salute your courage.

  17. Perfect Nadia, I loved it when you said “Why do we Muslims think it’s an obligation of non-Muslims to discover the one true God and the one true religion but we don’t require the same open process of ourselves?”
    I think you should start by questioning the existence of god himself.
    I believe you should leave behind any religious background, imagine that there are no religions at all, an start by exploring if there is really a god or more

  18. The Sufi tell stories that say all about finding God.
    The first story is a disarming and compelling one. It is also, I think, a troublesome one, a fascinating one, a chastening one: “Help us to find God,” the seeker begged the Elder. “No one can help you there,” the Elder answered. “But why not?” the seeker insisted. “For the same reason that no one can help a fish to find the ocean.” The answer is clear: There is no one who can help us find what we already have.
    The second story is even more challenging. “Once upon a time,” the Sufi say, “a seeker ran through the streets shouting over and over again, ‘We must put God into our lives. We must put God into our lives.’” “Ah, poor soul,” an Elder smiled wanly. “If only we realized the truth: God is always in our lives. The spiritual task is simply to recognize that.”

    The important thing to remember in the spiritual life is that religion is a means, not an end. When we stop at the level of the rules and laws, the doctrines and the dogmas—good guides as these may be—and call those things the spiritual life, we have stopped far short of faith. Faith is the ability to see beyond all the things we make God to find God.
    We make religion God and so fail to see godliness where our own religion is not, though the God of life and goodness are clear and constant in the simplest of people, the remotest of places. We make national honor God and fail to see the presence of God in other nations, particularly non-Christian nations. We make personal security God and fail to see God in the bleak and barren dimensions of life. We make our own human color the color of God and fail to see God in the one who comes in different guise. We give God gender and miss the spirit of God everywhere, in everyone.
    God is not a mystery to be sought in strange places and arcane ways. God is a mystery to be discovered within us and around us. And savored. –Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB

  19. Nadia, I started questioning the whole religion thing when I was very young. I started reading about spirituality and mysticism post-college. There is a core mysticism common to all religions. Aldous Huxley, the famous atheist-turned-mystic wrote a book entitled “The Perennial Philosophy,” which contains quotes from various scriptures of the world to explain this mystical philosophy. There are now many others.

    The nice thing about this spirituality (it’s not religion!) is that nothing in it is at odds with science (or any religion). And you can be a mystic on any path (like Islam, Christianity, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.) or no path. There are no special rules or garb. You don’t have to witness or listen to a preacher or speak in tongues. Whirling, dancing, singing, chanting, and meditating are encouraged but not required. 🙂

  20. I have loved reading about Your personal journey of exploration & expansion. It is a great privilege for me.
    I’d like to share Neil Donald Walsh’s intuitive conversation
    http://incommonworld.blogspot.com/2011/07/right-way-to-worship-god.html
    You said ‘out-of-the-box’ – I believe with all my heart that Creator wants us to be a source of expansion for ourSelf and all others.
    ‘There is much Love here for You’
    At the true core of all religions, is the part that has not been contaminated by man, that is the place to be. Pure Love.
    many blessings to you from Cape Town

  21. hmm, VERY Interesting and as you know if you remember, I’m a bit ex-Salafi, sooo here we go:
    First of all I would like to THANK you OUT LOUD for speaking OUT LOUD (especially) the part with the what-if questions and support you by saying you are not alone! I’m still stuck here, not of what traditions and what people will think, because I let go of people and what they think looong time ago.
    But what I do is (Not Exactly very unorthodox way, but I like to keep myself safe and covered).

    Simply, I LIVE LIFE!

    I live it by (fetra, can’t find good English translation) I let my conscience be the ruler of my behaviors, attitudes and opinions, time by time I learn new things about that very conscience and (mesh hakzeb 3aleky) I tend to that sometimes that, maybe this is the real islam, but also not in the way that non-muslims are not like that, i simply don’t go there no i do that comparison!

    look that works for me, and i’m and will always be in a spiritual discovery, however i feel I shouldn’t seek a religion discovery, since simply i think it’s a bit useless, i wanna find my soul and that’s it.

    What I wanted to say and hope I didn’t fail to emphasize it to you,
    Just LIVE, Travel (i know u do travel, but this time will be with a different approach) just pay attention to HUMAN traits, to Ethics acts, to Values in Men’s Lives, u will end up by making ur own code of life -spiritually- though, i’m v sorry I dunno about the religion part!🙂

  22. My suggestion:

    Become an atheist for one year.

    Simply stop believing in anything that is not physically or logically evident. No more God, no more divine purpose, no more divine judgement, and no more divinely commanded morality.

    After a few weeks or months of trying to foster this (let say, controversial) attitude, start to look at where you stand on things like morality and the nature of the universe — and what gaps suddenly now exist that God used to fill? Ask yourself how God might have filled these gaps. See to what extent a scientific take on the big questions might fulfill these gaps (or not), or perhaps see how simply saying “I have no idea” makes you feel. Is it scary? Is it humbling? Is it a relief?

    Then begin to re-read scriptures. Your mission is to to try and perceive these words (the ideas they convey and the tone used to convey them) as though you are reading them for the very first time as a modern, educated and independent person who is as free from bias as can be.

    I think you will find this changes everything. Whatever your conclusion at the end of that year, it will be a conclusion based on a much more solid foundation.

    There is a worry of course that you may simply never “come back” — or that God won’t forgive you this one year of “infidelity”. The way I see it, if you don’t “come back”, then obviously it’s because you have discovered something solid and true enough to give you that push to change your beliefs. And if you do “come back”, but are worried about God’s forgiveness — well, come on, the “Most Merciful” can surely be understanding. And if he can’t, then there’s no need to worry, because we’ll all be screwed anyway if that’s the kind of “person” God is.

  23. I am so sorry about your father ,,, may his soul rest in peace … regarding your religion question … There is an old phrase ” Know yourself to know your Lord” .. and the humane confusion is embraced…I think spiritual experiences remain . spiritual experiences may have the answer …The ultimate solution and the truth exist within
    all the useless support of a 21 year old girl … who came to no ultimate answers

  24. don’t talk to people or read theology books. People are fallible. Speak to God direct. Ask him 2 questions, the first if you need to.

    1)are you there
    2) Reveal yourself to me, I want to know you.

    Molokhia

  25. I don’t know how to explain what I want to say except in terms of myself and my own experiences so to qualify I am not preaching just this is the only way I know how to put it. I have to first say I take a fairly unorthodox view on religion. When people annoy me by being bigoted I like to remind them that when I lost my faith it was given back to me by a Jewish scientist and a Rabbi is responsible for me not taking off my hijjab. That my Catholic Grandparents taught me to be proud of my beliefs and my Shia , new age spiritualist and radical atheist best friends taught me the value of understanding what I believe in and try to understand it from all angles.

    I think everyone does or at least should have these questions if we blindly accept what we are told then we are just as bad as Quraysh, or Abraham’s tribe or anyone else. Asking the question is the very first step. And I think at some point you will have to read, or talk to people but I think the most important thing is to listen to your self. Because in truth we all know what is right for us. Sometimes we force ourselves to fit into molds that we don’t really fit in, like a woman squeezing into a two small bra this leads to discomfort and is really quite ugly to look at. I think religion should be a struggle that we worry about what we believe and why we believe blind faith can not really be healthy for us.

    When I was 6 or 7 I thought I saw an angel and even though I know now this was probably very unlikely it changed how I look at religion and interact with God forever. People told me it was impossible and that God did not allow angels to be seen any more etc etc and because I so truly believed that I had seen one I started to rely more on my own observations of God, the Universe Right and Wrong rather that what people told me to believe.

    I believe in God, although I will freely say I have a times of doubt and I am currently not too keen on Organised religion because I have issues with other people selling me their interpretations of the Quran when I fundamentally believe it speaks to every single person and if you listen hard enough you can hear what God is telling you. And in my personal opinion what people says God wants you to do or think and what God tells you right there in black and white is contradictory. And I take the sections in Surah Baqra about reading and dealing with religion very much to heart. Although one bright spark once told me that that entire juzza is only addressed to Beni Israel and thus has no baring on us today. As a child I used to ‘talk’ to God all the time and I guess I have never really stopped though I now believe that the answer we get especially to our requests often come in guises we later wish we hadn’t asked for, I think every moment of life is a test and that we can learn from every moment. Sometimes we can’t see the woods for the trees and every day life just bogs us down. So when I can when I remember I like to take a step back and look around me and I think what am I looking at? What is this? How is this? Why is this? Why do I think that?

    So basically I discover God by thinking by ‘tamal fee el khalq’ ( which was also my prizewinning argument for going to Sinai in Eid :)) By personalising and internalising, arguing and asking questions, reading listening to people’s opinions ( although I have stormed out of family members living rooms because they are blindly taking on all the stuff the TV sheiks spew) and thinking about it. To my mind God is Logical and rational and emotionless. If I am not tempted to Humanise ( as in apply human emotions to God) then to me things are easier to understand.

    I have to say I start with the basic assumption that God exists and at the end of the day all S/He/It wants from me is to be a ‘Good’ person or as Confucius put it ( and he predates the Abrahamic religions) to abide by the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have done unto you.

    What is that quote or saying about you can not learn until you accept you don’t know everything or something along those lines?

    BTW this is Booky_lillz

  26. First of all, my condolences on your father’s passing. As for the rest, all I can suggest is that you just live. Live life according to your own moral code and then; as and when you meet people of different beliefs, see if they are living according to theirs or according to an ‘established’ religion, see how it compares to your own moral compass. And always look for the miraculous in everyday life!

    I’m sure that’s no help at all, but I felt I had to respond to something that was so obviously written from the heart.

  27. Hello Nadia,

    Very interesting thoughts… From what you have written, your thoughts might /should have lead you to realize that gaining knowledge needs effort and work (your father being a perfect example, as this is what he did all his life according to you).

    Unfortunately the problem with our generation today is that we got access to everything so easy; tangible and intangible ones. Everything is a click of a button away. You were brought up told what to read and think, no one pushed you to find your own answers…faith wise at least.

    Quran like you said proposes that the human being is intelligent, and hence we need to use our brains to look around us and observe (tafakor). Quran also warns from being lazy and inactive and asks us to seek and be active.

    If you start your search thinking there is a possibility that my research leads to not finding God, then yes, this outcome is a possibility. But if the presence of God is something that is rooted in you, then the outcome of your research will be an affirmation of that belief.

    Lastly, Islam encourages us to seek knowledge from scholars and followers of the prophet (ahadith and so on). So this is basic source of knowledge that you don’t wan to explore.

    Seeking knowledge requires effort and energy… How badly do you want this knowledge🙂

  28. Dear Nadia,

    1) Question the existence of God– but what does your inner soul tell you when you see a world without a God? Can you ever personally envision a world with Him? And I ask not your mind, but your hear,t for verily in this age, we have come to believe that our minds are so incredible that they can lead to all things–hence why people refer to God/religion as brainwashing–but what about hearts? What of the human soul? The spirit?

    2) Why do you complicate the idea of texts? Yes, they are boring, and yes, as much as you hate the answer, that IS why we have scholars and Prophets. When Islam first came to the Prophet and his people, they took the religion as is, no q’s. Then future generations began to be exposed to Greek thought, and this truly confused Muslims who had no answers– because most of what they were taught was very basic in nature. But, people with beautiful, wonderful minds, went back to these texts, and questioned them without deviating from them. Have you ever read an interesting medical BOOK? A journal perhaps, but a BOOK? Medicine is a complicated science that deals with the body–what about the soul? The heart? A way of life– don’t they deserve something equally complicated? And yes, I do agree it is frustrating that I cannot understadn the text 100% by myself. But don’t you think there is reason tot the madness? Why can’t medical books be easy, then everyone can heal themselves– how complicated the body is when it only lives for 100 years give or take–the soul is eternal!

    I love the questions you ask, and I know this will sound cliche and probably not what you want to hear, but I think you are complicating matters that truly are simple.

    The prophet was illiterate, but his hert saw what his mind couldn’t. Mysticism is beautiful and so is sprirituality, but as free agents, we need limits– and you have hte choice to enforce them or not– that is what life is all about. Your choices. So qustion, but realise that your mind will not always bring your answers, nor will reason. Becuase religion is first and foremost a matter of the heart. Once your heart submits, then you have every right to question what you don’t undeerstand. But i feel this post has more to do with convincing your heart that it does your mind….

    -A boring, sharia bound mystic.

  29. 1. Sit in a place of nature (mountain, beach, lake, forest, etc) for four hours straight without any gadgets, only a pen and paper. Write down what comes to mind.

    2. Work in a soup kitchen.

  30. I’ve read all your comments over the past few days as you’ve sent them in. Thank you all so much for responding. Rather than respond to individual comments made I’ll try to reply based on my overall impressions and understandings of your words.

    You all make very good suggestions and observations. Thank you for sharing.

    One thing I felt I needed to make clear is the fact that although I might have made myself to sound absolutely clueless in my post as if I had just started realizing it was time to re-examine religion, this is really not the case.

    I’ve been re-examining God and religion for years now. This is just the first time for me to actually write publicly about it in this way. And the reason I started my re-examining was because I went through many of the processes you all suggest. I’ve traveled the world, I’ve spoken with people of different faiths, I’ve been in the houses of worship of many faiths, I’ve read books, I’ve observed… It is because I’ve done all that that I’m at the stage I’m in now. My questions are actually more than ever because of it.

    I do have a comment to those of you who suggest that I talk to God and ask Him to reveal Himself unto me and to give me faith.

    I have always talked to God. And so far, no matter how hard I try, the one thing I have not wavered on is my belief in God.

    BUT: the point I was trying to get at…or that I am trying to get at in my head at least, is that I feel that in order to figure out the whole religion question (and I do mean religion and not faith…back to that in a second) I need to have a solid understanding first of the God question. If I do not have a solid understanding of who God is, I don’t think I’ll be able to come to any sort of realistic conclusion about which religion is “right” (for me at least).

    I also feel that I need to at least entertain the assumption that there might not BE a God and that this concept is man-made. I need to entertain that thought if I’m truthful with myself about coming to a truth.

    It seems like it’s part of the nature of many people to be abhorred by even the thought of this process. So…in my post I ask about God and how one discovers Him. And in some of the comments I get: talk to Him and ye shall believe.

    That’s very contradictory, don’t you think? It’s like saying: you know what, Nadia? He’s there. He REALLY IS. I KNOW he is. I just know it! Don’t doubt His existence because that’s just ludicrous. Talk to Him! That’s the solution!

    Those are the typical words of preachers. You’ll remember I wrote that I know the secrets of preaching all too well.

    There needs to be a better way of exploring religion than talking to a God you want to start by assuming He might not exist.

    I really enjoyed reading about some of your own personal journeys. Thanks to those of you who shared.

    Religion and faith. Over the past 43 years of my life, I have developed faith in certain things already. I’m not too worried about faith. I already have certain broad lines regarding that.

    What’s really confused me is religion. And the more I look into religion (all religions) and dissect them, the more they seem to me to be man-made solutions to systematizing the day-to-day functions of society. We now do this in most countries of the world through what we admit are man-made laws and regulations. But could religion have been the solution men came up with in earlier times to convince people to follow rules that society truly needed to have? Or are religions (or one of them) really God’s manual to living a “proper and acceptable” life to Him? To me, THIS is the main question I have in my head. And to answer it I need to start with two hypotheses: one is that God does not exist and the other is that He does.

    The suggestion that I try living without belief (in God or anything else) for a year and to then build on that is a very intriguing one. If it were possible, I might have tried this. But it’s not. I think some things are so ingrained in us that’s it’s useless trying to remove them from within. My belief in God is one of those things. I can’t just tell myself: Nadia, you want to question God’s existence (I really do), so pretend you don’t believe in Him. I’m physically incapable of doing that. The thing I CAN do is to go through an intellectual process of listening to arguments against God’s existence and seeing if they make any sense to me. I might come from the belief that God DOES exist, but this does not mean I cannot keep my mind open to other options.

    Your comments and suggestions have my head in a whirl with ideas of how to continue this journey of mine. I promise to keep you updated through my blogging. I find it impossible to keep my thoughts to myself anyways!

    1. You know what Nadia? You basically said what I meant but way better than I ever could! Good luck!

      And I have to clarify ( because I can’t help myself) when I say ‘talk’ to God I don’t mean pray etc I meant quite literally I was a freakish child and liked to sit around and chat about my questions on the universe (and sometimes mundane things like peanut butter sandwiches) in order to make sense of things in my own mind and I decided to chat to God since he wouldn’t tell me the middle of the night was not the time to ask stupid questions!

    2. “the more they seem to me to be man-made solutions to systematizing the day-to-day functions of society … But could religion have been the solution men came up with in earlier times to convince people to follow rules that society truly needed to have”

      I’m not sure society truly needed to have most of them.

      1. Most of the rules, you mean? SOMEone obviously thought society needed them. And society certainly took it all up quite happily.

      2. Apparently I can’t reply to a reply, so I’m not sure where in the conversation this is going to show up…

        Yes, I mean the rules.

        It hasn’t been my impression that society took them up happily. Historically, there’s been lots pressure brought to bear, both individual peer pressure (as witness this comment thread), social pressure (say, the threat of shunning), and the fear of physical harm (convert or die).

        But it’s hard to follow up on that thought while it remains in the abstract. Which society, and which rules? My society has certainly never taken up the rules of yours, happily or otherwise, and would put up quite a resistance if told to–and yours hasn’t taken up mine, either.

        I mean…why should you?

        As for who thought society needed religious rules, my less cynical, human-loving side thinks people are sometimes too eager to be accepted and praised, and my more cynical, crime-fiction-writing side thinks “Cherchez l’argent.”

    3. You declare that you have a reasonable foundation but need to resolve this question so you can decide on some religion (or religious practice).
      Maybe the proper pursuit of this question IS the practice (proper means the ones this fits YOU and feeds your deepest yearnings), in other words it is the journey not the destination.

      On the issue of the contradiction of talk to God in order to know God. You are right of course but it is only a question of the wording of the quest not the quest itself.
      If you try to address a question like: Does this lake contain a fish?
      No amount of philosophizing will make any difference.
      Getting a fishing pole and good fish bait and trying would give you either a fish or at least an indication that there may not be a fish there.
      But you have to put an honest effort at it, independent of whether or not you believe there is a fish to be caught.
      This gets back to a point in my previous post, most people think that beliefs are positive things, I think they are the worst hindrance.

      Every research scientist has this attitude, they look for something but don’t really know if it is true or not, they have guesses but not beliefs.
      Along the path of discovery they allow those guesses to become more and more polished

  31. Dear Ms Nadia
    I am F.S. , the one who posted the comment on September 23, 2011 at 11:32 pm
    I totally agree with you that talking to God is not the solution, He will not talk back to You or reveal Himself to you and even if He does, you can never know if this is true or a hallucination.
    Exploring His existence is always the first step, it is done through the human intellect ONLY, not through any religion or any Divine book
    I encourage you to read for Antoney Flew, the most notorious atheist, his book “There is a God” is a master piece in which he dealt with the biggest question: “How can be a God with all the evil in this world?”
    we lose love ones, we get cheated by love ones and we still have to believe that He exists!!!!
    from Egypt
    Fadel Soliman

    1. Mr F.S , I guess it is hard to believe that the idea of the existence itself is something for question.. It is more like an Old Story, very basic one. Apparently, the smallest trivial things that keep happening around us every single day can easily proof the existence of God. On the other hand, talking to God doesn’t necessary means he will talk to back to you! Neither revealing himself or something like that but truth seekers always have their hunch, some sort of visibility, or intuition. An idea that only comes to one’s mind but not by itself as nothing comes ever by itself!.
      It is something can only be a God deed rather than just an idea or a thought. By then you just know that you have been enlightened and God is talking to you. It happened before to most all of the prophets and truth seekers and can indeed happen again.

      1. That’s exactly what I meant by asking God, if it is said in religions that God would condemn people according to their faith/deeds, then humans also could ask God to reveal himself by the way that we can understand, and if He is really there, answer would come by a way or another..So the question could be “Are u there? If you are then show me your way”..
        And I think that being “A real truth seekers” is the key of knowing the Truth

  32. Nadia, hope you are doing well, interesting blog post if i may say …
    The god debate is the greatest taboo of all.
    I will share with you my experience in what i used to call my search for truth, the hunt that never stops.
    Questioning is a state of my mind, when it is adopted you just don’t stop, I have started my questioning sometime ago, immaturely I used to expose my ideas and thoughts about such topic in order to find out people reaction which can become very interesting sometimes. Well to cut it short to the point, I will share with you my experience in the last three years reading and researching a lot about the analogy of history where I found my resort, where i found some answers that made me feel relieved.

    The god debate usually starts with the questions you are posing in the blog, recently I have reached that turn where you will renounce all religious aspects that you don’t comprehend. Although I am still a believer and I believe that Islam is the only religion that took all aspects of life into consideration, this didn’t stop me from my hunt.
    I have reached that point where you will start to ask, if life is like an exam, where you can pass or fail to be rewarded heaven or Ge Hanum ( If I may call it) . Why should I want that reward ( heaven)? If I renounced castles and luxury in my life? If I married the one i love why should I look for other ladies ( el hour el 3in ) in heaven? If never tasted wine in my life, why would it be a reward in heaven? To be exact, my life should be rewarded in the scope of my deeds . Well, not to mention the questioning never stops, but I just told you this to make you feel the state I have reached.
    Well, the collapse of religion becomes very easy in that state, so I referred to the basic knowledge of any religion, Who is God?
    God is the creater, the source and the destination, the one and only, the atman, le triade divine ( i like the word in french), etc…
    The debate of creation has been exclusively resolved early in history, all philosophers ( except the greek) have agreed that the world started and is going to end. Causality solved this, where it implied a cause and effect, so if the world started then it is an effect and the cause is? GOD. Scientists who tried confront this fell into a deep well of questioning, for example Darwin stated that humans where a fish/ monkey/ cell but he failed totally to describe the 21 grams ( hollywood movie :D) or the soul. If men are an evolution of a single organism then who created this organism and its soul, so the theory collapsed.
    Yet, I found my shelter… the analogy of history, i have started reading about civilizations, religions, and history. I have tried to assimilate information to prove (to me) that everything derives to the same result “Allah” and up till now, my seek for truth has been successful to fulfill my ego.
    Quiet interesting results, I achieved, I have found for example that the great flood has been mentioned in all civilization and religions, and was described from different angles . For the summerians, the great Gilgamesh met Uptanishtim, the only survivor of the flood. Uptanishtim told Gilgamesh his story, which was very interesting ( I will leave you to read this, if you didn’t already) .

    Finding analogies and harmony in the history of mankind made me feel relaxed, made me feel that i am on the right track. Yet, it was my way to resolve the god debate, it could fit noone else but just sharing the thought with you, maybe will let you find the way that suits you.

    1. @Mohab Shalash

      You say:

      “The debate of creation has been exclusively resolved early in history, all philosophers ( except the greek) have agreed that the world started and is going to end. Causality solved this, where it implied a cause and effect, so if the world started then it is an effect and the cause is? GOD.”

      I am tired of the “god of the gaps”. Can’t find an explanation for something? Here, stick some god in there and that’ll patch it up. Saying “god” when confronted with a mystery (as we once did with everything from lightening to earthquakes and plagues) is a very lazy approach to the mysteries of the universe. It doesn’t answer anything. It only raises more questions.

      In this case, the question is of course, well, what caused God? Ah, God is above causality — everything is subject to causality, but God is the exception. Yet if we are going to make exceptions to this law of causality, why not place that exception with the beginning of the universe instead? Why postulate the existence of this entirely different and even more mysterious thing (God), and without a shred of evidence simply proclaim that it is the exception when it comes to causality. How does this actually explain anything?

      To me, this is simply replacing one mystery (the origins of the universe) with an even greater one (God).

      Ultimately, I am not sure the question of what triggered “creation” even makes any sense. What came before the big bang (i.e. what happened in time before time even existed) sounds to me like asking “what is north of the north pole? — It’s conceptually nonsensical.

      1. @HZ
        you say ” I am tired of the “god of the gaps”. Can’t find an explanation for something? Here, stick some god in there and that’ll patch it up. Saying “god” when confronted with a mystery (as we once did with everything from lightening to earthquakes and plagues) is a very lazy approach to the mysteries of the universe. It doesn’t answer anything. It only raises more questions. ”
        Well, god of the gaps is of course a lousy approach to God, when i mentioned the causality in relation to God, I tried to summarize a conclusion reached already in the work of Ibn Roshd ” Tahāfut al-Tahāfut” which i found very convincing, you may read it ( if you didn’t already), it is far away from God of the Gaps, and it derives creation to one God who is the source.
        you say
        ” what caused God? Ah, God is above causality — everything is subject to causality, but God is the exception. ”
        God is not an expection for causality, i don’t agree with you. Causality for universe comes in three scenarios, while causality for divinity comes in two scenarios only:
        first scenario, God is the cause and the effect ( the one and only,the atman, the source and destination, the beginning and the end … ).
        Second scenario, God is the cause only, here comes a lot of effects ( mankind, universe, creations …). The last scenario, which is not simulated in divinity , where the cause becomes the effect which – in this case ( a reference to what you said ) – is inapplicable, cause even causality law requires a first cause to start the sequence/loops of cause and effect.
        Another question will come up to my mind, why causality differs from divinity to universe, because causality of universe couldn’t say much for its start ( the GAP) you are talking about. Scientist and researchers in this issue ” in my small research ” reached this, you may derive all creations ( man, universe, energy) to a single organism ( Cell, Universe, electron, whatever you may call it …), where it all started and then evolution ( as for the big bang) caused all creations, but you will not be able to cause the uncausable which is – in this case – where did this single organism came from, therefore, they reached the conclusion of the ancestors, which implied the one to many relation , where everything comes from one, in other words ” Allah “, the creator, the source.

        You ask “what is north of the north pole? ” for me the answer is south pole, which is also very convincing, cause since you started the causality chain, the effect – already caused – can become the cause of another effect, so literally the north of the north pole will be the south pole, since we are living the chain of causality, here comes again the question what caused the first cause that caused everything? and again I answer Allah ” divinity ”

        I hope I make sense,

  33. Well I have to say it like I see it and in my opinion any religion is rubbish by approximatly 50%. Are there even 2 people that have the same opinion about every aspect of a religion? I don’t think so. When we read words from any author, do we all understand them in the same way? No, we don’t. So what is a religion then? It seems merely a rather large amount of people agreeing to some very basic common statement. Beside that, opinions go as far apart from each other as possible and even so-called scholars disagree on many aspects and where the don’t disagree the have come to establish rather the most conservative guidelines than the more liberal ones, just to be sure, but that doesn’t make them right.
    This leads me to be certain about the idea that all religions are tainted, twisted, adjusted or in any other way changed from it’s shape when it was introduced.

    You said: “Or is it that God expects us to go through the process itself and not that we need to come to conclusions? But wouldn’t that be cruel of God? ”
    I don’t know if that would be cruel of God. If we are created by God, then we certainly have a value and if he communicates with us, even if it is only through messengers, then what do we have to be afraid of? If we are trying to find the right way and do the right things the best we know we have nothing to fear . And we have been given two powerful tools to help us. We have reason to understand what we do and what consequences it might have and we have a conscience, which is even easier to understand. If something feels wrong, it is wrong.

    But how do you discover your path? Well I think that it is right to go your way with god and to god and by the help of god all day and every day. Discover and be amazed by everything from spacetime and above light speed neutrinos to the concept of eternity, the words written in the book and the history of humanity and religion. There is no particular action that will help, no strict Salafi rules will put you to heaven and no Sufi meditation that will give you the perfect enlightenment. Believe nothing unless you have proven to yourself that it is true and accept only the simplest and clearest logic, because this is the way of God. Nothing in this universe is even the tinyest bit more complicated than it needs to be.
    Your entire life is the path and you will not reach the end.

  34. Nadia asked “What if I come to question Islam so much that I feel it’s not the right religion for me? What if I come across another religion that suits me better?” Very very scary and critical questions, WHY, because you will become “Mortada” it means for some that you must be KILLED if you don’t return back. {‏فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ‏}‏ ‏ [‏سورة التوبة‏:‏ آية 5‏]‏]. Have you thought about it? Unfortunately, this is a stumble stone when you try to open your mind and think and question what you believe in. It’s a challenge, good luck.

    1. The concept of “mortada” (apostate) is appalling. Here we are, in the 21st century, fighting for freedom of belief, tolerance, and the end of torture, while the presumably supreme and most perfect being suggests we should kill pagans and promises to burn (i.e, torture) for eternity those who turn their backs on their religions (e.g. 2:217). Makes you wonder …

    2. (من شاء فليؤمن ومن شاء فليكفر) (لا اكراه فى الدين)
      ليه بتخوف ناديه لها كل الحرية لن تزيدالاسلام كمالا باسلامها ولن ينقص الاسلام بخروجها ولو كان حد المرتد القتل لنزل فيه قران كما نزل فى حد السرقة والزنا أما حروب الردة فلم تكن حرب ضد الردة لأنهم لم يتركوا الإسلام بمجمله ولكنها كانت حرب على متمردين على نظام سياسى فمن الناحية العقلية لو أن احد الاشخاص اللاجئين السياسيين فى امريكا تقدم بطلب الحصول على الجنسية الامريكية وتم قبول طلبه مما أهله للتمتع بالمواطنة وحقوقها ثم ثبت بعد ذلك تورطه بأقوال وأفعال ينطبق عليها وصف الخيانة العظمى ثم كان عقوبة ذلك فى القانون الامريكى القتل ثم تنازل هذا الشخص عن الجنسية الامريكية هل يعتبر تنفيذ عقوبة القتل هنا قمع للحرية ولأنه تنازل عن الجنسية بإختصار الكفر ليس باعث على قتل أحد بل للناس الحرية الكاملة فى الكفر أو الردة وحساب الكافر عند الله وحده
      ان المرتد لايعاقب على ردته اذا لم يجاهر بسبالاسلام والتحريض على تعاليمه واحداث فتنة فى الارض.فليس كل مرتد يقتل فنص حديث قتل المرتد نص عام من حيث لفظ العموم مقيد بالجمع بين الاحاديث بمحاربة الله ورسوله وبذلك ليس هناك مناقضة لحرية العقيدة كما ان من ينفذ حد الردة هو القاضى ونحن أصلا لا نقيم الحدود فى القانون المصرى فلما نطرح موضوع غير موجود فى التطبيق الفعلى حاليا

      1. {‏فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ‏}‏ ‏ [‏سورة التوبة‏:‏ آية
        ان المرتد لايعاقب على ردته اذا لم يجاهر بسب الاسلام والتحريض على تعاليمه واحداث فتنة فى الارض.
        كلام جميل مثالى أو قل خيالى ليس له وجود فى أرض الواقع. يكقى أن تنظرى حولك فى كل دول العالم الإسلامى وترى مايحدث لتاركى الإسلام. أرجو أن تعيدى قراءة تعليقك وأنت تشبهين ترك الإسلام بالخيانة العظمى التى تستوجب القتل. وهذا بإعتبار أن الإسلام ليس دين سماوى فقط لكنه دولة وسياسة والخروج على طاعتها خيانة عظمى توجب القتل. أرجو أيضاً قراءة تاريخ حرب الردة بتمعن ودراسة

  35. من يريد الحقبقة يبحث عنها فى كل مكان واذا كنت تتبعين العلم والعقل فلماذا ترفضين قراءة الكتب
    من أجمل الكتب التى تخاطب العقل وتعطيه مجال التفكير وبنفس الوقت تعطيه الاجابة الشافية كتاب
    (رحلتى من الشك الى الايمان)
    لمصطفى محمود اننا محتاجون لقراءة هذا الكتاب لأننا نعيش حياة مادية قاسية أنجرفنا ورائها
    والعقل معذور فى إسرافه إذ يرى نفسه واقفا على هرم هائل من الانجازات فتصور نفسه القادر على كل شئ و زجنفسه فى كل شئ وأقام نفسه حاكم على ما يعلم وما لا يعلم وعلى ما يدرك وعلى ما لا يمكنه ادراكه وهو يأبه أن يعترف بعجزه أمام بعض الغيبيات فيرفضها
    لنصغى الى صوت نفوسنا وهمس بصائرنا فى أخلاص شديد ورغبة فى الوصول الى الدين الحق دون محولة تشويه ذلك الصوت البكر الذى يتردد فى أنفسنا بحبائل المنطق وشراك الحجج

  36. If the God want to create universe . is it logic to create the universe &leave it to any one to put the roles or the religions for his creatures?
    the conclusion is the true religions on the earth is descended from Allah
    if we ask anyone what are the religions descended by Allah ,alnasara said it is the engeel and the quraan not from Allah ,alyahood said that altorah from Allah but quraan not . but musims said that all torah and engeel and qraan all from Allah and who believe in them without being changed is on the straight way and if u believe that there is a God then conclued htat religions must put by the GOD so u must believe in this religions all . and the only religion do not deny the other religions is the ISLAM

  37. (ومن الناس من يجادل فى الله بغير علم ويتبع كل شيطان مريد كتب عليه أنه من تولاه فأنه يضله ويهديه الى عذاب السعير)

  38. These comments really have been interesting. So, Nadia, you’re trying to find your path… the one that fits you best. You’re asking how important is religion, really? Maybe faith is enough. You’re curious that another spiritual practice might fit you better.

    People get all kinds of things from religions and spiritual practices – both good and bad. What is it you are looking for? The answer to that will lead you to your correct path – eventually.

  39. u must realize that one must search on the true the correct religion not the suitable religion for what he need to achieve there is a big difference between u search for the true religion or u search for what is suitable for u
    some people see that thinking of no God no orders is suitable for them for thier bodies for enjoing life without orders but truely they lose the balance between the body and the soul because the soul wanted to be connected to her creature by the true religion not by suitable religion it is not a dress suitable for me now but not suitable for me after we will die as your father and my father die and we will asked (وقفوهم انهم مسئولون )
    (واتبعوا أحسن ما أنزل إليكم من ربكم من قبل أن يأتيكم العذاب بغتة وأنتم لا تشعرون .أن تقول نفس يا حسرتى على ما فرطت فى جنب الله وان كنت لمن الساخرين اوتقول لو ان الله هدانى لكنت من المتقين .أوتقول حين ترى العذاب لو أن لى كرة فأكون من المحسنين بلى قد جاءتك اياتى فكذبت بها واستكبرت وكنت من الكافرين)

  40. Dear Nadia,
    I am very happy to read this blog of yours! Think and pray, there will be enlightenment! I could see how your faith and rationality is interacting now!
    I still remember the wonderful ideas you shared with me; of coming to India and experiencing India. Any recent plan?
    I have just published my book on Galileo – his physics, philosophy and religion to which address I could send it to you? Send me the address in the following email!
    Mathew from India
    chandrankunnel@gmail.com

  41. {‏فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ‏}‏ ‏ [‏سورة التوبة‏:‏ آية
    ان المرتد لايعاقب على ردته اذا لم يجاهر بسب الاسلام والتحريض على تعاليمه واحداث فتنة فى الارض.
    كلام جميل مثالى أو قل خيالى ليس له وجود فى أرض الواقع. يكقى أن تنظرى حولك فى كل دول العالم الإسلامى وترى مايحدث لتاركى الإسلام. أرجو أن تعيدى قراءة تعليقك وأنت تشبهين ترك الإسلام بالخيانة العظمى التى تستوجب القتل. وهذا بإعتبار أن الإسلام ليس دين سماوى فقط لكنه دولة وسياسة والخروج على طاعتها خيانة عظمى توجب القتل. أرجو أيضاً قراءة تاريخ حرب الردة بتمعن ودراسة

  42. يا أستاذ ايهاب لنتفق أولا أننا بنقاشنا نرجو الخير بعضنا لبعض ونرجوكلمة الحق التى تشرح صدورنا وتقربنا جميعا الى الله وأن هدفنا ليس الجدال ولا الأستعلاء بالقول والرأى ولكن اتباع الحق ومادفعنى لأكتب لحبيبتى نادية هو حبى لها وأنى ليس عندى الوقت لزيارتها وأنها لم ترد على الموبايل عند اتصالى للعزاء فى والدها وأكتب الان لك وليس لنادية ردا على أنى شيهت ترك الاسلام بالخيانة العظمى وانا لم أقصد ذلك على الإطلاق وأعد حضرتك قراءة ما كتبت انااردتأن أوضح أن الردة فى الاسلام ليست سبب القتل ولكن الطعن فى الدين بعد تركه فشبعت ترت الاسلام بترك الجنسية وان هذا أو ذاك ليس سبب لعقوبة ولكن شبهت من يأتى بأعمال ارهابية فيها خيانة عظمى للبلد التى منحته الجنسية مسبقا وهو لاجئ تعاقب عليه الدولة بالقتل وكذلك المرتد فقد الذى يطعن فى الدين بعد خروجه طعنه فى الدين هوالمشبه بالخيانة العظمى لأنه صد عن سبيل الله
    ثم أستدلال حضرتك علىقتل المرتدبقوله تعالى
    (فاقتلوا المشركين حيث وجدتموهم)
    لماذا لم تأتى بالاية من أولها لأخرها أم نحن نقول لا تقربوا الصلاة وحتى لا نكون ممن قال الله فيهم
    (يتبعون ما تشابه منه إبتغاء الفتنة وابتغاء تأويله)
    فأوضح أن الجزء من الأية التى تم الاستدلال به فى أشد سورة فى القران على المشركين والمنافقيين والتى لم تبدأ بالبسملة تبدأبقوله تعالى( براءة من الله ورسوله الى الذين عاهدتم من المشركين
    أى ان ان الله اباح ان يكون بيننا وبين المشركين عهد ولم يأمرنا بالقتال الا (وان نكثواأيمانهم من بعد عهدهم وطعنوا فى دينكم فقاتلوا ائمة الكفرإنهم لاأيمان لهم لعلهم ينتهون ) فإن اخذنا الاية على سبب النزول او على العموم فالقتال ليس للردة ولكن لنقض العهد ثم الطعن فى الدين والقتال لأئمة الكفر ليرتدع الاخرون (لعلهم ينتهون )عن صدهم عن سبيل الله والفتنة فى الدين وليس من حرية الرأى الطعن فى دين الله ان الاسلام لم ينكر حرية العقيدة بل الايات على ذلك كثيرة جدا بل أن الاسلام وصف الشرك بأنه دين لمن أراد ان يعتنقه (لكم دينكم ولى دين) (لاإكراه فى الدين)(من شاء فليؤمن ومن شاء فليكفر)اما بالنسبة لحروب الردة فاذا أردنا ان نفهمها جيدا فأحيلك لدكتور جمال عبد الهادى أستاذ التاريخ الاسلامى بجامعة أم القرى وهورجل مخلص فى السبعينات من العمروخير من نستقى منه التاريخ الاسلامى وتليفونه26202523 وسهل الذهاب اليه فى مسكنه من ش عمار بن ياسر تعلمنا منه ان هناك أخطاء فى كتابة التاريخ الاسلامى من غير المتخصصين وأن هناك أخطاء فى فهم بعض الاحداث التاريخية وله كتب قيمة مثل أخطاء يجب أن تصحح فى التاريخ وكتاب الدولة العثمانية دولة مفترى عليها

  43. Dear Nadia
    if u want reach the truth by thinking you can listen and watch man do that.ILOVE to watch his videos his meeting on T.V he speaks to your mind moving your heart. ITS WEB SITE IS

    harunyahya an invitation to the truth
    harunyahya.com
    the site by many language arabic,english,…etc
    this web site calls everyone ,from every corner of the world,from whatever cultural,racial,ethnic,and social background,to realize the basic fact

    1. Afaf, sorry but I have no idea who you are unless you are using a different name than your real name or if my horrible memory is just not helping me along. I answered calls as much as I could during the three days of mourning after my father’s death. After that I stopped answering calls if I thought it was another person giving me their condolences. I did not have the energy after three days to go through that any longer. As a conservative Muslim (as you obviously are), I’m sure you can understand that.

      Now…I’ve been following this whole strange conversation about reddah. I’ve read it over a period of days and I’m not going to go back and re-read it all now so I might not remember all the details of the conversation as I comment. In this case, please forgive me if I turn out to have misunderstood.

      Islam, God, or any faith for that matter should have absolutely nothing to fear from people leaving that faith and moving on to something else. Faiths and God are bigger than that. Those faiths and God should also have nothing to fear from getting some criticism from believers, non-believers, or from believers who have ceased to believe. This talk about fitnah is a load of crap in my opinion. If the believers of a certain faith have such weak belief in their own religion that a murtad (or anyone else) can cause fitnah by voicing his criticism about that religion, well…then that faith is not worthy of belief if you ask me.

      Afaf, I seem to remember you using the logic of treason against a country. If someone stops believing that being a citizen of a certain country is good for them, then it’s their right to stop being a citizen of that country. And it’s also their right to loudly voice their opinion and explain why…time and time again if they want to. That should in no way result in that person being killed. I renounced my US citizenship about 15 years ago. When I did this I explained why to the US State Department through a letter and I’ve spoken to some media representatives who have asked me to explain my reasons. The US does not need my citizenship. I’m pretty much a nothing to them. I renounced my citizenship. I complained about the US foreign policy in the media. And they did not send spies over to kill me in the dark nor did they make a public proclamation saying I must be killed for my act of treason.

      It should be the same with religions. If a person does not believe in something that person should have the right to renounce that faith and find something more suitable for him or her. That person should also have the right to talk about it, criticize that religion, and preach against it even if they want to. Why do Muslims fear that so much? Is their faith so weak that they fear criticism of their religion? Who cares of people criticize Islam? Islam is bigger than that. Trust me.

      As for the fact that one woman desires to go on a journey to re-discover faith and God…I have no idea how that results in talk about reddah (leaving the faith). And if I ever did leave the faith (I have no plans to but I’m starting this journey with an open mind), who cares??

      As for how I plan on reaching the truth, it will not be by limiting myself to Islamic readings. I’ve done that for most of my life. It’s time now to read more about other faiths and philosophies. I’ll continue to read and ask about Islam. That’s only natural if I’m sincere in my learning and questioning, but I will certainly not limit myself to getting all my answers from it and/or from Muslim writers.

      1. what about aperson who want u to discuss and search if u really adaughter of that great man dr Abbas ALTHOUGH all people know it is a fact will u say i am bigger than his doubt i wonder how humanbeing can be ugly with his LORD WHO givted him all this world

  44. أيه يا مصطفى ده؟ تبدأ بالأخت العزيزة وبعدين تكلمني بلغة فيها حكم علي وعلى شخصيتي وأنت لا تعرفني وفيها تهديد ووعيد وتكفير؟ مالك؟ فيه أيه؟ وكأنك تقول: وكمان بتفكري؟ وبصوت عالي؟ طيب خذي ألمين! أيه يا مصطفى؟ مالك حاسس بكل التهديد ده من امرأة عادية جدا قالت أنه آن الأوان أنها تشوف أيه موضوع الأديان ده. وأيه موضوع ربنا ده. وأيه موضوع الأسئلة اللي بتدور في دماغي من زمان حول بعض الأشياء في الاسلام ده؟ مالك حاسس بتهديد كده من امراة بسيطة قررت تفكر وتستفسر بصوت عالي؟ لا أنا يا أخي كفرت ولا أنا ضليت الطريق. أنا أخذت قرار عادي جدا لازم كل الناس تقرره في فترة من حياتها وقلت خليني أشوف الطريق اللي انا ماشية عليه هو ده الصح والا في طريق غيره أنسب؟ وكوني بأعمل ده في سني ده رغم قراءاتي دي مش عيب. ربنا اداني عقل بأفكر بيه. عايزة استخدمه شوية وأفكر.

    وصدقني. مش انت اللي حأدخل معاه في حوار س و ج. اقرأ يا أخي كلامك مرة أخرى وشوف أسلوبك. ده أنا كنت منتظرة أقرأ في نهاية كلامك بأنك حللت دمي.

    مالك يا مصطفى؟ أيه معصبك كده في حياتك حتى تتكلم مع امرأة بهذا الأسلوب العجيب؟

    1. I am sorry, but the guy was pretty straight forward, he might have been harsh and said why he might be harsh but he didn’t criticize you on a personal level unfortunately your reply was all about firing back at him personally. I am disappointed, I have been following your blog long enough to expect a different reply, maybe a little more logical.

    2. أنت امرأة ومجرد بروزك في المجتمع وقيامك بالعديد من المغامرات والكتابة عنها أصبح من وجهة نظره حب في الظهور .. كمان جاية تقولي شك ودين وتفكير؟ تفكير؟؟؟؟ تبقي في نظره agnostic قبل ما تبدأي أصلا.

  45. عزيزتى نادية هناك حبل يجب ان نتمسك به فى زحمة الحياة هو….حبل الله ..فيالهامن سعادة ورضى نفس وراحة بال فالانسان الذى مع الحياة وليس للحياة ويوحد هدفه الاسمى من كل عمل يعمله أنه لله لايشقى أبدافالانسان لا يهب حياته لأى شئ فلا يهبها لزوج اذا انفصل عنه يندم على ما ضاع من عمر ولا يهبها لأولاده فإذا كان منهم العقوق أصيب بالحسرة ولا يهبها للعمل وتحقيق الذات ويتفانى فيه فإذا خسر عمله إنهار بل هو يعيش مع كل ما فى الحياة مع الزوج والاولاد والعمل والاصدقاء يعيش معها ولكن حياته لله فإذا خسر الزوج والولد والاب والمال فهو لم يخسر شئ لأنه وطن نفسه أن ترتبط بخالقهاولن كل ما سوى الله فان
    أما ما ذكرتيه فى كلمتك من أمور فيتاج عدة ردود وهى بسيطة جدا بأمر الله ولكنى مشغولة الان لمرض أمى وعندما أعودقد يتلقفنى ابنى الذى فى الثانوية بالنقاش أتعلمين أنه يناقشنى أحيانا فيما تتناقشين فيه فأضحك هكذا كنت فى مثل سنه شغوفة بالحقيقة كما هوالان …فأول سؤال دار فى ذهنى ماذا لومت ووجدت أن ما أنا عليه هو الباطل ,ان غيرى هو الذى على حق وان المفاجئة أن مصيرى الى النار وأظن أنى قرأت لمصطفى محمود وغيره وكنت اعشق النقاش مع اخوتى الخمسة ثم كان البحث فى مرحلة الجامعة فى المذاهب والجماعات الموجودة على الساحة وايها صواب وهل هى جميعا تنتمى للاسلام وايها خطأ وهل يجب أن أنتمى اجماعة أم لا ووأخذ هذا منى سنتين فى الجامعة ثم أستوقفنى الاحكام الفقهية مثل النقاب فانا غيرمنتقبة فهل النقاب فرض أم لا فتوصلت من أسأل ولمن أستمع وليس كل ما أسمع فى الدين أصدقه والدليل والدليل الارجح والحجية بالقران والسنة والايات لا تفسر بالاهواء فأما الذين كفروا فيتبعون ما تشابه منه ابتغاء الفتنة وابتغاء تأويله وما يعلم تأويله الا الله والراسخون فى العلم والان أشعر بأطمئنان لكل ما أفعل فأنامثلا لا البس النقاب ولكنى أعرف كل الدلة على عدم فرضيته واستطيع ان اناقس الامر بكل بساطة مع أى حد ويطمئن قابى أنى لا اتركه وهو فرض ….فأبحثى بصدق بصدق النية بداخلك عن ماذا بالضبط تبحثين عه فإذا كنت تبحثين من أجل الحقيقة سيهديكى الله اليها واذا كنت تبحثينمن أجل شئ أخر فلن تصلى

  46. Nadia,
    My deepest condolences on your fathers passing – I really respect you for coming out and discussing something as controversial and life altering as this – I certainly have never been brave enough to do so myself despite having opted out of organized religion since I was around 14 after being a very devout albeit unconventional Muslim.
    The question of religion has always been a source of fascination and confusion to me due to being brought up between Egypt , South Africa and England and mostly church schools both Catholic and protestant churches – I grew up praying the five foroud and the Lords prayer with equal conviction and passion and recall wishing that there was some equivalent of a nunnery in Islam (where I could still read the bible though and sing Ave Maria) then spending days on end at the public library poring over books on mythology , Buddhism , Hinduism and other faiths – I was perfectly content to be muddled and belong to it all ( and still am to a great extent) but after reaching a certain age I realized I was not the ‘Muslim norm’ whatever that is and have stopped identifying as Muslim though I tend not to announce that to all and sundry , I have generally come to loathe labels of all kinds and what they signify , they make me feel as if I have a tangle of flags stapled to my head – I just want to be human and my individual self , I don’t want assumptions or ideals or anything for that matter pinned to my person. I am happily affiliated with nothing save my own ecstasy

    So after this lengthy intro I just want to tell you of the conclusions I reached
    There may not be a God in the way most people and religions perceive there to be one but there was an original spark that ignited this entire universe into being and I want to pay reverence to this ineffable creative force – I ascribe nothing to it save that it is unfathomable and beautiful and contains dualities and complexities that are the underpinnings of our existence and since I am of it and within in it I want to continously remind myself of it and celebrate it as religions do but it is boundless and limitless and that is what I strive to be too whereas religions bind you with laws , systems- a single structure in which to function in whereas the universe and ‘God” is a system of chaos , a chaotic system , and systematic chaos again boundlessness ! ( Again I want to stress this is just me , I respect those who want a specific belief system but I just can’t belong to any including agnosticism or Atheism )
    So what I suggest to you is this : Go Find your ecstasy – your highest , most elevated moments of being and wherever those occur that is where God resides for you and what God is to you – a manifestation of the nameless spark that brought everything forth and then you will no how to enter into a relationship with it – I also recommend poetry and a great deal of it ! Great Mystical Poets have no agenda but ecstatic utterances hehehe (I sound like an ass but its honestly how I feel)
    Good luck ! and you’re not alone on this journey !

  47. عزيزتى نادية
    سأظل أكتب إليك عسى أن نلتقى فى طريق الله سويا فإذا أحسست أن نادية التى أعرفها وما تحمله من خير وفطرة بداخلها لم يبقى منه شئ فسأتوقف عن الكتابة ٍسأكتب لك فى هذه المرة ردا على ردك على تعليقى على استاذ ايهاب فى الموضوع الذى طرحه عن الردة أنت تقولين أنالله يخيفنا وأقول لك لا إن الله يحبنا ويتوددالينا بالعطاء والنعم واللطف بنا فى أصعب المواقف ( ان الذين امنوا وعملوا الصالحات سيجعل لهم الرحمن ودا ) أرأيت الله فى عليائه وهويتوددالى عباده وهم يجحدون نعمه ويجحدون ويكفرون به….أرأيت الله يمنع عطاءه عن الكافرين والملحدين أو يقول لمن أشرك به لن تظلك سمائى أولن تتنفس هوائى أوسأسلبك صحتك……لتشعرين بذلك تخيلى أن أبنك عاق ويعاملك أسوأ معاملة أليس هو أبنك الذى تعبت فى ولادته وتربيته هل يجعلك ذلك تمنعين عنه عطائك وتقولين أنه ليس أبنك…نحن عباد الله خلقنا بيده ونفخ فى أدم من روحه ولكن ألا نخوف أبنائنا أحيانا من المخدرات مثلا ليس لأننانكرههم وليس لضعفنا حيال أمرهم كماكما تتخيلين ان الله يخوفنا لأن الدين ضعيف نحن نخوف أبنائنا لأننا نحبهم ونرجو لهم الخير ونخشى عليهم سوء العاقبة
    قال تعالى (ذلك الذى يخوف الله عباده الذين أمنوا يا عبادى فاتقون)أتقون أن تكفروا بالله فيحل عليكم غضبى ولكن ان اخترتم الكفر فيقول تعالى فى نفس السورة سورة الزمر (ان الله غنى عنكم ولا يرضى لعباده الكفر)كنت أود أن تبحثين مع نفسك أولا وبكل وسيلة فإذا تيقنتى أى طريق سرتى فيه دون ضغوط على نفسك بإعلانك ما تفكرين فيه لماذا؟لأن النفس قد تصاب مع الجدال بالكبر والاستكبار عن تقبل الحق

  48. *sigh* Can I just say I wish ppl wouldn’t use words they don’t truly understand the meaning of? Especially swear words particularly when ‘preaching’.

  49. some people think or they want to think that there is no God and they creat themselves AND the world by their stupid dark drunken mind so as to do what they want with no limitation or they may need psychic consultation i think we wasting time in discussing

    1. but i m so sorry for that great man who was a good muslim he do every thing to save his childern mayGOD COMPENSATE HIM IN GANA قال تعالى (ويوم تقوم الساعة يومئذ يتتفرقون فأما الذين ءامنواووعملو الصالحات فهم في روضة يحبرون
      (وأما الذين كفروا وكذبوا بآياتنا ولقاء الأخرة فأوْلئك في العذاب محضرون

    2. I think you need to leave this conversation if you believe so much that you know it all and clearly have no respect for others. Stay only if you have something to contribute with other than condescension.

    3. you are true we lose our time by this discussion .it my be no problem in her faith but she write to be taken with her in this useless discussion for only fuss making perhapse to take he annual best blog award

    4. you are right .we lose our time in useless discussion .perhapse she pretends us and and she not search for religion but want people to follow her in the blog .perhaps she want some thing else to take the annual -award of best blog
      what is the meaning of she search for the suitable religion so God must do million of religions as what suit her may not suit me,that is wrong .she not said she search for true religion whatever it be even if not chose islam
      she said ;the light suitable for you may not suitable for me
      and it is wrong it is light or dark it is the most difficult decision you take in your life we will die may be soon and we will asked and there is paradise or hill
      she wants to affect other by her thought and want not to be affected by others

  50. I’m going to be brutally honest in this comment. Brutally honest with myself more than anything else.

    The last two comments written by Mustafa and to a much lesser extent the discussion about riddah (leaving the faith) have left me feeling intimidated, exposed, and vulnerable. And I don’t like it one bit.

    I am not going to let this feeling of intimidation control me, however. And I am not going to let it stop me from voicing my thoughts.

    I am very upset that a blog post in which I believe I voice normal questions that any human being might have about God and religion can result in what I feel to be personal attacks and veiled threats.

    The thing is, I am very aware that our societies contain people who react this way to free thinking. And this needs to change.

    Islam itself ENCOURAGES questioning and thinking and doubting. I will not cease to say this.

    I also need to say that I am no one’s personal pet project. Please do not feel a need to preach to me. Please do not feel like it is your personal responsibility to show me the light that you see. My light might be different than your light. My truth might be different than yours. It also might be the same. Do not preach your truth to me as if this truth is the truth I must reach otherwise I am in the wrong.

    Having said that, I sincerely appreciate those of you who have written about their personal experiences. Some of your words are among the most beautiful I’ve read.

    I am sickened. That’s all I can say. I am sickened.

    But my journey WILL continue. And I WILL continue to write about it publicly.

    For those of you who can’t take it and who feel so threatened by it: well, tough.

  51. Nadia,
    I didn’t read most of the comments above (they are rather overwhelming). I don’t have answers either, but more questions: If God was really in charge of the whole universe, why would he (or she, or whatever) bother with our personal lives? Wouldn’t that be terribly micro-managing the universe? and if a God is in charge, why does he/she give all this attention to humans? or maybe God is also micro-managing the lives of dolphins? elephants? alien intelligent life forms?
    You know, I tend to believe that a God DOES NOT micro-manage the universe. God just set up a system that works for itself; and no amount of praying or whatever will let you get extra ‘points’. I think we are rewarded or punished by other people,society, the world, for our good or bad deeds, and that in a way, this is part of the system set up by God.
    Going to heaven or hell should also have been set up automatically, on the basis of measurable performance in this world. So, don’t worry. I believe you have enough points in this automatic system to go to heaven. You have done too much good already to deserve heaven (assuming that there is heaven) Or, if the system is reincarnation, you have enough points to have a higher life next time, or whatever.
    Good luck with your searching, and God bless you (or whatever).
    Much love.
    Carlo

  52. Nadia, I have been reading your blog and following the string of commentary. I was waiting for it to turn ugly. Not because I wanted it to, but because I expected it to. The true measure of a man or woman is how they react when pressure is applied. In this case, it’s the subject of your post that is the pressure – that has caused insecurities to be illuminated. Your mere suggestion of confusion has apparently caused insecurities to rise. Unfortunately nearly all faiths are exclusive to some degree and are predicated on the fact that their truth is better than the truth of any other faith. One would think that having the possession of the ultimate truth and self righteousness would lead to confidence. However, in the end, many act as fundamentalists in their core – afraid of anything or anyone that questions their ultimate truth. Such is the bloody history of religion – so in error is man. So unlike the Prophets are the followers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism today. To the Muslim brothers whose responses were accusatory and harsh – is this the way Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, would have responded to someone with questions about the faith? Absolutely not. Enough said.

  53. Loved your post! I would say, if God made man, then there is something of Him in man… So go talk to people of different faiths who seem like they acheived some kind of spiritual depth.. It will be through interaction, dialogue with them that you may discover God. I wish you a wonderful journey to truth🙂

  54. Well, I think it is very easy.. God has put signs of his existence everywhere for everyone to recognise.. So either you do or you don’t..

    I lived in Germany around 20 years and my believe got stronger everyday in God and in Islam.. People around me questioned me and accused me and Islam of all kinds of things and I searched for answers.. But they were not even interested to hear the answers..

    You said that you have had questions that you sent out to get some answers und you must have got a lot of answers.. Were they all so bad that you are still confused about your belief???

    Actually I believe that nobody can really help here.. It is your job to find out what is right for you and it is not true that only non Muslims should think and question.. Nadia, we all are going to die one day and then find out who was right and who was wrong.. Rabbena yostor we yehdeena kollena lil7aq..

  55. I’m sorry can’t help myself. I had no intention of intervening in this conversation but I’m absolutely appalled by Mostafa’s attitude. Ma3lesh ya doctor, you sound like a priest from midieval Europe. Muslim scholars around that same time were open to debate for many centuries and very few of them have passed on judgments to anyone saying that they wanted to revisit their faith in Islam or any other religion. I have read the post and I know Nadia personally. I do not see where she has insulted God or Islam as you claim. Your apparent refusal to tolerate difference or mere dialogue is only further proof that we really are in the worst phase of Islamic history.

    1. He said that Nadia only got the support and attention of atheist and agnostics because she is one of them. And that this whole bunch is out there to spread doubt and insult believers.

    2. Well it surely receives anguish and injustice from those who claim to have “certainty.” Are you aware that in some of the Arabic comments Nadia was actually labeled an apostate and implicitly threatened with death? Welcome back to the Middle Ages.

  56. فقد باء بها . . . وبما أنك يا أستاذ مصطفى قد بؤت بها فلازم نقيم عليك الحد بقى ولا إيه رأيك؟ . . . أمثال هذه الردود من من يدعون العلم ويفتون بما لا يعلمون هو ما يدعو للاشمئزاز . . . يحسبون أنهم يعملون خيراً وهم في حقيقة الأمر مفسدون. (قل هل ننبئكم بالأخسرين أعمالا، الذين ضل سعيهم في الحياة الدنيا وهم يحسبون أنهم يحسنون صنعا)

  57. ارد على قولك لماذا لايتقبل المسلمون النقد ممن يخرج من الدين وان الاسلام يخاف النقد اقول لك وبكل قوة وثقة ان الاسلام لا يخشى النقد فالعقل مناط التكليف فى الاسلام فلايمكن ان تعزل الشريعة العقل وها انا وغيرى نرحب بما عندك من اعتراضات ونقد وشك فاعرضيه علينا اما سب الاديان بدون دليل فهو امر اخر هناك فرق بين (الخروج من الدين ) و(الخروج على الدين) وسأضرب لك مثلا على الخروج على الدين هل قرأتى كتاب ايات شيطانية كان متاح تحميله مجانى هل ماكتبه سلمان رشدى نقد للدين يرد عليه بالنقد ورأى يرد عليه بالرأى ام هو خروج على مقدس وهوالدين ايا كان هذا الدين هل تصوير الرسول محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم برجل يمارس الزنا فى مكة التى حتى الحمير تمترس فيها الزنا يوجد دار للدعارة بمكة بها12 امرأة اسمائهن مطابقة لزوجات الرسول يمارس معهن الرذيلة وكذلك جبريل وفيه وصف توصيفى للعمليات الجنسية التى قام بها وان القران من وحى الشيطان وترى فيهالقذارة المتناهية المخجلةفذكرت به
    FUCKING52 TIMES&FUCK5 TIMES
    وعندما يغير المسلمون على دينهم ورسولهم يقولوا حرية الرأى والنقدوفى نفس العام الذى صدر فيه كتاب ايات شيطانية 22 مايو جاء فى صحيفة (ديلى نيوز)خبر يقول دعت لندن دوائر رئيسة الوزراء مارجريت تاتشر الى طرد الممثل الامريكى(ميكى روركى) من بريطانيا وعدم السماح له بدخولها أبدا…لماذا؟ لاستخدامه كلمة من اربع حروف فى وصفه ليس لشخص ولكن لسياسة رئيسة الوزراء الاقتصادية وصودرت روايةعشيق (ليدى تشاترلى)لمدة 20 سنة لماذا والكلمة ذات الاربع حروف هى ذاتها التى جاءت فى رواية سلمان رشدى
    fuck وهى كلمة معتادة فى الحديث اليومى هناك
    الاانه هناك حساسية مفرطة من استخدام نفس الكلمات مع ابطال تاريخهم وحياتهم من عظماء الرجال والنساءهم يقولون حرية النقدفلماذا حكم على المؤلف رولد ديهل رئيس تحرير مجلة ريفيو سابقاوهومن اعظم اساتذة الصحافة فى العالم بسبب كتابه(أقرب الطرق لفهم المنفصلين عن الكنيسة ولن أتحدث عن اليهودوالهولوكوست ومن ينفى المحرقة
    ارجو ان اكون اوضحت الفرق بين النقد الحقيقى الهادف للوصول للحقيقةوبين الطعن فى الدين وتشويه الحقائق وهو ما يعرف بفن افتعال الضجة ليحصل اصحابه على الشهرة سواء كان هدفهم جمع المال والشهرة أو كانوا تابعين لمنظمات
    ART OF FUSS MaKing

  58. “ادع إلى سبيل ربك بالحكمة والموعظة الحسنة وجادلهم بالتي هي أحسن إن ربك هو أعلم بمن ضل عن سبيله وهو أعلم بالمهتدين” . . . فإن كان هذا مع غير المسلمين فما بالك بمناقشة مسلمين وتكفيرهم . . . أمسك عليك لسانك . . . وهل يكب الناس على وجوههم في النار الا حصائد السنتهم . . . هداك الله وهدانا إلا سواء السبيل . . . وأبعد عنا المتفلسفين ذوي اللسان السليط الذي نسأل الله أن يغفر لهم زلاتهم.

  59. Google Translate does a terrible job with Arabic. I did see such an implication in the English comments

    I wasn’t previously aware that five-year-olds with behavioral issues were this interested in theology.

  60. Sincerly pray and ask God to help you to find the way, if he didn’t help you then don’t worry about him anymore

  61. I did not have the time unfortunately to go through all the comments. Although, I did skim most of them enough to know where the discussion was going.

    Nadia, I salute you. First of all on your impeccable writing style, and most of all on your courage and firm position in discussing an issue like this, in the midst of the society like the one we live in.

    Reading it was very reminiscent of my own personal experience/journey through faith. It took me somewhere different in the end, away from the spiritual all together. But the launch point was very similar to yours: a decision to question, and a belief that nothing is non-arguable or irrefutable.

    I honestly feel nothing but pity for those so bloodthirsty in their supposed “defense” and “غيرة” for their faith. Those who take a mere inquiry as a viable excuse to attack -mouths foaming and all- anyone they visualize as a threat, forgetting that -just like you said- Islam encouraged questioning and soul searching more than once in the Quran and Hadith.

    Faith is the most personal thing in the world. It should never be imposed on anyone in their youth. And the journey to find it should be accepted and even encouraged. Conditioning did no one no good.

    Thanks again and much respect, Nadia.

  62. nadia,
    masa2 el fol for a start🙂
    first you are a brave person to share such thoughts. i congratulate you on this.
    i will make it so simple as i have been reading all this and i felt that i need one double espresso🙂
    i have one suggestion that might be helpful (why dont you talk to someone who started not believing in God and turned into a believer just to see this whole thing the other way around!
    Rabena yehdena game3an (this means that i believe that God exsists)🙂 Simply because everything in our life has a creator and this is is the most basic, simple and clear truth..who did create us?!
    Salamo 3alekom

    1. كتاب مصطفى محمود رحلتى من الشك الى الايمان
      haruan yahya.com an invitation to the truth
      وهوكاتب تركى مر بنفس الرحلة الفكرية وموقعه بعدة لغات ومقابلاته على مختلف المحطات العالمية ممتعة للعقل وافلامه الوثائقية رؤية جديدة فى طريق الوصول للحقيقة ومقالاته وكتبه كله تحميل مجان احبها وأخاف عليها أحس أحيانا أنها فى حاجة الى يد حانية وحضن كبير يعيد لها اتزانها النفسى
      فالعقل والشهرة سلاح ذوحدين فإن لم يصحب القلب العقل فى رحلته نحو الايمان كان العقل وبالا على صاحبه كما نستطيع ان نستفيد من القنبلة الذرية ولكن احيانا بغرور منا ندمر انفسنا بها

      1. أختي عفاف

        أجد كلامك في الرسالتين الأخيرتين عجيبا بعض الشيء. بدأت في رسائلك السابقة بالنصح وابداء المحبة والحرص ومناقشة بعض الأفكار. وجزاك الله خيرا عليها فأنا قرأتها كلها وقد أتفق معك في بعضها وأختلف في البعض الآخر.

        لكن دخلت في آخر رسالتين في نواياي. تتحدثين عن رغبة في الشهرة أو تأثير للشهرة علي (ولا أدري عن أية شهرة تتحدثين صراحة فكتابة بلوج لا يؤدي إلى شهرة بل يؤدي إلى بعض القراء) وتكتبين أني قد أكون قد أثرت تساؤلاتي بحثا وراء الشهرة.

        تتكلمين عن مصطفى محمود وهارون يحيى ورحلتهما في البحث عن الحقيقة ولكن لا تعطيني نفس الحق

        ربنا يهديني. نعم. أطلب فعلا من الله الهداية ولا أبغى من تساؤلاتي سواها.

        ولم أتطرق في أي تساؤل كان إلى مبدأ الكفر أو الالحاد سوى أني كتبت أني أريد أن أفتح مخي وأسمع كل الأفكار وأتباحث في إجابات عن أسئلتي دون خوف أو تردد. وهذا هو المطلوب ويشجعنا اسلامنا عليه.

        وبالتالي لم يكن هناك داعيا أبدا لفتح حوار مطول حول الردة وكأني في طريقي إليها وأنا لم أوحي لا من قريب ولا من بعيد إلى ذلك. ولا داعي للدخول في النوايا واصدار أحكام بالجري وراء الشهرة. فليس كل من يكتب يبغي الشهرة. بل أغلب الكتاب لا يبحثون عن شهرة بل يفرغون طاقة فكرية لديهم ويشاركون الآخرين في التحاور معهم والتفكير معهم لعلنا بهذه الطريقة نفتح أبواب الفكر المستنير المبني على معرفة

        شكرا على اهتمامك

  63. Back to you Nadia🙂
    and me…

    yesterday a friend of mine passed me your link and on the same night i met a friend and talked about that “intriguing feeling” similar to what u have…

    he said: “i believe that something is missing…a missing link or information that was deliberately cut of religions so that we focus on obeying rules and fearing punishment”

    I said:” Is it a matter of test…did he create us to test us…I don’t believe that’s it…I believe there’s a wonderful spiritual bond between people and Allah that is buried under all the dos and don’ts that scholars preach everyday…the bond that gives to our nature the very passion of being raw…human…alive, that faith is a beautiful feeling of belonging and security but within faith lies all the freedom we can bear”

    Let go…and it will fill your senses…
    Let go of rules…and don’t seek just open up for whatever comes your way…your heart…your passion…your madness…your wildness…your intelligence…
    Just defocus from the “starting the search” phase…and you will find what you aim for.

  64. يعلم الله كم أحبك وانا اكتب لك ووقتى لا يسمح اطلاقا ولكن شئ ما يشدنى ان أتحدث معك وأرد على ما ذكرتى
    أولا:أرجعى الى ردود المدونة ستجدى أنه لست أنا الذى فتحت موضوع الردة بل واحد اسمه ايهاب ثم واحد اخر لا اتذكر اسمه أما بالنسبة لى فأنا لا أجد مجال على الاطلاق أن ترهب أحد بدلا أن تقنعه ولكن حيث أن موضوع الردة طرحه ايهاب بمفهوم خطأ وكان قصده تخويفك فقلت له وارجعى لما كتبت لما تخوف نادية.وكنت ابعد الكلام عنك أنه لا ينطبق عليك ولكن عدت للكتابة فيه مرة أخرى ردا على فهمك لى بطريقة خطأوللرد على أن الاسلام يرهب الناس من انيخرجوا منه ويخاف النقد فكان لابد من الردعلى التفرقة بين الخارج من الاسلام والنقد الصحيح الذى يرد عليه بالرأى وبين الخارج على الدين الذىينصب العداء للدين الدين بالباطل وكان المثال على سلمان رشدى كمثال
    ثانيا:انا أنا التى طرحت ععليك مرتين كتاب مصطفى محمود أو هارون يحيى فلماذا أطرح عليكى شئ لا أج
    د لك الحق فيهوهذا الحق يعطيه لنا الله فليس لى أو لغيرى أن نمنعه عنك
    ثالثا

    1. ما قلتش في أي مكان أن الاسلام يخاف النقد أو يرهب الناس من الخروج منه. لم تقرئي أو تفهمي كلامي جيدا. ما قلته هو أن الاسلام بل والأديان كلها ليس لديها ما تخافه من خروج الناس عليها فهي أكبر وأعظم من ذلك

      1. ثالثا:أنا لم أشقك عن قلبك ولم نؤمر أن نفتش فى نوايا الناس ولكنى قلت موضةع الشهرة ده (اعتذر لك عنه ) لأنى لم أجد فعلا ما أبرر به ما تفعلينه فلم احس فى أى رد لك أنك تاخذين الموضوع بمدى عمقه وجديته ولأنك فعلا حيرتينى جدا فكلامك فى احوال كثيرة يبدو متناقض أكلمك بصراحة لو مكانك مش هاضيع اى دقيقة متاحة غير فى البحث يعنىانا لومكانك مكنتش هاضيع ساعتين اسمع حوارحسن هيكل قد تعتبرى هذا تدخل منى معذرة فالامر عندما يتعلق بعقيدة ودين تختارينه هوجد خطير وان كنتى اعطيت لنفسك ان تفصحى عما يدور بداخلك فى الله والدين فمعذرة ان اعطيت لنفسى الحق ان افصح عما دار بداخلى تجاهك

      2. ثالثا:أنا لم أشقك عن قلبك ولم نؤمر أن نفتش فى نوايا الناس ولكنى قلت موضةع الشهرة ده (اعتذر لك عنه ) لأنى لم أجد فعلا ما أبرر به ما تفعلينه فلم احس فى أى رد لك أنك تاخذين الموضوع بمدى عمقه وجديته ولأنك فعلا حيرتينى جدا فكلامك فى احوال كثيرة يبدو متناقض أكلمك بصراحة لو مكانك مش هاضيع اى دقيقة متاحة غير فى البحث يعنىانا لومكانك مكنتش هاضيع ساعتين اسمع حوارحسن هيكل قد تعتبرى هذا تدخل منى معذرة فالامر عندما يتعلق بعقيدة ودين تختارينه هوجد خطير وان كنتى اعطيت لنفسك ان تفصحى عما يدور بداخلك فى الله والدين فمعذرة ان اعطيت لنفسى الحق ان افصح عما دار بداخلى تجاهك ولكنى ىلاحظت شئ غريب ان هناك تعليقات كانت مكتوبةسواء اليوم صباحا أوتعليق الاستاذ مصطفى قد تم ازالته

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