THE SKEPTIC OF ISLAMIC CENTER: “I HATE TECHNOLOGY.”
Skeptic "Assalamu alaikum. Nisar”
True Believer : "Good morning."
Skeptic: "Why don't you return my greeting as Muslims usually do?"
True believer: "Don’t you know, why? It is very obvious."
Skeptic: "Sorry, I really don't know!"
True believer: " How can you have Id ul Adha before people reach Arafat in Saudi
Arabia? Muslims celebrated Id-ul-Adha on 16th of March. You hypocrites at Islamic Center of Greater Toledo celebrated the holiday a day early.
Skeptic: "So what?"
True believer: "You people insulted Muslim community by celebrating Id a day early."
Skeptic: "Now I understand! You don't think that we at the Islamic Center of Toledo are not Muslims because we celebrated Id on March 15th. Is that the reason you refuse to greet me with Islamic greeting?"
True believer: "Only true Muslims deserve Islamic greeting. It is not extended to hypocrite."
Skeptic: "We at Islamic Center of Toledo celebrated Id on March 15th based upon astronomical lunar calendar."
True believer: "Muslims are not allowed to fix the date of Id with your Kufr astronomy. Christians and Jews do with their holidays. They are Kafir."
Skeptic: "Can you show me where in the Hadith or the Qur'an states that astronomy is a Kufr practice? Show me where in the Qur'an states that Christians and Jews are Kafir. The Qur'an addresses the Christians and Jews with term "People of the Book."
True Believer: (look at his watch) "I don't have time to argue with you. I have to take my BMW to fix its geo-position system. Otherwise, I will get lost without its GPS."
Skeptic: "Just a minute. Do you really believe that you have to see the new moon before Id?"
True believer: "Is there any doubt? The Hadith states: ‘Messenger of the God (pbuh) said, 'God has made the new moons a source of determining time for people. So, start your fasting with the viewing of the new moon. If it clouds over you, then complete the count to thirty days.’ So, any other method of the moon sighting is Haram."
Skeptic: "Is it Haram to look for the new moon with eye glasses or telescope?"
True believer: (angrily) "Ahudu billahi Mina shaithani rajeeem (I seek refuge in Allah from Shaithan)."
Skeptic: "Are you taking the literal meaning of the Hadith?"
True believer: "Yes."
Skeptic: "Then, why are you deviating from a consistent application of the literal meanings of other Hadiths and the Qur'anic verses?"
True believer: (Angrily) "We, Muslims, are always consistent with our religion and our religious books."
Alu: Nisar Ikka. Onnu argue cheyyadiriku
Skeptic: "Let me show you one example. The Qur'an states: "...And eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn..."[2:187]. I do not find you, the true believers, rolling the black and white thread at dawn to know whether it is time to start fasting.
True believer: (Angrily). "Who are you to quote the Qur'an? What is your qualification to quote the Qur'an?"
Skeptic:" If you hate Qur'anic verse, let me read to you a Hadith about time of the prayer, ‘...He used to offer the Zuher prayer as soon as the sun declined (at noon) and the Asr at a time when a man might go and return from the farthest place in Medina and the sun still hot..." [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. I. pp. 306]. Do you look for the decline of the sun in the sky or do you look for your watch to time your Zuher prayer? Do you walk so many miles after Zuher prayer to determine the time of your Asr prayer? If you are not, you are not consistent in your practice."
Believer: (Angrily) "Ahudo Billahi Mina Shaithani Rajeem. (I take refuse in Allah from Shaithan)."
Skeptic: "Why are using the clock to time your prayer? Prophet [pbuh] never used clock."
True believer: [Grind his teeth and upset].
Skeptic: "So, instead of the shadows and the walk after Zuher to time your Prayer you use Kafir's clock, but cannot use the current astronomy. "
True believer: [Silent but furious]
Skeptic: Do you brush your teeth with modern tooth brush and fluorinated tooth paste or do you use Miswak (piece of the branch of a particular tree in Arabia)?
True believer: I use tooth brush and paste. What is the relevance brushing my teeth and Id?
Skeptic: Prophet (pbuh) used Miswak to brush his teeth? Why are you replacing his method of brushing teeth with modern invention?
True Believer: (distraught but silent).
Skeptic: "Why are you insisting on the literal meaning of the Hadith on the moon sighting while ignore the method of timing of prayer used by prophet [pbuh] and his companions?" Why are you using the tooth brush and tooth paste instead of Miswak?
True believer: [Silent and uncomfortably moves around]
Skeptic: "You called us hypocrite earlier. Look! Who is the hypocrite? People of the Islamic Center of Toledo or you, the true believer?"
True Believer: [Silent].
Skeptic: "You know brother!"
True believer: [Furiously] "Don't call me brother. You people at the Islamic Center of Toledo are not my Muslim brothers."
Skeptic: "Pardon me! Mr. True believer, Do you know that the complete knowledge about the movement of the moon in its orbit is available for anyone who cares to know?"
True Believer: "I don't care about your knowledge!"
Skeptic: "Do you know that we can predict the location of the moon in the horizon and the appearance of the new moon with a potential error of only one second?"
True believer: "I don't care."
Skeptic: “But you believe in Qur’an?”
True believer: “I do!”
Skeptic: The Qur’an states in 55:5: “The sun and the moon move by a decreed calculation…So, which of your Lord’s bounties will you both deny?” If Allah says that the moon is punctual due to divinely fixed calculatable timing in the orbit, why are you denying Allah’s bounty of fixed lunar orbit and timing and say astronomical calculations are wrong?
Believer: (angrily) “You will doom in the hell fire for trying to mislead me from Prophet’s (pbuh)!”
Skeptic: "Dear Believer!"
True Believer: [Interrupts] "I told you. Don't address me 'dear'. I am not your dear friend."
Skeptic: "I am sorry! Do you know that astronomers can predict location of moon in its orbit years ahead within a potential error of 2-3 kilometers from its actual location."
True believer: [appears uncomfortable] "Don't tell me all these rubbish things. I don't believe in your science."
Skeptic: "If so, why are wearing your eye glasses? Why are you driving the car instead of horse or camel?"
True believer: [Angry and face is red].
Alu: Samadaniq Nisar ikka.
Skeptic: "Didn't you say that you have to see the new moon before you celebrate Id? Did you also say that you cannot celebrate Id before people reach Arafat?"
True believer: [With a smile] "Yes, I did."
Skeptic: "Do you know that at times people in the west can see new moon before it is seen in Saudi Arabia because sun and moon set later and moon grow in size with passing of time in a day?"
True believer: [Surprised] "So what?"
Skeptic: "So, the Muslims in the west could see the moon earlier than in Saudi Arabia. Even you, true believers, can see the new moon before it is seen in Saudi Arabia? Based upon the Hadith that you quoted, you are required to celebrate Id ul Adha before people reach Arafat."
True believer: [Furiously]"You are speaking Shaitan's language. "
Skeptic: "No. I am not. I can take you to a planetarium and show you that sometimes you can see new moon before it is seen in Saudi Arabia. If you see it, will you still wait until people reach Arafat?"
True believer: "I still celebrate when people reach Arafat."
Skeptic: "But Hadith says that you have to celebrate Id ul Adha after you see the new moon based upon the literal meaning of the Hadith? Does it say anywhere in the Hadith that even if you see new moon, you must wait for the people to reach Arafat?"
True believer: "Ahudu billshi mina shaithani Rajeem (I seek refuge in Allah from Saithan). I still believe that it is correct to celebrate Id ul Adwa when it is celebrated in Saudi Arabia."
Skeptic: "Do you have any basis in the Qur'anic or Hadith to do that?"
True believer: (Ignore the Question) "I say it again, I telephone Saudi Arabia and celebrate Id when they celebrate."
Skeptic: "You strongly believe that you must see the new moon before Id celebration. Where in the Hadith books it states that you have to pick up telephone (Kafir's invention) and call Saudi Arabia to inquire about new moon even after you saw new moon in America?"
True believer: (angry, distraught, and cursing)
Skeptic: "I have another question for you. The Qur'an states: "...Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you...."[2:185]; "Allah would make burden light for you, for man was created weak."[4:28]. What does all these verses mean to you?"
True believer: [Happily smiling] "That is the beauty and greatness of Islam compared with Christianity and Judaism. Islam is an easy religion to follow. There is nothing in Islam to make people's life miserable."
Skeptic: "Let me read another verse and you tell me what it means to you? "...The Prophet who will...lift from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them..."[7:157]
True believer: [Enthusiastic and excited] "You see. This verse compliments other verses.This verse an example to show that the Qur'an explains by itself. The other verses state that Allah made life of Muslims easy and removed heavy burdens.
Skeptic: I agree.
True believer: The verse 7:157 states that prophet would eliminate oppressive religious practices to make Muslim life easier.
Skeptic: I agree.
True believer: So, Prophet never legislated or practiced any thing that makes life of Muslims difficult.
Skeptic: I agree.
True believer: Let me quote a pertinent part of a Hadith: Prophet (pbuh) said to Muadah bin Jabal, ‘Facilitate things for people and do not make things difficult for them for them. Be kind and lenient with people good tidings and do not repulse...’[Sahih Bukhari Vol I, # 630]. Through out the Bukhari, you see same teaching--do not make life difficult for Muslims."
Skeptic: I agree.
True believer: (Excited) Prophet did not want even obligatory prayers to become a burden on Muslims. He said, ‘If it is very hot, then pray the Zuher prayer when it becomes cooler…” (Ref: Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol: I, pp.303).
Skeptic: "So, the Qur'an says and you agree that Islam is an easy religion to follow. Islam removed hardships. And the Hadith that you quoted is very clear that (1) Muslims must facilitate things; (2) Muslims must not make things difficult for Muslims; (3) Even obligatory duties must be done without difficulty for the Muslims; and (4) Conduct of Muslims must not repulse people from Islam."
True believer: (joyfully) "Yes! You are correct."
Skeptic: "Then, why are you making the life of Muslims more difficult contrary to the teaching of the Qur'an and Prophet (pbuh). Why do you postpone the determination of date of Muslim holidays until night before the date?. I am a physician. Patients have made appointments with me months ahead. Muslim surgeons have to schedule life-saving surgery. Muslim teachers have to live upto their contract with schools and show up in classes in time. Muslims students have to take examinations. The literal reading and practice of the famous Hadith bring economical and emotional, burden on most working Muslims.
True believer: (angrily) "Ahudu billahi Mina Shaitani rajeem (I seek refuge in Allah from Saithan)."
Skeptic: "You know believer! Our discussion is leading me to hate technology and knowledge."
True believer: (with a radiant smile) "Do you really believe it like we Muslims do?"
Skeptic: "Yes! I do hate technology in the matter of dating Muslim holidays."
True believer: "Al humdulilla! I am glad that I am helpful to bring you back to Islam and the ways of our dear Prophet [pbuh]." [True believer came forward and hugged the skeptic and said] "Oh! My brother, Oh, My brother! "
Skeptic: [with a smile] "Oh! My brother! Do you know why I hate technology?"
True believer: "Why?"
Skeptic: "Before the invention of the telecommunication, Muslims around the world did not know when the Hujj took place or when people reached Arafat until their dear ones arrived back home after Hujj."
True believer: [with a surprise look] "Yes."
Skeptic: "Each community of Muslims around the world celebrated the Muslim holidays after they saw the new moon in their respective locality. Until technology brought information instantaneously to true believers, Muslims never used the word, Kafir and never used to insult other Muslims for celebrating Id ul adha on a different date or for celebrating Id before people reach Arafat
True believer: [Quite and speechless].
Skeptic: "If there were no telephone or other technologies, true believers like you would not have telephoned Islamic Center of Toledo to use abusive language with our dear Imam. So, I hate technology because of its misuse by true believers like you.
True believer: "I have more important thing to do. [Looks at the watch]. I have to take my car to fix its geo-position system so that I would not get lost in the roads." [Then walked out pulling out his Palm VI to review his scheduled appointment].
Skeptic: (with tears in his eyes) "Oh! Allah! I appeal You to bless true believers with same degree of broadmindness and pragmatism to accept modern astronomy, as he has with the tooth paste and brush, his Palm pilots, telephone, his geo-position system or even in his BMW. Your blessing may guide the true believers to the modern astronomy to fix Muslim holidays ahead of time. So, Muslims can celebrate their Holidays as one community." Ameen.
Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 29, pp. 511-523.
Qurterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 35, pp. 425-461.
1996, pp. 104-106.
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