There are no easy answers

The questions you pose apply whether or not you bring a creator into the equation.

The human mind cannot fathom infinity. If the universe or matter always existed and will always exist, however would we ever reach today?

Hence we believe in beginnings. Be that Fred Hoyle’s “Big Bang”, Georges Lemaître’s “primeval atom” or the Quran’s “mass all sewn up”.

The questions you pose are the same questions cosmological physicists ask about the self-directed universe. Hence the models they construct to attempt to explain what might have happened billons of years ago and onwards.

How is it that the first amino acids came into existence and survived long enough and in a large enough quantity to evolve into simple lifeforms in the first place?

None of this is simple. That is why we undertake research and dedicate our lives and even multiple generations to it. Theologians may over-simplify with generic explanations. Physicists take the long road, in an attempt to answer the same questions. Theologian physicists (they exist) may do both.

What is a quark? What is a quantum? Some people might give you a very simple answer, others may take a lifetime to explain it to you, and it still might make no sense to you. Neither approach necessarily means that a quark does or does not exist.

On any journey of discovery, you have to be prepared to take the long road. There are no easy answers because these are not easy questions. Nobody said it was simple.

Is your eye simple? Are the cells in your body simple? Is mitochondria simple? Is cognitive ability simple? Is the ability to laugh and dream and ponder simple? Is a gnat simple? Is anything really simple?


Muslims, it seems, are intent on making our religion difficult to believe in. Many converts — who you would think would be foremost in smoothing the way for people — are now found trying to convince everyone they know that the earth is flat, and that an international cabal of Freemasons who control all things have taken it upon themselves to convince all people everywhere that the world is spherical, for unknown reasons.

Continue reading “Restoration”


For all those who liken themselves to Yusuf when the wife of al-‘Azeez tried to seduce him, it is worth pondering his retort:

Joseph said, ‘My Lord! I would prefer prison to what these women are calling me to do. If You do not protect me from their treachery, I shall yield to them and do wrong.’  — Qur’an 12:33

When pursued by one who would try to seduce him, he instead sought the protection of God and fled, remaining chaste and obedient to his Lord.


If you’re going to email me to tell me something I’m doing is not from the Sunnah, you should at least use a communication method from the Sunnah, such as despatching personal messengers on horseback to deliver the message on a piece of parchment inscribed in non-vowelled Arabic to emphasise the point.

Laws of the universe

There are many laws of the universe I don’t like very much, but my liking or disliking them has no impact on them. We can choose where we stand, but our choice does not change the law.

I don’t very much like the incredible violence and energy that led to the creation of our sun and solar system billions of years ago, or the brutal tectonic forces which nevertheless maintain the integrity of our planet, or weather systems capable of both nurturing life and smashing it to pieces. If you smoke, there is a high probability that you will develop lung cancer; naturally we dislike such laws, but they are a reality.

Ultimately, my opinion of the laws of the universe have no bearing on their continuing existence. Perhaps that is why I have difficulty answering the questions of one who comes to me demanding to know what I think: because what I think is immaterial to its reality.

Allahu Akbar

Science, more than religion, reveals the true wonderment of the Creator.

Reading about a universe 14 billion years old filled with 200 billion galaxies, containing billions of stars around which planets capable of sustaining life swim — and the intricacies of the life forms found there — in all of this the real meaning of “Allahu Akbar” hits home.

Far more potent than popular religion.


Time and again I am reminded that I have no power to affect change in the world, except by the will of the Most Merciful. Plots and plans fail, grand designs founder. Hard work, dedication, patience, obsessive attention to details: none of these can bring about the result you desire on their own. Only the One can decree the end you desire. And if it is not His decree, it cannot possibly be. Take comfort, if you can, that He has a better plan for you, disappointed though you may be. I am trying to; I am trying.

To be convinced

Many years ago when still a searching agnostic, I wanted others to convince me to believe as they believed. I used to lament that neither Muslims nor Christians would reach out to me or answer my questions.

For a while I was going to Church, but I was dissatisfied with the simplistic answers to my enquiries. I would ask questions of religious people, but did not find their responses convincing. When I had questions about Islam, I would be referred to a Christian expert on the religion. When his answers did not persuade me, I would befriend Muslim students at university, intent on them responding to my queries. Rarely was anyone truly able to answer my questions and so I would often retreat dumbfounded.

Nowadays I take a more magnanimous view, for I recognise that most people are not concerned about this idea we call truth. Most people are satisfied with whatever they find themselves on and do not feel the need to confirm that it is correct and true. This is as much the case for Muslim communities as for anyone else. Whether we call ourselves Traditionalist, Salafi, Hanafi, Hanbali, Sunni, Shia… we each revel in what we think we have, and reject everything else, even if we don’t know why.

We have to accept that the journey we are on is somewhat personal. Formal studies have their place, but the personal pursuit of truth is driven forward by an inner impetus. The Quran repeatedly mentions using the intellect; sometimes you have to use your mind to reach truths that you cannot immediately find in the circles of knowledge. Alas, too often we are not told this: instead we are discouraged from thinking for ourselves altogether. Though the Quran is against this idea, scholars have been made like rabbis and priests, as an authority on everything: “They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah…”

This is not an argument against sitting at the feet of the learned, but about building and maintaining the right relationship with them. Scholars are often not treated as normal people who have specialised in a field of learning, but as legendary beings, giants and celebrities bigger than the dimensions which contain them. Years of pious folklore turn them into mythic creatures who can never err or suffer the human ailments which afflict the rest of us. Of course we should learn from those who know better — as in any other field of human endeavour — but it is important to put the references of Islam in the right order.

Arguments for or against Islam are all interpretations. Some are stronger than others. Some may appear to be true, but are based on unsound assumptions. Some may true based on the information available, but that information may be incomplete or incorrect. There are many factors to weigh in. However convincing another’s argument may be, or however awesome their faith seems to us, it is of no worth at all if we cannot convince ourselves.