This is a reply to Genetically Modified Sceptics 4 Questions he has asked in his video, please watch the video and then go through the answers
Before I deal with the questions let me clarify who Allah/ God Almighty is, because the Genetically Modified Skeptic does not seem to have a good idea of Allah and who He is (for broader understanding of Allah and his rights, click here). It is my firm belief based on personal experience that those who claim that they gave Islam a shot, never actually went to a scholar to learn Islam or even to a local mosque. Their primary source of knowledge of Islam comes from Islamophobes or those who hate Islam or apostates or Muslims such as Baghdadi, and all these sources are the worst sources to learn Islam from. I would really like to know if these people have read scholars like Ibn Taimiyyah or Maududi or even jurists like Abu Hanifa. No, none of them have read anything by them, so their understanding of Islam and its concept are as flawed as the teachers they have chosen. Only one Ayah of Quran will shatter the idea of God that He seems to think Muslims believe in.
Quran is an extraordinary book, it starts with an introduction (the second chapter of Quran, Al Baqarah, Ayahs 1-29) with God Almighty proclaiming who this book is from and who is it going to benefit, and who is it not going to benefit. Here in Surah Baqarh, in Ayahs 6-7, “Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearings, (i.e. they are closed from accepting Allah’s Guidance), and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.” And further in Surah Ibrahim in Ayah 4 “And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allah misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” and in Ayah 27 of same Surah Ibrahim, “Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in this world (i.e. they will keep on worshiping Allah Alone and none else), and in the Hereafter. And Allah will cause to go astray those who are Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.), and Allah does what He wills.”
So God in Islam is not always Gracious and Benevolent, there is a limit. Also there is a difference between allowing things to happen and approving (in moral context) of those things to happen, understanding this difference is very important. When God Almighty allowed Satan to persuade humans to follow Satan and not God’s Messengers, He also allowed Satan all the tools that he wanted to use, except forcing someone. Hence He has allowed Satan to cause evil and distress, and then go to humans and whisper in their ears, “If God is Benevolent how come there is evil?” and “If God is Omniscience then did he not know that this is going to cause evil?” God Almighty does not want the evil to happen, but He has allowed it to happen, so that people can be tested. Lastly, it probably comes from your Christian heritage but in Islam we do not believe that there is only one Satan, namely Iblis or Azazil, but it is a large group which includes men and jinns.
Next, there is not a single place in Quran which says that Allah or God Almighty is Omnipotent, or has ability to do anything. What Quran says is that Allah has Power over all things, He does not have ability to do illogical things, like can He draw a square circle? By definition that is illogical like the question who created God?
Lastly, Omniscience, here we will agree with your definition that God is All Knowing aware of everything, indeed Quran says in Surah Sabah in Ayah 3, “Those who disbelieve say: “The Hour will not come to us.” Say: “Yes, by my Lord, it will come to you.” (Allah, He is) the All-Knower of the unseen, not even the weight of an atom (or a small ant) or less than that or greater, escapes from His Knowledge in the heavens or in the earth, but it is in a Clear Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz).”, and in Surah Al Anam in Ayah 59,”And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz).” Everything, that has happened, that is happening and that will happen is written in Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz, and everything will happen exactly as it is written in the Clear Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz).
Question 1: Why does God communicate through literature?
Answer: That is not what always happen, God chooses to which Prophet He gives literature and to who He does not give revelation in form of literature. There have been various examples when Prophets were replaced by another Prophet for generations and no new ‘literature’ came. An example is the Jewish period between Prophet Moses, David and Jesus (peace be upon them all). Throughout this period, there was always a prophet among the Jews to correctly interpret the scripture, and since there was only one prophet only one interpretation was available. But what happened, did Jews stick to the interpretation of the Prophets? No, they even killed Prophets, let alone sticking to their interpretations. This was the condition of God’s chosen people, let alone the rest of humanity. So, I don’t think the premise of your question is correct, ie having a scripture leads to various interpretations, because Jews always had a Prophet among them to correctly interpret the scripture, and still they did not stick to it. Fact is people do what they want to do, Free Will. And God Almighty allows them to do what they do, but He will take account of everything, Justice will be done.
What I gather from your discourse is that your specific problem is that different interpretations lead to suffering, but this again is not helped by the Jewish case who had one and correct interpretation coming from the Prophet and people still didn’t listen to him. But in general I would agree that different interpretations lead to suffering, when you interpret something new from traditional you interpret it based on your personal motivation (for eg a ruler wants to do something not allowed, so he goes to a religious scholar and extracts an interpretation). It could be based on ambition, (example is Majid Nawaz who does not represents Muslims or their scholarship and says whatever pleases the British Government). Interpretations are not always out of genuine belief and better evidence as I have just proven. Some are also motivated by miscreants like Baghdadi et al, while Anti Muslim interpret Quran as giving free licence to Muslims to go and kill all Non Muslims. Let us not forget that Satan is among both Jinn and Men (now please don’t start about misogyny in Muslims that I am excluding women from being contributory to evil… :-)). The suffering comes from Satan not God Almighty. Satan raises the differences and make people fight over them. You are blaming God for suffering, when the blame should lie on devils among men, who gave an interpretation that caused suffering. By the way this is classic Atheism, blame your deeds on God Almighty.
So after proving that even with one and correct interpretation people will do what they want to do. And that all interpretations do not come from good and scholarly intentions, my third point is that is text is also a test from God Almighty. Some people are guided by a text, and some will be misguided by the same text. An excellent example would be Atheists, often atheist claim that they gave a chance to Islam before they decided it was a bad idea like all others. But did he actually ever go to mosque or a scholar to learn Islam to learn verses of Quran and their meaning. God Forbid, No! He went to Islamophobic or Anti-Islamic websites and read the same verses that guides Muslims as those that will misguide him, for example one of the verses I quoted previously, proving that Allah is not bound to be Gracious and Benevolent all the time, ie there is a limit after which the guidance, graciousness and benevolence stops. Some will interpret it as a God who is practical and when fed up with someone, stops trying from His end. To others it would be an evil God who does not want to do good to everyone. While more ignorant will happily believe that Quran orders to murder all Non Muslims (and Quran does not say anything like it).
My fourth point is that there is no medium immune to misinterpretation, name me one medium which is immune to misinterpretation? Even person to person contact is not immune, I wrote to my sister earlier today while explaining myself, “You do not understand me” because she was interpreting my statement incorrectly. It happens all the time, in every medium, often everyday.
Your last lines on the question are there to insult God Almighty and score a few brownie points from your atheist supporters. Putting it in your word, “In whatever way you cut it” the premise of your question is flawed because even if one and correct interpretation was available people will still create their own and spread mischief, because people do what they want to do. Next in classic atheistic manner you have blamed ‘issues with humans’ on God Almighty. Thirdly, people are guided and misguided by the same texts, again primarily because the believe that what they want to believe. And fourthly there is no medium of communication which is not open to misinterpretation and misrepresentation.
One of the benefits of interpretation is that it allows us to understand it better, for example the dooms day will probably be due to a Gamma Ray Burst somewhere close by as the light and sound created by a Gamma Ray Burst is exactly the same as described in Quran (Surah Tariq), and we will not get any warning of it happening.
Finally, Quranic literature is a miracle, because Quran claims for itself, that it will be guarded against corruption, in Surah Hijr, Ayah 9, “Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).”
Question 2: Shouldn’t you worship the cruelest God imaginable? (Pascal’s Wager)
Answer: Never argued in Quran. In fact Quran argues with everyone to see the signs that are provided by God to prove existence of God and not through any wager. These kind of questions designed by Atheists are meant to appeal to our logical side, but are basically designed to lead people astray from the real question, root of your ungratefulness to God. God Almighty who has provided for you a planet on which you can easily live, having gravity that is optimum to hold you and planets atmosphere (unlike Mars), having a weak crust not hard like Venus, nor gaseous one like Jupiter, giving earth strong magnetism to divert solar storms and radiation, an atmosphere with correct amount of oxygen and ozone, a star not too far away and not too close, water that was brought down to earth, a large moon’s gravitation keeps the planet’s spin axis and climate remained stable for long periods of time, or Jupiter that does not allow large comets and other objects to get inside the inner planets and take a hit for all of us. The whole list of the blessings that you have from God are countless and Quran asks this question over thirty times in Surah Rahman, “Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny?” Do you have any answers?
Question 3: Why did God create animals with ability to feel pain?
Answer: This is really an illogical argument, because what you can say for animals can also be said for plants. Should we be really killing plants and eating them? Do plants not have a life. I would actually prefer to animals, because animals are better, they can run, show emotions, even attack, but plants are like murdering a disabled person. Who would you prefer to kill? Someone whose is disabled and can’t run or someone who has brain and can run away or show emotion, defend and even attack? The answer has to be killing animals, rather than plants. Because if we answer killing plants, that would automatically include killing animals, in the end we can’t eat plants or animals…
Next, what happens to animal kingdom? Surely animals that are being killed for human consumption feel the same pain when other animals kill them. So God should not have created carnivores because they feed on herbivores. Atheists should do an experiment and see the results, because wilder beasts feel the same pain as cows do when we eat them, let them kill all the lions in Savannah, and see the results. There can only be one result, that is wilder beasts will eat Savannah and nothing will remain. Same goes cows, if we do not eat cows, cows will eat us. Read here a live experiment of this is going on in India’s saffron belt where Muslims are being killed for even transporting cows, look at the damage that is being done by cows and what would happen if the damage continues? We need to keep killing animals and eating them to maintain the balance, just like lions do in Savannah. Food Chain…..
Coming to suffering of animals, do you think if the suffering was not there, there would be laws against cruelty to animals? In Islam we are forbidden to overload an animal. If they had no pain, why should they not be overloaded, what happens to the animal in a few years after excessive overloading? To come to treatment of animals, do you think there would be any laws if animals did not feel pain, why shouldn’t we mass produce animals, treat them in most inhumane manner only to kill them and make money of them. Animals don’t feel pain, so why should I not make a quid or two out of them. The whole question misses out on the intelligence of what would happen if the opposite were true. The fact that they feel pain, gives us compassion for them, as a kid I had a cricket bat and during idle time I would keep hitting the ground with it, because I knew neither the bat nor earth would feel the pain. If animals didn’t feel any pain, why should a kid not do that to an animal’s head, after all it is not like the animal is suffering? And the same inhumanity that we show to animals would transfer to us quickly. God Almighty is Most Wise in giving feelings and pain to animals, it helps humans remain within their limits, if animals did not have any pain like your proposal, there would be a small child in every street hitting a weak animal, like I used to hit earth with my cricket bat.
Finally coming to sacrifice, I do not know Christianity or Judaism, but in Islam, one has to give 2/3 of the sacrifice to poor, no one can keep more than 1/3 of the sacrifice for themselves. So tell me, do Atheists have a problem with charity? Should poor people who can’t afford meat, should not get any meat to eat? That was my answer, but Quran answers you as well, after describing charity that needs to be given, it says in Surah Hajj, Ayah 37, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad) to the Muhsinun (doers of good).” So nothing reaches God, whatever reaches, 1/3 of it reaches us and 2/3 reaches to poor.
Question 4: Why doesn’t God just create people in heaven and skip the trial period of earth?
Answer: Most of this question relies on Omni-Benevelance nature that Allah does not have. There is a limit to benevolence as stated right in the beginning. Arguing that only faithful should have been created, should mean that creation of all Atheists is meaningless, I can not disagree more, people such as Atheists should not have created. But that is my petty puny brain speaking. But, Allah knows better. If He were to make a creation of only faithfuls, let us not forget that Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) was not among the Atheists, he is a Prophet and among the faithfuls, however he and his wife did commit a mistake. Are you suggesting this should be disallowed as well? I mean where does it stop? When we have no free will? Then we would be like angels, no free will, and no extraordinary powers.
Next, those who are going to heaven will not have a problem, but those going to hell, they would say, “Hey we didn’t do it, why punish us for something we didn’t do. Give us a chance and we will prove to be better than those going to heaven.” This is where your questions falls apart.
I have dealt with this question from a Muslim’s perspective here, it is in English, but I have used a lot of Urdu in quotations, however these quotations do no make much of difference to your part of the question.