As you begin to look into any religious beliefs (or lack of), you realize there are many things that your mind will never be able to comprehend. The experience could be frustrating, confusing, humbling, or all three. However, as you learn more, you notice things that you admire, and that admiration overpowers any frustration and confusion that was brought about by the limited minds we possess. As a Muslim, I have come across many things that I simply cannot comprehend. However, my understanding of the remainder of my religion has allowed me to accept that a limited mind will never be able to grasp unlimited greatness.
If you were to ask me how long I have been Muslim versus how long I have been Muslim, I would answer differently. I have been Muslim by name my entire life, but I did not begin to understand my religion until very recently. Although I have been doing the things an everyday Muslim would do (praying five times a day, wearing the hijab, etc.), I never took the step to understand why I did these things. It has always been a choice, but had someone asked the simple question of why five years ago, I would not have answered as I would today. About two years ago, I began my journey of understanding my faith. I figured if I wanted to devote so much to a belief, it would be a good idea to understand it. If there is one thing in life I would compare to a roller coaster, it is this journey. Never had I experienced as many ups and downs as I did in the past two years. The root of the downs was my incapability of understanding what I so desperately wanted to understand, and the roots of the ups were the rushes of spirituality I would get when I was finally able to comprehend something that has confused me throughout my life.
There is a story in Islam about humanity going from one prophet to another on the Day of Resurrection telling them to ask God to begin the Day of Judgement. Each of them with the exception of Muhammad (pbuh) will respond, and within that response, they will say “God is angry like never before.” A question that will not leave my mind is why did God create something He knew would anger Him. He knows the future; He is aware of the anger He will have on that day; why would He bother creating imperfect beings? In verse thirty of the second chapter of the Quran, the angels ask God the same question. “Will You place upon [Earth] one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” To that, God answers “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.” If the reason behind God creating us cannot be comprehended by the angels, I have accepted that it is something I will not comprehend. But why would I accept an entire religion if within it is something I cannot understand?
When making a difficult decision, it is most common to weigh the pros and cons. Similarly, when it comes to faith, you weigh what does and does not make sense to you. As I mentioned throughout, human minds are limited. Therefore, they can never understand what is complex. Your acceptance of that fact is a significant part of your faith. For me, the most dramatic change was after reading the 216th verse of the second chapter of the Quran where it states “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And God Knows, while you know not.” This verse became the source of all hope in my life. In February of 2016, it was proven to me in ways I would have never imagined. That month, I had two major surgeries, one of which led to temporary paralysis. I was in and out of the hospital, and was farther from hope than ever before. That month may have been the most pessimistic month of my life. However, when I was in the hospital, girls who I knew but did not consider friends visited me. After that, I became closer with them, and today, I consider them to be the best people who have ever walked into my life. I look back at the hardships I went through in that month and now realize that each moment of difficulty was worth it. I experienced that exact verse; I hated what I soon realized was good for me. Although I cannot say that this verse is the source of each ounce of faith within me, I can confidently say that my faith would have never blossomed without it as it did with it.
Hence, I believe that among the most significant roots of faith is acceptance of the incapability to comprehend. Faith goes beyond what you have physical proof of; it is what you are willing to accept as a result of what you have already experienced and understood. For me, I went through a difficult time accepting that there are things beyond my ability to comprehend. However, other experiences have made me realize that despite my lack of comprehension in some aspects, I can still have full faith. Our journey towards faith is a roller coaster, and on the ride comes the acceptance of our restrained comprehension.
By Sujude Alzoubi