- Note: This'll hopefully be short, as three introductions are rather too much to ask people to stand. As a 'tantalizing tidbit', I'm going to start with Islam and Violence as a topic. Any suggestions you have as to what I should tackle first within that framework?-
Okay. I have one last thing to say before beginning in earnest. This is mainly to people who are already Muslims.
So, Random Muslim. When you hear or see or encounter something that makes you question your faith, what do you do? Someone brandishes an iffy-sounding verse or tradition of the Prophet in your face, or you hear about it on the radio or on TV. (Assuming that it's legit enough to merit looking into it: people say such crazy stuff about Islam you can be justified in not paying attention :)
Now, what you do with this verse is you pick it up, read it, double-check it in your own copy to make sure it's there and discover in fact that it is. What are you supposed to think? It's there, looking you in the eye. Muhammad had nine wives. It's there, looking you in the eye.
Intersection. THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWLEDGE. So that things can't sneak up on you like this and leave you helpless, in the wake of anti-Muslims with serious ammo! (Believe me, they exist.)
Let's say, though, that you don't know much about these issues. How are you supposed to react?
First of all, don't panic. If this path is what God wants us to follow, it will never and can never contradict our human mind. There's no such thing as 'blind faith', especially not closing your eyes to something that disturbs you immensely. So what you do is start searching; search to keep your faith.
Second, keep in mind that your position might not be the correct one, that's there's a wiser opinion: as is the case with a lot of things in life, so don't start with "I trust my own mind!" Times and minds change: just compare the minds of 7th-century Arabia with today's. The tricky thing with Islam - with any religion, really - is that to prove itself as God's word, it needs to prove that it can be compatible with all times and places, right? If people now and forever can be expected to follow it, obviously it's got to be such a thing that can be acceptable to people now and forever.
So that's also what I'm going to try to achieve with this blog. Muslims need to know that they have nothing to fear from their religion. I want to stamp that down in permanent.