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Be, and it shall be

Posted: 06 Jul 2013 07:09 PM PDT

I, however, look at this from a very different perspective. Yes, Islam says that all God has to do is say 'be' and so it shall be. However, life is more complicating than that and God does not 'rule' this world by just clicking His fingers for things to happen.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest so let us take a break today and not talk about politics.

About 11 years ago, back in 2002, I was commissioned to write a book on the lectures by Dr. Tareq Mohammed Al-Suwaidan (photograph below). The lectures were in Arabic and the transcripts of these lectures were translated into English. From these transcripts I was commissioned to write the book called 'Stories of the Prophets'.

(See more details below).

It took a while to complete the book because the Arabic-to-English translation was quite literal and sometimes translations do not work that way. Hence I had to 'decipher' some of the sentences and this involved a lot of research and cross-references. I practically had to do a lot of reading on the Qur'an and the Hadith to get to the bottom of what Dr. Tareq was trying to say (or least what the translator was saying that Dr. Tareq said).

I won't claim that that exercise turned me into an expert on Islam, the Qur'an or the Hadith (or else that would make me an ulama' -- which would upset many people if I make that claim). Nevertheless it did force me to read and research and acquire a better understanding about the subject that I was writing about. I mean you cannot write a book about a certain matter and not grasp a deep understanding of the subject matter. 

Anyway, today (other than to impress you with the fact that I have 'ghost-written' a book on Islam and the stories of the Prophets as revealed in the Qur'an) I want to discuss a small extract from that book, which you can read below. And that is the subject of all God has to do is say 'be' and so it shall be.

To the 'layman' Muslim, which means the majority of the Muslims, all God has to do is to click His fingers (assuming, in the first place, God has fingers) and it will happen. And that is all it takes for something to happen.

I, however, look at this from a very different perspective. Yes, Islam says that all God has to do is say 'be' and so it shall be. However, life is more complicating than that and God does not 'rule' this world by just clicking His fingers for things to happen.

Things happen, not only for a reason, but also because of an earlier event or action. Hence, if you understand Islam (or any religion for that matter), you will understand the compatibility between religion and science. Hence, also, to argue that religion is incompatible with science is a misunderstanding of how things work.

I am not trying to sound like a philosopher or am trying to present myself as one. However, if we were to ponder on religion and science and ponder on the issue of our existence, you will come to a conclusion that God did not just say 'be' and we came into being. There are so many factors and events that influence and decide on whether we exist or do not exist.

Theologians and philosophers from the beginning of time have asked that very thought-provoking question with the most elusive answer: why are we here and what is the purpose of why we are here? I doubt we can answer that question so we can skip that question and go to another question that I always ask: did I almost not get here?

Did God just say 'be' and I came into being? Maybe when it involves the creation of the universe that may have been so. God said 'be' and the 'Big Bang' happened and, lo and behold, the universe was created -- and eventually we also came into being.

However, from that point of time to the day of my birth at midnight on the 27th of September 1950, other things happened that resulted in me being born. So it was not just a case of God saying 'be' and I got born. More importantly, if some other things did not happen that would have meant I would never have been born and you would not be reading this today.

So, was I created by God or was I created by certain events in history? Hence, did God have a hand in my creation or did history create me?

No, I am not trying to be blasphemous and say that God did not have a hand in why I am here. That would be a layman's way of looking at what they think I am trying to say. I am saying that if certain events did not happen back in time then I would not be here today because without these events it would not been possible for me to be born. And I am not just talking about my father and mother doing something that made it possible for me to be born. It is more complex than that.

So, if you were to ask me who then is responsible for my birth, I would most likely reply it was Sir Harold Alfred MacMichael.

Ah, now I can see some of you getting very confused. Who the hell is Sir Harold Alfred MacMichael and how come he is responsible for my birth?

Okay, Sir Harold Alfred MacMichael (photograph above) was the British Colonial administrator who coaxed the Malay Rulers to agree to the formation of the Malayan Union. When the Malays realised that the Rulers had been tricked into agreeing to the Malayan Union, they rose up in protest and demonstrated outside the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. This event also triggered the formation of Umno, a movement that was initially set up to oppose the Malayan Union.

The British suddenly realised that the Malays were not really as docile as they had thought. For hundreds of years the Malays accepted any colonial master that wanted to rule over them. Now, suddenly, they rose up in protest, a shocking thing to happen at that time.

The British soon got cold feet and after two years the Malayan Union was aborted in favour of the Federation of Malaya. The British also realised that a sort of independence movement had emerged and soon enough they would need to talk about independence for Malaya.

It is not that that thought had not entered the minds of the British. Around 40 years before that the British had realised that come one day they would have to grant independence to the country. And that was why they set up schools like the Malay College Kuala Kangsar so that the Malays can be educated and trained to become administrators in the English tradition and with English values.

To accelerate the education and training of the locals soon after the Malayan Union fiasco, the British decided to send Malayans to England for a university education. At least if they were going to hand the country to the locals to manage they might as well educate and train these locals in English universities. Amongst the first Malays, Chinese and Indians that the British chose to send to England was my father.

And it was when he was in England that my father met and married my mother, much to my grandfather's chagrin.

My grandfather, who went on to become the Malayan High Commissioner to England, the Speaker, the Menteri Besar of Selangor, and finally the Governor of Penang, never went to England although he spoke English like Sir Winston Churchill. Hence my father, plus those early Malayans who were sent to England, did not need to be sent to England to administer the country. But he was. And because he was he met my mother and hence I was born.

What if Sir Harold Alfred MacMichael had not tried to pull that trick on the Malay Rulers? Would the Malays have risen up in protest? Would Umno have been formed? Would the British have panicked? Would they have decided to quickly send the Malayans to England to receive a British university education to prepare them to take over the country? Hence, would my father have been sent to England where he met my mother and which resulted in my birth?

In short, is my being the result of God saying 'be' or the result of so many events in history that if they had not happened then I would not have been born?

Anyway, those are the kinds of thoughts that run through my mind, which I try to rationalise and see how they dovetail with theological, historical and scientific facts and beliefs. And, boy, does that give me a whooping headache thereafter.

I do believe I think too much.

Anyway, have a good resting day and try not to think too much.


When Allah decided to create the earth, sun, planets, stars, galaxies and everything within it, He commanded: "Be!" and they were. This is mentioned in the following verse of the Quran: Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, "be", and it is! (Ya Sin, chapter 36 verse 82)

As for how everything were created, what we know is only what Allah has revealed to us in the Quran - which is that He created the heavens, and the earth, and everything within it in six days.

This is mentioned in the following verse of the Quran: It is God Who has created the heavens and the earth, and all between them, in six Days, and is firmly established on the Throne (of Authority): ye have none, besides Him, to protect or intercede (for you): will ye not then receive admonition? (Al Sajdah, chapter 32 verse 4)

These "six days" mentioned in the Quran are not the same as our earth days that represent one rotation of the earth around the sun.

Allah created the earth on Saturday. On Sunday, Allah created the mountains. On Monday, the trees were created while, on Tuesday, He created the microorganisms. On Wednesday, Allah gave the earth light and, on Thursday, the animals were created. Then, on Friday, the last living thing, Adam, was created. Adam, the father of all humankind, was created late afternoon on Friday and, indisputably, is the last creation of Allah.

Dr. Tareq Mohammed Al-Suwaidan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dr.TareqAlSuwaidan

Dr. Tareq Mohammed Al-Suwaidan (born November 15, 1953) is a Kuwaiti entrepreneur, author and speaker, and a leader of the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood. He is well known in the Middle East and in Muslim communities throughout the world for his management/strategic planning training, motivational speaking and television shows and appearances. According to Forbes magazine (Arabic edition: Forbes Arabia), Al-Suwaidan ranks second in annual net income among Islamic speakers in the Muslim world with an estimated net profit of $1 million in 2007. Al-Suwaidan was trained in the classical Islamic sciences in his youth and lived and studied in the United States, having received a B.S. in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Penn State University and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from the University of Tulsa. 

(READ MORE HERE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tareq_Al-Suwaidan)


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