By: Maged Taman
No one saw God we know God by reason. For same reason we have to examine religion also with reason. The ten commandments were wrote by God in stones and handled to Moses (PBUH) are the main solid reasoning of the three Major religions. Except for the Sabbath Christians and Muslims are obligated to follow these commandments. In fact many Christians observe the Sabbath and Muslims observe at least good part of Fridays. When you examine the commandments you find them very reasonable and are the main net of security, peace and welfare in the community.
There is freedom to believe or not to believe as well freedom to follow or not to follow in Islam. But no one can change the commandments (Jesus: who loves me follow my father commandments). People will break them, hopefully occasional and no one is 10/10 or 9/10 except the Prophets and Saints. We all can improve we do not know what is the passing score as well what score of a person or of humanity that provoke God's wrath. But for an individual if he has the passing score or his good deeds exceeding the evil ones he passed the most important test in his life.
For humanity the passing score of righteousness is a prerequisite to their salvation. As we stand now most of people are conspiring against God some Muslims say I will do what I like and then I will go to pilgrims in Mecca, some Christians believe they are already saved by the blood of the Christ so the earth became full of corruption. A lot of non-believers they believe there is no after life and they will do what they think is morally or say politically accepted in their communities. It is clear from the apocalyptic vision of John or the book of revelation that God will punish people at the end of time if they would not repent and follow his commandments.
The world widespread problems are not due to religion but Satan who deceive people in their religion or against a true religion. For extremists Satan makes them overzealous in their religion so they prohibit everything. In Islam it can be said that music is discouraged and even a minor sin. God already promised us forgiving of minor sins of we to avoid the major sins in Quran. So minor sins that particularly cause no harm are less sinful. So if to approach a subject in religion you need to use very good reasoning and know the spirit and wisdom of God.
So you can say music if for songs of religions would be very encouraged and is sinful if promoting sex, violence or taking a lot of time that exceeds worshiping. For music that do not interfere with worshipping and is good for the soul there is not reason to believe it is sinful.
Contraception is another example that we have to use reason for. At the time of the prophet (PBUH) there were no contraceptive method except for what looks like condoms now and he permitted them. Thus if we have new methods of contraception we ought to reason to use it. It is very surprising to me to see many religious institutions that prevent contraception and meantime do not promote a world plan to fight poverty and prevent AID's.
Though I may not be politically correct but I know that a lot of good Christians would not mind my opinion on the celibacy in Church. At the time of Christ there were no nuns or celibate priests and the apostles themselves were married. We have a verse in Quran about the celibacy in Church " and celibacy that we did not impose it in them, except to please God and they did not keep its righteousness".
Abortion in Islam is looked at quite differently. Since virginity should be the role in Islam and both husband and wife having planned sex they both should be pro-choice. However the time to choose is before they decide to have sex. It is easy they have many ways of contraception. In this way abortion becomes very rare and have specific indications.
Regarding prayer in schools time for prayer to all children every one according to his religion and they even can read but in separate places prayers from their religions.
The baseline of all religions morality and kindness should be our common good and not religious identity. For the leading positions the most efficient and nicest are the ones who would be our first choice regardless of their religion or no religion.
Insurance is accepted in Islam by many scholars, some would say we are conspiring against the destiny or God, which is non-sense. We vaccinate our children as insurance to prevent disease. Insurance is simply a kind of social security we agreed to put some money each month that goes to the one who is sick or to his family if he to die and the insurance company earns certain percent usually changeable according to the market.
Thus there are things well spelled in religion that is written in stones which almost totally make sense in Islam and there are things that we do not have a revelation or we have to interpret the revelation using our mind and reason. You can have different fatwa for these things from different Imams. That is why the Hadith after the prophet says "ask your heart even if people gave you the fatwa". There is no contradiction between reason and religion. There is no middle man. You learn from the Imams but ask about the reasoning. If you do that you will be a true believer you used both your mind and heart to strengthen your faith.