- “What I knew was an impossible question – what actually happened one desert night half the world and almost half of history away? What happened, that is, on the night 610 when Mohammed received the first revelation of the Quran?”
The last days of Ramadan bring with it the celebration of “Laylat al-Qadr” or “Night of Power” (yesterday in the UK). It commemorates night when God (Allah) revealed the Qur’an (or Koran) to the prophet Muhammad. When the revelation happened, he first leapt off the mountain he was on. A dramatic event with similarly dramatic interpretations. I particularly commend Lesley Hazleton’s interpretation in her TED talk “The Doubt Essential to Faith.”
- “He was overwhelmed not with conviction, but by doubt…That panicked disorientation, that sundering of everything familiar, that daunting awareness of something beyond human comprehension can only be called a terrible awe. Doubt is essential to faith…Doubt, as Graham Greene once put it, is the heart of the matter. Abolish all doubt, and what’s left is not faith, but absolute, heartless, conviction…And this certainty quickly devolves into dogmatism and righteousness…In short, the arrogance of fundamentalism…This isn’t faith. It’s fanaticism. And we have to stop confusing the two. We have to recognize that real faith has no easy answers. It’s difficult and stubborn. It involves and ongoing struggle. A continuing questioning of what we think we know. It goes hand in hand with doubt.”
Without doubt there is no faith. Without humility there is no reverence.