Over the Christmas weekend, the Head of Outreach for iERA US, Fahad Tasleem, was invited to speak at the 23rd Annual ICNA-MAS Southeast Convention. The convention took place in Atlanta, Georgia and was themed, “Quest for True Success: Lessons from Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be upon them)”. Fahad delivered two powerful and vibrant talks to packed halls for 500+ attendees.
The first talk entitled, “The Spiritual Path to True Knowledge”, looked at the connection between spirituality and rationality in the quest for certain knowledge. It was based upon the supplication of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), “Oh Allah, show me the truth as truth and allow me to follow it..” Fahad expounded upon the limits of rationality and how if rationality was the only tool one had to establish the truth, it would only lead to doubt since one would question everything.
He said, “Rationality is an amazing (epistemic) tool. We use it all the time to make decisions and inferences. Yet, it cannot answer every single question. That would be like someone who says, ‘I have the universal solvent. It can dissolve anything.’ You want to ask that person what bottle he keeps that solvent it. Rationality is a great tool and can solve many things but you need a bottle to keep it in. That bottle is the fitra…”
Attendees of the talk experienced paradigm shifts as one attendee said, “That was really great. It’s not that often that you come to a conference and get to listen to a talk that is academically grounded AND easy to understand. This blew my mind!”
“Lex Luthor’s Dilemma: The Problem of Evil” was the second talk Fahad delivered. In it, he outlined the Quranic view of the problem of evil both from an internal standpoint (human beings causing evil) and an external standpoint (evil things happening) by detailing the lack of human knowledge compared to Allah:
“How does Allah describe His knowledge in the Qur’an? He says that if all the trees were pens and all the oceans were ink and you started to write down the knowledge of Allah and write and write and write, you would still not exhaust His knowledge. Your knowledge as a human being is nothing compared to that and yet, you judge something as being good or evil and you are impatient and you get angry and you blame people and so on. You only have the pixel….Allah has the picture!”
After the talk, one attendee commented, “That really put things into perspective. We think we know everything and in fact, we know nothing.”
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