Shaykh-ul-Islam, Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, is an Islamic scholar and a political and a social worker from Pakistan. He is the founder and CEO of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) which is an NGO aimed at promoting religious moderation, quality education, and interfaith dialogue. Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is a cogent thinker and writer who has written many books on various topics about Islam. Recently he has written a very interesting book titled Fatwa on Suicide Bombings and Terrorism. This is supposed to be a very interesting and inspiring book. In this book, according to Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri himslef, he has left no stone un-turned in the theology of Islam in order to argue against suicide bombings and terrorism. This means that he has turned every page of Quran and Sunnah and claims to have argued against terrorism in light of that. This is quite interesting and remarkable. Presuming that the writing of this book is motivated by rationality and reason, it could be a great resource for understanding true Islam. The book is being reported to have been translated in other foreign languages too. Furthermore, I have heard that the book has already been translated to Danish language.
I remember having met Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri when I was an undergraduate student. I suppose it was back in 1,999 or 2,000. Current era of terrorism had not began yet and the world was a peaceful place in some sense. The reason for meeting him was quite interesting. Two of our very dear friends had become atheists. I would not disclose the names for the purpose of confidentiality. Another one of my friends was very concerned about this. He was affiliated with MQI and proposed to us to take both of them for a dialogue with Dr. Qadri. After much efforts we reached MQI center in Lahore. We were a group of around more than 50 people as I remember. Dr. Qadri was somehow not expecting us. He nonetheless greeted us warmly and we had our meeting and dialogue with him. As the meeting progressed, incidentally the two of our dear friends chose to keep quite. This was rather strange because they used to be very vociferous about their atheistic ideas on the campus. After all the idea of taking them to Dr. Qadri ensued due to this. And they had agreed to having an open dialogue with Dr. Qadri prior to going there.
Seeing their silence and the consequent gravity of the situation, I decided to ask all the atheistic questions that I thought could be the most compelling about the existence of God. I found it interesting because I had recently started to learn to speak in English those days. I used to form a sentence in my mind and then utter it. It used to be questions normally. I learnt to become a bit more spontaneous over the years due to my interaction with books, movies, the Internet and various people. Similarly, my knowledge about atheism was also very limited. I remember that the friend of mine who had reverted to atheism used to keep a thick book along side him. I remember that it posed questions about the existence of God. The idea that someone would read something about the existence of God used to appear very weird to me in those days. I think it would be just as if an atheist or a materialist would find it hard to grasp the idea that God somehow existed. But for me, just like many religious people, God simply existed. There was no question about that!
So as the discussion proceeded, I asked many questions and they were answered and the congregation listened. Most of the questions revolved around the existence of God Himself, creation of life and of universe. Dr. Qadri answered each one of them in the light of Quranic verses. There were other questions like if God created the universe and all the life then who created God. Such a question has a basis in philosophy and the cosmological argument addresses it. There were also other typical questions of the sort that why does an onion have so and so number of peels and why not any other number. For instance, a typical question could be that why is God not like this or why is He like that. Or, why cannot God be seen if He exists. Such questions were also answered. But a problem with such questions is that no matter how much one dwells in to their explanations, the answers can never quell the concerns. Latter in my life I took atheism seriously and read it. This gave me a clearer perspective on what atheism was all about.
Meeting Dr. Qadri was otherwise a pleasant experience. He is a simple and a courteous man. I hope his new book on terrorism is read by every Muslim and non-Muslim.
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