Mohammed sat staring into the distance. His face was long. His eyes: concerned. “In Islam,” He spoke—almost to himself, “no one know if they will go to heaven or to fire . . . In Islam, God wants you to work so hard, not have fun, and do everything right for Him and maybe you can go to heaven. Christianity is so different . . .” His eyes searched for hope as he unconsciously shook his head back and forth.
“It is so different. Christianity and Islam—they are not the same, they are so different,” he said yet again. His hands rubbed his face and went through his dark hair as he tried to crunch the numbers.
In silence, hopelessness settled in upon him. “In Islam,” he said, “No man can help you for your sins. Each man must do enough good for himself to pay for his sins. This is so hard, so hard. No one can help him. He has to do it for himself. I try so hard to control myself,” putting his hand to his ears as if to block out the whispering temptation of sin, “but we are so weak . . .” He pinched his lip together, “This is problem for me. So complicated, so complicated . . .”
“In Islam,” he said, “No man can help you for your sins. Each man must do enough good for himself to pay for his sins. This is so hard, so hard. No one can help him. He has to do it for himself. I try so hard to control myself,”
He sat, head in hands. He searched deep for an answer with in Islam that might free him of his sure demise. He searched for a way that might settle the sinking feeling in his stomach. The weight of sin and shame pulled his soul under the waters of disperse. His fate was certain—he could not, in all his strength, do enough good to wipe away the wrong doing of his past.
“It is written on your face,” said the person across from him, “that you know you are without hope. You know that the math does not add up. You know it is impossible to do enough good things to balance the scales in your life . . .” Mohammed’s eyebrows knit up as he worked harder still to find a glimmer of hope within his religious system. “So then,” the other continued, “Why do you still believe in Islam? Why do you still follow a path that you know will end in fire for eternity?”
A moment passed. Then, he said, “I was born Muslim. I cannot change. I believe in is Islam. This is what I believe in. It is very complicated for me. I cannot change. I was born Muslim, and I will die Muslim.”
Photo by Charles Roffey FLICKR (modified in photoshop)