Yesterday I had (probably) the most shocking conversation with my grandma (my mom’s mom). So let me first give a little background on her in order to set the scene. She is a science teacher, she loves physics and maths. She isn’t the most religious Buddhist but she does try to understand and practice the philosophy. She has 8 children (Yes I knw, Alhamdulillah!) and they are all scattered all over the world. As a result Mashallah, even though she is over 80 years she travels around a lot. I would say her views have been contaminated by some of my aunts and uncles who have opted to be atheists (they are all science PHD people), but that’s just me. Anyway when talking about religion (I forget how we got to the topic), she instantly proclaimed that “God” was just a man made thing and it’s all because people were too illiterate to understand anything else. My jaw literally dropped and my mind just chanted Asthaghfirul’aleem! Even though so much flooded my mind I kept calm and listened to the rest of what she had to say.
Once she was done I simply stated my view that, I personally want to and do believe there is a “God” and that I know for a fact that even in Buddhism there is a creator. She stared at me blankly and told me she had never read such a thing. I responded by saying that even my mother had learnt this fact by reading. She still seem unhappy and continued to tarnish the image of “God” and (asthaghfirul’aleem) of Prophet Isa (Alaihi Salam). I wanted her to stop and shout at her for doing it but if I did, I knew she would see it in a wrong manner. Alhamdulillah Allah gave me strength at that moment because I calmly listened and told her that you either believe in the miracle of Virgin Mary or you don’t. It’s your choice. I told her I chose to believe it, and obviously she didn’t and that was fine. I then blankly asked her “Archiammi (it’s sinhalese for granma), don’t you believe in God at all?” She was silent and didn’t answer. She diverted the topic and started talking about other religions, including Islam. She started on how Buddhism is the closest religion to science because it doesn’t have such illusions. I then asked her if science could explain everything in this world? Yes she said, really? I responded. She drew a blank again. It’s then I knew she wasn’t really thinking about what she was saying. She was just saying what had been said to her once by someone or the other. It’s then I understood that unfortunately she didn’t have faith.
People often ask me why I reverted? What was wrong with Buddhism? To start there is nothing wrong with any religion. Every religion teaches you good. But at the end of the day the religion you chose has to give you purpose and fulfilment. To me this was missing. And it took me awhile to understand that what I was missing was faith and that connection that now (Alhamdulillah) I have with Allah (SWT). It’s often said that Allah (SWT) does not need us, it us, the slaves that need him. Most feel (even I used to) that this makes us seem weak and vulnerable. The simple truth is we are. We always need warmth and love from people around us. We always need something to believe in and it is my belief we will always need faith in Allah (SWT). I am yet to meet someone who says I need no one. Even the athiest I know surround themselves with loved ones and divert their faith and belief in to science.It’s complicated to understand and to explain but I needed this element of faith, it completed me, it completed my life. With Buddhism, I couldn’t handle the problems in my life. With Islam I can, and it’s funny that I tackle way more serious problems now than I ever did back then. Even if I cry now I know He (SWT) is listening and I know He (SWT) is there for me. I’m not lonely, I’m not weak, I’m not scared, I’m complete.
The thing with science is, it’s man made. And with that you must understand, it has limitations. It advances as we advance, that’s why people find new things everyday. But science is limited to our brains, if you want to be specific science is limited to the most advanced brain in the world right now. That limitation doesn’t seem like much to us but it still is a limitation. With respect to miracles of God, science has caught up to explaining what God explained (in much lament terms) centuries ago. Who is to say that in 20 years they won’t find out that it indeed is possible to part the seas or to have a baby while being a virgin. To me no one can ever say, science disproves it, because I believe that is not the case. To me science hasn’t proved it yet, In-shaa-allah it will. I pray that then it will not be too late.
As far as my grandma is concerned I ask dua that Allah helps her, especially her since she is the eldest of my relatives. The toughest people to convince (at least the people that I really care about) is her and my father. They both are science people and unfortunately have a very narrow minded view on religions. In-shaa-allah it will change and with time get better.