Two friends, Hamid and Al, have just returned home from work. Hamid is a practicing Muslim, while Al is an atheist. Hamid trips on the carpet and falls.
Hamid: Thank God, that was close!
Al: Don't thank God, thank me that I caught you on time.
Hamid: God gave you the strength to stop me from falling.
Al: GOD! GOD! All you talk about is God! God didn’t make me strong. I got strong by exercising. (Shows arm muscles)
Hamid: And who do you think created you to gain muscle by exercising?
Al: Don't get all philosophical on me…….. again.
Hamid: This isn’t philosophy; this is common sense.
Al: How do you know?
Hamid: Do you know the future?
Al: No. I am only certain of 3 things: death, taxes, uncertainty, and taxes.
Hamid: That was 4.
Al: My bad.
Hamid: So you’re sure you’re going to die… then what will happen to you after you die?
Hamid: Nothing?? (thinks) Hear me out. When you were little, who took care of you? Who fed you and gave you clothes and took you to school and taught you how to do everything?
Al: My parents.
Hamid: So if your parents who just had you were so worried about you, don’t you think there is someone who is concerned about all of us? Do you really think we’re born just to die and disappear into nothingness? Do you really think everything we did in our lives goes to waste? No, God created us and made us what we are in the world for a reason.
Al: My head’s spinning. I can’t handle this philosophical mumbo-jumbo. Let’s get some coffee.
(They both go in the kitchen where there is a coffee machine. Al reaches for the switch)
Hamid: HOLD IT! Don’t turn it on!
Al: Ok, ok… why?
Hamid: It will start by itself.
Al: Um, no, I need to turn it ON to use it. Duh…
Hamid: So you’re telling me that this ten dollar coffee machine needs someone to control it, and yet you think the entire universe runs without someone behind it? Don’t you see a great power behind everything?
Al: That power is called Nature.
Hamid: Sure, so in other words, this coffee machine is going to start “naturally”.
Al: Get real. I’d like to see God turn on the coffee machine. (waits)
Hamid: Don’t be stupid. God gave us intelligence so we can make things like coffee machines and use them, AND he gave us the strength to start them. ON OUR OWN.
Al: (Turns on coffee machine) So say God exists, then where is He? Or She? Why can’t God be a She?
Hamid: God isn’t a He OR a She; He is above that.
Al: So He’s an It.
Hamid: In a manner of speaking.
Al: Drink your coffee before God makes it cold!
(Hamid pours the coffee and they drink it)
Hamid: Oh no, it’s time for salaat!
Al: It’s ALWAYS time for salaat to you. Chill. Here, give me some sugar. (Hamid hands over the sugar) Thanks.
Hamid: I gave you some sugar which I bought for 79 cents –
Al: Good price
Hamid: -- and you thanked me. God has given me so much; how can I be ungrateful to Him? That’s why I have to pray, to thank Him.
Al: What has God given you that you need to be so grateful for?
Hamid: (thinks) Eyes, ears, my voice. The air that we breathe. Even just that requires enough thanks to last a lifetime.
Al: Whatever, go pray and thank Him for me as well.
Hamid: You could always pray too and thank Him personally.
Two days later, Al is sitting at home. Hamid comes inside the apartment.
Hamid: How are you?
Al: Bad man, bad. I lost my car keys. My mom’s gonna kill me!
Hamid: How is she?
Al: Pretty good. Her operation finished yesterday.
Hamid: You know, you left your keys at my place.
Al: Thank God!
Hamid: An atheist thanking God?
Hamid: So when you need something, God is useful to you. But then when things are OK, you suddenly forget that He exists.
Al: You sound like my dad. So if God is so great, why does He give us problems in the first place?
Hamid: Lots of reasons. To remember Him, to test us and see how we act in good times and bad, and sometimes for our own god.
Al: So where is He? You never answered that.
Hamid: A wise man said: “Do you think I will follow a God whom I do not see? Eyes perceive Him not with the faculty of sight, but the heart sees Him through the realities of belief. One can see Him through His brilliant and perfect creations.” Can you see in the dark?
Al: Not really.
Hamid: And can you see when someone shines a laser in your eyes?
Hamid: So you can’t see in the dark OR when it’s too bright because you’re blinded. God is so magnificent that we’d be blinded if we saw Him. We can’t look at the sun, so how could we look at the creator of the sun?
Al: I get it, but that still doesn’t make me believe in God. Anyway I gotta go; I have to visit my mom in the hospital.
Hamid: See you later.
Al: Hey Hamid. You know, I’ve been thinking about what you were saying and why we’re here. I mean, not just here, but HERE, in this life.
Hamid: God created us for a purpose.
Al: Ok, why?
Hamid: He created us to recognize Him and worship Him. Aren’t you glad you were created?
Al: I guess.
Hamid: Come on, we’ve done so many great things – we’ve gone to the moon, invented computers –
Al: Yeah, yeah.
Hamid: -- done a lot of fun stuff
Al: That’s true.
Hamid: God gives us so much, and all He asks is that we obey Him and thank him. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?
Al: So say we do “recognize” and “thank” him, then what?
Hamid: Allah will reward you with everlasting happiness.
Al: That sounds good.
Hamid: BUT in the next world
Al: What about this world?
Hamid: Imagine that we’re farmers. We need to plant the seeds of good deeds in this world so we can harvest them in the next.
Al: Forget the next world; I’m not interested in waiting.
(The phone rings. Hamid picks it up)
Hamid: Hello! Who is this? Dr. Atkins?
Al: Gimme the phone, that’s my mom’s doctor. Hello? What? Are you kidding? Heart failture? How did it happen?
Hamid: Is everything all right?
Al: Hamid, my mom just died!
Hamid: I am so sorry!
Al: I have to go. (Rushes off)
Hamid: You gotta pull yourself together man. You can’t cry forever. I know it hurts, but we come from God and return to Him. Your mother has gone on to a better place.
Al: I don’t know what to do. No matter what I do, I can’t stop thinking about this. I went to the movies, but I couldn’t watch it. I went out at night, but I felt so ashamed. I need someone to help me. Maybe I need God. But I don’t really need God; I can take care of myself. I don’t know…
Hamid: We can’t always take care of ourselves. That’s why sometimes we need God to help us.
Al: How can He?
Hamid: First you need to believe in Him alone, and then seek His mercy.
Al: I haven’t thought about God for my whole life. Do you think He would listen to me now?
Hamid: God understands why you were the way you were and is compassionate. If you take one step towards Him, He runs towards you, and He always forgives people if they sincerely know they did wrong.
Al: You really think so?
Hamid: I know so. He is always ready to help us, but we are not always ready to go towards Him.
Al: How does it feel to believe in God?
Hamid: Peaceful, happy, safe… you know there is someone who will look after you when everything else goes wrong. No matter what happens, everything will be all right in this world and in the next. BUT
Hamid: If you really believe in God, you can’t do things that He does not want you to do.
Al: You mean I can’t drink anymore? I can’t go clubbing? What else am I supposed to do for fun?
Hamid: God doesn’t forbid things because He wants to torture you. He forbids thigns because they’re bad for you.
Al: Come on, there’s nothing wrong with a little beer.
Hamid: How many of your friends just drink “a little beer”?
Al: (thinks about it) You’re right…
Hamid: Look around at the people you know who do that stuff. What happens to them in the end? Are they happy?
Al: No, one of them got arrested, and another….
Hamid: Try something different instead. There are lots of good things out there.
Al: But how does God know what is good for us to do and what isn’t?
Hamid: He created us, didn’t He? How could He not know what is best?
Al: Maybe God does exist after all.
Hamid: Saying that is a first step, but you need to turn to Him also and ask Him for help.
Al: If you say so.
Hamid: Don’t just listen to me, but instead listen to yourself. Turn to Allah and see how He responds!