Thank You for Making a Mistake!

The biggest mistake anyone can make is not to make any mistakes!

If we don’t have the freedom to make mistakes, we won’t have the chance to make achievements.

That was a fact of life. It’s also an Islamic rule, a prophetic promise: “If you try and succeed, your reward is double; but if you try and fail, you get a single reward”, so said the Prophet of Islam.

The intellectual struggle to try and distinguish what is right and beneficial was called “ijtihad”. You can think about a problem and come up with a conclusion or a solution that proves wrong after testing. Don’t worry; you still get the reward of trying with a sincere intention to do good. That was the spirit that caused early Muslims to build one of history’s leading civilizations.

Life always brings us something new. The problems we’re facing today are different from what our ancestors faced. Our grandchildren are sure to face challenges that we have no clue about. In Islam, deciding which way to go that is compatible with the Islamic values, once we face such unprecedented challenges, is our necessary and never ending task of ijtihad. Once we gave it up, once we became less tolerant of errors, this civilization collapsed!

If the word “ijtihad” sounds somewhat similar to “jihad” to you, you’re absolutely right. The two words have one linguistic root. As you already know, jihad means struggle (this has been repeated thousands of times, it’s “their” problem if they still don’t get it!). Ijtihad consists in making an effort in order to achieve something. In the scholarly context, the effort is intellectual, aiming at finding new solutions to new problems, while remaining loyal to the core values.

Muslim scholars have summarized the purpose of Islamic Law in two endeavors: eliminating that which is harmful, and doing that which is beneficial to people. The rest is details! That’s where ijtihad comes in. One simplistic example is television, which didn’t exist at the time of the Quran and the Prophet. What’s our religion’s say about it? Ijtihad will easily conclude that if you watch porn, television is haram, religiously forbidden. If you watch it for knowledge or entertainment, it’s permissible.

Imagine if some Muslims come and tell you that whatever the Quran and the Prophet made lawful is what we’re allowed to do, and whatever they named as forbidden we can’t do? Gosh, but the Quran and the Prophet said nothing about cars, planes, cell phones, and the Internet! What should we do now?! You get the idea!

Something similar actually happened. Some Muslims decided that the ijtihad of our ancestors who passed a few centuries after the time of Prophet Muhammad is the best that can be done, and all we need now is read and re-read their books and do what they told us to do. Anyone who tries to engage in ijtihad after them is erring from the straight path. For some reason, those Muslims gave themselves the authority to disable the prophetic good news of those who try and fail getting a single reward. They decided that instead, those who try at all are actually sinning. I don’t know how they made the rewarded intellectual efforts into punishable sins, and why anyone believed them! (Well, I might have some clue: getting the masses into a state of acceptance of the status quo was, and will always be, the best dream of despotic rulers!).

Muslims have been living a grossly misguided time of low mistake tolerance. Interestingly, the less you tolerate mistakes and allow trial and error, the more mistakes will occur and aggravate!

If you look at some of the stories of how Prophet Muhammad dealt with sinners, you’ll see the gap between his example and the harsh ways of some so called religious people. Once a man came to him confessing that he fornicated and asking to be punished, Muhammad told him to pray first then discuss the matter. The man prayed with them and went back to the Prophet for the punishment, Muhammad simply told him to go away, because his prayer erased his sin. The Prophet basically tricked the sinner out of punishment!  Jesus also asked us to throw stones at sinners… if we can be certain we’re free of sins!

Not only the self-righteous are harsh on sinners, they’re also harsh on “intellectual sinners” if you will. If your ideas are not what they like, you’re anywhere from misguided to infidel. Their understanding of religion is God’s understanding Himself, so there is no room for arguing with God!

Until we tolerate mistakes and allow trial and error with open minds and hearts, we will continue downhill… and may be even down in Hell!

43 Responses to “Thank You for Making a Mistake!”

  1. helen says:

    what are the recorded prophecies of your prophet mohammad? where are they recorded?
    You said
    “I have chosen to revert to Islam”
    waht were you before you reverted?

  2. Mohamed Shedou says:

    Helen, your question about the recorded prophecies of Muhammad is totally irrelevant to this post, or is it? If you take the time to read my blog, you will see that I’m not debating or attacking Christians, I focus on cooperation between people of faith and am not in the business of hate. And yes there are many prophecies of Muhammad and in the Quran. Can I ask you another question, what books did you read about Islam that are written by a believing Muslim?

  3. Mohamed Shedou says:

    I was a Muslim, left Islam to freely think about religions and reverted to Islam after studying.

  4. elizabeth taylor says:

    Nice post, Mohamed. Very encouraging.

    • Mohamed Shedou says:

      Thanks Elizabeth for visiting the blog and for reading. I saw your comment over there but for some reason replying was disabled so I couldn’t reply. You seem like someone with whom it’s actually possible to have a dialogue despite any apparent difference of opinions!

  5. helen says:

    you said in your post,
    “so said the Prophet of Islam.”this is where my question came from, I do not understand why you say it is irrelevant!

    I am not debating or attacking I am just asking you a question.

    I honostly have never seen one before and would love to know where they are recorded.

    you replied to me

    “And yes there are many prophecies of Muhammad and in the Quran.”

    can you please tell me where in the quraan are they recorded? what sura, what page, what #
    I have read many parts of the quraan before but not come across one yet.

    That is all I am asking!!!!!!
    Thank you in advance

  6. Mohamed Shedou says:

    Helen, I appreciate your questions, thank you. You asked many questions that require more than a comment to answer. So allow me to reply to them, to the best of my knowledge, in one or more blog posts.

    Before I do that I would also appreciate it if you can answer one question, I’m glad you read through my blog and really appreciate the time you gave to that, I just wonder if you only focus on the negative, because a dialogue requires that we acknowledge both the negative and positive in order to reach a real understanding. I’m willing to answer your questions, however don’t you think that if you will only be looking for the negative and not willing to recognize anything positive, in such case dialogue will lead nowhere?

  7. helen says:

    Mohammad you are very welcome.

    Now tell me what is negative about asking a question????
    IS ASKING A QUESTION A negative thing?
    earlier tn your reply to me asked me a question”
    Can I ask you another question, what books did you read about Islam that are written by a believing Muslim?”
    I answered you honostly, I did not accuse you of being negative!!!

    I am trying to dialog with you, but you are refusing to dialog with me, I am not looking for negative, I think it is very positive to look for the prophecies of of a man claims to be a prophet, it should be very easy for you to list them since you believe he is your prophet.
    I am trying to be your friend and understand you..and see where your beliefes is coming from?
    I beleive in Jesus and here are the fulfilled prophecies about the birth Of Jesus both in the old and new testement,

    Genesis 3:15 (KJV) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

    Genesis 12:1-3 (KJV) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: {2} And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: {3} And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

    Genesis 18:18 (KJV) Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

    Genesis 22:18 (KJV) And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

    Genesis 26:4 (KJV) And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

    Genesis 28:14 (KJV) And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

    Psalms 72:17 (KJV) His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.

    Isaiah 40:3-5 (KJV) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. {4} Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: {5} And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken .

    Matthew 17:1-5 (KJV) And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, {2} And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. {3} And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. {4} Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. {5} While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

    2 Peter 1:16-18 (KJV) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. {17} For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. {18} And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

    Acts 3:24-25 (KJV) Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. {25} Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

    Galatians 3:8 (KJV) And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, , In thee shall all nations be blessed.

    Romans 16:20 (KJV) And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with you. Amen.

    Hebrews 2:12-16 (KJV) Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. {13} And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. {14} Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; {15} And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. {16} For verily he took not on angels; but he took on the seed of Abraham.

    1 John 3:8 (KJV) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

    Jeremiah 4:2 (KJV) And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.

    John 1:14-15 (KJV) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. {15} John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

    Matthew 1:20-25 (KJV) But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. {21} And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. {22} Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, {23} Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. {24} Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: {25} And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

    1 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

    1 John 1:1-3 (KJV) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; {2} (For the life was manifested, and we have seen , and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) {3} That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

    Romans 1:1-5 (KJV) Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, {2} (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) {3} Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; {4} And declared the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: {5} By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

    2 Peter 1:16-18 (KJV) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. {17} For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. {18} And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

    • Mohamed Shedou says:

      Asking a question is never a negative thing Helen. Many of your comments gave me the impression that you are reading to attack and not to try to understand. For example, all you had to say about my post trying to bring closer the followers of Abrahamic faith is that it’s the Quran that tells Muslims to kill and behead people all the time! That was not a question, it was an assumption. Another comment of yours about a lady who converted to Islam was not the type of comment that should come from a follower of Jesus. We should not accuse people of such ugly things and talk about them in duch disrespectful manner because they chose another religion.

      I really appreciate your friendship and dialogue, that’s what I want. You are just expecting me to answer everything too quickly :) I told you I will try to reply in more blog posts to come. You know I do write in 4 other blogs too in Arabic and English, I really wish I didn’t have a job and could reply to all your questions the same day :)

      I am a Muslim and read tens of books about Islam. You know how hard it can be to summarize all my knowledge to you in a few lines. That’s why I created this blog, because it’s an ongoing process.

  8. Mohamed Shedou says:

    May be I did not understand your question about the prophecies, are you looking for old prophecies talking about the coming of Muhammad? See, you need to understand the basics of the Islamic faith first, and from there it can be easier to clarify things for you. So, are you looking for prophecies about Muhammad in the Old Testament and the New Testament, is that what you mean?

    Again, I appreciate your taking the time to read, and I really want to have a dialogue with you and explain where I and other Muslims come from. We have to find a way to do that. I see you have many questions, I will go back to all your comments and make a list of your questions and try to reply to them in future posts. But I think I will also need to explain what Islam is, I mean the basics? Are you interested in a post that explains the basics first and we go from there?

  9. helen says:

    Dear mohamad,
    when you say that mohamad is your prophet you should know right away the thing that were prophecide about him in the quraan (NOT THE BIBLE) and things that HE prophecide AND THEY CAME TRUE, THAT MEANS THEY HAPPENED in front of eye WITNESSES in order for him to be qualified to be called a prophet, just like a person that was caught robbing something or somebody will be called a robber, he was seen doing robbery to qualify for him to be called a robber!
    I hope I am explaining my question easy for you to answer.
    I believe my question is the very first basic every one interested in islam need to know about islam and we will go from there.

    • Mohamed Shedou says:

      Dear Helen, thanks for your clarifications. I will make a list of all your questions and remarks. Please come back soon because I will discuss them to the best of my ability in some upcoming post. Thanks for the conversation.

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