Q. While having a discussion with another Muslim brother, I mentioned that Islam is a logical religion. The Muslim brother said that it isn't, so I asked him to explain. He said that if one is in wudu, and he passes winds, he has to perform wudu again. So he deduced that there is no logic in that. I said that wudu is not necessarily a physical purification, but a ritual one. However, that explanation just further complicated things. Is Islam illogical?

A. Denying that Islam is logical is saying that Allah a liar. The word "aql" can be interpreted as intellect, and Allah tells us so many times in the Qur'an: "Do you not think?" Do you not use your intellect?" "Afa laa ta'qiloon?" "Aql" in its various forms occurs 49 times in the Qur'an, and I haven't even looked at the synonyms for "ilm, tadabbur, tafakkur, etc." About the wudu, I see nothing illogical in having to remake it if one passes wind. In making wudu, one enters a state of ritual purity, wherein nothing can be done that is seen as socially gauche, or obviously disrespectful to the Creator.

Now passing wind is a cause of embarrassment among us solely on a social scale, and out of common courtesy, one even leaves the room to do it. Is this socially gauche thing not enough to warrant a remake of the ritual purity? It is seen as dirty, and that is enough. Even if we do not perceive logic in something, does it mean that there isn't any? Since when is our logic so comprehensive? Did the Muslim brother not read ayat al kursi? On the other hand, there are those who use the same analogy and question why we run between Safa and Marwa? Why do we go seven times around the kaaba? The answer is simple, it is in respect of Hajar as we are told. In the matter of the tawaf, or any aspects of ibada (worship), there is no ijtihad, meaning that in certain rituals, we do as we are told.

The meaning of certain rituals have probably become lost with time, but simply because they are there, we do them. It shows submission to God's will, for if we are to seek the logic for doing something, it becomes a challenge to Allah. When we see the logic in doing something, we thank Allah. When we don't, we realize our limitations, and submit. On the subject of passing wind, it reflects the penultimate of earthly mortal processes. For a person trying to reach communion with the Divine, it is a detraction from the state we are struggling to achieve. All of this is because society has judged so. If one feels that the Qur'an only mentions actual defecation, then passing wind is seen as a prelude to that, and therefore categorized as being part of such.

Posted September 17, 1999