A Room With No Oxygen

“Those who argue about God after His existence has already been accepted are arguing pointlessly in their Lord’s sight. His wrath is drawn over them, and they’ll receive a strong punishment besides.”Qur’an, 42: 16

Argumentation is to Muslim community life as is fire to a room full of people: it chokes the life out of it. But the interesting thing is that a fire burning in a room does not simply “create a vacuum”, as it is commonly misunderstood, but rather it produces carbon dioxide, a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, which if its presence goes undetected, can kill. The reason carbon dioxide is so dangerous is that one simultaneously inhales it while also breathing in oxygen. In other words, there is just as much carbon dioxide produced as there is oxygen used. The result, in our case here, is communal asphyxiation.

Social media has provided an, to quote David Bowie, “unimaginable” and “exhilarating and terrifying” means of communicating. Sadly, it seems to have fostered a spirit of argumentation that has spilled over from our traditional spaces (masjids, etc.) to even our online spaces. The words of the Prophet are a beautiful and necessary reminder at how dangerous the tongue (even if articulated through the keyboard!) can be,

قلت يا رسول الله ما النجاة‏ قال أمسك عليك لسانك وليسعك بيتك وابكِ على خطيئتك

“I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, ‘How can salvation be achieved?’ He replied, ‘Control your tongue, keep to your house, and weep over your sins’.”reported by ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir, collected in Riyadh al-Salihin