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January 2009

1. DEAR ABE: The Quran as far as I know instructs us to obey those in authority.  Within my family and community, those in authority do not advocate following the Quran alone.  Can you shed some light on this dilemma?   – SHIRIN, UNITED KINGDOM

DEAR SHIRIN: All of us who worship God alone have the challenge of having families and friends who overwhelmingly will reject the words of God in the Quran. God instructs us to respectfully disagree with our peers [1].  When dealing with authority figures, we must also be respectful.  However, in religious matters, we can only obey those in charge amongst us if they advocate the worship of God alone. We cannot listen to anyone on religious matters if that person advocates idolatry [2].

Relevant Quran Verse:  [1] 9:23-24, 20:130, 109:1-6;  [2]  4:59, 5:104, 17:23.


2. DEAR ABE: The Quran says that no one knows in which land they will die.  Does this apply to those waiting for a death penalty who know that they will die in prison or terminally ill patients who cannot move? – RISHI, INDIA

DEAR RISHI: This Quran based fact “No soul knows what will happen to it tomorrow, and no one knows in which land he or she will die” applies to all situations [1].  There are many things in this world that only God knows and God provides us with several examples in the Quran [2].  The statement above also applies to the situations you refer to.  For example, those waiting for the death penalty might win an appeal or their penalty might be carried out in another city. A terminally ill patient can be moved to another area for various reasons prior to death.

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 31:34; [2] 3:145, 18:22-26, 27:65.


3. DEAR ABE:   I am at the point in my life where I believe that I should be happy, but recently I feel depressed and like a failure. Also, there are a few people in my life who have recently been trying to steer me away from the good. I feel trapped.   -- NABILAH, UNITED KINGDOM

DEAR NABILAH: We are all striving for happiness and contentment in our lives. God informs us in the Quran that the happiness we seek depends totally on the growth and development of our souls [1].  We can attain great material success and still be unhappy [2]. Fortunately, God guarantees happiness in this life and in the hereafter for the steadfast believers [3].  Our soul can only be developed by worshiping God alone.  By studying the Quran, we can find many ways to remember God and appreciate the blessings that God provides.

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 6:17, 13:29, 39:17, 90:17-18, 92:5-7; [2]  9:85, 11:15, 92:8-10, [3] 10:62-64, 16:97.

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The answers provided by Abe and friends represent the understanding of the
writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

Disclaimer: Abe and friends condemn all acts of violence, suicide bombings, and terrorism enacted under the banner of Islam.

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