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January 2014

1. DEAR ABE: Please explain the following. Humans were discovered to be alive at least 15,000 years ago, all over the world including the America Continents far from Middle East.  Assuming that Adam and the other messengers were centered in the Middle East, how could these other people possibly hear about God and religion? –AMI, FRANCE

DEAR AMI: The Quran tells us that a messenger was sent to many communities [1] and that we do not know about many of these messengers [2].  In the Quran, God informs us of a system: the messenger delivers the message, then some of the people subsequently corrupt the message and change the resulting religion [3].  The religion of many people that we can observe today may not appear to be monotheism, but it may have started out that way and still retain some of the original elements.  Additionally, God has filled the world with signs for the believers and can guide anyone who seeks guidance regardless of their circumstance [4].

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1] 4:63-64, 4:164-165; [2] 7:35, 10:43-44, 16:36; [3] 7:94-102,13:32, 23:44, 34:34; [4] 5:16, 6:99, 16:65-70, 24:35, 51:20.


2. DEAR ABE: Does God punish sinners in this life or wait until after death? –RANI, INDIA

DEAR RANI: The answer is both.  God tells us in the Quran that sinners can be punished in this life, and after death.  The Quran provides insight into why some people are punished and not others.  For example, punishment can be a reminder for someone to repent.  If someone repents for a sin, then they may be punished in this life but not after death [1].  Another example is when unrepentant sinners are not punished for a long time. God provides them the opportunity to choose to commit more sins and for which they incur more punishments later in this life and after death [2].  We should trust that God always balances the scales of justice, and those that deserve punishment or redemption will receive it in this life or the next [3].

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 7:16-18, 16:28-29, 43:33-39, 68:42-45;  [2]7:163, 25:70-71, 43:48;  [3] 9:106, 21:47.


3. DEAR ABE: Once a mosque has been built and used as a place of worship is it possible to remove it and build something else in its place?  –ETHAN, UNITED KINGDOM

DEAR ETHAN: The answer to your question is yes. Not all masjids are built on a foundation of righteousness, although worship does occurs within.  In the Quran, God instructs us to no longer pray at these places [1].  If everyone follows this guidance, then eventually the masjid would fall out of use.  Another example is when our homes can serve as temporary places of worship when a community is small.   Obviously the location of worship will change as the community grows, or when a family moves.

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 9:107-110.

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writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

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