Has humanity slipped or have we forgotten to laugh?

Sometimes I wonder if we really understand the message of Islam. In Course words we would say, can you “choose once again?” Maybe for us as Muslims it’s helpful to “Look once again” at what assumptions we have . . .

I have to start this post with stating the obvious. Throughout Muslim history and culture, Muslims have deeply believed and invested in sin. At least, most of us do. We ritualize cleansing ourselves from it. We fear and love it. Shariyah is often used as our reminder of sin’s reality. Society is quick to judge and keep all of us on the straight and narrow with it. We can’t seem to escape this dear precious concept of sin . . . and by ACIM’s standards that means, we can’t help but make sin real.

Except in this one very minor easily unnoticed verse, and that’s actually in the story of creation in the Quran in Surat Al Baqara (versus 30-39). So our most sacred text, reframes what is often referred to by the Judeo-Christian traditions as ‘Original Sin’ (i.e. the fall of Adam and Eve from Heaven). I can’t speak in depth to the story in the Bible of the fall of Adam and Eve. What I glean is it’s a “bit” harsher (think an angry archangel protecting that tree from now until eternity due to our choice). I am not a scholar of Christianity or a Christian. As an Arabic Speaking Muslim though, the second chapter has a few very interesting word choices. One such word occurs in verse 36 where Satan had Adam and Eve ‘slip’. He ‘slipped them up’ into making the wrong choice and leaving heaven. I think to understand this blog deeper watch Jeffry Lang’s commentary on when he first read the Quran and encountered the Muslim view of creation (1). He’s a Muslim convert so he was looking at it with fresh eyes, and comparing it to the Christian story of his upbringing. His whole commentary is wonderful but the word ‘slipped’ that Satan helped Adam and Eve commit (did you catch that, we never even fell?), indicates a much less harsh world then a world that is so unequivocally invested in the evils of sin.

There are Muslims that believe eventually everyone goes to heaven but you don’t hear about them much. Also the Muslims who weren’t as invested in sin were the ones who crossed the barrier between worlds while alive. So though they spoke to us mostly in poetry and verse. Most of us can’t comprehend what they were saying (one example of this is Rabi’aa Al Adawiyah, the first Muslim saint, who crossed out all the punishing verses in the Quran and kept only love).

I don’t think I could comprehend what they said until I delved deeper into ACIM myself.

Nevertheless I’m an ACIMer, why do I bring up the Muslim story of creation? What’s ACIM’s story?

Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh.³In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. ⁴Together, we can laugh them both away (ACIM, T-27.VIII.6:2-4)

So this section from the chapter the Healing of the Dream is well known to Course students. Our story of creation is also a simple one. We didn’t ‘slip’ or ‘trip’ ourselves out of heaven, we got serious! We left Heaven because we had a moment of “seriousness”. I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to shake that seriousness off lately though I’m working on it;).

So let’s review. One gives us the Adam and Eve version reframed from a more traditional punishing model found in the Bible. the other speaks purely in terms of our mind. However, what they have in common is the lack of emphasizing sin. Yes I know Muslims love sin like most religious traditions of the world do. But the Muslim creation story involved us ‘slipping’. Our first ‘sinful’ moment doesn’t seem that sinful at all. We tripped and then Adam repented and God forgave him. God automatically loved Adam, despite slipping. It’s surprisingly not blasphemous and fury filled. Muslims ‘slipped’ and ACIMers ‘remembered not to laugh’. Neither are fire infused guilt ridden origin stories.

I point this out as I will often in this blog because sometimes I think, as Muslims we might need to look again. What was said? and did we actually understand it when it was said back then? Did we notice creation happened because we tripped and just as easily we could stand up and turn back . . . perhaps just as easily we could laugh.