"Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious."...and decided the wager didn't make as much sense for Muslims after all. Apart from the immediate reaction that this must...surely...be a quote made up by some loony-tunes Islamophobe (it's not, I checked), it strikes me that this vicious, vacuous denial of everything that makes life worth living has at its heart a kernel of truth about Islam. It's that word "test". It's a word that has cropped up many times in my discussions with my convert friend: "This life is just a test", he'll say... as I slap my forehead in frustration. And so to the big question: What if it's not? What if this life is all we have, Mr Khomeini? Suddenly the wager doesn't seem like such a no-brainer. What if you go through this life, denying yourself the earthly pleasures of laughter, joy, jokes, booze, gay sex (if that's your thing) and FUN ... only to discover that that was it? To paraphrase Basil Fawlty:
Whoosh! "What was that?" "That was your life, mate." "That was quick. What about the after-life?" "Sorry, mate - that's your lot!"Of course I'm not suggesting that the majority of Muslims, like the sour-faced loon Khomeini, live their lives perversely relishing the rashes induced by their proverbial hair shirts. But hair shirts, like tests, come in all shapes and sizes. Fasting from sunrise to sunset in the middle of summer...not drinking...praying five times a day... covering yourself from head to foot in case a man sees your flesh...forcing yourself to deny evolution despite the evidence...eating only animals killed by having their throats slit while still alive..Muslims will say that all this gives them a feeling of peace and spirituality. But at what cost? Wouldn't the one life we all get be so much pleasanter and joyful if we knew that this was it? Enjoy this life and do good for goodness' sake instead of in the hope of winning the celestial lottery or out of a constant fear of the fiery pit.What must it be like to be constantly wondering how you're doing in the test?