Opinion: Girl makes miracle recovery

November 15, 2012


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” — Isaiah 55:8

I am not here to tell you God’s will.

The temptation to do so is powerful, in light of the news out of a hospital in the United Kingdom: Malala has received a miracle.

You remember Malala Yousafzai, of course. She is the Pakistani girl from the conservative Swat Valley region of that country who came to international attention as a blogger and activist for the right of girls and women to be educated. This basic human freedom is a matter of great controversy among Islamic extremists, particularly the Taliban, which used to stage house-to-house raids in Malala’s town, searching for girls in possession of books.

Last month, Taliban goons with guns attacked a van carrying Malala and her classmates home from school. Two other girls were hit, though their wounds were not life threatening. Malala’s were. The bullets took her in the neck and the head.

A little over a month later, we learn from CNN that Malala is walking, reading, writing, smiling and is believed to have suffered no significant neurological damage in the attack. Against all odds, all reason, all sensible expectation for a teenage girl shot in the head and neck, it looks like she is going to be fine.

But I’m not here to tell you God’s will.

Granted, Malala’s miracle seems to deserve that — to cry out for it, in fact.

But putative people of faith are often too glib, facile and mean in claiming to have divined the divine. Just as often, their interpretations say less about God than about them, the things they hate and fear, the narrowness of their vision, the niggardliness of their souls.

The Rev. John Hagee, for example, said it was the will of God to drown New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina as punishment for the city’s willingness to countenance a gay festival. He did not explain why the Good Lord swamped the rest of the city but left the sin-soaked French Quarter, site of the aforesaid festival, relatively unscathed.

Republican senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, on the other hand, said it was God’s will if a woman is raped and then finds herself pregnant with the rapist’s child. He did not explain why God would choose to inflict such physical and emotional violence upon a presumably unoffending woman.

And then, there is the Taliban itself, which said it was God’s will, required by the Quran, for this teenage girl to die. If she survived, said a spokesman after the assault, they would try again to kill her.

Since then, a number of things have happened. Malala’s school has been renamed in her honor. The United Nations instituted a worldwide day, also in her honor, and has launched a campaign for girls’ education. It is called “I Am Malala.” Pakistanis, perhaps previously cowed by the terrorist bullying of religious fanatics, have risen in mass protest, finding courage in numbers. Malala has been asking for her school books so that she can study.

Oh, yes, and there is a million dollar bounty on the head of the Taliban spokesman.

Take it all as a stark reminder that too often, people who speak glibly of the will of God really describe no will higher than their own. They presume to interpret God like tarot cards or the stock market, forgetting that God is sovereign and does not need their help. He is a big God. He can speak for Himself.

So I will yield not to temptation. Unlike the Taliban, I will not presume to tell you what God’s will was. But in light of Malala’s miracle, it seems pretty clear what God’s will was not.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald.


shadowlady 5 years, 5 months ago

That is a wonderful article, thank you for sharing. It is so awesome to see articles of this nature, to hear about God and His graceful ways, and His enduring love. She may have had to go through that ordeal, but God was with her every step of the way. And look what came out of it. Thank you Lord.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 5 months ago

When the Quran was revealed, the first command was not pray, it was not give alms to the poor, it was not something mundane. The command was: Read! Yes, "Read"!

Most Muslims take this as meaning not just to read, but to study, learn, proclaim and to become educated. Please note that the word wasn't "O man, read", it was simply "Read"!

The Quran teaches that men and women are equal, but not the same, as is evident in the different genders. But that they should all are equal in the eyes of God. So women, girls learning is not a sin nor it is "not permitted". It IS permitted, encouraged and decreed.


So how can the Taliban, a religious political ideology, have missed that salient point? It is called power; the power of men over women to keep them in line, the control and without it the Taliban have no reason to be. It is time for them to stop their harrassment of women, and other types of people.

gbulldog 5 years, 5 months ago

Have you forgoton the American Musilim girls being punished by their families. Have you forgoton about the teenage girl who was raped, then forced to marry her rapist because of family honor. She killed herself. And now the push for Sharia Law.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 5 months ago

Bulldog, this isn't an Islamic problem, it is a family out of touch with the real aspects of Islam. Individual families are the root of some of the misconceptions about Islam. Killing is strictly prohibited in every case except self-defense, PERIOD! The punishment for killing is the same as if one killed all of mankind, every man woman and child on the face of the earth. Can you imagine the penalty? Secondly, Islam states clearly that the girl has the right to reject the marriage imposed upon her by her parents or anyone else. But like most American values, premarital, extramarital sex is really a problem and we must realize that this is a huge sin in Islam. You point out two incidents and blame them all on Shariah Law or Islamic practice-they are neither.

FloridaSunshine 5 years, 5 months ago

Another incredible article by Mr. Pitts! Malala's miracle, as Mr. Pitts put it, makes my heart smile and rejoice! (Isaiah 55:8 is one of my favorite verses.) I can relate whole-heartedly to what Mr. Pitts is saying. Beautiful...

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