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THE PILLARS OF FAITH

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  • 1. -''l-'( ' -{/t-lt ,'7,,.8;1i' Ifi- fubr* &i&"aen €U.'AtApa;p (lU #i*'vt* @dzt"t,A @M*,fi 0fffidh 7.-," f," 1.,^ i,- t^t--,-,- '!. )1.!J-)) : -!.!..t>>
  • 2. THE PII,I,ARS OF FAITH BJ fufrr Sfdkf Idft
  • 3. CONTENTS lntroduction, I God 2 The Hereafter It Angels l6 Books l8 '. N4essengers 20 Qadar 24 Conclusion . . 21 il1
  • 4. INTRODUCTION ' l ma n , Th e p illar s of F ait h, e n u me ra te d i n ma n y verses of th e Q ur ' an and s a y i n g so f th e Pro p h e t M u h a m mad, pe a ce b e upon him , are b e l i e f i n C o d , i n C o d ' s An g el s,H i s B o o ks, H is M es s enge rs ,i n th e H e re a fte r a n d i n Qadar (Destiny). heseare familiarterms; but the non-Muslim T r e a d e r w o u l d b e m i s t a k e ni f h e t h o u g h t t h a t t h e l s l a m i c co n ce p ts des ignat ed b y th e m a re th e s a m e a s th ose of o t h e r r e l i g i o n s a n d p h i l o s o p h i e s .l t i s h o p e d t h a t t h e f o l l o w i n g e x p o s i t i o n , h i c h i s i t s e l fm a d e i n t h e l i g h t o f t h e w Q u r ' a n a n d t h e s a y i n g s f t h e P r o p h e t , i l l m a k et h i sp o i n t o w clear. lt will also make clear the fact that the lslamic c o n ce p t of f ait h it s elf i s , i n ma n y w a y s ,d i ffe re n t fro m the popular Western one. In the West faith is usually c o n tra s t edt o r eas onan d k n o w l e d g e . Bu t a c c o rd i n g to the Qu r'a n tr ue f ait h is t ha t w h i c h i s b a s e do n k n o w l e d ge and s u p p o rted by ar gum e n t, An y b e l i e f w h i c h i s n o t s o based an d su p por t ed is c on s i d e re d b y th e Qu r' a n to b e mere c a p r i c e a n d w h i m w h i c h a t h i n k i n g p i e r s o nm u s t a v o i d . Tru e fa i t h c an t her ef or e b e g a i n e d th ro u g h re fl e c ti on and th e a cq uis it ion of k n o w l e d g e , a n d n o t b y b l i n d and irra ti o nal c om m it t m en t. A p e rs o n a rme d w i th s u ch an e n l i g h te ned f ait h c an e n te r w i th g re a t c o n fi d e n c e i nto ra ti o n a l dis c us s ion wi th p e o p l e w h o d o n o t s h a re hi s be l i e fsw it h t he hope o f s h o w i n g th e m th e i r m i s ta k esand w e a kn es s es and winnin g th e m o v e r to tru th . l f th i s paper he l p s to t ak e t he r ead e r a s te p i n th a t d i re c ti o n i t w i l l have ach i e ved it s pur pos e, a n d a l l p ra i s e i s d u e to Go d . -l-
  • 5. GOD Muhammad,peace be upon him, was sent to invite peopleto Cod and to teachthem how to performthe task for which they were created,namelyto worshipHim. Many of the peoplewhom he addressed a hazyideaof Cod. had $ome did believein Him, though they associated other lesser gods with Him, but a few of them were downright atheists, materialists, or whosecreed was,'we lirne and we die and nothingcauses deathexceptTime.' [fathiya, our XLV:241 Beforeinvitingsuchatheists Cod one mustfirst to convincethem that there is suchbeing."What reasondo you havefor believing thatthereis a Cod?" This, logically, is the first questionwhich a theisticview of life should address itselfto. The Qur'anic answerto it is given in the foflowing words: ". . . weretheycreated of nothing? weretheythe out Or (of creations themselves)ordid create heavens they the rnd earth." [ T u r , l l :3 6 J L The Qur'an is here saying that for everything like man that hasa beginning time,thereare only threewaysof in explaining how it cameto be. a. Eitherit is created, made,or caused nothingat all or by i.e. it cameout of nothing. b. Or it is the creatorof itself. c. Or it has a creator, cause,or maker, outside itself. The third possibility not mentionedin the quoted verse is but it is understoodbecausethe verse is addressed to peoplewho deny the existence a creatorand it istelling of them that if there is no creatorthen only two possibilities -2-
  • 6. remain. But the Qur'an does not go into the detailsof showingwhy the first two positionsare untenable.Clarity of expression often convinces peopfe of the truth or untruth of a statement.Mental seeinghere, more than physicalseeing,is believing(or rejecting). Thisis borne out in the caseof these Qur'anic words by a historicalevent. fubayr lbn Mut'im, until then, a non-Muslimwassent by Qurayshon a missionto the Muslimsat Madina.He says that when he arrived he heard the Prophet, who was leadingthe evening prayer,readingSuratal-turand when he reachedthe foregoingverses "my heartwasalmostrent asunder."tShortlyafter that fubayr embracedlslam. Why did this happento him?Probably because verse the made things clear to him for the first time. lt is for inconceivable somethingto come out of or be madeby nothing at all, he realized,and it is even more inconceiv- able that it should bring itselfinto being. Hencethe only conclusion is that it must have a creator outside itself. A thesis thereforuntenable it means denialofany is if the maker or cause whatsoever.But admitting that this is indeedso,one might stillwonderwhy shouldthatcaus€ or maker or creator be the God to whom Muhammadwas invitingpeople?Why shouldn'tit be one of the manyother gods in whom people believeor why shouldn'tit evenbe the "matter" of the materialists? Almost the entire Qur'an dealswith this questionbut we shalldo our bestto give a brief answer which would provide the reader with the basics the Qur'anic position-In a nutshellthe answeris of as follows: to explainthe cbming into being of temporal things, the creator (or causeor maker) for which we are -3-
  • 7. looking, must (logicallymust)havethe attributeof the Cod to whom Muhammad invites us. How sol The creator must be of a different naturefrom the things created because,if he is of the samenature asthey are, he will have to be temporal and therefore need a maker. lt follows that "nothing is like Him." [Shura, XLll: 11l.lfthe maker is not temporal then he must be eternal.But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing causes him to come into existence,nothing causeshim to continue to exist,which meansthat he must be selfsufficient.And if he does not depend on anything for the-continuanceof his existence, then that existence haveno end. Thecreator can is therefore eternaland everlasting:"He is thefirstand the last." [Hadid, [Vlt: 3l "All that dwells upon the earth is perishingr|€t still abides the Faceof thy [ord, majestic, splendid." [Rahman,[V: 26-271 There are two ways in which causesproduce their effects. Eitherthey producethem naturally intentionally. or The maker that has the attributeswe haveenumerated cannot be a naturalcause.Because thingsof this world if flow from Him naturallyand spontaneousfy, they cannot be but of the samenatureas He is. And if like all natural causes causes He only under certainconditions, then His po*er is limited.lt followsthat He mustbe a wilful agent. But intentionimpliesknowledgeand both impty life.5o, that makermust be a fivingall-knowingagentwith a will that is absolutelyfree.ThusGod according the Qur'an to doeseverything with intentionand for a purpose. "Surely havecreated We everything {due)measure." in a9] LXIV: [Qamar, -4-
  • 8. "What,did you thinkthatWe created onlyfor sportl" you I M u ' m i n u n , X l l l :1 1 5 f X He is absolutely free to do whateverhe wills IHud, Xl: 1071 and is aware of every movementof His creation. "He knows what is in land and sea;not a leaffalls,but He knowsit. Not a grainin the earth'sshadow, a thing fresh not or withered,but it is in a Book Manifest.lt is He who recalls you by night, and He knows what you work by day." [An'am, Vl: 59-601 Go d i s a liv ing per s o n w i th a l l th a t th i s i m p l i e s : "There is no Cod but He, the living, the everlasting. SlumberseizesHim not, neither sleep;to Him belongsall that is in the heavens and the earth.Who is therethat shall intercede with Him saveby His leavel He knows what lies before them and what is afterthem, and they comprehend not anything of His knowledgesavesuch as He wills. His throne comprisesthe heavens and earth; the preservingof them oppresses Him not; He is the All-high, the All- glorious." [Bagara,ll; 255f Cod is not only willing and powerful, He is also lust in that H e d o e s not punis h a s i n n e r fo r m o re th a n h i s c ri m e. H e i s merciful and His mercy, in the words of the Prophet "overcame his punishment." So He does not punish us for whatever we do, but forgives and erases our sins, and magnifies and multiplies our good deeds. -5-
  • 9. "The likenessof those who expend their wealth in the way of God is asthe likeness a grainof corn that sproutsseven of ears,in every ear a hundred grains,so God multipliesunto whom He will; God is All-embracing, All'knowing." [Baqara, 261f ll: These, and many others which can be arrived at in a similar wrlr are the attributes which the true creator must possess.Any other being or object which is alleged to be a god or an ultimate cause and which necessarilylacks some of them cannot in actual fact be what it is believed to be. Thus, having shown clearly what the true Cod should be like, the Qur'an goes on to show why there cannot be any god but He, and reveals the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made obieas it says: "Do you worship what you have carved out and God creatd you and what you make?" XXXVII:95] [Saffat, and othersbesideHim who ".,. hayethey taken unto themselves create nothinE, who are themselves created,who cannot protect them, nor can they protect themselves." ['A'rif, Vll: 191-1921 To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it relates as a reminder the story of Abraham: When night outspr€adover him he saw a star and said, 'This ir my Lord.' Bui when it ret he said, 'l love not the rctters.' When he saw the moon rising, he said, 'Thlr ir my 'lf [ord.' But when it set he raid, my Lorddoesnot guide me 6-
  • 10. I sh all ur ely of t he p e o p l eto n e a s tra y .' Wh eh e saw the s be n su n r is ing, s aid,T h i s smy L o rd ;th i si sg re a te r!, w hen he ' i But it set he said,'O my people,surelyI am quit of what you associate with Cod. I have turned my face to Him who originatedthe heavens and the earth,a man of pure faith; I am not of the idolaters.' ['An'am, Yl:76-791 And when, later on, the Prophet comes into contact with the Jews and Christians, the Qur'an conftmns their heli€f in the divine nature of human-beings. "The lews say,'Ezrais the son of God.' The Christians say, 'The Messiah the sonof God.'Thatisthe utterance their is of mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assailthem! How they are perverted." [Tawba,lX:3{ll It tells them that if everything is creared by God then it must be His servant and cannot, therefore be his son, [Maryam, XIX: E&951. It then goes on to explain to the Christians the real nature of fesus. "Truly, the likenessof lesus in God's sight is as Adam,s likeness;He created him of dust, then said He unto him 'Bet'and he wa'"' ['Arlmran, ill: s9l For someone to take something as a god, it is not necessary that he should acknowledge it as such or worship it in a ritualistic way; it is enough for him tofollow its dictates obediently, or devote to it acts or have towards it feef ings which should be devoted to or felt towards God only. There are many such unacknowledged Eods. -'7-
  • 11. "He!t thou seenhim who hastaken his caprice be hir to Godl Wilt thou be a guardian over him?" XXV:{31 [Furqan, "They havetakentheir rabbis theirmonksaslordsaPart and from.God, and the Messiah, Mary'i son,and they wcre commrndedto serv€but one Cod." [Tawbr,fX: 31f Thusto be a Muslim-i.e. to surrenderonerelf to God- it is necessary believe in the uniw of fu in the senseofHis to being the only creator, prservef and nourisher.But this belief-hter on calledtawhidar-rubu[iyya-is not enough. In fact many of the idolatersdidknow and believethat it is the supreme God alone who can do all this. But that was not enough to make them Muslims. To tawhid a,r' rububiyya one must edd tawhid al uluhiyyai.e. one must acknowledgethe fact that it isthisGod alonewho deserves to be worshipped, and therefore abstainfrom direaing any of one's actsof worshipto someoneor somethingelse. fn the Qur'an the argument for tawhid al'uluhiyya is basedon tawhid ar-rububiyya i.e. if it is God alone who creates and controlseverythingwhy then and to what end do you worship others beside Him? "O you men,serve your Lordwho created you,andthose thatwerebeforeyou; haplysoyou willbegod-fearint; who assigned you the earthfor a couch,and heaven an to for edifice,and sentdown out of heaven water,wherewithHe broughtforth fruitsfor yourprovision; setnot up rivals so to God wittingly." [al-Baqara, 21-22J ll: Havingknown the true God, man iscalleduPon to affirm what he knows i.e. to believe and have faith in Cod, and -8-
  • 12. not allow any ulteriormotives inducehim to deny a fact to which he knowsto be true. "... that they who havebeen given knowledgemay know it is the truth from thy Lord and so believein it, and thustheir heartsbecome humble unto him." [H a j ,X Xl l : 54] "But when our signscameto them visibly,they said,"This i s a manif ess or c er y ;' a n d e y d e n i e dth e m ,th o u g hthei r t th soulsacknowledged them, wrongfully and out of pride." [N a m l ,X XV II:14f When faith enters a person's heart, it causes therein certain mental states, which result in certain apparent actions, both of which are the proof of true faith. Foremost among those mental states is the feeling of g ra ti tu de t owar ds Co d , w h i c h c o u l d b e s a i d to be the essence ol ibada (worshipping or serving God). Th i s f eeling of g ra ti tu d e i s s o i m p o rta n t that a n o n b e liev er is c alled ka fi r w h i c h me a n s ,' o n ew h o deni esa tru th ' and als o ' on e w h o i s u n g ra te fu l .' On e can u n d e rst and why t his i s s o w h e n o n e re a d s i n th e Qur' an th a t th e m ain m ot iv e fo r d e n y i n g th e e x i s te n c eo f God i s th a t o f u njus t if ied pr id e . S u c h a p ro u d p e rs o n fe e l s that i t does not become him to be created or governed by a being wh o m he m us t t hus a c k n o w l e d g e to b e g re a te r than h i mse l f and t o whom h e mu s t b e g ra te fu l . "Th o s ewho dis put ec o n c e rn i n g e s i g n s f C o d w i thout th o a n ya u t hor it y om et o th e m ,i n th e i rh e a rtsso n l yp ri dethat c i th e y s hallnev erat t ai n ." [C h a fi r,X L: 561 Wi th t he f eeling of g ra ti tu d e g o e s th a t o f l o v e 9-
  • 13. "There are some people who take to themselves (for worship)othersapart fromGodlotingthemastheyshould loveGod: Butthosewho believe, loveCod moreardently thantheyloveanything else." ll: [Baqara, 1651 A believerlovesand is gratefufto Cod for His bounties, but being awar€ of the fact that his good deeds,whether mentalor physical, far from beingcommensurate are with Divine favors,he is alwaysanxiouslest because his sins of God should withhold from him some of these favorsor punish him in the hereafter. He therefor fears Him, surrendershimself to Hirn, and servesHim with great humility. "Your God isoneCod,soto Himsurrender. givethou And good tidings unto the humble who, when God is m€ntioned,theirhearts quake." [Anfal, Vll: 2] One cannot be in such a mental state,without being almostall the time mindful of God. Remembering God is thus the life-force of faith, without which it fades and might even wither away. 5o, "The frithful rre thosewho remember God,standing and sitting, on theirsides." and 'lmran, ['Al lll: 191] The Qur'an thereforeprescribes describes, great and in detail waysand meansof helping man to rememberCod and keep his faith alive. All Qur'anic and Prophetic injunctionsand prohibitions of which extendto all aspects human life-acts of worship and personalmatters,social relations,political order, etc., etc.-are designedto put -10-
  • 14. man in a $ate which is conduciveto Cod's remembrance. The detailsof this lslamicway of life were expounded in the Madina period, and we shall not therefore be concernedwith them now. But the main principlesof this new order were alreadylaid down in the Makkan period, and will be summarized the end of thir chapter. at We shallnow Eo on to deal with the other pillarsof faith. Theseare belief in life after death, in God's angels,His books,His messengers His qadar,thearguments and forall of which are almostentirely basedon the assumption that the audiencebelievesin God. THE HEREATTER The Qur'anic arguments the realityof anotherlife after for death are intended to prove that it is possibleand also desirable that thereshouldbe sucha life,and that without believing in it our belief in the true God cannot be complete. i. Many of the people whom the Prophetaddressed in Makkadid believe-as we saidbefore-'in a supremeCod, but many of them thought that it was impossible their for dead and disintegratedbodies to be resurrected.They therefore mocked and laughed at the Prophet when he told them about it. The Qur'anic reply wasthat there was no reason for such astonishrnent and mockery because resurrection not only logicallybut physically is possiblefor the folfowing reasons: a. lf it is God who created man in the first place,why should it b€ impossiblefor him to recreatehim when he dies?Resurrection should be easierthan originalcreation. - ll -
  • 15. "He it is He who originates creation, then brings it back again and this (the latter) is easier for Him." [Rum, XXX:271 b. lf you think about it carefully, you will come to see that the bringingof life to the dead is a commonnatural phenomenon. To believe in the possibilityof the resurrection human beings, thinking persondoesnot of a need to seea personcomingto life again.lt is enoughto see other dead bodiescoming to life. "And of His signsis that thou seestthe earth humble; then, when we send down water upon it, it quivers and swells. Surefy He who quickens it is He who quickens the dead; surely He is powerful over everything." [ F u s s i l a tX L I : 3 9 1 , "Was he not a sperm-drop spilled? Then he was a blood- clot, and He created and formed and He made of him two kinds, male and female.What! is He not able to quicken the dead?" [Qiyama, LXXV:37-40] ii. Why is resurrectiondesirable?Simply because without it, God would not be the lust and Wise and merciful Cod He is. God created men and made them responsiblefor their actions; some behaved well but others did not. lf there is no future life in which the virtuous rewardedand the vicious punished, are are there would be no justiceand the creationof men in that way and the sending of Prophetsto them would be to no purpose all.Butthiskind of behaviour not expected at is of a man known to be rationaland just, let alonethe Perfect Creator. r2-
  • 16. "What! does man reckon he shall be left to roam at will? What!did you think that we createdyou only for sportand' that you would not be returned to Usl [ M u ' m i n u n , X l l l :1 1 5 1 X "Surely for the Cod, fearing shall be gardensof blisswith their Lord.What! shaflwe makethosewho havesurrendered like to the sinnersl What ails you then, how you judge? [Qaf, LXV|ll: 34-361 "We have not'cr€ated the heavensand earth, and what is between them, for vanity; such is the thought of the unbelievers." [Sad,XXXVlll:27J iii. ls the reaf and only motive for denying the reality of a life after death that which is expressed by the arguments which the denyers put forward, and to which the Qur'an replies? By no means, saysthe Qur'an. The real motive i5 often a psychological one. Those who do evif do not wish to be punished and it is this wishful thinking that leads them to deny the reality of a time when such punishment shall take place. "Does man reckon We shall not gather his bonesl Nay, but man. desiresto continue on as a libertine, asking, 'When shall be the Day of Resurrection?" [Qiyima, LXXV:3-6f "And none crieslies to it (the day of judgement)but eyery guilty aggressor." [Mutaffifin,LXXXIll:121 A questionthat isoften raisedin connectionwith reward and punishmentin the hereafterand which causes some people to doubt the desirability not the truth of such a if life is, 'Do we do what is good because is good or for fear it _13-
  • 17. of punishmentand expectation reward?lf we do it for of the former, then what is the use of believing in the hereafter, and if we do it for the latterwe will not be acting morally.'The answerto thisquestiondependson whether God enjoins usto do an actbecause is good, or whether it it is this Divineinjunctionwhich makes actiongood.And the it seems me to be veryclearthat the goodness an act is to of logically prior to its being an obiectof a Divineiniunction. Oiheruviie would be a tautology say'Godenioinswhat it to is good' becausp would only meanGod enjoinswhat He it enjoins. But the Qur'an abounds in statements fike the former, and it is very clearthat they are not intended tsbe tautological. The answerto our original questionthen is that we do what is good becauseit is good. But sinceto give good for good is itself good, there is no contradictionin sayingthat 6ne does good becausethe Cod whom he loves and in Whom he puts his trusttellshim to do it, and because he expectsto be rewardedby Him for doing it. Accordingto the Qur'an God createdmanof an original nature-called fitra-which possesses we mightcalla what moral sense, which enables man to recognize without any externalaid certainactslike telling the truth and being Bratefulasgood, and by reasonof which he is inclinedto to good onte he comesto know it. Truereligionis built on the- basis of this original human nature. Religion strengthensnature and-brings to fruition the seedsof virtuJthatreside it. Thatiswhy lslam saidin the Qur'an in is to be fitrat-Allah and why the Piophetsays that he wassent only to perfectgood conduct.r TheQur'anpraises thosein whirm ihis moial senseis sharp and condemnsthose in whom it has become so blunt that the uglinessof vice model.of beauty: Fecomes. their eyesthe in tHadith (fabirl -14-
  • 18. '. ButCod hasende a re d y o u b e l i e f, e c k i n g t fa i r i n your to d i h e ar t s ,and He has ma d e d e te s ta b l e y o u u n b e l i efand to u n godlines s and di s o b e d i e n c eT h o s eth e y a re th e ri ght- . mi nded,by Cod' sf a v o u ra n d b l e s s i n g , o d i sAl l -know i ng, C All-wise"' [ H u j u r i t ,x u x : z - g ] "Say : ' S hallwe t ell y o u w h o w i l l b e th e g re a te sltosers n i their works.'Thosewhosestriving goesastray the present in l i fe while t hey t hin k th a t th e y a re w o rk i n g g o o d d eeds." [K a h f,XV l l l : 103-1041 "An d when he t ur n sh i sb a c k ,h e h a s te na b o u tth e e arth, s to do corruption there, and to destroy the tillage and the stock; and Cod lovesnot corruption." [B a q a ral,l : 205J 5o a Muslim does gogd because he is endeared to it, and eschews vice because it is detestable to him. But since a Musfim surrenders himself to Cod and loves and fears Him, and since Cod loves virtue and enjoins it and hates vice and forbids it, he does the former and avoids the latter in obedience to his Lord. And since those who do good shall-in the hereafter-live a life of bliss,the highest type of which wo,rld be the state of being near to Cod and e n j o y ing His s ight , w h i l e th o s e w h o l e a d a n e v i l l i fe shal l suffer all kinds of chastisementthe most terrible of which shall be the state of being deprived from that sight, a Mu sl i m would be w i s e to a l w a y s h a v e th a t fu ture and e te rnal lif e in m ind a n d e n d e a v o u r to d o h e re a ll ki nds of work that would help to elevate his position there. "Say:ls thereanyof your associates guides the truth? who to Sa y : od- He guid e s th e tru th ; a n d w h i c hi sw o rthi erto G to b e followed- he wh o g u i d e s th e tru th ,o r h e w h o gui des to - 1 5-
  • 19. notunless isguidedl he whatthenails you,howyou iudgel [Yunus, 351 X: "Say: youloveGod, lf followme,andGodwilllove you,and forgive you,yoursins;" [ ' A l ' l m r i nl,l l : 3 1 ] "surely pious the uponcouches shall in bliss, be gazing (at theirLord); thouknowest theirfaces radiancy bliss in the of asthey are givento drink of a wine sealed, whosesealis strive." musk.Soafterthat let the strivers [Mutaffifun, LXXXI: 22-261 ll Why should one who did good live in such bliss,one might ask?and the prompt Qur'anic answeris: "Shall the recompence goodnessbe other than of goodness." [Rahman, 60] LV: ANGETS Theseare beingsof a differentnaturefrom man.While man is createdfrom soil they are createdfrom light.tAnd thus human beings-except Prophets-cannot see.them in their original naiure, but may see them if they take a physical forr. Our knowledgeof them is thereforealmost eniirely basedon what God and His Prophets usabout 'aut tell them. why should we bother to know about them? Because they play a very big role in conductingour affair. To know aboutthem could perhaps saidto be usefulto be us in the same manner as irnowledgeof the working of natural causes and other people's behaviour is useful. We are told that thesealmostinnumerable beinggwho are extremelypowerful are createdin sucha way that they -16-
  • 20. always obey and never go againstDivinecommands, and continuouslyserve and never tire of servingthe Lord. [Anbiya,XXl,19-20; Tahrim,LXVI:G] . But inspiteof this they are-as a species-in a lower degreethan the humanspecies, rhisis symbolized and in the factthatwhen Adamwascreated they**iu ordered to prostrate themselves before him asa signof greetingand respect.l Here are some of their activities connectionwith in human beings. Their main task, the one from which their name is derived is that of conveyingCod's messages Hischosen to prophets.This great honor is assigned mainfy to their leader Gabriel (or fibrif as the name is pronouncedin Arabic). "A noble m es s eng eh a v i n gp o w e r,w i th th e L o rd o f the r Th ro ne,s ec ur e, obey e dth e re (i n h e a v e n ) n d tru s t y." a I T a k w i rL X X X I 1 9 - 2 1 J , : A me s s agec ar r ied b y b e i n g s o f s u c h a n a tu re i s sure to re a ch it s des t inat ion i n ta c t. They attend to and watch over us. They keep a record of o u r g o od and bad de e d s , a n d n e v e r a w o rd w e m enti on p a sse s wit hout being re g i s te re d b y th e m e i th e r for or a g a i n s t us . [ Q af , L: 17 -1 8 1 Th e y play a r ole in th e c a u s a ti o n a n d h a p p e ni ng of se e mi ngly pur ely natu ra l p h e n o m e n a , l i k e w i n d a nd rai n a n d d e at h. [ Naz i' it , L X XIX : 1 -5 ] rThisverse[fsra', XVll: 70J beengiven (by some)asevidencefor the has fact that the human speciesis better than the speciesof angels.lbn Kathir in his tafsirof Qur'an al'Azim. t7-
  • 21. And to them is assigned role of helpingthe believers the to the extent of fighting on their side in times of war. 1'Af'lmran, 124l,andof protectingthem [Ra'd,Xlll: llf, ll; and praying for them [Ghifir, XL: 7]. BOOKS A M u s l i mb e l i e v e t h a t t h e Q u r ' a ni s t h e w o r d o f G o d . s Butit is not the onlv word.Cod sentman!,prophets before Muhammad and He spokero themasHe spoke him.Soa to M u s l i ma l s ob e l i e v e ( i n f a c th e n o u l d n o t b e a M u s l i mi f s h e d i d n o t b e l i e l e )i n t h e s ee a r l i e r o o k s .l i k e t h e T o r a h b a n d t h e C o s p e l , i n c et h e t r u e b e l i e v e r s r e t h o s ew h o s a "believein whathasbeensentdon n to thee(Muhammad) a n dw h a th a sb e e ns e n td o n ' nb e f o r e h e e " [ a l B a q a r a V : t l, 41. "Say: We believe in Cod. and tlrat which hasbeen sent down o n u s , a n d s e n t d o n n o n { b r t h a m a n d l s h m a e l ,l s a a ca n d l a c o b , a n d t h e T r i b e s ,a n d i n t n a t r v h i c h w a s g i v e n t o . l o s e s a n d f e s u s ,a n d t h e p r o p h e t s , o f t h e i r L o r d ; w e m a k e n o division between any of thent." [al Baqara,l: 135f l Cod created men so that thev may serve Him. His being a servant of Cod constitutes the essence of man. Man cannot th e re f or e at t ain t o hi s tru e h u m a n i ty a n d a c q u i re p eace of m i n d u n l e s sh e r e a l i s e sh i s a i m f o r w h i c h h e w a s c r e a t e d . t B u t h o w c a n h e d o t h i s l C o d , b e i n g m e r c i f u la n d l u s t , h a s h e l p ed him in m an y w a y s . H e g ra n te d h i m a s w e sai d b e f o r e a n o r i g i n a l l yg o o d n a t u r e t h a t i s i n c l i n e d t o k n o w a n d s er v e it s t r ue L o rd . H e g ra n te d h i m a mi nd that p o sses s es m or al s en s ea n d th e a b i l i ty to re a s o n .H e made a th e w hole univ er s ea n a tu ra l b o o k fu l l o f s i g n sth at l ead a t8
  • 22. thinkingpersonto cod. Butto makethingsmorespecific, to give him more detailedknowledgeof his Lord,and to show him in a more detailedmannerhow to serveHim, God hasbeen sendingdown verbalmessages through His prophetschosenf rom amongmen, eversincethe creation of man. Hence the descriptionof these messages the in Qur'an as guidance,light,signs, reminders,etc, All thesebooksadvocated basically same the message, "Andwesentnever Mesenger a before theeexcept we that 'thereis no Cod revealed him, saying, to but l; so serve Me.' " [ ' A n b i y a 'X X I :2 5 1 , An d t he r eligion w h i c h th e y a l l e x p o u n d e d i s l s l am i .e. surrender to Cod, "Th e t r ue r eligionwi th Go d i s l s l a m." [Al -' l m ri n , l t t: 19f Th u s N oah ( X : 721A b ra h a m (l l l : 6 7 ), l a c o b a n d hi s sons (l l : 1 3 3 ) ,t he A pos t le s (V: l l l ), e tc . w e re a l l Mu s l i m s. lslam in this sense is in fact the religion of the universe. "What! do they desireanotherreligionthan Cod's and to Him has surrendered (aslama= became a Muslim) whatsoever in the heavensand the earth, willingly or is u n wi l linglyand t o H i m th e y s h a l lb e re tu rn e d ." , tlt: [Al -' l m ra -n , 83f lf the religion of all prophets is the same in its essenceand basic foundation, not so are the ways of life based upon it. [Ma 'i d a , V : aS J On e las t im por t ant p o i n t a b o u t b o o k s i s th a t w i th the exceptaon of the Qur'an they have not been preserved -19-
  • 23. intact, but have either been completely lost or else suffereddistortionand corruption.As to the Qur'an God has decreed that it shall never be subiectedto such distortionbut shallbe preserved Him. IHiir, XV: 9J by MESSENGERS Messengers human beings are chosenby God who have the honor of conveyingCod's message other men and to women.Beingsucha Messenger not a position is thatone attains any consciously by designed effort.lt isa Srace from God, but God grantsthisgraceto thosewho aredeserving of it. Messengers not then, like the rankand file of us. are True,they are men but they are men of an extremely high moral, spiritualand intellectual standardthat qualifies them-in the eyesof Cod-to be the bearers Hislightto of the world. When God chooses any of them, He supports 'sign' LVll: 25] that the messenger with a clear [t-tadid, provesthe truth of his claim,and distinguishes from him falseprophets, sorcerers soothsayers and [Taghibun,LXIV: 41-42l,Tehe, 69].None of them betrays messageor XX: the falls ihort of being exemplary in practicing what he preaches. [Hud, Xl: 88J. A s k e d a b o u t p r o p h e t M u h a m m a d ' s o n d u c th i s w i f e c A y e s h as a i d , " l t w a s t h e Q u r ' a n , " m e a n i n g t h a t h e e m b o d i e d l l t h e i d e a l s h i c h t h e Q u r ' a np r e s e n t s . a w Two related pointsabout messengers which the Qur'an stresses, which thereforedeserve and some elaboration a r et h e h u m a n i t y f p r o p h e t s n d t h e n a t u r e f t h e i rt a s k . o a o D e s p i t e t h e v a s t s p i r i t u a l ,m o r a l a n d i n t e l l e c t u a l d i f f e r e n c e e t w e e n h e m a n d o r d i n a r ym e n ,a n d d e s p i t e b t the special relation with Cod that theyenioy,prophets are -20-
  • 24. nontheless humanswith all that this term implies.They begetand are begotten; rheyeatanddrinkandgo aboutin marketplaces [Furqin, XXV:201; they sleepand they die [Anbiyi, XXI:341; they forgerand they err [TEhi,XX:121J. I K a h f ,X V l l l : 3 4 f . Their knowledgeis limited;and can therefore only rell that part of the future which God reveals them [lin, to LXXf I:26-271. Theycannotintercede with Cod on behalf of any personexceptwith His permission [lin, LXXII:26-2T1, and it is not left to them to causepeople ro go in the rigtrt path {Qasas, XXV|ll:56J. short,they haveno partto playin In t h e r u n n i n go f t h e a f f a i r s f t h e u n i v e r s eA l - ' l m r a n l,l l : o [ 1281. Many early Muslim scholars have observedthat to emphasize humanity the Prophet eur'an called the of the him 'servant Cod' on the threeoccasions which he of on was honored. "Blessed He who hassenr be downthe Salvation {eur'anJ upon His servant." I F u r q a n , X V :1 l X "Clory be to Him, who carried His servantby night from th.e Holy Mosque to the Furthesr Mosque the precintsof which We have blessed, that We might show hirp someof Ou r si gns . " '[Bani tsrail Vil:tf X "when the servantof God stood cailing on Him, they were we l l -n i ghupon him in ,* " rrn r.i ,- [J i n ,L X XtI:l 19l -21-
  • 25. A Prophet whosehumanityisspecially ernphasized lesus. is He wascreatedin the samemannerasAdamwascreated, from soil [Al-'lmrin: lll, 59]; he is the son of Mary not of God [Nisi', lV: 157];he and his mother used to eatfood [Mi'ida, V: 75]; he is indeedthe word of Cod IBaqara, ll: a5l but sincehe is a human being in the full sense theof word, thisshouldnot be interpreted meanthatthereisa to Divine element in him. He is the word of Cod only in the 'Be' and sensethat God said he was. But in that sense everything the word of Cod. Why then is he in particular is called the word of God? Because, many scholars as have, rightlyexplained, came more directlyasa resultof this he word. fesus is thus a loyal servant of God who never claimedthat he was in any sensedivine. [M5'ida,V: 11&117f. Messengers are entrusted, w€ said, with the task of conveyingGod's word to other people. But this is not as simpleas it looks.lt impliesmanythingswhich are not at firstsightclear,and which the Qur'an thereforeexpounds and elaborates. The most important point of which all Messengers are reminded,and which is very easyto forget or be heedless of, is that sincetheir duty is only to conveythe message they are not responsible peoples'reactionto it, once for they have made it clearto them. God hasgiven man the power to understandthe difference between truth and falsehood,especially mattersreligious,once this has in beenexplained him.Cod hasalsogivenhim the ability, to by reasonof his free-will, either to acceptor reiect this truth. And sinceit is only Cod who knowswhat goeson in people'sminds,it is only He who can iudge who is worthy of being guidedand who deserves be left gropingin the to -22-
  • 26. dark; and it is Cod who accordingto this knowledge guideswhom He will and withholdsHis guidancefrom whom He will. A prophethasno suchpower,and cannot, therefore, guide whom he loves. [Qasas,XXVlll: 56J. "Thenremind themthouareonlyonewho reminds, thou art not charged oversee to them." LXXXVI:. 21-221. [Chashiya, II He shouldnot, thereforefeel sadif peopleturn awayfrom him, or impute {alsehoods his message to [An'am,Vl: 33- 341. this is a mostdifficult rule to abide by. We love to But be acceptedby the communityin which we live; manyof us must haveexperienced that strange feelingof sadness, loneliness, beinglostwhen we cometo liveasafiensin and a new community. undergo similar more intense We a but feeling, when asa result our intellectual of convictions we come to hold about life views that are entirelydifferent from those of our own community.One easyand usual escape from the psychological other hardships such and of a life is to live in seclusion from society.Thosewho, for somereasoncannotafford sucha withdrawal, more often than not, sacrifice intelfectual honesty conformitywith for their community. Prophetshave of courseto live in the midstof the peoplefor whom theyaresentandtheydo not of coursego to the extent of betraying their message. To haveto cling tenaciously the word of Cod, and yet livein to the midstof people,is perhaps greatest the difficultythey haveto put up with. Thisis madeevidentby the factthat mostof the few occasions which the Qur'an expresses on Cod's disapproval a certainline of behaviourtaken by of the ProphetMuhammadare related hisbeingso keento to -73 -
  • 27. win adherents as to verge on exceeding the desirable l i mi ts . "Yet perchanceif they believe not in this tiding' thgy wilt consume thyself, following after them of grief"' IK a h f,X V l l l : 6]. "lndeed they were n'earto seducing thee from t{ratWe revealed to thee, that thou mightest, forge against Us another, and then they would surelyhave taken thee as a friend. And had We not confirmed thee, surely thou were near to inclining unto them a very little; then would We have let thee tastethe double of life and the double of death; and then thou wouldst havefound none to help thee againstusr [rsra,, xvlr: 73-741. QADAR The original meaning of the word Qadar is specified measure or amount whether of quantities or qualities. lt has many other usageswhich branch out from this core. Thus yuqad-dir means, among other things, to measureor decide the quantity, quality, position, etc. of something before you actually make it. And it is this latter sensewhich interests us here. "Cod is the creatorof everything, whateverHe creates, but He creates with qadar. [Qamar, LIV: a9] He knows before creating it, that He is going to create it and that it shall be of such and such magnitude, quality or nature etc. and specifiesthe time of its coming into being and passingaway, and the place of its occurrence. lf so,then 24-
  • 28. one who believes the true God shouldbelievethatthere in are no accidentsin nature. lf something disagreeable happens him, he shouldsay,,Godqad-d-ara to (or?ained), and He did what He willed" and noi wastehimselfou*i wishingthat it had not occurred, worryingwhy it should or occur. lf on the other handsomething agreeablihappens to him he should not boast of it, but thank God for it. "No afffictionbefalls the earthor in yourselves, it in but is in a Book, before We create it; that is easy for God; that you may not trieve for what escapes you, nor rejoice (vaingloriously) in what has been given to you, God ioves not any man proud and boastful.', [Hadid, tVtt: 23f. lf 9od yuqad-d_ir(predestines,predetermines etc.) . everything, thatincludes socalledfreeactions. if so our But in what way can they be saidto be free, and how are we responsibfe for them? This question occasioned the appearance, a very early historyof lslam,of two extreme at theolo$icaf sects. One of them, called the eadariya, asserted man'sfree will and responsibility the extenf of to denying God's foreknowledge, and cliiming that God knowsour free madeactions only afterwe haveperformed them. The other, called the lahriyya,did jusr the opposite and claimedthat there was no differencebetween the m o t i o n s o f i n a n i m a t et h i n g s a n d o u r m o v e m e n t si n performing so-cafled free actions,and that when we use intpntional language we speak only metaphorically Butthereis no needto go to suchextremes, since isnot it difficult to reconcile Divine eadar and human responsibility. cod decidedro createman as a free agenr, but He knows(andhow canHe not know?) beforecreating -25-
  • 29. every man how he is going to use his free will; what,for instance, reactionwould be when a Proph€tclarifies his cod's messageto him. This foreknowledge and its 'But if we arefreeto registering i in 'Book' is calledQadar. 'We mayuseit in waysthat ur; our *Iil' . Qadarimight say, contradictGod;swill, and in that casewe would not be right in claimingthat everythingis willed or decreedby G;d.'The Qur'in answers this questionby remindingus that it wasGod who willed that we shallbe wilful, and it is He who allowsus to use our will. "Surely, is a Reminder; he who will,takes this so untohis Lorda way,but you will not unless God wills'" flnsan, LXXVI: 29-30J. 'lf so', says 'He could havepreventedus from a Qadari, doing evil.' Yesindeed He could. ..Had cod willed, wouldhave He brought themalltogether to the guidance; thy Lordhadwilledwhoever in the if is earth iould have believed, all of them, all together." [Yunus, 991. X: "Had God willed,they were not idolaters; and we havenot appointedthee a watcherover them neitherart thou their g u a r dian. " . ' [An ' a m ,Vl : 1071. But He had willed that men shall be free especially in regard to matfers of belief and disbelief. ',The truth is from your Lord; so let whosoeverwill say: believe,and let whosoeverwill disbelieve." [Ka h f,XV l l l : 291. But men would not be so free if whenever any of them wills to do evil God prevents him from doing it and -26-
  • 30. compelshim to do good. " l f o u r a c t i o n s r e w i l l e db y C o d , " s o m e o n e i g h ts a y , a m "then they are in factHis actions." Thisobjection based ii on a confusion.cod wills what we wilr in the sense of g.ranting the will to chooseand enablingus to execute us thatwill i.e.He creates thatmakes posslble usto do all it for it. He doesnot will it in the sense doing. otherwiseof it, it w o u l d b e q u i t e i n o r d e r t o s a y ,w h e n w e d r i n k o r e a t o r sleepfor instance, God performed that theseactions. cod creates them, He does not do or performthem. Another objection, basedon another confusion,is that if Cod allowsus to do evil,then He approves it and rikes But of it. to will something the sense allowing personto do it in of a i so n e t h i n g ;a n dt o a p p r o v e f h i sa c t i o n a n d o m m e n dt , o c i isquiteanorher. Nore*erything thatcod wiilsHe likes. He has,as we havejust read in the eur'an, grantedman the choice betwen belief and disbelief, but He does not, of course,like men to disbef ieve (to be thankless). " f f y o u a r e u n t h a n k f u fl , c o d i s i n d e p e n d e n t o f y o u . y e t He a p p r o v e s n o t u n t h a n k fu l n e s si n H i s s e r v a n t s ;b u t i f y o u are thankful, He will approve it in you.,, [Zumar, XXXIX:71. coNctustoNs These in resume are the basic truths to which the ProphetMuhammadinvitedhispeople.Thebesrproof - - besides foregoingarguments of their beingtruths, the andveryimportant rruthsfor man,isthe goodeffeit which they producein man'sinternal state, and thushisoutward behaviour. havealready, dealing we in with beliefin cod, pointed to some of the feelingstowards Him, brought -27
  • 31. about by belief in His existence and His attributes of perfection. si n c e m an' s at t it u d e i n re l a ti o n to h i s fe l l o w-human beings is very much connected with his attitude towards Godithat befief in God with resulting feelings towards the Divine,is bound to produce in man's heart feelings towards other men that aie appropriate to it. And since man's outward behaviour regarding God and other men is i b o u t a n d f e e l i n g st o w a r d s S*i"L,.d, by his real b-"tiets i n * . , i t i s o n i y t o b e e x p e c t e do f t r u e r e l i g i o n t o c a l l f o r a se t o f behav iour t hat i s b o th a n a tu ra lo u tc o me o f i ts set of b e l i e f sa n d a f a c t o r o f s t r e n g t h e n i n gt h e m . T h e i n' t mrin a l e l n' s t a t et o w h i c h M u h a m m a d i n v i t e d m e n i s c a l l e d ( f a i t ho r b e l i e f) . T h e e x t e r n a lb e h a v i o u rb a s e do n i t i s c a l l e d i sl a m. A t t he M ak k a n p e ri o d h e c o n c e n tra te d m ostl y on t h e f i r s t ,w i t h o u t e n t i r e l yn e g l e c t i n g h e s e c o n d ,w h i c h h e t e l a b o r a t e da t M a d i n a w h e n t h e f i r s tM u s l i m i n d e p e n d e n t community was formed. Even at Makka the Prophet Mu h am m jd *. r dire c te d b y Go d to i n v i te p e o pl e to the fo l l o w ing ac t s of wo rs h i p a n d m o ra l b e h a v i o u r' 1 . T o k e e p t h e i r f a i t h a l i v e a n d s t r e n g t h e ni t M u s l i m s w e r e t o l d t o r e c i t e t h e Q u r ' a n a n d s t u d y i t c a r e f u l l y ,t o l e a rn f r om t he P r op h e t a n d s a y a s o fte n a s p o s s i bl e,and sp e ciallyon s om e s p e c i fi e do c c a s i o n s c e rta i n p rayers'and , to p*r f or r n pr ay e r i n th e ma n n e r w h i c h C abri el d e mons t r at edio in" P ro p h e t. Al l th i s i s s a l a ti n i ts w i dest se n se. 2 . A f t er s alat ,t he s e rv i n go f c o d , c o me s z a k i t w hi ch i n i ts b ro ades ts ens ein c l u d e sa n y a c t o f s e rv i c eto o t her men' Be i n g good t o m en i s th e fru i t a n d th e re fo re th e proof of th e tiee of f ait h. He i s n o t tru th fu l w h o h a rm s men and yet 28-
  • 32. c l a i m st o b e l i e v e i n a n d l o v e C o d . "H as t t hou s eenhim w h o d o e sn o t b e l i € v ei n re tri buti on ( i n t h e h e r e a f t e r ) ? a t i s h e w h o r e p u l s ets e o r p h a na n d th h u rg esnot t he f eed i n go f th e n e e d y .s o w o e to th osethat p ra y and ar e heedl e so f th e i r p ra y e rsto th o s ew h o make s , d i splay and r ef us e h a ri ty ." c [Ma'un, VllJ. C Th e f ir s t t hr ee v er s e s f th i ss u ra w e re re v e a l e da t Makka o a n d th e r es t at M adi n a . T h e Ma d i n a n v e rs e ss p e ak about the hypocrites who perform outward acts of worship that d o n o t or iginat ef r om a n y s i n c e refa i th . Bu t th e i r b e havi our b e tra y st hem , s inc e i t i s th e s a m e a s th a t o f th e Makkan professed unbelievers. Fo l lowingar e a f ew e x a mp l e so f Z a k i t w h i c h th e eur,an a d vo c at edat t his earl y p e ri o d . Acquis it ion of wea l th fo r i ts o w n s a k e o r s o th at i t may i n cre a s e t he wor t h o f i ts c o l l e c to r i s c o n d e mn ed. Mere a c q u i s i t i o n f w e a l t h c o u n t s n o t h i n g i n t h e s i g h to f c o d . l t o d o e s n ot giv e m an a n y m e ri t w h e th e r h e re o r i n the h e re a f t er . "Wh o gat her edr ic h e sa n d c o u n te d th e m o v e r th i nki ng th a t h is r ic heshav em a d eh i m i m m o rta l ." [ H u m a z aC I V : 2 - 3 J . , Th o s e " who am as s e d n d h o a rd e d " w e a l th i n th i s l i fe are a to b e c alled in t he here a fte rb y a fu rn a c e th a t' s c a th es ayaw th e scalp' [ M u' ar ij, L XX : 1 5 -1 8 ].W e a l th fo r i ts o w n sakei s a mo n g t he v ic es of m e n w h i c h c a n b e e ra d i c a te donl y by th e ki nd of belief and p ra c ti c e s h i c h Mu h a mma d taught. w [Ma 'a rij, LX X : 19- 27] . Ma n s hould ac qu i re w e a l th w i th th e i n te nti on of sp e n d i ng it on his ow n n e e d s , a n d th e n e e d s o f others. -29-
  • 33. 'My wealth!My wealth!' "Man, the Prophet tellsus,says: Haveyou anywealthexceptthat which you wearand tear, eat and coniu.e up, give as alms and thus preserve?" Wealthshould be spenton the needy(specially-if are they parents relatives), orphans or on and thosewho askowing to poverty, on the freeing of slaves etc. The following verses were among the earliest that were addressed the to Prophet. "As for the orphan, not opPress asfor the beggar, do him, scold him not." [Dhuha, x.lll: 9-10] Among the qualities that characterize true beliewr is a the luali-ty of giving the negdy and the outcast'as their right, a specifiJdpdrtion of his wealth. [Ma'irii, LXX:24- 251. th*r" is on the way to successin the hereafter a steep path that can be attempted only by one who performs the following deeds: "The freeingof a slave, givingfood upon a dayof hunger or to an orphJn near of kin or a needy man in misery" And then ,,b e c om e t hos e o b e l i e v e n dc o u n c i l e a c h th e rto be of wh a o ste adf as and c oun s e e a c ho th e r to b e me rc i fu l " ' t, l I B a l a dX C : 1 3 - 1 7 J . , Be si deshelping his fe l l o w m e n i n th i s w a y m a n shoul d also be truthful and honest with them and fulfil his p ro mi s es t o t hem . I M a ' a ri j , L XX : 3 2 -3 3 ] H q s h o ul d not i n f ri n g e upon r heir r i g h ts e s p e c i a l l y o s e o f l i fe IL X X X :8- th 9 'Th n d o f d e c e n c y . I M a ' i r i j , L X X : 2 9 - 3 1 ] ' 1 ,a a t - br ief ly , is th e me s s a g e w h i c h Mu hammad a d d re s s edt o his M akk a n a u d i e n c e . -30-
  • 34. Ot-{Tt dLot -ilir gJt iL'i ,r,r'Jr! .tr tt
  • 35. . . / .. . . - / :. -4iLj'-t,',: .:'.,.. r '-i |''' 7 ;L: Jt')t|:f 'j ' Jq -,+--,r-' !.|' j jF ''': I ;++ :i;.i . --i )- ff t ,"nkiX0 t?'-6F ' rd[ss )- r.t .':.''|..'..'''' t rv t.'tL;'',,:,i)1)l) !r^r^1r s , ris.rr - +! JIJalL

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