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What is Islam
 

What is Islam

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  • A book, which presents an entirely different perspective of Quran & Islam, titled 'Natural World Order & The Islamic Thought' is available at http://www.slideshare.net/mohammadshafiqkhan1/natural-world-order-the-islamic-thought which may be propagated to all your friends for comments.

    There book may be read with following clarifications.
    After the book was got printed the actual meaning of two verses of the Quran was conceived which could help a great deal in understanding the contents of the book and the Quran. The verses are :-
    2-1 “Alif lam Meem; There is absolutely no doubt in this book which will show right way to the believers.”
    For last 1400 years it was presumed by almost all scholars that the reference of the book which would show right way to the believers is to the Quran but it has the reference to the very well defined book of innate moral law which is inscribed on the souls of every human being. It was the philosopher Thomas Aquinas who first conceived philosophically that humans have innate moral law. Later Kant, one of the great philosophers, has thrashed out the book of innate moral law in humans.
    2-41 “ ....And believe in this book (Quran) which I have revealed to substantiate the books with you….”
    Almost all scholars believe that in this verse it is stated that the book (Quran) substantiates the previous books of Bible, Torah & Zabour. But how can Quran substantiate these books which were in the corrupted form at the time when Quran was revealed. Paul had corrupted the Bible by stating that Jesus Christ (May God Be Pleased With Him) has already suffered for the sins of the mankind. If this is accepted then Christians are logically free to commit sins which is against the essence of Quran and Islam. Actually the meaning of the verse is that the book (Quran) substantiates the book of innate moral law which is inscribed on the human souls. Thus Quran is a certificate and authentication of the book of innate moral law inscribed on the human souls. Now when we analyze the book of innate moral law; we could derive the social law, social-political structure and even the purpose of human life.
    The word energy used in the book has dual has dual meaning as at some places it has the usual meaning as understood in adopted physical sciences whereas at some places it has the meaning of the basic substance of soul, the substance responsible for the livingness in the living organisms including humans, matter and the substance wherein the information of actions of life time of the humans are stored.
    On the bases of contents of this book followings scientific papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
    1. Experimental & Theoretical Evidences of Fallacy of Space-time Concept and Actual State of Existence of the Physical Universe
    2. Foundation of Theory of Everything: Non-living Things & Living Things (Revised version on World Science Database, General Science Journal, Vixra and Academia.edu in my profile)
    3.Michelson-Morley Experiment: A Misconceived & Misinterpreted Experiment
    4. Energy Theory of Matter & Cosmology (Revised version on World Science Database, General Science Journal, Vixra and Academia.edu in my profile)
    5. 'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies' by Albert Einstein is Based on Trickeries (www.elixirjournal.org Feb.2012)
    6.Ultimate Proof of Energy Theory of Matter & Cosmology
    7. Theory of Origin & Phenomenon of Life
    (These publications are available at www.indjst.org (March 2012,oct 2010, oct 2011,Aug 2010) www.gsjournal.net, www.worldsci.org, viXra, Intellectual Archives & Academia.edu in my profile.)
    On the bases of above-mentioned papers an open challenge has been put forward to the adopted paradigm of physics because under Big Bang paradigm there is absolutely no possibility of existence of God for following reasons.
    1. Philosophically for existence; it has to be some substance (visible, invisible, perceivable or not perceivable) and this applies to God also. Substances occupy space but there is absolutely no space for God to exist at the time of Big Bang & before.
    2. Four things come out of Big Bang namely space, time, matter & light/radiation. We cannot look for eternal God in space & time as both had the beginning; secondly humans are in a position to produce all types of light/radiation and something which humans can produce could not be the God and since matter is made up of electrons, protons & neutrons these too could not be the God.
    Open challenge (which is standing till date despite the lapse of about two years) could be seen at http://www.worldsci.org/php/index.php?tab0=Abstracts&tab1=Display&id=6476&tab=2 and http://www.gsjournal.net/Science-Journals/Essays/View/4018
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
  • A book, which presents an entirely different perspective of Quran & Islam, titled 'Natural World Order & The Islamic Thought' is available at http://www.slideshare.net/mohammadshafiqkhan1/natural-world-order-the-islamic-thought which may be propagated to all your friends for comments.

    There book may be read with following clarifications.
    After the book was got printed the actual meaning of two verses of the Quran was conceived which could help a great deal in understanding the contents of the book and the Quran. The verses are :-
    2-1 “Alif lam Meem; There is absolutely no doubt in this book which will show right way to the believers.”
    For last 1400 years it was presumed by almost all scholars that the reference of the book which would show right way to the believers is to the Quran but it has the reference to the very well defined book of innate moral law which is inscribed on the souls of every human being. It was the philosopher Thomas Aquinas who first conceived philosophically that humans have innate moral law. Later Kant, one of the great philosophers, has thrashed out the book of innate moral law in humans.
    2-41 “ ....And believe in this book (Quran) which I have revealed to substantiate the books with you….”
    Almost all scholars believe that in this verse it is stated that the book (Quran) substantiates the previous books of Bible, Torah & Zabour. But how can Quran substantiate these books which were in the corrupted form at the time when Quran was revealed. Paul had corrupted the Bible by stating that Jesus Christ (May God Be Pleased With Him) has already suffered for the sins of the mankind. If this is accepted then Christians are logically free to commit sins which is against the essence of Quran and Islam. Actually the meaning of the verse is that the book (Quran) substantiates the book of innate moral law which is inscribed on the human souls. Thus Quran is a certificate and authentication of the book of innate moral law inscribed on the human souls. Now when we analyze the book of innate moral law; we could derive the social law, social-political structure and even the purpose of human life.
    The word energy used in the book has dual has dual meaning as at some places it has the usual meaning as understood in adopted physical sciences whereas at some places it has the meaning of the basic substance of soul, the substance responsible for the livingness in the living organisms including humans, matter and the substance wherein the information of actions of life time of the humans are stored.
    On the bases of contents of this book followings scientific papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
    1. Experimental & Theoretical Evidences of Fallacy of Space-time Concept and Actual State of Existence of the Physical Universe
    2. Foundation of Theory of Everything: Non-living Things & Living Things (Revised version on World Science Database, General Science Journal, Vixra and Academia.edu in my profile)
    3.Michelson-Morley Experiment: A Misconceived & Misinterpreted Experiment
    4. Energy Theory of Matter & Cosmology (Revised version on World Science Database, General Science Journal, Vixra and Academia.edu in my profile)
    5. 'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies' by Albert Einstein is Based on Trickeries (www.elixirjournal.org Feb.2012)
    6.Ultimate Proof of Energy Theory of Matter & Cosmology
    7. Theory of Origin & Phenomenon of Life
    (These publications are available at www.indjst.org (March 2012,oct 2010, oct 2011,Aug 2010) www.gsjournal.net, www.worldsci.org, viXra, Intellectual Archives & Academia.edu in my profile.)
    On the bases of above-mentioned papers an open challenge has been put forward to the adopted paradigm of physics because under Big Bang paradigm there is absolutely no possibility of existence of God for following reasons.
    1. Philosophically for existence; it has to be some substance (visible, invisible, perceivable or not perceivable) and this applies to God also. Substances occupy space but there is absolutely no space for God to exist at the time of Big Bang & before.
    2. Four things come out of Big Bang namely space, time, matter & light/radiation. We cannot look for eternal God in space & time as both had the beginning; secondly humans are in a position to produce all types of light/radiation and something which humans can produce could not be the God and since matter is made up of electrons, protons & neutrons these too could not be the God.
    Open challenge (which is standing till date despite the lapse of about two years) could be seen at http://www.worldsci.org/php/index.php?tab0=Abstracts&tab1=Display&id=6476&tab=2 and http://www.gsjournal.net/Science-Journals/Essays/View/4018
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    What is Islam What is Islam Document Transcript

    • m What is ? ? • o B J -'m1aal ~ I-D:n M. ,Zs:abo -0 ~ - ; - ~ .. - • I ''''- ......--' - _.'~ . ." .., - • l' • - -~---=£ ~ -
    • Whilt is Islam What By Jamaal al-Din Zaraboz,o Jamaal aI-Din M. Zarabozo Zarabozo ©2006, Jamaal aI-Din M. Zarabozo 02006, Jamaalal-Din
    • © Ministry ofIslamic Affairs & Endowments, 2007 @ *tintstry of Islamic Affairs Endowments, King Fahd National Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data F ahd N utional Lihr ary Cataloging-in-P ublicatio n D ata Zarabozo, Jamaal aI-Din Zarubozo, Jamaalal-Din What is Islam:: Abridged Version.! Jamaal aI-Din Zarabozo, What is Islam Abridged Version.l lamaal al-Din Zarabozo, - Riyadh, 2007 Riyadh, 2007 68 P ; 1 4 x 2 0 c m 6 8 P 14 20 em I S B N 9960 - 2 9 - 6 0 - ISBN:: 9 9 6 0- 29 - 6011- 6 1 - IIslam 1 slam Title 1 -Title 210 dc 210 de 1428/2295 1428i 2295 L.D. no. 1428I 2295 L.D. no. 1428/2295 ISBN 9960- 29 - 601- ISBN:: 9960 - 29 - 601 - 6 Ministry Islamic Affairs, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, of Endowments, Da'wah, and Guidance Da'wah, Guidance and Kingdom Saudi of Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia First Edition First Edition 1428 H - 2007 G 1428 - 2007
    • Preface Preface In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. All praisesare due to Allah; we praise Him; we seek His help; we All praises are due to Allah; we praise Him; we seek His help; we seek His forgiveness;and we seek His guidance.II bear witnessthat seek His forgiveness; and we seek His guidance. bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, for whom there is no there is none worthy of worship except Allah, for whom there is no partner. And II bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and partner. And bear witness Muhammad His servant Messenger. Messenger. I would like to take this opportunity to expresspraise and to I take opportunity express praise and thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to write an important work Allah for giving write work of this nature. May Allah forgive me for my shortcomings in of nature. Allah shortcomings presentingHis religion. I would also like to express my heartfelt presenting I also express heartfelt thanks to the noble Shaikh Muhammad al-Turki of the Ministry of thanks the noble Shaikh Muhammad of Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da'wah and Guidancefor his support.I Islamic Affairs, Endowments, and Guidance support. I would also like to expressmy thanks to Ahmad Ba-Rasheedfor his also express thanks Ba-Rasheed his continual efforts as well. Thesetwo devotedmen rvere instrumentalin continual efforts as These devoted men were instrumental producing this abridgement as as the original that this producingthis abridgement as well as the original work that this work thank is basedon. There are many people that I would like to thank for their based on. There are many people that help this particular First, must express thanks to help in this particular work. First, I must express my thanks to my beloved who is always a source assistance and help. Special beloved wife who is always a source of assistance and help. Special thanksmust also go to Dr. Abdulkarim al-Saeed, Nahar al-Rashid, thanks must also go to Dr. Abdulkarim aI-Saeed, Br. Nahar aI-Rashid, Br. Dr. Mohamrnad al-Osimi, Dr. Ahmad al-Teraiqi and Br. Jalaal Dr. Mohammad al-Osimi, Dr. Ahmad al-Teraiqi and Br. Jalaal Abdullah. can only pray that Allah rewardsthem and blesses Abdullah. I can only pray that Allah rewards them and blesses them them greatly. greatly. It should be noted that this work is an abridgement the It should be noted that this work is an abridgement of the author's Whatis Islam. Many details,furtherreferences additional and author's What is Islam. Many details, further references and additional quotes from authoritative sources have been deleted in this quotes from authoritative sources have been deleted in this reader interestedin additional referencesshould abridgement. Any reader interested in additional references should abridgement. versionof this work. I pray that Allah consult the original, unabridged version of this work. I pray that Allah consultthe original,unabridged acceptsthis work from me as being solely for His sake.As with all accepts this work from me as being solely for His sake. As with all such work, the responsibility for any mistakes lies with the author. II such work, the responsibility for any mistakes lies with the author' ask Allah to forgive me for my shortcomingsand to guide me to the ask Allah to forgive me for my shortcomings and to guide me to the Straight Path. StraightPath. Jamaal Zarubozo Jamaal Zarabozo Boulder, CO Boulder, CO Mayy15,20060 6 Ma 15,20 3 3
    • Introduction Introduction The Goal and Motivation for Writing this Book The Goal and Motivation Writing this This is a very important time for publishing clear and concise This is a very importanttime publishingclear and concise material about Islam. Today, for many reasons, Islam is often pictured material about Islam. Today, many reasons,Islam often pictured in a very unflattering manner in many parts of the world. Since many a very unflattering manner many parts of the Since many people are unfamiliar with Islam beyond what they see in the mass people are unfamiliar Islam beyond what they see the mass media, it is not surprising that such misrepresentations of Islam have media, is not surprisingthat such misrepresentations Islam have of influenced public opinion. The easiest and probably the most influenced public opinion. Th* easiest and probably the most productive cure for this situatIon is by reaching out to those people productive cure for this situation is reaching those people and allowing them to hear what Islam is truly all about. One must go and allowing them hear what Islam is about.One must beyond the hype and get to the true authentic teachings of the religion. beyond the hype and get the true authenticteachingsof the religion. The goal here is not The goal here is not to deal with the wrong information that deal the information that is spread about Islam. The goal here is simply to presentwhat Islam is spreadabout Islanr. The goal here is sirnply present Islam truly is, based on the original and universally recognized sources of is, based on the original and universally recognizedsourcesof Islam: The Quran-or, in other words, the book revealed from Allah Islam: The Quran-or, other words, the book revealedfrom (God) to the Prophet Muhammad (peaceand blessingsof (God) to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be be as the words and guidanceof the Prophethimself. upon him)-as well as the words and guidance of the Prophet himself. upon him)-as The Foundation and Sources of Islam The Foundation and Sources Before discussing Islam, it is important to understand Before discussing Islam, is important understand something about the basic sources of Islam. There are only two something about the basic sources Islam. There are authoritative sources of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah of the authoritative sources of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad 1 These two are the ultimate authorities in Islam ProphetMuhammadrThese are the ultimate authorities Islam because they constitute the revelation received by the Prophet (peace because they constitutethe revelationreceived the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from God. God inspired the and blessings be upon him) from God. God inspired the Prophet with both the Quran and the Sunnah. Hence, all beliefs and Prophet both the Quran and the Sunnah.Hence, beliefs and practices are subservient these foundations: if something is practices are subservient to these foundations: if something is them, may be accepted;if somethingcontradicts consistent with them, it may be accepted; if something contradicts consistent them, is unacceptable. them, it is unacceptable. The Quran is very different The Quran is very different from the Bible. The Quran does the Bible. The Quran does not consist of stories told by humans about different prophets,every not consist storiestold humansabout different prophets, every so often actually quoting a prophet. The Quran is actually the so often actually quoting a prophet. The Quran is actually the word of of God. was revealed the angel Gabriel, directly God. It was revealed by God, via the angel Gabriel, directly to the God, the ProphetMuhammad(peaceand blessings Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Tlre of be upon him). The tThe (peaceand blessings 1The statements and actions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) statements and actions the Proplret of be upon him) are known as his sunnah and hadith. Upon reading further about Islam, one will come are known as his sunnah and hadith. Upon reading further about Islam, one will conre acrossthese terms quite often. the sake of familiarity, and "statemeuts" across these teons quite often. For the sake of familiarity, "example" and "statements" the Prophet be most often usedthroughoutthis work. of the Prophet will be most often used throughout this work. 4
    • Prophetreceivedthe exactwording and passed on to his followers. Prophet received the exact wording and passed it followers. revelation, its exact wording, was memorized, recorded and This revelation,with its exact wording, was memorized,recordedand passed as is. Hence, again, God and God speaking the passedon as is. Hence,again,it is God and only God speakingin the Quran. There are no comments, passagesor quotes from humans Quran. There are comments, passages quotes humans whatsoever the Quran. whatsoeverin the Quran. The style of the Quran is therefore unique. It is Allah's style of the Quran therefore unique. It words to the heart, mind and soul of humans.In its original language words the heart, and soul of humans. language of Arabic, it is extremely moving and beautiful. (Today, the of extremely and beautiful. (Today, the of the Quran has been translated numerous languages. "meaning" of the Quran has been translatedinto numerouslanguages. However, none of these translations is ever considered the Quran. The is However, none of thesetranslations ever considered Quran.The the Quran is only the Arabic original. Hence, in the prayers and rituals, Quran the original. Hence, the prayers and rituals, only the true, original Arabic Quran is used.) the true, Quran used.) In addition to the Quran, there are the sayings and example addition the Quran, there are the sayings and example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessingsof Allah be upon of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of be upon him). The authority of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah is not The authority of the Sunnah of the Messengerof is because is some kind of demigod. He was a human being,just like because he is some he of demigod. was humanbeing, all of the other prophets. of the otherprophets. The prophet'sauthority is related to the issue The prophet's authorityis related the issue of submission to Allah: It is Allah in the Quran who establishes the of submission Allah: is the Quran establishes the of the Prophetis authority of the Prophet. Hence, following the way of the Prophet is authority of the Prophet.Hence, following the nothing but acting in obedience and submission to Allah. Allah has nothing acting obedienceand submissionto Allah. has virtually said such when He said, who obeys the Messenger virtually said such when He said, "He who obeys the Messenger has has have not sent indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent indeed obeyedAllah, but he who turns away, then you (O Muhammad)as a watcherover them" (4:80). you (0 Muhammad) as a watcher over them" (4:80). There is a very important relationship between the Quran and There is a very inrportantrelationshipbetweenthe Quran and the Quran is to be the Sunnah. The Sunnah demonstrates how the Quran is to be the Sunnah. The Sunnah demonstrates implemented. It is a practical explanation of what the Quran is implemented. is a practical explanation what the Quran is teaching.This complete,human embodiment the teachings the teaching. This complete, human embodiment of the teachings of the Quran is a great blessing and mercy for Muslims. It makes the Quran is a great blessing and mercy for Muslims. makes the guidance from God more complete and accessible to all. guidancefrom God more completeand accessible all. to Thus, the Quran and the Sunnah form one united unit that Thus, the Quran and the Sunnah form one united that offer all the principles guidancethat humankind need until the offer all the principles of guidance that humankind will need until the Day of Judgment. Day of Judgment. Therefore, any reliable book on Islam must be based on the Therefore,atry reliable book on Islam must be basedon the Quran I and the statements and guidance of the Prophet Muhammad Quranr and the statements and guidance the Prophet Muhammad ' I The reader should note how the verses of the Quran are referred to: soorah or the verses the Quran are refened to: sooralr The reader should note "chapter" number followed by versenumber,e.g.,2;l 6 would mcan the sixteenthverse "chapter" number followed by verse number, e.g., 2: 16 would mean the sixteenth verse of the second chapter. ofthe secondchapter. 5
    • (peace and blessingsof Allah be upou him). Although the original (peaceand blessings of be UpOll him). Although the original Arabic texts of both the Quran and the Prophet's sayings are Arabic texts of both the Quran and the Prophet's sayings are available, one has to resort to modest translationsto convey their available, one has resort modest translations convey their meanings to non-Arabic speakers. With respectto the Quran, two meanings non-Arabic speakers. respect the Quran, translations into English can be recontnlendedand will be used translationsinto English can be recommended and will used throughout this work. They are The Noble Quran: English throughout this work. They are The Noble Quran: Ertglish Translation of the Meanings and Contmentary, translated by Translatiort af the Meanings Commentary, translated Muharnmad and Muhammad Khan, an'J The Quran: Muhammad al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan, and The Quran: Arabic Text with Corresponding Englislz Meaning, translated by Text Covespottding English translated "Saheeh International." "S aheehInternational. " collections of the statements and actions of the As for collections of the statements and actions of the Prophet, two important collections are available in complete form in Prophet, important collections are available complete English. They are known as Sahih al-Bukhari (translated by English. are as Sahih (translated Muhammad Muhsin Khan) and Sahih Muslim (translatedby Abdul Muhammad Khan) and Sahih (translated Hamid Siddiqi). Hamid Siddiqi). The Intended Audience for This Work Intended Audience Work The work is addressed to anyone who is interestedin a basic The is addressed anyone interested basic introduction to the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam. introduction to the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam. Everything has been kept basic, but with the hope that the readerwill Everythinghas been kept basic,but the hope that the reader will be encouraged to study Islam in more depth. For the purposeof more be encouraged study Islam rnoredepth.For the purpose of more to in-depth study, many other importantbooks be recommended at in-depth study, many other important books will be recommended at the end of this book. the end this book. Before proceeding, one should also note the usage of the Before proceeding,one should also note the usage of the words and God. is the "personalname" of God, much words Allah and God. Allah is the "personal name" of God, much like Yahweh (later interpreted as Jehovah). Thus, Allah and God will be Yahweh (later interpretedas Jehovah).Thus, and God be used interchangeably. usedinterchangeably. 6
    • The Belief in God (Allah) The Belief in God (Allah) In reality, belief in Allah is the cornerstone the entire faith In reality, belief in Allah is the cornerstone of the entire faith of of Islam. All of the other Islamic beliefs and all Islamic practices of Islam. All of the other Islamic beliefs and all Islamic practices revolve around the proper belief in God. For this reason,perhaps revolve around the proper belief in God. For this reason, perhaps more than any other religious community in the world, the belief more than other religious community the world, belief about Islam has been explained great detail. aboutGod in Islam hasbeenexplainedin greatdetail. Know How Can One Know About God? God? The Islamic religion does not deny that humanshave been Islamic religion does deny that humans have been given by God great reasoning power and natural instincts- given great reasoning and natural instincts. Furthermore, Islam recognizesthat God has createdhumanswith an Furtherrnore, Islam recognizes that has created humans an innate ability to recognize and understand the truth that there is a innate recognize and understand the there Creator and a God. Most people, including the greatestthinkers, Creator and God. people, including the greatest thinkers, would never deny the various signs that point to the existenceof the never deny the various signs that the existence of the Creator. Hence, they wholeheartedly accept the notion of the Creator. Hence, they wholeheartedly accept the notion of the existence of God. What has led some people astray and has confused existenceof God. What has led somepeople astrayand has confused them is that they do not know about God properly and they do not them that they about properly and they have access to a true and preserved revelation from God. These have access true and preserved revelation God. These God, person also has sources of error show that beyondbelievingin God, a personalso has sourcesof error show that beyond believing to have the right information to know the truth about God. have the information the truth about God. However, God, the Creator, obviously, is a distinct and However, God, the Creator, obviously, is a distinct and being from His creation.Hence,God is not somethingwithin separate being from His creation. Hence, God is not something within separate the realm human experience,human thought human testing. the realm of human experience, human thought or human testing. Therefore, to the details about God and, particular, Therefore, to know the details about God and, in particular, to know God shouldbe, one can only turn to God what one's relationship with God should be, one can only tum to God what one's relationship There is no other possibleway. Himself and to His revelation. There is no other possible way. No one and to His revelation. one except God has that knowledge. exceptGod has that knowledge. The revelationfrom God as embodiedin the Quran and the The revelation from God as embodied in the Quran and the the Prophet Muhammad (peaceand blessings inspired words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of inspired words upon him) have thus provided a clear presentation Allah be upon him) have thus provided a clear presentation Allah be concerningGod. It removesall doubtsaboutHis existence, power His concerning God. It removes all doubts about His existence, His power His knowledge. It also answersall the questionssurroundinghow and His knowledge. It also answers all the questions surrounding how and one shouldbehavetoward the Almighty. In additionto that, by God's one should behave toward the Almighty. In addition to that, by God's mercy, God has provided extensive information about Hirnself, mercy, God has provided extensive information about Himself, through His namesand attributes,such that He does truly beconrethe through His names and attributes, such that He does truly become the beloved,the sole object of worship and the nrain inspirationfor one's beloved, the sole object of worship and the main inspiration for one's life. life. 7
    • Sole Sustainer of The Belief that God is the SoleCreator and Sustainerof all Creation Creation There one thing that definitively stands out when one reads There is one thing that definitively stands when one reads the Quran:Allah instructshumankindto ponderover the creationwith the Quran: instructs humankind ponder over the creation its magnificence. At no time the teachings of the Quran shy all its magnificence.At no time do the teachingsof the Quran shy away reflection and rational thought. Indeed, these foundations away from reflection and rational thought. Indeed, these foundations of knowledgehave been invoked over and over in the Quran as a path of knowledge have been invoked over and over the Quran as path that will lead one conclusion: There that will lead to only one conclusion: There is no way that this that this creation as one can witness and appreciate today creation as one can witness and appreciate it today could have have possibly come into being except through the intent and creation of possibly come into being exceptthrough the intent and creationof a great, and masterful creator. I great,divine and masterfulcreator.l In fact, in one verse, Allah has given a powerful argument fact, one verse, has given argument hundredsof years:"Were they that was convincing to humankind for hundreds of years: "Were they that was convincing humankind [that is, humans] created by nothing, or were they themselves the [that is, humans] created nothingo were they themselvesthe they createthe heavensand the earth?" (52:35-36). creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth?" (52:35-36). creators? The point of these verses has been clear to many, many people: The point of these verses has been clear to many, many people: Humans obviously did not come here by means of nothing nor did Humans obviously come here meansof nothing they create themselves. Hence, they are the result of the act of a they create themselves.Hence, they are the result of the act of Creator. Creator. In addition to the realization that this existence must have addition to the realizationthat this existencenust have had a creator, one can also notice the beauty and balance that exists had a creator,one can also notice the beauty and balancethat exists throughout the universe. The order is so precise that it is sometimes throughoutthe universe.The order is so precisethat is sometimes referred to as "the delicate balance of nature." It is truly amazing how referred as delicate balanceof nature." is amazing everything works together-even within one's own body. Without everything works together-even oue's own body. Without such cooperation between the different organs of the body, for such cooperation between the different organs the body, example, there would be no possibility example, there would be no possibility of sustaining life. This sustaining life. This observed phenomenon leads to a number of other important observed phenomenon leads to a number other important conclusions. conclusions. First, the order and cooperation between the various First, the order and cooperation between the various inanimate elements of the universe-which have not been trained or inanimate elenrents the universe-which have not been trained under the control and guidanceof taught-is a sign that they are still under the control and guidance of taught-is a sign that they are the creator. Their level of inter-working and cooperation is such that it the creator.Their level inter-workingand cooperation suchthatis t I Umar al-Ashqar provides another example: After finding the remnants of a city under finding the renrnants a city under Umar al-Ashqarprovidesanotherexample: desert sand, "Nobody among the archaeologists or others even suggested that this city desert sand, among the archaeologists others even suggestedthat this could have appeared as a result of the natural actions of the wind, rain, heat and cold, could have appearedas a result the natural actions the wind, rain, heat and cold, sucha thing, peoplewould have and not by the actions of man. If anyone had suggested such a thing, people would have and not by the actions man. anyonehad suggested regarded d h i m a scrazy."' Umar ral-Ashqar, rBeliefei f A l l a h i int h e LLight of the QlIrall and r e g a r d e him as $ a z y ; U n r a a l - A s h q a , B e l i in Allah n the i g h t o f t h e Q u r a n a n d n Sunnah (Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House, 2000), p. 125. Sunnah(Riyadh: lntemationalIslamic PublishingHouse,2000),p. 125. 8
    • points to their being all under the authority of one Being, who must points their being under the authority of one Being, must have both knowledge and complete power sustain and guide have both full knowledge and conrpletepower to sustainand guide them. If this were the case, chaos could be rationally them. If this were not the case, only chaos could be rationally expected, especially given the large number of atoms and other expected, especially given the large number of atoms and other particles that make everything that the universe. particles that make up everythingthat is in the universe. Second, this is a clear sign that the Creatorand Master of the Second,this is clear sign that the Creator and Master of the Universe one and only one-there cannot possibly be more than Universe is one and only one-there cannot possibly be more than one Creator of this balanced and unified universe. This follows from one Creatorof this balancedand unified universe.This follows from the previous point. If there were more than one creator, each having the previous point. If there were more than one creator,each having a and power, then be expected that the creationwould will and power, then it would not be expected that the creation have the unity, balance and equilibrium that currently exhibits. havethe unity, balanceand equilibriumthat it currentlyexhibits. Thus, the starting point that there is only one Creator, Thus, the starting that there is one Creator, Sustainer and Ultimate Power over this universeis something that is Sustainerand Ultimate Power over this universe is somethingthat is both natural in humans and concluded easily and logically. both natural humansand concludedeasilyand logically. Once that it is concluded that Allah is the only Creator and Once that is concludedthat is the Creatorand Sustainer of the universe, other important issues come up. In Sustainer of the universe, other important issues come up. particular, perhaps the most important question a person can ask particular, perhaps the most important question person can ask himself is: What should be my relationship with that one creator? This is: What shouldbe relationship that one creator?This leads directly into the next topic of Allah being the only one worthy leads directly into the next topic of being the one worthy and deserving of worship. and deserving worship. of The Belief that Allah Must Be the Only Object of Vorship Belief Be the Object Worship It is of extreme importance to realize that believing in the is of extreme importanceto realize that believing the existence of only one Creator and Sustainer is not all there is when it existence of one Creatorand Sustainer notis there is when comes to the Islamic concept of "belief in God." Actually, recognizing comesto the Islamic conceptof God." Actually, recognizing that fact is something that should be beyond question and clear to all that fact is somethingthat should be beyond questionand clear to as, again, it is something natural in human souls. The far more as, again, is something natural human souls. The far more important and subtler issue is what one then does concerning one's important and subtler issue is what one then does concerningone's belief in only one Creator and Sustainer. one Creatorand Sustainer. Perhapsa couple examples make this point clearer. Perhaps a couple of examples will make this point clearer. First, Allah's creation points to His greatness as well as His great First, creation points to His greatness as as His great knowledge. In general, a person's attitude toward that which they find knowledge. general,a person'sattitudetoward that which they find to be perfect, great and marvelous is usually one of awe, respect and to be perfect,great and marvelousis usually one awe, respectand honor. Furthermore, the greatness of the Creator cannot be compared honor. Furthermore,the greatness the Creator cannot be compared to the inability one who cannotcreate. this point, God says, to the inability of one who cannot create. On this point, God says, "Do On they attribute as partners to Allah those who created nothing but they they attribute as partners those creatednothing but they are created?"(7:l9l). God also says,"Can the One who themselves are created?" (7: 191). God also says, "Can the One who themselves you learn the creates and the one who cannot create be equal? Don't you learn the createsand the one who cannotcreatebe equal? lesson?"?(16: 17). ) . l e s s o n ("1 6 : 1 7 9
    • In addition, though, Allah is the source of all of one's addition, though, the source of of one's bounties and blessings.Indeed, He is the source of one's life and bounties and blessings. Indeed, the source of one's and everything that has been preparedin this creation for him. Thus, Allah everything has been prepared creation Thus, Allah saysin the Quran,"If you count the Blessingsof Allah, neverwill you says the Quran, "If count the Blessings of never will be able to count thetn" (la:34). Can humans actually bring about able count them" (14:34). Can humans actually about these bounties themselves without the aid and help of Allah? Allah thesebountiesfor themselves without the and help of Allah? 'Tell gives anotherexamplewhen He says,"Say (to the disbelievers), gives another example when says, the disbelievers), 'Tell me, if Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and sealedup me, if Allah away hearing and sight, and sealed your hearts,who is there -a god other than Allah-who could restore hearts, there -a other than Allah-who restore them you?' See variously explain the lessons, yet they turn them to you?' Seehow variouslyWe explain the lessons, they turn aside" (6:46). aside"(6:46). logical one then be disrespectful, neglectful and Is it logical for one then to be disrespectful, neglectful and arrogant towards the One and Only God? Indeed, cart the attifude arrogant towards the One and God? Indeed, can the attitude toward that One great and marvelous being who bestowed such toward that One great and marvelous being bestowed such bounties be anything humility, humbleness, gratefulness, bounties be anythingbut humility, humbleness, gratefulness, love and love and devotion? devotion? These two examples, of Allah's creative power and These examples, of creative power and knowledge and of Allah's solitarily bestowingof bounties,should be knowledgeand of solitarily bestowing of bounties, should be sufficient to demonstrate the point that Allah alone has the right to be sufficient demonstrate the that alone has the loved, honored and worshipped. This is a point that Allah makes loved, honored and worshipped. is a that makes numerous times in the Quran in various ways while speaking to those numeroustimes the Quran various ways speaking those recognizethat there could be one creatorand at the same who recognize that there could be only one creator and yet at the same time they ignore Him and worship false gods and false objects of time they ignore and worship false gods and false objects worship. Thus, example, says, "Say [to the polytheists], worship. Thus, for example, Allah says, "Say [to the polytheists], 'Whose is the earth and whososveris therein?If you know!'They 'Whose is the earth and whosoever is therein? If you know!' They 'Will you not then receive say, 'It is will say, 'It is Allah's!' Say [then to them], 'Will you not then receive Say [thento them], admonition?'" (23:84-85). admonition? (23:84-85). "' alone who has the knowledge Just as important, it is Allah alone who has the knowledge Just as important, is neededto provide guidance.The false objects worship cannot do needed to provide guidance. The false objects of worship cannot do says,"Say: 'Is there your (so-called) this in the least. Thus, Allah says, "Say: 'Is there of your (so-called) this in the least.Thus, 'It Who guidesto partners one that guides to the truth?' Say: 'It is Allah Who guides to partnersone that guidesto the truth?' Say: is the truth. Is then He, Who gives guidance to the truth, more worthy to the truth. Is then He, Who gives guidanceto the truth, more to he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he is be followed, or he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he is be followed, judge you?' guided? Then, what is the matter with you? How judge you?' And guided? Then, what is the matter with you? Certainly,conjecturecan most of them follow nothing but conjecture. Certainly, conjecture can most them follow nothing but conjecture. be of no avail againstthe truth. Surely, Allah is All-Aware of what be of no avail against the truth. Surely, Allah is All-Aware of what theyydo" (10:35-36). ). th e do" ( 10: 35- 36 100 1
    • From the above-and from numerous other arguments and From the above-and from numerous other argumentsand proofs scatteredthroughout the Quran-one should conclude that proofs scattered throughout the Quran-one should conclude that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah. Consequently, if there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah. Consequently, if there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah, it is rational for the there is nothing of worship except rational the individual to insist that he worships no one other than Allah. This is individual to insist that he worshipsno one other than Allah. This is actually the key message of all of Islam and the message that all of the acruallythe key message all of Islam and the message of that the prophetspreached. prophets preached. At this point, though, it is important to clarify the meaning of this point, though, is importantto clarify the meaning this term "worship" from an Islamic perspective. The word translated this term an Islamic perspective.The translated as "worship" here is the Quranic and Arabic term ibaadah. This term as here the Quranic and term ibaadah. term has very different connotations from the English word "worship." has different connotations the English The root of the word "worship" in English means "to honor" The root of the word "worship" English means honor" and, thus, can be further defined English as, performance and, thus, it can be further defined in English as, "the performance of devotional acts in honor of a deity.,,1 But, as Bilal Philips notes, devotionalacts honor of a deity."r But, as Philips notes, However, in the language of the final revelation, Arabic, However, the languageof the revelation,Arabic, worship is called 'ibqadah which is derivedfrom the worship is called 'ibaadah which is derived from the noun 'abd meaning noun 'abd meaning "a slave." A slave is one who is slave." slave is one is expected to do whatever his master wills. Consequently, expected do whateverhis masterwills. Consequently, worship accordingto the final revelationmeans"obedient worship according to the final revelation means "obedient submission to the will of God." This was the essence of submissionto the of God." This was the esseuce the message of all the prophets sent by God to the message the prophets sent God to humankind. For example,this understanding worship humankind. For example, this understanding of worship of was emphatically expressed by Prophet Jesus in the was emphatically expressed Prophet Jesus the Gospel accordingto Matthew, T:21, "None of thosewho Gospel according to Matthew, 7:21, "None of those who call me 'Lord' call me 'Lord' will enter the kingdom of God, but only enter the kingdom of God, only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.,,2 the one who doesthe Father heaven."2 Thus, this aspect of monotheism-the belief in Allah as the Thus, this aspectof monotheisnr-the as the only object of worship-goes well beyond the concept of worship as object of worship-goes beyond the concept of worship as understood many the West, particular. understood by many in the West, in particular. This aspect of Islamic monotheism comprises ritual acts of This aspect Islanric monotheismcomprisesritual acts of devotion as well as the feelings in the heart and the deeds of the devotion as as the feelings the heart and the deeds the physical body. The feelings the heart include putting physical body. The feelings in the heart include putting all of one's one's trust and reliance in Him alone, having utmost fear of Him alone, trust and reliance alone, having utmost fear of alone, having utmost hope in Him alone, having contentment with Him as having utmost hope alone, having contentment as God and Creator and so forth. and Creator and so forth. ' al Fatah, 1995),p. 40. eilal enitip s, ThePurpose of Creation (Sharjah, 1 Bilal Philips, The Purpose ofCreation (Sharjah, UAE: Dar al Fatah, 1995), p. 40. t Bilal Philips, The PUlpose, pp. 41-42. 2 Philips, ThePurpose,pp. 4l-42. 11l 1
    • In fact, there are two aspects in particular that must be fact, there are aspects particular that must be combined in the worship of Allah. AI-Saadi stated, combined the worship of Allah. Al-Saadi stated, The spirit and actuality of worship is by the realization of The and actuality of worship is the realization of love and submission to Allah. Complete love and full love and submission Complete love and submission to Allah is the reality of worship. If the act of submission the reality of worship. If the act of worship is missing both or one of those components, it is worship is missing both one of those components, is not truly an act of worship, for the reality of worship is an act of worship, the reality of worship is found submission and yielding to Allah. found in submission and yielding to Allah. And that will that only occur if there is complete and full love [for Allah] occur if there is complete and love [for which dominates all other expressions of love. 1 which dominates other expressions love.r all of From the above, it is clear that the belief in Allah as the only the above, is clear that the as the particular, there are a object of worship has many meanings to it. In particular, there are a object of worship has many meanings it. that must be solely "dedicated number of aspects of life that must be solely "dedicated to" Allah. number of aspectsof Without an understanding of this fact, one has failed to grasp the an understandingof this fact, one has failed grasp the reality of the statement, "There is none worthy of worship except of the statement, "There is none of worship except Allah." A brief explanation of these aspects should make this concept explanationof theseaspectsshould make this concept clearer. clearer. First, all ritual acts of worship must be directed solely to Allah First, acts of worship must be directed solely alone. Prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, alms and so forth must be done alone. Prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, alms and so forth must be done solely with the intent of pleasing Allah and as acts of worship towards solely the intent of pleasing and as acts of worship towards alone. Thus, example, if anyone prays anyone other than Him alone. Thus, for example, if anyone prays to anyone other than he is actually the principles of worshipping Allah, he is actually violating the principles of worshipping no one one other than Allah. other than Second, ultimate authority in life rests with Allah. In other Second, ultimate authority rests other words, one must submit oneself only to the commands and revelation words, one must submit oneself the commandsand revelation coming from Allah. He is the Creator and He has the right to lay down coming is the Creatorand has the legislation and laws for the guidance of humankind. Intentionally legislation and laws the guidance of humankind. Intentionally ignoring or arrogantly superseding the laws from God means that one ignoring arrogantly superseding laws the God meansthat one is not truly submitting to God and, thus, one is not taking Him as the is submitting God and, thus, one is taking as the only object of worship and submission. object of worship and submission. Third, one's loves, loyalties, likes and dislikes must be in Third, one's loves, loyalties, likes and dislikes must be accord with what Allah has revealed. This aspect flows from the heart accord has revealed. aspect the heart when it is truly filled with the belief in, love of and adoration for when is the love of and adoration Allah alone. This is a simple concept but it has far-reaching alone. is a simple concept has far-reaching implications. The completeness of faith requires that Allah is the most implications. The completeness faith requiresthat of the most I Quoted in Muhammad al-Hammad, Tauheed al-Uloohiyah (Dar ibn Khuzaima, 1414 I Muhammad al-Hamnrad,Tauheedal-Uloohiyafi Khuzaima,l4l4 Quoted A.H.), ,p.. 26. . A.H.) p 26 t2 12
    • beloved thing in one's heart-He is the beloved of soul. When this beloved thing in one's heart-He is the beloved of soul. When this fact permeatesthe human, he begins to love what his beloved loves fact permeates the human, he begins to love what his beloved loves and dislike what his beloveddislikes.Thus, if Allah is found to love and dislike what his beloved dislikes. Thus, if Allah is found to love something,the devoted worshipper and servant also loves that thing. something, devoted worshipper servant also Conversely, if Allah is found to detest something-although He has Conversely, if Allah detest something-although has created it and put it in this world as a test for humans and made it created it put it as test humans made it available to them-the devoted worshipper and servant will also available them-the devoted worshipper and servant will also detest detestthat thing. Although acceptingAllah as the only object of worship is the accepting Allah as the of the essentialaspect of true monotheism, is a conceptthat is not always essential aspectof true monotheism, it concept that always understood or practiced properly. This is a real loss for humans understood practiced properly. real loss humans becauseit is this aspectof monotheismthat is the key to a "real life", a because aspect of monotheism that the key sound and proper. life that is sound and proper. Ibn Taimiya wrote,wrote, You must know that a human's need for AllaF- that he must that human's need Allah- that he worship and associate any partner with Hirn--is worship Him and not associate any partner Him-is an incomparableneed unlike any other. In some ways, it an incomparable need any other. some ways, food and drink. resembles the need of the body for food and drink. resembles the need of the However, there are many differences between the two. However, there are many differences between the two. The reality of human being is his heart and soul. The reality of a human being is in his heart and soul. These cannot be prosperous except through [their These cannot be prosperous except through relation] Allah, conceming there is no other relation] with Allah, concerning whom there is no other anything other than god... If someone worships anything other than If someon€ worships if he loves and attains some love Allab--even if he loves it and attains some love in this Allalr-ven this world and some form of pleasure from that-[that false and some pleasure that{that false worship] destroythe person a greaterthan the worship] will destroy the person in a way greater than the harmful displeasure that comes to a person who took harmful displeasurethat comes to a person who took pOlson .... .r. . I poison enoughthat the belief in only Again, it cannot be emphasized enough that the belief in only Again, cannotbe emphasized the universeis not all there is to a proper one Creator and Sustainer of the universe is not all there is to a proper one Creator and Sustainer belief in God. Throughout history, it has been the case that some belief in God. Throughout history, it has been the case that some people stopped at this clear premise and thought that such was all people stopped at this clear premise and thought that such was all in God. Nothing could be further from the there was to the belief in God. Nothing could be further from the there was to the is definitely necessarybut it is not sufficient. That truth. That belief is definitely necessary but it is not sufficient. That truth. That belief belief must be followed up with the proper relations,emotionsof the belief must be followed up with the proper relations, emotions of the I Ahmad lbn Taimiya, Majmoo Fatawaa Shaikh al-Islaam ibn Taimiya (Collected by 1 Ahmad Ibn Taimiya, Majmoo Fatawaa Shaikh al-Islaam ibn Taimiya (Collected by Abdul Rahmaan Qaasim and his son Muhammad. No publication information given), Abdul Rahmaan Qaasim and his son Muhammad. No publication infonnation given), vol. I, pp. 24-29. vol. l, pp.24-29. 133 1
    • heart and acts with respect to Allah. It is by these acts that one truly heart and acts respect is these acts that one takes the Creator as his only "God," meaning his only object of takes the Creator as his "Cod," meaning object of extremelove, adorationand submission. so doing, he deniesthat extreme love, adoration and submission. In so doing, he denies that deserves be worshipped any way. Then, anyone other than Allah deserves to be worshipped in any way. Then, anyone other than and then, he will be fulfilling what and only then, he will be fulfilling what it truly means to believe in means believe God. God. sum, basedon the preceding:(1) the human should desire In sum, based on the preceding: (1) the human should desire greatness and perfection and the fact that to worship Allah due to His greatness and perfection and the fact that worship due He is the only Creator, Bestower and Sustainer; (2) Allah alone has is the Creator, Bestower and Sustainer; alone has these attributes just described and hence He alone deserves to be these attributes describedand hence He alone deservesto be worshipped; and (3) the human should refrain worshipped; and (3) the human should refrain from worshipping worshipping anything other than Allah in any shape or form. anything other than any shape form. There is one that needs be added There is one final but important point that needs to be added important at the end of these two sections: Since the signs for the true belief in at the end of these sections:Since the signs the true human nature, the physical surroundings, God are so strong (in human nature, in the physical surroundings, in are so strong the messagestaught the prophets throughout the ages) the messages taught by the prophets throughout the ages) it is is completely unacceptable rationally and religiously to worship anyone completely unacceptable rationally and religiously worship anyone other than God. Therefore, associating partners with God l or refusing other than God. Therefore,associatingpartners Godr refusing worship God is a sin whose enormity and arroganceis so great that to worship God is a sin whose enormity and arrogance is so great that if one dies such a state, not forgive that sin. if one dies in such a state, Allah will not forgive that sin. Allah has has clearly stated, forgives that partners should be set clearly stated, "Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up worship, He forgives except that (anything else) up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to pleases, and whoever sets up partners whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in (4:a8). worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin" (4:48). worship,he has indeedinventeda tremendous Belief in Allah's Names and Attributes Belief Namesand Attributes To truly be devoted to Allah and to love Allah above all else be devoted and love above else have knowledge about imaginable one needs to have knowledge about Allah that goes imaginable one needs that goes beyond the basic aspects of Him being the sole Creator and Sustainer. beyond the basic aspects of being the sole Creatorand Sustainer. grace and mercy, Through His revelation and by His grace and mercy, Allah has Through revelation and has revealed a great deal of information about Himself, such that any truth revealeda great deal of information about Himself, such that any truth seeker can know and worship his Lord based on accurate knowledge. seekercan and worship his based accurateknowledge. Muslims are blessed to find Allah's names and attributes Muslims are blessed to names and attributes mentioned throughout the Quran. For example, Allah says, "He is mentioned throughout the Quran. example, says, is rAssociating partners with Allah means coupling the worship of God with the worship Associating partners I Allah n^reanscouplingthe worship Cod theworslrip of idols, trees, animals, graves, heavenly bodies, natural powers, and so on. It also of idols, trees, animals, graves, heavenly bodies, natural powers, and so on. also means the acceptance individuals prophets as gods, the pretencethat means the acceptance of individuals or prophets as gods, or the pretence that Almighty of God has sons and daughters. See Tabbarah, p. 47. Cod has sons and daughters.SeeTabbarah,p. 47. 14 t4
    • Allah other than Whom there is none who has the right to be Allah other than Whom there is none who has the right to be worshipped, the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the worshipped, the King, the Holy, the Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creafures,the All-Mighty, the of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller,the Supreme.Glory be to Allah! (High is He) above all Compeller, the Supreme. above that they associate partnerswith Him. He is Allah, the Creator,the that they associate as partners as the Creator, the Inventor of all things,the Bestowerof forms. To Him belong the Best Inventor of things, the Bestower of forms. belong the Best Names. All that is in the heavens the earthglorify Him. And He is Names. All that the heavens and the earth and All-Mighty, All-Wise" (59:23-24). the All-Mighty, the All-Wise" (59:23-24). From the Quran and statementsof the Prophet (peace and the Quran and statements of the Prophet (peace and blessingsof Allah be upon him) one can learn the following about blessings of upon one can learn the about the Compassionate, Ever Mercifulr, Ever Allah: Allah is the Most Compassionate, Merciful!, Forgiving, Ever accepting of repentance, Ever Patient,Pardoningand Forgiving, Ever acceptingof repentance, Ever Patient, Pardoning and Loving. He is the Generous,the Magnanimous,the Bestower and the Generous, Magnanimous, the Bestower and the Clement. He respondsto those who call upon Him and He is the Clement. responds those call upon and is the Rescuer. is the Glorious,the Great,the deserver all Praise,Lord Rescuer. He the Glorious, the Great, the deserver of of Praise, of all creation,Master of the Day of Judgmentand the Judge of the of creation, Master of the of Judgment and the Judge of the Final reckoning. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the Final reckoning. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the All- is the Ever Strong, Ever Capable, Knowing and the All-Wise. He is the Ever Strong, Ever Capable, and the All-Wise. Almighty. He is the Self-Sufficient, free of any need and provider of Almighty. is the Self-Sufficient, free of any need and provider of is the Exalted and the Most High. He is the all sustenance. He is the Exalted and the Most High. He is the all sustenance. Watcher over affairs and the Protector. is administering the Watcher over all affairs and the Protector. He is administering the forbidding,being pleased, affairs of His creation, commanding, forbidding, being pleased, being affairs His creation,commanding, being angered, rewarding, punishing, giving, withholding, honoring, angered, rewarding, punishing, giving, withholding, honoring, debasing. He does whatever He wills. He is attributed with every debasing.He does whatever He wills. He is attributed every attribute of perfection and free of even the tiniest amount of attribute perfection and free even the tiniest amount irnperfection shortcoming.Greatly exalted and perfect is He above imperfection or shortcoming. Greatly exalted and perfect is He above all that they associate with Him. even an atom moves save His all that they associate with Him. Not even an atom moves save by His will and permission. and permission. Himself is a great This wonderful information about Allah Himself is a great This wonderful information about blessing for humankind. God Himself has revealed sufficient blessing for hurnankind. God Himself has revealed sufficient that humankind need not stray or be information about Himself that humankind need not stray or be information about confused. confused. On this point, though, there is somethingvery clear in the On this point, though, there is something very clear in the Quran: There is absolutely no hint of any trace of anthropomorphism Quran: There is absolutelyno hint of any traceof anthropomorphism I awareof Allah and of thesetwo of His namesin particular. I Muslims remain constantly aware of Allah and of these two of His names in particular. Muslims remainconstantly Before beginning virtually any act, a Muslim states,"ln the nanreof Allah, the Most Before beginning virtually any act, a Muslim states. "In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Ever Merciful." Compassionate, Ever Merci ful." the l5 15
    • in the Islamic beliefs about God. This is a point concerning which the Islamic beliefs about God. This is a point concerningwhich many earlier peoples have strayed. The Creator and the created are many earlier peoples have strayed. The Creator and the created are separate and distinct. The attributes of Allah are perfect attributes that separate and distinct. The attributesof are perfect attributesthat are becoming of holiness and greatness. are becoming of His holiness and greatness. Even when there is some Even when there some "common concept" between an attribute of Allah and an attribute of "common concept" between an attribute of and an attribute of humans, there is actually no similarity in the quality of the two. Thus, humans,there actually no similarity the quality of the two. Thus, says the Quran,"There is nothing like unto Allah Himself says in the Quran, "There is nothing like unto Him, and and is the All-Hearer, the All-Seeing" (42:ll). Here, there is a He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seeing" (42: 11). Here, there is a complete denial of anthropomorphism while at the same time complete denial of anthropomorphism at the same time affirming that Allah hears and sees. Muslims always realize Allah's affirming that hearsand sees.Muslims always realize perfection while never belittling Him by describing Him in perfection while never belittling describing unbecoming manners. God does not have human-like attributes nor do unbecoming manners. God doesnot have human-likeattributes nor do humans have Divine attributes. Any violation of this latter principle is humanshave Divine attributes. violation this latter principle is clear disbelief and associating of partners with Allah. cleardisbeliefand associating partners Allah. From the history of humankind, it can be argued that it is the history of humankind, can be argued that is natural for humans to worship. They want to have a god that they can natural humansto worship. They want have a god that they can worship and adore. They know that there must be something special worship and adore. They that there must be something special and great about that and great about that thing which they humble themselves to. they hurnble themselves to. However, so many of them put their hopes, trust, dreams and However, so many of them hopes, trust, dreams and aspirations in things that are simply not deserving of such respect or aspirations things that are sin-rply deserving of such respect worship-whether it be forces of nature, inanimate objects, other worship-whether be forces of nature, inanimeiteobjects, other humans, materialism, nations, race, whatever. They force themselves humans, materialism, nations, race, whatever. They force themselves to believe that these false objects of worship can bring about what believe that these false objects of worship can about they hope for and what they are dreaming of. In other words, they they hope and they are dreaming of. other words, they begin to give their false objects of worship the attributes of God. begin to give their false objects worship the attributes God. Instead of turning to God and knowing God by His attributes-and Instead of rurning God and God attributes-and then realizing that He is the One they are truly looking for-they turn then realizing that He is the One they are for-they to other objects of worship, love and adoration. Due to this, they stray to other objects of worship, love and adoration.Due this, they stray the straightpath and very far from the straight path and from their true God. true God. numerousplaces, speaksabout such gross errors. In numerous places, Allah speaks about such gross errors. The source of these errors is an incorrect belief about the attributes of The sourceof theseerrors is an incorrect aboutthe attributes of those that they turn to while ignoring the attributes that reside with those that they turn ignoring the attributes that reside Allah. example, says, "Say [O Muhammad mankind], Allah. For example, Allah says, "Say [0 Muhammad to mankind], 'How do you worship besides 'How do you worship besides Allah something which has no power somethingwhich has no power either to harm or to benefit you? But it is Allah Who is the All- either to harm to benefit you? is is the Hearer, All-Knower"' (5:76). Hearer, All-Knower'" (5:76). Allah also says, "And who is more also says, is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besidesAllah, such as astray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not not answer the Day of Resurrection, and are (even)unaware answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware 16 16
    • of their calls (invocations) them? when mankind are gathered of their calls (invocations) to them? And when mankind are gathered to (on the they (falsedeities) (on the Day of Resurrection), they (false deities) will become enemies Resurrection), becomeenemies deny their worshipping"(46:5-6). for them and will deny their worshipping" (46:5-6). them and In sum, if one truly knows the names and attributes of Allah, sum, if one knows the namesand attributesof one would never tum to worship anyone or anything but Him. None one would never turn to worship anyone anything but None of those false objects of worship are deserving of worship. By of those false objects of worship are deserving of worship. worshipping them and seeking them, humans are doing nothing but worshipping them and seeking them, humans are doing nothirrg debasing themselves. Worse of all, they are ignoring Allah, equating debasingthemselves. Worse all, they are ignoring equating partners wrath and preparing partners with Him, earning His wrath and preparing for themselves an earning themselvesan evil end. end. Summary Summary The proper belief in Allah is the essence and cornerstone of The proper the essence and cornerstone the Islamic faith. It is the key-the key to blessed life, the key to the Islamic faith. is the key-the blessed the proper proper living, the key to understanding reality, the key to happiness the understandingreality, the happiness and peace. When the person. truly knows Allah, he will recognize that and peace.When the person knows he will recognizethat it does not make any sense to worship anything other than Him. He does not make any senseto worship anything other than Him. will realize that this is what his soul has been created for and this is realize that this is what his soul has been created and this is what it has been seeking. Once he realizes the beauty of worshipping has been seeking.Once he realizesthe beauty of worshipping Allah alone, he will never desire or wish to worship anyone other than alone,he neverdesire wish to worship anyoneother than Him. His soul will be a rest and his heart will be tranquil. soul be a rest and his heart be tranquil. t7 17
    • Universe Humans The Universeand Humans of Universe How it Points Allah's The Creation of the Universe and How it Points to Allah's Existence Existence The universe is made up of various parts. There are the universe made of various parts. There are the galaxies and solar systems that are above earth. earth, there are galaxies and solar systemsthat are above earth. On earth, there are inanimate objects, such as the mountains, oceans and land. There inanimate objects, such as the mountains, oceansand land. There is also the animal kingdom with all its great varieties.There are aspects also the animal its great varieties. There are aspects of creation that humans are discovering and coming across today. of creation that humansare still discoveringand coming acrosstoday. All of these are actually part of the creative of God. All of these are actually part of the creative work of God. In the the Quran, it is clear that it was Allah Who createdthe heavensand the Quran, clear that was created the heavens and the earth. earth. In numerous verses of the Quran, Allah points to different numerous verses of the Quran, points different aspects of the creation and describes them as signs for those people aspectsof the creation and describesthem as signs those people who reflect. For example, Allah says, "Verily! In the creation of the reflect. example, says, the creationof the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and the heavensand the earth, and the alternationof and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, shipswhich sail throughthe sea that which of use mankind, and the water (rain) and the water (rain) which Allah sends down from the sky and makes sends the and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living) the earth alive therewith after its death, and the creatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein, and in the veering creaturesof kinds that has scatteredtherein, and the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are of winds and clouds are held betweenthe and the earth, are indeedsigns people understanding" (Z:ftfl. indeed signs for people of understanding" (2:164). In the hustle and bustle of today's world, many find little the hustle and bustle of today's many time to reflect upon this creation, their presence in this creation and time to reflect upon this creation,their presence this creationand any purposebehind all. However, is important that people take the any purpose behind it all. However, it is important that people take the time to reflect and think. When they do so, they will find signs and reflect and think. When they do so, they signs and lessons that will bring them straight back to God-a most important lessonsthat will them straight back God-a most important step in their lives. The signs are actually all around them, if they step in their lives. The signs are actually all around them, if they would only reflect upon them. Thus, God says, "We will show them would only reflect upon them. Thus, God says, show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes Signs in the universe,and their own selves,until becomes manifestto them that this is the trutlt" (41:53). manifest to them that this is the truth" (41 :53). Reflecting upon the intricacy and order of this creation Reflecting upon the intricacy and order this creation makes one realize that not only must there be a wise Creator but also makes one realize that must there be a wise Creator also that there must be some purpose behind this creation. It is that there nrust be some purpose behind this creation. is unimaginable that any being would make something with such unimaginable that any being would make something such precision and perfection and yet there would be no rhyme or reason to precision and perfection and yet there be no rhyme reasonto the whole creation. This is a point that Allah makes in numerous the whole creation. This is a point that Allah makes in numerous places in the Quran. For example,Allah says, "'We creatednot the places in the Quran. For example, Allah says, '''We created not the 18 l8
    • heavensand the earth and all that is betweenthem for a (mere)play" heavens and the earth and that between them (mere) ( 2 1: l 6 ) . (21: 16). The Quranic argumentis that it is not logically possibleto The Quranic argument that logically possible come any other conclusion. Indeed, if person believes come to any other conclusion.Indeed,if a personbelievesin God as God as the Creator, by definition it is unbecoming of such a noble and great the Creator, unbecoming of such noble and great Being to createall of this order and beauty and yet have no purpose Being create of this order and beauty and yet have purpose behind that creation. A person believes creator yet believes behind that creation.A personwho believesin a creatoryet believes that creator had purpose thought behind that this creator had no purpose or thought behind his creation is creation describinga creator that is childlike and unintelligent.It is hard to describing creator that childlike and unintelligent. hard believe that creator like that could possibly come believe that a creatorlike that could possiblycome up with a creation creation the one that everyone witnesses today. indeed, the creation like the one that everyone witnessestoday. No, indeed, the creation points to certain attributes of the Creator and it points to there being points certain attributesof the Creator and points there being an important and great purposebehind this entire creation. The whole an important and great purpose behind this entire creation.The whole nature of the existence points to the Creator being one of very special nature of the existencepoints the Creator being one of special character who would not create anything of this nature for fun or character create anything of this nature without reason. without reason. A second very important conclusion that one can derive by second important conclusion that one can derive simply pondering over this creation is that the one who created tlIis simply pondering over this creationis that the one who createdthis nothing can easily recreateit. If has the re-create from nothing can easily recreate it. If He has the ability to re-create things even after their demise, this also means that He has the ability things even after demise,this also meansthat has the to resurrect them and bring them all in front of Him. This thought, resuruect them and bring them all front This thought, obviously, has very ominous repercussions for humans and their obviously, has very ominous repercussions humans and their behavior in this world. Thus, Allah points out this fact and reminds behavior this world. Thus, points out this fact and reminds humans of its meaning throughout the Quran. humans its meaningthroughoutthe Quran. For For example, example, says, he fthe human] puts forth Us a parable,and Allah says, "And he [the human] puts forth for Us a parable, and creation.He says, 'Who give forgets his own creation. He says, 'Who will give life to these bones forgets his thesebones became dust?' Say (to them O when they have rotted away and became dust?' Say (to them 0 when they have rotted away and 'He Muhammad), 'He will give life to them Who created them for the first give to them Who created them for the hrst Muhammad), time! FIe is the of every creation! He, Who time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation! He, Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold, You kindle produces you fire out the greentree, when behold, kindle therewith. Is not He, Who created the heavens and the earth Able to therewith. Is not He. createdthe heavensand the earth to create the like of them? Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme createthe like them?Yes, indeed!He is the Supreme Creator." (36:78-83). Creator." (36:78-83). Thus, this creation is a clear sign-when added to the fact Thus, this creation is a clear sign-when added the fact that there must be a purpose behind this creation-of the that there must be a purpose behind this creation-of the Resurrection. The concept of the Resurrection is not something that Resurrection. The concept the Resurrection not somethingthat is violates nature but it is completely consistent with nature. violatesnaturebut is completelyconsistent nature. r9 19
    • In reality, the one who negatesthe resurrectionis expecting that Allah will treat the wrongdoerslike the pious people. This is an unbecomingexpectation Allah. Allah makesit clear that such will of never be the case,highlighting that such thoughts can only come from those who disbelievein God. Allah says, "And We creatednot the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the considerationof those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelievefrom the Fire! Shall We treat those who believe and do righteousgood deedslike the evildoers on earth?Or shall We treat the pious like the wicked?" (38:27-28). After so many signs in the creation and so many reminders and lessonsin the revelationone must ask: What will be the human's excuseif he does not respondin the proper manner to the evidenceall aroundhim? Humans and the Creation There is somethingdistinct and special about this creation known as humans.However, the original, physical creation of the first human was not greatly different from the creation of the other creaturesof this world. According to the Quran, the physical make-up of the first human, Adam, was from clay and water, two of the already created substancesof this cosmos. It is in the next stage of the creation of the first human, Adam, in which the real distinction occurred. At this point, hununs are made a very separateand unique creature,combining a physical aspectand a special spiritual aspect that God bestowed on them. In fact, this is what makes them very different from the other living creafures this sameplanet. on Among the most prominent distinguishing featuresof human beingsare the following: (1) A sound,natural dispositionthat is ready and capableto be directedto the belief in Allah alone as tlre object of worship; (2) An ability to comprehendand understandmattersvia the intelligence and mind that Allah hasbestowed humans; on (3) A free will to decidebetweenthe path of goodness the or path of evil, as well as a limited free will to enact that choice that he has made; (4) A responsibilityfor the choiceshe has made,which is a necessary resultof being given free will and ability; 20 20
    • These are addition the fact mentioned (5) These are all in addition to the fact mentioned in the the of the resources of the creation have been subjugated to of Quran that all of the resources the creationhave beensubjugated Quran that his use. use. Given all of these specialcharacteristics, human should Given of these special characteristics, the human should the realize that he has a special and noble purpose and goal in this life. realize that he has special and noble purpose and goal this creation of humans and the special characteristics that humans The creation of humans and the special characteristicsthat humans possess should make each human realizethat the Creatoris too wise possess should make each human realize that the Creator is too wise create sport. "Did and lofty to createhim simply for sport. "Did you think that We had and that had created any purpose), and that createdyou in play (without any purpose),and that you would not be be brought back Us?" (23:115). broughtbackto Us?" (23:I l5). Indeed, even more than that, the great Creator Indeed, even more than that, the great Creator who createdcreated all the creatures and the humans would not leave humans without the creatures and the humans leave humans guidance and without showing them what to do and what not to do- guidanceand showing them do and do- He has even guided animals to the means of their survival. Thus, has even guided animals the means of their survival. Thus, rhetorically, says,"Does man think that he rhetorically, Allah says, "Does man think that he will be left neglected be neglected [without being commanded and also punished or rewarded for the [without being commandedand also punished rewarded the (Allah) on himl?" (75:36). obligatory duties enjoined by his Lord (Allah) on him]?" (75:36). obligatorydutiesenjoined his Hence, the human should realize that his actions in this life Hence, the human should realize that actions this have a real ramification to them. In this sense, nothing that he does is have real ramification them. this sense, nothing that he doesis meaningless or without consequences. His life has purpose here and meaningless without consequences. has purposehere and the Creator is ever aware of every action, thought, intention and the Creator is ever aware every action, thought, intention and movement that he makes. movementthat he makes. the human realize this point, It is extremely important for the human to realize this point, is extremely important that he has a purpose in this life. Indeed, this realization may be the that he has a pu{pose this life. Indeed,this realizationmay be the first step along a change of life in which one turns to his Great and first step along a changeof which one turns to his Great and Wonderful Creator, to submit to Him willfully. Without realizing this Wonderful Creator,to submit to Without realizingthis fact, there may be no need, meaning or purpose to behaving in a fact, there may be no need, meaning purpose to behaving in a specific manner. If nothing truly matters and if nothing is morally specific manner. If nothing matters and if nothing is nrorally wrong or right, since there is no God or real purpose to existence, it is wrong right, sincethere is no God real purposoto existence, is behave in any fashion they wish. There expected that people will behave in any fashion they wish. There expectedthat people should be a great and profound effect when a person's eyes are open should be a great and profound effect when a person's eyes are open to the reality of this creation, his purpose and role in it. to the reality this creation, purposeand role in it. his This author has had personal experience working in prisons This author has had personalexperience working prisons in the United States. Upon asking numerous inmates why they the United States. Upon asking numerous inmates they committed their crimes, the response was invariably, "Why not?" The committedtheir crimes,the response was invariably, not?" The only question to them was whether they could get away with an act question to them was whether they could get away an act and not get caught. There was no question of any responsibility and not get caught. There was no question any responsibility towards a Creator or any sense purpose this life. Indeed, one towards a Creator or any sense of purpose in this life. Indeed, one 21l 2
    • cannot argue much against their way of thinking if one is foolish cannot argue against of if one enough to believe that this existence is purposelessand by mere enough believe existence purposeless and mere chance. chance. As opposedto the Islamic beliefs,somepeopletoday believe opposed the Islamic beliefs, some people today believe humans are descended from animals in some evolutionary that humansare simply descended animals some evolutionary sense.In this way of thinking, humans are doubly a processof mere sense. of humans are process of mere materialist elements as well as descended from animals, materialist elementsas well as being directly descended animals, apes the closest relative. the fact that there are many apes being the closest relative. Ignoring the fact that there are many "missing links" and scientific doubts raised against the theory of and scientific doubts raised against the theory of evolution, could this possibly be what this great and grandeurcosmos evolution, possibly be this great and grandeur cosmos is all about? Could humans, who have been given so many about? humans, have been so many capabilities above and beyond the animals, nothing more than capabilities above and beyond the animals, be nothing more than animalswithout any noble purposeor Creatorto answerto? In reality, animals any noble purpose Creator answer to? reality, can concluded that seems completely it can be concludedthat this view seemsto be completely illogical and and potentially very harmful. potentially harmful. Some people also believe that the human soul inherently Some people also believe that the human soul is inherently the contrary,the ProphetMuhammad (peaceand blessings of evil. On the contrary, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessingsof Allah be upon him) himself said, "Every child is born on the fitrah upon said, is the fitrah is his parents (the natural way, the religion of Islam). It is his parents who then (the natural way, the religion of Islam). then make him into a Jew, Christian or Magian."1 That is, far from the make Jew, Christian Magian."r That is, the being born inherently every is born upon the true child being born inherently evil, every child is born upon the true religion. is afterwards, the influence of society and religion. It is only afterwards, via the influence of family, society and environment, that an individual becomes influenced to environment, that an individual becomes influenced to follow paths paths that are not pure. that are pure. Many Christiansbelieve the concept the "original sin." Many Christians believe in the concept of the "original sin." This is the that the sin that Adam, the man, committed is This is the belief that the sin that Adam, the first man, committed is his progeny. Hence, is on the neck of every passed on through all of his progeny. Hence, it is on the neck of every passedon through all individual, even the newborn baby. The only way it could be individual, even the newborn baby. The could be removed-they claim-is God sending son as a sacrifice to removed-they claim-is by God sending His son as a sacrifice to remove this sin. This belief, especiallythe last part remove this sin. This belief, especially the last part of it, is obviously is obviously Islamic monotheism.God does not have completely inconsistent with Islamic monotheism. God does not have completely inconsistent a son. He has no equalsor anyonewho is in any fashion similar to a son. He has no equals or anyone who is in any fashion similar to or "related" to Him. "related" to is that Adam and Eve together did commit The Islamic belief is that Adam and Eve together did commit The Islamic a sin, by allowing themselves to be deceived by Satan. However, they a sin, allowing themselvesto be deceived Satan.However, they both repentedto God and God accepted their repentance. That was the both repented to God and God accepted their repentance. That was the t Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. 1 Recordedby al-Bukhari and Muslim. 22 22
    • that sin to be passedon to end of their sin. There was no means for that sin to be passed on to end of their sin. There was no means others. Furthermore, be the height of injustice the part of others. Furthermore, it would be the height of injustice on the part of Allah to hold innocent individuals responsible for the sins of others. to hold innocentindividuals responsible the sins of others. Thus, says, person earns any (sin) except against Thus, Allah says, "No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another" (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another" (6: :164). ) . (6 164 Therefore, from an Islamic perspective, the concept of the Therefore, an Islamic perspective,the concept of the original sin seemsclearly false and is also potentially harmful. gives original sin seems clearly false and is also potentially harmful. It gives a very wrong impression about God and His justice. It also taints the a impressionabout God and justice. also taints the human with the belief that his soul is inherently evil. human the that his soul is inherentlyevil. The Islamic concept of the soul is free from the errors of The Islamic concept of the soul is free the errors of previous thinkers and incorrectreligious beliefs. placesthe human previous thinkers and incorrect religious beliefs. It places the human in its proper role and is completely consistent with one's nature, logic its proper role and is completely consistent one's nature, and remainder of creation. and remainderof creation. The Nobility of Humans The Humans Humans are a creation of God. Humans are not divine in any Humans area creation of God. Humans are any way whatsoever. They do not share any divine qualities with God. whatsoever. They do not share any divine qualities God. This is true for humankind as a whole as well as for each individual true humankind as a whole as as each individual human. No human is a literal son or daughter of God. In fact, humans human. human is a literal son daughterof God. fact, humans slrould rcalize that they are not the greatest most magnificent of should realize that they are not the greatest or most magnificent of what Allah has created. Allah says, "The creation of the heavens and has created. says, creation of the heavensand the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind, yet most of the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind, yet most of mankind (40:57). should be humbling mankind know not" (40:57). It should be humbling for a human to a human reflect upon what a small speck in the mass of God's creation he truly reflect upon what a small speck the massof God's creation he is. the same time, though, as previously mentioned, is. At the same time, though, as previously mentioned, Allah has has rnany ways and given them virtues above and blessed mankind in many ways and given them virtues above and blessed mankind beyond much of Allah's creation. beyondmuch creation. different possible In reality, every human has two very different possible reality, every human has potentials awaiting him. This has been the case since the creation of potentials awaiting him. has been the case since the creation the first human. When Adam was created, the angels were ordered to the human. When was created,the angelswere ordered bow down to him. These angels are spiritual forces that are always These angels are spiritual forces that are always do good deeds. ready to be at the side of humans when they wish to do good deeds. ready to be at the side of humanswhen they wish At the same time, there was Satan 1 who vowed to be humankind's the same time, there was Satanl vowed be humankind's enemy and to mislead as many humans as possible. Thus, the enemy and to mislead as many humans as possible. Thus, the two ' Satan, 1 Satan, according to Islamic beliefs, was not a "faIlen angeL" Angels would never according to Islamic beliefs, was uot "fallen angel." Angels would never Satan. Such goes against the nature of the angels. "faIl" or become anything like Satan. Such goes against the very nature of the angels. "fall" become anything Satan is from another class of creatures known as the linn. Satan anotherclassofcreatures known as the Jinn. 23 23
    • potentialswere established.Humans are free to ascendto the highest potentials established. Humans are free ascend highest of heights descent to the lowest of lows. of heightsor to descent the lowestof lows. Indeed, the goal of life is to worship and pleaseAllah--thus, Indeed, the of and please Allah--thus, to receive His pleasurein return. To be a true servant of God is the receive pleasure return. true servant of the ultimate goal for humankind. There can be no greater goal. In fact, ultimate goal humankind. There can greater goal. fact, this is the only goal that can bring true solaceto the soul of humans the goal can true solace the soul of humans because this is the goal that is recognizeddeep within the person's because this the goal that recognized deep the person's soul. soul. Furthermore,the most exalted, noble, and honored a human Furthermore, the most exalted, noble, and honored human can be is by worshipping Allah. There is nothing greateror nobler can be worshipping Allah. There nothing greater nobler than that. That is the maximum potential. This is something that than that. the maximum potential. something that should be clear to every human. The more he moves to that goal, the should clear every human. more he moves that goal, the happier he should become and the more honor he should feel by happier he should become and the more honor he should feel submitting himself to the only true God and Lord. When he realizes submitting the true and When he realizes this fact, his efforts should be exertedto maximize this potential. fact, efforts should be exerted maximize this potential. Actually, when personrealizesthat he has one, clear Actually, when a person realizes that he has only one, clear goal, the effects upon his soul are profound. He need not chase after goal, the effects upon his soul are profound. need chaseafter an endlessaffay of goals, never being able satisfy achieveany of an endless array of goals, never being able to satisfy or achieve any of them completely. (lndeed, many times people's goals are them completely. (Indeed, many times people's goals are contradictory and they can never achieve all of them.) contradictory and they can neverachieveall them.) that although this is the ultimate pu{pose Note that although this is the ultimate purpose for humankind, is actually not need human worship. If so, humankind, Allah is actually not in need of human worship. If so, who then actually benefits from the worship of Allah? It is actually who then actually benefits from the worship Allah? is actually the human who chooses to worship who benefits from the act of the human chooses to worship who benefits the act worship. He has benefited by purifying his soul, bringing tranquility worship. He has benefited purifying his soul, bringing tranquility having the correct relationship to his heart and, most importantly, by having the correct relationship his heart and, most importantly, remindshumankind this point in numerousplaces with God. Allah reminds humankind of this point in numerous places God. o'Who receives guidance, in the Quran. For example, Allah says, "Who receives guidance, the Quran. For example, Allah says, receives for his own benefit: who goes astray does so to his own receives it for his own benefit: who goes astray does so to his own loss" "(17: 15).. l o s s ( 17:l5) Humans in Islam The Essential Equality of All Humans in Islam The EssentialEquality The teachings Islam are emphaticon a point that modern The teachings of Islam are emphatic on a point that modem societies are still trying to grapple with. This is the essential equality societiesare still trying to grapplewith. This is the essential equality of all humans. All humans are creatures of Allah and each and all humans. humans are creatures and each and everyone of them has the ability to soar to the greatestheights of everyone of them has the ability to soar to the greatest heights of being a human by worshipping and submitting to Allah. As such, being a human by worshipping and submitting to Allah. As such, there is no distinctionbetweenany of them as humans-it is only the there is no distinction between any of them as humans-it is only the distinguish them in the sight of choices that humans make that will distinguish them in the sight of choices that humans make that 24
    • Allah, the Law and other membersof the community. However, race, Allah, the Law and other members of the community. However, race, color or nationality have no role to play in this whatsoever. color or nationalityhaveno role to play in this whatsoever. Allah says,"O mankind! We have createdyou from a male Allah says, "0 mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may female, and made nations tribes, know one another.Verily, the most honorableof you with Allah is one another. the most honorable of that (believer) who has piety. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All- (believer) has piety. Verily, Allah All-Knowing, All- Aware" (a9:13). The Prophet(peaceand blessingsof Allah be upon (49: 13). Prophet (peace and blessings of upon him) madethat Quranicteachingmost explicit when he statedin front made that Quranic teaching most explicit when stated of one of the largest gatheringshe had ever assembled, people, of one of the largest gatherings he had ever assembled, "O people, "0 One and [original] father one. Certainly, verily your Lord is One and your [original] father is one. Certainly, there is no virtue in an Arab over a non-Arab or a non-Arab over an there an non-Arab non-Arab Arab. Similarly, there is no virtue in a light-skinnedperson over a Arab. Similarly, there virtue light-skinned person over dark-skinned person or a dark-skinned person over a light-skinned dark-skinned person dark-skinned person light-skinned person.Only by piety [doesone becomemore virtuous over another]. person. piety [does one become more virtuous over another]. Have indeed conveyed the message?,,1 Have I indeedconveyedto you the message?"' Instead of being causesof division among humankind, the Instead of being causes of division among humankind, the be signs of the greatnessof the variations in people are meant to be signs of the greatness of the variations people are meant Creator. says, among Signs is the creation Creator. Allah says, "And among His Signs is the creation of the the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and heavens and the earth, and the difference of languages and colors. that are indeed signs men of sound knowledge" colors. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge" (30:22). (30:22). Thus, the door to be a true worshipper of Allah is open to Thus, the door to be a true worshipper is open to regardless race,nationalityand so forth. fact, is only everyone, regardless of race, nationality and so forth. In fact, it is only everyone, Allah that one becomesdeserving honor and via such worship of Allah that one becomes deserving of honor and such worship virtues.This is a tenet Islam that dignity and one becomes full of virtues. This is a tenet of Islam that dignity and one becotnes has been practiced throughout its history. hasbeenpracticedthroughoutits history. humans covers both males and This essential equality of humans covers both males and This essentialequality what propagandaone may hear about Islam. females-regardless of what propaganda one may hear about Islam. females-regardless As a spiritualbeing and oue worthy worshippingAllah, there is no As a spiritual being and one worthy of worshipping Allah, there is no difference between a man and a woman. 2 Both of them are equal difference between a man and a *oman.t Both of them are equal before God. before God. Allah says, for exanrple,"Whoever works righteousness, Allah says, for example, "Whoever works righteousness, whethermale or female,rvhile he (or she) is a true believer verily, to whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer verily, to him (or her) We will give a good life, and We shallpay them certainly him (or her) We will give a good life, and We shall pay them certainly ' Recordedby Ahmad. 1 Recorded by Ahmad. 2 In 2 In fact, in Islamic belief, it was both Adam and Eve who committedthe original sin fact, in Islamic belief, it was both Adam and Eve who committed the original sin together, both repented to Allah and both were forgiven by Allah. together,both repentedto Allah and both were forgiven by Allah. 255 2
    • a reward proportion to the best a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do [i.e., what they used do [i.e., Paradise the Hereafter]"(16:97).The meaningfound this verseis Paradise in the Hereafter]" (16:97). The meaning found in this verse is repeated otherplaces the Quran. repeated in other places in the Quran. It is well-known that Islam gave women many rights that is that Islam gave women many rights that women did not achieve the West until recently,such as the right women did not achieve in the West until recently, such as the right to property and handle own property and handle their own business affairs. However, there businessaffairs. However, there are actually much more important issues.Every ideology, religion are actually much more important issues. Every ideology, religion or culture values some matters above and beyond others. The most culture values some matters above and beyond others. The most important Islam is important quality in Islam is piety and dutifulness to Allah. Perhaps and dutifulness Perhaps the secondmost valued quality Islam is knowledgeof the religion. the second most valued quality in Islam is knowledge of the religion. On both of these issues, women are completely equal to men. both of these issues, women are completely equal men. Throughout the history of Islam, women have been known and Throughout the history of Islam, women have been and respected for their piety and their knowledge. On the other hand, respected their and their knowledge. On the other hand, Islam doesnot say that a person'svalue is measured Islam does not say that a person's value is measured by how beautiful beautiful one's face is, how sexy one's body can be, how fast one can run in one's face is, sexy one's body can be, how fast one can run sports, how well one can sing, dance or act. These are ludicrous sports, one can sing, dance act. These are ludicrous criteria of a person's criteria of a person's worth from the Islamic perspective-although it the Islamic seems be much of what "modorn civilization" caresabout. sunl seems to be much of what "'modern civilization" cares about. In sum, according the things that have the greatestvalue this life-piety according to the things that have the greatest value in this life-piety and religious knowledge-women are exactly equal to men and this is and religious knowledge-women are exactly equal men and this is the most importantstatement equalitygiven the Islamic criteria. the most important statement of equality given the Islamic criteria. 26 26
    • Religion Religion Now that the creation and humans have been discussed Now that the creation and humans have been discussedin detail, discuss the need itself. addition, the detail, it is time to discussthe need for religion itself. In addition, the basis religion be accepted will also be discussed. basison which a religion is to be accepted will also be discussed. Need Religion Human's Need for Religion The world has entered into a very materialistic stage. It has entered materialistic stage. seemedthat sciencehad conquerednafure and there was no need for seemed that science had conquered nature and there was need religion, myths and superstitions earlier times. However, religion religion, myths and superstitions of earlier times. However, religion of has not gone away. Not only has religion not gone away but in recent has gone away. has gone away recent times there has been a resurgence religion throughoutthe world. times there has been resurgence in religion throughout the From the texts of the Quran and Sunnah, it is clear that the texts of the Quran and Sunnah, clear that "religion" is something natural in humans. Allah created humans with "religion" somethingnatural humans. createdhumans a natural disposition that longs to know God and worship Him. naturaldisposition that longs God and worship The Prophet(peaceand blessings of The Prophet (peace and blessings Allah be upon him) also of be upon also said, commandedme that should teach said, "Behold, my Lord commanded me that I should teach you that that which you do not know and which He has taught me today ... [God which do not and which has taught me today... [God has stated] 'I have createdMy servants having natural inclination has stated] '1 have created My servants all having a natural inclination to the worship of Allah. But the devils come to them and tum them the worship of the devils come them and turn them away from their [true] religion. And he makes unlawful what I away [true] religion. he makes declared them and he commandsthem ascribe partners declared lawful for them and he commands them to ascribe partners with Me for which no authority has been sent down. ",1 which no authorityhasbeensentdown."'r This quote clarifies that there are evil forces that may try to quote clarifies that there are forces that may they can hide, conceal or distort this natural inclination in humans but they can hide, conceal distort this naturalinclination humans never truly what is so deeply rooted a person's soul. never truly kill what is so deeply rooted in a person's soul. Furthermore, if they can kill this natural tendency some humans, Furthermore, if they can kill this natural tendency in some humans, humans.Hence, at least some they will not be able to kill it in all humans. Hence, at least some they will not be able to always recognizeGod and that humans, if not the majority, will always recognize God and that with humans,if not the majority, set beliefs and practicesrelated to God. God comes a religion-a set of beliefs and practices related to God. God comes a religio Thus, is coincidence that every people have had Thus, it is not by coincidence that virtually every people have had some form religion and someconcrete in the Ultimate Being some form of religion and some concrete belief in the Ultimate Being or God. God. neverbe able to deny What the materialists of this world will never be able to deny What the materialists this world is that humans are made up of a physical componentas is that humans are made up of a physical component as well as a non- as a non- physical component, called the soul or spiritual side of humans. physical component, called the soul spirifual side humans. Materialists-and material comforts-can only touch upon the Materialists-and material comforts-can touch upon the physical side of a human. They can do nothing to assist the vast physical side a human. They can do nothing to assist the vast I Recorded by Muslim. I Recorded Muslim. by 27 27
    • spiritual side of humans, leaving a great void in the psyche of a spiritual side of humans, leaving great the psyche of human. When humans experience this vacuum, they realize that human. humans experience this vacuum, realize that something wrong. They seek something fill this void. Although somethingis wrong. They seeksomethingto fill this void. Although they more material things different types of material they may turn to more material things or different types of material things (alcoholism,drugs),suchthings will nevertruly fill that void in things (alcoholism, drugs), such things will never that their lives. their lives. If they can get above all of the materialisticpropaganda If they can get above of the materialistic propaganda around them today, they realize that it is God and religion that is around them today, they realize that and that missing from their lives and from their hearts. missingfrom their lives and from their hearts. famed Islamic scholar Taimiyyah once wrote, The famed Islamic scholarIbn Taimiyyah once wrote, The heart can become sound, achieve success, take The heart can only becomesound,achievesuccess, take pleasure, be satisfied, experience enjoyment, become pleasure, be satisfied, experience enjoyment, become pleased, attain serenity and calmness through the pleased, attain serenity and calmness through the 'ibaadah 'ibaadah [worship] of its Lord, having love of Him and [worship] of having love of and turning repentance). were turning to Him (in repentance). Even if it were to attain Even if attain every type of pleasurefrom creation, it will not acquire every type of pleasure creation, will acquire serenity and tranquility. This is because the heart serenity and tranquility. This is because the heart possesses an intrinsic need for its Lord, since He is its possesses intrinsic need an its Lord, since is its deity, love and pursuit and with Allah the heart achieves deify, Iove and pursuit and the heart aclrieves joy, pleasure, delight, amenity, serenity and tranquility.l pleasure, delight,amenity,serenityand tranquility.t verses of the Ibn Taimiyyah's statement is supported by verses of the lbn Taimiyyah's statementis supported says, "Those who believe, and whose Quran. For example, Allah says, "Those who believe, and whose Quran. For example, hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, verily, in the hearts rest the remembrance of the remembrance do heartsfind rest" (13:28). remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest" (13:28). Allah also says, also says, "O you believe! Answer and (His) Messengerwhen he "0 you who believe! Answer Allah and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which give you (8:2a). is the real life- calls you to that which will give you life" (8:24). It is the real life- the only life that is worthy of living-that Allah and His Messenger the that is worthy living-that and Messenger are calling each and every individual to. It is the real life and salvation are calling eachand every individual to. is the real and salvation the heart as frees being enslaved desires, lusts, for the heart as it frees it from being enslaved to desires, lusts, the mind and rescues superstitions and myths. It is the real life for the mind and it rescues it superstitionsand myths. is the real from ignorance, doubt and confusion. It is the real life for the human ignorance,doubt and confusion. is the real the human from servitudeand slavery other humansand himself as it frees him from servitude and slavery to other humans and as frees ideologies. frees to worship and serve alone,the ultimate ideologies. It frees him to worship and serve Allah alone, the ultimate goal that his own recognizes and yearnsfor. This is the source goal that his own self recognizes and yearns for. This is the source of which he has been created. his honor and dignity, the purpose for which he has been created. In his honor and dignity, the purpose 1 1 [Ahmad ibn Taimiyyah,] Ibn Taymiyyah's Essay on Sen'itude (Bimlingham, United lAhmad ibn Taimiyyah,l lbn Taymiyyah's Essayon Senitude (Birnringham, United Publishingand Distribution,1999),p. l2l. Kingdom: al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999), p. 121. Kingdom: al-Hidaayah 28 28
    • the end, it is the real life of eternal bliss and happiness, in Paradise, the end, is the real life eternalbliss and happiness, Paradise, being pleased with the Lord and the Lord being pleased with the being pleased the and the being pleased the servant. servant. The Tests of a True Religion Tests a Religion Mere reflection on the history of humans demonstrates that Mere reflection the history of humans demonstrates that humans have a desire to have religion. Yet there are many religions humanshave a desireto have religion. there are many religions and each is presenting itself as the "true religion" that will bring and each is presenting as the "true religion" that bring solace to the individual. Thus, in this section, the author would like to solaceto the individual.Thus, this section,the author like to present what he feels are the four tests by which one may distinguish presentwhat he feels are the tests one may distinguish the true religion. the true religion. The first test is that the religion must have God as its original The test is that the religion must have as its original source. As stated earlier, no one can know the details about God source. stated earlier, no one can the details about God except God. Most importantly, no one knows how He should be except God. importantly, no one knows how He should be worshipped except Him. Although humans are able to come to many worshippedexcept Although humansare able to come to many sound conclusions about God, no human could logically claim that he soundconclusions aboutGod, no human could logically claim that he has somehoW-independent of revelation from God-discovered the has somehow-independent of revelation God-discovered the way which God shouldbe worshipped.Thus, if the ultimategoal way in which God should be worshipped. Thus, if the ultimate goal in please and worship God as He should be one's heart is to truly please and worship God as He should be one's heart is to worshipped, then one has no alternative but to tum to Him for worshipped, then one has no alternative turn guidance and direction. guidanceand direction. premise, any man-madereligion Thus, based on this first premise, any man-made religion is Thus, based on this not a logical alternative. No matter how hard humans may try, they a logical alternative. matter hard humans may they cannot authoritatively speak about how God is supposed to be cannot authoritatively speak about God is supposed to be worshipped. worshipped. mean that one time God played a role This test does not mean that one time God played a role in This test does the formation of the religion. No, this test means that the entire scope the formation of the religion. this test meansthat the entire scope of the religious teachings come from God. There are some religions the religious teachingscome from God. There are some religions that may have originated from God but, afterwards, their adherents that may have originated God but, afterwards, adherents felt free to rely upon human reasoning to adjust, modify or alter the free upon human reasoning adjust, alter the the process,they have actually created new religion, religion. In the process, they have actually created a new religion, religion. different from that which God had revealed. This, once again, different that God had revealed. This, once again, completely defeats the purpose. What God revealed does not need any completelydefeatsthe purpose. What God revealeddoesnot needany improvement or changes from humankind. Any such change or improvement changes humankind. such change alteration means a deviation away from what God revealed. Thus, any alterationmeansa deviation away what revealed.Thus, any change or alteration will only take humankind away from the true and change alteration take humankind away the true and proper way of worshipping God. proper way worshippingGod. Thus, the first test states that the religion originates with Thus, the first test states that the religion originates God. However, this is not sufficient. The second test is that the God. However, this is not sufficient. The second test is that the 29 29
    • teachingsfrom God must be preservedin their original form. The teachings from God must be preserved in their original form. The logic behind this point should be obvious. If the original revelation logic behind this point should be obvious. If the original revelation came from God but was then later tamperedand distortedby humans, came from God but was then later tampered and distorted by humans, One now has a mixture of God's religion and human interpolation. one has mixture of God's religion and human interpolation. This is no longer God's pure religion. Although this may seemlike an longer pure religion. Although seem obvious premise,it is amazingto seemany peoplewho have not even obvious premise, amazing see many people have even consideredthis point blindly following scripturesor teachingsthat considered this scriptures teachings that cannot historically authenticated. cannotbe historicallyauthenticated. The third test is that the religion is not abrogated or test abrogated superseded a later forrn of the religion. In other words, God may superseded by form of the religion. other words, reveal more than one revelation or send more than one prophet, with reveal more than one revelation send more than one prophet, with the latter repealing or superseding the earlier. Under such the latter repealing superseding the earlier. Under such circumstances, one is truly submittingto God, one doesnot have the circumstances, if one if submitting God, one does have the right to choose to follow an abrogatedteaching and neglect the choose an abrogated teaching and neglect the teaching that God is now demanding to be followed. Again, this teaching that God demanding be followed. Again, this would violate the principle of submittingto God and would arrogate violate the principle of submitting God and arrogate the individual the choosewhat he instead to the individual the right to choose what he willed to follow instead of what Allah has decreed. of what has decreed. above three test are straightforwardand obvious. this The above three test are straightforward and obvious. In this author's opinion, though, there is also a fourth parameter.The fourth author's opinion, though, there is also a fourth parameter. The fourth the religion have to be something test is that the basic beliefs of the religion have to be something test is that the basic beliefs human nature. fathomable by humans and not repugnant to human nature. It is fathomable humans and not repugnant is inconceivablethat the same God who createdsuch order and gave inconceivable that the same God who created such order and gave to understand and derive lessons from what is humans the ability to understand and derive lessons from what is hunrans the around them then ask them to believe matters that are around them would then ask them to believe in matters that are cornpletelyunfathomable them and inconsistent to what the soul completely unfathomable to them and inconsistent with what the soul can accept as truth. can acceptas truth. Islam in the Light of These Tests Islam the TheseTests is not possiblehere to conrpare Due to space limitations, it is not possible here to compare Due to spacelimitations, differentreligionsand how they fare with respect thesetests.'Here, different religions and how they fare with respect to these tests. I Here, to only Islam will be discussed. only Islam be discussed. The first test is that the religion must have its original source The first test is that the religion must have its original source with God. Again, this means that the beliefs and teachingsof the with God. Again, this means that the beliefs and teachings of the religion must originatewith God, without any claim that humanshave religion must originate with God, without any claim that humans have a right to changeor alter them in any way. In Islam, as opposedto a right to change or alter them in any way. In Islam, as opposed to Every scholar,no matter many other religions, there is no priesthood. Every scholar, no matter many other religions,there is no priesthood. I In the unabridged version, Islam is compared with Judaism and Christianity. 1 In the unabridgedversion,Islam is compared with Judaism and Christianity. 300 3
    • how great,is simply a human who is prone to error. Hence,any ruling how great, is simply a human who is prone to error. Hence, any ruling made by anyone must be judged in the light of the revelation from made by anyone must be judged in the light of the revelation from God. The Quran and Sunnahhave remainedthe ultimate authority, no God. The Quran and Sunnah have remained the ultimate authority, no one having the right to violate thern. This is an agreedupon principle one having the right to violate them. This is an agreed upon principle in lslan'r.The Muslim scholars understoodthat the religion is God's in Islam. The Muslim scholars understood that the religion is God's religion and it is the role of humatrsto convey faithfully and attempt religion and it is the role of humans to convey faithfully and attempt to understand-but never to distort or alter. to understand-but never to distort or alter. second test discussed earlierhas to do with the historical The secondtest discussed earlier has with historical preservationof the revelationfrom God. This is essential order to preservation of the revelation God. essential in order verify that one is acceptingthe truth. The history of Islam presentsa verify accepting truth. of presents different scenariothan that of Judaismand Christianity.The Prophet different scenario than that of Judaism and Christianity. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) lived just Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah just over 1400 years ago. He is definitely the most "historical" of the over 1400 years ago. definitely the most "historical" of the various prophets. various prophets. Both the Quran and the statements the Prophet (peaceand the Quran and the statements of the Prophet (peace and of blessings of of be upon were preserved with meticulouscare. blessings Allah be upon him) were preserved meticulous care. The Quran, which is not a large book, was preservedin memory as The Quran, large book, was preserved memory as as the of the ProphetMuhammad himself. well as written form from the time of the Prophet Muhammad himself. of the Companions of the Prophet had memorized the entire Many of the Companions of the Prophet had memorized the entire Quran and, fearing what had happened to earlier religious Quran and, fearing what had happened to earlier religious steps protect any form communities, they took the necessary steps to protect it from any form communities,they the necessary of adulteration. Soon after the death of the Prophet (peace and adulteration. Soon after the death the Prophet (peace and be upon him), the Quran was all compiledtogether blessings of Allah be upon him), the Quran was all compiled together blessings and shortly afterwardsofficial copieswere sentto the distantlandsto and shortly afterwards official copies were sent to the distant lands to ensure that the text was pure. To this day, one can travel to any part of ensurethat the text was pure. this day, one can travel to any part the world and pick up a copy Quran and find that it is the same the and up a copy Quran and find that is the same throughout the world. throughoutthe world. Beyond the Quran, the statements the Prophet(peaceand Beyond the Quran, the statements of the Prophet (peace and of him) were also preservedwith great blessings of Allah be upon him) were also preserved with great blessings of Allah be upon diligence.They were recorded,studiedand passedon carefully fronr diligence. They were recorded, studied and passed on carefully from the earliestyears of Islam. Even the languageof the Quran and the the earliest years of Islam. Even the language of the Quran and the languageof the Prophet has been preserved.Such cannot be said for language of the Prophet has been preserved. Such cannot be said for whoseHebrew and Aramaic earlier prophets such as Moses and Jesus, whose Hebrew and Aramaic earlierprophetssuchas Mosesand Jesus, no longer exist. no longerexist. Thus, the revelation from God as received by the Prophet Thus, the revelation from God as received by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessingsof Allah be upon him) has been Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has been preserved tact and is availableto the truthseeker in today. preserved in tact and is available to the truthseeker today. 31l 3
    • The third test was related to the revelation not being The test was related the revelation being superseded or abrogated. The point is that if it can be shown that God superseded abrogated. The that if can be shown that is now demanding that a new message is to be followed, then, if one is demandingthat a new message to be followed, then, if one is truthful to God, one has no choice but to follow the new message. God, one has choice the new message. This point will be discussed in more detail when discussing the will be discussed more detail when discussing the concept of prophethood, as the Prophet Muhammad explicitly claimed conceptof prophethood,as the ProphetMuhammad claimed to be the final prophet. be the prophet. The last parameter offered by this author has to do with The last parameter offered this author has do whether the belief can be fathomed. Earlier in this work, brief whether the can be fathomed. Earlier this refutations were made for materialists and Darwinians. Their claims refutations were made materialistsand Darwinians. claims are simply untenable. Similarly, the Christian belief about the Trinity are untenable.Similarly, the Christian about the is something that they themselves fought over for years and had something that they themselves fought over years and had council after council to try to determine what it truly meant. Some council after council determine what meant. Some have simply declared it a "mystery." Religion should not be simply have declared "mystery." Religion should be "faith-based"-a leap of faith, as such. Actually, it should be first as "faith-bassd't-4 leap of faith, as such. Actually, should be first as well "knowledge-based," so that both the heart and the mind find "knowledge-based,"so that both the heart and the solace in it and submit to it with a firm resolution. Such is the case solace and submit a resolution. Such is the case with the Islamic beliefs, such as the beliefs about God, which are the Islamic beliefs, such as the beliefs about God, which are completely consistent with human nature, logic and reality. completelyconsistent humannafure,logic and reality. 32 32
    • Prophethood Prophethood Jews and Christians are familiar with the concept of Jews and Christians are familiar with the concept of prophethood. Indeed, the Muslim claim is that the Prophet prophethood. Indeed, the Muslim claim is that the Prophet Muhammad(peaceand blessingsof Allah be upon hirn) is the final in Muhammad (peace and blessings of be upon him) the a long line of prophetsthat included, among others,Abraham, Moses of prophets included, among others, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. and Jesus. of Prophethood The Reality of Prophethood Messengersand prophets are specific individuals whom Messengers and prophets are specific individuals Allah has chosento conveyHis message humankind.He revealsto has chosen convey message to humankind. reveals them and they in turn convey that message.The messengermust and convey message. messenger must convey message faithfully and has no right to changeit or distort it convey the message and has change any manner. At the sametime, after conveying, they are to be obeyed manner. At the same time, after conveying, they are obeyed by thosewhom they are sent to. Allah says,"We sentno Messenger, those they are sent to. says, sent Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah's Leave" (a:6a). obeyed (4:64). Allah chooses whom He wills to be a messenger'This chooses be messenger. This choosing of messengersis certainly not a random choice. Instead, choosing of messengers certainly random choice. Instead, knows best place Message"(6:124). Thus, "Allah knows best with whom to place His Message" (6: 124). Thus, Allah chose from among humankind men of specific character. Atlah chose among humankind men of specific character. also says, sent not [as Messengers] Allah also says, "And We sent not [as Our Messengers] before you [O Muhammad] any men, inspired. So ask before you [0 Muhammad] any but men, whom We inspired. So ask of thosewho the Scriptureif you know (16:43).This verse of those who know the Scripture if you know not" (16:43). This verse and others makes clear that the messengers were humans. They and others makes it clear that the messengers were humans. They were not semi-divine in any way whatsoever. were not semi-divineitr any rvay whatsoever. Allah specifically chose humans to be His messengers. The specificallychosehumansto be His messengers. The purpose the messengers to spreadthe truth from God. They rnake purpose of the messengers is to spread the truth from God. They make is this truth clear and leavehumansno excusefor not following it. The this truth clear and leave humans no excuse for not following it. The goal the messengers was to presentthe reality-the reality that is goal of the messengers was to present the reality-the reality that is recognizable to the souls of mankind-in a clear and unquestionable recognizable the souls mankind-in a clear and unquestionable to to acceptthe truth fashion. In this way, those who are willing to accept the truth will fashion. this way, those who are accept it while those who do not wish to accept the truth will then accept it while those who do not wish to acceptthe truth then betweenthosewho reject it. This fulfills the purpose of distinguishing between those who reject it. This fulfills the purposeof distinguishing are deserving of Allah's love and mercy and those who are deserving are deservingof Allah's love and mercy and thosewho are deserving of Allah's wrath and punishment. of Allah's wrath and punishment. camewith clear guidance,glad tidings Thus, the messengers came with clear guidance, glad tidings Thus, the messengers and stem warning. If Allah had not sent such messengers conveying and stern warning. If Allah had not sent such messengers conveying the truth, humankindwould have cried and claimed that they would the truth, humankind would have cried and claimed that they would had he cotne to them. Allah, who knows have followed the messenger had he come to them. Allah, who knows have followed the messenger what happened,what will happen and what possibly could happen, what happened, what will happen and what possibly could happen, 33
    • has said, "And if We had destroyedthem with a torment before this has said, "And if We had destroyed them with a torment before this 'Our Lord! tf [Messenger Muhammad], they would surely have said, 'Our Lord! If [MessengerMuhammad], they would surely have said, only You had sent us a Messenger,we should certainly have followed only You had sent us a Messenger, we should certainly have followed Your revelations, before we were humiliated and disgraced'" revelationso before we were humiliated and disgraced"' (20:134). Once the messengers sent with the clear signs,there is (20:134). Once the messengers are sent with the clear signs, there is are no longer any excusefor humankind: "Messengersas bearersof good no longer any excuse for humankind: "Messengers as bearers of good news as news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, after the Messengers. Allah is Ever All-Powerful, (4:165). To the astute, this verse is a grave warning All-Wise" (4:165). To the astute, this verse is a grave warning indeed. 1 indeed.r The Sign of Prophethood Sign Prophethood From a study the prophets From a study of the prophets of the past, one can deduce the past, one can deduce certain "indirect" signs of prophethood. First, the individual chosen certain signs prophethood.First, the individual chosen by God must have been a person of good and respected character God must have been a person of good and respectedcharacter before Allah first revealed anything to him. It would be inconceivable, before first revealedanything to him. be inconceivable, for example, that someone who never lied about the matters of this example, that someone never lied about the matters of this world would all of a sudden begin to propagate lies about God and all a sudden begin to propagatelies about God and claim to be receivingrevelation. claim to be receiving revelation. Second, there is excellence and virtue Second, thereis excellence and virtue in what he is preaching. Similarly, the basic core of his message is what he is preaching.Similarly, the basic core his messageis consistent earlier individuals recognized be prophets. God's consistent with earlier individuals recognized to be prophets. God's basic messageconcerning the reality of the universe and basic message concerning the reality of the universe and life is not going change one prophet going to change from one prophet to another. Additionally, the another. the individual does seek any personal benefit individual does not seek any personal benefit or payment for his payment his conveying of the message. conveying of the message. His goal is not a worldly one. He is goal is not one. is conveying the message conveying the message only to obey and please God. Finally, one obey and please God. one finds that the prophet always enjoys a spiritual victory, even ifhe does finds that the prophet always enjoys spiritual even if he does not experience a political victory. That is, he is always content with experience is, he always content his message, message, never abandonshis purposeand demonstrates resolve never abandons purpose and demonstrates his resolve his until his death. No one recognizedas a true prophet of God has ever death. one recognized as true prophet of God has ever been known to abandonhis message been abandon message and beliefs. and beliefs. addition of that, provides messengers with In addition to all of that, Allah provides His messengers special signs-something out of the ordinary to demonstratethat the special signs-something of the ordinary demonstrate that the I Although 1 the truth of monotheism is ingrained in human nature, by Allah's mercy of monotheism ingrained human nature, Allah's though, He never punishesuntil after He sends a messengerand the messageis made though, never punishes sends messenger the message made clear: "Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his ownself. And clear: goes then goes the of ownself. And whoever goes astray,then he goes astrayto his own loss.No one laden with burdenscan goes astray, then goes astray loss. laden burdens bear another'sburden. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger(to give bear another's burden. And never punish have sent Messenger w a r n i n g ) "( 1 7 :15).) . warning)" (17: 1 5 34 34
    • individual is truly being sent by the Lord. This is all due to Allah's individual is truly being sent by the Lord. This is all due to Allah's complete justice, mercy and goodness. He chooses and sends complete justice, mercy and goodness. He chooses and sends messengersin such a way that only the obstinatewill refuse to accept messengers in such a way that only the obstinate will refuse to accept the truth of the message. Hence,not only is the contentof the message the truth of the message. Hence, not only is the content of the message completely in accord with human nature, the messengerswho come completely in accord with human nature, the messengers who come with the messageare sent in such a way that there is again no excuse with the message are sent in such a way that there is again no excuse for humans not to acceptthem as messengers God. As Allah says, for humans not to accept them as messengers of God. As Allah says, of "Indeed We have sent Our Messengerswith clear proofs" (57:25). "Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs" (57:25). These special signs that God bestows on the messengers are These special signs that God bestows on the messengers are referred to as "miracles." In this age of "science," people today tend referred to as "miracles." In this age of "scienceo" people today tend to be skepticalabout the recordedmiracles in the past.However' there skeptical about recorded miracles past. However, there nothing inherently illogical about such occurrences. Starting with is nothing inherently illogical about such occurrences. Starting the premise that God has created this univefse, a very defensible premise has created universe, defensible premise (as discussed earlier),it can also be understoodthat God has premise (as discussed earlier), can also understood that has complete control over the workings of this universeand may alter its complete control over the workings of this universe and alter its workings at whatever time for whomever He wills. To this day one whatever whomever one still repeatedlyhears of medical miracles or miraculous recoveries repeatedly hears of medical miracles miraculous recoveries from disease-things that simply cannot be "rationally explained". No that cannotbe explained". one can deny these "inexplicable" events. one can deny these"inexplicable"events. the past, there were such things as the parting the Red In the past, there were such things as the parting of the Red Moses and the healing of the sick and blind Jesus.These Sea for Moses and the healing of the sick and blind by Jesus. These Sea signs that further supportedthe claims those prophetsthat were all signs that further supported the claims of those prophets that were they were being supportedand guided God. those,though, they were being supported and guided by God. All of those, though, were signs that only those present could completely and truly were signs that only those present could completely and truly Thus, over time, peopleeitherbeganto doubt thosestories appreciate. Thus, over time, people either began to doubt those stories appreciate. and claims or the affects of those miracles began to wear off. and claims or the affects of those miracles began to wear off. However, as long as there were yet other prophets to come to revive However, as long as there were yet other prophets to come to revive the message, this was not a major issue. the message, was not a major issue. this Thus, when Allah sent His last prophet for all of humankind Thus, when Allah sent His last prophet for all of humankind until the Day of Judgment,He sent hint with a very different kind of until the Day of Judgment, He sent him with a very different kind of miracle-a miracle with everlastingappeal.The Prophet Muhammad miracle-a miracle with everlasting appeal. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessilgs of Allah be upon him) said, "There was no (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "There was no Prophet among the Prophetsbut was given miraclesbecauseof which Prophet among the Prophets but was given miracles because of which people had had belief, but what have been given is the Divine people had had belief, but what II have been given is the Divine Revelation which Allah has revealed to me. So hope that my Revelation which Allah has revealed to me. So II hope that my followers will be more than those of any other Prophet on the Day of followers will be more than those of any other Prophet on the Day of 3s 35
    • Resurrection.,,1 In other words, the Prophet Muhammad's great sign Resurrection."r In other words, the Prophet Muhammad's great sign and miracle was the Quran. and miracle was the Quran. Thus, the greatestsign that the ProphetMuhammad received Thus, the greatest sign that the Prophet Muhammad received is still being witnessed is still being witnessed and experienced today? The Quran has issued and experienced today.2 The Quran has issued an eternalchallengefor anyoneto producesomethingsimilar to it. an eternal challenge for anyone to produce something similar to it. For example, says,"And if you are in doubt concerningthat which example, Allah says, "And if you are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down [i.e., the Quran] to Our servant [Muhammad], We have sent down [i.e., the Quran] to OUf servant [Muhammad], then produce a chapter the then produce a chapter of the like thereof and call your supporters and thereof and call supportersand helpersbesidesAllah, if you are helpers besides Allah, if you are truthful" (2:23). (2:23). The Quran is miraculous in many ways. For example, the The Quran is miraculous in many ways. For example, the Arabs at the time Arabs at the time of the Prophet excelled in language. However, even the Prophetexcelled language.However, even though they greatly opposedthe Prophet though they greatly opposed the Prophet for many years, they realized many years,they realized that they could not meet the literary eloquence the Quran. that they could not meet the literary eloquence of the Quran. But the the Quran is much more than simply a Quran is much more than simply a "literary miracle." It is miraculous miracle." is miraculous as respect to its fulfillod prophecies as well with respect to its fulfilled prophecies of future events, its future events, its scientific accuracy,its historical accuracy,its precisepreservation,its scientific accuracy, its historical accuracy, its precise preservation, its magnanimous and wise laws, its affect that had and magnanimous and wise laws, its affect that it had and still has in has reforming and changinghumansand so forth. reforming and changing humans and so forth. The Prophet Muhammad himself was illiterate. Still The Prophet Muhammad himself was illiterate. Still Allah chose to be messenger, his illiteracy was not a deficiency chose him to be His messenger, as his illiteracy was not a deficiency as his case. fact, was further evidence that this illiterate in his case. In fact, it was further evidence that this illiterate Arab living just six centuries after Jesus could not have produced this book. six centuries after Jesus could haveproducedthis book. example, For example, Allah revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of revealed the Prophet (peaceand blessingsof Allah be upon him) the stories of the earlier prophets. The Prophet be upon the stories of the earlier prophets. The Prophet was was not living in an environment wherein he would have had much an environment wherein he have had much access the teachingsof the Jews Christians.However, the stories access to the teachings of the Jews or Christians. However, the stories of the prophets of old are given with precise accuracy. Actually, the of the prophets of are given precise accuracy. the caseis even more astonishing. case even more astonishing. Today, many peoplerecognizethat the Today, many people recognize that the current Bible containsstatements current contains statements that are historically impossibleor that are historically impossible that are anachronisms. The Quran, though, is free of all such that are anachronisms. Quran, though, free of such problematic material-another sign that it is not the product of a mere problematic material-another sign that the product of mere mortal. In an extensive mortal. an extensive work, Fatoohiand al-Dargazelliproduce many Fatoohi and al-Dargazelli producemany I I Recorded Recorded by al-Bukhariand Muslim. al-Bukhari and Muslim. 2 Indeed, 2 Indeed, as shall be denronstratedlater, new aspects of its miraculous nature are as shall demonstrated later, aspects of miraculous nature are continuallybeing discovered. continually being discovered. 36 36
    • examples of errors of historical nature found examplesof Biblical errors of a historical nature not found in the the Quran, althoughthe samestoriesand incidentsare touchedupon.t Quran, although the same stories and incidents are touched upon. Humans' Need Messengers from God Humans'Need for Messengers The sending of messengers to humankind one of The sendingof messengers humankind is one of Allah's greatest blessings. describing the sending of the Prophet greatest blessings. In describing the sending of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah says,"And We have not sent you [0 Muhammad] Muhammad, says, "And have sent [O Muhammad] except as mercy that exists" (12: 107). exceptas a mercy for all that exists"( l2: 107). Humans are actually great need of this blessing Humans are actually in great need of this blessing from are need of practical example show Allah. They are in need of a practical example to show how one one should lead one's please are desperately also should lead one's life to please Allah. They are desperatelyalso in need of the knowledge that these messengers brought. need of the knowledge that thesemessengers brought. Had Allah willed, Allah could have simply revealed His Had willed, could have simply revealed message in written form on mountainsides, for example. However, message mountainsides, example. However, there is a great blessing and wisdom in His sending of human there is great blessing and wisdorn sending of human messengers instead. The benefit of these messengers are twofold: (I) messengers instead.The benefit of these messengers are (1) By sending human messengers instead of simply communicated or sending human messengers instead of communicated written word, Allah has transformed His message from the realm of has transformed message the realm of the abstract to the realm of the practical. The implementation of the the abstract the realm of the practical. The implementationof the message by the messenger gives humans a practical implementation of message the messenger gives humans practical implementationof the guidance. The guidance is not simply vague, general principles the guidance. The guidance is simply vague, general principles that anyone could understand in a variety of ways. No, the message that anyone could understand variety ways. the message has been given in a concrete and practical format with detailed has been given a concrete and practical format detailed examples for humans to follow. (2) Although messengers were examples humans (2) messengerswere humans of excellent character, they were still mere humans. In fact, humansof excellentcharacter, they were mere humans. fact, they were humans who were meant to be examples for others. Hence, they were humans were meant be examples others.Hence, by their implementation of the divine teachings, it demonstrates that their implernentationof the divine teachings, demonstrates that these teachings are practicable and within the means of humans. No these teachingsare practicableand the means of humans. one should think of righteousness as something beyond human one should righteousness as something beyond human human capacity and the actions of the prophets capacity. It is within human capacity and the actions of the prophets capacity. is are a proof of that. are a of that. As noted above, humans are also in desperate need for the noted above, humans are also desperateneed the knowledge that the messengers convey. This knowledge can be knowledge that the messengersconvey. This knowledge can be divided into two types, both being essential for humans. divided into tJryes, both being essential humans. ' See Louay Fatoohi and Shetha al-Dargazelli, History Testifies to the Infallibility ofthe I See Fatoohi and Shetha al-Dargazelli, Flistory Testifies to the Infallibility of the History of the Children of Israel (Delhi, lndia: Adam Publishers Quran: Early History of the Children of Israel (Delhi, India: Adam Publishers & Quran: Distributors, 1999), pp. 247-248. Distributors, 1999), pp. 247-248. 37 37
    • The first type of knowledge is that of the supernatural, or The type of knowledge is that of the supernatural, what the Islamic texts call the "unseen." These are matters beyond the the Islamic texts the "unseen." Theseare mattersbeyond the realm of human experience. Humans can know about these issues realm of human experience. Humans can about these issues only via revelation from Allah. This realm includes detailed revelation from Allah. This realm includes detailed knowledge about and attributes, the purpose of creation, knowledge about Allah and His attributes, the purpose of creation, how can one distinguish between good and evil, what occurs to can one distinguish between good and evil, what occurs to humankind after death and in the hereafter and so forth. humankind after deathand the hereafterand so forth. However, Allah's guidance is not concerned only with those However, guidanceis not concerned those issues. Allah's guidance that He revealed to His human messengers issues. guidancethat He revealedto human messengers also guides humans in worldly or mundane affairs. Except for also guides humans mundane affairs. Except has easily put within the reach technological matters that Allah has easily put within the reach of technologicalmatters that humans, humans are just as much in need of Allah's guidance on humans, humans are as much need guidance on these issues. It is Allah, the Creator, the Fashioner, alone who knows theseissues. is Allah, the Creator,the Fashioner, alone who knows humans. has said, "Should what is best for humans. Allah has said, "Should not He Who has what is best He has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His created know? is the and Courteous everything)" (67:1$. This point needs servants), All-Aware (of everything)" (67:14). This point needs servants), further elaboration because it strikes at the root of secularism, which further elaborationbecause strikes at the of secularism. is dominating the world's thinking today. is dominatingthe world's thinking today. Humans have attempted to construct their own economic Humans have attempted construct economic systems, political systems, international laws and so on. When doing systems, political systems, international laws and so on. When doing so, though, they have to admit that they are attempting something that so, though, they have to admit that they are attemptingsomethingthat means.Thus, the harms of what they produce many is beyond their means. Thus, the ham1s of what they produce many is beyond times outweigh the good, even with the best of intentions. For times outweigh the good, even the best intentions. example, in the realm of economics, the first thing that may come to example, the realm of economics,the thing that may come mind is the collapse of the theories of socialism and communism. One mind is the collapse the theories socialismand communism.One should, though, also take a closer look at capitalism and how far its should, though, also take a closer at capitalismand how far its reality is from what it is supposed to be, resulting in exploitation, reality is from what is supposedto be, resulting exploitation, wherein the get richer and the get poorer. wherein the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In general, man-made laws, as opposed to revelation from general, man-made laws, as opposed revelation God, are susceptible to a number of distinct problems. First, humans God, are susceptible a number distinct problems.First, humaus to are repeatedly influenced by desires. However, even if humans are are repeatedly influenced desires. However, even if humans are able to raise themselves above any passions able to raise themselves above any passions and desires on their part, and desireson their part, they have realize that there is a great deal of differencebetweenthe they have to realize that there is a great deal of difference between the physical sciences and social sciences. Social scientists cannot test physical sciencesand social sciences.Social scientistscannot test humans to see how they behave under all different circumstances. humans to see how they behave under different circumstances. They are doing nothing too much more than guessing They are doing nothing too much more than guessing about reality. In about reality. the Quran, speaks about such the part of the Quran, Allah speaks about such limited ability on the part of humankind: "They know only the outside appearance of the life of the humankind: the outsideappearance the the 38 38
    • (30:7). If such admitted, demonstrates that humans are that world" (30:7). If such is admitted,it demonstrates humansare in need of guidance and knowledge Creator, need of guidance and knowledge from their Creator, who had graciously sent such guidance through prophets. Finally, secular graciouslysent such guidancethrough his prophets.Finally, secular laws cannot inspire humans like divine revelation can. There can be cannot inspire humans revelation can. There can no effective moral influence in such laws. In other words, except for effective influence such laws. other words, except the use of force, there is nothing in man-madelaws to drive a person use of force, there man-made person to comply with such laws. However, adherence to the laws with such laws. However, adherence laws promulgated by the prophetsis driven by a desire to please God and promulgated the prophets desire please and avoid wrath. to avoid His wrath. In sum, there is no escapingthe fact that humansare gravely sum, there escaping the fact that humans are gravely in need of the knowledge vouchsafedvia the prophets and they are need of the knowledge vouchsafed the prophets and they are also need of the example that the prophets established. also in need of the exarnplethat the prophetsestablished. Principles the Messengers' Call The Principlesof the Messengers' It has been narratedthat the Prophet (peaceand blessingsof has been narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that Allah had sent 124,000 prophets.r be upon said that had sent 124,Q00 prophets.] Allah statedthat He sent messenger every nation (Quran 16:36). stated that He sent a messenger to every nation (Quran 16:36). Even though so many prophetsand messengers were sent, Even though so many prophets and messengers were sent, they were actually all along the same path. Indeed, Allah tells the they were actually along the same path. Indeed, tells the Prophet (peace and blessings Allah be upon him) that He is guiding Prophet(peaceand blessings of of be upon him) that is guiding the Prophet to the same religion as his predecessors. Allah says, "He the Prophet the samereligion as his predecessors. says, (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for (Allah) has ordained you the samereligion which He ordained Noah, and that which We have inspired you (O Muhammad),and Noah, and that which We have inspired in you (0 Muhammad), and that wlrich ordained Abraham,Mosesand Jesus. (42:13). that which We ordained for Abraham, Moses and Jesus ... " (42:13). .." Thus, a Muslim believes all thosedifferentprophetsand Thus, a Muslim believes in all of those different prophets and messengers and, with respect to belief in them and honoring them, messengers and, respectto in them and honoring them, does not differentiate between any among them. God sent all of them. does not differentiate betweenany amongthem. God sent all them. believing in the same essentialtruths and calling to They were all believing in the same essential truths and calling to They were all similar paths. Hence, one has no right to say that he will believe and similar paths.Hence,one has no right to say that he believe and respect some of them and reject, belie or disrespect others. In the first respectsome them and reject, belie disrespectothers. the place, this would be disrespectful to God, who sent each and every place, this would be disrespectful God, who sent each and every to one of them. It would also be illogical since they all came with one them. lt also be illogical since they came essentiallythe same messageand were, as the Prophet described, essentially the same message and were, as the Prophet described, brothers to one another. brothersto one another. Hence, they all must be believed in and given the proper Hence, they all must be believed in and given the proper 'We believe in Allah respect.Thus, Allah says, "Say (O Muslims), respect. Thus, Allah says, "Say (0 Muslims), 'We believe in Allah and that which has beensentdown to us and that which has beensent and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent II Recorded by Ahmad. Recorded bv Ahnrad. 39 39
    • down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and to the twelve sons of down Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve sons of Jacob, and that which has been given to Moses and Jesus, and that Jacob, and that has been given Moses and Jesus,and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no has been given the Prophets their Lord. make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in distinction between any of them, and have submitted Islam)"' (2:136).In sum, sincethey were Islam)'" (2: 136). In sum, since they were all sent by the one and only sent the one and God and since the truth of this existence is one and not changing, it is God and since the truth of this existenceis one and changing, is the case that their messages were essential one and the same. the casethat their messages were essentialone and the same. Studying the Quran, one can seethe basic principles of Studying the Quran, one can see the basic principles of all of of the messengers' call. Their message revolved around the following the messengers'call. messagerevolved around the three points: threepoints: (l) Calling people to God, explaining clear proofs that (I) Calling people to God, explaining with clear proofs that there is none worthy of worship except Him and inviting them to there is none of worship except and them submit to alone and to renounceany and false gods: submit to Him alone and to renounce any and all false gods: Allah says, "And says, "And verily, We have sent among every nation a Messenger have sent among every nation a Messenger (proclaiming): 'Worship (Alone), and avoid (proclaiming): 'Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid all false deities'" false deities"' (16:36). ) . (16:36 (2) Showing that there is a specific path of conduct leading to Showing that there is a specific path of conduct leading God's pleasure and the purifying of one's soul that each individual is God's pleasureand the of one's soul that each individual people were guided a straight path. obliged to adhere to: Every people were guided to a straight path. obliged adhere to: says, each among you, have prescribed a Allah says, "To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a and a clear (5:a8). However, clear way" (5:48). However, all of the prophets brought the same of the prophets brought the same basic path containing the same general laws, such as commandment to basic path containing the samegenerallaws, such as cornmandment pray, of polytheism,prohibition of adultery, pray, prohibition of polytheism, prohibition of adultery, prohibition of of murder and so forth. This does not mean that there were no murder and so forth. does mean that there were no differences whatsoever concerning their particular practices. In differences whatsoever concerning particular practices. general, practices were similar God sent many prophets general, their practices were similar but God sent many prophets to specific peoples with specific laws for their time and place. This is specific peoples specific laws their time and place. This is part of Allah's mercy and wisdom. However, this variation in some of part Allah's mercy and wisdom. However, this variation someof their practices does not imply any contradiction concerning their basic their practicesdoes any contradictionconcerning basic paths. message or even the basic nature of their paths. message even the basic natureof (3) Explaining the fates of individuals when they decide to Explaining the fates of individuals when they decide to accept and worship Allah and when they decide to refuse to submit to acceptand worship and when they decide to refuse submit worship this point, the messengers or worship Allah: On this point, the messengers taught humankind taught humankind about life after death, resurrection, final judgment and reward or about after death, resurrection, judgment and reward punishment from Allah. The details of these matters can only be punishment The details of these matters can be known from Allah and Allah never punished any people until the known and never punished any people the messenger had made these points clear to them. Thus, all the messenger had made these points clear them. Thus, the messengers actually came with glad tidings for those who wish to messengers actually came glad tidings those wish to 40 40
    • accept and stem warnings of ominous end those accept faith and stern warnings of a ominous end for those who wislt wish to reject it. Allah says, "And We send not the Messengersbut as reject Allah says, "And send Messengers as givers of glad tidings and as warners.So whosoeverbelieves and does givers of glad tidings and as warners. So whosoever believesand does righteous good deeds,upon such shall ceme no fear, nor shall they righteous deeds, upon such shall come fear, shall grieve. those reject proofs, the torment will touch them grieve. But those who reject Our proofs, the torment will touch them (6:48-49). for their disbelief' (6:48-a9). The above are the three basic points around which all the above are the three basic points around the messages revolved. prophets strove convey messagesrevolved. The prophets strove to convey their messages, messages, fulfilled their trusts and conveyed the messagesclearly. After their fulfilled trusts and conveyed the messages clearly. After coming, there is no longer any room left for debate or excuse. The coming, there longer debate excuse. prophets fulfilled their missions and now the matter is left to the prophets missions and the matter individual. individual. The Foretelling of the Prophet Muhammad in Earlier Scriptures Foretelling of Muhammad Earlier Scriptures The previous section showed that the basic message all of previous section showed that the basic message of of of the prophets were the same. In addition, it was definitely the role of the prophets were the same. addition, was the role of some, if of the earlier prophets foretell the coming of the some, if not all, of the earlier prophets to foretell the coming of the Prophet Muhammad. example, says the Quran, "Those Prophet Muhammad. For example, Allah says in the Quran, "Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write the Messenger, Prophet the can neither read (i.e., Muhammad)whom they written them the Torah and (i.e., Muhammad) whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Gospel..." (7::157). the Gospel..."(7 157). Based on these and other verses of the Quran, Muslim Based on these and other verses of the Quran, realizedthat theremust exist someevidence the coming of scholars realized that there must exist some evidence of the coming of scholars the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in what is left the Prophet (peaceand blessingsof upon Christians.Indeed,Muslim of the original scriptures of the Jews and Christians. Indeed, Muslim the original scriptures the Jews and scholars argue that many verses can be found that seem to scholars argue that many verses can be found that seem to point directly to the Prophet Muhammad. (Actually, a number of books directly to the Prophet Muhammad. (Actually, a number of books have been written on this topic.) havebeenwritten on this topic.) For the sake brevity, a couple examples will be For the sake of brevity, only a couple of examples will be discussed. The first thesepassages comesfrom the Old Testament. discussed. The first of these passages comes from the Old Testament. Moses is speaking and says, Moses is speaking and says, the said unto me, They have spokenthat And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that raise them up a Prophet which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet which they have spoken. among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put words his mouth; and he shall speakunto them all my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all it shall come to pass,that that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that that shall commandhim. not hearken unto my words which he whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he whosoever require it of him shall speak in my name, I will require it of him shall speak in my name, I (Deuteronomy 18:17-19, King James Version). (Deuteronomyl8: l7-19, James Version). 41l 4
    • Perhapsthe first question that needs to be answeredis who are the Perhaps the first question that needs to be answered is who are the brethren of the Israelites. According to the Hebrew Dictionary of the brethren the Israelites.According to the Hebrew of the Bible, the term brethren refers to a "personification of a group of Bible, the term brethren refers to a "personification a group tribes who were regarded as near kinsmen of Israelites."! A group that tribes were regardedas near kinsmen Israelites."r group that fits that description very well were the descendants of Ishmael, the fits that description very were the descendants Ishrnael, the son of Abraham and the half-brother of Isaac. It is from Ishmael that son Abraham and the half-brother Isaac. is from Ishmael that the Arabs, and Muhammad in particular, are descended. the Arabs, and Muhammad in particular, are descended. Secondly, the coming prophet is describedas being Secondly, the coming prophet is described as being "like unto thee," that is, similar to Moses. unto thee," that is, similar to Moses. Now there are Christians who there are Christians who claim that this passage a referenceto Jesus.Given that Christiansdo claim that this passage is a reference to Jesus. Given that Christians do is not consider Jesus simply a prophet, this is highly unlikely. not consider Jesus simply a prophet, this is highly unlikely. Jamal Badawi has constructeda table that demonstrates Nevertheless, Jamal Badawi has constructed a table that demonstrates Nevertheless, how similar Moses and Muhammadwere (and how dissimilar Jesus how similar Moses and Muhammad were (and how dissimilar Jesus was to them). It demonstrates that with respect to birth, family life, was them). demonstrates that respect to birth, nature of death, career, forced emigration, results of encounters with nature death, career,forced emigration, results of encounters enemies,nature teachingsand acceptance leadership his enemies, nature of teachings and acceptance of leadership by his own people, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings people, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be be upon was much more similar to Moses than Jesusever was- upon him) was much more similar to Moses than Jesus ever was- may peace be upon all of them. 2 may peacebe upon all them.2 The verses above then continue by saying, "and will put my The verses above then continue saying, will words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall words his mouth; and he shall speak unto them that shall command him." This is an absolutely accurate description of the command This is an absolutely accuratedescription of the ProphetMuhammad relation the Quran. The words were Prophet Muhammad in relation to the Quran. The words were put into into his mouth via direct revelation from Gabriel, wherein Muhammad his mouth direct revelation from Gabriel, wherein Muhammad repeatedverbatim repeated verbatim what was revealed to him and he commanded all was revealed and he commanded that the revelationcontained. that the revelation contained. the Testament,one can the passages in In the New Testament, one can find the following passages the Gospel of John, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I the Gospel of John, "If ye me, keep commandments. will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he will the Father,and he shall anotherComforter, that he you ever" (John 14:15-16). may abide with you for ever" (John 14:15-16). John 16:7-8 and John may abide John 16:7-8and John 16:12-13 also speak about future Comforter and the 16: 12-13 also speak about a future Comforter and the Spirit of Truth of to come who could not come while Jesus was present. come who could come while Jesus was present. Who is this who is to come after Christ and that cannot come Who is this who is come after Christ and that cannotcome while Christ is present?The Christians interpret these passages while Christ is present? The Christiansinterpret these passages as as I Quoted in Jamal Badawi, Muhammad I Quoted Jamal Badawi, Muhammad in the Bible (Halifax, Canada: Islamic the Canada: Islamic Information Foundation, n.d.),p. 40. InformationFoundation, n.d.), p. 40. 2B a d a w ip . 4 1 . 2 Badawi, p. 41. , 42 42
    • referring to the Holy Ghost. But Christian theology states that the referring to the Holy Ghost. But Christian theology states that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are all part of the trinity, together Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are all part of the trinity, together as one being. If this is the case,how is the one presentand the other is as one being. If this is the case, how is the one present and the other is not present?Such is completelyincompatible present? Such completely incompatible with Christiantheology. Christian theology. Furthermore, a portion John 16:12-13 Furthermore, portion in John 16:12-13which states, states, "he will guide will guide you truth: he shall speak of himself; but whatsoever he you into all truth: for he shall not speakof himself; but whatsoever shall hear,that shall he speak:and he will show you things to come," shall hear, that shall speak: and he will show things come," is nothing but anotherbeautiful descriptionof the Prophet (peaceand another description of Prophet (peace and blessingsof Allah be upon him) and how he receivedand passedon blessings of upon and received and passed the revelation God. the revelationfrom God. One last set of verses will presented that this authorbelieves One last setof verseswill be presented that this author believes require virtually no comment other than saying that a great prophet require comment other than saying that great prophet was expected: "Attd this is the recordof John,when the Jewssent was still expected: "And this the record of John, when the Jews sent priestsand Levites from Jerusalem ask him, Who art thou? And he priests and Levites Jerusalem to ask him, art thou? he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, am not the Christ. And confessed, and denied not; confessed, I am not the Christ. they asked him, What then? thou Elias?l he saith, am not. they askedhim, What then? Art thou Elias?rAnd he saith,I am not. thou that prophet? he answered, (John l:19-21, Art thou that prophet?And he answered, No" (John I :19-21, King was that Prophet that John and the Jews were James Version). Who was that Prophet that John and the Jews were James Version). expecting? expecting? These brief examples will have to suffice and the interested These examplesrvill have to suffice and the interested readermay consult more in-depthworks. However, if thesesigns do reader may consult more in-depth works. However, if these signs do point to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be point to the Prophet Muhammad (peaceand blessingsof be upon as scholars maintain, then, sincerity to the upon him) as Muslim scholars maintain, then, in sincerity to the made the statement,one has to Prophet who originally made the statement, one has to follow the Prophet the prophet he pointed to. prophethe pointedto. The Final Message The Final Message sent the Prophet After so many prophets sent by Allah, Allah sent the Prophet so many prophetssent around 570 years after the birth Muhammad. Muhammad was born around 570 years after the birth of Muhammad. Muhammad was bom JesusChrist. He was born in Mecca, in the Arabian Peninsula.The Jesus Christ. He was born in Mecca, in the Arabian Peninsula. The peopleof Mecca were devotedto idol-worship.In Mecca,therewas a people of Mecca were devoted to idol-worship. In Mecca, there was a by the prophets Abraham and lshmael. This structure, building built by the prophets Abraham and Ishmael. This structure, building known as the Kabah, was dedicated the worship of Allah, the only known as the Kabah, was dedicated to the worship of Allah, the only to polytheists, though, filled it with their idols. true God. The Arab polytheists, though, filled it with their idols. true God. The Arab Muhammadlived amongthem but nevertook part in idol-worship.He Muhammad lived among them but never took part in idol-worship. He was known for his honestyand had the nickname,"the trustworthy." was known for his honesty and had the nickname, "the trustworthy." I I In Matthew 17: 12 Jesus is recorded as stating that Elias had already come. In Matthew l7:12 Jesusis recordedas stating that Elias had alreadycome. 43 43
    • At the age of forty, Muhammad received his first revelation. At the age of forty, Muhammad received his revelation. Although this was at first startling to him, he then understood the this was at startling to he then understood the mission he had from God. The polytheistic Arabs quickly rejected his mission he had God. The polytheistic Arabs rejectedhis message that none is to be worshipped except God. Although he was message that none is be worshipped except God. he was known as "the trustworthy," they belied him and soon after started a known as trustworthy," they belied and soon after starteda massive campaign to persecute those who believed in Muhammad. massive campaign persecutethose believed Muhammad. After thirteen years of preaching in Mecca, the Prophet himself was thirteen years of preaching Mecca, the Prophet was forced to leave to the city of Madinah, where he already had some forced leave the of Madinah, where he already had some followers. followers. The people of Madinah made him the leader of the city. The The people of Madinah made the leader of the The disbelievers of Mecca did not rest and attempted to militantly squash disbelieversof Mecca rest and attempted squash the new faith. However, what was originally a small band of Muslims the new faith. However, was a small band of grew in number and were able to withstand the onslaught of the grew number and were able withstand the onslaught of the disbelievers. Within ten years, the Prophet himself led an army back disbelievers. ten years, the Prophet led an army back to Mecca and conquered it in a bloodless victory. Thus, Islam became Mecca and conquered a bloodless victory. Thus, Islam became victorious in Arabia and began spreading throughout the world. victorious and began spreading throughout the had sent numerous prophets throughout the centuries. Allah had sent numerous prophets throughout the centuries. However, He had determined that He should send this final However, He had determined that should send this messenger, Muhammad, with a final message. This final messenger messenger,Muhammad, a message. messenger would be the messenger for all of humankind from his time until the be the messenger of humankind his time the Day of Reckoning. There was to be no later revelation and no later of Reckoning. There was be no later revelation and later prophet to bring any changes to this revelation. Hence, this one had to prophet any changes this revelation.Hence,this one had to differ from the previous in some ways. the previous someways. First, since no one could come later to correct any mistakes First, since no one could come later correct any rnistakes distortions, the revelation received the last prophet had or distortions, the revelation received by the last prophet had to be be preserved in its pristine purity. preserved its pristine purity. of the last prophet Second, the nature of the "sign" of the last prophet would Second, the nature of the have to be different as well. This is because this sign would have to have be different as is becausethis sign have affect not only the people who were alive during the time of the affect the people were alive during the time of the prophet but also all those who would come later. prophet also those come later. this prophet could Third, this final prophet could not simply be sent for one be sent one community among humankind-each then having their own final community among humankind-each then having their prophet and then one another.This prophet had to prophet and then differing with one another. This final prophet had to be sent for all of humankind, putting an end to the succession of be sent of humankind, putting an end the successionof prophets and being suitable for the world as a whole. prophetsand being suitable the as whole. Fourth, the laws and teachings of this message had to be Fourth, the laws and teachings of this messagehad be fixed in matters that need to be fixed for all of humankind until the fixed matters that need to be of humankind the 44 44
    • Day of Judgmentand guiding yet flexible or accommodatingin those Day of Judgment and guiding yet flexible or accommodating in those matters that need to be open to change due to the changing matters that need to be open to change due to the changing circumstances of humankind. of circumstances humankind. On all of thesepoints, one seesthat it is the messageof the On all of these points, one sees that it is the message of the Prophet Muhammad (peaceand blessingsof Allah be upon him) who Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who fits all of these criteria. The exacting preservationof the Quran and fits all of these criteria. The exacting preservation of the Quran and the Sunnah was already discussed. Similarly, the natureof his "sign," the Sunnahwas alreadydiscussed. Similarly, the nature of his "sign," the Quran, the ultimate miracle that can still be experiencedtoday, the Quran, the ultimate miracle that can still be experienced today, was also discussed earlier. was also discussed earlier. As for the third issue, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and for issue, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the only prophet to make it blessings of Allah be prophet make it known that he was not sent only for a certain people but he was sent sent certain people sent for all the various peoples of the world- Allah says' "Say (O the various peoples of the world. says, (0 Muhammad the people), 'O mankind! Verily, I Muhammad to the people), '0 mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all sent as the Messengerof Allah' (7:158). Another verse reads,"And We as the Messenger of (7: 158). Another verse reads, "And have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a giver of glad tidings have sent (0 Muhammad) except as of glad tidings and a warner to all mankind" (3a:2S). The Prophet Muhammad also and warner mankind" (34:28). Prophet Muhammad also stated that he was distinguished from the earlier prophets by five stated that he was distinguished the earlier prophets matters.The last he mentionedwas, prophet be sent his matters. The last he mentioned was, "The prophet would be sent to his people only while I have been sent to all of mankind.,,1 people while have beensentto of mankind."r promulgated Finally, when one studies the law promulgated by the Finally, when one sfudies the the ProphetMuhammad (peaceand blessings be upon him) one Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) one that finds that it has the needed elements of flexibility that allow it to be finds that has the neededelements to be as was during the time the Prophet. just as practicable today as it was during the time of the Prophet. as practicable today What needsto be fixed forever is fixed Islamic law. What needsto What needs to be fixed forever is fixed in Islamic law. What needs to be left flexible is left flexible. For example, in businessdealings, be left flexible is left flexible. For example, in business dealings, interest is prohibited forever. In addition to that, general guidelines interest is prohibited forever. In addition to that, general guidelines are given. However, the guidance is such that when new forms of are given. However, the guidance is such that when new forms of business dealings are developed, as in modern times, one can business dealings are developed, as in modern times, one can accordingto Islamic guidelinesand determine which are acceptable according to Islamic guidelines and determinewhich are acceptable which are not. Thus, Islamic Law has been proven to be feasible for which are not. Thus, Islamic Law has been proven to be feasible for over 1400 yearsand, accordingto Islamic beliefs,will continueto be over 1400 years and, according to Islamic beliefs, will continue to be feasible until the Day of Judgment. feasibleuntil the Day of Judgment. Allah decreed that this Prophet Muhammad (peace and Allah decreed that this Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings Allah be upon him) shouldbe His final messenger. Allah blessings of Allah be upon him) should be His final messenger. Allah of Says,"Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is says, "Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is II Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Recordedby al-Bukhari and Muslim. 45 45
    • the Messengerof Allah and the seal of the Prophets.And Allah is the Messenger of Allah and the seal of the Prophets. And Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything" (33:40). The Prophet Muhammad Ever All-Aware of everything" (33:40). The Prophet Muhammad (peaceand blessings Allah be upon him) himself said,"I have been (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself said, "I have been of sentto all of the creationand the prophetshave been sealed me."l sent to all of the creation and the prophets have been sealed by me."] by Again, he said, "The Children of Israel were led by the prophets; Again, he said, "The Children of Israel were led by the prophets; whenevera prophet died, a prophet succeeded (him). Lo! There will whenever a prophet died, a prophet succeeded (him). Lo! There will be no prophet after me"Z be no prophet after me"z Thus, there finally came the Prophet who explicitly declared Thus, there finally came the Prophet who explicitly declared that he is the final prophet. No prophet shall come after him. The truth that he is the final prophet. No prophet shall come after him. The truth of his message and his own honestyare of his message and his own honesty are well established. If one comes established. one comes If to the conclusion that he is to be believed or that the Quran is true, to the conclusion that he is to be believed or that the Quran is true, then is alsoto be believedon this point finality as well. then it is also to be believed on this point of finality as well. Furthermore, no one has the Furthermore, no one has the right to accept the other to accept the other prophetswhile rejecting the ProphetMuhammad. prophets while rejecting the Prophet Muhammad. No one has the right one has the to say that Muhammad was truthful but, chooseto to say that Muhammad was truthful but, "I choose to still follow Jesus Jesus Moses instead."Logically speaking, or Moses instead." Logically speaking, one should not expect this to one should not expectthis to be acceptableto Allah. be acceptable to Allah. Allah has sent His final messenger to be has sent His final messenger be to believed and followed, superseding cancelingwhat is left the believed in and followed, superseding and canceling what is left of the and teachingsof earlier prophets. the Quran, teachings of earlier prophets. In the Quran, Allah describes such an describessuch an attitude: when is said to them, 'Believe what Allatr has sent attitude: "And when it is said to them, 'Believe in what Allah has sent down,' they say, 'We believe what was sentdown us.' down,' they say, 'We believe in what was sent down to us.' And they they disbelieve that disbelieve in that which came after it, while it is the truth confirming came after is the truth what is them" (2:91). what is with them" (2:91). The Prophet said, "[I swear] The Prophet said, "[I swear] by [God], the One in whose [God], the One whose hand is my soul, therewill be none of my addressed hand soul, there be none of addressed people,be he Jerv people, be he Jew or Christian,who hearsof me and dies without believing in that with Christian, hears of me and dies without believing that which I was sent except that he will be from the inhabitants of the was sent except that he will the inhabitants of the Hell-fire."3 The Prophet even told one of his companions,"If my Hell-fire.") The Prophet even one of his companions, "If brother Moses were alive today, he would have no option but to brother Moses were today, he have option me.,,4 follow me."4 In sum, the signs pointing to the Prophet beforehand are sum, the signs the Prophet beforehand are there.The Prophet'sown honestyis unquestionable. preservation there. Prophet's honesty unquestionable. The preservation of his scripture is established.All the indicators point to his of scripture established. All the indicators I I Recordedby Muslinr. Recorded by Muslim. 2Recorded 2Recorded by al-Bukhariand Muslim. by al-Bukhari and Muslim. 3 3 Recordedby Muslim. Recorded by Muslim. a 4 Recordedby Ahmad and al-Daarimi. Recorded by Ahmad and al-Daarimi. 46 46
    • prophethood. As a prophet, his word must be believed in. He has prophethood. As a prophet, his word must be believed in. He has declaredhimself the last prophet and said that all of humankind must declared himself the last prophet and said that all of humankind must now choose to follow him. This is the choice facing every one of now choose to follow him. This is the choice facing every one of humankind and it is hoped that they will make the correct and logical humankind and it is hoped that they will make the correct and logical decision. decision. 47 47
    • Islam and T'Faith" Islam and "Faith" The Definition of Islam The Definition of Islam The word islam comes from the verb which means, "He The word islam comes from the verb which means, "He resigned, or submitted, himself."r So, ls/aru is the way or act of resigned, or submitted, himself." I So, islam is the way or act of submitting and resigning oneself. Hence, a "muslim" is one who submitting and resigning oneself. Hence, a "muslim" is one who submits. submits. As a technical term, the word Islam has at least two a technical term, the Islam has at least two distinguishable usages:(l) It is a term used for the true religion distinguishable usages: (1) It is a term used for the true religion of God since the time the creation humans;and (2) is a term used God since the time of the creation of humans; and (2) it is a term used today for the religion brought today for the religion brought by the last prophet, Prophet the last prophet, Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad. fslam: The Religion Islam: The Religion of All of the Prophets the Prophets a religious sense, islam is used to mean, In a religious sense, islam is used to mean, "the true true submissionand obedience God alone." this sense,then, was submission and obedience to God alone." In this sense, then, it was to the religion of all the true prophets the religion of all of the true prophets of God. In fact, it was the God. fact, was the religion of religion of all of their followers as well. In other words, every true of their followers as well. other words, every true believer from the time of Adam to the last believer on earth practices believer from the time of Adam to the last believer on earth practices Islam and is a Muslim. Furthermore, is the Islam and is a Muslim. Furthermore, it is the only religion that Allah religion that ever coffrmandedhumankind to ever commanded humankind to follow. Islam, therefore, is the only Islam, therefore, is the religion that has ever been acceptable religion that has ever been acceptable to Allah. Allah says, "Truly, the says, the religion is Islam (submission religion with Allah is Islam (submission to Him)" (3: 19). Allah also to (3:19). also says, whoeverseeks religion other than Islam, says, "And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be neverbe acceptedof accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers" and the Hereafter he be one of the losers" (3:85).) . (3:85 Throughout the Quran, Throughout the Quran, Allah makes it clear that the religion makes clear that the and practice of all the prophetswas that of Islam. For example, Allah and practice of the prophets was that of Islam. example, quotesNoah as saying, after explaining the faith the people, "But if quotes Noah as saying, after explaining the faith to the people,"But if you turn away [from accepting my doctrine to worship none but tum away accepting doctrine worship none Allah], then no reward have I asked of you, my reward is only from then reward have asked of you, reward Allah, and I have been commanded to be one of the Muslims" and have been commanded be one of the (10:71). (10:71). Abraham was also a Muslim. Abraham is often called in the Abraham was also Abraham often called the West, "the father of monotheism."Without any doubt Abraham was a West, father of monotheism." any doubt Abraham was pure monotheist and one who truly submitted to God (that is, a true pure monotheist and one submitted (that is, true Muslirn). However, he was in no way the originator of monotheism. Muslim). However, he was the originator of monotheism. ' E. Lane, Lexicon (Cambridge, England: I E, W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (Cambridge,England: The Islamic Texts Society, Society, 1 9 8 4 )v o l . l , p . 1 4 1 3 . 1984), vol.1, p. 1413. , 48 48
    • Monotheismwas the religion of Adam and was the religion of all true Monotheism was the religion of Adam and was the religion of all true believers,such as Noah, between the time of Adam and Abraham. believers, such as Noah, between the time of Adam and Abraham. Belief in Allah alone as God and submissionto Him has alwaysbeen Belief in Allah alone as God and submission to Him has always been the pillar of the true religion of God. the pillar of the true religion of God. Moseswas also a Muslim, receivingthe revelationfrom Allah, Moses was also a Muslim, receiving the revelation from Allah, submitting completely to Hirn alone and commandinghis people to do submitting completely to Him alone and commanding his people to do the same. Moses, for example, would have never rejected the the same. Moses, example, would have never rejected the prophethoodof one of his fellow prophets,Jesus,as the Jews have prophethood of one of prophets, Jesus, as the Jews have done. done. Jesuswas anotherprophet of God who followed the religion of Jesus was another prophet of religion of Islam or submitting to Allah alone. He taught this religion to his Islam submitting alone. taught this religion to his disciples. Jesus was human, like all the other prophets. and never disciples. Jesus was human, other prophets, and never claimed for himself any divine or semi-divinestatus.In fact, Allah claimed any divine semi-divine status. fact, makes it clear in the Quran that Jesusnever askedanyone to worship makes clear the Quran Jesus never asked anyone him (seee u r a n5:116-118). ) . h i m ( s e Quran 5 : 1 1 6 - 1 1 8 Q Thus, the brotherhood of Islam and the bond of true faith Thus, the brotherhood of and the of true stretches all the way from Adam until the end of time, spanningall stretches the from the end of time, spanning localities and peoples. The true believers love one anotherand support localities and peoples.The true believers one another and support one another. It is truly a blessed and unique brotherhood. one another. a blessedand unique brotherhood. In particular, the true Muslims throughout all the ages believe particular, the true Muslims throughout the ages believe in all of the prophets. They support all of them and defend their honor the prophets.They support of them and defend honor as well. This role defending the honor of the prophets has as well. This role of defending the honor of the prophets has truly fallen upon the shouldersof the followers of the Prophet Muhammad fallen upon the shoulders of the followers of the Prophet Muhammad other faiths seem to have no in particular today. The peoples of other faiths seem to have no in particular today. The peoples qualms speaking badly about even their qualms speaking badly about or even ridiculing their own prophets, prophets, prophetsthat they reject. It seemsas though is not to speak of prophets that they reject. It seems as though it is only not to speak of the followers of Muhammad today who are the followers of Muhammad today who are willing to stand and to stand and those noble prophets and believers. One defend the honor of those noble prophets and believers. One would defend the honor of never hear a pious Muslim ever speakbadly about Abraham, Isaac, never hear a pious Muslim ever speak badly about Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Jesusor any of the prophets.Instead,the Muslim respects, Moses, Jesus or any of the prophets. Instead, the Muslim respects, honors and loves them all in the mannerthey deserve, honors and loves them all in the manner they deserve. Islam: The Religion of the Prophet Muhammad Islam: The Religion of the Prophet Muhammad Before the tinre of the Prophet (peaceand blessingsof Allah Before the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), one could say that there were many "Islams." That is' be upon him), one could say that there were many "Islams." That is, eachpeoplehad their prophets,followed their teachings and were on each people had their prophets, followed their teachings and were on the path of Islan-r. the sametime, if a new prophet in the same line the path of Islam. At the same time, if a new prophet in the same line At of prophets came to them, they had no choice but to follow that new of prophets came to them, they had no choice but to follow that new prophet. As was discussedearlier, the one who refuses to accept prophet. As was discussed earlier, the one who refuses to accept 49 49
    • later prophet is Allah's later prophet is not truly submitting to Allah. If he is not truly submitting If he is submitting to Allah, then he is not a "Muslim." submitting then he is not a "Muslim." Therefore, after the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace Therefore, after the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) there is only one acceptable and blessings be upon him) there is one acceptable manner of worshipping and submitting to God: The path of the manner of worshipping and submitting God: The path of the Prophet Muhammad. That is the only path that today can truly be Prophet Muhammad. That is the path that today can be called "submitting oneself to the will of Allah." Anyone who called "submitting oneself to the of Anyone who rejects the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of knowingly rejects the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), no matter how many other prophets he believes be upon no matter many other prophets he believes in, is no longer submitting to God and is not a Muslim. in, is no longer submitting God and is not a Muslirn. It is interesting to note that the only religion that has kept the is interesting note that the religion that has kept the name "submission to name "submission to Allah" or Islam is that of the final Prophet Islam is that of the final Prophet Muhammad (peaceand blessingsof Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The other be upon him). The other well-known religions are all named after individuals, peoples or well-known religions are named after individuals, peoples places. According to Microsoft Encarta, the term Judaism did not places. According Microsoft Encarta, the term Judaism pre-modern Hebrew. even exist in pre-modern Hebrew. It is in reference to Judah. even exist is reference Judah. Christianity is, of course, named after Christ as Buddhism is named Christianity is, course,named after Christ as Buddhism is named after Buddha. Hinduism has to do with the place, Hindustan. But, by after Buddha.Hinduism has to do the place, Hindustan.But, Allah's wisdom and mercy, the name of the only true religion of wisdom and mercy, the name the true religion submission to Allah-the religion of all the prophets-has been submission to Allah-the religion of the prophets-has been preserved and kept preserved and kept only in reference to the mission of the final referenceto the mission of the final prophet who was sent for all of humanity. prophet was sent of humanity. In sum, today, the only option left to be on the path of Islam sum, today, the option be on the path of lslam and follow the way of all of the earlier prophets is by following the and the way of the earlier prophetsis following the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet said regarding Moses, "If my Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet said regarding Moses, "If brother Moses were alive today, he would have no option but to brother Moses were alive today, he have option follow me." I me."l The invitation is open for everyone to follow the way of the The invitation is open everyoneto the of the ProphetMuhammad(peaceand blessings Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In a of be upon him). a beautiful statement, the Prophet explained in a parable the nature of beautiful statement,the Prophet explained a parable the nature of his call to all of humankind. The Prophet explained that some angels his call to all of humankind.The Prophetexplainedthat some angels came to him while he was sleeping. Some of the angels said, "He is came to he was sleeping.Some of the angelssaid, is sleeping [therefore leave him]." The others answered, "His eyes sleep sleeping[thereforeleave The othersanswered, eyessleep but his heart is alert." They said, "Your companion is like this" and his heart is alert." They said, companionis like this" and they propoundeda similitude. They said, they propounded a similitude. They said, "His similitude is like a similitude is a person who builds a house and provides a table spread filled with person who builds a house and provides a table spread filled I Recorded by Ahmad and al-Daarimi. I Recorded Ahmad and al-Daarimi. 50 50
    • provisionsand calls the other people to it. Those who respondto his provisions and calls the other people Those respond to his call enter the house and eat from the table spread.Those who do not enter the house and eat the table spread. Those not respond to his call do not enter the house nor do they eat frorn the respond enter house from the table spread." Some of the angels said, table spread."Some of the angelssaid, "Give him its interpretation." interpretation." Others replied, "He is sleeping."They were answeredby otherswho Others replied, sleeping." were answered others said, "His eyes sleep but his heart is alert." So they explainedthe said, eyes sleep his heart alert." So explained parableto him, saying,"The house is Paradise parable him, saying, house Paradise and the one inviting is and the one Muhammad (peacebe upon him). Whoever obeys Muhammad (peace Muhammad (peace be upon Whoever obeys Muhammad (peace be upon him) has verily obeyedAllah. WhoeverdisobeysMuhammad be upon has obeyed Allah. Whoever disobeys Muhammad (peace be upon him) has verily disobeyedAllah. And Muhammad (peace be upon has disobeyed Allah. Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a separator humanity."' (peacebe upon is separator of humanity." I of It is as simple as this: The invitation is out there and each as simple as this: there and each individual will face the consequence of his decisionof acceptingor individual will face the consequence his decision of accepting of rejecting the invitation. rejecting the invitation. The Islamic Conceptof "Faith" Islamic Concept "Faith" In addition to outward submission to Allah, one tnust also addition to outward submission one must also have faith in one's heart. One issue concerning faith is what one is have faith one's heart. One issueconcerningfaith what one supposed to believe in or, in other terms, the articles of faith. The supposed believe or, other terms, the articles of faith. The Prophet once explained faith by saying, "It is to believein Allah, His Prophetonce explainedfaith saying,"It is believe angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day and to believein the angels,His books, His messengers, Last the and believe the divine decree, [both] the good and the evil thereof." Here the Prophet divine decree,[both] the good and the thereof." Here the Prophet mentioned the primary articles of faith. These articles are six in mentioned the primary articles of faith. These articles are six number as follows: numberas follows: (1) Allah: is the cornerstoneof (1) Belief in Allah: Belief in Allah is the cornerstone of Islamic faith. This article faith has been explainedthroughoutthis Islamic faith. This article of faith has been explained throughout this work and needs no further elaboration here. and needsno further elaborationhere. (2) the Angels: Angels are a type creation of (2) Belief in the Angels: Angels are a type of creation of unseen man. They have beencreatedfrom Allah that is, in general, unseen by man. They have been created from Allah that is, in general, light but they do have forms and bodies. They are servantsof light but they do have forms and bodies. They are servants of Allah and have no aspect divinity to them whatsoever. They submit to and have no aspect of divinity to them whatsoever. They submit to His command completely and never stray from fulfilling His orders. His commandcompletelyand never stray from orders. beings beyond the realm of The fact that there are some types of beings beyond the realm of The fact that there are some types human experience should not be shocking as even today on earth human experience should not be shocking as even today on earth humansare still finding previouslyunknown species animals. humans are still finding previously unknown species of animals. (3) Belief in the Books revealed Allah: in Allah's (3) Belief in the Books revealed by Allah: Belief in Allah's that Allah sentdown to His messengers books refers to the revelations that Allah sent down to His messengers books refersto the revelations I Recorded by al-Bukhari. I Rccordedby al-Bukhari, 51 51
    • as a mercy and guidance to lead mankind to success in this life and as a mercy and guidance lead mankind success this and happiness the Hereafter. The Quran refers number of such happiness in the Hereafter. The Quran refers to a number of such books: the scrolls of Abraham, the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of books: the scrolls Abraham, the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David and the Gospel of Jesus. (It must be recalled that the original and the Gospel of Jesus. must be recalled that the revelations that these prophets received are not the same as the books revelationsthat theseprophetsreceivedare the same as the books that go under such names today. They were not preservedproperly.) that go under such names today. were preserved properly.) Belief in the books also includes belief in the Quran as the final the books also includes the Quran as the revelation. It is very important to realize that it is considered the revelation. is important realize that considered the height of arrogance and a form of disbelief for an individual to declare height of arroganceand a of disbelief an declare for himself the right to believe in portions of what Allah revealedand the to believe portions of what revealed and reject other portions of it. Thus, Allah says, "Then do you believe in a reject other portions of Thus, says, do believe part of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense part of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this those do so among you, except disgrace the of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the world, and the of Resurrectionthey shall be consigned the most grievous torment. most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do" is unaware of (2:85). . (2 :85) (4) Belief in the Messengers: This concept has also been the Messengers: concept has also been discussed in detail earlier and needs no further elaboration. discussed detail earlierand needsno furtherelaboration. (5) Belief in the Last Day and the Resurrection: "The Last the Last and the Resurrection: Day" is called such because there will be no new day after it, as the is called such becausethere will be new day after as the people of Paradise shall be in their abode as will the people of Hell. people of Paradise shall be their abodeas the people of Its other names include "The Day of Resurrection," and "The Day of Its other names include of Resurrection,"and of Judgment." This is the greatest day that humankind shall pass Judgment," This is the greatest day that humankind shall pass will be the gravest and most fearful day. A through. Indeed, it will be the gravest and most fearful day. A through. Indeed, person's new life will be decided on that day. It will mark a new person's new be decided on that day. will mark new beginning for each soul. This new step may lead to eternal bliss or beginning each soul. new step may lead eternal bliss eternaldamnation. the Last eternal damnation. Belief in the Last Day implies belief in everything implies everything that the Quran the Prophet(peacebe upon has statedabout the that the Quran or the Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated about the events that and thereafter. There are some general aspects events of that Day and thereafter. There are some general aspects (resurrection,judgment and reward, Paradise and (resurrection, judgment and reward, Paradise and Hell) as well as as as more detailed aspects that the Quran or the Messenger of Allah (peace more detailedaspects that the Quran the Messengerof (peace be upon hinr) mentioned. The more one has knowledge of that be upon him) mentioned. The more one has knowledge of that Day and its surrounding events,the greaterthe affect this will have and its surrounding events, the greater the affect this belief will have on him. Hence, the Quran and Sunnahprovide great detail as on him. Hence, the Quran and Sunnah provide great detail as to the the eventsof that and time. events of that Day and time. 52 52
    • It important realize one can say certain who It is important to realize that no one can say for certain who will be will be in Paradiseor Hell.'I Nobody knows what will happen to any Paradise Hell. Nobody knows will happen individual. A righteous person today change and become impious individual.A righteouspersontoday may changeand becomeimpious tomorrow, leading greatest enemy of tomorrow, leading himself to Hell. The greatestenemy of Islam and disbeliever repent the future and become disbeliever may repent in the future and become the most pious of of people, leading Heaven. fact, there are some people, leading himself to Heaven. In fact, there are some who may never hear about have been offered never hear about Islam or have only been offered a very distorted distorted picture of Islam. Only God knows what will happento suchpeople in picture of Islam. God knows what will happen such people the Hereafter. However, some things are certain: God alone will be the Hereafter. However, some things are certain: alone will the judge on the Day of Judgment, God will never wrong any soul the the of Judgment, will never soul even the slightest amount and if a person is a true Muslim and even the slightest amount and if person true Muslim believer, Allah will be pleased believer, be pleased with him. him. the Decree (al-Qadar): (6) Belief in the Divine Decree (al-Qadar): This refers to refers belief in the fact that nothing can occur in this creation except by the the fact that nothing can occur creation except the will and permission of Allah. There is no power that can go against and permissionof Allah. There power that can against His will. He has control over all things. This doesnot mean,though, His witl. He has control over things.This does mean, though, that Islam is fatalistic. Humans have been given a type of free will. that Islam is fatalistic. Humans have been given type of free However, Allah, with His perfect knowledge, has foreknowledge of However, perfect knowledge, has foreknowledge of what humans will do. He has knowledge of what they will do and He what humans do. has knowledgeof what they will and wills it and decrees it but He does not cause them to make their life and decrees but He does not causethem make their choices. choices. The above are the six articles of faith in the Muslim religion. The above are the six articles of faith the religion. There is an important second issue related to "faith": What does There is an important second issue related does o'faith" really mean are its implications? First, "faith" really mean for a person and what are its implications? First, a person and something,should lead faith, meaning true and definitive belief in something, should lead to a faith, meaning true and definitive correspondingsubmissionto what one believes in. Otherwise, is corresponding submission to what one believes in. Otherwise, it is is not the Islamic concept of simply an acceptance of a fact but it is not the Islamic concept of simply an acceptance a fact but "faith" "faith" person'sbeliefsare the most importantaspect his being. of A person's beliefs are the most important aspect of his being. forces behind his They are, in general, the driving forces behind his way of life and They are, in general, the of and personalchoices.The true and effective beliefs never remain at an personal choices. The true and effective beliefs never remain at an abstract level but their influence is manifested on a day-to-day abstract level but their influence is manifested on a day-to-day practical level. In other words, there is no true practical level. In other words, there is no true "faith" without that that having a strong influence upon a person's acts. having a strong influence upon a person's acts. A person cannot person cannot claim, "I have belief in my heart," yet, at the same time, that person claim, "I have belief in my heart," yet, at the same time, that person never actually does deedscolTesponding what he claims believe to never actually does deeds corresponding to what he claims to believe I Unless, of course, such has been explicitly stated in the Quran or the Sunnah. 1 Unless,of course,such has been explicitly statedin the Quran or the Sunnah- 53 53
    • in. This person's actionsare belying his claim of "faith in the heart." in. This person's actions are belying his claim of "faith in the heart." Thus, from an Islamic perspective, Thus, from an Islamic perspective, true faith in the heart demands that true faith in the heart demandsthat the individual submitsto God in his actions. the individual submits to God in his actions. 54 54
    • Ritual of Worship The Ritual Acts of Worship in Islam Scope of The Scopeof Worship The Islamic term for worship implies "servitude" to the Lord. "servitude" worship actually the goal of humankind To worship God is actuallythe only goal for which all of humankind has been created.Indeed,the noblestand greatestthat anyone could has been created. Indeed, the noblest and greatest that anyone could ever being true servant and worshipper of God. ever be is being a true servantand worshipperof God. Al-Miqreezee notes that the proper form of worship entails AI-Miqreezee notes the proper of entails aspects: four aspects: "Worship" restricted the acts of worship "Worship" is not restricted to the ritual acts of worship or acts that one may consider"religious" or "spiritual." The goal is to acts that one may consider "religious" "spiritual." The goal become as complete servant of as one can. The correct become as complete a servant of Allah as one can. The correct concept of servitude comprehensive. "Worship" or ibaadah is concept of servitude is very comprehensive. "Worship" ibaadah concept comprising every deed, internal manifest, that a concept comprising every word or deed, internal or manifest, that Allah loves and approves.Hence, worship permeatesevery part of a loves and approves. Hence, worship permeates every part of person. It touches upon his internal characteristics well as his person. touches upon his internal characteristics as as as his outward actions. outwardactions. In sum, worship is inclusive of: sum, worship is inclusiveof: (a) One's relationship (a) One's relationship with the Lord; the (b) One's relationship with his own soul and its One's relationship soul and society as whole; (d) rights upon him; (c) One's relationship with society as a whole; (d) rights upon him; (c) One's relationship One's relationship with one's relatives, spouse, children and others One's relationship one's relatives,spouse,children and others who have special rights upon a person; (e) One's relationship with the who have specialrights upon a person;(e) One's relationship the animals that Allah has placed in this creation; (f) One's relationship animals that has placed this creation; One's relationship with the environment and all the resources that Allah has created the environment and the resourcesthat has created which are supposed to be used in a responsible and ethical manner. which are supposed be used a responsible to and ethicalmanner. Allah, though,did not leavehumanscluelessas to how they Allah, though, did not leave humans clueless as to how they are going to be able to grow, persevere and continue in these acts of are going to be able to grow, persevere and continue theseacts worship. Instead, Allah ordained for humans specific ritual acts of worship. Instead, ordained for humans specific ritual acts worship. These deeds are acts of worship in and of themselves but worship. These deedsare acts worship and themselves but they are also acts that aid the individual continuing along the path they are also acts that aid the individual in continuing along the path alone.The most important theseactsare what of worshipping Allah alone. The most important of these acts are what worshipping is known as the pillars Islam." The Prophet (peace and is known as the "five pillars of Islam." The Prophet (peace and be upon him) stated, "Islam is blessings of Allah be upon him) stated, "Islam is built upon five blessings upon five [pillars]: testifying that there is none worthy of worship except Allah fpillars]: testifying that there is none worship except Allah, establishingthe and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the and that Muhammad is the Messenger prayers, giving the zakat, making the pilgrimage to the House and prayers, giving the zakat, making the pilgrimage to the House and fasting the month of Ramadhaan.'" fastingthe month of Ramadhaau."l II Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Recordedby al-Bukhari and Muslim. 55 f,f,
    • The first pillar is the proclamation of faith. This first pillar The the proclamation of faith. demonstrates that submission is not something that one claims is in demonstrates that submission is something that one claims is the heart with no public affirmation. The submission to God is not the heart affirmation. The submission God meant to be a private submission. It is a public submission, as it is the meantto be a private submission. is a public submission, as is the force behind the outward deedsone performs. Thus, driving force behind the outward deeds one performs. Thus, with full conviction, belief, sincerity and honesty one proclaims: There none conviction, belief, sincerity and honesty one proclaims: There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of of worship except and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Allah. In reality, without this pillar, the remaining acts will become reality, without this pillar, the remainingacts become meaningless. The other acts must be built upon having faith. One meaningless.The other acts must be upon having faith. One cannot do an act please properly cannot do an act to please God properly without first having belief in having God and in His Messenger. This faith then drives corresponding acts. God and Messenger.This faith then drives coresponding acts. act that this faith should lead one is the proclamation and The first act that this faith should lead one to is the proclamation and The declaration of that faith. Hence, it is the starting point for all of the declaration of that faith, Hence, is the starting of the other foundations. other foundations. The other four pillars are discussed The other four pillars are discussed below: below: The Prayers Prayers The second pillar is "to establish the prayers." This pillar The second is establishthe prayers." This mean pray whenever however one does not simply mean to pray whenever or however one wills to pray. does pray. There are formal, ritualistic prayers that every Muslim must perform There are formal, ritualistic prayers that every must perform as a basic sign of his willingness to submit to God. 1 There are five as a basic sign of his willingness submit to God.r There are such prayers every day at fixed times. The time of the first prayer is such prayers every day at times. The time of the prayer between dawn and sunrise. The second prayer time starts just after between dawn and sunrise. The second prayer starts after high noon. The third starts at the mid-afternoon. The fourth starts noon. The starts at the mid-aftemoon. The fourth starts right after sunset. And the fifth is at nightfall. Hence, as a Muslim after sunset. the at nightfall. Hence, as a goes through his day there is never any period of goes through his day there is never any period of time in which he is he a formal prayer. These repeated prayers continually distant from a formal prayer. These repeated prayers continually distant remind the person of his relationship with his Lord and his true remind the person of his relationship his and his true purpose life. purpose in life. general, these prayers ate supposed In general, these prayers are supposed to be performed in be performed congregation in a mosque. Numerous mosques are therefore located congregation a mosque.Numerous mosquesare therefore located lands. The faithful are called pray throughout Muslim lands. The faithful are called to pray by a person throughout a person reciting specific phrases, among them, "Come to the prayer, come to reciting specific phrases,among them, "Come the prayer, come the success." In the mosque, the worshippers form straight lines the success." the mosque, the worshippers straight lines behind the prayer leader (Imam). behind the prayer leader (Imam). They all face the same direction, face the same direction, I Obviously, one can pray supplicateat alt times and perfomr voluntary prayers 1 Obviously, one can pray or supplicate at all times and perfoml voluntary prayers on one's own. However, this is not what this foundational pillar is referring to. one's own. However, this is not what this foundational is referring to. 56 56
    • towards Mecca. The prayer is said in Arabic and contains Quranic towards Mecca. The prayer is said and contains Quranic readings. The prayer also consists of bows and prostrations. If anyone readings.The prayer also consistsof bows and prostrations.If anyone travels throughout the world, he will find the Muslims praying in the travels throughout the he will the Muslims praying the same fashion and with the same Arabic terms and expressions. Thus, a samefashion and the same terms and expressions. Thus, Muslim enters any mosque in the world and feels immediately at enters any mosque the and feels immediately home and among his brothers and sisters in faith. home and among his brothersand sisters faith. The importance of the prayers lies in the fact that no matter what The importanceof the prayers lies the fact that matter actions one performs in his life, the most important aspect is one's actions one performs his the most important aspect one's relationship to Allah, that is, one's faith, God-consciousness, sincerity relationship Allah, that is, one's faith, God-consciousness, to sincerity and worship of Allah. This relationship with Allah is both and worship Allah. This relationship is both demonstrated and put into practice, as well as improved and demonstrated and into practice, as as improved and increased, by the prayer. increased, the prayer. The Zakat The third pillar of Islam is the giving of zakat or "alms." The third pillar of Islam is the giving of zakat "alms." Zakat is a specific portion of one's varied wealth that must be given Zakat is a specific portion of one's varied wealth that must be given yearly to a specific group of recipients, such as the poor and the yearly to a specific group of recipients, such as the and the needy. needy. The concept of being obliged to give up a portion of one's The concept being obliged give up portion of one's wealth for the sake of God as an act of worship of God is something wealth the sake of God as an act of worship of something that one finds the messageof the previous prophets. that one finds in the message of the previous prophets. Its important important place place in the purification of the soul is touched upon by Sulaiman the purification of the soul touched upon Sulaiman Nadwi who wrote, wrote, The main cause of spiritual illnesses of human beings is The main cause spiritual illnesses human beings is of the absence of hope and fear of Allah and lack of love the absenceof hope and fear of and of love and attachment to Him. Cure to these illnesses is Salat and attachmentto Him. Cure these illnesses Salat [prayer]. There is also another cause of these illnesses, [prayer]. There is also another cause of these illnesses, possessions,riches and namely, attachment to worldly possessions, riches and namely, attachment wealth, instead wealth, instead of attachment to Allah. Zakat is the attachment Zakat the remedy for this second cause of illness. 1 remedy this secondcause illness.l This act of worship highlights a fact discussed earlier act of worship highlights fact discussed earlier concerning the scope of worship. Worship does not deal simply with concerningthe scope worship. Worship does deal one's interaction his Lord (if one can somehow one's interaction with his Lord (if one can somehow compartmentalize that and remove it from all other interactions) but it compartmentalize that and remove other interactions) also deals with one's interaction with the other believers in particular also deals one's interaction the other believers particular and the rest humanity general. the Zakat, one and the rest of humanity in general. Via the Zakat, one directly fulfills ' I Sulaiman Nadwi, Worship [slan (Karachi: Darul Ishaat, 1994),p. 179. Sulaiman Nadwi, Worship in Islam (Karachi: Darullshaat, 1994), p. 179. 57 57
    • the needs of others. The basis by which one should interact with needs of others. basis one should interact with others is, once again,the worship of Allah. others once again, the worship of Zakat developswithin the soul a desireto sacrifice and assist Zakat develops within the soul desire sacrifice and assist others for the sake of Allah. The true believer cultivates in his heart others the sake of true believer cultivates heart the joy of giving for the sakeof Allah, recognizinghow pleased the joy of the sake of recognizing pleased Allah is with such a deed.It is not simply a matterof removing the disease such deed. simply matter of removing the disease of selfishness,the ill amassingof wealth and the harms of egotism of selfishness, the ill amassing of and the harms of egotism from one's heart. It is more than that. It is the replacementof those one's heart. It more than that. It the replacement of those possible ill feelings possible ill feelings with the feeling that a believer should sacrifice the feeling that believer should sacrifice and work for othersas a meansof getting closerto Allah. and others as means of getting closer Fasting Fasting The fourth pillar of Islam is the fast of the nine month of the fourth of Islam the fast of the nine month of the Islamic calendar,Ramadhan.This meansto abstain from food, drink Islamic calendar, Ramadhan. means abstain food, and sexual intercourse the daytime-from dawn and sexual intercourseduring the daytime-from dawn until sunset- sunset- of the days of this month. I of the daysof this month.l Fasting is a source of self-restraint, piety and God- Fasting source of self-restraint, and God- the prophets before consciousness. It was prescribed by Allah for the prophets before consciousness. was prescribed the versesobligating the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In the verses obligating the ProphetMuhammad (peacebe upon him). fast of the month of Ramadhan, Allah has pointed out its goal or fast of the month of Ramadhan, has pointed its goal believe! Observingthe fast prescribed purpose: "0 you who believe! Observing the fast is prescribed for you purpose:"O as was prescribed thosebefore you, that as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious" may become (2::183). ) . (2 183 restraining Note that fasting is much more than simply restraining from that fasting much more than and sexual intercourse. is supposed be a time food, drink and sexual intercourse. It is supposed to be a time in food, This increased which God-consciousness is greatly heightened. This increased level which God-consciousness greatly heightened. is level should be reflected everything the individual of God-consciousness should be reflected in everything the individual God-consciousness fasting. The Prophet(peaceand blessings does while fasting. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon does be upon alluded to this fact when he stated,"Perhapsthe fasting person him) alluded to this fact when he stated, "Perhaps the fasting person perhaps the one may get nothing from his fast except hunger. And perhaps the one may get nothing from his fast except hunger. who performs the late night prayers 2 may get nothing from his prayers performs the late night prayers2 may get nothing from his prayers I Note that the Islamic calendaris a lunar calendar.Hence,over the years,the month of I Note that the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. Hence, over the years, the month of Ramadhan moves throughout the different seasons.In any given year, those in the Ramadhan moves throughout the different seasons. In any given year, those in the Northem Hemispheremay be fasting during summer (with relatively longer days) while Northern Hemisphere may be fasting during summer (with relatively longer days) while those in the Southem Hemisphere are fasting during winter (relatively shorter days). those in the Southern Hemisphere are fasting during winter (relatively shorter days). However, in a number of years, the situation will be reversed. However, in a number of years,the situationwill be reversed. 2 In addition to fasting during the daytime, there are also special prayers that Muslims 2 In addition to fasting during the daytime, there are also special prayers that Muslims perfonn during the nighttime in the month of Ramadhan. perform during the nighttime in the month of Ramadhan. 58 58
    • except sleeplessness."r Prophet(peaceand blessings except sleeplessness."! The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be The of be upon him) also said, "The fasting is fnot upon him) also said, "The fasting is [not only abstaining] from food abstaining]from food and drink but the fast is abstaining from vain speech and lewd speech. and the fast is abstaining speechand speech. you, you should say, 'I am If anyone reviles you or acts foolishly with you, you should say, 'I am If anyonerevilesyou actsfoolishly fasting, am fasting."'z Finally, the Prophet (peaceand blessings fasting, I am fasting."'2 Finally, the Prophet (peace and blessings of be upon him) also said, "If someonedoes not give up false Allah be upon him) also said, "If someone does not give up false speech and acting according to it, Allah is in no want of him giving up speechand acting according no of his food and drink.,,3 his food and drink."3 Fasting is an experience wherein the person leaves his wants Fasting is an experiencewherein the person leaveshis wants and desires for the sake of putting what Allah wants first. This and desires the sake of putting wants first. This reminds him of his true goal and purpose in life. This experience reminds of his true goal and purpose experience allows matters proper perspectiveconcerningwhat he allows him to put matters into proper perspective concerning what he wants out of this life and what is of true importance to him. wants out this life and what is true importance him. to The Messengerof (peaceand blessingsof The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be be upon him) once said, "Look at those who are lower than you [having upon once said, at thosewho are lower than you [having less than you] and do not less than you] and do not look at those who are above you [having at those who are above you [having more than youl as otherwisethe bountiesof upon you would more than you] as otherwise the bounties of Allah upon you would become insignificant to yoU.,,4 In this hadith, the Prophet (peace and becomeinsignificantto you."a this hadith, the Prophet(peaceand blessings be upon has given an instructionthat blessings of Allah be upon him) has given an instruction that will help help one appreciate the numerous benefits that he has received from Allah. one appreciatethe numerousbenefits that he has received The institution of fasting can take the person even further. The institution of fasting can take the person even further. While fasting, the person does not just view the plight of others, but he can fasting,the persondoes not view the plight others, he can actuallybegin to feel their plight. Hence,the rich can reflect on what actually begin to feel their plight. Hence, the rich can reflect on what they have been given and they have been given and give true thanks. Especially in this day and true thanks. Especially this day and age and in some materially advanced countries, one becomes very age and some materially advancedcountries,one becomesvery much accustomed to easy access to food, drink, clean water, much accustomed easy access food, drink, clean water, electricity and so on. Since these are readily available, the person electricity and so on. Since these are readily available,the person starts to take them for granted and does not realize what a great starts take granted and does realize a great blessing they are and how so many in today's world are actually blessing they are and so many today's are actually deprived of these basic needs. deprivedof thesebasicneeds. I Recorded J Recorded by ibn Majah. Authenticated by al-Albani. See al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami Majah. Authenticated al-Albani. See al-Albani, Sahih al-Sagheer, vol. I, p. 656, hadith #3488. al-Sagheer, p. 656, hadith #3488. 2 Recorded by ai-Hakim and al-Baihaqi. Authenticated by al-Albani. See al-Albani, 2 Recorded al-Hakim and al-Baihaqi.Authenticated al-Albani. See al-Albani, Sahih alJani al-Sagheer,vol. 2, p. 948, hadith #5376. Sahih a/-Jami a/-Sagheer, vol. 2, p. 948, hadith #5376. I Recorded al-Bukhari. 3 Recorded by al-Bukhari. a Recorded Muslim. 4 Recorded by Muslim. 59
    • The Pilgrimage to Mecca (The Haj}) The Pilgrimage to Mecca (The Hsirt The final pillar of Islam is making the pilgrimage (haii) to The final pillar of Islam is making the pilgrimage (hajj) to the House of Allah, or the Kaaba. The pilgrimage should be made at the House of Allah, or the Kaaba. The pilgrimage should be made at least once in a Muslim's lifetime if he ever has the physical and least once in a Muslim's lifetime if he ever has the physical and financial means to perform it. financial meansto perform it. Part of the pilgrimage has to do with remembranceof the acts Part of the pilgrimage has to do with remembrance of the acts of Abraham, his wife Hagar and their son Ishmael in the valley of of Abraham, his wife Hagar and their son Ishmael in the valley of Mecca. One virtually retraces some of their steps. One remembers Mecca. virtually retraces some of steps. remembers them as they sacrificed for the sakeof Allah and Allah, in return' was as sacrificed sake of Allah Allah, return, pleasedwith them and blessedthem in so many ways. pleased with and blessed them ways. The pilgrimage is truly a moving experience. Millions of pilgrimage experience. Millions of Muslims come from every corner of the world and descend upon come every comer of the and descend Mecca. They all repeatedlyexpresstheir willingness to come to be in Mecca. repeatedly express willingness come the service of the Lord. The worldly distinctionsbetweenthe pilgrims service of the distinctions between the disappear as they all stand before their Lord during these blessed disappear as stand before these blessed days. days. The pilgrimage requires a great deal of sacrifice on the part pilgrimage requires great deal of sacrifice the such as the sacrifice of time, money and effort. of the Muslim, such as the sacrifice of time, money and effort. Every of the and sacrifice. believer must realize the relationship between his faith and sacrifice. believer must realize the relationshipbetween aspect this religion. true believershould Sacrifice is an essential aspect of this religion. A true believer should Sacrificeis an essential the sake of be willing to sacrifice one's time, wealth and even life for the sake of be willing to sacrifice one's time, wealth and even desires and Allah. In addition, the true believer must sacrifice all desires and addition, the true believer must sacrifice the Quran and Sunnah. fact, a pleasures that are not consistent with the Quran and Sunnah. In fact, a pleasuresthat are not consistent true believer must sacrifice anything that comes between and the true believer must sacrifice anything that comes between him and the true worship of Allah alone. true worship Allah alone. 60 60
    • Scientific Miracles Quran ScientificMiracles in the Quran and Sunnah Sunnah As noted earlier,the "miracle" of the final Prophetis unique. noted earlier, the of the Prophet unique. Since he was the last prophet, with no prophet coming later, his Since was prophet, with prophet later, miracle has to have a lasting affect until the Day of Judgment. The miracle has have lasting of Judgment. Quran is miraculous in many ways. However, in the past century or Quran miraculous many ways. However, the past century so, many have noted that it is miraculousin the mannerin which it is so, many have noted that miraculous the manner perfectly consistentwith scientific fact. In fact, as new discoveriesare perfectly consistent scientific fact. fact, as discoveries are being made, people are realizing that some of those discoveries have being made,people are realizing that some of thosediscoverieshave already been alluded the Quran the Sunnah. alreadybeen alluded to in the Quran or the Sunnah. Although spacelimitationsdo not allow a detaileddiscussion Although space limitations detailed discussion of particular examples, it will be sufficient here to quote the of particular examples, will be sufficient here quote the statements a number of non-Muslim scientistsconcerning their of number of non-Muslim scientists concerning their statements of study of the Quran. study of the Quran. General Statements Concerningthe Scientific Miracles of the General Statements Concerning the ScientificMiracles the Quran Quran In recent decades, many scientists, in particular, have recent decades, many scientists, particular, have marveled at the miraculous nature of the Quran and have concluded marveled at the miraculous nature of the Quran and have concluded that it is inconceivable that such a work could have been producedby that is inconceivablethat such could have been produced example, the French medical a human some 1400 years ago. For example, the French medical human some 1400 years ago. study on the doctor Maurice Baucaille, at the end of a comprehensive study on the doctor Maurice Baucaille,at the end a comprehensive Bible, the Quran and Science, wrote, Bible, the Quran and Science, wrote, In view of the level of knowledge in Muhammad~s day, it the level knowledge Muhammad's day, is inconceivable that many of the statements in the Qur'an is inconceivablethat many of the statements the Qur'an sciencecould have been the which are connected with science could have been the which are connected of a man. lt is, moreover, perfectly legitimate, not work of a man. It is, moreover, perfectly legitimate, not regard the Qur'an as the expression of a only to regard the Qur'an as the expression of a Revelation, also award a special place, on Revelation, but also to award it a very special place, on the guarantee authenticity provides and account of the guarantee of authenticity it provides and account scientific statementswhich, when the presence in it of scientific statements which, when the presence studied today, appear as a challenge to explanation studied today, appear as a challenge to explanation in human terms. 1 in humanterms.l Upon reading the Quran, one aspect that catches many a Upon reading the Quran, one aspect that catches many a reader's eye is the discussion of the creation of the human within the reader's eye is the discussion the creation the human the the mother. fact, the details and the analysisare s0 great womb of the mother. In fact, the details and the analysis are so great womb that Keith Moore, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at that Keith Moore, ProfessorEmeritusof Anatomy and Cell at II Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, the Quran alld Science (Indianapolis, IN: American Trust Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, the Quran and Science(lndianapolis,lN: American Trust Publications, 1978), pp. 251-252. Publications, 978), pp. 251-252. I 61l 6
    • the University of Toronto, has included them in a special edition of the University Toronto, has included them a specialedition his textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented his textbook The Developing lfuman: Oriented Embryology. 1 Commenting on the miraculous consistency between Embryology.t Cornmenting on the miraculous consistency between statements in the Quran and the historical development of statements the Quran and the historical developnrent of Moore stated 1981,"It has been a greatpleasure Embryology, Dr. Moore stated in 1981, "It has been a great pleasure Embryology, for me to help clarify statements in the Qur'an about human me help statements the Qur'an about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to development. is clear me that thesestatements must have come Muhammad from God, because almost all of this knowledge was not Muhammadfrom God, because almost all this knowledgewas not discovered many centuries later. This proves discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God.,,2 Muhammadmust havebeena messenger God."2 Dr. T. V. N. Persaud, a specialist in Anatomy, Obstetrics and T. N. Persaud, specialist Anatomy, Obstetrics a and related fields and a Professor at the University of Manitoba, stated, related fields and a Professor at the of Manitoba, stated, "You have someone illiterate [meaning the Prophet Muhammad] have someone illiterate fmeaning the Prophet Muhamrnad] making profound pronouncements and statements that are amazingly making profound pronouncements and statements that are amazingly accurate about scientific nature. I personally can't see how this could accurate about scientificnafure. personallycan't see this could be a mere chance. There are too many accuracies and, like Dr. Moore, be a mere chance.There are too many accuracies and, Moore, I have no difficulty in my mind that this is a divine inspiration or have no difficulty mind that this is a divine inspiration revelation which led him to these statements.,,3 revelation led thesestatements."3 Prof. Tejatat Tejasen of Chiang Mai University in Thailand Prof. Tejatat Tejasen Chiang University Thailand stated, stated, During the last three years, I became interested in the the last three years, became interested the Quran... From my study... I believe that everything that Quran... From study... believe that everythingthat has been recorded the Quran fourteen hundred years has been recorded in the Quran fourteen hundred years ago must be the truth, that can be proved by scientific ago must be the truth, that can be proved scientific means. Since the Prophet Muhammad could neither read means.Since the ProphetMuhammadcould neitherread nor write, Muhammad must be a messenger who relayed write, Muhammad must be a messenger relayed this truth, which was revealed to him as an enlightenment this truth, was revealed as an enlightenment by the one who is eligible [as the] creator. .. Therefore, I the one who is eligible [as the] creator...Therefore, think this is the time to say ... [at this point, Prof. Tejasen think this is the time to say...[at this point, Prof. Tejasen makes a declaration of Islamic faith].4 makesa declaration Islamic faith].4 I 1 See Keith L. Moore [along with Abdul-Majeed Azzindani], The Developing Humall: Moore [along Abdul-Majeed Azzindani], The Developing Hwnan: See Clinically Oriented Embryology [with Islamic Additions: Correlation Studies with Clinically Ernbryologt fwith Studies Quran and Hadithl Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Dar al-Qiblah for Islamic Literature, 1983, in Quran I'ladithl Jeddah,Saudi Arabia: al-Qiblah lslamic Literature, 1983, conjunction with W. B. Saunders Company. conjunction W. Saunders Company. 2 2 Quoted in I. A. Ibrahim, A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam (Houston: Ibralrinr, Brief lllustrated Guide lo llnderstanding Islam (Houston: Quoted Darussalam, 1997), p. 10. Darussalam, 1997),p. 10. 3 3 Quoted in Ibrahim, p. 27. Quoted Ibrahim,p. 2?. a 4 Quoted in Ibrahim, p. 31. Quoted lbrahim,p. 31. 62 62
    • The last person quoted declared his faith and became a The last person quoted declared his faith and became a Muslim. Actually, this has been the fate of millions who have studied Muslim. Actually, this has been the fate of millions who have studied Islam throughout the East and the West. Some may be famous people, Islam throughout the East and the West. Some may be famous people, such as rock star Cat Stevensor German diplomat Murad Hoffman, such as rock star Cat Stevens or German diplomat Murad Hoffman, but the vast majority are simply honest people who understandthat but the vast majority are simply honest people who understand that there is some truth behind this reality and via honest and unbiased there is some truth behind this reality and via honest and unbiased study and contemplationrealizeand acceptthe truth of Islam. study and contemplation realize and accept the truth of Islam. 63 63
    • How Does Become Muslim How Does One Become a Muslim The process which one becomes Muslim is quite simple process by one becomes a quite simple and straightforward. All it entails is the declaration of one's belief. straightforward. All it entails declaration of one's Thus, one states in front of witnesses,"I bear witness that there is Thus, one states of witnesses, "I bear witness that there none worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness that none of worship except Allah and I bear witness Muhammad is the Messengerof Allah." LJponstating those sentences, Muhammad Messenger of Allah." Upon stating those sentences, one entersinto the beautiful brotherhoodof Islam, a brotherhoodthat one enters the beautiful brotherhood of Islam, brotherhood stretches from the time of Adam until the last days of this earth. stretches the of the last days of earth. It recommended that one do a completewashing of one's It is recommended that one complete washing of one's body, such as a shower,before making this declaration.This symbolic body, such as shower, before declaration. symbolic act representsthe washing away of all previous acts as one is now act represents the washing away of previous acts as one entering a new stage in life. The Prophet (peace and blessings of entering stage The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated, "Islam wipes away whatever [sins] upon stated, wipes away whatever [sins] preceded it.,,1 other words, whether one had defiantly disobeyed preceded it."r In other words, whether one had defiantly disobeyed God or was simply ignorant of faith, all of that is now behind the was ignorant of faith, of that behind the individual. has should reaTize, though, that he individual. He now has a new life. He should realize, though, that he has taken his step. There are many other wonderful steps has now taken his first step. There are many other wonderful steps ahead of him. He should now be preparedto grow and blossom as a ahead of him. should be prepared and blossom as he devoted worshipper and servant of Allah until he finally meets Allah devoted worshipper and servant of meets on the Judgment, being pleased on the Day of Judgment, being pleased with being Allah's servant and being servantand Allah being pleased with him as His servant. being pleased as servant. It was noted earlier that Islam is definitely a complete way of was noted earlier that Islam is definitely a complete of life. Upon embracing Islam, one must have the intention submit life. Upon embracing Islam, one must have the intention to submit to This means that many changesmay take place Allah. This means that many changes may take place in a person's a person's a life-transforming step many ways. life. Hence, again, it is truly a life-transforming step in many ways. Hence, again, is that knowledge and One should make the commitment with that knowledge and with the One should make the commitment the is the ultimategoal in one's life. firm conviction that pleasing Allah is the ultimate goal in one's life. convictionthat pleasing However, one never has to be alone one's spiritual path. However, one never has to be alone in one's spiritual path. Islam, he is part a brotherhood From the moment one embraces Islam, he is part of a brotherhood and From the momentone embraces and other. every major throughout sisterhood that is there for each other. In every major city throughout sisterhoodthat is there each the world, one can find Islamic centersand mosques.It has been the the world, one can find Islamic centers and mosques. It has been the this author that those centers are always more than experience of this author that those centers are always more than experience huppy to welcome any newcomer into the fold and to happy to welcome any newcomer into the fold and to try to help him to help or her grow as a Muslim. or her grow as a Muslim. I Recordedby Ahmad. 1 Recorded by Ahmad. 64 64
    • By grace, has made religion open By Allah's grace, He has made His religion open to everyone. There are restrictions-all needed everyone. There are no restrictions-all that is needed is a sincere sincere heart willing submit and worship alone. heartwilling to submit to and worship Allah alone. Allah guide sincere truthseekers to May Allah guide all the sinceretruthseekers the wonderful and beautiful path of religion, Islam. and beautifulpath of His religion,Islam. Conclusion Conclusion author has attempted shed some This author has attemptedto shed some light on the religion of Islam. This obviously an ominous task and of Allah, Islam. This is obviously an ominous task and difficult to perform in a small number of words. Sometimes,it is difficult to put small number of words. Sometimes, difficult words the beauty that one experiences. However, the author into words the beauty that one experiences.However, the author hopes that some of what has been written here has touched the heart hopes that some of has been here has touched the heart and the mind of the reader.The only advice that this author is left to and the of the reader. advice that this author encourage every reader turn God sincere heart give is to encourageevery readerto turn to God with a sincere heart and ask guidance. Allah willing, that sincereprayer will lead and ask Him for guidance. that sincere prayer lead the individual directly the truth and the beauty of Islam. Amen. the individual directly to the truth and the beautyof Islam.Amen. 65 65
    • SelectedReferences Selected References For further study of Islam, the following references used in the further study of Islam, the references used in the preparationof the unabridgedversion of this work are recommended: preparation of the unabridged version of are recommended: Abdul Mohsen, Mohsen, Abdul Radhi Muhammad. Muhammad's Radhi Muhammad. Muhammad's Prophethood: Reality or Hoax. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Prophethood: or Hoax. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: International Islamic Publishing House. 1999. InternationalIslamic PublishingHouse. 1999. Al-Ashqar, Llmar. Belief in Allah in the Light of the Quran and AI-Ashqar, Vmar. Belief the of the Quran Sunnah. Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House. Sunnah. Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House. 2000. 2000. Al-Azami, M. M. The History of the Quranic Textfrom Revelation to AI-Azami, The of the Quranic Text from Revelation Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Compilation: Comparative Study the New Testaments. Leicester, United Kingdom: UK Islamic Testqments. Leicester, United Kingdom: UK Islamic A c adem y 2003.3 . Academy. .2 0 0 Christianity: Discussion of Religious Dialogue Between Islam and Christianity: Discussion of Religious Between Islam Dogma Between Intellectuals from the Two Religions. Dogma Between Intellectuals from the Two Religions. Fairfax, VA: Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in Fairfax, Institute of Islamic and Sciences America. 1999. America. 1999. Dirks, Jerald F. The Cross & the Crescent. Beltsville, MD: Amana Dirks, Jerald F. The Cross & the Crescent.Beltsville, Amana Publications. 2001. Publications. 2001. Draz, Muhammad Abdullah. The Quran: An Eternal Challenge. Draz, Muhammad Abdullah. The Quran: Challenge. Kingdom: The Islamic Foundation.2001. Leicester, United Kingdom: The Islamic Foundation. 2001. Leicester, ibn Abdullah, Misha'al. What Did Jesus REALLY Say? AIUl Arbor, Abdullah, Misha'al. What Jesus Say? Arur IslamicAssembly North America.2001. MI: Islamic Assembly of North America. 2001. Brief lllustrated Guide to Understanding Islam. Ibrahim, I. A. A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam. Ibrahinr" Houston: Darussalam. 1997.. Houston: Darussalam.1997 Idris, Jaafar Sheikh. The Pillars of Faith. Riyadh: Presidency Idris, Jaafar Sheikh. The Pillars of Faith. Riyadh: Presidency of Islamic Research, Ifta and Propagation. 1984. Islamic Research, and Propagation.1984. Nadwi, Hasan Ali. Islam the World. International Islamic Nadwi, Abul Hasan Ali. Islam and the World. International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations. 1983. Federation Student Organizations. 1983. Njozi, Hamza Mustafa. The Sources of the Quran: A Critical Review Njozi, Hamza Mustafa. The Sourcesof the Quran: Review of the Authorship Theories. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: World the Authorship Theories. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Assembly of Muslim Youth. 1991. Assembly MuslimYouth. 1991. The Fundamentalso/Tawheed (lslamic Monotheism). Philips, Bilal. The Fundamentals of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism). Philips, Birmingharrq United Kingdom: Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Birmingham, United Kingdom: AI-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution. Dishibution. Philips, The Purpose of Creation. Sharjah, Dar al Fatah. Philips, Bilal. The Purpose of Creation. Sharjah, UAE: Dar al Fatah. l99s 1995 66 66
    • Table of Contents Table Contents Preface Preface 3 Introduction Introduction 4 The God (Allah) The Belief in God (Allah) 7 The Belief that Allah must be the only Object of Worship The that mustbe the only Object Worship 9 Belief in Allah's Names and Attributes Namesand Attributes 14 14 The Universe and Humans The Universe and Humans 18 l8 Religion Religion 27 27 Prophethood Prophethood 33 33 Islam and "Faith" Islam and 48 48 The Ritual Acts of Worship in Islam The Ritual Acts of Worship Islam 55 55 Scientfic Miracles in the Qur'an and Sunnah Scientfic Miracles the Qur'an and Sunnah 61l 6 How Does One Become a Moslem? Does One Becomea Moslem? 64 64 Selected References SelectedReferences 65 65 67 67
    • Publisher The Under-Secretariat of Puhl icat ions and Research, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endovnnents, !)a 'H'ah, and CJuidanee P.O.BOX : 61843 Riyadh: 11478 Tel: 4736999 Fax: 4737999 , E-Mail: info(q]islam.org.sa ISBN:9960- 29 - 601- ISBN: 9960 - 29 - 601 - 6