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  • 1. m What is ? ? • o B J -m1aal ~ I-D:n M. ,Zs:abo -0~ - ; - ~ .. - • I -......-- - _.~ . ." .., - • l • - -~---=£ ~ -
  • 2. Whilt is IslamWhat By Jamaal al-Din Zaraboz,o Jamaal aI-Din M. Zarabozo Zarabozo ©2006, Jamaal aI-Din M. Zarabozo 02006, Jamaalal-Din
  • 3. © 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 ataZarabozo, Jamaal aI-DinZarubozo, Jamaalal-DinWhat is Islam:: Abridged Version.! Jamaal aI-Din Zarabozo,What is Islam Abridged Version.l lamaal al-Din Zarabozo,- Riyadh, 2007 Riyadh, 200768 P ; 1 4 x 2 0 c m6 8 P 14 20 emI S B N 9960 - 2 9 - 6 0 -ISBN:: 9 9 6 0- 29 - 6011- 61 - IIslam1 slam Title 1 -Title210 dc210 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, Dawah, and Guidance Dawah, Guidance and Kingdom Saudi of Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia First Edition First Edition 1428 H - 2007 G 1428 - 2007
  • 4. 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; weAll praises are due to Allah; we praise Him; we seek His help; weseek His forgiveness;and we seek His guidance.II bear witnessthatseek His forgiveness; and we seek His guidance. bear witness thatthere is none worthy of worship except Allah, for whom there is nothere is none worthy of worship except Allah, for whom there is nopartner. And II bear witness that Muhammad is His servant andpartner. And bear witness Muhammad His servantMessenger.Messenger. I would like to take this opportunity to expresspraise and to I take opportunity express praise andthank Allah for giving me the opportunity to write an important work Allah for giving write workof this nature. May Allah forgive me for my shortcomings inof nature. Allah shortcomingspresentingHis religion. I would also like to express my heartfeltpresenting I also express heartfeltthanks to the noble Shaikh Muhammad al-Turki of the Ministry ofthanks the noble Shaikh Muhammad of Ministry ofIslamic Affairs, Endowments, Dawah and Guidancefor his support.IIslamic Affairs, Endowments, and Guidance support. Iwould also like to expressmy thanks to Ahmad Ba-Rasheedfor his also express thanks Ba-Rasheed hiscontinual efforts as well. Thesetwo devotedmen rvere instrumentalincontinual efforts as These devoted men were instrumentalproducing this abridgement as as the original that thisproducingthis abridgement as well as the original work that this work thankis basedon. There are many people that I would like to thank for their based on. There are many people thathelp this particular First, must express thanks tohelp in this particular work. First, I must express my thanks to mybeloved who is always a source assistance and help. Specialbeloved wife who is always a source of assistance and help. Specialthanksmust 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. JalaalDr. Mohammad al-Osimi, Dr. Ahmad al-Teraiqi and Br. JalaalAbdullah. can only pray that Allah rewardsthem and blessesAbdullah. I can only pray that Allah rewards them and blesses them themgreatly.greatly. It should be noted that this work is an abridgement the It should be noted that this work is an abridgement of the authors Whatis Islam. Many details,furtherreferences additional andauthors What is Islam. Many details, further references and additional quotes from authoritative sources have been deleted in thisquotes from authoritative sources have been deleted in this reader interestedin additional referencesshouldabridgement. Any reader interested in additional references should abridgement. versionof this work. I pray that Allahconsult 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 allaccepts this work from me as being solely for His sake. As with allsuch 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 theask Allah to forgive me for my shortcomings and to guide me to theStraight Path.StraightPath. Jamaal Zarubozo Jamaal Zarabozo Boulder, CO Boulder, CO Mayy15,20060 6 Ma 15,20 3 3
  • 5. 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 concisematerial about Islam. Today, for many reasons, Islam is often picturedmaterial about Islam. Today, many reasons,Islam often picturedin a very unflattering manner in many parts of the world. Since many a very unflattering manner many parts of the Since manypeople are unfamiliar with Islam beyond what they see in the masspeople are unfamiliar Islam beyond what they see the massmedia, it is not surprising that such misrepresentations of Islam havemedia, is not surprisingthat such misrepresentations Islam have ofinfluenced public opinion. The easiest and probably the mostinfluenced public opinion. Th* easiest and probably the mostproductive cure for this situatIon is by reaching out to those peopleproductive cure for this situation is reaching those peopleand allowing them to hear what Islam is truly all about. One must goand allowing them hear what Islam is about.One mustbeyond 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 thatis spread about Islam. The goal here is simply to presentwhat Islamis spreadabout Islanr. The goal here is sirnply present Islamtruly is, based on the original and universally recognized sources of is, based on the original and universally recognizedsourcesofIslam: The Quran-or, in other words, the book revealed from AllahIslam: 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 understandsomething about the basic sources of Islam. There are only twosomething about the basic sources Islam. There areauthoritative sources of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah of theauthoritative sources of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah of theProphet Muhammad 1 These two are the ultimate authorities in IslamProphetMuhammadrThese are the ultimate authorities Islambecause they constitute the revelation received by the Prophet (peacebecause they constitutethe revelationreceived the Prophet(peaceand blessings of Allah be upon him) from God. God inspired theand blessings be upon him) from God. God inspired theProphet with both the Quran and the Sunnah. Hence, all beliefs andProphet both the Quran and the Sunnah.Hence, beliefs andpractices are subservient these foundations: if something ispractices are subservient to these foundations: if something is them, may be accepted;if somethingcontradictsconsistent with them, it may be accepted; if something contradictsconsistentthem, 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 doesnot consist of stories told by humans about different prophets,everynot consist storiestold humansabout different prophets, everyso often actually quoting a prophet. The Quran is actually theso often actually quoting a prophet. The Quran is actually the word of ofGod. was revealed the angel Gabriel, directlyGod. It was revealed by God, via the angel Gabriel, directly to the God, theProphetMuhammad(peaceand blessingsProphet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Tlre of be upon him). ThetThe (peaceand blessings1The 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 comeare known as his sunnah and hadith. Upon reading further about Islam, one will conreacrossthese 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
  • 6. Prophetreceivedthe exactwording and passed on to his followers.Prophet received the exact wording and passed it followers. revelation, its exact wording, was memorized, recorded andThis revelation,with its exact wording, was memorized,recordedandpassed as is. Hence, again, God and God speaking thepassedon as is. Hence,again,it is God and only God speakingin theQuran. There are no comments, passagesor quotes from humansQuran. There are comments, passages quotes humanswhatsoever the Quran.whatsoeverin the Quran. The style of the Quran is therefore unique. It is Allahs style of the Quran therefore unique. Itwords to the heart, mind and soul of humans.In its original languagewords the heart, and soul of humans. languageof Arabic, it is extremely moving and beautiful. (Today, theof 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 isHowever, none of thesetranslations ever considered Quran.The theQuran 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 exampleof the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessingsof Allah be uponof the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of be uponhim). The authority of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah is not The authority of the Sunnah of the Messengerof isbecause is some kind of demigod. He was a human being,just likebecause he is some he of demigod. was humanbeing,all of the other prophets. of the otherprophets. The prophetsauthority is related to the issue The prophets authorityis related the issueof submission to Allah: It is Allah in the Quran who establishes theof submission Allah: is the Quran establishes the of the Prophetisauthority of the Prophet. Hence, following the way of the Prophet isauthority of the Prophet.Hence, following thenothing but acting in obedience and submission to Allah. Allah hasnothing acting obedienceand submissionto Allah. hasvirtually said such when He said, who obeys the Messengervirtually said such when He said, "He who obeys the Messenger has has have not sentindeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sentindeed obeyedAllah, but he who turns away, thenyou (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 bethe Sunnah. The Sunnah demonstrates how the Quran is to bethe Sunnah. The Sunnah demonstratesimplemented. It is a practical explanation of what the Quran isimplemented. is a practical explanation what the Quran isteaching.This complete,human embodiment the teachings theteaching. This complete, human embodiment of the teachings of theQuran is a great blessing and mercy for Muslims. It makes theQuran is a great blessing and mercy for Muslims. makes theguidance 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 thatoffer all the principles guidancethat humankind need until theoffer all the principles of guidance that humankind will need until theDay 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 theQuran I and the statements and guidance of the Prophet MuhammadQuranr 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 verseof the second chapter.ofthe secondchapter. 5
  • 7. (peace and blessingsof Allah be upou him). Although the original(peaceand blessings of be UpOll him). Although the originalArabic texts of both the Quran and the Prophets sayings areArabic texts of both the Quran and the Prophets sayings areavailable, one has to resort to modest translationsto convey theiravailable, one has resort modest translations convey theirmeanings to non-Arabic speakers. With respectto the Quran, twomeanings non-Arabic speakers. respect the Quran,translations into English can be recontnlendedand will be usedtranslationsinto English can be recommended and will usedthroughout this work. They are The Noble Quran: Englishthroughout this work. They are The Noble Quran: ErtglishTranslation of the Meanings and Contmentary, translated by Translatiort af the Meanings Commentary, translatedMuharnmad and Muhammad Khan, anJ 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 theProphet, two important collections are available in complete form inProphet, important collections are available completeEnglish. They are known as Sahih al-Bukhari (translated byEnglish. are as Sahih (translatedMuhammad Muhsin Khan) and Sahih Muslim (translatedby AbdulMuhammad Khan) and Sahih (translatedHamid 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 basicintroduction 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 readerwillEverythinghas been kept basic,but the hope that the reader willbe encouraged to study Islam in more depth. For the purposeof morebe encouraged study Islam rnoredepth.For the purpose of more toin-depth study, many other importantbooks be recommended atin-depth study, many other important books will be recommended atthe 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 thewords and God. is the "personalname" of God, muchwords Allah and God. Allah is the "personal name" of God, much likeYahweh (later interpreted as Jehovah). Thus, Allah and God will beYahweh (later interpretedas Jehovah).Thus, and God beused interchangeably.usedinterchangeably. 6
  • 8. 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 ofof Islam. All of the other Islamic beliefs and all Islamic practicesof Islam. All of the other Islamic beliefs and all Islamic practicesrevolve around the proper belief in God. For this reason,perhapsrevolve around the proper belief in God. For this reason, perhapsmore than any other religious community in the world, the beliefmore than other religious community the world, beliefabout 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 beengiven by God great reasoning power and natural instincts-given great reasoning and natural instincts.Furthermore, Islam recognizesthat God has createdhumanswith anFurtherrnore, Islam recognizes that has created humans aninnate ability to recognize and understand the truth that there is ainnate recognize and understand the thereCreator 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 theCreator. Hence, they wholeheartedly accept the notion of theCreator. Hence, they wholeheartedly accept the notion of theexistence of God. What has led some people astray and has confusedexistenceof God. What has led somepeople astrayand has confusedthem is that they do not know about God properly and they do notthem that they about properly and theyhave access to a true and preserved revelation from God. Thesehave access true and preserved revelation God. These God, person also hassources of error show that beyondbelievingin God, a personalso hassourcesof error show that beyond believingto 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 somethingwithinseparate being from His creation. Hence, God is not something withinseparatethe 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 Godwhat ones relationship with God should be, one can only tum to Godwhat ones relationship There is no other possibleway.Himself and to His revelation. There is no other possible way. No one and to His revelation. oneexcept 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 blessingsinspired words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings ofinspired words upon him) have thus provided a clear presentationAllah be upon him) have thus provided a clear presentationAllah beconcerningGod. It removesall doubtsaboutHis existence, power Hisconcerning God. It removes all doubts about His existence, His power His knowledge. It also answersall the questionssurroundinghowand His knowledge. It also answers all the questions surrounding howandone shouldbehavetoward the Almighty. In additionto that, by Godsone should behave toward the Almighty. In addition to that, by Godsmercy, God has provided extensive information about Hirnself,mercy, God has provided extensive information about Himself,through His namesand attributes,such that He does truly beconrethethrough His names and attributes, such that He does truly become thebeloved,the sole object of worship and the nrain inspirationfor onesbeloved, the sole object of worship and the main inspiration for oneslife. life. 7
  • 9. 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 readsthe Quran:Allah instructshumankindto ponderover the creationwiththe Quran: instructs humankind ponder over the creation its magnificence. At no time the teachings of the Quran shyall its magnificence.At no time do the teachingsof the Quran shyaway reflection and rational thought. Indeed, these foundationsaway from reflection and rational thought. Indeed, these foundationsof knowledgehave been invoked over and over in the Quran as a pathof knowledge have been invoked over and over the Quran as paththat will lead one conclusion: Therethat will lead to only one conclusion: There is no way that this that thiscreation as one can witness and appreciate todaycreation as one can witness and appreciate it today could have havepossibly come into being except through the intent and creation ofpossibly come into being exceptthrough the intent and creationof agreat, and masterful creator. Igreat,divine and masterfulcreator.l In fact, in one verse, Allah has given a powerful argument fact, one verse, has given argument hundredsof years:"Were theythat was convincing to humankind for hundreds of years: "Were theythat 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 didHumans obviously come here meansof nothingthey create themselves. Hence, they are the result of the act of athey create themselves.Hence, they are the result of the act ofCreator.Creator. In addition to the realization that this existence must have addition to the realizationthat this existencenust havehad a creator, one can also notice the beauty and balance that existshad a creator,one can also notice the beauty and balancethat existsthroughout the universe. The order is so precise that it is sometimesthroughoutthe universe.The order is so precisethat is sometimesreferred to as "the delicate balance of nature." It is truly amazing howreferred as delicate balanceof nature." is amazingeverything works together-even within ones own body. Withouteverything works together-even oues own body. Withoutsuch cooperation between the different organs of the body, forsuch cooperation between the different organs the body,example, there would be no possibilityexample, there would be no possibility of sustaining life. This sustaining life. Thisobserved phenomenon leads to a number of other importantobserved phenomenon leads to a number other importantconclusions.conclusions. First, the order and cooperation between the various First, the order and cooperation between the variousinanimate elements of the universe-which have not been trained orinanimate elenrents the universe-which have not been trained under the control and guidanceoftaught-is a sign that they are still under the control and guidance oftaught-is a sign that they arethe creator. Their level of inter-working and cooperation is such that itthe creator.Their level inter-workingand cooperation suchthatistI 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 citydesert sand, among the archaeologists others even suggestedthat thiscould 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 haveand not by the actions of man. If anyone had suggested such a thing, people would haveand not by the actions man. anyonehad suggestedregarded d h i m a scrazy." Umar ral-Ashqar, rBeliefei f A l l a h i int h e LLight of the QlIrall andr 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 nSunnah (Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House, 2000), p. 125.Sunnah(Riyadh: lntemationalIslamic PublishingHouse,2000),p. 125. 8
  • 10. points to their being all under the authority of one Being, who mustpoints their being under the authority of one Being, musthave both knowledge and complete power sustain and guidehave both full knowledge and conrpletepower to sustainand guidethem. If this were the case, chaos could be rationallythem. If this were not the case, only chaos could be rationallyexpected, especially given the large number of atoms and otherexpected, especially given the large number of atoms and otherparticles 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 theUniverse one and only one-there cannot possibly be more thanUniverse is one and only one-there cannot possibly be more thanone Creator of this balanced and unified universe. This follows fromone Creatorof this balancedand unified universe.This follows fromthe previous point. If there were more than one creator, each havingthe previous point. If there were more than one creator,each having a and power, then be expected that the creationwouldwill and power, then it would not be expected that the creationhave 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 isSustainerand Ultimate Power over this universe is somethingthat isboth 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 CreatorandSustainer of the universe, other important issues come up. InSustainer of the universe, other important issues come up.particular, perhaps the most important question a person can askparticular, perhaps the most important question person can askhimself is: What should be my relationship with that one creator? This is: What shouldbe relationship that one creator?Thisleads directly into the next topic of Allah being the only one worthyleads directly into the next topic of being the one worthyand 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 theexistence of only one Creator and Sustainer is not all there is when itexistence of one Creatorand Sustainer notis there is whencomes to the Islamic concept of "belief in God." Actually, recognizingcomesto the Islamic conceptof God." Actually, recognizingthat fact is something that should be beyond question and clear to allthat fact is somethingthat should be beyond questionand clear toas, again, it is something natural in human souls. The far moreas, again, is something natural human souls. The far moreimportant and subtler issue is what one then does concerning onesimportant and subtler issue is what one then does concerningonesbelief 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, Allahs creation points to His greatness as well as His greatFirst, creation points to His greatness as as His greatknowledge. In general, a persons attitude toward that which they findknowledge. general,a personsattitudetoward that which they findto be perfect, great and marvelous is usually one of awe, respect andto be perfect,great and marvelousis usually one awe, respectandhonor. Furthermore, the greatness of the Creator cannot be comparedhonor. Furthermore,the greatness the Creator cannot be comparedto the inability one who cannotcreate. this point, God says,to the inability of one who cannot create. On this point, God says, "Do Onthey attribute as partners to Allah those who created nothing but theythey attribute as partners those creatednothing but they are created?"(7:l9l). God also says,"Can the One whothemselves are created?" (7: 191). God also says, "Can the One whothemselves you learn thecreates and the one who cannot create be equal? Dont you learn thecreatesand the one who cannotcreatebe equal?lesson?"?(16: 17). ) .l e s s o n ("1 6 : 1 7 9
  • 11. In addition, though, Allah is the source of all of ones addition, though, the source of of onesbounties and blessings.Indeed, He is the source of ones life andbounties and blessings. Indeed, the source of ones andeverything that has been preparedin this creation for him. Thus, Allaheverything has been prepared creation Thus, Allahsaysin the Quran,"If you count the Blessingsof Allah, neverwill yousays the Quran, "If count the Blessings of never willbe able to count thetn" (la:34). Can humans actually bring about able count them" (14:34). Can humans actually aboutthese bounties themselves without the aid and help of Allah? Allahthesebountiesfor themselves without the and help of Allah? Tellgives anotherexamplewhen He says,"Say (to the disbelievers),gives another example when says, the disbelievers), Tellme, if Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and sealedupme, if Allah away hearing and sight, and sealedyour hearts,who is there -a god other than Allah-who could restore hearts, there -a other than Allah-who restorethem you? See variously explain the lessons, yet they turnthem to you? Seehow variouslyWe explain the lessons, they turnaside" (6:46).aside"(6:46). logical one then be disrespectful, neglectful and Is it logical for one then to be disrespectful, neglectful andarrogant towards the One and Only God? Indeed, cart the attifudearrogant towards the One and God? Indeed, can the attitudetoward that One great and marvelous being who bestowed suchtoward that One great and marvelous being bestowed suchbounties be anything humility, humbleness, gratefulness,bounties be anythingbut humility, humbleness, gratefulness, love and love anddevotion?devotion? These two examples, of Allahs creative power and These examples, of creative power andknowledge and of Allahs solitarily bestowingof bounties,should beknowledgeand of solitarily bestowing of bounties, should besufficient to demonstrate the point that Allah alone has the right to besufficient demonstrate the that alone has theloved, honored and worshipped. This is a point that Allah makesloved, honored and worshipped. is a that makesnumerous times in the Quran in various ways while speaking to thosenumeroustimes the Quran various ways speaking those recognizethat there could be one creatorand at the samewho recognize that there could be only one creator and yet at the sametime they ignore Him and worship false gods and false objects oftime they ignore and worship false gods and false objectsworship. 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!TheyWhose is the earth and whosoever is therein? If you know! They Will you not then receive say, It iswill say, It is Allahs! 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, isneededto provide guidance.The false objects worship cannot doneeded 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 guidestopartners one that guides to the truth? Say: It is Allah Who guides topartnersone that guidesto the truth? Say: isthe truth. Is then He, Who gives guidance to the truth, more worthy tothe truth. Is then He, Who gives guidanceto the truth, more to he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he isbe followed, or he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he isbe followed, judge you?guided? Then, what is the matter with you? How judge you? Andguided? Then, what is the matter with you? Certainly,conjecturecanmost of them follow nothing but conjecture. Certainly, conjecture canmost them follow nothing but conjecture.be of no avail againstthe truth. Surely, Allah is All-Aware of whatbe of no avail against the truth. Surely, Allah is All-Aware of whattheyydo" (10:35-36). ).th e do" ( 10: 35- 36 100 1
  • 12. From the above-and from numerous other arguments and From the above-and from numerous other argumentsandproofs scatteredthroughout the Quran-one should conclude thatproofs scattered throughout the Quran-one should conclude thatthere is nothing worthy of worship except Allah. Consequently, ifthere is nothing worthy of worship except Allah. Consequently, ifthere is nothing worthy of worship except Allah, it is rational for thethere is nothing of worship except rational theindividual to insist that he worships no one other than Allah. This isindividual to insist that he worshipsno one other than Allah. This isactually the key message of all of Islam and the message that all of theacruallythe key message all of Islam and the message of that theprophetspreached.prophets preached. At this point, though, it is important to clarify the meaning of this point, though, is importantto clarify the meaningthis term "worship" from an Islamic perspective. The word translatedthis term an Islamic perspective.The translatedas "worship" here is the Quranic and Arabic term ibaadah. This termas here the Quranic and term ibaadah. termhas 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, performanceand, thus, it can be further defined in English as, "the performanceof 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 theonly object of worship-goes well beyond the concept of worship as object of worship-goes beyond the concept of worship asunderstood 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 ofdevotion as well as the feelings in the heart and the deeds of thedevotion as as the feelings the heart and the deeds thephysical body. The feelings the heart include puttingphysical body. The feelings in the heart include putting all of ones onestrust 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 ashaving utmost hope alone, having contentment asGod 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
  • 13. In fact, there are two aspects in particular that must be fact, there are aspects particular that must becombined 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 aobject of worship has many meanings to it. In particular, there are aobject of worship has many meanings it. that must be solely "dedicatednumber of aspects of life that must be solely "dedicated to" Allah.number of aspectsofWithout an understanding of this fact, one has failed to grasp the an understandingof this fact, one has failed grasp thereality of the statement, "There is none worthy of worship except of the statement, "There is none of worship exceptAllah." A brief explanation of these aspects should make this concept explanationof theseaspectsshould make this conceptclearer.clearer. First, all ritual acts of worship must be directed solely to Allah First, acts of worship must be directed solelyalone. Prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, alms and so forth must be donealone. Prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, alms and so forth must be donesolely with the intent of pleasing Allah and as acts of worship towardssolely the intent of pleasing and as acts of worship towards alone. Thus, example, if anyone prays anyone other thanHim alone. Thus, for example, if anyone prays to anyone other than he is actually the principles of worshippingAllah, he is actually violating the principles of worshipping no one oneother than Allah.other than Second, ultimate authority in life rests with Allah. In other Second, ultimate authority rests otherwords, one must submit oneself only to the commands and revelationwords, one must submit oneself the commandsand revelationcoming from Allah. He is the Creator and He has the right to lay downcoming is the Creatorand has thelegislation and laws for the guidance of humankind. Intentionallylegislation and laws the guidance of humankind. Intentionallyignoring or arrogantly superseding the laws from God means that oneignoring arrogantly superseding laws the God meansthat oneis not truly submitting to God and, thus, one is not taking Him as theis submitting God and, thus, one is taking as theonly object of worship and submission. object of worship and submission. Third, ones loves, loyalties, likes and dislikes must be in Third, ones loves, loyalties, likes and dislikes must beaccord with what Allah has revealed. This aspect flows from the heartaccord has revealed. aspect the heartwhen it is truly filled with the belief in, love of and adoration forwhen is the love of and adorationAllah alone. This is a simple concept but it has far-reaching alone. is a simple concept has far-reachingimplications. The completeness of faith requires that Allah is the mostimplications. The completeness faith requiresthat of the mostI Quoted in Muhammad al-Hammad, Tauheed al-Uloohiyah (Dar ibn Khuzaima, 1414I Muhammad al-Hamnrad,Tauheedal-Uloohiyafi Khuzaima,l4l4 QuotedA.H.), ,p.. 26. .A.H.) p 26 t2 12
  • 14. beloved thing in ones heart-He is the beloved of soul. When thisbeloved thing in ones heart-He is the beloved of soul. When thisfact permeatesthe human, he begins to love what his beloved lovesfact permeates the human, he begins to love what his beloved lovesand dislike what his beloveddislikes.Thus, if Allah is found to loveand dislike what his beloved dislikes. Thus, if Allah is found to lovesomething,the devoted worshipper and servant also loves that thing.something, devoted worshipper servant alsoConversely, if Allah is found to detest something-although He hasConversely, if Allah detest something-although hascreated it and put it in this world as a test for humans and made itcreated it put it as test humans made itavailable to them-the devoted worshipper and servant will alsoavailable them-the devoted worshipper and servant will alsodetestdetestthat thing. Although acceptingAllah as the only object of worship is the accepting Allah as the of theessentialaspect of true monotheism, is a conceptthat is not alwaysessential aspectof true monotheism, it concept that alwaysunderstood or practiced properly. This is a real loss for humansunderstood practiced properly. real loss humansbecauseit is this aspectof monotheismthat is the key to a "real life", abecause aspect of monotheism that the key sound and proper.life that is sound and proper. Ibn Taimiya wrote,wrote, You must know that a humans need for AllaF- that he must that humans 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 properone Creator and Sustainer of the universe is not all there is to a properone Creator and Sustainerbelief in God. Throughout history, it has been the case that somebelief in God. Throughout history, it has been the case that somepeople stopped at this clear premise and thought that such was allpeople stopped at this clear premise and thought that such was all in God. Nothing could be further from thethere was to the belief in God. Nothing could be further from thethere was to the is definitely necessarybut it is not sufficient. Thattruth. That belief is definitely necessary but it is not sufficient. Thattruth. That beliefbelief must be followed up with the proper relations,emotionsof thebelief must be followed up with the proper relations, emotions of the I Ahmad lbn Taimiya, Majmoo Fatawaa Shaikh al-Islaam ibn Taimiya (Collected by1 Ahmad Ibn Taimiya, Majmoo Fatawaa Shaikh al-Islaam ibn Taimiya (Collected byAbdul 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
  • 15. heart and acts with respect to Allah. It is by these acts that one trulyheart and acts respect is these acts that onetakes the Creator as his only "God," meaning his only object oftakes the Creator as his "Cod," meaning object ofextremelove, adorationand submission. so doing, he deniesthatextreme 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 thanand then, he will be fulfilling whatand only then, he will be fulfilling what it truly means to believe in means believeGod.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 thatto worship Allah due to His greatness and perfection and the fact that worship dueHe is the only Creator, Bestower and Sustainer; (2) Allah alone has is the Creator, Bestower and Sustainer; alone hasthese attributes just described and hence He alone deserves to bethese attributes describedand hence He alone deservesto beworshipped; and (3) the human should refrainworshipped; and (3) the human should refrain from worshipping worshippinganything 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 importantat the end of these two sections: Since the signs for the true belief inat 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 strongthe messagestaught the prophets throughout the ages)the messages taught by the prophets throughout the ages) it is iscompletely unacceptable rationally and religiously to worship anyonecompletely unacceptable rationally and religiously worship anyoneother than God. Therefore, associating partners with God l or refusingother than God. Therefore,associatingpartners Godr refusing worship God is a sin whose enormity and arroganceis so great thatto worship God is a sin whose enormity and arrogance is so great thatif one dies such a state, not forgive that sin.if one dies in such a state, Allah will not forgive that sin. Allah has hasclearly stated, forgives that partners should be setclearly stated, "Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be setup 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 partnerswhom 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 Allahs 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 aboutimaginable one needs to have knowledge about Allah that goesimaginable one needs that goesbeyond 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 hasThrough revelation and hasrevealed a great deal of information about Himself, such that any truthrevealeda great deal of information about Himself, such that any truthseeker can know and worship his Lord based on accurate knowledge.seekercan and worship his based accurateknowledge. Muslims are blessed to find Allahs names and attributes Muslims are blessed to names and attributesmentioned throughout the Quran. For example, Allah says, "He ismentioned throughout the Quran. example, says, isrAssociating partners with Allah means coupling the worship of God with the worship Associating partnersI Allah n^reanscouplingthe worship Cod theworslripof idols, trees, animals, graves, heavenly bodies, natural powers, and so on. It alsoof idols, trees, animals, graves, heavenly bodies, natural powers, and so on. alsomeans the acceptance individuals prophets as gods, the pretencethatmeans the acceptance of individuals or prophets as gods, or the pretence that Almighty ofGod has sons and daughters. See Tabbarah, p. 47.Cod has sons and daughters.SeeTabbarah,p. 47. 14 t4
  • 16. Allah other than Whom there is none who has the right to beAllah other than Whom there is none who has the right to beworshipped, the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, theworshipped, the King, the Holy, the Free from all defects, theGiver of security, the Watcher over His creafures,the All-Mighty, the of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, theCompeller,the Supreme.Glory be to Allah! (High is He) above allCompeller, the Supreme. abovethat they associate partnerswith Him. He is Allah, the Creator,thethat they associate as partners as the Creator, theInventor of all things,the Bestowerof forms. To Him belong the BestInventor of things, the Bestower of forms. belong the BestNames. All that is in the heavens the earthglorify Him. And He isNames. 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 andblessingsof Allah be upon him) one can learn the following aboutblessings of upon one can learn the about the Compassionate, Ever Mercifulr, EverAllah: Allah is the Most Compassionate, Merciful!,Forgiving, Ever accepting of repentance, Ever Patient,PardoningandForgiving, Ever acceptingof repentance, Ever Patient, Pardoning andLoving. He is the Generous,the Magnanimous,the Bestower and the Generous, Magnanimous, the Bestower and theClement. He respondsto those who call upon Him and He is theClement. responds those call upon and is theRescuer. is the Glorious,the Great,the deserver all Praise,LordRescuer. He the Glorious, the Great, the deserver of of Praise,of all creation,Master of the Day of Judgmentand the Judge of theof creation, Master of the of Judgment and the Judge of theFinal reckoning. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, theFinal 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 ofAlmighty. is the Self-Sufficient, free of any need and provider of is the Exalted and the Most High. He is theall sustenance. He is the Exalted and the Most High. He is theall sustenance.Watcher over affairs and the Protector. is administering theWatcher over all affairs and the Protector. He is administering the forbidding,being pleased,affairs of His creation, commanding, forbidding, being pleased, beingaffairs His creation,commanding, beingangered, rewarding, punishing, giving, withholding, honoring,angered, rewarding, punishing, giving, withholding, honoring,debasing. He does whatever He wills. He is attributed with everydebasing.He does whatever He wills. He is attributed everyattribute of perfection and free of even the tiniest amount ofattribute perfection and free even the tiniest amountirnperfection shortcoming.Greatly exalted and perfect is He aboveimperfection or shortcoming. Greatly exalted and perfect is He aboveall that they associate with Him. even an atom moves save Hisall that they associate with Him. Not even an atom moves save by Hiswill and permission. and permission. Himself is a great This wonderful information about Allah Himself is a great This wonderful information aboutblessing for humankind. God Himself has revealed sufficientblessing for hurnankind. God Himself has revealed sufficient that humankind need not stray or beinformation about Himself that humankind need not stray or be information aboutconfused.confused. On this point, though, there is somethingvery clear in the On this point, though, there is something very clear in theQuran: 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 MostBefore beginning virtually any act, a Muslim states. "In the name of Allah, the MostCompassionate, the Ever Merciful." Compassionate, Ever Merci ful." the l5 15
  • 17. in the Islamic beliefs about God. This is a point concerning which the Islamic beliefs about God. This is a point concerningwhichmany earlier peoples have strayed. The Creator and the created aremany earlier peoples have strayed. The Creator and the created areseparate and distinct. The attributes of Allah are perfect attributes thatseparate and distinct. The attributesof are perfect attributesthatare 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 ofhumans, 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 untoAllah 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 aHe is the All-Hearer, the All-Seeing" (42: 11). Here, there is acomplete denial of anthropomorphism while at the same timecomplete denial of anthropomorphism at the same timeaffirming that Allah hears and sees. Muslims always realize Allahsaffirming that hearsand sees.Muslims always realizeperfection while never belittling Him by describing Him inperfection while never belittling describingunbecoming manners. God does not have human-like attributes nor dounbecoming manners. God doesnot have human-likeattributes nor dohumans have Divine attributes. Any violation of this latter principle ishumanshave Divine attributes. violation this latter principle isclear 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 isnatural for humans to worship. They want to have a god that they cannatural humansto worship. They want have a god that they canworship and adore. They know that there must be something specialworship and adore. They that there must be something specialand great about thatand great about that thing which they humble themselves to. they hurnble themselves to.However, so many of them put their hopes, trust, dreams andHowever, so many of them hopes, trust, dreams andaspirations in things that are simply not deserving of such respect oraspirations things that are sin-rply deserving of such respectworship-whether it be forces of nature, inanimate objects, otherworship-whether be forces of nature, inanimeiteobjects, otherhumans, materialism, nations, race, whatever. They force themselveshumans, materialism, nations, race, whatever. They force themselvesto believe that these false objects of worship can bring about what believe that these false objects of worship can aboutthey hope for and what they are dreaming of. In other words, theythey hope and they are dreaming of. other words, theybegin 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-andInstead of rurning God and God attributes-andthen realizing that He is the One they are truly looking for-they turnthen realizing that He is the One they are for-theyto other objects of worship, love and adoration. Due to this, they strayto other objects of worship, love and adoration.Due this, they stray the straightpath andvery 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 ofThe sourceof theseerrors is an incorrect aboutthe attributes ofthose that they turn to while ignoring the attributes that reside withthose that they turn ignoring the attributes that resideAllah. example, says, "Say [O Muhammad mankind],Allah. For example, Allah says, "Say [0 Muhammad to mankind],How do you worship besidesHow do you worship besides Allah something which has no power somethingwhich has no powereither to harm or to benefit you? But it is Allah Who is the All-either to harm to benefit you? is is theHearer, All-Knower" (5:76).Hearer, All-Knower" (5:76). Allah also says, "And who is more also says, is moreastray than one who calls (invokes) besidesAllah, such asastray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not notanswer the Day of Resurrection, and are (even)unawareanswer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware 16 16
  • 18. of their calls (invocations) them? when mankind are gatheredof 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 attributesofone would never tum to worship anyone or anything but Him. Noneone would never turn to worship anyone anything but Noneof those false objects of worship are deserving of worship. Byof those false objects of worship are deserving of worship.worshipping them and seeking them, humans are doing nothing butworshipping them and seeking them, humans are doing nothirrgdebasing themselves. Worse of all, they are ignoring Allah, equatingdebasingthemselves. Worse all, they are ignoring equatingpartners wrath and preparingpartners with Him, earning His wrath and preparing for themselves an earning themselvesanevil end. end. Summary Summary The proper belief in Allah is the essence and cornerstone of The proper the essence and cornerstonethe Islamic faith. It is the key-the key to blessed life, the key tothe Islamic faith. is the key-the blessed theproperproper living, the key to understanding reality, the key to happiness the understandingreality, the happinessand peace. When the person. truly knows Allah, he will recognize thatand peace.When the person knows he will recognizethatit 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 iswhat it has been seeking. Once he realizes the beauty of worshipping has been seeking.Once he realizesthe beauty of worshippingAllah alone, he will never desire or wish to worship anyone other than alone,he neverdesire wish to worship anyoneother thanHim. His soul will be a rest and his heart will be tranquil. soul be a rest and his heart be tranquil. t7 17
  • 19. Universe Humans The Universeand Humans of Universe How it Points Allahs The Creation of the Universe and How it Points to Allahs Existence Existence The universe is made up of various parts. There are the universe made of various parts. There are thegalaxies and solar systems that are above earth. earth, there aregalaxies and solar systemsthat are above earth. On earth, there areinanimate objects, such as the mountains, oceans and land. Thereinanimate objects, such as the mountains, oceansand land. There isalso the animal kingdom with all its great varieties.There are aspectsalso the animal its great varieties. There are aspectsof 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 theQuran, it is clear that it was Allah Who createdthe heavensand theQuran, clear that was created the heavens and theearth.earth. In numerous verses of the Quran, Allah points to different numerous verses of the Quran, points differentaspects of the creation and describes them as signs for those peopleaspectsof the creation and describesthem as signs those peoplewho reflect. For example, Allah says, "Verily! In the creation of the reflect. example, says, the creationof theheavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and theheavensand the earth, and the alternationof and day, and theships 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 makesthe earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living)the earth alive therewith after its death, and thecreatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein, and in the veeringcreaturesof kinds that has scatteredtherein, and the veeringof winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, areof winds and clouds are held betweenthe and the earth, areindeedsigns people understanding" (Z:ftfl.indeed signs for people of understanding" (2:164). In the hustle and bustle of todays world, many find little the hustle and bustle of todays manytime to reflect upon this creation, their presence in this creation andtime to reflect upon this creation,their presence this creationandany purposebehind all. However, is important that people take theany purpose behind it all. However, it is important that people take thetime to reflect and think. When they do so, they will find signs and reflect and think. When they do so, they signs andlessons that will bring them straight back to God-a most importantlessonsthat will them straight back God-a most importantstep in their lives. The signs are actually all around them, if theystep in their lives. The signs are actually all around them, if theywould only reflect upon them. Thus, God says, "We will show themwould only reflect upon them. Thus, God says, show themOur Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes Signs in the universe,and their own selves,until becomesmanifestto 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 creationmakes one realize that not only must there be a wise Creator but alsomakes one realize that must there be a wise Creator alsothat there must be some purpose behind this creation. It isthat there nrust be some purpose behind this creation. isunimaginable that any being would make something with suchunimaginable that any being would make something suchprecision and perfection and yet there would be no rhyme or reason toprecision and perfection and yet there be no rhyme reasontothe whole creation. This is a point that Allah makes in numerousthe whole creation. This is a point that Allah makes in numerousplaces in the Quran. For example,Allah says, "We creatednot theplaces in the Quran. For example, Allah says, We created not the 18 l8
  • 20. 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 possiblecome any other conclusion. Indeed, if person believescome to any other conclusion.Indeed,if a personbelievesin God as God asthe Creator, by definition it is unbecoming of such a noble and greatthe Creator, unbecoming of such noble and greatBeing to createall of this order and beauty and yet have no purposeBeing create of this order and beauty and yet have purposebehind that creation. A person believes creator yet believesbehind that creation.A personwho believesin a creatoryet believesthat creator had purpose thought behindthat this creator had no purpose or thought behind his creation is creationdescribinga creator that is childlike and unintelligent.It is hard todescribing creator that childlike and unintelligent. hardbelieve that creator like that could possibly comebelieve that a creatorlike that could possiblycome up with a creation creation the one that everyone witnesses today. indeed, the creationlike the one that everyone witnessestoday. No, indeed, the creationpoints to certain attributes of the Creator and it points to there beingpoints certain attributesof the Creator and points there beingan important and great purposebehind this entire creation. The wholean important and great purpose behind this entire creation.The wholenature of the existence points to the Creator being one of very specialnature of the existencepoints the Creator being one of specialcharacter who would not create anything of this nature for fun orcharacter create anything of this naturewithout reason.without reason. A second very important conclusion that one can derive by second important conclusion that one can derivesimply pondering over this creation is that the one who created tlIissimply pondering over this creationis that the one who createdthis nothing can easily recreateit. If has the re-createfrom nothing can easily recreate it. If He has the ability to re-createthings even after their demise, this also means that He has the abilitythings even after demise,this also meansthat has theto 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 theirobviously, has very ominous repercussions humans and theirbehavior in this world. Thus, Allah points out this fact and remindsbehavior this world. Thus, points out this fact and remindshumans of its meaning throughout the Quran.humans its meaningthroughoutthe Quran. For For example, example, says, he fthe human] puts forth Us a parable,andAllah says, "And he [the human] puts forth for Us a parable, and creation.He says, Who giveforgets his own creation. He says, Who will give life to these bonesforgets his thesebones became dust? Say (to them Owhen they have rotted away and became dust? Say (to them 0when they have rotted away and HeMuhammad), He will give life to them Who created them for the first give to them Who created them for the hrstMuhammad),time! FIe is the of every creation! He, Whotime! And He is the All-Knower of every creation! He, Whoproduces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold, You kindleproduces you fire out the greentree, when behold, kindletherewith. Is not He, Who created the heavens and the earth Able totherewith. Is not He. createdthe heavensand the earth tocreate the like of them? Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supremecreatethe like them?Yes, indeed!He is the SupremeCreator." (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 factthat there must be a purpose behind this creation-of thethat there must be a purpose behind this creation-of theResurrection. The concept of the Resurrection is not something thatResurrection. The concept the Resurrection not somethingthat isviolates nature but it is completely consistent with nature.violatesnaturebut is completelyconsistent nature. r9 19
  • 21. In reality, the one who negatesthe resurrectionis expectingthat Allah will treat the wrongdoerslike the pious people. This is anunbecomingexpectation Allah. Allah makesit clear that such will ofnever be the case,highlighting that such thoughts can only come fromthose who disbelievein God. Allah says, "And We creatednot theheaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose!That is the considerationof those who disbelieve! Then woe to thosewho disbelievefrom the Fire! Shall We treat those who believe anddo righteousgood deedslike the evildoers on earth?Or shall We treatthe pious like the wicked?" (38:27-28). After so many signs in the creation and so many remindersand lessonsin the revelationone must ask: What will be the humansexcuseif he does not respondin the proper manner to the evidenceallaroundhim? Humans and the Creation There is somethingdistinct and special about this creationknown as humans.However, the original, physical creation of the firsthuman was not greatly different from the creation of the othercreaturesof this world. According to the Quran, the physical make-upof the first human, Adam, was from clay and water, two of the alreadycreated substancesof this cosmos. It is in the next stage of thecreation of the first human, Adam, in which the real distinctionoccurred. At this point, hununs are made a very separateand uniquecreature,combining a physical aspectand a special spiritual aspectthat God bestowed on them. In fact, this is what makes them verydifferent from the other living creafures this sameplanet. on Among the most prominent distinguishing featuresof humanbeingsare the following: (1) A sound,natural dispositionthat is ready and capabletobe directedto the belief in Allah alone as tlre object of worship; (2) An ability to comprehendand understandmattersvia theintelligence and mind that Allah hasbestowed humans; on (3) A free will to decidebetweenthe path of goodness the orpath of evil, as well as a limited free will to enact that choice that hehas made; (4) A responsibilityfor the choiceshe has made,which is anecessary resultof being given free will and ability; 20 20
  • 22. 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 ofQuran that all of the resources the creationhave beensubjugatedQuran thathis use. use. Given all of these specialcharacteristics, human should Given of these special characteristics, the human should therealize 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 humansThe creation of humans and the special characteristicsthat humanspossess should make each human realizethat the Creatoris too wisepossess should make each human realize that the Creator is too wise create sport. "Didand lofty to createhim simply for sport. "Did you think that We hadand that hadcreated any purpose), and thatcreatedyou in play (without any purpose),and that you would not be bebrought 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 createdcreatedall the creatures and the humans would not leave humans without the creatures and the humans leave humansguidance 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 herhetorically, 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 thishave a real ramification to them. In this sense, nothing that he does ishave real ramification them. this sense, nothing that he doesismeaningless or without consequences. His life has purpose here andmeaningless without consequences. has purposehere andthe Creator is ever aware of every action, thought, intention andthe Creator is ever aware every action, thought, intention andmovement that he makes.movementthat he makes. the human realize this point, It is extremely important for the human to realize this point, is extremely importantthat he has a purpose in this life. Indeed, this realization may be thethat he has a pu{pose this life. Indeed,this realizationmay be thefirst step along a change of life in which one turns to his Great andfirst step along a changeof which one turns to his Great andWonderful Creator, to submit to Him willfully. Without realizing thisWonderful Creator,to submit to Without realizingthisfact, there may be no need, meaning or purpose to behaving in afact, there may be no need, meaning purpose to behaving in aspecific manner. If nothing truly matters and if nothing is morallyspecific manner. If nothing matters and if nothing is nrorallywrong or right, since there is no God or real purpose to existence, it iswrong right, sincethere is no God real purposoto existence, is behave in any fashion they wish. Thereexpected that people will behave in any fashion they wish. Thereexpectedthat peopleshould be a great and profound effect when a persons eyes are openshould be a great and profound effect when a persons eyes are opento 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 prisonsin the United States. Upon asking numerous inmates why they the United States. Upon asking numerous inmates theycommitted their crimes, the response was invariably, "Why not?" Thecommittedtheir crimes,the response was invariably, not?" Theonly question to them was whether they could get away with an act question to them was whether they could get away an actand not get caught. There was no question of any responsibilityand not get caught. There was no question any responsibilitytowards a Creator or any sense purpose this life. Indeed, onetowards a Creator or any sense of purpose in this life. Indeed, one 21l 2
  • 23. cannot argue much against their way of thinking if one is foolishcannot argue against of if oneenough to believe that this existence is purposelessand by mereenough believe existence purposeless and merechance.chance. As opposedto the Islamic beliefs,somepeopletoday believe opposed the Islamic beliefs, some people today believe humans are descended from animals in some evolutionarythat humansare simply descended animals some evolutionarysense.In this way of thinking, humans are doubly a processof meresense. of humans are process of merematerialist elements as well as descended from animals,materialist elementsas well as being directly descended animals,apes the closest relative. the fact that there are manyapes 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 ofevolution, could this possibly be what this great and grandeurcosmosevolution, possibly be this great and grandeur cosmosis all about? Could humans, who have been given so many about? humans, have been so manycapabilities above and beyond the animals, nothing more thancapabilities above and beyond the animals, be nothing more thananimalswithout any noble purposeor Creatorto answerto? In reality,animals any noble purpose Creator answer to? reality, can concluded that seems completelyit can be concludedthat this view seemsto be completely illogical and andpotentially 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 ofevil. On the contrary, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessingsofAllah 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). thenmake him into a Jew, Christian or Magian."1 That is, far from themake Jew, Christian Magian."r That is, the being born inherently every is born upon the truechild being born inherently evil, every child is born upon the truereligion. is afterwards, the influence of society andreligion. It is only afterwards, via the influence of family, society andenvironment, that an individual becomes influenced toenvironment, that an individual becomes influenced to follow paths pathsthat 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 isThis is the belief that the sin that Adam, the first man, committed is his progeny. Hence, is on the neck of everypassed on through all of his progeny. Hence, it is on the neck of everypassedon through allindividual, even the newborn baby. The only way it could beindividual, even the newborn baby. The could beremoved-they claim-is God sending son as a sacrifice toremoved-they claim-is by God sending His son as a sacrifice toremove this sin. This belief, especiallythe last partremove this sin. This belief, especially the last part of it, is obviously is obviously Islamic monotheism.God does not havecompletely inconsistent with Islamic monotheism. God does not havecompletely inconsistenta son. He has no equalsor anyonewho is in any fashion similar toa 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 Islamica sin, by allowing themselves to be deceived by Satan. However, theya sin, allowing themselvesto be deceived Satan.However, theyboth repentedto God and God accepted their repentance. That was theboth repented to God and God accepted their repentance. That was thet Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.1 Recordedby al-Bukhari and Muslim. 22 22
  • 24. that sin to be passedon toend of their sin. There was no means for that sin to be passed on toend of their sin. There was no meansothers. Furthermore, be the height of injustice the part ofothers. Furthermore, it would be the height of injustice on the part ofAllah 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 againstThus, 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 theoriginal sin seemsclearly false and is also potentially harmful. givesoriginal sin seems clearly false and is also potentially harmful. It givesa very wrong impression about God and His justice. It also taints thea impressionabout God and justice. also taints thehuman 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 ofprevious thinkers and incorrectreligious beliefs. placesthe humanprevious thinkers and incorrect religious beliefs. It places the humanin its proper role and is completely consistent with ones nature, logic its proper role and is completely consistent ones 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 anyway 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 individualhuman. No human is a literal son or daughter of God. In fact, humanshuman. human is a literal son daughterof God. fact, humansslrould rcalize that they are not the greatest most magnificent ofshould realize that they are not the greatest or most magnificent ofwhat Allah has created. Allah says, "The creation of the heavens and has created. says, creation of the heavensandthe earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind, yet most ofthe earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind, yet most ofmankind (40:57). should be humblingmankind know not" (40:57). It should be humbling for a human to a humanreflect upon what a small speck in the mass of Gods creation he trulyreflect upon what a small speck the massof Gods creation heis. 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 andblessed mankind in many ways and given them virtues above andblessed mankindbeyond much of Allahs creation.beyondmuch creation. different possible In reality, every human has two very different possible reality, every human haspotentials awaiting him. This has been the case since the creation ofpotentials awaiting him. has been the case since the creationthe first human. When Adam was created, the angels were ordered tothe human. When was created,the angelswere orderedbow 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 wishAt the same time, there was Satan 1 who vowed to be humankinds the same time, there was Satanl vowed be humankindsenemy and to mislead as many humans as possible. Thus, theenemy 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 anythingSatan is from another class of creatures known as the linn.Satan anotherclassofcreatures known as the Jinn. 23 23
  • 25. potentialswere established.Humans are free to ascendto the highestpotentials established. Humans are free ascend highestof 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 theultimate 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 humansbecause this is the goal that is recognizeddeep within the personsbecause this the goal that recognized deep the personssoul.soul. Furthermore,the most exalted, noble, and honored a human Furthermore, the most exalted, noble, and honored humancan be is by worshipping Allah. There is nothing greateror noblercan be worshipping Allah. There nothing greater noblerthan that. That is the maximum potential. This is something thatthan that. the maximum potential. something thatshould be clear to every human. The more he moves to that goal, theshould clear every human. more he moves that goal, thehappier he should become and the more honor he should feel byhappier he should become and the more honor he should feelsubmitting himself to the only true God and Lord. When he realizessubmitting the true and When he realizesthis 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, cleargoal, the effects upon his soul are profound. He need not chase aftergoal, the effects upon his soul are profound. need chaseafteran endlessaffay of goals, never being able satisfy achieveany ofan endless array of goals, never being able to satisfy or achieve any ofthem completely. (lndeed, many times peoples goals arethem completely. (Indeed, many times peoples goals arecontradictory 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 forhumankind, 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 actuallywho then actually benefits from the worship Allah? is actuallythe human who chooses to worship who benefits from the act ofthe human chooses to worship who benefits the actworship. He has benefited by purifying his soul, bringing tranquilityworship. He has benefited purifying his soul, bringing tranquility having the correct relationshipto his heart and, most importantly, by having the correct relationship his heart and, most importantly, remindshumankind this point in numerousplaceswith God. Allah reminds humankind of this point in numerous places God. oWho 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 ownreceives it for his own benefit: who goes astray does so to his ownloss" "(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 modemsocieties are still trying to grapple with. This is the essential equalitysocietiesare still trying to grapplewith. This is the essential equalityof all humans. All humans are creatures of Allah and each and all humans. humans are creatures and each andeveryone of them has the ability to soar to the greatestheights ofeveryone of them has the ability to soar to the greatest heights ofbeing 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 thethere is no distinction between any of them as humans-it is only the distinguish them in the sight ofchoices that humans make that will distinguish them in the sight ofchoices that humans make that 24
  • 26. 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 maleand 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 ofthat (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 uponhim) madethat Quranicteachingmost explicit when he statedin front made that Quranic teaching most explicit when statedof 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 anthere an non-Arab non-ArabArab. Similarly, there is no virtue in a light-skinnedperson over aArab. Similarly, there virtue light-skinned person overdark-skinned person or a dark-skinned person over a light-skinneddark-skinned person dark-skinned person light-skinnedperson.Only by piety [doesone becomemore virtuous over another].person. piety [does one become more virtuous over another].Have indeed conveyed the message?,,1Have 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 thevariations in people are meant to be signs of the greatness of thevariations people are meantCreator. says, among Signs is the creationCreator. Allah says, "And among His Signs is the creation of the theheavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages andheavens and the earth, and the difference of languages andcolors. 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 onlyeveryone, regardless of race, nationality and so forth. In fact, it is onlyeveryone, Allah that one becomesdeserving honor andvia such worship of Allah that one becomes deserving of honor and such worship virtues.This is a tenet Islam thatdignity and one becomes full of virtues. This is a tenet of Islam thatdignity and one becotneshas 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-regardlessAs a spiritualbeing and oue worthy worshippingAllah, there is noAs a spiritual being and one worthy of worshipping Allah, there is nodifference between a man and a woman. 2 Both of them are equaldifference between a man and a *oman.t Both of them are equalbefore 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, towhether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer verily, tohim (or her) We will give a good life, and We shallpay them certainlyhim (or her) We will give a good life, and We shall pay them certainly Recordedby Ahmad.1 Recorded by Ahmad. 2 In2 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 sintogether, both repented to Allah and both were forgiven by Allah. together,both repentedto Allah and both were forgiven by Allah. 255 2
  • 27. a reward proportion to the besta 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 verseisParadise in the Hereafter]" (16:97). The meaning found in this verse isrepeated 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 thatwomen did not achieve the West until recently,such as the rightwomen did not achieve in the West until recently, such as the right to property and handleown property and handle their own business affairs. However, there businessaffairs. However, thereare actually much more important issues.Every ideology, religionare actually much more important issues. Every ideology, religion orculture values some matters above and beyond others. The mostculture values some matters above and beyond others. The mostimportant Islam isimportant quality in Islam is piety and dutifulness to Allah. Perhaps and dutifulness Perhapsthe 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 andThroughout the history of Islam, women have been andrespected for their piety and their knowledge. On the other hand,respected their and their knowledge. On the other hand,Islam doesnot say that a personsvalue is measuredIslam does not say that a persons value is measured by how beautiful beautifulones face is, how sexy ones body can be, how fast one can run inones face is, sexy ones body can be, how fast one can runsports, how well one can sing, dance or act. These are ludicroussports, one can sing, dance act. These are ludicrouscriteria of a personscriteria of a persons worth from the Islamic perspective-although it the Islamicseems be much of what "modorn civilization" caresabout. sunlseems to be much of what "modern civilization" cares about. In sum,according the things that have the greatestvalue this life-pietyaccording to the things that have the greatest value in this life-pietyand religious knowledge-women are exactly equal to men and this isand religious knowledge-women are exactly equal men and this isthe most importantstatement equalitygiven the Islamic criteria.the most important statement of equality given the Islamic criteria. 26 26
  • 28. Religion Religion Now that the creation and humans have been discussed Now that the creation and humans have been discussedindetail, discuss the need itself. addition, thedetail, it is time to discussthe need for religion itself. In addition, thebasis religion be accepted will also be discussed.basison which a religion is to be accepted will also be discussed. Need Religion Humans 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 forseemed that science had conquered nature and there was needreligion, myths and superstitions earlier times. However, religionreligion, myths and superstitions of earlier times. However, religion ofhas not gone away. Not only has religion not gone away but in recenthas gone away. has gone away recenttimes 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. createdhumansa 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 alsosaid, commandedme that should teachsaid, "Behold, my Lord commanded me that I should teach you that thatwhich you do not know and which He has taught me today ... [Godwhich do not and which has taught me today... [Godhas stated] I have createdMy servants having natural inclinationhas stated] 1 have created My servants all having a natural inclinationto the worship of Allah. But the devils come to them and tum them the worship of the devils come them and turn themaway from their [true] religion. And he makes unlawful what Iaway [true] religion. he makesdeclared them and he commandsthem ascribe partnersdeclared lawful for them and he commands them to ascribe partnerswith 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 canhide, conceal or distort this natural inclination in humans but they canhide, conceal distort this naturalinclination humansnever truly what is so deeply rooted a persons soul.never truly kill what is so deeply rooted in a persons 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 somethey will not be able to kill it in all humans. Hence, at least somethey will not be able to always recognizeGod and thathumans, if not the majority, will always recognize God and that withhumans,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 religioThus, is coincidence that every people have hadThus, it is not by coincidence that virtually every people have hadsome form religion and someconcrete in the Ultimate Beingsome form of religion and some concrete belief in the Ultimate Beingor God. God. neverbe able to deny What the materialists of this world will never be able to deny What the materialists this worldis that humans are made up of a physical componentasis 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 theMaterialists-and material comforts-can touch upon thephysical side of a human. They can do nothing to assist the vastphysical side a human. They can do nothing to assist the vastI Recorded by Muslim.I Recorded Muslim. by 27 27
  • 29. spiritual side of humans, leaving a great void in the psyche of aspiritual side of humans, leaving great the psyche ofhuman. When humans experience this vacuum, they realize thathuman. humans experience this vacuum, realize thatsomething wrong. They seek something fill this void. Althoughsomethingis wrong. They seeksomethingto fill this void. Althoughthey more material things different types of materialthey may turn to more material things or different types of materialthings (alcoholism,drugs),suchthings will nevertruly fill that void inthings (alcoholism, drugs), such things will never thattheir lives.their lives. If they can get above all of the materialisticpropaganda If they can get above of the materialistic propagandaaround them today, they realize that it is God and religion that isaround them today, they realize that and thatmissing 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 Taimiyyahs statement is supported by verses of the lbn Taimiyyahs statementis supported says, "Those who believe, and whoseQuran. For example, Allah says, "Those who believe, and whoseQuran. For example,hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, verily, in thehearts rest the remembrance of theremembrance 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 hecalls 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 Messengerthe that is worthy living-that and Messengerare calling each and every individual to. It is the real life and salvationare 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 rescuessuperstitions and myths. It is the real life for the mind and it rescues itsuperstitionsand myths. is the realfrom 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 humansandhimself as it frees him from servitude and slavery to other humans and as freesideologies. frees to worship and serve alone,the ultimateideologies. It frees him to worship and serve Allah alone, the ultimategoal that his own recognizes and yearnsfor. This is the sourcegoal 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. Inhis honor and dignity, the purpose11 [Ahmad ibn Taimiyyah,] Ibn Taymiyyahs Essay on Senitude (Bimlingham, United lAhmad ibn Taimiyyah,l lbn Taymiyyahs Essayon Senitude (Birnringham, United Publishingand Distribution,1999),p. l2l.Kingdom: al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999), p. 121.Kingdom: al-Hidaayah 28 28
  • 30. 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 thebeing pleased the and the being pleased theservant.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 thathumans have a desire to have religion. Yet there are many religionshumanshave a desireto have religion. there are many religionsand each is presenting itself as the "true religion" that will bringand each is presenting as the "true religion" that bringsolace to the individual. Thus, in this section, the author would like tosolaceto the individual.Thus, this section,the author like topresent what he feels are the four tests by which one may distinguishpresentwhat he feels are the tests one may distinguishthe 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 originalsource. As stated earlier, no one can know the details about Godsource. stated earlier, no one can the details about Godexcept God. Most importantly, no one knows how He should beexcept God. importantly, no one knows how He should beworshipped except Him. Although humans are able to come to manyworshippedexcept Although humansare able to come to manysound conclusions about God, no human could logically claim that hesoundconclusions aboutGod, no human could logically claim that hehas somehoW-independent of revelation from God-discovered thehas somehow-independent of revelation God-discovered theway which God shouldbe worshipped.Thus, if the ultimategoalway in which God should be worshipped. Thus, if the ultimate goal in please and worship God as He should beones heart is to truly please and worship God as He should beones heart is toworshipped, then one has no alternative but to tum to Him forworshipped, then one has no alternative turnguidance and direction.guidanceand direction. premise, any man-madereligion Thus, based on this first premise, any man-made religion is Thus, based on thisnot a logical alternative. No matter how hard humans may try, they a logical alternative. matter hard humans may theycannot authoritatively speak about how God is supposed to becannot authoritatively speak about God is supposed to beworshipped.worshipped. mean that one time God played a role This test does not mean that one time God played a role in This test doesthe formation of the religion. No, this test means that the entire scopethe formation of the religion. this test meansthat the entire scopeof the religious teachings come from God. There are some religions the religious teachingscome from God. There are some religionsthat may have originated from God but, afterwards, their adherentsthat may have originated God but, afterwards, adherentsfelt 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 anycompletelydefeatsthe purpose. What God revealeddoesnot needanyimprovement or changes from humankind. Any such change orimprovement changes humankind. such changealteration means a deviation away from what God revealed. Thus, anyalterationmeansa deviation away what revealed.Thus, anychange or alteration will only take humankind away from the true andchange alteration take humankind away the true andproper 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 originatesGod. However, this is not sufficient. The second test is that theGod. However, this is not sufficient. The second test is that the 29 29
  • 31. teachingsfrom God must be preservedin their original form. Theteachings from God must be preserved in their original form. Thelogic behind this point should be obvious. If the original revelationlogic behind this point should be obvious. If the original revelationcame 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 Gods religion and human interpolation.one has mixture of Gods religion and human interpolation.This is no longer Gods pure religion. Although this may seemlike an longer pure religion. Although seemobvious premise,it is amazingto seemany peoplewho have not evenobvious premise, amazing see many people have evenconsideredthis point blindly following scripturesor teachingsthatconsidered this scriptures teachings thatcannot historically authenticated.cannotbe historicallyauthenticated. The third test is that the religion is not abrogated or test abrogatedsuperseded a later forrn of the religion. In other words, God maysuperseded by form of the religion. other words,reveal more than one revelation or send more than one prophet, withreveal more than one revelation send more than one prophet, withthe latter repealing or superseding the earlier. Under suchthe latter repealing superseding the earlier. Under suchcircumstances, one is truly submittingto God, one doesnot have thecircumstances, if one if submitting God, one does have theright to choose to follow an abrogatedteaching and neglect the choose an abrogated teaching and neglect theteaching that God is now demanding to be followed. Again, thisteaching that God demanding be followed. Again, thiswould violate the principle of submittingto God and would arrogate violate the principle of submitting God and arrogate the individual the choosewhat he insteadto the individual the right to choose what he willed to follow insteadof what Allah has decreed.of what has decreed. above three test are straightforwardand obvious. this The above three test are straightforward and obvious. In thisauthors opinion, though, there is also a fourth parameter.The fourthauthors opinion, though, there is also a fourth parameter. The fourth the religion have to be somethingtest is that the basic beliefs of the religion have to be somethingtest is that the basic beliefs human nature.fathomable by humans and not repugnant to human nature. It isfathomable humans and not repugnant isinconceivablethat the same God who createdsuch order and gaveinconceivable that the same God who created such order and gave to understand and derive lessons from what ishumans the ability to understand and derive lessons from what ishunrans thearound them then ask them to believe matters that arearound them would then ask them to believe in matters that arecornpletelyunfathomable them and inconsistent to what the soulcompletely unfathomable to them and inconsistent with what the soulcan 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, toonly 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 sourcewith God. Again, this means that the beliefs and teachingsof thewith God. Again, this means that the beliefs and teachings of thereligion must originatewith God, without any claim that humanshavereligion must originate with God, without any claim that humans have a right to changeor alter them in any way. In Islam, as opposedtoa right to change or alter them in any way. In Islam, as opposed to Every scholar,no mattermany other religions, there is no priesthood. Every scholar, no mattermany 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
  • 32. 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 frommade by anyone must be judged in the light of the revelation fromGod. The Quran and Sunnahhave remainedthe ultimate authority, noGod. The Quran and Sunnah have remained the ultimate authority, noone having the right to violate thern. This is an agreedupon principleone having the right to violate them. This is an agreed upon principlein lslanr.The Muslim scholars understoodthat the religion is Gods in Islam. The Muslim scholars understood that the religion is Godsreligion and it is the role of humatrsto convey faithfully and attemptreligion and it is the role of humans to convey faithfully and attemptto 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 historicalpreservationof the revelationfrom God. This is essential order topreservation of the revelation God. essential in orderverify that one is acceptingthe truth. The history of Islam presentsaverify accepting truth. of presentsdifferent scenariothan that of Judaismand Christianity.The Prophetdifferent scenario than that of Judaism and Christianity. ProphetMuhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) lived justMuhammad (peace and blessings of Allah justover 1400 years ago. He is definitely the most "historical" of theover 1400 years ago. definitely the most "historical" of thevarious prophets.various prophets. Both the Quran and the statements the Prophet (peaceand the Quran and the statements of the Prophet (peace and ofblessings 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 asThe 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 entireMany of the Companions of the Prophet had memorized the entire Quran and, fearing what had happened to earlier religiousQuran and, fearing what had happened to earlier religious steps protect any formcommunities, they took the necessary steps to protect it from any formcommunities,they the necessaryof 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 compiledtogetherblessings of Allah be upon him), the Quran was all compiled togetherblessings and shortly afterwardsofficial copieswere sentto the distantlandstoand shortly afterwards official copies were sent to the distant lands toensure 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 partthe 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 samethroughout 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 greatblessings of Allah be upon him) were also preserved with great blessings of Allah be upon diligence.They were recorded,studiedand passedon carefully fronrdiligence. They were recorded, studied and passed on carefully from the earliestyears of Islam. Even the languageof the Quran and thethe earliest years of Islam. Even the language of the Quran and the languageof the Prophet has been preserved.Such cannot be said forlanguage of the Prophet has been preserved. Such cannot be said for whoseHebrew and Aramaicearlier 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 beenMuhammad (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
  • 33. The third test was related to the revelation not being The test was related the revelation beingsuperseded or abrogated. The point is that if it can be shown that Godsuperseded abrogated. The that if can be shown thatis now demanding that a new message is to be followed, then, if one is demandingthat a new message to be followed, then, if one istruthful 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 theconcept of prophethood, as the Prophet Muhammad explicitly claimedconceptof prophethood,as the ProphetMuhammad claimedto 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 dowhether the belief can be fathomed. Earlier in this work, briefwhether the can be fathomed. Earlier thisrefutations were made for materialists and Darwinians. Their claimsrefutations were made materialistsand Darwinians. claimsare simply untenable. Similarly, the Christian belief about the Trinityare untenable.Similarly, the Christian about theis something that they themselves fought over for years and had something that they themselves fought over years and hadcouncil after council to try to determine what it truly meant. Somecouncil after council determine what meant. Somehave simply declared it a "mystery." Religion should not be simplyhave declared "mystery." Religion should be"faith-based"-a leap of faith, as such. Actually, it should be first as"faith-bassdt-4 leap of faith, as such. Actually, should be first aswell "knowledge-based," so that both the heart and the mind find "knowledge-based,"so that both the heart and thesolace in it and submit to it with a firm resolution. Such is the casesolace and submit a resolution. Such is the casewith the Islamic beliefs, such as the beliefs about God, which are the Islamic beliefs, such as the beliefs about God, which arecompletely consistent with human nature, logic and reality.completelyconsistent humannafure,logic and reality. 32 32
  • 34. Prophethood Prophethood Jews and Christians are familiar with the concept of Jews and Christians are familiar with the concept ofprophethood. Indeed, the Muslim claim is that the Prophetprophethood. Indeed, the Muslim claim is that the ProphetMuhammad(peaceand blessingsof Allah be upon hirn) is the final inMuhammad (peace and blessings of be upon him) thea long line of prophetsthat included, among others,Abraham, Moses of prophets included, among others, Abraham, Mosesand Jesus.and Jesus. of Prophethood The Reality of Prophethood Messengersand prophets are specific individuals whom Messengers and prophets are specific individualsAllah has chosento conveyHis message humankind.He revealsto has chosen convey message to humankind. revealsthem and they in turn convey that message.The messengermust and convey message. messenger mustconvey message faithfully and has no right to changeit or distort itconvey the message and has changeany manner. At the sametime, after conveying, they are to be obeyed manner. At the same time, after conveying, they are obeyedby thosewhom they are sent to. Allah says,"We sentno Messenger, those they are sent to. says, sent Messenger,but to be obeyed by Allahs Leave" (a:6a). obeyed (4:64). Allah chooses whom He wills to be a messengerThis chooses be messenger. Thischoosing 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 askbefore you [0 Muhammad] any but men, whom We inspired. So askof thosewho the Scriptureif you know (16:43).This verseof those who know the Scripture if you know not" (16:43). This verseand others makes clear that the messengers were humans. Theyand others makes it clear that the messengers were humans. Theywere 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. Thepurpose the messengers to spreadthe truth from God. They rnakepurpose of the messengers is to spread the truth from God. They make isthis truth clear and leavehumansno excusefor not following it. Thethis truth clear and leave humans no excuse for not following it. Thegoal the messengers was to presentthe reality-the reality that isgoal of the messengers was to present the reality-the reality that isrecognizable to the souls of mankind-in a clear and unquestionablerecognizable the souls mankind-in a clear and unquestionable to to acceptthe truthfashion. In this way, those who are willing to accept the truth willfashion. this way, those who areaccept it while those who do not wish to accept the truth will thenaccept it while those who do not wish to acceptthe truth then betweenthosewhoreject it. This fulfills the purpose of distinguishing between those whoreject it. This fulfills the purposeof distinguishingare deserving of Allahs love and mercy and those who are deservingare deservingof Allahs love and mercy and thosewho are deservingof Allahs wrath and punishment.of Allahs wrath and punishment. camewith clear guidance,glad tidings Thus, the messengers came with clear guidance, glad tidings Thus, the messengersand 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 wouldthe truth, humankind would have cried and claimed that they would had he cotne to them. Allah, who knowshave 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
  • 35. has said, "And if We had destroyedthem with a torment before thishas 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 followedonly You had sent us a Messenger, we should certainly have followedYour 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 areno longer any excusefor humankind: "Messengersas bearersof goodno longer any excuse for humankind: "Messengers as bearers of goodnews asnews as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea as of warning in order that mankind should have no pleaagainstagainst 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 warningAll-Wise" (4:165). To the astute, this verse is a grave warningindeed. 1indeed.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 deducecertain "indirect" signs of prophethood. First, the individual chosencertain signs prophethood.First, the individual chosenby God must have been a person of good and respected character God must have been a person of good and respectedcharacterbefore 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 thisworld would all of a sudden begin to propagate lies about God and all a sudden begin to propagatelies about God andclaim to be receivingrevelation.claim to be receiving revelation. Second, there is excellence and virtue Second, thereis excellence and virtuein what he is preaching. Similarly, the basic core of his message is what he is preaching.Similarly, the basic core his messageisconsistent earlier individuals recognized be prophets. Godsconsistent with earlier individuals recognized to be prophets. Godsbasic messageconcerning the reality of the universe andbasic message concerning the reality of the universe and life is notgoing change one prophetgoing to change from one prophet to another. Additionally, the another. theindividual does seek any personal benefitindividual does not seek any personal benefit or payment for his payment hisconveying of the message.conveying of the message. His goal is not a worldly one. He is goal is not one. isconveying the messageconveying the message only to obey and please God. Finally, one obey and please God. onefinds that the prophet always enjoys a spiritual victory, even ifhe doesfinds that the prophet always enjoys spiritual even if he doesnot experience a political victory. That is, he is always content with experience is, he always contenthis message, message, never abandonshis purposeand demonstrates resolve never abandons purpose and demonstrates his resolve hisuntil his death. No one recognizedas a true prophet of God has ever death. one recognized as true prophet of God has everbeen known to abandonhis messagebeen abandon message and beliefs. and beliefs. addition of that, provides messengers with In addition to all of that, Allah provides His messengersspecial signs-something out of the ordinary to demonstratethat thespecial signs-something of the ordinary demonstrate that theI Although1 the truth of monotheism is ingrained in human nature, by Allahs mercy of monotheism ingrained human nature, Allahsthough, He never punishesuntil after He sends a messengerand the messageis madethough, never punishes sends messenger the message madeclear: "Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his ownself. Andclear: goes then goes the of ownself. Andwhoever goes astray,then he goes astrayto his own loss.No one laden with burdenscan goes astray, then goes astray loss. laden burdensbear anothersburden. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger(to givebear anothers burden. And never punish have sent Messengerw a r n i n g ) "( 1 7 :15).) .warning)" (17: 1 5 34 34
  • 36. individual is truly being sent by the Lord. This is all due to Allahs individual is truly being sent by the Lord. This is all due to Allahscomplete justice, mercy and goodness. He chooses and sends complete justice, mercy and goodness. He chooses and sendsmessengersin 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 messagethe truth of the message. Hence, not only is the content of the messagecompletely in accord with human nature, the messengerswho come completely in accord with human nature, the messengers who comewith 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 excusefor 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 arereferred 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, defensiblepremise (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 thosestoriesappreciate. 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 Muhammadmiracle-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 Divinepeople had had belief, but what II have been given is the Divine Revelation which Allah has revealed to me. So hope that myRevelation 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
  • 37. Resurrection.,,1 In other words, the Prophet Muhammads great sign Resurrection."r In other words, the Prophet Muhammads 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 witnessedis 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 whichexample, 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 thethen produce a chapter of the like thereof and call your supporters and thereof and call supportersand helpersbesidesAllah, if you arehelpers 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 timeArabs at the time of the Prophet excelled in language. However, even the Prophetexcelled language.However, even though they greatly opposedthe Prophetthough they greatly opposed the Prophet for many years, they realized many years,they realizedthat 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 aQuran is much more than simply a "literary miracle." It is miraculous miracle." is miraculousas respect to its fulfillod propheciesas well with respect to its fulfilled prophecies of future events, its future events, itsscientific accuracy,its historical accuracy,its precisepreservation,itsscientific accuracy, its historical accuracy, its precise preservation, itsmagnanimous and wise laws, its affect that had andmagnanimous and wise laws, its affect that it had and still has in hasreforming 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 Allahchose to be messenger, his illiteracy was not a deficiencychose him to be His messenger, as his illiteracy was not a deficiency as his case. fact, was further evidence that this illiteratein his case. In fact, it was further evidence that this illiterate Arabliving 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 blessingsofAllah be upon him) the stories of the earlier prophets. The Prophet be upon the stories of the earlier prophets. The Prophetwaswas not living in an environment wherein he would have had much an environment wherein he have had muchaccess the teachingsof the Jews Christians.However, the storiesaccess to the teachings of the Jews or Christians. However, the storiesof the prophets of old are given with precise accuracy. Actually, theof the prophets of are given precise accuracy. thecaseis even more astonishing.case even more astonishing. Today, many peoplerecognizethat the Today, many people recognize that thecurrent Bible containsstatementscurrent contains statements that are historically impossibleor that are historically impossiblethat are anachronisms. The Quran, though, is free of all suchthat are anachronisms. Quran, though, free of suchproblematic material-another sign that it is not the product of a mereproblematic material-another sign that the product of meremortal. In an extensivemortal. an extensive work, Fatoohiand al-Dargazelliproduce many Fatoohi and al-Dargazelli producemanyII 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 arecontinuallybeing discovered.continually being discovered. 36 36
  • 38. examples of errors of historical nature foundexamplesof Biblical errors of a historical nature not found in the theQuran, althoughthe samestoriesand incidentsare touchedupon.tQuran, although the same stories and incidents are touched upon. Humans Need Messengers from God HumansNeed for Messengers The sending of messengers to humankind one of The sendingof messengers humankind is one of Allahsgreatest blessings. describing the sending of the Prophetgreatest blessings. In describing the sending of the ProphetMuhammad, 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 showAllah. They are in need of a practical example to show how one oneshould lead ones please are desperately alsoshould lead ones life to please Allah. They are desperatelyalso inneed 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 revealedmessage in written form on mountainsides, for example. However,message mountainsides, example. However,there is a great blessing and wisdom in His sending of humanthere is great blessing and wisdorn sending of humanmessengers 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 communicatedwritten word, Allah has transformed His message from the realm of has transformed message the realm ofthe abstract to the realm of the practical. The implementation of thethe abstract the realm of the practical. The implementationof themessage by the messenger gives humans a practical implementation ofmessage the messenger gives humans practical implementationofthe guidance. The guidance is not simply vague, general principlesthe guidance. The guidance is simply vague, general principlesthat anyone could understand in a variety of ways. No, the messagethat anyone could understand variety ways. the messagehas been given in a concrete and practical format with detailedhas been given a concrete and practical format detailedexamples for humans to follow. (2) Although messengers wereexamples humans (2) messengerswerehumans 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 thatthese teachings are practicable and within the means of humans. Nothese teachingsare practicableand the means of humans.one should think of righteousness as something beyond humanone should righteousness as something beyond human human capacity and the actions of the prophetscapacity. It is within human capacity and the actions of the prophetscapacity. isare 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 theknowledge that the messengers convey. This knowledge can beknowledge that the messengersconvey. This knowledge can bedivided 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 oftheI See Fatoohi and Shetha al-Dargazelli, Flistory Testifies to the Infallibility of the History of the Children of Israel (Delhi, lndia: Adam PublishersQuran: Early History of the Children of Israel (Delhi, India: Adam Publishers &Quran:Distributors, 1999), pp. 247-248.Distributors, 1999), pp. 247-248. 37 37
  • 39. 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 therealm of human experience. Humans can know about these issuesrealm of human experience. Humans can about these issuesonly via revelation from Allah. This realm includes detailed revelation from Allah. This realm includes detailedknowledge 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 tohumankind after death and in the hereafter and so forth.humankind after deathand the hereafterand so forth. However, Allahs guidance is not concerned only with those However, guidanceis not concerned thoseissues. Allahs guidance that He revealed to His human messengersissues. guidancethat He revealedto human messengersalso guides humans in worldly or mundane affairs. Except foralso guides humans mundane affairs. Except has easily put within the reachtechnological matters that Allah has easily put within the reach oftechnologicalmatters thathumans, humans are just as much in need of Allahs guidance onhumans, humans are as much need guidance onthese issues. It is Allah, the Creator, the Fashioner, alone who knowstheseissues. is Allah, the Creator,the Fashioner, alone who knows humans. has said, "Shouldwhat is best for humans. Allah has said, "Should not He Who haswhat is best He hascreated know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to Hiscreated know? is the and Courteous everything)" (67:1$. This point needsservants), All-Aware (of everything)" (67:14). This point needsservants),further elaboration because it strikes at the root of secularism, whichfurther elaborationbecause strikes at the of secularism.is dominating the worlds thinking today.is dominatingthe worlds thinking today. Humans have attempted to construct their own economic Humans have attempted construct economicsystems, political systems, international laws and so on. When doingsystems, political systems, international laws and so on. When doingso, though, they have to admit that they are attempting something thatso, though, they have to admit that they are attemptingsomethingthat means.Thus, the harms of what they produce manyis beyond their means. Thus, the ham1s of what they produce manyis beyondtimes outweigh the good, even with the best of intentions. Fortimes outweigh the good, even the best intentions.example, in the realm of economics, the first thing that may come toexample, the realm of economics,the thing that may comemind is the collapse of the theories of socialism and communism. Onemind is the collapse the theories socialismand communism.Oneshould, though, also take a closer look at capitalism and how far itsshould, though, also take a closer at capitalismand how far itsreality 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 revelationGod, are susceptible to a number of distinct problems. First, humansGod, are susceptible a number distinct problems.First, humaus toare repeatedly influenced by desires. However, even if humans areare repeatedly influenced desires. However, even if humans areable to raise themselves above any passionsable 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 differencebetweenthethey have to realize that there is a great deal of difference between thephysical sciences and social sciences. Social scientists cannot testphysical sciencesand social sciences.Social scientistscannot testhumans 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 guessingThey are doing nothing too much more than guessing about reality. In about reality.the Quran, speaks about such the part ofthe Quran, Allah speaks about such limited ability on the part ofhumankind: "They know only the outside appearance of the life of thehumankind: the outsideappearance the the 38 38
  • 40. (30:7). If such admitted, demonstrates that humans are thatworld" (30:7). If such is admitted,it demonstrates humansare inneed of guidance and knowledge Creator,need of guidance and knowledge from their Creator, who hadgraciously sent such guidance through prophets. Finally, seculargraciouslysent such guidancethrough his prophets.Finally, secularlaws cannot inspire humans like divine revelation can. There can be cannot inspire humans revelation can. There canno effective moral influence in such laws. In other words, except for effective influence such laws. other words, exceptthe use of force, there is nothing in man-madelaws to drive a person use of force, there man-made personto comply with such laws. However, adherence to the laws with such laws. However, adherence lawspromulgated by the prophetsis driven by a desire to please God andpromulgated 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 gravelyin need of the knowledge vouchsafedvia the prophets and they are need of the knowledge vouchsafed the prophets and they arealso 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 ofAllah be upon him) said that Allah had sent 124,000 prophets.r be upon said that had sent 124,Q00 prophets.] Allahstatedthat 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 thethey were actually along the same path. Indeed, tells theProphet (peace and blessings Allah be upon him) that He is guidingProphet(peaceand blessings of of be upon him) that is guidingthe Prophet to the same religion as his predecessors. Allah says, "Hethe 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 ordainedNoah, and that which We have inspired you (O Muhammad),andNoah, and that which We have inspired in you (0 Muhammad), andthat 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 andmessengers 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 toThey were all believing in the same essential truths and calling toThey were allsimilar paths. Hence, one has no right to say that he will believe andsimilar paths.Hence,one has no right to say that he believe andrespect some of them and reject, belie or disrespect others. In the firstrespectsome them and reject, belie disrespectothers. theplace, this would be disrespectful to God, who sent each and everyplace, this would be disrespectful God, who sent each and every toone of them. It would also be illogical since they all came withone them. lt also be illogical since they cameessentiallythe 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 Allahrespect.Thus, Allah says, "Say (O Muslims),respect. Thus, Allah says, "Say (0 Muslims), We believe in Allahand that which has beensentdown to us and that which has beensentand that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sentII Recorded by Ahmad. Recorded bv Ahnrad. 39 39
  • 41. down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and to the twelve sons ofdown Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve sons ofJacob, and that which has been given to Moses and Jesus, and thatJacob, and that has been given Moses and Jesus,and thatwhich has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no has been given the Prophets their Lord. make nodistinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (indistinction between any of them, and have submittedIslam)" (2:136).In sum, sincethey wereIslam)" (2: 136). In sum, since they were all sent by the one and only sent the one andGod and since the truth of this existence is one and not changing, it isGod and since the truth of this existenceis one and changing, isthe 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 ofthe messengers call. Their message revolved around the followingthe messengerscall. messagerevolved around thethree points:threepoints: (l) Calling people to God, explaining clear proofs that (I) Calling people to God, explaining with clear proofs thatthere is none worthy of worship except Him and inviting them tothere is none of worship except and themsubmit to alone and to renounceany and false gods:submit to Him alone and to renounce any and all false gods: Allahsays, "Andsays, "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 leadingGods pleasure and the purifying of ones soul that each individual isGods pleasureand the of ones 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 aAllah says, "To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a and aclear (5:a8). However,clear way" (5:48). However, all of the prophets brought the same of the prophets brought the samebasic path containing the same general laws, such as commandment tobasic path containing the samegenerallaws, such as cornmandmentpray, of polytheism,prohibition of adultery,pray, prohibition of polytheism, prohibition of adultery, prohibition of ofmurder and so forth. This does not mean that there were nomurder and so forth. does mean that there were nodifferences whatsoever concerning their particular practices. Indifferences whatsoever concerning particular practices.general, practices were similar God sent many prophetsgeneral, their practices were similar but God sent many prophets tospecific peoples with specific laws for their time and place. This isspecific peoples specific laws their time and place. This ispart of Allahs mercy and wisdom. However, this variation in some ofpart Allahs mercy and wisdom. However, this variation someoftheir practices does not imply any contradiction concerning their basictheir 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 toaccept and worship Allah and when they decide to refuse to submit toacceptand worship and when they decide to refuse submit worship this point, the messengersor worship Allah: On this point, the messengers taught humankind taught humankindabout life after death, resurrection, final judgment and reward orabout after death, resurrection, judgment and rewardpunishment from Allah. The details of these matters can only bepunishment The details of these matters can beknown from Allah and Allah never punished any people until theknown and never punished any people themessenger had made these points clear to them. Thus, all themessenger had made these points clear them. Thus, themessengers actually came with glad tidings for those who wish tomessengers actually came glad tidings those wish to 40 40
  • 42. accept and stem warnings of ominous end thoseaccept faith and stern warnings of a ominous end for those who wislt wishto reject it. Allah says, "And We send not the Messengersbut as reject Allah says, "And send Messengers asgivers of glad tidings and as warners.So whosoeverbelieves and doesgivers of glad tidings and as warners. So whosoever believesand doesrighteous good deeds,upon such shall ceme no fear, nor shall theyrighteous deeds, upon such shall come fear, shallgrieve. those reject proofs, the torment will touch themgrieve. 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 themessages revolved. prophets strove conveymessagesrevolved. The prophets strove to convey their messages, messages,fulfilled their trusts and conveyed the messagesclearly. After theirfulfilled trusts and conveyed the messages clearly. Aftercoming, there is no longer any room left for debate or excuse. Thecoming, there longer debate excuse.prophets fulfilled their missions and now the matter is left to theprophets missions and the matterindividual.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 ofthe prophets were the same. In addition, it was definitely the role ofthe prophets were the same. addition, was the role ofsome, if of the earlier prophets foretell the coming of thesome, if not all, of the earlier prophets to foretell the coming of theProphet Muhammad. example, says the Quran, "ThoseProphet Muhammad. For example, Allah says in the Quran, "Thosewho 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 andthe 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 ofscholars realized that there must exist some evidence of the coming ofscholarsthe Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in what is leftthe Prophet (peaceand blessingsof upon Christians.Indeed,Muslimof the original scriptures of the Jews and Christians. Indeed, Muslim the original scriptures the Jews andscholars argue that many verses can be found that seem toscholars argue that many verses can be found that seem to pointdirectly to the Prophet Muhammad. (Actually, a number of booksdirectly to the Prophet Muhammad. (Actually, a number of bookshave 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 bediscussed. 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
  • 43. Perhapsthe first question that needs to be answeredis who are thePerhaps the first question that needs to be answered is who are thebrethren of the Israelites. According to the Hebrew Dictionary of the brethren the Israelites.According to the Hebrew of theBible, the term brethren refers to a "personification of a group ofBible, the term brethren refers to a "personification a grouptribes who were regarded as near kinsmen of Israelites."! A group that tribes were regardedas near kinsmen Israelites."r group thatfits that description very well were the descendants of Ishmael, the fits that description very were the descendants Ishrnael, theson 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 "likeunto 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 Christiansdoclaim that this passage is a reference to Jesus. Given that Christians do isnot 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 demonstratesNevertheless, Jamal Badawi has constructed a table that demonstratesNevertheless,how similar Moses and Muhammadwere (and how dissimilar Jesushow similar Moses and Muhammad were (and how dissimilar Jesuswas 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 withnature death, career,forced emigration, results of encountersenemies,nature teachingsand acceptance leadership hisenemies, nature of teachings and acceptance of leadership by his ownpeople, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessingspeople, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be beupon 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. 2may peacebe upon all them.2 The verses above then continue by saying, "and will put my The verses above then continue saying, willwords in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shallwords his mouth; and he shall speak unto them that shallcommand him." This is an absolutely accurate description of thecommand This is an absolutely accuratedescription of theProphetMuhammad relation the Quran. The words wereProphet Muhammad in relation to the Quran. The words were put into intohis mouth via direct revelation from Gabriel, wherein Muhammadhis mouth direct revelation from Gabriel, wherein Muhammadrepeatedverbatimrepeated verbatim what was revealed to him and he commanded all was revealed and he commandedthat the revelationcontained.that the revelation contained. the Testament,one can the passages in In the New Testament, one can find the following passagesthe Gospel of John, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And Ithe Gospel of John, "If ye me, keep commandments.will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that hewill 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 Johnmay abide John 16:7-8and John 16:12-13 also speak about future Comforter and the16: 12-13 also speak about a future Comforter and the Spirit of Truth ofto 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 cannotcomewhile Christ is present?The Christians interpret these passageswhile Christ is present? The Christiansinterpret these passages as asI Quoted in Jamal Badawi, MuhammadI Quoted Jamal Badawi, Muhammad in the Bible (Halifax, Canada: Islamic the Canada: IslamicInformation Foundation, n.d.),p. 40.InformationFoundation, n.d.), p. 40.2B a d a w ip . 4 1 .2 Badawi, p. 41. , 42 42
  • 44. referring to the Holy Ghost. But Christian theology states that thereferring to the Holy Ghost. But Christian theology states that theFather, the Son and the Holy Ghost are all part of the trinity, togetherFather, the Son and the Holy Ghost are all part of the trinity, togetheras one being. If this is the case,how is the one presentand the other isas one being. If this is the case, how is the one present and the other isnot present?Such is completelyincompatible present? Such completely incompatible with Christiantheology. Christian theology.Furthermore, a portion John 16:12-13Furthermore, portion in John 16:12-13which states, states, "he will guide will guideyou truth: he shall speak of himself; but whatsoever heyou into all truth: for he shall not speakof himself; but whatsoevershall 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 andblessingsof Allah be upon him) and how he receivedand passedonblessings of upon and received and passedthe revelation God.the revelationfrom God. One last set of verses will presented that this authorbelieves One last setof verseswill be presented that this author believesrequire virtually no comment other than saying that a great prophetrequire comment other than saying that great prophetwas expected: "Attd this is the recordof John,when the Jewssentwas still expected: "And this the record of John, when the Jews sentpriestsand Levites from Jerusalem ask him, Who art thou? And hepriests and Levites Jerusalem to ask him, art thou? heconfessed, and denied not; but confessed, am not the Christ. Andconfessed, 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 wereJames Version). Who was that Prophet that John and the Jews wereJames Version).expecting?expecting? These brief examples will have to suffice and the interested These examplesrvill have to suffice and the interestedreadermay consult more in-depthworks. However, if thesesigns doreader may consult more in-depth works. However, if these signs dopoint to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah bepoint to the Prophet Muhammad (peaceand blessingsof beupon as scholars maintain, then, sincerity to theupon him) as Muslim scholars maintain, then, in sincerity to the made the statement,one has toProphet who originally made the statement, one has to follow theProphet theprophet 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 birthMuhammad. Muhammad was born around 570 years after the birth ofMuhammad. Muhammad was bomJesusChrist. He was born in Mecca, in the Arabian Peninsula.TheJesus Christ. He was born in Mecca, in the Arabian Peninsula. Thepeopleof Mecca were devotedto idol-worship.In Mecca,therewas apeople 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,buildingknown as the Kabah, was dedicated the worship of Allah, the onlyknown 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 ArabMuhammadlived amongthem but nevertook part in idol-worship.HeMuhammad lived among them but never took part in idol-worship. Hewas 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
  • 45. 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 themission he had from God. The polytheistic Arabs quickly rejected hismission he had God. The polytheistic Arabs rejectedhismessage that none is to be worshipped except God. Although he wasmessage that none is be worshipped except God. he wasknown as "the trustworthy," they belied him and soon after started aknown as trustworthy," they belied and soon after startedamassive 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 wasforced to leave to the city of Madinah, where he already had someforced leave the of Madinah, where he already had somefollowers.followers. The people of Madinah made him the leader of the city. The The people of Madinah made the leader of the Thedisbelievers of Mecca did not rest and attempted to militantly squashdisbelieversof Mecca rest and attempted squashthe new faith. However, what was originally a small band of Muslimsthe new faith. However, was a small band ofgrew in number and were able to withstand the onslaught of thegrew number and were able withstand the onslaught of thedisbelievers. Within ten years, the Prophet himself led an army backdisbelievers. ten years, the Prophet led an army backto Mecca and conquered it in a bloodless victory. Thus, Islam became Mecca and conquered a bloodless victory. Thus, Islam becamevictorious 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 finalHowever, He had determined that should send thismessenger, Muhammad, with a final message. This final messengermessenger,Muhammad, a message. messengerwould be the messenger for all of humankind from his time until the be the messenger of humankind his time theDay of Reckoning. There was to be no later revelation and no later of Reckoning. There was be no later revelation and laterprophet to bring any changes to this revelation. Hence, this one had toprophet any changes this revelation.Hence,this one had todiffer 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 hador distortions, the revelation received by the last prophet had to be bepreserved 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 thehave to be different as well. This is because this sign would have tohave be different as is becausethis sign haveaffect not only the people who were alive during the time of theaffect the people were alive during the time of theprophet 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 onecommunity among humankind-each then having their own finalcommunity among humankind-each then having theirprophet and then one another.This prophet had toprophet and then differing with one another. This final prophet had tobe sent for all of humankind, putting an end to the succession ofbe sent of humankind, putting an end the successionofprophets 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 befixed in matters that need to be fixed for all of humankind until thefixed matters that need to be of humankind the 44 44
  • 46. Day of Judgmentand guiding yet flexible or accommodatingin those Day of Judgment and guiding yet flexible or accommodating in thosematters 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. ofcircumstances 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 theProphet Muhammad (peaceand blessingsof Allah be upon him) who Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) whofits all of these criteria. The exacting preservationof the Quran and fits all of these criteria. The exacting preservation of the Quran andthe 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 andblessings of Allah be upon him) was the only prophet to make itblessings of Allah be prophet make itknown that he was not sent only for a certain people but he was sent sent certain people sentfor all the various peoples of the world- Allah says "Say (O the various peoples of the world. says, (0Muhammad the people), O mankind! Verily, IMuhammad to the people), 0 mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all sentas the Messengerof Allah (7:158). Another verse reads,"And Weas the Messenger of (7: 158). Another verse reads, "Andhave not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a giver of glad tidingshave sent (0 Muhammad) except as of glad tidingsand a warner to all mankind" (3a:2S). The Prophet Muhammad alsoand warner mankind" (34:28). Prophet Muhammad alsostated that he was distinguished from the earlier prophets by fivestated that he was distinguished the earlier prophetsmatters.The last he mentionedwas, prophet be sent hismatters. The last he mentioned was, "The prophet would be sent to hispeople only while I have been sent to all of mankind.,,1people while have beensentto of mankind."r promulgated Finally, when one studies the law promulgated by the Finally, when one sfudies the theProphetMuhammad (peaceand blessings be upon him) oneProphet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) one thatfinds 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 needstoWhat 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 guidelinesinterest is prohibited forever. In addition to that, general guidelines are given. However, the guidance is such that when new forms ofare given. However, the guidance is such that when new forms of business dealings are developed, as in modern times, one canbusiness dealings are developed, as in modern times, one can accordingto Islamic guidelinesanddetermine which are acceptable according to Islamic guidelines and determinewhich are acceptable which are not. Thus, Islamic Law has been proven to be feasible forwhich are not. Thus, Islamic Law has been proven to be feasible for over 1400 yearsand, accordingto Islamic beliefs,will continueto beover 1400 years and, according to Islamic beliefs, will continue to befeasible 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 andblessings Allah be upon him) shouldbe His final messenger. Allahblessings 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 issays, "Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he isII Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Recordedby al-Bukhari and Muslim. 45 45
  • 47. the Messengerof Allah and the seal of the Prophets.And Allah isthe Messenger of Allah and the seal of the Prophets. And Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything" (33:40). The Prophet MuhammadEver 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."lsent 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 willwhenever a prophet died, a prophet succeeded (him). Lo! There will be no prophet after me"Zbe 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 truththat he is the final prophet. No prophet shall come after him. The truth of his message and his own honestyareof 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 otherprophetswhile rejecting the ProphetMuhammad.prophets while rejecting the Prophet Muhammad. No one has the right one has theto say that Muhammad was truthful but, choosetoto 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 tobe acceptableto Allah.be acceptable to Allah. Allah has sent His final messenger to be has sent His final messenger be tobelieved and followed, superseding cancelingwhat is left thebelieved in and followed, superseding and canceling what is left of the andteachingsof earlier prophets. the Quran,teachings of earlier prophets. In the Quran, Allah describes such an describessuch anattitude: when is said to them, Believe what Allatr has sentattitude: "And when it is said to them, Believe in what Allah has sentdown, they say, We believe what was sentdown us.down, they say, We believe in what was sent down to us. And they theydisbelieve thatdisbelieve in that which came after it, while it is the truth confirming came after is the truthwhat 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 whosehand is my soul, therewill be none of my addressedhand soul, there be none of addressed people,be he Jerv people, be he Jewor Christian,who hearsof me and dies without believing in that with Christian, hears of me and dies without believing thatwhich I was sent except that he will be from the inhabitants of the was sent except that he will the inhabitants of theHell-fire."3 The Prophet even told one of his companions,"If myHell-fire.") The Prophet even one of his companions, "Ifbrother Moses were alive today, he would have no option but tobrother Moses were today, he have option me.,,4follow me."4 In sum, the signs pointing to the Prophet beforehand are sum, the signs the Prophet beforehand arethere.The Prophetsown honestyis unquestionable. preservationthere. Prophets honesty unquestionable. The preservationof his scripture is established.All the indicators point to hisof scripture established. All the indicatorsII Recordedby Muslinr. Recorded by Muslim.2Recorded2Recorded by al-Bukhariand Muslim. by al-Bukhari and Muslim.33 Recordedby Muslim. Recorded by Muslim.a4 Recordedby Ahmad and al-Daarimi. Recorded by Ahmad and al-Daarimi. 46 46
  • 48. prophethood. As a prophet, his word must be believed in. He hasprophethood. As a prophet, his word must be believed in. He hasdeclaredhimself the last prophet and said that all of humankind mustdeclared himself the last prophet and said that all of humankind mustnow choose to follow him. This is the choice facing every one ofnow choose to follow him. This is the choice facing every one ofhumankind and it is hoped that they will make the correct and logicalhumankind and it is hoped that they will make the correct and logicaldecision.decision. 47 47
  • 49. Islam and TFaith" 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 ofresigned, or submitted, himself." I So, islam is the way or act of submitting and resigning oneself. Hence, a "muslim" is one whosubmitting 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 religiondistinguishable usages: (1) It is a term used for the true religion ofGod since the time the creation humans;and (2) is a term usedGod since the time of the creation of humans; and (2) it is a term usedtoday for the religion broughttoday for the religion brought by the last prophet, Prophet the last prophet, ProphetMuhammad.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 truesubmissionand obedience God alone." this sense,then, wassubmission and obedience to God alone." In this sense, then, it was tothe religion of all the true prophetsthe religion of all of the true prophets of God. In fact, it was the God. fact, was thereligion ofreligion of all of their followers as well. In other words, every true of their followers as well. other words, every truebeliever from the time of Adam to the last believer on earth practicesbeliever from the time of Adam to the last believer on earth practicesIslam and is a Muslim. Furthermore, is theIslam and is a Muslim. Furthermore, it is the only religion that Allah religion thatever coffrmandedhumankind toever commanded humankind to follow. Islam, therefore, is the only Islam, therefore, is thereligion that has ever been acceptablereligion that has ever been acceptable to Allah. Allah says, "Truly, the says, thereligion is Islam (submissionreligion with Allah is Islam (submission to Him)" (3: 19). Allah also to (3:19). alsosays, whoeverseeks religion other than Islam,says, "And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be neverbeacceptedofaccepted 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 theand practice of all the prophetswas that of Islam. For example, Allahand practice of the prophets was that of Islam. example,quotesNoah as saying, after explaining the faith the people, "But ifquotes Noah as saying, after explaining the faith to the people,"But ifyou turn away [from accepting my doctrine to worship none but tum away accepting doctrine worship noneAllah], then no reward have I asked of you, my reward is only from then reward have asked of you, rewardAllah, 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 theWest, "the father of monotheism."Without any doubt Abraham was aWest, father of monotheism." any doubt Abraham waspure monotheist and one who truly submitted to God (that is, a truepure monotheist and one submitted (that is, trueMuslirn). 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
  • 50. Monotheismwas the religion of Adam and was the religion of all trueMonotheism was the religion of Adam and was the religion of all truebelievers,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 alwaysbeenBelief in Allah alone as God and submission to Him has always beenthe 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 dosubmitting completely to Him alone and commanding his people to dothe same. Moses, for example, would have never rejected thethe same. Moses, example, would have never rejected theprophethoodof one of his fellow prophets,Jesus,as the Jews haveprophethood of one of prophets, Jesus, as the Jews havedone.done. Jesuswas anotherprophet of God who followed the religion of Jesus was another prophet of religion ofIslam or submitting to Allah alone. He taught this religion to hisIslam submitting alone. taught this religion to hisdisciples. Jesus was human, like all the other prophets. and neverdisciples. Jesus was human, other prophets, and neverclaimed for himself any divine or semi-divinestatus.In fact, Allahclaimed any divine semi-divine status. fact,makes it clear in the Quran that Jesusnever askedanyone to worshipmakes clear the Quran Jesus never asked anyonehim (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 truestretches all the way from Adam until the end of time, spanningallstretches the from the end of time, spanninglocalities and peoples. The true believers love one anotherand supportlocalities and peoples.The true believers one another and supportone 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 believein all of the prophets. They support all of them and defend their honor the prophets.They support of them and defend honoras well. This role defending the honor of the prophets hasas well. This role of defending the honor of the prophets has trulyfallen upon the shouldersof the followers of the Prophet Muhammadfallen upon the shoulders of the followers of the Prophet Muhammad other faiths seem to have noin particular today. The peoples of other faiths seem to have noin particular today. The peoplesqualms speaking badly about even theirqualms speaking badly about or even ridiculing their own prophets, prophets, prophetsthat they reject. It seemsas though isnot to speak of prophets that they reject. It seems as though it is onlynot to speak ofthe followers of Muhammad today who arethe followers of Muhammad today who are willing to stand and to stand and those noble prophets and believers. Onedefend the honor of those noble prophets and believers. One would defend the honor ofnever 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 isbe upon him), one could say that there were many "Islams." That is, eachpeoplehad their prophets,followed their teachings and were oneach people had their prophets, followed their teachings and were on the path of Islan-r. the sametime, if a new prophet in the same linethe 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 newof prophets came to them, they had no choice but to follow that new prophet. As was discussedearlier, the one who refuses to acceptprophet. As was discussed earlier, the one who refuses to accept 49 49
  • 51. later prophet isAllahs later prophet is not truly submitting to Allah. If he is not truly submitting If he issubmitting 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 (peaceand 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 becalled "submitting oneself to the will of Allah." Anyone who called "submitting oneself to the of Anyone who rejects the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings ofknowingly rejects the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings ofAllah be upon him), no matter how many other prophets he believes be upon no matter many other prophets he believesin, 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 thename "submission toname "submission to Allah" or Islam is that of the final Prophet Islam is that of the final ProphetMuhammad (peaceand blessingsofMuhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The other be upon him). The otherwell-known religions are all named after individuals, peoples orwell-known religions are named after individuals, peoplesplaces. According to Microsoft Encarta, the term Judaism did notplaces. 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 namedChristianity is, course,named after Christ as Buddhism is namedafter Buddha. Hinduism has to do with the place, Hindustan. But, byafter Buddha.Hinduism has to do the place, Hindustan.But,Allahs wisdom and mercy, the name of the only true religion of wisdom and mercy, the name the true religionsubmission to Allah-the religion of all the prophets-has beensubmission to Allah-the religion of the prophets-has beenpreserved and keptpreserved and kept only in reference to the mission of the final referenceto the mission of the finalprophet 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 lslamand follow the way of all of the earlier prophets is by following theand the way of the earlier prophetsis following theProphet Muhammad. The Prophet said regarding Moses, "If myProphet Muhammad. The Prophet said regarding Moses, "Ifbrother Moses were alive today, he would have no option but tobrother Moses were alive today, he have optionfollow me." I me."l The invitation is open for everyone to follow the way of the The invitation is open everyoneto the of theProphetMuhammad(peaceand blessingsProphet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In a of be upon him). abeautiful statement, the Prophet explained in a parable the nature ofbeautiful statement,the Prophet explained a parable the nature ofhis call to all of humankind. The Prophet explained that some angelshis call to all of humankind.The Prophetexplainedthat some angelscame to him while he was sleeping. Some of the angels said, "He iscame to he was sleeping.Some of the angelssaid, issleeping [therefore leave him]." The others answered, "His eyes sleepsleeping[thereforeleave The othersanswered, eyessleepbut his heart is alert." They said, "Your companion is like this" and his heart is alert." They said, companionis like this" andthey propoundeda similitude. They said,they propounded a similitude. They said, "His similitude is like a similitude is aperson who builds a house and provides a table spread filled withperson who builds a house and provides a table spread filledI Recorded by Ahmad and al-Daarimi.I Recorded Ahmad and al-Daarimi. 50 50
  • 52. provisionsand calls the other people to it. Those who respondto hisprovisions and calls the other people Those respond to hiscall enter the house and eat from the table spread.Those who do not enter the house and eat the table spread. Those notrespond to his call do not enter the house nor do they eat frorn therespond enter house from thetable 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 otherswhoOthers replied, sleeping." were answered otherssaid, "His eyes sleep but his heart is alert." So they explainedthesaid, eyes sleep his heart alert." So explainedparableto him, saying,"The house is Paradiseparable him, saying, house Paradise and the one inviting is and the oneMuhammad (peacebe upon him). Whoever obeys Muhammad (peaceMuhammad (peace be upon Whoever obeys Muhammad (peacebe upon him) has verily obeyedAllah. WhoeverdisobeysMuhammadbe 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 eachindividual will face the consequence of his decisionof acceptingorindividual will face the consequence his decision of accepting ofrejecting 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 alsohave faith in ones heart. One issue concerning faith is what one ishave faith ones heart. One issueconcerningfaith what onesupposed to believe in or, in other terms, the articles of faith. Thesupposed believe or, other terms, the articles of faith. TheProphet once explained faith by saying, "It is to believein Allah, HisProphetonce explainedfaith saying,"It is believeangels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day and to believein theangels,His books, His messengers, Last the and believe thedivine decree, [both] the good and the evil thereof." Here the Prophetdivine decree,[both] the good and the thereof." Here the Prophetmentioned the primary articles of faith. These articles are six inmentioned the primary articles of faith. These articles are sixnumber as follows:numberas follows: (1) Allah: is the cornerstoneof (1) Belief in Allah: Belief in Allah is the cornerstone ofIslamic faith. This article faith has been explainedthroughoutthisIslamic faith. This article of faith has been explained throughout thiswork 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 beencreatedfromAllah that is, in general, unseen by man. They have been created fromAllah that is, in general,light but they do have forms and bodies. They are servantsoflight but they do have forms and bodies. They are servants of Allahand have no aspect divinity to them whatsoever. They submit toand have no aspect of divinity to them whatsoever. They submit toHis command completely and never stray from fulfilling His orders.His commandcompletelyand never stray from orders. beings beyond the realm ofThe fact that there are some types of beings beyond the realm ofThe fact that there are some typeshuman experience should not be shocking as even today on earthhuman 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 Allahs (3) Belief in the Books revealed by Allah: Belief in Allahs that Allah sentdown to His messengersbooks refers to the revelations that Allah sent down to His messengersbooks refersto the revelations I Recorded by al-Bukhari.I Rccordedby al-Bukhari, 51 51
  • 53. as a mercy and guidance to lead mankind to success in this life and as a mercy and guidance lead mankind success this andhappiness the Hereafter. The Quran refers number of suchhappiness in the Hereafter. The Quran refers to a number of suchbooks: the scrolls of Abraham, the Torah of Moses, the Psalms ofbooks: the scrolls Abraham, the Torah of Moses, the Psalms ofDavid and the Gospel of Jesus. (It must be recalled that the original and the Gospel of Jesus. must be recalled that therevelations that these prophets received are not the same as the books revelationsthat theseprophetsreceivedare the same as the booksthat 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 therevelation. It is very important to realize that it is considered the revelation. is important realize that considered theheight of arrogance and a form of disbelief for an individual to declareheight of arroganceand a of disbelief an declarefor himself the right to believe in portions of what Allah revealedand the to believe portions of what revealed andreject other portions of it. Thus, Allah says, "Then do you believe in a reject other portions of Thus, says, do believepart of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then what is the recompensepart of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then is the recompenseof those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this those do so among you, except disgrace the of thisworld, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to theworld, and the of Resurrectionthey shall be consigned themost 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 beendiscussed 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 thepeople of Paradise shall be in their abode as will the people of Hell.people of Paradise shall be their abodeas the people ofIts other names include "The Day of Resurrection," and "The Day ofIts other names include of Resurrection,"and ofJudgment." This is the greatest day that humankind shall passJudgment," This is the greatest day that humankind shall pass will be the gravest and most fearful day. Athrough. Indeed, it will be the gravest and most fearful day. Athrough. Indeed,persons new life will be decided on that day. It will mark a newpersons new be decided on that day. will mark newbeginning for each soul. This new step may lead to eternal bliss orbeginning each soul. new step may lead eternal blisseternaldamnation. the Lasteternal damnation. Belief in the Last Day implies belief in everything implies everythingthat the Quran the Prophet(peacebe upon has statedabout thethat the Quran or the Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated about theevents that and thereafter. There are some general aspectsevents 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 asmore detailed aspects that the Quran or the Messenger of Allah (peacemore detailedaspects that the Quran the Messengerof (peacebe upon hinr) mentioned. The more one has knowledge of thatbe upon him) mentioned. The more one has knowledge of that Dayand its surrounding events,the greaterthe affect this will haveand its surrounding events, the greater the affect this belief will haveon him. Hence, the Quran and Sunnahprovide great detail ason him. Hence, the Quran and Sunnah provide great detail as to the theeventsof that and time.events of that Day and time. 52 52
  • 54. It important realize one can say certain who It is important to realize that no one can say for certain whowill bewill be in Paradiseor Hell.I Nobody knows what will happen to any Paradise Hell. Nobody knows will happenindividual. A righteous person today change and become impiousindividual.A righteouspersontoday may changeand becomeimpioustomorrow, leading greatest enemy oftomorrow, leading himself to Hell. The greatestenemy of Islam anddisbeliever repent the future and becomedisbeliever may repent in the future and become the most pious of ofpeople, leading Heaven. fact, there are somepeople, leading himself to Heaven. In fact, there are some who maynever hear about have been offerednever hear about Islam or have only been offered a very distorted distortedpicture of Islam. Only God knows what will happento suchpeople inpicture of Islam. God knows what will happen such peoplethe Hereafter. However, some things are certain: God alone will bethe Hereafter. However, some things are certain: alone willthe judge on the Day of Judgment, God will never wrong any soulthe the of Judgment, will never souleven the slightest amount and if a person is a true Muslim andeven the slightest amount and if person true Muslimbeliever, Allah will be pleasedbeliever, be pleased with him. him. the Decree (al-Qadar): (6) Belief in the Divine Decree (al-Qadar): This refers to refersbelief in the fact that nothing can occur in this creation except by the the fact that nothing can occur creation except thewill and permission of Allah. There is no power that can go against and permissionof Allah. There power that can againstHis 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 freeHowever, Allah, with His perfect knowledge, has foreknowledge ofHowever, perfect knowledge, has foreknowledge ofwhat humans will do. He has knowledge of what they will do and Hewhat humans do. has knowledgeof what they will andwills it and decrees it but He does not cause them to make their life and decrees but He does not causethem make theirchoices.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 doesThere is an important second issue related doesofaith" really mean are its implications? First,"faith" really mean for a person and what are its implications? First, a person and something,should leadfaith, meaning true and definitive belief in something, should lead to afaith, meaning true and definitivecorrespondingsubmissionto what one believes in. Otherwise, iscorresponding submission to what one believes in. Otherwise, it is is not the Islamic concept ofsimply an acceptance of a fact but it is not the Islamic concept ofsimply an acceptance a fact but"faith""faith" personsbeliefsare the most importantaspect his being. of A persons beliefs are the most important aspect of his being. forces behind hisThey are, in general, the driving forces behind his way of life andThey are, in general, the of andpersonalchoices.The true and effective beliefs never remain at anpersonal choices. The true and effective beliefs never remain at anabstract level but their influence is manifested on a day-to-dayabstract level but their influence is manifested on a day-to-daypractical level. In other words, there is no truepractical level. In other words, there is no true "faith" without that thathaving a strong influence upon a persons acts.having a strong influence upon a persons acts. A person cannot person cannot claim, "I have belief in my heart," yet, at the same time, that personclaim, "I have belief in my heart," yet, at the same time, that personnever actually does deedscolTesponding what he claims believe tonever actually does deeds corresponding to what he claims to believeI 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
  • 55. in. This persons actionsare belying his claim of "faith in the heart."in. This persons 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 demandsthatthe individual submitsto God in his actions.the individual submits to God in his actions. 54 54
  • 56. 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 humankindTo worship God is actuallythe only goal for which all of humankindhas been created.Indeed,the noblestand greatestthat anyone couldhas been created. Indeed, the noblest and greatest that anyone couldever 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 oracts that one may consider"religious" or "spiritual." The goal is toacts that one may consider "religious" "spiritual." The goalbecome as complete servant of as one can. The correctbecome as complete a servant of Allah as one can. The correctconcept of servitude comprehensive. "Worship" or ibaadah isconcept of servitude is very comprehensive. "Worship" ibaadah concept comprising every deed, internal manifest, thata concept comprising every word or deed, internal or manifest, thatAllah loves and approves.Hence, worship permeatesevery part of a loves and approves. Hence, worship permeates every part ofperson. It touches upon his internal characteristics well as hisperson. touches upon his internal characteristics as as as hisoutward actions.outwardactions. In sum, worship is inclusive of: sum, worship is inclusiveof: (a) Ones relationship (a) Ones relationshipwith the Lord; the (b) Ones relationship with his own soul and its Ones relationship soul and society as whole; (d)rights upon him; (c) Ones relationship with society as a whole; (d)rights upon him; (c) Ones relationshipOnes relationship with ones relatives, spouse, children and othersOnes relationship ones relatives,spouse,children and otherswho have special rights upon a person; (e) Ones relationship with thewho have specialrights upon a person;(e) Ones relationship theanimals that Allah has placed in this creation; (f) Ones relationshipanimals that has placed this creation; Ones relationshipwith the environment and all the resources that Allah has created the environment and the resourcesthat has createdwhich 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 theyare going to be able to grow, persevere and continue in these acts ofare going to be able to grow, persevere and continue theseactsworship. Instead, Allah ordained for humans specific ritual acts ofworship. Instead, ordained for humans specific ritual actsworship. These deeds are acts of worship in and of themselves butworship. These deedsare acts worship and themselves butthey are also acts that aid the individual continuing along the paththey are also acts that aid the individual in continuing along the path alone.The most important theseactsare whatof worshipping Allah alone. The most important of these acts are what worshippingis known as the pillars Islam." The Prophet (peace andis known as the "five pillars of Islam." The Prophet (peace and be upon him) stated, "Islam isblessings of Allah be upon him) stated, "Islam is built upon fiveblessings upon five[pillars]: testifying that there is none worthy of worship except Allah fpillars]: testifying that there is none worship except Allah, establishingtheand that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing theand that Muhammad is the Messengerprayers, giving the zakat, making the pilgrimage to the House andprayers, giving the zakat, making the pilgrimage to the House andfasting the month of Ramadhaan."fastingthe month of Ramadhaau."lII Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Recordedby al-Bukhari and Muslim. 55 f,f,
  • 57. 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 indemonstrates that submission is something that one claims isthe heart with no public affirmation. The submission to God is notthe heart affirmation. The submission Godmeant to be a private submission. It is a public submission, as it is themeantto 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 fullconviction, belief, sincerity and honesty one proclaims: There noneconviction, belief, sincerity and honesty one proclaims: There is noneworthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of of worship except and Muhammad is the messenger ofAllah.Allah. In reality, without this pillar, the remaining acts will become reality, without this pillar, the remainingacts becomemeaningless. The other acts must be built upon having faith. Onemeaningless.The other acts must be upon having faith. Onecannot do an act please properlycannot do an act to please God properly without first having belief in havingGod 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 andThe first act that this faith should lead one to is the proclamation andThedeclaration of that faith. Hence, it is the starting point for all of thedeclaration of that faith, Hence, is the starting of theother 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 onedoes not simply mean to pray whenever or however one wills to pray.does pray.There are formal, ritualistic prayers that every Muslim must performThere are formal, ritualistic prayers that every must performas a basic sign of his willingness to submit to God. 1 There are fiveas a basic sign of his willingness submit to God.r There aresuch prayers every day at fixed times. The time of the first prayer issuch prayers every day at times. The time of the prayerbetween dawn and sunrise. The second prayer time starts just afterbetween dawn and sunrise. The second prayer starts afterhigh noon. The third starts at the mid-afternoon. The fourth starts noon. The starts at the mid-aftemoon. The fourth startsright after sunset. And the fifth is at nightfall. Hence, as a Muslim after sunset. the at nightfall. Hence, as agoes through his day there is never any period ofgoes through his day there is never any period of time in which he is he a formal prayer. These repeated prayers continuallydistant from a formal prayer. These repeated prayers continuallydistantremind the person of his relationship with his Lord and his trueremind the person of his relationship his and his truepurpose life.purpose in life. general, these prayers ate supposed In general, these prayers are supposed to be performed in be performedcongregation in a mosque. Numerous mosques are therefore locatedcongregation a mosque.Numerous mosquesare therefore located lands. The faithful are called praythroughout Muslim lands. The faithful are called to pray by a personthroughout a personreciting specific phrases, among them, "Come to the prayer, come toreciting specific phrases,among them, "Come the prayer, comethe success." In the mosque, the worshippers form straight linesthe success." the mosque, the worshippers straight linesbehind 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 prayers1 Obviously, one can pray or supplicate at all times and perfoml voluntary prayers onones own. However, this is not what this foundational pillar is referring to.ones own. However, this is not what this foundational is referring to. 56 56
  • 58. towards Mecca. The prayer is said in Arabic and contains Quranictowards Mecca. The prayer is said and contains Quranicreadings. The prayer also consists of bows and prostrations. If anyonereadings.The prayer also consistsof bows and prostrations.If anyonetravels throughout the world, he will find the Muslims praying in thetravels throughout the he will the Muslims praying thesame fashion and with the same Arabic terms and expressions. Thus, asamefashion and the same terms and expressions. Thus,Muslim enters any mosque in the world and feels immediately at enters any mosque the and feels immediatelyhome 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 matteractions one performs in his life, the most important aspect is onesactions one performs his the most important aspect onesrelationship to Allah, that is, ones faith, God-consciousness, sincerityrelationship Allah, that is, ones faith, God-consciousness, to sincerityand worship of Allah. This relationship with Allah is bothand worship Allah. This relationship is bothdemonstrated and put into practice, as well as improved anddemonstrated and into practice, as as improved andincreased, 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 ones varied wealth that must be givenZakat is a specific portion of ones varied wealth that must be givenyearly to a specific group of recipients, such as the poor and theyearly to a specific group of recipients, such as the and theneedy.needy. The concept of being obliged to give up a portion of ones The concept being obliged give up portion of oneswealth for the sake of God as an act of worship of God is somethingwealth the sake of God as an act of worship of somethingthat one finds the messageof the previous prophets.that one finds in the message of the previous prophets. Its important importantplaceplace in the purification of the soul is touched upon by Sulaiman the purification of the soul touched upon SulaimanNadwi 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 earlierconcerning the scope of worship. Worship does not deal simply withconcerningthe scope worship. Worship does dealones interaction his Lord (if one can somehowones interaction with his Lord (if one can somehowcompartmentalize that and remove it from all other interactions) but itcompartmentalize that and remove other interactions)also deals with ones interaction with the other believers in particularalso deals ones interaction the other believers particularand the rest humanity general. the Zakat, oneand the rest of humanity in general. Via the Zakat, one directly fulfillsI Sulaiman Nadwi, Worship [slan (Karachi: Darul Ishaat, 1994),p. 179. Sulaiman Nadwi, Worship in Islam (Karachi: Darullshaat, 1994), p. 179. 57 57
  • 59. the needs of others. The basis by which one should interact with needs of others. basis one should interact withothers 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 assistothers for the sake of Allah. The true believer cultivates in his heartothers the sake of true believer cultivates heartthe joy of giving for the sakeof Allah, recognizinghow pleasedthe joy of the sake of recognizing pleased Allahis with such a deed.It is not simply a matterof removing the disease such deed. simply matter of removing the diseaseof selfishness,the ill amassingof wealth and the harms of egotismof selfishness, the ill amassing of and the harms of egotismfrom ones heart. It is more than that. It is the replacementof those ones heart. It more than that. It the replacement of thosepossible ill feelingspossible ill feelings with the feeling that a believer should sacrifice the feeling that believer should sacrificeand 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 theIslamic calendar,Ramadhan.This meansto abstain from food, drinkIslamic calendar, Ramadhan. means abstain food,and sexual intercourse the daytime-from dawnand sexual intercourseduring the daytime-from dawn until sunset- sunset-of the days of this month. Iof the daysof this month.l Fasting is a source of self-restraint, piety and God- Fasting source of self-restraint, and God- the prophets beforeconsciousness. It was prescribed by Allah for the prophets beforeconsciousness. was prescribed the versesobligating theProphet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In the verses obligating theProphetMuhammad (peacebe upon him).fast of the month of Ramadhan, Allah has pointed out its goal orfast of the month of Ramadhan, has pointed its goal believe! Observingthe fast prescribedpurpose: "0 you who believe! Observing the fast is prescribed for youpurpose:"Oas was prescribed thosebefore you, thatas 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 timefood, drink and sexual intercourse. It is supposed to be a time infood, This increasedwhich God-consciousness is greatly heightened. This increased levelwhich God-consciousness greatly heightened. is level should be reflected everything the individualof God-consciousness should be reflected in everything the individual God-consciousness fasting. The Prophet(peaceand blessingsdoes while fasting. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upondoes be upon alluded to this fact when he stated,"Perhapsthe fasting personhim) alluded to this fact when he stated, "Perhaps the fasting person perhaps the onemay get nothing from his fast except hunger. And perhaps the onemay 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 ofI Note that the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. Hence, over the years, the month ofRamadhan moves throughout the different seasons.In any given year, those in theRamadhan moves throughout the different seasons. In any given year, those in theNorthem Hemispheremay be fasting during summer (with relatively longer days) whileNorthern Hemisphere may be fasting during summer (with relatively longer days) whilethose 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 Muslims2 In addition to fasting during the daytime, there are also special prayers that Muslimsperfonn during the nighttime in the month of Ramadhan.perform during the nighttime in the month of Ramadhan. 58 58
  • 60. except sleeplessness."r Prophet(peaceand blessingsexcept sleeplessness."! The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be The of beupon him) also said, "The fasting is fnotupon him) also said, "The fasting is [not only abstaining] from food abstaining]from foodand drink but the fast is abstaining from vain speech and lewd speech.and the fast is abstaining speechand speech. you, you should say, I amIf anyone reviles you or acts foolishly with you, you should say, I amIf anyonerevilesyou actsfoolishlyfasting, am fasting."z Finally, the Prophet (peaceand blessingsfasting, I am fasting."2 Finally, the Prophet (peace and blessings of be upon him) also said, "If someonedoes not give up falseAllah be upon him) also said, "If someone does not give up falsespeech and acting according to it, Allah is in no want of him giving upspeechand acting according no ofhis food and drink.,,3his food and drink."3 Fasting is an experience wherein the person leaves his wants Fasting is an experiencewherein the person leaveshis wantsand desires for the sake of putting what Allah wants first. Thisand desires the sake of putting wants first. Thisreminds him of his true goal and purpose in life. This experiencereminds of his true goal and purpose experienceallows matters proper perspectiveconcerningwhat heallows him to put matters into proper perspective concerning what hewants 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 beupon him) once said, "Look at those who are lower than you [havingupon once said, at thosewho are lower than you [havingless than you] and do notless than you] and do not look at those who are above you [having at those who are above you [havingmore than youl as otherwisethe bountiesof upon you wouldmore than you] as otherwise the bounties of Allah upon you wouldbecome insignificant to yoU.,,4 In this hadith, the Prophet (peace andbecomeinsignificantto you."a this hadith, the Prophet(peaceandblessings be upon has given an instructionthatblessings of Allah be upon him) has given an instruction that will help helpone appreciate the numerous benefits that he has received from Allah.one appreciatethe numerousbenefits that he has receivedThe institution of fasting can take the person even further.The institution of fasting can take the person even further. Whilefasting, the person does not just view the plight of others, but he canfasting,the persondoes not view the plight others, he canactuallybegin to feel their plight. Hence,the rich can reflect on whatactually begin to feel their plight. Hence, the rich can reflect on whatthey have been given andthey have been given and give true thanks. Especially in this day and true thanks. Especially this day andage and in some materially advanced countries, one becomes veryage and some materially advancedcountries,one becomesverymuch 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 personelectricity and so on. Since these are readily available,the personstarts to take them for granted and does not realize what a greatstarts take granted and does realize a greatblessing they are and how so many in todays world are actuallyblessing they are and so many todays are actuallydeprived of these basic needs.deprivedof thesebasicneeds.I RecordedJ Recorded by ibn Majah. Authenticated by al-Albani. See al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami Majah. Authenticated al-Albani. See al-Albani, Sahihal-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
  • 61. 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) tothe House of Allah, or the Kaaba. The pilgrimage should be made atthe House of Allah, or the Kaaba. The pilgrimage should be made atleast once in a Muslims lifetime if he ever has the physical andleast once in a Muslims lifetime if he ever has the physical andfinancial 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 actsof Abraham, his wife Hagar and their son Ishmael in the valley ofof Abraham, his wife Hagar and their son Ishmael in the valley ofMecca. One virtually retraces some of their steps. One remembersMecca. virtually retraces some of steps. remembersthem 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 ofMuslims come from every corner of the world and descend upon come every comer of the and descendMecca. They all repeatedlyexpresstheir willingness to come to be inMecca. repeatedly express willingness comethe service of the Lord. The worldly distinctionsbetweenthe pilgrims service of the distinctions between thedisappear as they all stand before their Lord during these blesseddisappear as stand before these blesseddays.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. Everyof the and sacrifice.believer must realize the relationship between his faith and sacrifice.believer must realize the relationshipbetween aspect this religion. true believershouldSacrifice is an essential aspect of this religion. A true believer shouldSacrificeis an essential the sake ofbe willing to sacrifice ones time, wealth and even life for the sake ofbe willing to sacrifice ones time, wealth and even desires andAllah. In addition, the true believer must sacrifice all desires and addition, the true believer must sacrifice the Quran and Sunnah. fact, apleasures that are not consistent with the Quran and Sunnah. In fact, apleasuresthat are not consistenttrue believer must sacrifice anything that comes between and thetrue believer must sacrifice anything that comes between him and thetrue worship of Allah alone.true worship Allah alone. 60 60
  • 62. 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, hisSince was prophet, with prophet later,miracle has to have a lasting affect until the Day of Judgment. Themiracle has have lasting of Judgment.Quran is miraculous in many ways. However, in the past century orQuran miraculous many ways. However, the past centuryso, many have noted that it is miraculousin the mannerin which it isso, many have noted that miraculous the mannerperfectly consistentwith scientific fact. In fact, as new discoveriesareperfectly consistent scientific fact. fact, as discoveries arebeing made, people are realizing that some of those discoveries havebeing made,people are realizing that some of thosediscoverieshavealready 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 discussionof particular examples, it will be sufficient here to quote theof particular examples, will be sufficient here quote thestatements a number of non-Muslim scientistsconcerning their of number of non-Muslim scientists concerning theirstatements ofstudy 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, havemarveled at the miraculous nature of the Quran and have concludedmarveled at the miraculous nature of the Quran and have concludedthat it is inconceivable that such a work could have been producedbythat is inconceivablethat such could have been produced example, the French medicala human some 1400 years ago. For example, the French medical human some 1400 years ago. study on thedoctor Maurice Baucaille, at the end of a comprehensive study on thedoctor Maurice Baucaille,at the end a comprehensiveBible, 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 Muhammads day, is inconceivable that many of the statements in the Quran is inconceivablethat many of the statements the Quran 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 Quran as the expression of a only to regard the Quran 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 areaders eye is the discussion of the creation of the human within thereaders eye is the discussion the creation the human the the mother. fact, the details and the analysisare s0 greatwomb of the mother. In fact, the details and the analysis are so greatwombthat Keith Moore, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology atthat Keith Moore, ProfessorEmeritusof Anatomy and Cell atII Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, the Quran alld Science (Indianapolis, IN: American Trust Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, the Quran and Science(lndianapolis,lN: American TrustPublications, 1978), pp. 251-252.Publications, 978), pp. 251-252. I 61l 6
  • 63. the University of Toronto, has included them in a special edition ofthe University Toronto, has included them a specialeditionhis textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Orientedhis textbook The Developing lfuman: OrientedEmbryology. 1 Commenting on the miraculous consistency betweenEmbryology.t Cornmenting on the miraculous consistency betweenstatements in the Quran and the historical development ofstatements the Quran and the historical developnrent of Moore stated 1981,"It has been a greatpleasureEmbryology, Dr. Moore stated in 1981, "It has been a great pleasureEmbryology,for me to help clarify statements in the Quran about human me help statements the Quran about humandevelopment. It is clear to me that these statements must have come todevelopment. is clear me that thesestatements must have comeMuhammad from God, because almost all of this knowledge was notMuhammadfrom God, because almost all this knowledgewas notdiscovered many centuries later. This provesdiscovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that me thatMuhammad must have been a messenger of God.,,2Muhammadmust havebeena messenger God."2 Dr. T. V. N. Persaud, a specialist in Anatomy, Obstetrics and T. N. Persaud, specialist Anatomy, Obstetrics a andrelated 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 amazinglymaking profound pronouncements and statements that are amazinglyaccurate about scientific nature. I personally cant see how this couldaccurate about scientificnafure. personallycant see this couldbe 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 inspirationrevelation which led him to these statements.,,3revelation led thesestatements."3 Prof. Tejatat Tejasen of Chiang Mai University in Thailand Prof. Tejatat Tejasen Chiang University Thailandstated,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].4I1 See Keith L. Moore [along with Abdul-Majeed Azzindani], The Developing Humall: Moore [along Abdul-Majeed Azzindani], The Developing Hwnan: SeeClinically Oriented Embryology [with Islamic Additions: Correlation Studies withClinically Ernbryologt fwith StudiesQuran and Hadithl Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Dar al-Qiblah for Islamic Literature, 1983, inQuran Iladithl Jeddah,Saudi Arabia: al-Qiblah lslamic Literature, 1983,conjunction with W. B. Saunders Company.conjunction W. Saunders Company.22 Quoted in I. A. Ibrahim, A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam (Houston: Ibralrinr, Brief lllustrated Guide lo llnderstanding Islam (Houston: QuotedDarussalam, 1997), p. 10.Darussalam, 1997),p. 10.33 Quoted in Ibrahim, p. 27. Quoted Ibrahim,p. 2?.a4 Quoted in Ibrahim, p. 31. Quoted lbrahim,p. 31. 62 62
  • 64. The last person quoted declared his faith and became a The last person quoted declared his faith and became aMuslim. Actually, this has been the fate of millions who have studied Muslim. Actually, this has been the fate of millions who have studiedIslam 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 thatthere is some truth behind this reality and via honest and unbiased there is some truth behind this reality and via honest and unbiasedstudy and contemplationrealizeand acceptthe truth of Islam. study and contemplation realize and accept the truth of Islam. 63 63
  • 65. 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 simpleand straightforward. All it entails is the declaration of ones belief. straightforward. All it entails declaration of onesThus, one states in front of witnesses,"I bear witness that there isThus, one states of witnesses, "I bear witness that therenone worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness thatnone of worship except Allah and I bear witnessMuhammad is the Messengerof Allah." LJponstating those sentences,Muhammad Messenger of Allah." Upon stating those sentences,one entersinto the beautiful brotherhoodof Islam, a brotherhoodthatone enters the beautiful brotherhood of Islam, brotherhoodstretches 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 ones It is recommended that one complete washing of onesbody, such as a shower,before making this declaration.This symbolicbody, such as shower, before declaration. symbolicact representsthe washing away of all previous acts as one is nowact represents the washing away of previous acts as oneentering a new stage in life. The Prophet (peace and blessings ofentering stage The Prophet (peace and blessings ofAllah be upon him) stated, "Islam wipes away whatever [sins] upon stated, wipes away whatever [sins]preceded it.,,1 other words, whether one had defiantly disobeyedpreceded it."r In other words, whether one had defiantly disobeyedGod or was simply ignorant of faith, all of that is now behind the was ignorant of faith, of that behind theindividual. has should reaTize, though, that heindividual. He now has a new life. He should realize, though, that hehas taken his step. There are many other wonderful stepshas now taken his first step. There are many other wonderful stepsahead of him. He should now be preparedto grow and blossom as aahead of him. should be prepared and blossom as hedevoted worshipper and servant of Allah until he finally meets Allahdevoted worshipper and servant of meetson the Judgment, being pleasedon the Day of Judgment, being pleased with being Allahs servant and being servantandAllah 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 oflife. Upon embracing Islam, one must have the intention submitlife. Upon embracing Islam, one must have the intention to submit to This means that many changesmay take placeAllah. This means that many changes may take place in a persons a persons a life-transforming step many ways.life. Hence, again, it is truly a life-transforming step in many ways. Hence, again, is that knowledge andOne should make the commitment with that knowledge and with theOne should make the commitment the is the ultimategoal in ones life.firm conviction that pleasing Allah is the ultimate goal in ones life. convictionthat pleasing However, one never has to be alone ones spiritual path. However, one never has to be alone in ones spiritual path. Islam, he is part a brotherhoodFrom the moment one embraces Islam, he is part of a brotherhood andFrom the momentone embraces and other. every major throughoutsisterhood that is there for each other. In every major city throughoutsisterhoodthat is there eachthe world, one can find Islamic centersand mosques.It has been thethe world, one can find Islamic centers and mosques. It has been the this author that those centers are always more thanexperience of this author that those centers are always more thanexperiencehuppy to welcome any newcomer into the fold and tohappy to welcome any newcomer into the fold and to try to help him to helpor her grow as a Muslim.or her grow as a Muslim.I Recordedby Ahmad.1 Recorded by Ahmad. 64 64
  • 66. By grace, has made religion open By Allahs grace, He has made His religion open toeveryone. There are restrictions-all neededeveryone. There are no restrictions-all that is needed is a sincere sincereheart 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 wonderfuland 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 religionof Islam. This obviously an ominous task andof Allah, Islam. This is obviously an ominous task and difficult toperform 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 authorinto words the beauty that one experiences.However, the authorhopes that some of what has been written here has touched the hearthopes that some of has been here has touched the heartand the mind of the reader.The only advice that this author is left toand the of the reader. advice that this author encourage every reader turn God sincere heartgive is to encourageevery readerto turn to God with a sincere heartand ask guidance. Allah willing, that sincereprayer will leadand ask Him for guidance. that sincere prayer leadthe individual directly the truth and the beauty of Islam. Amen.the individual directly to the truth and the beautyof Islam.Amen. 65 65
  • 67. SelectedReferences Selected ReferencesFor further study of Islam, the following references used in the further study of Islam, the references used in thepreparationof the unabridgedversion of this work are recommended:preparation of the unabridged version of are recommended:Abdul Mohsen, Mohsen, Abdul Radhi Muhammad. Muhammads Radhi Muhammad. Muhammads 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 andAI-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 toAI-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 ReligiousDialogue 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: AmanaDirks, 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, Mishaal. What Did Jesus REALLY Say? AIUl Arbor, Abdullah, Mishaal. 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.1997Idris, Jaafar Sheikh. The Pillars of Faith. Riyadh: PresidencyIdris, 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 IslamicNadwi, 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 ReviewNjozi, 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
  • 68. Table of Contents Table ContentsPrefacePreface 3IntroductionIntroduction 4The God (Allah)The Belief in God (Allah) 7The Belief that Allah must be the only Object of WorshipThe that mustbe the only Object Worship 9Belief in Allahs Names and Attributes Namesand Attributes 14 14The Universe and HumansThe Universe and Humans 18 l8ReligionReligion 27 27ProphethoodProphethood 33 33Islam and "Faith"Islam and 48 48The Ritual Acts of Worship in IslamThe Ritual Acts of Worship Islam 55 55Scientfic Miracles in the Quran and SunnahScientfic Miracles the Quran and Sunnah 61l 6How Does One Become a Moslem? Does One Becomea Moslem? 64 64Selected ReferencesSelectedReferences 65 65 67 67
  • 69. Publisher The Under-Secretariat of Puhl icat ions and Research, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endovnnents, !)a Hah, and CJuidaneeP.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