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Introducing Islam

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For some time now there has been a need for an
introduction to Islam, presented in simple and
concise language, which might provide children
with fundamental religious instruction and also be
useful to adults who want to understand the
teachings of Islam.
By the grace of God a book of this nature has now
been compiled. It consists of five parts, the names of
which are as follows: The Way to Find God, The
Teachings of Islam, The Good Life, The Garden of
Paradise and The Fire of Hell.

Published in: Education, Spiritual
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Introducing Islam

  1. 1. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsTABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents................................................................2Introduction ......................................................................15 The Way to Find God ...................................................15 The Teaching of Islam ..................................................18 The Good Life................................................................18 The Garden of Paradise................................................20 The Fire of Hell .............................................................22Man’s Quest ......................................................................24What is Truth? ..................................................................29A Danger Warning ...........................................................35The Teachings of the Prophet..........................................40Towards Death .................................................................46A Final Word ....................................................................48The Oneness of God .........................................................50All Praise is Due to God ..................................................52 ~2~
  2. 2. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsThe Angels ........................................................................54God’s Prophets .................................................................56Termination of Prophethood...........................................58The Resurrection ..............................................................60When Death Comes .........................................................62The Next World ................................................................64As You Sow, So Shall You Reap......................................66The Inhabitants of Paradise.............................................68The Straight Path ..............................................................70Islam—An Integral Part of Life.......................................72Worship of God ................................................................74Forms of Worship.............................................................76A Day in the Life of a Muslim.........................................78Giving as God Wills .........................................................80Islamic Character..............................................................82Humility—The Foundation of Unity..............................84 ~3~
  3. 3. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsWho Should Preach? ........................................................86Acknowledgment of the Truth........................................88Three Types of Human Being .........................................90The Reward of God ..........................................................92The Islamic Life ................................................................94Life in Accordance with Reality......................................96From God’s Point of View ...............................................98Care in All Matters .........................................................100Relinquishing Power for God .......................................102The Trial of Man .............................................................104Testing Man’s Fitness.....................................................106Some Earn the World, Others Eternity.........................108Stimulus and Response..................................................110It’s Selection Time ..........................................................112People of God .................................................................114Abstaining From Baseness ............................................116 ~4~
  4. 4. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsA Believer Lives for God ...............................................118Setting Oneself Right .....................................................120Thinking on a Higher Plane ..........................................122Realizing One’s Own Mistakes .....................................124A Believer’s Wealth........................................................126Making a Living .............................................................128Education ........................................................................130The Mosque ....................................................................132Islam and Infidelity ........................................................134The Relationship Between Man and God ....................136Do As You Would be Done By......................................138God is One ......................................................................140God—The Sublime, the Tremendous...........................141God’s Signs .....................................................................142In Heaven and on Earth.................................................143The Cosmic Call..............................................................145 ~5~
  5. 5. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsLord of the Great Throne...............................................147Love for God...................................................................148God’s Prophets ...............................................................150Heaven and Hell.............................................................152Prayer ..............................................................................154Fasting .............................................................................156Alms-giving ....................................................................157Pilgrimage .......................................................................160Sacrifice ...........................................................................162Serving God ....................................................................163The Shari‘ah ....................................................................164The Servants of the Merciful .........................................166Trust in God....................................................................168Words of Wisdom ..........................................................169God-Fearing People .......................................................171The Good Life .................................................................172 ~6~
  6. 6. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsHaram and Halal (Lawful and Unlawful) ..................174Heavenly Souls...............................................................176The Serene Soul ..............................................................177Divine Souls....................................................................178The Correct Way.............................................................179Profitable Trading ..........................................................180Real Piety.........................................................................181God’s Hospitality ...........................................................182The Believer’s Livelihood ..............................................184The People of Paradise...................................................185Everything for God ........................................................186The Believer is God’s Tree .............................................187Good Advice ...................................................................188Doomed to Destruction .................................................189The Deniers of God’s Signs ...........................................190Fair Testimony................................................................191 ~7~
  7. 7. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsLiving in Harmony.........................................................192Islamic Society ................................................................193Calling to God.................................................................195Magnifying the Lord ......................................................196Eternity is Better .............................................................197Their Efforts will be Rewarded.....................................198The Day of Reward and Retribution ............................200The Religion That is Pleasing to God ...........................201Prayers.............................................................................202To the Lord......................................................................203Protect Us! .......................................................................204Help Us! ..........................................................................205Purify Our Hearts...........................................................206Grant Us a Righteous End .............................................207Have Mercy on Us!.........................................................208Save us from Evil............................................................209 ~8~
  8. 8. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsStrengthen Us! ................................................................210Do Not Leave Me Alone! ...............................................211Save Us From Doom ......................................................212Belief in God ...................................................................213Discovery of God............................................................215God’s Neighbour............................................................217Spiritual Nourishment ...................................................219Closeness to God ............................................................221Paradise—The Greatest of Gifts....................................223Heavenly Vision .............................................................225God’s Worshippers ........................................................227A Complete World .........................................................229Light After Darkness......................................................231When all Things Come to Light ....................................232A Dream World ..............................................................234Loss Turned to Gain.......................................................236 ~9~
  9. 9. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsAvoiding Disaster ..........................................................238The Universal Way.........................................................240The Islamic Life ..............................................................242The Believer: God’s Industry ........................................244Action or Acknowledgement ........................................246The Long Road of Patience............................................248God’s Tree .......................................................................250The Inheritance of Paradise...........................................252Selection for Paradise.....................................................254Two Kinds of Soul..........................................................256Thankfulness...................................................................258Godly People ..................................................................260The Seeker Finds ............................................................262Citizen of Paradise .........................................................264Submission to God .........................................................266The Lesson of a Tree.......................................................268 ~ 10 ~
  10. 10. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsBelonging to the next World .........................................270Heavenly Conduct .........................................................272Who will be Granted Paradise? ....................................274Who will be Saved? ........................................................276Without Paying the Price...............................................278Heavenly Actions ...........................................................280The Heavenly Traveller .................................................281The Inheritance of Paradise...........................................283Heavenly Character .......................................................285People of Paradise ..........................................................287Eternal Bliss.....................................................................289A Flower of Paradise......................................................291Those Who Bow Before God .........................................293Virtuous Life ...................................................................295God’s Envoy....................................................................296The Reality of Life ..........................................................298 ~ 11 ~
  11. 11. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsInner Revolution.............................................................300The Trial of Man .............................................................302What Man should Realize .............................................304Doomsday .......................................................................306Credit Alone....................................................................308Seeing into the Future ....................................................310Before Time Runs Out....................................................312When Will They Ever Learn? ........................................314The Tragedy of Man.......................................................316No Refuge .......................................................................318Wishful Thinking ...........................................................320Angelic or Satanic...........................................................322When God Appears .......................................................324The Lesson of Death.......................................................326Delusive Grandeur.........................................................328The Inevitable Fate of Man............................................330 ~ 12 ~
  12. 12. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsLife’s Journey..................................................................332God’s Mercy....................................................................334Extraordinary Disillusionment .....................................336The Great Divide ............................................................338When Words Fail............................................................340The Final Hour................................................................342The Coming Day ............................................................344Remembering Death ......................................................346Man’s Negligence...........................................................348Man Stands Alone ..........................................................350The Deluge of Eternity...................................................352Man’s Ignorance .............................................................354The Trumpet of the Last Day ........................................356The Day of Reckoning....................................................358Only One Chance ...........................................................360Real Success and Failure................................................362 ~ 13 ~
  13. 13. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Table of ContentsThe Greatest Earthquake ...............................................364On the Verge of Death ...................................................366All too Soon.....................................................................367Divine Scales of Justice ..................................................369After Death......................................................................371Brought Before God .......................................................372The Greatest Calamity ...................................................374Warning People of the Hereafter ..................................376Responsibility of Preaching...........................................378The Awe-Inspiring Day of Retribution ........................380The Soul of Islam ............................................................382Hushed Silence Among the Crowd ..............................384Introducing Islam A Simple Introduction to Islam....386 ~ 14 ~
  14. 14. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam IntroductionINTRODUCTIONFor some time now there has been a need for anintroduction to Islam, presented in simple andconcise language, which might provide childrenwith fundamental religious instruction and also beuseful to adults who want to understand theteachings of Islam.By the grace of God a book of this nature has nowbeen compiled. It consists of five parts, the names ofwhich are as follows: The Way to Find God, TheTeachings of Islam, The Good Life, The Garden ofParadise and The Fire of Hell.THE WAY TO FIND GODThe title of the first part is self-explanatory. Manrequires guidance in his search for God. Theuniverse provides man with such guidance invisual form. The whole universe seems to bebeckoning man to join it in its inexorable progresstowards the Lord. So dazzling is the sun’s radiancethat it seems to wish to convey a message to man,but cannot do so before setting. Trees extend their ~ 15 ~
  15. 15. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Introductionbranches. Rivers flow on in their pulsating motion.All these things and many others have something tosay, but men pass them by without ever realizingwhat that something is. All celestial heights andterrestrial panoramas seem to join in a massive yetsilent congregation, which addresses itself to manvisually, though never audibly.But is the universe really no more than a vastmuseum of inarticulate masterpieces? Not at all.Everything in it bears a divine message,communicated in the language of eternity. Soimmersed is man in other worldly affairs, however,that he fails to hear this silent message.The Prophet’s role is to put this divine message intowords that we can understand. He demonstratesthe kind of life that God expects man and the wholeof creation to lead.The Qur’an—the word of God in Arabic—is thefoundation of this inspired path. The sunnah—thelife and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, (onwhom be peace and God’s blessings), collected inseveral volumes—provides clarification of the HolyBook. Whoever seriously wishes to understand ~ 16 ~
  16. 16. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam IntroductionIslam should study these books, for they are theauthentic source of God’s religion. Here is acomprehensive course for those who do not havetime to study them all:1. The Holy Qur’an2. Sirat ibn Kathir (Biography of the Prophet) by Ibn Kathir3. Hadith, Mishkat al-Masabih4. Hayat as-Sahabah (Life of the Companions) by Muhammad Yusuf KandhalviThese are well-known and easily—obtainablebooks. Though originally written in Arabic, theyhave been translated and published in severallanguages. They can be acquired and read in thelanguage of one’s choice.This essay has been prepared with a general andfundamental understanding of the divine way inmind. If it imbues the reader with a desire to studyreligion in more detail and delve deeper into reality,then it will have been worthwhile. ~ 17 ~
  17. 17. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam IntroductionTHE TEACHING OF ISLAMIslam is not just a system; it is a means of becomingacquainted with the Lord of the Universe. A studyof Islam should move one as proximity to God does.To understand Islam, one should read a book whichdoes not just deal with creeds but also explains howone should establish one’s relationship with theCreator; which does not just describe conditionswhich will prevail in the next life, but also instillsone with fear and apprehension about what is to beone’s lot in the hereafter; which penetrates to thespirit of worship and does not merely concern itselfwith the way it should be performed; which doesnot simply explain one’s obligations to one’s fellow-men, but also encourages one to fulfill theseobligations and refrain from injustice.This is an attempt to provide such a treatise onIslam. May God accept it.THE GOOD LIFEThis is the third part of this book. It comprisesexcerpts from the Qur’an, arranged in a specialsequence under relevant headings. No ~ 18 ~
  18. 18. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Introductioninterpretation or commentary has been added. Itprovides an introduction to Islam which is deriveddirectly from the original revealed source.The name of this book is taken from a verse of theQur’an, the full text of which is: Be they men or women those, who believe and do what is right We shall surely endow with a good life: We shall reward them according to their noblest actions (16:97).The meaning of the “good life” mentioned in thisverse is clear from the phrase “according to theirnoblest actions”. A good life is a life of good actions.The commentator of the Qur’an, ad-Dahhak, hasdefined it as “being content with an honest livingand serving God in one’s life.” This is the meaningthat the Companions of the Prophet and theirfollowers generally inferred from the phrase.To believe in God and implement Hiscommandments is to qualify oneself for Hissuccour. God bestows multiple blessings on aperson who lives a life of faith and righteousness.He enables him to experience the joy of closeness to ~ 19 ~
  19. 19. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam IntroductionGod in his worship; to settle day-to-day problems ina divinely-inspired manner; to deal with friendsand foe in an equally honest-to-God way. Godguides him on the straight path. He always seeksGod’s pleasure and nothing can turn him awayfrom this aim.The Qur’an has given a clear exposition of thetheoretical and practical nature of the good life. Theverses which have been selected describe variousfundamental aspects of this life in the Qur’an’sinimitable style. These passages thus provide both adescription of the good life and an authenticexample of how it should be lived.THE GARDEN OF PARADISEGod has created an ideal world called paradise. It is aworld of everlasting joy and bliss. No turmoil or painmars its delight. One is never beset there by anguish orcalamity. It is a trouble-free world of infinite blessings,where one will experience neither death, boredom norgrief.The search for such an ideal world is an instinctiveurge in man. Everybody is searching for an invisible ~ 20 ~
  20. 20. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Introductionparadise; but none is able to find a paradise of suchinfinite blessings in the present finite world. Godhas reserved it for the next world.None can earn paradise automatically; only those whoperform heavenly actions on earth will be deserving ofit. God has divided our lives into two parts: a shortperiod on earth, and the rest in the hereafter. Thisworld is for action. The next world is for reaping therewards of our actions.Man is free to do as he wishes on earth, but his freewill is no more than a test. He should treat it as such.He should not revel in his power. Those who are notdeluded by their temporary power, and never losesight of their true position, will be accommodated inparadise. Those who rebel on the basis of theirworldly power will abide in hell.All real power in this world belongs to God alone.He is the Lord of all things. No one can escape fromHis control for an instant. Those who recognise thisfact will submit to God of their own accord. Theyare the ones who are worthy of paradise. Thosewho deny this fact and proceed in whateverdirection their impulse takes them, are offenders in ~ 21 ~
  21. 21. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam IntroductionGod’s sight. They will have no share in theblessings of the life-hereafter.THE FIRE OF HELLThe most powerful motivating force in our lives isfear. Consciously or subconsciously, everyone’sactions are the result of some kind of fear. It could beof financial ruin, worldly disgrace, a powerful enemy,or some superior power. Each and every personfunctions because of some real or imaginary fear.Yet there is no substance to the actions which peopleperform on the basis of such fear, for there is nosubstance to the objects which they fear. The only fearwhich is of any value is fear of God, and sincereactions can result only from true awe andapprehension of one God.God has created man: He controls the vast universeand has complete power over man’s destiny.Anyone who truly believes this will certainly fearGod. But there is more to the matter than this: Godwill raise us up after death and will judge usaccording to our words and deeds on earth. We areresponsible to Him for our actions. ~ 22 ~
  22. 22. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam IntroductionOne has to think seriously about life when oneconsiders it from this point of view. If we keep inmind our eternal destiny, we shall then have nochoice but to submit to the Lord who created us,and who will judge us after death.We must do our utmost to protect ourselves andothers from the torment of hell fire. God’s Prophetstaught man the reality of life. According to theirteachings the real issue facing us in life is how toavoid God’s punishment in the next world. Wemust prepare ourselves for meeting God and mustexhort others to do the same. As Muslims, this is thebasic task that lies before us. Other things that wedesire in life can be ours only if we perform thisfundamental task. Wahiduddin Khan October 1980 The Islamic Centre, New Delhi ~ 23 ~
  23. 23. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Man’s QuestMAN’S QUESTMuch as we long for a perfect world, we arecompelled to live in an imperfect one. Ourhappiness is always short-lived and our everysuccess is, in some way, eventually a failure. Theaspirations that we cherish in the early days of ourlives are shattered as we begin to age. Just as webegin to take root on earth, disaster, old age anddeath overtake us.How enchanting the flowers are, but they blossomonly to wither. How delicate the sun’s radiance, butit shines for only a short while before being coveredin darkness. Miraculous though man’s existence is,no miracle can save him from death. Everything inthis world shall perish. Although this world isinexpressibly beautiful and meaningful, all itsvirtues are bound to fade. All mundane things havea dark side to them. How, one may ask, could a Godwho is Himself perfect, be satisfied with the creationof an intrinsically imperfect world? The absolutecannot abide in the non-absolute. This world mustbe inconclusive. Another world must follow tocompensate for the inadequacies of the present one. ~ 24 ~
  24. 24. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Man’s QuestThere is no doubt about the transitory nature of thisworld. It came into existence at a specific time sometwenty million years ago. Its Creator must haveexisted eternally, for only an infinite Creator couldhave fashioned a finite world. If God had notalways existed, then this transitory world couldnever have come into being. The very existence ofan ephemeral universe shows that there must be aneternal Creator. If the Creator had not existedeternally, He could never have existed at all and, ifthere had been no Creator, there would have beenno creation either.If we assert that the world was created on a certaindate, then this means that there must have been aCreator before that date. If we go on to assert thatthis Creator was Himself created on some previousdate, however, then our claim can have no meaning.The Creator cannot himself have been created; Healways was. In His infiniteness He has created afinite world. His existence, and that of all mortalcreatures, is dependent upon His immortality.Since God is immortal, He must also be absolute,for absoluteness is the greatest attribute of ~ 25 ~
  25. 25. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Man’s Questimmortality. The one cannot be found without theother.This world is a manifestation of God’s attributes,but its shortcomings and limitations show themanifestation to be incomplete. A completemanifestation of a perfect and infinite God woulditself be perfect and infinite. Another world must beawaiting us. This incomplete manifestation of God’sattributes requires a sequel for its fulfillment.Paradise is that eternal world of God in which Hisattributes will appear in all their perfection. It willbe free of all the defects we experience in the worldabout us. Paradise is evidence of God’s absolutepower to make beauty perpetual and joy boundlessin a world of everlasting peace and contentment.Everyone is seeking some unseen fulfillment.Everyone seeks a perfect world, but this has alwayseluded man. Yet it is quite natural that he shouldcontinue to strive, for the universe in which he livestestifies to the existence of one, infinite God. Theemergence of a world of infinite blessings is just aslikely as the existence of the present transitionalworld. How can an inherently infinite Creator be ~ 26 ~
  26. 26. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Man’s Questsatisfied with a finite manifestation of Hisattributes? God, Who created all things fromnought, can surely endow creation with perpetuity.This second creation is no more difficult than thefirst.Immortality is God’s unique quality, in which Hehas no partner. Immortality signifies the highestpossible perfection to which only God can attain.No one can today imagine the wonderful nature ofthat paradise which is a manifestation of God’simmortality: that beauty which will never fade; thatjoy which will never end; that life, the continuity ofwhich will never be interrupted; that world whereall our hopes and desires will be fulfilled. No onewill wish to part for even a moment from thiswondrously delightful paradise, no matter howmany millions of years have passed.Man is always searching for a world of everlastingcontent. This quest is quite correct and inaccordance with human nature; but our dreamscannot come true in this world, for here, therecannot be an eternally perfect order. The resourcesneeded for such a world are lacking. The Prophet ~ 27 ~
  27. 27. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Man’s Questtaught that God has made this world one of trialand tribulation, not one of reward and retribution.The world is full of things which put man to thetest, whereas the factors required for a life ofeverlasting delight and repose will be forthcomingonly in the next world. Death divides these twoworlds. Death marks the completion of the trial ofman and his entrance into the world of eternity.If one wishes one’s dreams to come true, one shouldnot try to construct a heaven on earth. One shouldrather try to succeed in the trial of life, accepting therole of God’s true servant, adopting the life patternof the Prophet and restricting one’s freedom to thelimits which God has laid down. The dreams ofthose who succeed in the trial of life will be fulfilledin the next world. Those who fail will find nothingbut woe awaiting them there. ~ 28 ~
  28. 28. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam What is Truth?WHAT IS TRUTH?There is only one straight line from one point toanother; so there can only be one path leading aperson to God. This is the true path. The question is:what does truth consist of and how can it be found?Fortunately for us, there are not several truths tochoose from. There is only one truth for us to accept.This solitary truth consists of the teachings ofMuhammad, the Prophet of God, on whom be peaceand God’s blessings. Anyone who earnestly seeksthe truth will find that no exacting choices have to bemade. The choice is between truth and falsehood;there are no two truths to choose from.(Qur’an,10:32).For at least five thousand years philosophers havesearched in vain for truth. Their tediousinvestigations have only exposed their inability toprovide conclusive answers. Philosophy seeks truthby means of rational contemplation, not realizingthat knowledge of the entire cosmos—somethingbeyond the range of the limited human intellect—isa pre-requisite for genuine gnosis. The philosopher ~ 29 ~
  29. 29. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam What is Truth?can never attain to cosmic knowledge, so that hecannot conceive of an accurate idea of reality.Science has never claimed to be in a position toexplain the truth. It only looks into matters whichcan be repeatedly proved experimentally. Sciencediscusses the chemistry of flowers, but not theirfragrance, for the chemical parts of a flower can beanalysed; its odour cannot. Science has itselfrestricted its scope, making it clear that it will dealonly with partial truth and is in no position toexpound on universal realities.Some spiritual adepts claim, or their followersbelieve, that they know all about truth, and cancommunicate absolute information concerning it,but their belief is groundless. They claim to havereached the truth by means of spiritual disciplines.The so-called spiritual disciplines are in fact of aphysical nature, and spiritual discovery by meansof physical discipline is an unfeasible proposition initself. Secondly, no spiritual adept is free of thelimitations to which all men are subject. Theobstacles which prevent others from reaching a fullunderstanding of truth also block his path. No self- ~ 30 ~
  30. 30. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam What is Truth?discipline can enable man to transcend these naturallimitations and convey to him a knowledge ofabsolute truth.So the stage is left to the Prophet. A prophet is ahuman being who asserts that God has chosenhim and revealed true knowledge to him for thepurpose of conveying it to others. Intrinsically,this is the only plausible claim so far, for onlyGod, who is eternal and omniscient, can haveactual knowledge of truth. God’s divinity itself isproof of His all-pervading knowledge of reality.The claim of one who asserts that he has receivedknowledge of truth from God is worthy ofconsideration.Here the question arises of there having been notjust one prophet. There are many divinescriptures and many prophets have been sent tothe world; which of them should be followed? Aperson who is really sincere in his search fortruth, however, will have no trouble in findingthe answer to this question. There is no doubtthat in the past God has raised many individualsto the status of prophethood, but one can judge ~ 31 ~
  31. 31. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam What is Truth?an event only by virtue of its historical credibilityand only one prophet possesses credentials whichmake his prophethood a historical certaintyrather than just a belief. Of all those who haveclaimed prophethood, only Muhammad, onwhom be peace and God’s blessings, can be saidto have achieved full historical credibility.Everything about him is established historicalfact. We are just as well informed about theProphet of Islam as we are about anycontemporary person, or even more so. Apartfrom him, all prophets are legendary figures. Nocomplete historical record of them exists, nor arethe scriptures they left preserved in their originalstate. Only the life of Muhammad has beencompletely chronicled. The book which washanded over to people as the inspired word ofGod is also present in its original form. So,looking at the matter rationally, there can only beone answer to the question. “What is truth?”From a practical as well as a theoretical point ofview, we should accept the only realistic answerthere is. We should not try to select a solutionfrom a wide range of alternatives. ~ 32 ~
  32. 32. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam What is Truth?This truth is the word of God and the word of Godis immutable. God’s commandments never change,either with respect to man or the rest of creation.The terrestrial and celestial orders have not altereddespite the passing of billions of years. Theprinciples which govern vegetation and water inone location are equally applicable in another. Thatis the way with God’s commandments to man also:they are the same now as they were thousands ofyears ago. That which applies to one nation applieswith equal force to all.Some factors in life, such as transport orarchitecture, are continually being altered, but truthalways remains the same. Truth is attached to thatside of human nature which never changes. Thetruth is concerned with matters like whom oneshould accept as one’s Creator and Master; whomone should worship; whom one should love andwhom one should fear; according to what criteriaone should assess success and failure; what thepurpose of one’s existence is and the focal point ofone’s emotions; according to what code of conductone should deal with people. Truth deals withmatters which are not affected by time and place. ~ 33 ~
  33. 33. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam What is Truth?Everyone at all times and in all places is confrontedby these questions. Just as God is one andeverlasting, so the truth is also one and will alwaysremain so. ~ 34 ~
  34. 34. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam A Danger WarningA DANGER WARNINGWhat is the reality of life? Normally people do notlike to think of such things. For them, there is onelife—that of the world—and they try to live it in asprestigious and comfortable a way as possible, forafterwards, neither man, nor anything that concernshim, will remain. Some do think about this matter,but only on a philosophical level. They seek atheoretical explanation of the world. Suchexplanations are interesting from a philosophicalpoint of view, but they are of no basic value to man.Theoretical discussions about whether a cosmicspirit keeps the whole universe revolving for itsown fulfillment, or whether everything is part ofsome sublime being, do not raise any personalissues for man. Some have a religious answer to thequestion, but their solution is also of no import toman. Some religions hold that the son of God wascrucified in atonement for man’s sins; others see lifeas a mysterious, recurring cycle, with manrepeatedly being born and dying; some claim thatman will be rewarded and punished in this world.These are the creeds of which most religions aremade. ~ 35 ~
  35. 35. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam A Danger WarningAll such solutions to the problems of life differ fromone another considerably but in so much as none ofthem raises any serious personal issue for man, theyare all the same. They are either explanations ofevents or a means of providing us with some sort ofspiritual satisfaction. They do not issue us with anywarning or stir us into any action.But the answer provided by the ProphetMuhammad is of an entirely different nature.Whereas the other answers do not raise any criticalissue for man, the answer provided by the Prophetplaces every individual in a precarious positionfrom which the next step leads either to anawesome abyss of destruction or to a world ofeternal bliss. It requires every man to take a seriousview of his situation—even more so than a travellerin the night whose torch reveals a black snakeslithering menacingly in front of him.The message taught by Muhammad, may God’speace and blessings be upon him, contains a greaterwarning for all mankind. He taught that after thisworld a vaster world is awaiting us, where everyperson will be judged and then punished or ~ 36 ~
  36. 36. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam A Danger Warningrewarded according to his deeds. The props whichman relies on in this world will not support himthere, for there will be no trading, no friendship andno acceptable intercession. (Qur’an, 2:254).The warning which the Prophet delivered tomankind makes his existence a matter of personalimportance to everyone. Everyone’s fate, accordingto his teachings, hangs in the balance. Either onecan believe in his message and follow his guidance,thus preparing oneself for everlasting paradise, orone can ignore his teachings, thus resigning oneselfto eternal hellfire.There are two things which make this matter evenmore worthy of our attention. Firstly, the argumentsof those who have expounded other theories on thismatter have been very dubious. Those who considermaterial aggrandisement to be all that is worthwhilein life have no proof for their theory; their ideas arebased on superficial attractions. Those who speak inphilosophical terms have only analogies to offer asevidence. They themselves do not have full faith inwhat they say, so how can others be expected toaccept their theories? ~ 37 ~
  37. 37. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam A Danger WarningThen there are those who speak with reference tothe prophets and scriptures. Basically their platformis solid, but the prophets and books to which theyrefer belong to an age-long past. We have noreliable historical information regarding them atour disposal. Even though the original source ofthese religions is sound, we still cannot rely on theirteachings as they are at present. The criterion withwhich to judge the past is history, and history doesnot verify the authenticity of their dogmas.With the Prophet Muhammad, however, the case isquite different. On the one hand, his propheticcredentials stand up to any scrutiny. He was theepitome of everything a prophet should be. There isno doubt about his prophethood; it is an establishedhistorical fact which no one can deny.The facts of the Holy Prophet’s life and teachingshave also been carefully preserved; their historicalcredibility cannot be contested. The Qur’an exists inits revealed form. The Holy Prophet’s words andactions are recorded in book-form, so one has nodifficulty in establishing exactly what he said anddid in his life. ~ 38 ~
  38. 38. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam A Danger WarningThe Prophet warned us that we are confronted witha reality which we can never change; we have nochoice but to face it. Death and suicide only transferus to another world; they do not obliterate usaltogether. The Creator has established an eternalscheme for success and failure which no one canalter or opt out of. We have to choose betweenheaven and hell; we have no other choice.If the meteorological department forecasts ahurricane, it is telling us about an impendingdisaster in which those affected will have no say inthe matter; another power will control events. Onecan either escape or expose oneself to destruction.So, when the earthquake of the Last day occursthere will be no path to safety save that which theProphet of Islam has laid down. We ignore thatpath at our own peril. ~ 39 ~
  39. 39. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Teachings of the ProphetTHE TEACHINGS OF THE PROPHETGod’s religion is one religion. It is that one religionwhich has always been revealed to prophets, butman, in his carelessness, has always marred oraltered the true way. The Prophet Muhammadrevived the divine religion and presented it inscriptural form for posterity. His religion is the truereligion until the end of time. It is the only way toachieve closeness to God and salvation in theafterlife.He taught that God is One; He has no partner. Hecreated all things and has complete control over theuniverse. We should serve Him and submit to Himalone. In Him should we repose our hopes and toHim should we pray. Though He cannot be seen, heis so close to us that he hears and answers us whenwe call upon Him. There is no greater sin than toconsider that He could have any counterpart orequal.There is no intermediary between God and man. Byremembering God, a person establishes directcontact with Him; there is no need for any go- ~ 40 ~
  40. 40. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Teachings of the Prophetbetween. No one will be able to intercede beforeGod in the Hereafter either. He will decideeveryone’s case according to His own knowledge;no one will be able to influence His judgement. Godis not accountable to anyone for His decisions. AllHis judgements are based on wisdom and justice;He is not influenced by intercession and proximity.Worship of God is much more than just superficialrituals; it is total submission. If one worships God,then one devotes oneself entirely to one’s Lord,fearing Him, loving Him, having hopes in Him, andconcentrating on Him alone. Worship of God istotal self-surrender; it is much more than occasionalobservance of mere formalities.When dealing with others, we should always bearin mind that God is watching over us. He will dealwith us as we have dealt with others. So, in order toavoid recrimination when our actions are weighedup on the divine scales of justice, it is essential thatwe avoid evils such as cruelty, dishonesty, pride,antagonism, jealousy, selfishness and callousness. Ifone fears God, one will not treat His creatures withdisdain, for those who mistreat God’s creatures ~ 41 ~
  41. 41. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Teachings of the Prophetshould not expect kindness from the Creator; onlythose who have treated others well deserve goodtreatment from Him.The Prophet taught that the only acceptable life isone of total obedience to God. The basic principlesof this life are forms of subservience as laid down inthe Qur’an, and God’s Prophet has demonstratedthem practically in his life. The only life pleasing toGod, then, is one which follows the guidance of theQur’an and the example set by the Holy Prophet.The religion which the Prophet left us guides us inevery walk of life; everyone should proceed inaccordance with the scheme with which he hasprovided us. This scheme is based on certain tenetson which the whole of the Islamic life is based.Firstly, there is the testimony: “There is no oneworthy of being served save God, and Muhammadis His messenger.” This declaration marks man’sexit from one arena and his entry into another—hisdeparture from all that is un-Islamic and hisinclusion in the ranks of Islam. Secondly, prayer,that is worship five times a day in the manner of theProphet. Thirdly, fasting, a test of patience and ~ 42 ~
  42. 42. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Teachings of the Prophetendurance annually performed during the month ofRamadan. Fourthly zakat, the setting aside of a fixedportion of one’s income for the poor. Fifthly,pilgrimage, a visit to the House of God at least oncein a lifetime, if one has the means. When one fulfillsthese five conditions, one becomes part of theprophetically established Islamic brotherhood.Life can be lived in either of two ways; it can befounded either on the Hereafter or on the world. Inthe former case, the Prophet’s guidance is acceptedand a person forms his beliefs and arranges his lifeaccording to his instructions. In the latter case aperson guides himself, letting his own intellectdictate the way he thinks and acts. The first personcan be called a God-worshipper, while the second isa self-worshipper.There are several parts to the credo based onprophetic guidance: belief in God, the angels, thescriptures, the prophets, the resurrection of manand life after death, heaven and hell, as well asrecognition of God as the overriding Lord andSovereign. If one bases one’s life on these tenets offaith, then one has truly submitted oneself to God. ~ 43 ~
  43. 43. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Teachings of the ProphetAll one’s efforts in the world become orientedtowards the Hereafter. One’s worship, sacrifices, lifeand death are all dedicated to God and Hisprophets.The self-guided life, on the other hand, is a free andunprincipled one. One who lives such a life isunconcerned about the nature of reality. He believeswhat he wants to; he passes his time in whateverway his intellect and desires direct him; his effortsall centre on worldly gain; he develops into the sortof person he wishes to be, rather than what Godand His prophets would like to see.People who adhere to the religion of some previousprophet can only be counted as God’s true servantsif they believe in the Prophet of Islam. Belief in himis in no way incompatible with adherence to theirown religion in its most complete and perfectpossible form. Those who deny his prophethood areproving by their actions that all they follow is areligion of conventional norms and prejudices, towhich they have attached a prophet’s name. Thosewho follow a religion simply because it is theirnational one can never discover the divine religion ~ 44 ~
  44. 44. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Teachings of the Prophetwhich the prophet brought. The veil of theirprejudices will never allow them to see the truthwhich God has revealed to the last of His prophets.Those who really believe in God and His prophetsrecognize the religion of the Prophet of Islam astheir own. They receive it with enthusiasm as onedoes a long-lost belonging. ~ 45 ~
  45. 45. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Towards DeathTOWARDS DEATHDeath will overtake everybody; no one can escapefrom it. But death is not the same for everyone.Some have made God their goal in life; they speakand keep silence for His sake alone; their attentionis focused entirely on the after-life. Death is forthem the end of a long terrestrial journey towardstheir Lord.Others have forgotten their Lord; they do not dothings for God’s sake; they are travelling away fromtheir Lord. They are like rebels who roam at largefor a few days, and then death seizes them andbrings them to justice.Death is not the same for both types of people as itmight seem. For one, death is to partake of theLord’s hospitality; for the other, it is to be cast intoHis dungeon. For one, death is the gate to paradise;for the other it will be the day when he is throwninto hell’s raging fire, to burn there forever as apunishment for his rebelliousness.Believers have a different attitude to death fromunbelievers. They are concerned with what comes ~ 46 ~
  46. 46. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Towards Deathin the wake of death; they focus their attention ongaining an honorable position in the life after death.Unbelievers, on the other hand, are caught up onworldly affairs. Their ultimate ambition is worldlyhonour and prestige. Under present circumstances,those who have consolidated their position on earthseem to be successful, but death will shatter thisfacade. It will become clear that those who seemedto have no base in the world were in fact standingon the most solid of foundations, while the positionof those who had reached a high status in the worldwill be exposed as false. Death will obliterateeverything; afterwards only that which has someworth in the after-life will remain. We are obsessedwith the world which meets our eyes. We fail to payattention to the call of truth. If we were to see thenext life with our worldly vision, we wouldimmediately submit to God. We would realize thatif we do not submit to Him today, we will have todo so in the future world, when submission willprofit no one. ~ 47 ~
  47. 47. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam A Final WordA FINAL WORDA city clock-tower informs people of the correcttime. People set their watches according to it.Nobody bothers about who the engineers andmechanics who constructed the clock-tower were,or where the parts that they used were produced.The fact that it keeps good time is enough to attracteverybody. God’s religion is much the same sort ofclock-tower, constructed for man’s guidance; yetpeople fail to look at it and find their way by it.There can only be one reason for this; people areserious in wanting to know the time, but not theword of God. God’s religion is connected with thenext life, while a clock-tower is a thing of thisworld. The clock has an important part to play inthe realization of their worldly ambitions. Theyrecognize its importance. But they have noambitions for the future life, and no regard for theimportance of something which guides man toeternal success.True submission to God does not mean justacknowledging His existence. It involves total ~ 48 ~
  48. 48. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam A Final Wordattachment to Him. It is an inward state with anoutward form. Discovery of God is an event ofincomparable impact which can never remainhidden. If God’s truth has been revealed tosomeone, it will always be apparent. One sofavoured will desire those around him to bearwitness to the fact that he has answered the call ofGod, set aside the idols of worldly gain andexpediency, and devoted himself entirely to God. Ifone claims inner faith, but does not express it, onecan only be looking at faith as a convenience.Anyone who puts worldly interests before Godcannot ever discover Him. Preoccupation withworldly priorities and prejudices are the veryopposite of true submission to God, and two suchconflicting states can never merge in one soul. ~ 49 ~
  49. 49. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Oneness of GodTHE ONENESS OF GODSay: “He is God, the One, the eternally besought ofall. He begets not, nor was He begotten. And thereis none comparable to Him” (112:1-4).All that is in heaven and earth gives glory to God.He is the Mighty, the Wise. His is the kingdom ofthe heavens and the earth. He ordains life and deathand has power over all things. He is the First andLast, the Visible and the Unseen. He has knowledgeof all things (57:1-3), and he that renounces idol-worship and puts his faith in God shall grasp a firmhandle that will never break.God: there is no God but Him, the Living, theEternal One. Neither drowsiness nor sleepovertakes Him. His is what the heavens and theearth contain. Who can intercede with Him exceptby His permission? He knows what is before andbehind men. They can grasp only that part of Hisknowledge which He wills. His throne is as vast asthe heavens and the earth, and the preservation ofboth does not weary him. He is the Sublime, theTremendous. God hears all and knows all. ~ 50 ~
  50. 50. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Oneness of GodGod is the Patron of the faithful. He leads themfrom darkness to the light. As for the unbelievers,their patrons are false Gods, who lead them fromlight to darkness. They are the heirs of Hell andshall abide in it for ever (2:255-257). Yet there shallbe no compulsion in religion. True guidance isnever imposed by force. ~ 51 ~
  51. 51. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam All Praise is Due to GodALL PRAISE IS DUE TO GODA tree is unaware of its own extraordinarysignificance. A flower does not realize what adelicate and exquisite masterpiece it really is. A birdis oblivious to its own breathtaking beauty. Thoughall things in this world are classic specimens of themost exquisite art, they never come to knowthemselves as such.For whom, then, is this beautiful and graciousdisplay? It is all for man’s benefit. Man is the onlybeing in the known universe who can perceivebeauty in a thing and appreciate its excellence. Godhas created exquisite works of art in worldly formand enabled man to apprehend them. He has givenman a tongue to express his wonder at andveneration of God’s stupendous feats of creation.What he utters is praise, or admiration of God. It isa tribute of the most sublime sentiments, expressedin human words and offered to God.Praise means being moved at the sight of God’scraftsmanship and spontaneously expressing one’srealization of His perfection. “God, all praise is due ~ 52 ~
  52. 52. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam All Praise is Due to Godto You. You are chaste and exalted. God, count meamong the believers, and raise me not up blind likethose who failed to acknowledge your perfection orperceive Your beauty.” Praise is constantremembrance of God in this manner, in Arabic orany other language. ~ 53 ~
  53. 53. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The AngelsTHE ANGELSAmongst the multitudes of beings created by Godin His omnipotence are creatures of greatluminosity called angels. They are divine servantsof impeccable loyalty who convey God’s commandsthroughout the length and breadth of the universe,attending to the workings of His immeasurablekingdom under His all-seeing eye. Their numbersperforce are legion.The cosmic machine must run with flawless andnever-ending consistency. The earth, moon, sun andstars must revolve in their pre-ordained orbits forall eternity. God has willed this to be so, and Hisangels are the divine instruments through which heensures the perfect functioning of the universe.From time immemorial a water cycle of awesomecomplexity has continued to support life in itsmyriad forms. Trees and plants of tremendousdiversity emerge from the earth at every instant. Awhole host of creatures from man right down to thehumblest insect are born and provided for everyday. How is it then that such a great multiplicity of ~ 54 ~
  54. 54. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Angelsevents—all of them extremely complex—can takeplace contemporaneously?The Prophets in their wisdom have taught that thisis all part of a divine order which the Almightycontrols through invisible angels acting as Hisintermediaries. It is they who carry out Hiscommandments and communicate His word to theprophets. They preserve a record of man’s actionsby means of which God decides which individualsand which nations shall be rewarded or punished. Itis the angels who take possession of the human soulat the moment of death, and it is they who willsound the last trumpet which shall throw the wholeuniverse into disarray. It is then that the righteousshall dwell forever in Paradise, while the sinfulshall be cast down into hell-fire and eternaldamnation. ~ 55 ~
  55. 55. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam God’s ProphetsGOD’S PROPHETSWhen a machine is produced it is accompanied by aset of instructions for its use. An engineer is alsocommissioned to give a practical demonstration ofhow the machine functions. Man is an even moreintricately designed but animate machine. When heis born, he suddenly finds himself in a world whereno mountain bears an inscription answeringquestions concerning the nature of the world, orexplaining how he should live on earth. Noeducational institution produces experts who knowthe secret of life or who can provide man withpractical guidance.To satisfy this need felt by man, God sent Hisprophets to the world, every one of whom broughtwith him the word of God. In the scripturesrevealed to them, God has explained the reality oflife to man, and has made it clear what man shouldand should not do. They showed man whatsentiments and ideas he should adopt; how heshould remember his Lord; how he should live withhis fellows, what he should associate himself withand disassociate himself from. The prophets’ lives ~ 56 ~
  56. 56. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam God’s Prophetsare a practical demonstration of how a personshould live a God-fearing life.God has given everyone the power to distinguishbetween right and wrong. He has also placedcountless signs in space and on earth from whichman can learn. Moreover, His revelations have beenset down in human language and several of Hisservants chosen from amongst mankind asprophets, so that there should be no doubt as to thetrue path. ~ 57 ~
  57. 57. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Termination of ProphethoodTERMINATION OF PROPHETHOODThe Arabian Prophet, may God’s peace andblessings descend upon him, was the last of God’smessengers. No other prophet will now come to theworld.All of God’s prophets have taught one and the samereligion. They spoke in different languages, but thereligion they expounded was one. Since thefollowers of previous prophets were unable topreserve the prophetic teachings in their originalform, messengers of God used to appear frequentlyin order to revitalize the true religion, and refreshpeople’s memories of it. The Prophet Muhammadfor his part initiated a revolutionary process whichensured the preservation of religion in its originalform and obviated the necessity for other prophetsto follow him by preserving the Book of God intact,in its original form.God’s final Prophet imparted to the true religion astability which it had never had before. His own lifewas exemplary, as has been reliably recorded. It isnoteworthy, too, that the community that ~ 58 ~
  58. 58. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Termination of Prophethooddeveloped after the Prophet continued todemonstrate Islamic practices, like prayer in apracticable and imitable form. People of everysubsequent age have found this religion exactly as itwas when God’s messenger preached it.The preservation and continuity of religion are nowensured without prophets coming to the world.God’s Book and the Prophet’s Sunnah are nowserving the same purpose which it had taken asuccession of prophets to accomplish. It is the dutyof their followers to carry on their mission. ~ 59 ~
  59. 59. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The ResurrectionTHE RESURRECTIONEvery night is followed by day. That which isconcealed in night’s darkness can be clearly seenin the light of day. In the same manner, thisephemeral world will be followed by an eternalone, in which all realities will become as clear asdaylight. In this world, one is able to conceal evilunder a false exterior. Some are eloquent enoughto clothe their falsity in a righteous garb, whilstothers mask their inner impurity under refulgentexteriors. The true character of every individualis shrouded in darkness, but the resurrectionwill tear all veils asunder and lay bare thereality.What a startling revelation this will be! All menwill be where they really belong, rather than inthe false positions they occupy in this world.Many who wield worldly power will behumbled and reduced to helplessness. Manywho sit in judgement will appear in the dock tobe judged. Many who have a high status in lifewill appear more insignificant than insects.Many who have always had answers for ~ 60 ~
  60. 60. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Resurrectioneverything in this world will be totally at a lossfor words. ~ 61 ~
  61. 61. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam When Death ComesWHEN DEATH COMESIf one closes one’s eyes, the whole world appearsdark. Everything, from the radiance of the sun andthe loftiness of the sky to the verdure of the treesand the splendour of the cities, is plunged intodarkness, as if it were not there at all.The after-life is also an absolute reality which wecannot see, because it belongs to a world in whichour vision does not function. At the time of deaththe veil covering the unseen world will beremoved from our eyes and we will be able togaze on the world of eternity. It will be likehaving one’s eyes closed and then suddenlyopening them.Imagine that a blindfolded person, totally unawareof his predicament, is made to stand in front of alive lion. Suddenly the blindfold is removed. Theterror which would be experienced on beholding alion ready to pounce on him would be far exceededby the panic which would seize him when suddenlyconfronted with the world waiting for him afterdeath. ~ 62 ~
  62. 62. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam When Death ComesA person who, in the world finds many kinds ofsupport, will suddenly find that there is nothing leftto rely on. Friends, a source of constant comfort andpleasure in this world, will have deserted him. Hisown family, for whom he had been willing tosacrifice anything, will have become alien to him.Material resources, on which he depended entirely,will be of no use. Matters one ignored as trivialitieswill suddenly loom before one in a form more solidthan iron or rock. There will not be a single prop onwhich one can lean. ~ 63 ~
  63. 63. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Next WorldTHE NEXT WORLDThe present world may seem to lack nothing; butthe order of this world has been established withthe trial of man in mind. According to God’sscheme, only a world which leads up to reward andpunishment can be considered ideal andpermanent. This is not the case in the present world.So, when the period of trial is over, God willdestroy this world and create another morecomplete one. There the evil will be separated fromthe righteous, and all will be confronted with thejust consequences of their deeds.The present world is full of strange paradoxes.Here, birds chant hymns of divine praise, whileman recites eulogies to himself. Stars and planetscontinue their voyages without clashing with oneanother, while man willfully sets himself on acollision course with others. In this world there isno tree which undermines another, but men spendtheir lives plotting one another’s destruction. Lofty,upright trees show their meekness by casting theirshadows on the ground, but if man ascends to anyheights he immediately becomes arrogant. This ~ 64 ~
  64. 64. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Next Worldattitude of man’s is totally contrary to God’s Willfor His entire creation. Doomsday shall erase theseparadoxes, the might of all save God shall beeradicated, and every will save His shall benegated.When this period of trial has run its course, Godwill destroy the present world and create anotherone. There, the righteous and wicked will beseparated from one another. The former will residein paradise and the latter in hell-fire. ~ 65 ~
  65. 65. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam As You Sow, So Shall You ReapAS YOU SOW, SO SHALL YOU REAPOnly those who have sown crops can expect aharvest, and what is harvested will be whatever hasbeen sown. The same is true of the next life: there,all men will reap as they have sown. Those who arealways jealous, inimical, cruel, and conceited arelike those who plant thorn trees. Those who plantthorns will eat thorns in the hereafter. On the otherhand, whoever chooses the path of justice,benevolence and acknowledgment of the truth islike the planter of fruit trees. In the next life he willenjoy the sumptuous fruits of his own planting.People adopt a rebellious stance in this world, yetcontinue to imagine that they will be raised upamongst God’s obedient servants. They are willfullydestructive, but still think that, in eternity, they willhave a share in the fruits of constructiveness. Theirlives are based on mere words and they believe thatthese words will take the form of reality in thehereafter. They hear the message of God and refuseto accept it; even so, they have the presumption tothink that God will be pleased with them. ~ 66 ~
  66. 66. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam As You Sow, So Shall You ReapGod beckons man towards paradise, the abode ofeternal comfort and bliss, but man is lost intransitory and illusory pleasures. He does not heedthe call of God. He thinks he is gaining while, infact, he is losing. He believes that the worldlyconstructions which he is busy erecting will servehim well in the future, but he is only building wallsof sand, which will fall never to rise again. ~ 67 ~
  67. 67. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Inhabitants of ParadiseTHE INHABITANTS OF PARADISEParadise is for those, and those alone, who rejectall material forms of greatness in order to assertthe majesty of Almighty God; who empty theirhearts of every other affection and enshrine Godtherein.Paradise is for the just, not the cruel, the humble,not the haughty. He who mistreats and degradesothers, even when he has grounds for complaintagainst them forfeits the right to enter Paradise.Plotting to destroy others with whom one is on badterms and taking delight only in one’s own honourand esteem can close the gates of Paradise to oneforever. Neither is one fit for Paradise if one’sfeelings of love and attachment are wounded bycriticism of anyone other than God; for Paradise isthe domain of those chaste souls who reserve theiradoration for God alone, who delight in hearingGod’s praise and find solace in the sight of God’smajesty.No one who is blind to the truth can enter Paradise,for Paradise is for those alone who associate ~ 68 ~
  68. 68. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Inhabitants of Paradisethemselves so closely with the truth that they neverfail to see falsehood and reality for what they trulyare. ~ 69 ~
  69. 69. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Straight PathTHE STRAIGHT PATHA train which runs on its tracks will have no troublein reaching its destination. But should its wheelsslip off the rails—no matter to what side—itsjourney will come to a sudden and disastrous end.Man’s journey through life is in some ways on aparallel. If he goes off the rails, it will spellcatastrophe. But if he continues to travel along thestraight and narrow path which leads directly toGod, he will safely reach his destination.Many examples of human aberration—a ‘going-off-the-rails’—can be cited: the satisfying of one’sown selfish desires to the exclusion of all else;total absorption in the greatness of some humanindividual, living or dead; aiming, by preference,at unworthy objectives; obeying impulses ofjealousy, hate and vindictiveness, dedicatingoneself to any nation or party on the assumptionthat it is supreme. All of these paths are crookedand diverge from the true way. No one whochooses such a path can ever hope to reach histrue goal in life. ~ 70 ~
  70. 70. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Straight PathIt is a sad fact that one tends to stray from thestraight path whenever one is obsessed with something, person or idea other than God. Wheneverone’s efforts are directed elsewhere, one isembarking on a detour which can never bring oneback to God. Such deviation from the true path cancause man to go totally astray.The only sure way to spiritual success is to focusone’s attentions and efforts on God alone. This isthe straight path and involves total attachment toGod and a life lived out in complete accordancewith His will.Any path which is not directed towards God is awrong turning, and will never lead Man to his truedestination. ~ 71 ~
  71. 71. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Islam—An Integral Part of LifeISLAM—AN INTEGRAL PART OF LIFEWhen a stone is dropped into a glass of water, itdescends to the bottom and settles to one side. It isin the water but separate from it. On the other hand,if dye is put into the same glass, the dye and watercombine. Now the water is not separate from thedye. Both have intermingled in such a way that noone can detect any difference between the two.The relationship between Islam and a personshould be like that of dye and water, not of stoneand water. Islam should not just be an accessory toa Muslim’s life: it should merge with his wholebeing. It should enter into his thoughts, mouldinghis intellect in its own fashion. Islam should becomethe eye with which he sees, the tongue with whichhe speaks, the hands and feet with which heperforms his day-to-day functions. Islam should sotake possession of a person that it excludes all else.Every statement should bear the stamp of Islam andevery action should be dyed in Islamic colours.If Islam is like a stone in water, then it is not Islamat all. Faith should be absorbed in a person like dye ~ 72 ~
  72. 72. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Islam—An Integral Part of Lifedissolved in water. Just as the emotions of love andhate are felt by the whole body so, when one adoptsIslam in the real sense of the world, it shouldbecome an issue affecting one’s whole existence.The Muslim and Islam should become inseparablyattached. ~ 73 ~
  73. 73. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Worship of GodWORSHIP OF GODWorship, in form, consists of the performance ofcertain ritual actions. In essence, it is to form acentral focus. From this point of view everyone isworshipping something or the other. It is a rarebeing who does not cherish some overridingambition, which he will do his utmost to realize. Allmen feel some insufficiency in themselves and needsome help from outside to make up for it. When oneyearns for God alone and puts implicit trust in Him,one is, in reality, worshipping Him. To concentrateone’s emotions on something else is to worshipothers besides Him.A person who worships God will invoke Himalone, and the prescribed prayers are the day-to-dayform which this supplication will take. Theworshipper becomes so involved with His Lord thathis requirements become minimal; a particular formthat this diminution takes is fasting. His adorationof God compels him to strive towards God, and onehistoric manifestation of his longing is Hajj. He doesunto others as he would be done by, and in zakat—charity—this takes a regular, practical form. ~ 74 ~
  74. 74. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Worship of GodThe whole life of a true worshipper of God, bothinwardly and outwardly, becomes an act ofworship, bowing only to God and fearing Himalone—putting His considerations first andforemost in all matters. Placing oneself totally inGod’s hands, one becomes God’s own, and Godbecomes one’s own. And one’s heart overflows withthe love of God. ~ 75 ~
  75. 75. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Forms of WorshipFORMS OF WORSHIPWorship is a reality, not just an outward form.What is true worship? It is an attachment to oneobject above all else. It presupposes suchoverwhelming preoccupation with that one objectthat everything else is reduced to insignificance.Claims to spiritual allegiance are of no value if one’schosen object of worship is other than spiritual.When one considers a person worthy of beingbowed down to, one is actually worshipping thatperson. When one attaches so much importance tosome worldly gain that one tends to overlook allother considerations in order to achieve it, one isactually worshipping that gain. When oneassociates all one’s hopes and ambitions withwealth, one is worshipping wealth.In like manner, one is worshipping custom whenone places it above all other demands. One isworshipping one’s own self when, overwhelmed byselfishness and antipathy, one blindly seeksrevenge. One is worshipping the standard of livingwhen one is so obsessed with the idea of improving ~ 76 ~
  76. 76. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Forms of Worshipit that one devotes one’s entire time and earnings tothat end. One is worshipping fame if one is sogreedy for rank and prestige that one will doanything to raise one’s status in life. One shouldnever forget that man is being tried in this world todetermine whether he is willing to devote himselfentirely to God to the exclusion of all else, and togive proof of whether he dedicates himself to God,revering Him, depending upon him and servingHim as he should. ~ 77 ~
  77. 77. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam A Day in the Life of a MuslimA DAY IN THE LIFE OF A MUSLIMWhen a Muslim wakens early in the morning, hethanks God for putting him to sleep and awakeninghim. After his ablutions, he leaves for the mosque inorder to join his brethren in attesting to God’sdivinity and his own willingness to serve Him. Hethen ascertains what his Lord expects of him byreading an excerpt from the Qur’an. Then he startsthe day’s work. There are three prayer times duringthe day: afternoon, late afternoon and evening. Byleaving his work and standing before his Lord atthese times, he shows that he gives precedence toGod above all else in life.While satisfying his hunger and thirst, every fibre ofhis being gives thanks to God. “Lord,” he exclaims,“I am wonder-struck at the water you have createdfor me to quench my thirst with, and the food youhave provided for the satisfaction of my hunger!”When success comes his way, he considers it to be agift from God and offers thanks for it. He considersfailure to be the result of his own errors, so he seeksto make amends. When dealing with others, he isconscious of God’s presence, which makes him ~ 78 ~
  78. 78. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam A Day in the Life of a Muslimaware of the fact that one day he will be held toaccount for his actions. When night falls, and he isfree of all commitments, he once again washes and,after offering the night prayer, goes to bed. As hedrops off to sleep, this prayer is on his lips: Lord,my life and death are in Your hands. Forgive meand have mercy on me.” It is evident then that aMuslim does not organize his life-patternindependently. When he arranges his life, it is withGod clearly before him. ~ 79 ~
  79. 79. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Giving as God WillsGIVING AS GOD WILLSMan’s life and property are gifts of God. He oweseverything he possesses to God alone. The only wayto give thanks for these innumerable gifts is todispose of them as God wishes. Such expenditure ofone’s wealth is symbolic of one’s complete trust inGod.Man owes whatever he earns in this world to thefact that God has given him hands and feet to usefor this purpose. He has endowed man with eyesand a tongue with which to see and speak. He hasblessed him with an intellect which enables him tothink and plan. At the same time God has made theworld subordinate to man. If the world and thatwhich it contains had not been placed at man’sdisposal, his physical and mental capabilities alonewould never have enabled him to derive any benefitfrom the world around him. If the wheat grain hadnot grown in the form of a crop but had stayedlying on the ground like a pebble, it would havebecome impossible for man to harvest grain fromthe land. If the powers of nature had not performedtheir specific functions, electricity could not have ~ 80 ~
  80. 80. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Giving as God Willsbeen produced, and vehicles would not have beenable to move. Whatever man earns in this world is adirect favour from God. In return, man shouldspend his earnings in a way which would meet withGod’s approval. He should use his money to helpthe poor and spend of the wealth which God hasgranted him in the ways of God has specified.Real charity is that which is given for God’s sakealone, not for fame, self-esteem or worldly reward.Wealth saves one from worldly hardship; thatwhich is given away for God’s sake saves one fromthe hardships of the life after death. ~ 81 ~
  81. 81. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Islamic CharacterISLAMIC CHARACTERAn Islamic character is a divine character. It is totreat others with the same generosity and charity asGod shows to man. The Quran has set the pattern inthis matter by stating: “If you are merciful,forgiving and magnanimous, then God is theForgiving, the Merciful.” That is to say that if arelationship with someone turns sour, or somedifference of opinion occurs, one should adopt aposture similar to God’s. He forgives people theirmistakes and does not deprive them of His merciesbecause of their errors; one should act in likemanner. If something is said which hurts one’sfeelings, or one is treated in a disconcerting manner,the transgressor should not be turned against forthis reason alone; rather one should overlook hismistakes and treat him as if nothing had happened.To put it in a word, magnanimity is what marks anIslamic character. Generally one treats othersaccording to what they have said or done withregard to one. A Muslim should transcend suchconsiderations in his treatment of others. Hisreactions should be moulded by God’s ~ 82 ~
  82. 82. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Islamic Charactercommandments, which means maintaining thehighest standard of helpfulness and benevolencetowards others. If one cannot actually be of use toothers, then one must at least avoid harming them,and must spare them any suffering on account of ill-judged words and actions. Islamic character ceasesto be such on any plane lower than this. ~ 83 ~
  83. 83. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Humility—The Foundation of UnityHUMILITY—THE FOUNDATION OFUNITYThe basis of unity is humility. If everyone putsothers before himself, then the question of frictiondoes not arise, for disunity stems from everyoneputting himself first and wishing that he and hisutterances should be given supremacy, no matterwhat the circumstances. If no one consideredhimself superior, what would there be to quarrelabout?Clashes of interest and outlook are bound to occurin a society where people live in close contact witheach other. When this happens, superioritycomplexes are apt to surface. Everybody tends tofeel sure that his own opinion is correct, that hisrights supersede others’, and that his own interestmust be protected at all costs. Considerations suchas these alienate people from one another, whichresults in disharmony, and if all parties remainadamant, friction can do little but escalate. If,however, one of the parties to a dispute adopts ahumble attitude and is willing to stand down, thendiscord will vanish automatically, and harmony ~ 84 ~
  84. 84. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Humility—The Foundation of Unitywill prevail. Unity can exist only by sinkingpersonal differences, by recognizing the rights ofothers to disagree and, where agreement isimpossible, by bringing matters to a conclusion byagreeing to disagree in a spirit of goodwill.It is only natural in a society that opinions shouldclash and grievances arise. These things cannot beeliminated entirely. There will be unity only whenpeople cease to harbour grievances, and when theycan live in harmony notwithstanding theirdifferences. ~ 85 ~
  85. 85. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Who Should Preach?WHO SHOULD PREACH?A sage once said that the desire to preach shouldhave the same compulsive quality about it as thedesire to satisfy any other normal human urge.Preaching is not like playing a record; nor should itbe aimed at eliciting applause from an appreciativeaudience. Preaching is an externalisation of innerconviction. It is communication to others of adiscovered reality; to be a living witness to a truthlong hidden from people’s eyes. This does not meanjust putting a few words together; it is an extremelydifficult task. One can only accomplish this taskwhen one feels so desperate an urge to convey one’smessage that one is ready in the process to faceunpopularity and self-sacrifice.The same applies to writing. Before putting pen topaper, one should study so much that knowledge ofitself starts overflowing from one’s mind. It is onlyafter sifting through all the available material onany relevant topic, and feeling an irresistible urge toadd something of one’s own, that one should beginto write. Those who write without experience orinspiration are only defacing the paper on which ~ 86 ~
  86. 86. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Who Should Preach?they write, and those who speak without feeling thecompulsion to do so are only adding to noisepollution.Preaching is not a game: it is representation of Godon earth; it is only those who have effacedthemselves before God who qualify for thisprivilege. Those who try to preach without suchqualifications do greater harm than good. ~ 87 ~
  87. 87. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Acknowledgment of the TruthACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE TRUTHGod manifests Himself on earth through truth.Disbelief in the truth is disbelief in God. One canperpetrate no greater crime on earth than to refuseto accept the truth after it has been made plain.Truth emanates from God, so whoever rejects it is,in fact, rejecting God.There is nothing strange about the truth. It isinherent in human nature. Since it is so familiar tomankind, why do people fail to accept it? Theanswer is that they are psychologically inhibitedfrom doing so. Acceptance of the truth mightdisrupt their materially-oriented life-pattern. Theymight have to prepare themselves for a lowering oftheir worldly status. If the truth is taught by someinsignificant person against whom they areprejudiced, they feel reluctant to acknowledge theveracity of his message, Psychological impedimentssuch as these dominate the mind and preventstraight thinking. They cause one to rejectsomething which a little honest thought wouldsurely have led one to accept as the truth. ~ 88 ~
  88. 88. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Acknowledgment of the TruthSince man is being tested in this world, God doesnot make himself manifest in visible form; Heappears in the form of truth. Man must endeavourto recognize truth as enshrining God and bowdown before it. Whenever truth appears on earth, itis as if God has appeared in all His majesty. If onerejects it on the grounds of prejudice, pride orexpediency, then one has rejected God Himself.This action shows that one has failed to recognizeGod in the truth. One has put oneself above Godand given precedence to one’s own requirements.God will have scant regard for such people on theDay of Judgement and, on that day, whomsoeverGod scorns will find no refuge on earth or inheaven. They will wander helplessly, forever abjectand forlorn. ~ 89 ~
  89. 89. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Three Types of Human BeingTHREE TYPES OF HUMAN BEINGOn the highest plan of Islamic faith, one shouldfear God, always turning to Him, and acting as ifone knows that He is watching over one. Peoplewho are so inclined may never have seen God,but they live more in awe of Him than of all thevisible powers. When they reach God their heartswill already have been turned towards Him, andGod desires and loves such servants. When theyenter the life of eternity, having borne worldlyaffliction for God’s sake, their Lord will felicitatethem, and bid them come inside a paradise offresh green gardens, in which they shall foreverabide. “There”, as the Qur’an states, “theirdesires will be more than fulfilled by God!”(50:31-35).Then there are those who believe in God and dogood. They may sometimes err, but they neverpersist in their misconduct. They acknowledge theirfaults and constantly seek God’s forgiveness. Theyrepent and incessantly attempt to make amends totheir Lord. Hopefully, God will be merciful to them.When they turn towards God, God also relents ~ 90 ~
  90. 90. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam Three Types of Human Beingtowards them, for He is the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful (9:102).There are yet others who have taken to self-worship, materialism and arrogance. They never,for God’s sake, constrain themselves in thought,word or deed. They live for themselves rather thanfor God, and think of the world rather than theafter-life. How, then, can they hope to find a placeof honour in the everlasting world of God? Nothingbut hell-fire awaits such people in eternity.(11:15-16). ~ 91 ~
  91. 91. Introducing Islam a Simple Introduction to Islam The Reward of GodTHE REWARD OF GODCloseness to God should mean that He is ever inone’s thoughts. Awareness of God’s greatnessshould reduce one’s own being to insignificance.Heaven and hell should be so much a part of faith,that one should be more concerned with well-being(or affliction) in the after-life than one’s condition inthe present world. On so high a spiritual plainshould one be that one’s faults should begin toappear in the same light as an enemy’s. Personalprejudice should play no part in decision-makingand even those with whom one disagrees, oragainst whom one bears some grudge, should beprayed for from the heart. Denial of truth should beseen as self-destruction and destroying another’shome should be regarded as tantamount to settingone’s own home ablaze. Such is the God-fearing lifeand only those who lead it will be given a place inGod’s paradise.To His true servants in this world, God haspromised supremacy. But this is not the real rewardfor their piety; it is merely a forerunner of the truerecompense which will await them in eternity. It is ~ 92 ~

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