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Blessed to Be Muslim

At every stage of his enquiry his God-consciousness will save him from making evil and destructive uses of science and the scientific methods.

At every stage of his enquiry his God-consciousness will save him from making evil and destructive uses of science and the scientific methods.

You find in the world around you and in the small kingdom of your own self innumerable manifestations of God’s divine power. This grand universe, which ceaselessly works with matchless order and in accordance with unalterable laws, is in itself a witness to the fact that its Designer, Creator and Governor is an Omnipotent, All-Powerful Being with infinite power, knowledge and resources, a Being of perfect wisdom, Whom nothing in the universe dares to disobey.

Besides endowing man with the capacity to acquire knowledge, the faculty to think and reflect, and the ability to distinguish right from wrong, God has granted man a certain amount of freedom of will and action. In this freedom lies man’s real trial; his knowledge, his wisdom, his power of discrimination and his freedom of will and action are all being tried and tested.

Man has not been obliged to adopt any particular course, for by compulsion the very purpose of the trial would have been in vain. If in an examination you are compelled to write a certain answer to a question, the examination will be of no use.

Your merit can be properly judged only if you are allowed to answer questions freely, according to your own knowledge and understanding. If your answer is correct you will succeed; if it is wrong you will fail, and your failure will bar the way to further progress.

The situation which man faces is similar. God has given him freedom of will and action so that he may choose whatever attitude in life he likes and considers proper for himself; Islam or kufr (disbelief).

By the correct use of his knowledge and intellect a man recognizes his Creator, reposes belief in Him, and, in spite of being under no compulsion to do so, chooses the path of obedience to Him. He understands both his own nature and the laws and realities of nature itself; despite the power and freedom to adopt any course, he adopts the way of obedience and loyalty to God, the Creator.

The Successful

He is successful in his trial because he has used his intellect and all other faculties properly. He uses his eyes to see the reality, his ears to listen to the truth and his mind to form right opinions. He puts all his heart and soul into following the right way he has so chosen. He chooses truth, sees the reality, and willingly and joyfully submits to his Lord and Master. He is intelligent, truthful and dutiful, for he has chosen light over darkness.

Thus, he has proved by his conduct that he is not only a seeker after truth but is the knower and worshipper as well. Such a man is on the right path, and is destined to succeed in this world and in the world to come.

Such a man will always choose the right path in every field of knowledge and action. The man who knows God with all His attributes knows the beginning as well as the ultimate end of reality.

He can never be led astray, for his first step is on the right path, and he is sure of the direction and destination of his journey in life. He will reflect on the secrets of the universe, and will try to fathom the mysteries of nature, but he will not lose his way in mazes of doubt and skepticism. His path being illumined with divine vision, his every step will be in the right direction.

In science he will endeavor to learn the laws of nature and uncover the hidden treasures of the earth for the betterment of humanity. He will try his best to explore all avenues of knowledge and power and to harness all that exists on earth and in the heavens in the interests of mankind.

Against Suspicion and Illusion

At every stage of his enquiry his God-consciousness will save him from making evil and destructive uses of science and the scientific methods. He will never think of himself as the master of all these objects, boasting to be the conqueror of nature, arrogating to himself godly and sovereign powers and nourishing the ambition of subverting the world, subduing the human race and establishing his supremacy over all and sundry by fair means or foul.

Such an attitude of revolt and defiance can never be entertained by a Muslim scientist -only a kafir (disbeliever) scientist can fall prey to such illusions and, by submitting to them, expose the entire human race to the danger of total destruction and annihilation.

A Muslim scientist, on the other hand, will behave in an altogether different way. The deeper his insight into the world of science, the stronger will be his faith in God. His head will bow down before His God in gratitude. His feelings will be that as his Master has blessed him with greater power and knowledge so he must exert himself for his own good and for the good of humanity.

Instead of arrogance there will be humility. Instead of power drunkenness there will be a strong realization of the need to serve humanity. His freedom will not be unbridled. He will be guided by the tenets of morality and divine revelation.

The Criteria

Thus science will in his hands, instead of becoming an instrument of destruction, become an agency for human welfare and moral regeneration. And this is the way in which he will express his gratitude to his Master for the gifts and blessings He has bestowed on man.

Similarly, in history, economics, politics, law and other branches of arts and science, a Muslim will nowhere lag behind a Kafir in the fields of inquiry and struggle, but their angles of view and consequently their modus operandi will be widely different. A Muslim will study every branch of knowledge in its true perspective. He will strive to arrive at the right conclusions.

In history he will draw correct lessons from the past experiences of man, and will uncover the true causes of the rise and fall of civilizations. He will try to benefit from all that was good and right in the past and will scrupulously avoid all that led to the decline and fall of nations.

In politics his sole objective will be to strive for the establishment of policies where peace, justice, fraternity and goodness reign, where man is a brother of man and respects his humanity, where no exploitation or slavery is rampant, where the rights of the individual are upheld, and where the powers of the state are considered as a sacred trust from God and are used for the common welfare of all.

In the field of law, the endeavor of a Muslim will be to make it the true embodiment of justice and the real protector of the rights of all particularly of the weak. He will see that everybody gets his due share and no injustice or oppression is inflicted on anyone. He will respect the law, make others respect it, and will see that it is administered equitably.

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The article is an excerpt from the book “Towards Understanding Islam” by Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi.

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Shari`ah (Islamic Law): The Whole Picture of Islam

By Abul A`la Mawdudi

Shari`ah Law

God has provided man with all the means and resources to make his natural faculties function and to achieve the fulfillment of his needs.

Our discussion of the fundamentals of Islam will remain incomplete if we do not cast a glance over the law of Islam, study its basic principles, and try to visualize the type of man and society which Islam wants to produce. Here we undertake a study of the principles of the Shari`ah (Islamic Law) so that our picture of Islam may become complete and we may be able to appreciate the superiority of the Islamic way of life.

Shari`ah… Its Nature and Purport

Man has been endowed with countless powers and faculties and providence has been very bountiful to him in this respect. He possesses intellect and wisdom, will and volition, faculties of sight, speech, taste, touch and hearing, powers of hand and feet, passions of love, fear, anger and so on. These faculties have been bestowed on him because they are indispensable to him.

His very life and success depend on the proper use of these powers for the fulfillment of his needs and requirements. These God-given powers are meant for his service and unless they are used in full measure life cannot become worth living.

God has also provided man with all those means and resources to make his natural faculties function and to achieve the fulfillment of his needs. The human body has been so made that it has become man’s greatest instrument in his struggle for the fulfillment of his life’s goal.

Then there is the world in which man lives. His environment and surroundings contain resources of every description: resources which he uses as a means for the achievement of his ends. Nature and all that belongs to it have been harnessed for him and he can make every conceivable use of them.

And there are other men of his own kind, so that they may co-operate with each other in the construction of a better and prosperous life.

These powers and resources have been conferred so that they may be used for the good of others. They have been created for your good and are not meant to harm and destroy you.

The proper use of these powers is that which makes them beneficial to you; and even if there be some harm, it must not exceed the unavoidable minimum. That alone is the proper utilization of these powers. Every other use which results in waste or destruction is wrong, unreasonable and unjustified.

For instance, if you do something that causes you harm or injury, that would be a mistake, pure and simple. If your actions harm others and make you a nuisance to them, that would be sheer folly and an utter misuse of God-given powers. If you waste resources, spoil them for nothing or destroy them that too is a gross mistake.

Such activities are flagrantly unreasonable, for it is human reason which suggests that destruction and injury must be avoided and the path of gain and profit be pursued. And if any harm be countenanced, it must be only in such cases where it is unavoidable and where it is bound to yield a greater benefit.

Any deviation from this is self-evidently wrong. Keeping this basic consideration in view, when we look at human beings, we find that there are two kinds of people: first, those who knowingly misuse their powers and resources and through this misuse waste the resources, injure their own vital interests, and cause harm to other people; and, second, those who are sincere and earnest but err because of ignorance.

Those who intentionally misuse their powers are wicked and evil and deserve to feel the full weight of the law. Those who err because of ignorance, need proper knowledge and guidance so that they see the Right Path and make the best use of their powers and resources. And the code of behavior, the Shari`ah – which God has revealed to man – meets this very need.

The Ultimate Goal

The Shari`ah stipulates the law of God and provides guidance for the regulation of life in the best interests of man. Its objective is to show the best way to man and provide him with the ways and means to fulfill his needs in the most successful and most beneficial way.

The law of God is out and out for your benefit. There is nothing in it which tends to waste your powers, or to suppress your natural needs and desires, or to kill your moral urges and emotions. It does not plead for asceticism. It does not say: abandon the world, give up all ease and comfort of life, leave your homes and wander about on plains and mountains and in jungles without bread or cloth, putting yourself to inconvenience and self-annihilation.

This viewpoint has no relevance to the law of Islam, a law that has been formulated by God Who has created this world for the benefit of mankind.

The Shari`ah has been revealed by that very God Who has harnessed everything for man. He would hardly want to ruin His creation. He has not given man any power that is useless or unnecessary, nor has He created anything in the heavens and the earth which may not be of service to man.

It is His explicit will that the universe – this grand workshop with its multifarious activities – should go on functioning smoothly and graciously so that man – the prize of creation – should make the best and most productive use of all his powers and resources, of everything that has been harnessed for him on earth and in the high heavens. He should use them in such a way that he and his fellow human beings may reap handsome prizes from them and should never, intentionally or unintentionally, be of any harm to God’s creation.

The Shari`ah is meant to guide the steps of man in this respect. It forbids all that is harmful to man, and allows or ordains all that is useful and beneficial to him.

The fundamental principle of the Law is that man has the right, and in some cases the bounden duty, to fulfill all his genuine needs and desires and make every conceivable effort to promote his interests and achieve success and happiness – but (and it is an important ‘but’) he should do all this in such a way that not only are the interests of other people not jeopardized and no harm is caused to their strivings towards the fulfillment of their rights and duties, but there should be all possible social cohesion, mutual assistance and co-operation among human beings in the achievement of their objectives.

In respect of those things in which good and evil, gain and loss are inextricably mixed up, the tenet of this law is to choose a little harm for the sake of greater benefit and sacrifice a little benefit, so avoiding a greater harm. This is the basic approach of the Shari`ah.

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The article is an excerpt from the book “Towards Understanding Islam” by Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi.

 

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How Do We Know the True Religion?

By Hammudah Abd Al-Ati

Throughout history religion has been abused and misunderstood. Some people use it as a means of exploitation and suppression, as a pretext for prejudice and persecution. Some other people use it as a source of power and domination over the elite and the masses alike. But is that the true religion?

In the name of religion unjustifiable wars have been launched, freedom of thought and conscience has been oppressed, science has been persecuted, the right of the individual to maturity has been denied, and man’ s dignity and honor have been flagrantly debased. And in the name of religion an injustice has been inflicted upon humanity with the result that religion itself has suffered many losses.

These are historical facts which no one can deny. But is this the proper function of religion or the right approach to religion? Could this be the purpose of religion?

The indisputable answer is an emphatic no. There are many religions in the world, and each one claims to be the one and only true religion. Each religion is supposed to have come from God for the right guidance of man.

But these claims contradict each other and have caused dissensions among people and vehement reactions to religion – instead of welding mankind into one universal brotherhood under the One Universal Benevolent God.

This situation makes any neutral observer confused and perhaps averse to all kinds of religion.

The Islamic …”Religion”

The Islamic concept of religion is unique in the broadest sense of the word. It is true that genuine religion must come from God for the right guidance of man. And it is equally true that human nature and major human needs are basically the same at all times.

This conception leads to one conclusion, and that is: There is only one true religion coming from the One and the Same God, to deal with the outstanding human problems of all times.

This religion is “Islam”. But it should be borne in mind that Islam was taught by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) alone. On the contrary, Islam had been taught by all the prophets before Muhammad, and the true followers of Abraham and Moses as well as those of Jesus and the rest were all called “Muslims”.

So Islam has been, and will continue to be, the true universal religion of God, because God is one and changeless, and because human nature and major human needs are fundamentally the same, irrespective of time and place, of race and age, and of any other considerations.

The True Religion

Bearing this in mind, the Islamic concept maintains that religion is not only a spiritual and intellectual necessity but also a social and universal need. It is not to bewilder man but to guide him. It is not to debase him but to elevate his moral nature.

It is not to deprive him of anything useful, or to burden him, or to oppress his qualities but to open for him inexhaustible treasures of sound thinking and right action. It is not confine him to narrow limits but to launch him into wide horizons of truth and goodness.

In short, true religion is to acquaint man with God as well as with himself and the rest of the universe. This is by no means an oversimplification of the function of religion. Here is what it means.

When the purpose of true religion is carefully examined, it will be found that religion satisfies the spiritual and moderate material needs of man. It unties his psychological knots and complexes, sublimates his instincts and aspirations, and disciplines his desires and the whole course of life. It improves his knowledge of God – the Highest Truth in the universe, and of his own self.

It teaches him about the secrets of life and the nature of man and how to treat them, about good and evil, about right and wrong.

It purifies the soul from evil, clears the mind from doubts, strengthens the character and corrects the thinking and convictions of man. All this can be achieved only when man faithfully observes the spiritual duties and physical regulations introduced by religion.

The True Purpose

On the other hand, true religion educates man and trains him in hope and patience, in truthfulness and honesty, in love for the right and good, in courage and endurance, all of which are required for the mastery of the great art of living.

Moreover, true religion insures man against fears and spiritual losses, and assures him of God’s aid and unbreakable alliance. It provides man with peace and security and makes his life meaningful.

That is what true religion can do for humanity, and that is the concept of religion in Islam.

Any religion which fails to bear these fruits is not Islam or rather, is not religion at all, and any man who fails to draw these benefits from religion is not religious or God-minded. God is absolutely true when He says in the Qur’an:

Verily the religion with God is Islam. Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of God, God is swift in calling to account. (Aal `Imran 3:19).

And if anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). (Aal `Imran 3:85)

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The article is excerpted from Dr. Hammudah’s well-known book “Islam in Focus”.

 

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What Disbelief Says about God and Existence

sky_nature

It’s when man witnesses a superb plan in the universe, but fails to see the Planner behind it.

Disbelief: A Crime against Whom?

There is a man who, although a born Muslim and unconsciously remaining one throughout his life, does not exercise his faculties of reason, intellect and intuition to recognize his Lord and Creator and misuses his freedom of choice by choosing to deny Him. Such a man becomes an unbeliever; in the language of Islam, a kafir.

Kufr literally means ‘to cover’ or ‘to conceal’. The man who denies God is called kafir (concealer) because he conceals by his disbelief what is inherent in his nature and embalmed in his own soul, for his nature is instinctively imbued with ‘Islam’.

His whole body functions in obedience to that instinct. Each and every particle of existence, living or lifeless, functions in accordance with ‘Islam’ and is fulfilling the duty that has been assigned to it. But the vision of this man has been blurred, his intellect has been befogged, and he is unable to see the obvious.

His own nature has become concealed from his eyes and he thinks and acts in utter disregard of it. Reality becomes estranged from him and he gropes in the dark. Such is the nature of kufr.

Kufr is a form of ignorance, or, rather, it is ignorance. What ignorance can be greater than to be ignorant of God, the Creator, the Lord of the Universe?

A man observes the vast panorama of nature, the superb mechanism that is ceaselessly working, the grand design that is manifest in every aspect of creation; he observes this vast machine, but he does not know anything of its Maker and Director.

He knows what a wonderful organism his body is but is unable to comprehend the Force that brought it into existence, the Engineer Who designed and produced it, the Creator Who made the unique living being out of lifeless stuff: carbon, calcium, sodium and the like. He witnesses a superb plan in the universe, but fails to see the Planner behind it.

He sees great beauty and harmony in its working, but not the Creator. He observes a wonderful design in nature, but not the Designer!

How can a man, who has so blinded himself to reality, approach true knowledge? How can one who has made the wrong beginning reach the right destination?

He will fail to find the key to reality. The right path will remain concealed for him and whatever his endeavours in science and arts, he will never be able to attain truth and wisdom. He will be groping in the darkness of ignorance.

Not only that; kufr is a tyranny, the worst of all tyrannies. And what is ‘tyranny’? It is an unjust use of force or power. It is when you compel a thing to act unjustly or against its true nature, its real will and its inherent attitude.

We have seen that all that is in the universe is obedient to God, the Creator. To obey, to live in accordance with His will and His law or (to put it more precisely) to be a Muslim is ingrained in the nature of things. God has given man power over these things, but it is incumbent that they should be used for the fulfillment of His will and not otherwise.

 Greatest Tyranny

Anyone who disobeys God and resorts to kufr perpetrates the greatest injustice, for he uses his powers of body and mind to rebel against the course of nature and becomes an instrument in the drama of disobedience. He bows his head before deities other than God and cherishes in his heart the love, reverence and fear of other powers in utter disregard of the instinctive urge of these organs. He uses his own powers and all those things over which he has authority against the explicit will of God and thus establishes a reign of tyranny.

Can there be any greater injustice, tyranny and cruelty than that exhibited by this man who exploits and misuses everything under the sun and unscrupulously forces them to a course which affronts nature and justice?

Kufr is not mere tyranny; it is rebellion, ingratitude and infidelity. After all, what is the reality of man? Where do his power and authority come from? Is he himself the creator of his mind, his heart, his soul and other organs of his body, or have they been created by God? Has he himself created the universe and all that is in it, or has it been created by God?

Who has harnessed all the powers and energies for the service of man; man or God? If everything has been created by God and God alone, then to whom do they belong? Who is their rightful sovereign? It is God and none else.

And if God is the Creator, the Master and the Sovereign, then who would be a greater rebel than the man who uses God’s creation against His injunctions, and who makes his mind think against God, harbors in his heart thoughts against Him, and uses his various faculties against the Sovereign’s Will.

nature_creation

If God is the Creator, the Master and the Sovereign, then who would be a greater rebel than the man who uses God’s creation against His injunctions, makes his mind think against Him.

If a servant betrays his master you denounce him as faithless. If an officer becomes disloyal to the state you brand him as a traitor and renegade. If a person cheats his benefactor you have no hesitation in condemning him as ungrateful. But such acts cannot begin to compare to the one which the disbeliever commits by his kufr.

All that a man has and all that he uses for the benefit of others is a gift of God. The greatest obligation that a man owes on this earth is to his parents. But who has implanted the love of children in the parents’ heart? Who endowed the mother with the will and power to nurture, nourish and feed her children? Who inspired the parents with the passion to spend everything in their possession for the well-being of their children?

A little reflection would reveal that God is the greatest benefactor of man. He is his Creator, Lord, Nourisher, Sustainer, as well as King and Sovereign. So what can be greater betrayal, ingratitude, rebellion and treason than kufr, through which a man denies and disobeys his real Lord and Sovereign?

How Does It Affect, Whom?

Do not think that by committing kufr man does or can do the least harm to Almighty God. Insignificant speck on the face of a tiny ball in this limitless universe that man is, what harm can he do to the Lord of the Universe Whose dominions are so infinitely vast that we have not yet been able to explore their boundaries even with the help of the most powerful telescope; Whose power is so great that myriads of heavenly bodies, like the earth, the moon, the sun and the stars are, at His bidding, whirling like tiny balls; Whose wealth is so boundless that He is the sole Master of the whole universe; and Who provides for all and needs none to provide for Him? Man’s revolt against Him can do Him no harm; on the other hand, by his disobedience, man treads the path of ruin and disgrace.

The inevitable consequence of this revolt and denial of reality is a failure in the ultimate ideals of life. Such a rebel will never find the thread of real knowledge and vision; for knowledge that fails to reveal its own Creator can reveal no truth. Such a man’s intellect and reason always run astray, for reason which errs about its own Creator cannot illumine the paths of life.

Such a man will meet with failures in all the affairs of his life. His morality, his civic and social life, his struggle for livelihood and his family life, in short, his entire existence, will be unsatisfactory.

He will spread confusion and disorder. He will, without the least compunction, shed blood, violate other men’s rights and generally act destructively. His perverted thoughts and ambitions, his blurred vision and distorted scale of values, and his evil activities will make life bitter for him and for all around him.

Such a man destroys the calm and pose of life on earth. And in the life hereafter he will be held guilty for the crimes he committed against his nature. Every organ of his body; his brain, eyes, nose, hands and feet will complain against the injustice and cruelty he had subjected them to. Every tissue of his being will denounce him before God Who, as the fountain of justice, will punish him as he deserves.

This is the inglorious consequence of Kufr. It leads to the blind alleys of utter failure, both here and hereafter.

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The article is an excerpt from the book “Towards Understanding Islam” by Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi.

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God’s Plan for Man: Why Are We Here?

What is God’s plan for our lives? From among all creation why was man created? What are we meant to be and do on earth? What is the essence and vision of our identity as human beings?

plan

It was this religion (Islam) which Adam, the first man, passed down to posterity.

Allah Who is the Creator, the Ruler and the Lord of the entire universe has created man and provided him with temporary station in that part of His vast kingdom (cosmos) which is known as the earth.

He has endowed man with the faculties of thinking and understanding, and has given him the power to distinguish right from wrong. Man has also been invested with freedom of will and choice and the power to use the resources of the world in any manner he likes. In short, man has been given a sort of autonomy while being appointed by God on earth as a successor to the beings that had previously populated it.

The Plan…

Before assigning to man the inheritance of the earth, God made it explicitly clear to him that He alone is the Lord, the Ruler and the Deity. As such, the entire universe and all the creatures in it (including man) must submit to Him alone. Man must not think himself totally free and should know that this earth is not his permanent abode.

He has been made to live upon it only during the period of his probation, and in due course, he will return to his Lord, to be judged according to the way he has utilized the period of probation. The only right course for man is to acknowledge Allah as the only Lord, the Sustainer and the Deity and to follow His guidance and His commands in all walks of life.

Man must live this life with the realization that he is to be judged and his sole objective should be to merit the pleasure of Allah so as to emerge successful in the final test. Conduct which is contrary to this would lead man astray.

If man follows the course of piety and godliness (which he is free to choose and follow) he will succeed in this world and in the next, in this world he will live a life of peace and contentment, and in the Hereafter he will qualify himself for the heaven of eternal bliss, Al-Jannah (Paradise).

And if he chooses to follow the other course, i.e., that of Godlessness and evil (which he is equally free to choose and follow) his life will be one of corruption, disruption and frustration in this world and he will meet colossal misfortune in the life to come – that abode of pain and misery which is called Jahannam (Hell).

After administering the warning, God set man upon the earth and provided the very first human beings (Adam and Eve) with guidance in accordance with which men were to live on the earth.

Origin of Deviation

Thus, man’s life on this earth did not begin in utter darkness. The very first man was provided with a burning torch of light and guidance so that humanity might attain its glorious destiny. The very first man received revealed knowledge from God Himself. He had knowledge of the reality and was given the code of life by following which he could live a life of bliss and success.

This code of life was Islam, the attitude of complete submission to Allah, the Creator of man and of the whole universe. It was this religion which Adam, the first man, passed down to posterity. But later generations gradually drifted away from the right path and adopted different erroneous paths.

Because of negligence, they lost the original teachings, or due to folly or mischief they adulterated and perverted them. They associated with God innumerable human beings, non-human objects and imaginary entities as deities and indulged in shirk (polytheism) of the worst type.

They mixed up the pure teachings of God with strange myths, ideas and philosophies and thus produced a jungle of religions and cults. They discarded the God-given principles of social ethics and collective morality, the Shari’ah, and deprived the human life of peace and tranquility.

The Guidance.. the Message

Although men departed from the path of truth, disregarded and distorted the Shari`ah and some of them even revolted against the code of divine guidance, yet God did not destroy them or force them to the right course. Forced conversion to the right path was not in keeping with the autonomy He had given to man.

Instead, God appointed certain virtuous persons from amongst the people themselves, to discharge the responsibility of recalling and guiding men to the right path during their sojourn on the earth.

These men believed in God, and lived a life of obedience to Him. He honored them by His revelations and gave them the knowledge of reality. These men, known as prophets (peace be upon all of them), were assigned the task of presenting the message of truth to humanity and of asking the people to come to the path of the Lord.

These prophets were raised in all epochs, in all lands and in all nations. Out of numerous prophets sent by God, the Qur’an explicitly mentions twenty-five. All of them brought the same message, all of them advocated the same way of life (deen) i.e., the way which was revealed to man on the first day of his existence.

All of them followed the same guidance: the guidance which was prescribed by the Lord for man at the outset of his career on the earth. All of them stood for the same mission: they called men to the religion if Islam, asked those who accepted the divine guidance to live in accordance with it: and organized them into a movement for the establishment of the divine law, and for putting an end to all deviations from the right path.

Every prophet tried to fulfill this mission in the best possible way. But quite a number of people never accepted this guidance and many of those who accepted it gradually drifted astray and, al lapse of time, lost the guidance or distorted it through innovations and perversions.

The Last Message

At last, God raised Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the land of Arabia and assigned to him the completion of the mission for which earlier prophets were ordained.

The message of Muhammad was for the whole of mankind. He presented anew the teachings of Islam in their pristine form and provided mankind once again, with the divine guidance which they had lost in its original form.

He organized all those who accepted his message into one Ummah (nation) which was charged with reconstructing its own life in accordance with the teachings of Islam, by calling mankind to the path of righteousness and with establishing the supremacy of the word of God on the earth. This guidance is enshrined in the Qur’an which constitutes the only right code of conduct for mankind.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s book “The Islamic Way of Life”. 

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Messengers of Allah: How Did It All Begin?

Allah blessed the descendants of Adam (peace be upon him), his children and grandchildren, and they spread the multiplied. If Adam had come back and  seen them all, and someone had said to him, ‘These are your descendants, Adam, he would have been astonished. He would have said ‘Glory be to Allah! These are all my descendants!’ But what happened to Adam’s descendants? Why did they need messengers?

messengers of Alah_light

Only Allah can choose the person who will receive His message to give to the people.

Adam’s descendants founded many villages. They built many houses. They ploughed the land, grew crops and lived in comfort and contentment. They followed the way of their ancestor, Adam. They worshipped only Allah and didn’t worship anything else besides Him.

They were one united community. Adam was the one father of all of them, and Allah was their One Lord.

Satan’s Envy

Satan hadn’t bowed down to Adam when Allah had commanded him to do so. So, he was driven out and damned forever. But how could Satan and his descendants be content with this?  Were not people still worshipping Allah? Were not people still a single community with no differences? That couldn’t be! Shouldn’t he take revenge on the sons of Adam so that they would go to the Fire with him?

Satan’s Idea

But how could Satan do that when people were worshipping Allah?

He decided to call them to worship idols so that they would go to the fire and never get to the garden. He knows Allah forgives people all sins, if He so wills, except one. Allah never forgives people worshipping other things besides Him or as well as Him.

So Satan decided to call the people to associate other things with Allah so that they would never go to the Garden (Jannah). But how could he persuade them?

If he went to the people and said to them ‘Worship idols. Don’t worship Allah,’ they would curse him and close him off. They would say ‘Allah forbid! How can we associate other things with our Lord? How can we worship idols? You are a cursed Satan! You are a foul Satan!’

So Satan had to look for another way, a cleverer way, to get the people to do as he wanted.

Satan’s Trick

Here had been men who feared Allah and worshipped Him night and day and who remembered Him often.

They had loved Allah, so Allah had loved them and answered their prayers. People loved them and spoke of them with respect long after they had died and gone to Allah’s mercy.

Satan was well aware of this. So he went to the people and mentioned those men. He said, ‘what do you think of so-and-so and of so-and-so?

They said, ‘Glory be to Allah. They were men of Allah and His friends. When those men prayed, He answered them.  When they asked, He gave to them.’

Pictures of Righteous Men

Satan asked, ‘How great is your sorrow for them?’ They replied, ‘Very great indeed.’

He asked, ‘How great is your longing for them?’ They replied, ‘Very great indeed.’

He asked, ‘Why don’t you look at them every day then?’ They said, ‘How can we do that when they are dead?’ He said, ‘Make pictures of them and look at them every morning.’

People liked Satan’s idea and made such pictures and looked at them every day. Whenever they saw the pictures, they remembered how those holly men had lived.

From Pictures to Statues

In time, the people moved on from making pictures to making statues. They made many statues of the holly men and put them in their houses and their mosques.

They still worshipped Allah and didn’t associate anything with Him. They knew these were only statues of holy men and that they could neither help nor hurt them nor provide for them. They showed them respect because they were reminders of the holy men.

As time passed, the number of statues increased. The people respected them more and more. They got used to having them around and looked for blessings in them. Now whenever one of their holy men died, they would make a statue of him and name it after him.

From Statues to Idols

Sons saw their fathers looking for blessings through the statues and saw how much respect they had for them. They saw them kiss the statues, dress them and pray to Allah in their presence. They saw them lower their heads and bow down in their presence.

When the fathers passed away, the sons added what their fathers had done. They began to prostate themselves before them, to ask the statues for things and to sacrifice animals for them. In this way the statues were turned into idols.

People began to worship them as they had worshipped Allah before. They had a lot of these idols. One was Wadd. Another was Suwa`. This was Yaghuth. That was Ya`uq. Another was Nasr.

 Allah’s Anger

Allah became very angry with the people. He cursed them. How could Allah not be angry with the people because of what they were doing? Was this what they were created for? Was this what they were given provision for?

They walked on Allah’s earth, but rejected Allah! They ate Allah’s provisions, but associated others with Allah! How terrible a sin!

Allah was so angry with the people that he held back the rain and made things hard for them. Their harvests were small and few children were born for them.

But the people didn’t learn the lesson from that, they didn’t understand. They didn’t turn to Allah in repentance. They needed good counsel.

The Messengers

Allah does not speak to each person individually or tell each one to do this or do that. The angles are a race just like mankind. It is possible to see them and hear what they say, if Allah wills. But the angels don’t speak to each person individually either, or tell each one to do this or do that.

Only Allah can choose the person who will receive His message to give to the people. Allah wanted to send  messengers to the people who could speak to them and counsel them. Allah chose to send the children of Adam a man from among themselves to speak to them and give them good counsel.

Man or Angel?

Allah wanted His messenger to be a man and to be one of the people. That way they would recognize him and understand what he said.

If the messengers had been angels, the people might say, ‘What has he got to do with us? He is an angel and we are mortals! We eat and and drink and we have wives and children. How can we worship Allah?’

But if the messenger were a man, he could answer, ‘I eat and drink; I have a wife and children. But I worship Allah. Why don’t you worship Allah?’ If the messengers had been an angels, the people might say to him, ‘You don’t get hungry or thirty. You don’t get ill or die. So you can worship Allah and remember Him always!’

But if the messengers were human, he could answer, ‘I am just like you. I get hungry and thirsty. I get ill and will die. But I worship Allah and I remember Him. So why don’t you worship Allah? Why don’t you remember Him? In this way the people would not be able to make up excuses.

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The article is excerpted from the book “Stories of the Prophets”, by Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, published by UK Islamic Academy.

 

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Categories
Articles of Faith New Muslims

How Islam Regulates Our Life

By Abul A`La Mawdudi

In Islam, man’s entire individuals and social life is an exercise in developing and strengthening his relationship with God. Belief (iman) the starting point of our religion, consists in the acceptance of this relationship by man’s intellect and will; Islam means submission to the will of God in all aspects of life.

How Islam Regulates Our Life

Islam means submission to the will of God in all aspects of life.

Shari`ah

The Islamic code of conduct is known as the Shari`ah. Its sources are the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be on him).

The final Book of God and His final Messenger stand today as the repositories of this truth. Everyone who aggrees that the concept of ‘reality’ stated by the prophet, and the Book of Allah is true, should step forward and surrender himself to the will of God. It is this submission which is called Islam, the result of iman in actual life.

And those who of their own free will accept God as their Sovereign, surrender to His Divine will and undertake to regulate their lives in accordance with His commandments, are called Muslims.

All those persons who thus surrender themselves are welded into a community and that is how the ‘Muslim society’ comes into being. It is an ideological society, radically different from those which are founded on the basis of race, colour or territory. It is the result of a deliberate choice, the outcome of a ‘contract’ which takes place between human beings and their Creator.

Law of God

Those who enter into this contract undertake to recognize God as their Sovereign, His guidance as supreme and His injunctions as absolute Law. They also undertake to accept, without question, His word as to what is good or evil, right or wrong, permissible or prohibited. In short, freedoms of the Islamic society are limited by the commandments of the Omniscient God.

In other words, it is God and not man whose will is the primary source of Law in a Muslim society.

When such a society comes into existence, the Book and the Messenger prescribe for it a code of life called the Shari ‘ah, and this society is bound to conform to it by virtue of the contract it has entered into.

Un-Islamic

It is, therefore, inconceivable that a real Muslim society can deliberately adopt any other system of life than that based on the Shari ‘ah. If it does so, its contract is ipso facto broken and its becomes ‘un-Islamic’.

But we must clearly distinguish between the everyday sins of the individual and a deliberate revolt against the Shari ‘ah. The former may not mean a breaking up of the contract, while the latter most certainly would.

The point that should be clearly understood is that if an Islamic society consciously resolves not to accept the Shari ‘ah, and decides to enact its own constitution and laws or borrows them from any other source in disregard of the Shari ‘ah, such a society breaks its contract with God and forfeits its right to be called ‘Islam’.

Why?

The main objectives of the Shari ‘ah are to ensure that human life is based on ma `ruf (good) and to cleanse it of munkar (evils). The terms ma `ruf denotes all the qualities that have always been accepted as ‘good’ by the human conscience.

Conversely, the word munkar denotes all those qualities that have always been condemned by human nature as ‘evil’. In short, the ma `ruf is in harmony with human nature and the munkar is against nature.

The Shari ‘ah gives precise definitions of ma `ruf and munkar, clearly indicating the standards of goodness to which individuals and society should aspire.

It does not, however, limit itself to an inventory of good and evil deeds; rather, it lays down an entire scheme of life whose aim is to make sure that good flourishes and evils do not destroy or harm human life.

To achieve this, the Shari ‘ah has embraced in its scheme everything that encourages the growth of good and has recommended ways to remove obstacles that might prevent this growth.

This process gives rise to a subsidiary series of ma `ruf consisting of ways of initiating and nurturing the good, and yet another set of ma `ruf consisting of prohibitions in relation to those things which act as impediments to good. Similarly, there is a subsidiary list of munkar which might initiate or allow the growth of evil.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s book “The Islamic Way of Life”.

 

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