RELIGION OF “SUBMISSION TO THE DIVINE WILL”
The word “Islam” means “submission” and, as a religious term, it connotes “Submission to the Divine Will and Commands. As such, ”Islam” is co-extensive with ”Nature”.
RELIGION OF PEACE AND GOOD WILL
The word “Salaam”., which ,means “Peace”, has close root-affinity with the word “Islam”. One of the goals ;of the Islamic religion, therefore, is to promote and establish Peace and Goodwill. God, according to Islam, is “As-Salaam”, that is, “the Author of Peace”; the abode of the Righteous after death is Dar-us-Salaam, that is, “the Abode of Peace’; and a Muslim’s salutation is “Assalaam-U-Alaikum’, that is, “Peace be unto you”.
RELLIGION OF PIOUS PROGRESS`
Islamic life is the attainment of “Falah”, which means “the furrowing out of latent faculties”. A Muslim, therefore, has to continuously strive for progress - a progress controlled by righteousness and illumined by Divine Guidance.
RELGION OF UNITY
(1) UNITY OF GOD
Islam teaches the purest form of Monotheism and regards Polytheism as the deadliest sin. A Muslim addresses GOD by the personal name: ALLAAH, the word “god” and its equivalents in other languages being unstable in the matter of connotation. Allaah, according to Islam, is the One God, who is indivisible in Person and Who has no partner, wife, son or daughter. He is the “Matchless” “naught is as His likeness”. ”He begetteth not, nor was He begotten”. He is the First; the Last, the Eternal, the Infinite, the Almighty, the Omniscient, the Omnipresent. He is the Creator, the Nourisher, the Cherisher of all things. He is the All-Just, the Avenger of the wrongs done to the weak and the oppressed, the Compassionate, the ;Merciful, the Loving, the Guide, the Friend, the Magnificent, the Glorious, the Beautiful, the Truth, In short, He is the Possessor of All Excellence.
(2) UNITY OF THE UNIVERSE
From the Unity of the Creator, according to Islam, proceeds the Unity of the Universe, that is, Unity of Creation and Unity of Purpose. In other words, the Cosmos is a Moral Order.
(3) UNITY OF MANKIND
Islam regards the whole of mankind as an “organic unity” – as a single family, and emphatically denies that the distinctions on the mundane plane, the distinctions, namely: of race, language or territory, colour can form the ground for claims of superiority of one group or individual over the other. The only distinction that has “value” is that which arises at the moral and spiritual planes, namely, the distinction of “taqwa”, or “piety and righteousness”, which in its turn, does not deprive the non –possessors of their basic human rights.
(4) UNITY OF RELIGION
According to Islam, the human intellect, though a great and powerful asset, has its natural limits, and, therefore, neither the normative nor the empirical sciences are capable of leading humanity to a sure knowledge of ultimate truths and the code of life based upon them. The only source of sure knowledge open to humanity is, consequently, Divine Guidance and that source has been actually open ever since the beginning of human life on the earth. Allaah raised His “Prophets” and “Messengers” and revealed His Guidance to them for transmission to humanity. Coming from the same Source, all revealed religions have, therefore, been one and the same, that is, ISLAM.
Allaah’s Prophets and Messengers continued to come to every country and community to work in their respective limited fields. Time after time, the revealed Guidance was either lost or corrupted through human interpolation, and new Prophets with fresh Dispensations were sent, and humanity continued to advance from infancy to maturity. At last, when the stage of maturity was reached,,- when humanity was practically to become one family-, instead of sectional Guidance, a perfect, final and abiding Revelation, addressed to entire mankind and for all times, was granted in the seventh century of the Christian era. That Revelation, which recapitulates all former Revelations and thus sets a Seal on the Unity of Religion is Islam, the Scripture which enshrines it is the Holy Qur-aan and the prophet who brought it is the Leader of Humanity, Muhammad (Allaah bless him!)..
Thus all the Prophets of God, from Adam down to Noah and Abraham, Moses and Jesus (Peace be on them all), were the Prophets who preached Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him) being the Last and Final one, and all the Divine Scriptures were the Scriptures of the same divine religion though a Muslim follows only the Holy Qur-aan because it is the final scripture existing in its original purity. It alone contains the religion of Islam which has been followed by all rightly guided people since the day the first human being came into existence.
(5) UNITY OF SEXES
Differentiation of functions has misled certain cultures of the world to regard woman as a being who belongs, so to say, to a different and inferior species. and to mete out to her inhuman treatment accordingly. Islam emphatically repudiates that notion and teaches that both man and woman have sprung from the same essence and the same source and consequently possess the same human status. Their functions and interests, instead of being antagonistic, are meant to be complementary The natural relation between the sexes in all its aspects, is therefore, that of love and harmony without which no true human progress can be possible.
(6) UNITY OF CLASSES
Islam aims at the creation of a society by eliminating all possible social conflicts (through resolution of different clashing interests).
In the sphere of economics, Islam lays down the principle that wealth should not be allowed to accumulate among the wealthy only and envisages, through its laws and institutions a “Co-operative Commonwealth of Talents”.
In the political sphere, Islam stands for the “Conservative Commonwealth of the Pursuers of Righteousness”.
Taken as a whole, the Islamic state is a “Welfare State” where sovereignty belongs to Allaah alone and no human being has a right to govern other human beings except in the name of Allaah and according to His Will, and where nobody, not even the Head of State’ is above law. Absolute justice is the watchword and the Establishment of Righteousness is the goal.
(7) UNITY OF HUMAN ACTIVITY
Islam conceives the human personality as a “unity” and consequently regards the distinction of “secular” and “religious” as unscientific, irrational and absurd: The life of a Muslim, both in its individual and social manifestations, is a life lived for God and God alone.
THE HOLY QUR-AAN
A code Co-extensive with nature
The conception necessitates a comprehensive Code- a Code co-extensive with nature: the Code which should ;be capable of transforming every human act, however mnndane, into a religious act; and this Islam has given to humanity in the Holy Qur-aan and Hadith.
MUHAMMAD (peace be on him) –
The Pinnacle of human perfect
Cultivation of and permeation of the love of Allaah in the permeation of the heart with the sweet ecstasy of that love until a person becomes virtually incapable of acting against the Divine Commands, is the final goal, which bestows upon a Muslim “Abiding Life” – a life of Perfection, Peace and Happiness.
A religious Obligation
While other religions may feel shy of Sciences, Islam has made scientific quest a religious obligation. The aims of that quest, however, are not the unbalanced indulgences in physical pleasures and tyrannisation over fellow- beings but advancement in the love of God through progress in the knowledge of His Works and service to humanity through the acquisition of control over the “forces of nature’.
FIRST FUNDAMENTS OF FAITH AND PRACTICE
The Islamic creed is as simple as the Islamic ideology is profound. Its first fundaments are as follows:
(1) Seven articles of Faith.
They are belief in:
(i) Allaah (ii) Angels (iii) Divine Scriptures (iv) Messengers of Allaah (v) The Hereafter (vi) The pre-measurement of Good and Evil, and (vii) Resurrection after death
(2) The “Five Pillars”
(i) Declaration of faith in the Oneness of God and in lhe Divine messengership ;of Muhammad (Laa
(ii) Obligatory prayers,
(iii) Obligatory fasts,
(iv) Zakaat or Poor-rate,
(v) Pilgrimage to the Ka’aba in Makkah by those who possess the means.
(The Minaret; December 1989)