What is Islam ?

         Islam is 

  • Religion of Unity
  • Religion  of “Submission To The Divine Will”
  • Religion  of Nature
  • Religion of Discipline
  • Religion  of Truth
  • Religion of Temperance
  • Religion  of Beauty
  • Religion  of Reason
  • Religion of  The Negation of Superstition
  • Religion  of Action
  • Religion  of Balanced Progress
  • Religion   of Scientific Quest
  • Religion  of The Sanctity of Labour
  • Religion  of The Highest Idealism In Ethics
  • Religion   of Peace And Goodwill
  • Religion  of Struggle (Jihad)
  • Religion  of “No Compulsion  In Conversion”
  • Religion  of Brotherhood
  • Religion  of Spiritual Democracy
  • Religion   of Human Dignity
  • Religion    of Rational Sex Morality
  • Religion  of Salvation In This Life And The Hereafter
  • Religion   With Authentic And Perfect Divine Scripture
  • Religion   With The Simplest Creed
  • Islam’s Prphet   Hazrat     Muhammad (Peace Be Upon  Him) The Pinnacle of Human Perfection
  • Islam’s Fianl Goal is  to obtain  Love of God

Check out each points mentined in the above Statements with their proofs.

(A) RELIGION 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 His Personal Name:                ALLAH — the word “god” and its equivalents in other                 languages being unstable in the matter of connotation. Allah,                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                and “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 and Loving,                 the Guide, the Friend, the Magnificent, the Glorious, the Beautiful                and the True. In short, He is the Possessor of all Excellence.

Speaking                 of the conception of God in Islam, Gibbon, the famous western                 historian, says: “The Creed of Hazrat Muhammad is free from                 the suspicion of Ambiguity and the Qur’an is a glorious testimony                to the unity of God. The Prophet of Mecca rejected the worship                 of idols and men, of stars and planets, on the rational principle                 that whatever is corruptible must decay and perish, that whatever                is born must die, that whatever rises must set. In the Author                 of the universe his rational enthusiasm confessed and adored an                 infinite and Eternal Being, without form or place, without issue                 or similitude, present to our secret thoughts, existing by the                 necessity of His own nature, and deriving from Himself all moral                and intellectual perfections. These sublime truths …are defined                 with metaphysical precision by the interpreters of the Qur’an.                A philosophic theist might subscribe to the popular creed of the                 Muhammadans.”

(2)                 Unity of the Universe                 From the Unity of the Creator, according to Islam, proceeds the                 Unity of the Universe, i.e., 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”                 — a single family, and emphatically says that the distinctions                 on the mundane plane, the distinctions, namely, of race, colour,                 language or territory, cannot form the ground for claims of superiority of one group 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”.Prof. H.A.R. Gibb, the famous English                 critic of Islam says, “…..Islam…..possesses a magnificent                 tradition of inter-racial understanding and co-operation. No other                 society has such a record of success in uniting in an equality                 of status, of opportunity and of endeavour so many and so various                 races of mankind… If ever the opposition of the great societies                 of East is to be replaced by co-operation, the mediation of Islam                is an indispensable condition.” (Whither Islam? p.379).

(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 course has been actually                 open ever since the beginnings of human life on earth. Allah 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, i.e., ISLAM.

Allah’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 time, 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’AN;                and the Prophet who brought it is the Leader of Humanity, Hazrat                 Muhammad (Allah bless him!).Thus all the Prophets of God, from                Adam down to Hazrat Noah, Hazrat Abraham, Hazrat Moses and Hazrat                 Jesus (peace be upon them all), are the Prophets of a Muslim the                 Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him!) being the Last                and Final one, and all the Divine Scriptures are the Scriptures                 of a Muslim, though he follows only the Holy Qur’an because                 it alone exists in its original purity and 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 have 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 meet 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 mplementary. 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 classless society by eliminating                all possible social conflicts (through revolving the different                 interests).                 In the sphere of economics, Islam lays down the principle that                 wealth should not be allowed to circulate among the wealthy only,                and envisages, through its laws and institutions, a “Cooperative                 Common-wealth of Talents”.

In the                 political sphere, Islam stands for the “Cooperative Commonwealth                 of the Pursuers of Righteousness”.                 Taken as a whole, the Islamic state is a “welfare state”                 where sovereignty belongs to Allah alone and no human being has                a right to govern other human beings except in the name of Allah                and according to His Will, and where nobody, not even the Head                 of the State, is above the law. Absolute Justice is the watchword                and the Establishment of Righteousness is the goal.

The                 merits of Islam’s social ethics have elicited praise even                 from the otherwise hostile critics. For instance:H.G. Wells says:                 “Islam created a society more free from widespread cruelty                and social oppression than any society that had ever been in the                 world before” (Outline of History, p.325).

H.A.R.                 Gibb says: “Within the Western world Islam still maintains                 the balance between exaggerated opposities. Opposed equally to                 the anarchy of European nationalism and the regimentation of Russian                 communism, it has not yet succumbed to that obsession with the                 economic side of life which is characteristic of present-day Russia                alike.” (Whither Islam? p.378).

Prof.                 Louis Massignon says: “Islam has the merit of standing for                a very equalitarian conception… It occupies an intermediate                 position between the doctrines of bourgeois capitalism and Bolshevist                 communism.” (Whither Islam? p.378).

(7)                 Unity of Human Activity                Islam conceives of 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 manifestation,                is a life lived for God and God alone.

“Islam,”                 says Dudley Wright, scholar of Comparative Religion, “is                 no mere creed; it is a life to be lived. In the Qur’an may                 be found directions for what are sometimes termed the minor details                 of daily life, but which are not minor when it is considered that                 life has to be lived for God. The Muslim lives for God alone.                 The aim of the Muslim is to become God-bound, and to endeavour                to advance the knowledge of God in all his undertakings. From                 the cradle to the grave the true Muslim lives for God and God                alone.”

(B)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.                 For, everything in Nature submits to the Divine Will without demur.                 The only exception is man. He has to choose “Islam”                 through his free will and thus to attain his destiny by falling                 in line with the rest of God’s Creation.

Goethe,                 the renowned poet-philosopher of Germany, says:”Naerrisch,                 dass jeder in seinem Falle Seine besomdere Meinung priest! Whenn                Islam Gott ergeben heisst, Im Islam leben und sterben wir alle”                 viz:”It is lack of understanding that everyone praises own                 special opinion;(for) Islam means submission to God and in Islam                 we all live and die.”

(C)                 RELIGION OF NATURE                 The above statement brings out, and the Holy Qur’an emphasises                 in clear terms, that to be a Muslim is to live and grow in accordance                 with true human nature and in harmony with the Nature around.                Islam, thus, means conformity to the Natural Law.

(D)                 RELIGION OF DISCIPLINE                 The concepts of Submission to the Divine Will and Conformity to                 the Natural Law, when actively realized in human life, give rise                to the healthiest form of ISCIPLINE and Islam is the religion                 of Discipline par excellence.

In his                 famous book; First and Last Things, H.G. Wells says:                 “The aggression, discipline and submission of Muhammadanism                 makes, I think,… fine and honourable religion for men. Its                 spirit, if not its formulae is abundantly present in our modern                 world… I have no doubt that in devotion to a virile… Deity                and to the service of His Empire of stern Law and Order, efficiently                 upheld, men have found and will find salvation.”The German                 Orientalist Friedrich Delitzsch admits that the Muslim shows “owing                to his religious surrender to the Will of God an exemplary patience                 under misfortune and he bears up under disastrous accidents with                an admirable strength of mind.” (Die Welt des Islam, p.28).

(E)RELIGION                 OF TRUTH                 The concept of “Truth” forms the keynote of Islamic                 ideology and pervades the entire universal order presented by                Islam. Not only is “truthfulness” a fundamental value                 in the elaborate Islamic Moral Code – a value which forms                 the foundation-stone of Muslim character, but God Himself has                 been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an as “The Truth”,                 or “the True”, the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (God                 bless him!) as the “Bearer of Truth”, the Qur’an                 itself as “the Truth”, and the abode of the righteous                after death as the “Seat of Truth”.

(F)                 RELIGION OF TEMPERANCE                Islam is the religion of Purity and Temperance par excellence.                 It stresses purity not only of the mind and the heart, which certain                 other religions also stress, but also of the body, its fundamental                 principle being the harmonious development of human personality.                 Consequently; it strictly prohibits the use of all drinks and                 foods which might be unhealthy and injurious to the body, or the                 mind or both. Thus its prohibitive injunctions cover not only                all the intoxicants, e.g., wine, opium, etc., but also those foods                 which are harmful to healthy human growth. Ultimately, Islamic                 Temperance covers all evil thoughts, feelings and deeds.

(G)RELIGION                 OF BEAUTY                 Unlike certain religions, Islam is not the religion of contempt                 for the world, of the negation of any fundamental value. It is                 positively and definitely a religion of fulfilment – fulfilment                 of all the faculties and positive capabilities with which God                 has endowed man. Aesthetic culture, therefore, forms part of Islamic                 life – of course, governed and controlled by Islam’s                 moral and spiritual principles. In Islam the concept of “Beauty”                 permeates the entire human activity – nay, the whole cosmic                 order, “Allah,” says the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad                 (peace be with him!), “is Beautiful and loves what is beautiful.”                 Beauty in thought, words and deed, and beauty in all creative                activity is the Islamic ideal.Islam permits the creation of Art,                 within the limitations of its spiritual and moral framework. But                 its motto is not “Art for the sake of Art” but “Art                 for the sake of Life”, whereby alone a true blending of spiritual,                 moral and physical beauty – the rational and harmonious goal                 of human life – is achievable.

(H)                 RELIGION OF REASON                Islam regards Reason as man’s distinctive privilege and God’s                 noble gift, and the Holy Qur’an has repeatedly exhorted mankind                to employ Reason in the matters of social and natural phenomena                and in understanding its Message and practicing its Guidance,                 thus giving to “personal judgment,” its due place in                 the life of a Muslim.”Intellectual Culture” in general,                 forms one of the noblest pursuits of human life in Islam and the                acquisition and cultivation of knowledge has been made obligatory                 upon every Muslim man and woman.

(I)                 RELIGION OF THE NEGATION OF SUPERSTITION                Islam is a positively rational religion and stands opposed to                 the mystery cults and religions of mysterious dogmas whose acceptance                is generally claimed on the basis of blind faith.

Speaking                 of the negation of superstition and the affirmation of Reason                 in Islam, Godfrey Higgins says: “No relic, no image, no picture,                 no mother of God disgrace his (Hazrat Muhammad’s) religion.                 No such doctrines as the efficacy of faith without works, or that                 of a death-bed repentance, plenary indulgences, absolution or                auricular confession, operate first to corrupt, then to deliver                 up his followers into the power of a priesthood, which would of                 course be always more corrupt and more degraded than themselves.                 No indeed! The adoration of one God, without mother, or mystery,                 or pretended miracle, and the acknowledgement that he, a man,                 was sent to preach the duty of offering adoration to the Creator                alone, constituted the simple doctrinal part of the religion of                 the Unitarian of Arabia.” (Apology for Hazrat Muhammad).

(J)                 RELIGION OF ACTION                Islam stands in sharp contrast with those religions which interpret                 the Salvation of man in terms of the acceptance of certain intricate                and inexplicable formulae. Simplicity is its watch-word and rationality                 its lifeblood, and as such it gives to both “Faith”                and “Action” their due place. Wherever the Holy Qur’an                 mentions the problem of human salvation, it bases it on “right                 belief” as well as “righteous action”, emphasizing                 the former as the ground and the latter as the sequence.

(K)                 RELIGION OF BALANCED PROGRESS                Islamic life is a life of 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, a progress grounded in spirituality, a progress balanced                and comprehending all aspects of human life: spiritual, mental,                 moral, aesthetic and physical.Paying tribute to the balanced character                 of Islam and the progress which it inspires, the famous Orientalist                 Prof. H. A. R. Gibb says:”Within the Western world, Islam                 still maintains the balance between exaggerated opposites…For                 the fullest development of its cultural life, particularly of                 its spiritual life, Europe cannot do without the forces and capacities                 which lie within Islamic society.” (Whither Islam? p.378).

(L)                 RELIGION OF SCIENTIFIC QUEST                 While other religions may feel shy of science Islam has made the                 scientific quest a religious obligation. The aims of that quest,                 however, are not the unbalanced indulgence in physical pleasures                and the tyrannisation over fellowbeings, but the advancement in                 the love of God through progress in the knowledge of His works                and the service of humanity through the acquisition of control                 over the “forces of nature”.

Speaking                 of the role of Islam as the inaugurator of the modern scientific                 era, Briffault, the reputed scholar of the history of civilisation,                 says:…although there is not a single aspect of European growth                 in which the decisive influence of Islamic culture is not traceable,                 nowhere is it so clear and momentous as in the genesis of that                 power which constitutes the permanent distinctive force of the                 modern world and the supreme source of its victory – natural                 science and the scientific spirit … The debt of our science                to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries                 of revolutionary theories; science owes a great deal more to Arab                 culture, it owes its existence. The ancient world was, as we saw,                 pre-scientific. The Astronomy and Mathematics of the Greeks were                a foreign importation never thoroughly acclimatised in Greek culture.                 The Greeks systematised, generalised and theorised; but the patient                 ways of investigation, the accumulation of positive knowledge,                 the minute methods of science, detailed and prolonged observation                and experimental inquiry were altogether alien to Greek temperament…                 What we call science arose in Europe as the result of a new spirit                 of inquiry, of new methods of investigation, of the method of                 experiment, observation, measurement, of the development of Mathematics                 in a form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and those methods                 were introduced into the European world by the Arabs… Neither                 Roger Bacon nor his later namesake has any title to be credited                 with having introduced the experimental method. Roger Bacon was                 no more than one of the apostles of Muslim science and method                to Christian Europe; and he was never wearied of declaring that                 knowledge of Arabic and Arab Science was for his contemporaries                 the only way to true knowledge. Discussions as to who was the                 originator of the experimental method…are part of the colossal                 misrepresentation of the origins of European civilisation. The                 experimental method of the Arabs was by Bacon’s time widespread                and eagerly cultivated throughout Europe … Science is the                 most momentous contribution of Arab civilisation to the modern                 world….. It was not science only which brought Europe back                to life. Other and manifold influences from the civilisation of                Islam communicated its first glow to European life. “(Making                 of Humanity, pp 190-202).H.G. Wells, another great Western authority,                 had to admit that: “Through the Arabs it was, and not by                 the Latin route, that the modern world received that gift of light                and power (i.e., the Scientific Method).”

Because                 of its deep-rooted hostility to Islam, implanted during the Middle                Ages, the West has been very slow in acknowledging the merits                 of Islam. Admissions and confessions have, however, been gradually                 coming forth grudgingly or ungrudgingly. Thus, as we have seen                above, it has been admitted that the Muslims gave to the West                 the Scientific Method as well as the scientific inspiration. But                 the Muslims themselves received them from the Holy Qur’an.                 This fact has also been admitted at last. For instance, Stanislas                 Guyard observes: “In the seventh century of our era, the                 Old World was in agony. The Arabian conquest infused into it new                 blood … Hazrat Muhammad gave them (the Arabs) the Qur’an,                 which was the starting point of new culture. ” (Encyclopedia                 des Sciences Religieuses, Tome IX,p. 501). Challenging the adversaries                 of Islam and referring to the Holy Qur’an, Dr. A Bertherand                 says: “Let them read and meditate on this great Book: they                 will find in it, at every passage, constant attack on idolatry                and materialism; they will read that the Prophet incessantly called                 the attention and the mediation of his people to the splendid                 marvels, to the mysterious phenomena of creation… those who                 have followed its counsels have been, as we have described in                 the course of this study, the creators of a civilisation which                is astounding to this day.” (Contribution des Arabs auprogres                 des Sciences Medicales, p. 6).Emmanuel Deutsch oberves: “By                 the aid of the Qur’an the Arabs…came to Europe to hold                 up the light to humanity, they alone, while darkness lay around,…to                 teach philosophy, medicine, astronomy and the golden art of song                to the West as to the East, to stand at the cradle of modern science,                and to cause us late epigoni for ever to weep over the day when                 Granada fell.”

(M)                 RELIGION OF THE SANCTITY OF LABOUR                 In Islam, all honest labour is sacred and forms the life-blood                 of human progress. “For man is naught but what he strives                 for,” says the Holy Qur’an, and “the labourer is                 the beloved of God,” says the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad                 (God bless him!). Thus “idleness” is a sin and “industry”                is a virtue in Islam.

(N)                 RELIGION OF THE HIGHEST IDEALISM IN ETHICS                Islam lays the foundation of ethics on “submission to the                 Divine will” and gives to humanity the ethical ideal of imitating                 the Divine Attributes, even as we have been exhorted by the Holy                 Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (God bless him!) who says: “Imbue                 yourselves with Divine Attributes.”

“The                 highest form of religious ethic,” observes Sir Richard Gregory,                 “is that in which the aim of conduct is complete and implicit                 obedience to what is conceived to be the Will of God …(this                 obedience) may become a joyous and spontaneous acceptance of a                 mode of life, such as it is conceived would be consonant with                 the nature of God, subject to such limitations of the flesh as                are ineradicable – the ideal of saintliness. Hence arises                 the desire for uprightness as end-in-itself; either with a view                to reward, if not in this world, in the next, or pursued selflessly                 for its own sake. This concept of religious ethic has led to the                 highest idealism in human conduct.” (Religion in Science                and Civilisation, p. 63).

(O)                 RELIGION OF PEACE AND GOODWILL                 The world “Salam”, which means “peace”, has                 close root-affinity with the word “Islam”. Thus the                 concept of PEACE forms an integral part of the world ISLAM itself.                 Indeed, this concept permeates the Islamic religion through and                 through. For, God, according to the Holy Qur’an, is As-Salam,                 i.e. (the Source of) peace”; a Muslim’s Salutation,                 which embodies the ideal of Muslim life, is As-Salam-o -alaikum,                 i.e., “Peace be unto you”; and the abode of the righteous,                towards which the Holy Qur’an invites humanity, is Dar-us-Salam,                 i.e., “the Abode of Peace”.One of the ideals of Muslim                 life, therefore, is the attainment of peace on all fronts —                 peace with self through harmonious self-realisation, peace with                 fellow creatures through the maintenance of the basic attitude                 of Goodwill, and peace with God through submission to the Divine                 Will.

(P)                 RELIGION OF STRUGGLE (JIHAD)                 The Islamic concept of Peace is not, however, utopian, For, Islam                is a practical religion par excellence –a religion of Struggle                 (Jihad) — and does not, therefore, prescribe any course of action                 which is unnatural or impracticable. Thus, for instance, in international                 relations, although basically committed to the promotion of Peace                and Goodwill, Islam does allow the participation of Muslims in                 war when it becomes morally inevitable – when no other course                 remains open for safeguarding justice, nay, peace itself.The word                 “Jihad”, which has been maligned much by the evil-minded                 misrepresenters of Islam in connection with the wars of Islamic                 history, means “struggle” and, according to Islam, it                is of two kinds: (1) Struggle for subjugating one’s lower                 self to the higher self. This is the higher form of “Jihad”                and its function is purely spiritual: (2) Struggle for defeating                 the forces of evil on the collective plane. This is the collective                 Jihad.The collective Jihad may, again, be either of a peaceful                 character, namely, propagation of Islam and its establishment                 in the collective life of the people through preaching and reform,                 or it may be in the form of war against an aggressor.

The                Islamic permission of war is basically for defensive purposes.                And not only does Islam rule out all immoral impulses to war but                 it also lays down a rigid ethics which in its sublimity and humanness                 surpasses all other ethics of war which humanity has ever known.

Says                 O. Houdas: ” … The Qur’an states: ‘And fight                 for the cause of God against those who fight against you; but                 commit not the injustice of attacking them first; verily God loveth                 not the unjust’ – S.II 190…… Jihad had to                 be waged to defend Islam against aggression… Once the war                 was terminated, the Muslims always displayed a great tolerance                towards the conquered peoples, leaving them their legislation                and religious beliefs.” (La Grande Encyclopaedia, Tome 20,p.                 1006).”In their wars of conquest,” says E. Alexander                 Powell, “the Muslims exhibited a degree of toleration which                 put many Christian nations to shame.” (The Struggle for Power                 in Moslem Asia, p. 48).

(Q)                 RELIGION OF “NO COMPULSION IN CONVERSION”                As regards forcible proselytisation, it has been explicitly banned                 by Islam with the Qur’anic declaration: “there is no                 compulsion in matters of faith”, and the propaganda that                 Muslims went out into the world with the sword in one hand and                 the Qur’an in the other to convert the non-Muslims forcibly                is a pure fabrication. Indeed, it is so utterly unfounded that                 even an enemy of Islam like Rev. Dr. O’Leary had to admit:”History                 makes it clear that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through                 the world and forcing Islam at the point of sword upon conquered                 races, is one of the most absurd myths that the historians have                 ever repeated”. (Islam at the Croos-Roads, page 8).

(R)                 RELIGION OF BROTHERHOOD                Islam inculcates the love of God’s creation in general and                 of the human family, in particular. “The best of you is he                 who is best to God’s family (i.e., humanity),” says                 the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (God bless him!) Islam regards                 humanity as ‘one Fraternity inside which it affirms the existence                 of the “Islamic Brotherhood”, wherein all distinctions                 of caste and tribe, race and colour, language and territory are                 superseded and obliterated, and which has been allotted the function                 of acting as the servant of, and the torch-bearer of Divine Guidance                 for, the larger Human Brotherhood.Side by side with the code of                 conduct meant to be observed within the circle of Islamic Brotherhood                Islam also gives a definite code of Human Love which relates to                 the dealings of Muslims with the larger human society.

“The                 brotherhood of Muhammadanism,” says Dr. Leither, “is                 no mere word. All believers are equal and their own high-priest.”                 (Muhammadanism. P.18).                 The Dutch Orientalist Snouck Hurgronje observes: “The ideal                 of a League of Human Races has been approached by Islam more nearly                 than by any other ideology; for the League of nations founded                 on Hazrat Muhammad’s religion takes the principle of the                 equality of all human race so seriously as to put other communities                to shame.” (Muslim World Today).

(S)                 RELIGION OF SPIRITUAL DEMOCRAY                 In the sphere of worship, Islam stands for the establishment of                 direct relation between God and human being without the mediation                 of any priest. Every Muslim man and woman is, therefore, his or                 her own priest or priestess.

It is                 wrong to regard the scholars (Ulama) or the leaders (Imams) of                 congregational prayers in the mosques as priests. Any good Muslim                 who knows Islam can lead the prayers, while the ‘Ulama’                are simply scholars and experts of Islamic knowledge and merely                 fulfil a responsibility which rests on the shoulders of the entire                Islamic Brotherhood. For, Islam wants every Muslim man and woman                to be a scholar of its teachings, unlike, for instance, Hinduism,                 where those belonging to the caste of Brahmins alone possess this                 privilege.Rev.W.Wilson Cash, the famous Christian missionary and                 hostile critic of Islam, had to confess: “Islam endowed its                 people with a dignity peculiarly its own… Direct access to                 God makes one of the strong appeals of Islam” (The Expansion                 of Islam p. 177).

(T)                 RELIGION OF HUMAN DIGNITY                 Problem of Slavery                 By emphasizing freedom as the birthright of all human beings,                 by proclaiming human equality without distinctions of caste, colour                 or clime, by denying the sin-innate theory and all other theories                 of the evil origin of mankind by affirming that the progeny of                Adam is the noblest creation of God, by raising humanity to the                 status of the Vicegerency of God on earth, by making imitation                 of the Divine Attributes the ethical ideal of mankind, and by                 pointing out the conquest of the universe as the human destiny,                Islam has established human dignity on the loftiest pinnacle conceivable.

Humanity                 was suffering in various ways because of the wrong notions held                 by pre-Islamic cultures and religions about human dignity, when                Islam appeared. Cruelty was being perpetrated in the name of caste,                 tribe and race, large masses of humanity had been reduced to the                 status of serfs, and slavery, which had been an age-old institution,                 was being practiced by various races and peoples of Europe and                Asia, including the Arabs, with the sanction of such scriptures                as the Bible and without the least moral compunction. Islam raised                 its masculine voice of protest against all those evils and gave                to the world a philosophy and a legislation which has made it                 the saviour of the downtrodden and the oppressed for all time.

Among                 the many misconceptions spread about Islam by its enemies, one                is that which relates to slavery. For a proper appreciation of                 the role of Islam in the abolition of slavery, the reader is referred                to the present writer’s “Islam and Slavery.” Here,                 in this brief brochure, we might confine ourselves to the brief                 statement of a fair-minded non-Muslim scholar of the last century,                 who said: “His (i.e., Hazrat Muhammad’s) law of slavery                is, ‘If slaves come to you, you shall’ — not imprison                and then sell by public sale, though no claimant appears, as in                 the nineteenth century is the law of Christian England in her                 provinces, but, — ‘redeem them, and it is forbidden to                 you to send them forth’ (Qur’an II, p.85). And this                 was a man standing up in the wilds of Arabia in the seventh century.”                 (Westminster Review no. IX, p. 221).Even the hostile and biased                 Dutch critic of Islam, Prof. Snouck Hurgronje, had to say: “According                to the Muhammadan principle, slavery is an institution destined                to disappear.”

(U)                 RELIGION OF RATIONAL SEX MORALITY

Problem                 of polygamy                 The Islamic view of the fundamental equality of sexes has been                already stated in the section on “Religion of Unity”                and an impartial historical appreciation of the problem proves                 beyond all doubt that it was “Islam which removed the bondage                 in which women were held from the very dawn of human history and                 gave them a social standing and legal rights such as were not                 granted them in England till many centuries later.” (Lady                 Evelyn Cobbold, in “Pilgrimage to Mecca”). But the widespread                 propaganda of the enemies of Islam in connection with polygamy                 necessitates a specific statement in that connection.

In the                 first instance, polygamy was not invented by Islam, nor was it                 made in any way obligatory. It had existed in pre-Islamic societies                 since time immemorial with the sanction of religion and had been                 practiced even by those who were accepted as holy personages as                 for instance, we find in the Old Testament. There it was governed                 by no law whatsoever, and so also it was in the Arabian society                at the advent of Islam. What Islam did was to regulate it and                to subject it to such severe restrictions as to make it prohibitive                 except in cases of emergency. Indeed, monogamy has been the ideal                and polygamy only an exception in Muslim Society. This fact is                 fully borne out by the present as well as the past history of                 the Muslims and has been admitted by all fair-minded critics of                Islam. For instance, William Kelly Wright says: “Most Mohammedans                 in all ages have had only one wife.” (Philosophy of Religion,                 New York, 1935).

Islam                is a natural religion and it takes a very serious view of sexual                 vices and social ills. Consequently, it was very natural for Islam                to permit limited and restricted polygamy for the maintenance                 of social health in all those situations where it is the only                 natural remedy. For instance, when war alters the natural sex                 ratio, giving to women preponderance over men, there are only                 two alternatives, namely, widespread prostitution or polygamy.                Islam prefers the latter to the former in the interests of moral                 health and social wellbeing of womanhood. Similarly, if the first                 wife is sterile or suffers from any incurable disease, there are                 only two possible alternatives, namely, either the first wife                 should be divorced and a fresh wife taken or she may continue                 in her status undisturbed along with a second wife. The former                 course would mean distressing, spinsterhood for the first wife                 while the latter course would provide to her an honourable normal                 life without temptation to evil. Polygamy can also become a necessity                 in a medically incurable case of the hypersexed male who, in most                 cases, would look to more than one woman for the satisfaction                 of his biological need. In all such cases, the Islamic permission                 of polygamy with all its responsibilities and restrictions would                 be a definitely healthier course than the hypocritical adherence                to the formal monogamy.

Polyandry                 (i.e., the marriage of one woman with several husbands) is not                 permitted in Islam because psychologically it is unsound, sociologically                 it is impracticable and biologically it is most dangerous for                 the physical health of the persons concerned. Certain primitive                 tribes who practice polyandry are infected with the plague of                 venereal diseases.

Speaking                 on polygamy, Dr. Annie Besant says: “There is pretended monogamy                 in the West, but there is really polygamy without responsibility;                 the ‘mistress’ is cast off when the man is weary of                 her and sinks gradually to be the ‘woman of the street’,                 for the first lover has no responsibility for her future, and                 she is a hundred times worse off than the sheltered wife and mother                 in the polygamous home. When we see thousands of miserable women                 who crowed the streets of Western towns during the night, we must                 surely feel that it does not lie in western mouth to reproach                Islam for polygamy. It is better for a woman, happier for a woman,                 more respectable for a woman, to live in polygamy, united to one                 man only, with the legitimate child in her arms, and surrounded                 with respect, than to be seduced, cast out into the streets, perhaps                 with an illegitimate child outside the pale of law, unsheltered                and uncared for, to become the victim of any passer-by, night                after night, rendered incapable of motherhood, despised of all.”Another                 critic of Western social order observes: “The law of the                 state, based upon the dogma of the Church, which makes it a criminal                 offence for a man to marry more than one wife, by that same provision                 makes it illegal for millions of women to have husbands or to                 bear children…It is untrue that monogamy was advocated by                 Jesus Christ… whether the question is considered socially,                 ethically or religiously, it can be demonstrated that polygamy                is not contrary to the highest standards of civilisation …..                 The suggestion offers a practical remedy for the western problem                 of the destitute and unwanted female: the alternative is continued                and increased prostitution, concubinage and distressing spinsterhood”                 (J.E. Clare McFarlane: Case for Polygamy).

(V)                 RELIGION OF SALVATION IN THIS LIFE AND THE HEREAFTER                 It is the distinctive merit of Islam that it does not concern                 itself merely with Salvation beyond the grave—salvation in                 the Hereafter, but also gives full consideration to — in fact,                 ensures — human salvation in this life. For that purpose, it                 provides comprehensive Guidance which guarantees moral perfection,                 social progress, economic justice and political health –                 in short, all that is needed for the practical realisation and                attainment of true human happiness in earthly life and all-round                 harmonious evolution of humanity.Laura Veccia Vaglieri says: “A                 religion which is not content with being a theory adapted to the                aspirations of our human nature, nor with fixing a code of sublime                 precepts which may or may not be applied, but which also provides                a code of life, establishes the fundamental principles of our                 morality on a systematic and positive base, precisely formulates                 the duties of man towards himself and towards others by means                 of rules which are capable of evolution and compatible with the                 widest intellectual develo-pment, and which gives its laws a Divine                 sanction, surely deserves our most profound admiration, as its                 influence is continual and salutary on man.” (Apologie de                 L’ Islamisme, p. 88).

(W)                 RELIGION WITH AUTHENTIC AND PERFECT DIVINE SCRIPTURE                 There are three fundamental merits of the Holy Qur’an, the                 Scripture of Islam, in which it stands unique among the scriptures                 of the world. They are: (1) authenticity of its text: (2) perfection                 of its literary form; (3) rational character, comprehensiveness                and profoundness of its guidance. Even a brief discussion of these                 merits is not possible in the present introductory sketch. They                are, however, so well-established that even the non-Muslim western                 scholars, who are always ready to attack Islam on the slightest                 pretext had to admit them in forceful words.Commenting on the                 beauty of form of the Holy Qur’an Paul Casanova remarks:                 “Whenever Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was asked a miracle                as a proof of the authenticity of his mission, he quoted the composition                 of the Qur’an and its incomparable excellence as a proof                 of its Divine origin. And, in fact, even for those who are non-Muslims                 nothing is more marvelous than its language with such a prehensile                 plenitude and a grasping sonority that its simple audition ravished                 with admiration those primitive peoples so fond of eloquence!                 The ampleness of its syllables with a grandiose cadence and with                a remarkable large rhythm have been of much moment in the conversion                 of the most hostile and the most sceptic.” (L’ Enseignement                 de I’Arabe au College de France, Lecon d’ouverture,                April 26, 1909).As regards perfection in matter of guidance and                 the authenticity of its text, Laura Veccia Vaglieri observes:                 “But besides the perfection of form and method, the Book                is also revealed inimitable by its very substance, for, we read                 in it, among other things, previsions or future events and of                 relations of fact accomplished since many centuries or which are                 generally ignored, and allusions to the most different sciences,                 religious or profane. On the whole we find in it a collection                 of wisdom which can be adopted by the most intelligent of men,                 the greatest of philosophers and the most skillful politicians…..                 But there is another proof of the Divinity of the Qur’an:                 it is the fact that it has been preserved intact through the ages                 since the time of its Revelation till the present day. And so                 it will always remain, with God’s Will, as long as the universe                 exists. Read and re-read through out the Muslim world, this book                 does not rouse in the Faithful any weariness; it rather, through                 repetition, is found feeling of awe and respect in the one who                 reads it or listens to it.” (Apologie de L’Islamisme,                 pp.57-59).

(X)                 RELIGION WITH THE SIMPLEST CREED                 The Islamic creed is as simple as the Islamic ideology is profound.                 Its first fundaments are:

(1)                 SEVEN ARTICLES OF FAITH                 They are: Belief in:                Allah;                Angles;
Divine Scriptures;                 Messengers of Allah;                 the Hereafter;                 the pre-measurement of Good and Evil;                 Resurrection after death.

(2)                 THE “FIVE PILLARS”                 They are:                 Declaration of faith in the One-ness of God and in the Divine                 Messengership of Hazrat Muhammad: (Peace be upon him) La ilaha                 Illallah Muhammadur-Rasulullah;                 Obligatory Prayers;                 Obligatory Fasts;                 Zakat or Poor-tax;                 Pilgrimage to Ka’aba at Meccaa by those who possess the means.A                 Christian critic of Islam makes the following confession: “Islam                 had the power of peacefully conquering the souls by the simplicity                 of its theology, the clearness of its dogma and principles, and                 the definite number of practices which it demands. In contrast                to Christianity which has been undergoing continuous transformation                 since its origin, Islam has remained identical with itself”                 (Jean Lheureux: Etude sur L’Islamisme, p. 35).For an appreciation                 of the Seven Articles and the Five Pillars, the reader is referred                to “The Principles of Islam” written by His Eminence                 Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddiqi and published in the present series.                 Here it may be noted, however, that these Seven Articles and Five                 Pillars constitute only the “first fundaments”, while                 the complete ideology of Islam, which shoots off from these fundaments                and which is enshrined in the Holy Qur’an and the Prophetic                 Traditions, is so comprehensive as to cover the entire sweep of                 necessary guidance on physical, moral, social and spiritual aspects                 of human life.

(Y)                 Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) THE PINNACLE OF HUMAN PERFECTION                A code alone cannot, by its existence as such, inspire mankind                to action. Hence to love the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Allah                 bless him!) above all human being and things of the world, to                 believe in him as the Most Perfect Embodiment of Human Perfection                and as the Absolute Leader and the Last and the Final Prophet                 (after whom no new prophet of any category, zilli, buruzi, tashri’ee,                 ghairtashri’ee — shadowy or real — is to come), and to                 follow him as the “Best Example”, form the prerequisite                 of Islamic Belief.This is the theological status of the Holy Prophet                 Hazrat Muhammad (peace be with him) in Islam. As regards his refulgent                 personality, that would require volumes even to do bare justice                to it.

It is                 said that the best testimony is that which comes from the enemy’s                 camp. Here, therefore, we might quote a few statements of the                 Western scholars of Islam.Hazrat Muhammad’s (peace be with                 him) figure was highly majestic, his complexion and features were                 extremely handsome, and “he was gifted”, says the renowned                 Orientalist Lane Poole, “with mighty powers of imagination,                 elevation of mind, delicacy and refinement of feeling. ‘He                is more modest than a virgin behind her curtain”, it was                 said of him. He was most indulgent to his inferiors, and would                 never allow his awkward little page to be scolded whatever he                 did. ‘Ten years,’ said Anas, his servant, ‘was                 I about the Prophet and he never said as much as Uff to me.’                 He was very affectionate towards his family. One of his boys died                 on his breast in the smoky house of the nurse, a blacksmith’s                 wife. He was very fond of children; he would stop them in the                 streets and pat their little heads. He never struck anyone in                 his life. The worst expression he ever made use of in conversation                 was, ‘what has come to him? May his forehead be darkened                 with mud!’ When asked to curse someone, he replied, ‘I                 have not been sent to curse but to be a mercy to mankind.’                 He visited the sick, followed any bier he met, accepted the invitation                 of a slave to dinner, mended his own clothes, milked the goats,                and waited upon himself, relates summarily another tradition.                 He never first withdrew his hand out of another man’s palm,                and turned not before the other had turned.‘He was the most                 faithful protector of those he protected, ‘the sweetest and                 most agreeable in conversation. Those who saw him were suddenly                 filled with reverence; those who came near him loved him; they                 who described him would say, ‘I have never seen his like                 either before or after.’ ‘He was of great taciturnity,                 but when he spoke it was with emphasis and deliberation and no                 one could forget what he said.”He lived with his views in                a row of humble cottages separated from one another by palm branches                 cemented together with mud. He would kindle the fire, sweep the                 floor, and milk the goats himself. The little food he had was                always shared with those who dropped in to partake of it. Indeed,                 outside the Prophet’s house was a bench or a gallery on which                 were always found a number of poor who lived entirely upon his                 generosity, and were hence called ‘people of the bench’.                 His ordinary food was dates and water, or barley bread; milk and                 honey were luxuries of which he was fond but which he rarely allowed                 himself. The fare of the desert seemed most congenial to him even                 when he was the sovereign of Arabia…”There is something                 so tender and womanly, and withal so heroic, about the man that                 one is in peril of finding the judgement unconsciously blinded                 by the feeling of reverence and well-nigh love that such a nature                 inspires. He who, standing alone, braved for years the hatred                 of his people, is the same who was never the first to withdraw                 his hand from another’s clasp; the beloved of children who                 never passed a group of little ones without a smile from his wonderful                 eyes and a kind word for them, sounding all the kinder in that                 sweet-toned voice. The frank friendship, the noble generosity,                 the dauntless courage and hope of the man, all tend to melt criticism                 into admiration.”He was an enthusiast in that noblest sense                 when enthusiasm becomes the salt of the earth, the one thing that                 keeps men from rotting whilst they live. Enthusiasm is often used                 despitefully, because it is jointed to an unworthy cause or falls                 upon barren ground and bears no fruit. So was it not with Hazrat                 Muhammad (Peace be with him). He was an enthusiast when enthusiasm                 was the one thing needed to set the world aflame, and his enthusiasm                 was noble for a noble cause. He was one of those happy few who                 have attained the supreme joy of making one great truth their                 very lifespring. He was the Messenger of the one God, and never                to his life’s end did he forget who he was or the message                 which was the marrow of his being. He brought his tidings with                a dignity sprung from the consciousness of his high office together                 with a most sweet humility.” (Speeches and Table-talk of                 the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad, Introduction’ XXVIII –                 XXX).”The essential sincerity of Hazrat Muhammad’s (Peace                 be with him) nature,” says Professor Nathaniel Schmidt, “cannot                 be questioned; and historical criticism that blinks no fact, yields                 nothing to credulity, weighs every testimony, has no partisan                 interest, and seeks only the trust, must acknowledge his claim                to belong to that order of Prophets who, whatever the nature of                 their psychical experience may have been, in diverse manners,                 have admonished, taught, uttered austere and sublime thoughts,                 laid down principles of nobler than they found, and devoted themselves                 fearlessly to their high calling, being irresistibly impelled                to their ministry be a power within.” (The New International                 Encyclopaedia. Vol. XVI, p. 72).Speaking of the glorious success                 which attended the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad’s (Peace                 be with him) mission, Caryle observes: “To the Arab nation                Islam was a birth from darkness into light; Arabia first became                alive by means of it. A poor, shepherd people, roaming unnoticed                 in its deserts since the creation of the world; a Hero-Prophet                 was sent down to them with a word they could believe: see the                 unnoticed becomes world-notable, the small has grown worldgreat.                 Within one century afterward Arabia is at Granada on this hand,                at Delhi on that, glancing in valuour and splendour and the light                 of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a great section                 of the world. These Arabs, the man Hazrat Muhammad, (Peace be                 with him) and that one century — is it not as if a spark had                 fallen, one spark on what seemed black, unnoticeable sand? But                 lo ! the sand proves explosive powder, blazes heaven-high from                 Delhi to Granada!” (Heroes and Hero-Worship: Chappter on                 “Hero as Prophet”).O. Houdas, the French scholar, said                 half a century ago about the inner vitality of the Holy Prophet’s                 Message: “Never has a religion developed with parallel rapidity.                 In less than half a century Islam spread from the banks of the                 Indus to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, and, if this movement                 slowed down, it still persists after fourteen centuries of existence.                After having penetrated in India, in China and Malaysia, Islam                 continues its invading march in the African Continent which will                 before long become entirely Muslim. Without special missionaries                and without resort to the force of arms, the religion of Hazrat                 Muhammad (Peace be with him) has converted the Black Continent,                and it is not without some astonishment to point out the existence                 in England and America of small white communities which…..                 have adopted the Islamic doctrines and made efforts to propagate                 them. This invasion of Europe, hardly visible today, will surely                 grow.” (La Grande Encyclopaedie, Tome 20, article: Islamisme).

(Z)                ABSORPTION IN THE LOVE OF GOD THE FINAL GOAL                 Cultivation of and absorption in the love of Allah, and 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 Peace, Progress and Perfection.

About ABDULLA BUKHARI

A SEEKER OF ABSOLUTE TRUTH AND NOW WORKS IN SAFARI GROUP OF COMPANIES AS PUBLIC RELATION OFFICER
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