Page 41 - Islam In Focus

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"understanding." What man needs most of all is to understand himself and his nature,
his potentials and limitations, his place in the universe and relationships with its
The question now is how can Islam help man to understand himself, unclog his mind,
and clear his blurred vision? To try an answer to this question, it will be necessary to
keep in mind the basic concepts of Islam which have been discussed and to elaborate
further some elements of its value system. This analysis will hopefully show how they
may relate to modern man in his contemporary predicament, and how they may help
him to find his way through.
The principle of “ moderation” is most characteristic of Islam. It is probably best
expressed in the way Islam views human nature, the meaning of life, and the idea of
God. Islam does not subscribe to the one-sided “ humanistic” philosophy, which
almost deifies man and recognizes nothing beyond. Neither does Islam endorse the
equally one-sided verdict that human nature is inherently vicious, wicked, or sinful,
Islam rejects the idea that life is nasty, brutal, short, and miserable. But it equally
rejects the idea that life is an end in itself, pleasurable, and carefree. Islam does give
life a positive meaning, a purpose. It would devalue life on earth only relative to the
Hereafter. It is not concerned exclusively with the here and now, the instant
hedonism, and the immediate pleasures. Nor does it completely bypass the here and
now in pursuit of a future paradise in a hereafter. It addresses itself to both the human
condition here on earth and the human destiny in the Hereafter. Such concern is, of
course, proportionate; it values each phase of existence according to its relative effect
on the general well-being of man (Qur’ an 7:33; 17:18-21; 28:77; 57:20-21).
In the Qur’ an, there is a passage (2: 27-39) which is typical of so many others. This
passage contains some of the fundamental principles of Islam, and represents the
foundations of the world view of Islam. Outstanding among these principles are the
1. The world is a becoming entity, created by the will of a Designer and sustained by
Him for meaningful purposes. Historical currents take place in accordance with His
will and follow established laws. They are not directed by blind chance, nor are they
random and disorderly incidents
2. Man also is created by God and is commissioned to be God’ s viceroy on earth. He
is so chosen to cultivate the land and enrich life with knowledge, virtue, purpose, and
meaning. And to achieve this goal, everything in the earth and the heavens is created
for him and is made subservient to him. Life on this planet is not a prison for man; his
coming into the world was not an arbitrary punishment for previously committed sins.
Nor was he expelled from another world and cast out into this one. His existence was
no mere chance or undesigned occurrence
3. Knowledge is the unique faculty of man and is an integral part of his personality
and his being. It is knowledge that qualifies man to be the viceroy of his Creator and
entitles him to command the respect and allegiance even of the angels of God
4. The first phase of life on earth began not in sin or rebellion against the Creator.
The “ Fall” from the Garden of Eden and what followed thereafter – the remorse of
Adam and Eve, their repentance, God’ s forgiveness of and compassion for them, the