Page 9 - Islam In Focus

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Some outsiders call our religion “Mohammedanism” and address the believers in
Islam as “Mohammedans “. the Muslims both reject and protest the use of these
words. If our faith is classified as Mohammedanism and if we are called
Mohemmadans, there will be seriously wrong implications. This misnomer implies
that the religion takes its name after a mortal being, namely, Muhammad and that
Islam is no more than another “ism” like Judasim, Hinduism, Marxism, etc. Another
wrong implication of this misnomer is that outsiders might think of the Muslims,
whom they call Mohammedans, as worshippers of Muhammad or as believers in him
in the same way as Christians, for example, believe in Jesus. A further wrong
implication is that the word Mohammedanism may mislead the outsider and make
him think that the religion was founded by Muhammad and therefore takes its name
after the founder. All these implications are seriously wrong or at best misleading.
Islam is not just another “ism”. Nor do Muslims worship Muhammad or look upon
him the same way as Christians, Jews, Hindus, Marxists, etc., look upon their
respective leaders. The Muslims worship God alone. Muhammad was only a mortal
being commissioned by God to teach the word of God and lead an exemplary life. He
stands in history as the best model for man in piety and perfection. He is a living
proof of what man can be and of what he can accomplish in the realm of excellence
and virtue. Moreover, the Muslims do not believe that Islam was founded by
Muhammad, although it was restored by him in the last stage of religious evolution.
The original founder of Islam is no other than God Himself, and the date of the
founding of Islam goes back to the age of Adam. Islam has existed in one form or
another all along from the beginning and will continue to exist till the end of time.
The true name of the religion, then, is Islam and those who follow it are Muslims.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, Islam or submission to the Will of God, together
with obedience to His Law, does not mean in any way loss of individual freedom or
surrender to fatalism. Anyone who thinks or believes so has certainly failed to
understand the true meaning of Islam and the concept of God in Islam. The concept of
God in Islam describes Him as the Most Merciful and Gracious, and the Most Loving
and most concerned with the well-being of man, and as Full of Wisdom and care for
His Creatures. His Will, accordingly, is a Will of Benevolence and Goodness, and
whatever Law He prescribes must be in the best interest of mankind.
When the civilized people abide the laws of their countries, they are considered sound
citizens and honest members of their respective societies. No responsible person
would say that such people lose their freedom by their obedience to the Law. No
rational being would think or believe for a moment that such law-abiding people are
fatalists and helpless. Similarly, the person who submits to the Will of God, which is
good Will, and obeys the law of God, which is the best Law, is a sound and honest
person. He is gaining protection of his own rights, showing genuine respect for the
rights of others, and enjoying a high degree of responsible, creative freedom.
Submission to the good Will of God, therefore, does not take away or curtail
individual freedom. On the contrary, it gives freedom of a high degree in abundant
measures. It frees the mind from superstitions and fills it with truth. It frees the soul
from sin and wrong and quickens it with goodness and purity. It frees the self from
vanity and greed, from envy and tension, from fear and insecurity. It frees man from
subjugation to false deities and low desires, and unfolds before him the beautiful
horizons of goodness and excellence.