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Man's existence in this world and the creation of this entire universe are not mere accidents or products of a fortuitous nature. This universe, every single atom of it, manifests and leads us to the realization of a Loving, Merciful, and All-powerful Creator. Without a Creator, nothing can exist. Every single soul knows that he is existing and that his existence is dependent upon a Creator he knows for sure that he cannot create himself. Therefore it is his duty to know his master, the Creator.
Man is a unique creature. God establishes man as His representative or deputy to govern over all other creatures in this world. He is endowed with the faculty of REASON which sets him apart from all other animals. Together with this faculty to discriminate and discern, man is given the freedom (free-will) to choose for himself a way of life worthy of his position as God's representative or to fall lower than the lowest of all animals or creations. Man is born pure and sinless and is given the choice to do righteous deeds or indulge in sins.
The Creator, out of His abundant Love and Mercy for mankind has not left us in darkness to discover the right path by trial and error alone. Coupled with our intellectual capability to reason, our Creator bestowed upon us DIVINE GUIDANCE that outlines the Criterion for TRUTH, knowledge, as well as the reality of our existence in this world and the Hereafter.
From the beginning of mankind, our Creator sent prophets to convey His REVELATION and to invite human beings to the path of true PEACE and OBEDIENCE to the ONE TRUE GOD. This is ISLAM. This message is conveyed towards successive generations of man through the different prophets, all inviting mankind to the same path. However all the earlier messages or revelations from God were distorted by people of later generations.
As a result, pure Revelation from our Creator was adulterated and polluted with myths, superstitions, idol worship and irrational philosophical ideologies. The religion of God in a sense was lost in a plethora of religions. Human history is a testament of man's drift between light and darkness, but God out of His Abundant Love for mankind has not forsaken us.
When mankind was in the depths of the Dark Ages, our Creator sent His final Messenger, prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) to redeem humanity with the final revelation which represents the ultimate and permanent source of guidance for the whole world.
The following criteria can best serve as a gauge to find out the authenticity of the last revelation (the Qur'an) as words of God:
1. Rational Teachings: Since our Creator bestowed reason and intellect upon us, it is our duty to use it to distinguish the TRUTH from falsehood. True, undistorted revelation from God must be rational and can be reasoned out by all unbiased minds.
2. Perfection: Since our Creator is all perfect, His revelation must be perfect and accurate, free from mistakes, omissions, interpolations, and multiplicity of versions. It should be free from contradictions in its narration.
3. No Myths or Superstitions: True revelation is free from myths or superstitions that degrade the dignity of our Creator or man himself.
4. Scientific: Since our Creator is the Creator of all knowledge, true revelation is scientific and can withstand the challenge of science at all times.
5. Factual Prophecy: Our Creator is the Knower of the past, present and future. Thus His prophecies in His revelation will be fulfilled as prophesied.
6. Inimitable By Man: True revelation is infallible and cannot be imitated by man. God's true revelation is a Living miracle, an open book challenging all mankind to see and prove for themselves its authenticity or veracity.
Can we find an explanation of the great universe? Is there any convincing interpretation of the secret of its existence? We realize that no family can function properly without a responsible head, that no city can prosperously exist without sound administration, and that no state can survive without a leader of some kind. We also realize that nothing comes into being on its own.
Moreover, we observe that the universe exists and functions in the most orderly manner, and that it has survived for hundreds of thousands of years. Can we, then, say that all this is accidental and haphazard? Can we attribute the existence of man and the whole world to a mere chance? Man represents only a very small portion of the great universe, and if he can make plans and appreciate the merits of planning, then his own existence and the survival of the universe must also be based on a planned policy.
This means that there is a Designing Will behind our material existence, and that there is an extraordinary power to bring things into being and keep them moving in order. In the world there must be a Great Force in action to keep everything in order. In the beautiful nature there must be a Great Creator who makes the great charming pieces of art and produces everything for a special purpose in life.
The deeply enlightened people recognize this creator and call Him Allah. He is not a man because no man can create or make another man. He is not an animal, nor is He a plant. He is neither an Idol nor is He a Statue of any kind, because none of these things can make itself or create anything else. He is different from all these things, because He is the maker and Keeper of them all. The Maker of anything must be different and greater than the things that he makes.
There are various ways to know "Allah" and there are many things to tell about Him. The great wonders and impressive marvels of the world are like open books in which we can read about Him. Besides, Allah comes to our aid through the many messengers and revelations He has sent down to humanity. These messengers and revelation tell us everything we need to know about our Creator.
The complete acceptance of the teachings and guidance of our Creator as revealed to all His messengers (Peace Be Upon Them) is the religion of Islam. Islam enjoins faith in the oneness and the sovereignty of Allah, which makes man aware of the meaningfulness of the universe and of his place in it. This belief frees the human being from all fears and superstitions as it makes him conscious of the presence of the Almighty Allah, and of his obligation towards Him.
This faith must be expressed and tested in action, for faith alone is not enough. Belief in one God "Allah" requires that we look upon all humanity as one family under the universal Omnipotence of the Creator, and Nourisher of all. Islam rejects the idea of a chosen people while on the other hand, it approves that belief in the Creator, and doing righteous deeds is the only way to heaven. Thus, a direct relationship is established with Allah and without any intercessor at that.
Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all His prophets, like Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, David, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Them). But the message which was revealed to prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form.
The Qur'an is the revealed words of Allah and the basic source of Islamic teachings and Laws. It deals with the basis of creeds, morality, history of humanity, worship, knowledge, wisdom, god-man relation, and human relationship in all aspects-comprehensive teachings of which, can be built sound systems and social justice, economics, politics, legislation, jurisprudence, law and international relations, all of which are important contents of the Qur'an.
The Hadith, which contains the teachings, sayings, approvals and actions of prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) meticulously reported and collected by his devoted companions, explains and elaborates the Quranic verses.
The true Muslim believes in the following principal articles of faith:
1. Believes in one God Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, The Creator and The Provider, He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none equal or comparable unto Him.
2. Believes in all Messengers of Allah without any discrimination among them, as every known nation has a Warner or messenger from Allah. They were chosen by Allah to teach humanity and deliver His Divine message. The Qur'an mentions the name of some of them, and Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) stands as the last messenger.
3. Believes in all original scriptures and revelations of Allah, accepting them as the guiding light that the messengers received to show their respective people the right path to Him. In the Qur'an, special reference is made to the books of Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus (Peace Be Upon Them), but long before the revelation of the Qur'an to Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) some of these books and revelations had been lost or corrupted. The only authentic and complete book of Allah in existence today is the Qur'an, which has been preserved as it was revealed to prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in its pristine, pure form.
4. Believes in the angels of Allah, recognizing them as purely spiritual and splendid beings whose nature requires no food or drink or sleep. They are honored servants who are assigned certain functions, and spend their days and nights in the worship of Allah. They do not speak before Allah does, and they act only by His command.
5. Believes in the last day of Judgment, acknowledging that this world will end someday, and that the dead will rise to stand for their final and fair trial. People with good records will be generously rewarded and warmly welcomed to the heaven of Allah, and those with bad records will be punished and cast into Hell.
6. Believes in Fate, whether good or bad, which Allah, measured and ordained for all creatures according to his previous knowledge, and as deemed suitable by his wisdom. And in the timeless knowledge of Allah, and in His power to plan and execute His plans, nothing could happen in His Kingdom against His will. His knowledge and power which are always in action command over His creation. He is wise and merciful, and whatever he does must have a meaningful purpose. If this is established in our minds and hearts, we should accept with good faith all that He does, although we may fail to understand it fully, or think it is bad. Faith without action and practice is a dead end as far as Islam is concerned, for faith by nature is very sensitive and can be most influential. When it is out of practice or out of use, it quickly loses its liveliness and motivational power.
1. Shahada (Testimony): To bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah (The Creator), and that Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) is His messenger, with the Prophethood of Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) essentially professed to oblige the Muslims to follow his exemplary life as a model.
2. Salah (Prayer): Daily prayers are offered five times a day as a duty towards Allah. They strengthen and enliven the belief in Allah and inspire man to a higher morality. They purify the heart and prevent temptation towards wrong-doings and evil things. They are: - Fajr (The Dawn prayer) - Duhr (The noon prayer) - Asr (The afternoon prayer) - Maghrib (The sunset prayer) - Isha (The evening prayer).
3. Zakah (Charity): The literal and simple meaning of Zakah is purity, while its technical meaning designates the annual amount in kind or cash that a Muslim with means must distribute among the rightful beneficiaries from his yearly net savings at 2.5%. But the religious and spiritual significance of Zakah is much deeper and more valuable than its Humanitarian, and socio-political value.
4. Sawm (Fasting): The Muslims during the month of Ramadan do not only abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset but they are also required to abstain from evil intentions and desires throughout the whole months of the year in general, and during the month of Ramadan in particular. It teaches love, sincerity, and devotion, and develops a sound social conscience, patience, selflessness, and will power as well.
5. Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah): It is to be performed once in a lifetime, so long as one can afford it financially and physically, and it is the largest annual convention of faith where Muslims meet to know one another, study their common affairs and promote their general welfare without prejudice or bias as to one's color, race, nationality as well as status in life. After all, everyone is equal in the face of Allah, and so hajj therefore demonstrates in effect the universality of Islam and the brotherhood and equality of Muslims.
The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186
|Note from the Editor|
|Letters to the Editor|
|Islam Makes Inroads in Italy|
|Britain's Prime Minister Praises Islam|
|Barbri Demolisher Accepts Islam|
|The Most Beautiful Names of Allah|
|Death is Coming|
|Al-Banna's Letter to a Muslim Student|
|Women in Islam|
|How I Embraced Islam|
|The Qur'an & Science|
|Benefits of Sujud|
|The Origin of Arabic Numerals|
|Stories of the Sahabah|
|Sayings of the Prophet|
|The Miracle of Honey|
|This is Islam|
|Everybody - Nobody|