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Belief in Allah’s Messengers

Belief in Allah’s Messengers

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The religion of Muhammad is the complete and final religion of truth .

To have iman (faith) in Allah’s Messengers is to believe that Allah (Exalted be He) selected the finest amongst humanity as Messengers whom He sent to His creation with specific legislations; to worship and obey Allah and to establish His Religion and His Tawhid (Oneness of Allah) in His Lordship, Worship, and Names and Attributes.

He (Glory be to Him) ordered His Messengers to convey this message to people so that they would not have any proof against Allah or excuse for disobedience after He sent them. They gave glad-tidings of the Pleasure of Allah and His Jannah (Paradise) reserved for those who believe in them and their teachings, and gave stern warning of the anger of Allah and His punishment reserved for those who disbelieve in them and their teachings:

And We send not the Messengers but as givers of glad tidings and as warners. So whosoever believes and does righteous good deeds, upon such shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. But those who reject Our ayat (verses, signs, proofs), the torment will touch them for their disbelief. (Al-An`am 6:48, 49)

They (the disbelievers), therefore, will not be able to say:

Our Lord! Why did You not send us a messenger? We should then have followed Your ayat (verses of the Qur’an) and should have been among the believers. (Al-Qasas 28:47)

There are many Prophets and Messengers; no-one knows their exact number except Allah. Allah says:

And, indeed We have sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad ); of some of them We have related to you their story, and of some We have not related to you their story. (Ghafir 40:78)

One must believe in all of them and that they were purely and truly only human in nature; they were not supernatural beings. Allah says:

And We sent not before you (O Muhammad) but men to whom We inspired, so ask the people of the reminder (Scriptures) if you do not know. And We did not create them (the messengers, with) bodies that ate not food, nor were they immortal. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:7, 8)

They do not share any characteristics specific to Allah whatsoever. They can neither bring benefit nor can they cause harm. They do not have any control over the universe whatsoever, nor can they do with it as they please. They cannot do anything which only Allah is able to. Allah says:

Say (O Muhammad): ‘I possess no power of benefit or hurt to myself except as Allah wills. If I had the knowledge of the unseen, I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me.’ (Al-A`raf 7:188)

If one believes in only some of them and not all, he has committed kufr (disbelief) and is considered to be outside the fold of Islam. Allah says:

Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allah and His Messengers saying, ‘We believe in some but reject others,’ and wish to adopt a way in between. They are in truth disbelievers. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating torment. (An-Nisaa’ 4:150, 151)

From among the Messengers were those whom Allah called ‘Ulul-‘Azm’ or ‘those of strong determination’. They were the strongest of the Messengers in carrying the Message, conveying it to their people and being patient and steadfast in their mission. They were Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), `Isa (Jesus), and Muhammad (may the utmost of Allah’s mercy be upon them all).

The first messenger was Noah. Allah says:

Verily, We have inspired you (O Muhammad) as We inspired Noah and the Prophets after him. (An-Nisaa’ 4:163)

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last and final Messenger; no messenger will come after him until the Final Day. Allah says:

Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last (end) of the prophets. (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

The religion of Muhammad completed Allah’s message to humanity, and thus has abrogated all the religions which preceded it. It is the complete and final religion of truth which is obligatory to be followed, and it will continue to be so until the Last Hour.

Who Is Muhammad?

His name is Muhammad ibn `Abdullah ibn `Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim, and his nickname is Abul-Qasim. He was from the Arab tribe of Quraysh whose ancestry traces back to `Adnan. `Adnan was from the children of Isma`il (peace be upon him), the Prophet of Allah and son of Ibrahim (peace be upon him), the khalil (intimate friend) of Allah. The Prophet  said: “Indeed Allah chose the tribe of Kinanah over other tribes from the children of Isma`il; He chose the Quraysh over other tribes of Kinanah; He chose Banu Hashim over the other families of the Quraysh; and He chose me from Banu Hashim.” (Muslim)

He received his first revelation from Allah at the age of forty, and he remained in Makkah thereafter for thirteen years calling to Tawhid of Allah. He then migrated to Madinah and called its inhabitants to Islam, which they accepted. There, Allah revealed the remaining legislations.

The Prophet conquered Makkah eight years after his migration, and Allah took his soul at the age of sixty-three, after revealing to Him the entire Qur`an. All the legislations of the religion were revealed, completed and perfected, and the majority of the Arab nation accepted Islam.

The Fruits of Iman in the Messengers

Through the belief in Allah’s messengers, one benefits in the following ways:

1- One realizes the mercy and love that Allah has for His slaves as He sent to them Messengers conveying to them His religion.

2- It helps one distinguishes the believers truthful in their faith from others, for it is incumbent upon one who believes in his own Messenger to believe in the other Messengers prophesized in the divine books.

3- As a multiplication of good deeds, for those who believe in their own Messenger and in addition to that believe in the other Messengers of Allah, they will receive double reward.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “How to Become a Muslim”, Islam House (2004).

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Islam and Belief in the Hereafter

Islam and Belief in the Hereafter

road to heaven

The way to protect ourselves is through seeking the knowledge of divine guidance.

All of mankind was created by Almighty God. Before giving us worldly life, He took a covenant from each of us. The implication of this pledge is that all human beings are born inherently aware that the One God is their Lord, Creator, and Master and that to deny that by either denying God or setting up other God’s beside Him will be the ultimate treachery. This covenant is as follows:

And when your Lord took from the children of Adam and their descendants a covenant and made them testify, saying to them ‘Am I not your Lord’? They (mankind) replied, ‘Yes. We testify’. (This testimony) is lest you would say on the Day of Judgment ‘Surely we were unaware of this’. Or lest you should say, ‘It was our forefathers who associated with You in worship (or didn’t believe in you) and we were just their descendants. So would you destroy us for the lies they (our forefathers) spread’. (Al-A`raf 7:172)

Not only does this covenant explain the natural faith in a Supreme Creator that we are all born with, it is also rejects allowing one’s family’s religion to be adopted and followed as a culture in most cases. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) expounds upon this meaning: “No child is born but upon Fitra. It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.” (Muslim)

Life Is a Test

The reality is that we will all inevitably die. So, what is the purpose of life? Mainly about recognizing and nurturing the pure monotheism, life is a test of our loyalty to God. This test can be explained in two verses:

Everyone will taste death. We will test you with the bad and the good as a trial upon your patience and to us you will be returned for judgment. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:35)

One part of the test is to be patient when afflicted with difficulties and thankful when blessed with the good things in life like health, beauty and wealth etc. The other part of the test is to seek God’s guidance and apply it. The more one applies the guidance of the Almighty, the more he/she becomes a good person performing good works for the wellbeing of his or her self and society. The Qur’an illustrates this for us:

He is the One who created death and life to test you as to which of you is best in deed. (Al-Mulk 67:2)

This guidance is generally known by our inherent nature, but only clearly and comprehensively known through the message sent with a Prophet of God as previously mentioned. Here, the question may arise; Muslims believe that all of the previous Prophets’ messages were corrupted by the priests and rabbis, so what about the people who lived an honest decent life, but throughout their life they didn’t have access to the correct message of Islam as taught by the Prophet who was sent to their nation? The Prophet Muhammad answered this for us” “There are four people who will come forth on the Day of Judgment put forth their argument as to their excuse for not following God’s guidance. They are a deaf person, a retarded or mentally challenged person, an old man who was called to Islam and was senile so couldn’t comprehend, and someone who lived their whole life in a time and place that didn’t receive the pure message. All of their excuses will be deemed valid and God will send them an angel and tell these groups that this angel is His messenger and to follow him. The angel will kindle a blazing fire and command the people to enter. Whoever enters it will go to heaven and whoever doesn’t then they will have brought upon themselves the punishment of Hell. (Al-Bayhaqi)

The Afterlife

The Hereafter has different phases. We will summarize the main points of the Hereafter according to the book of God and the Sunnah of His final Messenger (peace be upon him). The Hereafter begins when we die. When anyone dies, they will remain in their grave (or final resting point) and experience visions of their final abode whether it be heaven or hell. They are waiting for the appointed day when God will call for the destruction of the universe and beginning of the Day of Judgment. After the universe is destroyed, only God and what He exempts will remain. God will then recreate the earth and some other celestial bodies. He will then resurrect all people from their graves in the physical form they died in. Then, He will give everyone’s book of deeds. Everyone will now await their judgment which depends upon the weight of their good deeds against their bad deeds. In the end, all of the people in history will either go to Heaven or Hell. Heaven is the land of peace where the believers will live eternally indulging in their desires as they wish and other delights and pleasures which they never imagined. The most blessed thing they will have is the sight of their Maker. The Almighty says:

(It will be said to them) “Enter it in peace. This is the day of Eternity.” They will have whatever they desire therein and We have more for them (or something extra special – as the authentic texts tell us we will see God). (Qaf 50:34, 35)

Those are the companions of Paradise. They will abide therein eternally. And we will remove from their hearts any jealousy or resentments. (Al-A`raf 7:43)

This authentic hadith gives us detail: “(Upon entering Paradise) A caller calls “You are to be healthy and never to get sick again, you are to live and never to die again, you are to be young and never to be old again, and you are to feel happiness living in pleasure and you will never feel miserable or sad again.” (Al-Bukhari) The one guaranteeing factor which will lead one to paradise is that they believe in the Oneness of God and followed the message sent with a given Prophet and repented after having sinned. The one factor which guarantees one a place in Hell is to deny God (i.e. Allah) or to worship other than him after being called to the pure monotheism. The Almighty Allah says,

Indeed God does not forgive that you associate with him in divinity or worship, but He forgives all other sins to whom He wills. And He who associates others with God has indeed fabricated a tremendous sin. (An-Nisaa’ 4:48)

Those who die while rejecting God or while worshipping other than Him are doomed to Hell for eternity. This is for indulging in the greatest treachery to the one who not only created us, but provided us with innumerable blessings throughout life. There are also many believers in the Oneness of God who worshipped him exclusively but will go to Hell for a time to pay for the evil they committed. They will go to Hell because their evil deeds, innovations, insincerity and neglect to follow God’s guidance, that exceeded their good deeds. Hell is the worst thing that could happen to anyone. The Almighty warns us about straying from the straight path that He made for us,

Those who reject Our guidance, We shall soon cast into the Fire; as often as their skins are roasted, We will replace them with fresh skins, that they may feel the Punishment: for God is Exalted in Power, All-Wise. (An-Nisaa’ 4:56)

If they implore relief they will be granted molten brass that will scald their faces: What a dreadful drink! What a horrible abode! (Al-Kahf 18:29)

(In their immense thirst) they will be given water from a boiling spring. (In their hunger) There will be nothing put poisonous thorny plants. (Al-Ghashiyah 88:5, 6)

The Prophet described the extent of the horrors of the Hell-Fire: “The least tormented man in hell on the Day of Judgment is a man who has coals put under the sole of his feet which are so hot that the blood in his brain begins to boil”. (Al-Bukhari) Although, before our death, the door of repentance is wide open even for atheists and polytheists:

Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves by sinning, do not despair of the Mercy of God. Certainly, He forgives all sins. Indeed it is Him who is The Forgiving and The Merciful. (Az-Zumar 39:53)

That’s why God Almighty commands us:

O you who believe, protect yourselves and your families from the Hell-Fire… (At-Tahrim 66:6)

The way to protect ourselves is through seeking the knowledge of divine guidance and purifying our hearts by pondering on its wisdoms and applying it in our daily lives. This will create a change in us and we will truly become spiritual beings and not just claim to be believers in God based upon our own assumption without weighing that against the example laid out by the noble Prophets of God (peace be upon them) and their devout followers.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “The Foundations of Islamic Faith”, Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait (2008).

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God: The All-Loving, the Merciful

God: The All-Loving, the Merciful

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By His mercy and love He has shown us the Right way and sent to us messengers and teachers, books and revelations.

Once man believes that God exists he must know His attributes and names. Generally speaking every perfection and absolute goodness belong to Him, and no defect or wrong applies to Him. In specific terms, one should know and believe the following:

1- God is only One, has no partner or son, neither gives birth, nor is He born. He is eternally besought by all and has no beginning or end, and none is equal to Him:

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)

2- He is the Merciful and the Compassionate, the Guardian and the True Guide, the Just and the Supreme Lord, the Creator and the Watchful, the First and the Last, the Knowing and the Wise, the Hearing and the Aware, the Witness and the Glorious, the Able and the Powerful, i.e. Al-Hadid 57:1-6, and Al-Hashr 59:22-24.

3- He is the Loving and Provider, the Generous and the Benevolent, the Rich and the Independent, the Forgiving and the Clement, the Patient and the Appreciative, the Unique and the Protector, the Judge and the Peace, i.e. Aal `Imran 3:31, Hud 11:6; Fatir 35:15, and At-Talaq 65:2-3).

Each one of these names and attributes of God is mentioned in various places in the Qur‘an. We all enjoy the care and mercy of God Who is so Loving and Kind to His creation. If we try to count His favors upon us, we cannot, because they are countless, i.e. Ibrahim 14:32-34, and An-Nahl 16:10-18).

His Love

God is High and Supreme, but He is very near to the pious thoughtful people; He answers their prayers and helps them. He loves the people who love Him and forgives their sins. He gives them peace and happiness, knowledge and success, life and protection, He welcomes all those who want to be at peace with Him and never rejects any of them.

He teaches man to be good, to do the right and keep away from the wrong. Because He is so Good and Loving, He recommends and accepts only the good right things. The door of His mercy is always open to any who sincerely seek His support and protection, i.e. Al-Baqarah 2:186, Qaf 50:16.

The Love of God for His creatures is immense and beyond human imagination. We cannot measure or count His favors. He creates us and takes good care of us, not only from the time of our birth onward, but even long before that. He makes us in the best form of creation and gives us all the senses and faculties that we need for our growth.

He helps us when we cannot help ourselves, and provides for us and for our dependents. He creates in man the mind to understand, the soul and conscience to be good and righteous, the feelings and sentiments to kind and humane.

His Mercy

By His mercy we gain true knowledge and see the real light. Because He is Merciful He creates us in the most beautiful shape and provides us with the sun and the moon, the land and sea, the earth and the skies, the plants and the animals.

He is the Creator of all these things and many others for our benefit and use. He makes things that are of service to us in this life, and gives man dignity and intelligence, honor and respect, because man is the best of all created things and is God’ s viceroy on earth.

The mercy of God gives us hope and peace, courage and confidence. It enables us to remedy our griefs and sorrows, to overcome our difficulties and obtain success and happiness.

Indeed, the mercy of God relieves the distressed, cheers the afflicted, consoles the sick, strengthens the desperate, and comforts the needy. In short, the mercy of God is active everywhere all the time in every aspect of our lives. Some people may fail to recognize it only because they take it for granted. But it is real and we can feel it with our hearts and appreciate it with our minds.

The Loving Merciful God never forgets us or lets us down or ignores our sincere calls upon Him. By His mercy and love He has shown us the Right way and sent to us messengers and teachers, books and revelations – all are meant for our help and guidance. The Last Messenger from God is Muhammad, and the most genuine existing book of God is the Qur’an.

From the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the teachings of the Qur’an, we learn about the Forgiving God. If a person commits a sin or does something wrong, then he is violating the law of God, committing a grave offense against God and abusing his own dignity and existence.

But if he is sincere and wishes to repent, regrets his wrong deeds and wants to turn to God, faithfully seeks pardon from God and honestly approaches Him, then God will certainly accept him and forgive him.

Even those who reject God or His Oneness are assured of forgiveness, should they realize their erroneous attitude and resolve to come back to God. In this connection the Qur’an says:

Say: ‘O My servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the mercy of God: for God forgives all sins: For He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. (An-Nisaa’ 4:48)

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)

Say: ‘O My servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the mercy of God: for God forgives all sins: For He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Turn to your Lord (in repentance) and submit to Him, before the penalty comes on you; after that you shall not be helped. And follow the best of the courses revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes on you – of a sudden while you perceive not!’ (Az-Zumar 39:53, 54)

Its Impact

In return for all these great favors and kindness God does not need anything from us, because He is the Needless and the Independent. He does not ask us to pay Him back, for we cannot reward Him or value His immeasurable favors and mercy.

What He commands us to do, however, is only to be good, to be thankful and appreciative, to follow His recommendations and enforce His law, to be the proper manifestation of His goodness and excellent attributes, to be His honest agents and true representatives on earth.

He does not want to enslave us, because He is the One Who grants us dignity and honor. He does not wish to subjugate us, because He is the One Who emancipates us from fear and superstitions. He does not desire to humiliate us because He is the One Who creates us and exalts our ranks above all other beings.

So whatever rules and prescriptions He passes unto us are designed for our own benefit and good. They are meant to help us to enjoy our lives with one another in peace and kindness, in brotherhood and cooperation. They are destined to make us attain His most pleasant company and adopt the surest approach to eternal happiness.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s Islam in Focus.

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The Two Testimonies of the Islamic Faith

The Two Testimonies of the Islamic Faith

testimony of faith

Islam is the religion of all the Prophets of God.

Islam is the religion of all the Prophets of God starting with the father of mankind, Adam and ending with Muhammad (peace be upon them). In Arabic, Islam means “complete submission to the One God (Allah)”.

I don’t think anyone would argue that the Prophets taught any other than submission to the will of the One God. Today this belief is expressed by declaring and acting upon ash-shahadatayn (the two Testimonies):

1- “There is no deity except the One God” (Glory be to Him)

2- “Muhammad is the Messenger of God”.

When someone believes and declares these two testimonies then he/she becomes a Muslim (follower of Islam). These two testimonies are the key to eternal bliss in the holy presence of God Almighty.

The first Testimony (Ash-Shahadah), i.e., “I testify that there is no deity except the One God” indicates that there is no divine entity besides Almighty God and therefore nothing deserves to be worshipped except Him. This testimony separates all things into two categories: 1- Creator, God, Master 2- Creature, worshipper, subservient.

There are two ways one may come to believe in God. The first is relying on our spiritual instinct with which God created us, and that is why most people have believed in a Supreme God throughout history. That being said, no one can be %100 sure that their knowledge of God and that their relationship with Him is correct without an authentic revelation from Him.

Most people went astray throughout history by not searching for the pure message of God in addition to blindly following others. We must not gamble with our eternity by relying on our own minds in order to understand God and our relationship with Him.

Therefore, the first Testimony requires complete ratification of the unadulterated final message of God (the Qur’an) as the %100 pure words of God. In today’s evolving world of science and technology the Qur’an produces its own proof as to its authenticity.

The Qur’an is a book of guidance, but is also a miracle in itself. One would already assume that God’s own words should be miraculous simply because it is His words. So it is miraculous in many ways, one of which is its being exactly preserved since the time of its revelation.

This preservation is incumbent upon our Just God Who has decreed that He will not send any new Prophet or scripture until the Last Day. So, after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the faith of the believers can thrive without doubt.

The Second Testimony of Faith

The statement: ”I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God” signifies one’s belief that Muhammad was the final Prophet/Messenger commissioned by God to reveal His message to mankind.

It also includes the complete acceptance that everything he taught was conveyed from the guidance of God and that he fully conveyed that message to the best of his human ability as did all the Prophets before him.

A ‘Prophet’ is a man who receives revelations from God and conveys it to his nation. A ‘Messenger’ is a Prophet who comes with some new laws or the abrogation of old laws. A Prophet who is not a Messenger but he follows the laws of the Messenger who came before him. A Muslim must believe in all the Prophets and Messengers. Every Messenger is a Prophet, but not every Prophet is a Messenger.

Our Creator sent His message to Prophets and Messengers out of His All-Encompassing Mercy in order to guide mankind to the straight path and eternal salvation. So, it is without doubt that any Prophet would have come saying that they are the way, the truth, and the life or that there is no way to God except through them (by believing in their prophethood and by following their example). I ask my Christian friends: ‘In the time of Abraham, was there any way to God other than by following his teachings?’

Any objective student of the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would come to realize that he is just as he claimed, the final Messenger of God and seal of prophethood. There is no other explanation for his extraordinary life filled with hundreds of miracles and a sublime moral example marked by love, mercy, truth, humility, kindness, patience, tolerance and justice.

The Prophet Muhammad is the most scrutinized person in recorded history. This is because of the many verses of the Qur’an that teach the believers that not only is he the ultimate practical example of how to follow Islam, but his words and actions are separate revelation from the Qur’an known as the Sunnah. For this reason our scholars were very meticulous in recording and preserving his sayings and actions through narrations of his Companions known as “Hadith”.

This science of Hadith verification is highly respected among non-Muslim scientists as the top formula for historical verification ever contrived by man. Here are the verses which led the Muslims to be so concerned with preserving his life:

There has certainly been an excellent example to be followed in the Messenger of God for whoever wishes to be with their Lord (succeed) on the Day of Judgment and for those who wish to remember God often. (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

…God has sent down to you the book (the Qur’an), and the wisdom (the Prophet’s Sunnah), and taught you that which you knew not. And ever great is the grace of God unto you. (An-Nisaa’ 4:113)

..And We have also sent down unto you the dhikr (the Qur’an), that you may then explain clearly to them what is sent down to them and that they may be mindful of it. (An-Nahl 16:44)

…And whatsoever the Messenger gives you (commands you), take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)…. (Al-Hashr 59:7)

Obey God and obey the Messenger so that you may receive mercy (Paradise in the Hereafter). (Aal `Imran 3:132)

These two testimonies are the essential foundations as well as the sources of Islamic Faith and Practice. The analogy of constructing a building is useful in explaining the importance of the Testimony of Faith.

There can be no building without a concrete foundation. Likewise, there will be no benefit or fruitful results in the Hereafter without a pure faith based upon an authentic revelation from God.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “The Foundations of Islamic Faith”, Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait (2008).

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Monotheism: Who Is God in Islam?

Monotheism: Who Is God in Islam?

sunrise between mountains

God has created existence with such perfection and beauty and then subjected it all to the service of man.

The basis of faith in pure monotheism is expressed in the belief in the One and only God of transcendent perfection. Aside from the inherent knowledge of God we are all born with, we can only know about God and our relationship to Him through the message He sent to His final Messenger Muhammad whose character and numerous miracles attest to the truth of his message.

So we can only be sure about our faith through the knowledge attained from the book of God (the Qur’an) and the established tradition (the Sunnah) of His final Prophet. A Muslim uses his mind as a guide because sound logic and faith go hand-in-hand. Knowledge is essential since learning gives one a strong foundation and dispels doubt.

One and Only

The Qur’an is the exact words of God Himself which he sent to be the final code of guidance for humanity. Throughout the Qur’an, God teaches us about himself. He teaches us that He is the One and Only God Who created everything and it is to Him that we will all be held accountable.

Therefore, nothing should be worshipped besides Him. He is infinite and eternal with no faults or weaknesses. He is Exalted, Perfect and Flawless. His attributes are without flaw and are unchanging.

He is not bound by time, space or matter as we know it. In relation to us, He is the Most High above His great throne which He created above the heavens which encompasses the heavens and the universe, yet He is also closer to us than our jugular vein and is with us wherever we may be.

God does not resemble any of His creations. He is without limitations. He does not resemble anything man sees in the universe or anything he can imagine since imagination is part of the creation. He is inconceivable to man. He is as He says He is in a manner that suits His perfection and majesty only truly known by Him. These points are all clarified in the 114 chapters of the Qur’an:

Say, He is the One God. God is the eternally depended upon while He is self-dependent. He does not beget nor is He begotten. And nothing in existence is similar to Him. (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)

God- There is no deity except Him, The Ever-Living Sustainer of all existence. Neither does he tire nor does He sleep. Everything in the Heavens and the Earth belongs to Him. Who can intercede except by His permission? He knows what is presently before them and He knows what will come after them. They (all intelligent life forms) don’t encompass one bit of His knowledge except for what He wills.

His throne of majesty extends over the heavens and the universe. And preserving them doesn’t tire Him in the least bit. He is the Most High and Most great. (Al-Baqarah 2:255)

God’s Relationship to Man

(An exegesis of the first chapter of the Qur’an)

The first and most important thing in describing God’s relationship with man is His abundant Mercy. He begins His book of guidance (the Qur’an) and “the mother of supplications” which Muslims repeat at least 17 times daily:

1- “In the Name of the One God, The Source of Mercy to all, the especially Merciful (to his servants)”. (Al-Fatihah 1:1)

He also says “My mercy encompasses everything”. (Al-A`raf 7:156)

This mercy and compassion is clearly apparent to anyone. God has created existence with such perfection and beauty and then subjected it all to the service of man:

Do you not see that God has subjected to you everything in the heavens and the earth. (Luqman 31:20)

The vegetation gives us oxygen, the precipitation cycle gives life to the land, the inland (where people are) water is sweet and good to drink while the ocean water is salty, sweet refreshing fruits and healthy vegetables for vitamins and minerals, many animals are good for meat and their skins for many other uses, trees and metals for building materials, the day so that we may see while we carry out our work and the night which is cool and dark that we may get rest, and the list goes on and on.

So the first action a person should begin with after recognizing the countless blessings and mercy upon them is to show thanks and gratitude to Almighty God and serve Him as well as trying to increase our love for Him and His love for us. This is illustrated in the second verse of the Qur’an and second part of the supplication said by Muslims many times a day-

2- “(Say) All Praises and thanks go to Almighty God, Lord of the Universe.” (Al-Fatihah 1:2)

So in gratitude and awe of their Creator and His incomprehensible greatness, one must seek to know Him and His will for them. So God emphasizes His characteristic of mercy in teaching us the most important part of His relation to us-

3- “The Source of Mercy to all, the especially Merciful (to his servants)”. (Al-Fatihah 1:3)

After clarifying that, God reminds us that life is a test and that we are all accountable to Him.

4- “Sovereign of the Day of Judgment”. (Al-Fatihah 1:4)

This verse signifies that there is an ultimate accountability for our choices in life and that God is the One to Whom we are accountable. So we must take account of ourselves and do our best to learn what His will is for us, that we may implement it and earn his love and satisfaction with us.

5- “Only you do we worship and in only You do we seek help” (Al-Fatihah 1:5) is the natural reaction we should have after realizing that everything around us is a blessing provided to us by our Merciful Creator who has given us our own intelligent life as a test of loyalty.

If we choose to have ultimate loyalty to other than Him, then we have made a clear treachery and strayed from our purpose in life which is to nurture our love for our Creator by humble submission to His will for us.

Now that we have directed our complete devotion and trust in God alone all that is left is to know exactly what He wants from us. He teaches us the most important question that anyone could ask of Him. We ask Him-

6- “Guide us to the straight path” (Al-Fatihah 1:6)

People can supplicate God as much as they want and for many different things, but if they do not know and therefore follow His divine will for them, then they will be lost. God teaches us to be clear in the most elementary form of the word-

7- “The path of those whom you have favored and not the path of those who have evoked your anger or of those who have gone astray.” (Al-Fatihah 1:7)

The Prophet taught us that the meaning of “those who God has favored” is those who worship Him alone and follow His guidance without innovation in matters of religion.

On the other hand, “those who have evoked His anger” are generally those who are ungrateful to Him by denying His existence, rejecting any of His Prophets, or not even seeking His guidance relying on themselves and basically worshipping themselves as they decide for themselves (by their own will) what is right and what is wrong and how should they live their life.

”Those who have gone astray” are generally those who believe in God who created them and they wish to be close to him, but they unknowingly associate others with him in divinity and worship.

This could be because they were born into some religion and the pure message of God was not available. This group is only lacking the pure guidance of God Almighty and statistics show from this group millions of reverts are coming to Islam every year across the globe.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “The Foundations of Islamic Faith”, Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait (2008). 

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Salvation in Islam

Salvation in Islam

Some Muslims are offering their prayer.

Salvation in Islam is not required because of the stain of the original sin. Salvation is required because humankind is imperfect and in need of Allah’s forgiveness and love.

Islam teaches that everyone is born pure and it is us who corrupt ourselves. Islam gives a time to grow up and be able to use your rationality and reason in order to choose a religion. Salvation in Islam is not required because of the stain of the original sin. Salvation is required because humankind is imperfect and in need of Allah’s forgiveness and love. In order to understand the concept of salvation correctly, we must understand other topics embedded in salvation. First of all, let us take a look on the Story of Prophet Adam and Eve in the Qur’an (scripture of the Muslims). Adam and Eve made a mistake, they repented sincerely, and Allah in His infinite wisdom forgave them.

Story of Adam and Eve in the Qur’an

The Qur’an recounts details of the story of Prophet Adam and Eve in a number of chapters. It is similar in many ways to what is found in the surviving remnants of the previous scriptures except some basic principles. Allah told the angles that He was making a successive authority upon the earth. Allah (Glory be to Him) created Adam, fashioning him from clay. He breathed into from His Soul, taught him the names of all things, and created His wife Eve from the same soul. Allah allowed them to dwell in paradise with free will. Then, Allah ordered the angles to prostrate before Adam and they did so in a form of respect, not worship. Satan was among the angles, though he was not one of them. He was of the Jinn, a race of beings possessing free will that Allah created before Adam from a smokeless flame of fire. When Allah ordered the angles to prostrate before Adam, they all did so except Satan who refused out of arrogance, claiming to be better than Adam because he was created from fire, whereas Adam was created from clay. Based on this incident, Satan is considered the first racist.

After that, Satan fells from Allah’s grace as Allah condemned him for his disobedience, but Satan, the accursed, asked Allah to give him respite until the Day of Judgment, so he could make Adam and his offspring unworthy. Satan said, “Verily I will mislead them and surly I will arouse in them vain desires.”

Allah granted him what he wants (respite) as a trial for humanity. Allah knows what Satan knows not. It is important to note that no way Satan could ever “war” with Allah, because just like everything else, he is Allah’s creation. Satan exists only by Allah’s Will; he is completely under Allah’s Power. If Allah did not want Satan or his helpers to exist, they would not be able to remain in existence for even a moment.

Though arrogant, accursed, and deprived from Allah’s grace of Allah, Satan serves as a purpose. Allah wanted humans to have free choice between right and wrong. The human being is considered to be originally good by nature, born pure in the state of Islam (submission). Satan and his hosts order evil and oppose good, seeking to misguide humanity, his avowed enemy, into evil and idolatry, away from monotheism, righteousness, and the path of Allah. Allah, the All Wise, invites Muslims to enjoin good and forbid evil. Because we exercise free will, by resisting the temptation of Satan, humans can attain a great level of honor.

Returning to the story of Adam and Eve in paradise, they enjoyed perfect freedom and happiness in paradise. Allah told them to eat from the fruits of the Garden with pleasure and delight as they pleased. He forbade them to approach one tree, and warned them to do so. Satan came and deceived them, saying that Allah only forbade them to eat of the tree as it will make them immortal or like angles. They were thus deceived by Satan and ate of the tree. Adam and Eve felt shame. They turned to Allah in sincere repentance and Allah, the All-Forgiving, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful, forgave them. Islam clearly rejects the concept of original sin, or the notion that all humans are born sinners because of the actions of Adam. No human shall ever bear the burden of another (for Allah is the Just). Every human being is responsible for his or her actions and is born as a Muslim, pure and free from sin. It is important to note that Islam does not place the blame on Eve. Both Adam and Eve had free will. Both of them ate of the tree. Their sin and disobedience were a joint venture. Islam rejects the idea that women are wicked temptresses or cursed with the burden of menstruation and pain of childbirth due to the sin of Eve.

Allah expelled Adam and Eve from Paradise and made them dwell on earth. Allah had earlier said to the angels that He would place a new being on earth. Earth is where Allah, from the time of creation, in His timeless knowledge, wanted us to be.

Islamic Doctrine of Original Sin

Therefore, the idea of Jesus dying on the cross is central to the Christian belief. It represents the conviction that Jesus died for the sins of humankind. In other words a person’s sins have been ‘paid’ for by Jesus, and one is free to do as he pleases, for in the end he will attain salvation by belief in Jesus. This is absolutely rejected in Islam.

There is no need for Allah or even a Prophet of Allah to sacrifice himself for humankind’s sins in order to buy forgiveness. Islam refuses this view entirely. The foundation of Islam rests on knowing with certainty that nothing should be worshipped but Allah alone. Forgiveness emanates from the One True God; so, when a person seeks forgiveness, he must turn to Allah submissively with true remorse and ask for forgiveness, promising not to repeat the sin. Then and only then will sins be forgiven by Allah, the Almighty.

Islam teaches that Jesus did not come to atone for the sins of humankind; rather, his purpose was to reaffirm the message of the Prophets (peace be upon them) before him.

None has the right to be worshipped but God, the One and the Only True Allah… (Aal `Imran 3:62)

The Islamic belief about Jesus’ crucifixion and death is clear. He did not die to atone for humankind’s sins. There was a plot to crucify Jesus but it did not succeed; he did not die but rather ascended into heaven. In the last days leading up to the Day of Judgment, Jesus will return to this world and continue to spread the belief in the Oneness of Allah. The Qur’an tells us that on the Day of Judgment Jesus will deny ever asking the people to worship him instead of, or along with Allah

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?’” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. (Al-Ma’idah 5:116-117)

Islam conducts that a human being could attain salvation through the worship of Allah alone. A person must believe in the Oneness of Allah and not associating any partner with him, which is known in Islam as Tawhid (faith). Worship Allah and follow his commandments is the same message delivered by all the Prophets since Adam, the father of mankind, until Muhammad, last Prophet to humanity; one God, without partners, sons, or daughters. In this way, salvation can be achieved through sincere worship.

As mentioned earlier, Islam rejects the idea that a human being is born sinner due to the original sin of Adam. On the contrary, Islam teaches us that a human being is born sinless and inclined to worship Allah. This fact is proven true by a study conducted by Oxford University over three years. To keep the state of sinlessness, a human being must only follow the commandments of Allah and strive to live a righteous life. In case a person indulges into sins, he/she distant themselves from the mercy of Allah, however, sincere repentance brings a person back to Allah.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another… (Fatir 35:18)

This leads us to the fundamental question, what is the mechanism of being sinless in Islam? What could a human being do in case of committing a sin?

It is a part of the human nature that a human being is prone to error and mistake whether deliberately or just a bad intention. Islam teaches us that Allah is the Most forgiving, Most Gracious, and the Most Merciful. Therefore, as human beings, we are constantly in need of forgiveness. Throughout the Qur’an Allah continually asks us to turn to Him in repentance and ask for His forgiveness. This is the road to salvation. This is our rescue from destruction. Muslims believe that this concept of repentance is shared by all the Prophets including Moses and Jesus not something newly brought by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said: “The one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin.” (Ibn Majah)

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