WHAT IS ISLAM
(A) RELIGION OF UNITY
(1) Unity of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."