What is Islam?
Can you find an explanation of the great universe? Is there any convincing interpretation of the secret of 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 humans and the whole world to mere chance?
Human beings represent only a very small portion of the great universe. And if they can make plans and appreciate the merits of planning, then their own existence and the survival in 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 that we live in, there must be a Great Creator who creates the most charming pieces of art and produce everything for a special purpose in life. The deeply enlightened people recognize this creator and call him ALLAH ‘God’. He is not a man because no man can create or make another man. He is not an animal, nor is He a statue of any kind because none of those things can make itself or create anything else. He is different from all those things, because He is the maker and keeper of them all. The maker of anything must be different from and greater than the things which he makes.
There are various ways to know ‘ALLAH’ God, 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 ALLAH. Besides, ALLAH Himself comes to our aid through the many messengers and revelations He has sent down to people. These messengers and revelations tell us everything we need to know about ALLAH.
The complete acceptance of the teaching and guidance of ‘Allah’ as revealed to His messenger Muhammad (PBUH)* is the religion of Islam (Islam in Arabic language means voluntary surrender to the Will of Allah and obedience to His commands). Islam enjoins faith in the Oneness and Sovereignty of Allah, which makes both man and woman aware of the meaningfulness of the Universe and of their place in it. This belief frees them from all fears and superstitions by making them conscious of the presence of the Almighty Allah and of their obligations towards Him. This faith must be expressed and tested in action. Faith alone is not enough. Belief in one Allah requires that we look upon all humanity as one family under the universal Omnipotence of Allah the Creator and Nourisher of all. Islam rejects the idea of the chosen people. Making belief in Allah and doing righteous deeds is the only way to heaven. Thus a direct relationship is established with Allah without any intercessor.
Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all prophets: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, David, Moses, Jesus (Peace Be Upon Them). But the message which was revealed to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form.
The Qur’an is the last revealed word of Allah and the basic source of Islamic teachings and laws. The Qur’an deals with the basis of creeds, morality, history of humanity, worship, knowledge, wisdom, God-human relationship, and human relationship in all aspects. It is a comprehensive teaching on which can be built sound systems of social justice, economics, politics, legislations, jurisprudence, law and international relations. The Hadith is the teachings, sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), meticulously reported and collected by his devoted companions which explains and elaborates the Qur’anic verses.
* (PBUH) means Peace Be upon Him; it is Islamic tradition to offer peace to all the Prophets and Messengers of God.