Understanding Islam , A Simplified introduction to the basic principles of Islam


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  • Understanding Islam , A Simplified introduction to the basic principles of Islam


  • Chapter Five

    Broad Principles

    Islam Is A Religion And A Way of Life

    Islam, with its prolific practical laws, compromises the needs of the soul and flesh; and this is from the point of view of its vitality , applicability or patience at all times and in all  places. Thus it is not merely a spiritual religion stripping man of this life and its material needs and imposing on him the life of monks with perennial worship and refraining from wedlock and other human desires. Yet it  is not a sheer materialistic religion neglecting the spiritual life, nor does it ignore human values. Indeed, it is a religion of temperance and uprightness .

            As Allah Most High has said:

    “« And betake yourself », they added, « to Providence for the grace He made to abound in you seeking His satisfaction (to ensure spiritual  relish ) Hereafter, and do not neglect  your share of worldly enjoyment of what is  lawful " (Sura 28:77)

            Allah the Almighty has also said :

    “ O you children of Adam: Pay attention to your personal appearance and your apparel at every mosque where you dutifully observe your act of worship. The apparel often proclaims  the man and his due respect for the dignity of the occasion, not to mention the solemnity of applying your minds to the presence of God. And do not he influenced by the Pagan’s superstitions of permitting certain kinds of food and prohibiting others , but eat and drink of the permitted but  avoid intemperance; God does not like the extravagant who carry anything to excess.

    Say to them (O Mohammad ) :   << Who has forbidden the material objects  and articles of apparel  which God has  produced and made available to His servants  to confer on them a combination of qualities  which affords  keen pleasure to the senses, especially that of  sight , and charms  the intellectual and moral faculties; and who has forbidden the virtues which adorn the mind and piety which adorn the character ,the  qualities  which give distinction; and who has forbidden the worthy and wholesome victuals with which God has provisioned you » .” (Sura 7:31-32)

            After which He said :

    “O you who have conformed to Islam: Do not forbid the worthy and wholesome victuals which God bay rendered lawful for you to eat, nor should you carry your concepts of the religion to excess and pass beyond due bounds; God does  not like those who go beyond the limits prescribed " (sura 5:87)

    And the prophet,(PBUH)said in this regard that a person who gives himself totally to worship has transgressed on other rights “ And your Lord has rights over you, and your wife has rights over you, so give each , his due rights. " He said to those who asked him about his own way of worship, after they had decided to dedicate themselves to devotion for life, and so were determined to fast throughout their life, praying all night , abandoning their wives :

    “I am the most God-fearing of you , and the most pious : and yet I keep fast and break it. I pray at night, and go to  bed and wed women; so, whoever abandons my practice, is not of me.” (Unanimous)'

    Islam And Social Development

    Islam is not a tranquilizer of nations. It does not lead people to renounce pleasure in worldly things, or let them sit down and fold their arms  away from struggle, work and enlightenment. Instead, its call is to knowledge one of the two. rules of advancement; its second rule is a call to work which implements that which is discovered by knowledge. This is a proof that it is a religion of continual activity , it is a religion of power in everything, material. spiritual, military , sanitary , political. social. And it has been rightly said in the Prophetic Hadith that :

    “A powerful believer is better and more loved by Allah, than a weaker believer.” ( cited by Muslim)

    Islam itself is progress of the highest order in human society .It came at the end of preceding religions which were suitable to the degree of intellectual advancement and social development within the limited communities of which their messages of reform came. As reform spread and means of communication and contact became easy , Communities reached a new stage moving towards a world-wide human community , and the intellect reached full maturity and strength. The message of Islam came as a pinnacle of this general progress, with its comprehensive and mature laws which touch on all human activities in line with the tradition of advancement, until it reached the extend which Allah prescribe.

    Islam And Science

    The encouragement of learning had never been known in the history of Prophethood , or legal systems in general , like the extent to which it came in the religion of Islam. The recorded proofs of this fact are too many to be completely collected or recovered , and too common-place to be mentioned on this subject ,the word of Allah Most High is sufficient :

    ” Say to them (O Mohammad) : < <Do they compare , those who apply their minds and the ears of their hearts to the acquisition of learning and by consequence well- informed and those who are ignorant of the facts !> >  (Sura 39:9)

            And His words , Sanctified be He, are:

    “ God will raise those whose hearts have been impressed with the image of piety, as wel1 as those men of learning and profitable knowledge, to higher ranks and exalt them it in dignity and power. " (Sura 58:11)

    Knowledge, whose essence Allah has placed high and honored those who possess it, is not merely that of religious knowledge, but of all branches of knowledge useful to the individual and the community in his religion and life.

    Islam therefore calls for knowledge and wisdom, regardless of the nature of barriers before knowledge. Indeed , Islam encourages knowledge and makes it the best of occupations, both gathering and spreading of it. Islam emphasizes its implementation and utilization in all fields. The only instance in which Islam stands against knowledge, is in implementing it in areas of evil and harm. Indeed, Islam's long history is well-known for the preservation of knowledge and for honoring scholars, even when they are non-Muslims.

    Yet, Islam’s encouragement of learning is born of confidence, and security. That is to say, it serves Islam itself, and helps it to mould a community which has taken the responsibility of leading people from darkness (ignorance) into light(knowledge and truth). And so, true knowledge in its vast fields deepens faith in Allah, through investigation and contemplation of the soul and the universe. At the same time, it is of benefit to all mankind, in powers of the universe, which Allah has dispensed for man, for his own betterment, and that of the community.

    The extent of its fields, and its manifestations, are only too clear as can be seen in the words of Allah Most High :

    “ Do you not see that God sends down from the sky rain water, with which we cause fruits to spring up from the soil in various colors and in the mountains made He paths, unmade roads, passages and tracks of varied hues: white and red of various shades and others of raven black(each reflecting the color of the dominant mineral its rocks contain) and of people, beasts and cattle of various colours “ (Sura 35:27-28)

    Astronomers, physicists, chemists, botanists, geologists, physicians, psychiatrists, sociologists, zoologists , historiologists  , philosophers, scholars , and students of all that is connected with man; natural historians and all others , are those who can see into the secrets of the universe on the one hand, and on the other hand believe in Allah who created him on this mysterious if exquisite system. If their researches are clear and deep , then social enlightenment is the result of which these have reached out of axioms and truths .

    Islam And Labour

    Labour in the realm of Islam is the spirit of life, and implementation of what knowledge has reached and for what Allah has enjoined for the harnessing of the universe at the service of mankind, and by this is meant, all intellectual or physical activity in the material and spiritual sense of the word. And so, just as there is a reward for a good deed, so also is there reward for aspiration towards a means of livelihood and usefulness to the Community at large . Out of human activity is a good deed with its own reward from Allah. And it is in the authentic Hadith that "He who aspires towards refraining from beggary and expends on weak parents or weak off-spring is in a holy war for the sake of Allah," and it is well-known, that war for the sake of Allah is the highest badge of Islam , as is rightly said in the Hadith. It is related that the immaculately honest trader groups with the prophets  and truthful ones on the Day of Resurrection, and that the sower has his own reward for what is eaten by man, or birds or beast, out of what he has planted; and that the best food is what is made by one's own hand . Again, just as Islam has forbidden  negligence in worship, so also has it forbidden negligence  in work and thereby being forced to resort to, and cater, for gifts or alms. Islam therefore enjoins seeking refuge from Allah against laziness or inability .

    It has also been rightly related in the Hadith that getting rid of harm for example- a thorn from the road , is an act of sacrifice, and that helping a weak person to mount on his beast of burden is also an act of sacrifice And that settling a dispute between people is an act of charity , and that enjoining good and forbidding evil is charity; and a kind turn, whatever its nature is charity .

    This is the strong call for social activity in general. It is a fitting reply to agnostic free-thinkers that religion is the narcotic of nations; and so, by the aforementioned “ Islam: in particular is innocent of their false charges and blaspheme.

    Islam And Human Dignity

    Allah (Sanctified be He) honored Adam with knowledge when He commanded the angels to prostrate to him. In the same way He has honored the children of Adam whom He has sustained in the universe.

            Allah Most High said:

    "And We have honored the Adamites and We provided them with means of transportation to carry them on land and at  sea and We provisioned them with the good and  wholesome yictuals . and We placed them in a class  distinctly above many of Our crealures  and We ascribed to  them distinguished  attributes We furnished them with powers of the mind- the will, the reason and the perception of truth or fact, theoretical and practical  understanding of art, science language- and many other faculties. " (Sura 17:70)

    And He provided man with intellect ; and by this he excels all other creatures , also with articulate will, by ,which he carries on his activities in life , in the light of what Allah has provided him, of guidance to assist his intellect-in order to control his passion or instincts , in order for both of them-intellect and passion-to achieve the viceregency on the earth , and this honour has its signs.

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