Islam, a message of peace
While all the known religions of the World call for Love, Peace, Tolerance, Freedom of Belief and Mutual understanding, Many of the terrorists acts are committed in this world by the people who consider themselves religious. Like all the other religions of God, Islam promotes Peace, Love and Harmony among the people. Actually, the word Islam in addition to meaning Submission, also is derived from the Arabic word Salaam meaning Peace. The Muslims greet each other people by saying Salaam (peace be upon you).
The followers of Islam are called Muslims. Islamic Faith is derived from the two sources.
1) The Holy Quran – This is the last Heavenly Book from Allah (God) revealed on His Last Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) approximately 571 years after Jesus (peace be upon him).
2) Sunnah – This is the tradition of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) i.e. his sayings and his examples.
Let see what kind of teaching does Islam gives to its followers about killing innocents and committing suicide. The best way to find about it is to look into the sources i.e. the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet (peace be upon him). Thus we see the following verses in Quran where acts of terrorism are strongly condemn by Allah Ta’ala (God).
Translation: They commit a gross sin, then say, “We found our parents doing this and God has commanded us to it.” Say: “God never advocates sin. Are you saying about God what you do not know?”(Quran: Surah Al-Ahraafh, verse 28)
Translation: “… and do not gress; God dislike the aggressors”(Quran: Surah Al-Maida, Verse 87)
Translation: “You will not kill. God has made life sacred, except in the course of Justice. These are His commandments to you, that you may understand.”(Quran: Surah Al-Inaam, Verse151)
Translation: “Whoever killed a soul not to retaliate for a soul, nor for creating disorder in the land, then it is as if he had killed all mankind. And whoso gave life to one soul, then it is as if he had given life to all mankind”(Quran: Surah Al-Maida, Verse 32)
Translation: and cast not yourself in destruction with your own hands (Suicide) and be good doers; no doubt good doers are the beloved of Allah(Quran: Surah Al-Baqra, Verse 195)
These are the few verses from Quran which clearly commands Muslims not to kill an innocent soul. Hadith books are full of examples of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) where he has shown love and affection even to the perfect strangers ,non-believers and the enemies of Islam. Islam condemns the killing or even the persecution of people merely because they embrace a different religion. it does not allow Muslim to fight except for self defense, to assure peace and justice and not to fight those who disagree with them on religious questions. It urges the Muslim to treat such people kindly and equitably. Thus we find the following verses in Quran in this regard.
Translation: “There shall be no compulsion in religion”(Quran: Surah Baqra, Verse 256)
Translation: “God does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriends them and be equitable towards them and be equitable towards them. God loves the Just.”(Quran: 6, verse 88)
Translation: “Therefore, if they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer peace, then, God gives you no excuse to fight them.”(Quran: Surah Al-Infaal, verse 61)
In short, the relations of Muslims with others are primarily on peace, mutual respect and trust. The theme in the Quran is peace as long as there is no oppression or injustice that can’t be solved by all the peaceful means. Islam refuses the killing of innocent people irrespective of the cause, be it religious, political, Social or for any belief. Unfortunately, Islam has been greatly misunderstood in the west, mainly to be blamed on western Media which portrait Islam as a Religion of Terrorists because when a bomb blast in middle east, the media names the culprits as Muslim Terrorist or Islamic Terrorist but when Oklahoma’s Federal building bombed down, the media did not call the culprit a Christian terrorist instead called him just a terrorist. When a Christain Nun covers her head or a Jew wears a hat and have beard, According to media they are respectable and practicing their religions but when a Muslim man or woman does the same, the media labeled them as a Fanatic or Extremist. Just like as every Christian is not Adolph Hitler or Timothy Mcvey, Let’s not think of all Muslims as terrorist. Islam’s Message is Peace, love and Harmony.
FUNDAMENTAL ISLAMIC BELIEFS
Islam is an Arabic word, which means submission (accepting Allah’s commands) and obedience (obeying Allah’s commands). Submission and obedience to Allah brings peace to the human soul. That is why Islam also means peace. Islam is a way of peace and harmony. Looking around, we can see that everything is obeying the laws of nature, which are the Laws of Allah. We find no disarrangement or turmoil in the ways that nature works. Everything is in order and in complete control. The reason being that they are made to worship Allah. Therefore, they can’t disobey Him.
Human beings on the other hand, have the free will to choose between right and wrong. This is because Allah wants to test us to see whether we obey or disobey Him. Those who pass the test will be rewarded in Paradise and those who fail will be punished in Hell.
The only way we can work our way towards Paradise is to worship and obey Allah Almighty. So, if we follow the guidance of the prophets and the Holy Qur’aan, we will surely gain success. Islam is called the Religion of Nature.
There are seven basic beliefs in Islam, which are: To believe in Allah and His oneness, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Day of Judgement, pre-destination or Supremacy of Divine Will and life after death.
This belief is to accept it as: “I believe in Allah, in His angels, in His books, in His messengers, in the Last Day (Day of Judgement) and in the fact that everything good or bad is decided by Allah Almighty, and in the Life after Death.”
These seven beliefs can be parted into three groups: Tawhid (oneness of Allah and predestination); prophethood (Angels, messengers and books of Allah); and life after death (Day of Judgement and life after death).
Tawhid means oneness of Allah. This is the most important belief in Islam. This belief has been stated clearly in Surah Al-Ikhlas, in the Holy Qur’aan: “Say, He is Allah, the One. Allah is Eternal and Absolute. None is born of Him, nor is He born. And there is none like Him.”
By reading the Surah, I can see that the Qur’aanic verse is off good quality. The meaning is much more than the quantity. The Surah reveals that Allah is the One and only God. He wasn’t born of anyone, therefore, He has no parents. Allah doesn’t give birth to anyone, therefore, He has no son or daughter. The Surah also asserts that Allah has no equal. Therefore, He has neither a partner nor a brother or a sister. The verse also expresses the eternity of Allah. He was, is and will always be.
If a person doesn’t believe in Tawhid, he/she can not be named as a Muslim. The reason being that Islam is based on the belief of Tawhid. Associating partners with Allah is a grave sin. To become a Muslim, a person must testify: “I bare witness that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
We have evidence of Tawhid, as research of scientists around the world has shown us. The sun, moon, galaxy and the workings of the human body are all in the control of one God. We know this fact because they all follow laws (laws of nature) which can only be made by one Creator. There is complete co-operation and harmony in the system. If there were two Gods, then there would be conflict and there wouldn’t be any laws of nature. Just as there can only be one driver of a car or one head of the government.
Predestination is the process of man’s decision-making known to Allah beforehand. Allah knows the past, present and the future of every creature. He also knows the destiny of every creature. This doesn’t mean that we have no free will, because, in fact, we do have it. We have the freedom to choose between the right and wrong. So, we can either choose to obey Allah and receive reward in paradise or we can choose to obey Satan and receive punishment in hell. Predestination means that Allah has the knowledge of what we did, what we are doing and what we will do.
Allah makes incidents occur, but He doesn’t force us into doing anything on purpose. That is why we are responsible for our intentions. An example, a man is crossing the road and is suddenly hit by a car. This is what Allah intended. The driver of the car will be judged on his intention, to see if he crashed into the victim intentionally or by accidental. This means that Allah will judge us by our intentions.
Although Allah doesn’t force us into doing anything, He has told us that we must follow Islam if we want to succeed in this life and the Hereafter. In order to become good people, we must form a united effort in trying to obey Allah. This unity is called Jihad, which means “to try one’s utmost best/ striving” to see truth prevail and falsehood vanish. The aim of Jihad is to please Allah. At first, a Muslim must learn to control his/her own bad desires and intentions. This is called Jihad within ourselves, which is the basis of implementing right and removing evil from society. In order to achieve Jihad within ourselves, we must perform basic Islamic duties.
After Jihad within ourselves, we may have to give up our lives for Islam. A person who dies in a holy war for Islam is called a ‘Shaheed’ which means martyr. This is the way of communication between Allah and mankind.
The word ‘angel’ means ‘messenger’. Angels are a special creation of Allah. They are made of divine light (Noor) to carry out specific jobs. Although angels have been given important qualities and powers, they do not have the freedom of choice as man does. They are the innocent servants of Allah, who always obey His commands, because they don’t have the power to disobey Him. Unlike mankind, they won’t be judged on the Day of Judgement.
Angels don’t need sleep and they don’t require the things a human being would need. Angels never get tired, therefore, they are always at work. Their duty is to praise Allah and help mankind in carrying out the decisions they make throughout their lives. We are usually unable to see the angels, unless they take a human form. Angels can take any form, which is suitable for their job. Whenever a person prays to Allah, thinks or talks about Allah, the angels gather round and join in. Their presence helps to build up an atmosphere of worship.
The Prophets were people from among mankind who were given the message of Allah directly from the Angel Jibra’il. According to a saying of Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam), there are one hundred and twenty four thousand (124000) prophets who have ever been sent down on earth. Only the main ones have been mentioned in the Holy Qur’aan. Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) was the seal of the prophets. After him no new prophet is to be. The Muslims believe that although his soul was the first to have been created by Allah, he was the last of all the prophets to be sent down on earth. If a person doesn’t believe in him as the last prophet, then he/she is not a Muslim.
In order to become a Muslim, a person has to believe in the testimony, which is: “I bare witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger.” This means that a person has to believe in the oneness of Allah and Muhammad (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) as Allah’s last messenger, if he/she wants to be a Muslim.
Not only did Allah send us Prophets to show us the true path to follow in life, but He also revealed Books for our guidance through Prophets. Tawrat (Torah) was sent to Prophet Musa. Zabur (Psalms) was revealed to Dawood. Injil (Gospel) was sent to Isa (Jesus) and the Holy Qur’aan was revealed to Muhammad (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam). The Holy Qur’aan also mentions Suhuf-i-Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham).
The Muslims believe that the Tawrat, Zabur and Injil have all been altered. Therefore, they do not exist in their original language and form. This is because thousands of years after the death of the prophets to whom they were revealed to, the original texts were compiled by their followers. They changed the stories and mixed the words of God, creating books consisting of their own laws as well as a few of God’s.
The only Book that exists in its original form is the Holy Qur’aan. The Holy Qur’aan is the sacred book of the Muslims. It was revealed to Muhammad (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) through the angel Jibra’il. The Holy Qur’aan is written in the Arabic language. It was revealed at intervals and completed over a period of twenty-three years.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’aan that He will protect His final word, the Holy Qur’aan, until the Day of Judgement: “Surely, We have revealed this reminder (Zikr) and lo, We verily are its Guardian.” (15:9)
The Holy Qur’aan is a living miracle, because it has survived for over fourteen hundred years and it is still written in its original language and form. The Holy Qur’aan is the main source of law in Islam. The subject of the Holy Qur’aan is man and his ultimate goal in life. It covers all aspects of life and life after death. Topics in the Holy Qur’aan consist of the three fundamental beliefs: oneness of Allah, prophethood and the hereafter. The Holy Qur’aan gives a detailed description of Paradise and a vivid description of Hell.
The Holy Qur’aan is divided into thirty parts, 114 chapters (Surahs) and 6236 verses. The chapters which were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) whilst he was at Makkah are known as Makkan, while the chapters which were revealed to him during the time he was in Madinah are known as Madinan.
If a Muslim follows the teachings of the Holy Qur’aan, then he/she will lead to success in life on this earth and in the life after death. To prepare for the life after death, we must know what it is that we will be accounted for. We are being tested in every aspect of life. We will be examined on:
1. Our characters – to see whether we are greedy, selfish, lacking in sympathy, mean, cruel or cowardly.
2. Our reaction to misfortune – to find whether we are frightened, full of complaint, a burden to others or depressed.
3. Our reaction to good fortune – to see whether we are selfish, arrogant, proud or stingy.
4. Our way of life – to find whether we are dishonest, disrespectful, hurtful and unforgiving.
The Holy Qur’aan says: “Everyone shall have to die.” (3:185)
As we all know, life on earth is only temporary. The reason being that it is only a test to see whether we obey Allah’s commands or not. After the test, we will be judged, as we’re done in any other test that we do in life. We will be accounted for our every action on the Day of Judgement in the court of justice of Almighty Allah. The result will depend on our ways of spending our lives on earth.
On the Day of Judgement, every man, woman, boy and girl will be for him/herself, standing in front of God. Nobody’s love and commitments, in the earthly life, will save another person by giving away their good deeds. Nobody, on that day will remember their once beloved family, friends and relatives, during their earthly lives. The only person every individual will be thinking of during the Day of Judgement is him/herself.
Allah has revealed this message in the Holy Qur’aan: “One burdened soul shall not bear the burden of another. And even if the heavy-laden (soul) should cry out for its burden (to be carried) not one bit of it shall be carried, not even by the next of kin.” (35:18). And: “It is the Day when one soul shall be powerless to plead for another.” (82:19). Further: “To God belongs the mystery of the Heavens and the Earth. The Decision of the Hour (of Judgement) (will be swift as) the twinkling of an eye, or even quicker: for God has the power over all things.” (16:77)
As we already know, there is life after death. After each and every person is judged, one will either be rewarded or be punished, as done after any other test in life. Except in this case, the reward or the punishment will be eternal, since life after death is forever. This obviously means that the test that Allah is giving us is very important. The importance can’t even be explained in words.
After the Judgement, those who have been the true believers during their lives on earth will go to Paradise, where they will find everlasting peace and happiness. Those who have gone astray during their lives on earth will be punished severely in Hell permanently.
Some people don’t believe that Allah can raise men and women after their deaths. But it is possible for Allah to do just that, because He was the One who created Adam out of clay and Prophet Isa without a father. The Holy Qur’aan says: “Does man think that We shall not assemble his bones? Yes, surely, yes, We are able to restore the very shape of his fingers.” (75:3-4)
If everyone in this world were to believe that there is no life after death, then there would be no restriction and control over what anyone is doing. Belief in the hereafter has an enormous affect on people. The Muslims are always trying their best to control their bad behaviour and their bad habits, because they know that Almighty Allah is always watching over them.