We know that the universe has existed for millions of years and that it functions in the most orderly manner. No one can sincerely say that this is unplanned and haphazard. No one can attribute the existence of man and the universe to be the result of mere chance. We often admire and wonder at the splendid things and amazing phenomena of nature. These are too great to be the product of a random accident. We know that nothing can come to life on its own and that our wonderful world could not have come into existence by a freak accident. So, there must be a Great Power in action that created everything and keeps everything in order. Believers recognize this Power as God. They call Him ‘God’ because He is the Creator of the world, the Originator of life and the Provider of all things in existence. He cannot be a man because no man can create anything by himself. He cannot be an idol, a statue, or an image of any kind, because none of these things possess life or power of any sort. He can neither be the sun, the moon nor any other celestial object, because all these things were created and are controlled by a great system. He is absolutely different from all His creations. He is the Creator and Sustainer of them all; He is the One True God and He is the Only One Who truly merits our worship.
“ Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe? "
[The Qurân Ch: 21 Al-Anbiyaa, V:30].
The Creator and Sustainer of the universe and the Provider of man is one and the same, and that is Allâh or God. This is the greatest of all knowledge because only belief in Allâh and His omnipotence can provide mankind with the explanation for the great mysteries of the universe. By His mercy and love, He has shown us the right path and sent messengers, books and revelations for our guidance. The Last Messenger from Allâh is Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him), and the only genuine book of Allâh that exists today is the Qurân. From the teachings of the Qurân and the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him), we can know about Allâh and His love for mankind. The regular prayer of Muslims begins with the words: “In the name of God, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful.” Allâh does not need anything from us in return for all His great favors and boundless mercy. What He commands us to do for His innumerable blessings is only to be righteous and grateful. The only unforgivable sin, according to Islam, is to believe in or to worship anyone or anything other than Allâh. This is the most ungrateful thing that a human being is capable of doing.
" And blessed is He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them and with whom is knowledge of the Hour and to whom you will be returned. " [The Qurân Ch: 43 Al- Zukhruf, V: 85]
The word, ‘Islam’ is derived from the Arabic root, SLM, which means, ‘submission’ or ‘peace’. Only through submission to Allâh can one achieve true peace. Some people refer to the religion as “Muhammadanism” and its followers as “Muhammadans”. This misnomer was coined as a part of a deliberate attempt to create the wrong notion that the religion was founded by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and that Muslims worship him in the same manner as Christians worship Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him). Islam is a unique religion with a name which signifies a moral attitude and a way of life. Muslims derive their identity from the message of Islam, rather than from the person of Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him). Judaism takes its name from the tribe of Judah, Christianity from Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him), Buddhism from Goutama Buddha, and Hinduism from the Indus River. Muslims do not believe that Islam was founded by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him). Muslims worship only the One True God and they believe that Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) was only a mortal who was chosen by Allâh as a prophet to guide mankind. He stands as the best model in history for man in piety and perfection. His life is the greatest proof of what man can be and of what he can accomplish in the realm of excellence and virtue.
" If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). "
[The Qurân Ch: 3 Ali Imran, V: 85]
Islam has existed all along from the beginning and will continue to exist till Doomsday. The true name of the religion of all men who submit to the Will of Allâh is Islam and all those who follow this faith are Muslims. Thus all the prophets of God including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Moses and Jesus (Peace be upon them) were Muslims and the religion they believed in was Islam. Muslims believe that Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) was the last, not the only prophet of Allâh. They believe in all the prophets who came before Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him). They believe that all those prophets of God and all their faithful followers were Muslims and that their religion was Islam. Therefore, just like the followers of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him), the true followers of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and all the other messengers of God (Peace be upon them all) were Muslims.
" The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah that which We have sent by inspiration to thee and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allâh. "
[The Qurân Ch: 42 Al-Shura, V: 13]
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today. At present, there are more than 1.3 billion Muslims, which means that one in every five persons living in the world today firmly believes that Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) is the Last Messenger of God. Not only individuals but entire nations take pride in declaring their allegiance to him. There are 54 such Muslim states today, ranging from those as large as Indonesia and Bangladesh, with populations of 200 and 125 million respectively, to those as tiny as the Maldives or Brunei with populations of 230,000 and 260,000 respectively. Even in non-Muslim countries, large Muslim populations constitute significant minorities. There are as many as 120 million Muslims in India whereas China has a Muslim population of above 20 million. Indeed, within the last half century, Islam has become the second largest religion in most European countries, as also in America and Canada. Followers of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) come from all races and tribes, and they speak many languages. Whether in Asia or Europe, Africa or America, there are Muslims in every nook and cranny of the globe. They live in the most advanced, sprawling megalopolis as well as in the most primitive regions.
" It is He Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qurân), that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you be witness over mankind. "
[The Qurân Ch: 22 Al-Hajj, V: 78]
People who profess other faiths also claim to be monotheists. Some claim that they do not really worship idols, but use them only because they are helpful in concentrating during prayers. Some others say that they pray to saints and holy men with the hope that they will act as intermediaries between the worshipper and God. Muslims believe in the One True God and worship and pray to the One True God. This is the unique quality of Islamic Monotheism. The pure essence of the beliefs and teachings that were revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad are the same as Allâh taught to Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all the other prophets who came before them. The command to worship none other than Allâh and to submit only to His Will was revealed to prophets throughout mankind’s history. All messengers and prophets of Allâh propagated this divine message. This accounts for the fact that the command to submit to the Will of God and to worship Him without intermediaries can be found in the scriptures of other religions also even in their present contaminated form. The concept of God in Islam is completely based upon Divine Revelation. Not only is that concept characterized by purity and clarity, but it is also not marred by myths, superstitions or man-made philosophical ideas. According to the teachings of Islam, everything that a human being does with the pure intention of pleasing Allâh is an act of worship.
“He is the One God: God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being. He begets not, and neither is He begotten; and there is nothing that could be compared with Him.”
[The Qurân Ch: 112 Al-Ikhlas, V: 1-4]
Justice and equality before law can at best be described as hollow slogans, preached loudly by democracy, but are very rarely implemented. These terms attain full meaning only with belief in the Hereafter. In this world, we see that innumerable crimes go unchecked, unfair judgments are handed down and majority of criminals walk free. The human intellect too craves for a platform where true justice will be done. Allâh is just and manifests His justice. He established the system of accountability in the life of each person. All men will have to answer for their deeds on the Day of Judgment, wherein they will be given proper recompense. Those who do good will be rewarded and those who do wrong will be punished accordingly. Allâh has created Paradise and Hell for this purpose. Allâh is the only owner of life; all creatures have come to life by Allâh’s Decree and will ultimately die by Allâh’s Decree. Man has a soul and death is only the end of one’s physical existence on earth. The present life is very short and transitory. It is only a trial and if we pass the test, we will be rewarded with eternal bliss in Paradise. Thus Islam instills the concept of accountability both in the private and public life of an individual by teaching the importance of life in the Hereafter.
“Did you then think that We had created you in jest, and that you would not be brought back to Us (for account)?” [The Qurân Ch: 23 Al-Mu’minoon, V: 115]
The word, ‘Allâh’, is the Arabic term for God and it most emphatically means the One True God, the Creator of the universe, the Lord of all lords, and the King of all kings. Arabic translations of the Bible and the Torah also refer to God using the term, ‘Allâh’. Non-Muslim Arabs use the term ‘Allâh’ when they pray or speak of God. Muslims all over the world prefer to use the term, ‘Allâh’, because the word ‘God’ has so often been misused, abused and corrupted. The term ‘Allâh ’ does not have a plural form like ‘gods’ nor does it have a feminine gender form like ‘goddess’. It is never used in compound nouns like ‘god- man’, ‘godfather’, and ‘godmother’. Moreover, the term, ‘Allâh’, signifies every one of the attributes which can be used to qualify none other than the Most Merciful Creator and Sustainer of the universe. It is a term that can be applied only to the Most Supreme, Who cannot be compared to anyone or anything and to the concept of God which has never been vilified by idolatry or myths of incarnations.
"He to Whom belongs the dominions of the heavens and earth, and Who has begotten no son and for Whom there is no partner in the dominion. He has created everything, and measured it exactly according to its due measurements." [The Qurân Ch: 25 Furqân, V: 2]
Islam has as much meaning and is as applicable to people living in today’s worldas it was for people living 1400 years ago. Since the message of Islam is eternally true it is also very robust. It still has a strong spiritual impact on millions of people living today. The pure Monotheism of Islam, as wellas its universal brotherhood, strong morals and positive outlook on life, is still very relevant and meaningful to modern man. The continued relevance and applicability to both the spiritual and worldly life of human beings from all around the world is just one of the many proofs of the divine origin of the message of Islam. Unlike the teachings of other religions, the teachings of Islam need not updated or watered down in order to appeal to a human being living in modern times. Since the teachings of Islam are both spiritually true and eternally practical, they can be lived and implemented in the daily life of a person in order to make their life more fulfilling. In short, unique among world religions, Islam has not had to sacrifice its integrity in order to be both applicable to all ages and to have enough spiritual impact to change people’s lives.
" As for the Righteous, they will be in bliss; and the Wicked they will be in the Hellfire, which they will enter on the Day of Judgment, and they will not be able to keep away therefrom. " [The Qurân Ch: 82 Al-Infitaar, V: 13-16]
Allâh sent down messengers and prophets to all communities and tribes in different periods of history in order to show the true and straight path and to guide mankind to it. He also revealed laws that man should abide by and follow. Everything from marital and sexual relationships to ruling and trade were discussed. Shari’ah,or Islamic law, is the centerpiece and backbone of the religion of Islam. Shari’ahliterally means ‘the source’ or sometimes linguistically it refers to a source of water or an oasis. The source of law in Islam is therefore called Shari’ah.It is comprehensive and complete and covers all aspects of man’s life. It is based on the Qurân and the Sunnah, or example of the Prophet Muhammad. The Hadith,which are sayings of Muhammad and provide information about the Sunnah, were recorded in the two centuries after Muhammad’s death in authenticated collections. The Shari’ahcontains categories and subjects of Islamic law called the branches of fiqh(literally, “understanding”). They include laws related to worship, family relations, Inheritance, commerce, property, civil and criminal matters, administration, taxation, constitution, international relations, ethics of war, and other categories. The divine nature of the Shari’ahis manifest in the fact that crime rate is much lower in Muslim societies which enforce its laws.
"And O my people! Give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people the things that are their due: commit not evil in the land with intent to do mischief. " [The Qurân Ch: 11 Al-Hud, V: 85]