From the very beginning of human history, The Lord - Creator of Everything had given religious guidance to different human communities. The broad grid of religion for overall human development was the same but there were different emphases to suit varying socio-cultural , economic and political development. The guidance was conveyed by role models (Prophets)among human beings throughout the world. Religion is thus the very basis of human civilization. There were 124,000 Prophets and Messengers of God with Adam and Eve receiving the first revelations from God Almighty. Having tremendous scriptural resources and having gone through tremendous historical experiences, humankind needed one quantum leap to bring it into the ages of knowledge and science away from the dark age of superstitions and fantasies.
This global impetus was created by Islam. Not only did Islam teach the world new ideas, new laws and new sciences, it also tapped the wisdom of the ancient and contemporary civilizations, corrected and developed them even further. Western civilization, to a large extent, owes its existence to Islam with the caveat that it has dropped the spiritualism of Islam. Islam still has to play its middle and moderating mission.
Muhammad was therefore chosen in the seventh century of the Christian Era to receive the scriptural revelations known as the Quran and to exemplify the virtues and values of the Quran in the face of the most obdurate pagans known to history. This permanent and universal edition of religion is known in Arabic as Islam and Muhammad is known in Islam as the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers of God. The very broad grid of Quran contained the wisdom of the past suitably blended with pointers for the future.
Revealed Religion is based upon the following foundations which is crystallised in Islam as the following :
- Belief in the Absolute who in Islam is named Allah, the First without any Beginning and the Last without an Ending.
- Belief in the imperceptible Angels who carry out the Divine Decrees throughout the Cosmos.
- Belief in the Divine Scriptures including the original Torah, Psalms and the Evangel
- Belief in the Messengers and Prophets, each and everyone of them.
- Belief in the Day of Judgement, Accountability for one's actions on earth as a prelude to the Life Hereafter, the reality of which is beyond the understanding of the finite human mind.
- Belief that the power for good and evil ultimately comes from God. God however wants us to do good and avoid evil in all areas of human action and consciousness. Terrible as it is, evil is transient. Overcoming evil enables humankind to progress morally and spiritually
Foundations of Submission to God's Will and Laws
- Declaring that there is no deity, only the Absolute (Allah) and that Muhammad is the Messenger of the Absolute.
- Obligatory Prayer five times a day.
- Fasting during the month of Ramadan.
- Paying the Purifying Social Tax.
- Pilgrimage to the (first) House of Worship built in Mecca by the Prophet Adam and rebuilt by Abraham.
Other categorical principles of Islam are as follows :
Islam does not teach an anthropomorphic concept of God. Accordingly the word Absolute, Absolute Reality is sometimes preferred in communicating with non Muslims rather than the ambiguous Teutonic term "God". The Absolute is beyond the dimensions that contain human beings or the cosmos (All Transcendant )yet is closer than ourselves (All -Immanent) because of the Absolute's Knowledge and Power. The following lines should convey a proper concept or the Absolute Who is often referred to in the Quran as ALLAH.
IN THE NAME OF THE ABSOLUTE, INFINITELY MERCIFUL INFINITELY MAGNANIMOUS SAY THE ABSOLUTE IS ONE, UNIQUE, INDIVISIBLE. THE ABSOLUTE IS THE SUPPORT, THE BESOUGHT OF ALL. NEITHER PROCREATED, NOR PROCREATING. NOTHING IS LIKE A LIKENESS OF THE ABSOLUTE.
God is closer to us than ourselves and we are advised not only to pray regularly but to meditate (Dhikr) on God's Attributive Names such as As-Salam or Author of Peace, Ar-Rauf or Full of Pity, Ar-Rahman or Infinitely Merciful which is reflected in our inner being. This does not benefit God Who is Perfect but enables us to grow morally and spiritually. Human beings can supplicate to God in any language. There are no intercessors, no priests, no sacraments, no special sites for supplication. The whole earth is a House of Worship so to speak. Muslims carry out the short obligatory prayers in Arabic for the sake of unity. Arabic is the language of the Quran and familiarity with Arabic has prevented it from becoming a dead language like many scriptural languages. Five times a day , after the obligatory prayers, a Muslim prays for World Peace in the following words herein translated.
O ALLAH YOU ARE PEACE, PEACE COMES FROM YOU, HALLOWED ARE YOU, LORD OF MAJESTY AND BOUNTY
Peace is a common theme in Islam.The Muslim greeting is "Peace be upon you" Muslims are taught from infancy to eschew anger, envy and aggressiveness, to promote family solidarity, community bonding, neighbourliness and other universal values such as chastity, filial piety, ecological concerns, world fellowship and life-long balanced education.
Men and women are equal before God.
"All human beings are equal like the teeth of a comb. There is no superiority of an Arab over a non Arab, of a non Arab over an Arab, of a white man over a black man or of a male over a female.The only merit in God's estimation is righteousness.(Saying of Muhammad)."
"All creatures are the dependents , the family of God and the most beloved of God is he who is most beneficent to His dependents, His 'family'(Saying of Muhammad)."
Religion , a Perennial Peace and Justice Paradigm
Violence is the opposite of religion. Self defence however is allowed. In every area of action ethical and humane considerations must not be forgotten. Aggressive wars are condemned in Islam.Jihad does not mean "Holy War". It means Endeavour or Struggle. The most important Jihad is to stop all wars and promote justice in all areas.
Wealth should circulate widely. Monopolies, Usury and unfair practices are forbidden. Cooperation among different scriptural religions is encouraged for the benefit of humankind. The Quranic motto is to consume only what is Lawful, Wholesome and Blessed (Halalan Toyyiban Mubarakan). At the same time wastefulness and excessiveness is deprecated. Pork, intoxicants, tobacco , blood, carrion i.e meats of animals that die of themselves and those offered to dieties are not considered as Halalan Toyyiban. Killing of meat-lawful animals for food must be done in the most expeditious and least painful manner. Wassalamu 'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu! Peace, Mercy and the Blessings of God be upon you!