The Need and Role of Prophets.

As we learned earlier, Allah (SWT) willed to be known; therefore, He created everything for Him to be known. A creature, later to be called human, was a part of His will from the beginning and a part of the process of creation. It was also included in His will that humans be given a fixed time to live on earth and be granted free will and the power to choose, They are taught right from wrong and tested to see if they follow Allah’s (SWT) will or their own will. Then, finally, on the basis of the results of their actions, they will be given permanent life in Heaven or Hell. All of this was included in His will from the moment “Allah willed to be known” and thereafter began to create according to His will.

Only Allah (SWT) knows how many millions of years later the time arrived to create Adam (A.S), the first human. Soon thereafter, it became necessary to send him and his wife Hawwa (A.S) to Earth. Eventually, the need arose to teach and guide humans, so they could distinguish right from wrong and choose to be successful; the process of teaching and guiding people had to be undertaken. Thus, those who had been chosen by Allah (SWT) to fulfill this great task of teaching preaching, and guiding humankind are the messengers and prophets of Allah (SWT). These people are among the best of humankind.

At the time the father of us all, Adam (A.S), was created, every human soul that had to come to life on earth was also created. Allah(SWT) assembled every soul  and asked, “Am I not your Lord?” All replied, “Why not.” Allah (SWT) had knowledge that they would soon forget this covenant upon reaching earth [Qur’an 7:172]. Therefore,arrangements were made to teach, preach, guide, and remind people about the ‘Great Gathering’ to take place in the end, where undoubtedly everyone will witness or at least feel His presence and be held accountable for their actions.

However, had we remembered our reply to “Am I not your Lord?” we would be much better off. Had we remembered, how could we have done so much wrong in this life? How could we have gone astray? How could we now have denied the existence of Allah  (SWT)? How could we have committed the sin of Kufr  (Infidelity) and shirk (Polytheism), and disobeyed His commandments? Had we remembered Allah (SWT) all along, why would we be tested? Had we remembered this, we would never have deviated from the righteous path, and acquiring success would not have been a problem. Hence, there would have been no need for prophets to teach, preach, and guide us, because we would know and remember Allah (SWT), the Almighty, our Lord.

As we came to live on earth and grew, we forgot the covenant we made with Allah (SWT) [Qur’an 9:67]. However, as soon as we depart from this life, we will come to realize it. Remembering our prior covenant with Allah (SWT) at the time of our departure from this life cannot bring us back to the beginning to fulfill our covenant. There is no coming back: it is either now or never. 

 

The essence of Islam is to believe in the unseen/metaphysical/ spiritual, which is invisible to the naked eye, but visible to positive reasoning. To believe in the unseen/hidden, it is necessary to received Allah’s (SWT) assistance, guidance, signs, and symbols that are evidence of His existence. We also need them to satisfy our curiosity and to provide answers to all of our questions, so we can confidently believe in the unseen. Each one of us, by ourselves, is unable to receive that guidance directly from Allah (SWT), because if such were the case, nothing would remain unseen or hidden.

Therefore, there was a need for someone to: receive guidance from Allah (SWT) and convey it to us, learn from Allah (SWT) and teach us, store Allah’s (SWT) energy and energize our soul, and be enlightened by Allah’s (SWT) radiance and lift us from the darkness of ignorance and bring us into the light of knowledge. These beings were to be trusted beyond any doubt, to be worthy and capable of this great deed, to relate to us and to the Lord Almighty at the same time, to remind us of our purpose and our destination, and to show us how to follow in their footsteps in practical manner.

Who can these exalted beings be? Could they be any other than those chosen by our Lord? No. Then, they are quite obviously His prophets and messengers. They came and fulfilled their duties with utmost diligence, selflessness, and steadfastness. Now, it is all up to us, because this lifetime is our only chance; we must use it or lose it.

Adam (A.S)  was the first prophet. Right from the beginning, he had to be the first one to teach the message of Allah (SWT) to his children. Later, other prophets came to every nation, one after another, to guide them and deliver the message of Allah (SWT). Finally, from among them, the last one was Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them).

All Prophets were human beings, but chosen ones, exalted among the people. They had to come from among humankind because if it were otherwise, they could not relate to us, and we could not follow them. It  would have become easy for us to deny them and their teachings, simply because we could say to Allah (SWT), ” O Lord! How could we replicate their life, their sacrifices and their trials and tribulations, when we are just humans and they are different from us?”

   And if We had made the prophet and angle, even then We would have made them (in the form of) a man, and thus We would have confused them in a matter wherein they are now confused. [Qur’an 6:9]

This is why the All-Knowing Allah (SWT) chose His prophets from among humans, so people can follow their example and emulate their lives. It was also necessary to give the prophets the power of miracles, so people who chose to believe in the prophets could have unshakeable faith in them, and those who chose to deny them would have no excuse on Judgment day by saying that they could not verify them to be Allah’s (SWT) prophets. Certainly, through prophets, Allah (SWT) completely conveyed His guidance to humanity. It is now our choice to be righteous or to be evil, to be successful or to fail, and to live the eternal life in Heaven or in Hell. The burden to choose and act falls on us individually. No one else benefits or loses by what we choose for ourselves. Islam teaches us to choose wisely and for our own good.

Allah (SWT) sent prophets from amongst their own people. They called their nations towards one Lord and explained to them the purpose of life on Earth. They taught them how to live and worship Allah (SWT) how to fulfill their duties to Allah (SWT) and to their fellow humans. The prophets delivered to humanity whatever they were assigned and were required to do.

 

Allah (SWT) required people, as prerequisite, to have faith in His prophets and recognize them as beloved beings of Allah [Qur’an 4:80 & 2:253]. Not a single prophet demanded anything in return from his people for the favour of conveying Allah’s (SWT) guidance to them. The prophets did not seek monetary benefit, power, or adulation; instead, they sacrificed their time and energy, endured pain and suffering, and were humiliated to save their people from evil doings, grave sins, shirk, and being disobedient to Allah (SWT).

As one prophet passed away, Allah (SWT) would send another one. According to a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), Allah (SWT) sent about 124,000 prophets. During their lifetime, the prophets and their followers suffered greatly at the hands of disbelievers, who many times forced them to leave their homeland or even killed them. However difficult the environment became, the prophets remained steadfast and never gave in or disavowed their divine obligations.

As prophets passed away, their teachings were corrupted and in many cases purposely changed to legitimize the rule of the elites over the less fortunate.  The true believers always remained steadfast to the teachings of their respective prophet, and Allah (SWT) brought countless rewards and blessings upon those steadfast believers. In contrast, Allah’s (SWT) wrath destroyed those who disobeyed prophets, so that future generations and other nations would learn of their fate and avoid following their example. Whether or not people followed past prophets, Allah (SWT) completed His guidance to humanity through His Final Prophet (Peace be upon them).

His Final Prophet (Peace be upon them) completed the divine guidance. He was to be successful and fulfill his duties, and his nation would completely surrender to the will of Allah (SWT). His teachings would last forever. His people, language, holy book (Qur’an), teachings/practices and sacred words would be preserved forever and would become the beacon of light and guidance for all humanity until the end of time. He is no other than Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), whose book is the holy Qur’an, whose teachings are Islam, and whose followers are Muslims, He testified to past prophets, recognized the authenticity of their revealed scriptures, eradicated shirk, and now forever rules over the hearts of his followers, leader of all prophets.

Islam recognises every prophet. In fact, denying or disrespecting any one of them is un-Islamic, because they are all Allah’s prophets. All are dear to Muslims. Some among them are Adam (A.S), Idress  (A.S; Possibly the same as Enoch), Nuh (Noah; A.S), Hud (A.S), Saleh (A.S) Ibrahim (Abraham; A.S ), Isma’il (Ishmael; A.S), Is-haaq (Isaac; A.S), Yaqoob (Jacob; A.S), Yusuf (Joseph; A.S), Ayyoub (Job; A.S), Shu’aib (A.S), Musa (Moses; A.S), Harun (Aaron; A.S), Lut (Lot; A.S), Yunus (Jonah; A.S), Al-Ya’sa (Elisha; A.S), Zulkifl (Ezekiel; A.S), Dawud (David; A.S), Sulayman (Solomon; A.S), Ilyas (Elijah; A.S), Zakaria (Zachariah; A.S), Yahya (John the Baptist; A.S), Isa (Jesus; A.S), and the ‘Seal of the Prophethood,’ Muhammad (Peace be upon them). They are to be honored, loved, remembered, and respected to the extent that, when saying or writing their names, Muslims must attache proper attributes and salutations next to their names, such as shown above.

The prophets’ main purpose was not to teach us what we could learn on our own, but what we could never comprehend by ourselves. When our intellect fails, the prophets’ teachings take charge. When our reasoning comes to a dead end, the prophets’ wisdom opens new dimensions for us to proceed forward. When our faculties fail, their teachings rescue us from the darkness of failure. Whenever we are in need of a model or an ideal, the best resource is Allah’s (SWT) prophets, who are the best models and icons of wisdom.

The holy prophet came to connect us to the Creator, since we could not do it on the basis of our limited intellect. They came to tell us who the Lord is, since we could not fully know by ourselves. They came to reach us how to please the Lord because we could not find this out without the Lord telling us through them. They came to show us how to worship the Lord because we could not develop the system of worship by which the Lord could truly be pleased. They came to declare the Oneness of the Lord and stop us from committing shirk because we could not have come to believe in one Lord by ourselves. The prophets came to warn us about the Day of Judgment and the trials of that Day because by the time we would have figured it out on our own, it might have been too late for us.

The prophets informed us about halal and haram (Permitted and forbidden), good and bad, virtues and sins, benefits and harm, rights and duties; and all other prescriptions and proscriptions. On our own, we would have reversed the entire system of life, misunderstood the whole idea of existence, misused the bounties of Allah (SWT), increased our spiritual diseases, put in place improper justice systems, and failed an achieve the ultimate success of the Hereafter. We needed help from the Lord, which came through His prophets.

The prophets did not come to teach us how to build skyscrapers, but to find peace and prosperity within simplicity. They did not come to show us techniques on becoming millionaires, but how to love our fellow human beings and share our wealth. They did not come to teach us how to make airplanes, but to uplift the suffering humanity. They did not come to give us ideas on how to explore outer space, but how to explore our inner self and discover Allah’s (SWT) great Workmanship.

None of what we could have learned, invented, explored, designed, manufactured, thought of, formulated, and discovered by ourselves was on the agenda of any prophet. Eventually, we would naturally do these things as the need arose, and human history is witness that we did.

Rather, the prophets informed us well in advance of whatever we were incapable of finding out on our own. They fulfilled their duty of guiding people, and they are not responsible for anything beyond that. They will not be questioned for our wrongdoings, bear the burden of our mistakes , and suffer for our kufr (Infidelity), shirk (Polytheism), and deviation from the righteous path. They are already the chosen ones, the rewarded ones, and the blessed ones. They have done the job well and have nothing to lose.

 


   This post is in a series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.

Allah (SWT) Loves His Creations.

Allah (SWT) created everything in the best manner and according to its purpose. Each creature lives by natural rules and plays specific roles set forth by Allah (SWT). As such, He provided creatures with everything necessary to fulfill their purpose. Since human beings have a higher purpose, He endowed them with free will, intelligence, morality, common sense, etc., and He created them in His own image. To be created in His image does not mean that He looks like man, but that humans have been endowed with His qualities in accordance with their capacity and ability [Qur’an 30:30]. No other creature has been bestowed with this honor. How can all this be devoid of Love?

WE apparently love what we make with our won hands, even though we are not creators of anythings. We simply put together what is provided to us as raw material by Him. Since we love what we make, He must love us more, because He made us the best among His creatures.  How is it possible for us to achieve the purpose of our life without His caring and love?

In the very beginning of the Holy Qur’an, Allah (SWT) reveals Himself as Ar-Rahman ‘the Most Compassionate’ and Ar-Rahim ‘the Most Merciful.’ How can He be compassionate and merciful without love? He could have chosen his other attributes at this place to introduce Himself, but He chose Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim precisely to show His love and mercy.

Since we are His creatures, however much love we need from Him comes unconditionally. We do not have to do anything special to receive this love;everyone gets it equally. When we require more love and compassion from Him, we have to go out of our way and beseech His mercy, and then work hard and strive to become eligible for it.  Certainly, our Lord is full of love for His creations. Besides being beneficent, Compassionate, Merciful, He is Al-Wadud, The Most-Loving. Many other attributes of our Almighty Lord also reflect His love for us .

He knew definitely that in this world we would commit sins, therefore, in the holy Qur’an He says:

And ask for forgiveness from your Lord; then bow down towards Him; without a doubt my Lord is truly Forgiving and profoundly Loving. [Qur’an 11:90]

When He warns us, it is to our own benefit. When He mentions His absolute power and comprehensive majesty, He simultaneously reveals Himself to profoundly love all of His creatures. Although He has power to do anything He wills, He prefers to love us. He reveals in the Qur’an:

Without a doubt your Lord’s hold is quite severe. Without a doubt, He creates the first time and He is to do it the second time around. And He is All-forgiving and Most-Loving, the owner of the magnificent Throne; the Doer of whatever He wills. [Qur’an 85:12-16]

 

The Qur’an also tells us that Allah (SWT) loves:

  • Those who do good [Qur’an 2:195 & 3:148],
  • The Repentant and the pure [Qur’an 2:222],
  • Those who are mindful (of Him) [Qur’an 3:76],
  • Those who love Him and follow Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon them) [Qur’an 3:31],
  • Those who are good [Qur’an 3:134; 5:13; 5:93],
  • Those who Patiently persevere [Qur’an 3:146],
  • Those who trust in Him [Qur’an 3:159],
  • Fair judges [Qur’an 5:42],
  • Those who are mindful (of their obligations) [Qur’an 9:4 & 9:7],
  • Those who make themselves pure [Qur’an 9:108],
  • Those who believe and do what is morally right [Qur’an 19:96],
  • Those who are evenhanded [Qur’an 49:9],
  • The tolerant [Qur’an 60:8], and
  • Those who fight in His cause in tight formations [Qur’an 61:4]

In addition to these Qur’anic testimonials to Allah’s (SWT) love for us, numerous sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) bear witness that Allah (SWT) loves us.

The prophet of Allah said: “Allah, the blessed and exalted, said: ‘My love is obliged for those who love each other in Me, and those who sit with each other in Me, and those who visit each other in Me, and those who give to each other generously in Me.” [Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik, hadith #15.51]

The prophet said that Allah Himself said, “My servant draws closer to Me through the religious duties I placed upon him. My servant then continues to draw closer to Me with voluntary (Good actions) until I love him. When I love him, I become his ears that he uses to hear, his eyes that he uses to see,his hands that he uses to hold and his feet that he uses for walking. If he then asks Me for anything. I would surely grant it to him, and when he asks for My protection, I will surely give it to him…”    [Hadith-e-Qudsi]

Still further, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) informed us that Allah (SWT) loves those who practice abstinence in the world and those who are Allah-Conscious, free from want, and hidden from the view of people.

A man came and said: “O Prophet of Allah, direct me to a deed for which I shall be loved by Allah & by people when I have done it.” He replied: “If you practice abstinence in the world, Allah will Love you, and if you abstain from people’s possessions, people will love you. ” [ Al-Tirmidhi, hadith #1350; also transmitted by Ibn Majah]

Allah’s prophet said: “Allah loves the servant who is Allah-conscious and is free from want and his hidden (from the view of people). ” [Muslim, hadith #1384]

The message of Allah’s (SWT) love that is to be found in Islam, both in the Qur’an and in the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), is clear and unmistakable. Allah (SWT) is The Loving, full of loving tenderness. He is The Most Compassionate, enveloping us in a womb-like protection and throwing out to us a rope of salvation whenever we start to stray. He is The Most Merciful, full of mercy to the believers, merciful to all people, and His mercy extends over all things.

On the Day of Resurrection, His mercy to His servants will be 99 times that of all the mercy that all of creation has ever shown to each other. He is also The forgiving, and He loves to forgive us and He will continue to forgive us as long as we ask for forgiveness and repent sincerely. He is ever ready to run towards us if we will just take a few steps towards Him. This is the Islamic concept of Allah.

Allah (SWT) naturally endowed us with common sense and other qualities to find, connect, and relate to Him and to worship Him, It would be quite difficult had He not done that for us. He helped us and saved us from the hassle and pain of trying to discover Him ourselves. This is another sign of His love for us.

Allah (SWT) sent prophets, one after another, to rightly guide and teach us how to work towards achieving ultimate success. He revealed a complete system of life through divine books, so we can know what is good and bad for us in this life and in the Hereafter. He equipped us with every faculty necessary to explore, know, and utilize His bounties in order to be thankful to Him and to achieve the purpose of this life.

He created love and affection in us so that, for example, parents can raise their children, children can care for their parents, husbands and wives can live happy, peaceful and productive lives, and other happy relationships could be established.

Nothing could be possible without His love. Now, that love requires us to understand our Master, to know Him, to properly follow His guidance, to recognize His being, to worship Him properly for His pleasure, and to thank Him for what He has granted us and what He ultimately wishes to give us: success in the Hereafter.

Where else do we find a Lord Who rewards us for treating ourselves well? Before requiring us to fulfill our obligations to Him, He directs us to fulfill our duties to each other. When true believers fulfill their duties to other humans beings for His pleasure, He considers it worship of Himself and fully rewards them, too.  Even the activities that are part of direct worship bring unlimited benefits to the worshiper and not to Allah (SWT). Where else do we find such a Lord? Nowhere, but He himself is the One and Only.

The ‘lords,’ ‘masters,’ and ‘bosses’ of this world demand personal service and favours before doing favours for us, but not the Lord of all lords. He is there to give and does not take anything in return for Himself. That Lord is compassionate, Merciful, and Just. Islam requires its followers to invite other to Allah (SWT) and to His way. It wants people to recognize that fact, so they too can become His true servants and work their way to success, the ultimate success.

Since it is human nature to attempt to perceive the Supreme Being, people ask numerous questions regarding His form and being. The following should give a well rounded idea and understating of Allah (SWT) the Almighty Lord.

 

Q&A About Allah (SWT)

  1. What is the Gender of Allah (SWT)?

Gender is for creatures, not for the Creator. Allah (SWT) is free from any gender category or other classification. He is not like us or like any of His creations. Allah (SWT) is not male or female. He is the Supreme Being, above and beyond any gender categories. When we use a pronoun in place of Allah (SWT), we use a masculine pronoun not to show that he is male, but as He Himself used it in the divinely revealed books.

 

      2.  Does Allah (SWT) know our actions before or after they occur?

One of Allah’s (SWT) attributes is the All-Knower. He knows whatever is taking place and whatever will take place in the future, including our actions and our intentions. His infinite knowledge covers everything from the beginning to the end, and even that which is certainly beyond our conception.

 

      3. Can we see Allah (SWT)?

We are not given the power to see Him. If we could see Him, everyone would have automatically believed  in His existence, and the whole purpose of having faith would have been invalidated. On the Day of Judgment, only the ‘Successful Ones’ will be able to see the Lord, and it will be a great disappointment and unimaginably painful for the faithless, the losers, not to be able to see Him, even on that day. So close, yet so far!

 

       4. How do you know if he is please with any of our actions?

When we perform an action, a good deed, with the pure intent of pleasing Him and as per His instructions, we should have unshakeable belief that Allah (SWT) is pleased with our action. The true satisfaction of heart and mind and an unexplained contentment and joy felt within the soul indicate acceptance of that good deed and that it has earned the pleasue of Allah (SWT). For example, a simple smile on our parents face, a thumbs-up gesture from our coach, or a handshake with our boss is a sign of contentment and joyful victory. An indication of Allah’s (SWT) acceptance of our good deeds is felt within our soul and shows up brightly on our faces.

         5. What difference does the belief in the ‘Oneness of Allah’ (SWT) make in Muslims?

Belief in the Oneness of Allah (SWT) causes undivided attention towards the Supreme Being when: submitting to His will, performing the acts of direct worship, following His commands, maintaining a spiritual connection, and being fearful being accountable. This belief clears away confusion and satisfies the soul. It assures us that there is only one place form where we can find help, justice, and the fulfillment of our desires, It provides strength, confidence, a sense of belonging,peace of heart, mind and soul, hope, dignity, and unshakeable belief.

Since Allah (SWT) is One, His message and guidance must also be one. The way of life prescribed by Him is also one. The unity of Allah (SWT) brings unity to all, and the powerful energy that radiates is immense. The Unity of Allah is perfection, and anyone who comes close to this perfection finds absolute satisfaction.

 

      6. Why does Allah (SWT) not have children?

The short and simple answer is that Allah (SWT) does not need children, but this short and simple answer may not be satisfactory to all, so I will elaborate further.

Having children is naturally a sign of weakness and ultimate recognition that a father/mother will eventually die and children will take over. A human father is naturally weak and eventually requires the help of a child to remain strong. A child fulfills the needs of his father who may suffer from many inherent deficiencies, or if a father is rich he needs a child to inherit his wealth and prolong his name or business. All these are sings of weaknesses.

However, Allah (SWT) is not weak, and He thus does not need children, All of His attributes are clear proof to that effect. According to the biological process of reproduction, a male requires a female to have children. Allah (SWT) has never taken a female companion; therefore, He does not have children.


This post is in series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.

TAWHID: The Oneness of Allah

The Belief in the Oneness of Allah (SWT)  is central to Islam, & all other beliefs revolve around it [it]. However, it is not simply a matter of belief, but of firm conviction. Even though Allah (SWT) is hidden & invisible to the naked eye, He is clearly visible to positive reasoning and common sense. Wherever we look and explore, we find a unified system and an immaculate work of definite calculations and precise movements. Allah’s art of creation cannot be the work of more than one Lord, more than one Supreme Being. He has to be one; otherwise, there would bound to be a clash in the universal systems. There could not be natural symmetry, balance, and the existing fundamental similarities among creatures if there were more than one creator.  Even human nature could have been divided and be concretely different in its most fundamental aspects, but since this is not the case, it shows that the Creator is one. If there were more than one god, various creatures, systems of life, and the very nature of humans would not only be very different, it would be impossible to coexist fro even a moment.

The more they try to disapprove His existence, the more they end up confirming it.

 

That is why all religions throughout human history, in one form or another, teach of one Supreme Being, one great God, even when some of them believe in lesser gods, and goddesses. Experience shows that even people who claim to believe in no god, deep down in their hearts, believe that this phenomenal universe must be the work of a Supreme Being.

Every field of science seems to accept that this universe and everything in it are a creation of some supreme and powerful being, and the results of their research point in this same direction, i.e., there is supreme being. Some, intentionally or unintentionally, in their attempt to disprove the existence of a supreme being, ironically end up proving its existence or at least fail to deny its existence concretely. The more they try to disprove His existence, the more they end up confirming it.

Humans are naturally connected to the Creator. Hence, no matter how much they have forgotten Him, they still call on him, especially when in need of help and when no else can help. They submit to Him whenever their power and intelligence fail and return to Him when there is no other place to go and no one else for whom to look or to whom to turn. This and many other experiences of daily life truly indicate that a mighty Lord exists and that He is one and cannot be more than one. Every divine revelation professes this unity, as do all of our natural faculties.

 

It is not just a matter of belief; it is a matter of fact that when we willfully and verbally declare the ‘Oneness of Allah’ (SWT) and recognise/ certify it by heart, we declare the truth and prepare to enter into Islam and return “home.” In Islam, tawhid (The Oneness of Allah SWT) is the centre of the Islamic belief system. The opposite of tawhid is Shirk. Shirk is not a forgivable sin,but it is forgiven only if Allah’s Oneness is embraced, along with the rest of Islam in its entirety. The heavenly guidance from Allah (SWT) that no one should commit shirk is clear, complete, and convincing, Thus, according to Islam, there is no other place for a mushrik (One who commits shirk), but eternal Hell.

The concept of tawhid is that Allah (SWT) is one and has no partners. Shirk is to associate an idol or human with Allah’s being and to relate someone or something with Allah as His partner, parent, son or daughter, to consider someone equal in power and in attributes or to believe someone has the personal power or ability to interfere or intercede in Allah’s will or in His work.

The main purpose of every prophet from Adam (A.S)  to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), the Final Prophet, including but not limited to Nuh (Noah) (A.S), Ibrahim (Abraham) (A.S), Dawud (David) (A.S), Saleh (A.S), Musa (Moses) (A.S), and Isa (Jesus) (A.S), was to prevent their people from committing shirk (polytheism). They called upon their people to declare the tawhid (Oneness of Allah -SWT), to condemn shirk and to abandon the worship of anything else beside Allah (SWT). In light of the prophets’ sacrifices, hard work, proselytizing under adverse conditions, and teaching people about Allah (SWT)  and His Oneness, every punishment from the Lord is justified for those who continued to commit shirk.  Even today this is a matter for real concern and man must refrain from shirk, if he does not want to become the ultimate loser.

The clear, divine revelations about the Oneness of the Lord and those revelations denying the existence of any other god clearly conclude that none is worthy of worship besides Allah (S.W.T), the Omniscient and Omnipotent Lord. To worship anyone besides Allah (SWT) is another form of shirk. Muslims do not worship any prophet or associate prophets in Allah’s worship in any way, Although the prophets are all chosen men,  some are closer to Allah (S.W.T) than others, and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) is the most beloved.

Prophets, angels, saints, and others are to be loved, honored, respected, and remembered, but not worshiped. Worship is due exclusively for Allah (SWT) .

Islam, as taught by the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), sums up the description of the Almighty. Allah (SWT) is the Lord, the Creator, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the Omnipresent, the Sustainer, and providence is only from Him. Only Allah (SWT) is Eternal. He gives life and takes it away, forgives sins and punishes wrongdoers; He is All-Knowing, and nothing is hidden from Him. Therefore, Allah (S.W.T) is the only one worthy of worship.


This post is in series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.

ALLAH!- The Lord Almighty

99 Names of Allah

 

 

 

Who is Allah?

S.W.T  ( refer to: Subhanahu wa ta’ala, Arabic for “May He be glorified and exalted”).

‘Allah’ (Swt) is the proper and personal name of the Almighty, the Lord and Creator, Who created the universe and everything in it, including us human beings. The Lord, the Almighty, was not named ‘Allah’ (Swt) by any human being or by any Muslim. He introduced Himself to us by this name,  ‘Allah’ (Swt). The first verse of the holy Qur’an and the first Cardinal Article of faith testify to this.

 

Bismillah

Bismillah Hir-rahma Nir-rahim

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

Note: Muslims recite this whenever they begin to do anything and everything. They invoke the name ‘Allah’ (Swt) to include His blessing, mercy, and assistance with what they undertake, whether it is major or minor, thereby, avoiding the interference of Satan and his evil doings. This bears witness that ‘Allah’ (Swt) is His proper name.

 

AlhamdulillahAl- Hamdu- Lillahi Rabbil-Alamin

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Note: This is the first verse of the first surah (Chapter) namely Surah-e-Fathia ( The opening Chapter), with which the holy Qur’an begins. Here, the Almighty introduces Himself to us as ‘Allah’ (Swt).

La ilaha illallahu, Muhammadur Rasulullah

La ilaha illallahu, Muhammadur Rasulullah

“[There is] no deity but ALLAH, Muhammad is the prophet of Allah”

Note: To remain faithful (Muslims) or to enter into Islam, one must verbally declare this Kalimah (Decalration) of faith, certify it by heart, and have unshakeable belief in its truthfulness.

Countless other verses Show that  ‘Allah’ (Swt) is His proper name as He Himself revealed it to us.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) also revealed that He has many attributes or qualities, which are known as the 99 Beautiful Names of  ‘Allah’ (Swt). We should call Him either by His proper name  ‘Allah’ (Swt) or by any of His attributive names. Since  ‘Allah’ (Swt) is the name of his personal being and comprises all the meaning of this attributes, it is preferable to call Him  ‘Allah’ (Swt). Simply uttering  ‘Allah’ (Swt) brings many blessings and bring you closer to Him.

‘Allah’ (Swt) revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), ” I was a hidden treasure and willed to be manifest, so I created what I created” [Shamaa’il Tirmidhi]. He alone created everything and everyone.  To begin the process of creation  ‘Allah’ (Swt) first created the nur ( Light) of Muhammad from within his nur (Al Mawahibu’l-Ladunniyah].  ‘Allah’ (Swt) created angles from the nur as well. The Jinns were created from fire, and Shaytan  (Satan)  belongs to this category.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) created man from earthly soil, and science confirms that the elements found in the human body are also found in in earth.

Unlike the birth of other humans,the creation of Adam, Hawwa and of Isa (Jesus)(A.S), as explained before, are all signs of ‘Allah’s (Swt) power of creation.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) blessed Maryam (Mary) (A.S) and miraculously bestowed on her a son, Prophet Isa (Jesus)(A.S) without a father. This miraculous birth does not make Isa (A.S) His Son, nor does it make  ‘Allah’ (Swt) his father.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) is Wahid (Single and alone), and everything else is His creation that serves Him, surrenders to Him, and worships Him.

Allah (Swt) is free from parents and did not choose to have children. He has no partner who shares His being or His power.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) is alone; He is One. Never did He beget, nor was He begotten. None is like Him, and He is not like anyone or anything. No one is equal to Him. No one interferes with Him or with His works. He does whatever He wills. His plans and words are unchangeable.  No one questions Him, and He is not answerable to anyone.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) gives life and causes death at its fixed moment.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) causes clouds to release water, wherever and whenever He wills.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) merges the day into night and from the night brings out day. He set in motion celestial bodies that constantly travel on their fixed path for a fixed period.

 

He is the All-Knower, Not a single leaf falls on the ground that escapes His knowledge. He knows the needs of His creatures very well. He provides for all and nourishes all, and no being is left out from His provisions, no matter where they are, whether that is beneath the earth, deep in the seas, high above the skies, or in places we cannot even imagine. Besides humans and Jinns, none of His creations have free will. They all submit to Him; they all worship Him (In their own ways ) and are busy in His remembrance.

Only humans and jinns are given the unique ‘power of choice’ to choose between the righteous path and the deviant one.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) is merciful and does not take vengeance for His personal sake, but only to make right or for the sake of justice.  ‘Allah’ (Swt) does not destroy any nation until He brings upon them His divine message and warnings and gives them ample time to follow and submit. No creature is able to see Him’ yet, He sees all. Humans are not given the power to see Him or the intelligence to conceive of Him, except through his divine message and guidance.  What has been said above it but a summary of His introduction of Himself. To develop a better understanding, I quote the following from the holy Qur’an regarding  ‘Allah’ (Swt) being.

 

 Say you (O my Prophet!), “He is Allah, the One,” Allah , the Independent (but) on Whom all depend. He did not beget, nor was He begotten- NOR IS THERE ANYONE EQUAL TO him.” [QUR’AN 112:1-4]

 

The following is a tafsir (Explanation) of a very famous verse, called Aayat-ul-Kursi (aayat-verse, kursi-throne). The Words in parentheses and boldface are translations of the Qur’anic Arabic embedded within this unique explanation.

 

AAYAT-UL-KURSI [Qur’an 2:255]

 

Ayat Ul kursi

 

(Allah) Almighty is Self-Existing, Self-sustaining. He has existed for eternity, is the embodiment of all and every outstanding quality, is free of all blemishes, alone is worthy of worship and (none) is ( worthy of worship except Him) who has always remained (alive by Himself), is not in need of or reliant on anyone and will remain alive and in existence forever.

He will never experience death and is Self-Sufficient and is (for everyone),for the entire universe (the Sustainer) and He alone is responsible for the universes’ affairs. . And (He does not feel drowsy) which is the precursor to sleep because He never experiences tiredness or drowsiness, and therefore is also free from in-activeness which is result of being tired or drowsy.

(And) similarly (nor) does He (sleep) because while asleep the nerves of the mind are relaxed after which knowledge and comprehension are rendered ineffective and become suspended, and the alertness and intelligence of sense become diminished. And it is clear that for Allah Almighty these characteristics are impossible because He is the Inventor of this great universe and is responsible for maintaining its affairs at every moment and every second, as there are changes happening at all times, that are occurring under His attention and with His knowledge. He is aware at all times of all things in their condition and is neither unaware nor asleep.

(It is His and belongs to Him all that which is in the skies and on the Earth); all the creation in the skies and on Earth are His subjects and His property, and everything is submissive to His power and wish. (And who is it that intercedes) for anyone (in His court except by His order). Allah Almighty’s greatness, high rank, and majestic attributes mean that without His permission no one can intercede in His presence.

Allah Almighty (is aware) of ( everything that is in) the past of those who live in the skies and on Earth and that which (has gone before), that is, all that which has occurred in the world’s affairs, (and ) knows (everything that is to come) in the future. Therefore, Allah Almighty is aware of both their past and future, (and ) those of this universe (cannot encircle) or enclose (any-thing) that is (in His knowledge) and which He is aware of (except by His own will). In summary, leave alone the knowledge of the entire universe, a tiny iota of Allah Almighty’s vast knowledge is too difficult for a human to comprehend. Creatures only have the knowledge that is given to them by Him.

(Permission has been given by His throne), that is, His knowledge…or His greatness. or His power and ownership..or by His magnificent, powerful, everlasting, and immense creations that are below His kingdom but above the skies and his known as His throne; or whose reality no one except Allah Almighty is aware of, whether in (the skies on on Earth). In other words, His knowledge, His magnificence, power, and wisdom or His beautiful, gracious, and magnificent creations who have encircled the skies and the Earth and whose compound has within it the  skies and Earth, and which (He finds no difficulty keeping watch on both). Watching over the well-being of the Earth and skies does tire Allah Almighty, but in fact this caring is simple and very easy for Him. He is the Sustainer and Caretaker of all things, He does what He wills, His intention is firm, and that which He intends, He definitely makes it happen.

And why should not this be so because He is dominant and overpowering over all things, and (He is) above all matters (mighty and superior), magnificent, and exalted in His recognition, and this one revealed verse known and recognized as Aayat-ul-Kursi is more elevated and greater that any other verse of the Qur’an.

In the following verse, Allah (Swt) describes Himself through a metaphor of blessed light.

 

Allah is the light of the heavens and the Earth. The likeness of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp; that lamp is in (a chandelier of) glass; the chandelier is as a star glittering like a pearl, lit from a blessed olive tree, neither eastern nor western, whose oil is most luminous, even though no fire touches it. (This) is all light upon light! Allah guides unto his light whom he wills…[Qur’an 24:35]

He is Allah, besides Whom there is none to be worshiped, knower of everything hidden and open. It is He the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. He is Allah besides Whom there is none to be worshiped, the Sovereign of all, the Most Holy, the Bestower of Peace, the Giver of security, the guardian over all, the Esteemed Once, the Mender of broken hearts, the Exalted in might. Glory be to Allah, He is far above what they associate with Him. He is Allah, the Creator of all, the Maker of all, the Fashioner of all. His are the most Beautiful Names. Whatever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and it is He , the All Powerful, the All-Wise. [Qur’an 59:22-24]

 


This post is in series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.

Early days of the Prophet in Makkah

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Some Important facts about the history of Islam from the time of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) are mentioned below to increase the reader’s knowledge.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) were born 571 C.E. in Makkah, Arabia. His father’s name was Abdullah, and his mother was Amina.

His father passed away before his birth, and his mother passed away when he was six years old. His grandfather then became his caretaker.  Upon his Grandfather’s death, when he was about eight years old, his uncle Abu Talib lovingly cared for him for a long time. His genealogy is traced back to Prophet Ismail (A.S), the first son of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (A.S) There are no other prophets amongst the descendants of Ismail (A.S) except Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), while many great and distinguished prophets descended from Prophet Is-haq (Isaac) (A.S) the second son of Ibrahim (A.S).

Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Abu Talib, witnessing special qualities and characteristics in him, took extra care in his upbringing. He never left him home alone, even when going away on business trips. His uncle never forced him to worship idols, even though the majority of Arabs were idolaters. Just within the confines of the Ka’ba in Makkah, three hundred and sixty different idols were stored and worshiped. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) never went near idols to worship them, even in his childhood.  He truly hated idol-worship.

Having acquired experience in trade in the company of his uncle and after a few business trips abroad, Muhammad (Peace be upon them) earned respect for his unparalleled honesty and integrity, as well as for his extra ordinary demeanor, Makkans, witnessing his high moral character, awarded him the title of ‘Sadiq’ (Truthful) and ‘Ameen’ (Trustworthy).

On one occasion, he took abroad a merchant caravan of a wealthy Makkan lady, Khadija (R.A) and earned extraordinary profits for her goods. Upon hearing of his honesty, ethics, and the entire account of his trip from her slave who accompanied Prophet Muhammad ( Peace be upon them) she sent him a marriage proposal.

Through arrangements made by his uncle, Abu Talib he was married at the age of twenty- five to the Honorable Khadija (R.A) who was forty years old and a widow. Contrary to the belief of many, he did not marry her for any selfish reasons or utilize her wealth to achieve his goals. Moreover, her wealth was not a factor in declaring his prophet-hood, which came fifteen years later, when he was forty years old. Nevertheless, it did allow him much free time to meditate and remain secluded in a cave on a nearby mountaintop. His wife was always supportive of him and stood by him all the time. When Muhammad (Peace be upon him) declared his prophet hood, she, with full confidence,became the first person and woman to recognize him as the prophet of Allah, and she wholeheartedly embraced Islam.

While he was meditating in the cave known as Hira, Allah revealed the first few verses of the holy Qur’an through the Archangel Jibra’il (A.S). In those verses, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) was commanded to:

    Recite! In the name of your Lord, Who created all. Created man from the clot of congealed blood. * Recite! And your Lord is the Most Bountiful. * Who taught writing by the pen.  *Taught man what he knew not…*[Qur’an 96:1-5]

Later Allah Commanded Muhammad (Peace be upon them) to begin calling people to Islam, and Allah promised to protect him and to make him succeed in his mission. Although he faced resistance from the same people who called him Sadiq and Ameen, he continued to convey the message as revealed to him by Allah with confidence, dedication,and commitment. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) called upon his people to recognise the Oneness of Allah and to give up the centuries old worship of Idols.

To the tribe of Quraysh, idol worship was not only ritual, but it was also a profitable business opportunity, as they earned much income from pilgrims coming to Makkah to worship idols and to buy and sell goods.  Thus, the need to resist the Prophet and his teachings was obvious.

Initially, only a handful of people joined him, but with steadfastness and determination he continued to preach even under the harshest conditions. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), his extended family (Some of whom had not yet embraced Islam), and the new Muslims were subject to economic and social boycott and were forced to leave their homes for nearby valley, Shaib abi-Talib. They lived there for three years under severe circumstances; however, this did not weaken their resolve. The economic and trade sanctions against them were lifted when termites chewed up the document of sanctions drawn up by the Quraysh. This event brought shame to the Quraysh, for misbehaving with their own community members.

 

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Meanwhile, the Muslim community slowly increased and strengthened even as the resistance and savagery of the non-believers became widespread.  Those believers who could not persist were ordered by the Prophet , to migrate to Abyssinia (Contemporary Ethiopia). Muslims met with favourable conditions there and earned the favour and compassion of the Christian King Al Najashi, who on learning abut Islam and its Prophet, recognized the divinity of Islam, as Allah had revealed it previously to Prophet Isa (Jeasus) (A.S).

 

The Muslims who remained in Makkah Continued to suffer pain and hardship at the hands of the disbelievers. Soon after, a year of grief came upon the Prophet (Peace be upon them), as two of his great supporters and family members, his wife Khadija (R.A) and his uncle Abu Talib passed away, making his task harder. Now, his life was in greater danger from the Makkan chiefs, because they had  feared and respected Abu Talib. Upon his death, all the Makkan chiefs united to prevent the Prophet (Peace be upon him) from continuing with his mission, even if they had to take his life.

It was within this period of grief and hardship that the Prophet was summoned to meet Allah in the heavens. This Journey, known as Isra wal Mi’raj took place within a very short period of the night.  In the company of the Angel Jira’il (A.S), he first visited Masjid-e-Aqsa in Baitul Muqaddas (Jerusalem) and then ascended to the Heavens.  Among other things, the purpose of this miraculous journey were to bring him relief, uplift his morale, strengthen his resolve,show him the heavens, and make him an eyewitness to Allah’s signs and majesty, and give him the honor of meeting Allah in person, which was not given to any other prophet.  There, he was assured of his prophetic success and was given the gift of Salah ( The five daily prayers of worship), which every adult Muslim is obliged to practice.

Resisting the abuse and persecution of the Quraysh had now become unbearable, and thus the Prophet permitted more of his followers to migrate to Madinah, a city some four hundred Kilometers northeast of Makkah, where he would join them in the near future when commanded my Allah (S.W.T). Muslims making their way safely out of Makkah angered the disbelievers who then increased their persecution. The Makkan chiefs unanimously decided to attack the Prophet (Peace be upon them) in his sleep, but Allah (S.W.T) informed the Prophet (Peace be upon them) and granted him permission to migrate. The Prophet (Peace be upon them) left for Madinah, leaving his cousin, Ali (Karam Allah Wajhu), who would later become his Son-in-Law, in charge of his affairs and directed him to sleep in his place that night and then to join him in Madinah at a later time.

He travelled with the Honorable Abu-Bakr Siddiq (R.A), his closest companion and the first adult male to embrace Islam. The Makkans followed after them but could not reach them. After travelling for about five hundred Kilometres in the excruciating desert heat for fifteen days, they safely arrived in Madinah,where many anxiously awaited him. Out of their respect and honor for him,he was greeted with a grand celebration. This Hijra (Migration of the Prophet) marked the beginning of the Islamic Lunar calendar and the second phase of Islam.

In Madinah, the Prophet Established a common brotherhood among the believers: Between the Ansar, the Muslim residents of Madinah, and the Muhajireen, the migrant Muslims. He drew up treaties with local tribes and with the followers of the Jewish faith to coexist in peace and harmony, with toleration and understanding.  With a sigh of relief, he established the Muslim community on the solid foundations of Islam, according to the continuous revelations from Allah (S.W.T). The Muslim community grew and prospred due to the hard labour of the migrants and with the unprecedented cooperation and show of selflessness of their Ansar brethren. The holy Prophet Established a masjid in Madinah to be the centre for this newly formed nation of believers.

On the other hand, the Makkans were in despair at having failed to destroy a handful of poor and disadvantaged people, but, unbeknownst to them, Muslims were truly blessed by the Almighty, Who allowed them to succeed, become strong, sustain themselves, and disseminate Islam throughout Arabia.  The Makkans ran amok and looted the belongings and properties the emigrants left behind. They conspired with the local tribes of Madinah to weaken the Muslims.   They Sought alliances to wage war against Islam and Muslims. Although the Muslims had left the city of Makkah, the Makkans never let the Muslims live in peace in Madinah,  and they never left the Muslims alone to practice their religion.

After almost fifteen years of suffering persecution at the hands of the Quraysh, Allah (S.W.T) finally granted Muslims permission to defend themselves and fight back against the enemies. Many small and full scale battles were fought where Muslims, though outnumbered,were overall victorious.  At this point, both parties were ready to sign a peace treaty and agreed to ten years of peace. This period of peace gave Muslims a chance to focus on other matters, such as strengthening themselves to deal with other tribes and powers in Arabia and to take Islam beyond the Arabian borders.

The relative peace allowed Muhammed (Pece be upon them) to send letters via emissaries inviting the Roman, Persian, and other emperors to adopt Islam . He was also able to deal extensively with the hidden mischief of the hypocrites living among the Muslims. As Islam continued to grow and gain strength,every existing empire became aware of it. Moreover, the revelations of the holy Qur’an accelerated. Uniform codes of conduct, family life, personal and public affairs, economy and social welfare, civil and criminal justice, and conducting war and establishing peace were revealed to Muslims. Simultaneously, the Prophet (Peace be upon them) appropriately implemented divine laws among the Muslim community of Madinah and throughout the nearby lands.

When the Makkans and their allies breached the Treaty of Hudaibiya ,the Muslims prepared to march towards Makkah. They then conquered Makkah without spilling a drop of blood. Muhammad (Peace be upon them) become a conqueror, but being a prophet of mercy, he forgave all Makkans, even his staunchest enemies. He issued a general amnesty and pardoned everyone whether they embraced Islam or not. Allah (S.W.T) promise to His Prophet (Peace be upon them) and the Muslims came true. They entered Makkah as victors, when just ten years before they had been forced to leave their homes, belongings, and everything they had in order to find refuge so they could uphold their beliefs and for the love of their Prophet (Peace be upon them).

Muhammad (Peace be upon them) showed unequivocal generosity that has yet to be duplicated. As a result, tens of thousands embraced Islam without any swords raised, without fear of death, without any killings, and without any compulsion. Those who were willing to give up anything to destroy Islam now became its defenders and joined other Muslims in spreading the message of Islam form Makkah and Madinah to every corner of the world.

The prophet returned to Madina to remain there for the rest of his life among those who once did him great favours, the Ansar. Soon thereafter, the holy Qur’an was completed when at the Last Sermon, on the occasion of Hajj, Allah (S.W.T) revealed to Muhammad (Peace be upon them) that,

…. this day, I have perfected for you, your religion and have completed My favor to you and I have approved Islam as the religion for you…[Qur’an 5:3]

The prophet passed away at the age of 63, leaving the responsibility of taking Islam to every corner of the world to his Companions and to subsequent generations of Muslims. Abu-Bakr Siddiq (R.A) became the first Khalifa (Caliph) of the Muslim ummah (Community). The Holy Qur’an and the holy Sunnah (the way of the Prophet peace be upon them) became the beacon of light for the Muslim ummah.

Centuries later, Islam still shines brightly, spreading its rays of guidance to enlighten those who come in its way.


This post is in series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.

History of Islam continued..

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Prophets mentioned in the Qur’an.

Surely! Ibrahim (Abraham) was a model of perfection, obedient to Allah and devoted exclusively to the truth. And he was not at all of the polytheists. [Qur’an 16:120]

And as to Lut (Lot), We gave him authority and knowledge, and We delivered him from the town whose people committed foul deeds. And surely they were a people most wicked and disobedient. [Qur’an 21:74]

The people of Lut (Lot), denied the prophets. [Qur’an 26:160]

…. We made subservient to Dawud (David) the mountains and the birds, so they all celebrated Our praise with him…[Qur’an 21:79]

And so Sulayman (Solomon), We made subservient the violent wind – That it blew at his bidding to the land that We had blessed…Qur’an 21:81]

Then we kept sending our prophets, one after the other… [ Qur’an 23:44]

Then we sent Musa (Moses) and his brother Harun (Aaron), with Our signs and a clear authority to Pharaoh & his courtiers,but they also became proud and stiff necked, and surely they were a headstrong and insolent people. So they said, ” Shall we believe these two humans who are like us, while their people are our worshiping slaves.” So they denied both of them; they then were destroyed. And surely, We gave Musa (Moses) the Book that they might be guided aright. [Qur’an 23:45-49]

We made the son of Maryam and his mother ( Maryam) a sign (of Our might) and settled them both on an elevated ground fit for abode with meadows and running springs in sight. [Qur’an 23:50]

And how many towns have We destroyed when they boasted of their prosperity. So these are their houses that have not been inhabited, after them, but a little; and (in the end) We alone are inheritor. [Qur’an 28:59]

… So travel on the earth and see with your own eyes how exemplary was the end of those who denied the prophets. [Qur’an 16:36]

Thus all divine prophets, succeeding each other, delivered the guidance efficiently, but many prophets’ respective nations never fully submitted, and only some were somewhat successful. However, eventually, their nations went astray and their teachings were corrupted.  Then came the time when the Final Prophet, the ‘Seal of the prophet-hood’, was born in Makkah’ Arabia, roughly six centuries after the holy Prophet Isa ( Jesus). Since no prophet was to come after Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), Allah completed His guidance and made arrangements to safeguard it from human hands, as it had become mankind’s habit to distort heavenly guidance.  At his point, I can say, with certitude, that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) is the perfection of all previous prophets, that the holy Qur’an is the perfection of all previous scriptures, and Islam is the perfection of all previous beliefs as preached by the authentic prophets of Allah.

 

The final guidance was conveyed to humanity through the Final Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon them) and complete success in its implementation was achieved during his lifetime. Tens of thousands of Arabs and non-Arabs embraced Islam and were ready to take it across the globe and safeguard it at every cost. Within a short period, the world was not only introduced to Islam, but much of it came under its influence. The guidance, religion, and complete way of life-beginning with the first human being, Adam (AS) and completed with the teachings of the final Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon them).  This teaching has been embraced by billions of people. Currently, it is estimated that every fourth person in the world is a Muslim. Moreover, Islam is still the fastest growing religion. The history of Islam is lengthy, and only a compacted version is possible here.

All of the prophets from Adam (AS), the first man and the first human being to Nuh (AS)  From Ibrahim (Abraham) (AS) to Is-haq (Isaac) (AS) to Yaqub (Jacob) (AS)  to Yusuf (Joseph) (AS) from Musa (Moses) (AS) to Isa (Jesus) (A.S), from Ismail (Ishmael)  to Muhammad (Peace be upon them), and those mentioned or not mentioned in the divinely revealed books: Taurat (Torah), Zaboor (Psalms), Injeel (Gospel), and the holy Qur’an, brought the same message, i.e., Islam.

He was decreed for you the religion which He had enjoined on Nuh, and which We have revealed to you, and which We enjoined on Ibrahim and Musa and Isa saying: “Establish this very religion and be not divided therein”… [Qur’an 42:13]

O (Our) Prophets! Eat of the pure things, and do good deeds. Verily, I am the Knower of what you do. And assuredly, this religion of yours is but one religion, and I am Lord and Cherisher of you all, so you should fear Me and Me alone.

….. Follow the faith of your father Ibrahim. He (Allah), it is Who has named you Muslim before, and in this Qur’an as well your name is the same… [Qur’an 22:78]

(Look!)  Ibrahim was not a Jew or a Christian, but he was an upright Muslim aloof from all falsehood, nor was he  of the poly-theists. Surely, the nearest of mankind to Ibrahim are those who followed him and his prophet and the believers. And Allah is the patron of the believers.  [Qur’an 3:67-68]

Thy said: “What! When we are dead and become dust and bones, shall we then really be raised up again? [Qur’an 23:82]

According to the teachings of Islam, Judaism and Christianity in their original form were valid only for their time and until the divine way of life, i.e., Islam, was completed and perfected.  The Central teaching of every prophet was about tawhid ( Oneness of Allah). All their other teachings, e.g., laws of life and belief in the Hereafter, surrounded this dundamental belief and were later either incorporated into, modified by, or repealed by Islam. [Qur’an 2:154] Since then, every previous sharia and revealed book has been rendered null and void. Salvation is now possible only through Islam. To this effect, Allah reveals in the holy Qur’an:

And whosoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall certainly not be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter, he shall be of the losers. [Qur’an 3:85]

If Islam were a different religion and/or if it were invented by Muhammad (Peace be upon them) in the sixth century C.E., it would have been unnecessary to recognize any prophet, let alone all of them, before Muhammad (Peace be upon them) and any other book before the holy Qur’an. In fact, Islam makes belief in previous prophets and their books one of its necessary tenets because they too were sent by Allah and were part of His guidance. Since they are a part of Islam, Muslims must recognize them and their authentic teachings.

… each one believes in all sincerity in Allah and His angels and His books and His prophets (and they proclaim), ” We discriminate not against any of His prophets”….[Qur’an 2:285]

The laws and commandments brought by the previous prophets were either erased from human history or were corrupted with human intervention. A new set of divine laws and ordinances was needed to replace those that had been tampered with. Therefore Allah finally and once and for all completed His guidance through the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them)  and the holy Qur’an. Allah formally and officially approved Islam, and from now on salvation can only be achieved through Islam.

 

The ‘guidance’ and teachings had to be completed and perfected with Muhammad (Peace be upon them) because no other prophet was to come after him.  The need for heavenly guidance was now fulfilled; Allah assured the safeguarding of the holy Qur’an from human hands. Now, even the last soul that will come into this world can be guided through it and can prepare for ultimate success.

The holy Qur’an is the final set of commandments from the Almighty and contains the complete way of life,From the day of its first revelation to the day it was completed, Allah has protected and preserved the holy Qur’an in its original form.

 

Not even a single vowel or letter has been omitted, added, or changed since its revelation some fifteen centuries ago. This is so and will continue to be until the end of time because the Lord has taken the responsibility of its preservation upon Himself. Allah reveals:

Verily, it is We Who have revealed this discourse (Qur’an), and verily We are its Guardian. [Qur’an15:9]

The ordeal that began after the Prophet Muhammad declared his prophet-hood in Makkah, Arabia, when the first verse of the holy Qur’an was revealed to him by Allah through the Archangel Jibra’il (Gabriel) and he was commanded to spread the message of Islam, is a subject that requires a book on the topic itself.

During the twenty-three years before the divine mission completed,how much sacrifice was exacted from Prophet Muhammad and his companions! How they were persecuted, exiled and boycotted. How much resistance, difficulty, and suffering they endured at the hands of the Quraysh, the Arab tribe living in Makkah. How many battles they had to fight to survive, incurring injury and death.

What price they paid to safeguard their newly acquire faith. How Muhammad (Peace be upon them) managed to deliver the guidance to his followers and to lead them in the right direction, keep them united and steadfast, and practically implement Allah’s guidance by forming treaties and alliances with other tribes, training his companions to take Islam across the globe, and successfully fulfilling all of his obligations. These  are all aspects of Islamic history that require lengthy discussions, but as much as I want to discuss these topics, they are not the actual purpose of this blog.

The true followers of Islam, the companions of the Prophet and others thereafter, carried the message to every corner of the globe The message of Islam, coupled with the character of its followers, amazed everyone who witnessed it. They had never seen such a complete, simple, and encompassing belief system combined with the humbleness, sincerity, and truthfulness of its loyal followers.  Many naturally naturally became attracted to Islam and embraced it. Within  a short period, Islam grew rapidly throughout the world and brought people of diverse backgrounds under one umbrella.

It is quite astonishing to know that today, even when so many people are misinformed about Islam, either because of negative campaigning by some, the misbehavior of some Muslims, or other reasons, Islam remains the fastest growing religion in the world.  I am hopeful that on finishing this book, the reader will satisfy his or her curiosity as to why Islam continues to grow with such speed.



This post is in series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.

History of Islam

 

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The History of Islam is as old as the history of human kind. Since Islam claims to be the most appropriate form of guidance, the complete way of life, fit for human nature, and valid for all times, it must be as old as humankind. Many people believe that Islam came about in the sixth century C.E. If this were the case, then how can Islam claim to be the guidance for the first human to the last one? As I proceed further, this question will be answered.

According to a Hadith-e-Qudsi (Sacred hadith that have a particularly important status because the message is from  Allah while the wording is that of the Prophet Muhammad –(Peace be upon them),

I was a hidden treasure, (I) willed to be known; therefore, I created everything.

[Shamaa’il Tirmidhi]

Everything means the entire universe and everything in it, including human beings. Among all other creatures, Allah granted humans the status of ‘Being of All Creatures.’

The first human being the Lord Almighty created was Adam (A.S).  Adam (A.S) and his progeny were to become His vicegerents on the Earth. Initially, Heaven became the abode for Adam (A.S) however, Adam soon began to feel lonely. Allah then created Hawwa commonly known as Eve, the first woman and the second human being. Amazingly, she was created from the left rib of Adam (A.S), Allah does whatever He wills because He is the All-Powerful, Allah created Adam (A.S) without parents; Hawwa was born without a female (Mother); Isa (A.S), Known as Jesus, was born without a male (Father). All of the above are clear signs of his [Allah]power.

Adam and Hawwa lived in Heaven, and Allah permitted them to eat from wherever they wished, except from the tree  prohibited to them. Iblis/Shaytan (Satan) deceived them into eating from the prohibited tree. This did not amount to ‘original sin,’ a concept widely promoted in Western Christianity, but it was an innocent mistake Because of this mistake, they could no longer live in Heaven. Allah explains:

The Satan caused the two to slip and got them out of the place where they lived, and We said, “Get down,you will be enemies to one another, and now in the Earth shall be your dwelling and provision for an appointed term.” [Qur’an 2.36].

Upon their exit from Heaven, Allah further said:

…get down from here, all of you! Then, if there comes to you from Me ‘guidance,’ whosoever follows My guidance shall have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve. and those who disbelieve and shall deny Our signs- they are to be the inmates of Hell and therein they shall abide forever.

Adam (A.S) & Hawwa, the first couple and parents to all the people to come, were lost on Earth and separated from each other for a very long time. They were truly ashamed of their mistake in Heaven, for not abiding by the commandment of the Lord.

Adam (A.S) felt Guilty and wept profusely, asking for forgiveness. Thereafter, Allah forgave him, and Adam and Hawwa found each other and continued to live together. Gradually, the population of the world increased, and guidance began to come, as Allah had stated on their departure from Heaven.

As the population grew widespread and men learned the ways to live life on Earth, laws were needed to establish societies and solve basic problems. An ideology was needed to satisfy humanity’s natural curiosities about their existence and to fulfill their natural desire to worship. To fulfill this need, the Almighty revealed His guidance periodically, according to the need of the times and the level of peoples’ understanding, through His chosen individuals, known as prophets. From the outset, that very guidance was Islam, and all of the prophets, including those people who chose to believe in them,were Muslims. With the teachings of the last Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), the guidance was completed in perfected. Allah officially chose Islam as the deen and on its completion stated:

This day, I have perfected for you your religion and have completed My favor to you, and i have  approved Islam as the religion for you. [Quran 5.3]

Some may ask, if these teachings were perfected in the form of Islam through Muhammad (Peace be upon them), what were the teachings of the previous prophets called?  They were Islam, but in its incomplete form. Every prophet’s deen (Religion) was Islam; however, their sharia (The rules and commandments appropriate for their time, place, and need as revealed to them in their respective books) varied. [Qur’an 5:48] The major sharias came to be known as Judaism and Christianity. In Islam, the followers of those sharias are referred to as Ahle Kitab (People of the book).

Snce the Creator and the One Who completed His guidance is One and the same, how could His message vary among the prophets when they were all sent by him and towards the same creation? The basic beliefs – such as the belief in Allah His prophets, the unseen, refraining from shirk and idolatry, worshiping Allah life in the Hereafter, the Day Judgment, and belief in Heaven and Hell were all the same as they are in Islam today. Every Muslim must declare that,

… We believe in Allah and what has been sent down to us and that which was sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ismail and Ishaq (Isaac) and Yaqub (Jacob) and their offspring and what was given to Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus) and the other prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them,in the matter of faith and to Allah have we surrendered ourselves. [Qur’an 3:48]

 

Further more Allah reveals:

And whomsoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall certainly not be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter, he shall be of the losers. [Qur’an 3.85]

 

Allah continued to send prophets, one after another, to all nations, giving them a fair chance to accept and believe. Written and/or oral guidance was revealed to almost all of them: some followed the message of their prophets, and some ignored it;some even killed their prophets, while some followed for a short period and then forgot the true teachings; and some completely altered the guidance after their prophets passed away. All hopes of those who continuously disregarded the sacred guidance and transgressed, mocked, and disrespected the prophets were dismissed, whereupon  Allah sent His wrath. The following verses of the Qur’an explain this further.

Surely, Allah chose Adam  and Nuh ( Noah) and the progeny of Ibrahim (Abraham) and the progeny of Imran (Amrarn) above all people of the world…[Qur’an 3:33]

And indeed We raised in every community a prophet to instruct them…[Qur’an 16:36].

And we did not send any prophet but (To preach) in the language of his own people in order that he might explain to them in clear terms (The commandments of Allah)…[Qur’an 14:4]

And mankind was but a single community (in the beginning), then they began to differ among themselves…[Qur’an 10:19]

And surely We sent Nuh (Noah) to his people, and he said,”O, my people! Worship Allah, you have no  god for yourselves besides Him” …..[Qur’an 23:23

 

The nation of Nuh (A.S) , about him said:

He is not but a mad man….[Qur’an 23:25]

Nuh (A.S) requested help from Allah and said:

He said, ” O Lord! Help me, for they have denied me.”…[Qur’an 23.26]

Allah informed Nuh (A.S) About the great flood and said:

Then we revealed to him, “Build and Ark before Our sight and by Our command”…[Qur’an 23:27]

 

And recall when his Lord said to him: “(O Abraham) Surrender!” He submitted: ” I surrender myself to the Lord and Cherisher of all the worlds.” And Ibrahim (Abraham)  enjoined upon his sons and so did Yaqub (Jacob), saying:  “O my sons! Verily Allah has chosen for you this religion, so die not except as Muslims.”  [Qur’an 2:131-132]

And (Remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham was tested by his Lord with regard to His certain commands, which he fulfilled in all entirety. Allah said;”Verily, I am going to appoint you leader for all mankind”…[Qur’an 2:124]



This post is in series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Different Categories of Peace

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Peace of Heart

Believers in Islam build a strong connection to the creator; therefore, they find inner peace that is not attainable through any other means. A believer perpetually acquires peace of heart through performing the activities of worship, continuously remembering Allah and refraining from committing sins.

Peace of mind

A Believer acquires peace of mind when he is fully content and recognizes that he is doing everything in his ability to be successful in this world, leaving the rest to the will of Allah. When he receives something, he is thankful to the Lord; when at a loss, he recognizes that the Lord has the power to give, as well as to take away. A true believer who has strong faith is at peace within himself, because Islam commands him to use his faculties wisely and to execute actions with his full capabilities, leaving the outcome to the will of Allah. Upon the positive result of his actions, he is grateful to the Lord, and upon negative result, he is patient and accepts it to be the Lord’s will.

Peace of the Soul

Peace of the soul is the most important kind of peace. It is a peace that is deep in the inner self, deep within the heart of hearts. In comparison to the peace of body, heart, and mind that is acquired through simpler means, peace of the soul, unquestionably more precious,cannot be acquired easily. Acquiring peace of the soul requires knowledge of the sacred and knowledge of who one is. What is the purpose of one’s life? What is one’s final destination? The Islamic answers to these questions bring true peace to the soul.

Money and other worldly possessions bring certain amount of peace to the heart and mind, but when one lies lonely in bed, gazing with a deep sigh at the ceiling or at the sky with millions of sparkling stars, one inquires into questions such as those noted above. The soul of man continues to search for answers, but the conclusion is usually incomplete and unsatisfactory.

Islam, on the other hand, guides humanity from the beginning of their journey, through this transitory life, and to the final destination in the Hereafter. It provides comprehensive answers for their curiosity to be at peace, by which they peacefully work towards ultimate success. Peace of heart and mind is essential for people to be active and full of life, but peace of the soul is certainly more precious because it brings ultimate satisfaction.

Islam, on the other had, guides humanity from the beginning of their journey, through this transitory life, and to the final destination in the Hereafter. It provides comprehensive answers for their curiosity to be at peace, by which they peacefully work towards ultimate success. Peace of the heart and mind is essential for people to be active and full of life, but peace of the soul is certainly more precious because it brings ultimate satisfaction.

Peace within a family

A family unit is the most important part of human life. A family is the place where each member finds refuge,support, and inspiration to live and work. If family life is disturbed, its members feel unprotected,each other’s support diminishes, a deep emptiness sets in, and overall life gradually begins to disintegrate. Love, peace, and tranquility are the most important ingredients to having a happy and prosperous family life. Sometimes even wealth, success, and fame fail to bring joy, and the true taste of living together is not achieved. Even though some may not admit that life becomes miserable without a family, the fact is that life does become a miserable human failure without a family. This becomes obvious when loneliness begins to bring unbearable sufferings.

In Islam each member of a family is bound to each other to achieve the pleasure of the Lord and to perform his or her fair share of the duties prescribed by Islam. By fulfilling these great tasks, each member of the family unit maintains and enjoys peace, happiness, and prosperity. To bring peace in the family, Islam fully explains every duty and right of a husband to his wife and vice versa, of parents to their children and vice versa, and so on. Any violation of Islamic rules, regulations, and obligations by any member brings forth tragedy to the family, and every violator will be held accountable on Judgment day.

In a family unit, it is not a choice, but rather it is incumbent upon a husband to support and fulfill every justifiable and basic need of his wife. They both have to be loyal and faithful to each other and must safeguard their chastity to maintain each other’s right and trust. One of the main duties of parents is to provide their children with a solid Islamic education and to train them to become good, practicing Muslims. Similarly, children have equal, if not greater, duties to their parents, which, if neglected, earn the irreversible wrath of the Lord, unless forgiven by the parents. For example, even a simple smile from children on seeing their parents brings countless blessings from the Lord. When each member fulfills his or her duties the entire family is strengthened and solidified, and peace, happiness, and prosperity prevail in the family. When each family, the building blocks of a society, is peaceful, the entire society becomes full of peace.

Peace in Society

In addition to peace in the family, through Islamic brotherhood, equality, justice, system of punishments, social welfare system, acts of direct and indirect worship, and the concept of accountability on judgement Day, a society achieves complete and everlasting peace. If Muslims do not implement Sufi Islamic principles in their society to establish the divine rule of law, Islam should not be blamed for crime, disturbance, chaos, lack of peace and prosperity, unhappiness & non-integration to Non-Muslim/Islamic societies.

The one who claims to be Muslim and fails to apply Islamic principles to his or her life or to the society at large is at fault, not Islam. It is a matter of fact that those societies that implement such Islamic principles in their system enjoy the fruits of it. Those who abuse and exploit Islam to achieve personal agendas are the actual losers, not Islam or the way of life it prescribes. History is witness that not too long ago, faithful Muslims enjoyed an era of peace and prosperity as they truthfully practiced Islam. Even to this day, wherever faithful Muslims practice Islam, they are enjoying the fruits of it.

Peace in the World

By achieving peace in a Muslim family and society through Sufi Islamic principles, global peace can easily be achieved. Suffice it to say that Islam contains principles that, if fully and universally applied, result in national and international peace and prosperity. Having true knowledge of Islamic principles and having the sincerity of everyone, both Muslim and Non- Muslim, are some of the prerequisites for world peace.

After all, we are the creation of one single Lord, He is the One Who prescribed and extended to us all the system of life ( Islam) that is so perfectly fit for out nature and purpose. Why should we not benefit from it for the greater good of ourselves and simultaneously achieve worldwide peace?


This post is in series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.

Meaning of the name of Islam.

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Most often, the name of an object represents its qualities. Choosing a name is an important and creative process, and many times the success or failure of a product or a business entity depends on it. When naming, people try to choose a name that truly represents the object’s quality and/or its use. The more comprehensive the name of a product, service, system, ideology or what have you, the faster it is publicised. Sometimes, Individuals or companies seek the services of professionals when choosing names.  The more expertise is utilized, the better chances for a befitting name.

 

Islam is the name given to the most complete way of life on Earth for human beings. No man chose this name; the Lord, the Almighty Allah chose it Himself. Now, since the Creator, the All-Knower, chose it Himself, it must mean a lot.  It must  completely explain Islam as the system of life and refer to its qualities, and the name must be befitting of what it actually claims to be.  If we can comprehend the befitting of what it actually claims to be. If we can comprehend the various meanings of the word Islam, we can easily understand the various meanings of the word Islam, we can easily understand the meaning and purpose of the Islamic system, ideology, definition of worship, inner philosophy, and the complete way of life it represents.

Only then can we recognize that only the Lord Himself could reveal such a befitting name.

It is pronounced, ‘Islam’ not ‘Izlam’. The ‘s’ in Islam does not sound like the ‘s’ in ‘is’ but as in ‘school’ and ‘bus’. In Arabic the root word for Islam is ‘Salam’ which means ‘peace’ for one to have a complete idea, it is interesting to note the various meaning of the root word ‘salam; when used differently, prior to explaining the meaning of the word Islam.

Generally, ‘Salam’ is defined as peace, and its derivatives can mean the following: to escape (Danger); to be safe, secure; to be sound, intact, unimpaired, or unharmed; to be free (from fault), faultless, or flawless, to hand over’ to turn over; to turn in ; to submit; to save, rescue, or deliver; to protect, preserve, safeguard, or keep (from harm, injury); to accept or approve of ; to give consent or area; and to acknowledge, allow, or concede. If we select any one of the numerous meanings of ‘Salam’  and relate it to what is inherent in Islam, we see direct parallels. Islam is concurrent with its innermost  meaning : peace. Since ‘salam’ means peace, someone can ask if Islam, as a religion, really brings peace. We will consider this question in the following section,

Different Categories of Peace

Islam is also defined as peace, treaty, truce, concord, protection, quarter, safety, security, immunity, mercy, and grace. It also means obedience, reverence, worship, homage, and much more. In a religious context, Islam technically means to establish the deen (Faith) exclusively for Allah i.e., to resign to the will of Allah complete submission from the deepest part of one’s heart, and paying homage to Allah.

Moreover, Islam is the way of life prescribed by Allah beginning with the teachings of the first man and prophet, Adam and concluding with the teachings of Allah’s final and most beloved prophet, Muhammad of Arabia, the son of Abdullah.

Most frequently, people refer to Islam as peace and nothing but peace. Some people do not fully understand the association of ‘Islam’ with ‘peace’. They ask if Islam is the peace that is the antonym of ‘war’ or if it refers to other types of peace.

Upon embracing Islam, an individual enters into state of total protection. Islam is like a divine umbrella. When held onto tightly, it provides a shade of mercy and brings forth every kind of peace: peace of the heart, mind, soul and body; peace in the family, society, and world; peace from all harm; and peace in the Hereafter. Every kind of peace is attainable under the umbrella of Islam.  I am not implying that one cannot find many of these kinds of peace elsewhere; however, I am saying that one cannot find all of the necessary types of peace under one roof, unless that roof is Islam.

What I have discussed so far certainly reflects that Islam, through its various definitions, is the befitting name of the complete way of life, of which no man could have conceived. Further explanations in this series will prove this point and make the matter clearer.


This post is in series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.

 

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