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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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