Brief Introduction to Islam

Islam is a complete Way of Life. It takes into account both the temporal and spiritual aspect of life. It is comprehensive and timeless.

 
Religion ( Islam ) as we know it according to the Quran was established from the beginning with Adam, right up to Jesus and ending with Muhammad. The Quran confirms this in the following verse:
” The same religion has he established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah, which We sent by inspiration to thee and that We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus, namely that you should remain steadfast in religion and make no divisions therein as those who worship other things than Allah. Hard is the way to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn ( to Him ).” (Quran Chp.42 Verse 13).


 
From above, it is obvious that Muslims have a high reagard for all Prophets and Messangers of Allah.
 
A proper understanding of Islam will reveal that as a perfected way of life, Islam guides people towards the noblest of values. These include his actions, deeds, speech, behaviour, and treatment of others and every living thing. The truth is, Islam considers every good act as an act of worship, and all acts no matter how insignificant they may appear to be, will be rewarded by Allah.
 
A mother who looks after her children well, is blessed and rewarded by Allah. However, if she neglects them, then she will be asked why before Allah( on judgement day ).
 
Islam considers mankind as one big family. Evereyone is equal in the sight of Allah. There is no reason for a nation to be above another, or those of white colour feel superior over black or coloured people. These are artificial differences. As the descendants of Adam and Eve we all come from the same stock i.e. created from fermenting mud. Therefore, it is essential to have a purified heart with honest intentions towards another human being.The Holy Quran says :- ” Mankind , We have created you from a single pair of male and female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other”. (Quran: Chp. 49 verse 13).
 
Mankind is equal. The Prophet said:” Allah does not look at your faces or your bodies but cares about your hearts and deeds”. During his farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet further emphasised this fact. He said :” O people, all of you are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from clay. There is no reason for an Arab to feel that he is superior to a non-Arab, or a non-Arab to feel superior to an Arab, or a white man to feel he is superior to a brown or a black, unless you have the fear of Allah (taqwa)”.
 
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) struggle for a long time to make the Arab tribes accept this point of view as they were blinded by tribalism.The meccan tribes strongly rejected this call of the prophet because they felt equality between human beings would remove slavery and place them on par with everyone.
 
Arabia at the time was populated by jews, christians and Pagan Arabs. As a result of this the Quran takes up issues involving these respective faiths and beliefs.Concerning Christianity, the Quran makes it clear that Jesus never claimed to be the son of Allah. he is viewed as a Prophet and messanger of Allah.
 
The Quran takes up this issues at length in a Chapter titled Maryam ( Mary ). This chapter explains the miraculous birth of jesus. The Quran says:-
“The likeness of Isa(Jesus) in the sight of Allah is the likeness of Adam, Allah created Adam from clay and He said ‘Be’ and he was.” (Quran : Chp. 3 Verse 59)  
 
So when we speak of the miraculous birth of Jesus, it is also no different from that of Adam, who was created without parents.
 
Another significant point taken up in the Quran is the crucification of Jesus ( p.b.u.h ). The Quran says that Jesus was not put on the cross at all. The Jews intended to kill him, but Allah substituted Jesus (p.b.u.h) with another man resembling him. The Holy Quran says in Chapter 4 Verses 157 – 158 :-
“That they said (in boast) we killed Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, the Apostle of Allah, but they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow. For a surerity they killed him not. Nay Allah raised him up to Himself, and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”It is therefore clear according to Islam that the crucification of  Isa(Jesus) did not all take place.
 
The relationship amongst Revealed Religions i.e. Judaism and Christianity is obvious in the Quran, as the Prophets of these religions are also the Prophets of Islam. They all recieved guidance from Allah but with the passage of time their teachings were lost or altered. However, Judaism at the time os Moses and Christianity at the time of Jesus are both considered to be valid. Both were religions and not universal ones.
 
Moses in his message spoke of Jesus and said that people would have to follow him. Isa’s (Jesus) message like that of Moses was also for the Children of Israel. Isa’s(Jesus) message correct the wrong doings of the Jews who had gone astray after Moses. Some of them accepted his call but the majority denied his massage and even tried to kill him.
 
Jesus in turn gave news of the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h). He even mentioned that when Muhammad comes his religion would be the last and only religion of Allah and everyone would have to follow him.
 
This briefly shows that revelations to Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Noah and others maintained the same theme i.e. submission to Allah (Islam). This reflected in the Holy Quran. Allah says: ” The true religion in the sight of Allah Islam”.(Quran: Chp. 3 Verse 19). Islam is the religion of all the Prophets. Abraham as such was a Muslim. The Holy Quran says: ” Abraham was not a jew, nor yet a Christian but he was one true in faith, and bowed his will to Allah’s (Islam)”. (Quran Chp. 3 Verse 67)
 
We can understand from this verse that Islam existed even before the arrival of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h). The Holy Prophet Muhammad is considered the Final Prophet. He is also the seal of previous Messengers of Allah. This is obvious from the verse which was revealed in the last three months of the Holy Prophet’s life : ” This day I have perfected you religion for you and I have completed My grace upon you and I have chosen Islam as your religion”. ( Quran Chp.5 Verse 3 )

[ The Meaning of Islam : By Research And Information Centre On Islam ( RICOI ) ]
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