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Saturday, June 30, 2012


          Islam is the last of the world’s great religions and contains within it the essential truths of all earlier beliefs. The scripture of Islam was revealed by God to His greatest and final law-bearing messenger, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) over a period of 23 years more than fourteen centuries ago. This scripture -- the Holy Quran -- was memorized by thousands of Muslims in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet and represents a continuation of God's guidance to earlier messengers such as Abraham, Moses, Noah, David and Jesus (peace be upon them all).

In fact, Islam is the only religion that requires its followers to believe in and respect all of God’s earlier messengers and their scriptures, thus laying the foundation for interfaith understanding and friendship. This universalist quality of Islamic teachings is unique, allowing Muslims to transcend the usual barriers between members of different religions caused by adherence to ethnic or cultural biases. The Holy Quran not only endorses the holy status of all earlier messengers and revealed books, but acknowledges and incorporates their timeless truths which have lasting value for all mankind. But Islam does much more than simply repeat the divine laws of God from the past. What Islam says it does is bring completion, perfection and protection to God’s guidance for humanity until the Day of Judgment.

To non-Muslims, this is a tall claim, one that would require not only a universal messenger for all mankind, but a scripture that provides complete, just and applicable solutions to every kind of social and moral evil. This scripture should also prove successful in transforming man from an animalistic state to that of a highly compassionate, spiritual being wholly devoted and submitted to his Creator. This is exactly what God states in the Quran about the purpose and teachings of Islam and the example set by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

As proof, the religion of Islam offers far greater insight than previous beliefs about the nature of God, His divine qualities, His purpose in creating man and sending divinely-guided messengers, the reality of the Day of Judgment, and the fulfillment of man's relationship with his Lord. Islam also expressly states that it is not confined to any particular ethnic group (as with Judaism), but is described by God in the Holy Quran as being the lasting and perfected religion for all mankind.

The way this is brought about is foreshadowed in the word “Islam” itself, which means "peace" attained through "willful obedience" to God, and is achieved through free-willed submission to God in the form of daily acts of worship and service to humanity, both of which are designed to increase one’s humility before God and mankind. Islam also requires moral courage in undertaking (in accordance with God's teachings) what one knows to be right and in abstaining from what one knows to be wrong. This inculcates righteousness in one’s self and in society. These are the core values which elevate the status of mankind and it is these qualities which are essential for the spread of peace, justice and love in the world.

The teachings of Islam on religion are very clear. Muslims are commanded that every person’s religion (and their faithfulness to it) is a matter strictly between him and God Almighty, and that no one has the right to judge another’s sincerity or devotion to their Faith. Islam’s holy book, the Quran, is very clear that there is no compulsion allowed in joining the religion and no worldly punishment for leaving it. God alone is the master of the Day of Judgment and the awarder of punishment or mercy on the Day of Judgment as He sees fit. He is the knower of all hearts and He is a just Judge.

And regardless of how well one personally fulfills his spiritual duties to God, it is absolutely essential for each of us to fulfill the rights and obligations owed to our fellow beings for the good of us all because this is the only way that an atmosphere of peace, reconciliation and harmony can be created and maintained. We are all in this life together and the purpose of a religion is to make our worldly as well as our spiritual life a success. Islam provides codes of conduct and a workable wisdom to achieve both these objectives so that we may experience internal and external peace in our personal and public lives.

Islam accomplishes this through its many spiritual disciplines and rituals like the five daily prayers, remembrance of God and the doing of good to others. All these aspects of the religion of Islam focus our attention on God and the goal of complete submission to Him and the embodiment of His divine attributes. Therefore, we should love God and each other so that we may become godly people and win His Pleasure. 

Ghosted with Imam Shamshad A. Nasir -- ran as Guest Columnist in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Religion section, March 10th, 2012, and online at at this link: 
An abridged version ran March 12th at at this link:

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