We have presented in the preceding pages the basic; principles of the Islamic faith. The perfect Muslim believes in them and in what is stated in the Holy Qur’an regarding the creation of the heavens, earth and man. His behaviour and conduct in everyday life should reflect such a belief. He will therefore accept and abide by the Holy Qur’an, the authenticity of which he has no doubt. He will not be satisfied with reading it unless he can understand it, nor by reciting it melodiously without grasping its meaning. In fact he adopts it as a book of codes with which he can govern his daily life. He accepts what is declared to be lawful and refrains from what is forbidden. He acts on what it instructs, and abstains from what is not permitted.
Other religions may be confined to their respective places of worship. Islam however, is not confined to the mosque. In fact its impact and influence pervades all places— the mosque, the home, the streets and government offices: It is a religion to be observed at times of war as well as peace. Islam is an unalienable factor in the life of every Muslim. He is guided by its teachings on every aspect of life. It informs him of what is lawful and what is forbidden. All actions of a Muslim can be classified under one of the following five categories: Lawful, Recommended, Obligatory, Forbidden and Reprehensible. Whereas other religions may only include forms of worship and may not include politics and acquisition of knowledge that is not the case with Islam.
Besides being a religion of worship, Islam also contains a set of civil and criminal codes of law; it includes international law, rules and regulations of administration, principles of ethics and the science of politics. You can open any book on Islamic Jurisprudence and you will find these topics discussed, Worship in some religions may only take the form of prayer. But Islam includes every action done for the good of the people, with the intention of dedication to God besides prayer and fasting.
If religion is thought to be separate from the realm of knowledge, then Islam can be described as a religion of learning – because the very first word of Divine Revelation was “Iqr’a” “Recite” or “Read”. It did not say, “Fight” nor did it say, “Accumulate money and possessions” or, “Renounce the world”. “Read” was the first word revealed in the Holy Qur’an, followed by a discourse on knowledge. The biggest gift God has granted to mankind is the gift of knowledge, knowledge of what man did not know. No other blessing can match it – be it in the form of wealth, physical strength or fame and glory.
It is necessary for every member of an Islamic society, if he can, to acquire every area of knowledge needed. No other religion on earth except Islam considers the acquisition of knowledge as a religious duty. It therefore exhorts its followers to learn the sciences of chemistry, medicine, aviation, etc. Islam is also the religion of’ ‘riches’. God has described wealth as khair (good). But man’s attachment to wealth is described as follows: “And violent is he in his love of wealth”(Qur’an;100:7). Muslims should therefore seek to be rich, but they should acquire their wealth lawfully, and this wealth should not become an obsession.
Every Muslim should understand that wealth and everything else in this universe are at his disposal. He may seek to derive good from everything he finds around him. However, he should not become attached to what he finds and seek to glorify him through it. If he does so, he will become a slave of wealth and consequently he will worship it besides God. God has made wealth as a means of benefit. But if you hoard your wealth, you become a slave and a captive of it, Our Prophet (peace be upon him) says, “miserable is the slave of money.”
As for clothes, Islam considers all garments as a means of covering the body to protect it from different weather conditions. But, as with wealth, if you glorify your clothes and hoard them without wearing them, you become their slave. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) says, “Miserable is the person who is obsessed with his clothing.”
Islam is also a religion of might and power, but not based on injustice. It is also a religion of this world and the life hereafter. “Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the hereafter.” (Qur’an;2:201). Islam enjoins on its followers to be true to their faith and follow Divine guidance, while, at the same time, being the most advanced, sophisticated, strong, rich and well informed people in the world.
Besides all this, every Muslim should be aware of another duty he should perform: to convey the Message of Islam to others, and to call others to the path of God with wisdom and beautiful preaching. He should not compel or force anyone to accept Islam. ‘’Let there be no compulsion in religion.” (Qur’an;2:256) He should present the salient features of Islam in a way that appeals to both the head and the heart.
Muslims should be living examples of the glorious principles of Islam. They should not present a perverted and distorted picture of it. The Muslim missionary should be a man or woman of intellectual qualities and one who understands the needs and response, mood and wavelength of those to whom he is talking. He should also understand that Islam does not shun dialogue or debate. Everything is argued out on the basis of proof, thus anyone who speaks against Islam should be asked to give evidence. Say, “Bring forth your argument if ye are telling the truth.” (Qur’an;2:111). If anyone invokes, besides God, any other god, he has no authority therefore. (Qur’an;23: 117) It is impossible to give proof against the Oneness of God.
If such Muslim missionaries take up the task, the whole world will accept the religion of God. For God has revealed this religion and He will preserve it: “We have without doubt, sent down the message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)”(Qur’an;15:9).
The future is for Islam. However, it is now up to us Muslims to seek the privilege of spreading the Message of Islam and thus attain reward in this world and in the life hereafter. If we fail to do so, God may assign this task to others who will come into the fold of Islam and take up the WORK of dawah. May God the Almighty make us worthy of our religion and grant us success in our task. And may He pardon us and grant mercy to us. In conclusion our prayer is – all praise be to God, Lord of all the Worlds!
Islam-A General Introduction: “Ta’rif-e-Aam bi-Din il-Islam” By: Shaikh Ali Al-Tantawi تعریف عام بدین الاسلام