Once belief in existence of God is firmly established, adherence to the true faith is next logical step. Renowned Arab scholar Sheikh Ali Tantawi has formulated the principles of conceptualization of faith, based upon his theological, philosophical and scientific knowledge, which are abridged:-
1) We have no doubts about anything that we can perceive through our senses we all accept this fundamental truth.
2) Certainty about past and present events received through a reliable source is as reliable as the certainty we would have had if we had been present.
3) The human imagination is unable to encompass things which are beyond the reach of human senses.
4) We have no right o refuse the existence of certain things which are not perceptible thorough senses.
5) The human mind, therefore, cannot go deeply into the realm of metaphysics. The human mind goes off balance when it tries to dominate the unlimited or infinite; it becomes the victim of impossible contradictions when it delves deeply into anything which is unlimited.
6) Faith in the existence of God is something which is inborn in every individual. It is a natural instinct and an urge-rather like the sexual drive. So we can say that man is an animal with a religion. This instinct may be overrun by physical desires, passion, ambition and craving for material comfort. However, when overcome by fear, danger or other crises, it rejects these desires and appears in its true and natural form.
7) The human language lacks a better expression, with a wider scope and range of meaning, which would include the spiritual aspects of love pf God and His attributes, for which normal words do not express the actual meanings.
8) The human self is always eager to rise to sublime heights, to an unknown world, the identity of which can only be acquired. Man becomes convinced, intuitively rather than intellectually, that this material life is not the ultimate goal and that there is beyond doubt another world beyond this. This subjective and psychological perception and intellect are the proofs of the existence of another world called Hereafter.
9) The Lord of this universe is fair, and that anyone who is just will not allow for injustice. He will not let the oppressive person go unpunished, nor will he deny justice to anyone who has suffered unfairly in this world.
10) Belief in another world (Hereafter) is a natural consequence to the, belief in the existence of God. [Details at ‘Hand Book of Islam’, ‘Islam and Philosophy’ available at “Peace Forum Network”
This subject is again being elaborated here due its pivotal role in differentiating the Humanism from True faith. The concept of Resurrection and Divine Justice on the Day of Judgement is the question which preoccupies man above all others – the question as to whether there is life after death – has been variously answered throughout the ages. It is, of course, impossible to describe the innumerable variations of those answers; nevertheless, a few main lines of thought are clearly discernible, and their mention may be useful for a better understanding of the Qur’anic treatment of this problem. Some people – probably a minority – [like Humanists] seem to be convinced that bodily death amounts to total and irreversible extinction, and that, therefore, all talk about a hereafter but an outcome of wishful thinking. Others are of the opinion that after individual death the human “life-essence” returns to the supposed source of its origin – conceived as the “universal soul” – and merges with it entirely. Some believe in a successive transmigration of the individual soul, at the moment of death, into another body, human or animal, but without a continuation of individual consciousness. Others, again, think that only the soul, and not the entire human “personality”, continues to live after death – that is, in a purely spiritual, disembodied form. And, lastly, some believe in an undiminished survival of the individual personality and consciousness, and regard death and resurrection as the twin stages of a positive act of re-creation of the entire human personality, in whatever form this may necessarily involve: and this is the Qur’anic view of the life to come.
God says: “ABOUT WHAT do they [most often] ask one another? About the awesome tiding [of resurrection], on which they [so utterly] disagree. Nay, but in time they will come to understand [it]! And once again: Nay, but in time they will come to understand!” (Qur’an;78:1-5); “That will be the Day of Ultimate Truth: whoever wills, then, let him take the path that leads towards his Sustainer! Verily, We have warned you of suffering near at hand – [suffering] on the Day when man shall [clearly] see what his hands have sent ahead, and when he who has denied the truth shall say, “Oh, would that I were mere dust!” (Qur’an;78:39,40)
Fundamental Principles of True Faith:
The principles one has to accept to be a believer may be summarized as follows:
1) This material world is not the ‘all’ and ‘end of all’ of existence and life in this world is only a part of the eternal life.
2) Man existed even before he was born and will continue to exist after death; he did not create himself but had been created before he was conscious of his human existence.
3) The inanimate objects around him couldn’t have created him, as he is a rational being and they are not; everything in this universe has been created from nothingness by the one God, God the Almighty.
4) God is the only one who grants life and causes death. It is He who created everything, and if He wishes. He will destroy and obliterate it.
5) Almighty God does not resemble His creation in any way. He existed before this creation and He is eternal and has unlimited knowledge.
6) He is completely just in a way that cannot be assessed in human terms; it is He who has laid down what we call the laws of nature.
7) He has created everything according to a well-defined measure before all creation, thus all the phenomena of activity, inactivity, consistency and inconsistency that we can observe in both animate and inanimate beings have been clearly defined and distinct boundaries have been set.
8) Man has been bestowed with the power of intellect to deal with whatever matters he is presented with and he has been given the power of reasoning with which he can make his own choice and will power to enable him to achieve what he wants.
9) God has created an eternal life beyond this temporary life, where the doer of good will be rewarded with a life in paradise and the wrong doer will be punished and exist in hell. This God is One. No one else may be worshipped but Him; no one can take us nearer to Him to plead on our behalf without His permission. Thus we should worship God alone, in all sincerity and purity.
10) All the material beings that we can see and feel which have been created by Him. He has also created unseen beings, some animate and others inanimate, which we cannot see. Among the unseen beings are the angels, who have been created for absolute good; and then there are the Satans, who have been created as dark and negative forces.
11) Apart from these there is a third category of unseen beings, the jinn, who are divided into Satans and ‘good’ or ‘obedient’ jinn and from amongst human beings.
12) God selects certain people to whom the Divine Law (Shari’a) is revealed, so that they can guide humanity towards it, these people are the prophets.
13) This divine law is contained in all the books revealed from the God. God takes us through progressive “steps” in each book until the final book, the Holy Qur’an. Books that preceded it were either distorted or got lost and forgotten. The Holy Qur’an, however, has remained intact. The last of these prophets is Muhammad bin Abdullah, an Arab of the Quraish tribe. With him there was an end to all the previous divine messages and religions. There has been no other prophet since his time. The Holy Qur’an is the constitution of Islam. Whoever endorses the fact that it has been revealed by God and believes in it completely, is a Mu’min (believer). Iman (faith) in this sense can only be seen by God because human beings cannot penetrate into human hearts and know what is in them. Therefore it is essential, in order to be accepted in the fold of Islam, that a man declare his faith.
14) If a Muslim fails to perform some of his obligations and is remiss in practice or commits some such actions as are forbidden, yet he believes in the liability of all obligations and the impropriety of all unlawful deeds, he will continue to be a Muslim though he will be a sinner. [The concept of Takfeer i.e declaring a non-practicing Muslim, to be ‘apostate’ and liable to be killed; by some extremist groups, calling themselves as ‘True Muslims only’, is rejected.]
Humanism is the retort by desperate pragmatic Christian scholars [Unitarian Universalists], to the mythical, unscientific and illogical traditional Christian Doctrines, however they have gone far away from one extreme to another. Islam provides a balanced, scientific and rational solution, while maintaining the unity and existence of God, the Creator, Cherisher and Sustainer of universe, who has not created any thing without a purpose. God Says: “Our creation of the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them is not a game. Had We meant to make it a play ground, We would have done it by Ourself, without giving you discretion to do right and wrong, had We ever done so. Nay, but [by the very act of creation] We hurl the truth against falsehood, and it crushes the latter: and lo! It withers away. But woe unto you for all your [attempts at] defining [God]”(Qur’an;21:16-18).
Humanists intend to serve the humanity, but with atheist concepts, devoid of accountability upon resurrection, it will remain a distant dream because people will lack inner motivation. People who suffer in this life being poor, or due to birth defects, incurable diseases, or fall prey to calamites [both natural or man made] can never be happy unless they hope to be compensated in hereafter. No system can work if it is without checks and balances, which do put some limits on the freedom. Islam is the only faith which provides guidance for successful way of life for both worlds, not restricted to rituals and dogmas but actions and performance of good deeds, while avoiding evils. Every noble act done for the betterment of humanity is considered as worship because it pleases the God. The history is witness that Islamic civilization and society even partially based upon Qur’anic principles ensured attainment of the good life in a harmonious society, each individual seeking to contribute to the welfare of the community. In Islam human values are given high priority for peaceful coexistence in this and hereafter. Equality of humanity and justice disregarding race or colour is hallmark of Islam. There is no restriction in attaining scientific knowledge, rather Qur’an encourages it by drawing attention to explore the signs of wonders the in the cosmos and in human self. The affairs in Islamic state are to be conducted through mutual consultation (shura, a form of democracy). The materialistic approach of Humanism discarding spirituality is deemed to failure like the communist ideology. Spirituality and belief in One Supreme Being is part of human nature, Humanist while advocating ‘nature’ in the same breath go against it – a paradox, self-denial.
If hypothetically one may consider the Humanism viz Monotheism, and grant probability of either being right or wrong as 50:50 [irrespective of strength of arguments of monotheist]. If 50% probability of Humanists being false materialise the Humanists are big losers because they have to suffer in hell fire for ever being unbelievers, while the true monotheists believers will ultimately be in a state of promised pleasure. In other situation assuming, if 50% probability of Humanists being ‘true’ materializes, the monotheists have nothing to loose, they had lived as good human in this world, performed good deeds to please their God and fellow human by establishing an equitable society. Hence believers are at win-win situation. Humanists and atheists need to give serious thought to this aspect, because the risk is too high to accept any error of judgement which shall result in timeless sufferings in hellfire. The message of Qur’an is very clear: “AS FOR THOSE who are bent on denying the truth and on barring [others] from the path of God – all their [good] deeds will He let go to waste;’ whereas those who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds, and have come to believe in what has been bestowed from on high on Muhammad – for it is the truth from their Sustainer – [shall attain to God’s grace:] He will efface their [past] bad deeds, and will set their hearts at rest.” (Qur’an;47:1-2).
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