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Unformatted text preview: Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 Islamic Online University 1 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 ‫أﺻ ل ﺪر ﺳ ت ﻹﺳﻼﻣﯿﺔ‬ ِ ‫ُ ُﻮ ُ اﻟ ﱢ َا َﺎ ِ اْ ِ َ َ ِﱠ‬ The Foundations of Islaamic Studies By Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips Module ONE ‘AQEEDAH 2 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 1.5 THE PURPOSE OF CREATION THE PURPOSE OF CREATION IS A TOPIC THAT puzzles every human being at some point in his or her lifetime. Everybody at some time or another asks themselves the question “Why do I exist?” or “For what purpose am I here on earth?” The variety and complexity of the intricate systems which constitute the fabric of both human beings and the world in which they exist indicate that there must have been a Supreme Being who created them. Design indicates a designer. The Answer To answer the question “Why did God create man?” it must first be determined from which perspective the question is being asked. From the point of view of God it would mean, “What caused God to create human beings?” while from the human point of view it would mean “For what purpose did God create humans?” Both points of view represent aspects of the intriguing question “Why do I exist?” This is not a topic for human speculation, because human guesswork cannot possibly produce the whole truth in this matter. How can human beings intellectually deduce the reality of their existence when they can hardly understand how their own brain or its higher entity, the mind, functions? Consequently, the many philosophers who have speculated on this question down through the ages have come up with innumerable answers, all of which are based on assumptions which cannot be proven. Questions on this topic have even led a number of philosophers to claim that we do not really exist and that the whole world is imaginary. For example, the Greek philosopher Plato (428-348 BC) argued that the everyday world of changeable things, which man comes to know by the use of his senses, is not the primary reality, but is a shadow world of appearances.1 Many others, as was previously mentioned, claimed and continue to claim that there is no purpose for the creation of humans at all. According to them, Human existence is merely a product of chance. There can be no purpose if life evolved from inanimate matter which only became animate by pure luck. This view was expressed in his book The Republic through his well known metaphor of the cave, where the changing physical world is compared to shadows cast on the wall of a cave by graven images (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica , vol. 25, p. 552). 1 3 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 Humankind ’s supposed ‘cousins,’ the monkey and apes are not bothered with questions of existence, so why should human beings be bothered with them? Although most people put the question of why we are created aside after occasional brief reflection, it is extremely critical for human beings to know the answer. Without knowledge of the correct answer, human beings become indistinguishable from the other animals around them. The animal necessities and desires of eating, drinking and pro-creating become the purpose of human existence by default, and human effort is then focused in this limited sphere. When material satisfaction develops into the most important goal in life, human existence becomes even more degraded than that of the lowest of animals. Human beings will consistently misuse their God-given intelligence when they lack knowledge of their purpose of existence. The degraded human mind uses its abilities to create drugs and bombs and becomes engrossed in fornication, pornography, homosexuality, fortunetelling, suicide, etc. Without knowledge of the purpose of life, human existence loses all meaning and is consequently wasted, and the reward of an eternal life of happiness in the hereafter is completely destroyed. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that human beings correctly answer the question “Why are we here?” Humans most often turn to other human beings like themselves for the answers. However, the only place that clear and precise answers to these questions can be found is in the books of divine revelation. It was necessary that God reveal the purpose to man through His prophets, because human beings are incapable of arriving at the correct answers by themselves. All of the prophets of God taught their followers the answers to the question “Why did God create man?” Judeo-Christian Scriptures A survey of the Bible leaves the honest seeker of truth lost. The Old Testament seems more concerned with laws and the history of early man and the Jewish people than with answering the vital question concerning humanity’s creation.2 The Incarnation of God In Isaiah the Israelites are created for God’s glory, “1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ... 6‘ I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’ ” (Revised Standard Version, Isaiah 43:1, 6-7.) 2 4 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 Perhaps the only common concept to most Christian sects regarding the purpose of mankind’s creation is that God became man so that He could die at the hands of men to cleanse them of sin inherited from Adam and his descendants. According to them, this sin had become so great that no human act of atonement or repentance could erase it. God is so good that sinful man cannot stand before Him. Consequently, only God’s sacrifice of Himself could save humankind from sin. Belief in this man-made myth became the only source for salvation, according to the Church. Consequently, the Christian purpose of creation became the recognition of the ‘divine sacrifice’ and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Lord God. This may be deduced from the following words attributed to Jesus in the Gospel according to John, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”3 Everything is God The Hindu scriptures teach that there are many gods, incarnations of gods, persons of God and that everything is God, Brahman. In spite of the belief that the self (atman) of all living beings is actually Brahman, an oppressive caste system evolved in which the Brahmins, the priestly caste, possess spiritual supremacy by birth. They are the teachers of the Vedas4 and represent the ideal of ritual purity and social prestige. On the other hand, the Sudra caste are excluded from religious status and their sole duty in life is “to serve meekly”5 the other three castes and their thousands of subcastes. According to Hindu monist philosophers, humankind’s purpose is the realization of their divinity and—following a path (marga ) to emancipation (moksha ) from the wheel of rebirth — the reabsorbtion of the human soul (atman) into the ultimate reality, Brahman . For those following the b hakti p ath,6 the purpose is to love God because God created humankind to “enjoy a relationship — as a father enjoys his children” (Srimad Bhagwatam). For the ordinary Hindu, 3 4 John, 3:16 (RSV). The Veda, meaning “Knowledge,” is a collective term for revealed (sruti; heard) sacred scriptures of the Hindus. All other works—in which the actual doctrines and practises of Hindus are encoded—are recognized as having being composed by human authors and are thus classed as smriti (remembered). (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 20, p. 530.) 5 Manava Dharmasastra 1.91 (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 20, p. 553.) 6 The path of devotion to a personal God in which murtis ( idols) are worshipped with the hope of going to krishnaloka (a spiritual planet) in their next lives. 5 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 the main aim of worldly life lies in conforming to social and ritual duties, to the traditional rules of conduct for one’s caste — the karma p ath.7 In that final scripture, the Qur’aan (Koran), God revealed His purpose for creating mankind and, through His last prophet, He clarified all of the details which man could comprehend. 7 The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 20, p. 520. 6 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 Why Did God Create? FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF GOD, AN EVEN more fundamental question needs to be asked, “Why did God create?” This question should be asked because humankind is not, in fact, the greatest creation. God says in Chapter Ghaafir of the final revelation: ‫ﻮﻥﹶ‬ ‫ﻠﹶ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﺎﺱِ ﻻ ﻳ‬‫ ﺍﻟ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻛﹾﺜﹶﺮ‬ ِ‫ ﻟﻜ‬‫ﺎﺱِ ﻭ‬‫ﻠﹾﻖِ ﺍﻟ‬‫ ﺧ‬‫ ﻣِﻦ‬ ‫ﺽِ ﺃﹶﻛﹾﺒ‬‫ ﺍﻷَﺭ‬‫ﻤﻮﺍﺕِ ﻭ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ﻠﹾ‬‫ﻟﹶﺨ‬ ‫ﻤ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﻦ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﻖﺴ‬ “Indeed, the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of mankind, but most of mankind do not realize it.” Qur’aan, 40:57 The composition of human beings is far less complex than the composition of the universe in which they exist. However, very few people reflect on this reality. The Creator Creation is fundamentally the consequence of the divine attribute of being the Creator. A creator who does not create is something of a contradiction in terms. This is not to say that God needs His creation. God is free from all needs. It is creation which needs Him. But, as the greatness of a writer becomes apparent in his writings, the perfection of the divine creative attribute is manifest in creation. Creation in the true sense is unique to God alone. Some ancient as well as modern philosophers, who could not comprehend how God could create from nothing, claimed that the created world and its contents are all originally a part of God.8 That is, according to them, God took a part of Himself and made the universe. This conclusion is based on comparing God to man, who can only ‘create’ b y modifying what already exists. However, God denies any such comparisons which would give Him human limitations. In Chapter a sh-Shooraa o f the final revelation, He states: This is also Hindu belief regarding the supreme reality, Brahman. In the last (10th) book of the Rigveda : in the “Hymn of the Cosmic Man” (Purusasukta ), it is said that the universe was created out of the parts of the body of a single cosmic man ( Purusa ) when his body was burned and dismembered at the primordial sacrifice. The four castes emerge from his body: the priest (Brahman) from the mouth, the warrior (Rajanya) from the arms, the peasant (Vaisya) from the thighs, and the servant (Sudra) from the legs. ( The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 20, p. 531). 8 7 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﺼِﻴ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﺒ‬ ‫ﻤِﻴ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻮ‬ ‫ ٌ ﻭ‬‫ﻲ‬‫ ﻛﹶﻤِﺜﹾﻠِﻪِ ﺷ‬‫ﺲ‬‫... ﻟﹶﻴ‬ ‫ﺀ ﻫ ﺴﻊ‬ “There is nothing like Him and He is hearer and seer of all.”Qur’aan, 42:11 Thus, the act of creation is a consequence of the divine attribute of being the Creator. God describes Himself as the Creator in a variety of verses throughout the final revelation to emphasize to humankind that everything belongs to Him alone. ‫ﻞ‬ ‫ ﹲ‬‫ﻛِﻴ‬‫ﺀٍ ﻭ‬‫ﻲ‬‫ﻠﹶﻰ ﹸ ﱢ ﺷ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ﻮ‬ ‫ﺀٍ ﻭ‬‫ﻲ‬‫ ﹸ ﱢ ﺷ‬ ِ‫ﺍ ُ ﺧﺎﻟ‬ ‫ﻛﻞ‬ ‫ﻫ‬ ‫ﷲ ﻖ ﻛﻞ‬ “Allaah created all things and He is the agent on which all things depend.”Qur’aan, 39:62 ‫ﹸﻮﻥﹶ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﺎ ﺗ‬‫ ﻣ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﻠﹶﻘﹶ ﹸﻢ‬‫ ﺍ ُ ﺧ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻠ‬ ‫ﷲﻜ‬ “And Allaah created you all and whatever you do.”Qur’aan, 37:96 Man needs to realize that nothing takes place in this universe without the permission of God. To seek protection from evil or to seek to acquire good from any source other than God is a major mistake. Due to ignorance, many people attempt to avoid misfortune and to gain good fortune through a variety of charms and amulets, astrology, palmistry, etc. Consequently, in the final revelation, Chapter a l-Falaq , God informs human beings to seek refuge in God from evil: ‫ﻠﹶﻖ‬‫ﺎ ﺧ‬‫ ﻣ‬ ‫ ﺷ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻔﹶﻠﹶﻖِ ﻣِﻦ‬ ‫ﻮ ﹸ ﺑِﺮ‬ ‫ﹸﻞﹾ ﺃﹶ‬ ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﻗ ﻋﺫ ﺏ‬ “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn, from the evil of what He has created.”Qur’aan, 113:1-2 Allaah, God Almighty, is not evil; He is good. He created a world in which evil or good can be done by beings to whom He gave this ability. However, no evil or 8 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 good can take place in this world without the permission of God. This is why it is futile to turn to others besides God for help and protection. ِ‫ﺔٍ ﺇِ ﱠ ﺑِﺈِﺫﹾﻥِ ﺍﷲ‬‫ﺒ‬‫ﺼِﻴ‬ ‫ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﺎﺏ‬‫ﺎ ﺃﹶﺻ‬‫ﻣ‬ ‫ﻻ‬ ‫ﻣ‬ “No calamity strikes except by Allaah’s permission” Qur’aan, 64:11 The final prophet of God, Muh ammad (r), further elaborated on this concept, saying, “Be aware that if the whole of mankind gathered together to do something to help you, they would only be able to do something for you which Allaah had already written for you. Likewise, if the whole of mankind gathered together to harm you, they would only be able to do something to harm you which Allaah had already written to happen to you.”9 The Merciful, The Forgiving In the creation of humankind, the divine attributes of forgiveness, mercy and kindness are also manifested. Human beings were created good and pure with a natural awareness of good and evil. The Almighty also created in humans desires, and gave them an ability to control those desires according to divine law or to turn them loose and follow them blindly. God created mankind knowing that they would disobey Him. Consequently, He taught human beings, beginning with Adam, how to repent and thereby purify themselves of their sins. Adam and Eve represent a pattern for all mankind to follow. They forgot the commandment of God, and Satan played on their desires. After they had disobeyed God, they turned back to Him in repentance, and He forgave them. In humankind ’s disobedience and turning back to God in repentance, the divine attributes of total forgiveness and infinite mercy become manifest. The final Prophet (r) informed his followers of this reality, saying, “If you did not commit sins and turn to Allaah, seeking His forgiveness, He would have replaced you with another people who would sin, ask Allaah’s forgiveness and He would forgive them.”10 Every one of the 114 Chapters of the final revelation, except one, begins with the prayer, “In the name of Allaah, the Beneficent the Most Merciful.” Allaah’s attributes of mercy and forgiveness are stressed to encourage humans not to fall into despair. 9 Reported by ‘Abbaas and collected by at-Tirmith ee and authenticated in Sah eeh Sunan atTirmith ee, vol. 2, pp. 308-9, no. 2043. 10 Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, pp. 1435-6, no. 6621, reported by Aboo Ayyoob al-Ansaaree. 9 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 No matter how great the sins of human beings may be, God can forgive them if man turns back to Him in sincere repentance. The Messenger (r) was quoted as saying, “When Allaah created the universe, He made an obligation on Himself [recorded] in a document kept by Him: My mercy supersedes my wrath.”11 He was also reported to have said, “[Allaah created] mercy with one hundred parts, one of which was sent down upon the jinn, human beings and other living beings. It is out of this one part that they love each other, show kindness to each other and even the animals treat their offspring with affection. Allaah has reserved the remaining ninety-nine parts for His true worshippers on the Day of Resurrection.”12 Had Allaah wished, He could have created mankind like angels, incapable of committing sin. However, that was not His wish, as He had already created angels. Human beings were created capable of making mistakes and when they realize their errors and seek God’s forgiveness, the divine attributes of mercy and forgiveness become manifest. Supreme Justice In the judgment of mankind at the end of this world, God’s attributes of supreme justice and fairness also become manifest. Based on His infinite knowledge, God could have created all members of the human race who were to live on earth and immediately placed some of them in paradise and the remainder in hell. Before creating man, Allaah already knew what choices they would make in this life, what provision and opportunities If God had immediately placed those headed for paradise in paradise, they would not question God’s decision. Those in paradise would happily accept an everlasting life of bliss and be thankful that they were not placed in hell. However, those immediately placed in hell would ask why. They would feel a sense of unfairness due to their ignorance of what they would have done had they lived on earth. Those in hell would relentlessly argue that had they been given a chance to live out their lives on earth, they would have believed and done righteous deeds. Consequently, Allaah allows human beings to live out their lives on earth and make all the choices they would have made, so that everyone who enters hell will know that they chose hell by themselves. They will recognize God ’s mercy in their lives and acknowledge their sin in rejecting His signs and guidance. And they will accept His judgment as being just and beyond reproach. 11 12 Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1437, no. 6628, reported by Aboo Hurayrah. Ibid., vol. 4, p. 1437, no. 6631, reported by Aboo Hurayrah. 10 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 However, they will still beg for another chance to do good in this world, as God says in Chapter a s-Sajdah of the Qur’aan: ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻨ‬‫ﺟِﻌ‬‫ﺎ ﻓﹶﺄﹶﺭ‬‫ﻨ‬‫ﻤِﻌ‬‫ ﺳ‬‫ﺎ ﻭ‬‫ﻧ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﺼ‬‫ﺎ ﺃﹶﺑ‬‫ﻨ‬‫ ﺭ‬‫ﻬِﻢ‬‫ ﺭ‬‫ﺪ‬‫ ﻋِﻨ‬‫ ُﻭﺳِﻬِﻢ‬ ‫ﻮﺍ‬ ِ‫ﺎﻛ‬‫ﻮﻥﹶ ﻧ‬ ِ‫ﺮ‬‫ﺠ‬ ‫ﻯ ﺇِﺫِ ﺍﻟﹾ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ ﺗ‬‫ ﻟﹶﻮ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺑﺑ‬ ‫ﺴ ﺭﺀ‬ ‫ﻤﻣ‬ ‫ﻮﻥﹶ‬ِ‫ﻮﻗ‬ ‫ﺎ‬ِ‫ﺎ ﺇ‬‫ﺎﻟِﺤ‬‫ﻞﹾ ﺻ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻧ‬ ‫ﻧﻣ ﻨ‬ “If only you could see [the time] when the sinners will bow their heads before their Lord, [saying], ‘Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back and we will do righteous deeds. Verily, we now believe with certainty.’ ” Qur’aan, 32:12 However, if Allaah were to send them back to this world having forgotten what they had seen of hell, they would again choose evil and end up in hell as before. God spoke about this in Chapter a l-An‘aam, ‫ﻮﻥﹶ‬ِ‫ ﻟﹶﻜﹶﺎﺫ‬‫ﻢ‬ ِ‫ﺇ‬‫ ﻭ‬ ‫ﻨ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﻋ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻭﺍﹾ ﻟِﻤ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻭﺍﹾ ﻟﹶﻌ‬ ‫ﻟﹶﻮ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺑ‬ ‫ﻧ ﻬ ﻪ ﻧﻬ‬ ‫ﺭﺩ ﺩ‬ “But if they were returned [to this world], they would certainly go back to what was forbidden to them. Indeed they are liars.”Qur’aan, 6:28 Divine Love God ’s love is manifest in beings brought into existence, whether believer or disbeliever, to enjoy life, if only for a brief moment. It is also realized in the creation of paradise for those who choose righteousness over evil. Allaah states in the final revelation that He loves those who do good (5:13), those who are just (5:42), those who are pious (9:4), those who are patient (3:146), those who put their trust in Him (3:159), those who frequently turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves (2:222). However, it is He who has defined for human beings through the scriptures and the prophets what is good, just and pious. Consequently, those who follow the prophets are most beloved to God. In Chapter Aal ‘Imraan, Allaah instructed Prophet Muhammad (r) to say the following to the believers: 11 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 ‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﻮﺑ‬‫ ﹸ‬‫ ﻟﹶ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﻔِﺮ‬‫ﻐ‬‫ﻳ‬‫ ﺍ ُ ﻭ‬ ‫ ﹸ‬‫ﺒِﺒ‬‫ﺤ‬ ‫ﻮﻧِﻲ‬ ِ‫ﺒ‬‫ﻮﻥﹶ ﺍﷲَ ﻓﹶﺎ‬ِ‫ﺤ‬ ‫ﻢ‬‫ﺇِﻥﹾ ﹸﻨ‬ ‫ﻜ ﺫﻧ ﻜ‬ ‫ﺗ ﻌ ﻳ ﻜﻢ ﷲ‬ ‫ﻛﺘ ﺗ ﺒ‬ “If you really love Allaah, follow me and Allaah will love you and forgive your sins.”Qur’aan, 3:31 The prophets should be followed not only in the compulsory acts ordained by God, but also in their eagerness to do acts of voluntary worship. The love of God is also manifest in His mercy and blessings which He grants to those who deserve them as well as those who do not. But, it is particularly manifest in His willingness to forgive the sins of whomsoever turns to Him in sincere repentance. From the creation of Adam and Eve, repentance was granted to them to erase their sins as an example to all human beings who would follow them into this world. No matter how great human sins may become, the door for sincere repentance remains open until the last day of this world. Anas quoted Allaah’s Messenger (r) as saying, “Allaah, the Almighty, has said: O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me and ask of Me, I will forgive what you have done, and I do not mind. O son of Adam, even if your sins reached the clouds and you asked My forgiveness, I will forgive you. O son of Adam, if you came to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and you met Me without giving Me partners, I will give you a similar amount of forgiveness.”13 Divine Grace As for those in paradise, they will not enter it solely based on their good deeds. It is the grace of God which will ultimately carry them there. The final Prophet of Allaah (r) said in this regard, “Try your best to do right, and be happy. For none will enter paradise only because of his deeds.” His companions said, “O Messenger of Allaah! Not even you?” He replied, “Not even I, unless Allaah envelops me in His mercy and grace.14 And bear in mind that the deed most loved by Allaah is one done constantly, even though it is small.”15 However, God’s grace is not arbitrary. It is based on both correct faith and righteous deeds. In Chapter Aal ‘Imraan, Allaah says: Collected by at-Tirmithee and authenticated in Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmith ee, vol. 3, pp. 175-6, no. 2805. 14 Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1473, no. 6765, reported by Aboo Hurayrah. 15 Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, pp. 1473-4, no. 6770, reported by ‘Aa’ishah. 13 12 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 ‫ ﻻﹶ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺎ ﻭ‬‫ﻯ ﺇِ ﱠ ﻣِﺜﹾﻠﹶﻬ‬‫ﺰ‬‫ﺠ‬ ‫ﺌﹶﺔِ ﻓﹶﻼﹶ‬ ‫ﺎﺀَ ﺑِﺎﻟ‬‫ ﺟ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ ﻣ‬‫ﺎ ﻭ‬‫ﺜﹶﺎﻟِﻬ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻣ‬ ‫ﺸ‬‫ ﻋ‬ ‫ﺔِ ﻓﹶﻠﹶ‬‫ﻨ‬‫ﺴ‬‫ﺎﺀَ ﺑِﺎﻟﹾﺤ‬‫ ﺟ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ﻣ‬ ‫ﻫ‬ ‫ﻻ‬ ‫ﻳ‬ ‫ﺴﻴ‬ ‫ﻪﺮ‬ ‫ﻮﻥﹶ‬ ‫ﻈﹾﻠﹶ‬ ‫ﻳﻤ‬ “Whoever brings a good deed, will have [the value of] ten like it, and whoever brings an evil deed will only be punished with one like it, and they will not be wronged.”Qur’aan, 6:160 Were God to hold humankind to account strictly, no one’s good deeds would outweigh their evil deeds. However, God has manifested His grace by multiplying the value of good deeds, while keeping evil deeds at their face value. It is by the grace of God that the true believers enter Paradise. This does not mean that deeds have no role. Deeds have a major role, but they are not the deciding factor. God’s grace outweighs them. Consequently, the creation of human beings, the errors that they make and the good that they do are all circumstances for the manifestation of God’s attributes of mercy and forgive-ness, His attribute of justice and His attribute of grace. Humankind should not question why God chose to manifest His attributes in this way. It can only be assumed that this was the best way, because Allaah describes Himself as being the Most Wise and the Most Knowledgeable. Humans can only understand what Allaah chooses to reveal to them. َ‫ﺎﺀ‬‫ﺎ ﺷ‬‫ ﻋِﻠﹾﻤِﻪِ ﺇِ ﱠ ﺑِﻤ‬‫ﺀٍ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﻲ‬‫ﺤِﻴ ﹸﻮﻥﹶ ﺑِﺸ‬ ‫ﻻﹶ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻻ‬ ‫ﻳﻄ‬ “They will only encompass of His knowledge what He wishes.” Qur’aan, 2:255 Thus, they should not try to equate themselves with God. If He has told humankind why He decided to do something, it is not for them to question why He decided to decide. Such questions are without end and thus beyond human scope. It is they who will be questioned on the Day of Judgment about their actions and intentions and not He. In Chapter a l-Ambiyaa, Allaah addresses this point: ‫ﺄﹶﹸﻮﻥﹶ‬‫ﺴ‬ ‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﹸ ﻭ‬‫ﻔﹾﻌ‬‫ﺎ ﻳ‬ ‫ﺄﹶ ﹸ ﻋ‬‫ﺴ‬ ‫ﻻﹶ‬ ‫ﻳﻝﻤ ﻞﻫﻳﻟ‬ 13 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 “He cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they will be questioned.”Qur’aan, 21:23 In this regard Prophet Muhammad (r) was reported by Ibn ‘Abbaas to have said, “Reflect on the creation of Allaah but do not reflect on Allaah.”16 To reflect on the reality of Allaah is to reflect on the infinite. And, as the mind boggles when it reflects on the limits of the finite universe and the galaxies and stars within it, it will be more confounded when it attempts to understand the uncreated. The Prophet (r) warned that the satanic forces would seek to introduce doubts in the hearts of the believers by raising unanswerable questions about God. Aboo Hurayrah related that Allaah ’s Messenger (r) said, “Satan will come to everyone of you and ask: Who created this and that? — until he questions: Who created your Lord? When he comes to that, one should seek refuge in Allaah [say: I affirm my faith in Allaah and His prophets] 17 a nd avoid [such thoughts].”18 Why Did God Create Mankind? FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF HUMANKIND, THE QUESTION “Why did God create man?” implies “For what purpose was man created?” In the final revelation, this question is answered without any ambiguity. Humans are first informed by God that every human being is born with an innate consciousness of God. In Chapter a l-A‘raaf, Allaah said: ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻤ‬ِ‫ ﹸﻮﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﺇ‬‫ ﺗ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻭ‬‫ﺬﺍ ﻏﹶﺎﻓِﻠِﲔ‬‫ ﻫ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ﺎ ﻋ‬‫ﺎ ﹸ‬ِ‫ﺔِ ﺇ‬‫ﺎﻣ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻘﹶﻴ‬‫ﻡ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ ﹸﻮﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﻳ‬‫ﺂ ﺃﹶﻥﹾ ﺗ‬‫ﻧ‬‫ﻬِﺪ‬‫ﻠﹶﻰ ﺷ‬‫ ﻗﹶﺎﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﺑ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﺑِﺮ‬ ‫ﻘﻟ ﻧ‬ ‫ﹶ‬ ‫ﻧ ﻛﻨ‬ ‫ﻘﻟ‬ ‫ﺑﻜ ﻟ‬ ‫ﻄِ ﹸﻮﻥﹶ‬‫ﺒ‬ ‫ﻞﹶ ﺍﻟﹾ‬‫ﺎ ﻓﹶﻌ‬‫ﺎ ﺑِﻤ‬‫ﻠِ ﹸﻨ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻓﹶ‬‫ﺪِﻫِﻢ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ ﺑ‬‫ﺔﹰ ﻣِﻦ‬ ‫ﺎ ﹸ‬‫ ﹸ‬‫ ﹸ ﻭ‬‫ ﻗﹶﺒ‬‫ﺎ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﺂﺅﻧ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﺑ‬‫ﻙ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﺃﹶﺷ‬ ‫ﻤﻠ‬ ‫ﺘﻜ‬ ‫ﻞ ﻛﻨ ﺫﺭﻳ‬ “[Remember] when your Lord extracted from the loins of Adam’s children their descendants and made them testify [saying]: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes, we testify to it.’ [This was] in case you say on the Day of Judgment: ‘We were unaware of this.’ Or you say: ‘It was our ancestors who worshipped others besides God and we are 16 ‫ﺖ‬ ‫ ﺃﹶﻟﹶﺴ‬‫ ﹸﺴِﻬِﻢ‬‫ﻠﹶﻰ ﺃﹶﻧ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺪ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ﺃﹶﺷ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺘ‬ ‫ ﹸ‬‫ﻮﺭِﻫِﻢ‬ ‫ ﹸ‬‫ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﻡ‬‫ﻨِﻲ ﺀَﺍﺩ‬‫ ﺑ‬‫ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﻚ‬‫ﺬﹶ ﺭ‬‫ ﺇِﺫﹾ ﺃﹶﺧ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻔ‬ ‫ﻫ‬ ‫ﺫﺭﻳ ﻬ‬ ‫ﻇﻬ‬ ‫ﺑ‬ Collected by Aboo Nu‘aym in a l-H ilyah and authenticated by al-Albaanee in Silsilah alAhaadeeth as-Sah eehah, vol. 4, p. 12, no. 1788. There is also a similar narration from Ibn ‘Umar collected by at-Tabaraanee in a l-Awsat and al-Bayhaqee in Shu ‘ab al-Eemaan. 17 Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, p. 77, nos. 242 & 243. 18 Ibid., vol. 1, p. 77, no. 244 and Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 320, no. 496. 14 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 only their descendants. Will you then destroy us for what those liars did?’ ” Qur’aan, 7:172-3 Consequently, every human being is responsible for belief in God, which is imprinted on each and every soul. It is based on this inborn belief that Allaah defined the purpose of humankind’s creation in Chapter a th -Thaariyaat : ِ‫ﻭﻥ‬ ‫ﻌ‬‫ ﺇِ ﱠ ﻟِﻴ‬‫ﺲ‬‫ ﺍﻹِﻧ‬‫ ﻭ‬ ِ‫ ﺍﻟﹾﺠ‬ ‫ﻠﹶﻘﹾ‬‫ﺎ ﺧ‬‫ ﻣ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻻ ﺒﺪ‬ ‫ﺖﻦ‬ “I have created the jinn19 and humankind only for My worship.”Qur’aan, 51:56 Thus, the essential purpose for which humankind was created is the worship of God. However, the Almighty is not in need of human worship. He did not create human beings out of a need on His part. If not a single human worshipped God, it would not diminish His glory in any way, and if all of mankind worshipped Him, it would not increase His glory in any way. God is perfect. He alone exists without any needs. All created beings have needs. Consequently, it is humankind that needs to worship God. The Meaning of Worship To understand why human beings need to worship God, one must first understand what is meant by the term ‘worship.’ The English term ‘worship’ comes from the Old English weorthscipe meaning ‘honor.’ Consequently, worship in the English language is defined as ‘the performance of devotional acts in honor of a deity.’20 According to this meaning, man is instructed to show gratitude to God by glorifying Him. In Chapter a n-Nasr o f the final revelation, Allaah says: ‫ﻚ‬‫ﺪِ ﺭ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ ﺑِﺤ‬‫ﺢ‬‫ﻓﹶﺴ‬ ‫ﺑ‬ ‫ﺒ‬ “Glorify the praises of your Lord.” Qur’aan, 110:3 The jinn are a class of invisible rational beings created by God from the elements of fire. They were endowed by God with free will, like mankind. Consequently, some of them are righteous believers and others are evil disbelievers. The evil among them are commonly called demons, evil spirits, devils, etc. 20 The Living Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary, p . 1148. 19 15 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 In glorifying God, man chooses to be in harmony with the rest of creation which naturally glorifies its Creator. Allaah addresses this phenomenon in many chapters of the Qur’aan. For example, in Chapter a l-Israa , Allaah states: ِ‫ـﺪِﻩ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ ﺑِﺤ‬ ‫ـﺴ‬ ‫ﺀٍ ﺇِ ﱠ‬‫ﻲ‬‫ ﺷ‬‫ﺇِﻥﹾ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ ﻭ‬ ِ‫ ﻓِﻴﻬ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ﻣ‬‫ ﻭ‬ ‫ﺍﻷَﺭ‬‫ ﻭ‬ ‫ﺒ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ﻤﺎﻭﺍ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ ﻟﹶ‬ ‫ﺴ‬ ‫ﻻ ﻳ ﺒﺢ‬ ‫ﻦ‬ ‫ﺽ‬ ‫ﺗ ﺒﺢ ﻪ ﺴ ﺕ ﺴ ﻊ‬ ‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺒِﻴﺤ‬‫ﺴ‬‫ﻮﻥﹶ ﺗ‬ ‫ﻔﹾﻘﹶ‬‫ ﱠ ﺗ‬‫ﻟﹶﻜِﻦ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻬ‬ ‫ﻻﻬ‬ “The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them glorify Him and there is nothing which does not glorify His praise.21 However, you do not understand their glorification.” Qur’aan, 17:44 However, in Arabic, the language of the final revelation, worship is called ‘ibaadah, which is closely related to the noun ‘abd, meaning ‘a slave.’ A slave is one who is expected to do whatever his master wills. Consequently, worship, according to the final revelation, means ‘obedient submission to the will of God.’ This was the essence of the message of all the prophets sent by God to humankind. For example, this understanding of worship was emphatically expressed by Prophet Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew, 7:21, “None of those who call me ‘Lord’ will enter the kingdom of God, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” It should be noted that ‘will’ in this quote means ‘what God wants human beings to do’ and not ‘what God permits humans to do,’ because nothing happens in creation without the will (permission) of God. The ‘Will of God’ is contained in the divinely revealed laws which the prophets taught their followers. Consequently, obedience to divine law is the foundation of worship. In this sense, glorification also becomes worship when humans choose to obey God’s instructions regarding His glorification. The Need for Worship Why do human beings need to worship and glorify God by obeying the divinely revealed laws? Because obedience to divine law is the key to success in this life and the next. The first human beings, Adam and Eve, were created in paradise and later expelled from paradise for disobeying the divine law. The only way for human beings to return to paradise is by obedience to the law. Jesus, the Messiah, was reported in the Gospel according to Matthew to have made 21 The thunder is described as glorifying God in 13:13, the day and night in 21:20 and the mountains in 38:18. 16 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 obedience to the divine laws the key to paradise: Now behold, one came and said to him, “ Good teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? ” So he said to him, “ Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 22 Also in Matthew 5:19, Jesus Christ was reported to have insisted on strict obedience to the commandments, saying, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven .” Remembrance of God All of the various acts of worship contained in the divine laws are designed to help humans remember God. ‫ﻠﻮﺍﺓﹶ ﻟِﺬﹾﺮِﻱ‬ ‫ﺃﹶﻗِﻢِ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻧِﻲ ﻭ‬‫ﺪ‬‫ﺎﹾ ﻓﹶﺎﻋ‬‫ ﺇِ ﱠ ﺃﹶﻧ‬‫ﺎﹾ ﺍ ُ ﻵ ﺇِﻟﻪ‬‫ﻨِﻲ ﺃﹶﻧ‬ِ‫ﺇ‬ ِ ‫ﺼ‬ ‫ﺒ‬ ‫ﻵ‬ ‫ﷲ‬ ‫ﻧ‬ “Verily, I am Allaah, there is no god beside Me, so worship Me and establish regular prayer for My remembrance.”Qur’aan, 20:14 Regarding fasting, Allaah stated in Chapter a l-Baqarah: ‫ ﱠ ﹸـﻢ‬‫ ﻟﹶﻌ‬‫ﻠِ ﹸﻢ‬‫ ﻗﹶﺒ‬‫ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﻠﹶﻰ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ﺎ ﹸﺘِﺐ‬‫ ﻛﹶﻤ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻴ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ ﹸ‬‫ﻠﹶﻴ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﹸﺘِﺐ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ﺎ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ﺎﺃﹶ‬‫ﻳ‬ ‫ﻜ ﻠﻜ‬ ‫ﻟ‬ ‫ﻛ‬ ‫ﻜﻢ ﺼ ﻡ‬ ‫ﻨﻛ‬ ‫ﻳﻟ‬ ‫ ﹸﻮﻥﹶ‬‫ﺗ‬ ‫ﺘﻘ‬ “O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you may become Godconscious.” Qur’aan, 2:183 The believers are encouraged to remember God as much as possible. ‫ﺍ ﻛﹶﺜِﲑﺍ‬‫ﻭﺍﹾ ﺍﷲَ ﺫِﻛﹾﺮ‬ ‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﺍﺫﹾ ﹸ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ﺎ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ﺎﺃﹶ‬‫ﻳ‬ ‫ﻨ ﻛﺮ‬ ‫ﻳﻟ‬ 22 Matthew 19:16-17 (RSV). 17 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 “ O believers! Remember Allaah often.” Qur’aan, 33:41 Remembrance of God is stressed because sin is generally committed when God is forgotten. The final revelation, the Qur’aan, addresses this phenomenon in Chapter a l-Mujaadalah as follows: ‫ﺏ‬‫ﻄﺎﹶﻥِ ﺃﹶﻵ ﺇِ ﱠ ﺣِـﺰ‬‫ﻴ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ ﺣِﺰ‬‫ﻟﹶﺌِﻚ‬‫ ﺍﷲِ ﹸﻭ‬‫ ﺫِﻛﹾﺮ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ﺴ‬‫ﻄﹶﺎ ﹸ ﻓﹶﺄﹶﻧ‬‫ﻴ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬ ِ‫ﻬ‬‫ﻠﹶﻴ‬‫ﺫﹶ ﻋ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ﺤ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ﺍِﺳ‬ ‫ﻥ‬ ‫ﺏﺸ‬ ‫ﺃ‬ ‫ﻫ‬ ‫ﻢﺸ ﻥ‬ ‫ﻭﻥﹶ‬ ِ‫ﺎﺳ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﺨ‬ ِ‫ﻄﹶﺎﻥ‬‫ﻴ‬ ‫ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﻫﻢ‬ ‫ﺸ‬ “Satan got the better of them and caused them to forget Allaah. Those are the party of Satan. Truly the party of Satan are the real losers” Qur’aan, 58:19 God, through Divine law, has prohibited intoxicants and gambling primarily because they cause human beings to forget God. ‫ ﹸﻢ‬ ‫ﻳ‬‫ﺴِﺮِ ﻭ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ﺍﻟﹾﻤ‬‫ﺮِ ﻭ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ﻀﺂﺀَ ﻓِﻲ ﺍﻟﹾﺨ‬‫ﻐ‬‫ﺍﻟﹾﺒ‬‫ﺓﹶ ﻭ‬‫ﺍﻭ‬‫ﺪ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻌ‬ ‫ ﹸ‬‫ﻨ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ ﺑ‬‫ﻮﻗِﻊ‬ ‫ﻄﹶﺎ ﹸ ﺃﹶﻥﹾ‬‫ﻴ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ﺮِﻳ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻤ‬ِ‫ﺇ‬ ‫ﺼ ﺪﻛ‬ ‫ﻜﻢ‬ ‫ﻧ ﻳﺪﺸ ﻥ ﻳ‬ ‫ﻮﻥﹶ‬ ‫ﺘ‬‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﻢ‬‫ﻞﹾ ﺃﹶﻧ‬‫ﻠﹶﻮﺍﺓِ ﻓﹶﻬ‬ ‫ﻦِ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻋ‬‫ ﺫِﻛﹾﺮِ ﺍﷲِ ﻭ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ﻋ‬ ‫ﺘ ﻣﻬ‬ ‫ﺼ‬ “Satan’s plan is to incite enmity and hatred among you with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allaah and regular prayer. Will you not then abstain? ”Qur’aan, 5:91 Consequently, humankind need to remember God for their own salvation and growth. ... ‫ﻮﺑِﻬِﻢ‬‫ﻭﺍﹾ ﻟِ ﹸ‬ ‫ﻔﹶ‬‫ﻐ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ﻭﺍﹾ ﺍﷲَ ﻓﹶﺎﺳ‬ ‫ ﺫﹶﻛﹶ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﹸﺴ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﺃﹶﻧ‬ ‫ ﻇﹶﻠﹶ‬‫ﺔﹰ ﺃﹶﻭ‬‫ ﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﻓﹶﺎﺣِﺸ‬‫ ﺇِﺫﹶﺍ ﻓﹶﻌ‬‫ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺮ ﺬﻧ‬ ‫ﻤ ﻔﻬ ﺮ‬ ‫ﻠ‬ ‫ﻟ‬ “Those who, having done something shameful or having wronged their own souls, remember Allaah a nd immediately ask forgiveness for their sins...” Qur’aan, 3:135 The Religion of Islaam 18 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 The most complete system of worship available to human beings today is the system found in the religion of Islaam. The very name ‘Islaam’ means ‘submission to the will of God.’ Although it is commonly referred to as ‘the third of the three monotheistic faiths,’ it is not a new religion at all. It is the religion brought by all of the prophets of God for humankind. Islaam was the religion of Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. God addresses this issue in the final revelation with regard to Prophet Abraham, saying: ‫ـﺎ ﻛﹶـﺎﻥﹶ ﻣِـﻦ‬‫ﻣ‬‫ﺎ ﻭ‬‫ﻠِﻤ‬‫ـﺴ‬ ‫ﻨِﻴﻔﹰﺎ‬‫ ﻛﹶﺎﻥﹶ ﺣ‬‫ﻟﹶﻜِﻦ‬‫ﺎ ﻭ‬ِ‫ﺍﻧ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﺼ‬‫ﻻﹶ ﻧ‬‫ﺎ ﻭ‬ِ‫ﻮﺩ‬ ‫ ﻳ‬ ‫ﺮﺍﻫِﻴ‬‫ﺎ ﻛﹶﺎﻥﹶ ﺇِﺑ‬‫ﻣ‬ ‫ﻣ‬ ‫ﻴ‬ ‫ﻢﻬ ﻳ‬ ‫ﺮِﻛِﲔ‬‫ﺸ‬ ‫ﺍﻟﹾ‬ ‫ﻤ‬ “Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was an upright Muslim who did not worship others besides God.” Qur’aan, 3:67 Since there is only One God, and humankind are one species, the religion which God has ordained for human beings is one. He did not prescribe one religion for the Jews, another for Indians, yet another for Europeans, etc. Human spiritual and social needs are uniform, and human nature has not changed since the first man and woman were created. Consequently, no other religion is acceptable to God besides Islaam, as He clearly states in Chapter Aal ‘Imraan of the final revelation: ‫ﻡ‬ ‫ﻼﹶ‬‫ ﺍﷲِ ﺍﻹِﺳ‬‫ﺪ‬‫ ﻋِﻨ‬‫ﻳﻦ‬ ‫ﺇِ ﱠ ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ﻥﺪ‬ “Surely Allaah’s religion is Islaam.”Qur’aan, 3:19 ‫ﺎﺳِﺮِﻳﻦ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﺨ‬‫ﺓِ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ ﻓِﻲ ﺍﻵﺧِﺮ‬‫ﻮ‬ ‫ ﻭ‬ ‫ﻞﹶ ﻣِﻨ‬‫ﻘﹾﺒ‬ ‫ﺎ ﻓﹶﻠﹶﻦ‬‫ﻨ‬‫ﻼﹶﻡِ ﺩِﻳ‬‫ ﺍﻹِﺳ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﻎِ ﻏﹶﻴ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ﺒ‬‫ ﻳ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ﻣ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻪﻫ‬ ‫ﻳ‬ “And whoever desires a religion besides Islaam will not have it accepted, and he will be among the losers in the hereafter.” Qur’aan, 3:85 Every Act Is Worship In the Islamic system, each and every human act can be transformed into an act of worship. In fact, God commands the believers to dedicate their whole lives to Him. In Chapter a l-An ‘aam, Allaah says: 19 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 ‫ﺎﻟﹶﻤِﲔ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻌ‬ ‫ﺎﺗِﻲ ﷲِ ﺭ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ﻣ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﻴﺎﻱ‬‫ﺤ‬‫ﻣ‬‫ﻜِﻲ ﻭ‬ ‫ﻼﹶﺗِﻲ ﻭ‬‫ﹸﻞﹾ ﺇِ ﱠ ﺻ‬ ‫ﺏ‬ ‫ﻧﺴ‬ ‫ﻗﻥ‬ “Say: ‘Surely my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of all the worlds.’ ” Qur’aan, 6:162 However, for that dedication to be acceptable to Allaah, each act must fulfill two basic conditions: FIRST, THE ACT MUST BE DONE SINCERELY FOR the pleasure of God and not for the recognition and praise of human beings. The believer also has to be conscious of God while doing the deed to insure that it is not something forbidden by Allaah or the last Messenger (r). THE SECOND CONDITION IS THAT THE ACT BE done in accordance with the prophetic way, called in Arabic the Sunnah. All of the prophets instructed their followers to follow their way because they were guided by God. What they taught were divinely revealed truths, and only those who followed their way and accepted the truths would inherit eternal life in paradise. It is in this context that Prophet Jesus, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, was reported in the Gospel according to John 14:6, as saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Similarly, ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood related that one day Prophet Muh ammad (r) drew a line in the dust for them and said, “This is Allaah’s path.” He then drew several lines [branching off] to the right and to the left and said, “These are the paths [of misguidance] on each of which is a devil inviting people to follow it.” He then recited the verse: “Verily, this is my path, leading straight, so follow it. And do not follow the [other] paths for they will scatter you about from Allaah’s path. That is His command to you in order that you may be conscious of Allaah.23” 24 Thus, the only acceptable way to worship God is according to the way of the prophets. That being the case, innovation in religious affairs would be considered by God among the worst of all evils. Prophet Muhammad (r) was reported to have said, “The worst of all affairs is innovation in religion, for every religious innovation is a cursed, misleading innovation leading to the hellfire.”25 Innovation in the religion 23 24 Soorah a l-An ‘aam (6):153. Collected by Ahmad, an-Nasaa’ee and ad-Daarimee, and authenticated by Ahmad Shaakir in a lMusnad, vol. 6, pp. 89-90, no. 4142. 25 Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, p. 410, no. 1885. 20 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 is forbidden and unacceptable to God. The Prophet (r) was also reported by his wife, ‘Aa’ishah, to have said, “He who innovates something in this matter of ours, that is not of it, will have it rejected.”26 The Best of Creation Those who believe in One Unique God, without partners or offspring, and do righteous deeds [according to the above-mentioned principles] become the crown of creation. That is, although humankind is not the greatest creation of Allaah, they have the potential to become the best of His creation. In Chapter a lBayyinah, Allaah states this fact as follows: ِ‫ﺔ‬ِ‫ﺮ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﺒ‬ ‫ﻴ‬‫ ﺧ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺎﺕِ ﹸﻭﻟﹶﺌِﻚ‬‫ﺎﻟِﺤ‬ ‫ﻤِﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻋ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﻭ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ﺇِ ﱠ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬ ‫ﻫﺮﻳ‬ ‫ﺃ‬ ‫ﻠﺼ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﻥﻟ‬ “Surely, those who believe and do righteous deeds are the best of creation.”Qur’aan, 98:6 The Gravest Sin To contradict the purpose of one’s creation is then the greatest evil that a human being can commit. ‘Abdullaah reported that he asked Allaah’s Messenger (r) which sin is the gravest in Allaah’s sight and he replied, “To give Allaah a partner, even though He created you.”27 Worshipping others besides God, called shirk in Arabic, is the only unforgivable sin. If a human being dies without repenting from his or her sins, Allaah may forgive all their sins except shirk. In this regard, God stated the following in Chapter a n-Nisaa ’: ‫ﺀ‬ ُ ‫ﺂ‬‫ﺸ‬‫ ﻳ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ ﻟِﻤ‬‫ﻭﻥﹶ ﺫﺍﻟِﻚ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ ﻣ‬ ِ‫ﻔ‬‫ﻐ‬‫ﻳ‬‫ ﺑِﻪِ ﻭ‬‫ﻙ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﺸ‬ ‫ ﺃﹶﻥﹾ‬ ِ‫ﻔ‬‫ﻐ‬‫ﺇِ ﱠ ﺍﷲَ ﻻﹶ ﻳ‬ ‫ﺮﺩ‬ ‫ﺮﻳ‬ ‫ﻥ‬ “Surely Allaah will not forgive the worship of others besides Him, but He forgives sins less than that to whomever He wishes.”Qur’aan, 4:48 ‫ﺍ‬ ‫ﹸ‬ ‫ﺎ ﻭ‬‫ ﹸﻠﹾﻤ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﹸ‬‫ﺂ ﺃﹶﻧ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ﻘﹶﻨ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ﺍﺳ‬‫ﺎ ﻭ‬‫ﻭﺍﹾ ﺑِﻬ‬ ‫ﺤ‬‫ﺟ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻔﺴﻬ ﻇ ﻋﻠﻮ‬ ‫ﺪ‬ 26 27 Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 3, pp. 535-6, no. 861, and Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 931, no. 4266. Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, pp. 50-1, no. 156. 21 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 “And they denied [the signs] wrongfully and arrogantly, though within themselves they were convinced of them.”Qur’aan, 27:14 To atheists and materialists, life has no purpose beyond the fulfillment of their desires. Consequently, their desires also become the god which they obey and submit to instead of the One True God. In Chapter a l-Furqaan o f the final revelation, Allaah said: ‫ﻪﻩ‬ ‫ﺍ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ ﻫ‬ ‫ﺬﹶ ﺇِ ﻟـﺍـﻬ‬‫ﺨ‬‫ﻦِ ﺍ‬‫ ﻣ‬‫ﺖ‬‫ﺀَﻳ‬‫ﺃﹶﺭ‬ ‫ﺗ‬ “Have you seen the one who takes his desires as his god?”Qur’aan, 25:43 Love of God Shirk also occurs when human beings love, trust or fear the creation more than Allaah. In Chapter a l-Baqarah o f the last revelation, God said: ‫ﺪ‬ ‫ـ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﺃﹶﺷ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ ﺍﷲِ ﻭ‬ ‫ ﻛﹶ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﻮﻧ‬ِ‫ﺤ‬ ‫ﺍ‬‫ﺍﺩ‬‫ﺪ‬‫ﻭﻥِ ﺍﷲِ ﺃﹶﻧ‬ ‫ﺨِ ﹸ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ ﻳ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ﺎﺱِ ﻣ‬‫ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﻟ‬ ‫ﻳ ﺒ ﻬ ﺤﺐ‬ ‫ﺘﺬ ﺩ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ ِ‫ﺎ ﷲ‬ ‫ﺣﺒ‬ “There are among men those who worship others besides Allaah as equals to Him. They love them as only Allaah should be loved. But those who believe have a stronger love for Allaah.” Qur’aan, 2:165 Anas ibn Maalik narrated that the Prophet (r) said, “Whoever possesses [the following] three characteristics has tasted the sweetness of faith: he who loves Allaah and His Messenger above all else; he who loves another human being for Allaah’s sake alone; and he who hates to return to disbelief after Allaah has rescued him as he hates to be thrown into a fire.”28 ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻮﻫ‬ ‫ﺤ‬ ‫ ﺍﷲِ ﻻﹶ‬‫ﺖ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ﻭﺍﹾ ﻧِﻌ‬ ‫ﺇِﻥﹾ ﺗ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺗﺼ‬ ‫ﻌﺪ‬ “If you try to count Allaah’s blessings, you will not be able to add them up.”Qur’aan, 14:34 28 Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, p. 30, no. 67. 22 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 However, the supreme love which humans should feel for God must not be reduced to the common denominator of their emotional love for creation. Just as the love humans feel for animals should not be the same as what they feel for other humans,29 the love of Allaah should transcend the love humans feel towards each other. Human love of God should be, fundamentally, a love manifest in complete obedience to the laws of God, as stated in Chapter Aal ‘Imraan , “If you love Allaah, then follow me [the Prophet] and Allaah will love you.”30 This is not an abstract concept, because human love of other humans also implies obedience. That is, if a loved one requests that something be done, humans will strive to do it according to the level of their love for that person. The love of God should also be expressed in the love of those whom God loves. It is inconceivable that one who loves Allaah could hate those whom Allaah loves and love those whom He hates. The Prophet (r) was quoted by Aboo Umaamah as saying, “He who loves for Allaah and hates for Allaah, gives for Allaah and withholds for Allaah, has perfected his faith.”31 Consequently, those whose faith is proper will love all those who love God. In Chapter Maryam, Allaah indicates that He puts love in the hearts of the believers for those who are righteous. ‫ﺍ‬ ‫ﻤ‬‫ﺣ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ ﹸ ﻟﹶ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﺠ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ﺎﺕِ ﺳ‬‫ﺎﻟِﺤ‬ ‫ﻤِﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻋ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﻭ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ﺇِ ﱠ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬ ‫ﻞ ﻬ ﻢ ﺮ ﻦ ﻭﺩ‬ ‫ﻠﺼ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﻥﻟ‬ “Surely, Allaah will bestow love [in the hearts of the believers for] those who believe and do righteous deeds.”Qur’aan, 19:96 Prayers Prayers should only be directed to God alone, for only He can answer prayers. He is accessible as long as He is called upon sincerely. ِ‫ﺎﻥ‬‫ﻋ‬‫ﺍﻋِﻲ ﺇِﺫﹶﺍ ﺩ‬ ‫ﺓﹶ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ﻋ‬‫ ﺩ‬ ‫ ﹸﺟِﻴ‬ ‫ﻲ ﻗﹶﺮِﻳ‬ِ‫ﻲ ﻓﹶﺈ‬‫ﺎﺩِﻱ ﻋ‬‫ ﻋِﺒ‬‫ﺄﹶﻟﹶﻚ‬‫ﺇِﺫﹶﺍ ﺳ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺪ‬ ‫ﺐﺃ ﺐ‬ ‫ﻨﻧ‬ 29 The huge sums of money currently being spent protecting endangered species of animals while humans are left to starve and die of disease is among the major crimes of the 20th century. 30 Qur’aan, 3:31. 31 Collected by Ah mad, at-Tirmithee and Aboo Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 3, p. 1312, no. 3664, and authenticated in Saheeh Sunan Abee Daawood, vol. 3, p. 886, no. 3915). 23 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 “When My servants ask you [O Muhammad] about Me, [tell them] that I am near, I answer the prayer of everyone who calls on Me.” Qur’aan, 2:186 The Prophet (r) emphasized this point, saying, “If you ask in prayer, ask only Allaah, and if you seek help, seek it only from Allaah.”32 T hus, prayer to human beings or through human beings, dead or living, is a form of shirk. The one to whom prayers are directed becomes an object of worship. An-Nu‘maan ibn Basheer reported that the Prophet (r) said, “Supplication is worship.”33 ‫ﺜﹶﺎﹸ ﹸﻢ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻣ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻭﻥِ ﺍﷲِ ﻋِﺒ‬ ‫ﻮﻥﹶ ﻣِﻦ‬ ‫ﺪ‬‫ ﺗ‬‫ﺇِ ﱠ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬ ‫ﺩ ﻟﻜ‬ ‫ﺩ‬ ‫ﻋ‬ ‫ﻥﻟ‬ “Surely, those whom you call on in prayer besides Allaah are servants like yourself.” Qur’aan, 7:194 Thus, the Catholic Christian practice of praying to saints is shirk. If something is lost, Saint Anthony of Thebes is prayed to in order to help find it.34 St. Jude Thaddaeus is the patron saint of the impossible and is prayed to for intercession in incurable illnesses, unlikely marriages or the like.35 And it used to be that when someone set out on a journey, Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, was the object of prayers for protection. However, in 1969 St. Christopher was unceremoniously struck off the list of saints by papal decree, after it was confirmed that he was fictitious.36 Prayers to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and to the angels, as on Michaelmas37 are also shirk. Even Christians who shun saint worship commit shirk whenever they direct prayers to Prophet Jesus, through him or in his name. Likewise, any Muslim who prays to Prophet Muhammad (r) Reported by Ibn ‘Abbaas and collected by at-Tirmithee and authenticated in Saheeh Sunan atTirmith ee, vol. 2, pp. 308-9, no. 2043. See a n-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, p. 68, no. 19 and Mishkat Al-Masabih , vol. 2 , p. 1099. 33 Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 1, p. 387, no. 1474 and authenticated in Saheeh Sunan Abee Daawood, vol. 1, p. 277, no. 1312. 34 The World Book Encyclopedia, vol. 1, p. 509. 35 Ibid., vol. 11, p. 146. 36 The World Book Encyclopedia , vol. 3, p. 417. 37 The Christian feast of St. Michael the Archangel, celebrated in the western churches on September 29 and in the Eastern (Orthodox) Church on November 8. In the Roman Catholic Church, it is the Feast of SS. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels; in the Anglican Church, its proper name is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 8, p. 95). 32 24 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 commits shirk. Consequently, God commanded the Prophet (r) to inform his followers as follows in Chapter a l-A‘raaf: ‫ﺕ‬ ‫ﻜﹾﺜﹶﺮ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ ﻻﹶﺳ‬‫ﺐ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻐ‬ ‫ﻠﹶ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻋ‬ ‫ ﹸﻨ‬‫ﻟﹶﻮ‬‫ﺂﺀَ ﺍ ُ ﻭ‬‫ﺎ ﺷ‬‫ﺍ ﺇِ ﱠ ﻣ‬ ‫ﻻﹶ ﺿ‬‫ﺎ ﻭ‬‫ﻔﹾﻌ‬‫ﻔﹾﺴِﻲ ﻧ‬‫ ﻟِﻨ‬ ِ‫ﻠ‬‫ﹸﻞﹾ ﱠ ﺃﹶﻣ‬ ‫ﷲ ﻛﺖ ﻢ‬ ‫ﺮﻻ‬ ‫ﻗﻻ ﻚ‬ ‫ﺴ ﺴﺀ‬ ُ ‫ﻮ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻨِﻲ‬ ‫ﺎ ﻣ‬‫ﻣ‬‫ﺮِ ﻭ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﺨ‬‫ﻣِﻦ‬ “Say [O Muhammad]: ‘I have no power to bring good or avert harm even from myself, except if Allaah wills. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I would surely have accumulated only good and no evil would have befallen me.”Qur’aan, 7:188 Aboo Hurayrah reported that when the verse “Warn your nearest relatives,”38 was revealed to the Prophet, he said the following to his relatives: “O people of Quraysh, secure deliverance from Allaah [by doing good deeds], for I cannot avail you at all against Allaah...O Faatimah, daughter of Muhammad, ask me whatever you wish [in this life], but I have nothing which can avail you against Allaah.”39 Why Did God Create Mankind on Earth? The question concerning the purpose of mankind’s creation may be expanded to include the world in which they live. The question would then be, “Why did God create human beings in this world?” ‫ﺰ ﻔﺭ‬ ‫ ﹸﻮ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻐ‬ ‫ﺰِﻳ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻌ‬‫ﻮ‬ ‫ﻼﹰ ﻭ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ ﻋ‬ ‫ ﺃﹶﺣﺴ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ ﺃﹶ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﹸﻮ‬‫ﺒ‬‫ﻲﻭﺍﺓﹶ ﻟِﻴ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﺤ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﺕ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻤ‬‫ﻠﹶﻖ‬‫ﺍﹶﱠﺬِﻱ ﺧ‬ ‫ﻫ‬ ‫ ﻦ‬ ‫ﻠ ﻛ ﻳﻜ‬ ‫ﻟ‬ “[It is He] who created death and life to test which of you is best in conduct; and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving.”Qur’aan, 67:2 ‫ﻼﹰ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ ﻋ‬ ‫ ﺃﹶﺣﺴ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﺃﹶ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﹸﻮ‬‫ﺒ‬‫ﺎ ﻟِﻨ‬‫ﺔﹰ ﻟﹶﻬ‬‫ﺽِ ﺯِﻳﻨ‬‫ﻠﹶﻰ ﺍﻷَﺭ‬‫ﺎ ﻋ‬‫ﺎ ﻣ‬‫ﻠﹾﻨ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﺎ ﺟ‬ِ‫ﺇ‬ ‫ ﻦ‬ ‫ﻠ ﻫ ﻳﻬ‬ ‫ﻧ‬ “Surely I40 have created all that is on earth as its ornaments that I may test which of them is best in conduct.”Qur’aan, 18:7 Soorah a sh-Shooraa (26):214. Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 4, pp. 478-9, nos. 727 & 728, and Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, p. 136, no. 402. 40 “We” in the original Arabic is the majestic ‘we,’ r eferring to God. 39 38 25 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 It should be noted, however, that the tests of conduct are not to inform God about humankind, for He knew everything there was to know about them before He created them. The tests serve to confirm on the Day of Judgment that those going to hell deserve it and those going to paradise only got there by God’s grace. With regard to human beings in this life, the test of conduct serves two basic purposes: one, human spiritual growth, and the other, punishment or reward. Spiritual Growth Generosity and Contentment For example, in all human societies the qualities of generosity and contentment are considered among the most noble characteristics. However, neither of these traits can develop if everyone has the same amount of wealth. Generosity can only be acquired when the human soul—aware that sharing with the needy is good—struggles against its desire to hoard its possessions. On the other hand, contentment is produced when the soul defeats the evils of envy and greed. The Creator wisely sets the stage for these spiritual struggles by unequally distributing wealth in this world. In Chapter a n-Nah l of the final revelation, Allaah says: ِ‫ﻕ‬‫ﺯ‬ ‫ﺾٍ ﻓِﻲ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻠﹶﻰ ﺑ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﻀ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻞﹶ ﺑ‬ ‫ﺍ ُ ﻓﹶ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﻜ‬ ‫ﷲﻀ‬ “Allaah has favored some of you over others in sustenance.”Qur’aan, 16:71 ‫ﺩﻛ ﺔ‬ ‫ ﹲ‬‫ﻨ‬‫ ﻓِﺘ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬ ‫ﻻﹶ‬‫ﺃﹶﻭ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﺍﹸ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ﺎ ﺃﹶﻣ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﺃﹶ‬ ‫ﻠﹶ‬‫ﺍﻋ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻟﻜ‬ ‫ﻤﻧ‬ “Know that your wealth and children are a test.” Qur’aan, 8:28 ِ‫ ﺫِﻛﹾﺮِ ﺍﷲ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬ ‫ﻻﹶ‬‫ﻻﹶ ﺃﹶﻭ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﺍﹸ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻣ‬‫ﻠﹾﻬِ ﹸﻢ‬ ‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﻻﹶ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ﺎ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ﺎﺃﹶ‬‫ﻳ‬ ‫ﺩﻛ‬ ‫ﻟﻜ‬ ‫ﺗﻜ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﻳﻟ‬ “O believers! Do not allow your wealth and children to divert you from the remembrance of Allaah.” Qur’aan, 63:9 ‫ﺎ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﺂ ﺀَﺍﺗ‬‫ ﻓِﻲ ﻣ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ ﹸﻮ‬‫ﺒ‬‫ﺎﺕٍ ﻟِﻴ‬‫ﺟ‬‫ﺭ‬‫ﺾٍ ﺩ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ ﺑ‬‫ﻕ‬‫ ﻓﹶﻮ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﻀ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ ﺑ‬‫ﻓﹶﻊ‬‫ﺭ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻛ‬ ‫ﻠﻛ‬ ‫ﻜ‬ 26 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 “He raised some of you over others in rank to test you with what He granted you.” Qur’aan, 6:165 The desire to accumulate wealth cannot be satisfied in this life. The more human beings have, the more they want. The Prophet (r) stated, “If a man had a valley of gold, he would desire another, for nothing will fill his mouth but the dirt [of his grave]. And Allaah forgives whoever sincerely repents.”41 ‫ﺎ‬‫ ﺑِﻬ‬‫ ﱢﻴﻬِﻢ‬‫ﺰ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﻄﹶ‬ ‫ﻗﹶﺔﹰ‬‫ﺪ‬‫ ﺻ‬‫ﺍﻟِﻬِﻢ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻣ‬‫ﺬﹾ ﻣِﻦ‬ ‫ﺗ ﻬﺮﻫ ﺗ ﻛ‬ ‫ﺧ‬ “Take charity from their wealth to purify them and make them grow.”Qur’aan, 9:103 ِ‫ﻭﻡ‬ ‫ﺤ‬‫ﺍﻟﹾﻤ‬‫ﺂﺋِﻞِ ﻭ‬ ‫ ﻟِﻠ‬ ‫ ﺣ‬‫ﺍﻟِﻬِﻢ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ﻓِﻲ ﺃﹶﻣ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﻖ ﺴ‬ “And in their wealth the beggars and needy have a right.” Qur’aan, 51:19 However, giving in charity should be done sincerely for the pleasure of God ‫ﺍ‬ ‫ﺍﻷَﺫﹶﻯ‬‫ ﻭ‬ ‫ ﺑِﺎﻟﹾﻤ‬‫ﻗﺎﺗِ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﺪ‬‫ﻄِﹸﻮﺍ ﺻ‬‫ﺒ‬ ‫ﻮﺍ ﻻﹶ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ﺎ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ﺄﹶ‬‫ﻳ‬ ‫ﻦ‬ ‫ﻜ‬ ‫ﺗﻠ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﻳﻟ‬ “O believers, do not destroy your acts of charity by reminders of your generosity and by injury.” Qur’aan, 2:264 Craving for wealth is further enhanced by envy. Consequently, God also instructed us not to desire what He has given others. ٍ‫ﺾ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻠﹶﻰ ﺑ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﻀ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻞﹶ ﺍ ُ ﺑِﻪِ ﺑ‬ ‫ﺎ ﻓﹶ‬‫ﺍ ﻣ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ﻻ ﺗ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻜ‬ ‫ﻀﷲ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ “Do not wish for that by which Allaah has favored some of you over others.”Qur’aan, 4:32 41 Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 8, pp. 297-8, no. 447. 27 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 The Prophet (r) reiterated this divine piece of advice, saying, “Look to those less fortunate than you, and do not look to those above you; it is better for you, in order that you do not deny what Allaah has blessed you with.”42 Aboo Hurayrah quoted the last Messenger (r) as saying, “Wealth is not [measured] in property, but in contentment.”43 ‫ﻦ ﻘﻠ ﺏ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟﹾ ﹸﹸﻮ‬ ِ‫ﺌ‬‫ﻄﹾﻤ‬‫ﺃﹶﻻﹶ ﺑِﺬِﻛﹾﺮِ ﺍﷲِ ﺗ‬ “Indeed, it is in the remembrance of Allaah that hearts find rest.”Qur’aan, 13:28 Calamities Tests of this life also come in the form of ‘misfortune’ and calamities which contribute to the spiritual growth of the true believers and purify them of sin. Conversely, life’s tests of misfortune remind errant believers to return to the correct path, and they punish disbelievers in this life before the next. Patience Calamities are the foundation on which the higher spiritual quality of patience is developed. Consequently, it is not surprising to find that the righteous are subject to many tragedies and difficulties in their lives. Sa‘d reported that he asked the Prophet (r) who among mankind had the most trials, and he replied, “The prophets, then those most like them and then those most like them. Man is tested according to the level of his faith. If his faith is firm, his trials increase in severity, and if there is weakness in his faith, he will be tried accordingly.”44 True patience is the product of complete trust in God at the time of calamity. ‫ ﱢ ﹸﻮﻥﹶ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ﺘ‬ ‫ ﱠﻞِ ﺍﻟﹾ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ﻪِ ﻓﹶﻠﹾﻴ‬‫ﻠﹶﻴ‬‫ﻋ‬‫ ﻭ‬ ‫ ﱠﻠﹾ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ﻪِ ﺗ‬‫ﻠﹶﻴ‬‫ ﺇِ ﱠ ﷲِ ﻋ‬ ‫ﻜﹾ‬ ‫ﺇِﻥِ ﺍﻟﹾ‬ ‫ﻛ ﻤ ﻛﻠ‬ ‫ﻛﺖ‬ ‫ﺤﻢﻻ‬ Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 8, p. 328, no. 497, and Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1530, no. 7070. Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 8, p. 304, no. 453. 44 Collected by at-Tirmithee and Ibn Maajah and authenticated in Sah eeh Sunan at-Tirmithee, vol. 2, p. 286, no. 1956. 43 42 28 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 “The decision rests only with Allaah. I put my trust in Him alone, and all who trust should trust only in Him.”Qur’aan, 12:67 Allaah further assures humankind that if they put their complete trust in Him, He will be sufficient for them in their most trying times. ‫ﺒﻪ‬ ‫ﺴ‬‫ ﺣ‬‫ﻮ‬ ‫ﻠﹶﻰ ﺍﷲِ ﻓﹶ‬‫ ﱠﻞﹾ ﻋ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ ﻳ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ﻣ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻬ‬ ‫ﻛ‬ “ Whoever trusts in Allaah will find Him sufficient.”Qur’aan, 65:3 ‫ﻫ ﺮﻜ ﷲ‬ ُ ‫ﺍ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ ﻟﹶ ﹸﻢ‬ ‫ ﺷ‬‫ﻮ‬ ‫ﺌﹰﺎ ﻭ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﺷ‬ِ‫ﺤ‬ ‫ﻰ ﺃﹶﻥﹾ‬‫ﺴ‬‫ﻋ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ ﻟﹶ ﹸﻢ‬ ‫ﻴ‬‫ ﺧ‬‫ﻮ‬ ‫ﺌﹰﺎ ﻭ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﺷ‬ ‫ﻜﹾﺮ‬‫ﻰ ﺃﹶﻥﹾ ﺗ‬‫ﺴ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺗﺒ‬ ‫ﻫ ﺮﻜ‬ ‫ﻫ‬ ‫ﻮﻥﹶ‬ ‫ﻠﹶ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ ﻻﹶ ﺗ‬‫ﻢ‬‫ﺃﹶﻧ‬‫ ﻭ‬ ‫ﻠﹶ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻳ‬ ‫ﻤ‬ ‫ﻢﺘ‬ “Perhaps you may dislike something and it is good for you, and you may like something and it is bad for you. Allaah knows and you do not.” Qur’aan, 2:216 The trials by which Allaah tests human beings are specifically tailored to their own individual needs and circumstances. ‫ﺍ‬‫ ﺃﹶﺣﺪ‬‫ﻚ‬‫ ﺭ‬ ِ‫ﻈﹾﻠ‬‫ﻻﹶ ﻳ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻢﺑ‬ “ And your Lord does not oppress anyone.”Qur’aan, 18:49 ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﺳ‬ ‫ﺎ ﺇِ ﱠ‬‫ﻔﹾﺴ‬‫ ﺍ ُ ﻧ‬ ‫ﻜﹶ ﱢ‬ ‫ﻻﹶ‬ ‫ﻻﻭ‬ ‫ﻳ ﻠﻒ ﷲ‬ “Allaah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity.”Qur’aan, 2:286 ‫ﺍ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﺴ‬ ِ‫ﺮ‬‫ﺴ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟﹾ‬‫ﻊ‬‫ﺍ ﺇِ ﱠ ﻣ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﺴ‬ ِ‫ﺮ‬‫ﺴ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟﹾ‬‫ﻊ‬‫ﻓﹶﺈِ ﱠ ﻣ‬ ‫ﻌﻳ‬ ‫ﻥ‬ ‫ﻌﻳ‬ ‫ﻥ‬ “For surely with difficulty comes [a period of] ease. Surely with the difficulty comes [another period of] ease.” Qur’aan, 94:5-6 Despair ‫ﺎ‬‫ﺣِﻴﻤ‬‫ ﺭ‬‫ ﺇِ ﱠ ﺍﷲَ ﻛﹶﺎﻥﹶ ﺑِ ﹸﻢ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ ﹸﺴ‬‫ﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﺃﹶﻧ‬‫ﻘﹾ‬‫ﻻﹶ ﺗ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻜ‬ ‫ﺘﻠ ﻔ ﻜ ﻥ‬ 29 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 “ Do not kill yourselves, for surely Allaah is merciful with you.”Qur’aan, 4:29 ‫ﻭﻥﹶ‬ ِ‫ﻡِ ﺍﻟﹾﻜﹶﺎﻓ‬‫ﺡِ ﺍﷲِ ﺇِ ﱠ ﺍﻟﹾﻘﹶﻮ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ ﻣِﻦ‬ ‫ﺄﹶ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ ﻻﹶ ﻳ‬ ِ‫ﺇ‬ ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﻻ‬ ‫ﺱﺭ‬ ‫ﻧﻪ‬ “ Surely only a disbelieving people despair of Allaah’s mercy.” Qur’aan, 12:87 Consequently, God has informed humankind that the punish-ment for those who harbor evil thoughts about Him is the eternal torment of hell. In Chapter a lFat-h Allaah says: ِ‫ﺀ‬‫ﻮ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟـ‬ ‫ ﺑِﺎﷲِ ﻇﹶ‬‫ﲔ‬‫ﺮِﻛﹶﺎﺕِ ﺍﻟ ﱠﺎ‬‫ﺸ‬ ‫ﺍﻟﹾ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﺮِﻛِﲔ‬‫ﺸ‬ ‫ﺍﻟﹾ‬‫ﺎﻓِﻘﹶﺎﺕِ ﻭ‬‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﺍﻟﹾ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﺎﻓِﻘِﲔ‬‫ﻨ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟﹾ‬‫ ﱢﺏ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻦﺴ‬ ‫ﻈﻧ‬ ‫ﻤ‬ ‫ﻤ‬ ‫ﻤ‬ ‫ﻳﺬ ﻤ‬ ‫ﺼِﲑﺍ‬‫ ﻣ‬‫ﺂﺀَﺕ‬‫ﺳ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﻢ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ ﺟ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﻟﹶ‬ ‫ﺃﹶﻋ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﻨ‬‫ﻟﹶﻌ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﻬِﻢ‬‫ﻠﹶﻴ‬‫ ﺍ ُ ﻋ‬‫ﻏﹶﻀِﺐ‬‫ﺀِ ﻭ‬‫ﻮ‬ ‫ ﹸ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﺁﺋِﺮ‬‫ ﺩ‬‫ﻬِﻢ‬‫ﻠﹶﻴ‬‫ﻋ‬ ‫ﺪﻬ ﻨ‬ ‫ﻬ‬ ‫ﷲ‬ ‫ﺓﺴ‬ “That He may punish the hypocrites, men and women, and the idolaters, men and women, who harbor evil thoughts about Allaah. An evil torment will encompass them, for Allaah is angry with them and curses them. And He has prepared hell for them; an evil end.” Qur’aan, 48:6 Hope On the other hand, the divine promises of justice and mercy fill the believers with the confidence necessary to patiently face the difficulties of this life. Consequently, hope in the mercy of God is an essential part of faith. ‫ﺎﺑِﺮِﻳﻦ‬ ‫ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﻊ‬‫ﻼﹶﺓِ ﺇِ ﱠ ﺍﷲَ ﻣ‬ ‫ﺍﻟ‬‫ﺮِ ﻭ‬‫ﺒ‬ ‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﺑِﺎﻟ‬‫ﻌِﻴ‬‫ﺘ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﺍﺳ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ﺎ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ﻬ‬‫ﺂ ﺃﹶ‬‫ﻳ‬ ‫ﺼ‬ ‫ﺼﻥ‬ ‫ﻨﺼ‬ ‫ﻨ‬ ‫ﻳﻟ‬ “O believers, seek help in patience and prayer. Truly, Allaah is with those who are patient.”Qur’aan, 2:153 ِ‫ ﺍﷲ‬‫ﺖ‬‫ﻤ‬‫ﺣ‬‫ﻮﻥﹶ ﺭ‬ ‫ﺮ‬‫ ﻳ‬‫ﻟﹶﺌِﻚ‬‫ﺒِﻴﻞِ ﺍﷲِ ﹸﻭ‬‫ﻭﺍﹾ ﻓِﻲ ﺳ‬ ‫ﺎﻫ‬‫ﺟ‬‫ﻭﺍﹾ ﻭ‬ ‫ﺎﺟ‬‫ ﻫ‬‫ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﻭ‬‫ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ﺇِ ﱠ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬ ‫ﺟ‬ ‫ﺃ‬ ‫ﺪ‬ ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﻨﻟ‬ ‫ﻥﻟ‬ ‫ﷲ ﻔ ﺭﺭ ﻢ‬ ‫ﺣِﻴ‬ ‫ﺍ ُ ﻏﹶ ﹸﻮ‬‫ﻭ‬ 30 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 “Surely those who believed, emigrated and strove for the sake of Allaah, hope for Allaah’s mercy, for Allaah is Oft-Forgiving MostMerciful.” Qur’aan, 2:218 Of course, paradise is the reward for patience based on sincere belief in God. God informs the believers of their reward as follows: ‫ﻮﻥﹶ‬ ِ‫ﺍﺟ‬‫ﻪِ ﺭ‬‫ﺂ ﺇِﻟﹶﻴ‬ِ‫ﺇ‬‫ﺎ ﻟِ ﱠﻪِ ﻭ‬ِ‫ ﹲ ﻗﹶﺎﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﺇ‬‫ﺼِﻴﺒ‬ ‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺘ‬‫ﺎﺑ‬‫ ﺇِﺫﺁ ﺃﹶﺻ‬‫ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ﺎﺑِﺮﻳﻦ‬ ‫ﺮِ ﺍﻟ‬ ‫ ﺑ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻌ‬ ‫ﻬﻣ ﺔﻟ ﻧﻠ ﻧ‬ ‫ﻟ‬ ‫ﺸﺼ‬ “ announce glad tidings [of paradise] to those who are patient; those who, when afflicted with calamity, say: Truly we belong to Allaah and to Him we will return.”Qur’aan, 2:155-6 Patience is also based on the belief that whatever befalls mankind is fundamentally a consequence of their own evil deeds.45 ٍ‫ ﻛﹶﺜِﲑ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ ﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﻋ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻳ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﺪِﻳ ﹸﻢ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻳ‬‫ﺖ‬‫ﺒ‬‫ﺎ ﻛﹶﺴ‬‫ﺔٍ ﻓﹶﺒِﻤ‬‫ﺼِﻴﺒ‬ ‫ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﺎﺑ‬‫ﺂ ﺃﹶﺻ‬‫ﻣ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻔ‬ ‫ﻜ‬ ‫ﻣ‬ ‫ﻜ‬ “Whatever befalls you is a result of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.” Qur’aan, 42:30 The fact is, God has excused humans for much of their evil. Were He to punish them strictly according to their deeds, they and all on earth would be destroyed. God addresses this issue in Chapter F aatir as follows: ٍ‫ﺔ‬‫ﺁﺑ‬‫ ﺩ‬‫ﺎ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﺮِﻫ‬‫ﻠﹶﻰ ﻇﹶﻬ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ﻙ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﺎ ﺗ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﻣ‬‫ﺎ ﻛﹶﺴ‬‫ ﺑِﻤ‬‫ﺎﺱ‬‫ﺍﺧِ ﹸ ﺍ ُ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﺆ‬ ‫ ﻟﹶﻮ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺒ‬ ‫ﻳ ﺬﷲ ﻨ‬ “And if Allaah were to punish people for what they earned, He would not leave a living creature on the face of the earth.” Qur’aan, 35:45 Suhayb ibn Sinaan related that the Messenger of Allaah (r) said, “The affair of the believer is amazing! The whole of his life is beneficial, and that is only in the case of the believer. When good times come to him, he is thankful and it is good 45 In fact, all of the corruption on earth is a product of human misdeeds. Allaah states that in Chapter a r-Room (30):41, quoted later in this booklet. 31 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 for him, and when bad times befall him, he is patient and it is also good for him.”46 T his is the state of one who has accepted God’s destiny. Consequently, belief in both the good and the apparent evil of what has been destined is the sixth pillar of faith in Islaam. On the other hand, if the believers experience a life devoid of any problems, it should be taken as a sign that something is wrong. Under such circumstances, the true believer must take time out and reflect on the realities of his or her life. Either the tests are not obvious and they are unaware of them or they have deviated from the right path. ‫ﻖ‬‫ﻫ‬‫ﺰ‬‫ﺗ‬‫ﺎ ﻭ‬‫ﻴ‬‫ﻧ‬ ‫ﺎ ﻓِﻲ ﺍﻟ‬‫ ﺑِﻬ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﱢﺑ‬‫ﻌ‬ ‫ ﺍ ُ ﺃﹶﻥﹾ‬ ‫ﺮِﻳ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ﻤ‬ِ‫ ﺇ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﻻﹶ‬‫ﺃﹶﻭ‬‫ ﻭ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺍﹸ‬‫ﻮ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻣ‬‫ﻚ‬‫ﺠِﺒ‬‫ﻌ‬ ‫ﻻﹶ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺪ‬ ‫ﺩﻫ ﻧ ﻳ ﺪ ﷲ ﻳ ﺬ ﻬ‬ ‫ﻟﻬ‬ ‫ﺗ‬ ‫ﻭﻥﹶ‬ ِ‫ ﻛﹶﺎﻓ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﻭ‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﹸ‬‫ﺃﹶﻧ‬ ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﻔﺴﻬ ﻫ‬ “Do not be awed by their wealth or their children. Allaah only wishes to punish them with these things in this life and allow their souls to die while they are in a state of disbelief.” Qur’aan, 9:85 This is not to say that the believers should yearn for problems and calamities in their lives, for Allaah has taught them to pray: “Our Lord, do not put on us a burden like what you placed on those before us.” 47 Instead, they should thank Allaah for whatever trials He has spared them. However, in times of ease they must remain vigilant and not become oblivious to tests, for success and happiness often blind people to the trials of life. Reminder Tests sometimes serve as a punishing reminder to those who have gone astray and an encouragement for them to return to the correct path. When people deviate, they seldom listen to the advice of those around them. However, when a calamity strikes them or those near and dear to them, it jolts those who still have some faith into recognizing their error. ‫ﻮﻥﹶ‬ ِ‫ﺟ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ ﻳ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ ﱠ‬‫ﺮِ ﻟﹶﻌ‬‫ﺬﹶﺍﺏِ ﺍﻷَﻛﹾﺒ‬‫ﻭﻥﹶ ﺍﻟﹾﻌ‬ ‫ﻰ‬‫ﻧ‬‫ﺬﹶﺍﺏِ ﺍﻷَﺩ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻌ‬‫ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺬِﻳﻘﹶ‬‫ﻟﹶ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﻌ‬ ‫ﻠﻬ‬ ‫ﺩ‬ ‫ﻨ ﻨﻬ‬ 46 47 Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1541, no. 7138. Soorah a l-Baqarah (2):286. 32 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 “I48 will make them taste a lesser punishment before the greater punishment that perhaps they may return [to the right path].” Qur’aan, 32:21 The test of calamities which remind humankind of their deviation may come in the form of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, as in the case of the unspeakable atrocities unleashed by the Serbs against the Bosnian Muslims who had strayed far away from Islaam, or Saddam’s brutal invasion of Kuwait and America’s subsequent indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets in Iraq. ‫ﻤِﹸﻮﺍﹾ‬‫ ﺍﱠﺬِﻱ ﻋ‬‫ﺾ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ ﺑ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺬِﻳﻘﹶ‬ِ‫ﺎﺱِ ﻟ‬‫ﺪِﻱ ﺍﻟ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻳ‬‫ﺖ‬‫ﺒ‬‫ﺎ ﻛﹶﺴ‬‫ﺮِ ﺑِﻤ‬‫ﺤ‬‫ﺍﻟﹾﺒ‬‫ ﻭ‬ ‫ ﻓِﻲ ﺍﻟﹾﺒ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻔﹶﺴ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﻇﹶﻬ‬ ‫ﻠ‬ ‫ﻟ‬ ‫ﻨ ﻴﻬ‬ ‫ﺮ‬ ‫ﺩ‬ ‫ﻮﻥﹶ‬ ِ‫ﺟ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ ﻳ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﱠ‬‫ﻟﹶﻌ‬ ‫ﻌ‬ ‫ﻠﻬ‬ “Corruption has appeared on the land and in the sea because of what man’s hands have earned, in order that [Allaah] may make them taste a part of what they have done, and in order that they may return [to the right path].” Qur’aan, 30:41 Hypocrisy Calamities also expose those who falsely claim faith, as well as show those who disbelieve that they choose hell by their own free will. ‫ﻠِﻬِﻢ‬‫ ﻗﹶﺒ‬‫ ﻣِﻦ‬‫ﺎ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ ﻓﹶﺘ‬‫ﻟﹶﻘﹶﺪ‬‫ﻮﻥﹶ ﻭ‬‫ﻔﹾﺘ‬ ‫ ﻻﹶ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺎ ﻭ‬‫ ﹸﻮﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﺀَﺍﻣ‬‫ ﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﺃﹶﻥﹾ ﻳ‬‫ﺮ‬‫ﺘ‬ ‫ ﺃﹶﻥﹾ‬ ‫ﺎ‬‫ ﺍﻟ‬‫ﺴِﺐ‬‫ﺃﹶﺣ‬ ‫ﻨﻟ‬ ‫ﻨ ﻫ ﻳﻨ‬ ‫ﻘﻟ‬ ‫ﻨﺱ ﻳ ﻛ‬ ‫ ﺍ ُ ﺍﻟﹾﻜﹶﺎﺫِﺑِﲔ‬ ‫ﻠﹶﻤ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻟﹶﻴ‬‫ ﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﻭ‬‫ﺪ‬‫ ﺻ‬‫ ﺍ ُ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬ ‫ﻠﹶﻤ‬‫ﻌ‬‫ﻓﹶﻠﹶﻴ‬ ‫ﻦﷲ‬ ‫ﻗ‬ ‫ﻦﷲﻟ‬ “Do people imagine that they will be left alone and not tested with affliction because they say, ‘We believe’? Indeed, I49 have tested those before you. Allaah will know those who are truthful and those who lie.” Qur’aan, 29:2 48 49 “We” in the original Arabic is the majestic ‘we,’ referring to God. “We” in the original Arabic is the majestic ‘we,’ referring to God. 33 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 Punishment Those who transgress the limits set by God expose themselves to punishment in this life and the next. Throughout the Qur’aan, Allaah describes numerous past nations who rejected divine guidance and were subsequently destroyed. These stories serve as warnings to humanity of the consequences of rebellion against the commandments of God. In Chapter a n-Noor , Allaah gives a general warning as follows: ‫ﺏﻢ‬ ‫ ﺃﹶﻟِﻴ‬ ‫ﺬﹶﺍ‬‫ ﻋ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺼِﻴﺒ‬ ‫ ﹲ ﺃﹶﻭ‬‫ﻨ‬‫ ﻓِﺘ‬‫ﻢ‬ ‫ﺼِﻴﺒ‬ ‫ﺮِﻩِ ﺃﹶﻥﹾ‬‫ ﺃﹶﻣ‬‫ﻦ‬‫ﺎﻟِ ﹸﻮﻥﹶ ﻋ‬‫ﺨ‬ ‫ﺬﹶﺭِ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬‫ﺤ‬‫ﻓﹶﻠﹾﻴ‬ ‫ﺗﻬﺔﻳﻬ‬ ‫ﻟ ﻳﻔ‬ “Let those who contradict his command beware a trial or a severe punishment.” Qur’aan, 24:63 The punishment may come in a variety of different ways. Perhaps the most obvious punishment afflicting humankind in all countries today is the disease AIDS,50 which appeared for the first time in medical history in the beginning of the ’80’s. However, medical statistics show that such cases are relatively few in comparison to the other categories. In any case, Allaah has warned in Chapter a lAnfaal of the final revelation that when His punishment comes it is not limited to the evil, but affects the society as a whole. ِ‫ ﺍﻟﹾﻌِﻘﹶﺎﺏ‬ ‫ﺪِﻳ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﺃﹶ ﱠ ﺍﷲَ ﺷ‬ ‫ﻠﹶ‬‫ﺍﻋ‬‫ﺔﹰ ﻭ‬ ‫ﺂ‬‫ ﺧ‬‫ ﹸﻢ‬‫ﻮﺍﹾ ﻣِﻨ‬ ‫ ﻇﹶﻠﹶ‬‫ ﺍﱠﺬِﻳﻦ‬ ‫ﺼِﻴﺒ‬ ‫ﺔﹰ ﻻﹶ‬‫ﻨ‬‫ ﹸﻮﺍﹾ ﻓِﺘ‬‫ﺍ‬‫ﻭ‬ ‫ﺪ‬ ‫ﻤﻥ‬ ‫ﻤﻜﺻ‬ ‫ﺗ ﻦﻟ‬ ‫ﺗﻘ‬ “Beware of a trial which will not afflict only the sinful among you, and know that Allaah is severe in punishment.” Qur’aan, 8:25 One thousand four hundred years ago Prophet Muhammad (r) prophesied the coming of such a trial. Ibn ‘Umar quoted him as saying, “Whenever promiscuity is openly practiced among a people, a plague and anguish will spread among them which was unknown to their predecessors.”51 However, AIDS is only one in a series of diseases. Before AIDS, a warning came in the form of another disease called herpes, which became widespread among the sexually promiscuous beginning in the 1960s and ’70s 50 Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a condition transmitted by a virus which attacks the body’s system of defence against disease, leaving the sufferer extremely vulnerable to disease and likely to die eventually from any one that he or she catches. (Chambers Pocket Dictionary, p. 19.) 51 Collected by Ibn Maajah and authenticated in Sah eeh Sunan Ibn Maajah, vol. 2, p. 370, no. 3246. 34 Islamic Online University The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101 35 ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/03/2011 for the course FOS 4311 taught by Professor Kristinsson during the Spring '08 term at University of Florida.

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