A UNIVERSAL MESSAGE TO MANKIND
Abdullatif ALJIBURY PH.D.
Danville. CA USA
With the recent heightened interest in Islam and the apparent confusion as to the truth regarding the religion there is an urgent need for an exposition that presents Islam pure and simple and free from the complicated mysteries that the uninformed may want to attach to it. To grasp the truth about Islam and shed away the misgivings and fears that many of the uninformed have come to associate with this religion is such a pressing and urgent matter that we must put aside all fear prejudices and stereotypes and read the following pages with an open mind. Ignorance breeds hatred and fear and it is in our nature to hate and fear the unknown. Learning the truth about Islam will hopefully contribute towards peace and harmony in this global village we all share.
This document provides in simple form a presentation of the fundamental principles of Islam and what it seeks to fulfill in the life of the individual. It aspires to implant the understanding that by adhering and practicing Islam each Muslim can achieve success in this world and the next. It also seeks to address how individuals belonging to different beliefs can coexist with one another with respect and understanding.
Islam suffers immensely from misinterpretation and unfortunately today has come to primarily evoke the image of a fanatical bearded scholar or a ruthless terrorist. Those of us who have studied Islam and lived among Muslims are very much disturbed by the continuing pent-up anger fear and aggression from both Muslims and non-Muslims that has emanated from this complete misunderstanding of what Islam truly is the positive contributions it can make towards strong well-founded family structures and what it truly envisions in the form of a better future for all of humanity.
Islam means peace tranquility and surrendering to the will of Allah the one God and to live in peace and harmony with one’s self other people the environment and the universe. Thus Islam is a total system of living. It provides the answers to our most pressing and basic questions:
- How can we as human beings deal with each other to live in peace and harmony?
- Why have we been created and what is life all about?
- What can we do in order to be successful in this life and in the life to come?
- How can we fulfill our mission during our lifetime on this earth?
Islam addresses and provides us with the intrinsic values and moral virtues of a humane society that can help human kind despite its differing beliefs to be guided by reason and be in harmony with divine revelation. It provides a way out of the ills plaguing our modern society at large and provides a strong basis to move forward to higher grounds. Those who are expecting a clash of civilizations and a mortal collision between the West and Islam are very far from reality. Their confused assertions are based on a lack of understanding of the truth that this document is hoping to bring out. If Western civilization is an outcome of the Judeo-Christian beliefs and since Islam is principally the same message coming from the same one and only Lord and Creator of the universe then surely the two civilizations must by definition and the fact that they emanate from the same source be compatible with each other. The following pages are dedicated to the youth who are the future generation Muslims and non-Muslims alike and to all who wish to learn the truth about Islam.
God whose name in Arabic is “Allah the beneficent and the merciful” is the one and only God. He is the creator and sustainer of the whole universe. He is unique in that He is neither begotten (born to or from) nor does He beget (has no children) and is All Powerful and has no equals. It is an absolute taboo in Islam to enjoin anything as equal to God. God is superior to all human beings for it is He who has created them all. God is the creator of the universe inclusive of all inanimate and animate physical and non-physical. He alone is the absolute master of the whole Universe.
Muslims believe in a personal but genderless transcendental God who is actively involved in all aspects of His living Universe. He is the “light” of the heavens and the earth. He is infinite in power and is in total command of the entire universe at all times.
God is the same God of the Christians Jews Muslims Buddhists Hindus and the rest of human beings whether they believe in Him or not. It is He who has created them all. Muslims must believe in all His messengers and their revelations from Adam through Abraham Moses Jesus and ending with Muhammad. In fact God calls all those who worship Him and submit to His will in all aspects of their lives Muslims. This is what defines a true Muslim.
Muslims worship God alone and put their trust in Him and seek His help guidance and forgiveness. He is all beneficent and all merciful. They seek His guidance in all matters related to their daily affairs. The more conscious Muslims become of God the more God helps guide them to do what is right and beneficial to themselves their families the communities they live in and the rest of the world and make them avoid committing wrongful acts that bring misery and disorder in The world..
God’s all encompassing and pervasive presence makes useless and irrelevant all kinds of intermediaries that have attempted to insert themselves between God and His creation. God is as close to the individual as his or her jugular vein. There is no need for holy men or women to bring us closer to God. Consequently a clergy hierarchy or class does not exist in the Islamic faith. Each individual human being is as close to God as his or her heart and mind desires and pursues. Being so close to God the individual can ask God directly for a particular need or directive or forgiveness. Salvation goes hand-in-hand with the individual’s good deeds and the avoidance of bad deeds. God is all forgiving compassionate and equitable. On the Day of Judgment every individual will be justly rewarded for all the good deeds that he or she had performed during their life on earth. God is the only one who can pass judgment on the individual’s performance during his or her life on earth. It follows that no human being has the right to judge whether a person is a believer or a heretic. Only God knows and He is the only One who can decide that on the Day of Judgment.
The name Islam means peace and total submission to God “Allah” alone. A Muslim who is a true follower of Islam finds through Islam total salvation and lives in harmony with the universe. Islam is a universal message to the whole of mankind and is available to all who desire it. It does not belong to nor is it meant to be for a particular ethnic group or a nation; rather it belongs to all of humanity. It is God’s religion that He has bestowed upon mankind since the creation of Adam and until Eternity.
Islam has at its center the absolute belief in the oneness of God who is without companions uncreated reigning from eternity to eternity and that Muhammad is his last messenger the last in a long line of prophets that began with Adam through Abraham Moses Jesus and ending with Muhammad peace and the blessing of God be upon them all*. It is the most recent of the series of revelations which was delivered over a period of twenty three years through the Archangel Gabriel started in the year 611 A.D. when Muhammad was forty years of age. It began with these commands: (The Quran 96:1) “Read in the name of your Lord who has created man (the human being) from a germ cell that clings. Read and your Lord is most gracious Who has taught man with the pen that which he knows not.”
It was through Prophet Muhammad that God transmitted His final revelation to mankind. This final message to humanity which is Islam constitutes God’s eternal revelation. It is essentially the same message that was revealed undistorted by man to all the prophets before Muhammad. The message is pure and simple the complete submission and trust in God followed by love compassion and forgiveness towards fellow human beings.
Islam is essentially a set of beliefs practices and instructions for the establishment of an equitable just and dynamic society. It informs the Muslim what the whole world is all about from the time it was created how it evolved the history of the development of the message Islam through the prior revelations until the end. It also reveals to the Muslim how he or she fits in this universe and the purpose of his or her existence. It provides the Muslim with a set of practices that help the Muslim to be aware of his or her place in relation to God and the rest of humanity. It also provides the Muslim with a Divine Code of ethics to help him or her get along with other human beings to live in peace and harmony with the rest of humanity and with the environment and to preserve the balance in this world that we all share in accordance with God’s injunctions: (55:1-8)
The Most Gracious has imparted this Quran unto man
He has created man and has imparted unto him articulate thought and speech.
The sun and the moon run their calculated courses
The stars and trees prostate themselves before Him and the skies He has raised high and has devised for all things a balance
so that you all must never transgress this balance
Islam teaches us that all humanity is essentially one because it emanates from the divine oneness of our Creator. All men and women are equal in the eyes of God. What distinguishes them from each other is their piety and how conscious they are of the Creator in their actions and behavior to approach His intent in them to be His vicegerents or representatives on earth. Islam shows us a practical way to live with each other (and within our limits) during our earthly life intermingling our actions and ideas so as to harmonize our existence. In Islam we are not compelled to renounce the world in order to achieve spiritual purification. In fact Islam is a program of life that is compatible with the rules of nature which God has decreed upon His creation. Islam guides us to achieve an equitable balance between extremes and is realistic in its appreciation of human nature and its possibilities. Islam always calls for moderation in every aspect of life. We are exhorted not to place too great an emphasis on the physical and material aspect of this life but postulates that man’s urges and desires relating to this life on earth are God-willed and therefore legitimate and should be harnessed within the confines of acceptable norms as instituted by our Creator:
And thus We have willed you to be a community of the middle
so that you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind
and that the apostle might bear witness to it before you
To Muslims Islam is more than a religion; it is a way of life. It gives Muslims a proper perspective of their place in the society and shows the way to uplift them morally and spiritually so as they can conduct themselves properly and can consequently contribute towards an improved social structure and a better world for everyone. It is paramount in the ethical standard of a true believer to have full commitment to help alleviate the sufferings and hunger of his next of kin those around him and to the society at large Muslims and non- Muslims alike (The Quran 76:8-9)
The truly virtuous are those who give food to the needy the orphans and the captives
and who say in their hearts that we feed you for the love of God and we desire no recompense.
The giving of food and rendering kindness is in the context of the Quranic chapter of “Man 76“ that admonishes the Muslims to offer every kind of help and care both material and spiritual to Muslims and non-Muslims alike including animals in captivity. These acts encompass the true spirit of Islam.
THE HOLY QURAN
The Quran is a divine book which contains the true and authentic words of God as were revealed in Arabic to the prophet Muhammad by Archangel Gabriel in the seventh century A.D. over a period of twenty-three years called the period of heavenly discourse. The Quran contains the ultimate wisdom and inspiration and guidance in both religious and social terms expressed in beautiful prose whose power has awed even the most versed in the Arabic language. Throughout the Quran God stresses on reason and prods the intellect to be used throughout our transient life on this earth. He stimulates our curiosity and urges us to use observation in analyzing and contemplating the wonders of His creation. The laws of the Universe are made by God. It is incumbent on us His trustees on Earth to persevere in pursuit of discovering His laws in order for us to understand the World we live in and to make use of the knowledge of His laws to improve our lot and to work within and safeguard our balanced Universe.
The Quran consists of 114 chapters of different lengths. Each chapter is made up of verses that have been revealed at various times and circumstances in the last twenty-three years of the life of the prophet Muhammad. The verses address different issues and are varied in type form and content. Some verses state facts; others are a declaration of the truth. Some address general laws of the world we live in. Others address and relate certain historical events that are being mentioned so that we can draw lessons from them. Some tell stories of previous prophets kingdoms or historical events. And others resolve issues and pass judgments that were confronting the prophet Muhammad or his compatriots or the society to help guide us in our daily dealings. Although the verses addressed specific issues at the time they were revealed they were in fact meant to apply to all times and are left to Muslims to discern their applicability in similar situations that are likely to confront the Muslims after the life of the prophet. Throughout the discourse of the Quranic verse God prods us to reflect and use logic and reasoning to help us appreciate the known universe and discover the unknown through observation and contemplation.
The construction of the verses and chapters of the Quran have an underlying mathematical relationships that leave us at awe as to how intricate and amazing these verses have been beautifully sometimes poetically constructed to reveal such a profound meaning as well as to be put together in a mathematical platform. No human mind is capable of constructing the Quran in such mathematical consistency.
The most remarkable and mind boggling fact which shows the intricacy of the structuring of the letters words verses and chapters lies in what is called “ The broken letters.”
These are letters or group of letters that are found at the beginning of a number of chapters of the Quran (twenty eight in total.) Each letter or a group of letters take up the stature of the first verse in the chapter that they belong to. As examples:
- The Arabic letters “A l m” which form the first verse in the second chapter.
- The Arabic letters “H M’ which forms the first verse in chapter 41.
- The Arabic letter “Q” which forms the first verse in chapter 50.
There are in fact twenty nine chapters in the Quran that start with these broken letters.
These letters were until recently very puzzling. No translator of the Quran was able to come up with a convincing explanation as to the meaning or the purpose of these letters.
Recently it has been discovered that these letters convey a mathematical function in the verbal construction of the Quran. As an illustration take chapters 41& 50 have been chosen since the counting can be easily done with a simple calculator and takes only a few minutes to check:
- The two letters “H M” in chapter 41 occur 304 times in the chapter which is a whole multiple of 19(304=16×19)
- The letter “Q” in chapter 50 occurs 57 times in the chapter which is a whole multiple of 19(57=3×19). As a reminder the total number of chapters in the Quran is 114 which is also an exact multiple of the number 19.
What these and other mathematical relations that are becoming recently apparent is that besides the eloquent discourse wisdom historical events commands judgments social orders and a multitude physical terrestrial and other natural phenomena coined in these words verses and chapters have been constructed in a mathematically intricate pattern that leaves the reader amazed and in awe. It shows besides everything else that exact mathematical apparatus have shown the authenticity and uniqueness of the Quran!
The main message of the Quran is simple which is:
1- God is the one and only creator and preserver of the universe;
2- Everything in the universe is in Balance and is created for a purpose. This purpose is to worship God alone. We achieve this by:
- Being conscious of God all the time wherever we are and throughout our lifetime;
- Realizing the inseparability of the spiritual and social aspects of the life of the individual
- Enabling the individual to work and reflect upon God’s Creation of the Universe in order to be a useful member of the human society and to work to preserve and be in harmony with the environment.
- Doing the righteous deeds and avoiding the wrong ones according to His Divine code of ethics which is presented later on in this manuscript.
- Consulting with others on matters of public concern.
- Inviting others to God’s way without compulsion or coercion but rather by setting an example through doing what is good and refraining from what is evil with wisdom and civil discourse.
- Since there is no clergy class in Islam; Muslims can communicate directly with God and ask for his favors directly without the need for an intermediary.
- Prophet Mohammed was the last in the chain of prophets before him who carried the same message of Islam which is the surrender or submission to the will of God.
3- All human beings are held accountable for the deeds they perform during their earthly lifetime and God will reward them accordingly on the Day of Judgment. Heaven or Hell is where every created individual ends up after the earthly life. Heaven is not an exclusive club to a certain faith or an ethnic group or a tribe. It is open to all human beings who believe in God and perform good deeds in helping their fellow human beings or improving the environment. God is the only one who decides who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell. No one else no matter how saintly or knowledgeable in matters of religion has the right or can pass judgment as to who goes where!
All of the above is an elaboration on how the Quran expects a true believer to be:
- Believes in God
- Does good work and
- Is held accountable for his or her deeds.
Humans do well to fully understand the meaning and scope of the message of the Quran which is the recipe for a productive and peaceful life that is in accordance with the Grand design of the Universe.
THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD
Prophet Muhammad was chosen by God to reveal the final message to mankind. The message as articulated in the Holy Quran is complete and self-contained. Being the last of the Divine revelations the message encompasses all aspects of the human existence. It includes in addition to declaration of principles commandments and some milestones in the human history many dialogues and admonitions during specific circumstances of the duration of the prophet-hood. Although the admonitions seem to address special issues with specific circumstance these events and the related revelations are in fact applicable to all of humanity and over the entire span of time until eternity.
Prophet Muhammad was born an orphan in the year 570 A.D. in Mecca where the Ka’ba is located. The Ka’ba is the shrine or House of God that was built by Prophet Abraham some four thousand years ago. Prophet Muhammad was brought up by his grandfather and lived a simple life. He was humble and could never bring himself to idle worshipping. He shied away from the common ills of his society such as drinking and gambling and was known among his compatriots as an honest trustworthy and wise individual. He married his employer Khadija who was impressed with his honesty and acumen as a businessman. Before he became a prophet Muhammad was a man who lived an ordinary life married and had children and experienced pain and sufferings like any other human being.
At the age of forty Muhammad was chosen by God to receive the Divine revelation and to be a messenger to all of humanity. It began with these words: (96:1-5) “Read in the Name of your Lord who has created (all that exists) He has created the human being from a germ cell Read -and your sustainer is most bountiful- who has taught man with the use of the pen that which he did not know “This Divine revelation to humanity is the first of many injunctions admonitions and declarations that will follow in the course of twenty three years of Heavenly Discourse that comprise the unadulterated message of Islam.
From the moment Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation and until he died some twenty-three years later he dedicated all his time and effort to spreading the message of Islam. He at first tried to convince the people around him by reasoning and logical arguments and was able to convert many from his tribe and the citizens of Mecca who were worshipping idols. The first person to accept his message was his wife Khadija. The second was his cousin Ali and the third was Abu Bakir who was his friend.
Prophet Muhammad continued his work in trying to convert the heathens of Mecca for about twelve years before he became aware that the people of Mecca were plotting to assassinate him. One night he was inspired to immigrate to Medina with his friend Abu Bakr leaving his cousin Ali behind in his bed to foil the plan of the assassins. With Divine help Prophet Muhammad arrived and was welcomed in Medina. Thus began a new phase in the life of the Muslim Community in the city-state of Medina.
Prophet Muhammad continued his work in Medina to spread the new religion to the people of Medina who had a large Jewish community and also to the rest of Arabia. In addition to being a prophet he was the leader as well as the head of the state. He also led the Muslims in several battles in self defense against the heathens who were unhappy with the spread of the new religion which they regarded as a threat to their political as well as economic power in the Arabian Peninsula. They were bent on eradicating the small Muslim community. To save the fragile Muslim community from the aggressive and powerful infidels God gave the Muslims permission to fight for self defense. “Permission to fight is given to those who have been fought against because they have been wronged and verily God is most powerful to come to their aid”. (Quran 22:39). As the commander of the Muslim Army the prophet Muhammad fought many battles and was seriously wounded on one occasion.
It may well be emphasized here that Islam is a religion of peace and does not condone violence in resolving issues. God always and throughout the Quran urges Muslims to lean towards peace. Muslims can only be allowed to carry out armed missions in self- defense and to protect the freedom to worship for themselves and others against tyrants aggressors. The above mentioned verse is the final rendering in the Quran on matters regarding the use of force. All other verses in 6the Quran that deal with armed conflicts are to be viewed in relevance to the above mentioned verse.
To resolve the issues that were confronting the Muslims as they grew in number as well as to deal with the non-Muslims Prophet Muhammad had to be a judge and an administrator. He encouraged the Muslims to be kind to each other and to non-Muslims and to animals and the environment. He was particularly kind to the poor and downtrodden and tried to help them make a start in life through good and honest work.
However his many duties did not prevent him from his obligation towards his family. In fact he was a role model in his treatment of his family members and relatives. Most notable of Prophet Muhammad’s deeds was his equitable treatment of men and women as equals in accordance with the following Quranic verse: 33:35 “
For Muslim men and women
for believing men and women
for devout men and women
for patient men and women
for humble men and women
for charitable men and women
for fasting men and women
for men and women who guard their chastity
for men and women who adhere in the remembrance of God
God will grant them forgiveness and great rewards.”
Prophet Muhammad’s love and devotion to his first wife Khadeeja is most notable. As long as she was alive he lived with her as his only wife. It is only after her death and his engagement in matters of state and armed conflicts that gave rise to a shortage of men compared to women. It was then that he had several wives to alleviate the social problems that ensued as a result of many men killed in battle. The marital aspect of Prophet Muhammad’s life is telling us that under normal circumstances a man should be married to one wife. It is only admissible that men are allowed to have more than one wife when certain circumstances necessitate the deviation from the normal such as to alleviate a social problem. The matter is highlighted in the following Quranic verse that deals with this issue. Verse 4:3 states” If you fear that you shall not be able to deal fairly with the orphans marry women of your choice two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with them only one….” It is obvious that The Quranic stance on marriage is that it be monogamous under normal circumstances and allows more than one wife under exceptional circumstances for reasons as mentioned above.
The most important aspect of Prophet Muhammad’s life was his humility and humanity. He always reminded his compatriots that he was a human being and should never be deified. Since he had a superb moral character and was human Muslims try to emulate Prophet Muhammad as much as they can in their daily lives. His legacy was and remains the absolute and unbending belief in the Oneness of the Creator eradication of idol worshipping and emancipation of the poor and oppressed. In worldly matters he left them to those who are in the know. To the fair minded this legacy must signify the vibrant dynamism of renewal of Islam as it keeps abreast of the present and future of mankind.
*This prayer is intended to take effect whenever the name of a prophet or a messenger of God is mentioned in this document.