Suzanne Haneef
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Suzanne Haneef

Suzanne Haneef, Islam: The Path of God, pages 19–24

ISLAM’s WORLD VIEW

“I bear witness that there is no deity except God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God-Ashhadu an la ilaha illa-Llah,

wa ashhadu anna Muhammadu Rasool-Allah.”

Muslims repeat this Declaration of Faith over and over again in their daily prayers. But what does this Declaration really mean?

This act of witnessing proclaims that I accept no one as my God except the One, Eternal, Almighty God, who alone is worthy of my worship and service, and that I accept Muhammad ( peace be upon him) as His last and final messenger to mankind. In accepting both, I’m prepared to follow the guidance which God revealed through Muhammad ( peace be upon him) as my way of life and my path to salvation.

When a person is ready to make such a commitment, he or she enters Islam by repeating the Declaration of Faith in front of witnesses. He or she is now formally a Muslim, part of the world-wide community of the millions who live by the teachings of Islam. He or she is also absolved of all sins committed before accepting Islam, as pure as a new-born baby.

1 THE AGE-OLD MESSAGE OF ISLAM

I have already pointed out that Islam is not a new religion. Rather, it is the original religion revealed by God to mankind from the dawn of human history. Thus, the first man, Adam, who was also the first prophet, was a Muslim in the sense of being surrendered to God. And after him came a series of prophets, including those we mentioned previously and many, many others, who were all Muslims or surrendered ones. And every single prophet brought the same divinely-revealed Message from his Lord.

And what is that Message? It is that there is a single, unique Being who is the Lord and Master of all creation. He alone deserves to be worshiped and obeyed, and we, mankind, are accountable to Him for all our actions. We are in this life for a brief, limited period, after which we will return to Him for judgment. We will then enter a life of eternal duration, during which we will either be in permanent happiness or in misery. And the choice of our destiny in that future life is up to us.

2 UNDERSTANDING REALITY

Now, everyone has a certain world view, an understanding of what constitutes Reality, and this view naturally differs greatly from person to person. But what’s really important about our world view is whether it’s a correct one or merely someone’s mind-product — possibly our own.

If it’s correct, well and good. However, if it’s one that we human beings have concocted out of our own or other people’s guesswork or imagination, it’s bound to be wrong. On our own, we simply don’t possess the equipment or capability to grasp what makes up this endlessly complex Reality. And since our principles follow from our world view and our actions follow from our principles, if our world view is wrong, everything we do is almost bound to be wrong as a result.

What we’ve got to figure out is this: Is Reality only what we can see, touch, taste, smell or hear with our bodily senses or grasp by means of our technology, or is there something more? Is there Someone in charge of it all who is Himself the Ultimate Reality, or are there just individual bits and pieces? Is everything in existence simply the result of randomness, coincidence or blind chance? Or, alternatively, did Someone arrange it so that all the bits and pieces are actually parts of a great, meaningful whole, an unbelievably grand, complex cosmic plan?

Then, if there is such a Someone, who and what is He? And-if you really want to take all this to its logical conclusion-isn’t it just possible that finding out about that Someone is the most important thing anyone has to do?

Let’s continue this line of questioning and get more personal. Perhaps we further need to ask: Does my own individual, personal life have any purpose and meaning, or not? Does it really matter what I do, say, think or feel? Am I just some physical being who will one day stop living, like all other living things, so that, suddenly, when the switch is turned from On to Off-fini? Is this life that I’m now in the only life, or was there something before it-and if so, what? And will there be something after it for me, some other state of existence? If not, none of these questions matter. But if there is going to be something after it, the critical question is: What is that future life of mine going to be like?

These are questions that every thinking person must ask because they form a vital part of human consciousness, questions which human beings have sought answers to since the beginning of history. The only problem is, Who has the answers?

3 ARRIVING AT ANSWERS

It’s obvious that finite beings cannot arrive at answers to questions such as these on their own, for such questions are related to Infinity. Therefore, to rely on our limited senses, technology, thought processes or personal understanding for answers is futile and may even be dangerously misleading. For, again, even if some of our answers are right and some are wrong, the end result is bound to be inaccurate.

We are therefore faced with the unescapable conclusion that no one can possibly have all the correct answers except the One who created the whole. Only when the Creator Himself supplies us with the answers are they certain to be correct ones. Otherwise, human attempts to arrive at such answers are bound to be nothing more than guesses, or, at best, bits and pieces of the truth. And in view of our limited equipment, answers arrived at on our own probably have much more likelihood of leading us astray than guiding us aright.

Islam teaches that God, the Creator, Himself communicates the answers to us. By means of revelation through His chosen representatives, the prophets, God speaks to us about Himself and His creation. He informs us that there is an ultimate Reality which is known only to Himself, its Originator, and that He is the sustainer and center of that Reality.

What we human beings are able to know and understand of this Reality by means of our limited human equipment is actually only the tiniest, most minute portion of it. God refers to this part of His creation that we’re able to know about or experience as the ‘Witnessed’ or visible, in contrast to the ‘Unseen’ or spiritual realm. And He makes it clear that belief in that unseen realm is a pre-requisite to being open to receiving His guidance, His final Message to mankind, the

holy scripture of Islam known as the Qur’an, saying,

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

This [Qur’anl is the Book in which there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are mindful of God, who believe in the Unseen. (Qur’an 2:2–3)

Anyone with a working mind is aware of the incredible complexity of the physical universe in which we live, as well as of our own selves. But it’s quite probable that the complexity of this material world is as nothing compared to the infinitely greater complexity of the unseen Reality. Its depth and complexity is so immense that even the prophets, who were intimately connected to the spiritual realm, knew only a minute part of it.

It is therefore critical that we take our answers to the questions we’ve asked about Reality and about ourselves from the One who has them, not from any other source. Otherwise, we may never fulfill our appointed destiny and may end up in some limbo which we’re not going to like. It’s our business, our obligation as thinking human beings, to know the answers to these and many more questions which relate to our ultimate destiny.

We will start by taking a look at the basic beliefs of Islam, which are a summary of the unseen realities and our own place within them.

credit: Suzanne Haneef, Islam: The Path of God, pages 19–24. (PDF)

READ:

pages 7–10 : https://medium.com/suzanne-haneef/suzanne-haneef-islam-the-path-of-god-pages-7-10-26cddc939e0

pages 10–18 : https://medium.com/suzanne-haneef/suzanne-haneef-islam-the-path-of-god-pages-10-18-1cba48f7c560

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