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 Islaam: Its Foundations And Concepts

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PostSubject: Islaam: Its Foundations And Concepts   Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:07 pm

Creating And Honouring Man

It was a decision of Allaah to create a creature that could inhabit this universe and His choice fell on man. It is also in accordance with His Divine Wisdom that the matter from which man was created was the earth. He originated his creation from clay and then moulded him on this beautiful shape that he has now. When he has become completely perfect in that shape, He breathed life into him through His Spirit (Angel Jibreel -Gabriel) and He made him become man in the best form; provided him with the ability to hear, see, move and speak. Then his Lord made him live in Paradise, taught him all that he needed to know, made lawful for him all that was in Paradise and forbade him from a single tree – as a test for him.
Allaah wanted to show man's position and standing; so He commanded His Angels to prostrate for him. All of the Angels prostrated but Satan arrogantly and obstinately refused to prostrate. So Allaah became angry with him for his disobedience and expelled him from His Mercy because of his arrogance. Satan asked Allaah to extend his life and give him respite till the Day of Resurrection. So, Allaah extended his life till the Day of Resurrection.
Satan became envious of Adam because of the preference he and his children were given over him. He swore by His Lord that he would mislead all the children of Adam, that he would come to them from their front and rear, and from their left and from their right except the sincere, pious and truthful slaves of Allaah among them, for such Allaah has protected against the evil plans of Satan. Allaah warned Adam of the evil plan of Satan, but Satan tempted Adam and his wife Hawwa in order to get them out of Paradise and to uncover for them that which was hidden from them of their private parts. He swore by Allaah to them that he was a sincere well-wisher for them and that Allaah had not forbidden them from that tree save they should become angels or become of the immortals.
Having been influenced by the deception of Satan, Adam and Hawwa ate of the forbidden tree and the first punishment that afflicted them for their disobedience of Allaah’s command was that, which that was hidden from them of their private parts became exposed and Allaah reminded them of His warning about the tricks of Satan.
Adam then sought for the forgiveness of his Lord. So Allaah forgave Him, accepted his repentance, chose him and guided him. He then ordered him to descend from the Paradise where he was living, to the earth wherein there was his abode and his enjoyment for a time. He also told him that it was from earth that he was created, that on it he would live and die and that it is from it that he would be resurrected.
Adam and his wife Hawwa then descended to the earth and their children procreated and they all used to worship Allaah, because their father Adam was a Prophet. Allaah tells us this story in the glorious Qur’aan where He says,
“And surely We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape, then We told the angels, ‘Prostrate to Adam’, and they prostrated except Iblees (Satan), he refused to be of those who prostrate. (Allaah) said, ‘What prevented you (O Iblees) that you did not prostrate when I commanded you?’ Iblees said, ‘I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire and You created him from clay.’ Allaah said, ‘(O Iblees) get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.’ (Iblees) said, ‘Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up.’ Allaah said, ‘You are of those allowed respite…’ ”
Consider the greatness of Allaah’s work in man. He created him in the best form, clothed him with traits of honour like intellect, knowledge, eloquence, art of speaking, beautiful figure, moderate body, ability to acquire knowledge through analogical deduction and thinking and ability to acquire noble characteristics like, righteousness, acts of obedience and submission to Allaah. Far is his condition while he was just a drop of sperm kept in the womb of his mother from his creation while the Angel will enter upon him in the Paradise. “So blessed be Allaah, the Best of Creators.”
This world is a village and man is its inhabitant. All is preoccupied because of him and all is made to work for his interests. All other creatures are made to serve him and provide for his needs. The angels are charged to protect him during day and night. Those of them who are charged with provision of rain and plants strive to provide him with his sustenance; orbits are made to surrender to him and revolve in his services; the sun, moon and stars are all subjected to move in line with his time reckoning and for the betterment of his food arrangement. The aerial world with its winds, clouds, birds and all that it contains is also subjected to him. So is the lower world with all its seas and rivers, its trees and fruits, its plants and animals and all that is in it. Allaah says,
“Allaah is he Who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down water (rain) from the sky, and thereby brought forth fruits as provisions for you; and he has made the ship to be of service to you, that may sail through the sea by His Command; and He has made rivers also to be of service to you. And He has made the sun and the moon, both constantly pursuing their courses, to be of service to you; and He has made the night and the day, to be of service to you. And He gave you all that you asked for, and if you count the blessings of Allaah, never will you be able to reckon them. Verily, man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, a disbeliever.”
To complete His honour on man, He created for him all that he needs in his worldly life and all that he needs that can make him attain the highest positions in the Hereafter. He as such, revealed to him His Books and sent to him His Messengers explaining to him the Law of Allaah and calling him unto it.
Then Allaah created for him from his own self – meaning from Adam himself – a wife, so that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her, in response to his natural needs, be it psychological, intellectual and physical. He then found with her comfort, tranquillity and stability and both of them found in their togetherness peace, contentedness, love and mercy; because of their physical, psychological and nervous composition, both of them are made to respond to the desires of each other and both are made to be in harmony in the process of producing new generations. The souls of both are enriched with these feelings and their relationship is filled with comfort for the soul and nerves, peace for the body and mind, stability for the life and subsistence, familiarity for souls and conscience and a tranquillity for the man and woman on an equal basis.
Allaah then chose the believers among mankind and made them his friends. He made them obey Him and work for Him according to his Laws in order to make them qualify to live in His Paradise. He chose among them Prophets, Messengers, saints and martyrs and blessed then in this world with the best favour that human souls can enjoy: worshipping Allaah, obeying Him and supplicating to him. He also distinguished them with great favours – that others cannot get – among which are: peace, tranquillity and happiness, and greater than all this is the fact that they know the truth that was brought by the Messengers and believe in it. Allaah then keeps for them – in the Hereafter – the everlasting bliss and great success that befit His generosity, glory be to Him. He will also reward their belief in Him and their sincerity to Him and will give them more out of His Bounty.
The position of woman:
In Islaam, the woman is accorded a high position which she was not accorded in any of the previous religions and which no nation will accord her but Islaam. This is because, the honour that Islaam conferred on mankind is shared by both man and woman on equal basis. Mankind are equal before rules of Allaah in this world as they will be equal as regards His reward and recompense on the Last Day. Allaah says,
“And indeed, We have honoured the children of Adam.”
He also says,
“There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest related.”
“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable.”
“The believers, men and women are auliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another.”
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them a wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say; ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.’
“So their Lord accepted their supplication (saying); ‘Never will I allow to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female.’
“Whoever works righteousness – whether male or female – while he or she is a true believer (of Islaamic monotheism) verily, to him we will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and we shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do.’
‘And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a true believer (in the Oneness of Allaah), such will enter paradise and not the least injustice, even to the size of a speck on the back of a date-stone, will be done to them.’
This honour that the woman enjoys in Islaam has no equal in any other religion, creed or law. Roman civilization had had it established that woman should be a slave and a subordinate of man and that she should absolutely has no rights at all. There was even a great conference in Rome where affairs of the woman were discussed. The conclusion reached at the conference was that, the woman was a lifeless being and as such could not have share in the life of the hereafter and that she was impure.
In Athens, woman used to be regarded as a scraps. She would be sold and bought like any other commodity and she was being regarded an abomination of Satan's handiwork.
According to the ancient Indian statutes, the plague, death, hell, poison of serpents and fire are all better than woman. Her right to live used to end with the death of her husband – who was regarded as her master. When she saw the corpse of her husband being burnt, she must throw herself into it and if she did not, she would be accursed.
As for Judaism, the following judgement was passed on her in the Old Testament.
“I moved around with my heart in order to know, search and look for wisdom and intelligence, and in other to know that evil is ignorance and that stupidity is madness. And I found that worse than death is woman who is a snare and her heart is like a shoelace and her hands are shackles."
Such was the condition of woman in the ancient times. As for medieval and contemporary times, the following events explain that.
The Danish writer, Wieth Kordsten explained the position of the Catholic Church as regards woman when he said, “During the medieval times, the concern that was had for European woman was very limited and this is in conformity with the view of the Catholic creed that used to regard woman as a second-class human being.”
In France, a conference was held in the year 586 A.D. where the issue of woman was discussed as to whether she should be regarded as a human being or not. At the end of the discussion, the discussants concluded that she was a human being but that she was created for the service of man.
In French law, article 217 says; “The married woman- even if her marriage is based on separation between her right of ownership and that of her husband- should not give anyone ownership of anything of her property with or without compensation except with the participation of her husband in the transaction or his written consent to that.”
In England, Henry the VIII prohibited the English woman from reading the Holy Book, until 1850, women were not considered citizens of England and up till 1882, they had no personal rights.
As for the condition of woman in contemporary Europe, America and other industrial nations, she is regarded as a common creature that should be utilized for commercial purposes, for she is a part of commercial advertisement. This has even reached a situation where she is stripped naked in order to advertise commodities on her body. Her body and honour have become desecrated based on regulations laid down by men in order to make her an object of enjoyment everywhere.
The contemporary woman is an abject of care and attention as long as she is able to give out her wealth, intelligence and body. But when she becomes old and loses her means of giving, the society individually and collectively abandons her and she lives lonely in her house or in the sanatorium.
Compare the above – although they cannot be equal – with what the Noble Qur'aan says,
“The believers men and women are friends of one another.”
“And they (woman) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to those of their husbands) over them.”
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them your mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.’
While Allaah honours woman, He makes it clear to all mankind that He created her to be mother, wife, daughter and sister; and ordained for these roles, special regulations that are peculiar to her.

Why was man created?

It has been discussed in the previous chapter that, Allaah created Adam and created for him his wife, Hawwa and made them live in Paradise. Then Adam disobeyed his Lord and later sought for His forgiveness. Allaah then accepted his repentance and guided him. Allaah then ordered him to go out of the Paradise and descend unto the earth. Allaah, glory be Him and He be exalted has in that, a wisdom which human intelligence can not perceive and which their tongue can not describe. We are going to mention here some of those wisdoms and underlying reasons.
1. That Allaah created the creation for His worship. That is the purpose of creating them. He says,
“And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me.”
It is also known that the perfection of the worship that is required of man can not take in the abode of bliss and eternity but in the abode of trials and tribulation. The abode of eternity is that of bliss, not that of examination and commandments.
2. Allaah wanted to take among mankind Prophets, Messengers, friend and martyrs whom He would love and who would love Him. He then left them alone with his enemies and put them to trial by them. So when they preferred Him above all other things and sacrificed their lives and properties in order to gain His pleasure and love, they attained of His love and pleasure what they could not have attained without that initially. So the status of prophethood and martyrdom is of the best degrees before Allaah and could not have attained that except by the way decreed by Allaah that Aadam and his offspring had to descend to the earth.
3. Allaah is the only True and Evident King. The King is the One Who commands and forbids; rewards and punishes; disgraces and honours; strengthens and debases. Allaah’s sovereignty therefore necessitates that he sends Adam and his offspring to an abode in which the rules of sovereignty will be implemented on them and then move them to an abode where there is reward for all that they did.
4. Allaah created Adam from a handful of all soils of the earth; and there is good and bad and low and high in the land. Allaah knows that there are among – the children of Adam – those who are unsuitable to stay with Him in His house, therefore, He made Adam descend to an abode where He distinguishes between the good and bad ones. Then Allaah chose for them two distinct abodes: He made good ones dwellers of His Abode (made them enter Paradise), and made the bad ones dwellers of the abode of misery (Hell-Fire).
5. To Allaah belong the Beautiful Names. Among His Names are: Al-Ghafoor (the Oft-Forgiving), Ar-Raheem (the Most-Gracious). Al-Afuww (Oft-Pardoning), An-Haleem (Most-Forbearing). Since the impacts of these names must manifest, the Wisdom of Allaah necessitates that Adam and his children must descend to an abode where the impacts of the Beautiful Names of Allaah could materialise on them. So that He might forgive whoever He wills, have mercy on whomever He wills, pardon whosoever He wills and forbear for whosoever He wills and other different ways in which His Names and Attributes can be manifest.
6. Allaah created Adam and his children from a composition that is naturally inclined to good and evil, responsive to the causes of lusts and temptations and to the causes of reason and knowledge. He created in him reason and lust and created in both necessary factors so that His Will might be accomplished and that He might show to His slaves His greatness in Wisdom, Might; and His Mercy, Kindness and Benevolence in His Authority and Sovereignty. He then, out of His Wisdom sent Adam and his children to the earth so that the test might take place therein and impacts of man’s preparedness for these factors and his responsiveness to them might become manifest, and Allaah may then use that basis to award honour or disgrace to whom it is due.
7. Belief in the Unseen is the useful belief. As for the belief in the seen, everyone will believe on the Day of Resurrection. If people were created in the Abode of Bliss (Paradise), they would not have attained the degree of belief in the Unseen that ends in enjoyment and honour. It is for this reason that Allaah sent them to the abode in which they could have opportunity to believe in the Unseen.
8. Allaah wants by that, to show His slaves on whom He has bestowed His favour, the perfection of that favour and its greatness so that they might thank Allaah and love Him the most and have the fullest enjoyment of the bliss which Allaah has bestowed on them. Allaah therefore, shows them what He did to His enemies and the punishment that He has prepared for them. He also makes them witness the highest kinds of bliss which He has bestowed on them, so that their joy might increase. This is an aspect of completing His favours on them. Therefore, to make them achieve all this, He must send them to the earth, put them to test and then make whosoever He wills to succeed out of mercy and kindness from Him, and disgrace whosoever He wills among them out of His wisdom and justice, for He is All-Knower, All-Wise.
9. Allaah wants Adam and his children to go back to the Paradise while they are in the best state. So before they enter it, He wants to make them taste of the hardship, sorrow and distress of the world so that the value of entering Paradise in the Hereafter will be great in their estimation, for it is the opposite of an object that shows its beauty.
After the origin of man has been made clear, it is now appropriate to explain his need for the true religion.

MAN’S NEED FOR RELIGION
Man’s need for religion is greater than his need for other necessities of life. For, man must know the things that please Allaah as well as those that displease Him. He must also carry out activities that can bring him benefits and others that can avert from him harm. So, it is the Divine Law that distinguishes between the deeds that benefit and those that bring harm. That is Allaah’s justice in His creation and His Light among His servants and it is not possible for people to live without Divine Law with which they can differentiate between what they should do and what they should not do.
If man actually has a will, he must then know what he wants. Does he want what will benefit him or what will harm him? Does he want what will reform him or what will corrupt him? Some people know this naturally, some know it through application of their sense of reasoning and some yet do not know it except through explanation by the Messengers and their guidance.
However the atheistic and materialistic thoughts may be widespread and adorned; and ideologies and theories thrive, individuals and societies will never do without true religion. For these ideologies can never provide for man’s spiritual and physical needs. And the more man goes deeper in them, the more he is convinced that they cannot give him security nor satiate his thirst and that the true religion is unavoidable.
Ernest Rinan said, “All things that we hold dear can dwindle, and freedom of using one’s intelligence, knowledge and expertise can become worthless. But it is impossible for religion to be effaced. It will rather remain a living proof on the futility of material ideology that wants to restrict man into despicable narrows of the earthly life.”
Muhammad Fareed Wajdee said: “It is impossible for religious thinking to vanish, for it is the highest and noblest of human mind’s inclinations, not to mention the fact that it is an inclination that elevates man. Rather than dwindle, this inclination shall be increasing. Religious nature of man will always pursue him as long as he can discern what is beautiful and what is ugly and this nature shall continue to increase in him according to sublimity of his mental faculties and progress in his knowledge.”
So if man keeps away from his Lord, it is through the sublimity of his mental faculties and wideness of his knowledge that he recognizes the greatness of his ignorance about his Lord and what is due to Him, and his ignorance of his own self, what is good for him and what is harmful to him; what gives him happiness and what will cause him misery. He will also recognise his ignorance of scientific details like astronomy, science of galaxies, reckoning, nuclear sciences and so forth. It is then that the world will abandon the stage of delusion and arrogance to that of humility and submission and then believe that there is behind these sciences a knowledgeable and Wise One and that there is behind the nature an Able Creator. This reality will then force the impartial scholar to believe in the unseen, to surrender to the upright religion and to respond to the call of natural instinct. But when man withdraws from this path, his nature will relapse and he will come down to the level of dumb animals.
We conclude from all the above, that the true religiosity – that depends on belief in the Oneness of Allaah and performing acts of worship according to His injunctions – is a necessary element of life, so that man actualizes through that, his servitude to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds and attain through that, happiness and safety from destruction, hardship and misery. It is also necessary for perfecting the theoretical aptitude in man. It is only through it that the intellectual hunger can be satiated, and its highest goals attained.
Equally, religion is a necessary element for purification of the soul and refinement of emotional power, for noble sentiments find in the religion an abundant space and a spring whose water does not dry up where noble sentiments find their goals attained.
It is a necessary element for the perfection of will power because of the support it gives it through great impetus and major means of resisting elements of despair.
In view of this, if there are some who say that man is civil by nature, we must also say: “Man is religious by nature”, for man has two powers: scientific speculative power and will power. His complete happiness depends on perfecting his scientific and will power and the perfection of his scientific power cannot take place except by knowing the following:
1. Knowing the True Lord Who is the Creator and the Provider; Who created man from nothingness and bestowed on him favours.
2. Knowing His Names and Attributes and all that is due to Him; and the impacts of these Names on His slaves.
3. Knowing the way that leads to Him, may He be glorified.
4. Knowing the hindrances and harms that prevent man from knowing the way and the great bliss that the way leads to.
5. Having a real cognisance of your own soul, its needs, recognising what is good for it and what is harm to it, and knowing its qualities and defects.
It is by knowing these five things that man can perfect his scientific power. And perfection of his scientific and will power can not occur except by respecting the rights of Allaah upon His slaves and carrying out these rights sincerely, truthfully, according to the Sunnah of the Prophet and as a testimony of His favour on him. There is no way to perfection of these two powers except by His help. He therefore needs to be guided to the Straight Path which Allaah guided His friends.
After we have known that the True Religion is the Divine support for different powers of the soul, we should also know that religion is the protective shield for the society. This is because human life cannot be alright except through mutual cooperation and this cooperation cannot take place except through a system that regulates human relationships, defines their obligations and guarantees their rights. This system is also in need of a curbing and restraining authority that can prevent the soul from violating the system, encourage it to preserve it, guarantees its relevance and prevents men from desecrating it. What then is this power?
There is not on the face of this earth any power that can match the power of religiosity or even close to that in guaranteeing the respect for order, societal cohesion, stability of it’s system and harmonising the means of comfort and tranquillity in the society.
The underlying reason for this is that, man is distinguished from other living things in that, all his voluntary movements and actions are controlled by an inaudible and invincible element. That element is faith which refines the soul and purifies the limbs. Man, is therefore, always controlled by a true or false belief. If his belief is correct, everything in him will be correct, but if his belief is corrupt, everything in him will be corrupt.
Faith is a spontaneous watcher over man; and it is – as noticed in all men – of two types:
- Belief in the value of moral excellence, human dignity and other ordinary concepts that high-minded people will feel shy to violate even if they were free from external consequences and material recompense.
- Belief in Allaah – may He be Glorified and Exalted – and the fact that He is Ever-Watchful of the secrets and knows all that is hidden; from Whose Commandments and prohibitions the Islaamic Law derives its power and before Whom the senses profusely feel mortified out of love for Him or fear of Him or both. There is no doubt that this type of faith is the stronger of both in exerting authority over human mind. It is also the stronger in resisting the tornadoes of whims and inconsistency of sentiments and quicker in leaving impacts on the minds of people and their leaders.
It is because of this that religion is the best guarantor for the establishment of relationships among people on the basis of justice and impartiality which is a necessity in any society. There is no wonder then that religion occupies in the human society the position of the heart in human body.
If this is the position of religion generally – and what we see in today’s world is multiplicity of religions and creeds, where each group rejoices in its belief and holds tenaciously to it – what then is the true religion that can achieve for the human mind what it yearns for? And what are the general criteria of the True Religion?

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