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 Islaam: Its Foundations And Concepts-6-

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PostSubject: Islaam: Its Foundations And Concepts-6-   Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:21 pm

SOURCES OF ISLAAM

It has been a habit for adherents of abrogated religions and man-made creeds to hallow their inherited books, which were written since ancient times and whose authors or translators or the time of their writing may not really be known. They were just written by some people who used to suffer from what other human beings suffer from like weakness, defect, whimsical desires and forgetfulness.
As for the Qur'aan, it is different from all other books in that, it depends on the true source which is the Divine Revelation: the Qur'aan and Sunnah. Following is the brief introduction of both:
A. The Glorious Qur'aan:
You have known previously that Islaam is the religion of Allaah, that was why Allaah revealed the Qur'aan to His Messenger, Muhammad as a guidance for the pious, a Law for the Muslims, a healing for the disease that is in the hearts of those whom Allaah wants to heal and a light for those whom Allaah wants to give success. It contains the fundamentals for which Allaah sent the Messengers. The Qur'aan was not the first Book to be revealed nor was Muhammad the first Messenger to be sent. Allaah has revealed the Scriptures to Abraham; Torah to Moses and the Gospel to Jesus. All these Books were revelations from Allaah to His Prophets and Messengers. But the contents of most of these Books have been lost and have become extinct, and interpolation and alterations have entered them.
As for the Qur'aan, Allaah Himself guarantees its protection and makes it the witness and abolisher of earlier Books. He says while addressing the Prophet,
"And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur'aan) in truth, confirming the Scriptures that came before it and as a witness over it."
He describes the Qur'aan as an explanation of everything,
"And We have sent down to you the Book as an exposition of everything."
He calls it guidance and mercy,
"So now has come to you a clear proof (the Qur'aan) from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy."
He describes it as that which guides to uprightness when He says,
"Verily, this Qur'aan guides to that which is most just and right."
The Qur'aan guides mankind to the most righteous path in all aspects of their life.
Whoever reflects on how the Qur'aan was revealed and how it was preserved will give the book its due estimation and purify his intention for Allaah alone. Allaah, the Exalted says,
"And truly, this (the Qur'aan) is a revelation from the Lord of all the worlds, which, the trustworthy spirit (Jibreel) has brought down upon your heart (O Muhammad) that you may be (one) of the warners."
So the One Who revealed the Qur'aan is Allaah, Lord of all the worlds; and the one who brought it is the trustworthy spirit Gabriel; and the one in whose heart it was revealed is the Prophet.
The Qur'aan is an everlasting miracle for Muhammad. It contains signs that shall abide till the Day of Resurrection. The signs and miracles of previous Prophets used to end at the termination of the Prophets' lives, but Allaah has made the Qur'aan the everlasting proof.
It is the extensive proof and dazzling sign. Allaah challenges the mankind to produce the like thereof or ten soorahs like it or even a single soorah that resembles it, and they are unable to do that in spite of the fact that it is composed of letters and words and the people on whom it was first revealed were people of eloquence and rhetoric. Allaah says,
"Or do they say: (Muhammad) has forged it? Say: Bring then a Soorah like unto it and call upon whomsoever you can besides Allaah, if you are truthful."
Among the things that testify to the fact that the Qur'aan is a revelation from Allaah is that it contains stories of the past nations, prophesied future events that came to happen as it has prophesied and the fact that it mentions many scientific facts that have not been discovered until recently. Another proof of its being a Divinely revealed Book is that the Prophet on whom it was revealed was unknown with anything similar to that or reported to have known anything similar to the Qur'aan. Allaah says,
"Say (O Muhammad): If Allaah had so willed, I should not have recited it to you, nor would He have made it known to you. Verily, I have stayed amongst you a lifetime before this. Have you then no sense?"
He was rather an illiterate who neither read nor wrote. He did not also, visit any Shaykh or men to produce the like of the Qur'aan. Allaah says,
"Neither did you (O Muhammad) read any book before it (the Qur'aan) nor did you write any book (whatsoever) with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted."
This unlettered man who has been described in the Torah and the Gospel that he would not read nor write, was visited by Jewish ad Christian monks – who had some remnants of the Torah and the Gospel – and asked about issues by which they differed, and they would request for his arbitration in matters in which they contended. Allaah says, explaining the description of Muhammad in the Torah and the Gospel,
"Those who follow the Message, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad) whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Gospel, he commands them to do all that is good and forbids them from all that is evil; he allows them as lawful all good things and prohibits them as unlawful all filthy things."
Allaah also says, while speaking about the question that the Jews and Christians asked the Prophet,
"The People of the Scripture ask you to cause a book to descend upon them from heaven."
"And they ask you concerning the Spirit."
"And they ask you about Dhul-Qarnayn."
"Verily, this Qur'aan narrates to the Children of Israel most of that in which they differ."
Reverend Abraham Philips, has had a failed attempt, in his doctorate thesis to undermine the Qur'aan. The Qur'aan rather overwhelmed him with its proofs, evidences and signs. The man proclaimed his own weakness, surrendered to his Creator and embraced Islaam.
When one of the Muslims presented a translated copy of the meaning of the Noble Qur'aan as a gift to the American doctor, Jeffrey Lang, he found that this Qur'aan was addressing him, answering his questions and removing the barrier between him and His own soul. He said, "It seems that He Who revealed the Qur'aan knows me more than I know myself."
Yes, the One Who revealed the Qur'aan is the Creator of man, and He is Allaah, may He be Glorified. He says,
"Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most-Kind and Courteous, the All-Knower"
So, the man's reading of the translation of the meaning of the Noble Qur'aan led him to Islaam and to the writing of his book from which I am quoting.
The Qur'aan is comprehensive to all that man needs. It contains all fundamentals of faith, legislations, human interactions and manners. Allaah says,
"We have neglected nothing in the book."
In the Qur'aan, there is call to belief in the Oneness of Allaah, and mention of His Names, Attributes and deeds. It calls to belief in the authenticity of what the Prophets and Messengers brought. It affirms the Resurrection, reward and reckoning and establishes evidences and proofs for that. It narrates the stories of past nations, the punishment meted out to them in this world as well as the torment and exemplary punishment that awaits them in the Hereafter.
It also contains many proofs and signs that dazzle the scientists and that is suitable for all generations and ages; and in which many scholars and researchers find what they look for. I will give only three examples that reveal some of these facts.
1. His saying, "And it is He Who has let free the seas: one palatable and sweet and the other salty and bitter; and He has set a barrier and a complete partition between them."
He also says,
"Or is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allaah has not appointed light, for him there is no light."
It is well-known that Muhammad never travelled by sea on a sea neither was there in his time the material instruments that could have helped to discover the depths of the sea. Who else could have provided Muhammad with this data if not Allaah?
2. Allaah says, "And indeed, We created man out of clay (water and earth), therefore, We made him (the offspring of Adam) as a mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge (and lodged it) in a safe lodging (womb), then We made the mixed dropsinto a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood) then We made the clot into little lump of flesh, then we made out of that little lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bone with flesh and We brought it forth as another Creation. So, blessed is Allaah, the Best of Creators."
The scientists did not discover these subtle details about the stages of embryonic development until recently.
3. Allaah also says, "And with Him are the keys of all that is hidden, none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record."
Mankind did not know this all-encompassing thought and had never thought about these things let alone having the ability to do it. If a group of scientists observe a plant or insect and they record their findings and discoveries we all become dazzled with that, though we know that what is hidden from these scientists in this plant or insect is more than what they observe in it.
The French scholar Maurice Bucaile has made a comparison between Torah, the Gospel and the Qur'aan and between modern scientific discoveries concerning the creation of the heavens, the earth and man and found out that these modern discoveries agree with what is in the Qur'aan. On the other hand, he found out that the Torah and the Gospel that are in circulation today contain many erroneous information about the creation of the heavens, the earth, man and animals.
B. The Prophetic Sunnah:
Allaah revealed the Qur'aan to the Messenger and revealed to him like thereof which is the Prophetic Sunnah that explains the Qur'aan. The Messenger of Allaah said, "Indeed, I am given the Qur'aan and its like with it." Allaah has permitted him to explain the general and particular verses of the Qur'aan. Allaah says,
"And We have also sent down to you (O Muhammad) the reminder, that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought."

The Sunnah is the second source of the religion of Islaam. It means all that is reported from the Prophet – with well-connected and authentic chain of transmitters – of his sayings, deeds, confirmations and qualities. It is also a revelation from Allaah to His Messenger Muhammad, for the Prophet did not speak of his own desire. Allaah says,
"Nor, does he speak of (his own) desire, it is only a Revelation revealed. He has been taught by one mighty in power (Gabriel)."
The Prophet only conveys to people what he is commanded to convey. Allaah says about him,
"I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am but a plain warner."
The pure Sunnah is the practical implementation of the rules, beliefs, acts of worship, kinds of relationship and manners that Islaam enjoins. The Messenger of Allaah exemplified what he was commanded, explained it to the people and commanded them to do like he did. He says, for instance, "Pray as you see me praying."
The All-Mighty Allaah has commanded the believers to emulate him in all his deeds and sayings in order that their faith might be complete. He says,
"Indeed, in the Messenger of Allaah, you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the meeting with) Allaah and the Last Day and remembers Allaah much."
The prophets noble companions transmitted his sayings and deeds to those who came after them, and these also transmitted them to those who came after them. It was then recorded in the books of Sunnah. The Sunnah transmitters had been strict with those from whom they transmitted it and would make a condition that they be contemporaries of those from whom they themselves reported that Sunnah, till the chain of transmission would be connected right from the narrator to the Messenger of Allaah. They also made it a condition that all the men involved in the transmission must be trustworthy, just, sincere and people of integrity.
The Sunnah, as it is regarded as the practical implementation of Islaam, it also explains the Qur'aan, makes comments on it, and explains verses that have general meanings. The Messenger of Allaah used to do all this, sometimes with his words, sometimes with his deeds and sometimes with both. The Sunnah may, in some cases, give independent explanations of some rules and legislations that are not in the Qur'aan.
One must have belief in the Qur'aan and Sunnah that they are the primary sources of the religion of Islaam that must be followed and turned to. The command of both must be obeyed, their prohibitions must be abstained from and their contents must be believed. One must also believe in what both contain of the Names, Attributes and Works of Allaah; what He has provided for His believing friends and that with which He threatened His disbelieving enemies. He says,
"But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission."
He also says,
"And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)."
After giving an introduction about the sources of this religion, it is appropriate for us to discuss about its degrees which are: Islaam, Eemaan and Ihsaan. We are also going to talk on the pillars of these degrees in brief.

THE FIRST DEGREE

Islaam: Its pillars are five, they are: Testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allaah and that Muhammad is His Messenger; performing prayer, paying Zakaat, fasting in the month of Ramadaan and Pilgrimage.
One: Testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship save Allaah and that Muhammad is His Messenger.
The first part of the testimony means that, there is no rightful deity in the earth or in the heavens beside Him alone. He is the only true God and all deities besides Him are false ones. It also means, purifying all acts of worship for Allaah alone and keeping them away from others beside Him. The utterer of this statement cannot benefit from it until he has two things:
1. To say it out of belief, knowledge, conviction and love for it.
2. To disbelieve in all that is worshipped besides Allaah. Whoever says this statement and does not disbelieve in all that is worshipped besides Allaah, this statement will not benefit him.
Testifying that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah means, to follow him in all that he commands, to believe in all that he informs, to abstain from all that he prohibits and warns against and to worship Allaah with only what he legislates. One must also know and bear it in mind that Muhammad is Allaah's Messenger to all people, that he is only a slave of Allaah and should therefore not be worshipped, but rather be obeyed and followed, that whoever follows him enters Paradise and whoever disobeys him enters Fire. One must also know and bear it in mind that, Islaamic injunctions in matters of belief, acts of worship which are commanded by Allaah, system of law and matters of legislation and morals in area of building a family, or in area of allowing or forbidding things cannot be received except through this noble Prophet, for he is the Messenger of Allaah, who conveys His Law to mankind.
Two: Prayer.
Prayer is the second pillar of Islaam. It is rather the pillar of Islaam, for it is the link between man and his Lord. He repeats it five times in a day with which he renews his faith, purifies himself from stains of sins and which stands between him and obscene things and sins. When he wakes up from sleep in the morning, he appears in front of his Lord pure and clean before he starts engaging in matters of this world. He magnifies his Lord, affirms His absolute right to be worshipped by prostrating, standing and bowing for Him five times each day.
Before he starts performing this prayer, he must purify his heart, body, clothes and place of his prayer. The Muslim must perform this prayer congregationally with his fellow Muslims – if that is easy for him – while they all face their Lord with their hearts and face the honoured Ka'abah, the House of Allaah with their faces. Prayer has been prescribed in the best form in which the Creator requires His creation to worship Him; for it contains His glorification with all parts of the body; from word of the tongue, deeds of the hands, legs, head, senses and all other parts of his body; each part taking his share of this great act of worship.
The senses and limbs take their portion from it and the heart also takes its share. Prayer comprises of exaltation of Allaah, praising Him, glorifying Him, extolling Him. It also contains giving the testimony of the truth, recitation of the Qur'aan, standing in front of the Lord Who controls him, then humiliating oneself for Him in this position by begging Him with devotion and seeking His nearness. He then goes to bowing position, prostration and then sits down, all in submission, humility and showing helplessness for His greatness and His Might. The heart of this slave becomes broken, his body becomes humble and all his limbs surrenders with humility to his Lord. He then concludes his prayer with giving thanks to Allaah and praising Him, and invoking peace and blessings on His Prophet, Muhammad and finally asks his Lord of the good things of this world and the Hereafter.
Three: Zakaah
Zakaah – obligatory charity – is the third pillar of Islaam. It is compulsory on the rich Muslims to pay Zakaah from his wealth. It is a very little part of his wealth that he gives to the poor and needy and others among those who are entitled to it.
Muslims must pay Zakaah to its due recipients willingly. He should neither remind the recipient of that nor harm him in whatever way on account of it. He must pay it seeking for the pleasure of Allaah; not desiring by that any recompense or thanks from men. He should rather pay it for the sake of Allaah not for showing off or for any fame.
Paying Zakaah brings blessings and gladdens the hearts of the poor, the destitute and the needy. It prevents them from begging and it is a compassion on them and protection against negligence and poverty that could have afflicted them if they are left by the wealthy. Paying Zakaah when it is due is a quality of generosity, magnanimity, altruism, philanthropy and compassion. It also means freeing one self from traits of stingy, avaricious and valueless people. It is by Zakaah that Muslims support one another, that the wealthy shows mercy on the poor, so that there will not remain in the community – if this rite is properly implemented - a poor destitute, a subdued debtor or a traveller who has no more provisions with him.
Four: Fasting
It is to fast in the month of Ramadaan from the dawn to the sunset. The fasting Muslim abandons food, drink, sexual intercourse and similar things as an act of worship for Allaah and curbs his own soul from fulfilling its desires. Allaah has relieved the sick, the traveller, the pregnant woman, the nursing mother and a woman who has just delivered a baby from fasting. He ordained for each of them rules that suit him or her.
In this month, a Muslim curbs his own self from his desires and this act of worship will bring his soul out of the animal-like world to the world similar to that of angels who are near to Allaah. The situation of a fasting Muslim may reach a stage that he thinks like someone who has no need in this world more than to achieve the pleasure of Allaah.
Fasting enlivens the heart, makes one renounce the world, encourages one to seek what is with Allaah, and reminds the wealthy of the poor ones and their conditions so that their hearts may have sympathy for them and know that they are living in the favour of Allaah and therefore should increase in gratitude to him.
Fasting purifies the soul and create in it the fear of Allaah. It makes individuals and the society feel the control of Allaah on them in bliss and hardship and in public and secret; where the society spends a whole month observing this act of worship and being conscious of its Lord; while being spurred by the fear of Allaah, the Exalted, by a belief that Allaah knows what is hidden and secret, that man will inevitably stand before Him a day in which He will ask him about all his deeds: minor and major.
Five: Hajj
Pilgrimage to the House of Allaah in Makkah. It is obligatory on every Muslim who is adult, sane and capable; who possesses or can afford to hire means of transportation to Makkah and also possesses what is sufficient for him to live on throughout his journey with a condition that his provision should be an excess of the provision of those who are his dependants. He should also be sure that the road is safe and must ensure security of his dependants while he is away. Hajj is compulsory once in the lifetime for whoever is able to perform it.
One who intends to do Hajj should repent to Allaah in order that his soul can be free from filth of sins. When he reaches Makkah and other holy sites, he carries out the rites of hajj as an act of worship and glorification for Allaah. He must know that the Ka'abah as well as other sites should not be worshipped beside Allaah, for they neither benefit nor harm. He should also know that had Allaah not commanded the Muslims to embark on pilgrimage to that House, it would not have been proper for any Muslim to do that.
In pilgrimage, the pilgrim wears two white garments. The Muslims gather from all parts of the world at one place, wearing one garment and worshipping One God; with no difference between the leader and the led; the rich and the poor; the white and the black. All are creatures of Allaah and his slaves. There is no superiority for a Muslim over another Muslim except by piety and good deeds.
By Hajj, Muslims achieve cooperation and mutual recognition, they remember the Day that Allaah will raise all of them up ad gather them at a single place for reckoning, they thereby prepare for what is after death through acts of obedience to Allaah.
Worship in Islaam:
It is to worship Allaah in meaning and reality. Allaah is the Creator and you are the creature; you are the slave and He is the One that you worship. If that is the case, man must then follow the Straight Path of Allaah in this life and follow His Law and the Path of his Messengers. Allaah has ordained great laws for His slaves like belief in His Oneness, performing prayers, paying Zakaah, observing fasting and performing Hajj.
However, the above mentioned are not the only acts of worship in Islaam. Worship in Islaam is more comprehensive. It is all that Allaah loves and is pleased with of deeds and sayings, apparent or hidden. So, every work or saying that you do or say that Allaah loves and He is pleased with is worship. Even, every good habit that you do with an intention to please Allaah is worship. Your good relationship with your father, family, spouse, children and neighbours if you seek by that the pleasure of Allaah is worship. Your good conduct at home, in the market and office, done for the sake of Allaah is worship. Fulfilling the trust, being truthful and just, abstention from harming others, giving assistance to the weak, earning from lawful means, spending for family and children, consoling the poor, visiting the sick, feeding the hungry and aiding the wronged are all acts of worship if done for the sake of Allaah. So, all deeds that you do either for yourself, family or the society or your country in which you intend to win the pleasure of Allaah are acts of worship.
Even to fulfil your personal passion in a lawful way is worship if you do that with a good intention. The Messenger of Allaah said, "Even if anyone of you satiate his sexual desires, that is an act of charity."
The companions said, "O Messenger of Allaah! Would any of us satiate his own lust and still get a reward?"
He answered, "Tell me, if he had done that in an unlawful way would not he have sinned? Likewise, if he does it in a lawful way, he would get a reward."
The Prophet also said, "Every Muslim must pay charity."
He was asked, "How if he does not find what to pay charity with?"
He said, "He works with his two hands benefits himself by that and then pay charity."
He was asked again, "But how if he is not able?"
He said, "He should assist the needy who is wronged."
He was again asked, "But how if he is not able?"
He answered, "He enjoins all that is good."
And he was asked once more, "But how, if he is not able to do that?"
He answered, "He refrains from doing evil, for that also is for him, an act of charity."


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