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What is Islam?

                       Islam – A Way Of Life

  

 

Islam is a complete and comprehensive code of life. It is a God-given system of living based on the Holy Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him)

 

Islam brings man close to God, taking into consideration his material and spiritual needs. Its practice is designed to elevate the spiritual status of mankind by emphasis on a balanced and moderate method of controlling the lower physical desires of a human being. This control process gives proportional focus to the development of the mental and emotional faculties within the human domain. In addition its congregational devotions impact on the collective psyche of a community that scales upwards to include tribes, nations, all of mankind and across generations.

 

Islam extends its sense of organization to all walks of life in areas of individual and social behaviours, labour and industry, economics and politics, national and international relations, and human rights.  Islam adopts a moderate but positive and effective course between individual and society, between citizen and state, between capitalism and socialism, between materialism and spiritualism and between male and female.

 

Spiritual life is promoted by the five pillars of belief, prayer, fasting charity, pilgrimage. In addition, knowledge and gnosis, love for God and His Messenger, love for truth and humanity, hope and trust in God and doing good for the sake of God are all principles of established faith.

 

Intellectual life is encouraged in that Islam demands faith in God on the basis of knowledge and research.  In fact, God exhorts mankind to only argue and debate with decorum and perfection (Wa la tujaadilu billati hiya ahsan). Furthermore, God, states that “He does not love loudness in speech” (La yuhibbul Allah jahra bis soo’i minal qawli [4,148]).  All fields of thought are left wide open before the intellect to penetrate as far as it can reach (Tanfuzu min aktaaris samaawati wal ard). The Quran itself is a rich source of knowledge about the universe that is ever-unfolding to new vistas of discovery. In addition, the Prophet’s life is a paragon (uswatul hasana) of excellence. Indeed it is like a guide book to the full rainbow of human experiences.

 

Personal life is characterized by strict adherence to purity and cleanliness (yuhibbu attawwaabeena, wa yuhibbu attatahhareena), healthy diet (hallaalan tayyiban), proper clothing, proper behavior. Healthy sexual relations is only to be had within the confines of marriage that, amongst a myriad of other benefits, promotes the development of a healthy conscience. All other sexual indulgences such as fornication, adultery and incest as these fall into the category of sexual lewdity that go towards increasing man’s animality and reducing his spirituality.

 

Family life is encouraged as the family is the backbone of society. In fact mankind is asked to preserve family ties (silatul rahm).  Islam builds the family on solid grounds that are capable of providing continuity, true security, mature intimacy, sincere reciprocity and moral gratification.

Marriage is a strong bond and a commitment to life itself, to society, and a dignified, meaningful survival of the human race. Motherhood is more cherished than fatherhood. This is exemplified by the prophet elevating the status of women by such sayings as “Heaven is under the mother’s feet” (Al Jannat tahta aqdaamal ummatuha) and “The mother is a school” (Al Umm madrasah). Although a muslim male is permitted to have more than one wife to a maximum of four, the accepted norm is only one (fa wahidatan).  This is due to the proviso that a male with multiple wives has to deal amongst them justly and equally (ta’dillu bayna nisaa) and has to be honest with himself as to whether he will be able to achieve such equal dealings without any doubt (fa in ghif tum).  Man’s tendency to have a favourite is stated by God as the reason why it is impossible to deal justly between the wives. Nevertheless, the primary proviso to have multiple wives is to care for orphan children and the protection of their wealth and rights especially in times of war when many disputes about property and inheritance arise.

 

Social life and equality is manifest in the commandment to mankind by God to extend his utmost help and kindness to other family members, relations, and neighbors (ta aawanu alal birri wat taqwa). There is no superiority on account of class, race, gender, origin or wealth (Innama akramakum atkaakum). The unity of humanity is not only its origin but also its ultimate aim.

 

Economic life is exemplified by the exhortation to earning one’s living through decent labour, not only as a duty but as a great virtue. Earning is one’s private possession whether the individual is a male or a female. Trade is permitted but usury is not (wa ahallal lahul  bay’a wa harramar riba). Gambling and games of chance are discouraged so that the rights of indiviuduals, families and communities are preserved.

 

The individual is responsible for the prosperity of the state and the state is responsible for the security and welfare of the individual. Charity is encouraged and there is a tax on wealth which is set to a basic minimum of 2.5 % of appreaciable assets such as gold, property and currency. The onus is on the individual to discharge these obligations.

 

Individuals are borne to this world empty-handed and they depart empty-handed. every person is reminded that “every soul shall taste of death“. This reminder is echoed twice to cover the non-physical aspects of death as well. The real owner of all things is God alone who is Independent of all creation (Wa Allahu ghaniyyu). Human beings are simply the trustees and representives of the Creator on earth.

 

Political life is governed by the knowledge that the sovereignty of the Islamic state belongs to God. Human beings exercise it by trust from Him to enforce His laws. The ruler is chosen from the best-qualified citizens by the people to administer justice, provide security, and build the nation through consultation (Shura), within the Laws ordained by God (Canon). A regimented religious hierarchy or clergy does not exist. Within an Islamic state, non-muslims are entitled to full protection and freedom to practice their religion as God has stated that “there is NO compulsion in religion” (La Iqraa ha fid deen [2,157]). War is only justified if state security is endangered and God states in the Quran that, “He does not love the aggressors” (La yuhibbull Allahu mu’taddeen). During war, destruction of crops,  animal and homes, desecration of places of worship, killing non-fighting women, children and aged people are forbidden. Furthermore, there should be no excess in killing (la tusrifu fil qatli) of combatants as well.

 

In effect, the complete way of life encompasses all the ideals of individualism, capitalism and socialism. The system incorporates a freedom-charter, a bill of rights and a code of conduct and ethics. Its complete practice offers individuals a personal pathway to a relationship with God.

 Yunous.

Reference

 
 

 

 

Geer, C. (2007). Introduction to Islam. Eternal Islam.  Retrieved 17 October, 2008, from http://www.eternalislam.co.uk/html/discover-islam/what-is-islam/introduction-compiled.htm

 

 

 

 

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