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Newsletter for June 2013
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ISLAM IS SIMPLE
by Nasir Shamsi
Religion of God is simple. Its purpose is to guide humans on the right path, the path that leads to God. God is Merciful and He loves His creation. To guide us all, He sent His Prophets, His Chosen People, with a defined code of conduct. Some of them had written scriptures. Each Prophet was given a set of rules, a code of conduct, according to the circumstances of the time and the place.
As the human consciousness developed over time, God sent new Scriptures to redefine their way of life. That explains an abiding relationship and a continuous and uninterrupted chain of Divine guidance in the names and form of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, the last Prophet. They all represented ONE AND ONLY ONE GOD...only with a Scripture to conform to the changing world. The Last of them came to reconfirm the previous Scriptures and to redirect and guide the people who had drifted. Anybody therefore who believes in One God and ALL Prophets is a Muslim.
The key to complete surrender (Islam) to God is the belief in His ONENESS ( Tawheed) and the belief in all Prophets, including the Last and the Final Prophet and the Last book, Quran. As a Muslim, we enjoy a special realtionship with people of the Book, the Jews and the Christians and a human tie with all other human beings, characterized by human love and compassion.
We cannot hate even an animal because it too shares with us this space on earth. Just as God is One, we all are One under Him, the One and Only One God. Islam is as simple as that.
Islam is a way of life. It is neither a state nor statecraft. Islam is simple, very simple. People came to Madina to accept Islam. They stayed in the city of the Prophet for half a day, a full day, perhaps for a night at best. During this short stay, they learnt to say the kalimah and the Prophet told them: do good, avoid bad things, pray, fast, give charity, be good to your parents, wives and children; there will be reward for good deeds and punishment for the bad deeds, on the Day of Judgment.
During this short stay, the travelers prayed with the Prophet once or twice and left Medina, many of them never to return. Yet these were the first emissaries of Islam who carried new faith to the distant lands. Unless Islam was simple, how could it be possible for these one-time visitors to go and impart the message of Islam to thousand others ?
When asked how best to practice din, the Prophet (s) answered, " The din is easy and whosoever will deal with din harshly, it will defeat him. So be straight, follow the middle course, give good news and seek help by moving in the morning or the evening or part of the night. (Al-Bukhari 38)
Islam is religion of nature--deen-e fitra--- the the way of fitra. There is a tradition of the Prophet to affirm this statement too. In other words, there is a primordial, the primary, the original way, predetermined by Allah, the Creator of all life. There seems to be a Divine blue print according to which a person is to build his life structure. At the core of it is the pillar of "
LAA "-- frequently referred to by Iqbal and other sages -- the Denial of all deities, humans or non-humans and submission to one and only one God. Belief in One God, in other words, is ingrained in the human nature.
Quran refers to the Original Covenant ( Aeh'ad-e Alast ) that was taken from every soul, for submission to Allah and Allah alone.This primordial Contract refers to the most essential belief in One and only One Deity, Allah, to the exclusion of any other deity. Allah speaks of a time before the creation of the world:
˜when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their reins, their seed, and made them testify of themselves, He said:˜Am I not your Lord ' (alastu bi-rabbikum ) ? They said, ˜Yea! We testify! That was lest you should say on the Day of Arising: ˜Of this we were unaware. (7:171)
The belief in One God, this Unity of Belief implies also the unity of all human kind, the belief in the essential equality of all humans--men and women-- regardless of their caste, creed, color and economic position. The compliance with the primordial blue print keeps one within the boundaries of Iman. The departure from it is ' kufr' . That to my mind sums up the nature
and spirit of all religion.
It is pity Deen stands divided today into numerous splinter groups, each so much away from the Axis of the Primordial Faith, yet each claiming to be the only one on the right. On a closer look, all of them are drifters. They confuse means with the end, most of them clinging to the dust of the path, forgetting what was their goal. Iqbal refers to this false sense of religion
in this verse:
hazaron boot hein
jamm'a ki aastinon mein
mujhey hey hukme azaan LA ilah il ALLaH
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