Islam is the religion taught in its fundamentals by all the prophets. It is the religion which the first human being was instructed to follow. It is the religion of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and all other prophets (peace be upon them all) throughout the existence of human beings.
From the world view of Islam, most of the world’s major religions originated in the pure religion of Islam itself and only through the teachings being lost, forgotten or wilfully corrupted have these religions changed. Judaism claims special status for the Jews as the chosen people – a status which cannot be acquired except through birth, and which makes a Jew superior to any non-Jew (goyim) whatever their beliefs. Christianity insists that you must believe in various doctrines which form the foundations of what is distinctively ‘Christian’ belief in order to be ‘saved’ (i.e. that Jesus (peace be upon him) died to atone for the sins of Mankind, that Allah is a trinity etc) This doctrine, the (Catholic) church itself admits, didn’t develop until several hundred years after Christ and so cannot possibly have applied to those before Jesus nor to his early followers. In contrast to this, Islam has at its core, a simple message which applies to all human beings before Muhammad (pbuh) and all after his time:
“And they say: “None shall enter paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” Those are their (vain) desires. Say: “Produce your proof if you are truthful.” Nay whoever submits his whole self to Allah and is a doer of good, he will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.”
The word used in this verse for ‘submits’ is ‘aslama’. It is from this verb that the word ‘Islam’ comes as ‘the submitting’. Islam is a word that doesn’t have any connection with an area or a particular character from history, it is the one and only truly universal religion and fittingly it has a truly universal name:
The word “Islam” means voluntary submission to the will of Allah
Islam Is The Natural Religion :
Islam is known not only as a rational and moral way of life prescribed for all of mankind, it is known by the term ‘Din ul-Fitra’ or ‘the natural religion’. Islam is the religion designed by the Creator of mankind for the benefit of mankind and therefore fits human nature perfectly. Being Muslim is living in harmony with your human nature.
Natural desires are considered as coming from Allah and put into people for good reason. They don’t need to be repressed but rather simply channelled into the right ways of being fulfilled. So, for example, in Islam getting married is considered ‘half of the religion’ and each act of making love between a husband and his wife is an act of worship.
When a person is born he/she is purely natural, free of sin and Muslim. Humans, we are told in the Qur’an, are made in the best of forms and start life with a huge plus. It is only in later life that their environments may lead them to take beliefs or adopt practices that contradict Islam.
Because of our nature, deep down we all need to find our purpose in life; we all know we have moral responsibilities and we all know that, if anything ought to be, then Allah must exist.
This being part of human nature, no one can claim that their disbelief was the result of ignorance alone. Disbelief is always, at some level, a conscious and sinful act. On the day of judgement the conscience of the disbeliever will be his or her own damning evidence.
There is no god except Allah and Muhammad is Only a messenger of Allah
This is the statement that qualifies someone as a Muslim. If you are convinced of this at some point then you are a Muslim. Formally someone becomes a Muslim by saying – in front of witnesses – “I witness that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is a messenger of Allah.”
To understand this statement fully some explanation is needed of the word ‘god’. A god is understood to mean anything or anyone who you use to set your values in life; to determine how you judge a matter as good or bad and how therefore you live your life. A god is also someone or something that people try to keep happy so that it may be able to change their lives and make those people happy. Since every human being by nature forms value judgements everyone has at least one god.
What is your god? Is it your desires? – Is it your work? – Is it fashion? – Is it your family? – Is it your nation? – Is it your church?
Whatever your gods may be, becoming a Muslim frees you from the service of them and brings you to the service of Allah and only Allah. Believing that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah flows from believing in the Qur’an. It is a common perception in the Christian world that ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ is irrational; that a matter of faith is one for which there is little or no evidence. To the Muslim this seems quite absurd. In Islam people who disbelieve in Allah and in the prophethood of Muhammad can only do so out of ignorance or out of wilful denial of what is evident to them as clear as seeing:
“Say thou: “This is my way: I do invite unto Allah on evidence clear as the seeing with one’s eyes, I and whoever follows me: Glory to Allah! and never will I join gods with Allah!””
Qur’an Surah 12 Verse 108
For the Muslim, belief in Allah forms a foundational requirement of rationality and belief in Muhammad as the prophet of Allah follows from applying the rational mind to the evidence of his mission.
Rationality requires believing in Allah
There are many ways in which we may describe rational thinking. From the world view of Islam there is good thinking and bad thinking and ‘rational’ thinking is nothing more than morally good thinking. Someone who strives to do that which is right in the way he thinks, who is sincere and avoids self deception, someone who seeks the truth, avoids biases and prejudice in his opinions, who seeks knowledge from all available sources, someone who reflects on what he sees and always looks for explanations and doesn’t accept that things are as they are simply without any reason, someone who tries to avoid any contradictions in his understandings, such a person is rational and such a person is one who seeks to think, learn and decide in a morally good way.
If someone tries to do what is morally right they are already acknowledging that there is a moral good to achieve. Such moral value only exists if existence as a whole achieves something morally good, i.e. if existence has a purpose. If you think that existence as a whole has no purpose and achieves nothing, then it follows that whatever you do in life achieves exactly nothing as well – your life would contribute no value to existence.
There is no moral good in doing what your own desires find good or what your family or nation finds good. The only way what you do achieves a moral good is if it achieves something towards the purpose of existence. Every good that can be achieved is either instrumental to the purpose of existence and therefore a true moral good or it is false good and worth nothing.
The core of all value and purpose to existence is commonly known by the name Allah or God. He is the ultimate purpose to existence and the achievement of what is morally good equates to getting closer to Him. Allah is more than we can ever fully understand but in order to have morally good thinking it is essential to believe in Allah in some sense whatever name we use for Him. It is also essential to reject as having any hold over us anything or anyone who asserts that a good can be achieved without it being instrumental to the purpose to existence. i.e. without it being for the sake of Allah.
A person who has amoral thinking or immoral thinking acknowledges that there is no inherent value to the way they think and will see no problem in changing the criteria by which they decide to accept or reject conclusions. Whatever definition of rationality could be used there is, for such people, no reason why they should accept it. If being rational by some definition leads to conclusions they don’t like then they can just change the definition. In extreme cases there can never be enough evidence and strong arguments for them to accept a statement as true, they just continually move the criteria of what constitutes for them convincing evidence and argument.
Being rational means being a moral thinker.
Being a moral thinker means believing in Allah.
Only the irrational disbelieve.