By Prophet of Mercy
An after life
Among the things which the Prophet (peace be upon him) promised was a life after this life. This, in itself, should be regarded as a positive thing, for it gives an answer to the question which many have long asked; is humanity simply about living for a brief period? Is there nothing beyond this life?
If the atheists, those people that deny the existence of any life after this one are correct, then how can we explain the deep-rooted feeling and the remote voice in the conscience of man? Since ancient times it has told us that man was not created merely to live a short life. How is it that we can explain the curious feeling of alienation or estrangement that man feels in relation to earthly life? Why does man feel like a passerby, a guest or visitor in this life.
Through popular fiction we are reminded several times over of the ancient Egyptians took great interest in mummifying and embalming their dead and building pyramids. Such a phenomenon occurred in many other civilizations in a variety of forms.
One should ask the question; can reason accept that life should come to an end without punishing the vilest of the vile; tyrants, defiers, thieves, rapists and persecutors of innocent people? Conversely, there are people who lead virtuous lives.
They struggle to do the right thing, the live honestly, sacrifice themselves and pass away without being materially rewarded. Such people, as is known, may not be acknowledged or known by people and are denied the thanks and gratitude which they rightfully deserve. They may also die before receiving the fruits of their labour.
Amongst them are also people who call to what is right and hold fast to it, defend it and in consequence are persecuted by tyrants and unjust people who torture, exile and even kill them in the process.
It is fully rational to say that reason, which believes in the justice of the One God, should believe in or even demand the existence of another life where the good are rewarded and the wrongdoers are punished for what they did in the first life?
Every atom of the earth and heavens bespeaks the fact of another life: “And we did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them in play. We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know” (44:38-39),
“And we have not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in vain, such is the thought of the unbelievers; so woe to the unbelievers from the fire. Or shall we treat those who believe and do righteous deeds, as those who are corruptors on the earth or shall we treat the pious as the impious? (38:27-28),
“Or do those who commit evil deeds think that we shall make them equal to those who believe and do righteous deeds; that their living and dying would be equal? Evil indeed is their judgment. And Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth, and that each soul shall be recompensed for what it has earned, and none shall be wronged.” (45:21:22).
“And to Allah belongs what is in the heavens and the earth that he may recompense those who do evil for what they have done, and he may recompense those who have done good with that is best” (53:31).
It is easy to refute the Marxist idea that religion is the opium of the people which suspends thoughts of lost rights by entertaining illusions of another life, and thus making adherents yield to despots and tyrants.
A true religion does not enervate people or keep them from demanding their due rights in this life in exchange for the reward of another life. A true religion does not accept or tolerate oppression, deviance and corruption. If this was true for some religions, it is not all true for Islam.
Islam is essentially a major human revolution for the liberation of man everywhere from the bondages of slavery and subjugation to any living being other than Allah.
Islam is a revolution in thought, conscience and feeling, in theory as well as practice. The credo of that revolution is the great statement of the oneness of Allah: “There is no god worthy of worship except Allah.”
This statement decrees the false gods of the earth, who, in words or practice unrightfully assume the status of gods or are claimed by others to be so. It immediately follows that all people are equal, that there must not be masters and slaves, and that man must not trespass the rights of another.
Reference: Al-Qardawy, Yusuf, Introduction to Islam, Islamic Inc. Publishing & Distribution, Cairo, Egypt, 1995. (pg 27, 49-51)
* Edited from the original
WHAT THE PROPHET PROMISED TO THE WORLD 4.
Brotherhood and equality
Amongst the many things which the Prophet r promised to the world through Islam was a solution to the problem of racism via Islam. Although it is true that the foul ‘stench’ of racism or tribalism even existed during the time of the Prophet it was it was drastically reduced due to the interference of the message of the Prophet r which he lived by and called others to.
Indeed, it was through Islam that the status of Bilal t, who previously, in pre-Islamic times had been no more than a slave. Some time after embracing Islam, he was chosen by the Prophet r with a noble position; the caller to prayer for the Muslims. Such a position was one which awarded him great status among the Muslims, one which may have been inconceivable for those polytheistic masters who ordered and oppressed him during his time as a slave.
This genuine human tendency in Islam is an important basis for the principle of brotherhood of man which Islam advocates. It is also an important foundation for the principles of equality and freedom for which Islam calls and these three humanistic principles, lays the practical framework for their application, and associates them strongly to its creed, rituals and ethics so that they may be a mere hope or an ideal imagined by some, or even theoretical words written by others. It is sufficient in this context to tackle the principle of equality, as it is inseparable from that of brotherhood and can also be regarded as one of its results.
The nationalism that has appeared in this time in many Muslim countries wherein people form factions based on race, color or homeland is akin to the tribalism that existed in the ignorance of pre-Islamic times. The principle of human equality which Islam confirms is based on the idea that Islam respects and honors man only for his being human regardless of any race or color consideration. Islam never approves of any racial, national, tribal or color discrimination. Allah, the almighty, has said:
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has piety. Verily, Allah is all-knowing, all-aware” [49:13]
As the Prophet r taught; all people come from the same source thus no color or race is superior to another. Rather, all of them are equal before Allah, it is the one who is the most pious that is the most honorable before Allah. The splitting of people into various nations, countries and races should only be regarded like the splitting of a single family, brothers from one father and one mother.
People may differ in race and ethnicity, they may differ in ancestry and descent, some belonging to noble, aristocratic families others to unknown humble ones. People may also differ in wealth, there being the rich, the poor and the well-to-do. Such differences and variations do not guarantee to anyone more than the others due to his race, color, ancestry, wealth, job, class or any other consideration. The human value is the same one shared by everyone, the Arab, the non-Arab, the white, the black, the ruler, the subject, the rich, the poor, the employer, the employee, the man, the woman, the free and the slave.
There had been many tribal wars between during the ignorance of the pre-Islamic period. There existed a great deal of enmity, hatred and intense hostility until those who had fought each other so severely became Muslim and shared a brotherhood within the Islam.
It is said After Islam had set their affairs straight and they had become united, a non-Muslim man passed by a gathering of Muslims with malicious intentions in his heart, he disliked that the Muslims had found friendship and unity with each other through Islam. Thus, he sent a man who was with him to sit amongst them and remind them of the wars that used to be waged between them. He kept doing that until he was able to fully provoke them so that they became angry with one another, they started shouting their slogans and calling for their weapons. News of this reached the Prophet r who went to them to try and calm them down, he said, “are you issuing the calls of the jaahiliyyah when I am still among you?” He recited to them the following verse so that they would take heed:
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur’an), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah’s Favor on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided” [3:103]
When the Prophet r recited this verse to them, they understood their error and reconciled. Having said this, it would also be noteworthy to mention that Islam considers any act of aggression against the human soul as an act of aggression towards the whole of humanity, and the saving of one human soul as the saving of the whole. This is clearly stated in the Qur’an:
“Whoever kills a soul, unless it be retaliation or because of spreading corruption on earth, it would be as if he killed all mankind and whoever saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind…” (5:32)
Al-Qardawy, Yusuf, Introduction to Islam, Islamic Inc. Publishing & Distribution, Cairo, Egypt, 1995. (pg 27, 49-51
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