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Why Islam? The Beauty and Benefits of Islam


Are all religions the same? How do I know which is correct? Why should I choose Islam?
This pamphlet aims to discuss some of the beauties, benefits and unique aspects of Islam as compared to other beliefs and religions.

1. Close Relationship with the Creator

At the core of Islam is the focus of an individual’s personal relationship with God, their Creator. It encourages a believer to have sustained awareness of God which is a key to lasting happiness.

Islam teaches that God is the source of peace. By focusing on this important relationship and following God’s guidance, believers will be able to acquire inner peace and tranquillity. Seeking lasting happiness through other means, such as following one’s desires or the accumulation of material possessions, will never fill the void we have. This need can only be filled with the awareness of God.

True contentment is found in acknowledging and obeying the Creator: “Truly, in remembering God do hearts find rest.” Quran 13:28

The primary reason for this close relationship is that Muslims have a direct connection with their Creator. There is no intermediary, such as praying to, or through, others, in worshipping God.

2. Positive Outlook on Life

Islam gives a person a clear perspective on the events that happen in their life, both good and bad, as they are, in fact, tests from God. It encourages a person to understand events in the context of the overall purpose of life, which is to acknowledge God and obey Him. He created humans with intellect and free will to test them as to who will wilfully choose to follow His guidance. This life is an ultimate testing ground and although we cannot control everything that happens to us, we can control how we react. Islam encourages a person to focus on what is in their control, to be grateful to God for blessings, and to be patient during hardships. Patience or gratitude – this is the formula for a happy life.

Islam encourages the believer to remain free from the extremes of worldly happiness that may cause one to forget God, and the extremes of sadness that may cause one to lose hope and blame God. By not being overly attached to the material world, a Muslim is empowered not only to better handle any calamities, but to be beneficial and generous to society. This leads to a more balanced and optimistic outlook on life.

3. Pure and Clear Concept of God

Unlike other religions, Islam is not named after its founder or the community of its birth. Islam is an attributive title that signifies obedience to God, the Creator of the Universe. One of its main beauties is that it acknowledges the complete perfection, greatness and uniqueness of God with absolutely no compromises. This is reflected in Islam’s pure teachings of the attributes of God.

God is One and Unique:

  • God has no partners, no equals and no rivals.
  • God has no father, mother, sons, daughters or wives.
  • God alone is worthy of all worship.

God is the All-Powerful:

  • God has full authority and power over all things.
  • Obedience to God does not increase His Power, nor does disobedience decrease His power.

God is the Most High:

  • There is nothing above or comparable to God.
  • The attributes of God do not resemble that of His creation.
  • No part of God is present in anyone or anything.

God is Perfect:

  • God does not have any human limitations, such as resting on the seventh day after He created the universe.
  • God always maintains attributes of perfection and does not do anything to compromise this perfection such as “becoming a man” as claimed by other religions. God does not do ungodly acts, so if God became man and took on human attributes, he would, necessarily, no longer be God.

4. Emphasises Both Evidence and Faith

Islam is a religion in which faith is based on clear proof. It encourages people to use their God given intelligence to think and ponder over their life and the universe. Although this life is a test, God has provided sufficient signs and guidance to people who are open-minded and sincere to be able to acknowledge the truth.

We (God) have certainly sent down Signs that make things clear: and God guides whom He wills to the straight path

Unlike other religions, there are many clear proofs, signs and miracles that the book of Islam, The Quran, is from God.

The Quran:

  • Is free from any errors or contradictions, despite it being revealed over a period of 23 years.
  • Is preserved, word-for-word, since it was revealed in its original Arabic language, unlike other scriptures which have been distorted, changed or lost.
  • Contains a simple, pure and universal message that has a profound effect on all those who are sincerely searching for the truth.
  • Contains a unique and inimitable style of language that is universally known as the pinnacle of Arabic eloquence and linguistic beauty – yet the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was known to be illiterate.
  • Contains many amazing scientific facts which have only been discovered recently, despite being revealed over 1400 years ago.

The most rational explanation for the many unique and miraculous aspects of the Quran is that it cannot be from other than God.

5. Forgiveness of Sins

Islam encourages a balance between hope in God’s mercy and fear of His punishment – both of which are required to lead a positive and humble life.

We are born sinless but have the free will to commit sins. God created us and knows we are imperfect and commit sins, but the key is how we react to committing those mistakes.

Do not despair of God’s mercy; He will forgive you of all your sins.

Islam teaches that God is the Most Merciful and will forgive and pardon those who sincerely want to repent. The beautiful steps for repentance include being sincere, remorseful, refraining from committing the sin as well as having the intention not to repeat it. Islam encourages a continuous process of self-development and self-purification. This process happens directly between the individual and God – there is no need for sins to be shared or “confessed” to a righteous person/priest. Furthermore, God does not need to sacrifice himself to forgive sins, nor is anyone “born into sin”.

6. Accountability and Ultimate Justice

Islam teaches that God is the Most Just and that each person will be held responsible for their own actions on the Day of Judgement. Each person is accountable, as they have freedom of choice and intelligence to discern between right and wrong.

It is an absolute demand of justice that there be a Day of Judgement where every person is rewarded or punished, otherwise life would be unjust as not everyone receives true justice in this world.

Islam teaches that ultimately we will be judged for how well we fulfilled our responsibilities and exercised our free will. We will be judged by God, the All Knowing and All Wise, who knows and sees everything we do. This encourages a more harmonious society and gives people contentment knowing that justice will ultimately prevail.

7. Practical and Balanced Way of Life

Islam provides the right balance between faith and action, as both are required for a stable life. It provides guidance for all situations and circumstances. It is a practical religion with practical acts of worship that are designed to fulfil the spiritual, physical, psychological and social needs of people.

Examples of practical acts of worship that have numerous benefits include:

  • The five daily prayers – Enriches the soul by satisfying the spiritual need of being in regular contact with God (especially in today’s busy lifestyle); makes one humble by bowing and prostrating to God; removes any barriers/pride/racism between believers praying in congregation; helps one refrain from committing sins given the person stands regularly before God.
  • The obligatory charity – Purifies a person from selfishness; encourages empathy to the poor; reminds one of the blessings of God; helps reduce poverty; bridges the gap between rich and poor.
  • The fasting in Ramadan – Promotes spiritual self-purification, self-restraint and growth; scientifically proven health benefits; empathy and awareness of those less fortunate; trains people to acquire the habit of obeying God.
  • The pilgrimage – Unites people of every colour, race, status and nationality, as pilgrims wear simple and similar clothing, while performing a range of good deeds in congregation.

Given that Islam is from God, every command found in the religion is ultimately good and beneficial to the individual and society when practised correctly. Quranic examples include being honest, forgiving, truthful, kind to one’s wife, patient, fair, moderate, modest, sincere, and respecting parents, family and the elderly. There are also many principles in the teachings of Islam that prevent or reduce many of the individual and social ills facing the world today.

8. Universal and Timeless Message

Islam has a message that applies to all people at all times, from the creation of Adam up until the Day of Judgement. It is applicable today as it always has been.

God is accessible to everyone. People may distinguish themselves and earn God’s favour through belief and righteous actions only – not through race, wealth, gender, nationality or social class.

Conclusion

Islam’s timeless and beautiful message is the same message of all Prophets, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). They all called their people to “Submit to the One True God” which, in Arabic, means to become a “Muslim”. This submission to God enables one to fulfil the purpose of life by acknowledging the greatness of God and sincerely worshipping him alone. In doing so, one will acquire the countless benefits of Islam mentioned above.

Belief in God in Islam

Belief in God in Islam consists of four matters:

(I) Belief in God’s existence.

(II) God is the Supreme Lord.

(III) God Alone is entitled to worship.

(IV) God is known by His Most Beautiful Names and Attributes.

(I)     Belief in God’s Existence

God’s existence does not require proof by scientific, mathematical, or philosophical arguments.  His existence is not a ‘discovery’ to be made by the scientific method or a mathematical theorem to be proven.  Simply said, mere common sense bears witness to God’s existence.  From a ship one learns of the ship-builder, from the cosmos one learns of its Creator.  God’s existence is also known by answers to prayers, miracles of prophets and the teaching in all revealed scriptures.

In Islam, a human being is not seen as a sinful creature to whom the message of Heaven is sent to heal the wound of original sin, but as a being who still carries his primordial nature (al-fitrah), an imprint on his soul that lies deeply buried under layers of negligence.  Humans are not born sinful, but forgetful as God has said:

“…Am I not your Lord?  They said: ‘Yes, we bear witness…’” (Quran 7:172)

In this verse, the “they” refers to all human beings, male and female.  The ‘yes’ confirms the affirmation of God’s oneness by us in our precosmic state.  Islamic doctrine holds that men and women still carry the echo of this ‘yes’ deep down within their souls.  The call of Islam is directed to this primordial nature, which uttered ‘yes’ even before they inhabited the earth.  Knowledge that this universe has a Creator is something instinctive in Islam and therefore it requires no proof.  Scientists, such as Andrew Newberg and Eugene D’Aquili, both affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and pioneers in the neurological research of religion, say “We are wired for God.”[1]

The Holy Quran rhetorically asks:

“…Can there be any doubt about God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth?…” (Quran 14:10)

One might ask, ‘if belief in God is natural, then why do some people lack this belief?’  The answer is simple.  Every human being has an innate belief in a Creator, but this belief is not a result of learning or personal deductive thinking.  With the passage of time, outside influences effect this innate belief and confuse the person.  So, one’s environment and upbringing veil the primordial nature from the truth.  The Prophet of Islam, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“Every child is born in a state of fitrah (a natural belief in God), then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian, or a Magian.” (Saheeh Muslim)

Often these veils are lifted when a human being is faced with a spiritual crisis and left helpless and vulnerable.

(II)   God Is the Supreme Lord

God is the only Lord of heaven and earth.  He is the Lord of the physical universe and the Lawgiver for human life.  He is the Master of the physical world and Ruler of the affairs of men.  God is the Lord of every man, woman, and child.  Historically, only a few have denied the existence of the Lord, which means that throughout the ages people have, for most part, believed in One God, a Supreme Being, a supernatural Creator.  That God is the Lord specifically contains the following meanings:

First, God is the sole Lord and Ruler of the physical world.  Lord means He is the Creator, Controller, and Owner of the Kingdom of the heaven and the earth; they belong exclusively to Him.  He alone brought existence out of non-existence, and all existence depends on Him for its conservation and continuance.  He did not create the universe and leave it to pursue its own course according to fixed laws, thereafter ceasing to take any further interest in it.  The power of the Living God is required at every moment to sustain all creatures.  Creation has no Lord besides Him.

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Who provides for you from the sky and the earth?  Or who owns hearing and sight?  And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living?  And who disposes the affairs?’  They will say: ‘God.’ Say: ‘Will you not then be afraid of God’s punishment (for setting up rivals with Him)?’” (Quran 10:31)

He is the ever-ruling King and the Savior, the Loving God, full of wisdom.  No one can change His decisions.  Angels, prophets, human beings, and the animal and plant kingdoms are under His control.

 

Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Second, God is the only Ruler of the affairs of men.  God is the supreme Lawgiver,[2]  the Absolute Judge, the Legislator, and He distinguishes right from wrong.  Just like the physical world submits to its Lord, human beings must submit to the moral and religious teaching of their Lord, the Lord who sets right apart from wrong for them.

.  In other words, God alone has the authority to make laws, determine acts of worship, decide morals, and set standards of human interaction and behavior.  His is the command:

“…Surely, His is the creation and the command; blessed be God, the Lord of the worlds.” (Quran 7:54)

 

 

What is Islamic monotheism

Monotheism is the message that all of the Prophets came with.  People then deviated from the truth.  Then Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him, came as the final Messenger and restored true monotheism to humanity.  Below is a detailed explanation of monotheism in Islam.

Monotheism in Islam

The concept of monotheism (known as tawhîd in Arabic) is the single most important concept in Islam.  Everything in Islam is built upon it.  Islam calls to the absolute oneness of God.  No act of worship or devotion has any meaning or value if this concept is in any way compromised.

Monotheism can be looked at from the following three angles:

  1. The Oneness of God in His Lordship
  2. Devotion of All Worship to God Alone
  3. The Oneness of God in His Names and Attributes

These three angles can be elaborated upon as follows:

The Oneness of God in His Lordship

The oneness of God in His Lordship means that God has complete mastery over the universe in every way.  He alone is the Creator of all things.  He alone causes everything to happen.  He is All-Powerful.  No one shares in His dominion.  None can resist His decree.

This concept is one that most people on Earth would agree with.  Most people recognize that the Creator of the universe is One and He has no partner.

Devotion of All Worship to God Alone

No one has the right to be worshipped except for God (Allah).  This concept is the central idea that was proclaimed by all the Prophets throughout the ages.  It is the most important creedal belief in Islam.  The purpose of Islam is to call people away from the worship of creation and call them towards the worship of the Creator.

This is where Islam differs greatly from most other religions.  Though most religions teach that there is a Supreme Being who created all that exists, they are rarely free of some form of polytheism with respect to worship.  These religions either call on their adherents to worship other beings as gods besides God (Allah) – though usually placing these other gods on a lower level than the Supreme Being – or they demand that their adherents call on other beings as intercessors between them and God.

All the Prophets and Messengers, from Adam to Muhammad (may God praise them all) called people to worship God alone.  This is the purest, simplest, most natural faith.  Islam rejects the notion of the cultural anthropologists that the early religion of human beings was polytheism, and then slowly the idea of monotheism evolved from that.

The truth is that the natural religion of humanity is to worship God alone.  People later came along and corrupted this religion, introducing into it the worship of other beings.  People seem to have a tendency to want to focus their devotions on something tangible, something imaginable, even though they have an instinctive knowledge that the Creator of the universe is far beyond their imaginations.  Throughout human history, God sent Prophets and Messengers to call the people back to the worship of the One True God, and repeatedly, people returned to the worship of created beings.

God created human beings to worship Him alone.  The greatest possible sin is to worship anyone other than God (Allah).  It is no less sinful if the worshipper intends to get nearer to God by offering devotions to another being.  God does not need intercessors or intermediaries.  He hears all of our prayers and has complete knowledge of everything that happens.

At the same time, God does not need our worship.  He is completely independent of all things.  If every person in the world were to come together to worship God alone, they would not benefit God in the least.  They would not add an atom’s weight to His dominion.  Conversely, if all creation abandoned the worship of God, this would not decrease His dominion in the least.  By worshipping God, we benefit our own souls and fulfill the purpose for which we were created.  We do not fulfill any need of God.  He is needless.

The Oneness of God in His Names and Attributes

The oneness of God (Allah) in His names and attributes implies that God does not share in the attributes of created beings, nor do they share in any of His.  God is unique in every way.  Muslims believe in all of the attributes that God asserts for Himself and that His Prophet ascribes to Him with the understanding that those attributes are not the same as the attributes of created things.  Likewise, we negate any name or attribute for God that God and His Messenger negate for Him.

God’s attributes are all attributes of perfection and completeness.  Human deficiencies cannot be ascribed to God.  God has no deficiency or weakness whatsoever.

It is a form of polytheism to ascribe to God attributes of created things.  It is likewise a form of polytheism to ascribe to created things attributes that belong to God alone.  Anyone who believes that another being is, for instance, All-Knowledgeable or All-Powerful has committed the sin of polytheism, which is the greatest of all sins in Islam.

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