Short Answer: Islam as a religion is not only natural, but also rational, in the sense that it bases its fundamental beliefs on principles furnished by reason. In fact the elemental simplicity of its creeds points to its natural and rational basis. It is no wonder therefore, that its creeds devoid of any theological complexity are so easily understandable to ordinary humans.
Belief in One God – the foundation of all religions
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A critical study of the major religions of the world will show that all of them recognize the One True God as the Creator-Sustainer of the universe, who is called by different names such as – Yahweh, Brahma and Allah. It is acknowledged that the same Supreme Being willed this universe into being and sustains it every moment.
Islam – the religion of all the prophets
The word Islam basically means: Peace as well as Submission. And as the name of the religion, it stands for: “The Peace one attains by the unconditional submission to the One and Only Creator-Sustainer”. All beings in the universe owe their existence to the Creator-Sustainer, who alone is without beginning, without end.
And among the created living beings, only man is endowed with reason and freewill – two special traits that together form the basis of human creativity. Man’s unique position in the universe as well as his inherent creative potential is meant to take him to the peak of material progress, and to benefit humanity as a whole.
But those very same qualities have also a tendency to generate in him a diabolic sense of self-conceit and hubris which are detrimental to his welfare. For this reason man needs Divine Guidance to lead him along the Right Path towards success.
From the very inception of man on earth, God had been sending to mankind His chosen prophets, who included among others, Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus and the Final Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon them all.
And there never was a nation to whom a prophet was not sent. These prophets with the help of Divine revelation taught humanity, ways of tempering their passions so as to enable them to live on earth a life of virtue and peace.
The Quran the Perfect Book of Guidance revealed to the Last Prophet
Generation after generation, as humanity made progress through centuries, the guidance of God had been available to them in the teachings of the prophets as well as in the Divine books revealed to them.
But as mankind came of age at the dawn of modern civilization as it were, a Prophet came, through whom God completed and perfected His Guidance. His name is Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) and the book of God revealed to him is the Quran.
Humanity’s acknowledgement of their covenant that Allah is their Lord
In the Quran, Allah Almighty tells us that He took a covenant from all the human souls in primordial time long before they would come to live on earth that they acknowledge Him as their Lord. (Quran 7:172)
This innate belief in Allah generates a natural inclination in humans to worship Him alone. But later as each soul is born into this world and lives here, they are distracted from this Truth and are in a state of forgetfulness about the covenant they had once made before God.
But there are signs in the universe and in their own souls, which awaken from time to time the glimmerings of the innate consciousness in them of God: “I bear witness that there is no god other than Allah”.
And so, if the people are honest with themselves, they will reject their false gods and hasten towards the Truth of Allah.
Islam – the simple, natural and rational religion
Islam as a religion is not only natural, but also rational, in the sense that it bases its fundamental beliefs on principles furnished by reason. In fact the elemental simplicity of its creeds points to its natural and rational basis. It is no wonder therefore, that its creeds devoid of any theological complexity are so easily understandable to ordinary humans.
The rites of Islam such as the Salah, the Sawm, the Zakah and the Hajj are designed to bolster the spiritual as well as the physical well-being of humans. Particularly the five times’ Salah is unique in that it serves as an epitome of Islam itself: It is at the same time an outward physical and an inward spiritual expression of man’s complete submission to God.
Islam – the religion of human brotherhood leading to global peace
One can mention the egalitarianism of Islam as a great service to the cause of humanity. As H.A.R Gibb has noted: “No other society has such a record of success in uniting in an equality of status, of opportunity, and of endeavors so many and so various races of mankind…. If ever the opposition of the great societies of East and West is to be replaced by cooperation, the mediation of Islam is an indispensable condition. In its hands lies very largely the solution of the problem with which Europe is faced in its relation with East. If they unite, the hope of a peaceful issue is immeasurably enhanced. But if Europe, by rejecting the cooperation of Islam, throws it into the arms of its rivals, the issue can only be disastrous for both.”
“History shows that the Muslims increased in civilization and progressed in relation to the strength of the truths of Islam; that is, to the degree that they acted in accordance with that strength. And history also shows that they fell into savagery and decline, and disaster and defeat amidst utter confusion to the degree of their weakness in adhering to the truths of Islam.”
Islam teaches its followers to learn lessons from history, to undertake the quest for knowledge with the intention of discovering the meaning of existence, and to work for the welfare of all human beings, indeed of all creation: In fact the Holy Quran, as well as the Example of the Prophet, teaches them to combine faith in God with love for His creation.
The foregoing hopefully sheds some light on the truth of Islam, which can lead the world to peace, progress and happiness in the future, if only Muslims once again “hold fast to the Rope of Allah all together” (Quran 3:103) and “strive with their might and main” (Quran 9:20) in the Way of Allah Almighty.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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