The Religion Of Al-Islam
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
The religion of Al-Islam may be called the newest of the major religions. But when you understand Al-Islam, you will learn that it is a continuation of the same religion that God revealed to the prophets from the very beginning. It is the same religion revealed to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all of God's Prophets. In as much that Al-Islam made its advent approximately 1400 years ago (750 A.D.) by the Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah (pbuh}, it should not be seen as a religion dwelling only at that time. We should see it as the message that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) brought to the world.
Al-Islam is not only the religion of monotheism, the belief in One God; it is also the religion of Unity, which is a belief in all of the prophets who came before Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is the continuation of the Revelation or Guidance from God that reached its completion in the message of the Qur'an. Muslims believe in the process of Revelation—the unity of the prophets. We have been told in the Qur'an to believe in God and that which He has sent down to us, and that which has been sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus as well as that which was given to all of God's Prophets. We make no distinction between any of them.
God tells us to say to the people of the Book (Christians and Jews) that we have no contention with them. Our contention is with the oppressors and prosecutors of truth. And if these oppressors happen to be religious people, then they fall in the category of the enemy. But we have no argument with anyone who supports and has faith in God, and give their life to promoting peace and righteousness. The Muslims are encouraged by the Qur'an to support such people. We are obligated to defend them against oppressors and non-believers. God tells us in the Qur'an that if there were not a group of people to oppose the oppressors, churches, monasteries, mosques and synagogues would have been torn down. It is an historical fact that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) obligated the Muslims to protect the sacred places of Christians and Jews. He even told them not to damage a Cross of the Christians.
It should be understood that Al-Islam is first of all a religion of peace, and that a Muslim is one who surrenders his will peacefully to God. Peace should be the dominant motivation in the Muslims life, and that is what brings us to accept God. If we really want to be at peace, we must accept what God has prescribed. The urge to have peace is intended to bring us into the realization that there is but One God to whom we owe everything. He obligates us to have peace with our fellowman. As long as we go along with certain prejudices against any race or nation, we won't find peace. We will find peace the moment we accept as being a part of one creation, and created by the same God.
The Proper Priority
We must judge people by what they produce as individuals, and not by the group into which they are a part. That i s not to say it isn't important. The group that people belong to is very important, and the African-American should understand that better than anyone else in America. God holds us responsible for the lot we belong to. Not only are we responsible to Him, but also to our fellowman.
If we belong to a group that has a bad name, then those with a good name should try to correct the behavior of those who give the group a bad name. To do this we must come to understand that charity begins at home and then spreads abroad. This tells us that we begin first with our own. We are told in the Qur'an that family ties—close relatives have a priority in terms of our obligation before God, It is good if you help a stranger, but if you step over your near relatives to reach the stranger before helping them, then you are wrong because family members have the first priority.
(To be continued)