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Islam and Muslims

The Arabic word Islam means peace, submission and obedience. The religion of Islam is the complete acceptance of the teachings and GUIDANCE of Allah as revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). A Muslim is one who believes in Allah and strives for total reorganization of his life according to His revealed guidance and the guidance and the sayings of the Prophet. He also works for building human society on the same basis. "Muhammadanism" is a misnomer for Islam and offends its very spirit.

The word 'Allah' is the proper name of God in Arabic. It is a unique term because it has no plural or feminine gender.

Continuity of Message

Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all Prophets:

Say, we believe in Allah and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Issac and Jacob and tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to other Prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit (Qur'an 3:83).

The message that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is Islam in its comprehensive complete and final form.

The Five Pillars of Islam

There are five pillars of Islam

1. The declaration of faith: To bears witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad (PBUH) is His messenger to all human beings till the Day of Judgment. The Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) obliges the Muslims to follow his exemplary life as a model.

2. Prayers: Prayers are offered five times a day as a duty towards Allah. They strengthen and enliven the belief in Allah, and inspire and prevent temptation towards wrongdoings and evils.

3. Zakat: To pay annually 2.5% of one's net saving on which a year has passed as a religious duty and purifying sum to be spent on poorer sections of the community.

4. Fasting the month of Ramadhan: The Muslims during the month of Ramadhan not only abstain from food drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, but also from evil intentions and desires. It teaches love, sincerity and devotion. It develops a sound social conscience, patience, unselfishness and willpower.

5. Pilgrimage to Makkah: It is to be performed once in a lifetime, if one can afford it financially and physically.

Besides these pillars every action that is done with the awareness that it pleases Allah is also considered an act of worship. Islam enjoins faith in the Oneness and Sovereignty of Allah, which makes man aware of the meaningfulness of the Universe and of his place in it. This belief frees him from all fears and superstitions by making him conscious of the presence of the Almighty Allah and of man's obligations towards Almighty Allah. This faith must be expressed and tested in action. Faith alone is not enough. Belief in one requires that we look upon all humanity as one family under the universal Omnipotence of Allah -- the Creator and Nourisher of all. Islam rejects the idea of chosen people. It considers faith in Allah and good action the only way to heaven, thus, a direct relationship is established with Allah, without any intercessor.

Man: The Free Agent

Man is the highest creation of Allah. He is equipped with the highest of potentialities. He is left relatively free in his will, action and choice. Allah has shown him the right path, and the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) provides a perfect example. Man's success and salvation lie in following both this path and the Qur'an. Islam teaches the sanctity of the human personality and confers equal rights without any distinction of race, sex or color.

The law of Allah, enunciated in the Qur'an and exemplified in the life of the prophet, is supreme in all cases. It applies equally to the highest and the lowest, the rich and poor, the ruler and ruled.

Qur'an and Ahadith

The Qur'an is the last revealed book of Allah and the basic source of Islamic teachings and laws. The Qur'an deals with the bases of creeds, morality, history of humanity, worship, knowledge, wisdom, Allah-man and human relationship in all aspects. Comprehensive teachings that can build sound systems of social justice, economics, politics, legislation, jurisprudence, law and international relations. These are important contents of the Holy Qur'an.

Muhammad (PBUH) himself was an unlettered man who could not read or write. Yet, the Holy Qur'an was committed to memory and written down by his followers, under his supervision, during his lifetime. The original and complete text of the Qur'an is available to everybody in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed. Translations of the meaning into many languages are widely used. AHADITH, the teachings, sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), meticulously reported and collected by his devoted companions, explain and elaborate the Qur'anic verses.

Concept of Worship

Islam does not teach or accept mere ritualism. It emphasizes intention and action. To worship Allah is to know Him and love Him, to act upon His law in every aspect of life, to enjoin goodness and forbid wrongdoing and oppression, to practice charity and justice and to serve Him by serving mankind. The Qur'an presents this concept in the following sublime manner:

Is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophets; and gives his wealth for love of Him to kinfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free and observes proper worship and pays the charity. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress, such are those who are sincere. Such are the Allah fearing. (Qur'an 2:177)

Islamic Way of Life

Islam provides definite guidelines for all people to follow in all background. The guidance it gives is comprehensive and includes the social, economic, political, moral and spiritual aspects of life. The Qur'an reminds man of the purpose of his life on earth, of his duties and obligations towards himself, his friends and relations, his community, his fellow human beings and his Creator. Man is given fundamental guidelines about a purposeful life and he is left with the challenge of human existence before him so that he might put these high ideals into practice. In Islam, man's life is a wholesome, integrated unit and not a collection of fragmented, competitive parts. The sacred and secular are not separate parts of man's life: they are united in the nature of being human.

Historical Perspective

Muhammad (PBUH) was born in the year 570 A.D. in the city of Makkah in Arabia. He came from a noble family; he received the first revelation at the age of forty. As soon as he started preaching Islam, he and his followers were persecuted and had to face severe hardships. He was, therefore, commanded by Allah to migrate to Madinah, the second holiest city in Islam. During a short span of 23 years, he completed his mission of Prophethood. He returned to Allah at the age of 63. He led a perfect life and sets an example for all human-beings as his life was the embodiment of the Qur'anic teachings.

Islam's Rational Appeal

Islam has in its clear and direct way of expressing truth has a tremendous amount of appeal for any seeker of knowledge. It is a solution for all the problems of life. It is a guide towards a better and complete life glorifying in all its phases, Allah, the Almighty Creator and Merciful Nourisher.

Islam -- Solution of Modern Problems

The Brotherhood of Man: A major problem which modern man face is that of racism. The materially advanced nations can send man to the moon but they cannot stop man from hating and fighting his fellow man. Islam, over the last 1400 years, has shown in practice how racism can be ended. Every year, during Hajj, the Islamic miracle of real brotherhood of all races and nations can be seen in action.

Family: The family that is the basic unit of civilization, is disintegrating in all western countries. Islam's family system brings into a fine equilibrium the rights of husband, wife, children and relatives. Islam nourishes human unselfishness, generosity and love in a well-organized family system.

Unfragmented View of Life

Human beings live according to their view of life. The tragedy of secular societies is that they fail to connect the different aspects of life. The secular and religious, the scientific and spiritual seem to be in conflict. Islam ends this conflict and brings harmony to man's vision of life.


The Islam that was revealed to Muhammad (PBUH), is the continuation and culmination of all the proceeding revealed religions and hence it is for all times and all peoples. This status of Islam is sustained by glaring facts. First, there is no other revealed book extant in the same form and content as it was revealed. Second, no other revealed religion has any convincing claim to provide guidance in all walks of human life for all times. Islam addresses humanity at large and offers basic guidance regarding all human problems. Moreover, it has withstood the test of fourteen hundred years and has all the potentialities of establishing an ideal society as it did under the leadership of the last Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

It was a miracle that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) could win even his toughest enemies to the fold of Islam without adequate material resources. Worshippers of idols, blind followers of the ways of forefathers, promoters of tribal feuds, abusers of human dignity and blood, became the most disciplined nation under the guidance of Islam and its Prophet. Islam opened before them vistas of spiritual heights and human dignity by declaring righteousness as the sole criterion of merit and honor. Islam shaped their social, cultural, moral and commercial life with basic laws and principles that are most in conformity with human nature.

It is so unfortunate that the Christians and the West instead of sincerely trying to understand the phenomenal success of Islam during its earlier time, considered it as rival religion. During the centuries of the Crusades, this trend gained much force and impetus and huge amount of literature was produced to tarnish the image of Islam. But Islam has begun to unfold its genuineness to the modern scholars whose bold and objective observations on Islam belie all the charges levelled against it by the so-called unbiased orientalists.

Here we furnish some observations on Islam by great and acknowledged non-Muslim scholars of modern time. Truth needs no advocate to plead on its behalf, but the prolonged malicious propaganda against Islam has created great confusion even in the minds of free and objective thinkers.

We hope that the following observations would contribute to initiating an objective evaluation of Islam.

It (Islam) replaced monkishness by manliness, it gives hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind, and recognition of the fundamental facts of human nature.

Canon Taylor Paper read before the Church Congress at Walverhamton, Oct 7, 1887, Quoted by Arnond in the Preaching of Islam, p.p. 71-72.

Sense of justice is one of the most wonderful ideals of Islam, because as I read in the Qur'an I find those dynamic principles of life, not mystic but practical ethics for the daily conduct of life suited to the whole world.

Sarojini Naidu, Lectures on "The ideals of Islam" see Speeches and Writings of Sarojini Naidu, Madras, 1918, p. 167.

History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.

De Lacy O'Leary Islam at the Crossroads London, 1923 p. 8.

But Islam has a still further service to render to the cause of humanity. It stands after all nearer to the real East than Europe does, and it possesses a magnificent tradition of inter-racial understanding and cooperation. 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...Islam has still the power to reconcile apparently irreconcilable elements of race and tradition. 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.

H. A. R. Gibb, Whither Islam, London, 1932, p. 379.

I have always held the religion of Muhammad (PBUH) in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion that appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence that can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him -- the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being anti- Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad (PBUH) that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.

G. B. Shaw, The Genuine Islam, Vol. 1, No. 81936.

The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue.

A. J. Toynbee, Civilization on Trial, New York, 1948, p. 205.

The rise of Islam is perhaps the most amazing event in human history. Springing from a land and people like previously negligible, Islam spread within a century over half the earth, shattering great empires, overthrowing long established religions, remolding the souls of races, and building up a whole new world -- world of Islam. The closer we examine this development the more extraordinary does it appear. The other great religions won their way slowly, by painful struggle and finally triumphed with the aid of powerful monarchs converted to the new faith. Christianity has its Contantine, Buddhism its Asoka, and Zoroastrianism its Cyrus, each lending to his chosen cult the mighty force of secular authority. But not in Islam. Arising in a desert land sparsely inhabited by a nomad race previously undistinguished in human annals. Islam sallied forth on its great adventure with the slenderest human backing and against the heaviest material odds. Yet Islam triumphed with seemingly miraculous ease, And a couple of generations saw the Fiery Crescent borne victorious from the Pyreness to the Himalayas and from the desert of Central Asia to the deserts of Central Africa.

A. M. L. Stoddard, quoted in Islam -- The Religion of All Prophets, Begum Bawani Waqf, Karachi, Pakistan p. 56.

Islam is a religion that is essentially rationalistic in the widest sense of this term considered etymologically and historically. The definition of rationalism as a system that bases religious beliefs on principles furnished by the reason applies to it exactly. It cannot be denied that many doctrines and systems of theology and many superstitions, from the worship of saints to the use of rosaries and amulets, have become grafted on the main trunk of Muslim creed. But in spite of the rich development, in every sense of the term, of the teachings of the Prophet, the Qur'an has invariably kept its place as the fundamental starting point, and the dogma of unity of Allah has always been proclaimed therein with a grandeur, a majesty, and invariable purity and with a note of sure conviction, which it is hard to find surpassed outside the pale of Islam. This fidelity to the fundamental dogma of the religion, the elemental simplicities of the formula in which it is enunciated, the proof that it gains from the fervid conviction of the missionaries who propagate it, are so many causes to explain the success of Muhammadan missionary efforts. A creed so precise, so stripped of all theological complexities and consequently so accessible to the ordinary understanding might be expected to possess and does indeed possess a marvelous power of winning its way into the consciences of men.

Edward Monlet, "La Propagande Chretienne et ses Adversaries, Muslmans" Paris 1980, quoted by T.W. Arnold in the Preaching of Islam, London 1913, pp. 413- 414.

I am not a Muslim in the usual sense, though I hope I am a "Muslim" as "one surrendered to Allah," but I believe that embedded in the Qur'an and other expressions of the Islamic vision are vast stories of divine truth from which I and other occidentals have still much to learn; and "Islam is certainly a strong contender for the supplying of the basic framework of the one religion of the future."

W. Montgomery Watt, Islam and Christianity Today London 1983, p. IX.


It is known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used concerning God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah. Allah is the personal name of the One true God, no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word God that can be made plural, gods or feminine, goddess. It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and sister language of Arabic.

The One true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associate with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from Allah Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur'an, which is considered the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism, Chapter 112 reads:

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say (O Muhammad) He is Allah the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone.

Some non-Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully, they surmise that He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther from truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur'an begins with the verse, "In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful." In one of the sayings of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) we are told that," Allah is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child."

But Allah is also Just. Hence evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment and the virtuousness of His bounties and favors. Actually Allah's attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their life for His sake and people oppressing and exploiting other people all their life should not receive similar treatment from their Lord. Expecting similar treatment for them will amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negating all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world, The following Qur'anic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect.

Verily, for the Righteous are gardens of Delight, in the Presence of their Lord. Shall We then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How to Judge you? (68:34-36).

Islam rejects characterizing Allah in any Human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race, He created the human-beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only.

The concepts that Allah rested on the seventh day of creation, that Allah wrestled with one of His soldiers, that Allah is an envious plotter against mankind, or that He is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view.

The unique usage of Allah as a personal name of God is a reflection of Islam's emphasis on the purity of the belief in Allah that is the essence of the message of all Allah's messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with Allah as a deadly sin which Allah will never forgive, although He may forgive all other sins.

The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if he is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then he must be eternal. But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes him to continue to exist, which means that he must be self-sufficient. And if he does not depend on anything for the continuance of his own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal and everlasting: 'He is the first and the last.'

He is self-sufficient or self-subsistent or, to use a Qur'anic term, Al- Qayyum. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.

Allah is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on Allah. He knows its lodging-place and its repository.

The Attributes of Allah

If the Creator is eternal and everlasting, then His attributes must be also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes and not acquire new ones. If this is so, then His attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment's thought shows that this is not feasible.

The Qur'an summarizes this argument in the following verses:

Allah has not taken to Himself any son, nor is there any god with Him: For then each god would have taken off that which he created and some of them would have risen up over others. And Why, were there are gods in earth and heaven other than Allah, they (heaven and earth) would surely go to ruin (23:91).

Oneness of Allah

The Qur'an reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods.

To the worshippers of man-made objects it asks: Do you worship what you have carved yourself or have you taken unto you others beside Him to be your protectors, even such as have no power to protect themselves? (13:16)

To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham:

When night outspreads over Him he saw a star and said, "This is my Lord." But when it set he said, "I love not the setters." When he saw the moon rising, he said, "This is my Lord." But when it set he said: "If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the people gone astray." When he saw the sun rising, he said, "This is my Lord; this is greater." But when it set he said, "O my people, surely I quit that you associate. I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth; and man of pure faith I am not of the idolaters." (6:76-79)

The Believer's Attitude

To be a Muslim, i.e., to surrender oneself to Allah, It is necessary to believe in the oneness of Allah, in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. But this belief -- later on called Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah is not enough. Many of the idolaters knew and believed that only the Supreme Allah could do all this. But that was not enough to make them Muslims. To tawhidar-rububiyyah one must add Tawhid Al'uluhiyyah, i.e., one deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstains from worshipping any other thing or being.

Having achieved this knowledge of the one true Allah, man should constantly have faith in Him, and should allow nothing to induce him to deny truth.

When faith enters a person's heart, it causes certain mental states which result in certain actions. Taken together these mental states and actions are the proof for true faith. The prophet (PBUH) said, "Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds."

Foremost among those mental states is the feeling of gratitude towards Allah, which could be said to be the essence of Ibada (Worship).

The feeling of gratitude is so important that a non-believer is called 'kafir,' which means 'one who denies a truth' and 'one who is ungrateful.'

A believer loves, and is grateful to Allah for the bounties He bestowed upon him, but being aware of the fact that his good deeds, whether mental or physical, are far from being commensurate with Divine favors; he is always anxious lest Allah should punish him, here or in the Hereafter. He, therefore, fears Him, surrenders himself to Him and serves Him with great humility. One cannot be in such a mental state without being almost all the time mindful of Allah. Remembering Allah is thus the life force of faith, which it fades and withers away.

The Qur'an promotes this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of Allah very frequently. We find most of these attributes mentioned together in the following verses of the Qur'an:

He is God; there is no god but He. He is the Knower of the unseen and the visible; He is the All-merciful, the All-compassionate. He is God; there is no god but He. He is the King, the All-holy, the All-peace, the Guardian of Faith, the All-preserver, the All-mighty, the All-compeller, the All-sublime. Glory be to Allah, above that they associate! He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the All-mighty, the All-wise. (59:22-24).

There is no god but He, the Living, the Everlasting. Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep; to Him belong all that is in the heavens and the earth. Who is there that shall intercede with Him save by His leave? He knows what lies before them and what is after them, and they comprehend not anything of His knowledge save such as He wills. His throne comprises the heavens and earth; the preserving of them oppresses Him not; He is the All-high, the All-glorious. (2:255).

People of Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to Allah but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of Allah, and His word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three.' Refrain; better is it for you. Allah is only one God. Glory be to Him -- that He should have a son. (4:171)


Prophethood is not unknown to heavenly revealed religions, such as Judaism and Christianity. In Islam, however, it has a special status and significance.

According to Islam, Allah created man for a noble purpose: to worship Him and lead a virtuous life based on His teachings and guidance. How man would know his role and the purpose of his existence unless he received clear and practical instructions of what Allah wants him to do? Here comes the need for Prophethood. Thus Allah has chosen from every nation a prophet or more to convey His Message to people.

One might ask: How were the prophets chosen and who were entitled to this great honor?

Prophethood is Allah's blessing and favor that He may bestow on whom He wills. However, from surveying the various messengers throughout history, three features of a prophet may be recognized:

1. He is the best in his community morally and intellectually. This is necessary because the prophet's life serves as a model for his followers. His personality should attract people to accept his message rather than drive them away by his imperfect character. After receiving the message he is infallible. That is, he would not commit any sin. He might do some minor mistakes that are usually corrected by revelation.

2. He is supported by miracles to prove that he is not an impostor. Those miracles are granted by the power and permission of and are usually in the field in which his people excel and are recognized as superiors. We might illustrate this by quoting the major miracles of the three prophets of the major world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moses's contemporaries were excellent in magic. So his major miracle was to defeat the best magicians of Egypt of his days. Jesus's contemporaries were recognized as skillful physicians. Therefore his miracles were to raise the dead and cure the incurable diseases. The Arabs, the contemporaries of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), were known for their eloquence and magnificent poetry. So Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) major miracle was the Qur'an, the equivalent of which the whole legion of the Arab poets and orators could not produce despite the repeated challenge from the Qur'an itself. Again Muhammad's (PBUH) miracle has something special about it. All previous miracles were limited by time and places, i.e., they were shown to specific people. Not so the miracle of Muhammad (PBUH) -- the Qur'an. It is a universal and ever lasting miracle. Previous generations will witness its miraculous nature in term of its style, content and spiritual uplifting. These still can be tested and will thereby prove the divine origin of the Qur'an.

3. Every prophet state clearly that what he receives is not of his own but from Allah for the well-being of mankind. He also confirms what was revealed before him and what may be revealed after him. A prophet does this to show that he is simply conveying the message that is entrusted to him by the One True God of all people in all ages. So the message is one in essence and for the same purpose. Therefore, it should not deviate from what was revealed before him or what might come after him.

Prophets are necessary for conveying Allah's instruction and guidance to mankind. We have no way of knowing why were we created? What will happen to us after death? Is there any life after death? Are we accountable for our actions? In other words, is there any reward or punishment for our deeds in this life? These and so many other questions about Allah, angels, paradise, hell, etc., can not be answered without direct revelation from the Creator and Knower of the unseen. Those answers must be authentic and must be brought by individuals whom we trust and respect. That is why messengers are the select of their societies with moral conducts and intellectual abilities.

Hence the slanderous Biblical stories about some of the great prophets are not accepted by Muslims. As for example, when Lot is reported to have committed fornication with his daughters while drunk, or that David sent one of his general to his death, in an attempt to marry the general's wife. Prophets to Muslims are greater than what these stories indicate. These stories can not be true from the Islamic point of view.

The prophets are also miraculously supported by Allah and instructed by Him to affirm the continuity of his message.

The content of the prophets' message to mankind can be summarized as follows:

a) Clear concept about Allah: His attributes, His creation, what should and should not be ascribed to Him.

b) Clear explanations about the unseen world, the angels, jinn (spirits), Paradise and Hell.

c) The reasons Allah created mankind and what our obligations are toward Him.

d) Clear instructions and laws that, when applied correctly and honestly, will result in a happy and ideal society.

It is clear from the above discussion that there is no substitute for prophets. Even nowadays with the advancement of science, the only authentic source of information about the supernatural world is revelation. Guidance can not be obtained neither from science nor from mystic experience. The first is too materialistic and too limited; the second is too subjective and frequently too misleading.

Now one might ask:

How many prophets had Allah sent to humanity? We do not know for sure. Some Muslim scholars have suggested 240 thousand prophets. We are only sure of what is clearly mentioned in the Qur'an, that is, has sent a messenger (or more) to every nation. That is because it is one of Allah's principles that He will never call people to account unless He has made clear to them what to do and what not to do. The Qur'an mentions the names of 25 prophets and indicates that there have been others who were not mentioned to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Among these 25 include Noah, the man of the Ark, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. These five are the greatest among Allah's messengers. They are called the prophets of firm resolution.

An outstanding aspect of the Islamic belief in Prophethood is that Muslims believe in and respect all the messengers of Allah with no exceptions. Since all the prophets came from the same One Allah, for the same purpose -- to lead mankind to Allah -- belief in them all is essential and logical; accepting some and rejecting others has to be based on misconceptions of the prophets' role or on racial bias. The Muslims are the only people in the world who consider the belief in all the prophets of Allah an article of faith. Thus the Jews reject Jesus Christ and Muhammad (PBUH); the Christians reject Muhammad (PBUH) and in reality reject Moses because they do not abide by his laws. The Muslims accept them all as messengers of Allah Who brought guidance to mankind.? However, the revelations that those prophets, before the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) brought from Allah have been tampered with in one way or the other. The belief in all messengers of Allah is enjoined on the Muslims by the Qur'an.

Say (O Muslims): we believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and, that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and their children, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and unto Him we have surrendered. (2:136)

The Qur'an continues in the following verses to instruct the Muslims that this is the true and impartial belief. If other nations believe in the same, they must by following their own whims and biases and Allah will take care of them. Thus we read:

And if they believe in what you believe, then are they rightly guided. But they turn away, then they are in disunity, and Allah will suffice you against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. This is Allah's religion and Who are better than Allah in religion? (2:137-138)

There are at least, two important points related to Prophethood that need to be clarified. These points concern the roles of Jesus and Muhammad (PBUH) as prophets who are misunderstood.

The Qur'anic account of Jesus emphatically rejects the concept of his 'Divinity' and 'Divine Sonship' and presents him as one of the great prophets of Allah. The Qur'an makes it clear that the birth of Jesus without a father does not make him son of Allah and mentions in this respect Adam who was created by Allah without a father and mother:

Truly the likeness of Jesus, in Allah's sight, is as Adam's likeness; He created him of dust, then said He unto him, "Be" and he was. (3:59)

Like other prophets Jesus also performed miracles. For example, he raised the dead and cured the blind and the lepers, but while showing these miracles he always made it clear that it was all from Allah. Actually the misconceptions about the personality and mission of Jesus found its way among his followers because the Divine message that he preached was not recorded during his presence in the world, rather it was recorded after a lapse of about hundred years. According to the Qur'an he was sent to the children of Israel; he confirmed the validity of the Torah that was revealed to Moses and he also brought the glad tidings of a final messenger after him.

And when Jesus the son of Mary said, 'children of Israel, I am indeed the Messenger to you confirming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be the praised one.' (61:6) (The underlined portion is the translation of Ahmad which is prophet Muhammad's name.)

However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry. They plotted against his life and in their opinion crucified him. But the Qur'an refutes this opinion and says that they neither killed him nor crucified him, rather he was raised up to Allah. This verse from the Qur'an further explains: "And there is none of the people of the Book but must believe in Him before his death. . ." (4:159). This verse confirming his existence as being alive is also supported by authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The last Prophet of Allah, Muhammad (PBUH), was born in Arabia in the sixth century C.E. Up to the age of forty, people of Makkah knew him as a man of excellent character and cultured manners and called him AL-AMEEN (the trustworthy). He also did not know that he was soon to be made a prophet and receiver of revelation from Allah. He called the idolaters of Makkah to worship the only one Allah and accept him as His Prophet. The revelation that he received was preserved in his lifetime and in the memory of his companions and was also recorded on pieces of palm leaves, leather, etc. Thus the Qur'an that is found today is the same that was revealed to him, not a syllable of it has been altered as Allah Himself has guaranteed its preservation. This Qur'an claims to be the book of guidance for whole humanity for all times, and mentions Muhammad (PBUH) as the last Prophet of Allah.


During the centuries of the crusades, all sort of slanders were invented against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). but with the birth of the modern age, marked with religious tolerance and freedom of thought, there has been a great change in the approach of Western authors in their delineation of his life and character. The views of some non- Muslim scholars regarding Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), given at the end of this section, justify this opinion.

But the West has still to go a step forward to discover the greatest reality about Muhammad (PBUH), and that is his being the true and the last Prophet of Allah for the whole humanity. In spite of all its objectivity and enlightenment there has been no sincere and objective attempt by the West to understand the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH). It is strange that glowing tributes are paid to him for his integrity and achievement but his claim of being the Prophet of has been rejected explicitly or implicitly. It is here that a searching of the heart is required, and a review of the so-called objectivity is needed. The following facts from the life of Muhammad (PBUH) have been furnished to facilitate an unbiased, logical and objective decision regarding his Prophethood.

Up to the age of forty, Muhammad (PBUH) was not known as a statesman, a preacher or an orator. He was never seen discussing the principles of metaphysics, ethics, law, politics, economics or sociology. No doubt he possessed an excellent character, charming manners and was highly cultured. Yet there was nothing so deeply striking and so radically extraordinary in him that would make men expect something great and revolutionary from him in the future. But when he came out of the Cave (HIRA) with a new message, he was completely transformed. Is it possible for such a person of the above qualities to turn all of a sudden 'an impostor' and claim to be the Prophet of Allah and invite all the rage of his people? One might ask: for what reason did he suffer all those hardships? His people offered to accept him as their king and to lay all the riches of the land at his feet if only he would leave the preaching of his religion. But he chose to refuse their tempting offers and goes on preaching his religion single-handedly in the face of all kinds of insults, social boycott and even physical assault by his own people. Was it not only Allah's (God) support and Muhammad (PBUH) firm will to disseminate the message of Allah along with his deep rooted belief that ultimately Islam would emerge as the only way of life for humanity, that allowed him to stand like a mountain in the face of all opposition and conspiracy to eliminate him. Furthermore, had he come with a design of rivalry with the Christians and the Jews, why should he have made belief in Jesus Christ, Moses and other Prophets of God (PBUH), a basic requirement of faith without which no one could be a Muslim?

Is it not an incontrovertible proof of his Prophethood that in spite of being unlettered and of having led a very normal and quiet life for forty years, he began preaching his message, and all of Arabia stood in awe and wonder to his wonderful eloquence and oratory? The Holy Qur'an, the word of Allah, when recited by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was so matchless that the whole legion of Arab poets, preachers and orators of highest calibre failed to bring forth its equivalent. And above all, how could he then pronounce truths of a scientific nature contained in the Qur'an that no other human-being could possibly have developed then?

Last but not the least, why did he lead a hard life even after gaining power and authority? Just ponder over the words he uttered while dying: "We the community of the Prophets are not inherited. Whatever we leave is for charity."

In fact Muhammad (PBUH) is the last link of the chain of Prophets sent in different lands and times since the very beginning of human life on this planet.

If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad (PBUH)? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers that often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved armies, legislation, empires, and millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls...his forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with Allah, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an impostor but to a firm conviction that gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was twofold, the unity of Allah and the immateriality of Allah; the former telling what Allah is, the latter telling what Allah is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with the words.

Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad (PBUH). As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?

Lamartine, Histoire de la Turquie Paris 1854 Vol 11, pp. 276-77.

It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves our wonder; the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and Turkish proselytes of the Qur'an ... The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. 'I believe in One God and Mahomet the Apostle of God,' is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honors of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.

Edward Gibbon and Simon Ocklay, History of the Saracen Empire, London 1870, p. 54.

He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope's pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue; if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Muhammad (PBUH), for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports.

Bosworth Smith, Muhammad and Muhammadanism, London 1874, p. 92

It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feed anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things that may be familiar to many, yet I myself whenever I re-read then, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.

Annie Besant, The Life and Teachings of Muhammad. Madras 1932, p. 4

His readiness to undergo, persecutions for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement -- all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad (PBUH) as impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad (PBUH).

W. Montgomery, Muhammad at Mecca, Oxford, 1953, p. 52

Muhammad (PBUH), the inspired man who founded Islam, was born about A.D. 570 into an Arabian tribe that worshipped idols. Orphaned at birth, he was always particularly solicitous of the poor and needy, the widow and the orphan, the slave and downtrodden. At twenty he was already a successful businessman, and soon became director of camel caravans for a wealthy widow. When he reached twenty-five his employer, recognizing his merit, proposed marriage. Even though she was fifteen years older, he married her. For as long as she lived he remained a devoted husband.

Like almost every other major prophet before him, Muhammad (PBUH) fought shy of serving as the transmitter of God's word, sensing his own inadequacy. But the angel commanded 'Read.' So far as we know, Muhammad (PBUH) was unable to read or write, but he began to dictate those inspired words that would soon revolutionize a large segment of the earth: "There is one God."

In all things Muhammad (PBUH) was profoundly practical. When his beloved son Ibrahim died, and eclipse occurred and rumors of God's personal condolence quickly arose. Whereupon Muhammad (PBUH) is said to have announced, 'An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute such things to the death or birth of a human-being.' At Muhammad's (PBUH) own death an attempt was made to deitify him, but the man who was to become his administrative successor killed the hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in religious history: 'If there are any among you who worshipped Muhammad (PBUH), he is dead. But if it is God you worshipped, He lives for ever.'

James A. Michener, 'Islam: The Misunderstood Religion,' in the Reader's Digest (American Edition) for May, 1955, pp. 68-70.

My choice of Muhammad (PBUH) to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.

Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the most influential Persons in History New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc. 1978, pp. 33.


Humanity has received the Divine guidance only through two channels: firstly the word of Allah, secondly the Prophets who were chosen by Allah to communicate His will to human-beings. These two things have always gone together and attempts to know the will of Allah by neglecting either of them has always been misleading. The Hindus neglected their prophets and paid all attention to their books that proved to be only word puzzles that they ultimately lost. Similarly the Christians, in total disregard to the Book of Allah, attached all importance to Christ and thus not only elevated him to Divinity, but also lost the very essence of TAWHEED (monotheism) contained in the Bible. In fact the main scriptures revealed before the Qur'an, i.e., the Old Testament and the Gospel, came into book-form long after the days of the Prophets and that too in translation. This was because the followers of Moses and Jesus made no considerable efforts to preserve these Revelations during the life of their Prophets. Rather, they were written long after their death. Thus what we now have in the form of the Bible (The Old as well as the New Testament) is translations of individuals' accounts of the original revelations that contain additions and deletions made by the followers of the said Prophets. On the contrary, the last revealed Book, the Qur'an, is extant in its original form. Allah Himself guaranteed its preservation and that is why the whole of the Qur'an was written during the life time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), though on separate pieces of palm leaves, parchments, bones, etc. Moreover there were tens of thousands of the companions of the Prophet who memorized the whole Qur'an and the Prophet himself used to recite it to the angel Gabriel once a year and twice when he was about to die. Then the first Caliph Abu Bakr entrusted the collection of the whole Qur'an in one volume to the Prophet's scribe, Zaid ibn Thabit. This volume was with Abu Bakr till his death. Then it was with the second Caliph Umar and after him it came to Hafsa, the Prophet's wife. It was from this original copy that the third Caliph Uthman prepared several other copies and sent them to different Muslim territories.

The Qur'an was so meticulously preserved because it was to be the Book of guidance for humanity for all times to come. That is why it does not address the Arabs alone in whose language it was revealed. It speaks to man as a human being:

"O Man! what has seduced you from your Lord." The practicability of Qur'anic teachings is established by the examples of Muhammad (PBUH) and the good Muslims throughout the ages. The distinctive approach of the Qur'an is that its instructions are aimed at the general welfare of man and are based on the possibilities within his reach. In all its dimensions the Qur'anic wisdom is conclusive. It neither condemns nor tortures the flesh nor does it neglect the soul. It does not humanize God nor does it deify man. Everything is carefully placed where it belongs in the total scheme of creation.

Actually the scholars who allege that Muhammad (PBUH) was the author of the Qur'an claim something that is humanly impossible. Could any person of sixth century C.E. utters such scientific truths as the Qur'an contains? Could he describe the evolution of the embryo inside the uterus so accurately as we find it in modern science?

Secondly, is it logical to believe that Muhammad (PBUH) only for his honesty and integrity, began all of a sudden the authorship of a book matchless in literary merit and the equivalent of which the whole legion of the Arab poets and orators of highest calibre could not produce? And lastly, is it justified to say that Muhammad (PBUH) who was known as AL-AMEEN (The trustworthy) in his society and who is still admired by the non-Muslim scholars for his honesty and integrity, came forth with a false claim and on that falsehood could train thousands of men of character, integrity and honesty, who were able to establish the best human society on the surface of the earth?

Surely, any sincere and unbiased searcher of truth will come to believe that the Qur'an is the revealed Book of Allah.

Without necessarily agreeing with all what they said, we furnish here some opinions of important non-Muslim scholars about the Qur'an. Readers can easily see how the modern world is coming closer to reality regarding the Qur'an. We appeal to all open minded scholars to study the Qur'an considering the above mentioned points. We are sure that any such attempt will convince the reader that the Qur'an could never be written by any human being.

However, often we turn to it (the Qur'an) at first disgusting us each time afresh, it soon attracts, astounds, and in the end enforces our reverence...its style, in accordance with its contents and aim is stern, grand, terrible -- ever and anon truly sublime--Thus this book will go on exercising through all ages a most potent influence.

Goethe Quoted in T.P. Hughes 'Dictionary of Islam, p. 526.'


The concept of worship in Islam is misunderstood by many people including some Muslims. Worship is commonly taken to mean performing ritualistic acts such as prayers, fasting, charity, etc. This limited understanding of worship is only one part of the meaning of worship in Islam. That is why the traditional definition of worship in Islam is a comprehensive definition that includes almost everything in any individual's activities. The definition goes something like this: "Worship is an all inclusive term for all that Allah loves of external and internal sayings and actions of a person." In other words, worship is everything one says or does for the pleasure of Allah. This, of course, includes rituals as well as beliefs, social activities, and personal contributions to the welfare of one's fellow human-beings.

Islam looks at the individual as a whole. He is required to submit himself completely to Allah, as the Qur'an instructed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to do: "Say (O Muhammad) my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death belong to Allah; He has no partner and I am ordered to be among those who submit, i.e. Muslims." The natural result of this submission is that all one's activities should conform to the instructions of the one to whom the person is submitting. Islam being a way of life, requires that its followers model their life according to its teachings in every aspect, religious or otherwise. This might sound strange to some people who think of religion as solely a personal relationship between the individual and Allah, having no impact on one's activities outside rituals.

In fact Islam does not think much of mere rituals when they are performed mechanically and have no influence on one's inner life. The Qur'an addresses the believers and their neighbors among the people of the Book who were arguing with them about the change of the direction of Qibla (Mecca) in the following verse:

It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward the East or the West, but righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and gives his beloved money to the relatives and the orphans and the needy and for the ransoming of the captives and who observes prayer and pays the poor due; and those who fulfill their promises when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and affliction and the steadfast in time of war; it is those who have proved truthful and it is those who are the God-fearing. (2:177)

The deeds in the above verse is the deeds of righteousness and they are only a part of worship. The prophet told us about faith, which is the basis of worship, that it "is made up of sixty and some branches: the highest of which is the belief in the Oneness of Allah, i.e., there is no god but Allah and the lowest in the scale of worship is removing obstacles and dirt from people's way."

Decent work is considered in Islam a type of worship. The Prophet (PBUH) said: "Whoever finds himself at the nightfall tired of his work, Allah will forgive his sins." Seeking knowledge is one of the highest types of worship. The Prophet told his companions that, "Seeking knowledge is a (religious) duty on every Muslim." In another saying he said: "Seeking knowledge for one hour is better than praying for seventy years." Social courtesy and cooperation are part of worship when done for the sake of Allah as the Prophet (PBUH) told us: "Receiving your friend worth a smile is type of charity, helping a person to load his animal is a charity and putting some water in your neighbor's bucket is a charity."

It is worth noting that even performing one's duties is considered a sort of worship. The Prophet told us that whatever one spends for his family is a type of charity; he will be rewarded for it if he acquired it through legal means. Kindness to the members of one's family is an act of worship as when one puts a piece of food in his spouse's mouth as the Prophet (PBUH) informed us. Not only this but even the acts we enjoy doing very much, when they are performed according to the instructions of the Prophet (PBUH), they are considered as acts of worship. The Prophet (PBUH) told his companions that they will be rewarded even for having sexual intercourse with their wives. The companions were astonished and asked: "How are we going to be rewarded for doing something we enjoy very much?" the Prophet (PBUH) asked them: "suppose you satisfy your desires illegally, don't you think that you will be punished for that?" They replied, "Yes." "So" he said. "By satisfying it legally with your wives you are rewarded for it." This means they are acts of worship.

Thus Islam does not consider sex a dirty thing that one should avoid. It is dirty and sin only when it is satisfied outside marital life.

It is clear, from the previous discussion that the concept of worship in Islam is a comprehensive concept that includes all the positive activities of the individual. This of course agrees with the all inclusive nature of Islam as way of life. It regulates the human life on all levels: the individual, the social, the economic, the political and the spiritual. That is why Islam provides guidance to the smallest details of one's life on all these levels. Thus following these details is following Islamic instructions in that specific area. It is a very encouraging element when one realizes that all his activities are considered by Allah as acts of worship. This should lead the individual to seek Allah's pleasure in his actions and always try to do them in the best possible manner whether he is watched by his superiors or he is alone. There is always the permanent supervisor, who knows everything namely, Allah.

Discussing the non-ritual worship in Islam first does not mean discount the importance of the ritual ones. Actually ritual worships, if performed in true spirit, elevate man morally and spiritually and enable him to carry on his activities in all walks of life according to the Guidance of Allah. Among ritual worship, Salah (ritual prayer) occupies the key position for two reasons. Firstly, it is the distinctive mark of a believer. Secondly, it prevents an individual from all sorts of abominations and vices by providing him chances of direct communion with his Creator five times a day, wherein he renews his covenant with Allah and seeks His guidance repeatedly. "You alone we worship and to You alone we turn for help. Guide us to the straight path" (1:4-5). Actually Salah (prayer) is the first practical manifestation of Faith and the foremost of the basic conditions for the success of the believers:

Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers. (23:1-2)

The same fact has been emphasized by the Prophet (PBUH) in a different way. He says:

Those who offer their Salah with great care and punctuality, will find it a light, a proof of their Faith and cause of their salvation on the Day of Judgment.

After Salah, Zakat (obligatory charity) is an important pillar of Islam. In the Qur'an, Salah and Zakat are mostly mentioned together. Like Salah, Zakat is a manifestation of faith that affirms that Allah is the sole owner of everything in the universe, and what men hold is a trust in their hand over which Allah made them trustees to discharge it as He has prescribed:

Believe in Allah and His messenger and spend of that over which He made you trustees. (57:7)

In this respect Zakat is an act of devotion that, like prayer, brings the believer nearer to his Lord.

Apart from this, Zakat is a mean of redistribution of wealth in a way that reduces differences between classes and groups. It makes a fair contribution to social stability. By purging the soul of the rich from selfishness and the soul of the poor from envy and resentment against society, it stops up the channels leading to class hatred and makes it possible for the springs of brotherhood and solidarity to gush forth. Such stability is not merely based on the personal feelings of the rich: it stands on a firmly established right that, if the rich denied it, would be exacted by force, if necessary.

Siyam (fasting during the day time of the month of Ramadhan) is another pillar of Islam. The main function of fasting is to make the Muslim pure from "within" as other aspects of Shariah make him pure from "without." By such purity he responds to what is true and good and shuns what is false and evil. This is what we can perceive in the Qur'anic Verse: "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may gain piety." (2:183) In an authentic tradition, the Prophet (PBUH) reported Allah as saying: "He suspends eating, drinking, and gratification of his sexual passion for My sake." Thus his reward is going to be according to Allah's great bounty.

Fasting, then, awaken the conscience of the individual and gives it scope for exercise in a joint experience for all society at the same time, thus adding further strength to each individual. Moreover, fasting offers a compulsory rest to the overworked human machine for the duration of one full month. Similarly fasting reminds an individual of those who are deprived of life's necessities. It makes him realize the suffering of others, the less fortunate brothers in Islam, and thus promotes in him a sense of sympathy and kindness to them.

Lastly, we come to Al-Hajj (pilgrimage to the House of Allah in Makkah). This very important pillar of Islam, manifests a unique unity, dispelling all kinds of differences. Muslims from all corners of the world, wearing the same dress, respond to the call of Hajj in one voice and language: LABBAIK ALLA HUMMA LABBAIK (Here I am at your service O Lord!). In Hajj there is an exercise of strict self-discipline and control where not only sacred things are revered, but even the life of plants and birds is made inviolable so that everything lives in safety: "And he that venerates the sacred things of Allah, it surely is from devotion of heart." (22:32)

Pilgrimage gives an opportunity to all Muslims from all groups, classes, organizations, and government from all over the Muslim world to meet annually in a great congress. The time and venue of this congress have been set by their one Allah. Invitation to attend is open to every Muslim. No one has the power to bar anyone. Every Muslim who attends is guaranteed full safety and freedom as long as he himself does not violate its safety.

Thus, worship in Islam, whether ritual or non-ritual, trains the individual in such a way that he loves his Creator and thereby gains an unyielding will and spirit to address all evil and oppression from human society and make the word of Allah dominant in the world.


The question whether there is a life after death does not fall under the jurisdiction of science; as science is concerned only with classification and analysis of sense data. Moreover, man has been busy with scientific inquiries and research, in the modern sense of the term, only for the last few centuries, while he has been familiar with the concept of life after death since times immemorial. All the prophets of Allah called their people to worship Allah and to believe in life after death. They laid so much emphasis on the belief in life after death that even a slight doubt in it meant denying Allah and made all other beliefs meaningless. The very fact that all the prophets of Allah have dealt with this metaphysical question of life after death so confidently and so uniformly -- the gap between their ages being thousands of years -- goes to prove that the source of their knowledge of life after death as proclaimed by them all, was the same Divine revelation. We also know that these prophets of Allah were greatly opposed by their people, mainly on the issue of life after death as their people thought it impossible. But in spite of opposition the prophets won so many sincere followers. The question arises what made those followers forsake the established beliefs, traditions and customs of their forefathers notwithstanding the risk of being totally alienated from their own community? The simple answer is: they made use of their faculties of mind and heart and realized the truth. Did they realize the truth through perceptual consciousness? Not so. as perceptual experience of life after death is impossible. Actually Allah has given man besides perceptual consciousness, rational, aesthetic and moral consciousness too. It is this consciousness that guides man regarding realities that cannot be verified through sensory data. That is why all the prophets of Allah while calling people to believe in Allah and life after death, appeal to the aesthetic, moral and rational consciousness of man. For example, when the idolaters of Makkah denied even the possibility of life after death, the Qur'an exposed the weakness of their stand by advancing logical and rational arguments in supports of it:

And he has coined for us a similitude, and has forgotten the fact of his creation, saying: who will revive these bones when they have rotted away?

Say: He will revive them who produced them at first, for He is the knower of every creation. Who has appointed for you fire from the green tree, and behold! You kindle from it.

Is not He who created the heavens and the earth, able to create the like of them? Yes, and He is indeed the Supreme Creator, the All-knowing. (26:78-81)

At another occasion the Qur'an very clearly says that the disbelievers have no sound basis for their denial of life after death. It is based on pure conjectures:

They say, 'There is nothing but our present life; we die, and we live, and nothing but Time destroys us.' Of that they have no knowledge; they merely conjecture. And when our revelations are recited to them, their only argument is that they say, 'Bring us our fathers, if you speak truly.' (45:24-25)

Surely Allah will raise all the dead. But Allah has His own plan of things. A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and then again the dead will be resurrected to stand before Allah. That day will be the beginning of the life that will never end, and that Day every person will be rewarded by Allah according to his or her good or evil deed.

The explanation that the Qur'an gives about the necessity of life after death is what moral consciousness of man dreams. Actually if there is no life after death, the very belief in Allah becomes irrelevant or even if one believes in Allah, that would be an unjust and indifferent Allah: having once created man not concerned with his fate. Surely, Allah is just. He will punish the tyrants whose crimes are beyond count, having killed hundreds of innocent persons, creating great corruption in the society, and enslaving numerous persons to serve their whims, etc. Man having a short span of life in this world, and this physical world too being not eternal, punishments or rewards equals to the evil or noble deeds of persons are not possible here. The Qur'an emphatically states that the Day of Judgment must come and Allah will decide about the fate of each soul according to his or her record of deeds:

Those who disbelieve say: The Hour will never come unto us. Say: Nay, by my Lord, but it is coming unto you surely. (He is) the Knower of the Unseen. Not an atom's weight, or less than that or greater, escapes Him in the heavens or in the earth, but it is in a clear record. That He may reward those who believe and do good works. For them are pardon and rich provision.

But those who strive against our revelations, challenging (Us), theirs will be a painful doom of wrath. (34:3-5)

The Day of Resurrection will be the Day when Allah's attributes of Justice and Mercy will be in full manifestation. Allah will shower His mercy on those who suffered for His sake in the worldly life, believing that an eternal bliss was awaiting them. But those who abused the bounties of Allah, caring nothing for the life to come, will be in the most miserable state. Drawing a comparison between them, the Qur'an says:

Is he, then, to whom we have promised a goodly promise the fulfillment of which he will meet, like the one whom We have provided with the good things of this life, and then on the Day of Resurrection he will be of those who will be brought arraigned before Allah? (28:61)

The Qur'an also states that this worldly life is a preparation for the eternal life after death. But those who deny it become slaves of their passions and desires, making fun of virtuous and Allah-conscious persons. Such persons realize their folly only at the time of their death and wish to be given a further chance in the world; their wishes are but in vain. Their miserable state at the time of death, and the horror of the Day of Judgment, and the eternal bliss guaranteed to the sincere believers are beautifully mentioned in the following verses of the Holy Qur'an:

Until, when death comes unto one of them, he says, 'My Lord send me back, that I may do right in that which I have left behind!' But nay! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is a barrier until the day when they are raised. And when the Trumpet is blown there will be no kinship among them that day, nor will they ask of one another. Then those whose scales are heavy, they are successful. And those whose scales are light are those who lose their souls, in hell abiding, the fire burns their faces and they are glum therein. (23:99-104)

The belief in life after death not only guarantees success in the Hereafter but also makes this world full of peace and happiness by making individuals most responsible and dutiful in their activities. Think of the people of Arabia; gambling, wine, tribal feuds, plundering and murdering was their main traits when they had no belief in life after death. But as soon as they accepted the belief in the One Allah and life after death they become the most disciplined nation of the world. They gave up their vices, helped each other in hours of need, and settled all their disputes on the basis of justice and equality. Similarly the denial of life after death has its consequences not only in the Hereafter but also in this world. When a nation as whole denies it, all kinds of evils and corruption become rampant in that society and ultimately it is destroyed. The Qur'an mentions the terrible end of 'Aad, thamud and Pharaoh in some detail:

(The tribes of) Thamud and 'Aad disbelieved in the judgment to come. As for Thamud, they were destroyed by a fierce roaring wind, which He imposed on them for seven long nights and eight long days so that you might see the people laid prostrate in it as if they were the stumps of fallen down palm trees.

Now do you see remnant of them? Pharaoh likewise and those before him, and the subverted cities. They committed errors and they rebelled against the Messenger of their Lord, and He seized them with a surpassing grip Lo, when the waters rose, We bore you in the running ship that We might make it a reminder for you and for heeding ears to hold. So when the Trumpet is blown with a single blast and the earth and the mountains are lifted up and crushed with a single blow, then on that day, the terror shall come to pass, and the heaven shall be split for upon that day it shall be very frail. Then as for him who is given his book in his right hand, he shall say 'Here take and read my book! Certainly I thought that I should encounter my reckoning. 'So he shall be in a pleasing life in a lofty garden, its clusters nigh to gather.'

'Eat and drink with wholesome appetite for that you did long ago, in the days gone by.'

But as for him who is given his book in his left hand, he shall say: 'Would that I had not been given my book and not known my reckoning! Would it have been the end!

My wealth has not availed me, my authority is gone from me.' (69: 4-39)

Thus there are very convincing reasons to believe in life after death.

Firstly, all the prophets of Allah have called their people to believe in it.

Secondly, whenever a human society is built on the basis of this belief, it has been the most ideal and peaceful society, free of social and moral evils.

Thirdly, history bears witness that whenever this belief is rejected collectively by a group of people in spite of the repeated warning of the prophet, the group as whole has been punished by Allah even in this world.

Fourth, moral, aesthetic and rational faculties of man endorse the possibility of life after death.

Fifth, Allah's attributes of Justice and Mercy have no meaning if there is no life after death.


Islam has laid down some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed and respected under all circumstances. To achieve these rights Islam provides not only legal safeguards but also a very effective moral system. Thus whatever leads to the welfare of the individual or the society is morally good in Islam and whatever is injurious is morally bad. Islam attaches so much importance to the love of Allah and love of man that it warns against too much of formalism. We read in the Qur'an:

It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him. for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayers, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts that you made; and to be firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing. (2:177)

We are given a beautiful description of the righteous and God-fearing man in these verses. He should obey salutary regulations, but he should fix his gaze on the love of Allah and the love of his fellowmen.

We are given four rules:

a) Our faith should be true and sincere

b) We must be prepared to show it in deeds of charity to our fellowmen.

c) We must be good citizens, supporting social organizations

d) Our own individual soul must be firm and unshaken in all circumstances.

This is the standard by which a particular mode of conduct is judged and classified as good or bad. This standard of judgment provides the nucleus around which the whole moral conduct should revolve. Before laying down any moral injunctions Islam seeks to firmly implant in man's heart the conviction that his dealings are with Allah who sees him at all times and in all places; that he may hide himself from the whole world but not from Him; that he may deceive everyone but cannot deceive Allah; that he can flee from the clutches of anyone else but not from Allah's.

Thus, by setting Allah's pleasure as the objective of man's life, Islam has furnished the highest possible standard of morality. This is bound to provide limitless avenues for the moral evolution of humanity. By making Divine revelations the primary source of knowledge, Islam gives permanence and stability to the moral standards that provide a reasonable scope for genuine adjustments, adaptations and innovations though not for perversions, wild variation, atomistic relativism or moral fluidity. It provides a sanction to morality in the love and fear of Allah, which will impel man to obey the moral law even without any external pressure. Through belief in Allah and the Day of Judgment, Islam furnishes a force that enables a person to adopt a proper moral conduct with earnestness and sincerity, with all the devotion of heart and soul.

It does not, through a false sense of originality and innovation, provide any novel moral virtues nor does it seek to minimize the importance of the well-known moral norms, nor does it give exaggerated importance to some and neglect others without cause. It takes up all the commonly known moral virtues and with a sense of balance and proportion it assigns a suitable place and function to each one of them in the total scheme of life. It widens the scope of man's individual and collective life -- his domestic associations, civic conduct, and his activities in the political, economic, legal, educational, and social realms. It covers his life from home to society, from the dining-table to the battlefield and peace conferences, literally from the cradle to the grave. In short, no sphere of life is exempt from the universal and comprehensive application of the moral principles of Islam. It makes morality reign supreme and ensures that the affairs of life, instead of being dominated by selfish desires and petty interests, is regulated by norms of morality.

It stipulates for man a system of life that is based on all good and is free from all evil. It invokes the people, not only to practice virtue, but also to establish virtue and eradicate vice, to bid good and to forbid wrong. It wants the verdict of conscience to prevail and virtue must not be subdued to play second fiddle to evil. Those who respond to this call are gathered into a community and given the name Muslim. And the singular object underlying the formation of this community (Ummah) is that it should make an organized effort to establish and enforce goodness and suppress and eradicate evil.

Here we furnish some basic moral teachings of Islam for various aspects of a Muslim's life. They cover the range of personal moral conduct of a Muslim as well as his social responsibilities.


The Qur'an mentions it as the highest quality of a Muslim:

The most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most Allah-conscious (49:13)

Humility, modesty, control of passions and desires, truthfulness, integrity, patience, steadfastness, and fulfilling one's promises are moral values that are emphasized repeatedly in the Qur'an:

And Allah loves those who are firm and steadfast. (3:146)

And vie with one another to attain to your Sustainer's forgiveness and to a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, which awaits the Allah- conscious, who spend for charity in time of hardship, and restrain their anger, and pardon their fellow men, for Allah loves those who do good. (3:133-134)

Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong; and bear patiently whatever may befall you; for this is true constancy. And do not swell your cheek (with pride) at men, nor walk in insolence on the earth, for Allah does not love any man proud and boastful. And be moderate in your pace and lower voice; for the harshest of sounds, indeed, is the braying of ass (31:18-19)

In a way that summarizes the moral behavior of a Muslim, the Prophet (PBUH) said:

My Sustainer has given me nine commands: to remain conscious of Allah, whether in private or in public; to speak justly, whether angry or pleased; to show moderation both when poor and when rich; to reunite friendship with those who have broken it off with me; to give to him who refuses me; that my looking should be an admonition; and that I should command what is right.

Social Responsibilities

The teachings of Islam concerning social responsibilities are based on kindness and consideration of others. Since a broad injunction to be kind is likely to be ignored in specific situations, Islam lays emphasis on specific acts of kindness and defines the responsibilities and rights of various relationships. In a widening circle of relationship, then, our first obligation is to our immediate family -- parents, husbands or wife and children, then to other acquaintances, orphans and widows, the needy of the community, our fellow Muslims, all our fellow human beings and animals.


Respect and care for parents is very much stressed in the Islamic teachings and is a very important part of a Muslim's expression of faith.

Your Sustainer has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your lifetime, do not say to them a word of contempt nor repeal them, but address them with honor, and out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say: My Sustainer! Bestow on them Your mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood. (17:23-24)

Other Relatives

And render to the relatives their due rights, as (also) to those in need, and to the traveler; and do not squander your wealth in the manner of a spendthrift. (17:26)


The Prophet (PBUH) has said:

He is not believer who eats his fill when his neighbor beside him is hungry; and:

He does not believe whose neighbors are not safe from his injurious conduct.

Actually, according to the Qur'an and Sunnah a Muslim has to discharge his moral responsibility not only to his parents, relatives and neighbors but the entire mankind, animals and useful trees and plants. For example, hunting of birds and animals for the sake of game is not permitted. Similarly cutting trees and plants that yield fruit is forbidden unless there is a very pressing need for it.

Thus, on the basic moral characteristics, Islam builds a higher system of morality because of which mankind can realize its greatest potential. Islam purifies the soul from self-seeking egotism, tyranny, wantonness and undiscipline and uncompromising with falsehood. It induces feelings of moral responsibility and fosters the capacity for self control. Islam generates kindness, generosity, mercy, sympathy, peace, disinterested goodwill, scrupulous fairness and truthfulness towards all creation in all situations. It nourishes noble qualities from which only good may be expected.


Since Allah is the absolute and the sole master of men and the universe, He is the sovereign Lord, the Sustainer and Nourisher, the Merciful, whose mercy enshrines all beings; and since He has given each man human dignity and honor, and breathed into him of His own spirit, it follows that, united in Him and through Him, and apart from their other human attributes, men are substantially the same and no tangible and actual distinction can be made among them, because of their accidental differences such as nationality, color or race. Every human-being is thereby related to all others and all become one community of brotherhood in their honorable and pleasant servitude to the most compassionate Lord of the Universe. In such a heavenly atmosphere the Islamic confession of the oneness of Allah stands dominant and central, and necessarily entails the concept of the oneness of humanity and the brotherhood of mankind.

Although an Islamic state may be setup in any part of the earth, Islam does not seek to restrict human rights or privileges to the geographical limits of its own state. Islam has laid down some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed and respected under all circumstances whether such a person is resident within the territory of the Islamic state or outside it, whether he is at peace with the state or at war. The Qur'an very clearly states:

O believer, be you securers of justice, witness for Allah.

Let not detestation for the people move you not to be equitable; be equitable -- that is nearer to God-fearing. (5:8)

Human blood is sacred in any case and cannot be spilled without justification. And if anyone violates this sanctity of human blood by killing a soul without justification, the Qur'an equates it to the killing of entire mankind:

.....Who so slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, should be as if he had slain mankind altogether.

It is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded. Women's honor and chastity are to be respected under all circumstances. The hungry person must be fed, the naked clothed and the wounded or disease treated medically irrespective of whether they belong to the Islamic community or are from amongst its enemies.

When we speak of human rights in Islam we really mean that these rights have been granted by Allah; they have not been granted by any king or by any legislative assembly. The rights granted by the kings or the legislative assemblies, can also be withdrawn in the same manner in which they are conferred. The same is the case with the rights accepted and recognized by the dictators. They can confer them when they please and withdraw then when they wish; and they can openly violate them when they like. But since in Islam human rights have been conferred by Allah, no legislative assembly in the world or any government on earth has the right or authority to make any amendment or change in the rights conferred by Allah. No one has the right to abrogate them or withdraw them. Nor are they basic human rights that are conferred on paper for the sake of show and exhibition and denied in actual life when the show is over. Nor are they like philosophical concepts that have no sanctions behind them.

The charter and the proclamations and the resolutions of the United Nations cannot be compared with the rights sanctioned by Allah; because the former is not applicable on anybody while the latter is applicable on every believer. They are a part of the Islamic Faith. Every Muslim or administrators who claim themselves to be Muslims, will have to accept, recognize and enforce them. If they fail to enforce them, and start denying the rights that have been guaranteed by Allah or make amendments and changes in them, or practically violate them while paying lip service to them, the verdict of the Holy Qur'an for such government is clear and unequivocal:

Those who do not judge by what Allah have sent down are the disbelievers (5:44).

Human Rights in an Islamic State

1. The Security of Life and Property: In the address that the Prophet delivered on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, he said: "Your lives and properties are forbidden to one another till you meet your Lord on the Day of Resurrection." The Prophet has also said about the dhimmis (the non-Muslim citizens of the Muslim state): "One who kills a man under covenant (i.e. Dhimmi) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise."

2. The Protection of Honor: The Holy Qur'an lays down

i) You who believe, do not let one (set of) people make fun of another set.

ii) Do not defame one another.

iii) Do not insult by using nicknames.

iv) Do not backbite or speak ill of one another (49:11-12).

3. Sanctity and Security of Private Life: The Qur'an has laid down the injunction-

i) Do not spy on one another.

ii) Do not enter any houses unless you are sure of their occupant's consent.

4. The Security of Personal Freedom: Islam has laid down the principle that no citizen can be imprisoned unless his guilt has been proved in an open court. To arrest a man only on the basis of suspicion and to throw him into a prison without proper court proceedings and without providing him a reasonable opportunity to produce his defense is not permissible in Islam.

5. The Right to Protest Against Tyranny: Amongst the right that Islam has conferred on human beings is the right to protest against government's tyranny. Referring to it, the Qur'an says: "Allah does not love evil talk in public unless it is by someone who has been injured thereby." In Islam, as has been argued earlier, all power and authority belongs to Allah, and with man there is only delegated power which becomes a trust; everyone who becomes a recipient or a donee of such power has to stand in awful reverence before his people towards whom and for whose sake he will be called upon to use these powers. This was acknowledged by Hazrat Abu Bakr who said in his very first address: "Cooperate with me when I am right but correct me when I commit error; obey me so long as I follow the commandments of Allah and His prophet; but turn away from me when I deviate."

6. Freedom of Expression: Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all citizens of the Islamic state on the condition that it should be used for the propagation of virtue and truth and not for spreading evil and wickedness. The Islamic concept of freedom of expression is far superior to the concept prevalent in the West. Under no circumstances would Islam allow evil and wickedness to be propagated. It also does not give anybody the right to use abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism. It was the practice of the Muslims to inquire from the Holy Prophet whether on a certain matter a divine injunction had been revealed to him. If he said that he had received no divine injunction, the Muslims freely expressed their opinion on the matter.

7. Freedom of Association: Islam has also given people the right to freedom of association and formation of parties or organizations. This right is also subject to certain general rules.

8. Freedom of Conscience and Conviction: Islam has laid down the injunction: There should be no coercion in the matter of faith. On the contrary , totalitarian societies totally deprive the individuals of their freedom. Indeed this undue exaltation of the state authority curiously enough postulates a sort of servitude, of slavishness on the part of man. At one time slavery meant total control of man over man -- now that type of slavery has been legally abolished but in its place totalitarian societies imposes a similar sort of control over individuals.

9. Protection of Religious Sentiments: Along with the freedom of conviction and freedom of conscience, Islam has given the right to the individual that his religious sentiments will be given due respect and nothing will be said or done which may encroach upon his right.

10. Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment: Islam also recognizes the right of the individual, that he will not be arrested or imprisoned for the offenses of others. The Holy Qur'an has laid down this principle clearly: No bearer of burdens shall be made to bear the burden of another.

11. The Right to Basic Necessities of Life: Islam has recognized the right of the needy people and that help and assistance will be provided to them: And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute.

12. Equality Before Law: Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of the law.

13. Rulers Not Above the Law: A woman belonging to high and noble family was arrested for theft. The case was brought to the Prophet, and it was recommended that she might be spared the punishment of theft. The Prophet replied, "The nations that lived before you were destroyed by Allah because they punished the common-man for their offenses and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes; I swear by Him Who holds my life in His hand that even if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed this crime, I would have amputated her hand."

14. The Right to Participate in the Affairs of State: And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves (42:38). The shura or the legislative assembly has no other meaning except that: The executive head of the government and the members of the assembly should be elected by free and independent choice of the people.

Lastly, it is to be made clear that Islam tries to achieve the above- mentioned human rights and many other rights not only by providing certain legal safeguards but mainly by inviting mankind to transcend the lower level of animal life and to be able to go beyond the mere ties fostered by the kinship of blood, racial superiority, linguistic arrogance, and economic privileges. It invites mankind to move on to a plane of existence where, by reason of his inner excellence, man can realize the ideal of the Brotherhood of man.


1) T.B. Irving, et al. "The Qur'an: Basic Teachings"

2) Hamuda Abdulati "Islam in Focus"

3) M. Qutb "Islam: The Misunderstood Religion"

4) Maurice Bucaille "The Bible, The Qur'an and Science"

5) Suzanne Hameed "What Everyone Should Know About Islam and the Muslims"