REDISCOVERING ISLAM

REDISCOVERING ISLAM

Written By : Mr Sultan Bashir Mahmood
In its basic philosophy Islam teaches that Universe is created for man. In turn he/she is made for the Creator of the Universe. Thus man is not the product of Universe but the very reason for it. As the vicegerent of God he/she are expected to fulfil the design of Allah is the world. As all its component are made to help each other, man is made to participate this process wilfully. As such the essence of Islam is “service” to Allah and “service” to His creatures. In this philosophy the obligations of the one, are the rights of the others.
Say, produce your evidence, if you are true 2(111) Al-Quran Rediscovering Islam as the natural universal religion of mankind for a successful life in this world and the life Hereafter Atomic Scientist, Engineer SULTAN BASHIR MAHMOOD (Sitara-e-Imtiaz) “Let there be no compulsion in religion, as the Truth stands out clear from false hood. Whoever thus rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most Trust worthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things”. (Al-Baqra Ayat 256) Have you ever asked, “Why am I a Muslim, or a Christian or a Hindu or of any other Faith”? Answer is quite clear “It is because of the parents, for that you had no choice. They had also inherited their faith from their parents. Thus what ever your religion, it is due to inheritance. Can any one then claim superiority on this account? Why should a Just God reward or punish some one due to the religion given to him/her at birth? More are less traditional religions over the time have been polluted by the selfish interests of the priestly classes, who tend to pose themselves as the intermediary between Man and God. The religions gradually become profession for the priests and thus lose the Prophetic spirit. However, it does not provide excuse for the believers not to seek for the Truth. In reality, all of us are answerable to our Creator, for our efforts to discover the Path leading to Him. If in our normal lives we are so much choosy for everything, then how could we be excused for our non-serious attitude toward the philosophy of life? If God exists, and He does, then it should be the most important decision of our lives. We must rediscover consciously religion for us. Truth of the matter is that all of us are accountable to God for each and every action of our life on earth. Lest we make excuses in the Hereafter that we were caught unaware, Allah Subhana-Hu has laid down specific criteria of what is right and what is wrong for us. To teach it, He sent His especially chosen teachers to every nation on earth. They are called prophets. Some of the more well known of them are: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ismael, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus Christ, (may peace be upon them all). When humanity had developed enough and could preserve the purity of Message of Allah in writing for good He sent His last messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him), to consolidate and complete the teachings of all the earlier prophets for all times to come. This system of life is called Islam. It is not the religion invented by Mohammad (Peace be upon him) but is completion of the mission of the earlier prophets. It is most unfortunate that beautiful image of Islam has been badly tarnished by its enemies through their false propaganda and misinformation campaigns. However even more unfortunate than this is that some of the so called Muslims falsely depict Islam for the sake of their own vested interests. Added to this is the ignorance of the large majority of the Muslims by birth of their own religion. Combined together they have made it very difficult for the seekers of truth to receive the Divine light for their salvation. In the following pages an attempt has been made to rediscover the spirit of Islam. If someone can get rid of the inherited prejudices, he/she will be really surprised to see the beauty of Islam for the peace and progress of mankind. THE UNIVERSAL NATURAL RELIGION Islam fundamentally is to believe in one God, with all His attributes and submit to Him humbly with the belief in the life Hereafter and Resurrection for accountability of our transient earthly sojourn. Salvation lies in developing our personalities on the pattern of the attributes of Allah Subhana-Hu to earn His pleasure, and win back the lost Jannat (Paradise). Thus a true Muslim is not only a “Man of God”, but “God like Man” at his/her own humble pedestal, the ideal example of which is the last Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). The fact that Islam is the continuation of the religion of the earlier prophets is clarified by the following commandment of Allah in sura Ash-Shu'raa of the Holy Quran. He has ordained for you the ‘Deen’ (ie way of life) revealed unto you same which He had commanded unto Noah, and that which He had commanded unto Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus. Therefore you also, establish the (same) Deen (for Allah), and be not divided therein [42(13)] Being a Muslim therefore means that he/she is as much a believer in Jesus (Peace be upon him) as a Christian is; or in Moses as a true Jew. This is the natural religion for man about which Allah Subhana-Hu says in sura Ar-Roum, ayat 30 of the Holy Quran. And so set your face steadfastly towards the Deen (of Allah), turning away from all that is false, to the natural disposition which Allah has instilled into Man, not to allow any change to corrupt what Allah has thus created – This is the right way of life; but most people know not [30(30)] Islam is thus the religion most suited to the nature of man. Reward for the one who follows it truly is spiritual elevation to become the “Vicegerent of Allah on Earth” – the very purpose of man’s creation, as revealed in ayat 30 of sura Al-Baqara, Behold, your Rabb said to the angels, “I will create a vicegerent on earth" [2(30)] Islam clarifies that every child is born with this natural potential, and it has come to guide man to raise him/her to this exalted status. THE ESSENCE OF ISLAM In its basic philosophy Islam teaches that Universe is created for man. In turn he/she is made for the Creator of the Universe. Thus man is not the product of Universe but the very reason for it. As the vicegerent of God he/she are expected to fulfil the design of Allah is the world. As all its component are made to help each other, man is made to participate this process wilfully. As such the essence of Islam is “service” to Allah and “service” to His creatures. In this philosophy the obligations of the one, are the rights of the others. They are of two types:- 1. Obligations to Allah, the Creator (حقوق الله) 2. Obligations to creatures of Allah (حقوق العباد) As a result of the fulfilment of these obligations, Islam promises “Peace at all levels”. Infact, dictionary meaning of the word ‘Islam’ is ‘Peace” and code word of a Muslim is (اسلام عليكم) i.e. “peace be upon you”. When two Muslims get together, each one must try to surpass in his/her greetings of “Peace”. Islam also means “Submission to Allah”. Thus Peace plan of Islam is “Peace through submission to Allah”, the scope of which is very wide. To the least it consists of the following fundamentals: • To be at peace with your Creator, • To be at peace with your own self, • To be at peace with your neighbour, and • To be at peace with all other creations of Allah Subhana-Hu. Since the converse of peace is “Mischief” (فساد) i.e. to engage in destabilizing the natural equilibrium established by Allah Subhana-Hu on earth, for the sake of peace, where required, a Muslim is supposed to fight with the mischievous evil forces of exploitation, tyranny, ignorance and greed. The basic principle is revealed is ayat 205, sura Al-Baqra, “Allah does not like any type of mischief” 2(205). Thus it is obligatory on every believer not only to dissociate himself/herself from all causes which may damage peace but practically to fight for it. Technically it is called Jehaad (جهاد) i.e. the struggle against evil to disrupt peace. Both complement each other. It is the highest act of worship, and an essential obligation on every Muslim about which the Holy Quran says in sura Aal-e-Imran ayat 110 “You are the best of the people, as you come out for mankind to establish what is good; and prevent what is evil……”, (110). Thus every believer must work to promote peace, and fight with evil, as the Quran says, “Continuous mischief is worse than a (temporary) fight” 2(217). Fig. 1: Peace Plan of Islam through “the Submission to the Will of Allah” Fig 1B: War against evil trying to damage peace In the following we shall highlight some of the salient features of this multidimensional approach to Peace. It is most comprehensively explained in the Holy Quran and was practically demonstrated by the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his revered companions as the main objective of the blessed Islamic rule i.e. “Khilafat-e-Rashida” established by them. PEACE WITH YOUR CREATOR To be at peace with our Creator means to always remain conscious of Him and strive constantly to earn His love and pleasure and assign no partners to Him. It depends upon building a staunch, unshakable belief in Allah Subhana-Hu with all His attributes; Practically it means complete submission to Him; thus moulding one's life according to His attributes demonstrated by the exemplary human role model of the last Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). It is obligatory on every Muslim to demonstrate his/her resolve of submission to Allah Subhana-Hu by the minimum acts of worship. These are the five times a day salat (prayers), fasting in the month of Ramadan, the compulsory payment of zakat (due to the poor), and at least once in lifetime pilgrimage to the House of Allah at Makkah, originally built by Prophet Adam (Peace be upon him) and latter re-built on its foundation by the Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him), over 4000 years ago. Adherence to these practices entitles one to join the club of Islam as its basic member. Spiritual promotions and achievements within it will depend upon how well we do for the rest of the “Peace program of Islam”. PEACE WITH YOURSELF The Islamic philosophy, to be at peace with your own self, relies profoundly on giving peace to others. It starts with your own family. In the Holy Quran Allah Subhana-Hu says; “O, those who believe, save yourself and your family from the hellfire (Sura Al-Baqra) This is achievable through a strong commitment to Islam, by becoming as useful member of the society as possible, loving and a helping hand for everyone as per the example of the prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him), Allah says in the Holy Quran, He is blessing for all the worlds, therefore his true follower cannot be but blessing for his/her own environment at least. He/she will never wilfully hurt others, and will be ever ready to cultivate loving and caring relations with others particularly with in the family. At the personal level he/she will try to surpass with others in doing the right deeds, maintaining clean thoughts, pleasant disposition and in faithfully adopting the do’s and the don’ts revealed by Allah in the Holy Qur'an. In this respect the guidance provided in sura al-Asar, ayaat 1-5 is exceedingly contemplative, “I swear by passing time that man by nature is apt to loss, accepting those who believe in Allah, do good deeds, and help each other on the Right Path; And council each other to persevere with patience in the way of Allah”. It means that personal belief and good deeds are not enough for the spiritual peace to you. It also depends upon the fulfilment of your social obligations. Thus a good Muslim must be active member of the society who stands for the right and helps the needy. He has a caring personality, dutiful in dealings with others, and takes pleasure in giving others more than in getting back from them. PEACE WITH YOUR NEIGHBOUR To be at peace with his/her neighbour is an intrinsic obligation of every true Muslim. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) warned, “You can’t be a Muslim if the honour and property of others is not safe from you.” Thus, even aggressive gestures, backbiting, jealousy, and use of abusive language are prohibited. If they relate to your neighbour they are then terrible sins. At 107(4-7) in the Holy Quran Allah Subhana-Hu warns the worshippers who are not kind to their neighbours, So woe to the worshippers, who are neglectful of their prayers, those who (worship but) to be seen (by others), and refuse (to meet) neighbourly needs. 107(4-7) The prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also told Muslims, ‘If your neighbour sleeps hungry, or if he is sick and not looked after, your prayers will not be accepted’. Omar, the second rightly guided caliph of Islam (may Allah be pleased with him) set the standard by declaring, ‘even if a dog dies of hunger at the banks of river Euphrates (a river in Iraq), Omar is responsible in Madinah'. Looking after orphans, widows and destitute in the neighbourhood is an obligatory duty of every Muslim. In this connection sura al-Ma'oon, ayaat 1-3 provide a decisive ruling “Have you seen of him who rejects the Deen (Islam). He is the one who repulses the orphan and cares not for feeding the destitute”. In view of such fateful imperative, stating the conclusive primacy of caring for the orphans and the destitute amounts tantamount to a rejection of one's deen, it is a wonder that the thoughtful of the Muslims can ever dare to contravene this commandment. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) defined neighbourhood as comprising of forty homes on all sides, i.e. 1600 houses all around. Thus one after the other, all people on earth are each other’s neighbours and covered by the neighbourly peace plan of Islam. The general rule about neighbourly behaviour, ordained by the prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him) is, that "The best of the mankind is the one who is the most useful to them.” So a Muslim must try to be as useful to the people as possible, especially to his/her neighbours. In general all benefitial actions, for humanity fall in this category. PEACE WITH NATURE The Holy Quran teaches man to respect nature and maintain its beauty and therefore is forbidden to pollute or spoil peace of earth. It is emphasized to preserve the equilibrium that Allah Subhana-Hu Himself created and to acknowledge the rights of all living beings created by Him, to flourish and thrive. In this respect the first and the foremost requirement of Islam is the maintenance of the earth's environment. Allah Subhana-Hu says in the Holy Qur'an, ‘don’t spoil and create mischief in the Earth after that it has been set right’ 7(85). Thus it is the sacred duty enjoined upon every Muslim, to keep the environment clean and not to upset its inherent equilibrium. That is why in the past, good Muslim scientists refused to invent harmful things, even at the orders of the caliph. With respect to nature the fundamental philosophy of Islam as told by the prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him) is that 'the creations of Allah are like His family' (الخلق عيال الله). Through various of his saying as well as his deeds, the prophet suggested to grow trees and not to needlessly chop and burn plants; to look after the wild and domestic animals; to contribute in the cleanliness of public spaces; clearing roads and lanes of obstacles; and not to waste earthly resources. It is prohibited to waste resources, even if one owns them in plenty. He went so far as to say, “don’t waste water even for ablution, though you may be sittings at the banks of a river”. He taught Muslims to respect nature in the belief that whatever Allah has made on earth is beautiful, and that we owe responsibility to maintain that beauty. He (Peace be upon him) said in one of his sayings, “Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty”. Thus maintenance of natural beauty, as far as possible, is mandatory on every true Muslim. TO BE AT WAR WITH THE EVIL As every believer in Islam is duty bound to promote peace to preserve it, it is also obligatory on him/her to oppose the evil forces which disturb peace. Thus he/she must fight against all forms of exploitation and oppression. Indeed accomplishing good is not possible without the struggle against evil. A true Muslim will not let evil flourish around and take over the goodness. They are fundamentally ordained to oppose the forces of exploitation by all possible means: till to the finish, as Allah orders in the Holy Quran. “Fight them till the end of mischief” (sura Infaal, ayat 39). In Islam tolerance of evil is synonymous to participating in it. General principle is pointed out in ayat 75 of sura. An-Nisa “And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who being weak, are ill treated (and oppressed)? Men, women and children whose cry is “Our Lord (Rabb)! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from you, the one who will protect (us); And send for us from you who will help (us)” 4(75) SPIRITUAL PHILOPHY OF ISLAM Once the peace is established spiritual development starts rapidly in the peaceful environment. Then the mankind will have time, opportunity and mood to achieve the higher realities of life. For his/her spiritual development, the action plan of the life of a Muslim rests upon Islam's philosophy of unity of the fundamental realities; and equality of mankind. This is:- 1. Unity of Allah, that there is no god but Him only, with out any partners, father or son etc. 2. Unity of the institution of Prophet-hood, that Mohammad is the last of the messengers of Allah, 3. Unity of the Message of Allah, that Quran is the exactly preserved last revealed book of Allah, integrating the fundamental teachings of all the pervious prophets. 4. Unity of the purpose of life, To serve the Creator and His creatures 5. Equality of mankind that all human beings are brothers and sisters, as the progeny of Adam and Eve (PBUT) Belief in the unity of Allah Subhana-Hu leads to the liberation from all false gods. This is the starting point in our journey to the highest realities of Islam which we cannot comprehend otherwise. Belief in the unity of the institution of Prophet-hood and unity of the message of Allah ends confusion, clarifies the visions and opens before us the Right Path leading to Jannat (Paradise). Belief in the unity of mankind focuses on the commonality in mankind, all being the progeny of Adam (Peace be upon him). As such all are equal in terms of human rights. Any claims of superiority on the basis of colour, clan or race are spurious. The last Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) taught that mankind is like the family of Gods each one being the honoured member of this family, so respect each other. We must therefore, concentrate on the singular purpose of life that is service to our Creator and service to His creatures faithfully. The pragmatic fulfilment of this philosophy rests upon the unconditional declaration of the creed of Islam, a statement called the kalama-e-tayyaba (كلمه طيبه). لا اله الاّالله محمّد الرسول الله “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The declaration of this fundamental formulation of Islam entails making the following three commitments: • Proclamation of 'la ilaha', (لا اله) ‘there is no god', is liberation from servitude, physical as well as spiritual defiance of false deities, and the renunciation of all previously held beliefs, notions, ideas, customs and philosophies, if found inconsistent with Islam. • Proclamation of 'ill-al-Allah', (الاّالله) 'except Allah' is the resolution to obey and serve only Allah, to glorify His name and mould our lives in accord with His revelations, i.e. the Holy Qur'an. • By proclaiming 'Muhammad Ur-Rasool-Allah' (محمّد الرسول الله) (Peace be upon him), we deposit our faith in Muhammad, the last prophet of Allah, as the supreme leader of all mankind, guide, teacher and the role model for all dimensions of life, with the Holy Qur'an as the source of guidance, the Book revealed to him for the guidance of mankind. The one who believes in this philosophy sincerely and tries to mould accordingly, than his/her all activities and pursuits are acts of worship. There is nothing secular for them. It is all sacred. In their spiritual journey. They aim to qualify for the proud title of being ‘The Vicegerent of God in Earth’. A TRUE MUSLIM – THE VICEGERENT OF ALLAH SUBHANA-HU Islam teaches us that man is not some insignificant accidental product of Universe, but in fact is the exclusive reason for its creation. He is the actual design basis of the Universe. In this respect Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "Indeed, We have bestowed Mankind with honour" (ولقد كرمنا بنى آدم). Thus all mankind, believers and non believers alike as human beings, are honourable in the Sight of Allah Subhana-Hu. When a true Muslim submits unconditionally and wholeheartedly to Allah, he is the pride of the Universe. Qualification for becoming the Vicegerent of God on Earth, demands that believers must aim to develop their personalities in accordance with to the attributes of Allah Subhana-Hu Himself. He is not only to be the Man of God, but at his own humble level his/her ideal is to become like Him, by adopting His attributes, (اسماء الحسنة) (the beautiful names). In this respect, the ideal example is of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). He asked believers to mould their personalities in accordance with the attributes of Allah. He said تخلقواباخلاق الله. The degree of our closeness to Him depends upon the extent to which we colour ourselves in the Colour of Allah, as said in sura Al-Baqra ayat 138, of the Holy Quran; (Take) Hue of Allah! And what will be better hue (to life) than that of Allah’s (Hue). And (Muslim) truly submit to Him only”. 2(138) Such a Muslim is the pride of creation, truly successful and respectable in this life and in the life hereafter. For him/her there is no fear and no tension (ولا خوف اليهم ولا هم يحزنون) any where. PERSONALITY OF A TRUE MUSLIM Following are some of the attributes of Allah Subhana-Hu. As said above, the goal for believers should be to adopt these attributes as much as possible and thus mould their personalities accordingly. The more you proactive the attributes of Allah, the nearer you will be to Him: a. Allah embodies Absolute Kindness and Mercy: So a true Muslim must always be kind and merciful. b. Allah is the Absolute Love: So a true Muslim must possess a loving personality. c. Allah is the Supreme Creator: A true Muslim must also be continuously engaged in creative activities. d. Allah is the Absolute Giver: Thus a Muslim must also possess a benevolent hand. e. Allah is the Ultimate Source of Goodness: So a believer must also endeavour to attain excellence in his pursuits of life. f. Allah is the Ever-forgiving and the Most Tolerant: So a true Muslim must also be forgiving and tolerant. g. Allah is All-Knowing: So a true Muslim must also be keen to develop knowledge throughout life. h. Allah is All-Wise: So the believer must also exhibit wisdom and a balanced personality. i. Allah is the Ever Seeing, Ever Listening: Like Him a Muslim, at his own humble human level, must also keep his eyes and ears open, be a keen observer and a good listener. j. Allah is the Absolutely Just: So a true Muslim must always be just and fair in all his conduct and undertakings. k. Allah is the Most Honourable: A true believer in Allah Subhana-Hu must also be self respecting and honourable and never let himself be disgraceful. l. Allah is the Absolute Helper. So a Muslim must also be a helping hand possessed of a considerate, caring and sharing nature. m. Allah is the Absolute Sustainer and Nourisher of everything: Thus a true Muslim must also be a concerned citizen, mindful of the needs of others and be ready to feed the hungry. n. Allah loves cleanliness: So a Muslim must also always remain in a state of physical and spiritual purity, devoid of contamination. o. Allah hates transgressors and oppressors: So a believer must also oppose oppression and transgression based on the criteria set in the Book of Allah. p. Allah hates the proud and arrogant: So a true Muslim must remain humane and humble, and treat other people with respect without exhibiting a midget of pride. q. Allah hates liars: So a true Muslim is inextricably bound to truth. r. Allah hates the miserly: So will a Muslim be generous and magnanimous and be ever prepared to large heartedly spend in Allah’s way. s. Allah hates those who preach what they do not do themselves: So must a true Muslim disdain hypocrisy. t. Allah hates wastage: So a true Muslim must avoid wasting resources. u. Allah is the Most Beneficent: So a true Muslim must also try to be as beneficial as possible towards all creations of Allah. v. Allah is the Originator and Inventor of everything: So the believer must also be dynamic, thoughtful and courageous in trying out new ideas and in creating new projects. w. Allah is Peace: So will a believer must also be peaceful, and always endeavouring and contributing in promoting peace. x. Allah loves the trustworthy and those who fulfil their pledge: Therefore a true Muslim must also always fulfil his word and be entirely trustworthy. y. Allah loves those who remain steadfast against kufr (disbelief): So a believer will never compromise on Islam. In conclusion, we may say that a true Muslim does not only belong to Allah, he represents Him on earth. He embodies His attributes and thus at his/her own humble level endeavours to be like his/her Creator. In this striving he becomes the pride of the Universe and a source of blessing for every thing. In return, the creatures of the environment salute them, angels pray for them, and Allah showers His pleasures on them. THE MAN OF THE HOLY QURAN Endeavour of a true Muslim is to become the “Man of the Holy Quran” about whom Allah says in it:- (Muslims are) such they as remember Allah, standing sitting, and reclining; and in contemplation reflect into the creation of the heaven and the earth. [3(191)] The prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “A Muslim whose today is the same as was his yesterday is a loser”. For a Muslim this saying of the prophet entails to ensure that every day of his life must be better than the day before. That is the test of the strength of his belief in Islam. If a believer stands still, remains dormant, this might be an indication that something is lacking in his understanding of Islam. He/she will also then quickly lose their status of being the vicegerent on earth. A true Muslim has a dynamic personality, who remains constantly engaged in the following three pursuits, 1. Zikr (ذكر) 2. Fikr (فكر) 3. Taskheer (تسخير) These qualities are essential for continuous upward development in the physical as well the spiritual worlds of man. Allah Subhana-Hu showers His blessings upon those who endeavour in these pursuits. In the following we shall explain them briefly. Zikr (ذكر) means to always be conscious of the presence of Allah Subhana-Hu, and obey Him in all walks of life. On this, Muslims are commanded in the Holy Qur'an; “O! You who believe! Remember Allah in your remembrance always” 33(41). In sura al-Muzammil, believers are asked, “Remember and Glorify the Name of your Rabb with full devotion”. This does not mean mechanical repetition of His Holy Name, but to live by keeping Him always in your thoughts. Every look in the Universe should inspire one about its Supreme Creator. Inspired by His presence everywhere speechless he/she says in the heart, “We have no words to describe your Glory, no hearts to comprehend your praises. Indeed there is no god but you alone, You are the greatest……….” Fikr (فكر) means the exploration and understanding of the creations of Allah. He loves those who explore deep in His works. The Qur'an has this to say on this, “Worst of all Creatures are those who pass by signs of Allah, thoughtlessly.” Those who do not contemplate in the creations of Allah are condemned in the Holy Quran being rated lower than cattle’s. It says “They have hearts (mind) where with they understand not, eyes with which they see not, and ears where with they hear not. They are like cattle’s – may be worse. They are heedless ignorant. 7(179) Thus in the Quranic philosophy without Fikr one does not qualify even to be called a “Man”. Rasool-Allah (Peace be upon him) described ‘Fikr’ as the highest act of worship. He said, “An hour spent in the contemplation of creations of Allah is better than the whole night spent standing in prayers”. Indeed, we may see from the Holy Quran that one of essential character of a believer must be to reflect into the Universe and everything in it. It says; “Indeed the heavers and earth there are signs for the believers” 45(3), “And in your own creation, and the life Allah creates on earth, there are signs for the staunch believers” 45(4); And in the changeover of day and night, and (sources of) the livelihood which Allah sends down from the heavens and that with which earth becomes living after it is dead, and in the blowing of winds there are signs for the wise people 45(5), These and many more ayaat of the Holy Quran prove that faith is not complete with out serious contemplating in the Creatures of Allah. Thus scientific research and being abreast of knowledge of general science is must for every true believer. Taskheer (تسخير) Refers to the conquest of nature, to put it to use for the good of mankind. Allah Subhana-Hu says in the Holy Qur'an, “And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heaven and on Earth. Behold in that are signs indeed for those who reflect into them thoughtfully” 45(13). The same theme is repeatedly stressed in the Holy Quran in its various ayaat. The message is that everything in nature is made by Allah to serve you and His pleasure lies in that you put them to your service. Thus, integrated together in his personality, a true Muslim represents a mystic’s love for Allah, a scientist’s insight for the creations of Allah, and an engineer’s approach to mould the bounties of nature for the benefit of mankind. Early Muslims were greatly inspired by these teachings of the Holy Quran; consequently, in less than hundred years they developed a civilization which was hungry for knowledge. With their qualities of “Zikr, Fikr and Taskheer” they served as the benevolent super power on earth for more than seven hundred years, till they lost that spirit of Islam. Then Europe took over from them but limited to the spirit of Fikr and Taskheer only. Even then they have reached where they are, Alas! They missed the spirit of Zikr and consequently have missed the development in the spiritual domain. SELF ANALYSIS Where I do stand in my Islam? This requires regular self analysis. In the following is the self-assessment questionnaire based upon the selections from the Holy Quran by brother Lt Col (R) Sheikh Abdul-Rauf . If your answer is “yes”, then evaluate your own rating positively out of the maxim allocated marks against each point. If answer to any question is “No”, then give yourself negative marks accordingly. Negative answer to any of the first four questions renders one ineligible for the test. Now go ahead with your self evaluation. Below 2000 Poor rating 2000 – 3000 Average rating 3000 – 4000 Good rating 4000 – 5000 Very good rating 5000 – 6000 Excellent Above 6000 Marvelous S. No Question Max. Marks Positive or Negative Your assessment + / - 1. You believe firmly and sincerely believe in Allah and that He has created mankind and jinns to worship Him. 200 2. You believe in the Quran as Revelation of Allah and try your best to understand it. 200 3. Fully believing in Kalima Tayyeba, you accept Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as the Last Prophet and try to follow him, and love him most. 200 4. You are conscious that the day is coming when you will be held answerable to the Almighty for your deeds and what the various parts of your body, - the tongue, the eyes, the ears, and the hands have been doing in the World. 200 5. You do not indulge in adultery, drinking and gambling. 200 6. You earn your livelihood by lawful means and advise others to do likewise. 200 7. You are regular in your Prayers and Fasting and you make sure that members of your household also observe them regularly. 200 8. When you can afford to do so, you offer sacrifice, give Tithes, pay Zakat (Mandatory Alms) and plan to perform Hajj (pilgrimage). 200 9. Believing in and endeavoring for martyrdom to be highly meritorious, you yearn for fighting in the way of Allah (jehad). 200 10. Considering usury as unlawful, you do not get involved into it. 100 11. Wherever possible, you enjoin good and forbid evil. 100 12. Neither do you deceive nor do you let others deceive you. 100 13. You treat your parents with respect and your children with affection and you give all of them share in your wealth accordingly. 100 14. You believe that all men are equal and you treat them as such. 100 15. You live peaceably with your neighbours and are not niggardly in lending articles of ordinary use to others. 100 16. You treat your relatives well; and try to arrange board and lodging for the orphan, the prisoner, the wayfarer, the poor, the needy and the indigent, as far as possible. 100 17. You are convinced that successful life can be led without falsehood, therefore one should always speak the truth. 100 18. You keep your promises and try to remain punctual. 100 19. You do not say things which you do not practice yourself. 100 20. You avoid suspecting people’s motives, prying in their affairs and backbiting. 100 21. You never betray any trust. 100 22. You decide every matter justly even if it may adversely affect you. 100 23. You bear true witness and do not advocate the cause of cheats and criminals. 100 24. You take due care in matters of measurements and weight, etc. 100 25. You are honest and straightforward in your dealings. 100 26. Before making or accepting a recommendation, you make sure that it will not hurt the rights of anybody. 100 27. You are always affectionate and patient with your wife. 100 28. You try to ‘remember’ Allah’s Holy Name while engaged in worldly preoccupations so that He always remains in your heart. 100 29. You invoke Praises and Salutations on the Holy Prophet regularly and frequently by reciting ‘Salat-o-Salam’ on him. 100 30. Instead of speculating about the nature of Almighty Allah, you ponder over His Attributes, and try to mould yourself accordingly. 100 31. You are very particular about the cleanliness of your dress and person. 100 32. You guard your modesty as a special gift from Allah. 100 33. You do not make Un-believers your friends. 100 34. You eschew lewdness, indecency and slander. 100 35. You arrange for the upbringing and education on your children in the best possible manner and make sure that their Islamic teachings are not neglected. 100 36. You are aware that Heaven lies under the mother’s feet, and treat your parents kindly. 100 37. You make due arrangement for the payment of your wife’s dower in accordance with the marriage contract. 50 38. You enjoin on your children to earn their living by lawful means only. 50 39. As a woman When going outdoors you always use an outer covering around you to cover your beauty and adornments. 50 40. You are happy with Allah for all that He has guan you. 50 41. You know that compared to eternal life, your life in this world is like a drop in the ocean. 50 42. You start everything “in the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” Whom you trust always for whatever you do. 50 43. You believe that you will get reward in proportion to your effort. 50 44. You are straightforward in speech. 50 45. You realize that amassing gold and silver will entail painful chastisement. 50 46. You are gentle in the use of power. 50 47. You neither niggardly nor extravagant. 50 48. You ask for permission and salute the inmates before entering other people’s houses. 50 49. You eat only lawful food. 50 50. You are not jealous of other people’s superiority or prosperity. 50 51. In pursuit of earning a living, you eschew inordinate love of wealth. 50 52. As a seller, you do not dispose of defective goods without informing the buyer of their shortcoming. 50 53. You choose for others whatever you like for yourself. 50 54. Your avoid passing on anything based on hearsay and rumour without properly investigating it. 50 55. You are not jealous of others’ superiority. 50 56. You admit as much right of your wife on you as you claim on her. 50 57. You conduct yourself in a manner that your spouse considers you to be the best companion or at-least a good man. 50 58. You avoid meeting a member of the opposite sex in privacy, believing that Satan is present between the two of you at such moments. 50 59. You believe that Allah has made man incharge of woman, to support and protect her, supply all her needs and run the household properly. 50 60. You admit as much right of your spouse on you as you claim on him. 50 61. You are always affectionate and obedient to your spouse. 50 62. You ignore and overlook your spouse mistakes and shortcomings. 50 63. You regard your spouse likes and desires like your own. 50 64. You limit your household expenditure to your husband’s lawful income. 50 65. You worship Allah as though you are seeing Him in front of you and if that is not possible then at least you are aware that He is watching you. 50 66. You are always offering thanks to Allah for His blessings on you and asking for His Forgiveness. 50 67. You listen to the Quran with rapt attention while it is recited and you touch the Holy Book in a state of purity only. 50 68. You are constantly aware that Allah is watching your thoughts and deeds. 50 69. You try to remember death as much as possible. 50 70. You are firm believer in the fact; Allah has enabled you to choose between the paths of good and evil. 50 71. You discard what is doubtful and adopt such a thing which is free from doubt. 50 72. You are aware that if there is a gain it is from Allah, but for loss it is due to your own misdeeds. 50 73. You do not allow Devil (Satan) to place fear of poverty as a hurdle in the way of Charity. 50 74. You give Charity for Allah’s pleasure and give the best in His way. 50 75. You do not show off while spending. 50 76. You subordinate your emotions to your intellect. 50 77. You give due importance to “Intention” and guard its purity. 50 78. You prefer the educated to the un-educated and try honestly to acquire knowledge. 50 79. You do not accept anything without ascertaining the truth. 50 80. You try to forgive people, especially while you are in anger. 50 81. You do not speak ill of others except when you have been wronged. 50 82. You say nothing of which you have no knowledge. 50 83. You are not haughty in your behaviour and are moderate in your dealings with others. 50 84. You are temperate in wealth and contented in poverty. 50 85. You are patient in misery. 50 86. You eat when you are hungry, and while there is still some appetite, you stop eating. 50 87. On doing good you feel pleasure; but on doing evil you are repentant. 50 88. While eating out of lawful foods or wearing permitted garments you are neither extravagant nor vain. 50 89. You are grateful to Allah when prosperous, and turn to Him for help when in need or trouble. 50 90. You answer harsh words with politeness. 50 91. You treat people with kindness. 50 92. You do not put a worker on a job without fixing his remuneration. And you pay wages to him before his perspiration dries up unless mutually agreed to otherwise. 50 93. You do not exceed limits while avenging oppression. 50 94. As an eligible marriageable male or female after your glance has fallen on a strange opposite set you do not give a second look, believing that it would be deliberate and not counted as innocent. 50 95. As an eligible marriageable person you always try to avoid looking at opposite sex attractions. 50 96. You avoid meeting a member of the opposite sex in privacy, believing that Satan is present between the two of you at such moments. 50 97. You ignore and overlook your spouse mistakes and shortcomings. 50 98. In case of disagreement with your spouse you seek guidance from the Exalted Quran. 50 99. You treat you step-children, if any, like your own children. 50 100. Seeing you is always a source of pleasure for your spouse. 50 Total 7700 A MOMENT TO PAUSE AND PRAY Unfortunately, a majority of the present day Muslims have become a cause of disgrace for the great ideals of Islam highlighted in this paper. Whereas the Deen of Islam is the quintessence of peace, progress and prosperity for mankind, many of its followers represent a living picture to the contrary. The reason why Muslims have earned disgrace and humiliation of the world is for their neglecting the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. The modern West has ascended the heights of technological development by adopting the grand legacy of Islamic civilization. Only if the Westerners adopted the spiritual heritage of Islam as well, they could claim to be the true believers in the present day. Sadly currently Islam is clouded by the ignorance of its followers, and the prejudice of its foes. But for the sake of peace, prosperity and happiness of the whole world, today more than ever before, there is an acute need to discover the true spirit of Islam. So let us pray to Allah and strive earnestly for the realization of our prayers. O, Allah! O, Rabb of the universe, the Most Loving, the Most Kind and the Most Merciful: In the name of your last Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him), we humbly pray; Guide us on the right path of Islam, the religion of all your prophets, the path of those on whom you have showered your blessings. And give us courage to change what is undesirable; and strength to get over our failures. Forgive us our shortcomings; save us from doubt; and keep us away from the path of those who have gone astray and earned your wrath. Increase us in wisdom and knowledge; and show us the reality of things as they are, and bestow upon us the clear understanding of Your Revelation; Fill our hearts with Your love, grant us understanding of Your creations and enable us to put them to use for the purpose you have made them for. Make us beneficial for others, as it has been told by Your Messenger, the best among us is the one most beneficial to Your Creations. Bestow us with a helping hand; a sharing nature and caring altitude. Your Prophet (Peace be upon him) had said, “The upper hand is better than the lower one”; Please Allah! Grant us that upper hand; with the means to support others. Give us the courage to over ride our self interests, and strength to sacrifice for others what we desire for ourselves. Give us a contended heart. Grant us the good of this world and the good of the world hereafter; and save us from the fire of greed, jealousy and enmity amongst ourselves and make life easy for us. Please Allah! Whatever little good we may do, multiply it with your Grace. At our turns grant us a welcome death, and take us to Your special Jannat, among Your special servants; pleased with You, and You are pleased with them. Ameen, O, Sustainer of the Worlds, Ameen! We submit to You, and to You alone.