VIEW OF RELIGION
Quran uses the word din, usually translated as
religion, in different contexts with different meanings. Judging, rewarding or
punishing (1.4; 51.6; 82.18-9; 37.53; 56.86); way, law, constitution (12.76); penal law
(24.2), the collection of moral, spiritual and worldly principles, system, way of conduct
(33.5; 40.26); servanthood, obedience (16.52); peace, order (8.39) are the most important
and frequently used of these meanings.
Islam God completed the religion He revealed and chose for mankind. Literally, Islam means
submission, peace and salvation. In its most essential or fundamental aspect,
Islam is epitomized in the most frequently recited of all Quranic phrases, the Basmala
In the name of God, the Merciful (al-Rahman), the Compassionate (al-Rahim).
Both words are related to the quality of rahma, meaning mercy and compassion. God
manifests Himself essentially through His absolute, all-inclusive Mercy and Compassion,
and Islam is founded upon that affirmation. The mission of the Prophet Muhammad, with whom
God sent Islam to mankind, is called in the Quran "a mercy for all the
worlds", for the whole of creation.
uncompromisingly monotheistic. The concept that begins and ends Islamic theology is the
Unity of God. In the light of that concept, the universe is seen as an integral whole,
whose parts are all interrelated and co-operative. That is why there is such a splendid
co-ordination, harmony and order throughout the universe and within each individual
organism, including man. The harmony and orderliness prevalent in the universe and man
come from the Unity of God Who alone created them and He is absolute, without partner or
peer or like. The universe operative according to the laws God has established, is, in the
literal sense of the word, Muslim, absolutely submitted to God. That is why there is
stability, order and harmony in the operations of the universe.
among creatures man has been equipped with freedom of will. While the other creatures are
unable to fully manifest the Divine Names the All-Willing, the All-Knowing and the
All-Speaking, man has so comprehensive a nature as to be a perfect mirror to Gods
Names and Attributes. God has also equipped him with the knowledge of things or a capacity
to learn and discover names, in the language of the Quran
and made him His vicegerent to rule on the earth according to His laws. But, having free
will means being faced by choices, so mans life is the course of his choices between
the opposed possibilities of right and wrong.
is a universal intellect, a guidance from beyond human reason and human experience
he may survive and fulfill his functions as Gods vicegerent, man is empowered with
three principal faculties. These are his appetites for the opposite sex, offspring,
livelihood, commodities, etc.; his anger or forcefulness in defense and struggle; and his
power of reasoning or intellect. Since man is tested in his worldly life and has freedom
of will, these faculties are not restricted in creation by God. However, mans
individual and collective happiness lies in his disciplining them for the sake of a
harmonious, peaceful social life. Unless he so disciplines them, these faculties may drive
man to immorality, illicit sexual relationships, unlawful livelihood, tyranny, injustices,
deception and falsehood, and other vices. To prevent the chaos and suffering that must
follow undisciplined exercise of human powers, man must submit to an authority that will
guide and regulate his collective affairs. Since subjugating some people to others more
wealthy and powerful means an open injustice and it is impossible for humankind to find
out a justice to encompass all people, there is need for a universal intellect, a guidance
from beyond human reason and human experience, to whose authority all may freely give
their assent. That guidance is the religion revealed and perfected for man by God through
His Prophets, namely Islam.
is the name of the religion which God revealed to mankind through all of the Prophets
the name of the religion which God revealed to mankind through all of the Prophets. All of
them, upon them be peace, came with the same essentials of belief belief in the
existence and Unity of God; belief in the final destruction of the world and the
Resurrection and Judgment; belief in Prophethood and all the Prophets without
distinction; belief in the Divine Scriptures; belief in angels and Divine Destiny and
Decree without excluding human free will. All of the Prophets called people to worship
only One God and preached and promoted the moral virtues and condemned vices. The
differences lie in particular rules and injunctions connected with economic and political
relationships at a particular epoch, and in the fact that while all the previous Prophets
were sent to a specific people for a specific epoch, the Last Prophet, Muhammad, upon him
be peace and blessings, was sent to all mankind for all time. To be Muslim requires belief
in all the previous Prophets and in the originals of the previous Scriptures.
is one who, purified of all sins and vices and having a deep relation with God, guides
people to truth and sets a perfect example for them in life with his exalted character.
Absolute truthfulness, trustworthiness, communication of Divine Message without hiding
anything in it, having the highest intellectual capacity, wisdom and profound insight,
sinlessness and being free from all mental and bodily defects are essentials of
Prophethood. Just as the planets are attracted toward the sun by the invisible force of
gravitation, so too people are attracted toward the Prophet by the force of his profound
relation with God, by certain miracles, and by the sheer nobility of his person, his
purpose and his character.
or belief is the very essence of religion
belief is the very essence of religion. Belief is not just a simple, brief affirmation
based on imitation. It has degrees and stages of expansion or development as from, say,
the seed of a tree to the fully grown, fruit-bearing state of that tree. Belief contains
so many truths pertaining to all Names of God and the realities contained in the universe,
that the most perfect of all human sciences and knowledge and virtues is belief, and
knowledge of God originating in belief based on argument and investigation. This degree of
belief has many degrees and grades of manifestation to the number of the Divine Names.
Those who have been able to attain the degree of certainty of belief coming from direct
observation of the truths on which belief is based, can study the universe as a kind of
Divine Scripture (the Quran), the universe, and man
Divine Scripture (the Quran), the universe, and man, are three kinds of
manifestation of one truth. Therefore, there cannot be in principle a contradiction or
incompatibility between the truths of the Quran (from the Divine Attribute of
Speech) and the truths derived from the objective study of its counterpart,
the created universe (from the Divine Attributes of Power and Will). Within an Islamic
civilization, true to its authentic, original impulse, there cannot be a contradiction
between science, the objective study of the natural world, and religion, the effort in
personal and collective life to seek the approval and good pleasure of God. True belief is
not something based on blind imitation; it should appeal to the reason as well as the
heart, and combine affirmation by the reason and the inward experience and submission of
another degree of belief, namely certainty coming from direct experience of its truths.
This depends on regular worship and reflection. The one who has acquired this degree of
belief can challenge the whole of the world. So, the Muslims foremost duty is to
acquire this degree of belief and try, in utmost sincerity and purely for the sake of
pleasing God, to communicate it to others.
highest aim of creation and its most sublime result is belief in God. The most exalted
rank of humanity is the knowledge of God. The most radiant happiness and sweetest bounty
is the love of God contained within the knowledge of God; the purest joy for the human
spirit and the purest delight for mans heart is the spiritual ecstasy contained
within the love of God.
belief follow the different kinds of worship of God: worship that is responsive to
explicit injunctions like the prescribed prayers, fasting, alms-giving and pilgrimage;
worship that is obedient to the prohibitions such as against drinking alcohol, gambling,
usury, killing, deception, etc. In order both to strengthen ones belief and to
attain higher ranks of perfection, one should be careful about the acts of the
heart and intellect, such as contemplation or reflection, invocation or recitation of
Gods Names, self-criticism, perseverance and patience, thankfulness, disciplined
living, perfect reliance on God, and so on. Moral virtues are the fruits of
religious life; the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, said: I have
been sent to perfect the virtues.
Religion also has rules to regulate mans collective life. Through belief and
worship, and through its intellectual, moral and spiritual principles, Islam aims to
educate the individual in the best way possible; through its social and economic
principles, it aims to establish an ideal society. Its final aim is that there should be
no dissension, corruption, anarchy and terror in the world and that all people may obtain
happiness in both worlds.
servanthood to God
Western intellectuals and their counterparts in the Muslim world assert that servanthood
to God or religious life is a compensatory device contrived to console man for his own
weaknesses and defects. Nevertheless, although modern man, armed with science and
technology, entertains the illusion that he can be free of belief in and servanthood to a
Supreme Being, and though he sees himself as a powerful one, yet he will, if it serves his
self-interest, so far abase himself as to bow in worship before the meanest thing. Modern
man is stubborn and unyielding, yet will countenance great degradation for the sake of a
single, brief pleasure; he is unbending, but so mean as to kiss the feet of devilish
people for the sake of some vulgar advantage. He is conceited and domineering but, since
he can find no point of support in his heart, he postures like an impotent, vainglorious
tyrant. He is a self-centered egoist, who strives to gratify his material, carnal desires
and to pursue personal interests or particular national interests that coincide with his
sincere believer does not degrade himself to bow in worship before even the greatest of
the created. He is a dignified servant of God who does not take as object of worship a
thing of even the greatest benefit like Paradise. Though a modest servant, and gentle in
his nature and his bearing, he does not lower himself voluntarily before anybody other
than his Creator beyond what He has permitted. Though aware of his weakness and neediness
before God, he is independent of others, because he relies upon the Wealth and Power of
his One Master.
practical purposes, the assumption of modern Western civilization is that collective life
consists of competing selfish interests which are in a state of necessary conflict,
arbitrated by force or might. It promotes as the bond that unifies particular communities
an aggressive and negative nationalism which has often degenerated into a brutal racism.
The result, for the majority of the worlds peoples, of the recent dominance of
Western civilization, has been acute misery and humiliation; and for the favored minority,
gratification of worldly needs accompanied a continual stimulation and increasing of those
needs which engenders more competitiveness and anxiety.
of religion and servanthood to God accepts right, not force, as
the point of support in social life. It holds, in place of the realization of selfish
interests, virtues and Gods approval as the aim of collective life, and in place of
necessary conflict, it holds to the principle of mutual assistance. It promotes, not
racism and negative nationalism, but the ties of religion, profession and country, as the
bonds within and between communities. Its aim is to put a barrier against the attacks of
worldly desires and, by urging the soul to sublime goals, it encourages man on the way to
perfectibility. Right calls for unity. Virtues bring solidarity. The principle of mutual
assistance means coming to the aid of one another. Religion secures brotherhood and
attraction. By disciplining the corporeal self and urging the soul to virtue, it brings
happiness in this world and the next.
reasons why the unbelieving modern civilization has been so long triumphant over the
may be asked why the unbelieving modern civilization has been so long triumphant over the
Muslims. The answer was given by Said Nursi in his writings. He argued that, although a
Muslim must be Muslim in all his attributes and actions, he cannot always be so in
practical life. Also, it is not always the case with a transgressor or unbeliever that
every attribute and action of his should originate in his unbelief or transgression.
Therefore, by virtue of having Muslim attributes and acting in conformity with Islamic
principles more than a Muslim who fails in practicing Islam, an unbeliever may be
victorious over a Muslim.
established two kinds of laws: one is the Sharia, known by everybody, which
is the body of Gods laws issuing from His Attribute of Speech and governing
mans religious life. The reward or punishment for following these laws
or not usually pertains to the afterlife. The other body of Divine laws comprise those
governing creation and life as a whole, which issue from His Attribute of Will and are
generally (but wrongly) called the laws of nature. The reward or punishment
for them mostly pertains to this world. The Quran insistently draws attentions to
natural phenomena, which are the subject-matter of sciences, and urges their
study. In the first five centuries of Islam, Muslims succeeded in uniting sciences with
religion, the intellect with the heart, the material with the spiritual. However, in later
centuries, the West took the initiative in sciences. This has meant that their obedience
although unconscious to Divine laws of nature, has enabled their
dominance over the Muslim world, which failed to practice both the religious and
scientific aspects of Islam. Power and force have some right in life, they have been
created for some wise purpose. Armed with power through sciences and technology, the West
has got the upper hand over the Muslims.
suffering the attacks of the hawk, the sparrow develops its defensive strengths and
skills. In a comparable way, God has allowed the world of unbelief to attack Islam so that
Muslims may acquire the necessary skills and strengths and restore Islam to its original
purity and re-gain its authority in the world.