Questions and Answers on Islam
Abha Communities Centre
Praise be to Allah, God of the people, Lord of them all. Creator of all creatures, the Luminous Truth, who created man of mud, the angels from lustrous light, and the ginn from blazing fire, who sent prophets, and made of paradise a home for the faithful, and fire the end for the blasphemous. The prayers and the peace of God be on the last of His prophets, who was dispatched as an envoy of mercy to all creation, heralding the rightful religion, and pointing out the straight path. He called on people to follow God, dilegently toiled for this aim, established minarets and centres for knowledge, salvation, profusion and justice. He solidified the verdicts of Islam among the best nation ever created, and formed the most righteous society that ever appeared on earth.
To guide people to worship the One God in the manner He advocates and condones is one of the most sublime pursuits, the loftiest objectives and the noblest activities. Such is the occupation of peophets, and messengers, peace be upon them, for the sake of which they were dispatched, and in the pursuit of which they faced injury, affliction, armed conflict, hostility, comabt and false charges. Such were natural consequences of the clash between truth and falsehood, virtue and vice, and righeteousness and waywardness. Promulgators and religious scholars are the prophets’ heirs. Each enjoys a share of the burden of prophecy in proportion to his knowledge and achievement. They suffer as much as did their predecessors—injury, accusation and skepticism. At present we note that each one devotes himself to one or another of the aspects of the da’wa (the call to Islam), and undertakes to propagate it among people. Each adopts the method that suits his mission. Some are occupied in writing and authorship; others undertake preaching and oratory; a third party follows up instruction and pedagogy; while some are preoccupied in matters connected with charity and alms.
A number of promulgators channel the da’wa to non-Muslims with a view to guiding them to salvation and deliverance, both here and hereafter. For this purpose they adopt whichever ways and means conducive to the realization of these and similar objectives, and consequently make use of appropriate procedures and measures. This category of promulgators stood up to such an ardous task, faced what others had to face, and what once had been the lot of the prophets, that is falsification of the creed, acustion, neglect, repulse and indifference to the faith they preach. Examples of such devoid ways are posing questions implying skepticism, protest suggesting disrespect, and queries promoting unequivocal answers, requests masking objections aimed at rejecting, defying and denying truth. Such are qualities in our times where diseases of skepticism, hedonism and sensual urges have become deeprooted, and are being taught and propounded, sanctified by centres of learning and mass media, and backed by forces buttressing and protecting them. In this tumultuous vortex, and unfavourable atmosphere, a group of highly revered Muslims took up the task of inviting some newcomers to the Arab peninsula, who belonged to other faiths and ideologies. With the grace and guidance of God, some converted; others, however, on the brink of conversion and about to witness the light, drew back on account of doubt and hesitation, residua of their sombre past, and remains of doubts and misgivings. Instead, they resisted those who sought to clear up such clouds with satisfactory replies and sufficient data.
Like other proponents of virtue, these promulgators, too, need backing of knowledge and sagacity to repel doubt, unmask falsehood, reveal truth and illustrate proof. With all these and other objectives in mind, this book has been formulated, through the efforts of a number of revered religious leaders and distinguished men of learning and virtue, having applied themselves to strenuous studies, research and dialogue.
Before delving into the depths of this book and tackling queries and responses, it is pertinent to introduce a number of issues which might raise certain ambiguities responsible for protests among whoever has not been vouchsafed the comfort of faith in his heart. Some of these issues are as follows:
1. Cultural Background:
Man is likely to be influenced by such a background which takes years to consolidate and crystallize prejudicing his judgements and decisions which are likely to run counter to the judicious criteria conducive to sound vision. Consequently, such a man may have his path refracted and aim wide of the mark or at best be undecided as to which is true and which is false. Take for instance someone who is living in a jungle or on a distant mountain among people who believe in pagan fables and lead a retarded life as to patterns of behaviours, ethical premises and the rest of the living activities. Suppose, further, that suhc a man moved into an intellectually developed community offering sophisticated ideas, systems and ways of living. As soon as such set of ideas and modes of behaviours clash with the symbols of underdevlopment prevalent in the jungle, we expect such a man to undergo a serious reassessment of the earlier hocus-pocus culture which once governed his earlier primitive life, and a close scrutiny of the unprecedented patterns he never knew under the law of animalism, anarchy and licentiousness.
Would this reassessment, this scrutiny, be valid? Would such a person reach any set of truths or gain any benefits? Many are those who protest to Islam on vindicative grounds, or through devious and indirect ways. They resemble the underdeveloped man of the jungle when assessing the values of a highly advanced academic centre against his native cultural background. Such people project their prefigured vision of Islam without committing themselves to an academic methodology or a true dialectic which should distinguish right from wrong, true from false.
A Christain for example brings in defective a priori arguments concerning God Almighty and His prophets, then begins to pose questions which accord with these fallacious presuppositions. He says, for instance, that Muslims assume that they worship One God while they actually commit themselves, in the manner the Christians do invoke the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost) in as much as they say “In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate”.
Similar assumptions are also propounded, which are built on erroneous assumptions and faulty cultural backgrounds. It is incumbent on man to look for truth through authenticated evidences and proofs, and not be dominated by prior cultural precepts. He has to examine such a culture under the microscope of truth, and reality, on grounds of proof and evidence.
Because of the domination of prior cultural backgrounds—whether old or contemporary—we meet with wrong questions based upon equally defective data. All talk about freedom and equality is but one more clear example of such a category of vitiated questions. It is possible even to argue that most questions promoted by ostensible openmindedness or masked skepticism belong to this category. Therefore, we have found it imperative that we should illustrate this issue and rectify the thought of those who tackle Islam as if it was a refractory religion or a number of erroneous theories, the product of human minds and unpropped by a true scientific methodology.
Here we are up against one of the most recurrent quibblings motivated by skepticism or the wish to destabilize Islamic faith. It is only one among many samples induced by wrong cultural backgrounds resulting in equally erroneous judgements.
The modern world is infatuated by the so called “freedom” which is considered the cornerstone of civilization, justice, distinction, progress and promotion. This is so because Europe had long emerged from despostism and injustice which prevailed before the French Revolution. It came in the wake of an extended period of confiscation of the rights and the freedom of the small man and the individuals who were unable to werest their rights. The church and its advocates were the mightiest and most tyrannical agents who solidified the foundations of domination among the classes of the society and its individuals. They were foremost in justifying the corrective measures adopted by the ruling classes.
People in Europe staged more than one revolt, basically the French Revolution which propounded the slogans of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality. Organizations and directives, motivated by egocentric ambitions, exploited the slogan of liberty, expanded its implications, magnified its range, making use of people’s ignorance and regression, and rendering them victims to the heonistic sensualism, voluptuousness and mental degenerecy.
The conspiracy of unconditioned, unbridled, and uncontrolled liberation proved a volcano ejecting its lava and submerging logic, ethics, as well as people’s interests on both the individual and the collective planes. The giants of corruption among the Jews and their stooges exploited exploited this uncontrollable morbidity among peole. They enkindled the fire, extended its periphery further and further. Soonl it comprehended all creeds, ethical values and behavioural control, through descrating all sanctities, disfiguring all religions and moral precepts. It stamped out all religious and deterrents in individuals and societies alike under the banner of the novel religion and the worshipped god in flagrant challenge of the One Supreme God. They called this new deity “Liberty and Liberalism”.
The aim behind these seditious manoeuvrings was the obliteration of the dignity and the humanity of man and the transformation of such a being into a terrible monster, a ranging beast. Man would corrupt, destroy and trample down all principles, values, morals and virtues, and all under the maligned liberty.
Men ranged as far afield as their instincts took them, infatuated by these placards, each wading in corruption and self-demoralization with utmost energy and drive. The wayward in thought and creed used the slogan of liberty to crush the sound beliefs, raise doublts in their validity, and circulate atheism, nihilism, and deviant capricious creeds.
So did the rebels against settled systems—social, administrative, political, etc. They used the slogan of liberty to destabilize societies, sidetrack institutions through fraudulent schemes, monopolies, ususry, speculations, intriguing parties and by rigging elections.
As the slogan of liberty widened in scope and surreptitiously dominated the minds and hearts of the majority of people, every control examplified in profound creed, sound religion, and every judicious restriction of behaviour, values, conventions, or authorities, were deemed, among the worshippers of such unbridled liberty, enemies to man, detrimental to self-esteem, despots that impede his rights.
Thus stiffened the coils of this sinister conspiracy to such an extent that a disinterested favour or good turn was anathema, anathema a good turn. Analogously, the corrupter was pictured as a reformer, the reformer a corrupter. A highly perceptive man, rationally minded, and sagacious, one possessing moral integrity, would be thought of as a cocooned, underdeveloped, and a reactionary, while the sensualist imbecile is deemed shrewd, civilized and progressive. An investigation of the sort of liberty which fascinates humanity in our times reveals that it has become a slogan raised to justify licentiousness, corruption and anarchy.
A close scrutiny of the true identity of “liberty” would convince us that there can be no absolute freedom, limitless or unbound, because man has got an innate disposition to commitment to, and control by, specific laws which he is constrained to implement. Should man find no outer commitment to curb his actions he would still impose upon himself specific issues wherewith he would bind himself in response to his inherent desire for self-commitment. His individual life can never do away with a commitment to a definite discipline. There are times for waking up, going to bed, partaking of food, working and rest. These activities govern his individual life. As to social patterns, man is not without taut relations binding him to his family and society. It is common knowledge that the life of society is not devoid of specific systems governing social, political and economic relations as well as behavioural and moral patterns.
In short, it is onconceivable to visualize either an individual or a social life devoid of regulations, control or commitment. All these are restrictions to uncontrolled liberty. They should go to prove that there can be no absolute liberty in the sense of being free from all restrictions. This being so, the call for unshackled liberty becomes none other than a call for something non-exixtent, even in the actual life of its exponents. It is a deceptive slogan implying fraud and confusion, for an unconditional liberty does not and cannot exist, because it does not inhere in the nature of man whom God created with an innate disposition to restraint. What lies behind this continuous yelling, this clamorous call for freedom? In a word, it is a response to a call for egotism, propounded by “…and who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, devoid of guidance from Allah?” (Holy Qur’an: 28: 50). Among the so called “progressive peopl,” freedom of thought is concomitant with atheism, denial of religion, God’s inspiration, and the Call. Among the “liberals” it denotes skepticism as to the religion of God and His prophets, as well as practising moral degeneracy, sensous anarchy, injustice to the folks, plundering the wealth of countries, self-deception, manipulating the minds of poepl, practising monopoly, economic, legal and political maneouvering, and all the atrocities that come under the mask of “liberty.” Such misdemeaners are rife under the slogan of freedom of thought, while the real objective is self-interest, caprice, sensuality, ad base desires. The ultimate target is to realize private claims. The intellectual aspect is none other than a screen to conceal their bondage to wantonness and sensualism, under the ostensible claim of being intelletually emancipated.
This is one more contemeraneous slogan through which infiltrated the stench of agnosticism in the minds of a substantial number of people as well as the problems in their lives, owing to the clashes among the individuals and the classes of society, motivated by their void claim to eqaulity.
This motto brought in various misconceptions and forms of deception among people. With the expansion of its boundaries and the enlargement of its content, this motto has grown into a colossal attraction for mankind, specially as it has now culminated, among thinkers and authors, into a mainspring of human principles, a basis of advancement, modernism and supremacy.
Under the canopy of this deceptive banner the storms of injustice, coercion and aggresison were launched, and the unemployed and the indolent ranged ahead, claiming equality with the diligent, assiduoud, and persistent workers. The ignorant claimed to be treated on a par with the connoisseurs and the learned. And the trash and subversive stretched out and claimed equality with the prestigious in all walks of life. Analogously, the dependent failures claimed equality with the successful and the hardworking. Thus criteria dimmed and tottered, and the controls of life got mixed up. A number of countries witnessed revolts which disrupted all stability. Others saw the rise of organizations and associations that claimed unjustly grounded equality regarding the laws of God. These laws which regulate the life of man and are the permanent cosmic premises whereupon are based the principles of distinction and meritorious priority.
A profound and a practical scrutiny of the issue of equality would reveal that it runs counter to identicality. And existence presents us with no two absolutely identical entities in all facets. It is, therefore, unjust to equalize intrinsically competitive entities or reasons. Distinction—a cosmic law—exists in all things, animate as well as inanimate, in the floral as much as in the faunal, worlds, including man.
Iron is distinct from gold, so is myrrh in relation to the palm tree. So is a hog dissimilar to a stag. Consequently, an ignorant person is not to be equated with the connoisseur, nor is the quick-witted with the daft, nor, again, the useful with the harmful.
Whether we apply intellectual or practical standards of judgment and discrimination we cannot equalize all races, species or individuals. In actual fact, each is distinct from the other. Therefore, contemporary theories, systems and philosophical principles have failed to establish equality among people. Two obvious examples are socialism and communism. This is not to exclude democracy. It, too, abounds in all sorts of the current injustice represented in the name of equality, but it is sugar-coated by a colossal propaganda and the media as well as by an embellished web of democratic intrigues.
A call for absolute equality runs counter to the principles of justice. It is a contradiction to the reality of things, an invalidation of the issue of distinctiveness which God has ingrained in His creation. To adopt such a call for assumed eqaulity results in verdicts being based on prejudice and life being steered away.
No doubt humanity lived and is living through various manifestations of despotism, injustice and tyranny, represented by individual and social classes. Therefore, people sought that principle of equality which has lately been propounded. They assumed that it would be a saviour from such injustice and oppression, but such an action resembles escape from Scylla to Charybdis.
It would have been more pertinent to adopt the principle of justice based on the dictates of the truth, including observation of the practically existent and deeply rooted facets of distinctness and priorities, qualities referred to by God in His dictum:
“It is He who has made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He has given you: for your Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Holy Qur’an: 6: 165).
This is the type of distinction wherewith God Almighty examines man to grant him that grace and that charity destined to him. He said:
“Of the bounties of thy Lord We bestow freely on all these as well as those: the bounties of your Lord are not closed (to anyone). See how We have bestowed more on some than on others; but verily the Hereafter is more in rank and gradation and more in excellence” (Holy Qur’an: 17: 20-21).
Owing to such difference in God’s bounty to people the Almighty enjoined the faithful not to covet others’ grace:
“And in no wise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others: to men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: but ask Allah of His bounty. For Allah hath full knowledge of all things...” (Holy Qur’an: 4: 32).
In view of this difference God granted man the right to preside over woman. It is a distinction based on qualities of physique, creation, ability, disposition, as well as bodily, intellectual, and emotional qualification. He granted each sex an appropriate function that qulifies him/her for the social role in a proper manner:
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means...” (Holy Qur’an: 4: 34).
Therefore, equality between rivalries for precedence is both unjust and impracticable. It is a transgression, a contradiction to the intellectually evidenced, a violation of actual considerations. In the revered Book there are proofs regarding equality of different things. Indeed, the Holy Qur’an illustrates that such equality is neither proper nor will it last, nor, again, can it be acceptable. We read:
“…Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition’.” (Holy Qur’an: 39: 9).
“Say: ‘Not equal are things that are bad and things that are good, even though the abundance of the bad may dazzle you…’.” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 100).
“The blind and the seeing are not alike. Nor are the depths of darkness and the light. Nor are the (chilly) shade and the (genial) heat of the sun. Nor are alike those that are living and those that are dead...” (Holy Qur’an: 35: 19-22).
“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 judge you?...” (Holy Qur’an: 68: 34-36).
Seeing that distinction and priorities exist, then justice does require inequality. However, as regards things which are equal in reality they have rightfully to be equal in assessment. For example people are equal in creation. They all descend from Adam, a creature from dust. They are also equal in being servants to God, as well being under constraint to worship the One God.
Equality also extends to immunity of individual rights from being unrighteously infringed. Such rights pertain to body, finance, chastity, mind and soul, etc. Men are equal in recognition of their rights and preservation of their belongings, as well as in the right to litigation and legal proceedings in case of prosecution or defence.
Analogously, men are equal in the right to ownership, buying and selling, dealing in their possessions, the right to work, acquisition and learning whatever they need to learn with a view to promoting their living conditions here and hereafter. Such are occasions for equality, and justice expresses itself in the pursuit of the above fields. Similarly, where people are different, justice requires inequality; for justice is placing a thing in its proper perspective, affords each man his rights while inequality would be to give the undeserving what another has a right to, or making both share the same right, in which case it is an unjust action and a violation of rights.
4. Subservience to God Almighty:
Man cannot afford to disengage himself from two issues: first, submission to some power that is superior and more potent than his own beings. Secondly, following in the footsteps of another. These are amongst basic foundations in man; they constitute the major stimuli to man’s actions, sensations and relations. Their presence in man is a must, like love, hate and volition.
Therefore, God directed man’s actions in such a way as to secure his guidance, righteousness and hsppiness, pursuant to these issues. God argued that in no way can man rescue himself except by his sound orientation in the pursuit of these targets. He indicated such an orientation and provided such evidences, proofs and bases as to boast and enhance this orientation. As for the first issue, God delivered man from subservience to whatever causes misery and chargin. He oriented man to serve His Almighty Self alone, thus securing honour, self-esteem, prestige and happiness. Should man refuse, he will never get rid of slavery. Rather, he will get lost in a labyrinth of vain, evanescent and mock idols, thereby lose prestige and fall into ignominious humility.
This is an inevitable issue from which there can be no deliverance in any way. It exists in reality. Its imperative nature stems from the fact that in man inheres a need and an impoverishment for some sort of service. He is torn between two issues, either to serve God, in which case he is monotheistic, obedient, happy here and hereafter, or worship something other than God, some mock idol among diverse deities, viz. caprice, voluptuousness, money, hedonism, laws, conventions, parties, indeed any of the excesses that are today cherished, adopted and obeyed.
Such being the reward—and it is so in reality—in no way can man reach a state of well being except in subservience to his Creator, the All Potent, the dominant Power over him and all things. Should he abide by this true worship, man is promoted up the scale of human perfection. His life acquires an exalted value other than that whereto falls the one who worships other than God Almighty. The more righteous man’s subservience to God, the greater are his rewards. Thus the true Muslim is keen on cherishing the quality of serving God, an act which means complete acquiescence and resignation to God’s commands and admonitions, without protest or doubt because he has become confident that no deliverance or success can be gained except by practising such a service, following up its pathway which eventually leads him to satisfying God Almighty, the penultimate objective of each man who has faith in God.
One of the fundamental cornerstones of this subservience is that the believer in the sole Diety of God proceeds under the canopy of obedience, implementing all that God requires, whether or not he realizes the aim or the moral behind this, because when he has testified that there is no deity other than God he has thereby committed himself to absolute acquiescence that harbours no perplexity, hesitation or swerving. Such a composite and complementary action illustrates the meaning, the importance, and the urgency of an undivided allegiance to God.
No wonder that whoever fails to understand such glorious meanings as they are would protest thereto and experience doubts for his mind cannot emerge from the deep depth of ignorance and wayward servilities. As regards the second issue, God has set an example in the person of the revered prophets who are the best and most perfect of men. To follow in their footsteps is the way to the good, to virtues and delight. They are the lifeboats among the waves, the terrors and the darkness of the human example since olden times. This being inevitable, God made faith in His prophets concomitant with faith in His Almighty Self.
An obvious proof is that the first pillar of Islam is the testimony that there is no deity execpt God, and that Muhammad is His messenger. One of the results incumbent upon God’s commandments is that the prophet (pbuh) is the practical example of applying absolute service to God Almighty. Consequently, he should be the model and the example that imperatively must be followed by every Muslim. Thus become complete all the symbols of service and imitation without one straightforward track that guides man to the grace of God and paradise.
Whoever fails to understand such exhortations resembles an idiot, born blind, unable to comprehend whatever beauty coulours possess. Analogously, the one who fails to realize the composite meaning and the plenteous consequences of service is bound to pose questions like: why kiss the black stone in the Ka’ba? Why immolate on the immolation day (during the pilgrimage)? Why pray four cycles at midday and three times in the evening? Such and similar questions stem from the heart of whomsoever fails to grasp the truth about worship, neither does he taste its sweetness, fruits or man’s dire need for them.
We request God’s guidance and succour in what pleases and satisfies Him. May the prayers of God and His peace be upon our prophet and his family and companions.
 It is a long established and cherished tradition among Muslims to follow the mention of a prophet’a name by the benediction “peace be upon him.’ This practice will be folowed here as an abbreviation (pbuh).
Questions and Answers on
Munzer A. Absi with contributionm from
Ahmad Sheik Bangura
Belief in Almighty God
Question 01: So long as the three principal religions have emanated from God, why should differences appear as to the essence of God among their adherents? Why should a Christian or a Jew be required to abandon his religion and adopt Islam?
Answer 01: There is no doubt that the three religions acknowledge one source, God. They all agree as to the uniquness, the absolute omniscience and omnipresence of God, to the exclusion of any parallel power to be worshipped. All agree as to attributing to God all perfection and excluding all defects and blemishes. Whatever differences may appear is sporadic extraneous, accretious developing over the ages from distortions interpolated by members of both Judaism and Christianity. Herein came differences as to the essence of God. The difference, therefore, is between Islam, which God entrusted His prophet with, and other religions which have been distorted and adulterated. The difference is not between authentic religions, rather, it is between a true religion and others that have been invalidated and turned away. The latter category has been manipulated by vicious hands which misdirected them.
When we call upon a Jew or Christian to discard his/her religion and adopt Islam, we are in reality asking him/her to revert to the true religion which has been preached by all prophets. Should an impartial thinker consider Islam in relation to other religions, he/she is bound to acknowledge the radical difference between both categories. He/she is likely to find in the former the truth and monotheism, while the latter would reveal innovations and polytheism. Moreover, Islam advocates justice and tolerance, while the others imply racism and discrimination. In the one there are moral commitment and decency; in the other, disintegration and corruption.
Question 02: What is the penultimate reason behind the creation of man? Does God need man’s worship?
Answer 02: Man has been created in order to worship God: “And I (God) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship me (alone)” (Holy Qur’an: 51: 56). The Primary incumbency on man is to know God through His oneness, and thence to worship Him truly. Secondly, man is required to act his role as God’s vicegerent on earth, so as to enjoy bliss both here and hereafter. Indeed, his/her need to acknowledge the supremacy of God exceeds his/her need and drink: “O mankind! It is you who stand in need of God. But God is rich, worthy of all praise” (Holy Qur’an: 35: 15).
God is above the need for man’s worship. He does not benefit from man’s devotion, nor would He be adversely affected by man’s blasphemy. From beginning to end the story of man’s existence on earth, no matter how many are its incidents, is an ordeal, a test, whether for him/her as an individual or for all humanity. Man’s performance in this test determines either his praise and reward or reproof and punishment.
Question 03: You Muslims claim that you worship One God, while in actual fact you resemble the Christians who say “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,” for you say “In the name of God, the Mercifu; the Compaasionate.” How would you account for this resemblence?
Answer 03: In the Christian creed, God is the Creator. The Son is Jesus the Deliverer. And the Holy Spirit is His life or one of His creations chosen by Him as a messenger and/or prophet imparting God’s inspiration or cosmic order to whoever He wishes. Whatever the mission carried out by the Holy Spirit, the Christians believe in the above powers as three entities, three aspects, three qualities. They say: “Oneness in Trinity and Trinity in Oneness.” They are all phenomena of one God, etc. Therefore, the One God, they claim, consists of three separate categories, which they call the Trinity. As a matter of fact, God, as they take Him, is not one but three. In the Qur’an God says: “Surely, disbelievers are those who said: ‘God is the third of the three (in aTrinity)’.” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 73). The verse means that God the Creator is the third in relation to the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As for the Muslim dictum “In the name of God, the Mercifu, the Compaasionate,” it means three names of God which exceed ninety nine, all denoting one Entity. A name is not separate from the named. The Being named and described is not to be conceived except by His names and qualities, unlike the case of the Christian Entities, for they are three dimentional, but separate, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Question 04: How can you claim that your God is Mercifu and Compasionate, while He created evil in the world, expressed in illnesses, volcanoes, toxics, earthquakes, hatred, etc.?
Answer 04: The answer to this question is threefold:
1. God almighty is a universal God, the God of all creation. This is obvious in the following verse: “And your God is One (God), there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful…” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 163).
2. Undoubtedly, God’s mercy is comprehensive. It encompasses all creatures under its canopy. The evidence is clear: “…And My Mercy embraces all things...” (Holy Qur’an: 7: 156). Such a spacious clemency expresses itself in bestowing upon His creation so much bliss: material sustenance, the gifts of sight and hearing. Indeed, such blesisngs are countless.
3. Whatever adversities may befall man in this world, like pain, illness, poison, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc., are not exclusively evils. They are mixed blessings. For some who are harassed by such evils they are a punishment for their disobedience or heresy, while for some others they are a reminder, a nudge, to awaken them from their slumber. They also indicate the absolute power of God, His ability to deal with His creation, the sphere of His dominion, in the ways He deems just and wise. All that God decrees emanates from His compassion, wisdom and justice.
Question 05: Does God allow prostration to any power or creature other than Himself? If the answer is negative how can we account for the prostration of Jospeh’s brothers and parents before him?
Answer 05: Initialy, it is to be maintained that there are two kinds of prostration:
1. Expressive of worship and favour-seeking, which is permissible only to God. If it is practised to appease some other power, this is polytheism.
2. Indicative of man’s desire to glorify an absolute power, in which case the action of prostration is not polytheistic. Kneeling down and/or prostration before human beings as a way of showing respect or greeting was quite acceptable in earlier creeds. But it has been abrogated in Islam. Joseph’s brothers did not worship him. They bent down before him in a expression of esteem and reverence. Such a posture was permissible in their creed, but abolished and abrogated in Islam. Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa was reported to have said that on coming from Sham (currently greater Syria) Mu’az ibn Jabal knelt down before the prophet (pbuh) whereupon the prophet enquired what the man meant. In explanation, Mu’az said that in Sham he had seen people bending down before their bishops and patriarchs, so he thought it would be fit to do so in front of the prophet. In response the prophet denied this by saying: “Muslims may not bow down to anybody except God…”.
It was obvious that Mu’az’s postutre before the prophet implies reverence, a sentiment he noted in the case of the faithful, but in no way does it denote worship, which is exclusive to God. When the prophet knew that Mu’az’s posture did not denote worship, he still exhorted him not to perform such an action. Consequently, abrogation was applied to kneeling down and prostration in glorification of human grandeur.
It is true that Joseph’s father and brother prostrated before him, and equally true that God almighty enjoined the angels to prostrate before Adam, but in neither case did the posture imply worship, rather it meant a gesture of honour and recognition of merit.
Belief in Prophets and Missions
Question 06: What is the indisputable evidence that the teachings of Muhammad have all come from God?
Answer 06: There are numerous irrefutable evidences indicating that such teachings originated from God almighty. Here are some:
1. All that has been enjoined, and denied, can be found highly propitious and useful to all mankind, everywhere and at any time. They are commensurate with the sound mind and the chaste insight. Examples are commandments on solidifying family ties, preserving superior moral qualities, avoiding usury and all misdemeanors. All that the prophet (pbuh) has been told in inspiration has been proved valid. Such material falls in two categories:
A. Pertaining to the past. These are corroborated by former books as well as authenticated evidence confirmed by science and modern discoveries, e.g. finindgs in geology as the era of the deluge, in archeology as the relics from the epochs of Thamud and the Pharaos.
B. Pertaining to the future. Certain incidents were predicted by the prophet, e.g. the fire which blasted Medina in 654 hijra, the good offices performed by Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib in reconcilating between two major factions of Muslims, the gathering of the Jews in Palestine today, the emergence of nudist women who earn their living in immodest ways, and the spread of ususry, corruption, murder, etc.
C. Evidences derived from the prophet’s own life and morals, a study of both of which can only cofirms that such actions can never emerge except from one who is both true and honest. Whoever considers God’s support of His prophet (pbuh), the victory over his enemies, and the spread of his religion, must come to the conclusion that this prophet was sustained by God and that all he preached had come from the Almighty.
D. Some contemporary scientific discoveries support the prophet’s tenets, e.g. stages of the life of the embryo, the way in which milk comes into being in the mammals, the existence of the aquarian barrier between two adjecent seas, the fact that the Dead Sea is the nethermost place on earth, etc.
E. The miracles performed by him: these were simultaneously witnessed by both his followers and antagonists, e.g. the fissure of the moon surface, the springing of water from his fingers, the healing of the sick, etc. His greatest miracle remains the glorious Qur’an that has proved the authenticity of its contents over the ages.
Question 07: Who is the prophet?
Answer 07: He is a man chosen by almighty God, inspired by Him, and enjoined to proclaim the call to the people he was sent to.
Question 08: How can prophet Muhammad (pbuh) be the imam (leader) of all the prophets when he is the last messenger?
Answer 08: Preference is God’s own prerogative. It is exclusive to such and not to others, in accordance with His emmiscience and wisdom. Preference has no relation with precedence or antecedence in time. Moses and Jesus are are among the latter batch of prophets, still they are the best among all those who preceded them except Noah and Abraham (peace be uponh them). Furthermore, prophet Muhammad’s religion, in terms of creeds and the morals, conforms to those preached by the previous prophets. As for the rules of these religions, the prophet (pbuh), by commandments from almighty God, nullified some, modified others; altered some, and augmented others. Accordingly, his call has become more comprehensive, more perfect, hence has dominion over precedences. The one in charge of such a call deserves being an imam to those who preceded him. Those were made to pledge to the be faithful to him and support him, almighty God says:
“And (remember) when God took the covenant of the prophets, saying: ‘Take whatever I gave you from the book and hikmah (understanding of the laws of God), and afterwards there will come to you a messenger (Muhammad) confirming what is with you; you must, then, believe in him and help him.’ God said: ‘Do you agree (to it) and will you take up my covenant (which I conclude with you)?’ They said: ‘We agree.’ He said: ‘Then bear witness; and I am with you among the witnesses (for this)’.” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 81).
Such favours prove that he is the best.
Question 09: What evidence proves that Jesus was not a God, but only a messenger from God?
Answer 09: Jesus Christ (pbuh), following both the Gospels and the Qur’an, was born of the virgin Mary, who was just like any other human being. It is common knowledge that whoever is born cannot be deified. Jesus Christ was a human being who used to eat and drink just like anybody else. He was susceptible to hunger, grief and/or merriment. He experienced all the paraphernalia pertaining to human life. His miraculous creation from no father is no stranger than that of Adam, a being who was both fatherless and motherless. This is an evidence of God’s omnipotence. Jesus Christ was no more than a servant to, and messenger of God, who revealed the scripture in order to promulgate it and carry out His call. On the day of judgement Jesus Christ is not to be judged because of those who deified him in exclusion of God or thought of him as parallel. In the Qur’an we have a mentioning of this, where in the hereafter God will ask Jesus if he had asked his followers to deify him, whereby Jesus will answer God by saying: “If you punish them, they are your slaves, and if you forgive them, verily, you, only you, are the all-Mighty, the all-Wise” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 118). Here is one more reply to the one who seeks an evidence as to the deification of Jesus Christ, while he has none of the qualities of God. Whatever miracles he performed emanated from God, just as He supported other prophets.
Question 10: In what way was Jesus Christ a Muslim, as well as all the other prophets?
Answer 10: There is no doubt that all prophets (peace be upon them), beginning with Adam and ending in Muhammad, preached one religion—the worship of God alone and disregarding all other powers. This is something advocated by Islam. God says: “Truly, the true religion with God is Islam” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 19). About Abraham (pbuh), God says: “Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but was a true Muslim (hanif: monotheist—a worshipper one God alone) and he was not a mushrik—a polytheist” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 67). On the question of the disciples of Jesus, God says: “And when I (God) inspired al-hawariun (the disciples of Jesus) to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: ‘We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims’.” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 111). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) confirmed this in his saying: “Prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”
Question 11: If people have managed to distort the message of Christ, is not this sufficient evidence that he failed in his mission? If he was great, how could God allow his call to peter out into failure?
Answer 11: Christ (pbuh) cannot be said to have failed in his mission. God supported him with astounding miracle and convincing arguments. Whatever distortion has befallen the scripture preached by Christ, it must have happened after his ascention to heaven. Failure and disintegration are the works of the followes who fell a prey to whims and caprice. In this connection God says:
[And (remember) when God will say (on the day of reurrection): ‘O Jesus, son of Mary! Did you say unto men: ‘worship me and my mother as two gods besides God?’ He will say: ‘Glory is to You! It is not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely, have know it. You know what is in my inner-self though I do not know what is in Yours; truly You, only You, are the All-Knower of all that is hidden (and seen). Never did I say to them aught except what You (God) did command me to say: worship God my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when you took me up, You were the Watcher over them; and You are a Witness to all things’.”] (Holy Qur’an: 5: 116-117)
Question 12: Seeing that God’s message to humanity is one and the same, why was it partitioned among more than one prophet and not revealed in one package?
Answer 12: The message entrusted to all prophets is one and the same. It finds expression in a call for the worship of the one God and the avoidance of false dieties, God says: “And verily, we have sent among every ummah (community/nation) a messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship God (alone), and avoid taghut (all false deities)’.” (Holy Qur’an: 16: 36). God almighty also said: “And We did not send any messenger before you (Muhammad) but We revealed to him (saying): ‘None has the right to be worshipped but I (God), so worship Me (alone and none else)’.” (Holy Qur’an: 21: 25). As for the multiplicity of the prophets, it has been caused by various motives:
1. So that people in any age may not have the pretext as to have been ignorant of God’s commandments. God says: “Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against God after the (coming of) messengers.” (Holy Qur’an: 4: 165).
2. Specifying individual laws for each nation which shall conform to its nature and circumstances. God says: “…To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way…” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 48).
3. The differences among languages and their multiplicity, required entrusting more than one prophet/messenger, each speaks the language of a certain nation. This is obvious in the Almighty’s words: “And We sent not a messenger except with the language of his people in order that he make (the message) clear for them” (Holy Qur’an: 14: 4).