What is Islam?

The book by J. W. Lovegrove (Habibullah)

WHAT IS ISLAM?

The nature made by Allah, in which He has made men ; there is no altering of Allah’s creation—that is the right religion.—QuR-AN, xxx. 30.

” ISLAM ” is the name given by Allah to that religion which was preached by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (on whom be eternal peace), who appeared in Arabia some thirteen hundred years ago, and it is the last of the great religions of the world. The name ” Islam” Was not invented by those who professed it. , This name is expressly given to this religion in the Holy Qur-an itself. It says : “Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam” (iii. 18) ; and in another place : “This day I have perfected for you your religion, and completed my favour on you, and chosen for you Islam as a religion” (v. 3).

The word “Islam” is very significant ; it literally means “Peace” as ” Peace” is the dominant idea in the whole system. It also means submission. The third meaning is the way to peace ; and the teachings given under the name of Islam disclose all such ways as are sure to create peace in the world, if adhered to in daily life.

The follower of Islam is called a Muslim, which means peaceful, and submissive. He who has not made peace with God and his fellow-beings cannot be a Muslim.

To make peace with God is to submit to His Will and obey His Commandments. To make peace with man is to do good to others.

“The best of God’s obedient elect are those who, when seen, remind of God ; and the worst of people are those who carry tales about, to do mischief and separate friends, and seek for the defects of the righteous” (Sayings of the Prophet).

“A Muslim is he,” says the Prophet, “from whose hand no harm goes to another.” The whole idea has been covered by the following verse in the Qur-an :

Yea ! who ever submits himself entirely to Allah, and he is the doer of good to others, he has his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for him, nor shall he grieve (xi. 112).

OBJECTS OF RELIGION

Every child comes to this world without sin in its nature. He and his God, being at peace with each other, he does not stand in need of being reconciled to an angered Deity ; and therefore needs no inter­cession or atonement. He has been given the highest capability and his progress is potentially unlimited— so we read in the Qur-an :

Certainly we created man in the best make. Then we render him the lowest of the low. Except those who believe and do good, so they shall have a reward never to be cut off (xcv. 4, 5, 6).

The object of religion is to help its followers to work out what is noble and good in their nature. Religion therefore is not only the sum total of belief, but doctrines and tenets which should be translated into action.

A faith without action is a dead letter in Islam and carries no merit in the eyes of Allah.

We have wonderful potentialities reposed in our nature by the hand of God, so the Qur-an teaches ; and the best adoration or thanksgiving to God is to work them out to the benefit of our fellow-beings. We say prayers and glorify God, but if these actions of worship are not attended with any edifying of our­selves, they are of no value in Islam. Creed is of no consequence if unaccompanied by deed. Unless we actualize our asset in nature we are not glorifying Him, because we do not accomplish the grand object of our Creator.

Muhammad says :

  1. The Lord does not regard a prayer in which the heart does not accompany the body.
  2. He whom prayer preventeth not from wrongdoing and evil, increaseth in naught save in remoteness from the Lord.
  3. Adore God as you would if you saw Him ; for if you see Him not, He sees you.
  4. Pray to God morning and evening and employ the day in your avocations. Prayer brings the Faithful into Com­munion with his Cherisher.

“A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good he does in this world to his fellow-men. When he dies, people will say : What property has he left behind him ?

But the angels who examine him will ask : What good deeds hast thou sent before thee ? ” (Muhammad).