2. Man and Religion

June 22, 2013 in The Final Divine Religion ISLAM

Religion covers the information that is taught to man by the Creator to help with his life before he dies and after his death. Religion provides some rules for Man to live in this world without harming anyone. It highlights for him certain rights and laws so that he can spend this short period of life in peace without risking his life in the hereafter.

God Almighty has created various beings in the universe. However, human beings have a very special place among all. Human beings are gifted with many superior abilities that other creatures do not have such as intelligence, will, wisdom, comprehension, possessing, and mastering. However, these abilities are like a double-edged sword. If the positive sides of these abilities are used, they bring a sound order, fortune and abundance to humanity. If the negative sides are used, they bring about unexpected evil consequences and cause terrifying anarchy. They cause terrifying cruelties and big wars. In order to direct these characteristics and abilities of Man to the right direction, we need another power. This power is a true religion. Yet, one must not forget that Allah does not need us to be pious, and our practice of religious commands does not provide benefit to Allah. However, we human beings must obey to religious commands not only for salvation in the hereafter, but also to be happy in this world as well.[1]

In fact, all the divine religions express that Man was created to know his Creator and worship Him.[2]

People who announce a religion to people are the prophets. Islam acknowledges all the prophets and makes believing in prophets a requirement for being a Muslim. According to the Islamic faith, there is completeness and continuation between prophets. Prophets have acknowledged the previous prophets and announced the good news of the following prophets.[3] Therefore, a person who accepts the prophethood of His Excellency Prophet Muhammad also accepts all the previous prophets. Hâtıb bin Ebî Beltaa (Allah be pleased with him), when he brought the letter of the Messenger of Allah (upon him blessings and peace) to the Governor of Egypt (Muqawqis), said to him:

“We invite you to Islam, the religion that Allah chose for man. Muhammad Mustafa (blessings and peace be upon him) is not inviting only you but all humanity. Christians were the ones among them who acted most friendly. As His Excellency Moses announced the good news of the coming of HE Jesus, HE Jesus in turn announced the coming of His Excellency Muhammad. Our invitation to you to the Quran is like your invitation to the people of Torah to the Bible. Each person is obligated to be subject to the prophet of his time. You are among those who reached Prophet Muhammad’s era, therefore, by inviting you to Islam, we are not diverging you the religion of HE Jesus. On the contrary, we are inviting you to act according to His Prophecy.”[4]

Muslim convert Professor Timothy Gianotti of Toronto’s York University, after stressing that he was not ignoring his old religion Christianity by converting to Islam, and how his old religion had been like a transition stage for being a Muslim, explains how Islam is an all-encompassing religion that covers the goals of Christianity: “The role of Islam is to transform not only a specific group of people to people of value in the eyes of Allah, but all humanity.”[5]

A hadith (tradition or saying of the Prophet Muhammad)[6] states that prophets are all siblings. This common parentage indicates that all true religions have the same common principles. In other words, the true religion stayed the same from the first prophet to the last one in terms of the fundamentals of belief and the main moral values, but some of the worship methods and procedural rulings were changed.[7]

Since there is only one true religion, it is very normal to observe some similarities between the divine religions. For example, Islam commands to perform the ritual prayer. In the Bible the following verses mention the rules of praying:

“Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before Yahweh, our Maker,” (Psalms, 95:6)

“And Moses and Aaron fell upon their faces.” (Numbers 16:20-22)

“Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.” (Exodus, 34:8)

“Jesus fell on his face…and prayed.” (Matthew, 26:39)

“When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate …” (Matthew, 17:6)



[1].     Prof. Dr. M. S. R. el-Bûtî, Islamic Creed (Islâm Akâidi), pp. 71-76.

 

[2].     Exodus, 20/2-3; Deuteronomy, 6/4-5; Matthew, 4/10; Acts, 17/26-28; The Noble Quran: Adh-Dhariyat (The Scatterers), 51: 56.

 

[3].     Prof. Dr. Ö. F. Harman, Article: “Islam”, Diyanet Islâm Ansiklopedisi – Encyclopedia of Islam (Republic of Turkey, Presidency of Religous Affairs), Istanbul 2001, XXIII, 4.

 

[4].     For the full text of the long discussion between Hâtıb (ph) and Mukavkıs see Ibn-i Kathir, el-Bidâye, IV, 266-267; Ibn-i Sa’d, I, 260-261; Ibn-i Hacer, el-Isâbe, III, 530-531.

 

[5].     Ahmet Böken – Ayhan Eryiğit, Yeni Hayatlar (New Lives), I, pg.15.

 

[6].     Our master the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) has said:”I am to Son of Mariam the closest among human beings. Prophets are brothers whose fathers are one and whose mothers are different. There is nor prophet between me and him.” (Bukhari, Anbiya, 48; Muslim, Fedail, 145)

 

[7].     Prof. Dr. Ö. F. Harman, Article: “Islam”, Diyanet Islâm Ansiklopedisi – Encyclopedia of Islam (Republic of Turkey, Presidency of Religous Affairs), Istanbul 2001, XXIII, 3.