By: Faten Sabri
In a visit to South Africa, we came upon beauty that was beyond imagination. When we reached Cape Town, I got the feeling that we had definitely reached another world. There were beaches filled with penguins and gardens filled with birds and butterflies with breathtaking colors.
While wandering and exploring this exquisite place, I met a simple elderly man from Malaysia, whom was born and grew up in this place. He was a driver, and took us on a tour in the city for ten days. I asked him, if he had visited any other county, and much to my surprise, he answered: I don’t know any other place except Mecca, and I don’t want to know any other place except Mecca. Whenever I get an amount of money, I go to Mecca.
He said that they go to Mecca in groups crossing the black continent in trips that cost them much money and effort. Yet he said that he insists on visiting Mecca whenever he has the expenses. I was very touched saying to myself: how strange it is that such a man would leave such beauty and go to a wasteland with absolutely no greenery like Mecca. At that point I remembered the verse “So flee to Allah”. and I said to myself: Allah the Almighty has indeed spoken the truth. How glorious is our Creator whom has planted in our hearts the seeds of being attached to Him, and the yearning to go to Him. I was really pleased.
§ They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be [within] His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him. (Qur’an 39: 67)
One of the amusing incidents that I recall, was a conversation I had with a Chinese diplomat, whom spoke English fluently. He made me laugh when he said that the Creator created the universe, then got busy, and is no longer interfering in anything in it.
At first, I thought he was joking, then I realized that this is a basic belief in one of the religions that is widespread worldwide.
I told him that Allah knows everything in this universe from the tiniest to the greatest thing. Not a leaf doth fall but with His knowledge, and not a fruit comes out of its covering, and He keeps count of all things.
He answered: Isn’t it strange that the Creator would interfere in everything?
I simply replied that the fly that seems useless to people could be a cause of spreading diseases, and could change the natural balance in the environment. Wasn’t it a mosquito that caused the death of the Alexander?
Is it not enough for us to realize the greatness of our Creator when we see that the people nowadays fear tiny microbes, which are spreading and can’t even be seen? Indeed, it is only Him whom knows the true value of everything!
I always recall this conversation and say to myself “It is not the eyes, but the hearts in the chests that are blind.”
The greatest nations are challenging each other by showing off their military equipment, and Allah The Most Glorious is showing us a challenge that can’t be even seen with our eyes.
The spreading of the corona virus made the world realize the greatness of our Creator, and how all our balances have been disturbed. This unseen creature has caused the nuclear and hydrogenic weapons to collapse, and with it, the human pride collapsed as well.
The scholar Ibn Alqayam says: “Look at the speech of the Qur’an and you will see The King whom has the absolute possession of all, whom deserves the absolute praise. The King whom has full control of everything. Everything starts from Him and Ends with Him. He is the All Knowing whom knows all what’s apparent and all what’s hidden. It is Him whom hears and sees, gives and takes, rewards and punishes, honors and humiliates. It is Him whom creates and provides, causes death and life. It is Him whom judges and manages.”
My conversation with the Chinese person pulled me towards reading more about his religion, in which people believed that the Creator created the universe, then abandoned it and left it without guidance.
I kept searching for a way to respond to the followers of this belief, which they call “Divine Neutrality”.
During my search, I found that the Qur’an acknowledges the fact that Allah interacts with His creations through the messengers. This connection is manifested in more than one verse in the Qur’an.
§ [We sent] messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise. (Qur’an 4: 165)
First, Allah stressed that there is a wisdom behind the creation of the human being.
§ Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?" (Qur’an 23:115)
Then, He stressed that playing and amusement were never the aim of creation.
§ And We did not create the heaven and earth and that between them in play. (Qur’an 21-16)
§ Had We intended to take a diversion, We could have taken it from [what is] with Us - if [indeed] We were to do so. (Qur’an 21:17)
Allah stressed the absolute surrender and submission of the heavens and the earth.
§ So is it other than the religion of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they will be returned? (Qur’an 3:83)
And that He created man and jinn only to worship Him.
§ And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Qur’an 51:56)
Allah shows that man was honored over other creations by the direct and genuine relation with Him through worship.
§ And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend. (Qur’an 4:125)
Worship here is meant in its general meaning, which is by knowing the Lord of the worlds and forming a connection with Him. Knowing His attributes, glorifying, exalting Him, and worshipping Him alone.
In addition to what is mentioned in the Qur’an, there is a number of logical evidences of the communication between Allah and humans. Some of which is:
If there were a person whom built a building, then abandoned it without making it appropriate for accommodation, we would certainly judge this person as unwise and unstable. So - as Allah is the ideal - there must be a wisdom behind the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in exploiting them for the service of man.
In each human being there is a strong natural instinct to know his/her origin, and the reason for their existence. The natural instinct always drives the human being towards knowing their founder.
The person whom is born and doesn’t find his/her parents gets this strong need to find them as they were the reason for his/her existence.
The stable natural instinct that hasn’t been affected by outside effects, could be led to its Creator and founder. But that’s not enough. Still it needs guidance from its Creator through messengers to guide it to the correct path, and to know its Creator in a way He deserves.
We find that many people in the world have found their way towards the heavenly messages while, others are still astray from the truth, and are totally attached to materialism.
This natural instinct in human beings towards communicating with their Creator, knowing the wisdom behind their existence, and knowing their fate after death has forever been in the minds of people. They have invented myths and philosophies about them trying to find explanations and answers to these existentialism questions.
The existence of these questions in the minds of man, and the seeking towards looking for answers for them, gives us evidence that there is an unseen power, will be leading to this, and pushing man towards knowing his/her Creator. It also gives us evidence that it’s unacceptable that the creations would be left with such an instinct without guidance from the founder of this instinct.
The feeling of thirst is a clue to the existence of water, even before knowing of its existence. Also, our longing to just is a clue to the existence of the Justful.
So, witnessing the defects in this life and injustice between people, makes it unbelievable that this life will end with the unjust people getting away with their actions and the oppressed, not being paid back. There is a comfort in the idea of the existence of resurrection and the hereafter and retribution. No doubt that the person whom knows that there will be a judgment on actions won’t be left without guidance. Won’t be left without coercion and intimidation. And this is the role of religion.
Also, the existence of the current divine religions, whose followers believe in the divinity of their source, is considered direct evidence of the Creator’s communication with human beings. Even if atheists deny sending the Lord messengers or books, the existence of these books and religions is a strong evidence of one truth, which is man's unbridled desire to communicate with God, and satisfy his innate void.
We find in the Qur’an the stress on giving evidence on the truthfulness of the prophets and messengers, in a way that was suitable to every time and place. It is not logical to believe in the existence of the Creator without believing in the existence of a way or curriculum of communication with this Creator.
One of the attributes of the Creator is wisdom, and one of the characteristics of human being is the conflict of good and evil and the freedom of choice. It is self-evident that the imperative of the wisdom of the Creator becomes clear to us, and it is sufficient that death exist on the imperative of judgment. Death is not annihilation, but rather the stage of transition to reckoning. This is the role of the divine religions in showing this fact.
I once had a conversation about the greatness of the Creator with a German woman - married to an Argentine man - and her Argentine mother in-law. The husband wasn’t present. During the conversation, I realized that German woman didn’t believe in the existence of God, but then something happened, which cause us all to cry.
The mother in-law was talking to me persistently about the hardships facing us in life, and questioning how could we handle them. The conversation was very touching to the extent that she cried. Then while I was explaining the wisdom, mercy, glory and greatness of God in sending such hardships, she asked: Then what’s the solution? What should we do to face such hardships?
I replied: Just say: Ya Rab (Oh God)!
They said: How?
I had shown them the way to do supplications by raising their hands and taught them the words. We all said: Ya Rab (Oh God)!
While we were saying the words, the German woman got a phone call with news that made her cry and jump in joy hugging me and her mother in-law. The mother in-law kept on asking her: Did he come out? Did he come out?
The German woman replied: Yes! Yes! They both hugged me saying : We thank you God!
I learnt that the husband had been put in jail from three weeks due to corruption in his data. And he was a man of a high status in the community, so this was a shock to them.
She told me words that I will never forget. She told me thank you for bringing out of my heart, what I didn’t realize existed. I never thought that I believed in Allah. At that moment, I realized how great Allah is to answer supplications and to guide such hearts that longed to know Him.
I was very pleased with what this woman admitted to me, cause it proved right what I always repeat in my lectures to my students and in my conversations with non-Muslims, which is that there is nothing called atheism, and that all people know that Allah is there whether they admitted it or not. Our role is just to get from those whom claim to be atheists the faith they are hiding or are trying to hide inside.
Now, at the time of this corona pandemic, we all urgently need to say these supplications to Allah. The supplications of the distressed. As if we are all in the stomach of the whale. We need to say “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.”
One Portuguese doctor asked me about the importance of converting to Islam, and why should she convert to any religion at all? She was wondering, why it wasn’t enough to just believe in Allah and worship Him in her own way.
She said that, she believed in the existence of a Creator to the universe, but she didn’t believe that He communicates with humans through messengers. She said that, she does good deeds and helps both humans and animals, but isn’t waiting for a reward from the Creator, she takes her reward and happiness from the humanity instead.
I told her: Do you think the humanity is immortal? Is the human happiness endless? When humanity ends, only God, who does not die, will remain. I told her that by her way, she is like a student whom after twelve years of studying says, she doesn’t want the certificate.
Imagine, if you were a member in a Social Solidarity Foundation, so that you would get a retirement salary, then the foundation declared that it won’t be able to pay these salaries, and it will close soon, would you continue dealing with it?
A believer works and strives to help humanity for the sake of Allah, and so gets happiness both in this life and in the hereafter.
I told her: Regarding the importance of the existence of religion, imagine that you are walking in a way and do not know its end, and you have two options, either to follow the instructions of the signs found on the road, or try to guess, which may cause you to lose and perish.
Or imagine, that you would buy a TV, and try to use it without going back to the operating instructions, you will spoil it. The TV set coming from the same factory, for example, arrives here with the same instruction booklet that arrives in Portugal, so we must use it in the same way.
We find some people to communicate with God, dancing and singing in places of worship, and others who applaud to wake the God according to their belief.
It is God's greatness to make a system to be followed by all of us, to organize our relationship with Him, and our relationship with those around us, which is the definition of the religion.
Humans cannot worship God by following their whims, because they will harm themselves first before they harm others.
Some of them worship God by taking a mediator, and they believe that God comes in the form of human beings or stones. God wants to protect us from ourselves, when we worship what does not benefit or harm us, but rather causes us to perish in the Hereafter. Worship other than God with God, is considered the greatest sin, and its punishment is immortality in Hell.
She asked me, why making partners with God, makes the person deserve eternal hellfire.
I told her: In the laws of humanity, it’s well known that adhering the rights of the king is like no other crime. What if we are talking about the KING of the kings? It’s the right of Allah to be worshipped alone and it’s the right of the people to have a direct connection with Him without intermediaries, and so to have peace in this life and in the hereafter.
Then she asked me about the correct religion that she must embrace after believing in God? I told her: It is God’s greatness to make the right religion easy and logical, and in accordance with our natural instincts. It’s to worship Him alone while doing good deeds and leaving evil. It’s the religion that all the prophets called for.
The correct religion could be distinguished through three main points:
Ø The attributes of God in the religion.
Ø The attributes of the prophet or the messenger.
Ø The details of that religion.
The correct religion must include attributes showing the Beauty and Glory of God:
It must include a description of God and evidence of His existence.
§ Say: He is Allah, [who is] One, (1) Allah, the Eternal Refuge. (2) He neither begets nor is born, (3) Nor is there to Him any equivalent. (Qur’an 112)
As for the description of the messenger and his attributes, the religion:
Must describe how the connection between God and the messenger is established.
§ And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed [to you]. (Qur’an 20:13)
Must show that these messengers are responsible for delivering the messages from God.
§ Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message,.. (Qur’an 5-67)
That these messengers haven’t been sent to call people to worship themselves, but to worship God alone.
§ It is not for a human [prophet] that Allah should give him the Scripture and authority and prophethood and then he would say to the people, "Be servants to me rather than Allah," but [instead, he would say], "Be pious scholars of the Lord because of what you have taught of the Scripture and because of what you have studied." (Qur’an 3:79)
Must emphasis that the messengers are supreme in the limited human attributes.
§ And indeed, you are of a great moral character. (Qur’an 68:4)
That the messengers are the human role models.
§ There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. (Qur’an 33:21)
As it’s analogical to accept a religion that describes the messengers as drunk or adulterers or traitors.
A description to The Creator.
The correct religion wouldn’t describe the Creator with what doesn’t fit His glory and greatness. It wouldn’t show Him as an animal or stone, or that He was begotten or has children. It also, wouldn’t show Him as to have equals from his creations.
§ [He is] Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you from yourselves, mates, and among the cattle, mates; He multiplies you thereby. There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Qur’an 42:11)
§ Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. (Qur’an 2: 255)
Must show the purpose of existence.
§ And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Qur’an 51:56)
§ Say, "I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord - let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone." (Qur’an 18:110)
The obligations of the religion must be within the human capabilities.
§ Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship,.. (Qur’an 2: 185)
§ Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity,.. (Qur’an 2: 286)
§ And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak. (Qur’an 4:28)
Must give the rational proofs of the validity of concepts and facts it presents.
The message must give us clear and sufficient rational proofs, to judge the validity of its content.
So, we find the Qur’an not only has given such mental proofs, but has defied atheists and polytheists to give proof of their beliefs.
§ And they say, "None will enter Paradise except one who is a Jew or a Christian." That is [merely] their wishful thinking, Say, "Produce your proof, if you should be truthful." (Qur’an 2:111)
§ And whoever invokes besides Allah another deity for which he has no proof - then his account is only with his Lord. Indeed, the disbelievers will not succeed. (Qur’an 23:117)
§ Say, "Observe what is in the heavens and earth." But of no avail will be signs or warners to a people who do not believe (Qur’an 10:101)
Must have no contradiction between the religious contents presented in the message:
§ Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. (Qur’an 4:82)
§ It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise - they are the foundation of the Book - and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge say, "We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord." And no one will be reminded except those of understanding. (Qur’an 3:7)
The religious texts must not be in conflict with natural human ethical laws.
§ So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know. (Qur’an 30: 30)
§ Allah wants to make clear to you [the lawful from the unlawful] and guide you to the [good] practices of those before you and to accept your repentance. And Allah is Knowing and Wise. Allah wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation. (Qur’an 4 :26- 27)
The religious texts must not be in conflict with science.
§ Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe? (Qur’an 21:30)
The religious texts shouldn’t be isolated from the human daily life and modern civilization.
§ Say, "Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?" Say, "They are for those who believe during the worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection." Thus, do We detail the verses for a people who know. (Qur’an 7:32)
The religious texts should be convenient to any place and time.
§ ..,This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion,.. (Qur’an 5:3)
The Message universality:
§ Say, [O Muhammad], "O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death." So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be guided. (Qur’an 7:158)
In conclusion, we find out, that the greatness of our Creator, that He has communicated with His creations, and has sent messengers with His heavenly true religion, to all human beings, as a mercy to them and to alleviate their suffering. But many people don’t realize this fact. But many people do not realize this fact. We find a group of people who deny God's sending of messengers, while another group of people made partners and intermediaries with the Creator and followed different ways to communicate with the Creator. Others suffered from the beliefs of their peoples and ended up leaving religion entirely.
The truth that we want to prove here is that there must be a religion first, that there must be one religion, because the Creator is one (but with different laws and approaches that suit nations), and finally, that the true religion must be Islam (which means, believing in One God, and unifying Him in worship).
because how could God accept any other religion, that wouldn’t call for monotheism. (Submission by believing in Him and worshiping Him alone). If we look throughout history, we won’t find any other religion as clear and tolerant and pleasant as Islam.