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A DIRECT WINDOW INTO ISLAM

WHAT RBALLY IS

ISLAM

SAFIAIQBAL

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent a:~::::: -..,,~~

About the Author

Mrs. Safia Iqbal is a renowned islamic writer and trainer. After graduating from Aligarh Muslim University she was awarded with doctorate in Psychology from Delhi University.

Born in Mumbai in 1954, married to Mr. Iqbal Waraqwala in 1973. Mr. Waraqwala was a practicing lawyer at Delhi High Court.

Later she migrated to Dubai and joined AI-Siddique Islamic English School which was founded by Dr. Siddique M. Jaferi. After serving this school for a couple of years, she came back to Delhi and started her mission of educating children's of Ummah by establishing a unique kind of school "The Scholars School". This school became a model for many schools spread over the country to follow the state syllabus along with Islamicteachings.

Apart from a very good teacher and administrator she wrote a series of books for children. Her book titled "Woman in Islamic Law" has been regarded as one of the marvelous works on the subject, this book was selected as best Islamic book during 1986 and she was awarded by the Late Prime

Ministeroflndia Mr. RajivGandhi.

"What Really is Islam?" a book she has authored is an impressive work that may help debunking misconceptions about Islam and introducing it. The book is informative for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Date: 19th Dec. 2009 I~ Moharram 1431 Hijri Place: Bangalore

Dr. Rokhiya Jaferi Siddique publisher President,lnternational Seerah Academv (Regd)

WHAT REALLY IS

ISLAM?

By Safia Iqbal

International Seerah Academy, Bangalore

First Edition 2009 Second Edition 2010

publishers: International Seerah Academy, Bangalore

No Copyright: This book can be re~roduced on t~~ Condition that its contents and format be maintained in the onglnal form and a copy of the reproduced book be sent to the author and publisher.

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In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most MerCiful

PREFACE

In th.e cour.se of interaction with Non-Muslims, I was occasionally Jolted by the absolute lack of basic information about Islam along with a fascinatingly distorted view of Islam. The result was that they believed whatever was generally propagated about Islam, particularly through the media. Sufi songs and rituals at graves were the popular images of Islam they got through the media.

Once a fellow passenger, a Hindu lecturer, asked me, "How do you manage to wear the Hejab (outer garment) all the time at home? Don't you feel hot?" And she was as amazed as Iwas by her question when I informed her that the Helsb is worn only outdoors before strangers. Once, a Non-Muslim gentleman stunned me by his remark when he said, "I think it's forbidden in Islam for ladies to wear high-heeled shoes, isn't it?"

Some simply ask the meaningofthe word 'Islam' while others object to the word 'Kaftr' being used for Non-Muslims, assuming it to be an abuse while it actually means 'one who does not believe'

Once a Non-Muslim insisted that Page 786 of the Quran mentioned killing of Non-Muslims. He was convinced only when it was reasoned out to him that different copies of the Quran could have different number of pages, depending ~n the size of the pages. So, Page 786 had a different content In different copies of the Quran. Another person took theAdaan words 'Allahu-Akbar' of the prayer-call as a war-cry sounded five times a day from mosques!

These examples are just drops in an ocean of

misunderstandings ;t~~ustu:~d ~e~~~~n~fa~;~~I:::g~~f ,basic aroun~ i.n the form of grand architecture, ancient universities, concepts of Islam. 0 q.? .YISthe the cursmes. dresses and languages now termed 'artistic' by Kabah and its black stone worshipped. Why are Muslims Ollt one and all.

to kill everyone? What is Jehad? Why polygamy? Why is the

triple divorce in one sitting allowed? Why don't women have a The fact is that the very word 'Islam' means peace. The Muslim right to divorce? Which forms of Islam are Sufism and greeting 'Assalamualaikum' and 'salam' means peace. 'Salam' mysticism? What is 5hia and Sunni Islam? The myths is God's Name which means peace. God's last messenger

continue.

A Non-Muslim gentleman's amazement knew no bounds when I informed him that he was already a Muslim since he believed in One God only. "So, is that what being a 'Muslim' means?To believe in One God only?", he asked pensively. "Yes," I replied

And he asked me directly, "What is Islam actually?"

I decided to transform his question into two brief books 'What Really is Islam?' and 'Misunderstandings about Islam'. I wanted to present Islam in a simple, direct and unobtrusive way as it originally is, stripped of later connotations affixed to it. The result is the book you hold in your hands.

Harbouring misunderstandings about Islam is not the only bane. Pinning the label of terrorism on Islam is also the easiest and in-thing to do today. Both these trends are due to a lack of communication and interaction between communities Muslims are equally ill-informed about the ways of their NonMuslim brothers and sisters.

The real danger, however, is that the Muslims are not projecting a correct view of Islam So in the absence of any demonstration of Islam on the part of Muslims, the world is made to believe whatever is propagated about Islam. Islam is presented as a danger to world peace, and the world believes it. The Muslims are projected as barbarians and the world believes it. So brain-washed is it that it ignores the signs and symbols of culture and knowledge of the Muslims spread all

Prophet Muhammad is a messenger of peace and mercy for all mankind. Now, since the Muslims are not projecting true Islam and are also not wearing their own God-gifted label of being 'Messengers of peace (Islam)', hence it has become a fashion for anyone to pin any label, including that of terrorism, on the barren, label-less sleeves of the Muslims.

Muslims have been projected as objects of fear and terror. If they wish to remove this impression and be taken for what they are - messengers of peace and love -, they will have to give up a passive posture and express what rea.llslam is, on every forum, at every level, be it the media, seminars, gatherings, exhibitions, meetings over tea and breakfasts, on the social, local, regional, national and internation~llevels and clear the misunderstandings about Islam and display wh~t Islam, actually, is in practice and in words. Believe it or ~ot, this is also what the right-minded among the Non-Mus~lm~ too want Muslims to do-to show Islam as it is and not to hide It.

This book presents Islam in its stark. raw, b.asic and original form. I hope it will serve as a direct Window Into Islam for the readers.

5afialqbal New Delhi 26'" Nov 2008

Prophet Muhammad (peace be ~n him) once said, What is Islam? "God has not created anything better that)

'reason'." Islam means to accept and believe that there is only One God.

Man's faculty of reasoning makes him superior to all other So, basically Islam means to believe in the Oneness of God. creatures.

Man's faculty of reasoning guides him to the truth, provided he first removes the spectacles of previously held beliefs, opens his mind to new windows and new ideas, Uses his faculty of reasoning and allows it to function freely to reach the truth.

The following pages allow a view inside Islam as it actuallvf in its stark original, simple undiluted form.

What does the word 'Islam' actually mean?

Islam means peace. It also means accepting and obeYing God.

Note: Islam comes from the root word 'Salama' which means peace, and also from 'Islim' which means 'to submit or obey'·

Is Islam a religion?

No, Islam is nota religion as such. It is away of life and a set of principles. In other words, Islam is a way of living which is based on a set of principles.

These principles are based on reason, common - sense and are in accordance with ourinnate nature.

What kind of principles is Islam based on?

These are basically five principles:

1. onenessofGod.

2. Freedom andequalityofall men.

3. Brotherhood of all men

4. Social just ice for all men

S. Rejection of any agents, middle-men

intermediaries between God and man. Or

Who gave these principles? G.od sent these principles in II

piOUS men called messengers aa dtimes and climes through n prophets.

501 Islam is not a religion but is an acceptance and obedience otOne God. Right?

Right. Islam is not a religion in the usually accepted sense of the term. It isan acceptance and obedience of One God.

This acceptance and obedience means accepting the 5 basic principles given by God (viz oneness of God, freedom and equality of all men, brotherhood of all men, social justice for all and no agencies or intermediaries between man and God)

501 what does Islam stand for, in spirit'? In essence, Islam stands for:

1. Oneness of God . That is the central pillar.

2. Peace in self and society.

!' ~ualitY, freedom and brotherhood of all mankind

. crshlp IS not confined to prayers only but extends

to all good acts done in life.

Explain this a bit.

Sure In essence, Islam stands for: Oneness of God, peace in self ~nd society, equality, freedom and brothe~hoo~ of all mankind, and worship extending beyond prayers Into life.

a. Oneness of God: This means that there is only One God, One Creator and MasterWho created us all and we are bound to obey none else other than Him alone.

b. Peace: When we are totally reconciled to worship of One God only, then do we find peace and harmony in self and society. This is because we will be obeying only One Master's commands single-mindedly and not running about to please many false masters or false deities.

c. Equality: This means that all men, black, brown, yellow or white, of any race or region, rich or poor, physically fit or physically challenged are absolutely equal. There can be no hierarchy or division in society on the basis of colour, caste, creed, occupations, wealth or physical fitness. All are equal. That is why the king and the pauper, the black and the white, the able and the disabled stand shoulder to shoulder in prayers, perform Haj and observe fasts as equals in Islam. They have equal rights. This equality also means justice, social security and equal opportunities for all.

d. Freedom: This means that all men and women are born free and equal and are not bound to bow to or obey any person or worldly power as one obeys God. They are to bow to none except One God. Freedom also means that one is free to be in contact with God directly and pray to Him directly without the

~nterference of agents, middle-men, priests or Intermediaries. There is no priesthood, no separate church or a class of clergy in Islam.

e. Brotherhood: This means that as humans, all are brothers, regardless of religion or nationality. All mankind is one single family of God, bound by blood relations. Each man is related to all other men by blood ties because all are children of their first common parents -the first couple on earth. This also means that within this larger human brotherhood, there is another fraternity of Muslims, a fraternity bound by faith. So, a Muslim whether he is an Egyptian, American, European, Moroccan, Russian or Australian is a brother to all other Muslims, regardless of country, tribe, race or colour just as he is a brotherto all Non-Muslims too dueto blood ties. Worship: Worship is not confined to prayers but it guides all aspects of life. Every small act which may outwardly appear worldly, becomes worship if conducted correctly. For example, you reading this to understand Islam, I talking to you to explain Islam, someone doing an honest trade, someone eating clean, pure food in a right, healthy way, - all these actions become acts of worship. Worship, then, is not limited to a few prayers but becomes an honest, constructive, peaceful way of living, leading to a peacefu I society.

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Yes all messengers brought the s~me message of Islam [monotheism and peace). The religion of all the prophets was one and the same: Islam.

So was Islam given to ali messengers of God in ail So, is Islam not something new brought by Prophet ag~sand places ofthe world? Muhammad? Some even say it is the youngest religion!

Islam was called 'the straight path' in all ages, in different languages. For example, it has been called 'Sanatan Dharm' in the Vedas, 'Straight Path' in the Bible and 'Siratul - Mustaqeem' (straight path) in the Quran. The original teachings and books of all previous messengers like Moses, Jesus, Noah (peace be on them) were lost by their followers. That is why the 'Straight Path' or Islam brought by them was lost to the world. And that is why God sent the original Islam again through His last and final messenger Prophet Muhammad (peace beon him) through the last divine bookthe Quran - in its final and original form.

No, Islam is neither a new thing nor is it the youngest religion. It was always there since the first day of the world and was practiced by the first man and woman. God sent the same message through all the prophets and they all brought the same message of Islam or oneness of God. How could the same God send different messages or religions through His messengers?

Each time it was lost or changed and men got deflected from the original straight path, a new messenger was sent with the same message but again men lost or changed that message, and again a new messenger was sent with the pure message. The cycle continued. Thousands of such messengers were sent. There is no area of the world where a messen.ger has not reached. Each country and civilization knows Its past messengers even though their teachings have been lost or partially lost or changed today.

So - what exactly is Islam?

Islam is but a way of life based on the principles of God's oneness, men's freedom, equality and brotherhood, social justice and peace. These principles are based on pure innate human nature [Pitrah, pure human nature) on which every new-born baby is born: man's natural, original, inner nature.

HOW is Islam based on pure'

I Innate human nature?

Islam is itself based on some natural

principles like oneness of God, freed common-~ensjcal br~th~rhood of all men, social justice an:m, equality and rejection of any agency between man an peace for all and according to human nature. They are har~_~~d. T.hese are ~aturallY by God. Hence, Islam is totally bal;:~ ~~o man Innate human nature (Fitrah). pure,

· ed on pure, innate human nature and

If I,slam IS b~: is based on natural, common-sense. th~s ~ean~ -built into man's nature, then can You

prinCIples I", II some ofthese principles?

elaborate brte yon

Sure. Some of these natural principles, natural to human nature,are;

1. Someone created us and the w~rld around us.

2. Some Force controls and organlze~ the functioning of

this vast universe in a flawless fashion.. ,

The flawless and harmonious functioning of the universe and of the human body points to a Single Creator and Organizer.

4 This Single Organizer is the Creator Who is One and OnlyOneGod

5 All humans are equal and brothers.

6 All humans are free and cannot be slaves or subservient to each other.

7. All humans have certain rights and are entitled to socialjustice.

8. All humans will surely die and, hence, this life and world are temporary.

9 There will be another life after death and another place to live in the hereafterThis belief is lnbuilt in us. We know it instinctively when we see the incomplete, often unfair, results of good or bad deeds and criminals going scot-free here. We know there has to be another time and place where everyone is fully rewarded or punished according to

10. ~~~~. TrhiSiS~ natural demand of God's justice. .

g eat PIOUS men appeared in every age with the same good teachings of God. These were the

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messengers and prophets of God

11. The original teachings of these prophets and their original scriptures have always been the same. Each scripture spoke of One God only and never of two or more gods and always of one 'Straight Path' and never of two or more straight paths. The straight and direct path leading to a destination can be one only and not many.

12. Kindness, loyalty, honesty, truthfulness, hard work, piety, generosity, charity and good deeds are virtues and to be valued. Cheating, cruelty, lies, laziness, miserliness, crimes are evils and to be avoided.

13. Man has a soul. It never dies, and that soul is the real man.

These are the natural, common-sense principles ingrained, inbuilt and hard-wired into every human being's inner nature. And these principles are Islam, 'the straight path'. You could call itthe original common DNA of rnan-c the pure human nature.

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So is Islam not a religion in the formal sense? Is it then just a set of principles and a way of life?

True ... Islam is not a religion in the sense we take the word 'religion' to be. It is a way in which we live by following certain principles.

Look at this in anotherway

living according to certain principles - is Islam.

So, if we find a group of people in a remote land, say, Eskimoland, and they do not have Muslim names-but-theyfollow the principles of Islam mentioned earlier, believe in God's last messenger, then they are automatically following Islam and are automatically M usl ims.

Can you again name the basic principles of Islam? Sure. The basic principles of Islam are as follows·

1. OnenessofGod

2. Freedom and equality of all men

3. Brotherhood of all mankind

4. Socia\justiceforall

S. No intermediaries or agents between man and God.

But _ all religions and systems give these principles. What, then, is the difference between Islam and other religions in this matter?

True, other religions also give these principles but there is a difference. While other religions don't present the means to put them into practice, Islam presents along with these principles a complete social system where these principles are translated into practice and by also presenting means of getting them implemented.

Secondly, with the passage of time, other religions (which were all originally Islam or the straight path) gradually narrowed down the practicing of these and other good principles and worship itself to a person's private life only instead of letting them operate on the collective level as was originally intended in all divine scriptures. Islam revived these principles and also gave a collective, practical system to implement these principles.

But - if all religions were a ..

t~e same principles, th~~lnaIIY Islam and gave differences between the . why ~o we find rules of prayers pra . ~ In certam rules like

, vet-timings, food, fasts etc?

All. divine teachings and systems se

prior to Prophet Muhammad, were nt through all prophets

o.f a ~articular time and nation an~ddressed to the people situations of that sped. . . . hence addressed the because communicati~~c~~;~.~. dl~~rent parts. This was

d I leu t In the ancient world

a~ wa~ not s~fficient enough to transfer or facilitate a p ophet ~ teachings to wider areas orto future years. That is why we find that sometimes two or three prophets lived at the s.ame time in different places. Hence, the details of c:rtal~ rules were different according to the period and Situation but the basic message of Islam or monotheism was sameinallscriptures.

When Prophet Muhammad appeared, the world was entering a new age - the age of knowledge wherein communication was comparatively much better. Hence, his message was not confined to a particular nation or time but was for all people of all nations for all times. And, he wasthen declared the last prophet and the prophet for all times and for all mankind. Islam was revived again in its original, complete and final form as a system through him. The principles and rules conveyed through him were universal and for all times. Even a broad and cursory scrutiny of his teachings and the Quran reveals the timele.ss~ess, universality and practical applicability of these prlnClples

even today.

What is the Shariah?

The 'gnanah' is a term used to denote the code of laws in Islam. We, naturally, find differences in these codes of laws brought by different prophets. This is because the time, situation, culture, needs and demands of each period were different, as explained on the previous page. But the central message of monotheism Of worship of only One God, was the same in all prophets' teachings. Moreover, the code of laws brought by Prophet Muhammad, being the last, is final and perfected for all times.

What is Ijtehaad?

Ijtehad is a revolutionar

~i~riah brought by ProPh:tc~nuc~Pt of Is!am. Though the . es, yet there are times h am mad IS final and for all s~tuatjons and problems w~ en .one is confronted With times and for which we find c.h did not. exist in previous S~nnah (practice of the Pr n:dlrectsolutlon in the Quran or h.'mS~lf has allowed us t; a;:i~~n such a cas:, the Prophet slt~a.tlon or problem in the ll ht of at a solution to such a This IS c~"ed Ijtehaad. The sc~olars the Quran or the Sunnah. and amve at a solution in th I' of Islam can get together Sunnah by consensus e ight of the Quran and the

For example sp

time. Now h a~e travel was not existent in the Prophet's

s ace . .ow oes one pray and in what direction in a

p. -ship. given the zero-gravitvcondlttons in it? Obviousl

~ IS fo~ scholars to answer that by consensus on the basis:i

~tchlng or near-matching precedents (like traveling in a ship) from the Shariah and on the basis of the Quran and S~nnah. Another example could be of the instant triple divorce system. Since the Quran gives a method of divorce (Surah Talaq) which is against the instant triple divorce and ~ince the Prophet himself had frowned upon those giving instant triple divorce in one sitting, many scholars in some countries have done 'Ijtehaad' and banned instant triple divorce on this basis, given the rampant misuse of instant triple divorce by men. The core principle of Ijtehaad is: to solve previously unsolved and unfaced situations in the light ofQuran and Sunnah only by consen sus of scholars

Are the Muslims of the world a separate, common group?

What is the Ummah ?

estions. Yes, the Muslims of the These are two separate qu and fraternity. This is similar to

wOrl~ ar~ ~hc::~:; ;;I~g~~nS being naturally pa~ of their peop eo. . rt f the Christian community where :~~~~:i~h~~t/:: IJse~ oroa Hindu a part of his community where ever he is. The Muslims too are part of a co~mon Muslim community and fraternity wherever they are In the world, across geographical boundries.

However, the entire mankind is one co.m~on gr~up. p:ophet Muhammed said that the entire mankind IS God s family. The smaller communities within this larger group, are based on religion naturally today,

" And verily this your Ummah(group, nation) is one Ummah, and I am your lord, so fear Me. But they (men) have broken their religion among them into sects (divisions) .. " (Quran:23·S2,S3)

Now the second questloni- An 'Ummah' means a nation or group. This word is used for the group of people who followed a prophet or those whom his message could reach. Every prophet had his group or Ummah. Prophet Muhammed too had his group or Ummah. His people or Ummah include all the people of the world from his time uptil the world's last day, regardless of whether they believe in him or not. This is because he is the last Prophet and a prophet for all mankind till the last day and also because the Quran is present and accessible to all and its message can

reach one and all

The Ummah is just another name for a global human brotherhood, regardless of religion. It is a ~niversal brotherhood of all humans. This concept of a world-group or U mmah of the prophet can be undertoad by the example of a classroom. A teacher teaches from a text book. Many s.tudents i~ the class have the text books. Many don't. Many listen to him. Many don't. Yet, they are all part of his class as he is a teacher of the Whole class. Then, the teacher leaves the class, leaving his text-book behind on his table Now some get copies of his text. Some still don't They stili don'; read or follow the text-book. Yet, they are still part of the same class, as they have access to the teacher's text at all times. Similarly, the people who believe or don't believe in the prophet are part of the same group, his group, his Ummah as they still have access to the book he brought- The QU RAN. And that book belongs to everyone.

" This (Quran) is a message for all mankind ... " (Quran: 14-52)

"And forevery Ummahthere is messenger."(Quran: 10-47)

How does Islam translate these 5 principles into practical reality?

In one stroke, The moment a Muslim breathes ~o~ewh~re, a system comes alive that translates these principles Into reality.

The First Step:

The first step of the practical implementation of these principles, is that Islam roots out the idea ~f any agency or intermediary between man and God. There IS no concept of a special class of people who can act as agents of God. Man is related directly to his Creator. He is freed from bondage to all humanagenciesinthisregard

How .is the first principle of Islam translated into practice?

Principle No. One: Oneness and sovereignty of God

People often accept God as One but not as a Sovereign, This mean~ they say. that 'God is surely One but we wish to worship other things or deities as well,' This also means that they say that 'God is surely Our Creator and Master but we won't obey Him fully in all matters; we will worship Him in private but will not beableto implement Hiscommands in all mattersoflifefully.'

Islam bans this duality, It implements and admits practically the Oneness and SovereigntyofGod by-

a) by banning any and every agency or intermediary between man and God, and

b) by banning worship of anything except One God, be that an idol, image, pious men, dead or alive, graves oranynaturalorman-madeobject.

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But why does Islam ban worship of objects, idols, images, pious men, graves, etc?

Because man invented worship of these things. God did not sanction it. And because these are all created things most of which we make with out own hands with earthen materials like mud, cement, lime, marble, stone, paint, etc. Islam tells us to worship Him who created these things. The Creator of these things is All-Powerful and worthy of worship. But, look at the weakness of these things. Let's say you make a stone an object of worship. NoW, if a fly sits on this stone, can the stone drive it away? No. If some man or animal takes away the offerings kept in front of it, can it stop them from doing so? No. If the stone falls, can it save itself from falling or breaking? No, it breaks. It cannot save itself. How then will it save man? That is why all scriptures like the Bible, the Vedas and the Gita originally ban idol-worship. (See pages 84,85)

If idol worship is not sancti .

originally,thenhowand o.n~d tn any religion

why did It begin?

Idol worship began in two forms'

1. Whenpiousmendi d .

and grief the ed,men.mls~edthem.outoflove

statues t~ re y m~ e their pictures, paintings or

. mem er them and see them daily

Slowly,. thts remembrance turned into worship afte; sometime. Thus began idol-worship.

2. Some kept a solid object in front of them to con.centrate. on God while praying. So, they kept vanous. objects like stones, branches, pictures, flames In front of them for the sake of concentration. But, this was just Satan's way of deviating them from God. How can a person look at one thing and concentrate on another? They soon began taking these objects of concentration as God and began worshipping them. Thisturned into idol worship

Is that polytheism?

Yes it is. polytheism means to worship things other than/k or alO~g with worship of One God: So, when a perso~ ma es and worships idols or images, he IS joining partners with GOdf and this is polytheism. But there are other forms a olytheism too. When a person worships other natural

~bjects like rivers, stars, cro.ps, certain stones or t~e eart.h itself he turns these into Idols of sorts, and this .t~o. IS potvthetsrn. polytheism is known as 'Shirk' (to join / JOining partners with God) in Arabic.

In ancient times, men generally first began admiring, then worshipping things which they either did not underst~nd or things which benefited them. For example, they did not understand lightning, hot-water springs, volcanoes, s~uls or stars which vanished in the day-time and began worshipping them out of fear. Rivers, fire, crops, some precious stones and certain animals benefited them a lot in daily life and they began worshipping these too. But, God condemned this polytheism in any form in all ages through the guidance which He sent through prophets. He condemned polytheism as the greatest and only sin which He will not forgive. He said that He had created these things, in fact, the entire universe, for man's service, use and benefit and not to be worshipped, and He, the Creator, alone was to be worshipped. This was His central message sent to us through all prophets. It is illogical that man, the best of all creation, should worship things created for his use and service. Man the best creation, was/is meant to worship the best: the Creator, the One God.

But, t~ose Who do idol worship say that it has been sanctioned by their forefathers and ancestors. How can they not follow something that was followed by forefathers and ancestors?

This is the first and commonest argument given in favour of idol worship. The answer to this is: What if the forefathers and ancestors have erred? There is a possibility of that. Can they not make a mistake? If yes, is it right and logical to follow and copy their mistake by repeating their error? Certainly not. If someone falls into a fire, however beloved he may be, one does not and cannot knowingly plunge into the fire after him. Rather, he tries to save the other person from falling intothefire.

How is the second principle of Islam turned into a practical reality?

Principle No. Two: Freedom and Equality of All Men.

This principle is implemented and secured in practice in 2 ways:

1. By freeing man from worship, slavery of and submission to other men, however pious or powerful. This, in turn, is done by declaring all menblack, white, brown or yellow, rich or poor, eastern or western to be equal and protected equally by a system that protects their equal rights. This, in turn, is done by freeing men from selfish exploitative laws framed by a few select men and by allowing them the freedom to follow God's princi pies.

2. The second way of ensuring freedom and equality of men is the application of the 5 pillars of Islam for one and all (applicableto Muslims only).

The five pillars?

Yes, the five pillars of Islam are:

1. The testimony (Shahadah)

2. The prayers (Salat)

3. The poor-due (Zakat)

4. Fasting (Saum)

5 The pilgrimage (HaD

Howdothese 5 pillars of Islam ensure equality and freedom for man?

The first pillar is the Testimony. The testimony is that a person testifies that there is only One God. This testimony automatically makes One God Superior to all and makes all men equal as a consequence. It also frees us from obeying or bowing to anyone or anything other than One God.

The second part of this testimony is to testify that Prophet Muhammad is the slave and messenger of God. This means that Prophet Muhammad is the last and final in the chain of messengers sent by God from time to time with God's message of guidance. This second part automatically frees us from accepting any other person who may claim religious sanctity as an authority from God.

So, the Testimony automatically frees men from subservience to other men, objects or false deities and renders them free and equal.

How ,does the second pillar

equality and freedom for all men?Of Islam ensure

Th~ second pillar of Islam is _ the .

daily prayers. These wash awa sin Prayer. A Muslim offers 5 pray~rs, the rich and the poor~ theS ~nd cleanse us. In th~se the kl~g and pauper, all stand side b ~~Ck, brown. and white, rows In mosques. This creates e ~alide to pray In the same idea that they are free from q. tv among them. The reinforced in prayers, and th~~~;:~lence tlo th.eir equals is fda es a re easing sense of

free om.. Ste.p into a mosque and see this equality and reedom In action.

How does the third pillar ensure equality and freedomformen?

The third pillar is - the poor-due. This is also called Zakat. Once a year, the rich Muslims give a part of their wealth (t:'"o and a half percent) to the poor. (The criterion for being eligible to give this poor-due is being in possession of seven and halftolasofgold or its equivalent in cash or kind)

This ensures distribution and rolling of wealth in society and prevents blocking or accumulation of wealth in a few hands only. This pillar makes the poor comfortable and satisfied. It ensures social justice in the long run by gradually narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor.

While Islam endorses the poor-due on the one hand, it bans giving ortaking ofinterest (usury). Interest sucks the blood of the poor, makes the poor poorer and the rich even richer. This is because interest pulls and moves money from the poor towards the rich. Banning interest stops wealth from constantly moving from the poor to the rich.

Zakat, the third pillar, on the other hand moves wealth from the rich to the poor in a fair manner which is also not burdensome on the rich. This gives socio-econornlc freedom to all.

How does the fourth ·11

freedom forman? PI ar ensure equality and

The fourth pillar of Islam is fa ti .

to dusk for a month eve s I~g. Muslims fast from dawn

This fasting is compuls:r~io~~ar In ~hellmonth of Ramadan and white. (Ofcourse, the ill, ~~ea~lda a,:~c~haen~~~or,black exempted from fasting). dren are

Fast.ing develops a giving attitude and a sacrificing attitude too In society. It develops kindness, compassion and piety in man. This helps foster equality and freedom from aggressive cut-throat attitudes so prevalent today. The spiritual side of fasting removes man from the rat race of life and frees him from a blind animalistic, materialistic pursuit.

Without any supervision or policing, Muslims stay without food or water for the same duration in the entire world. This is itself a lesson in equality.

How does the fifth pillar ensure equality and freedomforall men?

The fifth pillar of Islam is - The Pilgrim.age. or the Haj. This is the annual pilgrimage to Makkah which IS compulsory .for every mature, sane Muslim who can afford it atleast once In a lifetime.

In the Haj, one and all, rich and poor, black and.white,. people of all nationalities and cultures, speaking different languages, gather at the same place to worship ?ne .God. Their nationality, wealth or culture cannot be distinguished there by any means. All of them are dressed in the same humble, white, unstitched dress. They are all humbled and purified by this experience in uniformity and equality. Brotherhood of men and freedom from slavery to others - is renewed and re-pledged in Haj by worshipping one God at the same place, time and in the same uniform conditions.

So, far We have SPoken of cnl ..

Islam-oneness of God d . Y 2 prlnc1ples of

an equality and freedom of men. What about the third principle of Islam? How does Islam translate it into reality?

Principle No. Three: Brotherhood of all men.

This princi.ple impl~es that all men are brothers and are held toge~her In a universal. brotherhood whether they are Muslims or not. All mankind is God's own family. Hence, all men and women are children of the same first couple, and hence are brothers and sisters. Albeit, within this universal brotherhood is another brotherhood of MUslims. Each Muslim is also a brother to another Muslim

Why this separate fraternity within a fraternity? This distinct brotherhood has been marked due to some rights and duties they have towards each other. For example, a Muslim pays Zakat and not a Non-Muslim. A Muslim is supposed to fast, pray 5 times and go for Haj but nota Non-Muslim.

Just as there are rights and duties of Muslims within the community, they have rights and duties towards entire mankind and due to that they are held in a universal brotherhood too. The foremost right and duty of a Mus/im towards mankind is to convey to one and all the message of monotheism and the Quran, to cooperate in all matte:s of virtue and peace and work towards co-existence In a peaceful and just society.

Then within the second fraternity of community, the~e is a third' fraternity of relatives. This too has. been. mentlobned

separately due to additional rI;hts :~~o~u~;~~a~:~t~~~; ti:7.

towards each other. In ISla~~i~:to the specific question:

~:~a;~e~t 1;1~~Otr:~:~:t:· the principle of brotherhood of all

men into a reality?

43

Islam converts this principle of human brothe.rhood into practice by following a healthy moral system which ensures and protects the rights of all others. This system not only recognizes bad for bad and good for good but also en~ur~s implementation of good and bad values. Ifimpl:mentatlon IS absent, mere rhetoric of good and bad values IS u.seless a~d meaningless. Islam ensures this implementation of Its principles and values through its social and legal system

For example, alcoholism is admitted to be the mother of all evils in all countries but is not a punishable offence anywhere. Islam not only declares alcoholism to be the mother of all evils but also roots it out in practice by banning itandalsobypunishingalcoholics.

Another example is that of drugs. They are in an epidemic proportion and are harmful. Islam bans them and punishes their use.

Take the example of rape, adultery and fornication. Islam not only bans them, creates conditions (like Hejab) to root them out but also hands out severe punishment for the rapists, adulterers and fornicators.

Take the example of robbery. Islam not only holds it to be a sin but severely punishes the robber by cutting off a hand (except if it is caused by hunger or poverty).

Similarly, Islam presents an entire legal system to deal with crimes and sins to ensure that brotherhood of all men ~egardless of religion, nationality or colour, is implemented '" practice by ~rotecting others' rights, protecting the Inno~ent and p~nlshing the criminal and the sinner. Perhaps, that IS,:,",hy we find a comparatively low crime-rate in Muslim countnes.

:~~thSer~~~~~ of Islam further strengthen this spirit of

How does Islam translate the . .

practice? fOUrth pnnclple into

Principle No. Four: SOCialjusticeforali

T~iS ~s en.sured and implemented by free enterprise and free dlst.rlbutlo~ ~nd movement of wealth in all sections of socl~ty. ThiS, In turn, is ensured by the system of Zakat and charity. The compulsory Zakat or poor-due and the nearcom~ulsory Sadaqah (voluntary charity) to be paid by all rich Mus!lms moves wealth from the rich towards the poor continuously, ensuring socia-economic freedom for al/. Banning 'interest or usury' frees people from the clutches of blood-sucking exploitation of the poor. Along with this, free trade, property and ownership rights and equal rights ensures social justice for one and all in an Islamic society, regardless of religion, colour and nationality. Once Caliph Omar saw an old, weak Jew begging. He ordered that he be maintained through the government funds since he had paid the tax when he was young and strong.

The legal system of Islam discussed on the previous page, also contributes towards translating the principles of social justice for all into practice. Caliphs Omar and Ali, heads of state, were brought into court by ordinary citizens in their times.

How is the fifth principle of Islam implemented in practice?

Principle No. Five: There can be no agent or intermediary between man and God.

In one stroke, Islam strikes out the idea of any self-appointed agency, agent or intermediary claiming to be representative of God or a medium or ladder to God by banning priesthood, hermitage or a separate religious class of clerks. Islam expects every person to be an expert and scholar of religion and to contact God directly through prayers and to directly refertothe scriptures.

(The Maulvis, Maulanas or Sheikhs must not be mistaken for priests. They are actually religious scholars having additional knowledge of Islam and do not and cannot claim to have divine powers or to be intermediaries between man and God.)

But all religions have commo

and evil. For exam I n values of goodness bravery, loyalty Chastpte, truthfulness, honesty,

, I yare held . .

religions. Lies, dishonesty, cheatias Virtues In. all fraud, hoarding, infidelity t ng,. cowardice, vices by all religions Thene ~ are considered to be different? " ow and why is Islam

Islam is different in three ways:

1. ~t is the only religion Which today has monotheism in Its pure form. Other religions also speak of One God but today many false deities have been added to them as God by their followers.

2. Today, it is the only religion which holds and presents the original teachings of all other religions which have been lost by their followers

3. Islam provides not just values, principles and ways of worship but it also gives a complete system of social justice wherein these values and principles can be implemented, as you read in the previous pages. Islam does not limit itself just to rituals ormethodsof worship in the mosque but ensures a free, e~ual and just society. It gives freedom from subjugation and worship of any other man orfalse deity and rese~es worship and obedience only for One God.!t a.'so ~Ives vibrant principles for man's social and orgamsatlOnal system of society.

What is the concept of worship in Islam?

God describes worship as the purpose of man's creatio~. In Islam, worship does not mean just a few rituals like pravmg. fasting charity or pilgrimage. These are only the external acts of worship. Worship actually means following God's guidance in all parts of life. Yes, in Islam, God g~ides ~s in all major and minor aspects of life. We are guided In such matters as how to run our social, economic and legal systems. We are also guided in such matters as how to eat, how to sleep, dress, how to maintain hygiene in the toilet, how to bathe, how to marry, divorce, how to manage family life, trade, succession and inheritance matters, how to travel and behave on the road, how to behave with neighbours be they Muslim or not, how to be just, kind and loving to one and all, Muslims and Non-Muslims and a hundred other thingsoflife

So, worship becomes a complete life-style in Islam. For example, if God says 'You can't give or take 'interest (usury)', a Muslim can't stand up and say he will take interest. That would be rejecting God's guidance in trade matters and would violate worship. Hence, worship means accepting God'sguidance in all matters.

You can't say you will worship and bow to God alone on the prayer- mat and in the mosque but you will refuse to bow to Him and obey His rules outside the prayer-mat in schools, hospitals, markets, courts and other parts of life and society and do what you wish or Someone else wishes in these other parts. That wou.ld not be worship. $0, worship is an integrated act which covers the entire life.

What is the proofthat Islam

sent by God? has been revealed and

For a religion or belief svsto t b

God's final message, it has t: 0 e from GO.d a.nd for it to be ave these baSIC distinctions:

1. This religion ha~ to be universal and for all times It must not be defined by any geographical boundary·or add~ess only a section of community or race in a particular time or age. It must address all mankind mustbeforallmankindandforalltimes. '

2. It must accept and recognize the teachings (original) of all religions brought by earlier prophets.

3. Its principles must be based on common-sense and mustbeinsyncwithhumannature

4. It must present these principles not only in theory but in practice too. This means it must hold a social system which can put these principles into practice Only then can it be called a complete system

5. Its divinely revealed teachings must nor refute but must validate todav's scientific discoveries and established scientific truths and laws. Each one of its truths (divine revelation) must corroborate another related truth (scientific discovery).

Does Islam fit the criteria of having been revealed from God according to the criteria mentioned on the previous page?

Yes. It does

Islam's universality and timelessness is a proof in itself. It is for all, not for some. It is for all times for all people of all parts of the worJd and not for a particular region or race. It is not bound by any regional culture or language. It is free from regional or national boundaries. You will find a Muslim in Canada, Australia, China, Russia America, Eskimo-land , India and Arabia, practicing Islam in the same way even though he might be speaking a different language or wearing different style of clothes.

Had it not been the final religion from God, it would have addressed only some people of so me nation for some time. But, Islam addresses all people of the entire world for ali times. The Quran repeatedly says "0 Mankind" and not "0 Arabs or 0 Australians or a Muslims". God is for all, so His final message is forall.

Secondly, Islam accepts all original teachings of all previous pr~phets and religions as God's messages. Unfortunately, the original texts of those messages have been lost or altered.

Thirdly, Islam's natural principles are in accordance with human nature and based on common-sense.

Fo.urt.hly, Islam is the only religion today which presents not just pnnc:ple.s but _a social ~ystem which puts these principles into practice In socetv turning the system tnto a reality.

Fifthly, th.e greatest proof of Islam's divine origin is the Ouran. It holds universal truth.s. It. ~reSented and validated 1500 years :!~\~~~'tn~~:st sCientifiC dis~overies and latest laws. Not a

Qurangoesagalnstestablishedscientificlaws.

50

If Isl~m is universal, for all .

mankrnd and Was also the r:I~.es and for aU prophets and if it is not boun~lglOn of all past culture or language, then wh ~y any r~gio~al teachings only in Arabic I Y a we find Its

bi anguage, the Quran in

Ara IC language, its centre (Makkah) in Arabia its

~ulture. mostly Arabized and even the Word 'AI;ah' in Arabic?

The answer is logical. Why was the Bible originally in the Hebrew language and its centre mostly in and around Jerus~lem? Why do we find the Vedas (The holy scriptures of the Hindus) in only the Sanskrit language.?Whyis Vedantism or Hinduism centred in India only and is coloured by Indian culture? Obviously, this is so because the Sible was revealed in old Hebrew language and around Jerusalem, and the Vedas were revealed to Sanskrit-speaking people who lived in India. Vedantism or Hinduism has the stamp of Indian culture for the same reason that the ancient Aryans and Indians practised it. For the same reason, India is the centre of Hinduism.

Any holy book is revealed in the language of the people to Whom it is revealed and its centre is obviously the land where it was first revealed. Similarly, the Quran was reveal.ed in Arabia to an Arabic- speaking Prophet. So, the Quran ISI~ the Arabic language and the land of its revelation;nAir:~I;:i~: ~~ Centre. Had the Prophet Muhammad. be~n bOrica it would had. the Quran been reveal~d to hlmalne:~dtheproPhet ObViously have been in an Afncan lan~~cagn Itis natural.

and his culture too would have beenAf .

However, it is wrong to say Islam bears an Arab cultural

stam An outsider finds it so but it is n,ot so. Th~ slight strntlarttv in dress and habits of Muslims of different countries is not due to Arabic culture but due ~o the :ommon principles of Islam and the common way of II.fe which Islam presents for all. We do find local variations In dresses and foods of Muslims around the world, don't vo:e? How different is the African Muslim's dress and food habits from those ~f a Chinese or American Muslim. Even the styl~ o~ helab {women's outer garments) is slightly different In different countries

Though the Quran is in Arabic, there are translations of the Quran in hundreds of languages. Islamic teachings are found more in non-Arabic languages than in Arabic. The maximum number of Islamic books are in the German language today

So, it is wrong to say that Islam is centred in Arabia. Islam is universal and meant for all mankind. The presence of almost all nationalities of the world in the Haj, the annual pilgrimage, is a proof of this. And the Haj is also a chance to observe the multi-regional influences on the common culture of Muslims of the world.

So, Islam is not Arabized. It only appears so to the untrained, outside eye. You will find differences of dress - styles, languages, food habits etc naturally among Muslims of different region and countries. A Muslim is free to practice his own local culture, speak his local language, eat his local foods which he relishes and be a Muslim at the same time so long as he practices the basic principles of Islam common to all {like the 5 pillarsoflslam).

As for the word ALLAH, it is simply the Arabic word for the words 'THE GOD'. It refers to THE ONE GOD. ALLAH is a combination of AL- ILAHA {The God). This word 'Allah' is

52

found in most ancient religious te

used for the One Supreme G~ts and language5 and was Muhammad. That is why the ~ long before Prophet Muhammad that they had no Objectio~kkans tO~d Prophet as they already worshipped Him Th to~orshlpPlngAllah prohibiting worship ofotherde.r· bey. objected only to his ~e find the w~rd 'Allah' in the ~~~Sas~is~~~:~;~·Testament In the Ta~rah, In. the Sikh holy book 'Guru Granth Sahib'and most ancient SCrtptures and languages.

;here, i~ an Up~nishad called the 'Alia-Upanishad'. The word Allah IS mentioned in the Rig Veda, book 2, hymn 1, verse 11. In the Hebrew language, the word 'Eloha' {Elaha) and 'Ella!' are used for God. The Bible mentions God as 'Elohim'. The old edition of the Bible mentions the word 'Alah' for God. The word 'Allah' is used in the NewTestamentwhereinJesus (peace be on him) cries out, "Ellai Ellai (Allah Allah}whV have you forsaken me?" {Gospel of Mark, Chap 15, Verse34).

So, the word 'Allah' is not limited to Arabic but is present in most languages and holy scriptures.

53

What is the proof of God's existence? What is the proof that there is only One God?

Everything is made by somebody. Our house,.our watc~, our buildings and roads, gardens and factories. Obv~ously someone has made such a complex and perfect machine as man and such a perfectly harmonious universe. The perfect and synchronized working of our body and its internal a.nd external parts, the perfect functioning of the universe, pomt to a single Manager and Creator, a Single Hand. The smo~th, undisturbed laws of the universe and the computerized working of man's own structure, are proofs of a Creator's existence and also that He is One and only One.

Another proof of God's existence and His being One is in inside man himself. On two occasions, man himself calls out to this One God only. When man is confronted by a great calamity or tragedy, pain or terror, he calls out to none but just One God for help. Secondly, when man is dying and is in his last moments, he remembers only One God and calls out to Him, the One Creator, for help and forgiveness. On both these occasions, man forgets all other false deities but calls out to The One God only. This is the greatest proof that God is only One and there is no other God but He.

"Say! If there comes upon you some calamity from God or the last moment comes, then at that time do you call upon anyone else except God. Say, if you are truthful. But, at that time you call out to God only. Then if He wishes He removes that calamity from you. On such occasions, you forget those whom you have taken as partners (to God)."

(Quran: 6-40, 41)

54

True. It is proved that there is a Gad . the proof that there . But, What IS example, separate g:~~ :; at.her GOds like, for

I ram, crops, wealth,

know edge, forests, mOUntains, life and death etc?

1. Had ther~ been multiple Gods, each God would have t~ken a slice of the universe as his kingdom. Then the dl~erent Gods would have fought each other, each trYing to establish his own supremacy.

" {Had there been many Gads} then each God would have taken away what he had created and some would have tried to overcome others"(Quran: 23-91} Then, the different gods would have established their own separate laws and commands in their own kingdoms. There would have been different timings and quantities for rains, crops, seasons, natural resources etc. in their different kingdoms. Thus, we would have seen different laws in different parts of the world. All this would have caused a total distruption in the balance, harmony and functioning of the universe and our own planet too. But, we see total and perfect harmony, a computeri.zed, interlocked harmonious functioning with consistent laws everywhere in the universe. From the sprouting of a tiny seed and grain to the regular cvce of seasons he the movement and positions.of stars a~_d ~!~~~~S~~~ universe is I.ike one sync~~rnl~~::e:ci51n ~orking in of ~he .unlve~se and her in perfect harmony all cO~Junctlon With the nne Creator and Manager of pointing to One and 0 onious universe. rnrs. In such a congruent, harm

itself, is a clear proof of God ~eing One and Alone and there being no partners to Him.

2 Ask any doctor to describe the system.s and smooth . workings inside the human body. He wlll.t~" yo~ how the body works perfectly with precl~lon like a computer and follows set laws and ~hat IS why th~y can predict and cure malfunctions too. This wonderful machine of the human body can be the handiwork of One Supreme Creator and not of multiple gods.

3 To say that the universe came into existence on its own by a chance of destiny is a shot in the dark to explain away its birth. Why don't such chances happen today? Ask any astronaut. The mind-boggling harmony and perfect, computerized synchronisation of laws in the movement of heavenly bodies and other phenomena of nature like, for example, the atom, sub-atom and the amoeba, point to a planned creation planned by One True God. He planned it for us. Why?Tocreateitasa homeforus. Why?Totestus as to how we live in it - whether according to His guidance or against it. The truth is that false deities are but names(not reality)which some forefathers kept on their own (like god of health, god of wealth, god of death, god of rain , etc.)

" Dispute you with me over names which you have named, you and your fathers, with no authority from God 7" (Ouran:7-71)

What proof is there of th

Muhammadwas indeed th e fact that Prophet

, , eProphetofGod?

T~ere are 2 proofs that Prophet M h

him) was, indeed, a Prophet of God: u am mad (peace be on

1. The first and greatest proof is that he was illiterate and an u.nlettered prophet. He never went to school o~ studied subjects like Mathematics, Science, History, Geography etc. Yet, the Guran which he recited and passed on to us, speaks of laws and facts of SCience, mathematics, geography, geology and accounts of history. Some allege that he heard these from other sources like the Greeks, Romans and the Bible. But the Quranic revelations do not all match these sou rces and often are in contradiction to them. Why are there contradictions between these sources and the Quran if he copied from them? The obvious answer is that he did not copy but our unlettered Prophet spoke of these subjects ditto as they were revealed to him, proving that he was a true Prophet of God.

2. Secondly, the Quran contains many s.cientific facts which were not discovered du~mg Prophet Muhammad's time. How could .he reclt~ 1500 ye~rs

) d discoveries of science which

ago so many aws an ft him and some of which were established long a ne~lscovered only recently (like the DNA) have bee. nted instruments? The with the help of rec~~::;~~~owlng, revealed these answer is that God, . d d is the Prophet of to Him intheQuranandheln ee

God.

What is the proof that the Quran is the w_o~d of God, that it is of divine origin and diVinely revealed?

There are many proofs to prove that the Ouran is the word of God. Here are some:

1. In 1500 years, not a single word of the Quran has been proved to be wrong, not a single truth has been proved to be incorrect.

2. In 1500 years, not a single word has been changed in or lost from the Ouran. This is because God Himself has taken the responsibility (in the Quran) of preserving it since man lost/changed previously revealed books.

.. 3 The Quran cannot be replicated. In the Quran, God challenged man to produce a single chapter or a Single verse like it. In 1500 years this challenge remained unanswered. Not a Single book, chapter or verse like it could be produced.

4. The Quran presented 1500 years back those scientific facts which were not known at that time and even presented those scientific facts and discoveries which have been discovered only as recently as 200 years back (like the DNA, embryology, Big Bang, the rotation and revolution of suns, stars and entire solar systems in orbits, existence of SUb-atom or life coming from space etc). Who told the Prophet about those Scientific facts which the world had not yet diScovered? Some of these facts could be discovered only after the invention of many scientific

"

instruments. How COuld the whenhewasilliterateandh PrOphet relate them This could not happen ha ad not stUdied SCience? word of GOd. d the QUran not been the

5. The PrOPhet Was illiterate a d h

outside Arabia. If the Qu~n ad never tr~~eled revealed, how could th P h was not. diVInely other past and contemp:r;~ 1':. relate inCidents of

been to sea. Yet, the eccoum, o~~~:~;r~i~:::f~:~:r

the s.torms, the wmds and calm, could only b: descnbed by one who had been to sea. How was this pOssible? The accurate aCCOunts of sea-functions made a man accept Islam recently when he came to know that the Prophet had never been to sea, saying that this could not be described by anyone but by a sea-farer or by the Almighty.

6. The Ouran presents the solutions for mankind's problems in all times and relates to each age's situations and problems as if it were revealed specifically in that period.

7 The Quran is the only book which is continuously memorized by millions of people since 1500 years back. No other book has been memorized thus so easily, completely and continuously, setting forth its divine nature.

8. The quren contains not a single ,~O;:r~d~Crti~;d jj~ itself. Had the Qura~ not beene~:~ould have been been someone ~Ise s. w.ord, ~: collection of human many contradictions In It as ntradictions after being Wntings can be free from co

59

written in bits and pieces over such a long period of 23 years in which the Quran was reve~led. There is total harmony and co-relation in Its facts and subjects though it was revealed over a span of 23 years in the form of short passages. This is because it was and isGod'sOwn infallible word.

"Do they not consider the Quran carefully? Had it been from other than God they would surely have found therein many a contradiction." (Quran -4-82)

9. The Quran mentions many historical facts which happened long before Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). Forexample, it mentions that the pharoah's body has been preserved as a sign for all. (Quran, 10-92). Till today, we find Pharoah's body preserved in Cairo, Egypt. The Quran mentions that Prophet Noah's ship has been preserved as a sign. (Ouran, 54-15). Till today, we keep hearing reports of the ship having been sighted on the mountains in Armenia and elsewhere. in fact, in 1972, a research institute was set up in Siberia to collect information about Prophet Noah's ark. Both these prophecies (that Pharoah's body and t~e ark will be preserved) have been fulfilled. This IS because the Quran is God's own word.

So, Islam is not sOmething new.? ~o, islam is as old as time Th

It. All the Prophets brought the first man and WomanfoJlowed called the 'Straight Path' in all ;i~e~~n~~~sage of Islam. It was

I erentJanguages.

What Is the proof that the teachings and proofs of previous prophets have been changed or lost?

The reetest sign and proof that a prophet's te~chings have bee:lost or changed is the presence of polyt.h:lsm or talk of more than one god in them. All Prophets Originally brought only monotheism and taught. worshi~ of One .God only. Now, if today polytheism is found In teachmgs. attnbuted to them or in the ways of their followers, then It IS a clear proof that their teachings have been changed or lost somewhere down the passage oftime.

Any holy book or belief-system has to have the following elements to be authentic and in their original form:

1. It must not advocate polytheism or belief in multiGods. It must speak of One God only, for all holy books originally advocated only monotheism or bellefinOneGodonly

2. It has to be the same original text and same beliefsystem from its first day till date. This means that it must not keep changing its teachings or text.

3. It must not advocate priesthood or any man-made agent~ be:ween man and God, inequality of men or supeflor/lnferiordivisionsinsociety.

4 That hOly book must be preserved word to word, in the original language in which it was revealed.

:~~v:~II~ book or belief-system Which does not have the ments cannot be said to be in its original state.

"

IfahOIYbOOkorbelief_system_ - talks of more than One Go

smaller GOds, d Or of One Sig God and some

- or talks.ofagents Or priests Orhi

GOdoractlngaSintermediaries b gh priests repreSenting

- or talks of SUperior / inferior div~sti:ee~ manandGod,

some men unequal to others. ns In SOciety, rendering

-ori.fanYhoIYbOokkeepschan in its .

- or If it does not exist in its or~in~, f:~)(t~romtlmetOtim:,

which it was revealed m In the language In

this means it ha~ been tampered with b

somewheredowntheline y humans

For exempre, today we have tens and tens of editions and verSions of the Bible and no verston can be claimed to be origmal. Much of the New Testament was authored by St Paul. ~nfortunatelY the original Bible, the original Taurah and tnjeet have been lost or changed. Some other holy books like the Vedas were not preserved in the written form until recent times. They were passed down byword of mouth and that too only in the lineage of priests. Duetothisanddueto lack of preservation in written form, they suffered loss of text and changes.

Priests often became self-appointed agents of God, Controlling man's life, disallowing direct contact between man and God by disallowing direct access to the holy scriptures,

"

the Quran is in its original What is the proof that

form today?

it ria mentioned on the previous TheQUranfuifilsailthe4Cf1 ~. 'I

page,foraholybooktobeorlglna:

not advocate polytheism or belief in m~lti-

1. ~oddos~~ather, it opposes and condemns polytheism.

It speaks of One God only and no other.

2 The quean's text is the same today as it was revealed . 1500 years back. The oldest ~opies of ~he Quran present in various museums like Turkey s Topkapi Museum, are proof of this. Compare any .copy of the Ouran with another copy of the Quran In different parts of the world and you will find them to be identical, word to word. The Quran was not only preserved in book form but was also memori.zed regularly down 1500 years. The identical memorization of the Quranic text by millions in 1500 years, also testifies to it being the same in original formtilldate

3. It does not advocate priesthood or any selfappointed agent or agency representing God between man and God. The Quran also gives access to it directly to every human being, Muslim or NonMuslim, by declaring itself to be for all mankind and by .addressing all human beings directly and not hmlting itself to a section of society. The Quran roots out inequality of humans by saying that all are equal, that races and tribes are meant only for recogni~ing each other and that if there is any superiority, It is only on the basis of piety and virtue. It doeS not

64

sanctionanYSUperior/inferiordiVisionsinsociety.

4. ~R~~~N~eLe~~~e~erve~ in ~ts original form in the MOREOVER _ th Q AGfInWhlchl~wasrevealed.

e uren also confirms all previously

reve~)ed bOOks: Only a holy bOok in its original form could confirm all previous holy scriptures. But, the Quran confirms only the reve~led boo.k.s in their original form and nottoday's changed versions, editions or translations. The very reason why the Ouran had to be revealed was because the previous holy books were lost or changed. And, hence, the need for the revival of the original teachings and original religion -the Straight Path - through the revelation of the Quran

Moreover, the Quran was immediately written down as soon as it was revealed to the Prophet. The Prophet dictated the revealed portion to his secretaries who at once wrote it and preserved it. It was then put into its present order by the Prophet himself. It was not passed down orally. Copies of the earliest Quran have always existed and not a single copy contradicted other copies in the pastortoday

This proves that the Quran, as we find it today, is in its original form as it was revealed by God.

65

M hammad do exactly, if he did What, then, did Prophet u r different from what past not teach anything new 0

prophets taught?

( ace be on him) did not bring Prophet Muhamma; P:sented again the 'Straight Path'anythi.n~ new .. H~ on il~lram_ brought by previous prophets, the original religion a

in its original ~nbdfi~~1 fO~~~ its original form. And that is why ~: i~~~I~~;~~ 5::1 o~ the prophets, the la.st Prophet. Tha.t is why there has been no Prophet after him Since ~e left behind him the original religion in its pure form for us In the form of God's final guidance - the Quran. That's why there was no need for further prophets.

Yes, Prophet Muhammad brought the same true religion to us in its original form -the worship of One God only - which all previous prophets brought and taught:

"He (God) has ordained for you the same religion which He (God) ordained for Noah, and that which We have revealed to you (0 Muhammad) and that We ordained for Abraham, Moses and Jesus, saying you should establish religion and make nodivisions (new religions) in it ... " (Quran: 42-13)

"If God wished, He would have made these all (different peoples) a Single nation but He (GOD) enters into His blessings only those whom He desires; and the oppressors do not have any friend or helper. Do they leave HIM and make ~thers their friends and helpers? Only God is a Helper and Friend; He alone gives life to the dead and He has power over everything." (Quran: 42- 8, 9)

Does that mean that Prophet MUham .

the Founderoflslam? mad IS not

Not at all. He i,s not the Founder of Islam. He is only the last prophet and a seal of all prophets (Iastprophetj' in a chain of prophets wh.om GO.d sent in different times and climes to different nations With the same religion Islam (worship of One God only). When that original religion got lost or changed due to human error after each prophet, then finally Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) came with the first and last, final and original religion of Islam. There have been thousands and thousands of prophets before Prophet Muhammad, many of whom, after their death, were worshipped as Gods or forms of God. They were even given the form of stone-idols for the sake of easy remembrance and concentration in worship. That started idol-worship which damaged and defeated the very teachings of the great prophets whose idols were made. Prophet Muhammad only came to undo all this and to reinstate the original true religion back again in its original form through God's final guidance- TheQuran

What does Islam say about other religions today? Islam says that religion was only one from the b~g.inning of time and that all prophets brought t~e same rel.lg.lon. How could the same One God send dlff:ren: religlon~ and teachings through His messengers In different times? Obviously, it was man who alte~ed God'~ :eachings. Later followers of prophets changed this one religion, added their own new ideas to it, ideas that suited their convenience. Thus new religions and new groups were formed. God says

"0 prophets L .. And doubtless, this nation (group, followers) is one nation and I am your Lord, so fear Me. But later they (men) broke (divided) their religion among themselves into sects, each group rejoicing in what is with it. So leave them in their negligence until a fixed time." (Ouran : 23- 51,52,53)

Islam says that the original form of ali religions, was one and the same. In other words, all religions were originally the same religion (worship of One God only) Prophet Muhammad brought nothing new but that original religion back in its pristine, original form and beauty (just as the earlier prophets had done). That one original religion was ~slam.lslam meant monotheism or worship of One God only m every age, maybe by different names like 'Straight Path' or 'SanatanDharm'

M~slims believe in the original form of all religions and in the original teachings of all previous prophets. This belief is a :~~~~S~h7s~:~~f their faith and they cannot be Muslims

Then, is Islam not a rell .

only? gtcn of today's Muslims

No, it is not. Islam was alway th

followed the original religion ofwcrshlnotr of ali those who they too were Muslims. pofOneGodonly,and

69

So_WhoisaMuslim?

. . ne who follows the one true religion of Actually, a Musll~ IS ~ One God only (called Islam in ~rablc, pea~e and wo.rshlp °Bible, Sanatan _ Dharm In Sa~sknt) sent Straight Path In the . h ts in all ages. Islam Just means by GO~ th~Ough all ~~s :~~a~d no other and i~ those great believing In One G who believes this rs a Muslimmen called prophets. Anyone

inanyage.

Why follow Islam only?

Because Islam was the Straight Path of life sent by God through all the prophets but, unfortunately, their teachings are lost today. Theiroriginal teachings are present today only in the last revealed book - the Quran given to Prophet Muhammad (peace bean him)

Supposing there are many editions of the same book, and supposing all previous editions were lost or changed, and then comes along a final edition - perfect and in original form, which edition will you follow? Will you follow the previous, changed edition orthis final, perfect edition which contains the original teachings? Obviously, you will prefer the last one. Similarly, the Quran is the last and final edition of all divine guidance in pure, original form. All previous editions of this divine guidance ( holy books) have been lost or changed.

There is no choice left for us but to seek out th~ Qur~n.for divine guidance. since the ~~ran alone .c~~:a;~~e~~~~I.nal divine guidance 111 perfect, originalform as It

"Truly, the religion with God is Islam." (Quran, 3-19)

religion for you. completed "This day, I have perfected y~~~hosen for you Islam as your My Favour upon you and ha

religion." (Quran, 5-3).

as the true, Straight Path Was Islam always known

in all times?

s alwavs known as the true Straight Path Yes, aIWays.I~Jam.warent languages. It foll0v.:ers too ~ere in all times In dl~e f II ersofthisStralghtPathlnall always called Muslims or a ow

times in different languages.

Any. proof t~at Islam Was always known as the Straight Path In every age?

The greatest pr.oof is that all holy books of all religions, talk of only one Straight Path'. ~ originally, was called 'Sanatan Dharma' or the 'Straight Path or religion'. The Bible speaks of the '~'. These holy books, even today in their changed versicm, do not have the name of the present religions. The word 'Christianity' is not there in the Bible. The word 'Judaism' is not there in the Old Testament. The word 'Hinduism' is not there in the Vedas. The word 'Buddhism' is not there in the Dhamrna-pad. The word 'Zorastrianism' is not there in the Pars! holy book. All these books, even today in their changed form, talk of a single 'Straight Path' of peace and truth. These new names of religions emerged only hund~eds of years later after the prophets, only to des.c~ibe their new changed set of beliefs, different from the anginal teachings, a.n~ as form~lated and altered~; m:~ol:t~;. :~: original religion mentioned In every h y "StraightPath"-{lslam)

Can you give the basic beliefs of Islam?

re some basic beliefs in Islam. In fac.t, these basic Th~re ~ere always there in the original t~achlngs of a!] ~ast ~~!I;~Sets. That is why we find them In most reugious scriptures today.

These basic beliefs of Islam are as follows:

1. That there is a Creator, One God, who created everything and is running the universe

2. Thatwhoeverwas born has to die one day.

3 That we have a soul which does not die, and we will live on after death too as a soul, and there is life after death too.

4. That nothing in this world is permanent and everything moves towards extinction. Hence, this world will end one day. It will have its last day. Then, there will be another world created again wherein we willriseagainandliveagain.

S. That this life is not all. There will be another permanent life after death so that we can enjoy the fruits and rewards forever in heaven or suffer and burn forever in hell-fire according to our deeds done here and which often go unrewarded or unpunished here. Hence, this world is temporary. It is neither c~mplete torture nor perfect and total bliss. There Will be another world which will be permanent with two p~rmanent places-one of complete torture and suffering (hell-fire) and the other of total blisS (heaven).

6. ~~a~~~ ~~:~eed.s of this life a~e recorded in advance preSentandf~ HIS all-~mbracl~g knowledge of past, ture. This record IS called Destiny.

7.

7. That this visible world isnottheo

an unseen world h! nIYw~rld. There is unseen. The very :o:~h'u~:ists ,but IS presently cannot be seen butd . een suggests that it there are angels sOuloe.~ exist. In this unseen world, above all, God.' s. Jlnns, devil, heaven, hell and,

8. That God sent us ~uidance on how to live here. He did n?t leav~ US ungU~ded in the dark. It would be against HIS ?ualltyof Justlcetonotgive us guidance and then punish us for wrong deeds. So, He sent us guidance in the form of holy books.

9. Th.at there were pious men chosen by God to convey this guidance, God's message, to us in every age These men were the prophets or messengers of God. There were thousands of prophets.

7S

does Islam mean? h t in essence,

W a , s worshipping One God only and

sence. Islam m~an

:~i~~ as He told us to live.

7,

l

So, how do you Worship and obeYGod?

By living as God told us to live according to the guidance he sent in all matters of life through his prophets. This guidance is held in its full, original and final form in God's last booktheQuran.

Isthatall?

Thatisall!

What are a Muslim's five duti

each duty mean? es and What does

A Muslim's five dutiesare'

1. The testimony

2. Praying Fasting

4 The poor-due (charity)

5. Pilgrimage.

6. The testimony or Shahadah means to testify that there is Only One God, no other, and that Prophet Muhammad isGod's servant and messenger.

7. PrayersorSalat meanstoprayfivetimesdaily.

8. Fasting or Saum means to fast from dawn to dusk for a month ln the month of Ramadan every year.

9. The Poor-due (charity) or Zakat means to pay two and a half percent of your wealth to the poor once a year.

10. The Pilgrimage or Haj means going to Makkah for a pilgrimage stleast once in a life time ,fyou can afford it.

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Anyotherduty?

nother duty of a Muslim is to tell others about the ~~;a~ and the principles of Islam and not keep them to oneself. This is because Islam does not belong ~o anyone erson and the Quran is not a book?f th~ Musll~s only. It ~elOngS to everyone. In fact, it is a tr~st belong,l~g tO,all others and it would be a crime to not deliver others trust to them. This, again, is because the Quran contains the lost, original guidance lost by others. Hence, it must be delivered toone and all at the earliest.

Must we convey the Quran to Muslims only?

The Musli~s already have it. The Quran must be shared N,:h Non-Muslims. They have a birth-right to read it, for it belongs to them too. As for the Muslims, they can be only reminded of it and its teachings.

Muslims and Non-Muslims, all are children of the same first couple on earth, and are, hence, blood-relatives and members of the same family. Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) said, "All of mankind is God's family"

How can some family - members get God's guidance and others don't? The Quran is meant for all

"This (auran) is a message for mankind in order that they may be warned thereby and that they may know that He is the only One God and that men of understanding may take heed." (Quran,14-52)

But - why Islam only?

, the only straight and true path which Because it was and IS. the first day but it was .Io~t

was always thereth~~i~:. It has now been revived ag~l~ In somewher~ ~own m If you wish to find the tr.u~, ongln~1 its true, onglnal fo~. ) of every religion, It 15 now In form (or true, straight path

Islam only.

But all religions speak of One God, and Islam too speaks of One God. And, all people of all religions believe in One God, and Muslims too believe in One God. Then, where is the contradiction?

True, all religions originally speak of One God. True, people of all religions believe in One God. It is not that they did not or do not believe in One Supreme God and Creator. They always did. They still do. Their fault is that they believed in many other Gods too, thus attaching partne.rs to the One God',The~ thus make their claim of believing in God as One meaningless because they say they believe in One GO~ but: at the same time, they say they believe in many Gods. One

and 'many' are oppo~ite terr~s and canno:~: ~~:I~~;i:;~~~ that is the contradiction. While, today, pe p

speak of one God, Islam speaks of One God only.

People say that they believe in m~ny gO~S because their holy books tell them 50.15 this true.

That is not true. All holy books like the Bible of the Chri~tians, the Dasatir and Avasta of the Pars is, the Vedas of the Hindus, the Dhamma-Pad of the Buddhistss speak of only One God and also speak against making images of God. Let us look at what these books say:

1.TheBible:

TheOld and NewTestamentspeakofOneGod- Eloha, Elohim, Ellai,Alah

"0 Israel, the Lord the God is only One." (Old Testament, Book ofDeutronomy)

"Thou shall have no God beside me. Thou shall not make any graven image of Me of any likeness that is in the heavens orthe earth beneath." (Exodus-Chap 20, verse 3-5)

There is not a single statement of Jesus in the Bible where he says "I am God or worship me," In fact, he says that he has come only to renew the teachings of previous prophets:

"Think not that I come to destroy the law of the prophets but I have come to fulfil them .. " (Gospel of Mathews- Chap 5, verse 17-30)

2. The Dasatir and Zand Avasta:

The Avasta describes One God as Ahura-Mazda the One Wise God.

"He (God) is only One, has no beginning, no end, no father, no mother, no image, is beyond imagination, closer to you than voursett." (Dasatir)

3. The Dhamma Pad:

The Buddhist holy book the Dhamma Pad speaks of only One God and not of a second god.

4. The Vedas:

The basi~ tenet of Hinduism or Vedantism is the grahma _ Sutra which speaks of only One God and negates the idea of

84

~ultiplegods, Here is the Brahma-Sutra. T~ak~s~a~i~anh'~;hDuwi,tya Naste, Nef Na N'aste Kinchan" certainly, n~t at atl." IS only One God, no other God, not at all,

~praki'6e hbe to Him Who is Matchless and Alone." (Rig Veda " 00 .nvmn 45, verse 16) ,

Do not worsh,lp anyone beSide God." (Rig Veda)

The Vedas maintain that God is One but has many names lik ~~adhma (Creator) or Vishnu (Sustainer) or other attributes o~

~!;:ee~~:;1 God by many names." (Rig Veda, Book 1, hymn 164, "He is the Bounteous Giver" (Rig Veda, book 3, hymn 34, verse 1) The Vedas refute images of God

"There is no image of Him. He is unborn. He must be worshipped."(Yajurveda,chap32,verSe3)

"His form cannot be seen. No-one can see Him with eyes." (ShwetasvataraUpanishad,chap4,verSe20)

"There is no likeness of Him." [Shwetasvatara Upanishad, chap 4,verse19)

The Vedas also prohibit worship of natural objects like the sun, moon, stars, rivers, crop, earth, planets, gold, etc

"Those who worship 'Sanbhuti' (natural objects) are gone astray," (Yajurveda, chap 40-verse9)

"Those who are lost in material, they worship demi - gods." (BhagvadGita-chap7,verse20)

5. Guru Granth Sahib:

The holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib, ,speaks of One God. It is against reincarnation and idol-worship. It ceus OneGodas 'Wahe-Guru'.

The Guru Granth Sahib begins with the basic tenet called "Mul Mantra" or Japoji which says that only ?n~ God exists Who IS the Creator, Immortal, Self-eXisting, Great and Compassionate. (Guru Granth Sahib, Voll,chap 1, versel)

85

So, if all holy books speak of One God and ali people believe in One God, then how can Islam alone claim to bethe straight path?

All holy books, in their original form, spoke of the one straight path Islam but these books were lost or changed partly by their followers. That is why we find change in the actions of their followers today, pursuing polytheism instead of monotheism.

From time to time, whenever anarchy and evils spread in the world and when men strayed away from the straight path, God sent good pious men called prophets with His guidance again, guidance which they had lost. That is why all holy books also spoke of holy men called Prophets. All these prophets and holy books also prophesied the coming of the last Prophet Muhammad who would revive the 'Straight Path'initsoriginalformagain.

Common sense also tells us that there can be only one straight path leading to a destination just as there can be only one straight, shortest line leading to a point in Geometry Th~re c~n?e no other line but the direct and straight line to e pOint: S.lmdar.ly, Islam mentions all previously sent scriptures and divine guidance and this is a proofof it beingthe true and strai~ht path because it also mentions that the other previously se~t scriptures and teachings have been lost or c~anged and It is now alone the straight direct easiest and

5 ortest path leading to the truth, to God: '

But t~ere have been and still are .

and PIOUS men. So, why folio many Virtuous that toothe last Prophet MUha::e Prophets and

Yes, there have surely been man vi ad o~ly?

they are still there but they never claio, and PIOUS men and There are some signs of prophets. A proP~~~'st~ig~: ::::Phets.

1. A ~r~phet is appointed by God. Howdowe knowthisJ Th~s IS announced by God Himself through the hal· gUidance which He~endsthrough him y

2. A Pro~het never claims to be God, a god-man or divine He claims to be only a messenger and servant of God ;r:~~~~.et openly claims and proclaims to be God's

4 H~conve~sGod's message honestly.

5. HIS teachings match and do not contradict teachings of

earlier prophets

If a single one of the above 5 conditions, is missing, then a person is not a prophet.

The teachings of ordinary virtuous, pious men, while having good principles and points, could be faultyorincomplete. This is because they themselves formulated them for mankind's good, and that is why they never claim that their teachings are divine or divinely inspired. Moreover, a human can never know fully what man requires to live life successfully in both worlds just as a machine does not know how it is to be operated successfully. Only the manufacturer of that machine knows how the machine is to be operated successfully and without fault or failure.

Similarly, man's Creator having created humans, knew how human Ilfeshould be lived successfully and He sent guidance for that. The teachings of prophets can never be faulty as they did not formulate them but God sent t.h~m and theydeda~d and claimed these teachings to be diVinely inspired. DIVine teachingSarefaultleSsand,henC€,onlytheYCanbefoliowed

87

Why follow only Prophet Muhammad now when all other prophets also brought th; same message of monotheism or Oneness of God.

Good question. Though all prophets brought the same message of monotheism, yet wefollow Prophet Muhammad today, and not the other prophets, for4 reasons:

1. The message and teachings brought by all the other prophets have been changed or lost. The proofis that many prophets themselves are worshipped as God, son of God, image or form of God, contradicting the very teachings of those prophets. The Quran exists in its original form.

2. All other prophets were sent only for their own time, region and people while Prophet Muhammad was not sent for any particular time, region or nation. He has been sent for all mankind living in all parts of the world and for all times. The proof of this is that other holy books address mostly their own people. (For example, Prophet Jesus says that he has been sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Bible).) However, the Quran addresses whole mankind using the terms '0 Mankind, 0 Men' everywhere. The Quran designates Prophet Muhammad as a Prophet for all mankind, terming him 'A Mercyfor all men of all worlds'.

3. There will be no other prophet after Prophet Muhammad. He is the last and final prophet and, hence, ,the message brought by him is the final pure :~~:r~~i;tal for.m of an earlier books. HoW do we

he IS the last prophet? Because God

Himselfdeclared him to beth I

other prophets informed of ~hastPro~hetandmany prophet. e coming of this last

4. Other prophets and holy books forecast the comin of the last Prophet Muhammad and instructed thei~ followers (in the holy books) to follow him whenever he appears. Jesus had instructed his followers to follow the last Prophet. The Veda enjOins its followers t~at when the last prophet comes, they should follow him. That is why it is necessary to follow the last Prophet Muhammad if one wants to obey one's own holy book Sincerely. Yes, people who want to follow their own religion properly, be it Christianity, Hindusim, Judaism or any other, need to know and follow what their own holy books say about the last Prophet Muhammed. All of them prophesied his coming and instructed people to follow him.

89

What is the proof that prophe~ M.uham~ad is, indeed, the last Prophet prophesied In earlier holy

books?

All previouS prophets forecast the coming of a last Prophet, giving signs which fit only prophet Muhan:mad. T.hey instructed their followers to follow him and his teachings whenever he appeared. The forecasts about Prophet Muhammad are there even in todav's changed forms of holy books

Note this fact: Though many original teachings of earlier holy books have been lost or changed, yet these forecasts about Prophet Muhammad are still intact in these changed books. In many holy books, the date and place of Prophet Muhammad's birth, his name, his life-details and familydetails have been mentioned. Some holy books have even given the signs by which to recognize him whenever he appears, and these signs conform only to Prophet Muhammad. For example, the Christian priest Bahira recognized the Prophet as a Prophet even though he saw him as a boy accompanying his uncle on a trade trip. This was possible due to the signs about the future Prophet in previous books which that priest immediately recognized and advised his uncle to leave at once before other priests recognize him and harm him.

He.re, briefly, is how Prophet Muhammad has been referred to In other holy books:

1. ~~~~~alled '.Muhammad' in the Purana, a Hindu holy ShIOk;~:)avIShya Purana-Parva 3, Khand 3, Adhya 3,

2. He is called Muhammad in the Veda, a Hindu Holy

90

book. (Atharva Veda h

1-3) ,K anda20,Sukta 127,Mantra

3. He is called 'Naraashans' and ,

Hmdu holy book Mahamad' in Veda, the

4. ~~I iSb called 'Kalki-Avtar' in the Purana, the Hindu ~ oak. (Bhagvada Purana, KalkiPurana-2.4)

He IS called 'Antim-Rishi'and 'M h-· :,.

Veda. (AtharvaVeda) arne Rish! In the

6 He is called 'Mahamadim' in the Taurah in the Old Testament '. (Song of solomen, 15-16, in old original ,Hebrew Bible, translated into English Bible as Altogether lovely'.

7. He is called 'Perakletos' (The Praised one or comforter) in the Bible, the Christian holy book.

8. He IS call.ed the l~st Buddha and 'Metre' or 'Metarya' (Mercy) In Buddhist scriptures.

9. He is called 'Ahmed' or Ahmadi in Sam-veda, a Hindu holy book (Sama Veda -2:6:8).

10. He is called 'Mamah' in the RigVeda.

11. He is called 'Soeshyant' (Mercy for the worlds) and 'Astvastereta' (the Praised one who makes people rise) in the Persian holybooktheZandAvasta.

12. He is called Mohan-Madan [which becomes Mohamada when the Sanskrit suffix 'n' is removed from Mohan and Madan) in Hindu holy texts.

The meaning of the above words used forthe last prophet, is the same as the meaning of the word 'Muhammad' (One who is praised, one with praise, the pleasant, the sweetmouthed). Ahmad is also a second name of Prophet Muhammad

The Hindus believe that a last Avtaar called the Kalki-Avtar will becoming. The Vedas instruct peoole to foltow himwhen he appears. Here are some of the signs mentioned In the

91

---

Veda

Kalki wi I' bethefinal and last avatar, the Antim- Rishi. Hewillgetguidanceatnightinacave.

He will ride a horse with a sword in the right hand. This means he will be born in the age when horses were used as conveyance and swords were used as weapons.

4. He will be born in Sambhal, a place of peace Sambhal, in Sanskrit, means a place which attracts people from all over and a place nearwater.

Hewill be born in a place with water.

He will be an example for the whole world.

7. He will be born on the 12'" of Shukla-Pakch of the

lunar monthofMadhav.

8. Hewill go north and then come back.

9. Hewill be helped bydevatas or 'dev-doats' in battle.

10. Hewill begivenawhitesteed byGod.

11. He will be helped byfour companions.

12. Hewill enter a place with 10,000 cows

13. He will be a teacher for the whole world

14. Hewillmeetsomepreviousavatars.

15. ~~d~ather's name will be Vishnu-Yash (servant of ~~: ~~:~:h:;'sbnam~Wili beSumati (bearer of peace).

Sambhal orn In the home of a chief priest in

~~~:~:a:oWI eat~ of these details conform to Prophet on Y pomt by point.

~: ~eo~~~t:~ham~ad was the last and final Prophet. began to be n gUidance at ni~ht in a cave.tbe Quran revealed to him m a night in the cave of

HiranearMakkah

3. He rode a horseandalwa s f

hand. He was born in ihe e~dthe5wordinhisright Swords were used. ge when horses and

4. He was born .in Makkah which is known as the cit peace (Baladll-Ameen).lt holds the Kabah wbtcbwas known as the house of peace thousands of years befo~e t,he Prophet. The Ouran calls it the 'Haram-alAamma or 'Sanctuary of peace and security' (5.Ankaboot-67j. There can benowaror bloodshed nor can trees or grass be cut or animals be slaughtered nor can things lying on the ground be picked up in Its precincts. Such is the amount of security and peace in the Kabah and Makkah. Makkah, the Prophet's town of birth, also attracts people from allover in Haj and Umrah and is near Zam Zam water just as Sambhal, the town of Kalki's birthissaidtobeaplacethatwillattractpeoplefrom all overtheworld and will be near water.

5 He was born in a city well known for its special holy water-'ZamZam'.

6 He has been termed as an example for the whole world. The Quran calls him 'Uswa-al-Hasna' or 'Best example',justlikeKalki

7. He was born on the 12'" of the lunar month ofRabi-ul-

Awwal.

8 He migrated northwards towards Madina which is to the north of Makkah, and then later returned to conquerMakkah.

9. He was helped by angels in the Battle of Badr and at other times.

10. He was given a white steed named 'Buraq' byGod on the occasion of his ascension or'Meraj'.

11. He had four main companions who were very close to

93

b him like a rock. Theywere A~uhim and who stood Y d Ali (may God be pleased with Bakr, omar, Osman an

12 ~ee~;~quered Makkah, and .when he entered it, he . hadtenthoUsand~en~~th;:ie world. He himself

13. H~ w,~s a tea::~rse~: as: teacher for mankind." The

said, t have b . his first job as 'teaching'

Quran too mentions I

mankind the wisdom and truth of the Qura~.

14. He met previous prophets on the occasion ~f his ascension (Meraj) when he prayed with them In the

MasjidAI-AqsainPalestine. .

15. His father's name was Abdullah, (which ,~eans servant of God) just as Kalki's father s name Vishnu Yash' had the same meaning.

16. His mother's name wasAamina (which means bea.r~r of peace) just as Kalki's mother Sumati [Somvati In Sanskrit) hasthe same meaning (bearer of peace).

17. He was born in the home of Abdul Muttalib, the chieftain in Makkahjust as Kalki was to be born in the home of the priest of Sambhal town.

All this proves that the Kalki-Avtar predicted in the Vedas, and the other references to the last prophet in all other holy books, refer to none other than Prophet Muhammad

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Are ~he ~ords of Prophet Muhammad preserved too Just like the Quran is? Did he believe in the other prophets priorto him?

It. is ~ot a. cOincide.nce that no other man in human history got his life-history, rr:mutest events, spoken words and practices recor~ed in Writing except Prophet Muhammad. Every practice and every spoken word of the Prophet was noted down and preserved. The words that he spoke are called Hadees. His practices (ways) and words together are called theSunnah.

The fact that this last Prophet's words are preserved till date, is a proof that God intended it to be so, as he was to be the last Prophet and no other prophet was to come after him. His words were to become precious guidance and beacon lights for posterity forever.

As for the second part of the question, yes, Prophet Muhammad believed in all the prophets who came prior to him, for they all were sent byGod and they brought the same message of monotheism as he did. He had to. It was part of his faith and it is part of every Muslim's faith to believe in all earlier prophets and their {original) teachings. A Muslim cannot be a Muslim without believing inthem.

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What is the proof that proph~t ~~hammadls words have been preserved in thelronglnal form?

her's words, called Hadees, have bee.n verifi:d a.nd T~:s:~~d in an authentic form through a unique ~clentlflC ~ystem called the Isnad system or chain system. This m~ans that his words have first passed down through a cham of reporters till date through a special process. A hadees would

be taken from the noted down and preserve~

Then, it would be along and passed down by his

companions to others through an unbro~en chal~ of reporters down theyears.lftherewas a break In this chain or if any of the reporters were found to be weak In ~ny way, that hadees was set aside. Only if there was a cham of sound reporters starting from the Prophet till the end ~f the chain and if that chain was intact and unbroken, that IS, no link or reporter was missing in it, only then that hadees was accepted and categorized as "Saheeh" or authentic. This unique system, unique in the whole world, has never been practised for any other individual. This system isa self-check system which checks itself out and purges the authentic from the rest of the hadees. This is the greatest proof that the Prophet'swords have been preserved intheiroriginal form.

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Why do we need to follow the Pro '

hadees so closely when h phet s words or

Quran notsufficientfOrg:~a~~:;he QUran? Is the

Every text boOk, ha~ an explanatory book or a reference manual called a GUide' and every text book has a teacher too. The proph.et is the teacher and his hadees are like an e~planatory gUlde-boo~ to understand the Quran. The Quran gives the broad .princlPles of life. The Prophet's hadees explains them In words and practice. The Prophet demonstrated the Quran's principles under God's guidance. For example, the Quran mentions that one must pray but does not mention the exact method of prayer in detail. It is the Prophet who demonstrated this method and contents of prayer. There are hundreds of such examples where the Quran does not elaborate on issues and principles. The Prophet'swordsandpractices explainthemindetail.Hence, it is impossible to understand or follow the Quran correctly without knowing and understanding the Prophet'sSunnah. The Quran itself tells us to follow the Prophet: "Obey Allah and obey the Prophet" (Quran)

"

· hat a person who believes in

Does this mean t d' teachings, negates all Prophet M.u~amm~ r:ligious books as false? previous religions an

on while believing in the teachi~g.s of Certainly not. A per~ also believes in all previous religions Prophet Muham.m~h~ir original form) as true: In fact, it IS a and holy books (I~ faith to believe in all pr~VIOUS prophets part of ~ MUSII:ooks. As mentioned previously, hi.s faith and their holy lete without that. That is why Musllm~ do ~~~~~ati!~~~t:~IY Prophet Muhammad's teachin~s .are fight or that the teachings of other. prophets or religions .are wrong. In fact, the original teachings of all prophets are fight and one and the same.

A Muslim believes Prophet Muhammad to be the last and final prophet in the string of prophets and the Quran to be the last and final guidance of God. Both ~ the last prophet and the last book are addressed to all mankind and not just to Muslims, and for all times and climes. True religion is only one - the one brought by all prophets. This religion was monotheism or Islam or worship of only One God. It never changed. It never can. Only the internal laws (Shariah) and languages of revelation were different in each prophet's time according to the needs, language and situations of the people in that specific period of time since those earlier books were addressed only to specific time and people.

Prophet Muhammad brought the final edition of the one and sametrue religionforalltimesand forall people.

"Mankind were one community and God sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent down the Scripture intruth ..... And only those to whom (the scripture) was given differed concerning it .... //(2-213, Quran).

'R

~:ee~ Islam answer the basic questions of man's life Why was man created? From where did he Come an~ where will he go after death? Is death the end of life for man? Will his good deeds go waste and unrewarded if they are not rewarded here and will his bad deeds go unpunished if he is not punished here? What is his place, role and station in the universe? What is the role of the universe or why was the universe created? Will the injustices in this world, the massacres, bombings of entire cities and crimes against humanity on the individual and collective level ever get justice and redemption or simply vanish away?

Yes, Islam answers the fundamental questions of man's life It does. It has to. This is because it is the original and complete form of all divine guidance and hence holds answers to all of man's questions:

1. Why was man created? Obviously, such a fascinating creation as man was not created just to live like an animal, eat, sleep, procreate, earn and die. He was created for a higher purpose. God says that He created man for worship. This means that man was created to live as the Creator wants Him to live. T~e Creator wants to test us as to whether we ob~Y HI~l or not, whether we do good or bad deeds 111 thiS world. As simpleas that.

2. From where did man come and where will hego after

••

? Man came from God and will ret~r,n to Him dea~hdeath. (Quran) God created Him, So, It IS n.atural ;:a~ He should return to the Creator to be kept In one of the two places- heaven or hell.

3 Is death the end of nfe for, man? Dea:h i~ certainlY,not . the end of life for man. HIs real self IS ,hiS soul. It lives on forever after death too. It IS kept In another part of the world, the unseen world. On the last day, .man will be raised with body and soul together to live a permanent life.

4. Will man's good deeds go unrewarded and will his bad deeds go unpunished if these are not rewarded or punished in this world, once he dies? No. That is against the very justice of God - to let deeds go un rewarded or unpunished. That is why there has to be and there is another world and another life. There, the good deeds of this life will be rewarded and man will be punished for his sins which often go unpunished or unrewarded here

5, What is man's place, role and station in the universe?

Man is God'svicegerent on earth. He is the best of all creatures, the leader of all creatures. The Quran calls him 'The Best of all creatures' (AshrafulMakhlooqat). He is superior even to the angels because he has something which even the angels don't possess: his will power and freedom to choose and do good or bad deeds,

6. What is the role of the universe vis-a-vis man or why was the universe created? Was the creation of the ~n~verse a mere cOinc~dence? No, the creation ofth,e ruverse was not a cOincidence. It was part of God S

100

pla~ and created as a testin

~e~ldence for man. In fact. th: ~~cle and temporary In It has been created f h . r d and e~erythlng is to use it to work, d~rV~rt:servlceOfmank!nd.Man test of God. It's his examina~i~sn deeds and pass the chooses freely the opportunities hall where he also the. questions set in the exam_pa:~~at~~~~~ t~:s::; of II,fe. So, the World is a tool for man to use to do his

!~I~I:;tah~: :e~~r~_~;~da permanent abode where he

7. Will t~e injustices in this world, the massacres, the bo~blngs, the sufferings imposed on mankind b individual and collective crime just vanish away O~ will the culprits be brought to justice ever? The answer is that every single injustice, individual or collective, will meet its justice. The virtuous, the victims and the oppressed will get justice. The oppressors will also get justice and punishment after death where God Himself will hand out reward and punishment. And, His reward will be ultimate and complete - total bliss in paradise forever. His punishment too will be ultimate - total agony, pain, burning and torture in hell-fire forever.

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But, people of all religions also accept ~nd ,believe in One God and worship H,im. Wh~t IS different about worshipping One God In Islam,

Right. People in all religions accep~ and believe in One God and worship Him. Islam calls for a different kind of worship of One God. Islam adds the word 'only' to One God. This means it calls for belief in and worship of One God 'only' and of no other. People of other faiths do worship One God but they worship others as well, others like angels, jinns, satan, stones, idols, natural objects like sun. stars, moon, rain, crops, rivers, earth and even money and knowledge. Islam calls for pure, undiluted worship of One God only and no other. Why? Not even parents can tolerate that their child should take someone else as parents. Not even a husband can tolerate that his wife should take someone else too as her husband. Not even an employer can tolerate that his employee should work for another employee while taking a salary from him. How, then, can the Creator, the Supreme One and Only God tolerate that His creatures should accept and worship other things and take them as God? Surely, God has more self-respect than a parent, a husband and an ernplover has l

,.,

Does Islam force its beliefs on others? No, there is no forceful impOSition of.

Islam. The Quran says: "L .Ik .Its beliefs on others In "There is no compUlsion in r:ligj~~,~-flddeen" which means

Islam does n.ot force anyone to ecce t . .

it~;.sents and Introduces itselfsothat o~e;~Sm~~I:~:~~~;~

~:~;:~;~~n~~~;~ ma~kin.d is His family. Even God accepts

reve In Him as part of His family.

Islam loo~s up~n mankind as one whole, a global world Islam believes In One .God, one Prophet, one book coe brotherhood~ one belief (monotheism) and one ~Iobal fa~ily. The. Idea that Islam forces itself on others is a rrusconcepttcn. Had Islam been spread by force, those cou ntnes ~here Muslims once ruled, would not have a Single Non-Musl.lm today. But, we find Non-Muslims in large nu~bers In all countries and even in countries like Spain, Africa, Russia, Central Asia and India where Muslims once ruled. The fact is that half the world accepted Islam on its own in the seventh century.

103

· rell ion of peace and universal

If Islam IS a h ~hen do some people oppose brotherhood, W Y . rest'

Islam and accuse it of creating un .

Theseare2questions: le oppose Islam when Islam is a

1. ~1~Yi:~ o~~::c~:~~ brotherhoo~?

2. Wh~ do they accuse Islam of creating unrest?

There are 3 reasons why people oppose Islam when it enjoins peace and brotherhood?

~~: ~~s~tr:::~~:hY some oppose Islam is because it stands for equality of men, real democracy and t.hreatens to upset the colonial hold of some sections of mankind over the th~oats of other sections. Islam dares to bring in actual equality and brotherhood in a world plagued by racism, apartheid, communalism and the rich-poor divide. It dares to actua_lly make the black rub shoulders with the white and the rich with the poor (as in prayers). It dares to be just to all. It dares to actually open up the natural resources to all equally and to wipe out poverty by keeping wealth rolling from the rich to the poor (as in Zakat, the poor-due]. It dares to wipe out the scourge of interest/usury that sucks the masses of their llfeblood. Those who dread equality, oppose Islam, for fear of losing their supremacy or superiority and hold over the world'swealth

As Mahatma Gandhi of India said:

"Someone has said that Europeans dread the advent of IslamIslam that civilized Spain; Islam that took the torch of light to Morocco and preached to the world the Gospel of brotherhood. If brotherhood is a sin, if it is equality of th.e colored races that they (Europeans) dread, then their dread IS well·founded."

104

The Second Reason:

The sec~~d reason why some oooose lsi

only religion today which gives a com am is that Islam is the society. In modern times, when all ~~:t~ ,~~e,m of hfe _and Islam stands as the only natural Choice that prese~tsh:::;al:::~ alt~rnate system that suarantees peace,eqUality,jUstic:and un~versal brotherhood due to its universal principles and unlVersal.natur: It translates its principles into practice thro.ugh Its so.clal sy.stem. The failed capitalist, communist, fascls~ and dlctatortal systems see Islam as a threat to their exploitative systems. So, they oppose Islam

The Third Reason;

The third reason why some people oppose Islam is that many people are accepting Islam. Today, Islam is the fastest growing religion, spreading naturally. Out of every four persons in the world, one is a Muslim. This should not be surprising. The simple, natural and humane principles of Islam appeal to man's natural innerselfand hefindshimselfinsyncwiththem.Thatis why George Bernard Shaw had said: I foresee that, man by man, Europeans will come to adopt the Islamic faith." (Muhammad, Apostleof Allah)

The second question is: Why do some accuse Islam of creating unrest?

The answer lies in the answer to the first question. The failed modern systems see in Islam a danger to their blood·sucklng systems that are exploiting humanity and starving t~ree.fourth mankind to death despite ample natural resource~ In th~ very

~ountries where peop!e are star~ing. :af~~~~~haen~O~~::~~I~~:s~

In natural :esources, IS .worst ~It by we to other lands. In order caused by Its w:alth bem.g dramed:n Is~m, they accuse Islam of to defame and JUStl~ :helr attac~s u their own internal unrest, creating unrest. ThiS IS t~ covests P external aggressions and

~~~I~~c~~~:~;;"it ~e~~:li~n:~:~tri~s that have been occupied by

others and are victims of aggreSSion. 105

And what are these simple, natural, humane principles of Islam?

The simple, natural and humane principles of Islam are:

1. Belief in One God and His supremacy over everything, and denying anythi.ng or an~one other than Him to be worthy of worship. There IS none like Him and He has no parents, children or spouse.

2. There is no agency or intermediary between man and God. Man can contact God directly without a medium

3. Equality of all humans: All humans - black, white, rich, poor, men, women, children are equal.

4 Justice for all: All men and women are entitled to equal rights and justice and a just share in the wealth and natural resources. All have a right to a life of dignity, a life free from poverty (and this is ensured by the system ofZakat and prohibition of interest)

5. Universal brotherhood and Love: All men are one family and like brothers

6. Freedom of Man: All men and women are born free and meant to live as free humans. They are not slaves or subservient to anyone but God

7. F.ollowin~ the Straight Path: God sent prophets from time to time informing mankind about the straight path of living. The teachings of these prophets were lost after them. So, a last Prophet _ Prophet Muhamm~d-~as sent to revive the original Straight Path again. HIs teachings and the Quran are preserved in their original form.

,.,

Why do We often see faction ..

superstitions and other e .1 s, trtctlons, f VI S among Muslims I act, we even see some of them bowing here and there to gra~es. Is that Islam? How do we know ~hat r~ally IS Islam and what it says on different Issues like p~ve~~, illiteracy, women's rights and status, equality, Injustice, apartheid, etc?

No, tha~ i.S not Islam. There is no place for factions, frictions, superstitions or polytheistic rituals in Islam. The factions and s.ects which we see today among Muslims, did not exist in the time of the Prophet and are a later development. This happened because Muslims gave up the Quran as a way of life. They gave up the Quran as a binding force and got divided. However, it is not very scientific to judge any religion on the basis of its followers' ways as the followers generally don't follow the religion faithfully. Don't judge Islam on the basis of the ways of today's Muslims. Just as you cannot judge Christianity by looking at Christians' ways and you cannot judge original Hinduism (Vedism) on the basis of the ways of today's Hindus, you can't judge Islam by measuring today's Muslims' ways as Muslims, unfortunately. are not following Islam exactly as they should.

The one and only way to know Islam's teachings and views on different issues, is to get it from the horse's mouth, that is. to go to its source the Quran and the Prophet's teachings viz the hadees. The Quran and the hadees are the only 2 authentic sources to know about original Islam and Its teachings.

107

h Quran orders Muslims to We often hea~ that t de a particular verse of the kill Non"Musl~ms, an at about it?

Quran is also cited. Wh

uran sayS that killing one person is lik~ killing entire

The ~ vin alifeislikesavingallmanklnd.

:;ankmd an~~I~ed ! person, unless it be in retaliation of ~fu;;;:~reforcorruPtion (mischief) inthe land: it,":"ould be as ifhe killed all mankind, and if a~YO~,e saved ~ life, It would be as if he saved the lifeofall mankind- (Quran.5-32)

There is propaganda against Islam to. ma.lign it. The misunderstanding about killing Non-M~sllms IS a result of not reading the said verse directly In the Quran. The opponents know that pe.ople ~ill no~ read the Quran :0 checkout the truth as It is In Arabic. Taking advantage of this, they have propagated this particular idea.

Here isthetruth about it:Theverse ofthe Quran, oft-quoted, is verse 5 of Surah 9. This verse has been quoted out of context to create a misunderstanding. This verse definitely calls upon Muslims to kill the polytheists. But, this command is a war-order or a war - rule. It instructs Muslims to kill, capture or besiege the enemy during battle. What else does any army commander in the world order his army to do but to kill, capture or besiege the enemy in battle? Or does he order his men to offer tea to the enemy while fighting? This verse applies to the rules of the battle-field only during wartime and not to peace-time or in civilian areas. But, this is only part of the rule. The same verse and the next verse (Quran: Surah 9- Verses 5 and 6) also tells the Muslims to leave the enemy unharmed if they stop fighting or offer peace or accept Islam or seek refuge. In such a case l?@l!1

'.8

instructs Muslims not onl~ to free them but to invite them and .Ive them refu e until the word of God is recited and explained to them and then to escort them in safety to their own land or wherever they are safe. (Quran-9-6)

Which army commander today takes the trouble of escorting enemy .soldiers to safe zones? It is, therefore, important to hear things about Islam from the horse's mouth - that isread and verify personally and directly from the Quran as Quranic translations are available in all major languages today.

,.9

People say strange things about Islam - that I.slam promotes subjugation of women or worship of graves or violence, etc. Whataboutit?

This is absolutely wrong. It is a misundertanding and a faulty portrayal of Islam.

Islam honours women not only by giving them equal rights and status as men but also by keeping open the doors of modern education and technology for them. Islam makes education compulsory for women. The Prophet (PUH) said that attaining knowledge is compulsary for all Muslims, men and women. Women can pray in mosques. They have inheritance and maintenance rights in their families of birth and marriage. They have social, economic and political rights. They got the right to vote 1400 years back. They have a say in choice of marital partners and also have the right to divorce and re-marriage. They have a right to personal preferences, right to privacy and protection of honour and right to legal recourse

Today, the maximum exploitation of women is caused by portraying them half naked as objects. In Islam, they are protected from this and honoured by restoring their dress to them and giving them an extra outer-garment {hejab]. A whol~ b~ok can be written to highlight women's rights and equality m Islam. It is a different matter that these rights are

~~~:::~~~~:;~~~ented. That is why Muslim women appear

:~~~~~;~ b;~: :aecond paint, Islam forbids bowing to In fact, Islam f~rb~~: :aO~her natural or unnatural objects. discourageanytendenc ;mg cemented. tombs in order to at graves. As for VjOlen~e rtrend .of admiration or obeisance andmercY.Thever Wor : Islan: IS a religion of peace, love

y d Islam means peace.and a Muslim

110

greets another Muslim with a bl

The word 'SALAM' means peace.essing of peace or 'SALAM'.

The only answer to the above ..

read the Quran directly and ~~~~~o; IS: Takethe_tro~ble to Hear from the horse's mouth . hlngs from It directly. Islam teaches in these and oth~/;:tt out ford yourself what how much misinformation iSbeingspr:~~ :~ou~~~ Will know

111

What is the result offollowing Islam?

Following Islam results in success. Not following it leads to failure. How? Following Islam results in a life of permanent bliss in paradise after death, and that is true success. Not following it means permanent life in hell-fire, and that is true failure.

Is that a big deal?

It, surely, is a big deal.

It ts a matterof'lifeand death'

How?

-a matter of burning in fire forever and evsr Itisabigdeal

Or

d the gardens of paradise forever Living in bliss, comfort an

and ever.

Amatterofpermanentjoy and comfort in paradise

Or

The pain of burning in the fires of hell permanently - forever after.

Is that a big deal - burning in fire forever Or living in bliss forever?

Sure, it rs a big deal.ltisa matter of permanent pain, torment and agony, burning in hell. That is true failure, true bankruptcy. Its also a matter of permanent joy, comfort, lUxury and unimaginable pleasures and contentment in paradise. That is true Success. Try burning your finger in a fire, and realize how horrible it is to burn.

The stakes are too high. It ISa big deal.

How soon can that happen?

An time. It is bound to happen any time, fo~ sure,. after death. And death can come any time, maybe this evening or maybe the next moment or now.

We don't know our death-date but one thing is sure. We were born. So, we have to die surely. We have come into this world. So, we have to leave it anytime. We can't live here for more than a few years or months more.

Surely, death is coming.

Any moment.

Once that hap~ens and death knocks at our door, our fate is sealed. Ther~ IS no scope of doing good deeds after that. After death, Its only the time to reap and suffer or enjoy the results of deeds done here.

True, we live once here. We die once here. It depends on us what we do with this one single life here and one single death here. We won't get a second life here or a second death. We won't be able to return here after death to regret and do good deeds.

Death is the greatest reality of life. After death, our soul does not get lost or vanish or evaporate. It lives on. Our soul is the real 'I'. After death, it goes/ we go somewhere, some placeto heaven orto hell.

We keep hearing that Islam give~ us benefit.s on~y in the life after death. Any benefits of Islam In this

world too?

Unfortunately, we have people catering to bot.h extremes. of thought. One group believes that Islam gives benefits, success ~nd heaven, in the next world after .de~th o.nly. The second group thinks that Islam gives benefits In this world only. Both are wrong

Islam gives benefits in this life and world and in the life after death too in the next world

What benefits does Islam give in both the lives and both the worlds?

A man desires 3 things most in life: peace, dignity and

Islam gives these 3 things - peace, dignity and success - by saving us from hell-fire and by lodging us permanently in the bliss and comfort of paradise

In this life and world too, Islam gives us these 3 things - peace, dignity and Success. How?

a. Peace: Imagine the ordeal and mental and physical condition of a servant who is serving 20 masters daily. Each master gives him different, often conflicting commands. He runs about from morning to evening, trying to obey each master's command, trying to please each master. He is torn between SO many masters. He cannot fulfill all their commands

In t:e process of pleaSing and obeying all of them he IS a Ie to ple.ase none, and, consequently all mas~ers are an~ry With him. Can such a person have peace? No, he IS a tortured and dissatisfied soul. He realizes that he can get peace only if he has one master and serves that one master only. Islam frees a person from worshipping several false deities. He worships t~e One true God and Master only, obeys and serves Him alone with Single-minded concentration and effort and thus pleases His Master. This gives him peace and contentment. 'Peace' is his. He is peaceful also because he knows he is on the right, true path of worship of One God and Master only. Every person knows it in is heart that God is One and peace lies in worshipping Him alone.

b. Dignity: A person who worships only One God and Master and refuses to submit or bow to anyone or anything else, is respected even by his opponents, whether they admit it or not. He himselfis spared the disgrace of bowing, left and right, to different things handcrafted by him. This freedom from bowing to others except One God, grants him a dignity, selfesteem and self-respect which is his birth-right

c. Success: We all know that there are two types of success; One is a success on the material level I,n terms of wealth, and this is temporary, only of this world. The other type of success is an aJl.roun.d achievement and spiritual elevation in life, and thls

can be permanent or temp.o~~~~: ~~~ w;~I~d~~ O~~s~~gm~~:: ::/~~~~~t ~aterial success in. th~S

world but the height of material success and bliss IS

119

his in paradise in the next world b: adhering to Islam In this world, he surely experle.nces an all-round growth and spiritual elevation, p~ace and contentment which he gets byfollowrng HIs One and True Master's commands. And that is real success

Most important is the fact that he knows that success in this world too is in his grip because he has already stepped onto the path of success. Thefirstfewsteps of that path are in this world and life, and the rest of the path is leading up across death upto permanent success in the next world after death It is only logical that a person who has stepped onto 'Road A' leading to 'Destination A', will reach his destination even though part of this 'Road A' is in one area and the other part is passing through another area. Similarly, for a person who has accepted the path of worship of One God, success is destined for him even in this world and in the next world too because he has already stepped onto the road of permanent success even though part of this road is in this life and world and partofitisinthenextworld.

Hence, Islam, gives benefits - peace, dignity and success in this world and life too just as ltdoes inthe next life.

120

What about those whom the m

not rea~hed? How and why e:~~ge of Islam has responsible for continuing in thei they ~e held how and why can they be puni:~:lythelsm a~d when the message of Islam h d by hell-fire

as not reached them?

~ i~o;he ~ft~he many divine arrangements of the All-Knowing

o a e message ~f Islam reaches a person in

form ~herever he is. It IS a direct demand of God's j~~t~: that this message of His worship should reach every soul on earth. He ens.ures that it does. A person could get it in any form - a wrrtten or verbal form. He could get a book pamphlet, tape, video on Islam or he could meet someon~ who could talk to him about it. He could, for example, hear a speech on the radio, television or internet on Islam or he could land up on a paper bearing part of the Quran, a cassette or CD bearing a talk on Islam orhe may lay his hands on a copy of the Quran in a libraryor anywhere.

A famous lawyer in southern India was introduced to Islam in a strange way. His cleaner found torn pages oftheQuran. She brought them up to him. He read those few torn pages and then followed up by reading the entire Quran. Maryam Jameelah, a famous scholar, formerly a Jewess, got to know about Islam while reading an article 'Life after Death' in an American newspaper. She traced out the author of the article, corresponded with him, queried him and accepted Islam. A police officer found out about Islam in his own way. He was introduced to Islam by the steadfastness ofa Muslim Who had been framed and jailed. You, for example, are reading this book. Islam has reached you through this .book You just can't stand up on D-Day and tell God: "God, I did not get your message".

J

You might say that Islam's message may not have reached some tribal living in a forest. Maybe! Then, such a person has the light of Islam and monotheism already fitted inside his being. He knows and recognizes One God for sure and is expected to worship Him alone. He will be judged by God only according to his worship of One God.

So, this is a miracle of God and His divine arrangement to ensure that Islam reaches everyone. Nobody can stand up on D-Day, the Day of Judgement, and say, "0 God, I did not get Your message." Islam reaches everyone, somehow.

What does a person say wh

. en he enters Islam"

Heslmplysaysafe .

w words called the 'Testimony'.

Isthatall?

Thatisall !

What is the 'Testimony'?

The testimony or Shahadah means to testify that there s only One God, no other, and Prophet Muhammad is God's servant and messenger.

The words of the testimony are as follows:

'~'~lAJ~6\~ ;Dy..;)~~\~0\~~

"Ash-had u-o n-Ia -110 ho-il/o 110 h-waos h -h odu - anna-M uhammadobduhu-wo-rosooluhu. "

d tOneGodand

Translation: I testify that ~here is no G; a:~~:~Phet of Sod."

I testify that Muhammad IS the servan

Is that all one does when one enters Islam? No rituals? Is it necessary to recite the testimony in front of a witness in order to enter Islam?

That is all. No rituals. We just recite the testimony (Kalimah, Shahadah) and we are inside Islam.

We can recite the testimony in front of a witness and we can do so in solitude privately too. It is alright both ways. God is the Greatest Witness.

What does a person do on

ce he enters Islam?

The first thing he does after ent .

worship of any and every thi enng Islam is that he gives u

obj~ct, man or anything. He ~:g~n~~t O~e God, be it a~ Almlghty-theCreatoronly. orshlp of One God

Anything else that a person does after entering Islam?

the second thing he does after entering Islam is that he ~:s'ins following the five duties- the 5 pilla~s of Islam. These ar: _ the testimony (Shahadah or Kall~ah.), observ~ng prayers, fasting, giving poor-due (zakat) ifhe IS rich a~d Bomg for Ha] if he can afford it. He begins with prayers first. You have read about theseS pillars in the previous pages. He also gives up prohibited things like alcohol, gambling, etc

The third thing which he does after entering Islam is that he tells others about real Islam and conveys the Quran to others who don't know about it.

128

PROPHET MUHAMMAD - An Introduction Prophet Muhammad (peaceeonhim)wasbor .

the year .571 AD as a~ or.phan to a lady name~ I~:i~~~ii: f~the: died before his birth. His mother died when he ·was SI.X. HI~ grandf~ther and, then, his uncle raised him. He spent ~IS chll~hoOd In the pure desert air, grazing sheep. He grew Into a fine, hands~me young man with virtuous qualities. People called him ' Sadiq' (Truthful) and 'Ameen' (Trustw.orthy) .due to hi~ truthful and honest nature. They loved him and involved him in all major decisions

As a young man, hewould be filled with sorrow at the sight of Violence, ineq uality and oppression all around him. He would go to meditate in a cave in a nearby mountain called the Mountain of Light today. One night, as he was meditating, God began revealing the Quranto him in this cave through an angel and declared him to be his Prophet.

The Prophet conveyed the Quran to his people. Now, the same people who loved him and doted on him and who called him "Truthful and Trustworthy" called him a liar and opposed him tooth and naii. His teachings struck at their ancient practices, the practices of their ancestors and also at their vested interests. He preached equality of men and Sovereignty of God alone. He forbade worship of idols and preached worship of One God alone. This was unbearable to his people, particularly the rich and the ~riest-class. Freemg men from many false gods, struckattheirlnterests

The people tortured and tormented hi:h~~dT::; companions. They threw "" at him~~~:Yb~~:a~eda~dJaid layhiscompanionsonburnlngcoals. . fa d and daily Siege to him and his family, blockadmg 0

,29

J

essentials for 3 years. For3 years, he and his family ate leaves and boiled leather.

The Prophet continued to plead with people to accept God's message. He told them that he believed in all previous prophets but since their teachings were lost, God had sent him as the last prophet with the final message - the Quran. But, the people tortured him further. He went to a nearby town of Taif to convey his teachings but the people there stoned him until his feet bled and his shoes were filled with blood.

His dearest family members, his uncle and wife Khadeejah, his supports, died. The people were emboldened further in torturing him. They plotted to kill him. He had spent 13 years in Makkah pleading and teaching monotheism to no avail. He had a small band offaithfuls with him. Now, people from the nearby town of Madina came and met him secretly in Makkah. They pledged allegiance to him and invited him to come to Madina and settle there as the people there had already accepted Islam.

The .prop~et accepted their invitation and migrated to Medina with a heavy heart as he loved Makkah and his people very much. In Madina, he was welcomed by the

:~~~~.~~::s ~~:;nIY the prophet but a Head ~f State in

on the princi I~s t up ~ welfa~e st.ate and society based justice we h~ of equality and Justice for all. Equality and

re IS core concepts.

He was sad that his a

me~sage. His people, th;~~:oPle had not ~ccept~d his again to disrupt his social s ste ans, attacked him again and and three other wars wi Y m. He fought two major wa~s

th a peaceful stand-off. He and hiS

130

frien?S starved, had broken weapons an

the. first battle, the Battle of Badr, he hd less man-power. In fa.cmg an enemy of one thousand, and ye:~:ereIY 313 men friends had to tie stones to their stomach ~on. He and his emp~y stomachs. His love for the I to fight hunger and continued his efforts to preach his :i:PI: ~~s such t~at he message ~f worship of no other but O~e Su ~ revolutionary and equality for all. Hewould stand all nighti~ ;r:;e~~~t~~~~ feet swelled up, and he prayedforgUidanceforhispeople.

A wo.man used to throw garbage at his door daily. One morning, he s~w that there was no garbage at his door. He went over to Inqui~e about the welfare of the concerned woman. Such was his character. He would free the prisoners of war if they taught his men to read and write. Such was his stress on education

He had spent nearly 13 years in Makkah, his home town spreading the message of truth selflessly going through the pain and torture inflicted upon him in return .. Now, he spent ten years in Madina doing the same. The truth of his words had a lot of power, and it won finally. The people attest saw the truth of his message but after a total span of nearly 23 years. He made a peaceful entry into his home-town, Makkah, with his ten thousand men. He was happy that the Makkans finally accepted Islam. They feared his vengeance, for they had tortured him a lot and had even plotted to kill him. But, the Prophet of mercy forgave them all and declared his entry into Makkah as a day of mercy. The people were touched and they opened their hearts and towns to hIm. Now, thousands of people from allover Arabia poured [n and accepted his message of monotheism.

It is often wrongly said that Prophet Muhammad ts a Prophet

J

131

· e was and is God's messenger and a

of the Muslims. H h Muslims or Non-Muslims. His

prophet for all men, b~: :~ mankind for all ages. teachingsareaddresse 0

id that nobody had been harassed and tortured as He onc~::n tortured. He had suffered for the peop~e whom ~: ~V~d and for whom he left ~ack.his legacy and gift of the message of equality and social Justice. ~e ~sked .for noth~ng in return. In fact, his people, in the begtnntng. t:l~d to brlb.e him by offering him kingship in return for giVing up ~IS message of monotheism but he had refused. He had .sald, "Even if you keepthesun in myone palm and the moon In my other palm, I shall not give up my message of truth (of monotheism)."

The Prophet was a humble man, a simple man, a very handsome man, living in a one-room house with just a few belongings like a bed-sheet and few vessels. His aim was to establish a model society based on equality and justice, and he succeeded in doing so in a span of 23 years. He died at the age of 63. At the time of his death, he was ruler of entire Arabia.

After his death, the Muslim armies carried their message of monotheism to other countries. Everywhere they were welcomed as liberators from oppressive regimes of inequality and suppression of the common men. They found that talk of the prlncloles of equality and justice of Islam had reached foreign shores even before they reached there. The hearts had already been won there before the lands were won. Battles were fought not with the common masses but with the op~ressive establishments, and the Muslims swept acro~s Persia, North Africa, southern Europe, southern RUSSia, north-western India and Indonesia with the

prophet's message of equality. Hence, it is a wren perception that Islam was spread by the SWord. Had it been so, there would not have bee.n any Non-Muslim todav in countries ruled by Muslims earlier.

Michael Hart, the famous writer authored 'The Hundred' He listed history's 100 most influential per~; ranked Prophet Muhammad as first and on top of these 100 personalities. He, a Christian, placed Prophet Muhammad first and Prophet Jesus Christ fourth in the list .Citing his reason for doing so, he writes: "My choice maysurprisesome readers and may be questioned by others, but he (Muhammad) was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive." (The 100, A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History by Michael.H.Hart, P.33)

THE QURAN

The Quran is mistakenly thought to b.e a boo~ of th.e Muslims. It is not. It is a book for all mank,l,nd. That ~s ~~Y It does not say "0 Muslims!" but say~ a M.ankmd '." It addresses all men, be they of any religion, re~lo~ or tl~e. That is why its first chapter is called 'The Opening [opening of guidance for all) and its last chapter ~s called 'fV_1ankind' and addresses all humans and not any particular section.

The Quran is the last and final word of God, revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). It was revealed to him in the form of short passages in a span of 23 years. It has 30voiumes and 114 chapters. These chapters were arranged in their present order by the Prophet himself. The Quran was preserved in its original state in a written form from the first day of its revelation.

The Quran conforms all previous prophets and previously revealed books. Unfortunately, all previous holy books were either lost or changed, giving ground to changed teachings like polytheism and other evils like violence, slavery, inequality and exploitation of men by a few.

The Quran's message is that there is only One God and He alone is to be worshipped. Worshipping Him alone automatically renders all men equal. So, the Quran's message is of equality of men, justice for all and an accountability of deeds on D-Day, a last day, with the reward of living in the bliss of heaven or punishment of burning in fire accordingly.

The. Quran gives cle~r-cut cnnclcles for setting up a just ~oC\.al order. Its prinCiples are for all times, for equality and Justice are timeless values. These principles produce a model welfare society whenever and wherever applied. That is why

it (Is~am.) ls often. feared and OPPOsed by forces of explottattcn ~hose Interests would be damaged, were the Quran IC principles to come alive in society

The Qu.ran is. a manual ~f life ~ade and sent by Him Who made life. It IS for all. It IS unfair to hide it away. It must be passed on to those ~ho don't have it as it is their book. They have a right to read tt..

Today, the only way to know the true guidance of God and the true and original guidance of all other religious texts, isto read the Quran.lt contains the original message, the original 'Straight Path' taught by a II previous prophets.

Read the Quran. It is as simple as that. See the divine guidance for yourself. Read the Quran atleast once. Read it in any language (translation) that you know. Atleast you won't be left guessing. It's your right to read it. Its your book. You are its central subject. If you read it, atleast you can be your own judge and say to yourself: "So this is it actually, and I know it first-hand now."

You need not rely on others for bits and pieces, words and sentences on different topics in the Quran. Hear it from the horse's mouth. Go to the source. Read it yourself. Judge it yourself, to see what it really says. Hear its core words yourself- core words: peace and love, equality and justice, Oneness of God, noble values and salvation.

A gentleman kept putting off reading the Quran. Why? He thought he had to read it like any other book from the first page in order, and could not find the time to do so. No. The Quran is not like other books. Open it from anywhere, an.y page and the message you get will be complete. Read It anytime, anywhere, any page. It isyourright.

Ihtnk aboutlt.

THE KABAH

The Kabah is a mosque situated in Makkah. It repr~sents the direction of prayer for Muslims around the world Since ages. It was the first mosque ever built on earth. It was first built by Prophet Adam, then rebuilt by Prophet Ibraheem and his son Prophet Ismail. It was damaged by wear and tear many times and was repaired many times.

Why do we have the Kabah? The Kabah is a symbol of the universal nature of Islam. It unites people across geographical and racial barriers, binding them in a universal brotherhood. It binds them to One God, to common principles and a broadly common culture based on these principles. That is why we find a general similarity of ways, habits and dress among the Muslims of different countries andthatisanaturalphenomenon.

The Kabah is not an object of worship. It is a centre of the Muslim world. In fact, the Kabah's location is such that it is also at the geographical centre of the world, according to the calculation of latitudes and longitudes.

D.uri~g the annual pilgrimage, the Ha], and during the minor pilgrimage, the Umrah, the Muslims go around the Kabah to shown the universality and centrality of their faith.

1. T~e K~bah is a direction of prayers, to give a common 2 ~lr:ctl0n of prayers for Muslims around the world.

. ~~:Ii~:ymbol of unity and brotherhood of the

3. It shows. that Islam is universal and transcends geographlcaf racial or time barriers. All are one and

'"

equal,. be they Africans, Asians Europeans,

Australians, Americans or Russians. '

EQUALITY, FREEDOM AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

uality of all men and women, The very base of.ISI:~oi~ :~d suppression from others and fre~dom fr.om SUbJU1T Islam is not a religion but a set of social Justice for .a . . d social justice are its principles. Equality,. liberty an

~~I~!a~;:~:I:~~nt~:tl~~~s of inequality by striking at the

usual bases on which men .claim su:::~;;t:no;::~~:~.rs, and these bases we~e .~~~ ;;t~~;~~~~t~ of all humans, saying: ~6e~u~:i~~~o~:, created you from ~ single (p~ir) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, th~tyou may know each other. Verily, the m~st honoure.d of you In th: sight of God is (he who is) most righteous (pIOUS) of you ..

\~::~~c-~!~t colour, tribe, nation, gender etc as bases of superiority and fixed only one criterion for honour - the criterion of being pious and righteous.

These are very much visible in the basic five pillars of Islam, as follows:

Testimony: The testimony (Shahadah or Kalimah). the first pillar, is itself a slogan of equality of men. By declaring the Oneness and Supremacy of God alo~e, it automatically renders all men equal, destrov't's any superiority or inferiority of men.

Prayers: The rich and poor, the king and beggar are required to stand shoulder to shoulder in prayers at the same time and place, a symbol of equality.

Fasting: The rich and poor, the ruler and the ruled, all

138

are required to fast at the same time and in the same manner, so as to develop self-control and piety and experience the ~angs of hunger of the poor and develop compassion for them. None (except the old sick and children) are spared from fasting, agam reflecting equality.

Poor-due: A system of social justice is ensured by taking Zakat or poor-due from the rich and passing it to the poor, thus gradually iesseningthegap between the haves and have-nets. None of the rich are spared from paying the zakat. The law is equal for them all, reflecting equality and justice.

Pilgrimage: The equality of men is visible most of all in the pilgrimage of Haj when nobody's status is recognized as all are in the simple, white dress of two unstitched garments. Rich and poor, all go through the same rigours and process of Haj as humble beggars in the presence of God.

Thus, equality, freedom and social justice are the essence of Islam and of a society based on its principles.

139

WHO IS A MUSLIM?

A Muslim is not the name of a person who follows some religion. He who obeys One God is a Mu.slim. In that sense, everyone is a Muslim because everyone IS obeying One God unconsciously. How? Our body is obeying the same laws set for it by the Creator. The body-organs, be they the kidney, the heart, the brain, the limbs and bones, all follow set rules, rules set by God. Similarly, the stars and planets in the universe are following the same set laws, laws set by God. So, the universe and our own bodies are obedient servants of God.

Now, when man's own entire inner system, is following God's laws, he is unconsciously already obeying One Godjust as the universe is also obeying God. Now, if a person does not accept One God consciously too, he will be contradicting his own inner system, body, soul and mind, and he will also be going against the universe which is also following God's laws.

So, when man is already obeying One God in all his unconscious and involuntary bodily functions, it is only natural that he should put the other conscious half of his being into God's obedience too. How? By obeying Him consciously too.

What does 'obeying God consciously' mean? It means to accept that there is only One God, that all prophets brought God's same message of monotheism and the same message was brought in its original, complete and final form by proph.et Muhammad through the Quran. Come, enter, ~on~clously too, t.his way of life of peace, love, equality, Justice and worship of the One True God- the Creator and save yourself from burning eternally in fire.

140

The Testimony

'~'~14J~01~ ~_r.;;~~\~01~'"

"Ash-hadu-an-Ia-Ilaha-illallah-wa-ashhadu-anna-Muhammad-abduhu_wa_ rasooluhu. "

Translation: I testify that there is no God except One God and , testify that Muhammad is the servant and Prophet of God."

141

Books by the Snme Aurhm-. I Woman nnd Islamic Law 2. WharReallyislslam?

3, Misunderstandings about Islam

4. Thc Quran and Science

5. The Miracle of the Quran 6 QuranQuiz

School Text Books:

7. Basics oflslam (Pre-Primer)

8. Basicsoflslam(Primcr)

9. Basics oflslam(Part I)

10. Basics oflslam (Part 2)

11. Basics oflslam (Pan 3)

12. Basicsoflslam(ParI4)

13. Basics oflslam(Pnrt5) 14 Basics oflslam (Purtti) IS. Basics oflslam (ParI7) 16 Basics oflslnmff'enB)

17. gtories ortbe World (Social Studies) (Part I)

18. Stories of the World (Social Studies) (Part 2)

19. Stories of the World (Social Studies){Pan 3)

20. Stories of the World (Social Studies) (Part 4)

21. Stories of the World (Social Studies) (PartS) 22 Stories of the World (Social Studies) (Part 6)

23. Rhythm(EnglishPoetry)(Partl)

24. Rhythm (English Poetry) (Part 2)

25. Rhythm (English Poetry) (Pari 3)

26. Rhythm(English Poetry) (Part4)

27. Rhythm (English Poetry)(Part5) 2B. Rhythm (English Poetry) (Part 6) 29. Rhythm(English Poetry) (Part 7) )0. Rhythm (English Poetry) (ParIS) 31. Rhythm(English Poetry) (Pnrt 9)

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(Al-Asr Publications)

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