Faith Forum 4 Peace
This is a voluntary, e-Forum, for internal and external peace of humanity, through conceptual insight to faith of Abraham-Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the light of Holy Scriptures and prevalent environments. The Forum is open to every one irrespective of race, gender or belief .The Forum is managed by Aftab Khan a freelance writer involved in research on Semitic religions. His research work is periodically published in a magazine “Defence Journal Karachi” since 2006 [www.defencejournal.com]. His books are freely available here and also at: http://aftabkhan.blog.com . .
Legacy of Abraham:
Abraham [pbuh] is the common ancestor and spiritual father of Jews, Chrisitans and Muslims, his faith forms the common ground:
Abraham was neither a “Jew” nor a “Christian”, but was one who turned away from all that is false, having surrendered himself unto God; and he was not of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him.”(Qur’an;3:67)
“Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham.”(Glatians;3:6-7)
“If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did.” (Jesus, John; 8:39).
The Basic concept of this forum is inspired by Bible and Qur’an;112:1-4, 25:73, 10:24, 60:7-9,5:82, 22:40, 45:14-15, 3:64-65,2:62, 33:39, 3:104, 103:3, Deuteronomy;6:4-5, 33:26; Psalms;14:1, 116:5, Job;23:8-9, Exodus; 9:14, 34:6-7, Psalms;, 2Samuel;7:22, Isaiah;46:5,9,Mathew;19:17-19, Mark;12:29-31, Romans;1:25].
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Islam [Surrender to the Will of God] is a universal message, which addresses all mankind. As such, it has something to say to every human being. Therefore, it does not hold anyone in disregard unless that person or group chooses to take a hostile attitude to Islam.
If one combines this with the fact that it is permissible for Muslims to marry Jewish or Christian women or eat their permissible food, it will be appreciated that Muslims do not reject anything simply for being Jewish or Christian.
Qur’an grants special status to Jews and Christian as “People of Scriptures” [recipient of earlier Revelations of God i.e. Torah and Gospel] and calls them to common grounds:
Say: “O followers of earlier revelation! Come unto that tenet which we and you hold in common: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall not ascribe divinity to aught beside Him, and that we shall not take human beings for our lords beside God. “And if they turn away, then say: “Bear witness that it is we who have surrendered ourselves unto Him.”(Qur’an;3:64)
Muslims do not take a hostile attitude towards any person, group, race or faith unless they begin by taking hostile attitude towards them or towards their faith, because Allah says:
“As for such [of the unbelievers] as do not fight against you on account of [your] faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity: for, verily, God loves those who act equitably. God only forbids you to turn in friendship towards such as fight against you because of [your] faith, and drive you forth from your homelands, or aid [others] in driving you forth: and as for those [from among you] who turn towards them in friendship; it is they, they who are truly wrongdoers! [Qur’an;60:8-9]
Islam has an argument, reason and proof for everything. A Muslim, therefore, isneither afraid of polemical dialogue nor avoids it. At the same level, Islam expects reason and proof form all those who claim to advance arguments against Islam: “Tell them; Bring forth your arguments (of what you state) if you are in the right”(Qur’an;2:111)
Let’s Be Clear
What is NOT demanded by Islam!
- Islam does not demand form a Muslim to give up the world altogether.
- Islam does not expect Muslims to be ignorant, lacking in knowledge of their faith and other branches of knowledge.
- Nor does it require one to make the mosque a permanent abode, never to leave it.
- Islam also does not insist that one should live in a cave and spend his whole life there —- Not at all.
Islam EXPECTS from the Muslims!
- To inhere in their best civilization and matchless culture in a manner that they surpass all the civilized nations of the world.
- They should be the most prosperous of all as far as the different branches of knowledge are concerned.
- Do not use coercion against non Muslims for conversion to Islam.
- Invite the humanity towards Islam, by conveying the message with wisdom, peacefully, in a logical and convincing way. They should argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.
- To use the right of retaliation to any injustice or oppression with equality, not exceeding the limits forgiveness and patience is however preferable.
- Not to kill the innocent people of any faith (including own self, through suicide) except by law, they don’t have to create mischief on earth by creating anarchy or disturbing the peaceful coexistence.
- Warfare against injustice and oppression and self defence is permissible, to be declared by the Islamic State but the rules lay down for its conduct by Shari’a (Islamic Law) be strictly adhered to. Those who surrender or do not fight or remain neutral are not to be disturbed. The prisoners are to protected and provided peace and security.
- To fulfill all bilateral and international accords (like UN Charter) for peace and stability of humanity.
- To treat all members of society with equality fairness and justice.
- Non Muslims in the Islamic society enjoy complete protections and freedom to practice their faith.
- The places of worship of other religions are to be protected.
- Do not abuse or degrade the god/ gods of non Muslims.
The Six Articles of Faith and Five Pillars of Islam
“If Thy Lord had so willed, He could have made Mankind one people: but They will not cease to dispute.”(Qur’an;11:118),“The One Who created death and life, so that He may put you to test, to find out which of you is best in deeds: He is the All-Mighty, the All-Forgiving.”(Qur’an;67:2)
The Root of Affirmation of ‘Islamic Faith’ is based on the conviction upon unity of Allah (Tawheed). In order to be a Muslim one has to believe in the Six Articles of Faith, which has been repeatedly mentioned in Qur’an at;24:62, 2:136,177,285, 4:136, 3:114, 4:78, 54:3, 17:99, 29:20, 64:67 and many other places.
The Islamic creed of confession (Shahada) is the verbal commitment and pledge to testify: “La ilaha Illallah , Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah” [None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah].
The ‘Five Pillars of Faith’ are the physical manifestation of combination of faith and practices, which are also the forms of worship (Qur’an;2:21, 43:64, 69:52); the first two;Shahada & Salah (prayer 5 times a day) are daily, next two Zakat (Charity, Alms) ) & Saum(fasting, during month of Ramadan) are annual and the last, Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) is once in life if one can afford.
The six ‘Articles of Faith’ are orally confessed by the Muslims (believers), which should also be deep rooted, in the heart:
1) To affirm his/her belief in Allah (Single God).
2) To believe in His messengers (from Adam, Noah, Abraham to Moses and Jesus,25mentioned by name in Qur’an), and Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be His Last Messenger for humanity.
3) His books, Qur’an and all scriptures revealed to His Messengers which also include the original Torah, Psalms (Zabur) and original Gospel (Injeel) to Jesus Christ (pbuh).
4) To believe in Al Ghaib [metaphysical creatures] like the angels, Jinns, etc.
5) Resurrection after death on the Day of Judgment, accounting and the scales, hell and paradise.
6) The good and evil of destiny are in the power of Allah, the Most High.
If a Muslim fails to perform some of his obligations and is remiss in practice or commits some such actions as are forbidden, yet he firmly believes in the liability of all above obligations and the impropriety of all unlawful deeds, he will continue to be a Muslim though he will be a sinner: “On that Day, the scale of justice shall be established. Those whose scale of good deeds will be heavy, they are the ones who will attain felicity, and those whose scale is light, they shall find themselves in loss for they had done injustice to Our revelations.”(Qur’an;78-9). The sinners must repent: “Our Lord! we have wronged Our own souls: if Thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost”(Qur’an;7:23), “Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our servants as We have chosen: but there are among them some who wrong their own souls; some who follow a middle course; and some who are by Allah’s leave foremost in good deeds; that is the highest Grace.”(Qur’an;35:32),“Whosoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be in the company of those whom Allah has blessed – the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous: What excellent companions they will be!”[Qur’an;4:69,( also,18:87-88)]
Some Important Aspects
Oneness of God: The God (Allah) is One and the Only One. He is not two in one or three in one. This means that Islam rejects the idea of Trinity or such a unity of God which implies more than one God in one.
Oneness of Mankind: People are created equal in the Law of God. There is no superiority for one race over another. God made people in different colors, nationalities, languages and tribes to recognize each other. No one can claim that he is better than others. It is only God Who knows who is better. It depends on piety and righteousness.
Innocence of Man at Birth: Muslim believes that people are born free of sin. It is only after they reach the age of puberty and it is only after they commit sins that they are to be charged for their mistakes. No one is responsible for or can take the responsibility for the sins of others. However, the door of forgiveness through true repentance is always open.
State and Mosque (Religion): Muslims believe that Islam is a total and a complete way of life. It encompasses all aspects of life. As such, the teachings of Islam do not separate religion from politics. As a matter of fact, state and religion are under the obedience of Allah through the teachings of Islam. Hence, economic and social transactions, as well as educational and political systems are also part of the teachings of Islam.
Jihad- Important Element of Faith (Ayman): Strenuous Efforts (Jihad) made sincerely for advancement of the cause of Allah, though not included among five pillars of Islam; but it is an important element of the Faith (ayman, Belief).(Qur’an;49:15). The aim of making Strenuous Efforts (Jihad) is three fold: The first and foremost is to; ‘Strive Against Selfish Desires’ (Nafs ammarah), to purify the heart, so that the faith (ayman) of Islam is deeply rooted in the heart, to become fully subservient to the commands of God and His Apostle Secondly, making strenuous efforts (Jihad) to convey the Last message of God (Islam) to the humanity(Dawah) called Bigger Jihad (Jihad Kabira)(Qur’an;25:52). Thirdly Jihad (warfare) is to be conducted by Islamic State to provide protection to Muslims and non Muslims against oppression. The specific word used exclusively for warfare is Qitaal (Qur’an;2:216-217) or Qatelu, wa-Qatalu(Qar’an;4 89-91). The warfare is to be conducted with in laid down Islamic principles. Killing of innocent people and creating mischief on earth (fisad fil ardh) for power and glory is not Jihad.
The Prophet (pbuh) & Household: Muslims extremely love the Prophet and his household, Allah says: “The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves and his wives are their mothers (Umuhatul Momineen)”(Qur’an;33:6). Hence they can not tolerate any blasphemy against them. The House Hold of the Prophet (pbuh), in addition to his wives also includes his daughter Fatima, her husband Ali Bin Abu Talib, their children Hassan and Husain. All the members of Household of Prophet (Ahl-ul-bait), were virtuous human being, they greatly contributed towards the cause of Islam. Prophet loved them all. Imam Hussein laid down his life for the just cause of Islam.
The Pious Companions of the Prophet (pbuh): The Prophet (peace be upon him) had rightly guided successors among his blessed companions, who followed his footsteps (Sunnah) to the best of their abilities in spreading knowledge, preaching Islam, and managing the affairs of Islamic State. The disputes that took place among the Prophet’s Companions were the result of sincere interpretations that they worked hard to reach. Whoever was right among them will be rewarded twice, and whoever was wrong among them will be rewarded once and his mistake will be forgiven. It may not be appropriate for any believer to criticize them rather they deserve of beautiful praise. (Qur’an;7:42-43, 57:10, 9:100 & 59:10).
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