Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quran, Muhammad and willful submission

A, you write frequently and claim that your view of a godless universe is indeed the correct view. You probably have followers (people who agree with your contention and world-view). If some of them were to relate what you said about something, and they to others, and yet others, and the chain was to go on... ever played Chinese whispers??? Can you guess what the message would morph into? And throw in a mix of some devious mischief-mongers who deliberately make some changes to your views and comments. Imagine!
As I have stated earlier, the arabic Quran is the word of Allah, guarded and preserved by Him as a guidance for all humanity. The hadith books are human compilation and subject to scrutiny just as much as any other human work. If some people choose to follow it without question and evaluation, they are just as free to do so as they are to follow (or not) any religion. As for your accusation about Allah being discriminatory in giving guidance, the fact of the matter is that we all have been equally blessed with life, signs in nature, a conscience, and the Quran. Though He blesses all of us with all these as well as varying degrees of wordly comforts and joys (or trials and tribulations), He wishes willful obedience from us. Had He wished, He could have made us all Muslims, but that is not the idea. He has sent us here on trial, and those who choose to willfully submit to His will qualify for Heaven. The Quran is a message, confirming the Prophets, Books and Messages of old, a message of glad tidings for those who believe and do good deeds, and a warning for those who choose not to. It's purpose is to guide those who choose guidance. Only those who choose and seek guidance will be guided. Those who reject will not be forced against their will. But, God makes plain His warning, so that those who reject, the Word is proven against them and they have no excuse on the Day of Judgement. The Prophets will be allowed to intercede only on behalf of those whom Allah allows them to intercede for. The command will indeed completely belong to God. The verses describing the Day of Judgement are only intended to convey a feel of the magnificence and awe. We cannot really begin to appreciate it while trapped in our mortal bodies and limited knowledge, or atleast I can't.
Mainstream Islam believes that Muhammad was mortal and that he died. Though we greatly love and honour our dear Prophet and those who went before him, we firmly believe that he is human. The hadith books did not exist at the time the Quranic verse of obedience to the Prophet was revealed. Simply explained, as the Prophet's entire life was complete obedience of Allah as revealed in the Quran, we are to follow his example and try to obey the Quran in letter and in spirit. Furthermore, as we are told, our dear Prophet was extremely humble and decent and would never tell others if they were being too forward or disrespectful of him, which is why Allah revealed the verses instructing proper conduct (the Prophet was obliged to recite all revealed verses, so he had no choice in the matter).
As for people belonging to other religions, when the Quran was being revealed, Jews and Christians also lived there. Jews were those who did not believe in Jesus, and Christians were those who believed in Jesus as well as all the prophets before him. In either case, both these groups did not believe Muhammad to be a prophet. Yet, in certain verses, Allah speaks very highly of certain People of the Book who were extremely pious. As I understand, belief in one God and continuous search for truth and guidance, and willful submission and piety is what is required, not a particular religious brand.
Holy Quran 5:119 Allah will say: "This is a day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are gardens, with rivers flowing beneath,- their eternal Home: Allah well-pleased with them, and they with Allah. That is the great salvation.
As for the muslim confession of shahdah, the translation is: there is no deity but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Whenever we recite it, we are immediately reminded that only Allah is divine. Religions of afore have repeatedly made the mistake of glorifying their prophets to the extent that they've deified them; we are reminded over and over again to remember to not to commit this grave mistake. There is only one God, the Creator and Sustainer of all, and to whom shall be the final return.
May Allah guide us all.

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