WHAT IS ISLAM?
Although the question jars on some Muslims ears, to pose it in the context of the current international situation is both valid and acutely relevant. Not only Muslims, but the West, and therefore the world, for different reasons, of course, are confused as to what Islam is.
To put the answer first, succinctly, the answer is this: we must clearly distinguish the Islam as taught and propagated by the prophets, at least from the time Prophet Abraham right down to the last of the prophets, Muhammad, solely represented by the last perfected of God’s scriptures to mankind, the Quran. This is the true Islam.
The other ‘Islam’ that most Muslims inherited from their great-grand fathers, was codified and falsely sanctified in the tombs of traditional theology and jurisprudence, from around three hundred
years after Prophet Muhammad’s death. To put it simply: It is the Islam of the Prophets versus the ‘Islam’ of the theologians.
What are the major differences between the two? It is extremely important that the Muslims and the West understand this now in order to avoid further pain and disasters for both.
Firstly, the first and true Islam is first and foremost inclusive, whereas the second practices exclusivity. This is because true Islam recognizes and acknowledges all the prophets and messengers of God, from Adam to Muhammad, including Moses and Jesus, to whom God gave the Old and the New Testaments. Verse 2:62 of the Quran acknowledges, among many other similar verses, the original monotheism of the Jews, Christians and other religions, whose
adherents are promised salvation in these verses.
Secondly, the first and true Islam accepts and practices toleration of other religions, whereas the second does not. The verse “To you is your religion; to me is my religion.” (Quran 109:6) unequivocally testifies to this.
Thirdly, the first and true Islam accords perfect and absolute freedom of belief, whereas the second does not. This is because the second ‘Islam’ interprets the Quran by the Hadith, the so-called Prophetic Traditions, made compulsory on Muslims after Imam Shafie so enunciated it in his book, Al-Risala, two hundred and fifty years after Prophet Muhammad’s death.
Cont’d on page 2
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