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Article appeared Friday, August 16th, 2013 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (290)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

The Old Testament (or Torah/Taurat), the Psalms (or Zabur), the New Testament (or Bible/Injeel) and the Quran are all known as scriptures. The website {1} titled Quran, Bible, Torah Comparison details the origins and composition of these scriptures as they stand today. It also points out the fact that, Taken together, the adherents of Judaism, Christianity and Islam comprise over half of humanity. The grim realities of contemporary politics aside, similarities between the three religions vastly outnumber the differences. These similarities include shared perspectives on God, creation, faith, prayer, history, ethics, and contemporary concerns such as war, terrorism, ecology, and so on. {1} Why should different religions have more similarities than differences? Is it logical to find similarities? Let us take a closer look and generate some more detail questions to see if answers can be worked out. These three religions among others {2, 3} proclaim that there is a Creator who created the universe and everything in it. Should, then, each religion have a different creator, i.e. one who created the Jews, one who created the Christians and one who created the Muslims, a total of three, a fourth and a fifth, etc., for other religions or logically should there be one distinct Creator who created every single person on earth? If, therefore, there is only one Creator, what would be the purpose of the scriptures or the purpose of religion? Also, could the purpose of each scripture be different, or should they all essentially say the same thing? Now, could the Creator have gone to the trouble of making each human being individually and all the life-support systems on earth without a purpose, i.e. just for fun? If there is a Creator, obviously, He must have a serious purpose in mind for His carefully made creation. Should the scriptures then define the purpose of the creation and warn of the consequences if individuals do not fulfill the purpose? Let us see what Jesus (pbuh) enlightened about the nature of the Creator and the attitude we should demonstrate. The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind and with all your strength. [Mark 12:29 30, NIV] {4} Jesus himself preached that the Lord our God was one and that this was the most important commandment. His purpose in repeating this message was to remind the Jews of what Moses (pbuh) had said earlier: The LORD your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul. [Deuteronomy 13:3, NLT] {5} Why? Could there be any other appropriate behavior towards the One who has given each of us a unique existence, an opportunity to be alive, the opportunity to enjoy success and the intelligence to separate the truth from falsehood? The Quran similarly guides: O you people! Adore your Guardian-Lord who created you and those who came before you that you may have the chance to learn righteousness. [2.21] Abdullah Yusuf Ali {6} explains the act of adoration in his note 40 as follows: Adoration is the act of the highest and humblest reverence and worship. When you get into that relationship with Allah, who is your Creator and Guardian, your faith produces works of righteousness. It is a chance given to you: will you take it? If you do, your whole nature will be transformed. {6}

How does one adore a loved one? Imagine that you love someone deeply. How do you look upon or treat that person? For example, what value do you give the person? Do you go out of your way to listen to and do things to please him/her? How many thoughts does the loved person occupy in your head? Similarly, can one love the Creator and do things to please Him? The purpose of the holy scriptures is two-fold: 1. To inform us as to the purpose of the given life and as help to achieve that purpose. 2. Provide guidelines on how to get the best out of the transitory life on earth. Given intelligence, we should not only study the scriptures in depth but evaluate the truth and apply it to our daily lives. As informed by the Quran, the Creator guides us, As for those who hold fast to the Scriptures and attend regularly to their prayers, We shall not fail to reward those who enjoin the doing of what is right. [7.170] The Creator reminds us of the situation in which the initial part of the Torah was given to the Children of Israel.

7.171 We suspended the mountain over them as if it were a shadow, and they thought that it would fall down on them (We said): Hold fast with all your strength to what We have given you and bear in mind all that it contains, so that you may remain God-fearing.
The Creator asks the Children of Israel to remind themselves of the agreement [2.63, 2.93] they had made with Him, And call in remembrance the favor of Allah to you and the Covenant which He ratified with you when you responded: "We hear and we obey": and fear Allah for He knows well the secrets of your hearts. [5.7] The Creator cemented a similar agreement with each individual soul during creation:

7.172 Your Lord brought forth their offspring from the loins of the children of Adam, and called them to bear witness about themselves. (He said): Am I not your Lord? They replied: Yes, indeed, we bear witness to that. (This He did) lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection, We were truly unaware of this; 7.173 or lest you say, It was our forefathers who, in times gone by, associated partners with God and we were only their late offspring; will You destroy us on account of what those inventors of falsehood did?
As the trial on the Day of Resurrection is individual, each of us should work out the truth for ourselves using our intelligence. It is evil and an injustice to deny the Creators role in our lives. O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. [5.8] It is We Who have created you: why will you not witness the Truth? [56.57]

7.174 Thus We make plain Our Revelations so that they may return (to the right path).
-----{Notes}: {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}