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Extracted from the works of Dr. Bilal Philips Dr. Zakir Naik Nouman Ali Khan Khalid Yasin and other respected scholars.
by Arshad Suhail Farooqui
1. Purpose of Life .................................................................................................................................... 3 2. What is He like?................................................................................................................................... 5 3. Revelation and Messengers – an aspect of God’s mercy ................................................................... 7 4. Islam .................................................................................................................................................... 8 5. Next Life ............................................................................................................................................ 10 6. Paradise ............................................................................................................................................. 12 7. Hell Fire ............................................................................................................................................. 13 Bibliography: ......................................................................................................................................... 14
1. Purpose of Life
Every human being is continuously engaged in fulfilling a purpose. From the breath of air that we take, to the sophisticated sky scrapers that we build, we can intelligently attribute a purpose to every single one of our actions with ease. For instance, we eat food in order to gain nourishment, we work to make a living, we sleep to recover from exhaustion, so on and so forth. However, despite possessing such intellect, many people are dumbfounded when asked about the purpose of life. While some honestly acknowledge their lack of knowledge on the matter, there are many who may provide an answer deeply tainted with cultural influences, without any logical effort of their own. Some may argue if it even matters to know what the purpose of life is. A rational individual would recognise the glorious civilizations that human beings have built. The marvellous architectures throughout the globe and sophisticated machineries are a testament to what the human being is capable of. However, the data storage and processing capability of the brain, multiple chemical analyses that take place in the kidney, the heart that constantly pumps throughout life and the complex auto focus, colouring and light adjustments of the eye are much more perplexing. A rational person would quickly acknowledge that the human body is even more sophisticated than anything man has ever created. The human body is beyond the design capability of human beings. Since we attribute a purpose to every single one of our actions and creations, it is only logical to seek the purpose in the creation of human body. More importantly, who created it? Furthermore, the earth, the solar system, the billions of stars forming a hundred million galaxies, all arranged in perfect constellations and flowing in precise orbits are many orders of magnitude higher in complexity and magnitude. Who created all of that? A popular idea that human beings are constantly bombarded with in contemporary times is that no one created the universe, the earth, the human beings and everything else. It is all just a result of chance. From human experience we know that the process of creation is an arduous one. For instance, it took hundreds of thousands man months effort to design a mobile phone. It would be futile to argue that sand (silicon), oil (for plastic), copper (wires), gold and glass, which are the elements that are used to build a phone, if bombarded in various combinations would eventually produce a mobile phone some day. This is a logical impossibility because explosion is a destructive process which cannot create. If an explosion cannot even produce a simple gadget, then what is the possibility of me and you being created by chance? When we see a sleek iPad with it responsive touch screen and flashy graphics, it immediately brings to mind how much technology and design Apple has put in it. When we see an airplane, a rocket or a sky scrapper, we automatically think about the person or company that manufactured it. It is only logical then, that human beings reflect when they see a newborn baby or gaze up to the desert night sky, and ask “Who created me and this wonderful universe, and why?”. Such a magnificent Creator, who created everything in perfect proportion and continuously maintains it, is indeed worthy of thanks, praise, worship and obedience.
In the Glorious Quran, All Mighty God informs us of the response of those people who desire to understand the magnificent creation around us: And to God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and God is in complete control of everything. Without a shadow of doubt, there are in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, signs for people who understand. Those who remember God while standing, sitting or lying on their sides, contemplating on the creation of the heavens and the earth, saying, "Our Lord, You did not create this without a purpose You are exalted above such a thing, then protect us from the punishment of the Fire. Al-Quran (3:189-191)
The purpose of creation is stated in Al-Quran as: And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. Al-Quran (51: 56) This is what the Almighty said. Our purpose in this life is to recognize The Creator, to be grateful to Him, to worship Him, to surrender ourselves to Him, to obey the laws that He has determined for us and to act righteously. This universe, earth along with all its resources, life and death are a means of test for mankind. Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion and He has power over everything. He who created death and life to test you as to which of you is best in deed and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving Al-Quran (67:1-2)
2. What is He like?
Many people believe in a super natural force that created everything in existence. This force is known by different names and having varying attributes in different cultures. The Almighty God describes Himself in Al-Quran: Say: `He is God, the Unique God, the Eternal, the Independent. He neither has any child, nor is He born. And there is nothing that could be compared to Him.' Al-Quran (112:1-4) And your god is one God. There is no deity worthy of worship except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. Al-Quran (2:163)
Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides God, Both the heavens and earth would have been ruined. So exalted is God, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe. Al-Quran (21:22) As a consequence, anything which is known to have a beginning or an end cannot be God. Also, He is alone without any equals. He controls and maintains all the creation without any partners or sub gods. Since no human being has seen God, any picture, structure, or a statue that a human being makes is not representative of God, rather it is a manifestation of human imagination. God is not similar to any of His creation. God commands us to call Him and ask Him using His beautiful names and attributes: And to God belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave the company of those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing. Al-Quran (7:180) God informs of His names and attributes in Al-Quran: God - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of all existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth... Al-Quran (2:255)
One can appreciate the skill of an artist by looking at a beautiful painting that he makes. God’s perfect attributes are reflected in his creation. He created the universe, but did not leave it ticking away on its own like clockwork, rather, He continuously provides for every creation and maintains them without fatigue. Thus, He is rightly to be called “The Sustainer”. God refers to Himself as the most Merciful in Al-Quran. Some of the aspects of His mercy: Say, "To whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and earth?" Say, "To Allah." He has decreed upon Himself mercy. Al-Quran (6:12)
A saying of the Last Prophet states: The Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) said: “God has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And God has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.” – Narrated by Abu Hurairah, Sahih Muslim 6908. In another saying: It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of God (peace and blessings of God be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of God said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by God, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of God said, ‘God is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’” – Sahih Al-Bukhaari, 5653; Muslim, 6912.
God is indeed most merciful. However, at the same time He is the most Just. Since God is unique and He owns everything, it would be unjust to assign His perfect names to any created object and direct ones worship to it. An employer does not like his employee to work for anyone other than him. Similarly, God is the One who created, sustains, protects and guides human beings. He has full ownership of every atom of our existence. Therefore, He does not like human beings to direct their worship, thanks and praise to anyone other than Him. God states in Al-Quran: Verily God does not forgive the ascribing of divinity to anything beside Him although He forgives any lesser sin to whomever He wills: for he who ascribes divinity to anything besideGod has indeed contrived an awesome sin Al-Quran (4:48)
3. Revelation and Messengers – an aspect of God’s mercy
Since nothing besides God is worthy of worship and nothing from the creation can in any way, shape or form represent God, it is only logical then for God to communicate about Himself and His commands to mankind in order for them to obey and worship Him according to how He desires. God says in Al-Quran that He does not communicate with human beings except through revelation: And it is not for any human being that God should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High and Wise. Al-Quran (42:51) Out of His wisdom and mercy, God has chosen His obedient slaves from amongst human beings to act as messengers. Messengers are not divine beings. They have all the limitations of a normal human being. And We did not send before you, [O Muhammad], any of the messengers except that they ate food and walked in the markets... Al-Quran (25:20) Throughout time God has sent a messenger to every nation. And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, saying, "Worship God and avoid false gods." Al-Quran (16:36) However, after their messengers had died, the generations that came after them forgot or altered their teachings and started worshipping false gods. Prophetic traditions inform us about the generations that came after Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) with regard to certain idols they worshipped: Ibn Abbas explained: "Following upon the death of those righteous men, Satan inspired their people to erect statues in the places where they used to sit. They did this, but these statues were not worshiped until the coming generations deviated from the right way of life. Then they worshipped them as their idols." Among the generations that followed the prophets, there were some who altered the revealed scriptures in order to meet their personal agenda and to gain benefit from the status quo: So woe to those who write the "scripture" with their own hands, then say, "This is from God," in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn. Al-Quran (2:79)
If the previous scriptures were corrupted, then God must have sent a replacement for guiding mankind to a way of life that is pleasing to Him. We believe that such a scripture exists in the form of Al-Quran which was revealed to the last prophet, sent to entire Humanity and Jinn until the day of resurrection. It contains clear signs from God with regards to His oneness, His attributes, His commands and prohibitions and the method of worshiping Him. Al-Quran has been preserved in the exact form down to every syllable since the time of its revelation in the year 610 CE. From the beginning it has been preserved by means of written book and full memorization by millions of people generation after generation in a continuous chain. The preservation is not only limited to text and recitation, but also in meaning, explanation and implementation. Since this is the last revelation that is to be the guide to oneness of God until the day of resurrection, God has taken the responsibility of preserving it till the end of time. Without doubt, it is We who sent down the Qur'an and indeed, We will be its guardian. Al-Quran (15:9)
God commands mankind to be sincere to God, not to worship anything or anyone besides Him, to obey His commands and to establish regular prayers for the pleasure of God alone. He enjoins on mankind kindness towards parents, caring of poor, orphans and needy, to avoid promiscuity, and to act righteously in personal and public dealings. This has been the gist of message of every prophet that God has sent over time to every nation. And this is exactly the message of the last prophet. And they were not commanded except to worship God, being sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion. Al-Quran (98:5) In Al-Quran, God has named this simple and pure way of life, Islam: This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. Al-Quran (5:3) Islam literally means to submit ones desires to the will of God, the Creator of the Universe. It also means peace. Therefore it is a means of bringing inner peace to ones soul through voluntary obedience to the laws of God. The followers of this way of life are called Muslims. This is the same way of life which was taught by previous prophets, Adam, Noah, Ibrahim, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all) are some of them. 8
The foundations of Islam, and the aspects of faith that are mandatory are mentioned in the following prophetic narration: About Islam: ...'Islam is that you witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God, and you establish the prayer, and you give the Zakat, and you fast Ramadan, and you perform the hajj of the House if you are able to take a way to it.'... About Eemaan: ...'That you affirm God, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and that you affirm the Decree, the good of it and the bad of it.'... - Sahih Muslim
The man made socio-economic and tribal divisions hold no value in the sight of God. To God, it does not matter whether a person is rich or poor, royal or low class, white or black. A person who recognizes God’s Oneness and accepts Him alone as His Lord, and obeys is command is beloved to Him. ...Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God is the most God conscious of you. Indeed, God is Knowing and Acquainted. Al-Quran (49:13)
5. Next Life
Anyone who believes in a God who is Just, must necessarily also believe in a concept of final Judgement where every individual will be handed the recompense for the actions of this life. It is a well known fact that perfect justice does not exist in this world. People get away with cheating, scams, murder and massacre. The justice system is limited in this world. For instance, a loner murders a hardworking man who was raising a family, taking care of his parents and siblings. The maximum punishment that can be served to that loner is Death. However, it cannot truly compensate the economic and emotional loss that the family suffers. Similarly, Hitler massacred thousands of Jews. He destroyed numerous lives and families. How can Hitler be truly punished for every one of his murders? Clearly, there doesn’t seem to be such a mechanism in sight. Therefore, there should be a mechanism whereby full justice could be served. God calls this mechanism the Day of Resurrection, when everyone will be rewarded for good deeds and punished for bad deeds in full. From the earth We created you, and into it We will return you, and from it We will extract you another time. Al-Quran (20:55) So how will it be when We assemble them for a Day about which there is no doubt? And each soul will be compensated [in full for] what it earned, and they will not be wronged. Al-Quran (3:25) That Day, you will be exhibited for judgement; not hidden among you is anything concealed... Al-Quran (69:18) And fear a Day when you will be returned to God. Then every soul will be compensated for what it earned, and they will not be treated unjustly. Al-Quran (2:281) Every dead person will be resurrected on that day and a book containing full detailed accounts of their deeds will be handed to them. O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with [great] exertion and will meet it. Then as for he who is given his record in his right hand, He will be judged with an easy account And return to his people in happiness. But as for he who is given his record behind his back, He will cry out for destruction And [enter to] burn in a Blaze. Al-Quran (84:6-12) 10
The balance of good and bad deeds would cause a person to either enter Paradise and lead an eternal life of bliss, or be thrown into hell fire whose fuel is human beings and stone. A tyrant who seemed invincible in this world would burn in it, and when the skin is burnt, God will order new skin to grow, so he feels the pain over and over. A just punishment which cannot be served in this life! Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our miraculous signs – We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, God is ever Exalted in Might and Wise. But those who believe and do righteous deeds – We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide forever. For them therein are purified partners, and We will admit them to deepening shade. Indeed, God commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which God instructs you. Indeed, God is ever Hearing and Seeing. Al-Quran (4:56-58)
God is most merciful and His mercy covers everything. It was out of His mercy that He sent revelation by way of prophets. His justice demands that every person is rewarded for what they have earned. Every human being is given a chance to recognise the Oneness of God and sincerely repent and pray to Him alone, and obey Him until the approach of death. After which the door of repentance is closed. The repentance accepted by God is only for those who do wrong in ignorance [or carelessness] and then repent soon after [before death approaches]. It is those to whom God will turn in forgiveness, and God is ever Knowing and Wise. But repentance is not [accepted] of those who [continue to] do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, "Indeed, I have repented now," or of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful punishment. Al-Quran (4:17-18) When a person dies, he is disconnected from this world. Neither can he help himself nor any living being. 11
Human beings are naturally inclined towards leading a settled life. If the question is posed to a person from anywhere on this earth, as to what they would like to achieve in this life. Almost certainly they would have a dream of buying a house if they do not own one. Those who already have a house and are raising a family would work towards having a private garden. Those who are blessed with a house and a garden would desire to move upstate to a water front property or a stream. The love of flowing water and greenery is naturally instilled into the human soul. God promises precisely this and much more to His obedient servants in the form of Paradise. Its quality and quantity far surpasses this world. In it is eternal life, full of peace and harmony, with everything that our hearts desire. And most important of all, God will finally unveil Himself to only those who make it to Paradise. Among the many descriptions of Paradise in Al-Quran, some are as follows:
…Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is (far) better for him who fears God... Al-Quran (4:77) ...rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes... Al-Quran (47:15) "And those foremost in acknowledging Oneness of God and in obedience to God and His Messenger in this life will be foremost in Paradise. They will be those nearest to God in the Gardens of Delight. A multitude of those will be from the early generation and a few of those will be from the later generations. They will be reclining, face to face, on thrones woven with gold and precious stones. They will be served by immortal boys, with cups and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine, from which they will have neither any headache, nor any intoxication. They will have fruit from which they may choose, and the flesh of birds that they desire. There will be companions with wide, lovely eyes, like preserved pearls, a reward for deeds that they used to do in this life. They will hear no vain or sinful speech but only the saying of: Salam, Salam. Al-Quran (56:10-26)
7. Hell Fire
Hell fire is an evil abode. The ones to be thrown into it will be those who die without repentance, insisting on denying Him, worshipping created things instead of Him or along with Him, and those Muslims who insisted on disobeying God and die without repenting. It is an evil prison with eternal torture. Just like Paradise, God has provided graphic details of Hellfire in Al-Quran so that people of understanding would strive for God’s Paradise and avoid actions that take them close to Hell Fire. Following are a few statements from Al-Quran regarding Hell Fire:
And whosoever disobeys God and His Messenger, then surely, for him is the fire of Hell, he shall dwell therein forever. Al-Quran (72:23) On the Day when We will say to Hell: ‘Are you filled?’ It will say, ‘Are there any more (to come)?’ Al-Quran (50:30) Surely, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths (grade) of the Fire. Al-Quran (4:145) For all will be (ranked) by degrees according to what they did. Al-Quran (6:132) Is one who seeks the good pleasure of God then like the one who draws on himself the wrath of God? His abode is Hell – and worst, indeed, is that destination! They are in varying grades with God, and God is All-Seer of what they do. Al-Quran (3:162-163)
O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones... Al-Quran (66:6) And you will see the criminals that Day bound together in shackles, their garments of liquid pitch (melted copper) and their faces covered by the Fire. Al-Quran (14:49-50) But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be light, will have his home in a (bottomless) pit. And what will explain to you what this is? (It is) a Fire blazing fiercely. Al-Quran (101:8-11) 13
Purpose of Life – Khalid Yasin Fundamentals of Tawheed – Bilal Philips Concept of God in Major World Religions – Dr. Zakir Naik Websites: http://www.kalamullah.com/non-muslims.html http://www.kalamullah.com/new-muslims.html http://www.bilalphilips.com/
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