Islam, Belief and Moral Obligation
by Prof. Mirza Habib-ur-Rehman, M.A.
The Light (Pakistan), 8th November 1980 Issue (Vol. 60, No. 21, pp. 12–13, 14)
What is Islam?
Islam consists in perfect and unquestionable obedience to the Supreme Creator and strict adherence to the sayings and actions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him). We must declare, believe and give evidence that there is no deity except God, Who is wholly and solely capable of worship. We must implicitly believe and confirm that Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) is His last Prophet.
Mere belief, is of no use, unless we put it into practice all the injunctions of God, and the Sunnah by His Prophet. God is One; there is no partner whatsoever in His illimitable sovereignty. He begot no son, nor He is begotten by any one. He is the absolute Master of His Will. He is Most Merciful Most Beneficent, All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Most Nourishing, Most Forgiving, Most Just and Most Resourceful. In the dispensation of gifts and favours, in His Sovereignty, He has no equal; in the punishment of evil-doers, no one can share His Will. He knows the inmost secrets of all His creatures’ hearts — the deeds they had done in the past, the deeds they are doing at present and the deeds they will do in future. He administers justice most sagaciously, while His Boons have no visible end. He is the indisputable Master of the Day of Resurrection.
The fulfilment of God’s precepts are incumbent on us. We are ordained to say prayers five times a day, as offered by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) with the fidelity of a passionate lover. It is only prayers which elevate human morality and cultivate spiritual excellence. We are also ordained to give alms to the poor and the needy. Alms-giving is the Vehicle of prayers.
Observance of fasts is indispensable for all those believers who possess good health. Prayers and fasts are intended for the purification of our souls. For without our soul’s purification, our spiritual excellence is defective and incomplete. If we possess resources, we should perform pilgrimage by visiting Mecca — another means for the sublimation of our souls. To Almighty God our prayers, our fasts, our almsgiving or pilgrimage are immaterial. Our steadfast allegiance to God and the carrying out of His injunctions are sure to gain His goodwill and to purify our soul.
What is the Essence of Belief?
God enjoins Muslims to have fullest trust and faith in God, His angels, His revealed Books, in all His Apostles, and finally in the Judgment Day. A true believer must have strong faith in the injunctions of God when He says in the Holy Quran:
“The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. They will believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His messengers.” (3:40)
God created angels for man’s service. They are Divine functionaries. For spiritual elevated persons, the angels, are deputed by God to act as Guardian spirits for them, during the course of this life.
God sent down His Books from time to time, through His chosen Messengers. At present, four of these are known to us — Zabur, Taurat [The Torah], Injil [The Gospel] and the Quran. The first three books have been corrupted by man’s interpolations, and hence their moral standard is either much lowered or invalidated. We Muslims must the accept teachings of the Holy Quran, for this revealed Book is completely uncorrupted and without the least innovation. It is a Guide-Book, for it is complete code of laws which serves to direct us to follow the right path for the exaltation of our moral and spiritual excellences.
God sent many Apostles to reform men, in different climes and in different ages. But the mission of these Messengers were confined to a particular nation or place. Their instructions and precepts were not adjustable to all requirements. They did not constitute a complete whole, like the universal doctrines of the Holy Quran. The teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) are comprehensive and universally potent and effective for all times to come.
Muslims, as a whole, are decreed to believe in the Judgement Day, when justice will be done to all people belonging to all ages and regions. On the Doomsday, everybody would be handed a book of his or her deeds and misdeeds. Not a single bit of evil or good would be omitted in his or her book. No Individual would dare to deny what he had done in life.
Similarly, we must have firm faith in good and evil. Our fortunes during our march through life, have been vacillating between decencies and indecencies, between sins and virtues. A believer should always express heart-felt repentance before God.
Secret of Moral Obligations:
In order to cleanse our souls, we must lie prostrate and adore our Creator. This proximity with God is only possible when the mad freaks of a furious, fantastic and cankered heart are totally subdued and discarded. If such caprices are not completely erased from our minds, we should then realistically feel in our prayers that God is descrying us. Mere exercise in our routine religious drill does not serve the real purpose. Thick crusts of dross, which settle on our morbid minds, cannot be deleted just by the formal prayers we offer, unless we put in real effort to ennoble our souls.
We are deeply indebted to God, Who has provided us with adequate nourishment, for our peaceful domestic life and sound health. We shall be badly failing in our bounden duty towards the Supreme Lord, if the expression of our gratitude is incomplete or defective.