What is Islam?

by James William Lovegrove (Habeeb-Ullah)


These pages are a humble attempt on my part to meet enquiries which I receive from various quarters as to the reasons for my embracing Islam. I have not to make a case for the Faith. There is something unique about it. It is the religion of history and its teacher a personality in history. We know very little of other religions as to their original teachings; some scattered accounts consisting of a few moral precepts have been handed down to us, their genuineness being admittedly impeachable. The lives of almost all other teachers are enveloped with myth and mystery, and do not help us to read their own teachings in the light of their actions. On the other hand, in the case of Islam, no one had ever doubted the authenticity of its record. The Book of Islam, the Quran, is the same today as it was in the days of the Holy Prophet. His deeds and the sayings in which he translates the various precepts of the book have come to us in their original purity, hence whatever I write in these pages is simply a paraphrase of some of the teachings I found in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet. I found in them a consolation, which in vain I had searched for elsewhere. I wanted a simple, practical religion, free from dogma and tenets, which I could not accept without killing my reason. To do my duty to God, and my neighbour, undoubtedly is and ought to be the main object of every religious system, but Islam came to give the maxim a practical shape. We want precepts as well as example to meet all the contingencies and exigencies of life, and directions to guide us in our difficult callings. This I found in Islam.

I am permitted to append the very striking paper on Islam, entitled Al-Islam, contributed to the Wembley Religious Conference in 1924 by Al Haj Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, which will make clear any points which my inexperience may have confused or passed over.