Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Each person is born in a religious environment that is not of his/her own choice. From the very beginning of human existence in this world, they are assigned the religion of their family or the ideology of the state. By the time individuals reach their teens they usually accept the beliefs of their parents or that of their particular society.
However, when some people mature and are exposed to other beliefs and ideologies, they begin to question the validity of their own beliefs.
Seekers of truth often reach a point of confusion upon realizing that believers of every religion, sect, ideology and philosophy all claim to have the one and only correct religion or ideology. There are only three possibilities. They are either all correct; all wrong or only one is correct and the rest are wrong. They cannot all be right since all religions are different from each other in their fundamentals. Furthermore, the majority claim that they alone are correct and the rest are wrong. On the other hand, to claim that they are all wrong is to deny that God revealed His will to humankind.
This proposition is absurd to those who believe in a Wise Creator. So, which religion is the right one and how can the seeker of truth know it? This is the subject of the booklet in your hands.
In beginning one’s search for which religion is true, one should keep in mind four things in mind:
First, God gave us abilities and intellects to make the crucial decision: WHAT IS THE TRUE RELIGION?
Second, God, the Most Compassionate, did not leave us to go astray without any guidance. Indeed, He sent us prophets with scriptures to show us the right path.
Third, seeking the true religion should be the most important thing in one’s life because the everlasting life to come depends on it.
Fourth, one can determine the true path and make a rational and correct decision only if emotions and prejudices, which often blind one to reality, are put aside.
I. PURPOSE FOR CREATION
Have you ever wondered about the reason of our existence? Have you ever wondered why we die, and where we go after death? What will happen to us in the end? Have you ever asked yourself why God made the earth and all that is in it under man’s dominion? Why were the night and the day, and the sun and the moon created? What are we supposed to do during our lifetime? Were we created just to eat, drink, and enjoy ourselves before we die?
As one poet put it: “I do not know whence I have come. I saw my feet walking on the road. As they please I go and stop. What am I doing here? How did the road find me? I do not know! I do not know! I do not know! ”
God has emphasized in many verses of the Qur’an that He did not create us without purpose. He said: “What! Do you think that I created you simply in jest ? And that you would not be returned to Me?” (23:115) He also said: “What! Does man think that he will be left to roam at his will?” (75:36) In addition, He said: “Do people think that they will be left to say: “We believe,” and they will not be held accountable?” (29:2)
Indeed, God Has created human beings for a purpose and with a purpose: TO WORSHIP HIM ALONE (Monotheism). He said: “I have not created the Jinn and humankind except only to worship Me. I don't require provision or feeding from them. Surely Allah 4 is the All-provider, the Possessor of all strength, the Firm.” (51:56-58) In fact, all prophets told their people to worship God alone (Monotheism) and shun worshipping His creation (Paganism).
God said: “I assuredly sent among every people a messenger with the command: Worship Allah and avoid worshipping false gods.” (16:36)
Prophet Abraham, for example, believed in One God, who had no partner. Anyone who holds a different understanding of God than this has contradicted the religion of Abraham and follows falsehood. God says in the Qur’an: “Those who reject the religion of Abraham make fools of themselves.” (2:130)
Prophet Jesus was reported in the Gospels to have said: “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only’.” (Luke 4:8) Prophet Jacob also said (in the Quran) to his people: “Indeed, those which you worship besides Allah are only names that you and your forefathers have established, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command belongs only to Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him. That is the right religion, but most people do not understand.” (12:40)
II. THE BASIC MESSAGE OF ISLAM
The basic message of Islam is the same message of all the previous prophets: worship God alone and avoid worshipping anything besides Him, whether it is a person, place or thing, directly or indirectly. This basic principle of Monotheism is contained in the opening chapter of the Qur’an, known as Soorat al-Faatihah, verse 4: “You alone we worship and from you alone we do seek help.” In (4:37), God also said: “Worship Allah and do not associate partners with Him.” Muhammad, the last Prophet (mercy and peace of God be upon him) is reported to have said: “Anyone who says: There is no god worthy of worship but Allah, and dies holding that belief will be granted paradise.”
III. PROOFS FOR GOD'S RIGHT OF WORSHIP
Only God should be worshipped because He is the Creator and sustainer of all that exists. This Great Universe and everything that is in it cannot be the product of chance, and could not have created itself. Signs testifying that God is the only Creator can be seen throughout the earth and in the very soul of each person. God said in the Qur’an: “It is Allah who created the sky and the earth, and sent down from the sky water by which He brought forth fruits for your sustenance. He subjected for you the ships to sail upon the sea at His command, and He subjected for you the rivers. And He subjected for you the sun and moon in continuous cycles, and He subjected for you the night and day. And He gave you all you asked Him for .” (14:32-34) In the Qur’an, God mentions Prophet Abraham’s search for truth as an example of how those who follow God’s signs will be rightly guided to the worship of Him alone; God said: “In this way I showed Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth so that he would have faith with understanding and certainty. When the night covered him with darkness, he saw a star and said: ‘This is my Lord’, but when it set, he said: ‘I don’t like those that set.’ When he saw the moon rising up, he said: ‘This is my Lord’, but when it set, he said: ‘Unless my Lord guides me, I will certainly be among the people who went astray.’ When he saw the sun rising up he said: ‘This is my Lord, this is the greatest of all.’ But when it set, he said: ‘O my people! I am indeed free from what you join as partners with Allah. Verily, I have turned my face towards Allah who created the heavens and the earth and I reject those who associate partners with Allah (in worship).”(6:75-79)
Actually, in the Qur’an God calls people to continuously look at the Universe, as this will affirm the divine truth of His existence, His greatness and that He alone should be worshipped. God alone deserves our worship because only He can answer our prayers. God says in the Qur’an: “And your Lord says: Call on Me and I will answer your prayer.” (40:60) Hence, if a human being prays to an idol and his prayers are answered, it is not the idol which actually answered his prayers but God. Similarly, prayers to Jesus Christ, Buddha, Krishna, Saint Christopher, Saint Jude or to Prophet Muhammad, are not answered by them, but are answered by God. Consequently, prayer is an act of worship which should be directed to God alone. Indeed, prophets who are worshipped besides Him did not tell people to worship them. Instead, the prophets warned their people against doing just that. For example, Islam teaches that Prophet Jesus (mercy and peace of God be upon him) was a human being who was created by God in a miraculous way. He was born of a mother, Mary, without a father and he worshipped God. He was not God, nor was he the son of God. He was neither one of three manifestations of God as Christians say, nor was he the son of a prostitute as the Jews say. He told his people (the tribes of Israel) to worship God alone. He did not tell people to worship either himself or his mother. Furthermore, Prophet Jesus (mercy and peace of God be upon him) did not worship himself when he worshipped, rather he worshipped God. However, those who claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ today worship Jesus himself, claiming that he is God, and others also worship his mother calling her ‘the mother of God.’!
God says in the Qur’an that He will ask Prophet Jesus (mercy and peace of God be upon him) on the Day of Judgment: “O Jesus, son of Mary! Did you tell people: Take me and my mother as gods besides Allah? Then he will say: Glory to you, I could never say what I had no right to say. If I had said it, You would have known it, You know what is within myself, but I do not know what is within Yourself. Verily, You alone are the Knower of the unseen. I did not say to them except what You commanded me; to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness over them as long as I was among them, but when You raised me up, You were the observer over them, and You are the witness over all things.” (5:116 - 117)
God emphasizes in the Qur’an that Prophet Jesus (mercy and peace of God be upon him) was neither killed nor crucified, but God raised him up into the heavens in body and spirit and he will be returned to the earth before the end of the world. Prophet Muhammad (mercy and peace of God be upon him) stated that Prohet Jesus would rule the earth according to the Islamic law, then he will die on earth like other human beings and will be buried and resurrected like them on the Day of Judgment. Hence, Prophet Jesus who was given life, was born from a woman’s womb and circumcised, ate, slept, went to the toilet, grew up, prayed, and will die, should never be taken as God as all these characteristics are not the attributes of God, but of His creatures.
The New Testament states that Jesus Christ taught his followers to pray to God saying: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 11:2 / Matthew 6:9-10) Also, he taught that only those who submit to God would inherit paradise: “None of those who call me ‘Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of God, except one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Prophet Jesus also pointed out that he himself submitted to the will of God: “I cannot do anything of myself. I judge as I hear and my judgment is honest because I am not seeking my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” (John 5:23) In fact, there are many reports in the Gospels that show that Prophet Jesus made it clear to his followers that he was not God. For example, when speaking about the final hour, he said: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
Buddha, was a reformer who introduced a number of humanistic principles in the Hindu religion practiced in India. He did not claim to be God, nor did he suggest to his followers that he be worshipped. Yet, today most Buddhists have made him their God and they prostrate themselves before idols representing his likeness. In brief, from the perspective of the object worshipped, all religions today [except Islam] invite people to the worship of creation!
God’s attributes point to the fact that God alone deserves worship. He is One, without relatives; He has neither father, son, mother nor wife. He is the Eternal Absolute. He neither gives birth, nor is He born, and there is nothing like Him. He is perfect in His knowledge, in His power, in His will, in His mercy and in all His other attributes. God is all-powerful and perfect, while human beings are weak and imperfect. That is how He defined Himself and how all prophets defined Him. Another proof that God alone deserves to be worshipped can be found within the human soul. Islam teaches that all human beings have imprinted on their souls an awareness of God and a natural inclination towards worshipping Him alone imprinted on their souls.
In the Qur’an, God explained that when He created Adam He caused all of Adam’s descendants to come into existence and then He took a pledge from all of them saying: “Am I not your Lord? To which they all replied: Yes, we testify to it.” God then explained why He had all of humankind bear witness that He is their Creator and only true God worthy of worship: “That is in case you, humankind, may say on the Day of Resurrection: Indeed we were unaware of this.” God further elaborated on this point saying: “It is also in case you may say: It was our ancestors who made partners with Allah, and we are only their descendants, will you then destroy us for what those liars did?” (7:173) Hence, people who associate partners with God in worship cannot claim on that day that they had no idea that Allah was the only god who deserved to be worshipped. Prophet Muhammad (mercy and peace of God be upon him) reported that God said: “I created my slaves upon the right religion, but devils made them go astray.” He also said: “Each child is born in a state of Islam. Then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian.”
Thus, Islam is the birthright of every human being, since every child is born with a natural belief in the existence of God and an inborn inclination towards worshipping Him alone. Just as the child submits to the physical laws which God has imposed on the physical world, in the same way its soul also submits naturally to the fact that God is the only Lord and Creator. But if their parents are following a different path, the child is usually not strong or aware enough to recognize the truth or resist the will of the parents. In such cases, the religion which the child follows is one of custom and upbringing. But God, the Most Merciful and Compassionate, will not hold him to account or punish him for following a false religion before he reaches the age of reason and is exposed to the pure message of Islam.
By Majed S. Al-Rassi
Friday, January 22, 2010
Friday, December 25, 2009
By Harun Yahya
While referring to the sun and the moon in the Qur’an, it is emphasized that each moves in a certain orbit.
( It is He Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon.They swim along, each in an orbit.) ( Quran - Surat al-Anbiya, 33)
It is mentioned in another verse too that the sun is not static but moves in a certain orbit:
( And the sun runs to its resting place. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.) ( Quran - Surah Ya Sin, 38)
These facts communicated in the Qur’an have been discovered by astronomical observations in our age. According to the calculations of experts on astronomy, the sun is traveling at the enormous speed of 720 thousand kilometers an hour in the direction of the star Vega in a particular orbit called the Solar Apex. This means that the sun travels roughly 17 million and 280 thousand kilometers a day. Along with the sun, all planets and satellites within the gravitational system of the sun also travel the same distance. In addition, all the stars in the universe are in a similar planned motion.
That the entire universe is full of paths and orbits such as this one, is inscribed in the Qur’an as follows:
( By the sky full of paths and orbits.) ( Quran - Surat adh-Dhariyat, 7)
There are about 200 billion galaxies in the universe consisting of nearly 200 billion stars in each. Most of these stars have planets and most of those planets have satellites. All of these heavenly bodies move in very precisely computed orbits. For millions of years, each has been “swimming” along in its own orbit in perfect harmony and order with all the others. Moreover, many comets also move along in the orbits determined for them.
The orbits in the universe do not only belong to celestial bodies. The galaxies also travel at enormous speeds in computed, planned orbits. During these movements, none of these celestial bodies cut across another’s path, or collide with another. Indeed, it has been observed that some galaxies pass through each other with none of their components touching each other.
Surely at the time the Qur’an was revealed, humankind did not possess today’s telescopes or advanced observation technologies to observe space in a range of millions of kilometers, nor the modern knowledge of physics or astronomy. Therefore, at that time, it was not possible to determine scientifically that space is “full of paths and orbits” as stated in the verse. However, this was openly declared to us in the Qur’an that was revealed at that time:–because the Qur’an is the word of God.
Like many other comets in the universe, Halley's comet, seen above, also moves in a planned orbit. It has a specific orbit and it moves in this orbit in a perfect harmony with other celestial bodies. All celestial bodies including planets, satellites of these planets, stars, and even galaxies have their own orbits that have been determined with very delicate computations. The One Who established this perfect order and maintains it is God, Who created the entire universe.