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Sunday, July 19, 2009

PROPHETS, RELIGIONS AND BOOKS

When Allahu ta’ala created man, He granted him aql (intellect) and the power of mind and thought. Islamic scholars (rahimahum-Allahu ta’ala) called man “Haywan-i natiq” and the expression in Cartesian philosophy, “I think, therefore I am,” clearly expresses this fact.



The major factors distinguishing man from other creatures are: He has a soul besides his body; he can think, assess all events with his mind; he can decide by using his mind and carry out his decisions; he can distinguish good from evil; and he can realize his errors and repent for them, and so forth. But the question is: Can man use this most powerful weapon given to him without a guide, or can he find the right path and understand Allahu ta’ala by himself?



A retrospective view of history will show us that when left alone with no guidance from Allahu ta’ala, men have always deviated into degenerate paths. Using his mind, man thought of the Omnipotent, who created him, but he could not find the way leading to Allahu ta’ala. Those who did not hear about the Prophets sent by Allahu ta’ala first looked for the Creator around themselves. The sun, being the most useful thing to men, provoked some men to think that it was the creative power, and, therefore, they began to worship it. Later on, as he saw the great forces of nature, such as, a gale, a fire, a furious sea, a volcano and the like, he thought they were assistants to the Creator. He attempted to symbolize each of them. This, in turn, gave birth to idols. He dreaded their wrath and sacrificed animals to them. Unfortunately, he even sacrificed human beings to them. Every new event inspired a new idol, increasing the number of idols symbolizing events. When Islam first graced the earth there were three hundred and sixty idols in the Ka’ba. In short, man, by himself, can never understand Allahu ta’ala, the world’s real Creator, the One, and the Eternal. Even today, there are still people who deify the sun, as well as fire. This should not be amazing, because without a guide, a light, one cannot find the right way in darkness. It is declared in the 15th ayat [1] of Surat [2] al-Isra in the Qur’an al-karim: “... nor would We visit with Our Wrath [the worshippers of idols] until We had Rahimah-Allahu ta’ala: May Allah’s mercy be upon them. Hayvani natik: Creation which is able to speak. sent a Messenger ‘alaihis-salam).”



Allahu ta’ala sent Prophets (’alaihimu’s-salam) to teach His human slaves how to use the powers of mind and thought, to teach them about His Oneness, and to distinguish good from evil. Prophets (’alaihimu’s-salam) were human beings like us. They ate, drank, slept and felt tired, too. What distinguished them from us was that their intellectual and assessment abilities were much greater than ours. Moreover, they had pure moral qualities and, hence, the ability to communicate Allahu ta’ala’s commandments to us. Prophets (’alaihi mu’s-salam) were the greatest guides.


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GLOSSARY

[1] ayat: a verse of al-Qur’an al-karim ; al-ayat al-karima.

[2] Sura(t): a Qur’anic chapter [a chapter of the Qur’an].

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