Islam was revealed 1,437 years ago, and is the second largest religion in the world, with 1.6 billion adherents. Unfortunately, the religion of Islam continues to be linked to terrorism, due to the politically motivated acts of violence committed in its name, leaving many to wonder, “What is Islam?”
At the heart of Islam stands the reality of God, the One, the Absolute and the Infinite, greater than all we can conceive or imagine, and, as the Qur’an, attests, closer to us than our jugular vein. The One God, known by His Arabic Name, Allah, is the central reality of Islam in all its facets.
The responsibility of understanding the Qur’an is often left to scholars whom many Muslims rely on to interpret what God is saying for us.
The main goal of the Qur’an is Guidance or Hidayah. It is this guidance, which is all encompassing, that we should strive for as well. One of the ways that we can get this guidance is by turning to the Qur’an and understanding it.
God, as the Creator of the universe, selected a person from among human beings, giving him all the fundamental knowledge necessary for construction and development. This is the divine guide, a prophet, whose advice makes it possible for man to begin his journey in a state of enlightenment, so that he may receive the blessings of both worlds.
What Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Daesh, is doing is a complete violation of the teaching of the Prophet of Mercy, Muhammad (pbuh), and the dictates of the Qur’an. It is surprising the self-proclaimed Khalifah “studied” Islam for many years, since he interprets it to suit his whims and personal impulses.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) issued various covenants of protection for the People of the Book, enshrining their rights.1 The various covenants are mentioned in the Prophet’s biography and jurisprudence, and copies can be found in whole or in part in classical Muslim sources.
Whenever the Prophet Muhammad’s name emerges, the image in many people’s minds is of a man with many wives. For Muslims, his multiple marriages had meaning and immense implications for Islam, and by extension, the history of the world.
When Islam is brought up, discussion usually moves to the question “What does the Qur’an say about this?” Because people are told that the Qur’an is “the Muslim Bible,” it’s natural to assume that the Qur’an is where we can find answers to questions about Muslim faith and belief.
Shari’ah or “Shari’ah law” as it is commonly referred to in the West, is often misunderstood as a strictly “legal” code that stands in direct opposition to U.S. laws, and is incompatible with human rights and American values.
Muslim legal scholars unanimously agree that the overarching objective of Islamic law is to help realize the best interest of human beings in this life and the next. As such, scholars derived the “objectives of Shari’ah” (maqasid al-Shari’ah): six rights of all human beings that Islamic law should protect and promote.
In the twelfth century, the Muslim poet Ibn Arabi, wrote:My heart has become capable of every form:it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kabah, and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Qur’an.I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take, that is my religion and my faith.
And when it is said to those who are conscious of God, “What is it that your Lord has revealed?” They say, “What is good.”For those who do good there is good in this world, but the reward in the hereafter is better still; for how excellent is the abode of the God-conscious! (Qur’an 16:30).
The Prophet Muhammad once famously remarked, upon returning from battle, that he had returned from the lesser jihad (physical fighting) only to engage in the greater jihad (the struggle to become a better person). Jihad means “to struggle” or “to strive” in the way of God.
The Qur’an and the Hadith clearly call Muslims to struggle, and not all of that struggle is with our own egos. The lesser jihad, against social injustice, is our responsibility, too. How we understand that responsibility determines whether we will live in a world of beauty or in a world of pain