Islam is the religion chosen by Allah for humanity’s individual and collective welfare in this world and the next. It is based on belief in and worship of Allah, and does not countenance associating any partners with Him, whether in the form of something created, a person, or a concept. True belief and worship requires a deep concern for all animate and inanimate things. The deeper their belief in and submission to Allah is, the deeper is their concern for all creatures. Belief in Allah’s Unity prevents humanity from enjoying and exercising absolute freedom in dealing with creatures.Islam is derived from the Arabic root s-l-m, which means salvation, peace, and submission. In its religious context, it is the expression of Allah’s Grace flowing in the universe’s arteries, the Divine system to which all creatures (except humanity) have submitted willingly. The universe displays perfect order, for everything therein is muslim, in the sense that it submits to Allah’s laws. Even people who reject belief in Allah or worship that which is not Allah are muslims, as far as their bodily existence is concerned. While we journey between being an embryo and a corpse, every bodily tissue and every limb follows the course prescribed for them by Allah’s law.
The fundamental Islamic principle of Divine Unity implies that humanity necessarily must be in harmony with the surround- ing world. The vast muslim universe displays a coherence and har- mony of which our world is a part. Although our world is subject to laws special to itself and to the general “laws of nature,” it is also in harmony with other laws governing surrounding phenom- ena. Human beings, unlike other creatures who tread “the path of nature,” have free will. We bear the gift of freedom and the obligation to harmonize our life with nature. This harmony is also the path of our exaltation and progress, the path upon which Allah created human nature:
Set your face to the religion, a man of pure faith—Allah’s original nature in which He originated humanity. There is no changing Allah’s creation. That is the right religion, but most of humanity know it not. (30:30)
To harmonize our lives with nature, we first should realize our personal integrity. To do this, we must apply our free will to our energies (e.g., desires, thoughts, and actions) to keep them within the limits established by Allah. If we do not recognize such limits, we might usurp another’s property, seek illicit sexual relations, and indulge in other sins. If we do not recognize such limits with respect to our intellect, we may use it to deceive others. Our pow- ers must be held in check, our intellect used with wisdom, and our desire and anger restrained by lawful behavior and moderation. In addition, we should remember that we are social beings; if we do not restrain ourselves as Allah demands, wrongdoing, injustice, exploitation, disorder, and revolution will occur in society.
Allah does not approve of wrongdoing and disorder. Rather, it is His Will that we live in peace and justice. Therefore, those who believe in Allah and worship Him faithfully are obliged to work for justice in this world. Islam calls this responsibility jihad.
- January 25, 2014
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