Calls to the Islamic religion, in the shadow of media distortion in western countries, always face fierce attacks; Islam is usually presented in the western world through its opponents, or even those who are unaware of the fundamentals of Islam, or confuse what Islam has in its originals and the practice of some deviating Muslims.
Worse still, the followers of this religion fail to display its real features through a deep understanding of its pillars, origins, and legislation.
This article is an attempt to present the correct image of the Islamic religion, and its merits which are able to elevate humanity to the righteous and blessed life in the real world and the hereafter.
Answers to this question, under the title of this article “Why Islam”, are listed in the following sub-headings:
Islam Is the Religion That Corresponds to Human Instinct
Islam is the religion that corresponds to the human instinct that God created people on, God Almighty said:
“So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah..”(30:30)
Ibn Katheer, a Muslim well-known scholar, may God have mercy on him, said: “He is the Most High, has created people to be naturally knowing their creator and unifying him, and that there is no god but him.”
The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, said:
“Every child is born with a true faith (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism or to Christianity or to Magainism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?”
Once, the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, said in a sermon:
“Your God (Allah) says, “I have created My servants as one having a natural inclination to the worship of Allah but it is Satan who turns them away from the right religion and he makes unlawful what has been declared lawful for them and he commands them to ascribe partnership with Re, although he has no justification for that.”
While commenting on God’s saying, (And I created my slaves while they are Hunafa), Al-Nawawi, says:
“The word Hunafa means here: monotheists who are Muslims, being purified from sins, or naturally eligible to receive guidance. Or it refers to the covenant which God has taken on the offspring of Adam in the spiritual world, and they testified against their own selves. The verse reads: “And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] – lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.”(7:172)”
As regards to Fitrah (created sound souls), Ibn al-Qayyim, may God have mercy on him, says,
“An infant naturally chooses to suck milk himself. If it is enabled to his mother’s breast, breastfeeding is inevitably found if there were no obstacles, because it is naturally born to be suckled. Similarly, it is Inevitably naturally is eligible to know God if there is no opposition.”
This includes the feeling of many who converted to the religion of Islam that this religion has been the one their souls yearned to,. and they felt that they were lost until he found it!
Perfectness of Islamic Legislation
Islam has established five fundamentals that are worthy of consideration by any nation that aspires to a decent life through a perfect legislation. They include preserving one’s:
Some Muslim scholars added “the preservation of mind”.
They are the best evidence that the religion of Islam came to preserve humanity and elevate the humans’ lives.
The preservation of the mind, according to Islam, materializes in the prohibition of everything that badly influences the mind and prevents it from carrying out its tasks in life like alcohol or unjustified anger. God Almighty says:
“O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful..” (5:90)
Under maintaining lineage and honor, Islam prohibits man to intentionally look at some women who are not permitted to look at them except for necessity for not being sexually incited by them; therefore, it also forbids adultery.
It legalizes ample punishment for some social crimes like adultery through whipping single man or woman or stoning the married man or woman who commits adultery.
It, furthermore, legislates other social laws to organize the man-woman relationship as regards to marriage and divorce.
Regarding the “Preservation of property and wealth”, Allah (God) Almighty says:
“And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful]..”(2:188)
Islam prohibits fraud, and theft; it puts the fitting punishment for theft: the hand of the thief is to be cut-off under certain conditions.
“Delivering the sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage on the day of Sacrifice at Mina, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) mentioned some of these principles saying, “Verily your blood, your property and your honour are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this town of yours. Verily! I have conveyed this message to you.”
A special part under Islamic law was dedicated for transactions that are singled out by the jurists to be discussed in detail; it carries within it principles and general rules that the world still needs, especially in light of contemporary global financial crises.
Islam, moreover, lays down general rules that bring benefits, defer harms, and strives for the interests of people. Whenever, humanity deviates from the straight path and noble principles Islam, with its noble principles, restores it back to them.
The Comprehensiveness of the Islamic Religion
Islam, unlike other religions that have focused on specific aspects, as Christianity focused on the spiritual, and Judaism focused on the historical aspects, has a comprehensive legislation; It tackles ethics and both spiritual as well as practical legislation that relate to human life, and are urgently needed in regulating their relationship with each other.
In its legislation for the family and the whole society, Islam takes into account in its legislation the societal fabric. It urges kindness to parents, and children and raising them righteously. It moreover, recommends kindness to the wife and the cohabitation relation. The spousal-relationship is considered to be a heavy covenant where Islam orders the man and woman to behave kindly with each other. Allah Almighty says:
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought..”(30:21)
We find in the Islamic marriage-and-divorce legislation what we could not find in other religions, that non-Muslim Christians viewed these laws as “proper laws” and asked to be judged according to them in non-Muslim countries!
Islamic Balanced Concept of Punishment
Islam neither disregard crimes by enacting easy punishment for them, nor does it give the punishment a greater amount than the crime deserves.
It gives the suitable and fitting punishment for every crime. It enacts killing the murderer, cutting the hand of the thief, stoning the adulterer who had a marital experience, and flogging for the non-married.
The claim of the cruelty of the punishment in Islam is not tenable. Islam considers the bad influence of the crime on society. For instance, Islam puts a serious punishment on fornication and adultery for the bad influence of those practices on the family fabric due to genealogy mixture. An imbalance in the family, and dissolution of the gentle relationship between the spouses, and the subsequent bad impact on the psychological and material stability of the offspring, all are factors that were considered by Islam in enacting penalties for adultery. An Arab wisdom reads:
“He used to be firm and serious so that they may refrain from doing wrong practices… Sometimes it is needed that a serious man be firm with those whom he loves to rectify their matters!”
Once a man objected to the Islamic punishment to cut the thief’s hand saying,
“How could Islam claims: a hand to be cut for a quarter of one dinar in theft crime while, if it is damaged it will be compensated for 500 hundred dinars according ?!”
A Muslim jurist replies to the claim saying,
“Honesty gives much value to the hand of man and makes it precious (so it is saved from cutting punishment), while treachery degrades it (so it is cut in this case). This is the wisdom behind the Creator’s legislation (God)!”
Sheikh Attia Salem says,
“People should not be more merciful to the criminal than the one wronged by his crime! The thief’s bad influence on innocent people’s lives as regards to devouring their wealth and work is greater than the punishment of cutting his hand!”.
Islam does not thirst for punishment or blood. One of the principles of punishment in the Islamic judiciary: “Defer or (preclude) punishment as much as possible through considering equivocal evidence.” The judge has to postpone or drop out the presumed punishment according to the existence of the slightest suspicion that the prisoner may be innocent.
According to Islam, a person is not to be forced to confess against himself. And if s/he happen to hesitate in doing so, his or her confession may be revoked and there should not be a punishment executed.
The balanced approach of punishment is more evident in enacting punishments that are fitting or suitable to crimes and do not exceed their limits. Punishment by hanging is not to be considered generally by Islam, for it is sometimes viewed to be cruel and Islam forbids to take it as a punishment in general, except for special identical crimes, e.g. whoever hangs is to be hanged, whoever kills is to be killed by the machine with which he committed the crime, and whoever cuts a limb for other, his limb is to be cut-off or amputated equally.
The disciplined concept of Islamic legislation has also included the judiciary system. Sheikh Attia Salem says: “The judiciary system in Islam, is the highest example since the advent of Islam, as it tackles all aspects of the juristic system… In the book of Omar, may God be pleased with him to Abu Musa, there are basic rules of the of judiciary in Islam, none of which has yet been found in modern judiciary systems!”
Islamic Religion Is a Mercy to All of Humanity
The Islamic religion came as a mercy to all mankind. It was mercy to man, animals, and even to inanimate things, based on God’s description of the Prophet of Islam as a “mercy to the worlds”. Allah says:
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds..” (21: 107)
The Messenger of God -may God bless him and grant him peace – while sending armies used to say:
“Make your raids in the name of Allah in the way of Allah. Fight whoever denies Allah. Do not steal from the booty, and do not act treacherously. Do not mutilate and do not kill children.’ Say the same to your armies and raiding parties, Allah willing. Peace be upon you.” Narrated by Ahmed.
The Islamic religion also forbade corruption on earth even in wars, and obligated its followers to follow the rules of peace that should be followed with innocent non-combatants:
“It has been reported that when the Messenger of Allah) (pbuh) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and to be good to the Muslims who were with him. He would say:
Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah: Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah, do not embezzle the spoils; do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children. When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. “Narrated by Muslim.
As regarding the preservation of the environment , the Prophet of Islam says:
“Be on your guard against three things which provoke cursing: easing in the watering places and on the thoroughfares, and in the shade (of the tree). As for the animal rights, it forbids killing them in vain”. (Sunnan Abi Dawud)
Ibn Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
“We were with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in a journey when he drew apart (to relieve nature). In his absence, we saw a red bird which had two young ones with it. We caught them and the red mother bird came, beating the earth with its wings. In the meantime the Prophet (pbuh) returned and said, “Who has put this bird to distress on account of its young? Return them to her.” He (pbuh) also noticed a mound of ants which we had burnt up. He asked, “Who has set fire to this?” We replied: “We have done so.” He (pbuh) said, “None can chastise with fire except the God of the fire.”
-Attia bin Muhammad Salem, the merits of Sharia and the disadvantages of modern man-made laws, the Islamic University of Medina, 1973 AD.
-Al-Dorar Al-Saniya Site.