THE LIGHT OF REVELATION
WHAT IS LIFE?
Man’s existence in this world and the creation of this entire universe are not mere accidents or products of a fortuitous nature. This universe, every single atom of it, manifests and points us to the realization of a Loving. Merciful and All-powerful Creator. Without a Creator nothing can exist. Every single soul knows that he is existing and that his existence is dependent on a Creator – he knows for sure that he cannot create himself. Therefore it is his duty to know his master creator – God.
Man is a unique creature. God establishes man as His Representative or Deputy to govern over all other creatures in this world. He is endowed with the faculty of REASON, which differentiates him from all other animals. The Prophet says:
“God has not created anything better than Reason or anything more perfect or more beautiful than Reason…..”
Together with this faculty to discriminate and discern, Man is given the freedom (free-will) to choose for himself a way of life worthy of his position as God’s Representative or to fall lower than the lowest of all animals or creations. Man is born pure and sinless. He is given the free will to do righteous deeds or indulge in sins.
God, out of His abundant Love and Mercy for mankind, has not left us in darkness to discover the right path by trial and error alone. Coupled with our intellectual capability to reason, God bestowed upon us DIVINE GUIDANCE that outlines the Criterion for truth and the knowledge and reality of our existence in this world and the Hereafter.
From the beginning of mankind, God sent Prophets to convey his REVELATION and to invite to the path of TRUE PEACE and OBEDIENCE to One true God. This is ISLAM. This message was conveyed to successive generations of man through different Prophets, all inviting mankind to the same path.
However, all the earlier messages or revelations from God were distorted by people of later generations. As a result, pure Revelation from God was polluted with myths, superstitions, idol worship and irrational philosophical idealogies. The religion of God was lost in a plethora of religions.
Human history is a chronicle of man’s drift between light and darkness, but God out of His Abundant Love for mankind has not forsaken us.
When mankind was in the depths of the Dark Ages, God sent the final Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) to redeem humanity. The revelation to Prophet Muhammad represents the ultimate and permanent source of guidance for mankind.
CRITERIA FOR TRUTH
How do we know that a revelation like the Qur’an is the word of God? The criteria for truth can be easily understood by all:
1. RATIONAL TEACHINGS: Since God bestowed reason and intellect on mankind, it is our duty to use it to distinguish truth from falsehood. True undistorted revelation from God must be rational and can be reasoned out by all unbiased minds.
2. PERFECTION: Since God is all perfect, His revelation must be perfect and accurate, free from mistakes, omissions, interpolations and multiplicity of versions. It should be free from contradictions in its narration.
3. NO MYTHS OR SUPERSTITIONS: True revelation from God is free from myths or superstitions that degrade the dignity of God or man.
4. SCIENTIFIC: Since God is the Creator of all knowledge, true revelation is scientific and can withstand the challenge of science at all times.
5. PROPHECY: God is the Knower of the past, present and future. Thus His word of prophecies in His revelation will be fulfilled as prophesied.
6. INIMITABLE BY MAN: True revelation from God is infallible and cannot be imitated by man. God’s true revelation is a Living miracle, an open Book challenging all mankind to see and prove for themselves.
There is no compulsion for man to accept the TRUTH. But it is certainly a shame upon the human intellect when man is not even interested in finding out as to what is the TRUTH! Islam teaches that God has given man the faculty of reason and therefore expects man to reason things out objectively and systematically for himself. To reflect and to question and to reflect.
Nobody should press you to make a hasty decision to accept any of the teachings of Islam, for Islam teaches that man should be given the freedom to choose. Even when man is faced with the TRUTH, there is no compulsion upon man to embrace it. But before you begin to form an opinion about Islam, ask yourself whether your existing knowledge of Islam is thorough enough. Ask yourself whether that knowledge has been obtained through non-Muslim third party sources who themselves have probably been exposed to only random glimpses of Islamic writings and have yet to reason on Islam objectively and systematically themselves.
Is it fair that one should form an opinion about the taste of a particular dish just by heresay from others who may themselves not necessarily have tasted the dish yet? Similarly you should find out for yourself about Islam from reliable sources and not only taste it, but digest it well before you form an opinion. That would be an intellectual approach to Islam.
It is up to you to make the next move.
In making your move, Islam continuously reassures you that your rights to freedom of choice and freedom to use that God-given faculty of thought and reason will be respected. Every man has that idividual will. No one else can take away that will and force you to surrender to the will of God. You have to find out and make that decision yourself.
May your intellectual journey towards the TRUTH be a pleasant one.