Islam December 1987
UNDERSTANDING THE MESSAGE OF ISLAM
Prof. Dr. M. Es'ad COSAN
Many people around the world do not know anything about Islam or they misunderstand it. Those who are against Islam behave in an obstinate, vindictive and envious way. But, just like "the sun cannot be plastered over with mud," and "the liar's candle can only burn until the night prayer," sooner or later the truth will have to be faced. However, what really surprises Muslims and makes them feel sad is the fact that some Muslims do not know the true requirements of Islam and do not fully understand the meaning of Islam. Some of them, both illiterate and literate, have illusions about Islam, and practice superstitions and false beliefs.
Muslims who understand and follow the messages of Islam know that good morality is comprised of not interfering with people's affairs and getting along with everyone. They also know that Islam is based on several principles: hubb-i-fillah, bugz-i fillah which means that a person must like those whom God likes and dislikes those whom He dislikes; and emr'i mâruf, nehy-i-munker which means commanding what is good, forbidding what is evil, and helping the oppressed and fighting against the oppressor. In addition, they know that Islamic worship does not consist of prayers, fasting and pilgrimage only. In reality, participating in various activities beneficial to others and eagerly serving others make a person earn spiritual rewards, too.
In contrast, materialists try to arrange their lives and activities based on comfort, easy earnings and pleasure. Islam teaches Muslims that there is no place for comfort in this world and that it is necessary to sweat for money; that it is necessary to risk affliction and hardship; that Muslims must take upon the problems of other Muslims; and that Muslims must struggle for their ideals, sacrificing their possessions and lives when necessary.
Islam is a prospectus sent to Muslims by as a result of God's mercy and kindness. It is a "user's manual" to instruct Muslims on how to best use the blessings and opportunities bestowed upon them in order for them to live in the best and most positive way. It is a natural religion, compatible with the demands of life. Without believing in and embracing Islam, it is not possible to fully comprehend the meaning of life nor to harmonize with one's environment, nature and the universe, nor to take advantage of available opportunities. At the end of his life, a person will be both spiritually and physically desperate, and full of regrets.
In the same way that Islam is the key to happiness after death, it holds the key to peace and public tranquility, and the key to individual, social, national, and international progress and success. Islam is not only a spiritual system of religious ceremonies and worship; it is a complete, flawless and fair system pertaining to physical, health, family, social, human, universal, economic, business, military, behavioral, academic, and cultural matters. It is directed towards life, humanity and community, government and the universe, and to the harmony among them. Islam is an active and dynamic system, a way of life according to God's wishes.
According to Islam, a person gains spiritual reward not only for dhikir, praying and fasting, but also for brushing their teeth, bathing, getting married, treating one's family well, being honest in business, being polite and hard working in public jobs, telling the truth in courts, governing with justice, being a virtuous administrator, being sincere in religious struggles, and being courageous in holy wars. Just like a person must carry the sin of choosing the wrong political candidate until doomsday, he will receive endless rewards for voting for the right candidate.
As a result, let us Muslims perform every task according to the principles of Islam, taking into consideration the pure and correct religious laws, in the spirit of divine inspiration and with the pleasure and ardor of worship in order that it will be possible for both individuals and communities to attain happiness and well being.
(Islam, December 1987)