Article Title: Sharing Some Information on Major Religions of the World: Muhammad and Islam (from ‘The Story of God’)
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words):
Web site: http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/
Submitter’s web sites:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4http://goo.gl/vTpjkhttp://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html and http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock
Other Articles by Craig are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, words of inspiration, “spiritual, spiritual writings” (how “airey-fairey”), and money management – how boring now, Craig!)
Publishing Guidelines: These writings may be published (with acknowledgment to the source, thanks).
(Copyright Transworld publishers)
“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”
SHARING SOME INFORMATION ON SOME OF THE MAJOR RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD: MUHAMMAD AND ISLAM
This article is sourced from an excellent and insightful book titled ‘THE STORY OF GOD’ by Robert Winston (Publisher Transworld Books, UK). A personal journey into the world of science and religion (from the BBC television series).
Web site: http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/
I have taken what I feel to be the main points, directly as they appeared in Chapter Six of Dr Winston’s great book. and as I learn myself about other faiths, I am sharing what I’ve learnt about this “intriguing” subject of different religions. Like the author of ‘THE STORY OF GOD’, my motive, my aim in sharing this article is to try to contribute in some small way to a better understanding in the West of the Islamic world.
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions, as he researches and writes his latest novel ‘A New Dawn’, set in the Middle East: To attempt to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures. And as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) about different religious faiths. Hope this piece (including a few thoughts of my own) may be of interest to you too.
“Slowly and gradually, out of a rich experience of the world, one builds a faith.”
WHAT IS RELIGION? It’s a common system of beliefs, ‘divine law’.
Religions represent an attempt to harness innate spirituality for organisational purposes…and not always for good! Whilst spiritual contemplation is intuitive, religion is dogmatic; however dogma in the wrong hands is always a risky thing. It’s one of the central tenets of religion that God’s Infinite Grace is available to everyone.
God, the Essence of Life, is the great mystery in the vast unknown; yet He is understandable.”
“God, the ‘Fountain of all Goodness’, is beyond the realm of our own understanding.”
So after those opening thoughts…
WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE?
“Islam is a worldly religion, which cares first for the worldly affairs of humanity. The core message of the Qur’an is similar to that of Jesus:
Muhammad’s message had placed personal wealth and worldly success at the centre of their world. The people had forgotten that, Allah, God was the Creator of everything. The Qur’an does not see itself as inventing a new religion, but as reminding the Arabs of a truth to which they had become blind (the centrality of God to everything in life). Like Jesus, Muhammad (‘Peace be upon him’) in no way sought to overthrow the traditions of the past; but said that his people had forgotten the meaning of these traditions. The signs of God’s goodness and benevolence were everywhere to be seen. Islam is voluntary surrendering to the will of Allah, of recognising his supremacy and importance.
(For Christians, Paul’s attempts to make Jesus into a God resulted in considerable confusion. How could God be present as an ominoptent Creator, and also be present everywhere, any time in the Holy Spirit? Did that mean in effect that there were three gods? If so, WHO was the greatest?).
Allah is given 99 names, all of which emphasize His superiority to the created world: ‘The Supreme, the One, Eternal and Absolute. Rich and Infinite, Giver of Life, Knower of All Things, Creator’. He is thought more as a Creator of mankind, than as a ‘Father’. However, there are sometimes contrasts, like ‘ Giver and Taker of Life’. The Muslim God knows everything. Predestined – with no random or chance event in human life.
Allah is compassionate and merciful. Humanity is the highest physical creation of Allah. Each of us has a soul and each person’s alotted time on earth is predestined. Muslims also believe that humans have free will and exercise a choice between good and evil in their daily lives. In Islam life itself is a form of test, in which all humans are given choices.
The God Muslims worship is simply beyond human thought and language.
The Jews had expected a messiah; but had seen Jesus and others fail to deliver them from the Roman occupiers (and “opressors”) of the day. Muslims also believe in resurrection: At some point in time God will resurrect all people, irrespective of how they died.
When someone converts to Islam, God forgives all their previous sins and evil deeds!
The vast universe of God’s creation contains mystical unseen beings – angels. Each person on this earth has two guardian angels, who record that person’s actions and and are there to “prick their conscience”.
One important Muslim teaching is that humans live only once on this earth; after death, each individual faces judgement and eventually is committed to heaven or to hell. (The Qur’an describes heaven and hell in poetic, symbolic terms, rather than suggesting they are actual places where physical pleasure or physical torment will be experienced).
THE FIVE PILLARS OF FAITH (a number of signs of commitment):
1. Bear witness to the faith. Once a person has sincerely taken the decision to become a Muslim, his first act is to declare his belief in Allah as the sole God and Muhammad as His Prophet, in front of two witnesses. Orthodox Muslims are expected tp pray in a congregation at least once a week, at midday on Fridays, when all work ceases.
Like the tithe given by both Jews and Christians, alm-giving or ‘zakat’ is a key pillar of Islam and should be given anonymously.
4. ‘Sawm’ or fasting. Most Muslims read through the whole of the Qur’an during Ramadan, in sessions of around two hours each night.
ISLAM AND MODERNITY ( ‘jihad’ and ‘sharia’)
Though the religion had very war-like beginnings, the term ‘jihad’ is often misunderstood and accordingly does not reflect the nature of the Islamic idea. ‘Jihad’ is certainly not ‘holy war’ to convert non-believers, but literally means ‘struggle’: usually that of the soul attempting to overcome the obstacles, which prevent an indidual from getting closer to God. Indeed, Islam has a proud history of being tolerant towards other monotheistic faiths, and defends individual liberties. Faith is a matter of choice of the individual.
Islam (through the Koran/Hadith) teaches that Jesus was a prophet only and never died. Salvation is attained through works alone after reciting allegiance to Allah
In the Qur’an, believers are required to be patient with non-believers, as Allah requested: “Bear with patience what they say, and when they leave, give a courteous farewell.”(sura 73:10)
“Deal gently with unbelievers; give them enough time (to change their minds)” (sura 86:17).
Jihad may be declared only in defence of Allah, and not for conversion or conquest.
“Fight in the way of God those who fight you, but do not begin hostilities; God does not like the agressor.” (sura 2:190)
‘If they seek peace, then you seek peace. And trust in God – for He is the one that hears and knows all things.’ (sura 8:61)
In Islam all people are equal before the eyes of the law. Islam makes no discrimination on the base of race, colour or language.
Muhammed was intent on changing the status of women and gave them a level of independence and a degre of equality largely unprecedented in that region of the world; so like early Christianity, Islam had a distinct appeal to women!
There are around a billion Muslims in the world. Though the religion was born out of conflict with its early history frequently turbulent and violent, Islam was founded with peaceful values and is centred on a deep respect for human life. It has also been tolerant of other viewpoints, supporting the notion of religious pluralism in a way that few other monotheistic religions have. The Qur’an firmly asserts that: “There can be no compulsion in religion”, recognising the nature of human diversity, and perhaps the diversity of Islam itself.
Though we might not know much about or believe in the teachings of Muhammed, we can ALL nurture the real values common to ALL humanity: those highest ideals of tolerance, mercy and respect for all of life must surely triumph. “
Dr Robert Winston
I hope that this information from Dr Winston’s excellent book may be of interest to you… and that’s my reason for sharing.
“Those of us who long for (and are passionate about) the ideals of moderation and religious tolerance will continue to hope for a better understanding of complex issues between people of different cultures and faiths through reasoned and ‘informed’ dialogue in a spirit of mutual tolerance and respect.”
With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
with TOLERANCE comes MORE UNDERSTANDING.
“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female,
Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”
Let each one of us in our own ‘little ways’ attempt to build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of openess, acceptance of our differences, helpfulness, co-operation, mutual tolerance, respect, trust, peace and especially in a spirit of love, the most powerful force in existence. Let our leaders and each ONE of us look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.
What divides us as fellow citizens on planet earth is not nearly as powerful as the force, the divine spirit that UNITES us: The Spirit of God, the Ultimate Source that let’s us accept and even celebrate our differences …
and let’s the Love of humanity within EACH one of us to conquer anything at all.
May the Grace of our loving Creator care for and watch over you all… always
Shared by “not so serious, airey-fairey spiritual” Craig Lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer”)
“People fight and die for religion but they seldom LIVE for religion.”
– J. Nehru, former Prime Minister of India”
“The greatest good we can do for others is reveal the rich treasure inside themselves; so shine your own bright light on an often darkened world… with the highest level of humanity …and have great fun along the journey of life.”
“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”
“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”
About the submitter:
In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.
“Together, one mind, one soul, one life, one small step at a time, let’s march together towards a better future…a far brighter tomorrow”
These writings may be published (with acknowledgment to the source, thanks).
“God is a mystery, a Creative Presence, the mystery, the Ultimate Source of Life, the Fountain of all Goodness, Who/That allows me to be who I really want to be and become.”
“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”
“Instead of the limits of borders (of countries and of our minds) let us and our leaders expand our sense of possibility… and together let’s look at building bridges to distant horizons, far and great. Lord, help us all lift our eyes a little higher.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.