The Worldview of Islam: Reflections and clarifications
By Thameem Ushama – November 23, 2021 @ 9:25pm
Islam is a unique and universal way of life. It is not for a clan or tribe, race, group or ethnic entity. – NSTP file pic
Islam, God’s revealed religion, whose adherents are approximately two billion people, is grossly misunderstood. Hence, this misunderstanding is seen as the true Islam.
Unfortunately, it is projected as a religion representing compulsion, extremism, harshness, hardship, impatience, violence and terrorism. This notion is on the surge due to false propaganda, which undermines the dignity of Muslims.
They feel dishonoured by this notion which is perhaps the outcome of assumptions or false portrayal of the truth. So, there is a need to clarify to get rid of this confusion.
The worldview of Islam comprises three fundamental principles or doctrines. First, belief in God, who is unique, monotheistic, eternal, transcendent, all-powerful, all-seeing, all-hearing and all-knowing. He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.
He is not only the creator of the universe worthy of being worshipped, obeyed and served but the sustainer and the master of the universe. Neither He begets, nor He is begotten. He is gender-free, and no one is comparable or likened unto Him.
He does not incarnate; neither assumes human nor animal form. He is not affected by anthropomorphism. He has His Attributes, and His devotees call Him by His beautiful names.
The second Islamic principle is the belief in prophethood. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the messenger who conveyed God’s messages through the Quran — the revealed scripture by God to humankind.
The scripture explains everything essential for success, felicity, and salvation both in this world and hereafter. The Messenger explained and lived by it. His life becomes the source for his followers to practice in their lives. He is also an example.
Based on the Scripture, the Messenger illustrated the lawful and prohibited, good and bad, right, and wrong, and righteousness and viciousness. Muslims hold the Messenger as their role model, derive lessons from his patterns, life and biography, translate them into practice and invite “others” to consider the essence and ponder the message’s truth.
The third principle is the belief in eschatology. It implies an everlasting life. Human beings, after death, will be resurrected and presented to God. They will be subject to accountability to God on the Day of Judgment or Reckoning.
All deeds of the worldly life will be disclosed, and judgment will be delivered based on God’s criteria of good deeds pleasing to God and absolute obedience to Him as mentioned in the Scripture.
Islam is a unique and universal way of life. It is not for a clan or tribe, race, group or ethnic entity. It is not a way of life of asceticism, agnosticism or monasticism. It is not superstitious and mythological; instead, it is sensible and reason-based.
There are no rabbis, saints, priests or holy men who are sacrosanct and infallible except the Messenger. There is no mediation between God and Human beings. God responds to the calls and supplications of his creations.
The messages can be followed by anyone who understands and comprehends the ultimate purpose of his creation and existence. The legal injunctions of Islam are easy, simple, flexible, practical, logical, and rational and neither its rituals are complicated and intricate.
There is no rigidity in its obligatory or supererogatory or voluntary acts of devotion. The comprehensiveness of Islam reflects in guiding and leading in individual, social, moral, legal, educational, economic, political, spiritual and other lives of humankind.
Islam promotes ease, freedom, inclusiveness, justice, moderation, and tolerance, emphasising coexistence, harmony, peace, and tranquillity. It does acknowledge the existence of other faiths and belief systems.
It recognises the presence of races and ethnic groups, which is meant for cooperation and understanding, not for conflict, rivalry, and enmity. It establishes that all human beings are from a single male and female.
God created humankind from these two, thus inspiring egalitarianism of all people regardless of religious affiliation. It conveys that all humans are God’s creatures and hence no conflict shall arise based on social or religious factors. It is explicit that all people are equal before God based on the common parentage.
The writer is a professor at the Department of Usul al-Din and Comparative Religion, International Islamic University Malaysia