Articles

The Upright Religion

But those who believe, love Allah more: 

During a visit to one of Hong Kong’s distinguished attractions, we found people flocking to pray to Buddha statue and present offerings to it. I was always wondering how Gautama used the word “Buddha” in the context of the word “Prophet” which refers to a person who is enlightened by the divine revelation. He told his followers: I am not the first Buddha and will not be the last. When the Buddhist feels a lot of fear, he resorts to the power in the sky to ask for help.[1]

In the middle of the crowd, while I was thinking about the beliefs of these people, I heard my husband saying clearly and loudly: There is no God but Allah, I laughed and told him: Lower your voice, we are surrounded by people. He said: Believe me, I cannot keep my voice down, I cannot control myself.

So, I said to myself, Subhan Allah (glory be to Allah), who created and taught intact hearts his supplication and I remembered the verse. “But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah”, and I was so happy.[2]

He has commanded that you worship none but Him. This is the upright religion:

Looking at different cultures and civilizations, different languages and beliefs, we find that there are common grounds, concerning values, ethics and human meanings. Also, our problems, challenges and ambitions look a lot alike. People do not share only values, ethics and human meanings, but also historical backgrounds, origin of religions and beliefs. We all meet at Adam; Adam surely had one religion and one belief.  The differences between religions and beliefs were created by humans.

By looking deeply into peoples’ beliefs, we discover that most nations who have different religious symbols and inheritance, still believe that there is a Creator for the universe, and they seek refuge to him when facing hardships. This confirms that these religions and beliefs had historical origins that emanates from one original right religion. What people got today from religious heritage includes the concept of monotheism (believing in one God and worship him alone). There are proofs and evidences in these religions and books, that point the fact that their roots and origins go back to the belief of monotheism.

I remember when my son was spending his summer vacation in voluntary work, in spreading the word of Allah (Da’wa). He was studying engineering at that time. He once told me that while he was talking with a Hindu, it occurred to him that he believes in one and only God, but he turns to Him by supplication to others. The Hindu told him: We buy our gods according to our capabilities; who has money buys a golden god, and the poor one buys a wooden god. My son was surprised, then asked him: when you are on a plane and a problem happens, and after that you discover that you are probably going to die, what do you do? He replied: We seek refuge to the One God who is in the sky. My son told him: Why don’t you seek refuge to Him every day so that your hearts are unified to what is best for you.

When my son told me what happened to him, I remembered the story of Omran Ibn Hossayn, when Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him asked the father of Omran: How many gods are you worshiping today? He replied: seven, six on earth and one in the sky. The honorable Prophet said: Which one of them do you adore and fear? He said: The one in the sky.

I was pleased and told my son: Glory to Allah who guided you to this answer. 

..He has commanded that you worship not except Him. That is the upright religion, but most of the people do not know.[3]

I will not forget the answer of a Hindu visitor, when I asked her about why she was feeling scared while I was talking to her about the original concept of God.

She said: I am afraid to discuss the issue with you, because you might be god yourself. You have a lot of knowledge. God can come in the form of human or maybe an animal in order to teach us a certain lesson; perhaps He showed in your form.

Then I felt mixed feelings between wanting to laugh, saddened about her way of thinking, and astonished from the condition those people have reached.

I told her: how strange this is! I can’t imagine my father or my husband in the form of an animal or any other creature. How can you accept this image for God, the Creator, may Allah be exalted above that.

I now remember the story of a Hindu visitor who came with his daughter and her husband who were Muslims. The daughter’s eager tears wishing that her father would embrace Islam are still in my memory.

He had already accepted an offer from me to embrace Islam, when I answered a question that he was always thinking of. He said: I am convinced with Islam, but I feel when I become a Muslim, this action will bear a lot of disrespect and disaffection to my parents who passed away.

I told him: Have you forgotten the right of your Creator, who created you, portrayed you and honored you, gave you money and kids? If your parents have thrown themselves in water to drown, would you throw yourself with them? Your future is with your Creator not with your parents. If your parents had the chance to return to life, they would have advised you with Islam.

Before he pronounced Shahada (first step to embrace Islam), I emphasized the importance of believing in resurrection day, leaving the concept of reincarnation. This is one of the important points that we should concentrate on.

He asked: why?

I told him the reason: Does any school or university administration accept that anyone else but its students complete the exam for themselves when the time of the exam is over? Life is your exam paper.

If we look at the harmony between human bodies and their souls, we would conclude that it is not possible to make these souls live in animal bodies. They cannot wander between plants and insects, not even in human beings. God distinguished human with mind, knowledge and made him a successor in earth, differentiated him, honored him and elevated him above most of His creatures. God will never humiliate human beings. Day of Judgment, Heavens [Paradise] and Hellfire represent the Justice of the Creator, when sins and good deeds of humans are weighed.

Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it and anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it. [4]

Among the beautiful stories that one of our distinguished scholars told us about, was the story of a Hindu who was traveling for the first time in his life. He put his small god in his luggage with the rest of his stuff. When the plane landed, unfortunately he lost his bag. He went to the airport’s lost and found desk to report about the incident. When they asked him about what was in the bag, he was ashamed to tell them that his god was inside. This embarrassing situation was a turning point in his search for truth and understanding the fatal mistake he was making all his life by worshiping, what does not harm or benefit, other than Allah. He ended up embracing Islam; he then knew that losing his bag that day, was good luck not bad luck as he thought in the beginning.

Your God is One God:

Since Man appeared on earth -since Adam’s era- Allah, the Lord of the universe sent messengers. He chose the most pious and devoted man in his people to be a Prophet and judge between them, to remind them with sincere servitude to the one and only God. Whenever people twist the message of previous messengers, deviate from the right path and worship others, Allah would send a new messenger to lead people and bring them back to the right path. These messengers would direct them again to worship Him alone.

The Creator sent one clear, simple message to all nations and one way of salvation. The message is: Believing in one God, worshiping Him alone. The existence of a messenger among his people was considered as a lamp that enlightens the way to his followers. The messenger clarified for them the meaning of achieving the salvation, by following the messenger’s teachings and his acts in worshiping Allah alone, not as some wrongly understand and make their messenger a mediator between them and God in order to come closer to the Lord of the universe, through him.

As many prophets and messengers that Allah sent to different nations, were mentioned in the Qur’an (such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Noah, David. Salomon, Ismael, Isaac, Joseph, etc…), others weren’t. The possibility that some religious symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism (such as Rama, Krishna and Gautama buddha), were prophets of God cannot be out rightly negated. But these people used these symbols for polytheism.

While some people are arguing that Allah did not send them a messenger or a Prophet as he sent Prophet Muhammad to Arabs, the holy Qur’an asserts the opposite of this as God said:

And We have already sent messengers before you. Among them are those [whose stories] We have related to you, and among them are those [whose stories] We have not related to you. And it was not for any messenger to bring a sign [or verse] except by permission of Allah. So, when the command of Allah comes, it will be concluded in truth, and the falsifiers will thereupon lose [all]. [5]

And He said:

Indeed, We have sent you with the truth as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And there was no nation but that there had passed within it a warner. [6]

Here the greatness of Islam prevails in its simplicity and inclusivity. The term Islam is not connected with any person or place, or special group, but it reflects relationship with God Almighty.

I remember when I was the only Muslim among all my classmates in a French class. The French teacher, who was a catholic, told me: I love Islam.

I said: why?

He said: Muslims worship one God, they have one sacred book, and they pray towards one direction (Qibla). I admire this religion a lot.

I was then so pleased and proud of this great religion. That moment was my starting point to dedicate my time and effort to study the right way to present Islam. I wanted to change the method of the common dialogues between advocates that drives away from Islam rather than attracts. Islam is the religion of natural disposition, simple and comprehensive, but is presented in a complex way, almost wrong. I liked a saying that I once heard which said: Islam is perfectly good, but the one who markets it is a failure.

During a visit of an Argentinian to our center, he surprised me by saying: I only have five minutes here, and before I go, I want in only three minutes to know the difference between a Muslim and a Christian, so that I have time to take some photos of the mosque.

I said to myself: what should I say in these three minutes. I was confused for a while, but I felt sudden power to answer him swiftly and told him: Do you have in Argentina among Christians, one who was raised in a Christian family and got baptized and when he grew up he said: I am not convinced that God has a son, for me He is One and Only. Jesus is only a Prophet and I resort to God directly in supplication and I don’t resort to Jesus?

He said: There are many, and I am one of them.

I said: So, you are Muslim without knowing it.

He seemed astonished and said: Amazing! so am I a Muslim?      

I said: Yes, but you have to accept Muhammad peace be upon him as the last Prophet from God, because you heard about him from me here.

He said: yes, I accept. When I entered this center, my maximum hope was to know the difference between Muslim and Christian, but I wasn’t expecting to get out of this place as a Muslim. Thank you for enlightening my path.

I told him: Praise and thanks to Allah alone who guided us to the true religion.

Logic comes from God and complications come from humans:  

I was once making a presentation in German language about Islam to a large group of Germans who were visiting our center. One of them asked me: If Islam is that simple and logical as you are saying, why do Muslims cause all these political problems?

His question was in front of the group, and I had to deal with it, so that his attack would not ruin the calm dialogue. 

I told him immediately: For your information, I will die alone. I will be resurrected alone. I will meet my Creator alone, without my family and money. I shall meet Allah with answers to three questions which are: who is your God, what’s your religion and who is your messenger? Allah is waiting for my answer which is: Allah the Creator is my God, my religion is believing in Him and worshiping Him alone without any mediator, my Prophet is Muhammad the last messenger. By recognizing Muhammad as his last messenger, I have recognized all messengers who were before him, and this is a must and obligation to every Muslim.

The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.[7]

I told him: and you too, every person on earth, will meet Allah alone, life is short, death is coming for us suddenly. When will we learn to differentiate between political problems and religion? Isn’t it time for us to learn how to decide our priorities?

The man calmed down and the group applauded.

After that I told them: I want to ask you a question. It is known that every nation and people have habits, traditions, whims and novelties.

I continued: A simple person like me here, or another in China, or in Germany or in South America or Africa, how can he primarily differentiate between the simple religion of Allah, and the traditions and whims of the place where he is, before reading any religious book?

They tried to guess, and after they failed to give me the right answer, I told them: You all know something called the common sense. So, everything logical is from God, and everything complicated is from humans. They all laughed hard and some of them applauded again.                      

I told them: For example, if a religious scholar whether Muslim, Christian or Hindu, or any other religion, told you that the universe has a Creator, One and Only, without any partner, He does not come to earth in the form of humans or animals, nor a stone or an idol, that we have to worship Him alone, resort to Him alone in hard times, this is really the religion of God. If a religious scholar, Muslim, Christian or Hindu, told you that God incarnates in any form, we have to worship and resort to Him, through a person, prophet, priest, or saint, this comes from humans, so don’t listen to him.

I continued: For instance, it is enough that you visit India, and say between the crowds, the Creator is One. They would then reply in harmony, yes, the Creator is One. I told the group: and this is really what is written in their books.[8]

But they disagree, fight, could even slaughter each other, over one point which is: The form and shape that God comes through to earth. For instance, the Christian Indian says: God is one, but He is incarnated in the trinity (the father, the son and the holy spirit), the Hindu Indian says: God comes in the form of an animal or a human or an idol.

I told them: If you think carefully, you would find that all problems and differences between religious sects, religions themselves, exist because of the mediators that human put between them and their Creator. For instance, Catholic and Protestants sects and others, Hindu sects, they all disagree about how to communicate with the Lord, not on the concept that the Lord himself exists.

If they all worship the Lord directly, they would be united.

Say (O Muhammad): O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah. Then, if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.[9]  

I continued: In addition to this, you must know that the religion of Allah is clear and logical, no mysteries in it. If I want to convince you that Muhammad is god whom you have to worship, I should put so much effort to convince you, and you will never be convinced. You might ask me: How is Muhammad a God while he eats and drinks like us? I would end up saying: you are not convinced, because it is a mysterious concept and riddle; you will understand it when you meet God. This example proves that the right religion of Allah must be free of mysteries; mysteries only come from humans.

I added: The religion of Allah is also free. Everyone has the freedom to pray and worship in the houses of God, without paying any subscription to get a membership. The rule of having to register and pay money in any place of worship is created by humans.

But if any religious scholar told me that I should pay charity directly to people to help them, then the rule comes from the religion of God. In God’s religion, people are equal like the teeth of a comb. There is no difference between Arab or foreigner, white or black, only by piousness. If you were told that this mosque, church or temple is for whites only while black people have a separate place, then this is a rule created by humans.

I told them: Honoring women and raising their status is an order from Allah, but oppressing them is what humans chose to do.           

One of them asked: Then why is the Afghani Muslim woman oppressed?

I told him: Do you think that Buddhist or Christian women in Afghanistan live in paradise?

If the Muslim woman in Afghanistan is oppressed, then so is the Hindu, Buddhist and Christian woman. This is the culture of people; it has nothing to do with the true religion of God.    

I added: the right religion of God is always compatible and in harmony with natural disposition. For instance, any smoker or alcoholic asks his kids to stay away from smoking and alcohol, because he is deeply convinced about the danger they cause to health and community.

When the religion forbids alcohol for instance, this is really an order from God. But if the religion forbids milk for instance, it is not logical; everyone knows that milk is good for health. God’s mercy and kindness in his creation, allowed us to eat good things and prohibited us from eating bad things.

Another example, head cover for women and decency for men and women are an order from God, but the details of colors and designs are from humans. The rural atheist Chinese woman and the Swiss Christian rural woman are both committed to cover their heads, on the basis that decency is a natural disposition.

This is how we can differentiate between right and wrong before we read any religious book.

Terrorism, for instance, is common in different forms in the world, among sects of all religions. I lived long in Africa and I know that there are Christian sects that kill and practice horrific forms of oppression and violence in the name of religion and the name of God. They represent 4% of world’s Christian population. While who performs terrorism in the name of Islam represent 0.01% of Muslim population. Terrorism is not limited to this, but is also common among Buddhist, Hindus and other religions.

We can never accept the fact that the media highlights bad examples of Muslims and good examples of non-Muslims. It is totally unacceptable that they call the Muslim who kills others a terrorist, while they call the non-Muslim who kills others mentally ill.

This is what I told a French journalist during a conversation about the same issue: In media you play a dangerous role in misreporting the image of Islam through your continuous persistence on publishing these bad examples of Muslims.

He said: Excuse me, but we only publish the truth, not fake news.

I said: I don’t claim that your news are fake, I’m saying that when you allocate an article in your news magazines to talk about bad examples of Muslims, you should allocate another article to talk about others. When you call the Muslim killer a terrorist, you should also call the non-Muslim killer a terrorist also.

He said: A lot of what you are saying is correct.

Set your face steadily to the true religion:

Say, Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.[10]   

And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any soul except [with that within] its capacity. And when you testify, be just, even if [it concerns] a near relative. And the covenant of Allah fulfill. This has He instructed you that you may remember.[11]

Religion is a set of relations, ethics and values that bonds a human with his Creator, and  the community around him.

First: A part concerning the relationship with the Lord of the universe.

Second: A part concerning organizing human relationships.

The commandments in the previous Qur’anic verses stressed on preserving rights, especially the right of the Lord of the universe by devoting bondage to Him. This is the point that covers the relationship between a human and his Creator.

God also commanded that the right of parents remains preserved by being benevolent to them, as well as preserving the rights of children in having a decent life. He prohibited getting near bad deeds, as well as killing a human soul for no reason. In addition, we were commanded by God to preserve the money of orphan, be just when weighing, just when talking and acting, and fulfilling commitments, especially the commitment with the Lord of the universe.

These commandments exist in other religions all over the world, but through my conversations with non-Muslims, I surprisingly found out that they remember all commandments except the first one. When I ask them to mention these commandments to me, they most often begin from the third commandment. Their excuse is that they always forget the first and second commandments. which states the importance of worshiping God alone )Monotheism), and staying away from polytheism. This is a proof that ignoring these commandments is done intentionally through religious scholars and foundations, in order to gain mundane and political benefits.

As for the rest of the moral international commitments and laws, we can summarize it as follows:

  • The set of moral instructive principles, that restrict human behavior, can be pointed to as the inner conscious of human or human monitor. This conscious or monitor is reinforced through the raising up and education, fed by information, and culture from the environment surrounding human.
  • These principles are natural disposition and immaterial; they cannot be explained or clarified to people. The principles shouldn’t be imposed by force, because they are part of the innate behavior of a human. Therefore, people are aware of these ethical values in an instinct and natural way. For instance, to be true and honest are natural characteristics and virtues, while lying and dishonesty are disregarded characteristics by nature. One can easily violate or exceed these rules and moral orders because they are not materialistic or tangible. That’s why the civilized community had to impose social rules for accountability through the system of reward and penalty. Anyone who tries to undermine these values must be held accountable and prosecuted.   
  • These moral orders are social commitments that we cannot disagree on, or can become the subject of a general referendum. They are social facts that the community cannot live without in their content and meaning. Parental disrespect or lying is always considered awful behavior; it cannot be justified as honesty and respect.

Applying these moral values as social uprights doesn’t mean that lewdness and evil do not exist in this world. Religion is realistic and practical. It doesn’t contain illusions, nor it assumes idealism. It acknowledges the existence of good and bad as it acknowledges the existence of life and death.

Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. to Us must ye return.[12]

All these directives and moral principles are strongly linked, and form a comprehensive net of connections and bonds. They do not allow disintegration or division, because they represent a straight, one path that cannot be segmented.        

Verily, this is My way, leading straight: follow it: follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from His (great) path: thus, doth He command you. that ye may be righteous.[13]

Abiding by these moral principles does not demand power or skills from individuals. Believing in the Creator, following moral recommendations does not demand sharp intelligence or special capabilities. A person does not need to be exceptionally talented or creative, to know that killing others is not right, and averting this wisp is rooted in the human nature. The pillars of Islam and its recommendations can’t bear interpretation or half solutions.

Ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die unless you are Muslims.[14]

Ethics can be considered as a spiritual and social law that lays down the base of the relationships among members of human race. There is no doubt that it differentiates humans from animals, and it is valid regardless of the economic pattern of the society.

Religious ethics are distinguished by their validity on the international level. These ethics are different from habits and traditions (customs). Judgments, ethics and values are detailed rules and specific, fixed laws; they exist since the era of Noah. We share many different cultures in the world and abide by them, regardless the nature of economic system or social environment.

They are considered the common human factor, that unifies culture, political systems, ethnicity, level and race. It affects directly the individual’s social behavior when adding jurisdiction and legal character on it as constitution articles or local laws. It is worth mentioning that religions also called for considering customs (the prevention of vice and promotion of virtue). It is their respect of traditions and habits of the society that does not contradict with general values and ethics. That’s what most people, or part of them are used to, and have been implementing, from word, deed or drop, which doesn’t contradict with the code of the valued religion.

 ..and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims. [15]

An atheist once asked me about the importance of abiding by international ethics under the umbrella of religion. His opinion was that it is enough that people treat each other with good manners, without believing in God, as long as the goal of life is developing the earth. There are many atheists who are fully committed to good manners, and are trying hard to develop the earth.

I told him: developing the earth and good manners are not the goals of religion, but in reality, they are tools! The goal of religion is to let a person know his God, and his origin, his path and his destiny. The good ending and destiny only occur when you get the consent of the Lord of the universe through developing earth and good manners. The deeds of the servant should seek the satisfaction of Almighty God.

Say, I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So, whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.[16]

Summary:

The correct religion is believing that the universe has one Creator, who is Allah the One and Only. The religion of Allah must be one, easy, simple and straightforward, compatible with human disposition, valid for every time and place.

 It is:

  • The oneness: Believing that there is no god but Allah, without any partners or son, He is the Creator, the provider to the whole universe.
  • The servitude: To worship Allah alone, never associate anyone or anything with Him.
  • Believing in messengers: Following messengers and believing in what they brought (in that era). (The messengers prophesied the coming of last Prophet- Muhammad, and urged their followers to believe in him and follow him if they reach his time).[17]
  • Ethics: Doing good deeds and avoiding bad deeds.

Say, My Lord has guided me to a straight path, an upright religion, the creed of Abraham the Monotheist, who was not a polytheist.[18]


 [1]  Buddha Bible (page 217,218)

Ananda told the blessed one” who will teach us when you go? the blessed one answered: I am not the first Buddha who came to earth and I will not be the last. In the right time another Buddha will appear in the world””

[2] (Qur’an 2:165)

[3] (Qur’an 12:40)

[4] (Qur’an 99:8-9)

[5] (Qur’an 40:78)

[6] (Qur’an 34:24)

[7] (Qur’an 2:285)

[8] (chandogya Upanishad 6:1-2)

“He is one god without another”

Vedas svetasvatara Upanishad 9 :6,4:20,4:19

“God no fathers or master ”

“He is invisible, no one sees him with his eyes”

“No one is like him”

(9 :40) Pajur veda

The wrongdoers enter, the who worship natural assets(air,water,fire.etc),they are filled with darkness ,those who worship Sambhuti (things made by hand such as idol, stone, etc)     

In Christianity 2,6

In Matthew’s bible (4:10)

Then Jesus said to him, “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.”

Book of exodus bible (20:3-5)

3- You shall have no other gods before Me.

 4-You shall not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens above, on the earth beneath, or in the waters below.

5-You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on their children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.

[9] (Qur’an 3:64)

[10] (Qur’an 6:151)

[11] (Qur’an 6:152)

[12]  (Qur’an 21:35)

[13] (Qur’an 6:153)

[14] (Qur’an 3:102)

[15] (Qur’an 16:89)

[16] (Qur’an 18:110)

[17] Book: The real concept of God. Faten Sabri. www. fatensabri.com

[18] (Qur’an 6:161)

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