Relationship of People to God
God has a very intimate relationship with man and through Adam with the rest of mankind. God made Adam of baked-clay and then as a special of his favor, owing to his deep-rooted love for hos creation, breathed His spirit into Adam. God insisted that angles, pure beings always singing the glories of God bow before Adam. The angels naturally protested but God, being the all-knower, knows what the angels do not. As a sign o what he meant he held a competition of knowledge about the nature of things, between Adam and the angels. Adam won and the angels prostrated before him but one other angels Iblis or Satan refused to heed the command of the Al-mighty God (12-91).
Satan’s pride in his origin—being one of the a jinn-kind he was created of fire as opposed of man who is created of clay-- his piety, and self-righteous made him rebel and for this act of disobedience lost favor with God. Satan forgot that fire only burns and cause destruction and death while clay regenerates, nourishes and gives life (85-91).
Satan’s last request was that he be allowed till eternity to seduce and beguile the progeny of Adam to the path of evil. God granted him his wish knowing full well that as He has breathed his exalted spirit into Adam so Satan can temporarily seduce him with carnal and other temptations but in the end Adam and his progeny would come to the good because of His spirit inlaid in Adam’s heart. The same feelings of pride and self-righteousness that were the cause of Satan’s rebellion and inevitable fall are the same feelings that make Adam and his descendants err (1-24).
God want the first solemn covenant with his first Messenger Adam. According to the terms of this solemn and sacred covenant, Adam took upon himself the difficult task of establishing a moral order on earth. God in his munificence granted Adam free choice and volition so that Adam can opt for either the right-path or the wrong one, again confident that His exalted spirit in him will, after all trials and tribulations prevail (12-24)..
God if he had wanted created Adam with the same or similar nature as the angels but that would have defeated the whole purpose of the creation of Adam. God gave Adam higher potentialities than any other creature in the universe and has thus put him to test whether the good or the evil in him will ultimately prevail. The creation of the universe is not purposeless or just in mere sport but it has a higher purpose (12-24)
God in his ultimate mercy has also provided for the guidance and moral sustenance of man so that he has the required tools to fight the machinations of Iblis or Satan. God throughout the recorded history has sent his message through his chosen Messengers to all of mankind all over the earth. The holy Qur’an names only a few of the prophets (Adam, Abraham, Lot, Moses, and Jesus) and the revealed books (Torah, and Bible) but hints at the fact that many more were sent for the guidance of mankind. It can be safely assumed that God has provided guidance to man in all ages and all times. The Qur’an is the last of the chain of holy books revealed to the prophets sent by God for the guidance of people. Another aspect of import regarding these sacred books is the and it is specifically is mentioned in the Holy Quran that changes were made in them and now the purity of these heavenly revelations is questioned, especially by the Muslims. As the Qur’an is the last of the revelations so is Prophet Mohammad the seal on prophet-hood (56-73).
Ever since Adam, the sacred covenant between God and the man has been renewed over the ages. The prophets chosen by God are extra-ordinary people both morally and physically. For being the recipient of sacred revelations a man must be strong morally, psychologically and physically. The intensity of the moment of revelation can be gauged from the fact that Moses fainted on Mount To0r when he glimpsed upon God’ image. Often these prophets because of the transformation they undergo under the weight of receiving the revelation have been referred to as mad-men, sorcerers and the like by their people. No matter how the ordinary people construe the revelations and the prophets God instructs them to convey His message without the fear of injury or rebuke (1-24).
The man has not been created in sport by God but to accomplish a serious task. In addition man individually and nations collectively are answerable for their success and failure. On the appointed day -of judgment- people will be held accountable for their good deeds and their transgressions and God befittingly will according to the each will thrust him in hell or reward man with allowing him to enter Paradise (74-85)
Not riches, nor power neither status but piety (taqwa) is the sole measure of success of a man in the eyes of the al-mighty and the all-merciful God. The man is the servant of God and he has to render his services in the cause of his Master for the benefit of mankind as a whole. The holy book is basically perspective in nature and its sole aim is to guide the man to establish a viable social moral order on the earth (25-44).
Main Principles that God Highlights in the Qur’an
The main principle that God highlights is that of Tauhid. Tauhid means the oneness of God. He alone is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and the man. He is all-comprehensive, all-powerful, and self-sufficient. Closely related to the concept of tauhid or the oneness of God is the concept of Shirk (1-24).
Shirk implies that man is strictly forbidden to assign partners to God. The assigning of partners to God is a sin that cannot be forgiven even by the high standards of the All-Merciful God. The concept of tauhid also demands that Prophet Mohammad as be accepted as the last Messenger of God (1-73).
The man is not only to accept Prophet Mohammad, but also believe in all the other prophets of God. In addition, all the sacred scriptures are to be endorsed if man is to the true servant of God. A corollary of the above mentioned beliefs is the belief in the existence of angels. The angels it is to be noted are the intermediaries between God and the man (56-73).
Another principle highlighted by God in Qur’an is the attributes of God. One has to firmly believe in the fact that God is the essence of all creation. He is the ultimate reality and the Master-Truth. God is all-powerful, all-merciful, all-knowing, and envelops the whole of creation. Allied with this belief is that the man is the most cherished and the best creation of God. This is because God breathed his spirit into man (44-55).
The philosophy of dualism, a common ingredient in most other religions, is nullified by God. There is no mind-body rift in according to the teachings of Qur’an. The other concept of traditional Islam is the rejection of the concept of absolute determinism, though later scholars under the influence of Imam Ghazali seem to endorse this concept (12-44).
An important principle highlighted by God in the Qur’an is that Satan or Iblis is the anti-man force or entity. This is important to stress because considering Satan as anti-God would be like placing him on the same lofty principle as God and such a notion is not only unthinkable but the gravest of sins (85-91).
Another very important principle highlighted by God in the Qur’an is that God cannot be appropriated by an individual or a community. He belongs to all Muslims, Christians and Jews etc. No one nation or people can say that God is only theirs to the exclusion of other people and nations (25-44).
The holy Qur’an is the book of sacred revelations sent down on the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) for the guidance of mankind. The holy Qur’an is not the first sacred book of its kind. It is mentioned in the holy Qur’an that whenever a people or nation gets lost Allah sends his messengers who instruct the lost people to come-back to the was of the al-Rabb--the Lord (1-44).
The holy Qur’an is squarely aimed to mend the behavior of man, especially the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula, who possessed of worldly riches forgot Allah and were involved deep in idolatry. Allah the supreme “measurer” who has made the entire universe according to a balanced measure reminds them that He in his boundless, infinite mercy has created man. Not only that, but after creating man in his image Allah has also breathed his spirit into man. Unadulterated Islamic philosophy does not endorse the mind-body dualism (1-11).
Allah is the creator and the sustainer of mankind. He has made the universe not in sport but with a purpose. The nature is Muslim (literally obedient to Allah’s commandments) but man has to strive, and strive-hard (jihad) in order to attain the status of being obedient to Allah. Allah’s sacred commands are ingrained in the heart of man but what distinguishes him from the rest of the creation is that he has been given free volition either to obey Allah’s commandments or to succumb to the evil machinations and temptations of Satan. Satan it is to be noted is not anti-Allah but essentially anti-man entity (12-73).
Qur’an also stresses the fact that not only Allah is the creator of man but also shares a very intimate bond with the most cherished of his creations. Time and again the Qur’an states that Allah is near to man than his jugular vein. Allah has a purpose in the creation of the universe and most specifically the creation of man. The Quran and the Prophet are constant reminders of the fact that the creation of man is not in vain and without any purpose (1-11).
The man has a sacred covenant to fulfill. The sacred covenant which is referred to as the “Trust” is that man is to establish an ethical and moral order on the earth. Every step of the way man is reminded that everything is contingent upon Allah and that Allah is the most munificence and the most merciful. Therefore, man is the servant of Allah who is the creator, sustainer and in times of moral depravity man’s sole guide to the path of truth. After providing guidance to man it is must that he be judged by Allah. Everything is contingent upon Allah so without Allah’s activity, that is either intervention or intercession every activity whether of nature or of the man is delinquent and of no consequence at all. In simple words Allah constitutes the integrity of everything. Allah in essence is the sole dimension of reality (12-44).
The creation of man is the “primordial mercy” of Allah. It is through the “Noor” (the heavenly light) of Allah that man is able to seek his path on the way to good and righteousness. The man through the guidance of messengers (Moses, Jesus and Mohammad) and the scriptures (the Torah, the Bible and the Qur’an) is to nourish and develop the holy torch of “Taqwa”(literal meaning fear of Allah or piety) in order to best serve Allah. Satan being anti-Adam is always ready to seduce man and temp into sin. Life according to the Qur’an is an unceasing moral struggle between the Satan and the man. It goes without saying that Allah is on the side of man but it requires necessary effort on the part of man because Allah cannot and never should be taken for granted. As the distinction between good and the evil is the primordial nature of the man. This inherent nature cannot be changed though there are times that it may be temporarily altered, and it is for this very reason that judgment is an essential requirement (12-44).
Allah being all merciful and all-knowing is ready to forgive all the sins of man if the man is seriously and solemnly repentant. Allah forgives all if the repentance is in time but last minute pleas forgiveness rejected. Allah is also very clear about the fact that transgressions against Him, except of the grave sin of assigning partners with Allah (“shirk”), are all forgiven. But sins against man are not forgiven by Allah as it is up to the party violated that has the right to do so (1-11).
The social order that the Quran seeks to establish on the earth is a pluralistic welfare state where cliquing and demagogy is prohibited. Paying of the zakat-tax is a religious obligation on the same footing as the daily five times prayers. As zakat is a must for prosperous Muslims so is the payment of the “jazia-tax”--imposed on the non-Muslims for their protection in the Islamic state—is necessary for the non-believers. All the aspects of the social order envisioned by the Quran are moral and ethical in nature, modeled specifically to curb all kinds of social evil. Acquiring wealth through legal means is commended but the abominable practice of usury is strictly admonished. So is the consumption of alcohol or the eating of pork. Dabbling in astronomy and games of chance is also prohibited (25-44).
Usury is anti-man and anti-state activity. The holy Qur’an asks the Muslims to wage jihad against its practice. As mentioned above the riches are to be acquired through labor and not through the practice of lending money on interest. Further, it is highly recommended that money should circulate freely in the market. Hoarding of commodities is discouraged. Conversely spending in the path of Allah, like helping the poor, destitute and the orphans, digging wells, building mosques, and erecting welfare houses for the wayfarers etc. are commended. Philanthropy is highly appreciated in Islam (25-44).
The mean is preferred as opposed to ostentatious living, on the one hand, and the niggardly life style, on the other. Simple way of living ranging from simple but nutritious diet and simple but dignified dress are recommended. Ordained five times prayers, including once in the life-time performance of Hajj ( holy pilgrimage to Mecca), and other religious practices are commanded but the all these are in vain if performed in ostentation, to exhibit to the others one’s piety. What is really important is of utmost importance is ethical and moral conduct towards fellow man irrespective of religion, race or creed. In short discrimination of any sort is strongly condemned (1-44).
In conclusion, all the Muslims are brothers and the only distinction is the level of piety alone, therefore, the welfare Islamic state or society is in essence the social aspect of the golden principle of ”Taqwa” (1-11).
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