One Religion and
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To Be A Muslim Is to Live
According To The Divine Law

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Despite the variations of the experiences of the prophets as Muslims, they shared the fact that they surrendered to the Unseen Exalted Power. This surrender freed them from fear of any mundane authority and led them to the path of complete inner freedom. When they were directing themselves to the face of God, they were inspired to do different things and acquired different capabilities and knowledge. They were following the Divine Law. Certain aspects related to the relationship between man and the Divine Law are dealt with in this section. It must be clear that when Man was created, s/he was endowed with the Divine knowledge, and it is up to the individual to search for it from within, or to be attracted to the illusion and forget her/his old commitment. Illusion can divert her/him from the innate tendency embedded within her/his heart that urges her/him to find meaning and goal for this life and then s/he would attempt to fulfill them by being in harmony with the purpose of her/his own existence. This is the very meaning of "surrender"; "Islam". Once Man searches for the true meaning of life, s/he will be answered by the Unseen Supreme Power, Alas, human beings can easily be drawn away from that direction. Out of Allah's Mercy, Prophets were sent, not only to guide people's way, but also to remind them of the embedded truth within each human being's heart and to demonstrate how any one can seek it. All prophets started their mission, searching for the Truth, and suffered to find answers to their questions about the meaning and the ultimate goal of life. In their way to serve the purpose of their existence, they were guiding people and supporting them to awaken their soul and provide them with striking proofs from the history of Man on earth. They realized that the highest rank that a human being can achieve is to be Servant of God. This Servitude liberates Man from illusion and s/he will not be deceived by giving absolute value to what is transient.



Man Is Endowed With The Divine Knowledge Since The Very Beginning of Her/His Creation

 


The Holy Qur'an points to the fact that man is endowed with knowledge of her/his Lord:

When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam from their loins, their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord?" They said: "Yea! we do testify!" (this), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful (HQ:7:172).

Allah addresses The Prophet Muhammad e in the Holy Qur'an, saying:

"So Thou set thy face in the right direction to receive the Primordial Religion, the Law of Allah, that Religion which is inherited innately for people to follow. No change in what Allah has set forth. That is the Religion to be appreciated: but most among mankind understand not
( HQ: 30:30) (Our translation).

Reading this verse in Arabic, we have this interesting word "hanif", which may be used as an adverb, or adjective. Within the context of the verse "hanif" may be understood as a description of the One Religion, and can also be understood as a description of the Prophet's approach. There is no one word in English that carries the whole shades of meanings that are condensed in the word "hanif". "Hanif" is: the correct, direct, pure, authentic, and original. When it describes Religion, it may be translated as the Primordial Religion. On the whole, it may be right to conclude that in order to receive knowledge from the higher source, there is a need for man to be in the right approach, that is, s/he makes her/himself ready by awakening her/his inner innate quest.

Call on me, I will answer you (HQ: 40:60)

Those who recognized the Divine source of the Message to Muhammad (PBUH), their hearts were endowed with that knowledge:

.. those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that (your guidance) is the Truth from thy Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may be made humbly (open) to it: for verily Allah is the Guide of those who believe, to the Straight Way" (HQ: 22:54).



Some People Do Not Follow The Divine Knowledge That Is Embedded In Their Heart



To follow the Primordial Religion requires, not mere scripture to follow. Having a holy text, a heritage without the right approach is misleading. In the Holy Qur'an, People who did not respond to the prophetic guidance say:

We already know how much of them the earth takes away. With us is a Book (that provides the complete knowledge) (HQ: 50:4).

Because they were not interacting with the Law of Life through awakening their insight, those people who refused the Revelations adhered to a limited way of understanding and therefore they could not discern the truth. What needs to be followed is the inner guidance, which goes in harmony with the Law of life:

Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts, which are in their breasts (HQ: 22:46).



ˇFollowing The Primordial Path Al-Fitra,
The Divine Law Leads To The One Religion "Islam"

 

The Holy Qur'an describes the Primordial Religion as FitratuAllah, which can be translated as the "Law of Allah". So "Islam", "the Primordial Religion", and the "Law of Allah" carry the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was advised to follow the Religion, which is the Law of Allah.

Thou set thy face in the right direction to receive the Primordial Religion, the Law of Allah, that Religion which is inherited innately for people to follow. No change in what Allah has set forth. That is the Religion to be appreciated: but most among mankind understand not"
(Our translation) (HQ: 30:30)

The word "Islam" is not mentioned explicitly, but we understand that it is Islam in its broadest meaning that is implicit. It can be easily concluded that s/he who follows the Law of Allah, is a Muslim. The Law of Allah is the Law that orders everything in the seen and unseen worlds, in the spiritual and physical existence of man. Allah created the world in order. Without faith in the Law, life would be meaningless. Spiritual growth, like physical one, follows a law. To surrender to the Law, which is the core concept in the Primordial Religion "Islam", is to make yourself accessible to the law of spiritual growth to work. Violation of the law of spiritual attainment is a choice that can lead to destruction of man's spiritual entity.

When Man Struggles
To Find The Truth, S/he Will Be Answered

The Prophet explains the process of attaining knowledge and the way to continue along the path. He says that Islam is the religion of innate purity al-Fitraglossary . So, every one is born pure and his parents include her/him in their creed. Purity provides the ability for a person to be in harmony with the Law of existence. People need to struggle from within their souls and they will not be satisfied unless they achieve harmony with the Law. Henceforth, they realize that they are guided by the Unseen Supreme Power to the right direction.

Purity for the grown up is a goal, for by the time they grow, they are polluted by illusions of their societies, and without any spiritual nourishment, they go astray, leaving their desires and lusts direct their way. They get too much involved in the illusive values that they may lose the ability to retain their purity.

When their hearts, and their insights are ready, the guidance through holy Books will enlighten their way. The following verse explains it:

Do ye not see that Allah has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made His bounties flow to you in exceeDeeng measure, (both) seen and unseen? Yet there are among men those who dispute about Allah, without knowledge and without guidance, and without a Book to enlighten them! (HQ: 31:20).

Those who follow that inner guidance and realize the existence of the Supreme could recognize the truth that is given through revelations as the following verse indicates:

Those whom We gave the Book before, and when it is recited to them, they say: "We believe therein, for it is the Truth from our Lord: indeed we have been Muslims from before this (HQ: 28:52-53).

(Being) those who have believed in Our Signs and became Muslims
(HQ: 43:69)

In the Holy Qur'an, the Lord addresses The Prophet Muhammad:

Say:

"Verily, my Lord hath guided me to a Way that is straight, and correct, a precious religion, the Path (trod) of Abraham, true in faith, and he (certainly) joined not gods with Allah." (HQ: 6:161)

ˇ1.3.3.2 Prophets As Exemplars:
They Follow The Primordial Path

Abraham u did not follow his people's beliefs; he sought for the truth sincerely, so did The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Both did not start from a text to read fanatically, nor from a creed to follow blindly, but from an authentic cry for the truth and a sincere quest to understand the meaning of life within themselves and around. By so doing, their quests were answered. They received guidance through inspiration and revelation, coming from the Unseen Supreme Power, Allah.

The way that was adopted by Abraham u and Muhammad (PBUH) as such demonstrates a relationship between man and the Unseen. If man searches for truth, s/he will be guided to find it. This law has been and will always work.

The way that they sought truth explains also a relationship between man and his inner messenger, his heart. While the support comes from the higher source, the quest comes from the inner self. Knowledge is revealed to the soul and expressed through the joy that we can find when Abraham u cried:

"Unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray" (HQ: 6:77)

 That was a real discovery for Abraham u who was at that moment in the middle of the confusion, looking at the moon, trying to establish a relationship between what he was seeing and the Lord that he was seeking. That discovery sprung from within, he was not yet sure who was his Lord. Realizing that there is a Lord who guides, put Abraham u on the right path to receive the Knowledge about the Transcendental Unseen Supreme.

About the Path of Abraham u, the Holy Qur'an says:

"Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the Way of Abraham the true in faith? For Allah attach Abraham to Him closely" (HQ: 4: 125).

The Way of Abraham u is the righteous, correct, straight Way. In Arabic, the Way is "Sirat" followed by the word "Mustaqeem" as an adjective. "Mustaqeem" connotes different shades of meanings, such as: straight, right, correct, proper, direct, harmonious, and others. "Al-Sirat al-Mustaqeem" may be another synonym of the Law, as well as it is the outcome of surrendering to the Law. In the wording of the Holy Qur'an, "Al-Sirat al-Mustaqeem, the correct way is "The Way of Allah, to Whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. Behold (how) all affairs tend towards Allah!" (HQ: 42:53)

Following Abraham's path, The Prophet Muhammad's guidance meant to lead humankind to the Right Divine Way:

A Book which We have revealed unto thee, in order that thou mightest lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light - by the leave of their Lord - to the Way of (Him) the Exalted in Power, Worthy of all Praise! (HQ: 14:1)

But verily thou callest them to the Straight Way (HQ: 23:73).

To be on the straight way is an ultimate goal for man, which he has to seek, and that is the reason why in the first Surah (chapter) of the Holy Qur'an, we read the following:

Show us the straight, Way. The way of those, on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray (HQ: 1:6,7).glossary



Striking Proofs To Awaken People's Insight

 


Because, it is not easy for people who curtained themselves in darkness to believe in that Law, they need striking proofs so that their eyes may open and they may get aware of the fatal destiny if they violated that Divine Law. The word "Sunna" and its plural "Sunan" pointing to the Law, come in relation to people who were perished because they violated the Law. Prophets were asked to draw people's attention to observe what happened to previous nations who had not been following the heavenly guidance. Out of this observation they would learn about the Eternal Divine Law. The emphasis that there is no change in the Divine Law is repeated in several places in the Holy Qur'an:

(This is Our) Law (as revealed) to the Messengers whom We sent before thee: thou wilt find no change in Our Law
(HQ: 17:77) (Our translation).

That is Allah's (Divine) Law that worked among those who lived aforetime: no change wilt thou find in Allah's (Divine) Law
( HQ: 33:62) (Our translation).

Allah doth wish to make clear to you and guide you to the Law that was revealed to those before you; (HQ:4:26) (Our translation).

But their professing the Faith when they (actually) saw Our Punishment was not going to profit them. (Such has been) Allah's Law which has been working among His servants. Accordingly, the ungrateful are the loser (HQ: 40:85) (Our translation).



What It Means To Be A Servant of Allah

 

In a very general term, the Straight Way is the Divine Law. To surrender to that Law is to realize one's purpose of existence. As the Holy Qur'an explains, man is created to be God's vicegerent:

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth."(HQ: 2:30).

The Holy Qur'an clarifies that to serve Allah and to be on the Straight Way are one and the same thing. Jesus said, "Verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord: Him therefore serve ye: this is a Way that is straight" (HQ: 19:36)

The Lord says,

"I created the jinn and humankind only that they might serve Me"
(HQ: 51:56) (Our translation).

And that ye should worship Me, (for that) this was the Straight Way?"
(HQ: 36:61).

Worshipping God is not merely to perform certain rites, but to be aware of the existence of the holy, and this will reflect on man's style of life. Those rites carries within their meaningsŠ which can be uncovered by practicing them. Man's life will be directed to certain purpose, that is, to be her/himself a tool in the hand of the higher Supreme. That is the ˛˛˛Straightway "Al-Sirat al Mustaqeem". To achieve that goal requires "knowledge". As Abraham u talks to his father;

"O my father! to me hath come knowledge which hath not reached thee: so follow me: I will guide thee to a Way that is even and straight"
(HQ:19:43).

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