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Virtues of Islam

July 23, 2009


Filed under: General — Tags: Virtues of Islam — Farooq Hussain @ 2:00 am

What are the virtues of the Islamic faith?

Thank you for your question.

“Islam” (an Arabic word derived from the root s-l-m) encompasses the concepts of peace and submission. The virtues of Islam as a faith and way of life can be summarized as follows:

The first and foremost quality of Islam is that it is fully compatible with the nature of humanity and its mission in this world because it is God-given.

That is to say, the way of life outlined by Islam is natural, and it is based on principles laid down in what Muslims believe to be the final testament of God, namely the Quran.

Islam teaches that God is One. Therefore the set of laws governing the universe is one. The oneness of the Creator, also, means that everything — whether living or non-living — is God’s creation. So they are bound to function in accordance with the nature assigned to them by God.

Of all the creation of God, only humans are given a certain amount of freedom of will and choice; the corollary of which is that they have a degree of responsibility proportionate to the freedom they enjoy.

God has given humans not only freedom, but also capabilities to use that freedom. In the Quran, which Muslims believe is God’s word, God the Almighty says that He has appointed humans as His vicegerent (khalifah) on earth. This means that humans are answerable before God for their willful choices and actions.

Islam also teaches that God is All-Merciful; and out of His infinite mercy He has sent prophets with His guidance to help mankind along the straight path. The prophets were humans and appointed to this world from the very beginning of humanity on earth.

They came to mankind at different stages in history and they were all models to be followed by their people. And finally, when the time was ripe, God sent His final prophet with His final testament, who completed the Divine guidance as well as the divinely revealed religion of God, namely Islam.

The foregoing means that Islam was the religion of all the prophets from the first to the last. In other words, according to the teachings of Islam, God is one, the universe is one, mankind is one and the religion of mankind also is one.

This creed of Islam provides its faithful followers (i.e. the Muslims) a strong philosophical foundation for unity of vision. Indeed Muslims are bound by their faith to respect and honor all the prophets of God including Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all).

In Islam there is no baptism; and for anyone, entry to the community of Muslims is possible by a simple and conscious act of will on their part — the act of submission to the One and Only God of the universe.

There is no priesthood in Islam, as there is no need of any mediator between God and His creation. The Quran says what means:

*{It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.}* (Qaf 50:16)

No other religion has anything like the five pillars of Islam that enable a human to be constantly in touch with God.

The first pillar is the profession of faith known as the Shahadah, namely: “There is no one worthy of worship but God; and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. The declaration of this fundamental creed of Islam reminds the believers of God’s central position in their lives.

The second pillar is ritual Prayer, or “salah”. Muslims are required to perform ritual Prayers formally five times a day. The third pillar is fasting, or “sawm”, during the lunar month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset.

The fourth pillar is obligatory charity, or “zakah”. Muslims set apart a specified portion of their income and wealth to support their less fortunate brothers in society as well as for other good purposes.

The fifth pillar is pilgrimage to Makkah, or “hajj”. Islam requires that every believer should do it at least once in his or her life time, if he or she is physically and financially able to do it.

The hajj commemorates the sacrifices, faith and obedience of Abraham and his family. The hajj is the largest, regularly-held gathering on earth.

In Islam, there is no original sin, as all humans are born innocent. God is Just, and He does not hold anyone sinful for any aberration on the part of his or her ancestors. Indeed, according to the Quran, those who have even a mustard seed’s weight of belief in God will eventually be admitted into Heaven.

Islam teaches that the Quran is the most authoritative guide to proper living, along with the Sunnah, namely the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

It is to the credit of Islam that it takes proper measures to keep Muslims safe from evil practices that are patently harmful. For instance, Islam prohibits the use of all kinds of intoxicating beverages and drugs that may impair one’s reason, good sense and morality.

Similarly, all kinds of obscenity and sexual promiscuity are forbidden. Not only the evil habits of individuals, but also all social evils are strongly discouraged in Islam.

For all of us, life is a test, and the result will be determined on a Day of Judgment. Therefore, all the humans who have ever lived on earth will be resurrected and brought before Allah (God). Then, all who have lived in obedience to His guidance will be sent to live a life of eternal happiness in Paradise; and those who did not care to do so will be sent to Hell.

Any student of history can see that Islam has done immense services for which all of humanity should be thankful.

“When Christian Europe sank into the so-called Dark Ages for about 600 years starting in the late 5th century, Islamic scholars elsewhere maintained high standards of academic study, mathematics and scientific research.

Islamic libraries in Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus preserved the writings of ancient Greek, Roman and Indian scholars even as Europe’s leaders rejected them….When the Renaissance blossomed in Western Europe in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, it found a trove of ancient knowledge and new discoveries in translations from the Arabic.” (Carolyn Ruff, Exploring Islam, last accessed July 14, 2009)

This was possible because of the Quran’s strong advocacy for the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge. Consequently, the religious scholars of Islam were also keen on mastering secular knowledge as well.

In short, the teachings of Islam are optimally suited for human welfare in this world as well as for enabling him to attain eternal happiness in the Hereafter.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.


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