Guide to Understanding Islam/by Ender TOSUN
1.Introduction 2. The General Features of Islam 3. Belief Essentials of Islam 4. The Goals Given by Islam to a Human Being 5. Essentials of Action & Five Pillars 6. The Means toward Success 7. Conclusion 8. Questions & Answers
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Cover: Muhammed Nur Anbarlı
2 The General Features of Islam
2.2 Islam Is Based on Loving Allah and Being Careful of Him
3.1.1 Belief in God as a General Concept
126.96.36.199 The Concept of Belief in General
188.8.131.52 Islam and the Other Main Approaches Regarding God
184.108.40.206.1 Islam and the Atheist Approach
220.127.116.11.2 Islam and the Agnostic Approach
18.104.22.168.3 Islam and Beliefs Largely Based on Communication
22.214.171.124 Everyone Believes in One or More Gods, Or in Things That Correspond to the Concept of God
3.1.3 The Methodology to Understand Who Allah Is and Some Key Facts Relating to Him That We Observe in Our Universe
126.96.36.199.2 Things -Including Causality- Are Parts of Systems
188.8.131.52.3 The Sequential Unity
184.108.40.206 Things Are Subject to Change
220.127.116.11 Things Are Passive -in Relation to the Creating Power of Allah-
18.104.22.168 Some Other Facts That Show Us the Unity of Allah Above All
22.214.171.124 Allah Is Able to Recreate
126.96.36.199 Allah Has the Reasons and the Will to Recreate
188.8.131.52.1 Allah Is Wise: He Acts Based on Reasons
184.108.40.206.2 There Are Reasons for This Universe
220.127.116.11.2.1 The Implementation of the Favors of Allah
18.104.22.168.2.2 The Implementation of the Truth
22.214.171.124.2.3 The Establishment of Balance
126.96.36.199 Communication and Promise From Allah
3.2.3 Practical Consequences of the Hereafter
188.8.131.52 Happiness of The Divine Justice
184.108.40.206 Incentive for Improvement
220.127.116.11 Incentive for Thinking and Choosing
3.4.1 The Messengers as Role Models
3.4.2 Some Messengers Are Predicted and Confirmed
3.4.3 Some Other Attributes of the Messengers
3.5.1 The Holy Books in General
18.104.22.168 The Quran Is a Complete Guidance
22.214.171.124 The Quran Was Protected
126.96.36.199 The Style of The Quran
188.8.131.52 The Quran Is Inimitable
3.6.2 Consequences of Destiny for Human Beings
4 The Goals Given By Islam to a Human Being
4.1 To Get the Pleasure of Allah
4.1.1 The Way to the Pleasure of Allah
184.108.40.206 Compliance with the Divine Values
4.2 To Reach Allah’s Permanent Favors Made for His Righteous Servants
4.3 To Be in Harmony with the Truth
4.3.1 To Be in Harmony with the Truth in What We Believe In
4.3.2 To Be in Harmony with the Truth in What We Say and What We Do
5 Essentials of Action & Five Pillars
5.2.1 Statement of Bearing Witness to the Unity of Allah
6.4 Our Efforts & Perseverance
6.7 The Messages from The Creator
8.1 Are Men and Women Equal in Islam?
8.1.1 Covering Some Parts of the Body
8.1.2 Permission for Men to Marry up to Four Women under Certain Conditions
8.1.3 The Inheritance of More Wealth for Sons and Husbands When Compared with Daughters and Wives under Certain Conditions
8.1.4 The Substitution of One Man Witness with Two Women Witnesses in Certain Legal Cases
8.1.5 Some Other Issues About the Question “Are Men and Women Equal in Islam?”
8.2 Why Do We See on the Media Many Violent Actions Performed in the Name of Islam or Allah?
8.3 If There Is Destiny, If Allah Knows All, How Can We Have Free Will and How Can We Be Responsible?
8.3.1 We Have Free Will to a Certain Extent
220.127.116.11 The Reasons for the Existence of Our Wills
18.104.22.168 Sins and Their Consequences Are Deliberate Choices.
22.214.171.124 Allah Does Not Need to Force Anything upon Us
126.96.36.199 Allah Does Not Force Anyone to Believe or to Do Good Works and He Does Not Force Anyone to Disbelieve or to Be Unjust.
188.8.131.52 Nobody Will Bear Witness That Allah Has Forced Us to Evil
184.108.40.206 Allah Does Not Have any Prejudice against any of Us
220.127.116.11 If We Knew the Destiny, We Would Want to Change It for Better.
18.104.22.168 If Our Wills Were under the Full Influence of Determinism, It Would Cause Us to Believe.
8.3.2 The Knowledge of Allah Reflected in the Destiny Is in one Way Like a Historical Knowledge in Human Concepts.
8.3.3 We Are Responsible Based on Our Capacity
22.214.171.124 We Fail Because of Our Own Weaknesses.
126.96.36.199 The Destiny Is Not a Barrier Between Us and Allah -Allah Is Nearer to Us than the Destiny-
8.3.4 Our Choice Process Must Be Consistent
188.8.131.52 The Agreement Is Not Changed after It Has Been Executed
184.108.40.206 If One Blames Allah on the Grounds of Justice, This Means That Allah Has Already Offered Him the Guidance But He Knowingly Rejected It
220.127.116.11 The End Result Prevails
8.4 If Allah Is All-Powerful and Good Why Is There Suffering and Evil?
8.5 What Are the Main Differences Between Islam and Christianity?
8.6 Is There any Prophecy in the Previous Holy Books about Prophet Muhammad? If There Is What Is It?
8.6.1 Relevant Information about Prophet Muhammad and The Quran in Deuteronomy/33
8.6.2 Relevant Information about Prophet Muhammad in Genesis 21/9-21 and Genesis 17/19-20
8.6.3 Relevant Information about Final Prophet as Explained in Isaiah 42/1-12
8.6.4 A Big Development Will Happen and the Kingdom of Allah Will Be Taken from the Jews and Given to Another Nation As Said in Matthew 21/42-44
8.6.5 The Reference to Mecca (Bacca), the Pilgrims, the Well of Zamzam, the Quick and Strong Growth of Muslims in Psalms 84/4-7
8.6.6 The Widely Known Special Prophet Who Will Come after Jesus in John 1/20-21, 29
8.7 What Are the Points to Bear in Mind While Reading The Quran?
Then did you think that We created you
uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned? (Quran: 23/115) In the name of Allah, the Beneficent,
the Merciful. (Quran: 1/1) Say, “Observe what is in the heavens
and earth.” (Quran: 10/101) And say, “My Lord, increase me in
knowledge.” (Quran: 20/114) Indeed, Allah orders justice and the
doing of good [to others] and giving to relatives and forbids immorality
and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that you may be mindful. (Quran: 16/90) There is no compulsion in religion;
Truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error. (Quran:
2/256) And the (best) result belongs to the
righteous. (Quran: 28/83) Allah will say, “This is the Day when
the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness. For them are gardens [in
Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah
being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great
success.” (Quran: 5/119)
Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Say, “Observe what is in the heavens and earth.”
And say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.”
Indeed, Allah orders justice and the doing of good [to others] and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that you may be mindful.
There is no compulsion in religion; Truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error.
And the (best) result belongs to the righteous.
Allah will say, “This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness. For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great success.”
I praise and thank Allah for all His favors and especially His biggest favor which is Islam, and for enabling me to listen to His message, the Quran, and for making me know His final messenger, and also for enabling me to share the truth through this book. Peace be upon His messengers.
Our goal in composing this book is to give concise but comprehensive information about Islam. It is written especially for those who are recently acquainted with Islam. We expect it to be useful for those who know Islam as well, especially in answering questions asked by non-Muslims.
I would like also to thank certain people who have been very helpful in producing this book.
I firstly thank my wife Naciye Tosun and my children Muhammed, Meryem Büşra and Ibrahim Eren for their support in my works.
I also thank the Imams Mr. Emrullah Hatiboğlu, Mr. Hasan Kara, Mr. İshak Kızılarslan, all muazzins and other staff of Sultanahmet Mosque for their support in providing a motivating environment in the preparation of this book.
I ask Allah to make this book helpful in better understanding Islam. I also ask His forgiveness for any mistakes that may have happened in it.
When we observe this universe, based on our logic and based on our personal qualifications as thankfulness and justice, we may ask “Where do all these favors come from?” Then if we reason carefully upon what we observe we may perceive the One Active Creator who creates and sustains all.
For example, we see billions of similar things; we see that everything is part of systems; we see that everything is subject to change. These may make us understand that everything comes from one same source; everything is created by One Creator; and that this Creator is the only absolute; and that anything else is subject to His powers and to His will. Then those billions of favors to which we are subject will create on us a pressure to thank.
Then we may conclude that this Creator who enabled us to communicate may have communicated with us in a human language as well. So we may look for any such communications that He may have given us. Then indeed we notice people who claim to have received messages from the Creator, namely messengers like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and so on (Peace be upon them).
And we notice that the essential message of the Creator through all these messengers is: “Believe in your True One Lord and do good works”. This is the central message of Islam.
In His messages the Creator introduces Himself as the Beneficent, the Active Doer of what He wills, and the Wise. Then He teaches us that we and this universe are not created and sustained without reason.
Consequently His favors and powers do not happen only temporarily as in the present parts of our lives. And we are informed that after the present phase in which we live there will be a permanent phase. In this permanent phase His favors and powers will be implemented permanently. In this next phase we will see the consequences of whatever good or evil we do in this phase. And in the present part of our life we taste also His powers to a certain extent as His other creation do. And in this part we will make our “choice” about where we stand regarding the truth and about what kind of permanent life we want.
Also we notice in these messages that to be successful we have also to improve ourselves in parallel with the divine values which Our Lord loves such as truthfulness, humility, thankfulness, kindness, justice… And only if we have these qualifications, we may be loved by Our Lord, love Him and be careful of Him. So, if we sincerely love Him we will improve; and if we improve we will love Him more and be loved by Him.
And to improve ourselves in terms of these qualifications, we need to follow the guidance of Our Creator.
And by following it, we will have served Him; we will be in harmony with the Truth; we will be happy in the future permanent life; Allah will be pleased with us; and we will reach His favors prepared for His righteous servants. These are the ultimate goals of our lives according to Islam. Therefore we will be satisfied only if we reach them.
And all these and their details, we have been told once more and forever in our Creator’s final guidance which is the Holy Quran which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), 14 centuries ago.
The word “Islam” means submission to Allah<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> and peace in Arabic. It also means peace by submitting to the Merciful God, by following His guidance. As the name of the religion, it can be defined as feeling and knowing that Allah is with us wherever we are; doing good deeds<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>; and refraining from bad deeds with the intention to invoke His pleasure and His mercy.
“Islam” is a name given by Allah Himself to this religion in the Holy Book of Islam. It is not a name given by a marginal group.
Islam is a way shown to us by Allah the All-Knower, the Wise to lead us to the biggest success<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
The main source of Islam is the Quran<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> which is the Holy Book of Islam. This book was revealed only to Prophet Muhammad<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> (Peace be upon him) during 23 years in the 7th century. In the Quran the speaker as the first person is Allah, and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) related His words to mankind. Throughout this book you will have the opportunity to read many quotations from the Quran.
As Allah says in the Quran, Islam is an important favor for human beings:
This day I have perfected for you your religion,
And completed My favor upon you,
And have approved for you,
Islam as religion.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
(Quran: 5/3<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>)
In the holy book of Islam, Allah makes reference to the concepts of logic, reasoning, knowing, observing and understanding in more than 1000 places. We have to question, reason. In the Quran, Allah forbids following blindly the assumptions of our society and our ancestors.
In Islam there are no dogmas. The way to be a Muslim and a good Muslim starts and continues with the use of logic. Of course, this does not exclude accepting knowledge related from logically reliable sources.
Only those who have intelligence are considered as responsible in Islam.
Islam is easy to understand. Allah says in the Quran:
Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth,
And the alternation of the night and the day, are signs for those of understanding.
Who remember Allah<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> while standing or sitting or [<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>lying] on their sides,
And reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying],
“Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly”
We have made the Quran easy to understand,
So is there anyone who will mind?
He<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> loves them and they love Him.
Say, [O Muhammad], “If you love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.”
And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.
The believer in Islam is ready to give his life for Allah. He<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> has a beloved one who never betrays, who is one, who is always with him, who does not break His promise, who is Beneficent, Merciful, All-Powerful, Near, who does not need anything, who is the Creator of everything, who shaped him when he was in the womb of his mother.
In this world there is no one loved more than Allah. And the love for Allah is exercised in Islam to a great extent. A Muslim prays 5 times a day, gives his wealth for Allah, gives up eating and drinking for Allah when fasting, tries to do good and refrain from doing evil, in order to get the pleasure of Allah. In this way the love for Allah is felt strongly by a Muslim<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. Let us listen to Allah:
Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.”
And on the other hand, the first person to be careful of is Allah: The Lord who knows all, and who is able to do whatever He wills.
Some of the relevant verses from the Quran are as follows:
Be careful of (your duty to) Allah,
And know that you shall be gathered together to Him.
And when it is said to him, “Be careful of (your duty to) Allah”, he is led by arrogance to (more) crime. So enough for him is Hell, and worst indeed is that place to rest!
Being careful of Allah is for important reasons. Some of the reasons mentioned in the Quran are as follows:
Be careful of (your duty to) Allah then, that you may give thanks.
And be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is swift in reckoning.
To be careful<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> of Allah is especially most important in this life, and once we are successful His love is forever. Allah lets us know a scene in the hereafter<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> where a Muslim states his feelings:
They will say, “Indeed, we were previously among our people fearful (of displeasing Allah).
So Allah conferred favor upon us and protected us from the punishment of the Scorching Fire.
Indeed, we used to supplicate Him before.
Indeed, it is He who is the Beneficent, the Merciful.”
And as His love and dislike depend on how we are, they create deep feelings of accountability and responsibility.
So, a Muslim seeks refuge from Him in Him. The relevant messages of the messengers have been as follows as related in the Quran:
“So flee to Allah.
Indeed, I am to you from Him a clear warner.
And do not make [as equal] with Allah another deity. Indeed, I am to you from Him a clear warner.”
And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.
As Allah is the All-Knower, He has given us a guidance that guides us in all relevant and most important matters so that we may be successful. This guidance gives us explanations about everything from a high level perspective.
Islam covers all aspects of a human being: Our social life, our private life, our business life, our prayers, our way of thinking, what to do, how to be, the science, our past, our future, our success indicators, ethical standards, spiritual development, our goals, our body, our spirit, our universe, this life, the hereafter… It promotes human beings, wealth, health, mind, the poor, the rich, the economics, the nations, the neighbors, the relatives, the men, the women, the children, the families…
Say, [O Muhammad], “O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, from Him to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death.” So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be guided.
Islam in relation to mankind, started with the first man. And Islam was the message of Allah to mankind through all of His messengers. For example, in the following verse Allah relates us the religion of Abraham and his recommendation to his children about being Muslim:
And Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Jacob, [saying]:
“O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims.”
Islam is not limited to any nation, person, period or geographical location.
Islam is the religion of all the messengers of Allah, and Islam is the essence of their messages. According to one saying<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), there have been 124.000 prophets<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> by whom Allah gave His messages to mankind<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (Peace be upon them) were just some of them. To believe in the messengers of Allah is one of the requirements of Islam. For example, a person who denies Moses or Jesus-Christ (Peace be upon them) as messengers of Allah is not considered a Muslim.
All of the messengers gave the same message: “Believe in the One True God and do good works.” This is the essence of the universal message of Islam.
Even in the name “Islam” we can see its universality: Islam is not named after the name of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), but religions are mostly named after the most important human beings for each religion. Islam is named with a name that has the meanings of the universal concept of Peace, and submission to Allah.
Additionally as we see in the following verse, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was assigned as a messenger to all:
And We have not sent you<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> except as a mercy to the worlds.
Unlike religions or ideologies based on race, Islam invites and welcomes all kinds of people. According to Islam, all human beings are the offspring of only one man and woman. These contribute a lot to the social richness and openness of Muslims<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, as they facilitate the entrance of people from all nations into the Islamic community.
As emphasized in the following verse, the good of the human beings is valuable; to work for it will produce positive and long-lasting consequences:
He sends down from the sky, rain, and valleys flow according to their capacity, and the torrent carries a rising foam.
And from that [ore] which they heat in the fire, desiring adornments and utensils, is a foam like it. Thus Allah presents [the example of] truth and falsehood.
As for the foam, it vanishes, [being] cast off; but as for that which benefits the mankind, it remains on the earth.
Thus does Allah present examples.
Islam means peace and as we see in the following verse, Allah invites us to behave justly<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> to everyone including the disbelievers<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>:
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes from dealing kindly with them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.
The Messenger<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> has believed in what was descended<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> 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 said,
“We heard and we obeyed.
(We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the (final) destination.”
Indeed, I am Allah.
There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.
Do not follow the way of those who do not know.
Knowledge is critical for success. For example, a driver who wants to go to his destination has to know the way, the meanings of the traffic signs, how to drive… If he knows these, he may go safely to his destination; otherwise, he may enter a wrong way where he may make a big accident where he may even die. As in this simple example, we need to have knowledge in order to reach our goals.
However, our knowledge is limited in all dimensions<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. We have no knowledge beyond certain limits regarding the past, the future, the micro, and macro levels, about the nature of things, internal and external relationships between things<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. For example, we do not know the future; but yet we claim that if we let an apple tomorrow it will fall down. Again, we do not know what is under a certain subatomic level; nevertheless we define the features of an atom, and believe in that definition<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. But in fact, for example, if we do not know “all” subatomic levels, this means that we do not have a sure knowledge about the atoms; our knowledge about the atoms is then just a belief<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>; so our knowledge about everything has such a basic restriction.
Furthermore, we are a part of this universe. So in any case our knowledge is partial.
So, the need to have maximum relevant knowledge and the limitations of knowledge force every person to form a belief profile about all the things that may have any influence upon him.
The things that influence us do not consist only of things that we can fully encompass or see. There may be also unseen things that may influence us as the visible<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> as emphasized in the following verses:
So I swear by what you see
And what you do not see
And the visible and the unseen<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> are not isolated from one another.
Also, as we do not know fully everything, for all human beings including atheists, our knowledge about what we see is naturally related to our beliefs about the unseen.
And as emphasized in the following verses the satisfaction only with the present knowledge about the visible, the arrogant denial of the unseen may lead to error:
Rather, they have denied
That which they encompass not in knowledge
And whose interpretation has not yet come to them.
And they have thereof no knowledge. They follow not except assumption, and indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all.
And when their messengers brought them clear proofs they exulted in the knowledge they (themselves) possessed.
Thus forming a strong belief profile correctly is one of the biggest challenges that every human being faces<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
So, because of our limitations of knowledge and because of the apparent need to have an idea about the invisible people have different belief profiles: Among those there are some who care very little about the unseen and believe in and enjoy the visible as it is. There are some who do not hope having knowledge about the unseen. There are some who claim to be able to know even the nature of the unseen for example as being non-existent. There are those who adopt the past or contemporary belief profiles without any personal judgment. There are those who owe everything to physical forces, laws, and relationships… There are those who owe all to certain human beings…
The methodology of Islam is to acknowledge our limitations of knowledge about the unseen and then to make deductions about the unseen based on the visible, instead of denying the unseen. In Islam the impossibility that some guidance from the unseen may reach us is rejected. And the assistance of the guidance from the Truth is accepted<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
Logically as the truth is independent from us, any one of these approaches is not in the same level of trueness when compared with the others.
The main groups of belief and their methodologies relevant in our context will be explained and compared with the methodology of Islam in the following parts.
In this part, we will discuss some aspects of some approaches regarding god. We will give just a preliminary information for a better understanding of the concept of god in Islam. In a later part we will explain the very belief in Allah; and the arguments regarding Allah will help for a better understanding of the other approaches from an Islamic point of view.
Indeed, those you call upon besides Allah are servants like you. So call upon them and let them respond to you, if you should be truthful.
Have they feet with which they walk, or have they hands with which they hold, or have they eyes with which they see, or have they ears with which they hear?
Say: Call your associates, then make a struggle (to prevail) against me and give me no respite.
In atheism generally certain relationships and forces are determined based on the observations of the behaviors of the matter. And then these relationships and forces are considered as the causes of what happens so as to replace the One Creator and Sustainer.
For example droplets of rain fall down together. In atheism, the fall of the droplets according to a certain pattern lead to a relationship called gravitation, and then the rain is believed to fall because of gravitation<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. This relationship is believed to be absolute in that there is no one who can change it.
However, according to Islam, the behavior of the matter cannot lead us to the discovery of one-to-one, multiple and absolute forces or relationships which will be defined as the real causes of that behavior. Because such thinking would be only an incorrect and circular reasoning in that the relationship that is defined entirely as the consequence of the observed entities would be believed to be the cause of this observation. This is also because the elements of what we observe do not have eyes, ears, minds, goals, and a permanent central power among themselves so that they can act in harmony<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. Therefore the elements of what we observe are not self-defined and they need one self-sufficient and absolute identifier<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
In Islam the behavior that we observe and a true gravitation relationship<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> are the consequences of the independent definition and design of Allah who is one. Therefore by observing this behavior we discover how an object behaves and we can predict that it will behave in a certain way to the extent of the correctness of our observation and relevant conclusions. This prediction and calculation is possible because the one who makes this event possible now, in the past or in the future is the same. The one who governs it in each point is the same. Allah has full control over the droplets<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> in direct and indirect ways.
This analogy applies to all material causes and effects before that relationship<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, the effects that issue because of the droplets<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> and their very features<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
Allah gave things common and different features so that there is harmony, predictability, consistency, beauty within things. He might have chosen to create things that are not related at all, that are impossible to understand, that do not have common/comparable framework, space-time, or common features<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>…
So when an absolute and exclusive self-existence of gravitation is denied, then there needs to be one power that defines and creates it, its causes and effects<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
Also in atheism; anything that cannot be justified directly by our past/present experiences through our sensations is rejected. There is no personal power above the human beings or above the beings that we directly see. This assertion requires a full knowledge about the unseen.
Again in atheism the visible is seen as self-sufficient: As everything visible forms a whole in them they do not need any support from the unseen. Things may exist, sustain themselves, move, act in harmony even though they do not have the abilities to think, to plan, to see, to hear… This assertion requires a full knowledge about the visible.
However, in Islam it is only Allah who is the All-Knower as we see in the following<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>:
Indeed, those who dispute concerning the signs of Allah without [any] authority having come to them
There is not within their breasts except pride,
[the extent of] which they cannot reach.
So seek refuge in Allah.
Indeed, it is He who is the All-hearing, the All-seeing<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
Another example about the concepts with which god is replaced in atheism is coincidence: Some things happen or exist because of coincidence. For example as there are billions of galaxies, systems like the solar system may exist by coincidence; and in some of such planetary systems it is probable that planets like ours’ exist; and in some of the planets like ours’, it is probable that living conditions exist; and in some of such planets it is probable that living forms exist; …
This is based on the following assumptions: Simpler things coming together may form complicate things; there is a level of things where the things are fully simple, at that level they require no conditions and they are self-sustainable, self-sufficient. And as we see in the following verse, this assumption is not acceptable, as Allah is not the god of only complicate things:
He is the Lord of all things.
Things at any levels need the creating and sustaining power of Allah. Therefore, things at a certain level may never be fully explained with things that are at “any” lower level or with things in any earlier stage, because things at any level need certain conditions, and things at the lower levels are effective in any case. For example, the existence of animals cannot be fully explained by evolution and molecules, because none of the molecules, the atoms, the DNAs… is self-sufficient.
Similarly, the amounts of atoms, molecules, chemical or biological events do not increase the ultimate probability of the appearance of any living creature. As seen in the following verse, the creation of the heavens and the earth is not something less complex than the creation of human beings or other life forms:
The creation of the heavens and earth is greater than the creation of mankind, but most of mankind do not know.
Also while using coincidence and probabilities, the multitude of things should be taken into account as a limiting factor as well: If one says: the more the number of galaxies, the more the existence probabilities of planetary systems like ours’; this may be only partially true. As a whole, the multitude of the galaxies in one way may increase the existence probabilities of planetary systems like ours; however, the bigger the multitude of the galaxies, the bigger the need for a multitude of conditions. In other words, while the addition of each atom increases the existence probability of a planetary system, it reduces the probability for the existence of the total amount of atoms<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> including this additional atom.
Agnostic belief and methodology is based on the acknowledgement that as human beings we cannot encompass the truth and the god beyond our past/present experiences that relate to our sensations as seeing, touching… According to this approach there is the possibility of the existence of what is beyond the visible, but as human beings we do not have the capacity to know it. So, we cannot know whether there is any personal power above the human beings and above what we see.
The approaches of Islam and agnosticism share the fact that human beings have limitations in terms of the knowledge relating to the unseen.
However, Islam is fundamentally different from the agnosticism in two respects:
Firstly, above all there is the One Creator who creates the creation; so there is a functional relationship between the Creator and the creation; therefore based on the visible, we can make some conclusions about the unseen and about the Creator.
Secondly, as seen in the exception part of the below verse, this Creator has the power to share with the human beings some knowledge which is relevant for them. This is clarified in the following verse:
And they encompass not a thing of His knowledge
Except for what He wills.
And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,”
They say, “Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers practicing.”
Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided?
Beliefs mainly based on communication are to a great extent based on accepting the contents of past communications, holy books or traditions without extensively taking into account the logical deductions from the visible.
In Islam the spoken and written communication of the Creator is a reminder and it contains a methodology of thinking. An original message of the Creator is the universe; observation and judgment are critical. And each person is individually responsible for spending efforts in order to find out about the truth. Also he is invited to filter with his logic the communication coming to him from his contemporaries and his ancestors. The following verses refer to this fact:
And recite to them the news of Abraham,
When he said to his father and his people, what do you worship?
They said, we worship idols and remain to them devoted.
He said, do they hear you when you supplicate?
Or do they benefit you, or do they harm?
They said, but we found our fathers doing thus.
And every one of them will come to Him individually on the Day of Resurrection.
Say, “O People of the Scripture<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, come to a word that is equitable between us and you that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah.”
But if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].”
One group of the beliefs that are mainly based on communication is polytheism. The polytheist fills the vacuum of knowledge by assigning powers to what he/she observes. These powers assigned explicitly or implicitly may be like seeing, hearing, self-sustaining, self-organizing, communicating…
Almost all religions other than Islam including atheism, agnosticism, pantheism, and so on share such common grounds with polytheism. For example in polytheism certain powers are assigned to the idols the human beings made, or to the sun, moon and even to certain human beings that are identified as gods by human beings. Similarly, in atheism certain powers are assigned to the matter, objects or entities by human beings. And an atheist approach makes generalizations: when an experiment is done, its consequences are generalized universally, and the entity used in that experiment is given certain attributes. Certain relationships are named. And then there is an object that has certain powers. If another experiment changes the previous findings under certain circumstances, then the powers or attributes are redefined. What is invented and known to a certain extent is extended to what is unknown, as noted in the following:
“You do not serve besides Him but names which you have named, you and your fathers.”
A quote of Allah from a believer is relevant in this respect:
“Here are our people setting up gods beside Him. If only they could provide any proof to support their stand! Who is more evil than the one who fabricates lies and attributes them to Allah?”
This approach is pleasant for a human being as it requires the rejection of any personal power above the human being or above what the human being can manage. This approach does not require submitting to a personal power higher than the human being. It requires adoring things that human beings have made, such as idols/statutes with eyes, ears made by human beings or forces and relationships defined by human beings… This approach states that physical entities at the level of a human being are able to make this universe exist. However, this approach cannot have any proof that supports itself as it is very partial, subjective and its conclusions are subject to change.
In the following verse we see a reference to the motivation underlying such approaches:
Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him?
Each party rejoices in that which is with itself.
One of the definitions of the concept of god may be “the cause of all” as we can partially conclude from the following verses:
Say: “All is from Allah.”
That is Allah, your Lord;
There is no deity except Him,
The Creator of all things.
Everyone believes in certain explanations for whatever he observes. In other words, except for the unconscious, everyone believes in certain thing(s) that corresponds to god. The highest level of each individual’s explanations for all he observes corresponds to the concept of god<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> in Islam. For example, a certain Christian may believe that Jesus-Christ (Peace be upon him) is he from whom everything comes; so for this Christian Jesus-Christ corresponds to god. For example, an atheist may believe that the physical forces and relationships are things because of which everything happens; so for this atheist these physical forces and relationships correspond to the concept of god. Naturally all of these cannot be true at the same time, because they are different.
So, based on the above definition that god is the cause of all, the discussion should not be on whether God exists or not<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. Rather it should be on who the Real God is, and who the real cause of all is. Is the Real God a group of related or unrelated physical laws and forces, god of sun or god of moon, a human being… or is He someone who is self-sufficient and incomparable with all these things?
So, know that:
There is no god but Allah.
Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him.
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, “O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allah. Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.”
Allah forgives not that a partner should be ascribed unto Him<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
He forgives (all) save that to whom He will.
Whoso ascribes partners to Allah, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.
As partially explained above, multiple gods in the form of idols, or sun or moon, or gods in the forms of physical forces or relationships do not have any basis and are strongly rejected in Islam. Human beings or other parts of this universe are not parts, representatives, forms, and versions of Allah.
Then if we reject the false gods, we will be together with the true God as in the experience of Abraham (Peace be upon him):
And thus did We show Abraham the realm of the heavens and the earth that he would be among the certain [in faith].
So when the night covered him [with darkness], he saw a star. He said, “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said, “I like not those that disappear.”
And when he saw the moon rising, he said, “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said, “Unless my Lord guides me, I will surely be among the people gone astray.”
And when he saw the sun rising, he said, “This is my lord; this is greater.” But when it set, he said, “O my people, indeed I am free from what you associate with Allah.
Indeed, I have turned my face toward He who created the heavens and the earth, inclining toward truth, and I am not of those who associate others with Allah.”
Deep inside everyone there is or was the faith in Allah: At a certain stage while we had not invented false gods Allah has brought our souls into existence, questioned us and we have all witnessed to Him being our Lord. This is explained in the following verse:
And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam from their backs their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.”
“This is my way.
I call to Allah with sure knowledge,
I and whoever follows after me.”
In Islam the methodology to understand Allah starts with the feelings of thankfulness, carefulness, observation of the universe and reasoning.
Almost every person who is thankful and careful would ask these questions: Where all the favors we experience come from? Where the painful things come from? Why I was born? Why do I live? Almost every logical person would ask: Why what we observe is the way it is?
Then we would allocate some effort to observing and reasoning on what we observe.
Then as a product gives us an idea about its producer, so this universe also will give us -the believers- an idea about its Creator. For example, when one sees the Sultanahmet Mosque, he will have an idea about its architect, that he has certain abilities about mathematics, beauty, team-building, financing, planning and so on. Like this, the universe that we observe also gives us ideas about its Creator.
The Creator is not for us, we are for the Creator, therefore, He is not according to our expectations; but He is according to Himself and according to the correct conclusions that we may make under His guidance about what we observe objectively in the universe. Allah says as follows:
But if the Truth had followed their desires, the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them would have been ruined.
In this respect, in the Quran, Allah makes lots of references to the physical, biological, astronomical facts and events.
Everything in this universe is a sign that shows us the unity, the powers, and certain attributes of Allah.
As nothing other than Allah is neither self-sufficient nor creator, everything is the outcome of the attributes of Allah. Therefore everything shows us certain attributes of Allah<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. Below are some examples.
And it is He Who produces gardens trellised and untrellised, and datepalms, and crops of different shape and taste (its fruits and its seeds) and olives, and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar.
In our universe we observe multiple things that are similar or comparable. For example, there are billions of electrons, billions of similar atoms, plants, and animals… For instance the electrons are distinct entities, but they are similar and are subject to the same rules.
And as this universe is mathematical<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, whether we look into micro or macro levels; or in the past or in the future, we always observe the same situation in everything. Whatever is the scale, we can divide in different dimensions and have parts that are distinct but that are same or comparable.
This shows us that the source of all is the same and that all is created and sustained by the same Creator, Designer. Otherwise, we would not be able to observe even two similar electrons.
Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent
[He] who created death and life to test you as to which of you is best in deed
And He is the Majestic, the Forgiving [and] who created seven heavens in layers.
You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency.
So return (your) vision (to the sky); do you see any breaks?
Then return (your) vision twice again.
(Your) vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued.
Another sign of the unity of the Creator of All is that everything in this universe is part of systems.
An electron in our eye may be part of an atom, of a cell, of our eye, of our head, of our body, of the solar system… or it may be part of other systems.
Our eyes, our ears, the earth, the moon, the sun, a stone, a bird… they are all parts of systems. Whatever sample we take, whatever picture we take we will see that it is part of systems and that it contains systems and parts of systems. Everything is functional in relation to many things.
They all have meanings in terms of functionality and in relation to others. We can see this even within simultaneous things in a photo we take. The causality is also just a part of this whole and just a consequence of the unity above all.
On the other hand, though the parts do not have the power to plan, to organize or to analyze they exist and they act in harmony within and outside themselves.
The things that form systems and act harmoniously show that they are defined by One Creator and that they are under the control of this Creator and Sustainer. Otherwise no system could keep its existence, and we would not be able to do science, to understand anything, to predict, to calculate, to invent…
As we see in the following verses, everything is “subject” to the acts of Allah:
Then do they not look at the camels how they were created?
And at the sky how it was raised?
And at the mountains how they were erected?
And at the earth how it was spread out?
So remind, [O Muhammad]; you are only a reminder.
You are not over them a controller.
Again, as we see in the following verses, our hearing capacity, eyes, hearts, and the earth; they are all for a reason; and in this sense they are under one unity:
And it is He who produced for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful. And it is He who has multiplied you throughout the earth, and to Him you will be gathered.
Likewise, all creatures exist for many reasons, and they are similar to us in certain aspects as stated in the following verse:
And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except that they are communities like you.
And as we notice in the following verse, everything exalts Him, and everything is the servant of Allah, and they are sustained by Allah:
The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allah] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving.
And it is He who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy, and We send down from the sky pure water that We may bring to life thereby a dead land and give it as drink to those We created of numerous livestock and men.
Our ability to relate things to others within the dimension of time also shows us the unity above all: The rain drops, then the seeds split, then the plants grow, and then the animals eat the plants… The sequential harmonious events show the One Power above all. Everything has a direction, has a goal.
When it rains, Allah has already goals in the rain. But according to the disbelieving approach, the rain is just an isolated physical event; when it rains, nobody has any goal to produce by making to rain.
However, real life is not like a movie illusion. In a movie we feel for example that we see a flying bird, although there are just static pictures that come one after another at a certain speed. If we zoom in to the descent of the rain in real terms of time, to the minutest detail, we cannot reach a real level where there is only a picture. In every level there is a movement, energy, a direction. So, in fact, if we zoom in within the dimension of time, we always see that the causes and the outcomes are together. At no level we will be able to see only the outcomes, or only the causes. Therefore, the causes cannot be considered as isolated from the outcomes<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>; and they cannot be considered as the ultimate origin of what we observe.
So, the past is based on the future, as the future is based on the past. And all is based on the will of the One Allah as we see in the example in the following verses:
And (We) sent down, from the rain clouds, pouring water; that We may bring forth thereby grain and herbs.
You will find further details related to the sequential unity in part 3.6 under the heading “Destiny”.
“O Allah, Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will.
You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will.
In Your hand is [all] good.
Indeed, You are over all things competent.
You cause the night to enter the day, and You cause the day to enter the night;
And You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living.
And You give provision to whom You will without account.”
When we observe the universe, we see that its parts are subject to change. For example there is the death, there is the life; there is the night, there is the day. This is also the situation in subatomic levels, and galactic levels.
And if the parts of a whole are subject to change, then its totality is also subject to change. For example, if I can melt and change the parts of a car, then I can redesign and change the car. Therefore, this universe, including all of its matter, its physical laws, its biological rules and its totality can be designed and created in different forms, structures.
Some scientists claim that they can explain everything with the physical laws, relationships, and so on; according to them, because of physical laws and so on, this universe is what had to be; therefore there is no need for any god.
According to the Quran however, only Allah is absolute and anything else is subject to His Will. And as underlined in the above quote from the Quran along with the concept of change, He is Able to do whatever He wills. Nothing that we observe in our universe including the physical rules, relationships is absolute. Allah may create or may have created universes where physical rules, relationships are different. So no such physical rules or relationships can be used to ultimately explain why what we observe happens. And therefore, this entire universe is not a structure that had to be.
In the Quran there are examples which show that nothing is absolute except Allah. The following is one of them:
“And what is that in your right hand, O Moses?”
“It is my staff; I lean upon it, and I bring down leaves for my sheep, and I have therein other uses.”
[Allah] said; “Throw it down, O Moses.”
So he threw it down, and thereupon it was a snake, moving swiftly.
[Allah] said, “Seize it and fear not;
We will return it to its former state.”
If by a physical rule I explain something in Turkey but not in Germany, then this rule is not a fully valid physical rule in fact. Likewise, if by a rule I explain something only in this universe but nothing outside this universe, this rule is not an absolute rule.
This universe itself is a specially designed universe. This universe is just a choice of Allah. It is not the entire and absolute truth.
So if different kinds of universes may exist, the present scientific explanations are always local explanations. And they are not absolute. If we take them as absolute, this approach will not be scientific and it will artificially limit our knowledge potential.
Any knowledge related to science depends on our observations. If our observations were different, our scientific knowledge would be different as well. For example, the science claims to explain why the pen goes downwards when I let it. However, if it goes upwards when I let it, the science would claim to explain it again. Our scientific knowledge is reactive in nature. So it does not explain why things are the way they are, but it explains to a certain extent how things happen.
According to Islam, Allah gives His creatures their features and makes them happen. So, the physical, biological… rules are necessary for practical reasons and they increase the greatness of the art of Allah, the beauty and harmony in what we observe. We need these rules and features to understand “how” things happen, so that we can use them, so that we can invent machines, so that we can solve problems… But they are not absolute. Those are partial explanations of the experienced events.
According to Islam, the ultimate cause of what we observe and what we do not observe is the One Creator and the One Sustainer. Therefore to consider as absolute certain relationships which can be designed differently and to owe to them what we observe is not acceptable.
So, if this universe is just one of the alternatives, then only the One who has chosen the present alternative is absolute, and so “there is no god” “except Allah” who has the overall power over each thing.
Do not prostrate to the sun or to the moon,
but prostrate to Allah, who created them.
Do they have feet by which they walk?
Or do they have hands by which they strike?
Or do they have eyes by which they see?
Or do they have ears by which they hear?
Say, [O Muhammad],
“Call your ‘partners’ and then conspire against me and give me no respite.”
Each thing has an existence due to the will, power and knowledge of Allah. The elements of a thing and the systems that contain this thing also have such an existence due to the will, power and knowledge of Allah. This relationship between Allah and anything is unique. There is no similar relationship among things other than Allah. This is in parallel with the fundamental fact of Islam stated in the following verse:
There is no god but Allah.
Consequently no object we observe is self-sufficient or absolute. When I say “This table is small”, even the feature of smallness does not belong in fact to this table, this feature is not inside this table. The table is small only relatively to something else. The same holds true for the parts of the table as well. This analogy applies for other features of the table as well, including its mass, its energy, its functionality, its color… This is not only for our understanding but for the very being and for the very attributes of the table.
The table may not have any function over anything else except if it is defined together with other things as part of a well-established coordinate system with all its parts, defined by the same definer.
So, each of the things that we observe, need the unity of the “One” Creator and the “One” Sustainer above them in order to exist and in order to mean anything.
The unity of Allah above all, is concisely explained in the following verses:
“He is Allah, the One,
Allah is the Self-Sufficient<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
He neither begets nor is born.
And there is none comparable to Him.”
As we see in the following verse, everything that exists has its measure in the sight of Allah:
And everything with Him is by (due) measure.
Therefore, there is only One God and without His Unity above all, nothing can exist, nothing can mean anything, nothing can have any attributes. There are no other gods simultaneously or consecutively. He is an All-Encompassing God. He is the ultimate and immediate cause of all. He is not a partial cause.
And not absent from your Lord is any [part of an] atom’s weight within the earth or within the heaven or [anything] smaller than that or greater but that it is in a clear register.
Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Sovereignty, and, He is Able to do all things.
We can observe other examples which show that there is a unity above each thing and above all. For example, if I drop a pen on the ground, I know that until it reaches the ground, the earth will rotate a certain angle, or a photon on a star will go a certain distance. The photon cannot proceed a millimeter without the pen proceeding a certain distance, and vice versa.
However deep we go in the micro levels, however backwards we go in time, we observe the same situation.
The harmony of space-time and our ability to calculate, to compare, to predict and to enjoy show the unity above all. This harmony although there is multiplicity in this universe, shows that everything is subject to the will and powers of One All-Powerful God.
He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Beneficent, the Merciful.
He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Peace, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superior.
Glory to Allah! (High is He) above whatever they associate with Him.
He is Allah, the Creator, the Initiator, the Designer; to Him belong the most beautiful names.
Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Majestic, the Wise.
In the Quran, Allah lets us know many of His attributes. For example, The One, The Creator, The Designer, The Knower, the Beneficent, the Merciful, The Forgiver, The Near, The Truth, The Mighty Doer of What He Wills, …
His unity is very important in terms of all His attributes. For example a god who is not All-Powerful cannot be Creator. A god who does not have knowledge cannot be the Beneficent… Therefore in Islam there are not different gods who have different attributes. There is a reference to this in the following verse:
Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.
And He lets us know also that He is the Incomparable. He does not beget, nor is He begotten. He is neither male, nor female. He is not limited with space or time. So this is why His pictures cannot be drawn, and there are no pictures of Allah in the mosques or in any other Islamic places.
Allah is our best friend who is also the source of the biggest love<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. He is our permanent friend. One of His names is The Friend. He is with us wherever we are. He has full knowledge about us, and He has whole power over us. Allah knows us when we were in the wombs of our mothers, He knows us when we die. He knows our secrets, He knows our weaknesses. He does not need anything from us, but He gives us billions of favors each second. He calls us to His Mercy and Favors. But we are limited in responding to His calls.
Allah is Wise.
Everything comes ultimately from Him. As said in the Quran in chapter 53 verse 43, He is the one who makes to laugh and He is the one who makes to weep<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. But His Mercy is bigger.
Allah is The Near. He is Nearer to us even than our parents. There is no intermediary between us and Allah. Therefore, there is neither religious hierarchy nor religious class in Islam. For example if the imam who is the person who leads the prayer in mosques is not present, an engineer or a salesman or another person who knows how to pray may lead the prayer. Thus a Muslim prays only and directly to Allah.
Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?
On that Day We shall roll up the heavens like a scroll of writings; just as We originated the first creation, so shall We produce it again.
That is Our promise, and We will fulfill it.
[It will be] on the Day the earth will be replaced by another earth,
and the heavens [as well],
and all creatures will come out before Allah, the One, the Prevailing.
And you will see the criminals that Day bound together in shackles,
Has there [not] come upon man a period of time when he was not a thing [even] mentioned?
Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing.
Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful.
Indeed, We have prepared for the disbelievers chains and shackles and a blaze.
Indeed, the righteous will drink from a cup [of wine] whose mixture is of Kafur,
A spring of which the [righteous] servants of Allah will drink;
They will make it gush forth in force [and abundance].
They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows and fear a Day whose evil will be widespread.
And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive,
[Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah.
We wish not from you reward or gratitude.
Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful.”
So Allah will protect them from the evil of that Day,
And give them radiance and happiness
And will reward them for what they patiently endured with a garden [in Paradise] and silk [garments].
[They will be] reclining therein on adorned couches.
They will not see therein any (burning) sun or [freezing] cold.
And near above them are its shades,
And its clustered fruits to be picked will be lowered in compliance.
And there will be circulated among them vessels of silver and goblets of crystal,
And goblets made of crystal-clear silver of which they have determined the measure.
And they will be given to drink a cup [of wine] whose mixture is of ginger
[From] a fountain within Paradise named Salsabeel.
There will circulate among them young boys made eternal.
When you see them, you would think them (as beautiful as) scattered pearls.
And when you look there [in Paradise], you will see pleasure and great dominion.
Upon the inhabitants will be green garments of fine silk and brocade.
And they will be adorned with bracelets of silver,
And their Lord will give them a purifying drink.
[And it will be said], “Indeed, this is for you a reward,
And your effort has been appreciated.”
Indeed, the criminals will be in the punishment of Hell, abiding eternally.
(The torment) will not be lightened for them, and they will be plunged into destruction with deep regrets, sorrows and in despair therein.
And We did not wrong them, but it was they who were the wrongdoers.
And they will call, “O Malik<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, let your Lord put an end to us!”
He will say, “Indeed, you will remain.”
“We had certainly brought you the truth, but most of you, to the truth, were averse.”
Or have they devised [some] affair? But indeed, We are devising [a plan].
Or do they think that We hear not their secrets and their private conversations?
Yes, [We do], and Our messengers are with them recording.
On the Day We will say to Hell, “Have you been filled?” and it will say, “Are there some more,”
And Paradise will be brought near to the righteous, not far,
[It will be said], “This is what you were promised for every returner [to Allah] and keeper [of His covenant]
Who feared the Most Merciful unseen and came with a heart returning [in repentance].
Enter it in peace. This is the Day of Eternity.”
They will have whatever they wish therein,
And with Us is more.
Those will have a share of what they have earned, and Allah is swift in account.
One day we will die. And one day there will be the end of the present phase, that is to say our universe will collapse for a new startup, for the final, stable and permanent phase<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. This final phase is called the Hereafter.
The hereafter is a continuation of the present life. It is both physical and spiritual. The ending time of the present phase is not known by anyone other than Allah.
There will be some common and different elements between the present phase and the final phase. Physical, chemical and biological rules will be different to some extent than those experienced in the present phase.
The mixture of the good and bad that we see in the present universe will be removed and they will be distinguished in the next phase. The locations of the good and evil will be different. And the consequences of the good will be coupled with the good-doers, and the consequences of the evil will be coupled with the wrongdoers. The first will happen in the part called the paradise or the gardens, and the latter will happen in the part called the hell. Allah knows what other parts will be in the final phase.
As mentioned in the following verse, the rewards of Allah for the good-doers in the hereafter will be much more when compared with the punishment for the evildoers:
Whoever does an evil deed will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer, those will enter Paradise, being given provision therein without account.
And whoever desires the reward of this world We will give him thereof;
And whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter We will give him thereof.
And We will reward the grateful.
As we see in the above verse, we are invited in this life to make a decision which relates to the hereafter. So to make this decision we have to have a true knowledge about it.
And the hereafter is about the future from a human perspective.
So, to understand it, we can use the general tools we use to predict the future:
In worldly terms, we predict the future by making generalizations. For example, we see that a stone falls again and again when we let it again and again, then we say that it will fall the next time we let it. So, we expect the same event to happen under the same circumstances.
Also, an important concept in our predictions is the concept of “balance”. For example if I bought something worth USD200, this means that I will have to pay in the future USD200 under certain conditions.
Another tool we use to know the future is the information given by the ones who have a competence about the future events. For example we listen to the meteorology experts to know about the future weather conditions, and we plan according to what they say.
As long as we do not experience the hereafter observations, as human beings, we will have to use the above tools to predict the future. Therefore, in parallel with the Quran, our explanations about the hereafter will progress as follows: We will first reach conclusions about the acts of Allah based on our observations in our universe; we will make generalizations relating to them including the concept of balance; and we will confirm these with His words.
When we observe the universe, we see that Allah is Active and He has the ability and the will to recreate. The following verses state these facts:
Is not He, who created the heavens and earth, able to create the like of them? Yes indeed; He is the Creator, the All-knower.
As We originated the first creation, so shall We produce it again.
That is Our promise, and We will fulfill it.
Whatever we observe in this universe is a sign that shows us an Owner of unlimited powers above all. Our observation gives us a conclusion that this All-Powerful is the source of billions of favors and that He puts His powers into action. And also we conclude that He is also able to use His powers more extensively.
When we observe the universe, we see that relating to Allah there are two determinants of the recreation: The first of these is the ability of Allah to recreate, and the second is His will to recreate. The second will relate to the existence of certain reasons and goals for Him in recreating.
If “a person” has the “means” and “reasons” to do something and if that person “promises” to do it, if he has integrity then most probably he will do it. In this universe we see clearly that Allah is very strict in performing His actual plan.
So in the following parts we will analyze the means and reasons regarding the hereafter.
Of course Allah who has created and who creates is also able to recreate as we see in the following verses:
Does man think that We will not assemble his bones?
Yes indeed; we are able to reconstruct his fingertips<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
And as we see in the following verses, the Creator who created us in the first place is naturally able to recreate us:
And they say, “When we are bones and crumbled particles, will we [truly] be resurrected as a new creation?”
Say, “Be you stones or iron; or [any] creation of that which is great within your breasts.” And they will say, “Who will restore us?”
Say, “He who brought you forth the first time.”
And as we see in the following verse creating one single soul or the whole mankind does not make any difference for Allah in terms of easiness:
Your creation and your resurrection are as but as a single soul.
In the past, an argument about the hereafter has been the impossibility of the recreation. But today, this argument does not seem to be very sustainable along with the discoveries in genetics.
As explained above, because of the absolute “unity” of this All-Powerful God, there would be no one who would limit His powers.
So we cannot expect Him to limit Himself to create only one universe with only temporary consequences.
These are all conclusions we can base on our observations of the present universe.
He creates what He wills.
The universe in which we live is just a special structure of universe among an unlimited number of alternatives. There is no fact that obliges us to believe that this is the only possible shape of a universe. If it is not the only shape of a possible universe and if it came into existence then there has been a personal choice for its entire actual state. And as we explained in the above parts, there are enough evidences that show us the One power over it.
If this universe is the consequence of a personal will, then there will be goals for it at the level of the relevant person who is of a higher level than this universe.
On the other hand, although we observe that every part of this universe is for certain goals, and it constitutes a unity in itself, we also see that it is temporary and not self-sufficient. Therefore it is neither entirely self-defining nor entirely complete in itself in terms of goal for its very own existence.
Therefore we may expect a successive stage of somewhat different nature where the personal goals of the higher level will be accomplished.
Having considered above the ability of Allah to recreate, let us now consider to a certain extent the reasons to recreate. In the following we will consider how our observations lead us to understand the hereafter in terms of reasons:
He is the Omnipotent over His servants,
and He is the Wise, the Knower.
O People, if you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed,
We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed that We may show you.
And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as infants, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity.
And among you is he who is taken in early death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing.
And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful pair.
That is because Allah is the Truth and because He gives life to the dead and because He is over all things competent and [that they may know] that the Hour is coming no doubt about it and that Allah will resurrect those in the graves.
And of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening book [from Him],
As we see in the above verses, when we observe the universe, we see that things happen for certain reasons and toward certain goals. In the above verses, Allah gives the example of the creation of a human being, different things created during this creation, and different stages toward a certain goal. Nothing in these stages is coincidental, nothing is useless. In the very nature of everything Allah has put this feature that everything is at least for one reason, and Allah sustains this feature of everything. Whatever we observe shows us that the Creator and the Sustainer is Wise, and whatever He creates complies with His attributes.
So can we say that in its wholeness this universe does not have a goal?
Then did you think that We created you uselessly
and that to Us you would not be returned?
And We created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, for mere play,
We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know.
As everything is for at least one reason, we understand that Allah is wise. Therefore, the creation of this universe in its entirety also must be with a reason.
As an example to clarify this, suppose that you find a pen somewhere. You know that this was made so that it would be used to write. Why? Because, firstly, it was designed in that shape; secondly some material was consumed to make it; thirdly, the material used for it could be used for another purpose; fourthly, the one who made it knows about making a pen, knows about writing; fifthly, if there was no such a reason, then the effort spent to design and to make it would be just a waste, which is not something reasonable, but the person who is able to make it, should be reasonable.
Like this example, when we observe the universe, we see that with its galaxies, with its planets, with its lives, with its physical laws, with its systems, with the arts in it, with its beauties, it cannot be made uselessly. The same applies for us as well. If we consider our ability to analyze, our ears, eyes… we may conclude that we have not been created just to eat, drink and sleep, and disappear forever.
Therefore as the parts of this universe are temporary, and as it is a huge product, it is apparent that it is created for certain goals. Otherwise it would be a waste.
On the other hand, we do not have any sound reason to claim that the death is the end. The death is just one of the stages. Even when we were earth, or even before that, there was the will of Allah about each of us; therefore we undergo stages. Through death, we return to the earth, but there is no definite evidence that the stages have been completed. And we are informed in the following verses that the stages will continue until the conclusive stage:
You shall certainly travel from stage to stage (in this life and in the Hereafter).
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection.
So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise will have succeeded.
And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
As we see in the following statement from the Quran this part of life in this temporary world is just for certain reasons, and this stage of life is not the essential part of life:
And he who believed said: “O my people! Follow me, I will guide you to the right course;
O my people! This worldly life is only the means (to an end),
But the hereafter will be the abode of stability.”
(Quran: 40/ 38-39)
Some of the reasons are as follows:
He (Allah) is the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Your Lord is a sovereign doer of what He wills.
Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment,
And boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children,
Like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers;
Then it dries and you see it turned yellow;
Then it becomes [scattered] debris.
And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval.
And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.
If Allah is Beneficent and Mighty Doer of what He wills, then He may create an environment where He can bestow His favors.
Allah the Beneficent tells us that He willed and is able to give permanent favors. The place of these permanent favors is the paradise which is perfect to the extent that Allah wills. In this place, there is no pain, no fear, no enemy, no scarcity of resources and no sorrow. In this place there is happiness and peace<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
Allah has also willed to put there beings who have certain knowledge and powers. He created the human beings with the potentials and the abilities to choose the good or the evil; to do and to know the good as well as the evil as we see in the following verse:
And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will.
But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.”
But also Allah has forbidden the entrance of the bad, arrogant, untruthful, and ungrateful in the paradise. There is a reference to this fact in the following verse:
But the Messiah said:
“Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. He who associates anything with Allah, Allah has indeed forbidden Paradise to him, and his abode shall be in the Fire.
The wrongdoers shall have no helpers.”
Thus, He allows the entrance in this paradise for the human beings who sincerely choose to enter there, who are in harmony with the divine values and who do good deeds. So, the essential and permanent place where His favors will happen is the paradise as explained in the following verses:
For those who do good (deeds) is the goodness and extra.
No darkness will cover their faces, nor humiliation.
Those are companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally.
But they who earn evil doings, the recompense of an evil deed is its equivalent, and humiliation will cover them.
They will have from Allah no protector.
It will be as if their faces are covered with pieces of the night so dark [are they].
Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.
In the context of the permanent favors of Allah, one of the reasons for which He has created us in this phase in this universe is to give us the opportunity to make our choices as to the present and final stages. In the following verses He clarifies this:
And whoever desires the reward of this world We will give him thereof;
and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter We will give him thereof.
And We will reward the grateful.
And say, “The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills let him believe; and whoever wills let him disbelieve.”
Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful.
In the context of the permanent favors of Allah, the second reason for which He has created us in this phase is to distinguish with objective criteria the ones who are good from the ones who are evil, the ones who try to obey Allah and comply with the divine values from the ones who do not, the ones who are humble from the ones who are arrogant, and so on. The following verse makes reference to this:
Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.
Consequently, Allah will bestow His permanent favors to those who choose to believe in them and who want them, who benefit from the messages of Allah and who choose to comply with the divine values.
These are all the natural consequences of a god who is Beneficent and Active.
And in paradise it will be witnessed permanently that Allah is the Beneficent.
Allah is the Truth.
That He should prove the truth to be true,
And the false to be false,
Even though the criminals disliked it.
“And indeed, we or you are either upon guidance or in clear error.”
Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it.
Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant.
[It was] so that Allah may punish the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the men and women who associate others with Him and that Allah may accept repentance from the believing men and believing women.
And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
So the truth was established, and abolished was what they were doing.
Will the truth be hidden or stay in the state of knowledge forever?
There are purposes regarding us. We are part of the scene for the execution of truth.
Allah knows the truth. But the consequences of the truth also would be executed. He created this universe, He created many creatures that taste His powers and His Mercy and He created us. He enabled us to distinguish between the right and wrong, bad and good. And He created billions of signs about the truth in our selves, in the earth and in the skies. And He has shown us the truth and the right path in His messages which He sent through His messengers. And He gave us the freedom to choose the path we want. And He gave us a certain time so that we find out the truth.
He required us to be in harmony with the truth in our beliefs, words and actions.
Now, in this world there are people of different opinions, beliefs, and actions. And one day, we will die. And on one day -we do not know its timing-, this universe will collapse for a new start. And then it will be replaced. Then everyone will be recreated both physically and spiritually. And everyone will be given the records of what he or she believed in, said and did in the present part of our lives. And there will be the judgment day when Allah will judge with full justice.
Then those people who are in harmony with the truth in their beliefs, words and deeds will be rewarded and directed to the relevant places in paradise. Those people who did not comply with the truth will be punished and directed to the relevant places in hell.
In this way, the truth will have produced its consequences and the truth will be executed. Minus times minus makes plus, plus times plus makes plus. Like this, both the trueness of the truth, and the falseness of the false will be apparent. Their consequences will be executed. This will happen in the punishment for the bad deeds and in the rewarding for the good deeds. And, as said in the Quran:
So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it; and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.
As a result, in all dimensions and in all degrees, the truth will be apparent for all and executed. Let us remind here that one of the names of Allah is the Truth<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>.
As the truth is eternal, the consequences of complying or non-complying with it in belief will be forever.
But those who disbelieve say, “The Hour will not come to us.”
Say, “Yes, by my Lord, it will surely come to you. [Allah is] the Knower of the unseen.”
Not absent from Him is an atom’s weight within the heavens or within the earth or [what is] smaller than that or greater, except that it is in a clear register.
That He may reward those who believe and do righteous deeds.
Those will have forgiveness and noble provision.
But those who strive against Our verses [seeking] to cause failure for them will be a painful punishment of foul nature.
It is He who has appointed you viceroys in the earth, and has raised some of you in rank above others, that He may try you in what He has given you. Surely your Lord is swift in retribution; and surely He is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.
Everything belongs to Him.
And the heaven He raised and established the balance.
Allah has established balance in this universe. For example, any physical equation or chemical equation comes true when we do an experiment. And if it does not come true, we say that “We” made a mistake. These show us the importance of balance for the Creator.
Thus, we take the balance in the physical world as granted. This shows us that Allah wills and is able to establish balance in the minutest details. So, Allah who is able and who willed to establish this balance in the physical world is of course able to establish such a balance in the universe of good and evil. And He informs us that He is resolute in establishing such a balance<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> as we notice in the following verses:
So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it,
And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.
And Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth and so that every soul may be recompensed for what it has earned, and they will not be treated unjustly.
Indeed, this Quran guides to that which is most suitable,
And gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.
And that those who do not believe in the Hereafter
We have prepared for them a painful punishment.
For those who are convinced about the authority of Allah, the direct logical link to the hereafter is the message of Allah, who is the All-Powerful and All-Knower.
Allah is the best Knower of what will happen, so only He can inform us perfectly about the hereafter, as underlined in the following verse:
And none can inform you like one who is All-Aware.
Moreover, for any believer in an all-knower and all-powerful god, a message like the Quran may not escape the knowledge of such a god. Like the Quran, in both the Torah and the Gospel there are references to the hereafter as well. An all-knower and all-powerful god has the power to prevent or correct the widely accepted messages about the hereafter given in His name by some people, had those messages been misleading. For any believer in a god who is powerful and knower, would it be possible that the god does not eliminate wide-spread falsehood spoken in his name? Allah says the following on this issue:
Or do they say, “He has invented about Allah a lie”?
But if Allah willed, He could seal over your heart.
And Allah eliminates falsehood and establishes the truth by His words.
Indeed, He is Knowing of that within the breasts.
Or do they say, “He has invented it?”
Say, “If I have invented it, you possess naught for [protecting] me from Allah. He is most knowing of that in which you are involved.
Sufficient is He as Witness between me and you, and He is the Forgiving the Merciful.”
Has he invented about Allah a lie or is there in him madness?
Rather, they who do not believe in the Hereafter will be in the punishment and [are in] extreme error.
Then, do they not look at what is before them and what is behind them of the heaven and earth?
If We should will, We could cause the earth to swallow them or [could] let fall upon them fragments from the sky.
Indeed in that is a sign for every servant turning back [to Allah].
And remember Our servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - Those of strength and [religious] vision.
Indeed, We chose them for an exclusive quality:
Remembrance of the home [of the Hereafter].
There are practical consequences of believing in the hereafter, for both individuals and society as explained in the following:
And he who believed said: “O my people! Follow me, I will guide you to the right course;
O my people! This worldly life is only the means (to an end),
But the hereafter will be the abode of stability.”
(Quran: 40/ 38-39)
And Iblees<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> had already confirmed through them his assumption, so they followed him, except for a party of believers.
And he had over them no authority except [it was decreed] that We might make evident who believes in the Hereafter from who is thereof in doubt.
And your Lord, over all things, is Guardian.
The provision of this world’s life is but little as compared with the Hereafter.
And they will say,
“Praise to Allah, who has removed from us [all] sorrow.
Indeed, our Lord is Forgiving and Appreciative.
Who of His bounty has made us to dwell in the abode of everlasting life wherein no weariness assails us neither fatigue.”
And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement.
And indeed, the home of the Hereafter, that is the (eternal) life, if only they knew.
On one hand, we have a lifetime which is like a point when compared with the huge timeframe, and on the other there is a huge effort within us for eternity. If not reconciled, this conflict will be the source of sorrow and disharmony with the truth.
Our life in this world is very little when compared with what we can conceive. Whatever worldly joy we enjoy, and whatever pain we suffer in this life will be left behind. Whether we live in the most luxurious homes, whether we occupy the highest posts, all of them will be left behind. So even if we want to forget that we are mortal or even if we do not remember, we have the knowledge in the depths of our consciousness that there will be an end to all our joys, pleasures, our travels, our meetings…
On the other hand, whatever we have, including our thoughts, feelings, organs, cells aim at eternity. For example, if the fire touches our hand, we pull it backwards willingly or unwillingly.
Are the mechanisms inside ourselves aiming for eternity consistent with the truth, or are they just illusions and shall we end and disappear forever?
The motivation within us for eternity and the knowledge that this life is too limited may cause huge sorrow and conflict. And indeed, the ending of the favors of Allah that we enjoy in this world might be a huge loss. It is difficult for a person to be happy while believing that everything will end by the death, while believing that one day he/she will not be able to see, to hear, to breathe, to move… forever.
So, this person may try to enjoy the joys of this life while trying to forget about the death. Trying to forget the death will require some struggle. Also, satisfying a soul which is enabled to comprehend the infinite with limited joys of this life is difficult. So, trying to satisfy one by only maximizing the worldly pleasures will cause serious disorders.
Therefore we often see examples of people who aim at doubling their wealth although they have billions of dollars, while there are millions of people who are hungry whom they do not help much. Also we see people who fail in their efforts to increase their worldly wealth legally and who try to get the rights of others in illegitimate ways. Again, we hear of people who tasted all pleasures of this life, but commit suicide because they see that they are not satisfied with the worldly pleasures.
But a person who knows where he goes to; who knows that this life is a preparation stage for the hereafter, that the death is just a stage to be passed will have reconciled his aspirations with an eternal life, both in reality and in thought. In this way, whatever he aims for will overlap with all the dimensions of his nature. And this person will not try to enjoy the joys of this life in an unbalanced way, and will benefit from the joys of this life in balance, peace, and happiness while giving thanks to the Creator.
And We establish the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection,
So no soul is treated unjustly at all.
And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth.
And sufficient are We as accountant.
(Quran : 21/47)
He is with you wherever you are
And Allah is Seer of what you do.
In this world, sometimes people who commit crimes against others go unpunished. The hope of getting undiscovered and unpunished can make some people commit or continue their crimes. But the fact that everything is recorded and will be recompensed discourages many people from committing crimes, and encourages many to do good deeds. And there are many actual examples in this respect.
Also the hopelessness of not being rewarded for good deeds to others, the sacrifices and pains necessary for these good deeds may prevent people from doing good deeds.
Therefore, a situation where the doers of good deeds and the wrongdoers see the consequences of their deeds will encourage the righteous for good deeds and discourage the evildoer from evil deeds. As a consequence belief in the hereafter causes and will cause the world be a better place.
Then shall we treat the Submitters like the criminals?
There are criminals who kill thousands of people, who steal billions of dollars, who upset many people. The end in this world is that they all go to the graveyard like the righteous. In many cases, this is a situation that can upset a person who cares about justice.
Therefore, the judgment day and the following procedures and consequences are important comforting facts for the ones who care about the justice.
Every soul will taste death.
Then to Us will you be returned.
You shall certainly travel from stage to stage (in this life and in the Hereafter).
In this world, we study, we increase our experience. However, all knowledgeable people, they die, they go away with their knowledge and experiences. Although these are inherited and used in some cases by the future generations, from a personal point of view, there is a blind alley in terms of improvement.
For a disbeliever in the hereafter, from a personal perspective, all the improvements become nothing for the relevant person at the point of death.
But for a believer in the hereafter, the death is just a stage. For him, every development and goal is governed with the ultimate goal of getting the pleasure of Allah. And this goal requires one to maximize the good works and to become better and better. And this work and this improvement must continue even until death.
And even after death and in the hereafter, as we see in the following verse, any remaining ill-feeling will be removed from the hearts of the good doers, and they will reach ultimate purification with the help of Allah:
And We will have removed whatever is within their breasts of resentment, [while] flowing beneath them are rivers.
And they will say, “Praise to Allah, who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us.
Certainly the messengers of our Lord had come with the truth.” And they will be called, “This is Paradise, which you have been made to inherit for what you used to do.”
So, for the believer in the hereafter, development is neither unnecessary nor fruitless as the death is not the end.
Those are the ones who have exchanged guidance for error and forgiveness for punishment. How patient they are in pursuit of the Fire!
Especially with the promise of the hell which is an unbearable place and with the promise of the paradise, a human being is driven to take a final decision either to follow what Allah requires or not. Otherwise one could decide that he could endure the punishment, and it would not be worth thinking much about god or about the period after the death. Thus he could argue that his disbelief was not because of his ungratefulness, but because he has been too busy to work on more important matters. The promise of an unbearable punishment closes the door to such hypocrisy.
So as a result of the hereafter a person who has been subject to the invitation of Allah will make a relevant decision in any case, and if he rejects, he will have taken on the risk like those who do so in the following verses:
And a believing man from the family of Pharaoh who had concealed his faith said, “Do you kill a man [merely] because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah’ while he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord?
And if he should be lying, then upon him is [the consequence of] his lie; but if he should be truthful, there will strike you some of what he promises you.”
Have you seen the one who forbids,
A servant when he prays?
Have you seen if he is upon guidance
Or enjoins righteousness?
Have you seen if he (the disbeliever) denies (Allah’s guidance) and turns away,
Does he not know that Allah sees?
No! If he does not desist, We will surely drag him by the forehead,
A lying, sinning forehead…
The hell may sound unfair to some. However, although in this world it may look like that, in the hereafter, it will not, because the disbelievers will then see that all things that they replaced Allah with were nothing and that everything comes from Allah. And they will bear witness that although they have clearly “seen” Allah’s signs, they have “chosen” entering the hell. Those who replaced Allah with the idols, the human beings, the natural forces, physical relationships, the objects, and so on will see that those things had no power at all.
One example about this from the Quran is as follows:
And [beware the Day] when Allah says, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?’”
He says, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right.
If I had said it, You would have known it.
You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself.
Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.
I said not to them except what You commanded me, to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You terminated my life (on earth), You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness.
If You should punish them indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them indeed it is You who is the Majestic, the Wise.”
Allah says, “This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness. For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great success.”
In the hereafter, the disbelievers will not be able to blame anyone but themselves. They will not have any argument at all that will show that they were reasonable in their beliefs in the false gods. This situation has been explained in the following verses:
And We had certainly brought them a Book which We detailed by knowledge -as guidance and mercy to a people who believe-.
Do they await except its result? The Day its result comes those who had ignored it before will say, “The messengers of our Lord had come with the truth, so are there [now] any intercessors to intercede for us or could we be sent back to do other than we used to do?”
They will have lost themselves,
And lost from them is what they used to invent.
And if [as much as] a breath of the punishment of your Lord should touch them, they would surely say, “O woe to us! Indeed, we have been evildoers.”
And [when] the true promise has approached; then suddenly the eyes of those who disbelieved will be staring [in horror, while they say], “O woe to us; we had been unmindful of this; rather, we were evildoers.”
On the other hand, a Muslim has to request from Allah entrance into paradise and protection from hell. This is considered as duty, prayer, consequence of his humility and part of his servantship.
And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.
And certainly did Our (angel) messengers come to Abraham with good tidings;
They said, “Peace.” He said, “Peace,” and did not delay in bringing [them] a roasted calf.
But when he saw their hands not reaching for it, he distrusted them and felt from them apprehension.
They said, “Fear not. We have been sent to the people of Lot.”
And to Allah prostrates whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth of creatures, and the angels [as well], and they are not arrogant.
The angels are creations of Allah that are not defined with the physical or biological rules that we know. They do not have gender; they do not reproduce, do not eat, and do not drink. They perform certain duties given by Allah; they do not choose to disobey Allah.
And We did not send before you, [O Muhammad], any of the messengers except that they ate food and walked in the markets.
And We have made some of you [people] as trial for others,
Will you have patience?
And ever is your Lord, Seeing.
Allah has essentially related His messages to mankind through people He has chosen. These people are called the messengers of Allah.
The messengers are by nature like other human beings. But they are at a high level in terms of certain human qualifications such as moral values. The main reason they have received the divine message is the choice of Allah. There is a reference to this fact in the following verse:
[He is] the Exalted above [all] degrees, Owner of the Throne; He places the inspiration of His command upon whom He wills of His servants to warn of the Day of Meeting.
The messengers who had values as truthfulness, kindness, thankfulness, righteousness to a great extent are also role models for mankind as we see in the following verses:
There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.
And indeed, (O Muhammad) you are of a great moral character.
And We gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - all [of them] We guided. And Noah, We guided before. And among his descendants, David and Solomon and Job and Joseph and Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward the doers of good.
And Zechariah and John and Jesus and Elias and all were of the righteous.
And Ishmael and Elisha and Jonah and Lot - and all [of them] We preferred over the worlds.
And [some] among their fathers and their descendants and their brothers - and We chose them and We guided them to a straight path.
That is the guidance of Allah by which He guides whomever He wills of His servants. But if they had associated others with Allah, then worthless for them would be whatever they were doing.
Those are the ones to whom We gave the Scripture and authority and prophethood. But if the disbelievers deny it, We have already entrusted it to a people who are not disbelievers therein.
Those are the ones whom Allah has guided, so from their guidance take an example.
Say, “I ask of you for this message no payment. It is not but a reminder for the worlds.”
(Quran: 6/ 84-90)
It is very important that Allah sent His messages through messengers whom He has assigned from among the human beings. That He has chosen human beings like us and that He shows them as examples for us is an important fact that motivates us and gives us the hope that we can be successful in the way that Allah shows us. Otherwise, we could not be hopeful about being successful.
Also thanks to the messengers who were like us and the example events, challenges they experienced, and their reactions as human beings we can understand how we have to behave as human beings<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. For this reason Allah gave many examples of these human beings in the Quran and other holy books: We can see in the Quran how they behaved as a friend, as a leader, as a family member, as a government officer, as a judge, as a servant of Allah, as a person who committed a mistake, as a person who suffered, as a young person, as an old person… The historical records especially about the last Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) show in great detail how he behaved as a businessman, as a husband, as a statesman, as a neighbor, as a teacher… We also see in them how to be thankful, kind, helpful, patient, just, humble…
Allah could have related His messages through just angels or books. But in this case, we could not find examples as fathers, as friends, as leaders, as family members, as businessmen… who are approved by Allah. On the other hand, in this case we might say for example, “But these are angels, and we are not angels, so how can we hope to be successful?” But as Allah has chosen as role models people from among ourselves, who had similar strengths and weaknesses, who have eaten, got married, did business, asked for forgiveness, had health problems, died… then, we can hope to be successful, because we are of the same nature as the messengers and Allah tells us that they were successful.
The messengers predicted certain future messengers as we see in the predictions about Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Some of those predictions are as follows<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>:
In the Old Testament/ Deuteronomy/18/18-19 we see the following statements: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>”
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was not Jewish, but he came from the offspring of Prophet Abraham through his son Ishmael (Peace be upon them). Therefore, the future messenger is said to be raised from “among their brethren”, neither from among “their offspring” nor from among “themselves”. And that prophet would be “like unto” Moses (Peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was indeed like Moses (Peace be upon him) in many ways such as being also a worldly leader.
Also Allah put His words in his “mouth” and “he spoke unto his people” all that Allah “commanded him”: Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) never read anything, never wrote anything in his life, as predicted he recited the Quran, the word of Allah. This book was written in his memory<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> and it was only the scribes who wrote it down.
Again Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had victory over his opponents, which confirms also what is said in the above verse of Deuteronomy as “it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”
Also, in the New Testament, in the gospel of John, part 16 verses 12-13 Jesus-Christ (Peace be upon him) says that he was not able to relate to his people certain truth as they were not able to bear it. And he gives the good news that another messenger who will lead to all truth will come: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the spirit of the truth<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.”
These predictions were also what exactly happened with Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who was unlettered as we clearly see in the Quran:
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him it is those who will be the successful.
Neither did you (O Muhammad) read any book before it (this Quran), nor did you write any book (whatsoever) with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted.
We will make you recite (the Quran), [O Muhammad], and you will not forget,
It is miraculous that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who knew neither writing nor reading related a book as the Quran. The people who have written a book or maybe only a comprehensive text may imagine how it would not be possible to compose a book without being able to write nor to read. And to write a book like the Quran would be even impossible for someone who is literate as mentioned in the challenge in the following verse:
And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful.
The arrival of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is also a confirmation of Moses and Jesus (Peace be upon them) in that their predictions were not in vain.
So, in harmony with the predictions of previous messengers, approximately 1400 years ago, Allah, related to human beings His spoken message for the last time, through His final Messenger to all mankind called Muhammad (Peace be upon him). In the following verse there is a reference to this fact:
Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And Allah has full knowledge of all things.
As Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) successfully delivered the final and complete message of Allah to mankind without any ambiguities, and as this message is historically protected, there is no need for further messengers. And indeed after him there has not come any messenger like him or Moses or Jesus (Peace be upon them) with clear miracles and signs.
The messengers came with miracles which show that they and the messages they brought are approved by Allah who is absolute and who has power over all things. The miracles of the prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (Peace be upon them) are widely known. The messengers do not have the powers to produce these miracles, but Allah has.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also was subject to many miracles with the power of Allah: Among hundreds of historically recorded miracles the most important is the Quran which is a book full of wisdom. The Quran contains also many scientific facts that were not known by human beings in the age it was revealed<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. There is information in the Quran about the events that happened many centuries before the time of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), about secret and private events in his time, about the future were another group of miracles. In the words of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also we see similar extraordinary information.
Miracles relating to supernatural events like the splitting of the moon, miracles relating to healing cases normally impossible to heal, miracles relating to increasing food and water, miracles relating to the protection of the messenger are some other kinds of miracles that were historically recorded and witnessed by hundreds of people. Some of those are mentioned in the Quran.
The messengers came to the mankind and they are not identified based on Christianity or Judaism or any special ethnicity. There are explanations about this in the following verses:
Or do you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants were Jews or Christians? Say, “Are you more knowing or is Allah?” And who is more unjust than one who conceals a testimony he has from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of what you do.
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim (submitting to Allah). And he was not of the polytheists.
All those mentioned in the Quran as messengers are males. As the messengership is an extremely dangerous job, this is natural. Almost in all cases some disbelievers attempted to test Allah or tried to stop the promotion of His message by harming His messengers, by insulting, threatening, injuring, boycotting, killing them, their friends, their relatives… The invitation to Allah required continual hard works day and night. All these might cause a woman messenger to undergo additional difficulties, unbearable pain, and insufficient communication of the message. Due to their special attributes and situations, we observe for example that women mostly do not prefer to work in many difficult sectors such as construction, mining… International Labor Organization set regulations, limitations and recommendations for women regarding night work, dangerous work, pregnancy leaves, and privacy requirements… So it is wise that Allah restricted the messengership of women.
However, Allah mentions in the Quran that He chose and set as example certain women. Mary and the wife of Pharaoh (Peace be upon them) mentioned in the Quran are examples in this respect.
He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel.
We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories in what We have revealed to you of this Quran although you were, before it, among the unaware.
Say, “Have you considered: if it (the Quran) is from Allah and you disbelieved in it, who would be more astray than one who is in extreme dissension?”
And certainly We have made the Qur’an easy to understand, but is there anyone who will mind?
Islam requires belief in the Holy Books of Allah as we see in the above verses. In the Quran, the holy books related through Muhammad, Jesus, Moses and David (Peace be upon them) have been mentioned by name; but we know through the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that there have been many other messengers. They also related the messages of Allah.
The books of Allah are His messages related to mankind through His messengers in order to give mankind fundamental knowledge, so that they are guided, so that they may reflect upon it, so that they do not follow blind faiths, and so that they may be successful. The following verse makes reference to this:
This [Quran] is a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.
This knowledge relates to Allah, the human being, the universe, the truth, the life, the hereafter, the goals, the way, the success, where we come from, where we go to, what we need to do, how we have to be, the relevant examples, and many other critical issues some of which you see in this book which you read. The words of Allah with its style or its content give us objective and direct information about Himself as does an object, a living creature, and a positive or negative event. This knowledge is useful for success in this world and in the sight of Allah.
In an introductory verse of the Quran Allah says:
This is the book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for the righteous.
Some aspects of this knowledge were unknown by human beings. In the following there is a reference to this:
Read, and your Lord is the most Generous
Who taught by the pen
Taught the human what he did not know.
The holy books before the Quran have been subject to human intervention. In the following verses there are references to this:
And they did not appraise Allah with true appraisal when they said, “Allah did not reveal to a human being anything.”
Say, “Who revealed the Scripture that Moses brought as light and guidance to the people?
You [Jews] make it into pages, disclosing [some of] it and concealing much.
And you were taught that which you knew not - neither you nor your fathers.”
Say, “Allah [revealed it].” Then leave them in their [empty] discourse, amusing themselves.
Do you covet [the hope, O believers], that they would believe for you while a party of them used to hear the words of Allah<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> and then distort it after they had understood it while they were knowing?
Among them there are some illiterates who do not know their Holy Book; they follow their own desires and do nothing but conjecture.
So woe to those who write the scripture with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.
However, as Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was the last of the messengers, in the following verse Allah gives the guarantee to protect the book brought by him:
Indeed, it is We who sent down the Quran and indeed, We will be its guardian.
And historically the Quran was protected.
This is the book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for the righteous.