Which one do you choose?
Sikander Ziad Hashmi, sunniforum.com
Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard about a variety of happenings in the news: a 5 year-old child dropped onto a highway from an overpass by her father (who then jumped to his death), a beauty contest in the works, and a woman leading ‘mixed-gender’ prayers.
All involve Muslims.
Some have brought sadness and shock; others have spurred debates, not to mention raising the ire of many around the globe.
But what’s really leading us Muslims to these things?
I thought hard about it and figured it comes to a combination of things. But one really stands out: Do we see Islam as merely something we believe in or does it go further? Is Islam for us simply a faith or is it a way of life?
If we understand Islam as being the former, then all of the above mentioned actions are understandable, because the profession of faith then is just that – a mere profession - and nothing more. In that case, we have full liberty to do things the way we see fit and do what we feel whenever we feel like it, without having to worry about what Islam teaches us - explicitly or implicitly - and what the correct approach may be to the array of situations we may be faced with. It’s our problem and it’s only up to us to decide how we’re going to go about it.
Fine. It’s also called following the desires.
Allah Almighty told Dawood (AS):
“…follow not your desire for it will mislead you from the Path of Allah. Verily! Those who wander astray from the Path of Allah (shall) have a severe torment, because they forgot the Day of Reckoning.” (Quran; 38:26)
Our desires inherently like to follow Shaitan and try to make us do the same.
“O you who believe! Follow not Shaitan's footsteps: if any will follow the footsteps of Shaitan, he will (but) command what is shameful and wrong: and were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you, not one of you would ever have been pure: but Allah doth purify whom He pleases: and Allah is One Who hears and knows (all things).” (Quran; 24:27)
On the other hand, if we understand Islam to be the latter (i.e. way of life), then we have the Quran, the noble words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad preserved in the thousands of ahadith, the actions of his Companions, and the lives of countless scholars and saints to learn from and to look towards for guidance, not to mention the over 1400 years of rich history and scholarly sayings. And of course, we have the scholars who can link their knowledge back to the Prophet .
The fact that Islam is a way of life is evident from the fact that the Quran was actually revealed on the Prophet (as opposed to being sent down directly to the masses), who was sent to explain the Quran in a practical way and about whom we are told that he is for us a role-model.
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (Quran; 33:21)
As well, we are instructed to not only follow the commandments of Allah, but to follow those of the Prophet as well.
“O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the apostle, and make not vain your deeds!” (Quran; 47:33)
And his words weren’t simply his own sayings.
“Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only an Inspiration that is inspired.” (Quran; 53:3-4)
Allah instructed the Prophet Muhammad to tell the people:
“Say: "If you do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran; 3:31)
Hence it becomes clear the Islam is made up of the commandments of Allah and the Prophet , as well as his actions, which are all for us to follow.
As human beings, we are all free to make our choices. And the choices are clear: We can opt to take Islam as merely a faith and do whatever we desire (including putting our own spin on the Quran and Islamic injunctions, following non-Islamic ideals, etc.), or we can take the profession of faith as a covenant where we promise to do our utmost to follow the commandments of Allah and His Messenger as they are meant to be followed.
The choice is clearly ours.
And the outcome resulting from our choice is just as clear.