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The Excellent Features of Islam

*The Excellent Features of Islam Part 1*
A Guide for New Muslim
*(1) Pure Monotheism:*

*As noted earlier, this is the main goal of Islam. It is also one of its excellent features. Islam frees the human from trying to serve varied objects of worship. His life becomes clear and easy to follow. He has one Lord and one path to follow. He does not associate anyone or anything with God.*

*In a number of places in the Quran, Allah juxtaposes the ramifications and effects of the correct belief in Allah with the effects of different incorrect beliefs. In the following passage, Allah has beautifully described the fruits of the correct belief as well as the results of all false beliefs.*

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Allah says,

*“O Messenger, do you not know how Allah presented an example of the monotheistic phrase: “There is no deity but Allah”, when He likened it to an excellent tree, the date palm. Its trunk shoots into the earth’s floor and it drinks water with its excellent roots. Its branches reach out into the sky, drinking from the moisture and inhaling the good wind.*

*This excellent tree provides its sweet fruit each time by the permission of its Lord. Allah, the Exalted, may He be Glorified, provides examples for people to encourage them to remember.*

*The example of the bad word of disbelief is that of a bad tree, the colocynth. It is removed from its foundation with no stability on the earth. Nor does it extend into the sky, so it dies and is scattered by the wind. The word of disbelief results in ruin, and its owner’s good deeds will not reach Allah.*

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*Through the monotheistic word, Allah makes the believers firm in their belief in the world until they die upon belief, as well as in the Transitory Stage in their graves when they are asked, and He will make them firm on the Day of Judgment. By causing them to associate partners with Him and disbelieve in Him, Allah will lead the wrongdoers away from guidance and what is correct.*

*Allah does as He wishes when it comes to leading astray whomever He wants in accordance with His justice and guiding whomever He wants in accordance with His grace. Allah cannot be coerced (may He be glorified).*

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*It is narrated that ibn Abbaas said, “The goodly word is the testimony that there is none worthy of worship except Allah.”[Quoted in ibn Katheer, Tafseer (Daar Taibah), vol. 4, p. 491.]*

*This verse shows that pure monotheism or proper belief is the foundation upon which all other good is built. It is a foundation that continues to give and give, with its proceeds reaching the highest limits. Such is the way with the true faith; it continually and perpetually benefits the person in this life and eternally in the Hereafter. It also follows that the stronger and better supported the foundation or roots, the greater will be the fruits. On the other hand, the false beliefs, such as associating partners with God, have no solid ground to them. Indeed, they are not much more than an illusion in the sense that they can never bear the produce that its followers claim or believe in.*

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*It is therefore no secret and no wonder that the first portion of the Prophet’s mission, as demonstrated by the revelations that he received in Makkah, concentrated on purification of belief. It was dedicated to removing all forms of ignorance, superstition and false creeds, as a human’s soul cannot rest if it is torn in many directions, seeking after numerous ultimate goals.*

*Allah has beautifully described the similitude of those who fail to see that their soul can only recognize one true object of worship:*

*”Allah gave the example of an idolater and a monotheist as that of a man owned by disputing partners – if he pleases some he angers others and he is thus confused and disturbed; and of a man who is devoted to one man alone who owns him and whose intentions he knows – he is thus comfortable and calm. These two men are not the same. Praise be to Allah, but most of them do not know and therefore they ascribe others as partners to Allah.”*

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*From an Islamic perspective, there is no way for a person to please more than one god as, by the Islamic definition of the word “God”, God must be the thing that is foremost in one’s heart.*

*Actually, when a person realizes that he has only one, clear goal, the effects upon his soul are profound. He need not chase after an endless array of goals, never being able to satisfy or achieve any of them completely. (Indeed, many times people’s goals are contradictory and they can never achieve all of them.) His energies need not be exhausted trying to serve a myriad of goals. When he has one goal and one goal alone, he can easily gauge whether he is moving towards achieving that goal or not. He can put all of his energy and thought into working towards that one ultimate goal. He can be certain about his goal and his path will be clear. Hence, he has no reason to be filled with doubt or confusion.*

*Then, as he moves closer and closer to that one ultimate goal, he can experience true joy and contentment. All of this is part of the beauty and the bounty when humans recognize, receive and accept true monotheism, the only faith system consistent with their own creation and nature.*


*(2) The Religion of Allah*

*Islam is not a man-made philosophy or religion. Its teachings come directly from the Creator. It is the guidance that the Creator, via His Mercy, has bestowed upon humankind.*

*In reality, God can be the only one who knows how He is to be worshipped. He is the only one who knows what way of living is pleasing to Him. Philosophers and others may ponder over this question of what way of life is pleasing to God but, in reality, the details of that way of life are beyond the scope of human reasoning and experimentation. What humans, independent of revelation from God, declare to be the best mode of worshipping God is not what is necessarily most pleasing to God but only most pleasing to the individual who devised it. Thus, only God knows, for example, the manner by which one should pray to Him.*

*Being the only way of life that God has actually approved of, it will also be the only way of life that will be acceptable to Him in the end. Earlier two important verses of the Quran were quoted that point to this conclusion:*

*The acceptable path in Allah’s sight is Islam(submission to Him), the path of surrendering: devotion of all good actions to Allah alone, submission to Him in servitude and acceptance of all messengers, including the final messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) with whom revelations came to an end, and after whom no sacred laws will remain valid except his.*

*Allah also says, “Whoever seeks a path other than that which Allah has endorsed – the path of surrendering (Islam) – it will not be accepted from them by Allah. They will be of those who have lost their souls by entering the fire of Hell.*

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*This point cannot be overemphasized. The ultimate question must be: What is acceptable and pleasing to God? No one can seriously claim with any real proof that any path other than that based on Allah’s guidance is pleasing to Him. Such a claim would be baseless and absurd.*

*(3) Comprehensiveness*

*Islam is comprehensive in many ways. It is comprehensive in the sense that it applies to all human beings and is applicable by all regardless of where or what time they may be living. Islam or submission to God is the true way of life from the time of the first human until the time of last human on this Earth.*

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*Actually, the comprehensiveness of Islam, or the way of life that is submission to God alone, extends beyond humans to include all creation, animate or inanimate.*

*Allah says,*

*“It is to Allah alone that all creatures in the heavens and on earth prostrate. It is to Him alone that the angels prostrate. They are not too proud(i.e. they worship their Lord (Allah) with humility) to worship Allah and obey Him.*

*“O Messenger, do you not know that to Allah prostrate, out of obedience, the angels in the heavens and the believing humans and jinns on earth, and the sun, moon, stars in the sky, the mountains, trees, and creatures on earth, compliantly? And many humans prostrate to Him out of obedience. But many refuse to prostrate to Him out of obedience, thus the punishment of Allah became established for them due to their disbelief. Whoever Allah decrees disgrace and shame for, due to his disbelief, has nobody to honour him. Allah does what He wishes. There is nobody to compel Him.*

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*“The heavens glorify Allah. The earth glorifies Allah. Every creation in the heavens and the earth also glorifies Allah. There is nothing except that it declares His purity together with His praise, but you do not comprehend their manner of glorifying Him. This is because you only understand the glorification of those who do so in your language. He is Forbearing, not quick to punish, and He is Forgiving to those who repent to Him.” (17:44).*

*Furthermore, Islam is for all classes of people. Islam is just as much relevant to the most knowledgeable scientist as well as the illiterate Bedouin.*

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*Allah says concerning the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “Allah tells the Prophet (peace be upon him) to inform people that he is the messenger of Allah to them all, both Arabs and non-Arabs. Allah alone controls the heavens and the earth. There is nothing worthy of worship other than Him, glory be to Him. He brings the dead to life, and causes what is alive to die. People should have faith in Allah and in Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Prophet, His Messenger, who cannot read or write, and who came only with what His Lord revealed to him, in order to guide them to what is good for them in this world and in the Afterlife.*

*Another verse reads, “And I did not send you, O Messenger, except for the sake of all of mankind, to give good news to the pious that for them is Paradise, and to warn the disbelievers and transgressors of the fire, but most people do not know that. Had they known, they would not have denied you.*

*Among the Prophet’s followers were the rich and poor, nobles and weak, literate and illiterate. All of them were able to apply Islam and thereby, Allah willing, earn the pleasure of God.*


*Islam also covers both this life and the Hereafter. Islam is not a religion that is only concerned with the Hereafter. Islam offers complete and practical guidance for the affairs of this world as well. As noted earlier, one of the goals of Islam is to establish a sound and proper society in this life. As for the Hereafter, goodness therein is dependent completely upon Islam and working towards the Hereafter in the proper way. Allah may give anyone some of the goods of this world but He reserves the good of the Hereafter only for those who are pious believers.*

*Allah says, “Whoever desires the life of this world and its passing pleasures through what they do, and does not desire the Afterlife through their actions, Allah will give them the reward for their actions in this world: health, safety and ample provision. They will not be short-changed in the reward for their actions in any way.*

*Such people with this blameworthy aspiration will not have any reward on the Day of Judgement, except for the fire of Hell, which they will enter; and the reward of their actions will disappear, and their actions will be useless, because they were not based on faith or on a valid intention, and they did not desire the countenance of Allah and the home of the Afterlife through their actions.*

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In another verse, Allah says, “

*Whoever desires, by his acts of goodness, the life of the world and does not have faith in the afterlife nor pays any attention to it, I expedite for him the luxury that I want to give him, not what he wants. Then I have made for him Hell, where he will enter on the Day of Judgment to suffer from its heat, being condemned for his choosing the world and his denial of the Hearafter; banished from Allah’s mercy.*

*But whoever desires, by his acts of goodness, the reward of the Hereafter, and pursues it as it should be pursued, free of show and reputation, while he has faith in that which Allah has made faith obligatory; these people who have these attributes – their effort will be accepted by Allah and He will recompense them for it.*

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*To both these groups – the sinners and the dutiful – we freely extend the gift of your Lord – O Messenger. The gift of your Lord in the world is not withheld from anyone, whether sinner or dutiful.*

*Islam also attends to all of the various components of a human. It is concerned with the human’s spirit, intellect, body, beliefs, actions and morality. It protects the human from the diseases of the heart as well as from the diseases of the body and diseases of society as a whole. Thus, one can find guidance concerning the disease of arrogance that appears in the heart, guidance directing humans to balanced eating and drinking without extravagance and guidance steering humans away from corruption and social diseases such as adultery and the like. In essence, Islam guides humans to a balanced life in which no component is ignored or neglected. Instead, each component receives the attention that it deserves and requires.*

*Islam is also comprehensive in the sense that it covers all aspects of a person’s life, from ritual worship to ethics and moral behavior to acts of business and government. Nothing, by the grace and mercy of Allah, has been neglected. There is no reason for anyone to feel lost concerning any area of his life. No matter what the issue, he will be able to find some guidance to help him.*

*For the new Muslim, he must accept Islam in all of its comprehensiveness. He is not free to pick and choose what aspect of Islam he likes. Concerning such behavior, Allah says, “*

*Then you broke the contract: some of you killing others, and forcing a group of them to leave their homes, assisted by their enemies, unjustly and with aggression. Then if prisoners came to you in the hands of enemies, you pay their ransom and rescue them from their captivity, even though making them leave their homes was forbidden to you. How is it that you believe in some of what is in the Torah about the ransom of captives, and reject some of it (about not killing each other and driving people from where they live)? For those of you who do that, there is only humiliation in this life and the most severe torment in the Afterlife. Allah knows what you do; in fact, He is fully aware, and He will hold you to account.
They are the people who exchange the Afterlife for this life, preferring what is temporary to what is eternal. Their suffering will not be lightened, and they will have no one to help them.*

*For example, he cannot restrict his Islam simply to the beliefs and the ritual acts of worship while rejecting what Islam has to say about marriage, business dealings, alcohol and drugs and so forth. Yes, it is true that one cannot expect another individual to become a perfect Muslim over night. However, the goal, the understanding and the acceptance in one’s heart of the entirety of Islam is the main issue.*

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*The beautiful and consistent comprehensiveness of Islam is another sign that this religion must be revealed by God. It is impossible for humans, even in groups, to comprehend all of the components of this creation in such a way as to give comprehensive guidance for every aspect of life.*

*4) Taking into Consideration the Welfare of this World and the Hereafter*

*As noted earlier, Islam is not a religion that is simply concerned with the Hereafter or what can be referred to as the “spiritual side” of life.[reality, as shall be demonstrated shortly while discussing the building of a strong relationship between the Creator and the created, there is no need for anything to be considered out of the “spiritual side” of life. For the time being, though, the traditional division between the material and spiritual is being followed here.]*

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*Instead, it promotes the welfare of humans in both this world and the Hereafter. Thus, Allah say،*

*Whoever does good deeds in accordance with the sacred law, whether male or female, while having faith in Allah, We will grant them in this world a good life, by their being pleased with Allah’s decree, content and guided towards righteous actions, and We will reward them in the afterlife in accordance with the best good deeds that they used to do in the world.*

*Many scholars have studied the Islamic Law in its entirety and have noted that the Law is geared toward achieving specific goals in this world (as well as the obvious goals of the Hereafter). One can divide the “wants” and “needs” of this world into three categories: necessities, needs and amenities. The necessities of life are those components of life that are required to allow one to truly have a “life.”*

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*In other words, without them, one may be so miserable that he may wish he was no longer living. Beyond those necessities become the “needs,” which make life much more bearable, although one can still live without them. Then comes the amenities, which make life comfortable and more enjoyable.*

*Islamic Law, coming from the Creator, has identified and emphasized what are the true necessities of life. When one studies the laws found in Islam and what seems to be the wisdom behind them, one finds that they have been laid down to establish, protect, reinforce and perpetuate these necessities. After these are truly protected and established, the Law then seeks to meet the needs of life. After due consideration is given to the necessities and needs, the Law then seeks to provide amenities for the ease of humankind.*

*Space does not allow a detailed discussion of these three categories. Therefore, only the five necessities of life identified via Islamic Law will be briefly touched upon here.*

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*The necessities of life as envisioned by Islamic Law are: (1) religion, (2) life, (3) familial ties and relationships, (4) mental capacity and (5) wealth and property. In one eloquent passage of the Quran, which is representative of the style of the Quran, Allah touches upon all of these goals of Islamic Law:*

*“Say, O Messenger, to the people: Come! I will read to you what Allah has made unlawful. He has made it unlawful that you associate any creation as partner to Him; that you disobey your parents – for it is your duty to be good to them; that you kill your children due to poverty – as the people during the period of ignorance used to do – I provide for you and for them. He has also made it unlawful that you go near immoral acts, whether they are done openly or in secret; and that you kill the soul that Allah has prohibited you from killing, unless it is done rightfully (such as in the case of adultery and apostasy). He has instructed you with what was mentioned so that you understand Allah’s instructions and prohibitions.*

*He has prohibited you from becoming involved with the wealth of orphans – those who lose their father before maturity – until they became mature and are considered to be sensible, unless you do so in a manner that brings benefit and an increase in that wealth. He has also prohibited you from giving short measure or weight; rather, it is necessary that you are fair and just when taking or giving anything in a purchase and sale transaction. He does not burden a soul more than it can bear, and you will not be taken to task for any increase or decrease in measure that is unintentional. He has, likewise, prohibited you from saying that which is false when relating an incident or giving testimony, displaying unfair preference to a relative or friend. He has, too, prohibited you from breaking Allah’s pledge. If you make a pledge with Allah or in Allah’s name, then such pacts must be fulfilled. Allah has instructed you with the above in the hope that you would ponder over the outcomes of your actions.*

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*He has prohibited you from following the paths of misguidance. You are required to follow Allah’s straight path, in which there is no crookedness. The paths of misguidance will lead you far away from the path of truth. Allah instructs you to follow the straight path in the hope that you will become mindful of Him by fulfilling His instructions and staying away from His prohibitions.*

[Another similar passage is al-Israa 23-36.]

*Your Lord – O servant – has instructed and made obligatory that you worship none but Him, and He has instructed that you be good to your parents, especially when they become old. If either of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not become annoyed with them by uttering words that indicate the same, do not scold them and do not be harsh when speaking to them, but say to them kind words that are soft and courteous.*

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*Humble yourself before them in humility and out of compassion, and say: O My Lord, be merciful to them as they have brought me up in my childhood.*

*Your Lord – O People – knows best what is within you of the sincere devotion to Him in worship, acts of goodness and being dutiful to parents. If the intention in your acts of worship, treatment of your parents and other acts is righteous, then He, may He be glorified, is Forgiving towards those who frequently turn to Him in repentance. If anyone repents from his prior failure to be dutiful to his Lord or to his parents, Allah will forgive him.*

*O believer – give the relative his rights by keeping family ties, give to the poor and needy, and give the traveller who is stranded. Do not spend your wealth in sin or in a manner that is wasteful.*

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*O believer – give the relative his rights by keeping family ties, give to the poor and needy, and give the traveller who is stranded. Do not spend your wealth in sin or in a manner that is wasteful.*

*Those who spend their wealth in sin and those who are wasteful in their spending are the brothers of the devils, they follow their instructions of being wasteful and extravagant Satan is ever ungrateful towards His Lord, and he only does things that are sinful and only instructs that which displeases His Lord.*

*But if you refrain from giving these people, due to not having anything to give them, while waiting for Allah to bless you with provision, then say to them gentle and polite words such as praying for them to have abundant provision or promising to give them if Allah grants you wealth.*

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*Do not withhold your hand from spending, and do not be wasteful when spending, if you do, you will be blameful amongst the people for your miserliness, or you will become uable to spend due to your extravagant expenditure.*

*Your Lord expands the provision for whoever He wills, and restricts it for whoever He wills based on far-reaching wisdom. He is fully aware and observant of His servants. Nothing of theirs is hidden from Him, and He disposes of His matter with respect to them however He wills.*

*Do not kill your children for fear of-poverty in the future if you spend on-them. I take charge of providing for them,and for you too. Killing them is a major-sin, as they have done nothing wrong-and there is no reason requiring them to-be killed.*

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*Be careful of fornication and avoid things that prompt it. It is extremely detestable and bad path to traverse as it leads to the mixing of lineages and punishment from Allah.*

*Do not kill the soul whose life Allah has protected through faith or a pledge of security, except if the killing is merited on the basis of treason or legal retribution. If someone is killed unjustly, without a valid reason permitting his being killed, I have given his successor who takes charge of his affairs certain authority over the killer. He may demand that the killer be killed in retribution, or he may forgive him without asking for any thing in return, or he may forgive him and take the blood money. But he shall not mutilate the killer, or by killing him with something that he did not use to kill, or by killing someone other than the killer, even if he was a helper and supporter.*

*Do not transact in the property of a child whose father has passed away, except in his best interests such as investing or preserving it until he reaches the age of mental and prudential maturity. Fulfill any pledge between yourselves and Allah, or between yourselves and His servants, without breaking or falling short in them. Allah will question the one who made a pledge on the Day of Judgement. Did he fulfill it, in which case He will reward him, or did he not fulfil it, in which case He will punish him.*

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*Give full measure when you measure for others and do not cheat them. Weigh with an accurate scale that does not diminish or undervalue anything. That giving of full weight and measure is better for you in this world and the Hearafter, than giving short measure or weight.*

*Do not follow – O son of Adam – that which you have no knowledge of, by following suspicions and conjecture. A person will be questioned about the good or bad that he used his hearing, sight and heart for and he will rewarded for the good and punished for the bad*

al-Israa 23-36
*The most important of these goals is that of religion. From an Islamic perspective, if people do not have religion and a sound relationship with their Lord they cannot have a healthy life. Hence, one is expected to be willing to risk or sacrifice one’s own life for the sake of religion.*


*In fact, Allah says, “Is the one who was dead prior to receiving Allah’s guidance – due to his disbelief, ignorance and sins, and then He gave him life by guiding him to faith, knowledge and obedience – equal to the one who cannot leave the darkness of disbelief, ignorance and sins, and to whom the paths have become unclear and dark? Just as polytheism, the consumption of carrion, and false arguments were made fair seeming to these idolaters, the sins of the disbelievers were made to seem good to them, so that they are repaid for them on the Day of Rising with a painful punishment.*

*Many of the laws of Islam are obviously geared toward the preservation of this ultimate goal, such as the institution of congregational prayer and so on. Next in importance comes life itself. Thus, for example, the law of retribution and the death penalty are part of Islamic law. These laws are not meant simply for the sake of punishment. Such laws are actually meant to protect life, as Allah says, “In the law of equivalent punishment decreed by Allah there is life for you, because it spares your blood, stopping further attacks between you. Those with sense understand this: who are mindful of Allah, keeping to His sacred law and doing as He instructs.*

*Concerning familial ties mention has already been made of the stringent laws governing adultery, fornication and slander. With respect to the protection of wealth, one finds that under specific conditions, the hand of the thief is to be amputated. The prohibition of wasting wealth, extravagance and interest are all for the sake of preserving wealth in the proper manner. With respect to the protection of mental capacity, all intoxicants have been prohibited and strict punishments are enacted for violating such laws.*

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