The Quran says: ‘we Muslims believe in Allah, and the Revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to all the Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between one and another of them and we submit to Allah (Quran 2:136).
From this verse it can be seen that Muslims also believe in the Biblical Prophets and the Revelations given to them. Islam is closely connected to the two other Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Judaism. In fact, the Qur'an explains that the religion of the Jews and Christians is the same as that revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and Allah is God of them all.
Sadly nowadays, when people hear mention of the words, Islam, Muslims, Sharia and anything connected with the faith of Islam, conjure up uncomfortable feelings. This unfortunately is as a result of the actions of some evil people with demented minds who tarnish the name of Islam by their murderous and un-Islamic actions. And of course we also have the media hype and a well-orchestrated blitz of negative publicity to further tarnish the name of Islam thus the first thing that is conjured up in peoples’ minds is terrorist, fundamentalist, fear and all those headline grabbing items.
Muslims believe in the Religious Scriptures of the Torah (Tawraah given to Moses) The Zaboor (Psalms of David), the Injeel (Good News to Jesus Christ), the scriptures given to Abraham and Moses and the final revelation, the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (May Peace and Blessings be upon them all).This shows the common thread between Islamic religious beliefs, values and practices that also have roots within those Scriptures (in their original form) as Divine Revelations. Quran mentions that Allah (God) revealed the following scriptures / books to various nations. They are as follows:
The scripture of Abraham: “…Then We had already given the family of Ibrahim (Abraham) the Book (Scripture) and Al-Hikmah (Divine wisdom/ Revelation to those Prophets not written in the form of a book), and conferred upon them a great kingdom.” (Quran 4:54)
The Torah To Moses: ‘It was We Who revealed the Law to Moses; therein was guidance and light…. And in their footsteps we sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him; we sent him the Gospel……and to you we sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it.’ (Quran 5: 44 – 48) And: “Indeed, We gave the Book (Torah) to Musa (Moses)…” (Quran 11:110).
The Psalms of David: “And your Lord knows best all who are in the heavens and the earth. And indeed, We have preferred some of the Prophets above others, and to Dawud (David) We gave the gift of the Zabur (Psalms). (Quran 17:55)
The Gospel: “And we sent Noah and Abraham and established their line of Prophet hood and Revelation….. Then in their wake, We sent after them Our Messengers, and We sent ‘Îsa (Jesus) – son of Maryam (Mary), and gave him the Injeel (Gospel)…” (Quran 57: 26-27)
The Quran: “Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran in order that you may learn wisdom.” (Quran 12:2) "And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (this Quran) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it…..to each one among you We have prescribed the Law and a Clear Way." (Quran 5:48) And: “And this (The Quran) is a Book which We have revealed as a Blessing; so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy” (Quran 6:155)
The Qur’an mentions many Prophets of the Bible and the Torah that have a special place in Islam. We believe in the message and guidance that they brought to this world. To name but a few: Adam, Job, David, Abraham, Moses, Lot, Noah, Solomon, Jonah, Isaac, Ishmael, Joseph, Zachariah and Jesus (May Peace and Blessings be upon them all).
‘Those who believe in the Quran, and those who follow the Jewish Scriptures, and the Christians and the Sabians, and who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.’ (Quran 2: 62)
As a result of a Muslims belief in the Revealed Books, Muslims, Christians and the followers of Judaism share many similar beliefs, values, moral injunctions, and principles of behaviour. If one were to compare these Revealed Scriptures they will find many similarities in their message, teaching, guidance, moral and religious principles and values. An obvious case in point would be the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses.
Muslims believe in The Ten Commandments as stated in the Old Testament —with the exception of the one which deals with observance of the day of the Sabbath— which, according to the Qur’an, was specific to Judaism – Muslims observe the Friday. But all the other commandments in essence and spirit constitute an integral part of the Qur’anic ethics and laws. The Ten Commandments are an integral part of almost every religion or faith hence one can conclude that these commandments are of universal relevance meant for all peoples, for all time and all places.
Muslims believe that the Quran is the final revelation that presents itself as a book through which Allah has guided humankind to the noble ways of the previous prophets and messengers, who are to be emulated as the perfect role models of humanity. ‘Allah wishes to make clear to you and to show you the ordinances of those before you’ (Quran 4: 26). Also: ‘This is the Guidance of Allah…….these were the men to who We gave the Book, and Authority, and Prophet hood….. these were the Prophets who received Allah’s guidance…’ (Quran 6: 89-90)
The Prophets and Messengers mentioned above, without doubt, spoke different languages and were raised in various times and places; but they taught essentially the same perennial message. However, these fundamental teachings and commandments, in essence and spirit, belong to the same message and values to these religions. Although these commandments are not enumerated as a single verse in the Qur’an as they are listed in the Old Testament, (Torah), nevertheless, they are detailed and mentioned in different and various verses within the Qur’an.
Therefore the Laws and the Revelations have been sent to us all, so we have to ensure that we follow and practice them as commanded by our Lord and Creator: ‘To each among you we have prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed he would have made you a single people, but His Wisdom is to test you in what He has given you…the goal of you all is to Allah (Quran 5:48)
Our individual beliefs in these various Revelations, shows us that Islam, Christianity and Judaism are ‘closer’ than you may think.
There is a saying in South Africa which avers that, “the White man has no kin: his kin is money”. The saying rings very true considering what Mayer Amschel Rothschild – he of the planet’s wealthiest family – once said, that, “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!”
To the white man, the dollar sign looms so large in his optics that it was precisely the reason he appropriated Africa towards the end of the 19th century. The idea was to develop his continent, Europe, at the same rate as he underdeveloped Africa. Yet he was driven as much by economic imperatives as by sheer greed and prejudice.
A “pagan” King violates the Jewish Temple by setting up an idol in the Holy of Holies
Why, General Atiku, has the Judean setting (present-day Israel/Palestine) being the focus of so much geopolitical fervour over the ages when it is so resource-poor and is not even that agriculturally fecund being a virtual desert? Why have all the superpowers of history locked horns over it since days immemorial?
Just a ‘teaser’: we are all complaining of the ‘hot weather’ and ‘heat’ – but think about it, is this a reminder / warning from the Almighty that if we find this weather ‘hot’ can you imagine what the ‘fires of hell’ will be like should we get there?
Let us take this as a reminder and a ‘warning’ that we should change our lifestyles so that we follow in the path of righteousness and that which our Lord has directed. Failing this we will face the ‘fire of hell’ which undoubtedly will be many times worse than what we are facing on this earth.
Because as humans we have been favoured and bestowed with the power of intellect thus we enjoy greatness over other creation, coupled with a greater responsibility. Should that responsibility be misused then only on the Day of Reckoning will he know we will live in joy or in grief forever.
Since the dawn of creation Allah has sent down thousands of messengers, dozens of Divine Books but only ONE universal Message to humanity. That message of Divine Revelation and guidance is clear, unambiguous and eternal:
Allah is One, He is Master and Creator of the universe and of mankind and to Him is due all worship and obedience.
He has sent humanity Divine Revelation and guidance through His Messengers and His Books.
As death is inevitable in this world, equally is our resurrection in the Hereafter where everyone will face the consequences of their belief, unbelief and conduct in this temporal world.
This is the basic message, teaching and belief of every religion and without doubt we will all be called to account for our lives in this world and the manner in which we conducted ourselves, will be rewarded thereafter, the consequences of which may be joy forever for some or grief forever for others.
“It is He [Allah] Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds and He is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Qur’an: 67: 2)
In Islam the teachings of the Qur’an and the Last and Final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) give clear guidance to the believer on how to live a life in this world so as to achieve success in the Hereafter.
‘If any do wish for the transitory things of this life, We readily grant them, such things as We will, to such persons as We will…… those who wish for the things of the Hereafter and strive for them with all due striving, and have faith, they are the ones whose striving is acceptable to Allah’ (Qur’an 17: 18-19)
In this world when a person sets out on a journey towards our Maker (Allah), he finds two paths, one leading to God and the other path to different destinations. A sincere and faithful believer will always try to find the right path and to live by the Divine injunctions, laws and code that his religion lays down. This requires us to live in harmony with the will of the Creator, in harmony with our own selves, and with the needs of the rest of creation. Unfortunately we have a tendency at times to toy with Divine Law and to surrender it to the laws of man and in the process to translate and interpret them into what fits in with our lifestyle of today.
If we are to use the intellect and the freedom of choice bestowed to us by God Almighty and follow His guidance, we will then live consciously in a state of “submission’ to Him, thus we will be virtuous. On the other hand when we ignore our Creators injunctions we work against the natural order, we tend to create discord, injustice and evil – and we become one without guidance. Therefore it is the intellect and the freedom of choice given to us that we are fully responsible for whatever we do.
However, it would be foolish for us to think of ourselves as totally independent and self-sufficient. If a person thinks in this manner, we become proud and. We will be inclined to become ungrateful for the bounties that we enjoy – the air that we breathe and the food we eat to sustain us, the eyes and ears we use to perceive the world around us, the tongue and lips we use to express our needs, wants and our inner most feelings and emotions. And being ungrateful, we will be inclined to forget or to reject the truth of the existence of God Almighty.
Unfortunately, people have varying views with regards to what the most important characteristic of a person is: for some it is the colour of his skin; for others, it is his economic situation – whether he is wealthy or poor; others think it is his , social or political standing, whether he is ruler or ruled; for others it is his social standing as an aristocrat, middle or working class; yet for some is his birth place and the language he speaks or the tribe he belongs to, etc..
‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying “We believe”, and they will not be tested? We tested those before them, and Allah will certainly those who are true and those who are false’. (Quran 29: 2-3)
In Islam, these have no significance rather they are merely taken as signs of the creative power of God to enable people to recognise one another. The Almighty declares “O Mankind! Indeed we have created you as male and female, and have placed you in nations and tribes that you may have mutual recognition. However, the most honourable of you, in the sight of Allah is the one who is most God-conscious” (Qur’an: 49: 13)
Hence, the most important characteristic of a person is whether he is conscious of his Creator, believes in Him and through that consciousness submits to Him at all times and in all circumstances.
According to the Islamic view man is created by Allah in a pure state, free from sin. He also created us with the capacity or power to do both good and evil. He gave us the freedom to choose between doing good or evil. The good and evil therefore is connected with mankind’s freedom of choice and responsibility for their actions. “Good” may be whatever is pleasing to Allah and therefore beneficial to us. Whereas “Bad/evil” may be whatever incurs the anger of God and is therefore harmful to man.
‘By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right – truly he that succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it….. (Quran 91: 7-10)
Therefore one of mankind’s main tasks is to keep away from and ward off evil. This is why Taqwa, piety and God consciousness is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an as the most important quality a person should develop in this regard. This means one must be conscious at all times not to over step the limits set by God. It works as a defence against evil and temptation by keeping a person within the boundaries of piety.