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O Allah, none has the right to be worshipped except You alone. And, O Allah, I bear witness that Muhammad is Your servant and messenger!

Perhaps it is difficult to imagine, but there was once a time when these words inspired such a tremendous stir in hearts and minds that lives were forever changed, as was the course of history.

Allah says,

“And remember Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House [with this prayer]: 'Our Lord! Accept [this service] from us. For You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.

Our Lord! Make of us Muslims, submitting to You, and of our progeny a Muslim people, submitting to You…”

Al-Baqarah (2:127-128)

And Allah answered this prayer and sent to all humankind His last prophet and messenger, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, may peace and blessings be upon him.

Allah says,

 “Say [O Muhammad], 'O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. None has the right to be worshipped but He…”

Al-A'raaf (7:158)

 And thus were the life-altering words that formed the inception of the fastest growing religion in the world—Islam—a faith based on the simple belief in One God and belief in all His prophets and messengers, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (may peace be upon them all).

Do People Think They'll Be Left Alone Saying “We Believe”?

Undoubtedly, belief in One God and His prophets is such a simple concept that almost anyone who hears this message in its pure, authentic form will recognize the truth—and openly testify to it…

O Allah, none has the right to be worshipped except You alone.
And, O Allah, I bear witness that Muhammad is Your servant and messenger!

But as with any course of life that we choose, trials and tribulations will  accompany it; and it is at these difficult moments, when adversity strikes, that we know what really lies in our hearts—and if it mirrors what we claim with our tongues.

Allah says,

“Do people think that they will be left alone on saying 'We believe' and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly make known those who are true from those who are false.”

Al-'Ankaboot (29:2-3)

 Hijrah—A Test of Faith

It is an image that moves the hearts of many believers: A young woman leaves the safety and comfort of her home and voluntarily exposes herself to likely persecution or death—not once or twice, but day after day—to ensure the safety and well-being of a man to whom she owes no worldly obligation or debt.

Such was the case of Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, the close companion of Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who also accompanied the Prophet during the Hijrah (obligatory migration) from Mecca to Madinah. And it was for the success of this Hijrah that Asma bint Abu Bakr risked her life by carrying food to the cave where the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and her father were hiding in order to protect  their own lives.

And what of Umm Salamah, a woman whose open belief in Allah and His Messenger and whose steps taken toward Hijrah resulted in immediate separation from both her husband and young son? Day after day she cried for her beloved spouse and young child, but it was only after some time that she felt relief…

Of a surety, the choice of Asma bint Abu Bakr and Umm Salamah was testimony to their firm belief in Allah during a time when even amongst the strongest of men were those too afraid to become Muslim.

In Search of “True Islam”

“You people read your history like someone addicted to drugs,” the non-Muslim said of the Muslims. “You get a high off the stories, so you keep going back for more; but the high you get does nothing to help your life.”

I first heard this story at a lecture, and I couldn't help agreeing, at least to some extent, with the observation of the non-Muslim. For how many of us think of “true Islam” as something that “used to” be real? How many of us relate the stories of Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and companions like Asma bint Abu Bakr and Umm Salamah as if they have nothing at all to do with “Islam in modern times”?

Or, worse still, how many of us simply take from these accounts praiseworthy labels like “Sunni” or “Salafi” and affix them to ourselves and imagine that by doing so, our Islam is pure and authentic to the exclusion of everyone else?

Is it because our circumstances are so vastly different from the believers of the past that it is difficult for us to draw practical parallels?  Is it because gaining a proper understanding of our faith is so complex that it requires years of study in an Islamic university or under renowned scholars?

Or is it simply because we have yet to grasp what “true Islam” means in the first place?

What Is the “Right” Religion?

Allah says,

“And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true [in faith]; to establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity.

And that is the Right Religion.

Al-Bayyinah (98:5)

Why then is it that when we teach and learn about Islam today that it is so much more confusing and complex than this? Why do we not grasp that, whatever other obligations might exist for the believer, these basic principles form the very definition and foundation of our faith?

Why do we not grasp that as long as we have this firm foundation, we are Muslims and thus have hope of Allah's mercy and forgiveness—which is, after all, the most that even the greatest of believers can hope for?

'Islam Used to Be Real'

No, it isn't that Islam itself used to be real. It is simply that, historically, a much larger percentage of those who testified to believing in Allah and His Messenger actually believed, hence the sacrifices of Asma bint Abu Bakr and Umm Salamah during the Hijrah.

And no, this strong faith and determination was not because they had a more authentic Islam than we do. It was because they had more authentic hearts than we do. And authenticity of heart is timeless. It doesn't necessitate Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or his companions living amongst us.

It simply necessitates that Islam live within us.

And to establish this necessary foundation of faith, we need to begin as Abraham and Ishmael did when establishing the necessary foundation of Allah's House—by turning to Allah in sincere supplication and asking Him to make us true Muslims.

Only then can we live our lives such that Allah will write us down amongst those who are true in faith.

 

 

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy and the novels Realities of Submission and Hearts We Lost.  She is now writing juvenile fiction stories under the name Ruby Moore. To learn more about the author, visit themuslimauthor.com or join her Facebook page.

Copyright © 2013 by Al-Walaa Publications.  All Rights Reserved.

WRITTEN FOR MUSLIMMATTERS.ORG

 

13 Responses

  1. aman

    There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life – happiness, freedom, and peace of mind – are always attained by giving them to someone else.

    Reply
  2. melaniegrace

    Our religion is easy to follow, We make it hard !! Jazakee Allah Khayrun for the Reminder!

    Reply
  3. LOU

    Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father exept thru( or by) me…
    Do you consider in a liar? He said I and the Father are one, is this a blasphemous statement?
    In John 1:1 it says 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
    Now I know in the Aramaic scripture it is translated slightly differently,,,my question is Why?
    The scholars of the world agree with the non Aramaic translation and they wrote it…
    People actually saw Jesus killed, and they saw Him in His resurrected state..
    People say Him do miracles all for good…. His words said.. If you dont believe what I claim let my deeds prove to you whom I AM….
    He healed the sick, open th eyes of the blind, brought the dead back to life and controlled the weather,,,,
    Can you prove me wrong?,,, It would be impossible to because althought born a Jew, ( still am) He filled me with the Holy Spirit so for me it is an experiential happening that I could not deny because it really happen..
    Many people have had this same experience. Its not that we have extra faith, but its like having tooth pulled.. once the tooth is gone, you know you had it in your mouth, its not there so you cant prove it was there, but nothing can shake your knowledge that it once resided in your mouth…IT WAS THERE,, can I pove it successfully to a Martian who has never know what to tooth was or what I human mouth should have,,No ,, but it doesnt matter I knew it was there at one time… ( horrible analogy sorry) ,,
    So when i come upon someone who does not believe that Jesus is Lord, I pray for them.. long ago I learned no one can make a person a Christian Muslim Atheist,,,
    Faith is an expectant hope based upon whom you choose to believe….
    THE OTHER REAL QUESTION IS..
    WHY CANT WE ALL LIVE IN HARMONY ALLOWING EVERYONE TO BELIEVE WHAT THEY CHOOSE TO AND NOT LOOK BACKWARDS AT ALL THE EVIL ALL RELIGIONS HAVE DONE BECAUSE THEY WANT EACH OTHER TO BELIEVE ONLY THE SAME WAY THEY DO,,
    SITTING IN A CHURCH DOES NOT MAKE A PERSON AN AUTOMOBILE ANY MORE THAT SITTING IN A GARAGE MAKES A PERSON AN AUTOMOBILE….
    ITS WHO LIVES IN THEIR HEART

    Reply
  4. Joseph Grech

    “And thus were the life-altering words that formed the inception of the fastest growing religion in the world—Islam—a faith based on the simple belief in One God and belief in all His prophets and messengers, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muḥammad (may peace be upon them all).”

    A belief in one god, perhaps, but not God. The god of islam does not have the characteristics of the one true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, nor is he known by His name as he is forever to be known, JHWH. He is the creator of all things, seen and unseen, and He has revealed Himself through all creation and through holy scripture. We have known Him as the Lord, Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son who came to us for our salvation. No one comes to the Father but through Him.

    You must believe what is reasonable to believe. That which does not accord with reason must not be believed. The truth claims of Christianity are reasonable. We believe because the Bible story is reasonable. It shows itself to be true. It accords with the facts as we know them. The story of the life and death of Jesus will withstand any scrutiny. Its historicity is compelling. It is concordant with known historical truths and it is coherent in its claims throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. Miracle, wonder and prophesy, as recorded therein, compel us to believe. It is reasonable for the free-thinking rational man to believe. In fact, it is unreasonable not to believe.

    But why do you believe? Have you examined everything, as we have been told to do? Do you hold fast to that which you have examined or that which you have been told?

    It is unreasonable for you to believe the claims of your religion. No cogent, irrefutable or contestable claims of miracle or wonder, and no prophesy borne out to be true by the testing of time. Your belief, therefore, is not real and does not manifest in a transformation of the mind such as occurs when a truth is known. Your belief can be at best nothing more than a claim of belief or a wish to believe. God exhorts us to “examine everything” and “know” why we believe. I know why I believe. Do you?

    God is love. Without Him there is no love. Jesus spoke tirelessly of love – love of God and love of our fellow man. We are commanded by Him to possess this love. He commands us to do no more than this – to love God and to love our fellow man. He also spoke of false prophets who will be known by their fruits. The fruits by which we have come to know your prophet are not good. If you seek the truth, and you must, you must look to Jesus. Examine His words and teachings. Examine them closely. Believe only what resonates as a truth and transforms your mind. Then you must profess it to be true for the sake of others. If you do not believe in Him you will go to judgement and you will be damned. All of us will be damned if judged. Only our faith in Him can save us. Nothing else will do.

    Reply
  5. Riz Khan

    Surah Al-Ikhlas
    Translation (But translation can not show the real beauty of this gem from the Holy Quran)
    Say, “He is Allah , [who is] One
    ( think along the lines of one God )

    Allah , the Eternal Refuge
    ( think along the lines he does not need anything no space, no food, no sleep etc nothing at all )

    He neither begets nor is born
    (think along the lines God does not need time, God created time for a condition of our existance , he is above time, time do not apply to him. a faulty logic is to think about God and at the same time applying time to him which raise the question who was before him etc. Time do not apply to him think of him without applying time )

    Nor is there to Him any equivalent
    (we can not imagine about His shape but we can know him throun applying logic of a different kind)

    This beautiful Sora saved me and it can save everyone. It is simple, logical and beautiful. Just read it and think. May Allah guide us all along the right path. Ameen!

    Reply
  6. Riz Khan

    As the final step! Think of Allah without anything else. no space, no universe, no country nothing but Allah! Don’t try to attach any shape with Him. Just think of Allah and nothing else..only Him and nothing else. This final step leads to a beautiful sensation, cure depression, remove worries , calm your mind and soul. It certainly worked for me. I hope it would work for you! May Allah guide us along the right path.. Ameen!

    Reply

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