Essay, Research Paper: College Paper On Religion

Religion

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The word "Islam" is an Arabic word which means "submission to the
will of God". This word comes from the same root as the Arabic word "salam",
which means "peace". As such, the religion of Islam teaches that in
order to achieve true peace of mind and surety of heart, one must submit to God
and live according to His Divinely revealed Law. The most important truth that
God revealed to mankind is that there is nothing divine or worthy of being
worshipped except for Almighty God, thus all human beings should submit to Him.
The word "Muslim" means one who submits to the will of God, regardless
of their race, nationality or ethnic background. Being a Muslim entails willful
submission and active obedience to God, and living in accordance with His
message. Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion for Arabs,
but nothing could be further from the truth. Not only are there converts to
Islam in every corner of the world, especially in England and America, but by
taking a look at the Muslim World from Bosnia to Nigeria, and from Indonesia to
Morocco, one can clearly see that Muslims come from many various races, ethnic
groups and nationalities. It is also interesting to note that in actuality, more
than 80% of all Muslims are not Arabs - there are more Muslims in Indonesia than
in the whole Arab World! So though even though it is true that most Arabs are
Muslims, the large majority of Muslims are not Arabs. However, anyone who
submits completely to God and worships Him alone is a Muslim. Continuity of the
Message Islam is not a new religion because "submission to the will of
God", i.e. Islam, has always been the only acceptable religion in the sight
of God. For this reason, Islam is the true "natural religion", and it
is the same eternal message revealed through the ages to all of God's prophets
and messengers. Muslims believe that all of God's prophets, which include
Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, brought the same message of Pure
Monotheism. For this reason, the Prophet Muhammad was not the founder of a new
religion, as many people mistakenly think, but he was the Final Prophet of
Islam. By revealing His final message to Muhammad, which is an eternal and
universal message for all of mankind, God finally fulfilled the covenant that He
made with Abraham, who was one of the earliest and greatest prophets. Suffice it
to say that the way of Islam is the same as the way of the prophet Abraham,
because both the Bible and the Qur'an portray Abraham as a towering example of
someone who submitted himself completely to God and worshipped Him without
intermediaries. Once this is realized, it should be clear that Islam has the
most continuous and universal message of any religion, because all prophets and
messengers were "Muslims", i.e. those who submitted to God's will, and
they preached "Islam", i.e. submission to the will of Almighty God.
The Oneness of God The foundation of the Islamic faith is belief in the Oneness
of Almighty God - the God of Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus. Islam teaches that
a pure belief in One God is intuitive in human beings and thus fulfills the
natural inclination of the soul. As such, Islam's concept of God is
straightforward, unambiguous and easy to understand. Islam teaches that the
hearts, minds and souls of human beings are fitting receptacles for clear divine
revelation, and that God's revelations to man are not clouded by
self-contradictory mysteries or irrational ideas. As such, Islam teaches that
even though God cannot be fully comprehended and grasped by our finite human
minds, He also does not expect us to accept absurd or demonstrably false beliefs
about Him. According to the teachings of Islam, Almighty God is absolutely One
and His Oneness should never be compromised by associating partners with Him -
neither in worship nor in belief. Due to this, Muslims are required to maintain
a direct relationship with God, and therefore all intermediaries are absolutely
forbidden. From the Islamic standpoint, believing in the Oneness of God means to
realize that all prayer and worship should be exclusively for God, and that He
alone deserves such titles as "Lord" and "Savior". Some
religions, even though they believe on "One God", do not make all of
their worship and prayers for Him alone. Also, they also give the title of
"Lord" to beings that are not All-Knowing, All-Powerful and
Un-Changing - even according to their own scriptures. Suffice it to say that
according to Islam, it is not enough that people believe that "God is
One", but they must actualize this belief by proper conduct. In short, in
the Islamic concept of God, which is completely based on Divine Revelation,
there is no ambiguity in divinity - God is God and man is man. Since God is the
only Creator and continual Sustainer of the Universe, He is transcendent above
His creation - the Creator and the creature never mix. Islam teaches that God
has a unique nature and that He is free from gender, human weaknesses and beyond
anything which human beings can imagine. The Qur'an teaches that the signs and
proofs of God's wisdom, power and existence are evident in the world around us.
As such, God calls on man to ponder over the creation in order to build a better
understanding of his Creator. Muslims believe that God is Loving, Compassionate
and Merciful, and that He is concerned with the daily affairs of human beings.
In this, Islam strikes a unique balance between false religious and
philosophical extremes. Some religions and philosophies portray God as just an
impersonal "Higher Power" who is uninterested, or unaware, of the life
of each individual human. Other religions tend to give God human qualities and
teach that He is present in His creation, by being incarnate in someone,
something - or even everything. In Islam, however, Almighty God has clarified
the truth by letting mankind know that He is "Compassionate",
"Merciful", "Loving" and the "Answerer of
Prayers". But He as also emphasized strongly that "there is nothing
like unto Him", and that He is high above time, space and His creation.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the God that Muslims worship is the same
God that Jews and Christians worship - because there is only one God. It is
unfortunate that some people mistakenly believe that Muslims worship a different
God than Jews and Christians, and that "Allah" is just the "god
of the Arabs". This myth, which has been propagated by the enemies of
Islam, is completely false since the word "Allah" is simply the Arabic
name for Almighty God. It is the same word for God which is used by
Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians. However, it should be clarified that even
though Muslims worship the same God as Jews and Christian, their concept of Him
differs somewhat from the beliefs of other religions - mainly because it is
based completely on Divine Revelation from God. For example, Muslims reject the
Christian belief that God is a Trinity, not only becaue the Qur'an rejects it,
but also because if this was God's true nature, He would have clearly revealed
it to Abraham, Noah, Jesus and all of the other prophets. The Qur'an The Arabic
world "Al-Qur'an" literally means "the recitation". When
used in regards to Islam, the word Qur'an means God's final message to mankind
that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The Qu'ran, sometimes spelled Koran,
is the literal the word of God - as it clearly says time and time again. Unlike
other sacred scriptures, the Qur'an has been perfectly preserved in both its
words and meaning in a living language. The Qu'ran is a living miracle in the
Arabic language; and is know to be inimitable in its style, form and spiritual
impact. God's final revelation to mankind, the Qur'an, was revealed to the
Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years. The Qur'an, in contrast to many
other religious books, was always thought to be the Word of God by those who
believed in it, i.e. it wasn't something decreed by a religious council many
years after being written. Also, the Qu'ran was recited publicly in front of
both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities during the life of the Prophet
Muhammad. The entire Qur'an was also completely written down in lifetime of the
Prophet, and numerous companions of the Prophet memorized the entire Qur'an
word-for-word as it was revealed. So unlike other scriptures, the Qur'an was
always in the hands of the common believers, it was always thought to be God's
word and, due to wide-spread memorization, it was perfectly preserved. In
regards to the teachings of the Qur'an - it is a universal scripture, and it is
addressed to all of mankind, and not to a particular tribe or "chosen
people". The message that it brings is nothing new, but the same message of
all of the prophets - submit to Almighty God and worship Him alone. As such,
God's revelation in the Qur'an focuses on teaching human beings the importance
of believing in the Unity of God and framing their lives around the guidance
which He has sent. Additionally, the Qur'an contains the stories of the previous
prophets, such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus; as well as many commands and
prohibitions from God. In modern times in which so many people are caught up in
doubt, spiritual despair and "political correctness", the Qur'anic
teachings offer solutions to the emptiness of our lives and the turmoil that is
gripping the world today. In short, the Qur'an is the book of guidance par
excellence. The Prophet Muhammad Unlike the founders of many religious, the
final prophet of Islam is a real documented and historical figure. He lived in
the full light of history, and the most minute details of his life are known.
Not only do Muslims have the complete text of God's words that were revealed to
Muhammad, but they have also preserved his saying and teachings in what is
called "hadith" literature. This having been said, it should be
understood that Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad was only a man chosen
by God, and that he is not divine in any way. In order to avoid the misguided
wish to deify him, the Prophet Muhammad taught Muslims to refer to him as
"God's Messenger and His Slave". The mission of the last and final
prophet of God was to simply teach that "there is nothing divine or worthy
of being worshipped except for Almighty God", as well as being a living
example of God's revelation. In simple terms, God sent the revelation to
Muhammad, who in turn taught it , preached it, lived it and put it into
practice. In this way, Muhammad was more that just a "prophet" in the
sense of many of the Biblical prophets, since he was also a statesman and ruler.
He was a man who lived a humble life in the service of God, and established an
all-encompassing religion and way of life by showing what it means to be an
ideal friend, husband, teacher, ruler, warrior and judge. For this reason,
Muslims follow him not for his own sake, but in obedience to God, because
Muhammad not only showed us how to deal with our fellow human beings, but more
importantly, he showed us how to relate to and worship God, worship Him in the
only way pleasing to Him. Like other prophets, Muhammad faced a great deal of
opposition and persecution during his mission. However, he was always patient
and just, and he treated his enemies well. The results of his mission were very
successful, and even though his mission started in one of the most backward and
remotes places on earth, within a hundred years of the death of Muhammad, Islam
had spread from Spain to China. The Prophet Muhammad was the greatest of all of
God's prophets, not because he had new doctrines or greater miracles, but
because the results of his mission have broght more human beings into the pure
and proper belief in the One True God than any other prophet. The Islamic Way of
Life In the Holy Qur'an, God teaches human beings that they were created in
order to worship Him, and that the basis of all true worship is
God-consciousness. Since the teachings of Islamic encompass all aspects of life
and ethics, God-consciousness is encouraged in all human affairs. Islam makes it
clear that all human acts are acts of worship if they are done for God alone and
in accordance to His Divine Law. As such, worship in Islam is not limited to
religious rituals. The teachings of Islam act as a mercy and a healing for the
human soul, and such qualities as humility, sincerity, patience and charity are
strongly encouraged. Additionally, Islam condemns pride and self-righteousness,
since Almighty God is the only judge of human righteousness. The Islamic view of
the nature of man is also realistic and well-balanced. Human beings are not
believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen as equally capable of both good
and evil. Islam also teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand. God has
given people free-will, and the measure of one's faith is one's deeds and
actions. However, human beings have also been created weak and regularly fall
into sin. This is the nature of the human being as created by God in His Wisdom,
and it is not inherently "corrupt" or in need of repair. This is
because the avenue of repentance of always open to all human beings, and
Almighty God loves the repentant sinner more than one who does not sin at all.
The true balance of an Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of
God as well as a sincere belief in His infinite Mercy. A life without fear of
God leads to sin and disobedience, while believing that we have sinned so much
that God will not possibly forgive us only leads to despair. In light of this,
Islam teaches that: only the misguided despair of the Mercy of their Lord.
Additionally, the Holy Qur'an, which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad,
contains a great deal of teachings about the life hereafter and the Day of
Judgment. Due to this, Muslims believe that all human beings will ultimately be
judged by God for their beliefs and actions in their earthly lives. In judging
human beings, Almighty God will be both Merciful and Just, and people will only
be judged for what they were capable of. Suffice it to say that Islam teaches
that life is a test, and that all human beings will be accountable before God. A
sincere belief in the life hereafter is key to leading a well-balanced life and
moral. Otherwise, life is viewed as an end in itself, which causes human beings
to become more selfish, materialistic and immoral. Islam for a Better Life Islam
teaches that true happiness can only being obtained by living a life full of
God-consciousness and being satisfied with what God has given us. Additionally,
true "freedom" is freedom from being controlled by our base human
desires and being ruled by man-made ideologies. This stands in stark contrast to
the view of many people in the modern world, who consider "freedom" to
be the ability to satisfy all of their desires without inhibition. The clear and
comprehensive guidance of Islam gives human-beings a well-defined purpose and
direction in life. In addition to being members of the human-brotherhood of
Islam, its well-balanced and practical teachings are a source of spiritual
comfort, guidance and morality. A direct and clear relationship with Almighty
God, as well as the sense of purpose and belonging that ones feels as a Muslim,
frees a person from the many worries of everyday life. In short, the Islamic way
of life is pure and wholesome. It builds self-discipline and self-control
thought regular prayer and fasting, and frees human-beings from superstition and
all sorts of racial, ethnic and national prejudices. By accepting to live a
God-conscious life, and realizing that the only thing that distinguishes people
in the sight of God is their consciousness of Him, a person's true human dignity
is realized.
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