Iman Directs a Believer to Follow Islam as the only Way of Life
- A believer first concentrates on knowing his Creator Allah, and the Fundamentals of Iman. Then he concentrates on knowing and accepting ‘Islam’ as the only way of life from Allah:
“Surely the Right way of Life from Allah is Islam” (Quran 3:19).
- After understanding and accepting Islam as the only Divine Way of Life from Allah, he starts to follow the Islamic way of life and becomes a Muslim. Since then, his mission is to follow Islam always and continue to live as a Muslim until his death. Allah says: “O believers, Fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die without being in a state of Muslim [complete submission to Allah]” (Quran 3:102).
- Allah has perfected Islam as a complete way of life through twenty-three years of revelation of the Quran as His Guidance for mankind. A believer must accept and follow Islam as he has received it from Him. Allah says: “This day, I have perfected your way of life for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your way of life” (Quran 5:3).
Allah has commanded believers to follow the ‘Islamic way of life’. A believer is not allowed to follow something from Islam and something from another source. He needs to follow the moral, social, political, legal, and economic systems of Islam in the spirit of ritual worship. This is the spirit of complete submission to Allah. This will guarantee peace and contentment for him in this world and eternal happiness in Heaven in the afterlife. If he follows something from sources other than Islam, he is practically following the devil in these affairs. He cannot follow something from Allah and something from the devil. Allah ordered us to enter into Islam completely and not to follow the devil: “O believers! Enter into Islam completely and do not follow footsteps of Satan (devil), surely he is your clear-cut enemy” (Quran 2:208).
- If a believer takes something from Islam and something from another way of life, either from the manmade way of life or from other religions, then his action does not reflect Iman in Islam. This also means that he does not have confidence in Islam as the complete code of life, and in some cases, he thinks that another way of life is better than Islam. About these people, Allah says:
“If anyone looks for a way of life except Islam, it will not be accepted from him, and he will be loser in the hereafter” (Quran 3:85).
Those people who take something from Islam and something from others, they are really in doubt. Allah orders the believers not to follow such people:
“Say (O Muhammad), “O people, if you are in doubt as to My way of life, then I do not worship those whom you worship besides Allah; but I worship Allah, who causes your death. And I have been commanded to be of the believers” (Quran 10:104).
- Following the ‘Islamic way of life’ is regarded as the ‘Worship of Allah’. Worship means obeying the Commands of Allah in every affair of life. Obeying His order regarding ritual worship and obeying His order regarding worldly activities are both the ‘Worship of Allah’. Doing ritual worship and disobeying the orders of Allah in worldly affairs is not practical. In fact, this is a contradictory action. Any Order of Allah, be it about ritual worship or worldly affairs, must be obeyed. Allah says: “The command belongs to none but Allah, Who has commanded that you worship none but Him. This is the right way of life, but most people do not know” (Quran 12:40). The picture of many muslims that we see nowadays, is the reflection of this verse. They obey the command of Allah in ritual worship but mostly ignore His command to follow Islam as way of life. Unfortunately, many of them do not understand that they are doing wrong by ignoring Islamic way of life.
- Following the ‘Islamic way of life’ must be done in the way Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did. A believer needs to do everything he is told to do and it must be done in the way he directed it to be done. He also needs to avoid whatever he has forbidden. A believer must obey Muhammad (PBUH) as the ‘Role Model’ to follow Islam. There is no Iman and no Islam without following Muhammad (PBUH). Allah orders the believers:
“Take whatever The Messenger gives you and refrain from whatever he forbids you. Fear Allah, surely Allah is severe in punishment” (Quran 59:7).
The order of Allah in this verse is clear and easy to understand. In the religion of Islam, the Prophet (PBUH) is the final authority to define ‘what Islam is’ and ‘what it is not’. Believers have no authority to add anything in Islam nor delete anything from it. They must do everything that the Prophet (PBUH) said to do and refrain from whatever he has forbidden.
- A believer is required to do good deeds (Marufat) that are included in the Islamic way of life through the Quran and Hadith. Allah Commands us to race one another in doing good deeds: “So excel one another in good work” (Quran 2:148).
- Doing good deeds, commanding others to do good deeds and obeying orders to do good work are essential duties of the believers. Doing good deeds alone does not bring desired results in society. All believers need to do good work individually and collectively for the development of society. They need to encourage, motivate, and help one another to do good deeds for their own benefit and for the benefit of the people. Imams, leaders, teachers, heads of states and governments are responsible for educating and ordering people to do good deeds. Allah says: “Order people to do good deed” (Quran 3:110).
Prophet (PBUH) said: “Indeed, there is only obedience in the good” (Bukhari 4085).
We can see the result of good deeds in this world with our own eyes. In addition, there is an ever-lasting peace and happiness in paradise for good deeds. Allah says:
“And those who believe and do righteous deeds, they are the dwellers of paradise and will live therein forever” (Quran 2:148).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Benefits of Iman are linked with good deeds” (Muslim).
- A believer, while doing good deeds, also needs to remain careful that evil does not get shelter in him nor in any other believer. He is required to refrain from those evil deeds (Munkarat) that are declared unlawful in Islam through the Quran and Sunnah (Hadith). He needs to be as serious as a soldier in the battlefield for changing evil in him.
- Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) introduced a systematic training process for fighting the evil in believers. This is called ‘purification of soul’. Every believer needs to work to purify his soul for keeping away from evil in the way the Prophet (PBUH) taught.
- Parallel to eliminating evil in oneself, a believer is also required to educate and order people to refrain from doing evil deeds. Allah orders: “Forbid whatever is wrong” (Quran 3:110).
Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart (hate evil and think to find out way to change evil); and that is the weakest form of Iman” (Muslim).
If believers do not work to change evil in the people of the community, then good people will also not be spared from the effects of oppression, injustice, lack of safety and security. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “When the people of knowledge in previous communities stopped condemning the evil of their societies and kept on socializing with evildoer despite of the wrong, Allah turned the hearts of the community against one another and cursed them upon the tongue of their Prophets” (Abu Dawud).
The best way to remove evil is to do good deeds and at the same time, correct other people. If good is promoted in the society, evil will disappear. Allah says:
“Verily the good deeds remove the evil deeds. That is a reminder for the mindful.” (Quran 11:114)
“Good and evil deeds are not equal, repel evil with what is better: then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend” (Quran 41:34).
Promoting good and stopping evil are two essential components of worship that every believer is asked to do within his capacity. There are many references in the Quran ( as for example; chapter and verse 9:104, 3 :110, 9: 71, 9: 112, 31 :17) about this duty. What good deeds must be promoted and what bad deeds need to be stopped for success in life are discussed in detail in the Quran and Hadith. Faith in Islam means obeying the order of Allah regarding good and bad deeds. Without obeying these, no society can enjoy the benefit of good deeds and be protected from the harmful effects of bad deeds. Consequently, disobedience to the orders and laws set by Allah takes away tranquility from life such that there is no peace, safety, and prosperity. Therefore, believers must do these individually and collectively. Allah has ordered to promote good deeds and stop evil: “And let there be from you a nation inviting to all that is good, order to do what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be successful” (Quran 3:104).
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “By the one in whose hand is my soul you must certainly command the good and forbid evil, or else a punishment from Him would soon be sent upon you after which you would call upon Him, yet your supplication would not be answered” (Tirmidhi).
The above references from the Quran and Hadith give a clear concept about the fundamental truth of the Islamic way of life. Unfortunately, due to the lack of proper knowledge of the Quran and Hadith, many Muslims do not know the Role of Islam in many activities in their lives. On the other hand, due to the deviation from Islam by contemporary Muslim rulers and leaders, people are unable to see and practice the State and Social Order of Islam. As a result, many Muslims think that ‘Islam’ is just doing some rituals like five times daily prayer, fasting in Ramadan, paying zakat, performing Hajj etc.
Due to the fear of oppressive rulers, evil is tolerated and promoting good deeds is largely ignored. As a result of inaction by good people, corrupt people are promoting evil in the Muslim Society without any resistance. Due to inaction by good people, their supplications are not answered, and the punishment of Allah is witnessed everywhere in the contemporary Muslim world.
Faith in Islam encourages every believer to work with determination, courage, and confidence in Allah to bring Islam back to its original form in the contemporary world. In this endeavour believers should face all situations with wisdom and rely on Allah for result. Allah says: “On Allah, should the believers rely” (Quran 3:160).
Muslims are forunate that they have the Quran in its original form without any alteration. They have authentic books of the Prophet’s (PBUH) traditions (hadith), biography of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the history of how early Muslims followed Islam during the time of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). They only need to refer to these sources for continuing the journey on the road of the ‘Islamic Way of Life’ with determination as follows:
- As a first step, believers need to understand the right concept of the Islamic way of life from the Quran and hadith.
- Second, believers need to know and think about what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did and how Islam was practiced in every affair of life during his time. For this purpose, in addition to the study of the Quran and Hadith, study of the Prophet’s (PBUH) authentic biography is important.
- Third, believers need to know and think how Islam continued during the rule of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs after Muhammad (PBUH). Study of the biography of these Rulers, Abu Baqr, Omar, Osman, and Ali (May Allah be pleased with them) and history of Islam during their time is very important for practicing the right Islam.
- After doing the above, believers need to look around and find out those people who are trying their best to revive the Model of Islam that the Prophet (PBUH) has left for Muslims to follow. They should then join hands with them and work together for the revival of Islam. They should try their best to follow and guide the people to the pure Islam that the Prophet (PBUH) left at the time of his death.
After studying the above, he should take actions as follows:
- Follow what is stated in the Quran. Allah says: “O people follow what has been sent down to you (Quran) from your Lord and do not follow other patrons beside Him. Yet you do little care to remember” (Quran 7:3).
- The Quran has guidance for everything that we face in our life. As a believer, we must refer to the Quran for guidance for everything. Allah says:
“We have left out nothing in this Book” (Quran 6:38).
- Islam does not permit to follow one thing from the Quran and leave out something else. This type of action is neither beneficial in this world nor in life after death. The fate of this type of person is clearly stated in the Quran. Allah says:
“Do you then believe in one part of the scripture and disbelieve in other? What other punishment such people from among you deserve except disgraceful life in this world and a most grievous destiny on the Day of Final Judgment” (Quran 2:86).
The picture of the disgraceful life of Muslims that we see in the contemporary world is an exact reflection of the above verse of the Quran.
Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever follows the Quran, he is upon Guidance, and whoever abandons it is upon misguidance. Take hold of the Book of Allah and cling onto it” (Bukhari, Muslim).
- After the Quran, a believer is required to refer to the Hadith and the Noble Life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for guidance about the Islamic way of life. He must follow Islam as stated in the Quran and hadith and demonstrated by Muhammad (PBUH) practically in his lifetime. He is ‘The Perfect Model’ of Islam for the believers to follow Islam. Allah says:
“Indeed, in The Messenger of Allah has the best Model to follow for him who looks forward to Allah, The Last Day and remember Allah much” (Quran 33:21).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“I have left behind two things, if you cling to them, you will never go astray. These are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah” (Al-Hakim).
Finally, a believer is required to follow the Islamic way of life that the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs continued after the Prophet (PBUH).The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Verily whoever among you lives long, will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah (way of life) and to the Sunnah of the Khulafa ar-Rashideen (The rightly guided Caliphs), those who guide to the right way. Cling to it stubbornly (literally: with your molar teeth). Beware of newly invented matters (in the religion), for verily every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance leads to hellfire” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).
Today we see many controversies, differences of opinion and action among Muslims regarding their religion. In the contemporary world of controversy among Muslims, the right way to work for Islamic revival is according to that which the Prophet (PBUH) has advised in the above hadith. Muslims need to work with those organizations that try to revive Islam as the complete way of life in all affairs as was done by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the four rightly guided Caliphs (RA) after him.
There were differences that arose after the rule of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs on minor issues like non-obligatory Sunnah or nawafil (voluntry) actions. These arose out of ijtihad (analysis) by some scholars. As these are non-obligatory, Imams and scholars approved to follow anyone of these opinions that an individual thinks appropriate for him or her. No one from the early Imams allowed grouping in Islam based on difference of opinion of scholars. Unity of Ummah must be maintained always.
Muslims in the contemporary world follow the same fundamentals of Imans and Islam as was in the time of Prophet (PBUH). But there was always differences on minor religious issues in all ages due to freedom in religious research (Ijtihad). Early Muslims, inspite of differences on minor issues always maintained unity as per the teaching of Prophet (PBUH). They did not create any group based on differences. Later, some religious leaders because of their differences on minor religious issues created different groups among Muslims and this is continuing till today. Their action clearly contradicts with the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We are citing here a hadith from Shahi al Bukhari:
“Narrated Abdullah bin Masud: I heard a man reciting a verse (of the Quran) but I heard the prophet (PBUH) reciting it differently. So, I caught hold of the man by the hand and took him to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH), who said, “Both of you are right.” “Do not differ, for the nations before you differed and perished (because of their differences).”
The picture of Muslim nation divided in many groups in contemporary world is the reflection of above hadith. Muslim nation has become weak like past nations because of division based on minor issues. In fact, the critics and enemies of Islam took advantage of these minor differences and engaged the Muslims against each other based on minor issues. They have created confusion among young Muslims and widened the divison among ignorant followers of each group, particularly through the media – both print and electronic. In such times, parents have the highest responsibility. They need to avoid grouping, guard the children from grouping and guide them to the correct conclusion on any religious issue.
A believer should not only try to follow the Islamic Way of Life but should also try to guide other Muslims to follow Islam in the true form that the Prophet (PBUH) left for us. They also need to demonstrate the Prospect of Islam as the guide for all of humanity. While doing so in the contemporary world, the following points should be taken into consideration:
- Work according to the teachings of the Quran and demonstrate the benefits that the Quran offers to mankind.
- Follow the Guidance of the Quran in every aspect of life and demonstrate that the Quran gives guidance to fulfil all human needs in the contemporary world, whereas no other religious book is available for guidance on all affairs of life.
- Enemies of Islam have tried their best to undo the the Message of the Quran. They try to physically annihilate Muslims by making false propaganda against Islam. They use many techniques to misguide, divide and spread immorality among Muslims. Thus, on one side they are trying to take away Muslims from Islam and on the other side, trying to propagate the Bible as the book of God. Particularly, they are targeting poor young Muslims of the third world countries by extending financial help through NGO and missionaries. Muslims should try to face these challenges effectively with wisdom in the way the Prophet (PBUH) did. They need sufficient knowledge to prove that the Bible was changed by humans and only the Quran remains un-altered for mankind to follow the true religion of God that came through Prophets Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses (Musa), Jesus (Isa) peace be upon them and finally Muhammad (PBUH).
- Opponents and ignorant Muslims mislead people about Islamic shariah by saying it is a myth and it was never organized and implemented. This is false propaganda and is only done to derail our children and future generations from Iman and Islamic practice. Those who study the Quran, hadith, and history of Islam know that the Shariah was revealed by Allah and was implemented by the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) himself. After him, this was continued by the Rightly Guided Caliphs Abu Baqr, Omar, Osman, and Ali (R.A). The Shariah was implemented by all other dynastic Caliphates (Rulers) until the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1924. This means that the Shariah is compatible for all ages. The enemies of Islam destroyed the Muslim world, colonized their lands, educational and cultural organizations, institutions and imposed their anti-Islamic designs by force. Muslims have driven them out of their lands but the leaders who have taken over from colonial rule, continued the same without bringing back Shariah into the state. But despite all odds, Muslims did not stop. They continued to try to implement the Shariah in all walks of their lives. The efforts of devoted Muslims will succeed by the grace of Allah and we hope our children and future generations will be able to enjoy the fruits of Shariah (Islamic Law) by practicing Islam as the complete way of life.
- The most difficult situation that the Muslim Nation is facing in the contemporary world is ‘adding something new in Islam and removing something else’ compared to the Islam that the Prophet (PBUH) left for us to follow. Nowadays, leaders of Muslim countries are busy taking away many things from Islam. We can see on one side secular parties and governments removing many things from Islam that the Prophet (PBUH) eatablished in the religion. On the other hand, we see some ignorant religious leaders are adding many new things in the worship that the Prophet (PBUH) never did nor directed the Muslims to do. As believers, it is our duty to protect our religion from such deviation by educating Muslims with the knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah. The Prophet (PBUH) warned about the grave consequences of deviation in the religion. He said: “The most evil matters are those that are newly invented (in religion by adding or removing something), for every newly invented matter is an innovation. Every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance led to the Hellfire” (Nasai 1578).
- The Prophet (PBUH) taught his nation not to take the Quran lightly because it is the word of Allah and a direct link between the Creator and creation. He taught us how to understand its beauty and wisdom, how to practice its teachings in life and how to spread its message to all people. Now it is the duty of the Muslims to learn these and follow the Quranic way of life, ‘Islam’, individually and collectively with all seriousness. If believers build themselves, their children, and future generations on the complete Islamic way of life by following the Rules of the Quran in every sphere of life, then only can they satisfy the condition of Iman in Islam. Allah says:
“O believers! Enter into Islam completely” (Quran 2:208).