Islam: The Qur'ānic Overview

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Introduction

 

The word islām literally means submission. Islam, in the parlance of the Sharī'ah means complete submission to Allah.

Through the ages, the basic doctrine of Islam has remained the same. Hundreds of prophets whom Allah selected for human guidance have promulgated the basic doctrine with remarkable similarity.

The Prophet Muhammad ( - peace be upon him) was the last prophet sent to mankind. The Qur'ān and Hadīth literature contain many pieces of evidence that the message of the Prophet Muhammad is linked with the message of all previous prophets. From the many sayings of the Prophet to this effect, the following quotation is closely related with the principal theme of this work. The Prophet said: "The example of myself in relation to other prophets is like a person who has built a house which has been constructed well, with an excellent finishing, leaving only a gap of a brick. When people enter the house, they are greatly impressed by the beauty of the house and wonder about the gap left by the [missing] brick." [The left over brick is the person of the Prophet himself and the house is the house of Islam.] (al-Sahīh al-Bukhāri, Fadā'il, 30.)

The diagram on the inside cover represents the house of Islam and serves to structure the contents of this work. The work contains three sections. The first section, The Foundation, includes two themes: (a) the authoritative sources, i.e. the Qur'ān and the Sunnah, and (b) the three basic concepts: al-Tawhīd, the Oneness of Allah; al-Risālah, Prophethood; al-Ākhirah, the life Hereafter.

Section II, The Relationship with Allah, presents the five pillars of Islam, which are the divinely prescribed duties for a Muslim. The concepts illustrated under numbers 11-14 on the inside cover are not obligatory but are necessary in order to make the relationship with Allah strong. Muslims practice these concepts according to their individual capacities.

Number 15, al-Jihād, Exertion, is necessary for the physical and spiritual upliftment of Muslims. Number 16, al-Da'wah, Invitation, serves the purpose of keeping the internal system of the house in working order, at the same time as inviting all others to enjoy, without any discrimination, the peace and tranquility, the pleasures and comforts which the house provides to its inhabitants.

When the concepts numbered 6-14 mentioned on the sketch on the inside cover are adequately put into practice, they emanate many values. Only twelve Qur'ānic values in the four pillars under Section III, the Relationship with Fellow Creatures, are mentioned in the work. There are numerous Qur'ānic values, such as al-birr (righteousness), al-amānah (trust), al-ta'āwun (co-operation), and many more that are not discussed in this work because of its brevity. These concepts also protect and preserve Muslims from the many disvalues which have always disrupted the peace and prosperity of mankind. Qur'ānic values stand as pillars which enable a believer to fulfill the requirements of the three comprehensive concepts of the Sharī'ah (law derived from the Qur'ān and the Sunnah), i.e. Private and Social life, Economic life, and Political life.

The importance of knowledge and the Muslims' contribution to civilization are very briefly assessed. There is also a short biography of the Prophet Muhammad ( - peace be upon him).

For each concept an attempt is made to raise a few more appropriate points together with a few references to the Qur'ān, with the hope that these might grant the reader in a short period of time, some insight into Qur'ānic concepts. The work contains over six hundred references to the Qur'ān for 33 concepts. It will enable a person to comprehend Islamic concepts from the most authoritative source, the Qur'ān itself.

 

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