What the Qur'an teaches: The same old faith
12 Nov 2010 06:31 GMT
 
Published: Nov 11, 2010 21:15 Updated: Nov 11, 2010 21:15 In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful His are the keys of the heavens and the earth. He gives abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure to whomever He wills. He has full knowledge of everything. In matters of faith, He has ordained for you the same as He had enjoined on Noah — that which We have revealed to you (Muhammad) — and as We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: ‘Steadfastly uphold the faith and do not divide into factions.’ Hard for the idolaters is that which you call on them to accept. God draws to Himself whoever He pleases and guides to Himself everyone who turns to Him. (Consultation, Al-Shoora: 42: 12-13)

Last week we discussed the verses that make clear that judgment in all people’s disputes belong to God alone. Given that He makes His judgment final in all disputes, this can only mean that this rule is based on the fact that having originated the heavens and the earth and set their laws in operation, He continues to hold their keys: “His are the keys of the heavens and the earth.”

Since mankind are only part of what lives in the heavens and earth, the same fact applies to them, which means that the keys and treasures of the universe belong to God. Moreover, it is He who provides them with sustenance, determining its measure in the same way as He conducts all affairs: “He gives abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure to whomever He wills.” It is He who gives them the food they eat and the water they drink, providing everything they need in their lives. Can they, then, refer to anyone else for judgment in their affairs? It is the most natural procedure for people to turn to the One who controls all this according to His perfect knowledge: “He has full knowledge of everything.” Needless to say, the One who knows everything is the One who can make a final judgment in all fairness.

This is just one example of how the meanings of the component parts of the surah’s verses converge in complete harmony and perfect subtlety to work on the human heart. It is akin to the harmonious tones that combine to make a superb melody.

The surah began with a general reference to the unity of the source of all divine faiths: “Thus has God, the Almighty, the Wise, sent revelation to you, Prophet, and to those who preceded you.” (Verse 3) Now it gives more details of this fact, pointing out that the legislation God has enacted for Muslims is, in essence, the same as He legislated for Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, requiring them all to establish the divine faith and not to split into factions over it. This requires that they, in turn, steadfastly pursue the divine code of living, paying no heed to the desires of those who fall into dispute. This divine faith is thus meant to govern human life, while those who argue about God have no leg to stand on. They are the ones who are warned of the painful punishment they might incur.

This passage enjoys the same level of perfect harmony as the preceding one: “In matters of faith, He has ordained for you the same as He had enjoined on Noah — that which We have revealed to you (Muhammad) — and as We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: Steadfastly uphold the faith and do not divide into factions.”

Thus the surah confirms the truth we explained at its very outset: God is the source of all divine religions, starting far back in history. A little touch is added here which has a pleasant, subtle effect on every believer. He or she looks out to see who were their predecessors on this long line only to find that they were those noble elite: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be on them all). Every believer then realizes that he has joined their procession, traveling the same way they traveled. He will then enjoy his journey along that way, no matter how much trouble, persecution or deprivation he suffers. Who would not put up with trouble, knowing that it is only transient, when he is assured of the company of such an elite nobility?

Moreover, there is a profound sense of peace between believers in the one divine faith who implement His law. No conflict or dispute arises between them. They feel their strong bond urging them to collaborate and understand each other so that they can maintain the link between present and past.

Since the religion God ordained for the Muslims who believe in Muhammad is the same as He enjoined on Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, why do the followers of Moses and Jesus fight against each other? Indeed, what causes fighting between the followers of different Christian sects? Why do the followers of Moses and Jesus go to war against the followers of Muhammad? And why do those idolaters who claim to follow Abraham’s faith wage a war against Muslims? Should not all these group together under the one banner hoisted by God’s last Messenger? The same order was issued to them all: “Steadfastly uphold the faith and do not divide into factions.” Only when they unite under this banner do they uphold the faith, fulfil its duties, maintain its path and work under the same banner hoisted high in succession by Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus until it was eventually carried by Muhammad, who received the final testament. ¬



-- Arab News


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