‘Who is it that sustains you? Or Who is it that has power over everything you see and hear? And Who is it that brings the living from the dead, and the dead from the living? Who is it whose Law governs all the universe of matter?’ They soon say: ‘God!’ Will you not then show piety towards Him?’ (10:31)
When considering any social issue from the Islamic point of view, the starting point must always come from the definition of Islam, and what a Muslims is. ‘Muslim’ does not means people from around the word who happen to have been born to a Muslim Family. Some members of Muslims families are decidedly us – Islamic. It does not mean being an Arab ( or an Asian, or Iranian, or any other nationality ). For those in the West, it needs to be made clear that it certainly does not mean ‘someone’ with brown skin’!
Being a Muslim is a matter of deep personal conviction. Becoming Muslim is not something that any person can do at ‘second hand.’ It has be experienced in each individual heart, because it is a total commitment of submission of one’s life to the belief that there is no God but one, and the Blessed Muhammad was His genuine Messenger.
Muslims are people who have become genuinely aware at some point in their lives of the reality of the existence of God, and have committed themselves to submission to God’s will as it was expressed in the particular revelation given to the Arabian Prophet Muhammad, those revelations now collected into a book known as the holy Qur’an, or umm al – Kitab (Mother of Books). These were not the first messages sent to humanity from the one, for He sent messengers to every generation before the historical life of the Prophet Muhammad. There were other holy writings, in particular those of the Jews and Christians, whose faith is in the same One True God. However, these texts were not preserved so accurately or carefully, and the direct revelation of the Qur’an over 23 years was intended to bring those who had deviated from the true Faith back to its Straight Path.
‘It is He who sent down to you in truth the Books, confirming what went before; and Se sent down the Law and the Gospel before this as a guide to humanity; and He sent down a Criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).’ (3:3)
The awareness of the Reality of God (known as ihsan or ‘realisation’) leads to a deepened consciousness of the importance and meaningfulness of the gift of human life, and responsibility that goes with it. Like a dry and curled up desert plant suddenly being given the drop of moisture that will make it spread out its leaves and sink its roots, and flourish – the human being suddenly becomes aware of the great thirst, the great dependence, and the great joy in being at one with the Creator.
‘it is a guide and healing to those who believes; and for those who do not believe, there is deafness in their ears and blindness in their eyes.’(41:44)
To call God ‘He’ had become traditional – but this is for the convenience of the restrictions of your language. God only describes Himself using the male gender, but God does not have human sexuality and cannot be compared with the human race. Muslims therefore prefer to use the name of Allah (meaning ‘the Almighty’) in place of the word ‘god’ which can be made plural or female.