Believing in the oneness of God

Updated 10 August 2012
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Believing in the oneness of God

This is the last part of Abdulwaheed Amin’s story, who embraced Islam.

With a clear conscience and with none of the mental torment on this issue that I had to face when I first started studying Islam, I can now state that I believe Jesus (peace be upon him) to have been an entirely human prophet of God, one of the greatest prophets of God and worthy of the utmost respect, but that he was neither an incarnation of God nor the son of God. I believe that Jesus, a pious, monotheistic Jew, would be absolutely horrified by what Trinitarian Christians have made him out to be. Previously I feared that I would be betraying Jesus if I became a Muslim. Now I realized that I had been, in effect, inadvertently blaspheming and saying what I had no right to say about him.
I believe Muhammad (peace be upon him) to have been a later (the last) Prophet of God. And just as the true Christianity of Jesus’ genuine apostles in Jerusalem is the successor to Judaism, so is Islam, the final revelation of God’s word, the legitimate successor to and fulfilment of original Jerusalem-Jewish Christianity. I would like to make absolutely clear that I did not convert to Islam because of a romantic relationship. The possibility of marriage to a Muslim woman was the spur, the catalyst, which sparked my initial investigation of Islam. For the record, the relationship in question later broke down in 2001, but I still remain a Muslim.
My conversion to Islam, when it came, was a sincere one, not one of convenience. It had to be sincere. I could not in good conscience have undergone a fraudulent one. Religion, God, is too important to be trifled with. One’s soul is at stake.
I rejected Christianity as it is known to us today because I no longer believed in the doctrine of Trinity and the claim that Jesus is God. I came to believe wholeheartedly in the oneness of God. And I judge this belief to have found its best expression in the religion of Islam. Whatever the future may hold in terms of personal relationships, I will continue to hold these beliefs.
At times I can’t help but seriously wonder whether vast swathes of the religious community I have joined have forgotten the theological core of Islam and buried it with cranky behavioural regulations which they seek to impose on others, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, although God clearly states in the Qur’an that there is no compulsion. I admit at times to feeling rather disillusioned at certain interpretations I have encountered among Muslims of what constitutes legitimate Islamic practice and behaviour. I assure you that people with a Taleban mindset are not confined to Afghanistan.
And I am sickened by the politicized hate-filled philosophy, which passes itself off as Islam when in fact not only does it violate the most basic Islamic rules of warfare, it is often indicative of a complete lack of trust in God’s promise that no one will have to suffer more than they can endure. These extremists have set the cause of the spread of Islam back decades.
At times I can’t help but echo the lament of British convert, Michael A. Malik[1]: Islam is wonderful, but I can’t stand the Muslims!
But in spite of my frequent disillusionment with the behavior and attitudes of many of those who call themselves Muslim, in terms of beliefs about the nature of God, I will remain a believer in the oneness of God — for life.
Some time ago an American Protestant friend brought a wonderful quotation of Martin Luther’s to my attention: Everyone must do his own believing, as he will have to do his own dying.
I am completely at peace with myself about my new, pure monotheistic theological beliefs exemplified by Islam. And this is my statement of belief:
He is God, the only One, God the Everlasting. He did not beget and is not begotten. And none is His equal. (Qur’an - Surah 112)
I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Prophet.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to my parents — devout, practicing Catholics — who, although strongly disapproving of my conversion to Islam on theological grounds, have accepted my decision and have continued to show me great love, understanding, sensitivity and practical support. I have been most blessed in this regard.

- (Courtesy of www.islamreligion.com)


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016
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The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.