We keep hearing arguments about Islam from different people. Some question Islam as a real religion, and others try to prove that Islam is the true religion sent by God. However, I think that there is a major problem with these types of arguments. In fact, many people who undermine Islam by questioning it are not usually in search of truth. Rather, their sole goal is to humiliate Islam and make themselves happy with whatever belief they have.
Although Islam encourages people not to accept anything without understanding, when it comes to the point where arguments and discussions have no learning point, and become only a waste of time, Islam orders Muslims not to argue with people who have no intention to learn and improve; “do not dispute concerning them, except for a seeming dispute”. (18: 22)
Therefore, in this text, I would not try to justify the validity of Islam for those who have no intention to consider Islam as a path in life. But I would like to share my amazing experiences of being a Muslim with those who are looking for a safe path in life. Also, I will explain why I believe that Islam is the most complete religion and guideline in the world.
Is that true to say all prophets from Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them) were Muslims? Or is it just a tool that Muslims use to justify Islam as the best religion? To find the answer to this question, we must first understand what Islam is.
The word Islam means submission, and Muslim is the person who is submitted to God and His divine orders. Now, let’s have a look at the following verses of the Quran that state all religions that have been sent by God were sent to make humankind submitted to God (Muslims).
In Chapter Baqarah when the story of Abraham and his son Ishmael (PBUT) is narrated, while they are making the house of God in the current city of Makkah, they pray God to make them Submissive (Muslim) to Him:
“As Abraham raised the foundations of the House with Ishmael, [they prayed]: ‘Our Lord, accept it from us! …. ‘Our Lord, make us submissive to You, and [raise] from our progeny a nation submissive to You …” (2: 127-8) And then in another chapter of the Quran, Allah informs believers that Islam first came from Abraham; “The faith of your father, Abraham. He named you ‘Muslims’.” (22: 78)
Also God orders the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to emphasize the fact that the religion he brought is the same as the religion of Abraham (PBUH): “(O Prophet!) Say, ‘Indeed my Lord has guided me to a straight path, the upright religion, the creed of Abraham, a Hanif, and he was not one of the polytheists.” (6: 161)
Prophet Josef (Yusuf) (PBUH) prays to his lord to take his soul while he is a Muslim: “Let my death be in submission [to You], and unite me with the Righteous.” (12: 101)
“And Moses said, ‘O my people! If you have faith in Allah, put your trust in Him, if you have submitted [to Him].’” (10: 84) The last part of this verse in the Quran is written as “if you are Muslims.”
“Say, ‘We have faith in Allah and in what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that which Moses, Jesus, and the prophets were given by their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit.” (3:84)
According to what we discussed so far, we release that “all Prophets irrespective of the fact whether they had or did not have an independent code of law, had the same mission and preached the same message.”  The prophets came with the same message from God to guide human beings to the right path, and the nature of human beings in all eras are the same; “So set your heart as a person of pure faith on this religion, the original nature endowed by Allah according to which He originated mankind (There is no altering Allah’s creation; that is the upright religion, but most people do not know.)” (30: 30)
And in another verse, it is explained that: “Indeed, with Allah religion is Islam, and those who were given the Book did not differ except after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves...” (3:19)
Therefore, the guideline that is sent for human in all eras should be the same, as the nature of human beings in all periods has been the same. There are some rulings in the Quran that may change according to the conditions of the time. Since, Islam is a universal religion, not a contextual one.
“Should anyone follow a religion other than Islam, it shall never be accepted from him, and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter.” (3: 85)
Now that we discussed all the prophets were Muslims, and the only religion sent by God was Islam, why do we say that the religion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) should be followed, not the religion of Prophet Moses (PBUH) or Prophet Jesus (PBUH) or even prophet Abraham who was the father of Muslims?
It is said in the Quran that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was a role model for humankind: “There is certainly a good exemplar for you in the Apostle of Allah—for those who look forward to Allah and the Last Day.” (33:21)
While it is also stated in the Quran that Prophet Abraham and his followers such as Prophet Lout (PBUT) were role models for mankind: “There is certainly a good exemplar for you in Abraham and those who were with him, when they said to their own people, ‘Indeed we repudiate you and whatever you worship besides Allah.” (60: 4)
As mentioned before, Islam started with Prophet Abraham (PBUH), and he is named in the Quran as the father of Muslims. While in the above verse he is mentioned as a role model for Muslims. The same is with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who is called a role model for Muslims. Therefore, one can conclude that the only thing that makes the religion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the last and most complete religion is the growth of this religion throughout the time.
People’s intellectual immaturity was the main reason why God renewed his message and developed it over time. However, by the advent of Islam and revelation of the holy Quran, humanity had passed the period of its childhood and had become mature enough to preserve its intellectual heritage, i.e., the religion of God .
There are many scientific points in the Quran that has been mentioned about 1400 years ago. These issues have been discovered by scientists only during the past 200 years. I would mention a few examples and will leave the rest for you to study in the Quran.
Issues regarding embryology have been mentioned in the Quran: “Certainly We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him a drop of [seminal] fluid [lodged] in a secure abode. Then We created the drop of fluid as a clinging mass. Then We created the clinging mass as a fleshy tissue. Then We created the fleshy tissue as bones. Then We clothed the bones with flesh. Then We produced him as [yet] another creature.” (23: 14) and in another chapter, it is said: “created man from a clinging mass.” (96: 2)
With regards to Big bang as the start of this universe, Allah says: “Have the faithless not regarded that the heavens and the earth were interwoven and We unraveled them, and We made every living thing out of water?” (21: 30)
Many years ago people believed that the shape of the earth was flat and they had a fear of falling down the edge of the earth at a point when the earth is finished!  While 1400 years ago in the Quran Allah says: “It is He who created the night and the day, the sun and the moon, each swimming in an orbit.” (21: 33) “Thereafter He spread out the earth” (79: 30), but He mentions that although the earth is not flat, we have created in a way that you can walk on it without the fear of falling down: “Allah has made the earth a vast expanse for you.” (71: 19)
One of the reasons that some people stand strongly against Islam is that they say there are some rules in the Quran that are against human rights. In answer to such arguments, one should ask ‘Who defines human rights?’
Human rights that we have in our era is created by human beings and does not go any higher than human understanding. When a human mind tries to create human rights, with the best considerations, they may always forget about some other aspects of human being and the atmosphere around him. Therefore there is no doubt that in many cases, human rights that are written by human beings may be against real human rights.
Having discussed all the above points, I sometimes come to a point where I cannot understand some points of the Holy Quran according to my logic. What to do at these times?
I assume that a sound mind would say that when most of something makes complete sense to you and amazes you for its incredibility, then for that one percent, maybe I should think that the problem is not with the book, but with my understanding.
In the end, I would like to invite people to wisely think about their way of life, their goals, and aims in life. I would like to ask every human to read the Quran as a book that would definitely have many pints for human growth in it; shall it be scientific, moral, social or lifestyle points, it can help all of us to experience a better personal and social life.
Imam Rida (AS) is the eighth infallible Shiite Imam and successor of the final holy Prophet (PBUH&HP). His name is Ali, and among all his other names and titles the most famous honorary one is “Rida,” which means ‘satisfaction’. But why was he called this name?
According to his son, Imam Jawad (AS), “The Almighty Allah named him Rida because He was pleased with him in the heavens and the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) and the Imams of guidance (AS) were pleased with him on earth” . In fact, Imam Rida (AS)’s moral qualities and virtues were so high that even his enemies were attracted to and admired him. You might wonder what these traits are!
Imam Rida (AS) was the exemplar of a patient man. There were times when he was treated disrespectfully, but he would not react and preferred to remain silent. It has been narrated that when Caliph Mamun[i] tried to degrade Imam Rida’s (AS) position through scientific and theological debates with the contemporary scholars of other religions and opponents, Imam would patiently make the best use of those meetings and introduced the true religion of Islam to the world.
While having a meal alone, Imam Rida (AS) would invite all his slaves, servants, including the Blacks, to have the meal with him at the same place. And when he was told to make separate eating arrangements for the servants, he would refuse and say: “We are all created by God, our parents (Adam and Eve) are the same, everyone will be dealt with by God according to their deeds” .
Once a man said to Imam Rida (AS): “By God, you are the best in the world,” but Imam replied: “Do not swear by the name of Allah. Anyone who is more pious than me can be better than me.” Then he recited the following verse of the Quran:
“O, humankind! Verily, We created you all From a male and female [Adam and Eve] and appointed for your tribes and Nations to be known to each other [by Specified characteristics] Verily, in Allah's Sight the most honorable of you Is the most pious of you; and Allah is The Informed Owner of Knowledge” (49:13) .
Imam Rida (AS) would never hurt anybody with his words; He treated people as respectfully and kindly as possible; he would never talk badly to anyone or interrupt someone when speaking; he never stretched his legs or lean upon something in front of people. He always smiled instead of laughing loudly .
One night while Imam Rida (AS) was talking to his guest, there was a problem with the light. The guest wanted to fix it, but Imam did not let him do so. He started fixing it himself and said: “We are the ones who do not put our guests to work.”
Also, it frequently happened that Imam called a servant for some work, and he was told that the servant was busy having a meal; then Imam would say: “Let him finish his food” .
One day a foreign traveler came to visit Imam Rida (AS). After saying hello and expressing his love and affection towards Imam Rida (AS), his fathers and ancestors, he said he had come back from Hajj and had run out of money. He asked Imam to give him some money to go back home and promised to spend the same amount there on charity and giving alms (Sadaqah).
Imam stood up and went to another room. Then he came, stretched his hand from behind the door, and said: “Get this 200 Dinar and spend it for your journey, there is no need to pay the same back as alms.” The man got the Dinars and left. Imam later was asked for the reason for his secret help, and he answered: “Because I did not want the man to feel ashamed” .
Also, whenever Imam Rida (AS) wanted to have his meal, he would bring a large plate and put the best of the food on it to be given away to the poor. If he afforded to help, he would always give alms to the destitute at nights.
In another account, One of Imam’s companions narrated that One day after he arrived home, he saw his servants busy repairing the house. Imam noticed a stranger among them and asked about him. They answered he was there to help them and they would pay him. Imam asked if they had defined the amount of payment.
The answer was no. Imam became disturbed and said: “when one works without any contraction, he thinks that you have paid him little, even if you give him three times more. But if you contract and pay him according to the contraction, he will be pleased with receiving his right. Now if you pay more even just a little, he will understand you have paid more and will be thankful” .
Imam Rida (AS) had inherited the divine knowledge from his ancestor, our Holy Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH&HP).
He was the wisest man of his time and all his contemporaries. His knowledge was so rich in all religious matters and other realms of knowledge that the people of various tribes in their language would turn to him when they had questions, and he provided them with the best answers. Ma'mun, the ruling caliph, summoned the knowledgeable scholars in an attempt to defeat Imam Rida (AS) in several scientific debates and to discredit him in public. Nonetheless, Imam succeeded in all of them, and no one was capable of overcoming his power of knowledge.
Whoever dared to challenge Imam Rida (AS) ended up yielding to his unique power of reasoning. It has been confirmed by historians that Ma'mun, who was himself a celebrated erudite, pointed out the following statement, in his official charter for the appointment of Imam Rida (AS) as his immediate successor:
"I do not know any person superior to this man [Imam Rida (AS)] in the whole world" .
The life of Imam Rida (AS) and our other infallible Imams (AS) contains countless anecdotes of this sort, which reveals how they teach us the correct way of life both by their sayings and behaviors.
In a famous tradition or saying (Hadith) called the Golden Chain (Selselah al-Zahab), Imam Rida (AS) said that he had heard from dignified ancestors quoting from Gabriel and Almighty Allah that: “The word of La Ilaha Illallah -there is no god but Allah- is My stronghold (then whoever acknowledges this has entered My stronghold) and will be saved from My punishment”. After reciting this saying for his companions, Imam paused for a while and then continued, “Few conditions are entitling this entrance, and I am one of its conditions.”
Through this account, Imam Rida (AS) confirms that the belief in monotheism (Tawhid) will be counted as perfect when it is based on the obedience of the infallible Holy Imams (AS). In fact, Imams’ lifestyle and traditions were so good that if we idolize them and follow in their footsteps, we will certainly be able to move through the stages of spiritual perfection and win Allah’s satisfaction. Insha’Allah!
[i] The Abbasid caliph in power at Imam Reza’s (AS) time.
- Bihar al-Anwar, V.49, P.4.
- Osool al-Kafi vol.8 p.230.
- Oyoun Akhbar al-Reza, v.2, p.236.
- Al-Fadl ibn al-Hasan Tabarsi, Aa’lam al-Vara p.314.
- Osool al-Kafi vol.6 p.383 & 298.
- Managhib vol.4 p.360.
- Osool al-Kafi vol.5 p.288.
- Al-Irshad, v.2, p. 261.
Islam has spread much more quickly than the other religions all over the world. The question is how this has happened? And it becomes more important when we consider the situation in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) emerged.
He (PBUH&HP) invited people to Islam while he did not have any wealth or position and even when his family opposed him; except his wife, Lady Khadija (AS), and his cousin, Imam Ali (AS). Several factors were involved which we will discuss in a series of articles. Here, the focus is on how pleasant characteristics of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) helped Islam to become well known throughout the world.
In the Quran it is emphasized that the morals and attitude of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was one of the factors which attracted people to Islam: “had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they (people) would have surely scattered from around you” (3:159). This pleasant behavior of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) which made people inclined to him and Islam is known to be due to the God’s mercy over him (PBUH&HP) (3:159).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was forgiving towards those who had bothered him or even insulted him. It is narrated that once, a Jew accused Prophet (PBUHHP) of owing him some money and insisted on paying him back immediately. Prophet (PBUH&HP) told him gently that he had made a mistake, but the man repeated his claim and suddenly assaulted the Prophet (PBUH&HP). The companions of Prophet (PBUH&HP) came to interfere, but he (PBUH&HP) said: “I know how to deal with my friend.” He (PBUH&HP) behaved very nicely such that the man acknowledged that this behavior is only expected from a prophet and he declared his belief and embraced Islam right there.
However, he (PBUH&HP) was very serious about applying Islamic regulations or others’ rights. It is narrated that a woman from Quraysh [i] had stolen something; she confessed and had to be punished. Many people, including her family, interfered to change the Prophet’s mind and to stop her punishment. Prophet (PBUH) told people that they had meddled because she was from a famous family, but there is no exception to Islamic rules.
To provide an exemplary leader for others, to train people to act alike, to valorize his companions and to convince people to follow his instructions, Prophet (PBUH) used to take advice. Of course, in the end, he (PBUH&HP) was the one who decided and made firm decisions: “consult them on the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah” (3:159).
“Invite (mankind) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better” (16:125). Unlike what is advertised against Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUHHP) never forced people or threatened them to accept Islam.
On the contrary, following the advice of the Quran, he promoted Islam with kindness, fairness, and wisdom. Instead of humiliating and discriminating non-Muslims, or being harsh and fierce, he used rational argument and discussion which also improved their rationality and thinking power . This followed the fact that embracing Islam should be according to the personal perception and understanding and it cannot be based on the imitation .
[i]A mercantile tribe that historically inhabited and controlled Mecca and Ka'aba.