The Essence of Islam: Are We Missing the Point?


DELETEETo some, a Monet is only a collection of dots. To others, it is a perfect masterpiece. To some, Islam is nothing but a code of rules and regulations. But, to those who understand, it is a perfect vision of life.

As Muslims, we often focus so much on Islam’s dos and don’ts that we miss the bigger picture. Islam came to perfect our manners, and yet we are willing to scream and shout to win an argument about zabiha meat. Islam came to build our bond with our Creator, and while we wear our hijabs and kufis, we delay our prayers.

Islam came to establish a community of believers, but while we decorate our masjids with gold and silver, our prayer rows remain empty. Islam came to teach us about God, and despite wearing His words on our necklaces and decorating our houses with them, when those verses are recited to us, our hearts remain unmoved and our lives unchanged.

And Islam came to make us one brotherhood, yet we divide ourselves and alienate one another over issues like moon sighting and voting.

This is not to say, of course, that the dos and don’ts in Islam are not important. They are crucial. The problem is that we have forgotten what they stand for. For example, the wearing of Islamic dress should never be minimized. But we have forgotten that that hijab and that beard are only symbols of our greater devotion to God. For us to wear that hijab and that beard while it has no bearing on our character means we have missed the point.

If we spend thousands of dollars decorating our masjids but then use that masjid only to display status and win arguments, we have lost its intended purpose. And if we have memorized every haram and halal ingredient of facial soap, but we own businesses that are based on interest and sell alcohol, have we not made a mockery of Allah’s deen?

That deen is what transforms humanity from the lowest of the low to the representatives of God on earth. The Qur’an tells us: “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth…’” (Qur’an, 2:30)

As a representative of God on earth, we are given a very great responsibility. It is a trust so heavy that even the mountains rejected it. Allah tells us in the Qur’an: “We did indeed offer the trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it; he was indeed unjust and foolish.” (Qur’an, 33:72)

As believers, we should never lose sight of this responsibility. It is the fulfillment of that mission that transforms us from ‘asfala safileen’ - the lowest of the low (Qur’an, 95:5), into ‘khaira ummatin ukhrijat linnaas’ – the best of people arisen for mankind. (Qur’an, 3:110)

But how can we be that “best of people”? Allah describes how in His book: “Ye are the best of peoples, risen up for mankind, commanding what is right, forbidding what is evil, and believing in Allah… ” (Qur’an, 3:110).

The essence of that struggle is to believe, to fight for Truth and to strive against evil. And as soon as we give up that noble struggle, we will become among those people who Allah describes in surat Al-Asr as being in an utter state of loss. Allah also describes the ones who will be saved from that state: “Except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy.” (Qur’an, 103:3)

And, so, if we continue to abandon this greater mission and purpose, we will have transformed the perfect vision of existence into nothing more than a collection of dots.

Originally published by InFocus

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14 Comments

  1. brother Kaminari says:

    As Salam Alaikum,

    Do you mention these problems in the beginning because you say , if we stay close to the deen we are going to be from the highest , who can have such problems and who are going to mastere them ?

    To command what is good and to forbid what is evil – the one who is discussing with you about voting or zabiha meat , thinks he is forbidding what is evil , or the one who is telling the woman who is wearing a pink hijab, that she has to wear an black hijab ,thinks that this is commanding the good

    We have many flavours in Islam and someone can develope this aroma in his mind , in having a legitimate opinion and even for the other it could be unacceptable , so to say to command what is good and to forbid what is evil, is very good but I think there aren’t many ppl who have the understanding of the sahaba of what this philosophy means in islam , when it has to be done and when it can be avoided, the szenario of hudaibiyyah is an interesting event for that

    The philosophy of commanding what is good and to forbid wat is evil has to be discussed in an deep way, with fiqh and with examples

    however, thanks for the reminder ,
    barakallahu fik

    brother Kaminari

    • Usman Ahmad says:

      Very good article and a reminder of our obligations to Allah and our duties.
      May Allah bless all the Muslims in this world and give them Iman.
      I do note with happiness that our next generation have taken the Islam spirit further.
      Rasul Allah (may Allah bless him asked us to smile and be happy from within that would be the biggest Dawa of it all.
      Namaz is the essence of our existance .
      May Allah bless you for the note

  2. Sarah says:

    May Allah reward you for such an important reminder. I think if we just are truthful and honest to Allah(swt) and accept our mistakes ; that can be a beginning for a clean soul. Then there is no fear of being judged by other people and our actions become honest and meaningful and only to please Allah (swt). So forth, each morning and every day ,whether we are cleaning, cooking, studying ,working every action is for Allah(swt). When we include Allah(swt) in our lives He has promised he will forgive our misgivings. Allah(swt) knows best.
    May Allah (swt) guide us all to whatever is righteous. Ameen.

    • brother Kaminari says:

      @ sarah
      salam

      question : How can we be honest and truthful to Allah, this a Goal , can you give me the means to reach that goal ? What kind of mentality do I have to develope , is it a mentality, ? do I have to be in every situation truthful to Allah ? Or is it depending on my level of emaan, taqwa , how truthful I can be ? What do I have to have first , Taqwa or Love to be honest to Allah ? Are my deeds depending on my level of taqwa or on my level of emaan ?

      What do I have to do to be honest and truthful to Allah ? I hope you have an answer for ur suggestion u made , what are the ingredients for the medicine u mentioned ?

      barakallahu fik

      ur brother Kaminari

  3. You are right. Islam is actually three components: Islam (the body), Imaan (the mind), and Ihsaan (the heart). We must balance all three but we are unbalanced as an Ummah because some people emphasize one component to the neglect of the others. Allah knows best.

  4. NAS says:

    I really wish people could take this article to heart and try to adopt the point of this article in their lives. Our communities would be so much stronger if people looked at Islam this way–the way it was meant to be looked at.

    Jazakum Allahu Khayer

  5. Mutumainah says:

    Good character is essential

  6. MuslimGirl says:

    I really like the first and second paragraphs. They really show people the meaning of Islam. Often, we see things in black and white, we don’t look for the gray in between. Thanks for this eye-opening article.

  7. Moderation says:

    As-salaamu `alaykum,

    Ma sha’Allah, this is a very poignant article and an important reminder for us to re-assess ourselves and re-focus our intentions and deeds for the sake of Allah.

    JazakAllahu khayran

  8. SisSana says:

    Can you further elaborate on this ayah: “We did indeed offer the trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it; he was indeed unjust and foolish.” (Qur’an, 33:72)

    From what I’m understanding, humans were foolish to take that responsibility, so now are we paying the price for taking it? Should we not have?

  9. Yasmin says:

    I think mankind’s foolishness, expressed here, is not in his taking the trust, but in his not understanding the gravity, weight and seriousness of that trust.
    Wa Allahu ta’ala alam.

  10. Yasmine S. says:

    Beautifully written. Right on point mashallah. Our ummah is suffering from a lot of maladies. A good strong dose of humility is what we need.

  11. Amir Zain Hamza says:

    (^ ~), beautiful tazkeerah. something to think of.

  12. Ibn Yakzan says:

    I totally agree, the politicization and regulation of Islam has destressed the true essence of Islam as a religion of spirituality and enlightenment.

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