Understanding Islam – Abul Al\’a Maududi
BEFORE we proceed further, it would be advisable to recapitulate the former discussions and sum up their substance. We can summaries them as follows:
Although Islam consists of submission and obedience to Allah Lord of the universe, yet as the only authentic and reliable source of knowing Him and His Will and Law is the teaching of the true prophet, we may define Islam as that religion which stands for complete faith in the teachings of the prophet and unflinching obedience to his ways of life. Consequently, one who ignores the medium of the prophet and claims to follow God directly is not a ‘Muslim’.
In the earlier epochs there had been separate prophets for different nations, and the history of prophethood shows that even in one and the same nation several prophets appeared one after the other. In that age Islam was name of that religion which was taught to a nation by its own prophet or prophet. Though the nature and substance of Islam was the same in every age and country, the modes of worship, codes of law, and other detailed rules and regulations of life were a bit different according to the local and particular conditions of every people. It was not, therefore, necessary for any nation to follow another nation’s prophet and its responsibility was confined only to following the guidance given by its own prophet.
This period of poly-prophetism came to an end with the advent of Muhammad (peace is upon him). The teachings of Islam were made complete through him; one basic law formulated for the whole world and he was made a prophet unto the entire humanity. His prophethood was not meant for any particular nation or country or period; his message is for all peoples and for all ages. The earlier codes were abrogated by the advent of Muhammad (peace be upon him) who gave the world a complete code of life. Now, neither any prophet is to appear in the future nor is any new religious code going to be revealed till the Last Day. Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) teachings are meant for all the children of Adam, the entire human race. Now Islam consists in following Muhammad, viz. To acknowledge his prophethood, to believe in all that he has asked to his believe in, to follow him in letter and spirit, and to submit to all his commands and injunction of God. This is Islam.
This automatically brings us to the question: What has Muhammad (peace be upon him) asked us to believe in? What are the articles of Islamic faith? Now we shall try to discuss these articles and see how simple, how true, how lovable, and how valuable they are and to what high pinnacle they raise the status of Man in this world and the life to come!