Frequent Questions
About Islam And Religion


Some of the questions apply to religion 'per se', and Islam is - despite its detractors and hypocrites - the most authentic and alive of religions, so these questions are best answered from the Islamic perspective. Most of the answers are from Hasan Le Gai Eaton: "Living By The Book" ( listen to the audio-files )
Questions:
  1. 1a. Why belong to some particular, organized religion, such as Islam or any other with all that it involves? I try to lead a decent life and help my neighbours, is not that all that matters?

    1b. Is Being Muslim Necessary?
    If I do good work and exhort others to endurance, am I a good Muslim or just a good person?

  2. It is said that we all are Allah's creatures, then what about those who don't believe in Him?

  3. In Islam the Sharia is the highroad.
    Is it not possible to reach our destination without following such a road?

  4. Why is there no historical criticism of the Quran - (as there is of the Bible)?

  5. Why don't Muslims adapt the Quran to the needs of the modern age?

  6. Why should it be necessary for these divine revelations [from different world-religions] - each perfect and adequate in its way - to have been repeated again and again down the years?

  7. It seems that Islam is a new religion?

  8. Is Islam a mixture of Judaism and/or Christianity?

  9. Why is it impossible just to take out something from the Quran and leave the rest?
    Or even have a religion made up by ourselves?

  10. If Allah is good why does He allow evil ?

  11. If Allah loves man, why then does he punish him?

  12. If Allah is the creator of everything, why then did He not create only righteous beings and why then does he not destroy Satan?

  13. Allah is independent of us. Then why does He want us to pray to Him?

  14. Shall we pray five times a day, or is it enough if we just live a life of ordinary good people?

  15. Is it true in Islam that women are subordinate to men?

  16. What is one of the simplest ways to identify the sickness of the age?

  17. Why should it be necessary to confine oneself to one particular teaching and one particular set of injunctions? Mightn't it be better to leave all ethical inspiration to one's inner voice?

  18. Is it written in the Quran that Muslims should live in peace with members of other religions?

  19. What is the best way to draw closer to God - Allah?

  20. Can we see God, or why can we not?

1a.Why belong to some particular, organized religion, such as Islam or any other with all that it involves? I try to lead a decent life and help my neighbours, is not that all that matters?
(see also below: 1b. Why would it be necessary to be Muslim ?)

Answer: Do you really have that much trust in your subjective wisdom and and personal morality?
Are your intentions so pure, is your will so detached from self-interest ? that you can be sure of your own righteousness? Do you never deceive yourself - not to mention others?

If the answer is yes - then this is some extraordinary claim and seems to ignore all that we can learn from the wisdom of the past, and all that we might learn from history regarding human wickedness.

So to reject help when it is offered seldom makes sense. The Quran is mercy to mankind; divine guidance is a gift, not the smallest child rejects a gift without examining it, can adults have less sense than children?

[The point is that people suppose they know already what divine guidance and its message is all about, so they feel they don't need to examine it. H
Or people are so imbued with atheism, that "the divine" and "the sacred" have no meaning to them. ]
..

   for a similar question, see no.17. : <below >
   for self-interest / ego / nafs see: <The Meaning of nafs>
   for self-deception see: <WARNING>


1b. Is Being Muslim Necessary?
If I do good work and exhort others to endurance, am I a good Muslim or just a good person? Do I have to be a Muslim to be a good person?

(From One who keeps losing and finding the path.)

Answer: Of course, you can be a good person regardless of your religion. Yet, to be a Muslim is to save yourself; to establish correct beliefs ( `aqida ). Allah created us to worship Him in this life, and to be a Muslim is to be a believer.(Quranverse,.....)

Therefore, it is most important to first be a Muslim and then to be a good person. Someone might be a Muslim and yet not a good person - not every Muslim is good. Someone might be Muslim, fulfilling all of Islam's obligations, yet lacking good manners. Such a person in is need to polish the heart by means of tazkiyya - purification.

by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani

   for a similar question, see no.17. : < below >
   on tazkiyya see: < sufism / tasawwuf >
   Is Being Muslim Necessary? - from: < sunnah.org/fatwa >


2. It is said that we all are Allah's creatures, then what about those who don't believe in Him?

We are all Allah's creatures including those who think they don't believe in Him. The Quran was revealed to all men and women of good will and the Quran is a reminder.
Man has a vicereagal status in this world: He has got speech, intellect and free will.H..


3. In Islam the Sharia is the highroad.
Is it not possible to reach our destination* without following such a road?

Yes, because with God all things are possible, and we cannot set limits to His Mercy.
But to insist on finding your own way through the forests and the mountains, accompanied by your worse enemy, your own selfwill,
hacking out a path with your penknife, rather than following the road opened up by God's Mercy, which leads surely to where you must go, is - to say the least - a risky choice.

*That destination is before us from the moment we are born, call it what you will: paradise, salvation, liberation or simply peace. Seen or unseen it is the magnet that draws us through our lives.

H..


4. Why is there no historical criticism of the Quran - (as there is of the Bible)?

There is a misunderstanding:
The Bible is made up of many different parts, compiled over many centuries and it is possible to cast doubt upon one part without impuning the rest,

whereas the Quran is a single revelation, received by just one man, either you accept it for what it claims to be, in which case you are a muslim or you reject this claim, and so place yourself outside the fold of Islam. H..


5. Why don't Muslims adapt the Quran to the needs of the modern age?

a.
The Quran states: there is no changing the words of God. (1)

The fact that it was sent down in the seventh century of the Christian aera, not the 20th, is irrelevant. We don't wear down a diamond by constant handling. And the passage of the centuries cannot erode the words of God.
The act - the revelation - is located in time, but it is in itself timeless.
(In Islamic theology: The Quran is uncreated, therefore eternal)

b.
As Muslims we ask, not how the book can be adapted to our lives in the world of today, but how our daily lives can be adapted to the Quran - that is the real problem. H..


6. Why should it be necessary for these divine revelations [from different world-religions] - each perfect and adaquate in its way - to have been repeated again and again down the years?

The principle reason for this (apart from other reasons concerning the nature of time and local differences ) is human forgetfulness,
combined with our tendency - as soon as we get our gubby hands on any truth - to bend it, to suit our convenience. The crystal clear stream is polluted in its downward course.

This is what has happened - to a greater or lesser extent - to the previous divine messages.

Islam is final and it is the message of peace.

The inherent saving and transforming power of the Quran is the best proof. H..


7. It seems that Islam is a new religion?

No, on the contrary, it presents itself as a restauration and restatement of the dîn-ul fitrah, the perennial religion of mankind, the eternal truth of which our ancesters [and we even more] had to be reminded again and again. It started already with Adam (s). H..


8. Is Islam a mixture of Judaism and/or Christianity?

Islam is an original tradition:
Just as milk is made of water, kasein and lactose, and becomes something distinct and valuable of its own, equally does Islam have 'ingredients' from different cultural and religious backgrounds.

Islam did not originate in a vacuum, but it is the end-product as molded in its divine form by the Prophet of Islam, the Messenger of Allah (2) and as such it became the vehicle on earth for man's purification (10), spiritual guidance and salvation.

Islam is not to be conceived as something completely new or alien, as it encompasses the essence of all the previous divine traditions since the appearance of the species of man on earth, thus preserving the continuity of the eternal tradition, which cristallized in the last of the revealed religions, and is the best proof of authenticity and truth of Islam.

So when finding in Islam some word, concept or rite etc. reminiscent of an earlier tradition, the question is not, whether or not Islam 'borrowed' this from somewhere else or not, but to discover the meaning of it and where and how Islamic worship employs this word, concept or rite etc. and with what spiritual consequences. And if you wish to go further then try to find out if you can do something to give life its meaning.


9. Why is it impossible just to take out something from the Quran and leave the rest? Or even have a religion made up by ourselves?

Allah says in the Quran: { And if your Lord had pleased He would certainly have made people a single nation, but they shall continue to differ. }
Sura Hud (11) verse 118

A divine revelation which inaugurates a religion as such is - what in modern speaking might be called - a package. It's a coherent pattern, an organic whole, in which each part fits precisely with any other part and in which all the parts are interdependant.

This is why, you cannot take the best parts of each religion and combine them in some sort of super-faith. Moral laws differ, though less than many people suppose, between the religions, but these laws always make perfect sense in the context of the basic doctrines, the theology and cosmology of the faith to which they relate.

God wills variety, because His infinite richness cannot be fully reflected in any earthly pattern. - How could it be, given His infinity and our limitations?

We don't need to ask how these differences can be reconciled, we are finite beings and there is a boundary set for our understanding. So the Quran commands us to be patient, we will know the answers at last. Meanwhile we seek enlightenment in the Origin of all light, we seek help from the Source of all help and we put our trust where it belongs, not in the cod-man within us, but in God beyond us, not in me with a capital "M" , but in the book, given for our guidance and as a mercy for mankind.

H


10. If Allah is good why does He allow evil ?

Allah does NOT allow evil.
Instead He forbids evil in all its forms, hidden and manifest! (1)
The problem is that man does not care enough to distinguish between good and evil;
obviously what seems 'good' to someone, may be evil for another; - then is it really 'good'? (2)
Which shows that these attributes are very relative and due to change.

Muslims do have a criterion for good and evil:
the divine revelation of the Quran (3)
and the prophetic example. See: arrow out
Where human reason is not sufficient to determine this question, we are informed about what is good and pleasant in the sight of Allah or what is evil, although it may seem good at first sight.(4)

Now - whereas all good comes from Allah, evil deeds are the sole responsibility of man (5). His conscience, if he still has one, alarms him in a silent manner when he is about to commit an evil deed and punishes him with complaints and remorse afterwards (6), so then - why did he do it anyway? What 'reasonable' arguments did he come up with, in order to defend his evil action? (7)

In fact many prophets were sent to each and every nation on earth to show us the way to righteousness and bliss (8). The last of the prophets, the Messenger of God (9), Muhammad , - teaches us the religion of Islam by which we can discover the shortcomings of human reason, which alone is incapable of understanding reality.(10)

see also: For what reason would Allah create evil?


11. If Allah loves man, why then does he punish him?

1. At first, in Islam we say:
Allah is our Lord, man is the viceregent (khalifa) on earth (1) and
Allah is the All-Merciful (ar-raHmaan), man is the servant of Allah ('abd) (2),
the seldom thankful servant (3).

So, instead of love towards man, we speak of Allah's Mercy and Great Bounty (4).

2. Secondly, when punishment ('adhaab) is due,
it is because the harmony and balance of things have been upset (5):
a) The purpose of punishment in this world (dunyaa):
to rescue man from the chain of his evil thoughts, words and actions and
to lead him back to the right path (6)
b) The purpose of punishment in the coming life (aakhira):
to purify the soul of man from the consequences of his evil and godless thoughts, words and actions, and finally to prepare him for unending peace (7).

3. Concerning the obstinate unbelievers (kaafiruun) however, Allah will not make them grow nor increase them in anything (la yuzakkiihim) (8).

related link:

•   How Allah displays His Mercy (punishment)


12. If Allah is the creator of everything, why then did He not create only righteous beings and why does he not destroy Satan?

Indeed, Allah is the Creator and Originator of everything (1).
Angels always obey their Lord and never do any wrong (2),
and Satan temps man to forget God (3) and to do wrong

Whereas man's destiny is known only to Allah (4),
he was, however, created with a free will (5),
and can therefore, in principle, choose which action to take (6),
for Allah inspired him with the understanding of good and evil (7).

Man has to prove what he is worth in the sight of Allah (8),
as he was created to worship Him (9),
by such thoughts, words and actions which gain Allah's approval.(10)

Even so man was not created as a mere robot, but he was honoured (12)
as a thinking being with the possibility to understand the Divine Will (13),
much as our cosmos is not a closed mechanism, but open and dynamic (11)


13. Allah is independent of us. Then why does He want us to pray to Him?

Allah is indeed in no need whatsoever of His creation. (1) (h1).

However He wants us to pray and worship Him, to praise and remember Him (2),
because prayer is for our own good (3),
it is a divine blessing (barakah) and strength
it protects us from negative influences (4)
and constitutes part of the Islamic method of gaining spirituality and proximity (5)
to our Lord (rabbinaa) (h2) hadith: B1-10-506)
Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran:

{Establish prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds.}
Sura 29 (al-`Ankabut), verse 25


14. Shall we pray five times a day, or is it enough if we just live a life of ordinary good people?

This question has been partly dealt with above. Q1

a.) To become "human", normal people in our definition of the term ( normal: ), we need to give Allah, may His Majesty be exalted, what we owe Him; which is to fulfill our humaneness.
So we owe Him to strive for perfection as real human beings and we owe our soul to to make it grow, Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran:
{And whoever purifies himself, he purifies himself only for (the good of) his own soul; and to Allah is the eventual coming} Sura 35 verse 18 (see also: tazkiya).
Therefore we want to live in accordance with His commands, as He has revealed to us through His messenger, which is the last messenger sent:
We take from Prophet Muhammad as much as we can (hadith: 4) in this life of detractions and deception and that means:
to be truthful to Him in sincere worship and action,
to establish prayer, to fast, to give alms, to strive for knowledge. (prayer: Q13)

b.) Prayer (SalaH) is not a means in itself, but a spiritual method - not man-made, but heavenly ordained, to prepare and transform the human soul and to purify it, so that eventually it may reach the Divine Presence. Allah (swt) says in the Quran:

{Establish prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds.}
Sura 29 (al-`Ankabut), verse 25

   more on 'prayer' see: < prayer - SalaH > ICD
   for prayer giving pleasure see: < Spiritual Remedies > Imam Al-Suyuti
   see above for: < being a 'good person' > or not


15. Is it true in Islam that women are subordinate to men?

This depends on what function or circumstances and from what perspective.
First of all, we - men as women - are all subordinate to Allah (1),
who is the sole Master of our lives and station (2).

On a certain level, men and women are alike (3),
on another men have some greater responsibility (4)


16. What is one of the simplest ways to identify the sickness of the age?

It is to observe how certain important words have lost their true meaning.
For example 'the awful', the real meaning is inspiring respect,
or the 'hip' way to change good and bad, which gives the impression that - in order to be someone, to be respected, ...to be good - you have to be bad, f.ex. 'Bad Boys'.
Or 'normal' and 'normality'
- this tells us something about modern man and the loss of religious faith.
Now, let us look into the notion 'normal' more deeply:

What do we usally mean by <normal> and what is its original meaning, especially in the context of tradition and religion?

Or another example of changing words to suit arrogant (in this case: superpower) interests, is when the US State Department told its diplomats to stop using the word "occupied" in relation to the West-Bank and Gaza [which are of course the lands of the Palestinians, but incroached upon illegally by Israel, against the resolutions by the UN], but instead to call them "disputed" territories!
And US-journalists dutifully followed their example.


17. Why should it be necessary to confine oneself to one particular teaching and one particular set of injunctions? Mightn't it be better to leave all ethical inspiration to one's inner voice?

What you are really asking, my young brother, is why should there be any institutional religion. The answer is simple.
Only very few people - only prophets - are really able to understand the inner voice that speaks in them. Most of us are trammelled [inhibited] by our personal interests and desires - and if everyone were to follow only what his own heart dictates, we would have complete moral chaos and could never agree on any mode of behaviour.*

You could ask, of course, whether there are no exceptions to the general rule - enlightened people who feel they have no need to be "guided" in what they consider to be right or wrong;
but then, I ask you, would not many, very many people claim that exceptional right for themselves? And what would be the result?

Shaykh Mustafa Al-Maraghi, Al-Azhar, quoted in RM-193/4

*[Which is what happens now-a-days in post-modern, "liberal" societies, where traditional religion has been usurped by "the religion of science".
Which in reality means: When I don't take God as my guide, instead relying on my most unreliable soul, thus rejecting the message of the Divine as transmitted by a religious tradition, such as Islam, then anything can be true and everything is permitted. This is but the triumph of Satan, may he be outcast. ]
.


18. Is it written in the Quran that Muslims should live in peace with members of other religions?

Answer: Yes, of course!
Not only in peace and justice with followers of other religions, but also with those who do not follow any religion, which is the case we find ourselves in as Muslims today, living in post-modern societies.
We understand that all people are Allah's creation, and we treat them well and we are told in the Quran that Allah loves those who do good and strive to be just.
While Muslims want to live in peace and invite others to the message of peace - Islam - it has to stressed that conditions of mutual respect have to be fulfilled.
This is clearly expressed in a quranic verse revealed to the Messenger of Allah

1. Islam is the religion of peace, justice and knowledge of Allah
Human beings have to respect Allah, may His Majesty be exalted and their fellow-beings, not being proud.
To ignore the commandments and Will of the One who created us and in consequence, to act against His divine Way, so as to arose His anger is a certain way to lose one's peace both in this world and the after-life.
Why is Islam the religion of peace?
Because in Islam the Divine Name of rahma (divine compassion) is both one of the most often invoked names of Allah and also the quality of character with which human beings should empower themselves! (see hadith of compassion )
Furthermore - on the personal level - Islam means and this is a fundamental point, to make peace with Allah, may His Majesty be exalted, to accept Him being the Lord and Master of our lives, to know His command for every moment and situation, in order that we may gain His pleasure;
and by this one comes to terms with oneself, with the desires of the soul and its vanity.
How to do this is by following the example of the Prophet of Allah arrow out

Then - on the societal level - Islam means that there has to be peace and justice in the family and in society at large. For every individual and every group there is a consensus of how to behave, be they politicians, business-people, law-enforcement agents, teachers, parents or children, men or women, rich or poor. Here again compassion is the key concept.
(see hadith )
This is possible when and if every person knows his or her place, his responsibilities and rights and acts accordingly.

2. Conditions for peace and equity
For peaceful co-existence of Muslims and non-Muslims the keyword is mutual respect.
It is engaging in dialogue, not isolation; from peaceful living side-by-side to living together as good and caring neighbours.
In order to accomplish this, two - one might think - simple conditions have to be met:

a. that non-Muslims do not fight against Muslims, while they are believers in the one God - Allah;
b. that Muslims are not driven out of their homes.
see sura 60

3. Allah re-established the divine religion, which is Islam.
It would not have been necessary for Allah to reveal the Quran and establish Islam if former divine traditions (such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity) had preserved intact their original teachings. Instead people deluted the scriptures according to their personal wishes and started quarrelling about minute issues, slipping away from abiding to their divine law. See also
So Islam renewed the divine law where every group and individual is guaranteed their rights and responsibilities, and how society should defend itself against satanic influences and criminal acts.

4. References in Quran and hadith
There are numerous references in the Quran where the believers are exhorted to be kind and tolerant to all people, irrespective their religion, as long as they fulfill the two above mentioned conditions.
Throughout the life of the Prophet of Allah the many examples of his tolerance and compassion for his people and others, who were not with him, are proof for what we said and they have been transmitted to us in many hadith. (hadith are sayings and deeds of the Prophet )
However, there are also many references where Muslims are called upon to defend their lives, property and honour and their dîn - their Islamic way of life - against the attacks of the disbelievers.
As a matter of fact, since the beginning of the revelation, the disbelievers strove hard against the Muslims, against their religion and against God, but - in the end - were always defeated.
see quranic verses below

From the hadith:

When the mushriks (idolators) started to discriminate and molest the Muslims in the time of the Divine Revelation (early Islam), the latter were nevertheless exhorted to be kind and just against the disbelievers, especially if they were family members:

So for example when Al-Bukhari relates (in vol. 8 no. 9) an event from Asma` bint Abu Bakr who narrated:

My mother [who was a mushrik - an idolator] came to me, hoping (for my favor) during the lifetime of the Prophet.
I asked the Prophet "May I treat her kindly?" He replied, "Yes."

Ibn 'Uyaina said, "Then Allah revealed:

Allah does not forbid you to treat kindly and deal justly those who have neither fought you in the matter of religion, nor driven you out of your homes. Indeed Allah loves the just.
Sura al-Mumtahanah 60, verse 8

Comment Yusuf Ali: Even with unbelievers, unless they are rampant and out to destroy us and our faith, we should deal kindly and equitably, as is shown by our holy Prophet's own example .

Comment Maududi: ... But as for those who were not partners in persecuting you, you should treat them well and should fulfill the rights they have on you because of blood and other relationships.

Comment Daryabadi: Such people are to be dealt with kindly and considerately according to their status in the Muslim state.
Fairness and equity in an absolute sense, are obligatory in dealing with every creature of God whatever his beliefs may be.

5. From The Islamic History
Islamic history proves very well the tolerance of Islam, even if not all Muslims lived up to this ideal.
But it is a historical fact, that all great wars in Islamic lands were started by non-Muslims:
- The attacks on the first Islamic community at al-Madina
- The crusades against Muslims lands in the Middle Ages
- The continuation of the crusades against Muslims lands in Islamic Spain
- The Mogol attacks on Eastern Islam with the fall of Baghdad and killing of the Khalifa
- Italian aggression against Islamic Lybia
- European attacks on the Ottoman Khalifate until the end
- ...
- The Serb attacks against Muslims in Bosnia in the 1990-ies
- The ongoing assaults of the Zionists, backed up by the US on the Muslim people of Palestine
- The ignoring of UN-resolutions on Kashmir 50 years ago and the violent repression of Muslims by the Indian government
- The war on Islamic Afghanistan for hiding the notorious person, who was their guest, instead of bringing forward proofs for criminal involvement and of using internationally accepted and legal methods in the way of justice.
- The illegitimate war on Iraq in 2003 without this country posing a threat to anyone but its own people.

This is just to mention a few of the bloody wars against the Muslims, but the list is much longer. So who is attacking who? Instead of this onesidedness against our religion, we want Christians and Jews and atheists to prove their tolerance of and their granting equal rights for the Muslims.

6. Links
Muslim tolerance:
See also the speach by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, a famous scholar and translator of the Quran, about: "Tolerance in Islam" (lecture in Madras in 1927, India) Tolerance in Islam, x L 20120703

The Muslims never interfered with the religion of the subject Christians.
See for example their treaty with the Visigots in the year 713 AD.
(The Treaty of Orihuela, Spain
"The agreement stated that the Murcians [the Christian Visigoths] could keep control and continue to practice their Christian faith but only if they paid the taxes and did not aid Muslim enemies." - verbatim: )

A number of small, socalled heretical Christian sects, which would inevitably have been exterminated if left to the mercies of the Christian church, were protected and preserved until today by the power of Islam. [broken link]

7. Quotes
•   The Christians were allowed to keep their own languages and customs, to start their own schools and to be visited by missionaries to their own faith from Christendom. Thus they formed patches of nationalism in a great mass of internationalism or universal brotherhood; for as I have already said the tolerance within the body of Islam was, and is, something without parallel in history; class and race and color ceasing altogether to be barriers. - x L 20120703

•   All of this begs the question:
What happened to the civilization that produced such tolerance, knowledge and beauty throughout its history? A lot has happened. The Islamic civilization has been wiped out by an aggressive and racist European civilization. Colonialism and the expulsion of Palestinians happened.
Numerous massacres against and by Muslims happened. Despotic and exploitative regimes have taken power in nearly every Muslim country. Most important, however, a dogmatic, puritanical and ethically oblivious form of Islam has predominated since the 1970s. (latimes.com/news/opinion/la-091401khaled.story) x L 20120703

•   It is one function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city.
Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves. www.iad.org/Islam/toler.html, x L 20120707

•   Compassion, Tolerance and Pacifism in Islam
To state briefly, the Islamic political doctrine is extremely peaceful and moderate. This fact is also confirmed by many non-Muslim historians such as Karen Armstrong, a former nun and a renowned expert on Middle East history, she comments:
"The word Islam comes from the same Arabic root as the word peace and the Koran condemns war as an abnormal state of affairs opposed to God's will." (http://www.Islamdenouncesterrorism.com/the_pacifism_of_Islam.html) x L 20120703


19. What is the best way to draw closer to God ?

It is your soul's 'love'. Your heart is like a container. If you use that container, filling it with water, you cannot put milk in that same container. If it is full of milk, you may not put oil in it. If it is filled with oil, you cannot put in it tea. The container can only be filled with one of these.

One of the bad characteristics of our physical material body is that we have an inherent love for this life and everything on earth. Mostly people are only interested in the things provided to them in this physical world. People have fully engrossed themselves in living this life to its fullest. Their love of this life has completely filled their hearts and there's no room left for the love of God. Even though they are saying 'God is love', they are liars.* God is not love, and love is not God.
However, there is love for God that can make you approach to His Divine Presence.

If you start cleaning your heart from the temporal love of this life, permanent love of God will enter your heart. That permanent love will increase your spiritual power and enable you to reach to Divine Presence. If you are able to do this, you will find true and lasting benefit.

(Mawlana Shaykh Nazim delivered the above talk in response to the question 'What is the best way to draw closer to God?' - translation GF Haddad)

* [They may emotionally believe that they love God, because they may have - for a moment - encountered some of His bounties, but the next minute they can turn around and pour their contempt on their follow beings when something goes against their blown-up egos.
Anyway, to know God is not something done by the lips of the mouth.]


20. Can we see God, or why can we not?

God is never far away. They say, 'No one can know his Lord,' or 'No one can see his Lord,' but there is the famous saying, sometimes attributed to the Prophet MHMD 'Whoever knows himself, will know his Lord.' (http://www.crescentlife.com/spirituality/true_love.htm -- True Love, by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti) x L 20120703 If you do not see your Lord, it means that you still do not know yourself. If you reach a level where you know your Lord, it means that you have come to know yourself. But if you do not even know the self that is within you how are you going to know the Creator? It is impossible.
How are you going to know yourself? ...
(The saying is quoted by al-Suyuti, Mawardi, Al-Jarrahi; and is also attributed to Yahya b. Mu'adh ar-Razi.)

   quoted from: < naqshbandi.org/suhba >
   see quotes at: < On Knowing Oneself >

Quranic references for above questions:

1.

Allah does not forbid you to treat kindly and deal justly those who have neither fought you in the matter of religion, nor driven you out of your homes. Indeed Allah loves the just-dealers (the equitable).
sura al-mumtahanah 60, verse 8

Occasion when this verse was revealed Commentaries on this verse

2.

"Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Christians, and those Sabaeans, whoso believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness their wage awaits them with their Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow."
sura The Cow 2, verse 62
(This verse is not abrogated, the Quran being a whole integrated text, valid for all times.)

3.

"Pardon thou, with a gracious pardoning..."
sura 15:85

4.

"Speak good to men..."
sura The Cow 2, 83

5.

"If it had been thy Lord's Will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind against their will to believe!"
sura 10:99

6.

"To you your religion, and to me my religion."
sura 109:6

1

Those who believe and guarded (against evil): They shall have good news in this world's life and in the hereafter; there is no changing the words of Allah; that is the mighty achievement.
Sura Yunus (10) verses 63/64

2

...This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Sura The Table Spread (5) verse 3   to 18.3

1

Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion; He admonishes you that you may be mindful.
Sura The Bee (16) verse 90

2

And those who disbelieve say concerning those who believe: If it had been (any) good, they would not have gone ahead of us in attaining it. And as they do not seek to be rightly directed thereby, they say: It is an old lie.
Sura The Wind-Curved Sandhills (46) verse 11

3

Blessed is He Who sent down the Furqan (Criterion Of Right And Wrong) upon His servant that he may be a warner to the nations.
Sura The Criterion (25) verse 1

4

... Rather, their plans are made to appear fair-seeming to those who disbelieve, and they are kept back from the path; and whom Allah makes err, he shall have no guide.
Sura The Thunder (13) verse 33

5

Whatever benefit comes to you (O man!), it is from Allah, and whatever misfortune befalls you, it is from yourself, and We have sent you (O Prophet!), to mankind as an apostle; and Allah is sufficient as a witness.
Sura Women (4) verse 79

6

Nay, I swear by the accusing soul.
Sura The Rising Of The Dead (75) verse 2

7

Have they not travelled in the earth and seen how was the end of those who were before them? Mightier than these were they in strength - and in fortifications in the land, but Allah destroyed them for their sins; and there was not for them any defender against Allah.
Sura The Believer (40) verse 21

8

... so ALLAH raised Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners ...
Sura The Cow (2) verse 213

9

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Apostle of Allah and the Last of the prophets; and Allah is cognizant of all things.
Sura The Allies (33) verse 40

10

Even as WE have sent to you a Messenger from among yourselves who recites OUR Signs to you, and purifies you, and teaches you the Book and Wisdom, and teaches you that which you knew not.
Sura The Cow (2) verse 151 answer 8 ...answer 9

1

And when thy Lord said to the angels,'I am about to place a viceregent in the earth, they said: Wilt Thou place therein one who will do harm therein and shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which you know not.
Sura The Cow (2) verse 30

2

Inform My servants that I am the Forgiving, the Merciful,
And that My punishment - that is the painful punishment.
Sura Al-Hijr (15) verses 49/50

3

...Give thanks, O family of Dawood! and very few of My servants are grateful.
Sura Saba (34) verse 13

4

...ALLAH chooses for HIS mercy whomsoever HE pleases; and ALLAH is Lord of exceeding bounty.
Sura The Cow (2) verse 105

5

But if they give you the lie, then say: Your Lord is the Lord of All-encompassing mercy; and His punishment cannot be averted from the guilty people.
Sura Cattle (6) verse 147

6

And most certainly We will make them taste of the nearer chastisement before the greater chastisement that haply they may turn.
Sura The Prostration (32) verse 21

7

And Allah invites to the abode of peace and guides whom He pleases into the right path.
Sura Jonah (10) verse 25

8a

Those who hide that which ALLAH has sent down of the Book and take in exchange for it a paltry price, they fill their bellies with nothing but fire. ALLAH will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will HE purify them (C1). And for them is a grievous punishment.
Sura The Cow (2) verse 174

8b

... Those are they for whom Allah does not desire that He should purify their hearts (C2); they shall have disgrace in this world, and they shall have a grievous chastisement in the hereafter.
Sura The Table Spread (5) verse 41

1

Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort, and He (Himself) created everything, and He is the Knower of all things.
Sura Cattle (6) verse 101

2

The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him ...
Sura Women (4) verse 172

3

O you men ! eat of what is lawful and good in the earth; and follow not the footsteps of Satan, surely he is to you an open enemy.
Sura The Cow (2) verse 168

4

And those before them did indeed make plans, but all planning is Allah's; He knows what every soul earns, and the unbelievers shall come to know for whom is the (better) issue of the abode.
Sura The Thunder (13) verse 42

5

Surely We offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains,but they refused to bear it and shrank from it, and man has turned unfaithful to it; surely he is unjust, ignorant;
Sura The Allies (33) verse 72

6

Say: O my people! act according to your ability; I too am acting; so you will soon come to know, for whom (of us) will be the (good) end of the abode; surely the unjust shall not be successful.
Sura Cattle (6) verse 135

7

Then He inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it;
Sura The Sun (91) verse 8

8

...That ALLAH might fulfill HIS decree and that HE might test what is in your breasts and that HE might purge what was in your hearts. And ALLAH knows well what is in your breasts;
Sura The Family of Imran (3) verse 154

9

'Surely, ALLAH is my Lord and your Lord, so worship him this is the right path.'
Sura The Family of Imran (3) verse 51

10

And of men there is he who would sell himself to seek the pleasure of ALLAH; and ALLAH is Compassionate to HIS servants.
Sura The Cow (2) verse 207

11

Do not those who disbelieve see that the heavens and the earth were closed up, but We have opened them; and We have made of water everything living, will they not then believe?
Sura The Prophets (21) verse 30

12

And surely We have honored the children of Adam, and We carry them in the land and the sea, and We have given them of the good things, and We have made them to excel by an appropriate excellence over most of those whom We have created.
Sura The Isrealites (17) verse 70

13

And certainly We have left a clear sign of it for a people who understand.
Sura The Spider (29) verse 35

1

O men! you are they who stand in need of Allah, and Allah is He Who is the Self-sufficient, the Praised One.
Sura The Originator (35) verse 15

2

Then when you have finished the prayer, remember Allah standing and sitting and reclining; but when you are secure (from danger) keep up prayer; surely prayer is a timed ordinance for the believers.
Sura Women (4) verse 103

3

...and keep up prayer; and whoever purifies himself, he purifies himself only for (the good of) his own soul; and to Allah is the eventual coming.
Sura The Originator (35) verse 18

4

Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer; surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do.
Sura The Spider (29) verse 45

5

And when MY servants ask thee about ME - I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to ME. So they should hearken to ME and believe in ME that they may follow the right way.
Sura The Cow (2) verse 186

1

When his Lord said to Him,'Submit ', he said,'I have already submitted to the Lord of the worlds.
Sura The Cow (2) verse 131

2

ALLAH is HE besides Whom there is none worthy of worship, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining.
Sura The Family of Imran (3) verse 2

3

Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward.
Sura The Allies (33) verse 35

4

Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded...
Sura Women (4) verse 34

Comments on:
C1: 2-174 [nor will HE purify them: by forgiving their sins];
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C2: 5-41 [that He should purify their hearts: since they themselves do not will to be cleansed])
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Hadith referenses:

hadith1

Hadith Qudsi 17:

On the authority of Abu Dharr al-Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet is that among the sayings he relates from his Lord (may He be glorified) is that He said:

O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another.

O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you,

O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you.

O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you.

O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and will not attain benefitting Me so as to benefit Me.

O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything.

O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything.

O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more that a needle decreases the sea if put into it.

O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him finds good praise Allah and let him who finds other that blame no one but himself.

It was related by Muslim (also by at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).

hadith2

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying

"If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?" They said, "Not a trace of dirt would be left." The Prophet added, "That is the example of the five prayers with which Allah blots out (annuls) evil deeds."
B1-10-506; Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 10, Number 506

h3

The hadith of rahma ( compassion )

The Messenger of Allah has said:

Those who are merciful have mercy shown them
by the All-Merciful One (Ar-Rahîm):

"Show mercy to those who are on earth,
then He Who is in heaven will show mercy unto you."

(Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).

h4

The Messenger of Allah said:

... when I forbid you something - leave it,
and when I order you something to do - go for it as much as you can.
(fa.tû minhu ma-staTa'tum)
(The two Shaykhs).

Other referenses:

H: Hasan Le Gai Eaton; in a broadcast 1989 'Living By The Book' (the audio-files)
RM: Muhammad Asad; The Road to Makkah, Delhi, India 1992; page 193/4

Related links at our site * living Islam - Islamic tradition * :

•   Hasan Le Gai Eaton; 'Living By The Book' (audio-files)
•   Islamic Concepts Database - ICD
•   Var. Questions & Answers (1)
•   Var. Questions & Answers (2)
•   Var. Questions & Answers (3)






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