ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS POSED BY REVERTS

Source:     ‘Clear Your Doubts about Islam’ Compiled by: Saheeh International

 

 

1.     If Islam opposes idol worship, why do Muslims pray to a square structure?

 

 The simple cube-shaped stone building located in Makkah is called the Ka’bah or the Sacred House. It is the point towards which Muslims face when they pray. Although Muslims face the direction of Ka’bah during prayer, they do not worship it. Muslims worship and pray only to Allaah.

  

The Ka’bah was built by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ishmael (Isma’el) in response to Allaah’s command over 4,000 years ago. Ibrahim consecrated the House for the worship of the One True God (Allaah) and invited all of humanity to visit it for that purpose. Even today, Muslims who are physically and financially able are required to make pilgrimage to it at least once in a lifetime. The Ka’bah has remained at the center of continuous worship and devotion up to the present day, symbolic of permanence, constancy, and renewal.

  

There were periods in human history during which mankind deviated from the monotheism taught by Allaah’s prophets. Before the advent of Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), religion among the Arabs had degenerated into polytheism and paganism, and Makkah was completely submerged in idolatry; some 360 idols had been placed in and around the Ka’bah to be worshipped there along with Allaah. Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) was sent to restore to mankind the pure monotheism taught by all the messengers of Allaah and reinstate the worship of Him Alone. This he accomplished, and the Ka’bah was finally cleared of all manmade deities.

  

Among the ancient religious rites particular to the Ka’bah is walking around it. This suggests the integrating and unifying of monotheism in human life and how a Muslim’s existence should revolve around a pure devotion to Allaah. The Ka’bah symbolizes the unity of all true religion, the brotherhood of all the prophets, and the essential consistency of their message.

  

When Muslims pray facing this single central point, they are reminded of their common purpose and long-term goal. Even when standing directly before the Ka’bah in prayer, one is not to look at it but rather at the ground before him. The spiritual focus is on Allaah Alone and never upon any created object. 

 

2.     What is the purpose of worship and why should people worship at all?

 

The idea of servitude has become distasteful to the modern secular mindset which concerns itself with individual liberties. Some might say that humanity has no need to worship, and that doing so compromises freedom. They forget, however, that absolute freedom is neither possible nor even desirable for all members of a society, and that is why every social order has its laws and restrictions.

  

Studies in human psychology confirm that man is a worshipper by instinct, that worship is instilled in him as part of his nature, and that he tends to direct it to whatever he considers worthy - other human beings, revered customs or superstitions, materialistic ideologies, or his own personal inclinations. An object of worship is that to which one devotes the greatest portion of his thought and effort. So either one worships Allaah or he worships something other than Him - along with Him or instead of Him. The worship of Allaah Alone is liberating in that it frees one from servitude to all else.

  

Many people misunderstand the concept of worship, assuming that it is merely the practice of certain rituals. But in reality, it includes everything done seeking the acceptance of the one worshipped. According to Islam, the worship of Allaah means willing obedience to His Orders and complete avoidance of His Prohibitions which, besides prayer and other religious obligations, include the fulfilment of promises and agreements, honesty and precision in work, teaching and counselling, encouraging righteousness, assisting others, opposing injustice and so on. 

 

   Worship is the right of the Creator upon His creation. It is based on the perception that everything was brought into existence by Allaah and is dependent upon Him in Whose Hand is life and death, benefit and harm, and the outcome of every matter. Further, it is based on the knowledge that man is an accountable being in need of Allaah’s continuing guidance and acceptance. Islam confirms that although it is His Divine Right, Allaah does not gain anything from the worship of His servants nor is He harmed by their refusal. He ordains worship for the benefit of the worshipper himself, and this benefit is obtained by him or her in both this life and the next. When a believer understands that his Creator and the Sustainer deserves to be worshipped, he wants to do so because of his gratitude and love for his Lord and because it is inherently right and correct.

 

3- Isn’t Islam just another faith based on legends?

 

   On the contrary, Islam is the only religion whose sources are authentically preserved, historically recognized and have remained entirely free of human alteration and interference over the centuries. Its divine scripture, the Qur’an, contains no myths or fables and is in accord with established facts of science. It provides an acceptable explanation of the origin, development and purpose of the universe and for occurrences within it.

 

   The message of Islam is not new. What is new is the form of the message, its dimensions and scale. This final revelation has been preserved in its original state, as promised by Allah when He revealed:

 

“Indeed, it is We Who sent down the message, and indeed We will be its guardian.“ Surat al-Hijr (15:9)

 

   It has miraculously remained immune to the ravages of time and the interference of man, and is still accessible in its original language to all who seek guidance.

 

   Distinct from the teachings of many religions which assume the incompatibility of faith and reason, Islam upholds the role of the mind and regards those who fail to use reason as intellectually deficient. Since the mind tends to seek out interrelationship wherever there is variety and multiplicity, it is satisfied by the Qur’an’s clear and unambiguous statement that everything is traceable to a single source, backed with sound arguments and evidence. An important feature of Islam is that while it is based exclusively upon revelation from Allah, never exceeding the bounds of the divinely revealed texts, it does not fail to provide logical proofs for its tenets.

 

   Islam teaches that one should expect a natural cause for everything that occurs in creation. It promotes the research, study, thought and contemplation that lead one to faith by conviction rather than blind acceptance. The Qur’an urges man to observe and consider the signs of Allah within creation and provides guidelines for the sound thinking that leads to appropriate conclusions.

 

4- Don’t all world religions have similar objectives?

 

   There are many areas in which religions agree, but there are also significant theological and practical differences between them. Undeniably, one will find in every religion expressions of wisdom, high moral values, warnings against evil and promotion of good works. But what distinguishes Islam from other faiths is that it goes beyond simply urging people to be generous and morally upright. Islam identifies human problems and prescribes practical solutions to them, both individually and collectively.

 

   Although there are a variety of religious communities in the world, each of them content with its own version of “the truth,” Islam represents the completion of divinely revealed religion and the finalized legal code for mankind. For this reason the Qur’an states:

 

“Verily! The religion in the sight of Allah is Islam.”  Surat Aal-Imran (3:19)

 

   The divine messages revealed prior to that of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) all called for the worship of Allah alone and contained some legislation. However, each of them was addressed to a specific people at a specific period of time in order to remedy particular problems and circumstances such as moral degeneration, economic injustices and excessive materialism, misuse of power and political oppression. The final message of Islam addresses these same social evils but as part of a comprehensive program for the amendment, reform and benefit of every nation, community and individual that will exist until the end of the world.

 

 The Prophethood of Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) launched an era in which divine guidance became openly universal, more comprehensive in scope, and precisely detailed. The responsibility for man’s fate and moral well-being depends completely on his own free choice and willing initiative.

 

5- Isn’t Islam just another faith based on legends?

 

   On the contrary, Islam is the only religion whose sources are authentically preserved, historically recognized and have remained entirely free of human alteration and interference over the centuries. Its divine scripture, the Qur’an, contains no myths or fables and is in accord with established facts of science. It provides an acceptable explanation of the origin, development and purpose of the universe and for occurrences within it.

 

The message of Islam is not new. What is new is the form of the message, its dimensions and scale. This final revelation has been preserved in its original state, as promised by Allah when He revealed:

 

“Indeed, it is We Who sent down the message, and indeed We will be its guardian.” Surat al-Hijr (15:9)

 

   It has miraculously remained immune to the ravages of time and the interference of man, and is still accessible in its original language to all who seek guidance.

 

Distinct from the teachings of many religions which assume the incompatibility of faith and reason, Islam upholds the role of the mind and regards those who fail to use reason as intellectually deficient. Since the mind tends to seek out interrelationship wherever there is variety and multiplicity, it is satisfied by the Qur’an’s clear and unambiguous statement that everything is traceable to a single source, backed with sound arguments and evidence. An important feature of Islam is that while it is based exclusively upon revelation from Allah, never exceeding the bounds of the divinely revealed texts, it does not fail to provide logical proofs for its tenets.

 

   Islam teaches that one should expect a natural cause for everything that occurs in creation. It promotes the research, study, thought and contemplation that lead one to faith by conviction rather than blind acceptance. The Qur’an urges man to observe and consider the signs of Allah within creation and provides guidelines for the sound thinking that leads to appropriate conclusions.

 

6- Don’t all world religions have similar objectives?

 

   There are many areas in which religions agree, but there are also significant theological and practical differences between them. Undeniably, one will find in every religion expressions of wisdom, high moral values, warnings against evil and promotion of good works. But what distinguishes Islam from other faiths is that it goes beyond simply urging people to be generous and morally upright. Islam identifies human problems and prescribes practical solutions to them, both individually and collectively.

  

Although there are a variety of religious communities in the world, each of them content with its own version of “the truth,” Islam represents the completion of divinely revealed religion and the finalized legal code for mankind. For this reason the Qur’an states:

 

“Verily! The religion in the sight of Allah is Islam.”  Surat Aal-Imran (3:19)

 

   The divine messages revealed prior to that of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) all called for the worship of Allah alone and contained some legislation. However, each of them was addressed to a specific people at a specific period of time in order to remedy particular problems and circumstances such as moral degeneration, economic injustices and excessive materialism, misuse of power and political oppression. The final message of Islam addresses these same social evils but as part of a comprehensive program for the amendment, reform and benefit of every nation, community and individual that will exist until the end of the world.

   The Prophethood of Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) launched an era in which divine guidance became openly universal, more comprehensive in scope, and precisely detailed. The responsibility for man’s fate and moral well-being depends completely on his own free choice and willing initiative to respond to the invitation of his Creator.