Jun 24, 2013

(2) Entries Confirming the Oneness of Religion

Surrender to the Higher Power is a Common Path for Peace 
Translated by Dalia Hakim 

When we realize that we are one human family, having one common goal, we may be able to acknowledge that there is one religion beyond cultural languages’ variations. We may also find out that our common ground that brings us together is much more than the elements that separate us. Just then, we can fulfill the old dream of humanity since humans’ creation; that is to live in peace. This is the message of all revelations and the message of Islam as revealed to Prophet Muhammad.
We confirm that surrender to the Higher Transcendental Power (Islam) was a path that Adam took, and Prophets and messengers followed. This Path is and will remain a path for humankind to know about what it means to be ‘human’. 

Muslims all over the world agree on this statement ,that there is one path and one religion that was revealed from Adam. However, if people understand this as if it means that Islam (as an organized religion) should prevail over other religions, this understanding would defeat the message of Islam as revealed to the Prophet, and provokes others who are not born in an Islamic environment. 
The question remains: How can we introduce Islam as a common path for the humankind, and yet claim we are free from being superior or privileged? 
Let’s set a main principle within this context: believing in the oneness of religion should not lead us to force our beliefs on others.
Does this sound contradictory? 
May be. However, there would be no contradictions when we introduce our entries to what ‘one religion’ means for us. Our integrative entries lead to this conclusion smoothly. That is because, we introduce Islam from a holistic perspective, avoiding reductionism. Within this context, we have to confirm that Islam is the term which was chosen to describe the path to surrender, not a set of rites and rituals, forms, and dogma. 
Our entries harmonize with the following principles: 
• Believing that there is a common path “one religion” for Humankind does not justify the right of certain groups to use any kind of power to dominate and deny other peoples’ rights to have different beliefs. 
• Believing that there is a common path “one religion” does not imply that there is only one view and one reading for everything related to human understanding of revelations. 
• Believing that there is a common path “one religion” gets us closer to each other, because we will search for our common ground, and learn from one another. 
• Islam is not a dogma or an ideology that claim superiority. Islam is not philosophy that kills the soul. It is not merely blind rules and concrete instructions. Islam is a path to be discovered through searching for the meaning of life and what is our mission on earth. We will live to understand and discover this path “Islam”. 
Entries confirming the Oneness of Religion
We introduce three integrated entries confirming the oneness of religion
First Entry: The oneness of humanity: 
The oneness of humanity provides us with the assurance that our ‘humanness’ is the common foundation that brings us together despite the variety of colours, cultures, races, and gender. Being “humans”, we have the similar potentials that enable us to distinguish and classify values, things and objects. As humans we came to consenuss in relation to certain principles such as the followings: 
1- We all agree that killing human beings is a crime, lying is a vice, honesty is a virtue, justice is better than injustice, the truth enlightens our way, viciousness obscures our vision. Despite all these commonalities, we don’t turn a blind eye to the variations of cultural definitions and practices of these values. 
2- As humans, since the dawn of history, we have been in continuous search for knowledge about the mysteries of the universe and of human soul. Because of this kind of struggle, civilizations were born, sciences were developed. Humans were able to change the natural world which took us to unprecedented quality of life -style. 
Who would have imagined that these human beings who were lost in the wilderness and jungles could have ever created this sort of civilization which we live in today, and would have found a way out from labyrinth to the knowledge that has distinguished them from other creatures? However, humans are still searching for the secret of their existence and the secret of the universe. They are still searching for peace, contentment, and safety, and are still dissatisfied with mere existence and survival. Humans need to find moral fulfilment and internal happiness. 
3- Humans’ quest to be better in their own humanity is an innate tendency that distinguishes them from other creatures. That is the reason why we – as humans – search for common values that may bring us tougher in peace on the real ground. 
Consequently, the idea of the oneness of religion springs from our oneness of humanity. Within this context, religion supports humans in their struggle to reach the best. 
Second Entry: Holy Guidance: Oneness versus Differences 
We receive from our Holy Guidance in revelations in general, and from our holy book in particular an assurance that there is only one religion to be followed. Qur’an defines the core of this religion as to surrender to the Divine as to reach inner peace and be a channel for mercy and justice. No wonder that all prophets and their followers are called “Muslims” in Qur’an .
Muslims who approved Qur’an as a revelation to Muhammad (PBUH) may agree that Islam received within this message must spread worldwide. We might agree with them on principle, disagree with them when they think that ‘their’ Islam should overrules other religions. Islam as we introduce in these forums is a way that enables humankind to search for the common, not for one group to claim superiority over others. Differences are recognized but should not lead to get to conflict and separation. 
Why do we have to get together and not to separate?
If difference is the nature of life, it should not push us to the zone of enmity and conflict because:
1- We believe that we are not gods to judge other people’s beliefs. Allah Is the Only Judge.
2- We understand that the message of Islam revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been sent to gather human beings around a common ground, and reduce differences. 
3- The meaning of the “Final Inclusive Message” signifies the content of the message and not its forms. 
4- Islam is an all-embracing path that cannot be summed up in a few words or a set of laws or worships.
5- Allah does not judge us by our looks but by our hearts.

We do Believe:
- That the Prophet (PBUH) confirmed, explained and perfected “Islam” as a message that was revealed to the previous messengers. Within this context Islam embraces other creeds, and protect them, searching for its teachings in them. 
- That knowledge as revealed to the Prophet has become energy of light that inspires knowledge seekers everywhere, even if not in direct communication with the message of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and its texts. 
- That every person from any religion can benefit from Islam’s message in understanding one’s own heritage and spiritual guidance that one received from within one’s community. 
- That spiritual growth is a life experience. 
- That the Holy Qur’an holds these meanings, while the Prophet’s life interprets them.
Third Entry: The One Religion is a primordial religion
The Holy Qur’an confirmed that Islam is a primordial religion, supported by the prophets’ messages and completed by the revelation to Prophet Muhammad. 
We have to remember that the message of the Prophet (PBUH) has come to gather human beings not to separate them; it has come for the sake of humans everywhere; it has come to confirm the previous messages, not to deny them; it has come to clarify that “Truly, Islam is the religion that Allah revealed to humankind since their creation”. It is a primordial religion. 

More to know about Islam through pondering upon Qur’an’s guidance in the following blog.