a young pakistani doctor blogs...
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
  Understanding Islam
I’ve mentioned in passing, in several posts of mine in the past, how the work of the scholars at Al-Mawrid have changed my life and opened my eyes to an Islam that resonates very closely with my own internal sense of what is right and wrong, a sense that Islam teaches us we are all born with.

I grew up in Saudi Arabia and over there, the “brand” of Islam we were exposed to was Wahabism, which is a very literalist interpretation of the Quran, Sunnah and Hadeeth. To a large part, this interpretation of Islam has also been practiced in Pakistan. I never felt comfortable with it and it was only when I came across the work of the Al-Mawrid scholars that I truly felt comfortable with Islam. I never believed that religion was about blind faith where you suspended normal logical processes and just ‘leaped’ forward to accept something that your mind could not. It was hugely gratifying when I came across the www.understanding-islam.org site and saw that Islam could stand up to scrutiny and that many beliefs that were being propounded in Wahabist Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan were simply incorrect.

From now on, I’ll try to reproduce material from the understanding-islam site regularly over here. I used to send out such material to friends in emails a few years ago, but no one seemed to appreciate it. I firmly believe that if a renaissance is to occur in the Muslim world, it will be borne from the work of these scholars’ whose legacy includes Hameed-u-Din Farahi and Amin Ahsan Islahi

To me, the Al-Mawrid work is a big deal. I want to shout it from the rooftops, I want to grab people and ask them to take notice. Look!! Why don’t you see how beautiful this thing is? I discovered the site a few years ago, and it frustrates me that today, when the Muslim world needs scholars that appeal to one’s intellect and not to their emotions, Al-Mawrid is largely still untalked about.

Anyway, I’ll let their work speak for themselves. I’ll choose material from their site and post it up here. I’ll also provide the link to their site where I got the material from. The site was created by Moiz Amjad, who is just one of the scholars of Al-Mawrid, and the first one who established a net presence.

My first entry goes right to the meat of the matter, in my opinion. The original link is found here. And a far more detailed discussion of this concept is given here by Khalid Zaheer.

Title:What Will Happen to Jews and Christians?

Question:

There has been recent discussion about the fact whether Christians and Jews will be going to heaven along with Muslims (insha'Allah).

The argument is such: Christians and Jews who are isolated from Islam have the possibility to go to heaven but those who have been exposed to Islam do not. Also certain verses in the Qur'an concerning Christians and Jews going to heaven have been nullified by later verses.
Could you please comment on this because it does not make sense considering what I have read in the Qur'an?

Answer:
The Qur'an has very strongly negated the idea that the Jannah or the bliss in the life hereafter - the Paradise - is the right of any particular religious group or creed. Whether one ascribes to the Muslim or to any other belief, the criteria for success in the hereafter is going to be his true faith in the Almighty and in the Day of reckoning.

According to the Qur'anic view about life each individual, who lives on the face of this earth is being tested by the Almighty. Whether born to Muslim or Jewish or Christian parents, each individual is being tested for his honest and unbiased search for and surrender to the Truth, as he sees and understands it. To go through this test, God has bestowed upon us the sense and the intellect to judge right from wrong.

A close look at our general attitude towards religion and religious beliefs shows that we normally go through life with the beliefs that we inherit from our parents. If we are born in a Muslim family, there is a greater chance that we shall remain Muslims through out our lives. The same holds true in other cases as well. But unfortunately, this passive belief shall have absolutely no importance on the Day of Judgment. Whether we attended the Sunday Church or the Friday Congregation shall only have a secondary importance. The first thing that would be judged is whether the individual truly searched for the Truth or not and then, whether he lived his life in accordance with that Truth or not.

In the light of the above explanation, in my opinion, success in the hereafter is not dependent on ascribing to any one or the other group. It is basically dependent on my attitude towards searching for and submitting to the Truth. Thus, those Christians and Jews, who, without any prejudice, had searched for the Truth and had submitted to it, shall be among those who are successful in the hereafter. While those who called themselves Muslims in this world, might fail in the hereafter on the account that they did not seriously and without any bias, seek the Truth or that even after knowing the Truth, did not submit to it or lived their lives in accordance with it.

This is the general principle of success and/or failure in the test of the life of this world. Thus, the criterion of success or failure is one that depends purely on the internal mechanism of the human soul and intellect. Because we cannot say that a particular person has rejected Islam (or whatever we hold to be the Truth) after being thoroughly convinced that Islam is the divine truth, we therefore, cannot pass a judgment regarding his success or failure in the hereafter. It is only the Omniscient God who really knows whether a person rejected after being truly convinced of the Truth or whether his rejection was because of some misunderstanding or some unanswered questions in his mind, regarding that Truth. On the day of reckoning, God shall give His decision on the basis of His absolute knowledge about the reasons of the rejection of the individuals.

According to the Qur'an, when a messenger of God (Rasu'l as distinct from Nab'i) is sent towards a people, he removes all doubts that lie in people's minds regarding the Truth. He answers all their questions. Truth becomes evidently distinct from falsehood. Those who accept his message, accept it with full knowledge of what is right and what is wrong; and those who reject his message, reject it after gaining full knowledge that it is the Truth that they are rejecting. It is because of this particular position of the messengers (Rasu'l) of God that it becomes evident that those who are rejecting his call are rejecting the Truth, and those who are accepting his call are submitting to the Truth. The former are thus bound to be thrown in the hellfire and the latter are promised the everlasting bliss of paradise. Therefore the Jews and Christians who lived during the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and yet did not accept his message are doomed to the severe punishment of hellfire. We, even with our limited knowledge know about this fact, because if, as the Muslims hold, Mohammad (pbuh) was a true messenger of God, then those Jews and Christians who lived during the life of the Prophet (pbuh) knowingly rejected the Truth. They shall have no excuse for their rejection. It is these Jews and Christians that are sure to be doomed.

As far as the Jews and Christians of other times and places are concerned, they are subjected to the same test in the life of this world, as everyone else including the Muslims. If they submit to whatever they truly believe to be the Truth and live their lives in accordance with that Truth, they shall be successful. The case of the Muslims is not any different.
 
Comments:
Impeccable post! and oh so relevant. Well done for highlighting this..
 
A good effort. Stay ready for some serious lashbacks. Keep them coming.
 
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Recent med school graduate from Peshawar, Pakistan. Started blogging when in throes of final year exams. Currently studying for USMLE Step 1. Aiming for the 2008 Match. I blog about my studies, my worries, and my thoughts on life. I live in Islamabad.

BLOGS I READ
Aya's Randomness
I, Zak
Crow's Nest
Rai
Kevin MD
Sometime's Sobia

Watan Dost
Fingers and tubes
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