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Notis: Det följande är en reproduktion av huvud-artiklen i Oktober-upplagan 2001 av Submitters Perspective, den månatliga bulletinen av United Submitters International.
I had a very interesting experience that I would like to share since we are all subjected to these kinds of circumstances. A few days back a couple of my friends came to see me and talk to me about not attending the Friday prayer at the masjid (mosque) anymore. When I told them that I stopped going there since this masjid, like many others, advocate idol worshipping, they were stunned!! They tried to argue with me that fact and getting on my case for calling these, so-called-Muslims, idol-worshippers. Here, I’m representing my argument.
First I started with reciting the following verses:[72:18] The places of worship belong to GOD; do not call on anyone else beside GOD. [9:107] There are those who abuse the masjid by practicing idol worship, dividing the believers, and providing comfort to those who oppose GOD and His messenger. They solemnly swear: “Our intentions are honorable!” GOD bears witness that they are liars. [9:108] You shall never pray in such a masjid. A masjid that is established on the basis of righteousness from the first day is more worthy of your praying therein. In it, there are people who love to be purified. GOD loves those who purify themselves.
Then I explained a very important issue that’s very misunderstood by the majority of people: The difference between a KAFER (non-believer) and a MUSHRIK (idol-worshiper).
The common idea of an idol-worshiper is a person who prays to a statue or some form of idol (such as fire, sun, moon, stars, animals…etc) but when reviewing this matter in the light of the Quran, we’ll simply find that this isn’t the complete truth. Let’s check some verses in which God is talking or describing idol-worshipers.
There is one verse in which God is talking to the believers, the ones who followed prophet Muhammad and chose Islam as their true religion.[6:121] Do not eat from that upon which the name of GOD has not been mentioned, for it is an abomination. The devils inspire their allies to argue with you; if you obey them, you will be idol worshipers.
My question here is WHY?? Why would people who truly believe in God alone, when committing what’s considered a minor sin (not mentioning Allah’s name when they eat) are considered idol-worshipers?? It’s because they accepted the arguments of devils’ allies and disregarded God’s revelations by accepting other source of LAW beside Him. This is clearly stated in the following verses:[7:3] You shall all follow what is revealed to you from your Lord; do not follow any idols besides Him. Rarely do you take heed. [42:21] They follow idols who decree for them religious laws never authorized by GOD. If it were not for the predetermined decision, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed, the transgressors have incurred a painful retribution. [6:114] Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt.
Now notice that whenever the word IDOL is mentioned, it’s always accompanied by BESIDE. Meaning that idol worshipers do believe in God (unlike the non-believers) but they always defy God’s revelations by:
1. Glorifying or praising someone or something beside God in any act for worship (prayers [doa’a], Salaat…etc.)[43:86] None of those whom they idolize beside Him possess any power to intercede, unless their intercession coincides with the truth, and they fully know. [6:82] Those who believe, and do not pollute their belief with idol worship, have deserved the perfect security, and they are truly guided. [30:31] You shall submit to Him, reverence Him, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and—whatever you do—do not ever fall into idol worship.
2. Following others beside God as source of religious laws (by making things lawful or unlawful)[43:21] Have we given them a book before this, and they are upholding it? [43:22] The fact is that: they said, “We found our parents carrying on certain practices, and we are following in their footsteps.” [4:60] Have you noted those who claim that they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, then uphold the unjust laws of their idols? They were commanded to reject such laws. Indeed, it is the devil’s wish to lead them far astray. [39:38] If you ask them, “Who created the heavens and the earth?” they will say, “GOD.” Say, “Why then do you set up idols beside GOD? If GOD willed any adversity for me, can they relieve such an adversity? And if He willed a blessing for me, can they prevent such a blessing?” Say, “GOD is sufficient for me.” In Him the trusters shall trust. [3:79] Never would a human being whom GOD blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, “Idolize me beside GOD.” Instead, (he would say), “Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone,” according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.
3. Expecting these idols to get them closer to God or intercede on their behalf on the Day of Judgment when these idols are unaware of being worshipped (like Jesus, Mary and Muhammad). Note they’re all humans, righteous people and not just statues and they, themselves, are seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness!!![46:5] Who is farther astray than those who idolize beside GOD idols that can never respond to them until the Day of Resurrection, and are totally unaware of their worship? [46:6] And when the people are summoned (on the Day of Judgment), their idols will become their enemies, and will denounce their idolatry. [10:18] They worship beside GOD idols that possess no power to harm them or benefit them, and they say, “These are our intercessors at GOD!” Say, “Are you informing GOD of something He does not know in the heavens or the earth?” Be He glorified. He is the Most High; far above needing partners. [17:57] Even the idols that they implore are seeking the ways and means towards their Lord. They pray for His mercy, and fear His retribution. Surely, the retribution of your Lord is dreadful. [39:3] Absolutely, the religion shall be devoted to GOD alone. Those who set up idols beside Him say, “We idolize them only to bring us closer to GOD; for they are in a better position!” GOD will judge them regarding their disputes. GOD does not guide such liars, disbelievers. [2:166] Those who were followed will disown those who followed them. They will see the retribution, and all ties among them will be severed.
4. Doing these things while being unaware of their gross sin by simply not studying the Quran carefully (as God commanded us) or following their ancestors ways.[7:173] Nor can you say, “It was our parents who practiced idolatry, and we simply followed in their footsteps. Will You punish us because of what others have innovated?” [12:106] The majority of those who believe in GOD do not do so without committing idol worship. [6:22] On the day when we summon them all, we will ask the idol worshipers, “Where are the idols you set up?” [6:23] Their disastrous response will be, “By GOD our Lord, we never were idol worshipers.” [6:24] Note how they lied to themselves, and how the idols they had invented have abandoned them. [2:165] Yet, some people set up idols to rival GOD, and love them as if they are GOD. Those who believe love GOD the most. If only the transgressors could see themselves when they see the retribution! They will realize then that all power belongs to GOD alone, and that GOD’s retribution is awesome.
In the end, I concluded my argument with a few other verses as a reminder and a manifest warning so they may take heed.[4:82] Why do they not study the Quran carefully? If it were from other than GOD, they would have found in it numerous contradictions. [6:106] Follow what is revealed to you from your Lord, there is no god except He, and disregard the idol worshipers. [18:54] We have cited in this Quran every kind of example, but the human being is the most argumentative creature. [32:22] Who is more evil than one who is reminded of these revelations of his Lord, then insists upon disregarding them? We will certainly punish the guilty. [47:24] Why do they not study the Quran carefully? Do they have locks on their minds? [47:25] Surely, those who slide back, after the guidance has been manifested to them, the devil has enticed them and led them on.
Subhaan Allah (Glory be to God), no wonder prophet Muhammad will complain to God on the Day of Judgment that his people have deserted this Quran.
May Allah (God) grant us:
The Knowledge to recognize the truth,
The Wisdom to adopt it as our path
The Patience to steadfastly adhere to it, and
The Courage to defend it.
God’s Message and Idol Worship
Notis: Det följande är en reproduktion av huvud-artiklen i April-upplagan 2003 av Submitters Perspective, den månatliga bulletinen av United Submitters International.
He is the One who sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth,
to make it prevail over all other religions.
God suffices as a witness. [48:28]
We learn from the Quran that all messengers came with the same general message: La elahe ella Allah meaning “There is no god except the one God.” They are sent to the communities that have been corrupted and need reformation. The sole duty of the messengers is to deliver the message given to them and to warn the people of the consequences for their evil works and idol worship. Their objective is to purify the religion and restore the corrupted practices into what God intends us to do. The messengers are sent with the guidance to these communities as a blessing from God. (2:151) They do not ask any money from people, nor do they seek exaltation or personal attention. Yet, any time that God sends a messenger to a community, the people of that community reject him, ridicule him or even kill him. This is not because they do not like the messenger personally, but because they just cannot stand the message of the messenger. (6:33)
The messengers are commanded to follow what God has appointed them to do. They are not infallible. They are human beings like every one else with worldly mistakes and weaknesses. They are also worried about their own necks. (21:28)
Quran: Fully Detailed
God revealed the Quran to all humanity through Muhammad in Arabic, the language of the prophet. The Quran has 114 suras (chapters) and 6346 verses including the un-numbered Basmalahs. God said that He revealed the Quran fully detailed, and did not leave anything out of it (6:38). He send down in the Quran healing and mercy for the believers. At the same time, it only increases the wickedness of the transgressors (17:82).
Questions God also tells us the fact that if the Quran was revealed to people who do not know Arabic, they could not possibly believe in it (26:198-199). They would not know what was in it, and what to do with it. Therefore, the Quran must be translated to the language of people so that they can understand God’s message.
English Translation of the Quran
There are many translations of the Quran into English. One of these translations is by Dr. Rashad Khalifa, which he calls the Authorized Translation of the Quran. People who read this translation agree that this is the clearest translation to English, as compared to the works of other translators.
Some people scoff at Dr. Khalifa’s assertion that it was an authorized translation. They ask the question as to whom he was authorized by. The answer is in the Quran given in 81:19-20 which states that he was authorized by the Possessor of the Throne, fully supported. We know that God supported him with the discovery of the Quran’s mathematical composition. A proof that the Quran is God’s unaltered words to humanity. Thus his translation into English reflects the truth, guidance and inspiration he has received from the Most Gracious.
Did he make any mistakes or changes in his translation? Of course he did; no human being is perfect. He had two complete translations published in his lifetime, one in 1982, the other in 1989. He kept updating his translation as he went over the verses, and as God inspired him with more knowledge and information, until it was time for him to return to His Lord. The major question is whether there are mistakes in his translation to the point of misleading people. Is there a blasphemy to God in it? Are there mistranslated verses critical to our salvation? The answer is no.
It is an unarguable fact that Dr. Khalifa’s translation is the clearest and most modern English translation of all. Therefore, for an English speaker who does not know Arabic, his translation is a blessing from God. Even some submitters whose mother tongue is Arabic admit that they greatly benefit from the translation. In fact English is now becoming a universal language taught and spoken on all continents of this world, the language used by people all over the world to communicate across borders. Therefore, it becomes more obvious why God blessed the world with a clear English translation of the Quran in this era.
God is the Teacher of the Quran
God’s own words in the Quran are in Arabic. It is the truth from God. People who do not understand Arabic rely on the translation of the Quran to understand its meaning. But ultimately it is God who teaches us the Quran (55:2). Whether we are experts in Arabic language, or we have the clearest translation in front us, we will not be able to get the true meaning of the verses unless we are sincere (56:79). God controls our hearts and minds; He knows our innermost thoughts, and whether we are sincere or not. If we are sincere, He leads us to find the whether we are sincere or not. If we are sincere, He leads us to find the truth regardless of our circumstances.
Appendices and Footnotes
Since God is the teacher of the Quran, He can guide a sincere person to the truth with or without a translation; with a good translation or a lousy translation. It does not matter. God has His own ways to guide people. On the other hand, if a person is not sincere, God will put an invisible barrier around him so that he will not be able to understand a word of the Quran even if he is a master of the Arabic language (17:45). That is God’s system. God Almighty knows our innermost thoughts and what kind of decision we made in submitting to Him. This is something we, ourselves, may not even be aware of. Therefore, He guides us or sends us astray in accordance with this knowledge.
So God is the only one who guides people. No one can do any guiding unless it is in accordance with God’s will. Yet God has a system for guiding people. He sends His messengers and prophets as guiding teachers with inspirations from Him to deliver His message: to teach people the rites of the religion, to establish the truth, and to get rid of the falsehood. Those who follow the truth from their Lord are the guided ones. Unfortunately, those who scorn God’s revelations, and are consequently sent astray by God, can never find a guiding teacher (18:17).
The information contained in the appendices and footnotes in the translation of the Quran by Dr. Khalifa is no more than the explanation of the verses, and the miracle of the Quran through his research. Dr. Khalifa himself stated in the appendices that he did not bring anything new. All the information he brought up was already in the Quran. This is a blessing from God for those who appreciate it since it has been made readily available to us.
There is nothing wrong in reading the footnotes, appendices or any other religious publications for that matter, as long as we don’t lose our perspective where the real source of guidance is coming from and where the real source of information is. It is not what we read, hear or watch to get more insight about our faith, but it is what we do with that information and how we apply it to our lives in a manner pleasing to God.
If we form an opinion based on what we read or hear outside of the scripture, we should not expect others to follow it by forcing the issue.
God has detailed what we need to know in the Quran. Anything beyond that is left up to us and to draw our conclusions. However, if other people’s opinions end up being different than ours, we have to respect them. If we think people are arriving at wrong conclusions, we need to be able to discuss with them amicably. If these opinions do not have serious ramification on the rites of our faith and our submission to God, they should be left alone, and not be made an issue. We are all responsible for saving our necks. We are supposed to enjoin each other to do the right things without forcing others to comply with our understandings.
We learn from the Quran that idol worship is an unforgivable sin if it is maintained until death (4:48). Idol worship is a gross injustice to the Almighty (31:13). We also learn that idol worship is not limited only to the worship of idols or statues. It may come in different forms, and can be very subtle. There are many examples in the Quran. We could easily idolize money, business, family, children, or any other loved ones. Our ego may become an idol. If we give priority to anything over God, and we feel that anything or anybody beside God can benefit or harm us, we fall into idol worship. So idol worship is not something to be taken lightly (30:31). It is a very serious offense. It is one of the ways Satan derails us from the straight path of God.
There is no doubt that there will be people who will fall into idol worship one way or another, through idolization of the messengers and saintly people, through idolization of their opinion, or through worshiping their ego. The community has to deal with them if exposes their case. However, we have to be very careful not jumping to conclusions, calling names or making generalized and all-inclusive statements to put down others. Often people are sincere and may take corrective actions when reminded amicably of their wrong. God tells us to remind each other, perhaps the reminder will benefit (87:9).
Although we are part of the larger submitter community, we are not all alike in terms of our faith in God and how we go about putting what we believe into practice. The disagreements or the differences we might have in understanding certain matters should not distract us from the path of worshipping God alone. When the disagreements happen, we should try to listen to each other, rather than fight. We should also know when it is time to say “peace” when the discussions are exhausted. We should remember not to fall into Satan’s trap of wronging our souls. We all know that unfair accusations and suspicions towards other submitters are gross sins (49:12). None of us wants our souls subject to such sins to satisfy our egos. Ultimately everyone is responsible to God for his or her own neck (5:105). Furthermore, unless God has mercy on us and protects us, there is no guarantee that we may not be following our own opinions, or the opinions of the scholars, thus falling into the very idol worship we despise in others, without perceiving (18:103-104).
Therefore, continue on the path you have been enjoined to follow,
together with those who repented with you, and do not transgress.
He is Seer of everything you do. [11:112]