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THE NATURAL PATH IN BRIEF...

ISLAM is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur'an, and by the teachings and normative example of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the last and final Prophet of The Creator. In addition to referring to the religion itself, the word Islam means 'submission to The Creator', 'peace', 'surrender', and 'way to peace'. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim. Our Creator is one and incomparable unlike the created beings. Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus (Peace be upon them all).

Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on every aspect of life and society, providing guidance on multifarious topics from banking, politics, and welfare, to warfare and the environment

MONOTHEISM is Islam's fundamental concept, also called Tawhid, which means to believe in and affirm that there is only One Creator and Sustainer of the universe and to affirm that only the One Creator deserves to be worshipped and obeyed. Tawhid is the only reasonable, sound, correct and natural position for any person to adopt.

The Creator is described and referred to by certain names and attributes, the most common being al-Rahman, meaning "The All-Merciful" and al-Rahim, meaning "The Compassionate". Allah is the term with no plural or gender used to refer to the one and only Creator.

In the name of Allah, The All-Merciful, The Compassionate. Say: "He Allah, is One!
Allah, the eternally Besought!
He has not begotten, nor been begotten,
And equal to Him there is none."
[The Qur'an, 112:1-4]

PURPOSE OF CREATION

Purpose of creation is to worship God. Worship is every action or deed (whether a ritual or a day-to-day activity) that is done conscientiously with love and the pure intention of only pleasing our Creator.

PURITY

Islam provides the necessary essentials for the eternal bliss. "Purity is half of the faith," and "Cleanliness is part of the faith," declared the Noble Prophet and stressed the importance of regular baths, ablutions and the use of the toothbrush. Cleanliness and personal hygiene are maintained as part of religious devotion and as part of a natural daily routine.

BEAUTIFUL CHARACTER

The Noble Prophet has said: "Indeed I have been sent to complete the best of character." and "The most complete of believers in faith are those who are best in character."

Sayings of the Noble Prophet regarding purity also refer to the soul's inner purity. To attain inner peace and purity, we are expected to struggle against lusts and immoral tendencies, and prepare the soul to receive our Creator's grace by being in the path of righteousness.

THE PILLARS OF ISLAM

The Qur'an presents five basic acts as a framework for worship and a sign of commitment to our Creator.

SHAHADAH is the declaration of belief in the oneness of our Creator and acceptance of Muhammad as His Final Prophet. It is a set statement:

"I profess that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, The One alone, without partner,
and I profess that Muhammad is His Servant and Final Messenger."

As created beings we are expected to recite this affirmation and believe in it with conviction.

THE QUR'AN presents itself as a guidance for humankind as a whole. It is for all people without any discrimination. From the beginning, the Qur'an puts the human being face to face with reality as a whole challenging them analyse and justify their existence through critical thinking and reflection.

"This Qur'an does guide to that which is most upright."
[Al-Qur'an, 17:9]

It is addressed to "people who think", who think about what they can see and hear and observe about themselves and the world around them; about the earth and the mountains, clouds and sky, the sun, the moon and planets in their orbits, the alternation of night and day, or the parched earth brought to life after a shower of rain.

It asks us to reflect on the beginning of our own life - from a drop of sperm mingled with an ovum, the clinging of the fertilised egg to the wall of the mother's womb, the growth of this embryo, the formation of bones, the clothing of the bones with flesh and after an appointed time, the birth of a new being. It asks us to reflect on the growth of this new being to maturity and strength and then its decline into old age, weakness and death. It asks us to watch and think about our eyes, our tongue, our lips. It asks us to think about the seeds we sow, the water we drink, the food we eat, the fire we kindle, and all the other innumerable "signs" of creation and the innumerable instances of the Creator's grace and bounty.

"Have they not reflected upon themselves?"
[Al-Qur'an, 30:8]

ISLAM is living a life in accordance with a system of belief which protects each of the following for an optimum functioning of individuals and society (i.e. Preservation of Five Universals).

I. RELIGION

As the totality of beliefs, practices and laws by which Islam regulates the relationship between the human being and his Creator and between one human being and another. Preservation of Religion implies keeping it free from deviation and error, inviting others to accept and live according to it, and defending it from hostile forces.

II. LIFE

It means measures to preserve the human species in the best possible way and this includes laws relating to marriage and reproduction. It includes providing the vital needs of food, drink, clothing, shelter and security. It also includes laws relating to the prohibition of suicide and abortion (except when the mother's life is in danger) and the need for just retaliation against those who commit murder.

III. INTELLECT

The safeguarding of the intellect or mind is the concern of such provisions of the Islamic Law that prohibit the consumption of alcohol and all intoxicating substances.

IV. PROGENY

Preserving progeny, honour and chastity is the goal of such Islamic Laws that prohibit any sexual relations outside marriage and false accusations against people who are chaste.

V. WEALTH

The preservation of wealth includes laws that enjoin people to work and earn a living lawfully and that prohibit exploitation and injustice, and such practices as theft, usury and gambling.


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