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Islam As a Lifestyle

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Hicham Maged reports on how Islam is more than a religion but a way of life for millions of Muslims.

A person is recognised as a Muslim by birth, naturally following his parent’s religion. A person is also recognised as a Muslim on their ID card, under the ‘Religion’ section. Having said this, have we, as Muslims, ever taken a moment to pause and ask ourselves what this word, ‘Muslim’, means?

This article aims to summarise the conceptual meaning of Islam. To do so, we must step into a time machine and turn the clock back to a million years ago when Allah (S.W.T)  created man to be a viceroy  on earth. This implies that man has an explicit mission: to urbanize the earth

“And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: wilt Thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not” (T.M.Q, 2:30).

 In order to complete this mission, man must walk through two parallel routes, just like a train does to reach its destination:

1. Worshiping Allah (S.W.T) via personal acts, such as performing the fundamental acts of worship in Islam: praying, fasting, supplicating to Allah, giving charity to the poor and performing Hajj.

2. Working for the community via reforming the earth, with professions such as Architects, Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Artists, Scientists, Sheikhs and so on.

Contributing such work in parallel, man can fulfill his mission. Thus he benefits himself and those around him, i.e. the Ummah, by successfully completing these two routes. His life and the work completed during it becomes a record, a C.V, to validate or certify his entrance to Paradise, in the new life after death. This is the core of Islam, which in fact makes it a lifestyle and not only a religion.

This ideology was very clear to our ancestors, and thus they established the vivid and rich Islamic civilisation between the 7th – 15th centuries. This civilisation had great accomplishments. It manipulated past civilisations (e.g. Greek and Roman civilisations), transferred and added records in every field of life such as Science, Medicine, Chemistry, Astronomy, Geography, Architecture, etc. This made a good foundation for the Western civilisation to be established later on in the renaissance.

So simply, according to these historical facts, Islam considers life as an opportunity to produce the many fruits of success and also gives mankind the maximum freedom to use the tools of every era, in order to fulfill the mission of urbanising and reforming the earth.

To continue, it is very clear what things are Halal and Haram in Islam. Everything is Halal except with the exemption of a few things, and this is for one purpose:

  • To save our minds and souls (i.e. to succeed in our mission by abstaining from prohibitions and remaining focused on completing our mission).

 “Say: My Lord forbiddeth only indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression, and that ye associate with Allah that for which no warrant hath been revealed, and that ye tell concerning Allah that which ye know not” (T.M.Q: 7:32).

Of course religious scholars have a great role in clarifying the details of such a subject, whereas the above point is just a general comment.

Every era has its tools to use to urbanise the earth and everything is allowed to be used according to the way it matches with the goal of creation. For instance, the following equation can be used to emphasise this point:

  • If using such a tool to succeed to fulfill this goal = Halal;
  • If using such a tool failed to fulfill this goal = Haram.

So Science, Technology, etc, are tools, and the issue of Halal and Haram is defined in light of how we use these tools.

The question which arises after this short introduction is why are we falling behind in our mission, even though we have such a great system like Islam?

It is a difficult question, however it is obvious that we as Muslims could miss our goal by entering a maze of useless arguments about the issues of Halal and Haram, rather than using our energy and concentration to fulfill our mission.

Recalling Shakespeare’s famous question, “To be or not to be”, we as Muslims must choose “to be”, i.e. we must choose to maintain our role to reform the earth and improve mankind. No matter how small a role may be, we must strive to attain perfection in everything we do.

Therefore, we must change ourselves first, so that Allah (S.W.T) can help us. This is according to His universal law of change, which states:
“Lo! Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts” (T.M.Q 13:11).

Finally, it is certainly time to stop subjecting our souls and minds in things which are not related to Islam, as Islam gives us the maximum freedom to do everything, so we must not take advantage of our free will.

Simply, we can conclude that Islam is rather a “call for life” not a “call for death”.

 1- S.W.T is an abbreviation of the Arabic term Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, used when referring to Allah. In English it translates to mean Glory be to Allah.
2- Viceroy: This term means Khalifah in Arabic.
3- T.M.Q is an abbreviation of ‘The Meanings of the Qur’an’.
4- Sheikh: A religious scholar in Islam.
5- Ummah: The Muslim community, nation, or people.
6- Halal: Permissible.
7- Haram: Prohibited.

Hicham Maged -

Hicham Maged [Hishaam Maajid] has a bachelor's degree in architecture and urban planning and design.


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Last Updated on Sunday, 07 January 2007 22:36  

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