Rafed English

Our Belief - Part I

Our Belief - Part I
(A Brief Description of Islam as the Shi'ites Believe)

By : Ayatullah al-Uzma Naser Makarem Shirazi

PREFACE

1- In our era we witness a great deal of changes that are caused by Islam, which is the greatest of the Divine Religions. It has obtained a new birth. Muslims have wakened up and are returning to their origin. They are now seeking to remove their difficulties through the Islamic commandments, for not finding the solutions elsewhere.

As for the reason for the changes, one needs to discuss it separately. It is now important to know that the traces of the great changes, are seen throughout the Islamic world, and also in the NON-Islamic countries! Now the world wants to know what does Islam say and what a new MESSAGE for the people may it have? In such a critical condition, it is our duty to present Islam as what it really is, and without any embellishment; by a clear cut and simple language; in order to be understood by all, and to satisfy the thirst of those who need to know more about the religion. We should speak it ourself, and not to let anybody else to speak for us, or to decide for us.

2- It can not be denied that, Islam Too, like the other important religions consists of different sects. Each sect, has its own peculiarities, and yet, the differences are not such as to prevent co-operations and joint ventures among the groups. On the contrary, they may protect themselves through such mutual aids and co-operations, and stand firmly against the storms that are blown from West and East, preventing their enemies to do their tricks, and accomplish their purposes.

To develop such a mutual understanding and co-operation, needs to follow especial orders, the most important of which is that; different sects should know each other well, so as to remove suspicions and pave the path for collective actions.

The best way for the sects to know each other, is to know the root and branches of their faith, and to obtain the knowledge by first hand, and from the well versed and the learned that are known and accepted by all among the sects. If we take our knowledge about a sect from him who is not aware enough; or from him who is an enemy, love and hatred will prevent truthful understanding.

3- Owing to the two above mentioned points, we have decided to summarize the Islamic principles and commandments with our stress on some specialties of the SHIITE SECT; to provide a writing with the following qualifications:__

A- That it may consist of a concise of the whole; so as to make the readers free of want of reading voluminous books.

B- That the discussions be clear cut, and void of difficult technical words used by the experts, without diminishing the main subjects.

C- That our main object is to mention the beliefs but not to ignore giving reasons if necessary. Our proofs are taken from the holy book, traditions and wisdom.

D- That the book may be free of concealments, flatteries courtesies and pre-judgements.

E- That modesty and the rules of etiquette be observed in relation to all religions and sects. This pamphlet was written during my pilgrimage to Mecca, in which the spirit has more purity and vivacity. It was discussed in several several with the scholars and learned, and after much investigations it was finalized for publication. We hope to reach the goals mentioned above and have it a saving in the resurrection day.

"Our lord! We have heard the call of one calling us to faith;" "Believe you in the lord." and we have believed. Our lord! Forgive us our sins. Blot out from us our iniquities, and take to thyself our souls in the company of the righteous.

The Holy Quran 3:193
Naser Makarem Shirazi

CHAPTER ONE
THEISM AND MONOTHEISM

1- THE OMNIPOTENT'S EXISTENCE


We Believe that the Almighty, and omnipotent God exists as the Creator and Ruler of the universe; and that the traces and signs of His greatness, knowledge, and power is apparent through the different aspects of any thing that exists; i.e. in human, animals, vegetations as well as in the planets of the skies and the higher worlds.

WE BELIEVE that the more we think over and study the secrets of all being things, the more we shall get to know of God's greatness, and the extent of his unlimited knowledge, and power.

The progress of scientific researches will open new doors, extending the dimensions of our thoughts, which serves to increase our love for HIM, and to take us closer to HIS sacred essence. The approach will draw us to the immense light of God's glorious beauty. We do read in the Holy QURAN:

"On the earth are signs for those of assured faith; as also in your own selves. Will you not then see?"

THE HOLY QURóAN S51: 20 - 21

"BEHOLD! In the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of night and day - there are indeed signs for men of understanding.

Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, who contemplate the wonders of creation in the heavens and the earth; (with that thought they say:-) Our lord! Not for naught has thou created all this! Glory to thee, give us salvation from the penalty of the fire." THE HOLY QURAN - S3: 190 - 191

2- THE ATTRIBUTES OF HIS GLORY & BEAUTY

We believe that His essence is void of any defect, clean of deficiencies, and adorned with all perfection that may exist. He is mere perfection, or in other word:

Any perfection and beauty that may ever exist, has it's source in His Holy ESSENCE.

"Allah is He besides whom there is no other God. The sovereign, the Holy one, the source of peace, the keeper of faith, the Gaurdian of safety, (the PROTECTOR) and the exalted in might, the IRRESISTIBLE, the SUPREME. Glory to Allah who is above the partners that they attribute to HIM. He is Allah the creator, the originator, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the most beautiful names. Whatever is in the heavens and on the earth give glory to Him, He is Almighty, the Wise one."

THE HOLY QURAN - S59: 23 - 24

3- THE INFINITE ESSENCE OF GOD

WE BELIEVE that He is an infinite existence in all respects, such as knowledge, power, everlasting and pre-existence. Therefore He will not be contained in time and space, while He is in everywhere and at any time, for being above space/Time.

"It is He who is Allah in heavens and Allah on earth, and He is full of wisdom and knowledge."

THE HOLY QURAN - S43: 84

"And He is with you where ever you may be, and Allah sees all that you do." THE HOLY QURAN - S 57: 4

Yes, He is nearer to us than ourselves. He is with our soul, and He is everywhere, and in the meanwhile He has not a certain place:

"It was we who created man, and We know the promptings of his soul .... For We are nearer to him than his jugular vein."

THE HOLY QURAN - S 50: 16

"He is the first and the last, the visible and the invisible, and He has full knowledge of all things."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S 85: 15

Therefore if we read in the Holy QURAN that: `He is the owner of ARSH' (which means either throne or empyrean) or `He sat upon His throne'; or `His throne does extend over the heaven and earth;' none of these verses mean that He may have a certain place. (these are all metaphors) These are to express His sovereignty over every thing and every place. If we consider Him to have a certain place, we have limited Him by giving Him the attributes of His creatures, while we know that:- `nothing is like Him'. (Q - S 42: 11) And: there is none equal to Him! (Q - S 112: 4)

4- GOD HAS NO MATERIAL BODY AND NO EYE CAN EVER SEE HIM

WE BELIEVE that God can never be seen by the physical eyes; because the object of seeing by the eyes is a material body that has to have place, colour, form and direction. These are all the qualifications of the creatures, and not that of the creator. God is really far from that. Therefore the belief that one may physically see God is a sort of polytheism, and going astray in this field. "No vision can grasp Him, but He grasps all visions."

THE HOLY QURAN - S6: 103

This is why when the Israelites objected, asking Moses to let them see God: he took them to the Mount Sinai, and as mentioned in HOLY QURAN:--

"And when Moses came to a place appointed by us, (ON THE MOUNT SINAI) his lord addressed him; and Moses said,"o my lord! show thyself to me: (let me see you) that I may look upon You! Allah said," By no means can you see me; but look upon the mountain, if it abides in its place, then you may see me." When his lord manifested His glory on the mountain it turned into dust, and Moses fell down into a swoon. When he recovered his senses, he said, "Glory be to thee! To thee I return and I am the first one to believe in you."

THE HOLY QURAN - S7: 143

And by such incidents it was proved that God can never be seen.

WE BELIEVE that our Islamic traditions denoting the observance of God, aim at seeing Him by the mind and by the heart, and not by the sense of vision of the eyes at all. In one of his sermons collected in the famous book: NAHJUL BALAGHA, Imam Ali says:- "Eyes can not see Him, but He can be seen by the realities of FAITH".

WE BELIEVE that the attributes of the creatures, such as: place, direction, material body, and physical observance should not be ascribed to God. If done so, it shall lead to polytheism, and remoteness from the true knowledge of HIM, who is above all, and nothing is similar to HIM.

5- MONOTHEISM IS THE VERY SOUL OF ALL THE ISLAMIC COMMANDMENTS

WE BELIEVE that one of the most important subjects of the knowledge of God, is the MONOTHEISM, i.e. the belief that there is but one God. As a matter of fact Monotheism (TOWHID) is not only a principle of the religion, but the most important of the tenets. It is the very soul and the base of all the Islamic ideas and beliefs. We can say that the roots, as well as the branches of Islam take their forms in the monotheism.

The UNITY and ONENESS is a general topic of conversation everywhere and in every field:- UNITY OF GOD'S ESSENCE, Unity of His attributes, and actions. In other word, also the unity of prophets and their teachings, the unity of the LAW, GHIBLEH, and the books. And after all, the unity of Moslims through their brotherhood and the unity of the resurrection day. From this point of view the HOLY QURØN declares POLYTHEISM as an unforgiveable SIN:-

"Allah does not forgive those who set up partners with Him, but He may forgive any sin inferior to that, of whom he wills.

He that sets up CO-SHARERS with Allah is guilty of a SIN which is most heinous indeed."

THE HOLY QURAN - S4: 48

"It has already been revealed to you as it was revealed to those before you that:-" If you join gods with Allah, your deeds shall be fruitless, and you surely will be one of those who lose. (all spiritual goodnesses) THE HOLY QURAN - S39: 65

6- THE BRANCHES OF MONOTHEISM

WE BELIEVE that MONOTHEISM, (TOWHID) has many branches among which four are the most important ones:-

A- THE UNITY OF ESSENCE

By that we mean: His absolute Holy Essence is one, indivisible, and no one is similar or like unto him.

B- THE UNITY OF HIS ATTRIBUTES

By that we mean:- knowledge, power, Eternality (EVERLASTING and PRE-EXISTENCE) and all other qualities and attributes of Him are in His Essence and are exactly the very self of His Essence. This is contrary to His creatures whose qualities are different to that of their bodies, and from each other too. This is a critical point and is to be thought upon with minute care.

C- THE UNITY OF HIS ACTION (ACT)

By that we mean that any action, movement, or effect, throughout the existence, have their causes in His will. In other word every thing depends on Him. "Allah is the creator of all things, and He is the GAURDIAN and Disposer of all affairs."

THE HOLY QURAN - S39: 62

"To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He enlarges and restricts the sustenance to whom He wills, for He knows all things well."

THE HOLY QURAN - S42: 12

Yes! In this world, nothing is effective but Allah. But this does not mean that we are forced in all respects, and all that happens is inevitable; on the contrary, we all have free will in our decisions.

"We showed man the way: whether he is grateful or ungrateful."

THE HOLY QURAN - S76: 3

"Man can have nothing except that which he strives for, and the results of his striving will soon be seen."

THE HOLY QURAN - S53: 39

Such verses in the holy Quran, will clearly show that man has free will, and that we may refer man's deeds and acts to God without any reduction in his responsibilities for what he does. God wills that we do what we do, in freedom and by free will, so that He may examine us and lead us for ward in the way of perfection, which could be attained through free will and serving the LORD. Any thing done by force is neither a sign of good not bad. Had We not free will, the missions of the prophets would be futile, and the holy books sent down could mean nothing, and the reward and punishments of the doomsday would be unjust. These are what we understand from the teachings of our Imams, for they say:- " It is neither FREE WILL, nor FORCE MAJEURE, but something medium and in-between."

D- THE UNITY OF WORSHIP

By that we mean; God is the only Being that deserves, and is worthy of being worshipped. No one is to be worshipped but Allah. This branch of Monotheism is one of the most important one among the other branches. The prophets have all laid great stress on the unity of worship.

"They are enjoined to worship none but Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true in faith, and attend to their prayer, and to pay the alms taxes. (TITHS)

That is the religion: right and straight."

THE HOLY QURAN - S98: 5

To pass over the road to perfection, One has to go deeper in monotheism, and to withdraw his affections from everything and all, but Allah, his Merciful Lord. He has to seek Him and look for Him everywhere and think of nothing but Allah. Whatever keep man busy other than Allah, it is an idol for him.

WE BELIEVE that the branches of monotheism are not restricted to the four as mentioned above. We also know other branches of less importance and yet very important.-- such as the UNITY OF OWNERSHIP:--

"Know you not that to Allah alone belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth?"

THE HOLY QURAN S5: 43

And also such as the UNITY OF SOVEREIGNTY, that only God has the supreme power and authority over all, and upon every thing. "If any one does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then they are the unbelievers."

7- THE MIRACLES

WE BELIEVE that the unity of acts put the emphasis upon this fact that:- the great miracles that were performed by the prophets were all with the permission of Allah as we read in the Book about the miracles of JESUS CHRIST: "And remember when Allah said to JESUS; O,JESUS the son of Mary! Recount my favours to you and your mother. I strengthened you with the HOLY SPIRIT, So that you spoke to the people in childhood and in maturity. I taught you the book and wisdom the law, and the Gospel. And when you made out of clay the figure of a bird and by my permission you breathed into it and it became a (REAL) bird! And with my permission you healed the born blinds and lepers. You raised the dead by my leave. I restrained the children of Israel from (HARMING) you when you showed them the clear signs, and the unbelievers among them said," This is nothing but evident magic."

THE HOLY QURAN- S5: 113

When Solomon decided to have the throne of Bilqis transported to his court, so as to alter it to a basis of faith and religion of unity, a large powerful JINN, and one of his ministers volunteered to bring the throne thus:-

"One who had knowledge of the book said," I will bring it to you in a twinkle of an eye!"

Then when Solomon saw the throne placed in front of him, he said," This is by the Grace of My Lord, so as to test me if I am grateful or not.

And he who thanks; thanks for the benefit of his own soul, and my Lord is free of all needs."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S27: 42

8- THE ANGELS

WE BELIEVE in the ANGELS of God who are assigned to perform different duties. Some of them were to take God's Divine Guidance through inspiration to the prophets and apostles.

A group of the angels register the acts of men and women. Some of them take out the souls at the time of death. A group helps the believers who are steadfast to their principles. Some help the believers in the sacred battles. Another group's duty is to punish those who transgress the bounds of decency. They do, all that they do with the permission of God; and in His charge, and these fulfillments are not contradictory with the belief of Monotheism, and the unity of acts. This also proves that the intercession of the prophets and saints on behalf of the guilty people, is in accordance with Monotheism, for it is done by the leave of the LORD GOD.

"No intercessor can plead with the LORD, except after His Permission. (Has been obtained)

THE HOLY QURAN - S10: 3

We shall give more details about this in our discussion on the prophethood.

9- WORSHIP NO ONE BUT ALLAH

WE BELIEVE, that no one is to be worshipped but the LORD GOD. If any one worships any other than Him, he is surely a polytheist. The missions of all the prophets were turning around the center of the unity of worship. This is frequently mentioned in the Holy QURAN and all the scriptures. It's remarkable that We Muslims have to repeat in our daily prayers as a slogan that:-

"You alone We worship, and only Your aid We seek."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S1: 5

It is evident that the belief in the Prophet's -T¨S intercession which is found in the Holy QURóAN, is not a sort of worshipping of the prophets or saints. Also, to ask a prophet or saint for a help in solving our problems, is neither worshipping them, nor is it contrary to the unity of acts, the detail of which is given in the chapter on the prophethood.

10- NO ONE CAN EVER KNOW THE DEPTHS OF HIS SUBSTANCE

WE BELIEVE that although the manifestations of His Essence is found everywhere and in everything; His substance is not known to any one! That is; no one can ever know the innermost depths of His substance. This is because whatever HIS SUBSTANCE might be, is an infinite being in all aspects and without limits of any kind; just as we are limited in contrast to HIM. On this basis, no one can ever know what HIS substance really is!

"Behold! it is HE that encompasses all things."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S41: 54

"AND Allah surrounds them from behind."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S85: 20

How long would you boast of the wisdom of yours, this road can not be travelled by thought? You could reach the innermost depth of HIS substance, if a straw could reach the bottom of an ocean.

A tradition is narrated from the Messenger of God:- "MY LORD! WE didn't worship as you deserved; and we couldn't know you as we should have." Of course this tradition (HADIS), doesn't mean that IF We cannot know HIM thoroughly; We cannot know HIM partially too: or in the limitless knowledge of HIM We should suffice by learning some words, the meaning of which we cannot go through. This is because the Holy QURØN and all the Gospels and scriptures are sent to man to help him to know God better and more. There are other instances of this matter too:_ As an example We do not know what our soul really is and yet we are sure that it exists and we can observe its effects and signs.

A tradition (HADIS) is narrated from Imam BAGHER as fallows:-

"Any thing that you may think of is not the Lord who is the creator, but it is rather a creature created by your thoughts, and conjectures- some creatures just like yourselves, and God is greater than all." *Imam Ali has also said," God has not given to the wisdom, the knowledge of HIS Essence or Attributes, and yet HE has not left the wisdom unaware of HIM.( BAHAROLANVAR _ vol.66 _ Page 293;GHORAROLHAKAM)

11- NEITHER SUSPENSIOIN, NOR COMPARISON

WE BELIEVE, that, as it is not right to suspend our attempts to achieve knowledge of HIM and HIS Attributes, it's also wrong to wander in the fields of COMPARISON, and seeing HIM some how like one of HIS creatures, that both the ways lead to EXTREMES.

CHAPTER TWO
THE MISSION OF THE PROPHETS

12- THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE PROPHETHOOD


WE BELIEVE that God has sent a long line of prophets and apostles for the guidance of mankind towards salvation and perfection. If not so; the creation would fail to serve the creator's purpose, and man would be drowned in the whirlpool of aberrations.

(WE SENT THE APOSTLES) Who gave glad "tidings as well as warning; so that mankind, after the coming of the apostles, may have no plea against Allah, the exalted in POWER the WISE."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S4: 165

WE BELIEVE that among all the prophets there are five ARCHPROPHETS, who are the most prominent ones, who have had LAW, DIVINE book and new religions. THE first was NOAH, the second was ABRAHAM. then came Moses, The fourth of them was JESUS CHRIST; and the last of all was MOHAMMAD.

"And remember when We made a covenant with you, as we did with the other prophets:-- with NOAH and ABRAHAM, with Moses and Jesus the son of Mary. We took from them a solemn covenant, so that Allah might question the truthful about their truthfulness. Allah has prepared for the unbelievers a grievous punishment."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S33: 7

"Bear up them with patience as did the ARCHPROPHETS before you, and be in no haste about the unbelievers."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S46: 35

WE BELIEVE that the holy prophet Mohammad closed the long line of APOSTLES, and he is the LAST of the prophets, His Islamic law will cover all the mankind, and will remain until the end of the world. That is to say: _ the nature of his doctrine and Islamic commandments is so becoming, that will satisfy all the needs of man up to the end. And that; if any one claims to be a prophet after him, the claim is false.

"Mohammad is not the father of any of you men, but he is the apostle of Allah, and the SEAL of the prophets. Allah has full knowledge of all thing."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S33: 40

13- THE SYMBIOSIS BETWEEN THE FOLLOWERS OF DIVINE RELIGIONS

Although we believe that, Islam is at present the only official religion accepted by God, it doesn't mean that there cannot be a symbiosis between the followers of Divine Religions, whether they live in the Islamic countries or elsewhere. This has an exception of those non-Muslims who are combatants against Islam and Muslims.

"Allah for - bids you not, to be kind and equitable to those who have neither made war on your religion, nor driven you out from your homes. Allah loves the equitable.

THE HOLY QURAN S60 : 8

WE BELIEVE that we can make known the truthfulness of Islam to man, by logical and fair discussions. Islam is so logically attractive, that if it be presented clear and pure, many will be attracted to it, particularly now a days, that we see so many eager ears ready to listen. This is why we believe that we need not to impose our religion on people by force.

"There is no compulsion in religion. Truth is cleared out from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah, has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. Allah hears and knows all things.

THE HOLY QURAN _ S2: 256

WE BELIEVE that if the Muslims do what their religion tells them to do, their deeds are enough to present and spread Islam, and no force or compulsion is needed for that

14- THE PROPHETS ARE INNOCENT FOR' LIFE

WE BELIEVE that all the prophets are INNOCENT through out their lives. This means that by the GRACE of GOD they are always guiltless, before and after their prophetic mission. If not so; people would lose their confidence on them, and would not know them good mediators to act between them and God.

If in the Holy QURAN, guilt's are ascribed to them, it is only:_ "PREFERRING THE BETTER OVER THE BEST." In other word, they may choose one of the two which is less good and not that which is bad. Some times a good work of a good believer might be a sin for the nearest to God: and every one is expected to do what is becoming to HIM.

15- THEY ARE GOD'S OBEDIENT SERVANTS

WE BELIEVE that it has been the greatest honour of the prophets to be the obedient servants of God. This is why we repeat in our daily prayers the following phrase:_ " I TESTIFY THAT MOHAMAD IS THE SERVANT OF GOD; AND HIS MESSENGER TOO."

WE BELIEVE that none of the prophets have claimed to be a god. "It is impossible that a man to whom is given the SCRIPTURES, WISDOM, and PROPHETHOOD; should say to people:_ "WORSHIP ME INSTEAD OF GOD." On the contrary he would say:

"Be you all devouted servants of God, who is truly the cherisher of all, for you have studied and been taught the scriptures."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S3: 34

And that JESUS CHRIST has never asked people to WORSHIP him. "Christ does not disdain to serve and worship Allah; nor do the nearest angels feel contempt to do that. Those who disdain His worship and who are arrogant will be gathered together in front of HIM. (TO ANSWER)"

THE HOLY QURAN _ S4: 172

The histories written today show that among the early Christians in the first century (A.D.), the TRINITY did not exist at all. It appeared later.

16- MIRACLES AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNSEEN

Being the servant of God doesn't prevent the prophet to know the unseen, or the future and the past by the leave of God. "God alone knows the UNSEEN, nor does HE make any one aware of HIS Mysteries, Except an apostle whom He has chosen.

THE HOLY QURAN _ S72: 26_27

We know that one of the miracles performed by Jesus, was to inform people of some of the mysterious affairs. "... And Jesus said I declare to you what you EAT and what you store in your houses ..."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S3: 49

Mohammad the prophet of Islam too, declared many secrets by the way of God's inspiration. "That is of the unseen reports which we reveal by inspiration unto you."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S12 _ 102

So the prophets may inform of the unseen through the inspiration of God. It is in the Holy QURAN that the prophet says:_

"I tell you not that, with me are the treasure of Allah; nor do I know what is hidden, (THE UNSEEN) nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I only follow that which is revealed to me."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S6: 50

This, of course, refers to the substantial knowledge, and not the knowledge obtained by Divine teachings to the prophets.

WE BELIEVE that these reverend prophets have performed miracles and super natural acts by the leave of God; and because we believe their miracles to be with the permission of God, we don't consider that a sort of polytheism. According to the HOLY QURAN; Jesus Christ raised the dead to life again, but by the leave of God, and healed the incurable diseases:_

"By Allah's leave", said Jesus; "I shall give sight to the blind, and heal the lepers, and I raise the dead to life, (with the permission of God.)"

THE HOLY QURAN _ S3: 49

17- THE INTERCESSION OF THE PROPHETS

WE BELIEVE that all the prophets, particularly our prophet, are in a position to intercede with God on behalf of a certain group of sinners. This intercession must be, and is by the leave of God. "No intercessor can plead with Him, except after His leave."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S10: 3

"Who is there to intercede in His presence, except with His permission?"

THE HOLY QURAN _ S2: 255

If in some of the Holy QURANIC verses we see that intercession is rejected: it refers to the absolute intercession, and not that which is by God's leave:_ "O, Believers! Bestow in alms a part of that which we have given you, before that day arrives in which there shall be neither trading, nor friendship, and nor intercession."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S2: 254

Here the independent intercession is meant which is not by the leave of God. We have always repeated that some of the Holy QURANIC verses describe some other. WE BELIEVE that the intercession is a good means for training and turning the sinners to the right path. It enjoins virtue and sanctity, and inspires hope in these who deserve it. It also is a notice to the sinners:_ not to ruin the bridges behind themselves, and live a little way of return to their Merciful Lord.

18- THE QUESTION OF RESORTING

WE BELIEVE that resorting too, is similar to the intercession, which permits those who have problems and difficulties to resort to the prophets and saints for a help; so that they may pray to God asking HIM to solve the problems of the resortees:

"When they oppressed themselves, would they have come to you (i.e. MUHAMMAD) to ask Allah's forgiveness for them, they surely would have found Allah an acceptor of their repentance and the Most Merciful."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S4: 64

In the story of JOSEPH the dreamer, found in the HOLY QURAN, when his brothers felt regret and repented, they resorted to their father (JACOB) to ask God to forgive them their sins. The old father agreed with their request, and promised to ask for their salvation in due time. In this respect the HOLY BOOK has:_ "They said,"O, our father! Ask forgiveness for our sins, for we were really at fault."

He said," Soon I shall ask my LORD to forgive you all, for HE is indeed often forgiving and Merciful"

THE HOLY QURAN _ S12: 97_98

Of course one should not transgress the logical bounds by thinking that the prophets could do as they liked without the permission of God. One should not try to change a case of resorting or interceding into a case of worshipping the prophets and the saints which is then mere Polytheism. They substantially can do nothing unless God permits them to do it.:--

"Say:_" I have no power over any good or bad to myself, except by the will of Allah. If I had the knowledge of the hidden, I would have availed myself of much goodness, and no harm would have touched me at all. I am only a Warner to all of you and a bearer of glad tiding to those who have faith."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S7: 188

19- THE PRINCIPLES OF ALL THE PROPHET'S MISSIONS ARE ONE

WE BELIEVE that all the prophets pursued the same aim which is the prosperity of mankind, through faith in God and the resurrection, and by religious training. This is why we respect all the prophets. We learn from the HOLY QURAN:--

"The Apostle (i.e. Mohammad) believes in that which is revealed to him from his LORD, and so do men of faith they all believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, and in all HIS APOSTLES. They say:_ "We make no distinction between any of the prophets. They also say: we hear (THE PROPHETS) and we obey. OUR LORD! We seek thy forgiveness, that to you end all the roads."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S2: 285

By the elapse of time, man was prepared to have newer and better training. The religions too, gradually turned deeper and deeper, till at last Islam was revealed with that perfection needed to cover all purposes and all times "The unbelievers at this day have all abandoned to despair of vanquishing your religion. Have no fear of them, and only fear me. This day I have perfected your religion for you, and have completed my favour to you, and have chosen for you, ISLØM to be your religion."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S5: 3

20- REPORTS OF THE FORMER PROPHETS

WE BELIEVE that many of the former Prophets have informed their followers of the coming of the next one. For instance, Moses and Jesus have given a clear account of the mission of the last of the prophets, Muhammad.

"Those who follow the Apostle the unlettered prophet whom they find mentioned in their own scripture in the LAW and the GOSPEL. He commands them what is just and equitable, and forbids them what is evil ... ."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S7: 157

This is why we read in the history that a little while before the coming of Mohammad, a group of Jews came and settled in MEDINA, waiting for the prophet they expected to appear, as it was foretold in their scripture.

Deut. 18:15 _ JOHN 14: 16_25 _ JOHN 15:26 _ JOHN 16:7

When the prophet came, some of them accepted his doctrine and converted to faithful believers, and some found their material benefits and political positions endangered and rejected the invitation to Islam.

21- THE PROPHETS AND THEIR REFORMS IN ALL ASPECTS OF HUMAN LIFE

WE BELIEVE that the Divine Religions sent through the Apostles _particularly Islam_ not only improves the social life of the individuals, or heeds the moral and ethics of people. It also covers all the different aspects of the human life. Even the roots of some necessary sciences are taken from them.

WE BELIEVE that one of the main objects of the Divine leaders and Apostles, is to achieve complete social justice:_

"We sent our Apostles with clear signs, and sent down with them the Book and the SCALE (OF RIGHT & WRONG) that man might do justice."

THE HOLY QURAN _ S57: 25

22- RACIAL AND TRIBAL ADVANTAGES REJECTED

WE BELIEVE that all the prophets, especially our prophet Muhammad, admitted no Racial or Tribal advantages for any one. To them, all the races, nations languages, and color of skin, were of equal value and at the same rank:_

"O MANKIND! We have created you all, from a male and a female; and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know each other. The most honoured among you all, in the sight of Allah is the most virtuous one. Allah is All- knowing, All-aware.

THE HOLY QURAN _ S49: 13

We have a famous tradition that Muhammad (S.A.W.) was in MINA during the performance of the rites of pilgrimage (HAJ). He made a speech for an audience while he was on his camel. He said,

"O PEOPLE! Know that your God is only one; and all of you are the descendants of one father. No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab and vice versa; Neither a black is better than that with a redskin, except for their PIETY. Do you all fallow me? "Yes we all understood," said the audience. "Then let those who are present," continued the Messenger of God:" convey that to those who are absent."

23- ISLAM AND THE HUMAN NATURE

WE BELIEVE that Monotheism, belief in God, and the commandments of the Apostles, are all natural, and based upon the human instinct. The prophets have only watered and grown this fruitful seed.

"So set your face steadily in devotion to the true religion the natural pattern on which God has made mankind.

(Let there be) No change in this natural pattern created by Allah. That's the standard religion which most people do not understand.

THE HOLY QURAN _ S30: 30

This is why throughout the history; Man has had some sort of deity and Religion. Even those nations, who bore the heavy pressures of anti-religion policies and propagandas, have returned back towards their religion as soon as they obtained some freedom.

Of course it can not be denied, That Man, for his low culture has often had his true religion mixed with superstitions, and the prophets main roles were to remove that and clean the mirror of the hearts.( TAFSIR GHARTABI_ VOL.9: 6162).

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