May 5, 2013
In Islam God, Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate, stands alone: transcendent and majestic. The faith is marked by a strict and uncompromising ethical monotheism which requires its followers to translate into action the divine attributes of mercy, compassion, charity, love and peace in an effort to establish a balanced, just and peaceful human society.
The word “Islam” means submission and peace: submission to the moral will of the One and only God (embodied in the Ten Commandments), and peace with the Creator and His creatures. On the vertical level (God to man relationship) Islam means submission. On the horizontal level (man to man relationship) it means peace. The true love of God and submission to His moral commandments is the guarantor of peace and harmony among His creatures. In its purest sense Islam is nothing but the act of loving God and loving one’s neighbor. Allah is al-Salam, one of the Ninety Nine names of Allah. It means that He is the source and originator of all peace. The Muslim scripture, al-Qur’an, is called the way to peace. The very first verse of the Qur’an “In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate” is a thematic semblance of love, mercy and compassion. The same theme of love and mercy is continuously repeated throughout the Qur’anic text. This verse is repeated in the Qur’an no less than 114 times. It shows the level of significance Islam attaches to such values as mercy and compassion. The Prophet of Islam is depicted in the Qur’an as the mercy to mankind. The Paradise is the eternal abode of peace. In short Almighty God and His teachings are all about peace. The Qur’an refers to Islam as ‘the paths of peace’ (5:16). It raises the banner of reconciliation (4:128) and states that Allah abhors disturbance of the peace. (2:205) The ideal Muslim society, according to the Qur’an, is “Dar al Salaam” which means the house of peace. (10:25) Even the Qur’anic concept of war is geared towards peace and justice. The very essence of the Islamic faith is peace and authentic Islam can never flourish except in an atmosphere of peace, justice and harmony. This fundamental Islamic dictum is put in the nutshell by Prophet Muhammad: “Allah bestows through rifq (gentleness) what he does not grant by means of ‘unf (violence). Aggressive and violent wars are proscribed by the Qur’an. Peace is the rule and war is just an exception. Muslims are permitted to engage in a defensive war and for the just causes only.
The qur’anic worldview divides reality into two generic realms, God and non-God. God is the Eternal Creator, Sustainer, Cherisher and nothing is like unto Him. He remains forever the transcendental Other devoid of any resemblance, similarity, partnership and association. He is that unique being who can only be called the Reality and the Being as everything other than Him derives its reality, existence and being from Him. Allah, the Arabic word for God, is semantically the highest focused word of the Qur’an. The qur’anic worldview is theocentric to the core. Ontologically nothing can stand equal or opposed to Him. He always remains the transcendental Other who presides over the entire system of existence as its Master and Creator.
The second realm consists of everything other than God. It is the order of time-space, creation and of experience. Ontologically these two orders always remain disparate. The Creator neither descends to the realm of space-time and experience to be united, diffused or confused with creatures nor can the creatures ascend to be ontologically united or diffused with the Creator. He always remains the utterly sublime transcendental Other. This is the qur’anic concept of divine Unity. All qur’anic concepts, ideas, and ideologies are woven together to pinpoint, elaborate, and describe this very doctrine of the Oneness, Unity, and Transcendence of God, and to encourage mankind to establish a meaningful and right relationship with Him.
As the true Master who is full of Love, Mercy, Justice and Wisdom, His commandments are ought to be. Total submission to His normative moral commandments is the only right relationship with Him. That loving submission is the guarantor of loving peace among the creatures.
The Islamic credo is a reflection of His universal love, kindness and mercy. It says that there is no Ilah except Allah. It is pertinent to understand these two fundamental Islamic terms.
The Arabic word ilāh stands for a number of mutually interconnected meanings. For instance it means:
1: Achieving peace and mental calm by seeking refuge in or establishing loving relation with someone.
2: Becoming frightened of some impending mishap or disaster, and someone giving the necessary shelter and security.
3: Turning to someone eagerly, due to the intensity of one’s feelings for him.
4: The lost offspring of the she-camel rushing to snuggle up to its mother on finding it.
5: Someone tremendously adored, loved and offered worship to.
These literal meanings of the word make it clear, that the word ilāh stands for anything awfully mysterious, extremely attractive, absorbing one’s whole being, demanding absolute love, adoration and closeness to the extent of worship. Therefore, God or al-Ilāh means the one who is al-ma’luh meaning al-ma`bud (worshipped.) Worship or al-`ibādah, as Ibn al-Qayyam defines it is, “the perfect love accompanied with total submission.”
The word “Allah” also denotes extreme love. Views vary about the etymology of the word “Allah”. Allah is the proper name (ism `alam) that God has given to His (dhāt), to Himself, argues the famous Muslim theologian Al-Ghazālī. Other theologians like Ibn al-Qayyim, and philologists like Sīybawayh prefer to derive it from ilāh. Some say that the word “Allah” is derived from the verb walaha (past tense), yawlahu (present tense), from the root noun walah. The waw was replaced with a hamza. Walah is extreme love.
Therefore the Islamic Confession can be translated as the credo of love, compassion and mercy. “There is no refuge, security, protection, love, mercy, compassion except the extreme loving Allah.” Nobody knows the essence of this loving God as the finite can never comprehend the infinite. He can only be known through His names and attributes.
The Qur’an defines that God in the following famous verse:
Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god:-Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the justly Proud, Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Originator, the Fashioner to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, does declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (59:22-24).
This is a passage of great sublimity. It sums up the generic attributes and names of Allah. While establishing the fundamental principle of divine otherness by the words “nothing is like unto Him”, the passage institutes the basis of a possible divine modality. The One and Unique God is the most Merciful, the Compassionate. His knowledge extends to everything seen and unseen, present and future, near and far, in being and not in being: in fact these relative contrasts do not even apply to the Absolute God. He is unknowable in His being yet knowable through His names and attributes. These beautiful names and attributes are the only source and basis of a possible divine modality.
Allah is al-Raḥmān (which occurs 57 times in the Qur’an and 170 times in the basmalah), and al-Raḥīm (occurring absolutely for God 114 times in the Qur’an), the Infinitely Good and the Merciful. Both the names are derived from the root “Raḥmah” meaning mercy. Mercy is one of the most frequently mentioned and discussed attributes of God in the Qur’an. “Thy Lord is Self-sufficient, full of Mercy” (6:133). “Your Lord is full of Mercy all-embracing” (6:147). “He hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy” (6:12). “Your Lord hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy” (6:54; also see 7:156; 18:57; 40:7). God is in fact “the Most Merciful of those who show mercy” (12:64; 12:92; 21:83; 23:109; 23:118). In addition to these great many verses of the Qur’an, the shahādah itself is one of the great witnesses to this Divine attribute. The shahādah tells us that all mercy is the gift of the Merciful. “There is no god but the Merciful” which means that “There is no mercy but God’s mercy,” or “There is none merciful but the Merciful.” God’s mercy overshadows all the mercy in the universe. His mercy is the true and real mercy and others’ mercy is relative. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) expressed this idea in the following hadith:
God created a hundred mercies on the day He created the heavens and the earth, each mercy of which would fill what is between the heaven and the earth. Of these He placed one mercy in the earth. Through it the mother inclines toward her child, and the birds and animals incline toward each other. When the day of resurrection comes, He will complete those mercies with this mercy.
God’s mercy is both inclusive and perfect. The act of mercy requires an object of mercy. No one requires mercy until and unless one is wanting. A compassionately merciful person may not be called truly merciful if he or she accomplishes mercy without volition, intention or sincere concern for the one in need. To renowned Muslim philosopher and theologian Abu Hamid al-Ghazālī, perfect mercy is
pouring out benefaction to those in need, and directing it to them, for their care; and inclusive mercy is when it embraces deserving and undeserving alike. The mercy of God is both perfect and inclusive [tāmmah wa ‘āmmah]: perfect inasmuch as it wants to fulfill the needs of those in need and does meet them; and inclusive inasmuch as it embraces both deserving and undeserving, encompassing this world and the next, and includes bare necessities and needs, and special gifts over and above them. So He is utterly and truly merciful.
Moreover, the mercy in our sense is accompanied with a painful empathy which effects the merciful and moves him to meet the needs of the one in need. Therefore, the one who is merciful out of such feelings of empathy and suffering comes close to intending to alleviate his own suffering and sensitivity by his actions. Human mercy is relative as well as a little selfish as humans by their acts of mercy look after themselves also. God’s mercy is absolutely perfect. It is one way traffic as it is directed towards creatures and not vice versa. It does not relieve God of suffering or sensitivity, as these negative passions do not exist in God. He is the uniquely other.
The name al-Raḥmān is more specific than al-Raḥīm. Al-Raḥmān is not used for anybody other than God while al-Raḥīm can be used for others. Always preceeded by the definite article in the Qur’an the term al-Raḥmān is considered a proper name of God because nothing is said of al-Raḥmān that is not also said of Allah. Allah is then nothing but absolute Mercy. The term Allah focuses thought on the unfathomable unicity, while al-Raḥmān focuses it on the depths of divine mercy, love and benevolence.
The Messenger of Allah has said, “One who has no compassion towards people is deprived of Allah’s Compassion.” He has also said, “One who does not respect the seniors among us, nor shows love and compassion towards our young is surely none of us.” Compassion among the servants of Allah is a sure path to achieving the mercy of Allah. The Messenger of Allah stated: “Be merciful unto those on earth so that those in the heavens may be merciful unto you.”
Many western scholars seem inclined to portray Allah as a fearful master, or tyrant, ever ready to mete out chastising punishments, a harsh God Who does what He feels like etc. Baillie, for instance considers that “Islam is too moralistic…. Its God is too sheerly transcendent, the Lawgiver, but not the Gracegiver, not the indwelling source and author of the obedience which He demands.” Such a depiction of Allah seems quite arbitrary when reflected through the Qur’an’s verses such as those regarding God’s mercy and benevolence. The qur’anic Deity is full of Grace. For instance, “Allah is Lord of abounding Grace”, is a phrase which readers will frequently encounter even if flicking through the Qur’an (2:105; 3:74; 3:174; 8:29; 57:29; 62:4 etc.). “Allah is full of grace to mankind, but most of them are ungrateful” (2:243; 10:60; 40:61); “Allah is full of grace to all the worlds” (2:251); “Allah is full of grace to the believers” (3:152); His grace is manifest, (27:16) and the highest (35:32; 42:22); He is Oft-Forgiving (Ghafūr). This name occurs in the Qur’an 71 times in the nominative case, and 20 times in the accusative case. God loves to forgive all sins for He is the Oft-forgiving, is the message communicated throughout the Qur’an (5:39; 6:54; 7:153; 15:49; 16:119; 39:53); “Your Lord is Most Forgiving, Full of Mercy” (18:58). This is why He has given Himself the name al-Ghaffār, which means, that not only does He love to forgive, but that He also conceals and covers sins so as not to humiliate or embarrass the sinners. So in what sense can God’s mercy or grace or benevolence as stipulated in the Qur’an be disputed? Western scholars tend to cling tenaciously to the idea despite the wealth of Qur’anic verses in front of them.
Additionally, God is al-Laṭīf (the Benevolent), al-Wadūd (the Loving-kind), al-Ḥalīm (the Mild), al-Ra’ūf (the All-Pitying), al-`Afū (the Effacer of sins), al-Barr (the Doer of Good) and possesses many other such names to express His infinite Love, Mercy, Grace, and Kindness towards all of His creatures. Fazlur Rahman observes that
The immediate impression from a cursory reading of the Qur’an is that of the infinite majesty of God and His equally infinite mercy, although many a Western scholar (through a combination of ignorance and prejudice) has depicted the Qur’anic God as a concentrate of pure power, even as brute power – indeed, as a capricious tyrant. The Qur’an, of course, speaks of God in so many different contexts and so frequently that unless all the statements are interiorized into a total mental picture – without, as far as possible, the interference of any subjective and wishful thinking – it would be extremely difficult, if not outright impossible, to do justice to the Qur’an concept of God.
It is enough to simply quote the qur’anic data to substantiate this claim. In the Qur’an the names referring to God’s mercy are much more frequent than those describing him as a fearful master. In the Qur’an, God is called al-Qahhār (the Fearsome) four times and once as al-Jabbār (the irresistibly Terrible or the Awesome, 59:23). This is how he would appear to criminals, immoral hypocrites or impious disbelievers. In cases where the more stern names are used this is almost always with reference to an admonition against sinners, and yet despite the warning the admonition is generally followed by a salve, the wish that the sinner perhaps may return to God: “maybe he will return [unto God]”(48:43; 27:46) since God is both “Lord of majesty and of generosity” (55:78). For those who serve Him and His creatures He is the Most Indulgent One who never ceases to pardon, the continual Giver, the Dispenser of all that is good, the Generous, the Consenter, the Answerer, the Friend and Protector, the Pitying, the Guide and Leader, and the Most Patient who is slow to punish. All these are qur’anic names that emphasize and clarify al-Raḥmān al-Raḥīm, the Merciful, the Compassionate. The attributes of mercy and omnipotence appear to be contradictory while in reality they are not. The qur’anic dictum is that God’s mercy is an expression of His omnipotence and hence inseparable from it. These two perfections represent the two poles of divine action and complement each other.
The point can be made that the Qur’an’s promises of severe punishment as an admonition to those who sin, could be a positive stimuli, suppressing the undesired behavior of sinners, without the harmful side effects of their despairing or losing sight of God’s surpassing mercy. These two polar aspects (Omnipotence and Mercy) of the Divinity mutually strengthen each other, encouraging and fortifying the desired behavior. On the other hand, their correlativity is such a positive factor that it can be helpful in checking wrongful human attitudes or inclinations.
Allah is also al-Salam. “Salam” means peace. Therefore Allah is the source and originator of all sorts of peace. Allah Almighty has said, “… and Allah invites to the abode of peace” (Qura’n, 10:25). Allah has said, “And if he is one of those on the right hand, then peace to you from those on the right hand” (Qura’n, 56:90-91), that is, rest assured that they are enjoying peace and tranquility. “Salam!” is a greeting; if a Muslim tells another Muslim “As-Salamu Alaikum!” he will have assured him of safety and security. Muslims are repeatedly enjoined by the Holy Qura’n to disseminate peace and to be receptive to those who offer peace: “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet you with a better than it or return it. Lo! Allah takes count of all things.” (4:86) “O you who believe! Enter into peace one and all… (2:208) And if they incline to peace, do incline to it too and trust in Allah. (8:61) And the servants of al-Rahman are the ones who walk on earth humbly, and when the ignorant ones address them, they say: Salam (Peace)! (25:63) And when those who believe in Our Signs come to you, say: Peace be on you! Your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself… (6:54) So turn away from them and say, Peace! For they shall soon come to know. (43:89)
Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad used to quite often enjoin the believers to disseminate the greeting of peace to both the known and the unknown. There are numerous traditions testifying to this fact. For instance: Assalamu minal Islam: The greeting of peace is an integral part of the credo of Islam. Afshu al Salama taslamu: Disseminate the greeting of peace among you so you may achieve peace and security. Afshu al Salama baynakum: Disseminate the greeting of peace among you. “You will not attain the Paradise until you have faith and you will not have faith without mutual love. Should not I tell you the recipe of mutual love? Disseminate peace among you.” “O Mankind, disseminate the peace, feed the hungry and pray when people are asleep. You will enter the Paradise in peace.” There are countless Prophetic traditions that encourage spreading of peace by disciplining and eliminating the destructive lower impulses such a jealousy, envy, hatred, greed, selfishness and self-indulgence. The famous prophetic statement puts the point in a nutshell: “Spread peace, feed the hungry and live in a state of brotherly love.” In one of his supplications, the Messenger of Allah used to say, “Lord! Make us harbingers of peace to Your friends!” The Holy Qura’n tells us that the name of Paradise is “Dar al Salaam,” the abode of peace; He, Glory and Exaltation to Him, says, “They shall have the abode of peace with their Lord, and He is their guardian because of what they did” (Qura’n, 6:127). Allah will make the greeting of the believers, when they meet Him, “Peace!” He says, “Their salutation on the Day they meet Him shall be: Salam! (Peace!)” (Qura’n, 33:44). The Surah al-Ra`ad states that the believers in Paradise will be greeted with the greetings of peace, “… the gardens of perpetual abode which they will enter along with those who do good deeds from among their parents and spouses and offspring, and the angels will enter upon them from every gate (saying): Peace be on you because you were constant! How excellent, then, is the issue of the abode!” (Qura’n, 13:23-24). The Prophet (SAW) always offered the following supplication after every obligatory prayer: “Lord! You are the Peace; from You is the Peace; Glory to You! Greatness and Honor are in You!” The Muslims around the globe repeat the same supplication at least five times a day.
Allah has also described Himself as al-Mu’min: “… the One Who gives peace, Who grants security” (Qura’n, 59:23). “Al-Mu’min” means: the One to Whom peace and security are rendered.
The category of names discussed above and the connected attributes perform an important function i.e., the immanence of God. They produce a kind of modality for human imagination, but soon the imagination is reminded of its limitations when clearly told that these names and attributes are not relative like the attributes of human beings or any of God’s creatures. They are the attributes of the transcendent God who is absolute, hence His attributes know no bounds and transcend the utilitarian sphere of time and space as much as God Himself transcends His creatures. Furthermore, the relation of these predicates to their subject cannot be analyzed in the sense of the empirical world as all the human categories of expressions are finite while God and His attributes are infinite. Therefore, the pervasiveness of these names and attributes in the Qur’an and their commonly known and understood lexicographic meanings make the qur’anic Deity very vivid, alive, immanent and loved but at the same time infinitely mysterious, awesome, and transcendent. Such a presentation of the Deity gives enough opportunity for a kind of modality to exist allowing for a man-God communication, denying at the same time any similarity, comparison, and concrete image or images of the divine. Establishment of a meaningful, respectful, loving and also a sort of demanding relationship is encouraged between God and man yet the limitations are always prescribed fervently so as to maintain the divine transcendence and otherness of God in all times and situations. The Qur’an very successfully establishes this immanence of God by bringing the beautiful names or related attributes of God as epilogues of a great majority of the qur’anic passages. The use of these names and attributes is not arbitrary, it is wonderfully meaningful and closely contextual. The divine names are always connected with the subject matter of the passage under discussion. The names of mercy, love, and forgiveness, for instance, are brought as epilogues to those verses encouraging repentance or emphasizing God’s love, mercy and grace. “Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”” (39:53)
Al-Tawḥīd or strict ethical monotheism, with all its multiplex emphasis, is not meant merely to exalt God and chant His glories. It is also not meant to claim special affinity with God, enjoy special privileges in His name or assert superiority over His creatures. None of these elements are implied in the qur’anic understanding of monotheism. It is a responsibility rather than a privilege. It is meant to create the proper response in man, the response that is essential to encourage man to work towards transforming the human society of time and space in accordance with divine moral rules. The unity of God leads to the unity of His creation. No superiority is granted based upon origin, ethnicity, color, creed or financial or social status. The basic human rights of dignity, freedom, equality and justice are universally granted to all humans because of their humanity. A right relationship with God is the sole guarantee of a just, loving and right relationship between men. A loving connection between man and his God will assure a morally equipped caring human society. On the hand, any wrong understanding of who God is or a wrong relationship with Him will cause imbalance in man to man relationships. The Islamic transcendental monotheism if understood properly and applied in spirit can warranty an ethically balanced, loving and caring human society. It is grounded in human responsibility, socio political and economic accountability and universal justice.
The essence of al-Tawḥīd can be summarized in the following five terms: (1) Duality of reality (God and non-God) and God as the moral normativeness: meaning the Being who commands (moral will of God) and whose commandments are ought-to-be. (2) Ideationality: meaning that the relationship between the two orders of reality is ideational in nature. Man can understand this relationship and its demand easily through the faculty of understanding. (3) Teleology: that the nature of the cosmos is teleological; that it is purposive, serving a purpose of its Creator, and doing so out of design. Man also has a purpose and that is to be God’s vicegerent on earth. (4) Capacity of man and malleability of Nature: since the nature of the cosmos is teleological, hence the actualization of the Divine purpose must be possible in space and time. (5) Responsibility and Judgment: i.e., that man stands responsible to realize the moral will of God and change himself, his society, and environment so as to conform to the divine pattern. To do so is success and to disobey Him is to incur punishment and failure.
Therefore, the qur’anic message is squarely aimed at man and his well-being. Indeed, it calls itself “guidance for mankind” (hudan li al-nās [2:185] and numerous equivalents elsewhere). Even though the divine names and attributes are the subject of countless qur’anic verses, the Qur’an is not a treatise about God and His nature. The divine existence is functional. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Cherisher of man and his cosmos. He has created the universe to serve man. He is keen to guide man. He loves man and cares about his worldly wellbeing and eternal salvation. Finally He will judge man individually and collectively and mete out loving justice again for the sake of man. He has taken upon Himself that He will not forgive human violations until the man violated against is compensated for and satisfied. Izutsu presents the point in the following words:
For among all these created things “man” is the one to which is attached so great an importance in the Koran that it attracts at least the same amount of our attention as God. Man, his nature, conduct, psychology, duties and destiny are, in fact, as much the central preoccupation of the Koranic thought as the problem of God Himself. What God is, says and does, becomes a problem chiefly, if not exclusively, in connection with the problem of how man reacts to it. The Koranic thought as a whole is concerned with the problem of salvation of human beings. If it were not for this problem, the Book would have not been “sent down”, as the Koran itself explicitly and repeatedly emphasizes. And in this particular sense, the concept of man is important to such a degree that it forms the second major pole standing face to face with [the] principal pole, that is concept of Allah.
Consequently, Tawḥīd is directly connected with the moral sphere of human life. Its essence cannot be achieved without actualizing its demands of unity and universality of truth, unity, equality, and equity among the human race, and all that has to take place here and now i.e., practically in human society. Al-Faruqi expresses the point succinctly:
Al-tawhid commits man to an ethic of action; that is, to an ethic where worth and unworth are measured by the degree of success the moral subject achieves in disturbing the flow of space-time, in his body as well as around him. It does not deny the ethic of intent where the same measurement is made by the level of personal values effecting the moral subject’s state of consciousness alone, for the two are not incompatible….
He continues, that
Having acquiesced to God alone as his Master, having committed himself, his life and all energies to His service, and having recognized His Master’s will as that which ought to be actualized in space-time, he must enter the rough and tumble of the market place and history and therein bring about the desired transformation. He cannot lead a monastic, isolationist existence unless it be as an exercise in self-discipline and self-mastery.
This moral function of man, justifies his creation in God’s moral image, in the best of form, as the vicegerent of God on earth. Therefore, Islamic understanding of monotheism is moralistic through and through. The true and sincere morality is harbinger of inner as well as external peace. Inner peace is the forerunner of the outer peace. This inner peace comes only through peace with God by means of voluntary submission to the moral commandments of God. Until the peace of God fills our inner selves, we cannot hope that the peace will fill the outer world. This explains why the Qur’an almost always combines both faith (imān) and good deeds (`amal åāliḥ) together, the one reflecting the other (2:25; 2:82; 2:277; 3:57; 4:57; 4:122; 4:173; 5:9; 5:93).
The Qur’an also vehemently stigmatizes those who disobey God’s moral will and follow their own desires, inclinations, and moods as gods. The word the Qur’an employs to denote this tendency is hawā (occuring 17 times), which can be translated as “caprice or whim.” “Have you seen him who has taken his own caprice to be his god?” (25:43; 45:23). The Qur’an talks about man’s bitter personal wars such as ego, arrogance, greed, selfishness, haughtiness, longing for instantaneous gratifications and many such caprices that blind his ability to gain inner peace. These whims distance a person from God, alienates him/her from God’s peace and the result is our loneliness and estrangement from one another. These inner wars and constant discontent keeps us agitated and discomforted and so we live at war with us and those around us. This is the consequence of worshipping a false god i.e, our inner false self instead of the real God of love, peace and contentment. Our false self is in constant competition with others false selves so we are engaged in a spiral of conflicts, arguments, disputes and wars. Removing these false selves can bring the needed peace of mind, contentment and a constant sense of joy. When we stop putting others down to make ourselves look important then others will not put us down either. Momentary satisfactions do not give true happiness. The true happiness comes from God and with God. Therefore, the true peace also comes from God and with God. The loving obsession of One and Only God is the herald of peace among His dependents.
This moralistic understanding of al-tawḥīd along with its notion of the Day of Judgment is reflected in the very early Makkan chapters of the Qur’an. Such a concept of the Divinity is revolutionary and plays a vital role in Muslim life. The following early Makkan chapter (107 al-Ma`ūn “Neighborly Needs”), is sufficient to give an example of the qur’anic correlation of belief in God and the Day of Judgment and efforts to transform one’s surroundings: “Seest thou one who denies the Day of Judgment. Then such is the one who repulses the orphan and encourages not the feeding of the indigent. So woe to the worshippers who are neglectful of their prayers, those who (want but) to be seen, but refuse (to supply even) neighborly needs.” It can therefore be claimed, clearly, loudly and unequivocally, that the Qur’an connects human salvation with morality, and not solely with family lineage or belief in or confession of a specific set of doctrines or dogmas. Our own actions in this earthly domain define and govern our existence in the Hereafter. The qur’anic message of unity diametrically opposes tribalism, racism, nationalism, ethnic discrimination, human differentiation, cultic veneration, divine domestication, superstitious dogmatism and secularism, all the known vehicles of human biases, prejudices and hatred. Islam is less of an orthodoxy and more of an orthopraxy.
Islam connects its ethical monotheism to socio-political and economic justice. Injustices, to Islam, lead to disruption of peace. They must be confronted and corrected. In reality Allah is Himself Justice. The following Qur’anic verses use Allah and justice interchangeably.
4:135. “O you who believe! Be you staunch in justice, witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or (your) parents or (your) kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man, for Allah is nearer unto both. So follow not passion lest you lapse (from justice) and if you lapse or fall away, then lo! Allah is ever Informed of what you do.”
5:8. “O you who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in justice, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what you do.”
The goal of all Prophetic missions and scriptures is nothing but to establish justice. The Qur’an states:
57:25. “We did send our apostles with manifest signs; and we did send down among you the Book and the balance, that men might stand by justice…”
Therefore, God the Love is also God the Justice. The true and sincere submission to His just teachings is prelude to inner as well as external peace.