This is the text version of the lecture delivered by Shaykh Khalid Yasin to a group of non-Muslims in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Part 1 of 2
What Do You Know About Islam? Not what you have heard about Islam, not what you have seen in the actions of some Muslims, but what do you really know about Islam? Because there is a difference between Islam and Muslims. There is a difference between a Man and a Father. A man who has children, he is a father, but father is a responsibility. If a man does not fulfil those responsibilities, he is not necessarily a good father. Islam is a rule and an order. If a Muslim does not fulfil these Rules/Orders, he is not a good Muslim, so you cannot compare Islam by Muslims.
We hear the terms Islam and Muslims quite often. And we read about Islam/Muslims in periodicals, text books of Colleges and Universities. We hear and we see a lot of inaccurate, misleading and purposeful misinformation through the media and I have to admit that some of these misinformation and misrepresentation has been perpetuated by Muslims themselves. Yet one out of every five people in this world of 5 billion people is a Muslim. One out of five people in this world is a Muslim. This is a statistics, that you can verify in the Encyclopaedia, Almanac or any other source that you like to look at. How is it that, 1 out of 5 people in this world is a Muslim, that we don’t know something about Islam, the facts about Islam? If I told you that 1 out of 5 people in the world is a Chinese, but we know the Geographical, Social, Economical, Historical, Political and Philosophical factors about China and Chinese. How come we don’t know about Islam.
What is that joins 29 nations and some say 37 nations? What is it that joins these nations and this Universal configuration into a common fraternity? What makes a brother from Australia my brother, a brother from America my brother, a brother from Pakistan my brother, a brother from Africa, China, Russia and so forth, my brother? What makes them my brothers? We have that different cultural and psychological backgrounds. What is it about Islam, that automatically embraces us and joins us together as a brotherhood?
What are the accurate characteristics of this mis-understood way of life, which is followed by great part of humanity? I will try to provide you with some facts about Islam. And it is necessary for you to be open minded and open hearted, because if I turn a glass up side down and pour water, I will never get a glass of water, it has to be right side up. Facts alone do not lead to understanding, but rather a combination of ambition and ability to appreciate and accept the truth when you hear it.
The word Islam means Surrender, Submission and Obedience. Surrender, Submission and Obedience to Allah – the Almighty God. You can say Allah or the Creator or the Supreme God, the Supreme Force, the All Wise. All of those are His names. We say Allah because in Arabic there is no other expression, this expression Allah cannot be applied to any created thing. Other words we use for Almighty God, people apply them for created things. For eg: the almighty dollar, he is the greatest and so on, but the word Allah can only be applied to the Creator, whom we have described earlier. So from this point, I am going to use the word Allah and you will know whom I am speaking about.
The word Islam is derived from the root Salamah, it means to be at peace or to have security. Therefore a Muslim is a person, who Surrenders, Submits and Obeys the laws of Almighty God and through this Submission obtains peace and security for themselves. We can immediately see that by such a definition, the Arabic word Islam describes the same manner and behaviour of the well known and respected Prophets and Messengers of Almighty God. All of them – Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Issac, Ishmael, Jacob, John the Baptist, Jesus and Muhammad. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them all. All of these men, these Prophets/Messengers came from the same Almighty God, with the same message, with the same chain of transmission and they said ONE THING: Obey God. Worship Almighty God and fulfil the purpose of life and do good actions and you will be rewarded with another life. That’s all they said. Don’t make it more than that. That is all they said regardless of what language, what time and to whom they came to. That is all they said.
If you read the scriptures carefully, without your own interpretation or someone else’s addition or fabrication, you will find that this was the simple message off all the Prophets who confirmed one another. Not one of those Prophets ever said, I am God, Worship me. You don’t have to think because you won’t find it in any book you have; not the Bible, not the Torah, not the Old and the New Testament, not the psalms of David. You will not find it in any book. You will not find it from the speech of any Prophet. Please go home and palm through all the pages of your Bible and I guarantee you that you won’t find it once, any where. So where did this come from? That is something else you have to investigate. And in another setting we can set the straight word easily for you. History has a way of turning over every stone. We can immediately see that by such a definition, the Arabic word describes what all the Prophets did. They all came and Submitted themselves to God, Surrendered themselves to God and called the people to God and insisted upon the people to do deeds of righteousness. The 10 commandments of Moses – what was that? The speech of Abraham – what was that? The psalms of David – what was that? Proverbs of Solomon – what did he say? The Gospel of Jesus Christ – what did he say? What did John the Baptist say? What did Issac/Ishmael say? What did Muhammad (pbuh) say? Nothing more than that.
Sura 98 - Al-Bayyina [The Clear Proof, Evidence] Verse 5-5: 5. And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.
Simple message. By the same token, it would be appropriate to consider those Prophets and Messengers as Muslims because Muslim is what? Don’t think about the Arabic terminology, don’t think about Saudi Arabia, Makkah, Medina or Egypt. Think about what Muslim means -
He who surrenders to Almighty God and obeys the laws of Almighty God and whether it is naturally or in a dialectical manner, everything that submits to the law of Almighty God is a Muslim.
So when the child comes out of mother’s womb at the time when God has ordered – what is it? It is Muslim.
When the Sun goes around in its orbit – what is it? It is Muslim.
When the Moon goes around the Earth – what is it? It is Muslim.
The Law of Gravity – what is it? Muslim Law.
Therefore, everything that submits to Almighty God is a Muslim. Therefore, when we willingly obey Almighty God, we are Muslims.
Jesus Christ was a Muslim, his blessed mother was a Muslim, Abraham was a Muslim, Moses was a Muslim, all the Prophets were Muslims, but they came to their people and spoke different languages. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) spoke the language of Arabic and in Arabic language to Submit/Surrender means Muslim. One who Submits/Surrenders is a Muslim.
Every Prophet and Messenger of Almighty God brought the very same and fundamental message. Worship Almighty God and be sincere towards Him. If we examine the message of each of well known Prophets, we can easily conclude this fact. Where there is a conflict, it is a result of false assertions, fabrications, exaggerations, personalized interpretation of alleged Writers, Historians, Scholars and individuals. For instance, let me point something out to you which may be you haven’t looked at before. How come throughout the Old Testament, God is always referred to as One, The Master, The Lord and King of the Universe and that in the 1st commandment given to Moses, He did not allow any body to Worship any graven images or to bow down to anything in the heavens or the earth or the sea below. He never allowed that. All the Prophets said, He was One and that He was Almighty God. Throughout the Old Testament, this is repeated again and again at all places. Then all of a sudden we get four testimonies Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.
Mathew who? Mark who? Luke who? And John who? Four different Gospels that were written 48 years apart and none of these men who did not collaborate with each other, none of then wrote their last name. If I gave you a cheque for your pay this month and I write my first name and told you to take it to bank, would you accept that cheque? No you wouldn’t. If the Police stops you for breaking the traffic laws and if you give him only your first name, will that be acceptable to him? Could you have a passport with only one name? Did your Mother/Father give you only one name? Where in the history of man is one name accepted as a documentation? Where? No where, except in the Bible. And how could you base your faith upon four Gospels that are written by four men who didn’t seem to know their last name. Then after those four Gospels, there are 15 more books written by a man who was an apostolic, who killed Christians, tortured Christians and then said that he in a vision saw Jesus and he was commissioned as an Apostle of Jesus. If I told you, Hitler after killing 6 million Jews, then he himself decided that he wanted to be saved, then he met Jesus Christ or Moses on the path and he became a Jew and he wrote 15 books and added them to the Torah. Will this be accepted by the Jews? No! you wouldn’t accept that. So how come 4 books without the last name and 15 other books written by another man and this is the first time God is called a man, this is the first time God is called three and it is the first time God is given a son – how is it acceptable to you Christians? How? Think about it. We won’t argue on that point, I will just give you something to think about.
The advent of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not bring a new religion or way of life as some people claim. On the contrary, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) confirmed the life and message of all the previous Prophets and Messengers, both through his personal conduct and with the Divine revelation which he received from the Almighty. The sacred scripture that Muhammad (pbuh) brought is called Al-Quran, it means that which is recited. Muhammad (pbuh) did not write the Quran, he did not author the Quran, nobody came and helped him to write the Quran or to author the Quran. And nobody collaborated with him in this, but the angel Gabriel recited to him and Almighty God made his heart a receptacle of that, just like a satellite disk is a receptor of waves and gives you the TV images. Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) heart was receptacle of revelation and as a result we have Al-Quran which has been preserved for over 1400 years without the change of a dot. Is there any other book in the world that you know of, that was preserved as it was revealed without the changing of even a dot? No book – only the Quran. Don’t take my word for it, go to the library and read what the Encyclopaedia Britannica says or the World Encyclopaedia or the Americana’s Encyclopaedia or any other universal encyclopaedia of the world that is not written by Muslims - read what it says about Islam, Quran and Muhammad (pbuh). Read what the non-Muslims said about the Quran, Islam and Muhammad (pbuh). Then you will accept that, what I am saying is universally documented and clear. That Muhammad (pbuh) is the profound individual in the history of humanity. Profound why? Read what they say. That the Quran is the most incredible, the most profound piece of literature in the annals of history. Read what they say. That the Islamic way of life is categorized and so precise and dynamic, it has never changed. Read what they say.
The sacred scripture that Muhammad (pbuh) received is called the Quran. And each of the Prophets/Messengers – they also received the scriptures. And in the Quran these Prophets, their scriptures, their stories, the principle of their mission is maintained with profound detail. Did Muhammad (pbuh) meet them, eat with them, talk with them and collaborate with them to write their biographies? No, of course he didn’t.
In the Quran, Muhammad (pbuh) is referred to as the Messenger of Almighty God and the seal of the previous Prophets, which is the limit of his role as a human being. Muslims do not worship Muhammad. We are not Muhammadans. We don’t have the right to take the name as Muhammad and say we are Muhammadans. Nor were the people who followed Moses – they were not Mosians or the people who followed Jacob were not Jacobites or the people who followed Abraham were not Abrahamians or the people who followed David were not Davidians. No no no. So how do people call themselves Christians? Christ did not call himself a Christian. How do people call themselves Christians? Christ said that whatever he receives from Almighty God is the word of God and what he heard is what he said. That is what he did. So how do we call ourselves Christians? We have to be Christ like. And what was Christ like? He was a servant of Almighty God, so you should be servants of Almighty God. That’s all. And the final scripture and the divine revelation, the Quran makes a very clear and concise statement:
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