Entering Islam Completely

Date: 2nd October 2015; 17th Dhul Hajj 1436

In Surah Al-Imran, ayah number 19, Allah has mentioned that Islam is to be the only religion for believers of the one and only Almighty. The ayah goes like this:

Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah, then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account.

Surah Al-Imran, Ayah 19 (3:19) Translation: Sahih International

Through this ayah it can be interpreted that Islam is going to remain the only religion acceptable by our Lord and it will remain as such till the end of times. Similarly, it has been mentioned further in the same Surah:

And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.

Surah Al-Imran, Ayah 85 (3:85) Translation: Sahih International

No other religion will be accepted by Allah on the Day of Judgement in case he is fully sane and is not oblivious about the religion of Allah. By the people of the Scripture we mean by the people who were given the same religion before our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and failed to retain the authenticity of the true religion which later gave birth to other religions. In the previous two ayahs Allah made it clear that the message given to other Prophets were all the same and no modification was made when Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was given the Messages from Allah.

So is it other than the religion of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they will be returned?

Say, “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Ibrahim, Ismaeel, Isaac, Yakub, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Musa and Isa and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him.”

Surah Al-Imran, Ayahs 83-84 (3:83-84) Translation: Sahih International

Our duty as Muslims should be spreading the religion of Islam in the most peaceful way possible so that when disbelievers or non-believers see us they get impressed by our practice. Alas! Such is not the condition these days as we have ignorant people among us who keep on misusing religion for their own savage desires. To protect the Muslim community from diversion and also for spreading Islam among the non-believers, we need to recite the following dua, more and more:

Our Lord, make us not [objects of] torment for the disbelievers and forgive us, our Lord. Indeed, it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”

Surah Al-Mumtahanah, Ayah 5 (60:5) Translation: Sahih International

It is obligated on us to enter Islam completely and by the word “completely” it does not mean “perfectly” in the literal sense as none of us can ever be expected to be perfect but what we can do is to try our best and give our “complete” effort so that we don’t fall in the trap of Shaitan. It is mentioned in the Quran:

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O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.

Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 208 (2:208) Translation: Sahih International

Let’s look at the Tafsir to understand this verse even more.

It is in this background of the verse’s revelation, that the believers have been asked to ‘enter Islam completely’, not making allowances for a faith other than Islam – a divisive approach which makes one an easy target of Satan. Therefore, the prohibition ‘do not follow the footsteps of Satan’, an enemy who would cheat you into taking to something which obviously looks very much like your Faith, but happens to be totally contrary to it in reality. After having received clear laws and rules that lead to the straight path, there is no justification left for any deviation. Those who still slip, they must remember that Allah is Mighty, having the power to punish, and Wise too, lest one should misread any delay in punishment which comes when His Wisdom so dictates. Using an eloquent image, the text goes on to question the ultimate acceptance of truth at a time when it shall no longer remain worth accepting and all matters of reward and punishment shall revert to Allah with no power existing other than Him, why then would anyone become quixotic enough to stand against a Power so obvious, the result of which could be nothing but destruction.

The word, ‘silm’ signifying to ‘enter Islam completely’, is used to convey two meanings, ‘peace’ and ‘Islam’. At this place, according to the consensus of the Companions and their successors, it means Islam (Ibn Kathir). The word ‘kaffah’ means ‘totally’ and ‘universally’. In the structural scheme of the sentence, this word appears as ‘hal’ (an adverb, qualifying the verb before it with a particular state). There are two possibilities here. Firstly, the word taken as the ‘hal’ of the pronoun in ‘udkhulu’ in which case the translation would be referring to the condition of the believers while entering Islam, which must be ‘complete’. This would mean that their entire person, hands and feet, eyes and ears, feeling and thinking, after having embraced the Faith should all be within the parameters of Islam and the obedience to Allah. This is to warn against a state of being in which one may be physically carrying out the dictates of Islam while the heart and the mind are not fully satisfied, or in case, the heart and the mind are satisfied, yet what one does physically remains outside the pale of Islam.

Secondly, it is possible to take the word, ‘silm’ as the ‘hal’ or indicated state of the Faith in Islam, in which case, the translation would be referring to the perfect and complete state of Islam in which the believers must enter. So, ‘entering Islam completely’ would mean that one must accept all injunctions of Islam, not that one accepts some and hesitates about others. Since Islam is the name of that particular way of life which has been given through the Qur’an and Sunnah, therefore, it does not matter, which facet of life it concerns, it may be beliefs and acts of worship or social dealings or business transactions or government and politics or trade and industry or any other field; what matters is one’s entry into Islam as a complete system, an organic whole, unified, indivisible.

The gist of the two approaches given above is that no Muslim shall be deserving of calling himself a Muslim unless he accepts all Islamic injunctions truly and sincerely from the deep recesses of his heart, irrespective of the department of life they belong to, irrespective of whether they concern the outward physique of the body or the heart and the mind.

The background of the verse’s revelation mentioned earlier in the introductory remarks also shows that one must keep nothing but the teachings of Islam in sight, practice it in its entirety which will, in consequence, make Muslims independent of all religions and nations.

Reference: Mariful Quran, Volume 1, Tafseer of Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayahs 208-210, pp. 514-516.

It doesn’t matter where you live- whether it is India or Bangladesh or other parts of the world, the ruling of Islam is all the same and we must believe in the messages given to us by the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Allah mentions:

And [recall, O People of the Scripture], when Allah took the covenant of the prophets, [saying], “Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, you [must] believe in him and support him.” [Allah] said, “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?” They said, “We have acknowledged it.” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”

And whoever turned away after that – they were the defiantly disobedient.

Surah Al-Imran, Ayahs 81-82 (3:81-82) Translation: Sahih International

The people of Bani Israel, those who were given clear messages through their Prophets, were expected to embrace the religion of Allah sincerely and those who denied the truth were counted as the losers in the Hereafter. Same principle goes for us if we fail ourselves as the Ummah of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), we are only fooling ourselves not Allah and Allah knows who among us have branded themselves as hypocrites, so those who are insincere to their faith are going to suffer like the disbelievers.

Some of us may ask why there are variations within the messages of various Prophets. Like Saturday used to be the day of Jummah for the Ummah of Prophet Dawood (Alayhi As-Salām) while it is Friday for us. Likewise wine was Halal during the time of Isa (Alayhi As-Salām) but it along with other alcoholic liquor got banned during the lifetime of our Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). To understand this we need to make a distinction between ‘Deen’ & ‘Shariah’, both of them are not actually the same thing.

Deen includes the Tawheed, the Taqwa and acclamation of “La Ilaha IllAllah”, thus testifying the Oneness and Lordship of Allah. This message was the same for all Prophets- from Prophet Adam (Alayhi As-Salām) to Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

As for Shariahs- which are rules and norms of everyday life for the Muslims- it had variations to suite the lifestyle of individual Ummah. This was done never to divide us in any manner. Why Allah made modifications in these norms is not clear to us but know it for sure that all these have been done so as to test us and ultimately this is for our own benefit.

And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.

Surah Al-Maidah, Ayah 48 (5:48) Translation: Sahih International

However, the Message of Allah have always been the same. The Quran mentions this very clearly:

He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Nuh and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Ibrahim and Musa and Isa – to establish the religion and not be divided therein. Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him].

Surah Ash-Shuraa, Ayah 13 (42:13) Translation: Sahih International

Likewise Allah says the same message over and over again so that those who follow other religions know how their religion got decayed through the animosity of Shaitan and mankind.

And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.”

Surah Al-Anbya, Ayah 25 (21:25) Translation: Sahih International

If Allah wanted He could have given us one nation and one religion but He didn’t as He wanted to test us of our readiness to accept changes in our practices as Prophets changed. This was never intended to make us feel divided or secluded from the Ummah. Know that our own Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is a descendant of Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) coming from the bloodline of one of his sons, Isaac (Alayhi As-Salām) and almost all of the Sunnahs we follow are from the Sunnahs of Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) and his Prophetic descendants. The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)’s way are the best ways of practicing Islam as Quran further states:

Then We put you, [O Muhammad], on an ordained way concerning the matter [of religion]; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know.

Surah Al-Jathiyah, Ayah 18 (45:18) Translation: Sahih International

Allah advised us to never become divided because of our own whims and jealously over one another and to hold firmly to the true religion.

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.

Surah Al-Imran, Ayah 103 (3:103) Translation: Sahih International

First accepting Islam and then through love and harmony we can find prosperity in our lives as the Muslim Ummah, that way we will never fall apart. Whatever divisions we have created is for our own fault. It is mentioned as such in the Quran:

And they did not become divided until after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord [postponing the penalty] until a specified time, it would have been concluded between them. And indeed, those who were granted inheritance of the Scripture after them are, concerning it, in disquieting doubt.

Surah Ash-Shuraa, Ayah 14 (42:14) Translation: Sahih International

Whatever divisions we have, even along the perimeters of Islam, are our own fault. All these Tabligh Jamaat, Shia, Salafi, Jihadist groups have indeed distracted people from the real Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). One very important Hadith states:

It was narrated from Mu’awiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan (Radi Allahu Anhu) that he said: The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) stood among us and said: “Those who came before you of the people of the Book split into seventy-two sects, and this Ummah will split into seventy-three: seventy-two in Hell and one in Paradise, and that is the Jamaa’ah (main body of Muslims).”

Reference: Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith 4597 and others. Classed as Sahih by Imam al-Hakim (Rahmatullah Allaih) (1/128). Classed as Hasan by Imam Ibn Hajar (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Takhreej al-Kashshaaf (63). Classed as Sahih by- Imam Ibn Taymiyah (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Majmoo’ al-Fatawa (3/345); Imam Al-Shatibi (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Al-I’tisam (1/430); & Imam Al-‘Iraqi (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Takhreej al-Ihya’ (9/133).

We as Muslims should be proud of our religion and speak firmly of Islam and live by the true religion which was given to us. Allah tells us to announce this to express our pride and glory:

Say, [O believers], “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Ibrahim and Ismaeel and Isaac and Yakub and the Descendants and what was given to Musa and Isa and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.”

Surah Al-Baqarah. Ayah 136 (2:136) Translation: Sahih International

Islam never taught us to kill people by the sword for no reason. We are a peaceful religion, we engage in Jihad only when there is evil which needs to be dealt. But before that we have been asked to purify ourselves from our own evil self.

And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it

And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness,

He has succeeded who purifies it,

And he has failed who instills it [with corruption].

Surah Ash-Shams, Ayahs 7-10 (91:7-10) Translation: Sahih International

Those who spread corruption in the name of Islam are not a part of the Ummah of Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and thus are termed as being ‘transgressors’. The ones who have doubts regarding Islam or those Muslims who are ignorant about the true teachings of Islam, they must run forth to the Quran and see for themselves what our Lord has ordered on us.

In Surah Anbya, it has been mentioned that there used to be two clans of people who used to fight one another regarding religion, one clan, the Jews used to take Prophet Uzair (Alayhi As-Salām) as their god while the other, the Christians, took Prophet Isa (Alayhi As-Salām) as their god. They once started doubting whether their gods (originally Prophets) were going to Hell as they were being worshipped then Allah revealed the following verse to clear:

Verily those for whom the good has preceded from Us, they will be removed far therefrom (Hell) [e.g. ‘Isa & Uzair etc.]

They shall not hear the slightest sound of it (Hell), while they abide in that which their ownselves desire.

The greatest terror (on the Day of Resurrection) will not grieve them, and the angels will meet them, (with the greeting): “This is your Day which you were promised.”

Surah Al-Anbya, Ayahs 101-103 (21:101-103) Translation: Muhsin Khan

According to account given by Qurtubi in his Tafsir, this issue was adequately resolved by Ibn ‘Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu) who wondered that there is a verse in the Quran about which people have reservations, yet they do not question him about it. He went on to say that this may be due to the fact that either the people have found a convincing answer to their doubts or that they are totally indifferent and do not consider the matter important enough for any kind of investigation.

Reference: Mariful Quran, Volume 6, Tafseer of Surah Al-Anbya, Ayahs 92-105, pp. 232-233.

These two groups got to resolve their dispute due to a revelation of a single ayah of the Quran while us having the entire Quran don’t even know how to spread peace around the world. Those who recite the Quran without knowing its meaning, instead they act as the wise ones interpreting their own meanings of the Quran are in fact deceivers to the Muslim community as well as to themselves.

Many Qur’anic verses make it absolutely clear that faith is one of the foundations of the belief system of the Muslim. One Qur’anic term that particularly captures this fact is “ghayb.” This term, which occurs 49 times in 48 verses, shares the same root with “ghaba,” which means “disappeared” or “was absent,” and gha’ib, which means “absent.”

Ghayb” means “the unseen,” “the invisible,” or “the unknown.” The term “ghayb” is contrasted with “shahada,” which is derived from the verb “shahad” and refers to things that can be “witnessed” or “seen.” In a lot of verses, Allah describes Himself as “Alim al-ghayb wa al-shahada” or “the One who knows the unseen/unknown and the visible/knowable.”

We need to believe in the unseen and the messages which were given to us by the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). There were several things revealed to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) but even he was not given all the knowledge. For example, Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) gave us predictions about the Day of Judgement but was never mentioned the time to when Al-Qiyamah would start.

Narrated Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu): Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “The Hour will not be established till the people compete with one another in constructing high buildings”

Reference: Sahih Bukhari

Likewise the Quran states the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) to say:

Say, “I do not know if what you are promised is near or if my Lord will grant for it a [long] period.”

Surah Al-Jinn, Ayah 25 (72:25) Translation: Sahih International

Not everything was revealed to our Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and we don’t need to know everything. The message of Islam we have now is all we need. Embrace the truth that Islam is the ultimate religion and Jannah is our ultimate goal and getting there should be our utmost priority over every single thing.

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May Allah reward us for our dedication towards Islam, Ameen. Let’s all be a part of a well-refined Muslim Ummah!

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