Islam as a system for everyone and the two categories of people in the Quran.

By FearfulOfAllah (e-mail: xre597j02@sneakemail.com)

My goal for this essay is to present a picture of Islam that shows it to be a system which everyone can feel a part of and thereby achieve unity with all that exists, but at the same time maintain their individuality by retaining all their basic freedoms including the intellectual freedom of choosing not to make any leap of faith and believing only those things that are rationally sound to them. It is my opinion that Islam has the potential to become the system through which a major and revolutionary world transformation of peace and social justice can take place, the likes of which has not been seen in the modern world, but that is a subject for another discussion. In this essay, I will attempt to show that Islam is a system that tolerates and appreciates the variety and diversity of different viewpoints, communities, and religions.

[Quran, 39:17-18] … Therefore, congratulate My servants who listen to all views, then follow the best. These are the ones guided by God; these are the intelligent ones.

[49:13] O mankind, We created you from a male and female, and We made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Surely, the most honourable among you in the sight of God is the most righteous. God is Knowledgeable, Expert.

[11:118] And had your Lord wished, He could have made all mankind one nation, but they still would continue to disagree.

[2:256] There is no compulsion in the system, the proper way has been made clear from the wrong way. Whoever rejects evil, and believes in God, then he has grasped the most solid branch that will never break. God is Hearer, Knower.

I have been working on this essay, using my own personal opinions, as well as what I have so far been able to learn from the Quran. The Quran is a simple to understand document, yet immensely deep and complex at the same time. I am expecting that I will keep refining my views as I learn more. In the meantime the following analysis is a rough approximation of the basic message that I have gathered from the Quran. I want to disclose upfront that I might be wrong, and I ask the readers to verify for themselves whether any of this is the truth or not. Please note that all these concepts that are defined below are metaphorical and different people might explain the same thing in different words using different examples that make more sense to them.

In describing the two categories of people, I have taken the liberty of defining “belief in god” as “the conscious act of doing good, out of unselfish motives, even if it is at a personal cost”. One may be publicly an atheist and reject completely the notion of any supernatural power but if that person consciously does good acts as a matter of principle in life, then for the sake of this discussion, that person will be considered as having “belief in god”. By this definition, the opposite is also true that a person, who normally does only bad things, lacks “belief in god”, even if that person claims to believe in god.

In my opinion, this way of defining “belief in god” is valid because no one, to this date, has come up with a completely accurate description of what god really is, and given that proponents of god invariably describe god in positive terms, that “belief in god” should be equated with “belief in good”. In any case, this view of god makes a lot more sense than the stereotypical image of an old man sitting on his throne in the sky controlling the weather.

Our current understanding, of what god is, is just an artificial construction that we have made up in our minds so that we can picture the unseen. Different people have different constructs in their minds about what god is. Some of these constructs are in contradiction to other constructs. A lot of people accept their own construct as being accurate but reject other people’s constructs. Similarly, some people reject everyone’s constructs and refuse to believe in anything that has no sound basis or logical justification. They make up their own version of what reality is and follow that philosophy. What they have chosen to do is reject everyone else’s definition of “god”, and make up their own definition of “god”, and follow that instead. They may or may not choose to use the word “god” to describe what they have constructed in their minds. So when someone denies the existence of god, they are in effect denying what, in their view, other people have conjured up and are calling god. This is all valid behavior and in accordance with the Quranic instruction to not uphold anything for which one has no supporting information.

[17:36] And do not uphold what you have no knowledge of. For the hearing, eyesight, and mind, all these you are responsible for.

There are two types of gods that people can chose to believe in, true gods and false gods. True gods are those that reflect all that is good around us: love, life, good, happiness, knowledge, kindness, etc. False gods are those that reflect all that is bad around us: hatred, enmity, greed, jealousy, arrogance, ignorance, etc. For the sake of this essay, I will define anyone who believes in the false gods to lack “belief in god”.

I have also used the term “natural law” to loosely mean the way things work in the universe and the forces that keep order within the chaos. This can be the force of gravitation, the scientific and mathematical principles, light, human ideologies that promote peace and welfare, biological, geological, ecological and cosmological functions that sustain life, and many other things.

There are two main categories into which all people can be classified. There might exist other subcategories within these two categories, but to my knowledge nobody can be excluded from the two main categories.

Category 1: The Rejecters (Al-Kafireen) / Rejecter (Kafir):

The Rejecters are those people who have made the conscious choice to take a course of action which results in their personal gain even if it comes at the cost of causing someone undue harm in the process. Rejecters do not respect or uphold the human and civil rights of others. Rejecters do not care about the environment. Rejecters do not care about the consequences of their actions as long as they themselves are not the ones who are getting hurt. They refuse to take a stand on one side or the other when it comes to choosing between what’s good and what’s bad, unless it is in their favor.

A Rejecter may claim to be an Agnostic, Atheist, Nothing, or a Theist of some variety (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan, etc), but in reality they lack the belief in god.

In the end, the Rejecters will be held accountable for their bad actions.

[3:10] As for those who rejected, neither their money nor their children will avail them anything from God. They are the fuel for the Fire.

Category 1-A: The Hypocrites (Al-Munafiqeen) / Hypocrite (Munafiq):

This is a specialized sub-category of the Rejecters. Hypocrites claim they are trying to do what’s good for people but in reality they are only deceiving and trying to gain a profit for themselves out of manipulating people in the name of doing good, even though much harm might result from their advice or actions. However, what the Hypocrites do not know is that they are also deceiving themselves because god really knows the truth of their belief, and if they really believed in god, then they would have known that. Hypocrites are worse than Rejecters because they mislead trusting people into doing things that are harmful for them in addition to doing bad things themselves. Consequently the punishment for hypocrites is doubled:

[9:101] And from the Nomads around you are hypocrites, as well as from the city people, they persist in hypocrisy. You do not know them, but We know them. We will punish them twice, then they will be returned to a great punishment.

A Hypocrite may claim to be an Agnostic, Atheist, Nothing, or a Theist of some variety (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan, etc), but in reality they lack the belief in god.

Category 2: Those who have Surrendered (Al-Muslimeen) / One who has Surrendered (Muslim):

This category is of those people who have made the choice to Surrender or Submit themselves to the natural law of things, and live in a manner that is in accordance with the natural law. This means choosing a way of life that causes no harm to another human being as well as using the resources on earth prudently as required for survival and not being excessive. These people choose actions that are good, for themselves and for others, and avoid actions that cause harm to themselves or to others. It is possible that one who has Surrendered would occasionally make mistakes that the Rejecters and Hypocrites make, but as long as they realize their mistakes, make amends, and correct their behavior for the future, they are still amongst those who have Surrendered.

Those who have Surrendered can belong to any religion of the world or to none, and may identify themselves as Agnostic, Atheistic, Nothing, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan, etc. One who has Surrendered is not allowed to judge another person and declare them to be non-Muslims. Only god has the authority to do so. Those who have Surrendered must respect the freedom of choice and thought of other people, and must not force their views and practices onto them.

[4:94] O you who believe, if you strike in the cause of God then make a clear declaration, and do not say to those who greet you with peace: “You are not a believer!” You are seeking the vanity of this world; but with God are many riches. That is how you were before, but God favoured you, so make a clear declaration. God is expert over what you do.

Those who have Surrendered may choose any method to pray (talk, call out, meditate) to god that they feel brings them closer to god, and in many cases people choose to pray in a way that is common to the people in their families and communities. They may choose to pray in privacy at home, silently in their minds, at a religious institution, or outside in public and with the community. Praying to god can also encompass such things as enjoying the various blessings of life and being appreciative of it, bringing a smile to someone’s face, sharing and caring, learning the mysteries that are hidden in this journey called life, exploring new uncharted territories, making scientific discoveries, educating others with good knowledge, etc. Since god is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, acts of prayer are not limited to any particular forms or times nor do they require any third party assistance directing or connecting people to god. A simple farmer can reach god directly through sincere reflection and good actions.

There are no obligations on those who have Surrendered to perform ritual acts of worship of any particular variety. The concept of worship to god has been greatly misunderstood by most people. Worship to god is not something that people should do because god needs it from the people. It is something that people engage in because that is what they need. The word for worship, “a’budu”, as used in the Quran, means “to serve”. True worship is an act that goes towards the work of implementing the natural law. All things that are advancing the agenda of natural conduct are in worship of god. Worship to god is therefore not limited to acts of ritualistic practice that is taken as the most common understanding. An example of worship to god is participating in a social justice or peace movement to bring about greater good for humanity. Another example of worship is volunteering at an animal shelter to help those animals that would otherwise be treated cruelly. Yet another example of worship is acting in a responsible and loving manner towards one’s family, friends, and neighbors, and helping them out in this world.

The following verse in the Quran shows that even though one might not be a Believer yet, they can still Surrender, and that even before one becomes a Believer, their good actions will not go to waste.

[49:14] The Nomads said: “We believe.” Say: “You have not believed, but you should say: ‘We have surrendered’, for belief has not yet entered into your hearts.” If you obey God and His messenger, He will not put any of your works to waste. God is Forgiver, Merciful.

All those who have Surrendered, and therefore act in a way that increases the harmony in the universe, will enjoy the reward of a higher spiritual existence, nirvana, heaven, paradise, or whatever name you want to call it. This existence will be pleasing beyond our wildest imaginations and anyone who makes it to this level is beyond doubt very lucky.

[10:26] To those who do good work will be good and more, and their faces will not be darkened or humiliated. These are the people of Paradise, in it they will abide.

Category 2-A: The Believers (Al-Momineen) / Believer (Momin):

The Believers is a specialized sub-category of Muslims. These are the activist Muslims. They believe in god. They love Life. They strive to implement god’s system of natural law. They fight injustice when they see it. They help the needy whenever possible. They don’t hesitate from personal sacrifice in their cause. They uphold the rights of everyone and everything around them. They fear no one, except god. They have a lot more duties and responsibilities than ordinary Muslims.

[22:77] O you who believe, you shall yield and submit and serve your Lord, and do good, that you may succeed.

Nobody can know for sure whether someone is a Believer or not, and only god can truly know who is a Believer. However, people who consider themselves Believers or want to become Believers have the responsibility of a higher standard of conduct than ordinary Muslims.

The only way for a person to become a Believer is to first Surrender. Once a person has Surrendered and does good actions, then that person can, with an open and learning mind, come to Believe. It is not necessary that all who Surrender will come to Believe. The greater the amount of time, resources and sacrifice that a person puts in their cause of Surrender, then the greater the chance that that person will become a Believer. A lot of people rush to declare themselves to be Believers but if they were smarter, they would rather say that they are striving to become Believers.

[49:15] Believers are those who believe in God and His messenger, then they became without doubt, and they strive with their money and their souls in the cause of God. These are the truthful ones.

All those who are Believers, and strive to bring about increased harmony in the universe, will enjoy the reward of a higher spiritual existence, nirvana, heaven, paradise, or whatever name you want to call it. Their place in such an existence or dimension will be at a level that is much closer to god, and will therefore be much more pleasing than of those that are not as close to god.

[4:95] Not equal are those who stayed behind from the believers; except those disabled; with those who strived in the cause of God with their money and souls. God Has preferred those who strive with their money and souls over those who stayed behind by a grade; and to both God Has promised goodness; and God Has preferred the strivers over those who stay by a great reward.


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