Islam Way of Life/Glossary
The purpose of this chapter is to isolate terminology and controversial topics covered in this book.
To ensure fluent reading, there are as few Arabic technical terms as possible in this book. The following is the Arabic equivalence of English technical terms used. Please note that this doesn't include any Arabic technical terms that were invented outside the Koran or inherited from pre-Koranic Arab traditions. An exception to this rule is when a sociological study is used to explain what is actually practiced in the Moslem World today.
- Acceptable (by Legislation)
- Acceptance (from God)
- Assent (system)
- Assenter (person)
- Administrator (of Community)
- ulil amr
- mu/min; real believer=mu/min haq
- Creed of Abraham
- Millat Ibrahim
- Criterion, The (Moral)
- utul ilm
- Example (of Law, Rituals, Moral or Wisdom)
- alqur-ani, a.k.a : Quran, Al-Qur'an
- Law of Nature
- al-maAAroof + al-munkar
- Limit, (Law)
- Remembering (God)
- Sacred (Prohibition)
- Straight Path, The
- al-Sirat almustaqeem, a.k.a: My Path, a Straight one (siratee mustaqimaan in 6:153)
- Unacceptable (by Legislation)
- Visit, the
- Way of Life (Path)
About The Straight Path
Islam Way of Life or The Straight Path is a set of universal, timeless, complete and fully detailed moral and wisdom values for the benefit of humankind. It is part of a voluntary charter or mutual contract between The Creator and His creation. One should maintain morality and faith on the ultimate justice and in return, he will receive salvation from his Creator. We can easily find this set of values in God's Book by hunting down terms like 'Sacred Prohibitions' or 'My Path, the Straight One'.
If we count from 6:145 to 6:154, there are 14 sacred prohibitions with 4 food-related and 10 crime-related. The sacred prohibition of usury might have been included implicitly in one of those 14 sacred prohibitions. At the end of our counts to 14, God names the 10 sacred prohibitions as The Straight Path and then gives Moses the Scripture saying that it is complete and fully detailed.
It is complete and fully detailed because we will learn on the next chapters that The Straight Path forms the backbone of the entire God's message to humankind. We will see that all rituals were designed specifically to achieve many goals leading to The Straight Path. Also we will find that all law limits was designed specifically to defend The Straight Path from every type of attacks against its values.
Please note that this book tries to refer to the Koran in its purest form and free from man-made innovation. But this section is an exception to this book. This section contains sociological study that tries to explain religion-neutral part of Islam at work in various part of the world today. You have been warned.
If you still have doubts on the existence of God, actually you are surrounded by His sign. You just need to be aware of it. There many books about it, such as the one from Harun Yahya series. If you like this book, you may want to read our other book, Koranic Law of Nature.
Nation leaders who rules a multi-ethnic Moslem-majority countries always has some sort of sectarian-neutral moral codes and wisdom. As a rule of thumb, every Islamic leader who refers to Constitution of Medina are the supporter of the Ancient Islam Charter. Likewise, Islamic leaders who publicly denied the relevancy of Constitution of Medina for the 21st century also denied the relevancy of the Ancient Islam Charter. You can learn further from those leaders, such as the one from Jordan and Asian Countries.
Constitution of Medina is the first religion-neutral charter in history between Believers, Jews, Christian and Others since the Ancient Islam Charter. In fact, Prophet Muhammad use the Ancient Islam Charter as the ideological base for the Medina Charter. You can witness this by the similar usage of term believer in both charters. You will notice as well that the term abider, and both prophethood or messengership of Muhammad are missing on both charters indicating the religion-neutrality of them.
You can learn similar moral codes and wisdom from the forum of inter-faith dialoque and religions-of-the-world studies in the primary school. One of such forum is The International Forum of Islamic Dialoque (IFID), where intellectuals such as Dr. Mohammad Shahrour and Dr. Mahathir Mohammad gathers.
After learning from those sources, you will appreciate that the religion-neutral part of Islam is 100% for the benefits of humankind.
Moral and wisdom works like habits and tradition that may take years to master, let alone to teach. The good news is, it is contangible. It means that to be successful you have to teach it by example and persuasion. If you have a very close relationship with the target, your chances are even higher. The younger the target is better. The best time to teach moral and wisdom is as soon as a child start to learn speaking.
While it might takes times, patience and consistency, your job is actually simple. It is simple, because moral and wisdom are religion-neutral and if you feel that something is a good deeds, chances are it is. Therefore, you does not need to be very well versed in a religious doctrine nor need a high level of formal education to teach moral and wisdom.
Even if you failed, you still have hopes. Some of moral codes are related to criminal offence. For example murdering one person equals to murdering the entire humankind. Therefore, you can always bring your community to bring justice to the perpretrator. Just keep in mind that your community should do that within God's Limits. See Chapter 3 for more detail on God's Limits. The worst case scenario is if your community is so badly inflicted in a certain crime. Even then you still have your Creator to protect you from any fears and regrets.
For those who believes that moral code and wisdom is not enough for higher spiritual development, please proceed to Chapter 2. For those who believes that Islam should regulate public policies as well, please proceed to Chapter 3. This chapter only covers the basic and religion-neutral part of Islam. Islam has many faces, therefore this chapter is not trying to re-define Islam nor proofing that a certain definition of Islam is wrong.
The Ancient Islam
This book defines Ancient Islam as a period starting by the first human on earth and ended by the dead of the Last Prophet of Islam. In this period, abider a is religion-neutral term, while believer is a religion-specific term. The last prophet tried to established a Civil State with the constitution of Medina.
When the last prophet dies, so does his Civil State. The political system later is replaced by a Caliph State, starting with four elected Caliphes and ended with several Monarch Caliphes. During this period, the term abider and believer blurs to each other into a religion-specific term known as Moslem. We call this period as Modern Islam.
The Post-Modern Islam is the movement to return to the Prophet's example of Civil State and the universality of Islam. This book is written in this mind-set. However, It is not a closed mind-set, but instead an open one. For example, the spiritual aspect of this book tries to embrace as many as possible of the mystical-Islam, known as Sufism. Another example, this book allows Arabian-flavor of Islamic Jurisprudence, such as covering the face of Moslim women as well as Asian-flavor that does not require it. The Arabian-flavor of Islamic Jurisprudence, known as Salafism has place in this Post-Modern Islam.
A word of caution though, some Moslems believes that this Ancient Islam charter is no longer practical. They argue that Jewish and Christianity teachings are too far corrupted, so the only way to get salvation is to leave Judaism and Christianity and join the Believers. Some of them goes even further by saying that not only this charter is no longer practical, but also abrogated by God. While it is likely that the content of a newer book abrogates an older book, it is highly unlikely that contents of a single book abrogates each others. We call the latter inconsistency.
The following diagram ilustrates the current Islam charter according to some Moslem who rejects the Ancient Islam Charter. We can clearly see that in their charter, the believers can do no wrong and the rest can do no right.
We can witness that their charter is purely faith based, such as believing in Muhammad or not. While the Ancient Islam Charter is mostly effort based, such as doing good to each others. The Ancient Islam Charter also based on faith but in a religion-neutral way, such as believing in The Creator and the Final Justice and not on any particular human prophet or saint.
Most of the anti-religious beliefs are still compatible with the Ancient Islam Charter. The exception is the pure Darwinism that totally rejects the existence of The Creator. One example is Agnostic people. They may believe in some kind of Inteligent Design and some kind of Final Justice system. Therefore, we can see that the Ancient Islam Charter is mostly effort-based instead of faith-based.
About impracticality of following Jewish or Christianity teachings, it is up to the reader to decide. For example, accusing God of being disguised as a certain human is an act of rejecters according to the Koran. The Koran also prohibits accusing God of having genetical childrens.
This explains why in Modern Islam, those who are not "believers" are all treated as "infidels". This includes the Jewish, Christians and others. But in Ancient Islam, some of those people are considered as a normal law-abiding human being, as long as they trust in God and practice the moral code. In Modern Islam, somebody can be considered "Moslem" by blood, even if he is not practicing his religion. In Ancient Islam, some of these so-called "Moslems" are considered as the rejecters if they pretend as God's partners. Assuming partnership with God is the highest violation possible against the moral code. Lesser violators are considered as either a criminal or a wicked person.
Readers can learn more about theological debate about this subject in Dr. Mohammad Shahrour book, The Book and Quran. Unfortunately, Shahrour's books have no English translation. We will not cover this theoretical debate further in this book, as this book will only cover its practical implications.
With these controversies in mind, people who practice Islam Way of Life might try to avoid wasting any time in controversies by choosing their words. For example, instead of mentioning "Moslem", they will use "believer" term to refer the follower of Muhammad or "law-abider" or "normal human being" to refers to people who honor the Ancient Islam charter. It is also possible to add adjectives to be specific, such as "modern Moslem" to refer to people who are proud of the Modern Islam Civilization but not necessarily the Ancient Islam morals and wisdom. Also instead of mentioning "The Ten Sacred Prohibitions", they choose to be more specific by mentioning Equality, Family, Humanity, Fairness and Integrity instead. In some cases, they avoid the use of the word "sin", and mention it as "crime" instead.
- They use "God's Favor" 1:6-7 in as the identifying tools for "The Straight Path", instead of 10 sacred prohibitions in 6:151-153.
- They pick a group of people as the only one who receives "God's Favor". In this case, they choose Muhammad and His Companions, based on one of inspirational verses. Unfortunately, their opponent choose Muhammad and His Families as the only one who receives "God's Favor" also based on another inspirational verses.
- They set up a certification hierarchy, where a Modern Moslem cannot be a true Moslem unless he/she learns Islam from a teacher who was certified by his teacher who was also cerfified by his grand-teacher. They believes that this certification process has no broken links from one of Muhammad's companions or families.
We recognize this as an alternative reasoning and has some truth. But, again we consider this as not the whole truth, because even if your grand-grand-grand-grand teacher is Muhammad himself, you are still not allowed to violate any of the moral code mentioned as "My Path, a Straight One" in 6:151-153.
This book put equality, family, humanity, fairness and integrity moral codes in its very first chapter. Other books about Islam includes those 10 sacred prohibitions only in later chapters if they include it at all. Interesting to note that the Koran itself includes "the Straight Path" in its very first page.
While it may not be the intention, it leaves the impression that rituals and beliefs has more priority than protecting humanity and fairness. We can clearly witness this when churches can be burned down after an allegation of Koran or Prophet desacration in a certain Islamic State. We can clearly witness this when a man kill his daughter or sister when he believes that she dishonors the family. In this book, honor or ranks is the second priority after humanity and fairness.
There are many interpretation of Islam. One interpretation is full of hatred, murderous and totally divorced from humanity, and let alone Islam. The other interpretation is humans and civilized. We put the 10 sacred prohibitions in the first chapter because we believe that they are the backbone of Islam. The beliefs, rituals and law are merely tools and explanation about them.
The Old Testament prohibits eating pork meat, so does Koran. Therefore Jews, Moslem and certain Christians prohibits pork meat. One of the favorite explanation about the sacred probitions are three words, "We are brothers". The DNA of Human, Pig and Monkey are similar to each others differs only 2% percentage. This can be witnessed by the proliferation of retro-virus such as HIV from the monkey and the allegation that "bird-flu" virus use pigs as step-stone into human body.
In 5:60, the Koran does mention an event when God turn some people into pig and monkey as punishment. Whether this verse support the explanation is out of scope of this book. Modern Muslims sometimes turn to genetics to explain divine laws. For example incest is prohibited because of producing genetic defects.
Some groups do take religion-neutrality too far by setting up a common beliefs and practices. We regards this a synchretism and this book condemn it and does not promote it. This book also condemn and does not promote relativism nor apostasy. Read Chapter 2 for more information.
Another group do try to set up a religion-neutral Law and Jurisprudence. While this book recognizes that God's Law Limits is religion-neutral, but the actual Law and Jurisprudence is not always the case because it differs from region to region based on cultur and history they experienced. Read Chapter 3 for more information.
About Remembering God
Some people in Modern Islam, believes that remembering God is a set of special arabic words that recited over and over. This special words is recited during special time, such as during after the contact-method. It is a valid understanding, but it is not a complete understanding as Remembering God also includes remembering His Commandments such as maintaining the moral codes continuously and not on a specific time.
About Legal Limits
Some scholar, however, views law variant in the Koran as abrogation system. They believes that some variant were allowed in the past and it is no longer allowed now. For example is the variant in the punishment of theft. Another example that they believes that in the past, usury was allowed as long as it is not more than double the capital. Variant also applies to alcohol ruling.
This book does not follow this way of thinking. We see variants as variants. We see them as ranges and limits. This will allow different flavors of law to better serve local needs and history or certain conditions.
Islamic Jurisprudence or Islamic Law are collections of legislation and treaties made by the Islamic lawmakers and rulers since the beginning of Modern Islam. The example of treaties are the willingness of certain non-Moslem in certain region to pay regularly certain amount of money in return of security protection from a certain Moslem ruler on a certain period of history.
This special payment is part of treaties of Arabian rulers with other communities. We can easily witness it that none of Asian rulers has such treaties of special payment. Asian rulers does has his own treaties. For example a Malay will lose his ethnicity if he leaves his Islam religion.
Islamic Jurisprudence has its own levels of good and bad things.
In this book, they are actually two different classifications.
- Closed Classification of Rituals. All religious rituals should be either Prescribed or Recommended, otherwise it will be classified as innovation (bad rituals). It is closed because only small fraction of regulated matters is allowed.
- Open Classification of Public Policies. All day-to-day action are allowed, except the Unlawful or Disliked. It is open because only small fraction of regulated matters is prohibited. The Unlawful roughly equivalent to God's Limit (hudud) and Sacred Prohibition (haram). The Disliked is roughly equivalent to the Unacceptable (munkar).
Some Modern Moslem believes that moslem can only obey this Jurisprudence under an Islamic Government or Kingdom. In practice, most Moslems do not live under Islamic Government or Kingdom. This Moslem has two choice, try to replace his government with Islamic Government or try to live within God's Limits and obey the local legislation. Most Moslems choose the later, including Moslems from the biggest Moslem-majority Country in the world (1/5 of world Moslem population in a single country). But some moslems do choose the first, for example in Iran Revolution where people replace the Secular Monarchy with a Religious Constitutional Government. In fact, in each Moslem country there is always people who wants to replace their government peacefully or forcefully.
This book only concern on how to implement 100% Islam whenever and wherever you are and receives Salvation in return. This book has no interest on Islam Jurisprudence that depends on wherever you successfully topple your government or not. But this book does recommend you to follow commonly accepted Islamic Jurisprudence as much as possible, starting with rituals, civil law and commerce law if possible. The criminal law, political law and international law of the Islamic Jurisprudence only if you are under an Islamic Government or Kingdom. But, don't be so sad, because you still can implements God's Criminal, Political and Milatry Limits on such country.
Even if you can implement every single Islamic Jurisprudence because you are under Islamic Government or Kingdom, this book cannot stressed enough that God's Sacred Prohibitions and God's Limits should have the highest priority over all human legislation including the so-called Islamic Jurisprudence. For example, if honor-killing or instant-divorce is a legal Islamic Jurisprudence in a certain Islamic state, but you believe it violates God's Limits, you still have a choice not to do it.
Islam is not a new religion.
In fact Islam has been present since man set foot on the earth
Islam is a perfect religion which provides solution to every problem and answer to every question. As the word 'Islam' means 'peace', it is effectively the religion of every human who likes peace. Peace within a human being, peace of mind, peace at home, peace in the society, and peace in the world. In other words Islam is a way of achieving peace by submitting to the Will of God.
Allah's has given human beings will-power and ability to think and differeciate between wrong and right
i really proud to be a muslim.