Islam Way of Life/Straight Path
The Quran is the holy book of The Assent. The opening chapter of Quran says everything you need to know about The Assent as a way of life or path.
1In the name of God, the Almighty, the Most Merciful. 2Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds. 3The Almighty, the Most Merciful. 4Possessor of the Day of Judgment. 5You alone we serve, and You alone we seek for help. 6Guide us to the straight path. 7The path of those whom You have blessed, not those who have incurred the wrath, nor the misguided.
According to the passage above, The Quran assumes that the reader of Quran is the one who follows three criteria:
- Believe in God
- Believe in The Final Justice
- Follow The Straight Path
Believe in God assumes that something, either natural or supernatural, creates and maintains the planets so they don't crash into each other. Believe in The Final Justice assumes that no thieves nor murderers will get away without paying for their crime. This also means that good works will always get rewards.
Also note that the highest goal of The Assent is not in money, power or popularity, but in relationship. The quality of relationship between a soul and its creator is reflected in the blessing or wrath mentioned in those verses. This relationship is direct and personal.
The Assenter's Charter
"Those (every single human)
- who believe, and
- those who are Jewish, and
- the Sabiens, and
- the Nazarenes;
whoever of them (follow three criteria)
- believes in God and
- the Last Day and
- does good works,
then they (get salvation/inner peace)
- will have nothing to fear
- nor will they grieve."
According to Quranic standard above, every human regardless of their religion will get salvation as long as they follow three simple criteria. It is important to note that this is a charter, a take and give. People join this charter voluntarily to get some benefits in return. People who join this charter are called an Assenter. This is because they enter The Assent to get inner-peace.
In the "Alchemy of Happiness" book, al-Ghazali begins by writing that "He who knows himself is truly happy." People who is satisfied with herself, proud to be her, and at peace with herself is truly happy. She have no regrets nor fear because she managed to live her live with her own principles, her own rules. And also because she managed to re-conciliate and accept her shortcomings and mistakes that happens in her life.
This charter is a well-kept secret in the Islamic circles. It is a secret, in the sense that it is not mainstream nor being taught in the schools or mosques. It is understandable, because they communicates with mostly the follower of Prophet Muhammad. So, they teach whatever specific to the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad. On the other hand, Quran communicates with the entire humanity. So, some of its messages are generic and universal across religions and prophets.
Warning: Some Moslem scholars, such as Taliban in Afghanistan, oppose The Assenter's Charter and declare that this verse is invalid or withdrawn. See Glossary for further information. Fortunately, they do not withdraw nor invalidate the verses that define The Straight Path. We will explain it shortly.
The Moral Criterion
The third criteria "does good works" is to follow The Straight Path or "My Path, a Straight One" as mentioned in Koran 6:150-153:
Say: "Come let me recite to you what your Lord has forbidden for you: that
- you should not set up anything with Him; and
- be kind to your parents; and
- do not kill your unborn children for fear of poverty, We provide for you and for them; and
- do not come near lewdness, what is plain of it or subtle; and
- do not kill the soul which God has forbidden, except in justice. That is what He enjoined you that you may comprehend."
- And do not come near the money of the orphan, except for what is best, until he reached his maturity; and
- give honestly full measure and weight equitably. We do not burden a soul except by what it can bear, and
- if you speak then be just even if against a relative; and
- regarding the pledges made to God, you shall observe them. This He has enjoined you that you may remember."
- And this is My path, a Straight One. "So follow it, and do not follow the other paths lest they divert you from His path.
That is what He has enjoined you to that you may be righteous."
According to Quranic standard above, to follow The Straight Path is to avoid crimes against equality, family, humanity, fairness and integrity. These moral criteria, also known as "The Ten Commandments" are shared among the three monotheistic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Those values are personal moral values and not, by itself, a license to punish people who violates those values. The legal limits restrict what we may and may not do to protect ourselves against such crimes.
The simplest example of set up anything with or making equals with God precedes and side-by-side with its prohibition in Quran 6:150:
Say: "Bring forth your witnesses who bear witness that God has forbidden this." If they bear witness, then do not bear witness with them, nor follow the desires of those who deny Our revelations, and those who do not believe in the Hereafter; and they make equals with their Lord!
So, the very basic idea of The Assent is direct relationship with God. No human being, nor saints, prophets, scholars nor religious institutions are allowed stand between you and God. One of first thing the religious institution and scholars do is to invent sacred prohibitions not authorized by God. According to Quranic standard above, make equals with God is assuming yourself, your scholars or your religious institutions as a partner of God (Bigotry).
So, if someone complains that Islam is backwards or oppresive, then this verse should enlighten her. This moral code was revealed several millennia ago, inspiring many philosophers and political movements towards Equality, Liberty, Solidarity, Rational, Secularism and Democracy. We can witness this by examining how Ibn Rushd (a.k.a. Averroës) helped trigger the European Renaissance and Western Civilization.
The next three sacred prohibitions is about honoring your parents, avoiding abortion and lewdness. The lewdness prohibited by God includes adultery (17:32), incest (4:22-23) and homosexuality (7:80-81). God explains these sacred prohibitions in more practical details in 17:23-25 and in 17:31-32.
Those three crimes break Family values. Families are the core of humankind. Destroying families equals to destroying humankind.
You might notice that God use the terms sacred prohibitions to explain The Straight Path. The sacred prohibition of usury in Koran 2:275 might be the explanation the 6th sacred prohibition, about being fair in business.
The last two sacred prohibitions are about keeping your promise you have made with God and following only His Path, the Straight One. We group them as Integrity value as one should follow all the sacred prohibitions above as whole to be accepted by God.
The Straight Path is simple but not easy. Therefore, 6:145 precedes it with dietary prohibitions. Moreover, Koran 17:23-39 repeats, details and expands it with four extra prohibitions. Koran 17:39 names them as part of The Wisdom.
That is from what your Lord has inspired to you of the wisdom. And do not make with God another god, or you will be cast into Hell, blameworthy and regretting.
The wisdom also acts as a safety net. For example, being responsible could prevent bigotry-related crime when one does just blame God for all his/her crime. Similarly, solidarity wisdom could prevent money-related crime. Chapter 3 will explain how to respond to a crime.
Koran 17:26-30 encourages us to be sparing and kind, instead of greed and insults. Some people might refer this as solidarity and empathy.
Koran 17:36-37 encourages us to be cautious and humble, instead of blame and show-off. Some people might refer this as responsibility, honesty and respect.
Koran 2:173 forbids only what is already dead, and the blood, and the meat of pig, and what was dedicated to other than God.
More details and the reasoning is provided through 5:3, 6:145, and 6:118. The meat of pig is forbidden because it is hazardous (the pig eat all of those forbidden food, including blood and the carcase of other pig whenever they have a chance). We found that, if you knew how bad is the food prohibited by God, you will never even consider to eat it.
People do make mistakes. People may ask for help, guidance, or forgiveness of their Creator. This can be done directly, any time and in any language without artificial restrictions.
Say: "O My servants who transgressed against themselves, do not despair of the mercy of God. For God forgives all sins. He is the Forgiver, the Merciful." And repent to your Lord, and submit to Him, before the retribution comes to you. Then you cannot be helped. And follow the best of what has been sent down to you from your Lord, before the retribution comes to you suddenly when you least expect it. ( 39:53-55)
People may glorify or remember his Creator. While the first one can be done on occasion, the later should be done continuously, 24 hours per day. This is because remembering Him means honouring His prohibitions, such as avoiding corruptions. Forgetting Him means violating His prohibitions.
Do you know a convert from an atheist or polytheist into a follower of monotheistic religions, such as Islam?
What difference in her life because of the conversion? Does she feel insecurities or peace and certainty?
Please, share your stories in the discussion page