By Farid Gabteni
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي؛
رَبِّ أَدْخِلْنِي مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍ وَأَخْرِجْنِي مُخْرَجَ صِدْقٍ وَاجْعَلْ لِي مِنْ لَدُنْكَ سُلْطَانًا نَصِيرًا
In The Name of God The Origin The Arranging
God My Lord! Relieve for me my chest and Ease for me my task, and Untie the knot from my tongue that they may understand my speech.
God My Lord! Make me Enter a credible entrance, and Make me Emerge a credible emergence; and Give for me, from Yourself, a rescuing authority.
I would like to start this second part of the Original Message of Islam by recalling three definitions, which I have already mentioned in the first part, concerning Islam, faith and religion.
1 – Islam:
Etymologically, in the Arabic language, Islam / “al-islām” / الإسلام, from the root S-L-M / س ل م, from which the word “silm” / سلم / “peace” is first derived, means “Pacification”: the action of pacifying, establishing, re-establishing and maintaining peace; fully and completely surrendering to God through peace.
Islam is the activation of peace / “al-silm”, “al-salām” / السّلم السّلام: he who surrenders to God gets pacified / “yuslim” / يسلم, he banishes troubles from his mind, the rebellious streaks within him and around him; he is pacified, Muslim / “muslim” / مسلم, and a pacifist / “mussālim” / مسالم.
He yearns for peace, safety and tranquillity; he is not in favour or involved in troubles and rebellion; as a result, he acquires a peaceful / “salīm” / سليم, healthy and saintly heart, at peace with God and His Creation.
2 – Faith:
In Arabic, the words “assurance” and “faith” / “amn” and “īmān” / أمن وإيمان have the same root (A-M-N / أ م ن ), from which the word “amn” / أمن is first derived, meaning: “assurance, safety, security”.
In the Quranic language, faith is acquired through knowledge, by making sure and assuring; it is far more than a vague and relative belief.
Rationally, God Is Evident, one can only testify this; and this testimony must be made with full knowledge of the facts, with full science and consciousness.
The “believer”, which I translate as the “assurer”, makes sure and secures himself, by educating himself about the Fact of God; this is how he becomes secure and securing, assured and assuring, “mu’min” / مؤمن.
3 – Religion:
In Arabic, the word “religion” / “dīn” / دين expresses the sense of approximation, obligation, duty and debt; in this case, it refers to the creance owed to God; therefore, I translate “religion” as the “creance.”
Since Adam, the first human, and until Muhammad, the seal of Prophets, while passing through Abraham, Moses and Jesus, the divine message has always been the same, conveyed in different forms and finalised with Islam.
With the Qur’an, Muhammad received the first and last religion, or rather creance, with always the same message:
God has given you reason, study the past and the present, learn through science and knowledge, watch the sky, the celestial bodies, the earth, the sea, life, death, everything small and large.
Then, you will know, you will know Him, you will then be able to testify that there is no god but God, and you will know how and why to live.
You will not worship nor you will serve “gods” other than God, The Unique, The True; thus you will reason with science and conscience, and you will work with fairness and kindness.
You will do no evil, you will not commit injustice, you will not defile the Creation. You will act this way because you will know that He Is God and that He Is The One who Creates and Judges.
We will never meditate enough in verse 35 of chapter 24:
”اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِنْ شَجَرَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ نُورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ“
“God Is The Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His Light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. God Guides to His Light whom He Wills. And God Presents examples for the people, and God Is Knowing of all things”
Or even in verse 41 of chapter 39:
”إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ لِلنَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَى فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا وَمَا أَنْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِوَكِيلٍ“
“Indeed, We Sent down to you the Book for the people in truth. So whoever is guided – it is for [the benefit of] his soul; and whoever goes astray only goes astray to its detriment. And you are not a manager over them”
I can naturally quote, following these two verses, verse 30 of chapter 30:
”فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ“
“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state – the nature made by God in which He has Made men; there is no altering of God’s Creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know”
Religion of the good and beautiful work, of the middle way, of moderation, Islam is the religion of science and the knowledge of God through His Creation.
One of the elements, and not the least, that distinguishes the Qur’an from earlier revelations is its insistence on the notions of science and knowledge.
By the way, the first word of the Revelation to Muhammad was: ‘Iqra’! (Read!)’, see verses 1 to 5 of chapter 96:
”اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ (١) خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ (٢) اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ (٣) الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ (٤) عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ (٥)“
“Read in The Name of your Lord Who Created 1 Created man, out of a clot 2 Read! And your Lord Is The Most Generous 3 He Who Taught by the pen 4 Taught man that which he knew not 5”
And precisely, as to the first man designated as human, it is Adam, and the first time he is mentioned in the Qur’an, it is said about him, in verse 31 of chapter 2:
” وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا…“
“And He Taught Adam the names – all of them …”
It is therefore clear that, in the Qur’an, the very beginnings of human being are linked to knowledge.
The first thing that Adam, the first human, received from God is the knowledge of all the names, and the first order from God to Muhammad, seal of Prophets sealing the religion was: “Read! / ‘Iqra’!”
God’s Message, order, to man, from the very beginning to Muhammad and beyond to the end of times, is: “Read”, learn, understand the creation of God, in order to know God and act accordingly; that is to say, act correctly and with kindness, for you will be judged. Without a doubt.
And the Day of the Resurrection, in verse 27 of chapter 16, it says:
”…قَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ إِنَّ الْخِزْيَ الْيَوْمَ وَالسُّوءَ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ“
“… Those who have been Given knowledge will say: “Disgrace this day and evil are upon the disbelievers””
And in verse 56 of chapter 30, it says:
”وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ وَالْإِيمَانَ لَقَدْ لَبِثْتُمْ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْبَعْثِ فَهَذَا يَوْمُ الْبَعْثِ وَلَكِنَّكُمْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ“
“But those who were given knowledge and faith will say, ‘You remained the extent of God’s decree until the Day of Resurrection, and this is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not know’”
This shows us to what extent knowledge constitutes God’s first commandment in the Qur’an, and thus in Islam.
We must be able to correctly understand the Revelation, the Qur’an, Islam, and to transcend the reigning and dominant traditionalist indoctrination which, diabolically let’s say it, veils with its contradictions, distorts and deforms the objective reality of the Message of God to humanity.
Focusing one’s attention and reflection on what one says, what one hears and what one sees, is to become aware of things, of oneself, and of others.
Correctly deciphering beyond what one says, what one hears and what one sees, is to become aware of all of the things, of oneself, and of others in their entirety.
Beyond these two groups, one finds the True, the Inexpressible Reality.
I often remind that, in Arabic, the words “world” and “scholar” /عالم وعالم / “Σālam” and “Σālim” have the same root (Σ-L-M / ع ل م), from which the word “Σilm” / علم is first derived, meaning “science, knowledge, understanding”.
The world is closely linked to knowledge, to the objective understanding we have of it; it only exists through this vital information.
The real world can only be understood through scientific knowledge – any way-out is subjective; this results in myths and legends, synonyms of fetishism and superstition.
It was in this way that, apart from a few exceptions, the Ancients speculatively devised fabulous and imaginary worlds in the past, with no true scientific basis.
Nevertheless, they had this specifically intelligent awareness that the world has a meaning and a “raison d’être”.
This intellect awareness was amplified by an innate and acquired level of self-awareness and of the outside world.
This level of awareness is unique to humans, at least to our knowledge.
This is the state of affairs at the origin of scientific research and the results thereof that we observe nowadays and every day.
In the Qur’an, there are many verses that promote reflection and reasoning, and which refer to the learners and the learned. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
In verse 176 of chapter 7:
”…فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ“
“… therefore relate the narrative that they may reflect!”
In verse 21 of chapter 59:
”…وَتِلْكَ الْأَمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ“
“… And these examples We Present to the people that perhaps they will give thought!”
In verse 24 of chapter 10:
”…كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ“
“… Thus do We Explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought”
In verse 219 of chapter 2:
”…كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ“
“… So God Makes clear His signs to you; haply you will reflect!”
In verse 191 of chapter 3:
”الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَى جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّار“
“Those who remember God standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: ‘Our Lord! You have not created this in vain! Glory be to You; save us then from the chastisement of the fire’”
In verse 5 of chapter 10:
”هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ ذَلِكَ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ يُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ“
“It is He who Made the sun a shining light and the moon a derived light and Determined for it phases – that you may know the number of years and account [of time]. God has not created this except in truth. He Details the signs for a people who know”
In verse 22 of chapter 30:
”وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِلْعَالِمِينَ“
“And of His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge”
In verse 43 of chapter 29:
”وَتِلْكَ الْأَمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ وَمَا يَعْقِلُهَا إِلَّا الْعَالِمُونَ“
“And these examples We Present to the people, but none will understand them except those of knowledge”
In verse 28 of chapter 35:
”… كَذَلِكَ إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ“
“… Only those fear God, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, God Is Exalted in Might and Forgiving”
In verse 11 of chapter 58:
”… يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ۬“
“… God will Raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And God Is Acquainted with what you do”
And lastly, but not exhaustively, in verse 49 of chapter 29: