How can we be certain that Islam is the only infallible Truth?
Islam means submission to the will of God through unquestioning obedience to His Law in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Judaism is named after the tribe of Judah and Christianity after Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).
Thus even the names of these faiths illustrate their restrictive character. The name of Islam proves its universality. What a contrast to the views expressed during a recently held interfaith conference in Washington D.C. where Dr. Isaac Franck, Executive Vice-President of the Jewish Community Council of Washington said that Judaism considers itself as valid only for Jews and does not attempt to impose its views upon non-Jews. He declared: “The validity of non-Jewish the theological beliefs is not subject to our evaluation or judgment.” To me this is conclusive proof that Judaism must be false because an omnipotent God would never restrict His truth to a single people. Truth by its very nature must be universal!
Islam is unique among all other religions in that it alone possesses an authentic scriptures. The Holy Quran informs us that the Jews and Christians have corrupted their scriptures by mixing the original revelation with human interpolations and interpretations until the former could not be distinguished from the latter. Under the devastating impact of “Higher Criticism” very few, if any, Jewish or Christian scholars today accept their Holy Books as infallible Divine revelation.
Jews and Christians themselves admit that they do not possess their original Texts but only translations that have been undergoing numerous alterations for many centuries and are still being changed. The Holy Quran exists exactly as it was revealed to the Holy Prophet (ﷺ). It has been preserved in its original text forever. The languages of the former revelations to the Jews and Christians have long been dead. Today nobody can speak those languages and only a few scholars claim to be able to decipher them.
Even if these scriptures had been preserved to this day in their original and unadulterated form, nobody could correctly understand them and interpret their injunctions, much less translate them into actual practice. In contrast, the language of the Holy Quran is a living language, spoken and understood by millions throughout the world. Even those who have no time to study Arabic, can easily find others who know it sufficiently to explain the meaning of the Quran.
Each of the existing sacred books has been addressed to a particular people and contains commandments which seem to have been intended only for a restricted time and place, while the Holy Quran is explicitly addressed to the whole human race with an eternal code embracing life in its totality. The teachings of Judaism are restricted by their nationalist, racist emphasis while the acceptance of secularism on principle virtually negates Christianity’s claim to universality.
Concerning the earlier Prophets and religious teachers, very little of their life histories have come down to us. Thus we know less about Moses (peace be upon him) than Socrates and nothing at all concerning Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) before he began his brief three-year career of preaching.
A cursory Glance through any Hadith collection will give an idea how accurately and carefully the minutest details of the Prophet’s life teachings have been recorded. There one finds astonishing details of his features, limbs of body, his gait, the manner of his conversation and speech, his smile, dress, food, sleep, his manner of eating, drinking and relaxing, his love for perfumes, his elegance, catholicity, of his taste, his fondness for riding, his zest for worship, his mode of salutation, his facial expression, his behaviour in joy and sorrow, his wars, his way of offering condolence, his mode of offering prayers and observing fasts, his pilgrimages, his intense devotion to God, his noble feelings and sentiments, his perseverance, his dealings with his fellow beings, his honesty, his hospitality, his deep rooted sympathy for his own kith and kin, his dealings with strangers, with enemies, his hatred for back-biting and vanity, his simplicity, his bravery, his determination, his truthfulness, his adherence to his promises, his forgiveness, his behaviour towards his equals, towards his elders and youngers, his treatment of women, his kindness to mankind and animals, his means of livelihood, his experiences as a traveller, as a warrior, as a law-giver, as a father, as a brother, as a ruler, as a saint, as a pious hermit, as an arbitrator; in fact, all phases and aspects of his life have been carefully recorded.
One is amazed at the boldness and courage with which he laid open before the people not only his public but also his private life. who can stand the ordeal of voluntarily offering himself as an object of observation for all the twenty-four hours throughout his life?
Only a person of unusual integrity and honesty, possessing a high degree of self- confidence, self-control and self-determination could do it. It was Muhammad (ﷺ) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who alone can stand this test. He not only permitted people to peep into the innermost chambers of his sacred life but also exhorted them to broadcast its details to others because even these facets were as divinely illuminated as his public career.
A Muslim is therefore enjoined to follow the Prophet’s example in his private life with the same sincerity and faithfulness as he is commanded in respect of the sphere of his public life. Every word that he uttered and every action that he performed are the public trust to be faithfully handed over to humanity from generation to generation as Divinely inspired.*
Islam alone constitutes a complete, all-embracing, comprehensive way of life where the individual versus his society and material versus the spiritual are balanced into a perfect harmony. The laws of Islam are called the Shariah that provides an infallible Guidance of all aspects of individual and collective life. The Shariah embraces religious ritual, personal character, morals, intimate habits, family relationships, social and economic affairs, administration, rights and duties of citizens, judicial system, laws of war and peace and international relations.
These injunctions enable the faithful to distinguish between what is good and evil, what is beneficial and harmful, what is useful or injurious, what are the virtues we must cultivate and encourage and what we must avoid; the sphere of our personal freedom and its limitations and what methods we must adopt to establish a genuine Islamic community. Islam teaches that unaided intellect and personal experience alone are unreliable and defective guides which can never discover sound ethical values. The purpose of ethical endeavour in Islam is to seek the pleasure of God. In Islam, morality is absolute and unchanging because its laws are instituted by God and not by man. The true Muslim does not change with the changing times but forces the times to conform to his standards.
Islam abhors the doctrine of secularism. The Muslim can thrive only in an Islamic environment which is his duty to establish:
Those who imagine that the morality of Islam makes of it a heavy burden for humanity derive this belief from the tribulations undergone by the individual Muslims living in a society which is not governed by Islam. Under such circumstances the morality of Islam is a heavy burden; it almost crushes the individuals who live with their pure Islam in the polluted society of ignorance… . A specific environment is indispensable for the life of this concept, an environment with its own specific values. Islam is a realistic system and it therefore supposes that the people who live according to its path will be living in an Islamically governed society. Without this environment, the life of the individual become impossible or at least extremely difficult. Therefore whoever wishes to be a Muslim should know that he cannot devote himself to his practice of Islam except in a Muslim environment dominated by Islam. He is mistaken if he imagines that he can realize his Islam in the midst of a society ignorant of Divine guidance.*
Alone among all the religions of the world, Islam created a state dominated by religious and moral motives, thereby demonstrating that political power can and ought to be subordinated to ethical ends and that religion must not be allowed to serve the ends of any political system devoid of moral ideals.
Islam teaches us that one must attain spiritual progress through active participation in normal every day life and for this reason condemns the practice of monasticism, asceticism or celibacy. The doctrines of Islam are characterized by their simplicity, explicitness and highly realistic attitude towards human problems, indulging neither in excessive `optimism nor pessimism, and enjoining moderation in all things. Islam is free from incomprehensible theology or burdensome rituals. Religious creeds shrouded in philosophical complexities may give intellectual pleasure to the few but can never inspire ordinary men and women to be steadfast in virtue.