Allah’s Greatest Gift
Allah Himself describes Islam as His most invaluable gift to His servants: “Today I have perfected your Deen (way of life) for you, and I have completed My Blessing upon you, and I have willed that Islam be the Way for you”, al-Maidah 5:3.
How can we become Muslim in the true sense of the word? This, you must understand, is the first essential step on your road to becoming a true Muslim.
Is Islam a birthright?
Can a person be a Muslim by virtue of his birth? Is a person a Muslim simply because he is the son or grandson of a Muslim?
Is a Muslim born a Muslim just as a Hindu Brahman’s son is born a Brahman, or an Englishman’s son is born an Englishman, or a white man’s son is born a white man, or a negro’s son is born a negro?
Are ‘Muslim’ a race, a nationality or a caste? Do Muslim belong to the Muslim Ummah like Aryans belong to the Aryan race? And, just as a Japanese is a Japanese because he is born in Japan, is a Muslim similarly a Muslim by being born in a Muslim country?
Your answer to these questions will surely be: No. A Muslim does not become truly a Muslim simply because he is born a Muslim. A Muslim is not a Muslim because he is belongs to any particular race; he is a Muslim because he follows Islam. If he renounces Islam, he ceases to be a Muslim.
No mere verbal profession
You agree that we become Muslims only by accepting Islam. But what does acceptance of Islam means?
Does it mean that whoever makes a verbal profession – “I am a Muslim” or “I have accepted Islam” – becomes a true Muslim?
Or does it mean that, just as a Brahman worshipper may recite a few words of Sanskrit without understanding them, a man who utters some Arabic phrases without knowing their meaning becomes a Muslim?
Accepting Islam means that Muslims should consciously and deliberately accept what has been taught by the Prophet Muhammad, blessing and peace be upon him, and act accordingly. People who do not so behave are not Muslims in the true sense.
No Islam without knowledge
Islam, therefore consists firstly of knowledge and secondly of putting that knowledge into practice. No man becomes truly a Muslim without knowing the meaning of Islam, because he becomes a Muslim not through birth but through knowledge.
Clearly it is impossible to become a Muslim and remain a Muslim in a state of ignorance. Being born in Muslim homes, bearing Muslim names, dressing like Muslims and calling yourselves Muslim is not enough to make you Muslims; true Muslims know what Islam stands for and believe in it with full consciousness.
Te real difference between a Kafir (who does not accept God’s guidance and is ungrateful to Him) and a Muslim is not that of a name. The real difference is that of knowledge.
A Kafir does not understand God’s relationship to him and his relationship to God. As he does not know the will of God he cannot know the right path to follow in his life. Is a Muslim, too, grows up ignorant of God’s will, what ground can be there to continue calling him a Muslim rather than a Kafir?
Dangers of ignorance
Without knowledge, you cannot truly receive His gift of Islam. If your knowledge is so little that you receive only a small portion of it, then you will constantly run the risk of losing even that part of the magnificent gift which you have received unless you remain vigilant in your fight against ignorance.
A person who is totally unaware of the difference between Islam and Kufr (rejection of God’s guidance and ingratitude) and the incongruity between Islam and Shirk (taking gods besides God) is like someone walking along a track in complete darkness. Most likely his steps will wander aside or on to another path without him being aware of what is happening.
But if you are blessed with the light of knowledge you will be able to see plainly the clear path of Islam at every step of your lives.
You do not neglect cultivating your land, irrigating and protecting your crops, supplying fodder to your cattle or doing whatever else is essential to the well-being of your trades and professions. Because you know that if you do you will starve to death and so lose the precious gift of life.
Why then should you be negligent in acquiring that knowledge on which depends whether you become Muslim and remain Muslim? Does such negligence not entail the danger of losing an even more precious gift – your Iman (faith)? Is not Iman more precious than life itself?
Why you cannot spend even a tenth part of your time and energy on things which are necessary to protect your Iman, which only can sustain your being in the present life and the life to come.
Every one of you, young or old, man or women, should at least acquire sufficient knowledge to enable you to understand the essence of the teachings of the Quran and the purpose for which it has been sent down.
You should acquaint yourselves too, with the way of life which Allah has ordained for Muslims.
No great amount of time required to acquire this simple knowledge. If you value your Iman, it cannot be too difficult to find one hour every day to devote to this.
Quote from the book Let Us Be Muslims, Abul A’la Mududi, edited by Khurram Murad, 1985.
The writer take a part from the chapter “Knowledge, The First Step” from the book Let Us Be Muslims for sharing on this blog. Please refer to that book for full content.