Have you Discovered its Real Beauty?

Book in text:

Have You Discovered its Real Beauty?


By: Dr.  Naji Arfaj




PART ONE
JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG

This book presents just some examples of the real beauty and greatness of Islam.

• It inspires us to have good intentions, positive attitudes, and kind feelings towards others.
• It teaches us to forgive, and love for others what we love for ourselves.
• It urges us to smile sincerely, and be kind to others.
• It instructs us to act courteously.
• It commands us to have good conduct and behave with respect.
• It teaches us to be gentle to humans, animals, birds, and our environment.
• It instructs us to respect and care for our parents and the elderly, and to be good to our families, spouses, and children.
• It encourages us to help, feed, and support the weak, the poor, the needy, and the disabled.
• It urges us to think, ponder, reason, and base our judgments on proof.

Before I reveal the secret, let me point out that additionally ‘it’…

•  teaches us that all humans are equal regardless of their race, color, or nationality.
•  instructs us not to hurt, hate, transgress against, put down, or despise others.
• clearly tells us why we are here, who brought us, where we are heading, and what our last destination is.
• instructs us to live in peace and good relationship with God, self, and others.
• clearly answers our significant, and critical questions.

Indeed, it leads to ultimate truth and success, true peace of mind, real happiness, salvation, and  eternal life.

Can you believe that this wonderful discovery is …Islam?

If our minds are captive to prejudice, preconception, or prejudgment, we will never see the beauty or truth of anything.

Perhaps you have preconceived, negative notions about Islam. Perhaps you have only seen it as portrayed by the media when reporting about terrorists – those few who would be terrorists regardless of their religion. Perhaps you have read or heard about Islam from unauthentic or biased sources.

So, I invite you to objectively and open-mindedly read this book demonstrating the beauty, clarity, and simplicity of Islam.

As examples of its clarity and beauty, Islam features:

• Clarity about the creation of the universe.
• Clarity about our creation.
• Clarity about our spirituality.
• Clarity and purity in the concept of God.
• Clarity in the concept of  worship.
• Clarity about the purpose of life.
• Clarity about the next life.
• Clarity about our last destination (Paradise or Hell).
• Clarity about the way to gain true happiness and ultimate pleasure.

Before we take off, let's remember these essential Islamic definitions:

Allah: In Arabic, Allah is the name of the one true God, the Creator. Islam teaches that Allah is the true God of all mankind. Jewish and Christian Arabs used this name (Allah) to refer to God.

Muhammad: Is the last Prophet of the one true God (Allah); sent to all mankind (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him).

Islam: Means submission to the Will of the one true God (Allah).

Muslim: Is one who submits to the Will of the one true God (Allah ).

The Glorious Qur’an: Is the final Word of the one true God (Allah) revealed to Prophet Muhammad.


PART TWO
ANSWERING HUMANITY’S CRITICAL QUESTIONS

Islam answers humanity’s most critical and significant questions like:

• What is the Truth?  
• Who created us?
• Who is our true God?
• Who is God’s final prophet?
• Whom should we worship?
• Who are we?
• Why are we here?
• What comes after death?
• What is the next life like?
• What is our last destination, Paradise or Hell Fire?
• How can we attain true peace of mind, success, and real happiness?
• How can we gain eternal life?

With a mind and heart set on discovering the truth, please honestly read and judge for yourself.

WHAT IS THE TRUTH?

In Islam, the one true God (Allah) has created the entire creation. It is only this great God (Allah) who made all humans and animals, the earth and its mountains, oceans and rivers, plants and forests, the sun and the moon, galaxies and orbits, days and nights.  All other objects, which we may or may not know, or have not yet been discovered, are all aspects of His infinite creation.

Allah made all life on earth and the whole universe, including time, space, energy, and matter. Allah also sustains the universe and everything in it, and controls what happens in the universe and everything in it.

However, some people might refer their existence “by chance” merely to “nature”! Scientifically speaking, let's define what they are talking about: NATURE! What is “nature”?

Don't you agree with me that nature includes:  plants and planets, orbits and galaxies, valleys and mountains, oceans and rivers, earth, sun, moon, stars, and other objects. Have these things created themselves or created human beings?!
The Glorious and Universal Qur’an beautifully tells us:
“O mankind! Worship your Lord, who created you and those who came before you that you may become righteous.”  (2: 21)
“He (God) created the Heavens and the Earth for Truth.”  (39: 5)
“It is He who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon.” (21: 23)

Moreover, those who believe in nature argue that they do not believe in God because they simply can’t see, touch, or conduct an experiment on Him!  

A couple of years ago, my neighbor in Oregon, USA visited me at my home.  We talked about several things among which we discussed the concept of God. My neighbor, a very old man, denying the existence of God, emotionally knocked the tea table, saying: "I believe in this table since I can touch it … I can feel it!"

Reasoning with him, I pointed to the lamp in the room and asked him:

"Do you believe in the power of electricity?"  He replied: "Sure."

I asked: "Can you see the power or energy generating the light?" "No." was his answer.

I further asked him these questions:

• Have you ever seen – with your bare eyes - the air we breathe?
• Do you have feelings? What are their colors, shapes, and sizes?
• What is sleep? What is its color or weight?
• So, how many things do we believe in without seeing them?

On another occasion, I met a young man called Chris and his wife at a hotel in Oslo, Norway. During a friendly discussion with them, I asked Chris: "So, what is the purpose of life?" Getting surprised, he answered: "This is the first time I heard such a question!" He added:  "I think there is no purpose of my life." He concluded: "I do not believe in any god." I asked Chris: "Why?"  He answered: "I have not seen it yet."

Commenting on his reply, I asked him (with a smile):

• Do you love your wife?
• Can you physically see this love?
• What is the color of your love?
• How much does this love weigh?

What was the reaction of Chris and his wife? Try to imagine it! Thus, not being able to tangibly see or measure this abstract love does not lead to denying the truth and existence of this love. 

By the same analogy, if we can’t see God in this life because of our limited faculties and senses which can't comprehend His greatness; this must not make us deny His existence. 
 
God's existence is clearly evident and easily traceable in unlimited signs and proofs manifested in the creation of numberless atoms, cells, tissues, muscles, and everyone and everything created.

Thousands of God’s prophets and billions of their followers throughout the history of humanity have confirmed the existence of God. Is it rational and logical to disregard the testimony of all these countless people and signs for “science”, when in fact scientific theories only describe the universe and do not ask: What – or Who – has created the universe and made it the way it is? In fact, the scientific evidence indicates the odds against our universe having arisen by “chance” are truly mind-bogglingly small; yet “chance” is the only “explanation” atheists can provide for the universe’s existence and its nature – according to them, it “just happens to be this way”. Given this, please consider which idea is more truly logical…a belief in blind chance governing all, or a belief that the universe is the way it is because it is created and controlled by God?

Some questions to consider:

Is the universe the creation of an intelligent creator, or did it arise because of blind chance?
Do “science” or “the theory of evolution” disprove the existence of God?

This is the truth in Islam. There is only one God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe (blessed and exalted is He). We must not consider anyone or anything above or equal to Him. The one true God (Allah) has created us to know and worship Him alone. Those who correctly worship Him and completely follow His commandments will be admitted to Paradise, eternal life.

On the other hand, those who disobey God and follow their sinful lusts and desires will be taken to… Where do you expect?

One can attain real happiness and peace of mind only through belief in and submission to the one true God (Allah).

WHO IS THE TRUE GOD?
Islam clearly and beautifully answers this critical and significant question. It reveals to us more details about the one true God and His unique nature and qualities. The Glorious Qur’an states:
“Say: He is God (Allah), the One; God (Allah), the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him.” (112: 1-4)
This is a complete chapter of the Glorious Qur’an. This wonderful chapter briefly and concisely tells us the ultimate truth about the one God (Allah) and His true nature. It clearly answers critical and significant questions that puzzle millions of people.
Some of the qualities that distinguish this true God (Allah) from others who claim to be God are:
• This true God is Creator, not created.
• This true God is only ONE, not more! He has no partners nor equals.
• This one true God is invisible; no one can see Him in this life. He is not physically manifested or incarnated in other forms. 
• This one true God is eternal; He does not die or change.
• This one true God is not in need of anyone like a mother, a wife, or a son; or anything like food, drink, or help. But others are in need of Him.
• This true God is unique in His attributes; no one is like Him. No human descriptions can be attributed to Him.
HAVE YOU DISCOVERED THESE SECRETS?
Indeed, Islam realizes and speaks to our innate natures. It speaks to our souls and our spiritual and intellectual needs and tendencies. Allah, who knows the secrets and thoughts of our souls, minds, and hearts, reveals to us the secrets and keys of tranquility and contentment for them.
HOW TO ATTAIN PEACE OF MIND, TRANQUILITY AND CONTENTMENT?
Secret (key) 1:  Know your one true God.
Secret (key) 2:  Believe in Him alone.
Secret (key) 3:  Follow His will.
Secret (key) 4:  Believe in God’s prophets.        (Including Prophet Muhammad).
Secret (key) 5:  Remember God.
Secret (key) 6:  Seek God’s forgiveness.
Secret (key) 7:  Worship Him alone.
Secret (key) 8:  Love for others what you love for yourself.   
Secret (key) 9:  Be generous to others and try to make them happy.  
Secret (key) 10: Have sincerity and piety.
Briefly, these top 10 secret keys through which we can achieve tranquility and contentment as well as spiritual, social, and global peace are among the magnificent treasures of the Glorious Qur’an and the Prophetic sayings.

To sum up, Islam teaches us through its two main authentic sources: The Glorious Qur’an and the Prophetic sayings that we can attain peace of mind, happiness, and salvation, by knowing and believing in the one true God (Allah) willingly and wholeheartedly. We must also believe in all God’s true prophets (including Prophet Muhammad) and follow their true guidance and teachings.
Thus, the gateway to a happy, content, and eternal life is through believing in and uttering this testimony:
“I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
However, Islam tells us that belief alone in God and His prophets is not enough to have peace of mind, happiness, and salvation!
We have to do the will of Allah through worshipping Him ALONE and keeping His commandments.
Submission to the will of God is the essence of the message of Allah. Confirming the true meaning of submission to Him and the reward prepared for those who believe and do good deeds, Allah points out in the Qur’an:
“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – they will have the Gardens of Paradise as a lodging.” (18: 107)
Similarly, the Holy Bible reports the words of Jesus’ brother, James, saying:
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead also.” (James 2:26)
Interestingly, James (4:7) also referred to the meaning of Islam that was previously discussed.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God.”
Therefore, Muslims are true followers of Jesus and the prophets. A Muslim means a person who submits his or her will to the one true God. 
Muslims have faith in Allah (the one true God) and do good deeds. They obey and follow the commandments that Jesus and the prophets taught and did, like believing in one true God, praying, prostrating, kneeling down in worship, fasting, giving alms, and charity, saying ‘if God wills’ (Insha Allah), and using the greeting of Jesus and the prophets: ‘Peace be upon you’ (Asalamu Alaikum).
These are just some examples and pieces of evidence which clearly indicate the truth, unity, and universality of this great and beautiful religion of all prophets: Islam.
Practically speaking, a person who is a Muslim or would like to be a Muslim, must believe in six articles of faith.
THE SIX ARTICLES
1. Belief in Allah (the one true God) – in His existence, His Oneness (Tawheed), His Lordship, and His unique names and attributes; and that He is the only one deserving to be worshipped.
2. Belief in Allah’s angels, who were created by Allah to praise Him and obey and carry out His orders.
3. Belief in Allah’s revelations including the original Word of Allah revealed to Moses and Jesus (not the human writings and stories narrated according to various authors as found in the Bible). The Glorious Qur’an is the final, pure, and authentic Word of God, sent to Prophet Muhammad.
4. Belief in Allah’s messengers and prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Muhammad. So, a Muslim is not a true believer if he or she does not believe in Moses and Jesus as prophets sent from the one true God (Allah), the Creator. 
5. Belief in the Last Day, the Day of Judgment and accountability. All mankind will be judged by Allah according to their faith and their deeds and actions. At the end of judgment, who will be admitted to a happy, eternal life (Paradise) and who will be thrown into Hell Fire?
6. Belief in the destiny decreed by Allah and His ultimate knowledge of all things. This makes believers trust in Allah. They are satisfied, content, and confident in whatever Allah decrees for them whether good or bad. They try not to despair, not to get depressed, hopeless, or despondent when crises or difficulties strike. They turn to Allah for help, support, and reward.
This beautiful faith in Allah and His decree makes Muslims feel peace of mind and contentment in spite of all the aggression, invasion, occupation, and exploitation of their land, oil, and wealth that is taking place in the world today; and in spite of the injustice, bias, discrimination, and defamation they are suffering from.      
These are briefly the articles of faith in Islam that a true believer must believe in.
THE FIVE PILLARS
In addition to the articles of faith (the theoretical aspect), Islam teaches us to put this faith into practice. A Muslim must practice five basic pillars of Islam as well as doing good deeds  generally.  Simply and briefly these are the five pillars of practice in Islam.
1. Shahadah (the testimony):
“I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” 
In Arabic, it sounds like this:

“ASH-HADU ALLA ILAHA ILLALLAH, WA ASH-HADU ANNA MUHAMMADAR RASULULLAH.”

”أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأشهد أن محمدا رسول الله “

This is the testimony that one must pronounce when embracing Islam. It reflects the beauty and simplicity of Islam.
2. Salat (prayer):
Performing the five daily, mandatory prayers (prayer includes standing, bowing, prostrating, reciting parts of the Qur’an, praising, and remembering Allah, and asking for His mercy, forgiveness and Paradise).
Talking about the beauty and power of prayers: they provide us with spiritual growth, psychological comfort, support, relief, tranquility, and contentment for our souls, minds, and hearts.
What adds to the beauty of prayer is the truth that God’s prophets, like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad were praying and prostrating to the one true God, Allah. So, Muslims are following the footsteps of those great prophets and messengers of God. 
Furthermore, many other beautiful concepts, such as love of God, submission and surrender to Him, supplication, unity, equality, sincerity, patience, humility, and meekness are evidently manifested in and learned from prayer.
Indeed, sincere and humble ‘dhikr’ (remembrance of Allah) ‘du’a’ (supplication), ‘istighfar’ (seeking forgiveness), and ‘salat’ (prayer) - to Allah alone - are great and wonderful keys to peace of mind, tranquility, and blessings. 
“Those who have believed and whose hearts have rest [tranquility] in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest [tranquility]!”  (13:28)
“And your Lord (Allah) says, call upon Me; I will respond to you.” (40:60)
3. Zakat:
The mandatory giving of a certain amount of one’s wealth to the poor and needy. Zakat or alms giving purifies us from greed and miserliness. It purifies our properties and money and teaches caring and sharing which build strong bridges of mutual love and respect between the rich and the poor. Indeed, it fosters support, help, cooperation, and solidarity in society as a whole.
4. Sawm:
Sawm (fasting) is refraining from all intake of food and liquid, and from having sex with one’s spouse during a certain period of time (from dawn until sunset). Some of the beautiful benefits and lessons of fasting include:
• Spiritual benefits. It develops ‘taqwa’ (piety) and sincerity. The fasting month of Ramadan is a great oppurtunity for attaining God’s mercy and forgiveness, being saved from the Hell Fire, and obtaining eternal life in Paradise.
• Moral and emotional benefits. In the school of Ramadan (fasting), we learn and experience the hunger that millions of people in different parts of the world suffer from. It inspires us to share, to feel, to be humble, generous and kind.
• Educational benefits. Fasting teaches us many lessons. For example, we can learn that changing or quitting bad habits, like excessive eating is possible. Also, it disciplines our behavior and trains us to be patient and self-restrained. Furthermore, it reminds us that God’s prophets, like Muhammad, Moses, and Jesus used to fast, too.
• Health benefits. Through the process of fasting, the body gets rid of toxins and extra fats. Doctors and nutritionists recommend fasting and describe it as a ‘rubbish-burner’ and as a ‘curative therapy.’   Fasting is a good remedy for several diseases. 
These are just some of the beauties and benefits of fasting the month of Ramadan.
5. Hajj:
Hajj is the pilgrimage to Makkah that every Muslim must perform once in his or her lifetime, provided he or she is physically, mentally, and financially able to do so.
Like the other pillars and tenets of Islam, the beauties, lessons, and benefits of Hajj are many. Millions of believers (of different colors and races and from different parts of the world) answer the call of Abraham. Wonderful principles and concepts can be seen in action during Hajj, including: submission and obedience to Allah, brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam, unity, patience, sacrifice, prayer, charity, and fasting. The Islamic pilgrimage (Hajj) witnesses and features the largest and most unique religious conference or gathering of its kind in human history.
At such a great convergence of all races and colors serving just one God and following just one message, Malcolm X and others have learned the lesson and the beauty of true faith, Islamic brotherhood, and equality - when they went to Makkah to perform Hajj.  
“My pilgrimage broadened my scope. It blessed me with a new insight. In two weeks in the Holy Land, I saw what I never had seen in thirty-nine years here in America. I saw all races, all colors, -- blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans -- in true brotherhood! In unity! Living as one! Worshipping as one!” - Malcolm X


PART THREE
THE BEAUTY AND PURITY OF THE GLORIOUS QUR’AN

The Glorious Qur’an is the constitution revealed by God (Allah) to regulate and govern human life. It speaks with the perfect knowledge of the Creator about His creation. It exposes the truth and invites mankind to the way of truth. It contains important information about human destiny.
It educates and raises people to the highest spiritual, moral, intellectual, and social level when they strive to comprehend it and apply its teachings.
The Qur’an is an eternal miracle given to the final Prophet Muhammad, as proof of his prophethood. It is of a unique and inimitable quality. Revealed fourteen centuries ago, it remains today completely intact and unaltered in its original Arabic form.
Wishing to share with you some beautiful verses from the infinite oceans of God’s Word and Wisdom, it was very difficult for me to choose what to present and not to present here, because of the limited space of this book.
So, to discover more about these beautiful and pure treasures of the Word of the one true God, I invite you to read the Qur’an personally. Try to get an authentic copy of the Glorious Qur’an, or you may get an e-copy of the Qur’an from reliable Islamic websites (e.g., www.sultan.org).
BEAUTIFUL QUR’ANIC VERSES
All Qur’anic verses are God’s Words. Let us read and enjoy some magnificent texts of the Glorious Qur’an that reveal the Islamic view concerning some critical and significant concepts.
Forgiveness and Salvation
“Say, ‘O My servants who have committed excess against themselves, do not despair of Allah’s mercy. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins, for it is He who is the Ever-forgiving, Merciful.” (39:53)
When a soul repents and returns to Allah, He turns back to His servant in acceptance and forgiveness.
Yes, Allah forgives all sins when we go sincerely back to Him. What a great deal!
“Indeed, Allah loves those who repent, and He loves those who purify themselves.” (2: 222)
Allah, in Islam, is the source of peace, mercy, and forgiveness; not the source of hate, bloodshed, or terrorism.
So, in Islam, to get salvation and eternal life you can simply go back to Allah, believe in Him alone, and do good deeds. No need for an innocent, good person to be crucified or killed for the sins committed by others. Islam also commands its followers (Muslims) to forgive others.
This is briefly the beautiful concept of salvation and forgiveness in Islam. Indeed, it is a religion of mercy and forgiveness.
Justice
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as just  witnesses; and let not the hatred of a people make you avoid justice.  Be just; that is next to piety, and fear Allah for Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.”  (5:8)

Islam teaches us to be just with all people, whether with friends or foes; and at all times, in peace or in war.
 
It teaches its followers to conduct themselves with unconditional justice and morality free from individual whims, social and cultural circumstances, or temporal relativism.

“Allah does command you that you restore deposits to their owners, and, if you judge between mankind, that you judge with justice.” (4:58)
As a practical manifestation of its beauty, eternal values, mercy, and justice, Islam commands us to protect what Muslim scholars call: The Five Necessities.
The Five Necessities
1. Religion.
2. Soul.
3. Mind.
4. Honor (dignity).
5. Money (and whatever we own).
Beautifully, the Glorious Qur’an pointed out that whoever kills an innocent soul - “it is as if he had killed mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” (5:32)
Concerning the freedom and protection of faith, the Glorious Qur’an states:
“There is no compulsion in religion…” (2:256)
Thus, Islam honors mankind and does not compel anyone to embrace its faith by force. This is the truth, beauty, justice, kindness, and tolerance of Islam when dealing with non-Muslims.
So, we have to be honest, objective, and fair when judging others. And let’s remember what Allah tells us in the Glorious Qur’an:
“…and let not the hatred of a people make you avoid justice.  Be just; that is next to piety…”
Nonetheless, concerning those unfair political and religious leaders, writers, historians, and  media people who unjustly accuse Islam and all Muslims of terrorism and claim that Islam was spread by force and sword, and those sick-minded and ill-hearted folk who depict Allah, the one true God and His last prophet Muhammad in the worst and ugliest images and cartoons, I wonder:
• Is this what is meant by freedom, and freedom of speech - is there not a double standard being used when dealing with Islam and Muslims? (For example, why are the terms ‘Christian terrorists’ or ‘Jewish terrorists’ never heard, although there is no shortage of atrocities being committed by people of those faiths?)

• Is anyone free to insult, curse and despise others and their beliefs, or accuse them all of terrorism?

• Is this how civilization, democracy, and freedom are taught to the younger generation in schools, colleges, and in society in general?
• Is it really the sword of Islam that makes thousands of wise, objective, sincere, and open-minded men and women around the world embrace Islam nowadays? (Many books, articles, and websites discuss why and how these brothers and sisters reverted to Islam. For example, I would recommend: Islam Our Choice, Portraits of Modern American Muslim Women – edited by Debra L. Dirks and Stephanie Parlove.  Available on the Internet). 
Furhthermore, according to recent American and Western reports, Islam is the world’s fastest- growing religion.
So, Why Islam?
Equality
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed the most noble of you in the sight of God (Allah) is the most righteous of you. Indeed God (Allah) is Knowing and Acquainted.” (49: 13)
Confirming this wonderful concept of equality in Islam, Prophet Muhammad, in his last Sermon, said:
“O people, your God is one and your father is one. You are all from Adam and Adam is from dust.  An Arab is not superior to a non-Arab, and a non-Arab is not superior to an Arab. A white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have superiority over a white. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over others except through piety and good action.”
Islam teaches us not to hate or put down others based on their race, color of skin or eye, or nationality.
Islam is a practical remedy for the racial conflict and discrimination which the world witnesses.
In Islam, blacks and whites are just brothers and sisters in the same human race. They are all from the same father, Adam, who was created from dust. Thus, we are all from earth and we will go back to earth and turn to dust again.
This is an important lesson that we can derive from the above quotes from the Qur’an and the Prophet’s last sermon.  And this was the lesson that Malcolm X learned when he went to Makkah to perform Hajj (pilgrimage).
So, why do some people feel or act with arrogance or false pride towards others?
Universality and Unity of Message
“Say: We believe in God (Allah), and the revelation given to us, and that given to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of  them and we submit to God”  (2:136)
Muslims love and believe in all God’s prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon them all).
Prophet Muhammad said, “I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary. For there was no prophet between me and him [Jesus]. The prophets are just brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”  
So, what is this universal and one true religion of all God’s prophets?
OTHER BEAUTIFUL VERSES TO THINK ABOUT
The beauty, sweetness, and purity of the Glorious Qur’an are limitless; so let me just cite some Qur’anic verses without any comment or explanation. I would love you to think and ponder over them. Try to discover more of the treasures of the Final Testament, the Qur’an.
Allah and His Messenger
“It is He {Allah} who has sent His messenger {Muhammad} with guidance and the religion of truth...” (48:27)

“Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.” (33.40)
Tranquility and Paradise
“It is He {Allah} who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their {present} faith … That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein eternally and remove from them their misdeeds – and ever is that, in the sight of Allah, a great success.”  (48:4-5) 
“O reassured content soul, return to your Lord, well-pleased and well-pleasing [to Him], and enter among My [righteous] servants and enter my Paradise.”    (89.27-30)
Men and Women (in Islam) 
“Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” (33:35)
“And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise...” (4.124)
Brilliant Teachings
“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden [i.e., Paradise] as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous, who spend during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good; and those who, if they commit an immorality or wrong themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done when they come to know. Those – their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow [in paradise], wherein they will abide eternally. Excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers."  (3:133-136)
Dos and Don’ts
“Do not worship other than Allah, and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy, and speak kindly to mankind.”  (2:83)
Remembrance and Rest
“Those who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”  (13:28)
In concluding this section, believe me, the truths, beauties, and wonders of the Glorious Qur’an have no end. The more we read it, the more discoveries we make and the more we feel that we are reading it for the first time.
Moreover, there are many other areas of interest, such as the authentic, linguistic, scientific, remedial and miraculous nature of the Qur’an, which I have not included here because of the size of this book.


PART FOUR
A BREAK: A BEAUTIFUL CONTRIBUTION

The Religion of Adam and Eve
By Linda Barto* (USA)

One of the beauties of Islam is the discovery that God did not create humanity as spiritual beings, and then abandon us to figure out for ourselves the value and purpose of our spiritual selves.  He endowed us with questioning minds that search for truth.  He provided each person a cup of guidance that never empties as long as he or she continues to drink from it.  Through the prism of God’s perfection, His light casts a rainbow of mercy, grace, and justice; and our souls are colored with the perfect faith God created for us.

God created the world and everything in it for the benefit of humanity, so it just makes sense that His creation included a true and perfect religion.  What was the religion that God ordained for Adam and Eve? 

According to the Qur’an, the religion chosen for us was simply complete submission to God, which, in Arabic, is called Islam.  The Qur’an describes it as the religion of Abraham, who was called God’s friend; he simply submitted himself to God. 

The Islamic perspective is that every person is born with a soul in submission to God, but that he or she is free to make choices that conform to or divert from the life of righteousness for which he or she was created. 

At some point in life, each person must make a personal decision whether to stay the course of submission to God or to indulge in a corrupt lifestyle of self-centeredness, materialism, and impious gratification.  Of course, many people are led away from the true and good path by unbelieving parents or by abusive or tragic circumstances void of spiritual nurturing.  The Islamic perspective of God is One who judges according to each individual’s comprehension and innate tendencies; we can be sure that His decisions on the Day of Judgment will be fair.

When a person submits his or her whole self to God, every aspect of a person’s being - mind, body, and soul - must be devoted to God.  Keeping one’s soul pristine through prayer and worship is of vital importance, but it is also important to expose the mind to wholesome knowledge and to engage the body in a healthy lifestyle.  Islam offers the opportunity to discover your total being as you were created to be. By becoming a Muslim, you become your true self as you leave all arduous baggage behind and travel the road your feet were placed upon when you entered this life.

The dynamic truths of Islam can amplify and clarify truths of all religions while helping believers discern and discard falsehood.  The embrace of Islam is universal.

*Linda Barto is an American writer, poet, and artist.


PART FIVE
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FINAL PROPHET

Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) the son of Abdullah, was born in Makkah around the year 570 C.E. He was known by his people as Al-Amin (the trustworthy one). 
When Muhammad reached the age of 40, the angel Gabriel came to him with revelation. Muhammad was first ordered to instruct his immediate family to Islam, including his wife Khadija, and eventually it was revealed to him that he should begin delivering the message to all mankind. In the next years of his life, he communicated the message of Allah to others, set an excellent example and was a perfect role model for humanity. In the year 632, Prophet Muhammad departed from this world at the age of sixty-three.
Prophet Muhammad (may God’s blessings and peace be upon him) is called “the Seal of the Prophets.” He was the final prophet and was sent to confirm all the truth that was revealed before him, including the original Gospel of Jesus.
The Glorious Qur’an does testify that “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and Seal of the prophets.” (33:40)
Confirming the link between him and Jesus; Prophet Muhammad mentioned, “If a man believes in Jesus and then believes in me [Muhammad], he will get a double reward.” 
Also, Prophet Muhammad stated, “I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary; for there was no prophet between me and him [Jesus]. ”
These Prophetic sayings show us how Muhammad honored Jesus (may God’s blessings and peace be upon them). This was a prophecy which Jesus made in the Bible. I will present it after a while. 
PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S GREAT PERSONALITY
Muhammad, from his childhood, through his youth, through his prophethood until his death, has been seen by fair people, throughout history, as a special and great personality in his unique character and morals. He was merciful, honest, sincere, kind, and humble. Every detail of his private life and public utterances has been accurately and authentically documented and faithfully preserved up to the present day.
He was a prophet, a messenger, a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, a leader, a statesman, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father.
In this regard, Ramakrishna Rao, an Indian Professor of Philosophy, in his booklet, Muhammad: The Prophet of Islam, calls him the "perfect model for human life."  Prof. Rao clarifies:

“The personality of Muhammad, it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes! There is Muhammad, the Prophet. There is Muhammad, the Warrior; Muhammad, the Businessman; Muhammad, the Statesman; Muhammad, the Orator; Muhammad, the Reformer; Muhammad, the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad, the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad, the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad, the Judge; Muhammad, the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero."

Historically, during a short period of about twenty three years of his Prophethood, he changed the complete Arabian peninsula…

• From paganism and idolatry to submission to One God…
• From tribal quarrels and wars to solidarity and cohesion…
• From drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety…
• From lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living…
• From utter moral bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence.

Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a society or a place before or since - and imagine…all these unbelievable wonders in just over two decades.
PROPHET MUHAMMAD IN THE WORLD’S SCRIPTURES
While it is not the main theme of this book to detail all the prophecies in other religious scriptures foretelling the coming of Prophet Muhammad, I should mention that Muslim scholars have noted such in the Parsi, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Christian scriptures.

Indeed, Muhammad in other scriptures is a very interesting topic which has been thoroughly discussed in many books and articles, as well as on the internet. (To get more information about this topic, you may go to Dr. Zakir Naik’s website, www.irf.net, or just search the Internet typing these words: “Prophet Muhammad”, “Muhammad in the Hindu scriptures”, “Muhammad in the Bible”, etc.).

Among the books, for example, A. H. Vidyarthi and U. Ali have written a book entitled Muhammad in Parsi, Hindu, and Buddhist Scriptures.

In his wonderful book, Muhammad in the Bible,  Professor Abdul-Ahad Dawud (formerly the Reverend David Benjamin) comments on the Bible foretelling the advent of the prophet who is ‘like unto thee Moses’, explaining: 
                
“We read the following words in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 18, verse 18: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth.” If these words do not apply to Muhammad, they still remain unfulfilled. Jesus himself never claimed to be the Prophet alluded to... Jesus, as is believed by his Church, will appear as a Judge and not as a law-giver; but the promised one has to come with a ‘fiery law’ in ‘his right hand’.” Deut. 33:2

Muslim scholars assert that this prophecy applies to none other than Muhammad. Moses and Muhammad are alike in many ways. They both have the same first letter of their names. They are alike in their natural births, marriages, missions, and natural deaths. Both were prophets, rulers, leaders, and statesmen. Both brought a "fiery law." On the other hand, Jesus is unlike Moses in several matters. His birth, mission, and end are unlike those of Moses. Jesus did not get married; nor did he; rule his people or fight in wars like Moses.

It is worth mentioning that “a prophet from among their brethren” refers to a prophet from the brothers of the Israelites (i.e., the Ishmaelites).

In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus also prophesied the coming of another Comforter. Jesus declared, “and he shall give you another Comforter” (John 14:16).

In addition, Jesus said:

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is for your good that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when                  he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment… I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. How be it when he, the  Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me..." (John 16:7-14)

So, who is this “other Comforter” to come after Jesus?

Indeed, Muslim scholars state that it is only Muhammad who completely fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy for many reasons. To mention some:

• Jesus’ reference to “another Comforter” cannot apply to the Holy Spirit since the Holy Spirit (part of the Holy Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, according to the Christians who believe in it) was there before and during the mission of Jesus, according to the Bible, while the Comforter was to come after.                   

• Moreover, Muhammad came to warn people of sin and command them to do righteousness. He was a ruler and a judge with a ‘law’ in ‘his right hand’.

• Muhammad guided people to the ultimate truth concerning the one true God, the truth about the purpose of this life, the truth about the Hereafter and eternal life, and many other things.

• He showed us things to come through many prophecies and miracles given to him by the one who sent him, Allah.

• Muhammad was a prophet who did not "speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak." He was the instrument through whom God revealed His Word, the Glorious Qur’an. And Muhammad recited God’s Word in the Name of Allah. The Bible prophesied that “he shall speak in My name…” (Deut. 18:19). In fact, the chapters of the Glorious Qur’an are preceded by the phrase, “In the Name of Allah.” 

• Muhammad and the Glorious Qur’an indeed glorified Jesus highly (peace be upon them). In honor of him, Muslims like to name their children Esa (Arabic for Jesus).

Furthermore, when the Jews asked John the Baptist who he was, he denied being the Christ or Elijah or that Prophet. “…Who are you? And he (John) confessed, I am not the Christ. And then they asked him, What then? Are you Elijah? And he said, I am not. Are you that Prophet? And he answered, No”. (John 1:19-21)

Again, Muslim scholars argue that Muhammad is the one referred to in this Biblical text:

“Are you that Prophet? And he answered, No”. So, who is that Prophet?  Clearly “that Prophet” does not apply to John the Baptist nor to Jesus the Christ, as John testified himself.

Therefore, a wise, honest, and sincere seeker of the truth should objectively ask:

• Who is that Prophet?
• Who is the true Prophet that came after John and Jesus conveying their original message about the one true God alone?

He is Muhammad!
EXCERPTS OF WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT PROPHET MUHAMMAD
A great deal has been written about the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him). Below are just some statements said by well-known figures:
Lamartine (the famous historian) mentioned, “If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and outstanding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad?”
He concluded, “As regards all the standards by which Human Greatness may be measured, we may well ask, Is there any man greater than he?” (Histoire De La Turqvie, Paris 1854 – Vol. II, pp. 276 – 277)
In his book, The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History, Michael H. Hart stated: “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.”
Hart concluded that, “it is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.”
In his book, The Genuine Islam, Sir George Bernard Shaw said: “I believe that if a man like him were to assume the leadership of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring to this world much needed peace and happiness.”
Shaw added that, “He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numerous social and political reforms, established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionized the worlds of human thought and behavior for all times to come.”
Mahatma Gandhi pointed out: “I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission.” (Young India Newspaper)
Wolfgang Goethe (the most famous European poet) believed that:
"He is a prophet and not a poet and therefore his Koran is to be seen as a divine law and not as a book of a human being, made for education or entertainment."
The Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 12) cited:
"....A mass of detail in the early sources show that he was an honest and upright man who had gained the respect and loyalty of others who were like-wise honest and upright men." "…Mohammad is the most successful of all Prophets and religious personalities.”
Thomas Carlyle, in his book, Heroes and Hero Worship, stated:
"How one man single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades." …"The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only."
In a more recent work, John Esposito (who is a university professor of religion and international affairs, Director of the Center for International Studies at the College of the Holy Cross, and Founding Director of PABT Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, USA) pointed out in his book, Islam: The Straight Path that: “Muhammad was among those great religious figures, prophets and founders of religions, whose remarkable character and personality inspired uncommon confidence and commitment. His phenomenal success in attracting followers and creating a community-state that dominated Arabia could be attributed not only to the fact that he was a shrewd military strategist but also to the fact that he was an unusual man… Muhammad’s followers found him righteous, trustworthy, pious, honest and compassionate.”  (Esposito, 2004)
He clarified that “Muhammad was not the founder of Islam; he did not start a new religion.”
Professor Esposito stressed this fact:
“Islam brought a reformation; it was the call once again to total submission (Islam) to Allah and the implementation of His will as revealed in its complete form one final time to Muhammad, the last, or ‘seal,’ of the prophets. Thus, for Muhammad, Islam was not a new faith but the restoration of the true faith...”
BEAUTIFUL PROPHETIC SAYINGS
Do you still remember what was mentioned in Part One (Just the Tip of the Iceberg) of this book? The concepts mentioned there are based on the guidance of the Qur’an and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad. Below are just some examples of the Prophetic sayings, to  give you a taste of their beauty and sweetness:

•  “A good word is charity.” 
•  “A sincere smile is charity.”
•  “The best of you are the best in character.”
• “Removing a harmful thing from the path (road) is charity.”
•  “The best [aspect] of faith is patience and tolerance.”
• A man asked the Messenger of Allah: “Which aspect of Islam is best?” He replied, “Feed and greet both those you know and those you do not know.”





Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) said:

• "The Compassionate One [God] has mercy on those who are merciful. If you show mercy to those who are on the earth, He Who is in heaven will show mercy to you."
•  “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
•  “He who eats his fill while his neighbor goes to bed without food is not a believer.”
•  “The powerful is not he who knocks the other down, indeed the powerful is he who controls himself in a fit of anger.”
•  “God does not judge you according to your bodies and appearances but he scans your hearts and looks into your deeds.”
•  “The best of you [is he] who is best to his family, and I am the best among you to my family.”
•  “The best of you are those who are best to their women.”
•  “The best of Islam is to behave with gentleness and tolerance.”
• “The best people are those most beneficial to [other] people.”

These are just some examples of the Prophetic wise, wonderful, and golden sayings.

Practicing what he said and taught, Prophet Muhammad’s dealings and actions with others reflected his special and unique personality in his morals, mercy, honesty, sincerity, kindness, truthfulness, humbleness, generosity, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance, as well as many other great qualities. The stories, examples and proofs of these magnificent personal attributes of the final Prophet are too numerous to mention in detail here. Let us take just one example.

• After his Makkan opponents rejected him and disbelieved in his message, Islam...
• After persecuting and maltreating him, and trying to kill him many times...
• After torturing and killing many of his followers and loved ones...
• After fighting him and his companions and driving them out of their homes, properties, and land…

What was the reaction of Muhammad towards his Makkan enemies when he entered Makkah and liberated it from idolatry and paganism?

In the wake of the Muhammad’s and the Muslims’ great victory and in the climax of their joy, rapture and happiness at coming back home to the Sacred City of Makkah – Prophet Muhammad gathered together the Makkans, who were afraid that he would harm or kill them in revenge for their past abuse and killing of Muslims.

Muhammad asked them, “What do you think I am going to do with you?”  They answered, “You are a generous brother and the son of an honorable brother of ours.” Then, the kind, tolerant, generous and merciful Prophet forgave them, announcing: “No harm will come to you. You may go. You are free.”

• Have you ever seen such a scene?
• Have you ever heard such a story?
• Can you sense the Prophet's mercy?

Describing this unprecedented historical event, Professor John Esposito stated: “Eschewing vengeance and the plunder of conquest, the Prophet instead accepted a settlement, granting amnesty rather than wielding the sword toward his former enemies. For their part, the Meccans converted to Islam, accepted Muhammad’s leadership, and were incorporated within the umma (Muslim community).”

In contrast, are you aware of what atrocities various ‘super-power’ nations committed when they have unjustly attacked, invaded, and tortured others, throughout human history?

Actually, the more we discover about Muhammad’s life, the more we come to realize his excellent conduct and character, and that he is, indeed, “sent as a mercy to all peoples” (the Glorious Qur’an, 21:107).

Prophet Muhammad said, “I have been sent to perfect the noble traits of character.”

Confirming this fact, the Glorious Qur’an reported, “Indeed, you are of a great moral character.”  (68:4)


PART SIX
BEAUTIFUL NAMES AND ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

These are just some of the meanings of the qualities and attributes of Allah:

• Allah: The name of the one true God
• Ar-Rahman: The Compassionate
• Ar-Rahim: The Merciful
• Al-Malik: The Sovereign Lord
• Al-Quddoos: The Holy
• As-Salaam: The Source of Peace
• Al-Hakam: The Judge
• Al-Aleem: The All-knowing
• Al-Baseer: The All-Seeing
• As-Samee’: The All-Hearing
• Al-Adl: The Just
• Al-Adheem: The Great One
• Al-Ghafoor: The All-Forgiving
• Al-Ali: The Most High, The Sublime

“The absolute qualities of beauty and perfection belong to Allah, the one true God. Indeed, Allah loves beauty.”  Prophetic saying








PART SEVEN
CONCLUSIONS


Islam is the true religion of Adam and Eve and their children till the end of this world.  It is simple, logical, clear, practical and comprehensive. The beauty of Islam is infinite, since it comes from the Infinite One, the Creator.

The one true God, Allah, stated in the beautiful and unaltered Qur’an:
This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you, and have approved for you Islam as your religion.  (5:3)

Also, the same one true God told us that Muhammad is His last and final Prophet, sent to all mankind (Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, etc.).

Allah offered His guidance and light to all people and revealed the secrets and keys through which they can achieve tranquility and contentment, as well as spiritual, social, and global peace.

Islam teaches us to be just, wise, sincere, honest, objective, and open-minded in our search for the truth and when dealing with or judging others.

Searching for the truth should be based on reliable sources and authentic facts. And dealing with or judging others should be performed with justice, positive attitude, dialogue, mutual respect, and clear understanding.


USEFUL WEBSITES:
www.360itsrealbeauty.com
www.sultan.org
www.islamway.com
www.islamhouse.com
www.islam-guide.com

PUBLICATIONS BY THE AUTHOR:
• Who is the True God?
• God in Christianity: What is His Nature?
• Just One Message!


Naji Ibrahim Arfaj

E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.360itsrealbeauty.com
Tel. +966505913113
P.O. Box 418 Hofuf, Ahsa 31982 KSA






ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Naji Arfaj attended Michigan State University, USA and completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics in 1995. He spent more than 20 years researching comparative religion. His last book, "Have You Discovered its Real Beauty?" came about as a result of his extensive research and experience. He frequently gives public lectures around the world.
Dr. Naji is the author of several books (available on the Internet- www.abctruth.net), and presents radio and TV programs. He is also Director of the Inter-Cultural Communication Center in Saudi Arabia. And Head of the Department of English Language at Imam University.  Ahsa Branch - the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.


About the book:

A great book which explains the real beauty of Islam, by Dr Naji Ibrahim Arfaj.