HOW MANY, I wonder of our readers have stumbled upon Islam and couldn’t look away—it just felt right. I suspect that many have taken a similar path as mine, some more consciously and articulate-ably than others.
I had been committed to the call of Prophet Jesus. For years I assumed that Christendom and the Church had a monopoly on Jesus, and—as one might conclude from listening to its spokesmen—even an exclusive direct line to God. I made excuses for the Church being stuck in untenable, philosophically-motivated doctrines, which once hammered out could not be withdrawn.
Such beliefs were thus eternal truths, according to the established system: the supposed God-nature of Jesus, in time said to be God’s junior partner—fully human and fully God—the first created by God and the one through whom God created the world!
Jesus taught his followers to trust God alone for their daily needs, for guidance and for earthly salvation from their oppressors, if only they would return to God’s Law. But the story of Jesus would be stolen by the very institution that would put Jesus at the center of its new religion. How was this pulled off?
I’ll tell you: An ambitious opponent of Jewish reform—later to become the nemesis of the Companions of Jesus, the famed Paul, the hero of the second stage of the New Testament epic saga—when failing to stamp out the Jewish reform movement of Jesus, resorted to subversive tactics, feigned a conversion to the Way of Jesus and rewrote his message as a bigger-and-better Roman mystery cult drama: a spiritual high, an escape from the penalty for sin and the conquest of death by a bloody sacrificial act of deity to match the competing and trendy Serapian and Mithraic secret societies taking hold all over the Roman occupied territory.
It is not my intention of offend the multitude of decent, God-fearing Christian people who have been kept, over the centuries, from embracing any choice other than this passionate version of God’s grace—especially the waves of those who have lived and died in their quest to purify the Church’s doctrine and in their commitment to imitating the godly example of their Prophet. But just who, practically speaking, is the Christian’s Prophet? Is it Jesus–or is it, in effect, Paul? Truth, once discovered is a non-negotiable commodity: God is one. Such is unmistakably stated in the canonized story of Jesus:
A teacher of the [Jewish] Law … came to [Jesus] with a question: “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
Jesus replied: “The most important one is this: ‘Listen, Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength …
The teacher of the Law said to Jesus, “Well done, Teacher! It is true, as you say, that only the Lord is God and that there is no other god but he. And a man must love God… (Bible, Mark 12:28-32)
Whereas the Christian scripture indisputably affirms tawḥîd—the singularity, uniqueness and almightiness of the one Deity, alone without partners or peers–it is the Quran which places this concept as the A#1-starting-point for all understanding of our place in this world—and for our right guidance—at the front and center, where it can never be lost to view:
And your God is the One God: There is no deity save Him… [Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:163]
This concept is repeated and elaborated upon hundreds of times in the Quran. In Sûrat Al-Mu’minîn we find the same insistence given to repeated generations:
And, indeed, We sent forth Noah unto his people, and he said: “O my people! Worship God [alone]; you have no deity other than Him. Will you not then become conscious of Him?” [Sûrat Al-Mu’minîn, 23:23]
And after those [people of old] We gave rise to new generations; and [every time] we sent unto them an apostle from among themselves, [he told them:] “Worship God [alone]; you have no deity other than Him. Will you not, then, become conscious of Him?” [Sûrat Al-Mu’minîn, 23: 31-32]
Never did God take unto Himself any offspring, nor has there ever been any deity side by side with Him: [for, had there been any,] lo! each deity would surely have stood apart [from the others] in whatever it had created, and they would surely have [tried to] overcome one another! … And, hence, sublimely exalted is He above anything to which they may ascribe a share in His divinity! [Sûrat Al-Mu’minîn, 23:91-92]
[Know,] then, [that] God is sublimely exalted, the Ultimate Sovereign, the Ultimate Truth: there is no deity save Him… Hence, he who invokes, side by side with God, any other deity [– a deity] for whose existence he has no evidence – shall but find his reckoning with his Sustainer: [and,] verily, such deniers of the truth will never attain to a happy state! [Sûrat Al-Mu’minîn, 23:116-117]
How many have come to Islam because they realized that the starting point of all true religion is putting one’s self exclusively and trustingly in the Hands of the One and Only Independent Actor! Just as Jesus himself taught, according to the Gospel books of the New Testament.
Welcome, then, to all who have taken up the DIY project of discovering Allah’s Guidance.