By Mohammad Shekaib Alam
Hundreds of scholars have defined and discussed what Islam is and how it influences human and Muslim life. I have no concern to bring those debates over here. This write-up intends to explain Islam in a modern way to make people understand and digest it. Yes, it is a way of life and it is a Deen (religion) bestowed and preferred by the Creator of this universe to guide human beings in every matter of their lives.
To understand how Islam is an operating system, consider this entire universe in which we are living as a computer designed by Allah the Almighty, and to make it functional, He the Almighty has installed an operating system which is called Islam. As long as people live with this system, this universe will survive and as people stop living with this system, the entire universe will collapse and everything from heaven to earth, galaxies to stars, and seas to mountains, among others, will crumble and fall apart and get dysfunctional.
From the Islamic perspective, that will be the Day of Resurrection when such a scene will be witnessed by naked eyes. Thus, this universe; the system designed by Allah the Almighty requires Islam to run. That could be a reason Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says in one of the authentic narrations recorded by Imam Muslim that the Day of Resurrection will take place only at a time when there will be no one to utter ‘La ilaha ill-Allah’ (there is no one worthy of worship except Allah the Almighty).
The previous paragraph demonstrates that Islam is a must to survive this universe and at the same time it does not deny existence of other so-called religions and isms in it as could be observed in a specific computer, for example, operated by windows 10 which allows users to install other software and applications as well, but if that computer lacks windows 10, it will seize operating. Thus, windows 10, for example, represents Islam while other so-called religions and isms represent other software and applications.
People, due to the existence of Muslims presently, get the freedom to use this system with different software and applications and it will be continued operating till windows 10 disappears totally. Islam will disappear with the death of all people whoever has belief in Allah even it is an equal to a mustard seed. As mentioned in Sahih Bukhari that Allah will send a cold wind from the direction of Syria and on whomsoever, it passes and a person will have faith in Him will die instantly. This is the reason, Muslims believe Islam is from the beginning of when the first human being, Adam (AS) came to this earth, and it will be continued till the Last Day when the Day of Resurrection will take place.
The central message of Islam that worship belongs to none but Allah the Almighty alone, was the same which was given to each prophet who came before the last and final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and whoever had accepted Prophets of their times considered Muslims. Thus, once upon a time, Hinduism was a true religion but today it is not a true religion based on Muslim perspective and similarly, it goes to Judaism and Christianity among many other religions.
For today, the only accepted religion is Islam brought by the last and final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and everyone has to follow his commands and whoever accepts and follows his sayings will be considered as Muslim (one who submits himself/herself to the Will of Allah the Almighty). Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur’an that “He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein. Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him]”. He further says “And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers”.
Let’s understand the phenomenon of the operating system more clearly with some examples. In both positions, whether people follow Islam or any other religion or ism, or even do not believe in any (that is also software or application) survive and live a very similar life. Both categories of people; followers of Islam and followers of other than Islam learn, worship, earn money, get married and die, etc. then how these same actions become so different and one is considered legal, preferred, and liked by Allah (SWT) while others are not.
First, Muslims and non-Muslims are differentiated with the declaration of accepting Allah as their only Lord and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as their last and the final messenger. This is also known as Shahadah (the testimony of faith). The shahadah is a password which enables people entry from a general software to the actual operating software. Let’s take the example of having intercourse before and after marriage in Islam. Could you imagine it is the same act that takes place before and after marriage but just accepting a person in public as his/her life partner makes that action legal? Thus, saying “qabiltu” that ‘I do accept’ is a password to legalise the action.
Similarly, if someone requires money, and instead of using proper channels if he/she steals it will be considered unethical, and it will lead to punishment. Thus, taking permission or asking money from the concerned individual becomes a password for him/her to use that money. And in many other matters intention of people differentiates between rewardable and punishable actions. Thus, the intention of a person works like a password to make an action accepted by Allah (SWT) or rejected by Him the Almighty. Based on these, you may guess every matter in which we humans are engaged today, and anything which is not done following Islamic principles, affects the physical universe we are living in.
What is needed today is that Muslim scholars and researchers have to re-study verses in the Holy Qur’an and traditions (hadith) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) scientifically and experimentally and have to show and explain to the world that since it is not following certain rules and principles prescribed in Islam that’s why people are having these kinds of problems in society today. Most of the time, Muslims whenever any scientific development takes place in the scientific field and if the similar verse in the Holy Qur’an or the similar tradition in Prophet’s Muhammad (PBUH) sayings found start saying that Qur’an or Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had already indicated this 1400 years ago.
But it is rare to see Muslims initiate an investigation based on a verse or tradition of Prophet (PBUH) and then prove systematically that Islam says so and so and it is scientifically true as well. Muslims may initiate research and experiments on verses which say that ‘they are signs of Allah (SWT)’ for example rotation of day and night, differences in languages and colours, and the eclipse of sun and moon, among others, to find out how and where these phenomena operate, as such which differ from general physical and natural laws of modern science to be considered signs of Allah’s (SWT). May Muslims initiate experimenting how actions, which are considered sins in Islam, affect negatively on human lives and our physical world, with collected data and experiment to convince people that Islam is an operating system of this world and many societal and environmental issues faced by people, can be solved by following Islam strictly in their lives.
Some of the issues have indeed been proven which has a negative effect but due to the inability to bring it in mainstream and make everyone aware of it, they are like do not exist at first. Therefore, Muslims where they have to work on stated verses and themes, they also have to use and develop the right channels to communicate with people of this world to make them realise how significant is being Muslim.
However, I must declare here that this definition is based on current development, and may if new development takes place in the future, the similarity will change and this is the greatest challenge when someone attempts to explain any Islamic term or rule based on scientific development because the latter constantly changes. Thus, if the identified computer system changes in the future, then it may require rethinking to adjust it accordingly.
The purpose of this definition is just to explain the scientific mind of today’s people and it could be reflected upon this definition that the environment will be protected and be stable and more fruitful if people follow the Islamic way of life, otherwise, as many software, especially the wrong ones, create a problem for the window will create similar problem to the environment if people go beyond Islamic instructions and teachings.***
(The writer is an international student of IIUM who is currently doing a PhD in political science whose writing focuses on socio-political issues of Muslims in India and around the globe)
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