Islamic Beliefs and Values
Discuss about the Selected Aspects of Islamic Worldview.
A worldview is a compilation of beliefs regarding central issues of reality which inform and impact on ones perceptions, thoughts, knowledge and deeds. It is s a perspective of life, a revelation of the world, more literally it is a way of viewing life, a philosophy that regarding life. Also it is a belief of life held by a group or an individual. A worldview therefore is a general understanding of the mature of the world especially in the context of a set of values or principles. From the theoretical components of a worldview, the practical consequences of the same are derived. The said system of values and principles may derive its basis from the tenets of a religion or a moral philosophy not related to any religion. The Islamic worldview is a blend of theistic and ethical philosophies (Shakir 2015, p. 311). It obtains from the central belief that all forms of life were made out of the will and desire of Allah and that any discourse on the nature of the world and how man interacts with it must be preceded by the Islamic acknowledgement of God. According to Islamic worldview, there is no duality of the universe. These beliefs derive authority form two primary sources, the Quran (the word of God) and the Sunnah (a documentation of the teachings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad).
Islam recognizes Allah as the one and only God and acknowledges him as having the created the universe and as such is its master. This is evidenced in the Islamic declaration of faith which says sys “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadu Rasool Allah, to mean; there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet (Shakir 2015, p. 311). Islamic theology derives from the Quran which is considered the Holy Book of Islam. According to Islam, the Quran is the spoken word of Allah and a compilation of his revelation to mankind as he did through his Prophet Muhammad.
Islam holds that there is only one God Allah. Consequently it departs from the Christian belief in the existence of the Trinity of God (God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). They do not approve of the deity of Jesus Christ. In Islam this is an unforgivable sin called Shirk; associating God with partners. It is only equated to a belief in polytheism which is strictly forbidden in Islam because it is a monotheistic religion (Annalakshmi & Abeer 2011, p. 720). God in Islam is supreme above all creation and human beings. Christians hold a similar view hence the discourse on the relationship between the sovereignty of God and his expectation of human responsibility
Prophets in Islam and Christianity
Islam also holds that angels exist. In the same vein it acknowledges the existence of jinn (evil spirits made from fire). The religion further posits that the angels occupy hierarchical position predetermined by God (Schirrmacher 2018, p.38). This is a point of convergence with Christianity. Christianity too believes in the existence of angels and records to that effect are found in the bible e.g. in Luke 1:25-56, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary the mother of Jesus in her sixth month of pregnancy (Talbot 2011, p. 301). Islam esteems angel Jibril (Gabriel in Christianity) as occupying the highest position among angels. In Christianity however the archangel is believed to be Michael. Muslims popularly believe that every individual is assigned two angels that watch over them. A similar view is held in Christianity. A slight difference though is that Islam believes one of the angels records one’s good deed while the other records the good deeds.
The Quran records that God has commissioned prophets to speak his word in every corner of the earth. The unique similarity here is seen in the bible too where Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach the good news in the whole earth. Strangely though, the Quran still insists that the ultimate prophet is Muhammad. It also recognizes that whenever God (Allah) sent a messenger like he did Moses, David and Jesus, he gave them special books or messages. But the Quran maintains that the holy Book of Quran was given exclusively to Prophet Muhammad (De Kroon 2016, p.172). This departs from the bible as the central book of Christianity; it is not a revelation to one specific person but rather a compilation of God’s revelation of himself to a several people in different countries. Although Islam recognizes the teachings of Jesus as well as the bible, it does not esteem him anymore than other prophet (Annalakshmi & Abeer 2011, p. 722). In Islam he is simply Prophet Isa. Islam proclaims that after him came Prophet Muhammad who had the singular honor of getting the revelation of God’s will and desire and as such is the last prophet. The view of Islam is that the Quran is the only book that has been preserved without error or manipulation and esteems it as the only authoritative scripture.
Since Islam holds that Muhammad was the last prophet the Islamic Worldview refutes any other claims of new revelations about the will and the desire of God by any other inspired prophets. In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad had God’s final revelation and there cannot and will never be any other prophets coming after him (Adebayo 2013, p. 730). It is quite the contrary in Christianity. The Christian worldview believes in the existence of prophets beyond Jesus. The bible in fact records in Ephesians 4; 11-16 that He gave to some to be pastors, others to be apostles and others to be prophets. So although the Christian world view exalts Jesus Christ as the son of God, and one of the persons of God, it holds that God can still reveal his will for mankind through other inspired prophets ( Patterson 2012 p. 653). Islam consequently is not tolerant of groups or sects that deviate from the Pure Islam theology e.g. the Ahmadiyah, Bahai and Black Muslims. These are groups that believe in the continuation of prophecy beyond Prophet Muhammad. In fact the Quran declares in Sura 3:85 that if anyone professes or shows interest in any other religion beside Islam, it shall not be counted as right for him. The person is counted among those who have lost all spiritual good-a pagan. This in essence asserts that all people who do not profess the Islamic faith are pagans in the eyes of the Quran (Shakir 2015, p. 311).
Exclusive Revelation in Islam
The Quran asserts that mankind originated from the Adam, the first man. In Sura An-Nisa (4:1), the Quran records that God created man and then woman, his mate, in like nature. The Quran records and affirms the story of creation as it is in Genesis, where God said and Lets make man in our own image and Likeness (Layish 2014, p. 290). This is a major point of convergence between the two world views. The Quran also asserts that all mankind are spiritual equals before God. The Quran records in Surah Al-Ahzab (33:35) that all Muslim men and women who believe in Allah and devout themselves to patiently and constantly humbling themselves in prayer and in fasting in chastity and in being charitable God has great reward and forgiveness in store or them (Larguèche 2011, p. 146). The bible asserts as much; all people are equal before God, weather man or woman, black or white. This is recorded in several books such as Deuteronomy 10:17 and Genesis 1; 27. Both the Quran and the bible recognize the superiority of man over woman. The Quran designates in Sura An-Nisa (4:34) that the man as the one who shall care for the woman and protect her because Allah has given more strength to him (Kloos & Künkler 2016, p. 484). The woman shall guard what the name has provided for her. The Christina worldview seems to converge with the Islamic world view at this point. The bible spells out in Ephesians 5; 23 that the man is the head of the wife just as Jesus Christ is the head of the church. It requires that the woman submits under the authority of the man (Patterson 2012, p. 653)
The Islam world view takes it a notch higher though. Customary practice documented in the Sunnah designates women as possessing less intelligence that their male counterparts (Al-Mannai 2010, p. 84). In the tradition, the Prophet Muhammad describes women as people who curse very often and are ungrateful to their husbands. He goes ahead to say that the majority of those dwelling in hell are women thanks to the aforementioned ‘sins’. The Prophet concludes by saying that women are less intelligent in matters relief and religion. The Sunnah is a compilation of the prophet’s teachings and is intricately incorporated in the lives of Muslims (Crotty & Lovat 2016, p. Additionally the Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:282) that a case shall be established on the account of two men. It continues to say in the absence of two men then the scribes would take a man and two women as if to imply that the account of two women equals that of one man. This serves to foment the Islamic belief that women are less intelligent and inferior to men.
Tolerance and Exclusivity in Islam
Like mentioned in the earlier section of the paper, a worldview can either be a popular belief of a community, sect or group that is subscribed to by a majority of individuals. But every person has their own perspective of different world views. Given my area of operation which is ministry, I interact with people of different religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. As a minister of the word of God professing the Christian faith, I interact with many individuals of opposing views in the course of doing mission work. The purpose of my vocation is to spread the good news of the word of God.
In the discharge of my mandate as a missionary for the work of God in ministry, there are a number of things that I would wish to see happen differently. To begin with, the philosophy fronted by the Islamic worldview which designates women as less intelligent than men is one aspect I would advocate against. There is not one man or woman to whom knowledge is a preserve (Gilani-Williams 2014, P. 20). In life today there are several examples of women who have excelled, in fact done better than men in several spheres of life. This is a demonstration that it is a deception to imagine that women are any less intelligent. My own worldview would be that all men and women be treated as equal and that all mankind be given a fair chance at life.
In ministry handling people with an opposing worldview from yours is guided by the central message of the gospel-love (Peters 2017, p. 12). We are required to love even those who are our enemies and having a contrasting view doesn’t quite qualify one as an enemy. By use of dialogue, we should seek to persuade those with different views to see things from our perspective. That is what is prudent when one comes across people with worldviews different from theirs.
The paper has presented various aspects of the Islamic worldview with regards to the sociological construct of the society. The deduction from the above canvassed point is that the standpoints taken by the Islamic worldview do not foster tolerance and fair treatment (case in point is its view of non-Muslims as pagans and its stance on the role of women. The Islamic worldview is reflective of a society that is stuck in the dark days of religious intolerance and gender based discrimination and does not have a place in the 21st Century.
List of References
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