Essay, Research Paper
Matthew Sullivan 2/11/00
Development of Western Civilization
The Relations of God to Humanity in Islam
One of the primary beliefs of the Muslims is that God reveals himself to all people, through prophets such as Mohammed, Abraham, and Jesus, and that Mohammed is the last of these prophets. In the beginning of Sura 2, the Koran is referred to as “what We have revealed to Our servant. (12)” This is a crucial belief of Islam, as God has offered salvation to all people. However, the Muslims believe that the others who received revelations from God were given only partial revelations or that they corrupted what was given them, so that the Koran is both the revision and the completion of The Book. Thus the Muslims are the chosen people of God, who will fulfill the covenant with Abraham and follow God’s word. There are many passages where the Koran speaks about the Jewish faith, referring to them as “People of the Book.” These passages often point out places where the Jews have disobeyed the Scriptures and also provide the Muslims with arguments against them. For example, in Sura 2, the Koran alludes to the gift of manna from the heavens during the exodus to the promised land. The Koran states, “We caused the clouds to draw their shadow over you and sent down manna and quails, saying: ‘Eat of the good things We have given you.’ Indeed, they did not wrong Us, but they wronged themselves. (15)” Also, an example of the Koran providing arguments occurs when the Koran states “They declare: ‘None shall enter paradise but Jews and Christians.’ Such are their wishful fancies. Say: ‘Let us have your proof, if what you say be true.’ (21)” God, according to Islam, will accept into paradise those who follow his word and do good works.
The God of Islam demands that those who believe in him follow his word, as that is the way to lead a good life. The revelations of the Koran state that they are free from error and should be followed exactly. This has also been affirmed and enforced by most of the few Muslim theologists throughout history, though it has been challenged by some. The Koran states “We have sent down to you clear revelations: none will deny them except the evil-doers. (19)” A part of this belief seems to come from the belief that the Jews broke the covenant with God, and thus fell away from the religion of Abraham. The Muslims are very strict about following the word of God, and those who break the word of God are destined to hell. “Those that suppress any part of the Scriptures which God has revealed in order to gain some paltry end shall swallow nothing but fire into their bellies? Woeful punishment awaits them. (27)”
The Koran also serves as a framework for a just society, listing many laws regarding property and treatment of others. Sura 4 and Sura 5 both illustrate this foundation. Sura 4 focuses upon the rights of women, for example, the Koran states “Give women their dowry as a free gift; but if they choose to make over to you a part of it, you may regard it as lawfully yours. (60)” These strictures are written clearly and seem less religious than one would think. The laws, of course, must be strictly followed in accordance with the belief that God demands his word to be followed. When the laws of the city come from God, it creates a more religious environment. The city itself is oriented upon obeying the word of God, and this aids the community in worship. There is no struggle between the church and secular authority, and those that sin against another citizen sin against God.