Friday, January 15, 2016

The Development of Religion according to Al-Quran’s Perspectives

The word religion or al-din itself portrays the belief of human being of having God to give their submissiveness and obedience throughout their life. Allah has mentioned several times in Al-Quran; (3:19) and (5: 3) that the religion (Islam) has already completed and Islam is the only religion that is accepted by Him. However, the term al-din also is being used by Allah S.W.T when referring to the religions other than Islam, (3:85). This shows that the belief though it contradicting with Islamic creed also being called as religion (al-din). So, do religion actually developed from the ancient time till presence?
In Muslim scripture the Holy Quran, (30:30) God has mentioned about al-fitrah which brings the meaning of natural inclination of human being to have tawhid and believe in God. Undoubtedly, man and religion cannot be separated as human have the nature feeling of needing God in their life. Besides, the term al-fitrah also shows that human was already believed in Allah and gave oath to One God (7:172). Therefore, we understand that the covenant has taken place before human being came to existence and the affirmation of Allah as the only God happened to every person not excluding even one. However, the parents and also the environment of the family will shape the creed of the baby as being told by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his authentic hadith, narrated by Al-Bukhari; “No baby is born but upon Fitrah (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist”. Throughout recorded history of religions development, we can understand that only Islam is the religion that would never ever develop. The fundamental aspects by the revelation are still the same from history of Adam till Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), yet the creed of believing the oneness of Allah is al-fitrah. For example, Prophet Ibrahim with his pure nature was searching the truth and he realized that his people were worshipping the false gods which created by they themselves. He was asking himself who is the God using the thinking, observation and his natural inclination. Thus, with the guidance from Allah he gained the answer when he found contradicting elements if the sun or moon and the idols are the gods.
Is God sent different syir’ah to different prophets, and can it be developed? Allah says in Al-Quran (5:48) that He has made the rules for the people of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the people before us. Although human beings are given ‘aqal to think and decide, we still have limitation in knowing what is good and what is bad comprehensively. Therefore, Allah chose the prophets among human themselves so it is easier to convey the messages of the revelations. Different messengers have different syir’ah as the ummah sometimes can share the same rules and laws, and there were also rules that are given only to certain ummah. For example, the rules of Saturday for the Jews were not meant for the followers of Prophet Muhammad, and the pilgrimage was also being done during the time of Prophet Ibrahim AS. Human being are ought to follow the minhaj of the prophets. The source of guidance is not only the revelation but also from the way or path of the prophets, meaning that Allah does not abandon us to do whatever according to our desire but He was sending the prophets to let people be in the guided way. The situation is highlighted when ummah need the explanations of Quranic verses revealed such as the commandments of prayer. Difference in outlook, Al-Quran and Al-Sunnah has solutions and remedies most effectively. Whereas one is the word of God, for instance the commandments of pilgrimage and the prayer while the other is the words and actions of the prophets such as the way of performing the act of worshipping, performing solah and haj.
The revelation of Al-Quran is the continuous process for twenty-three years to give ummah the strong belief in aqidah and slowly came with Shari’ah Islamiyyah. The consequence of all these was that jahiliyyah customs and traditions were gradually fades and replaced by Islamic way of life. Yet some customs remain good, and should not be abandoned. Hence, throughout the process of revelation there were many events happened and thus made ummah easily grasped the rules and regulations provided to solve the issues. However, this also does not brings into statement that the religion were developing, but the unity of ummah itself were and still developing. Thus, without the prophets they cannot understand well how to manage their life as a Muslim.
How about Judaism and Christianity? They believe in God, even the Jewish are strict to their creed of monotheism but the problem is the distortion they had made to the scripture and religion by the hands of people who rejected Allah’s commandments. This is when the development of religion happened because of the change they did to the original text of revelation. For example, the scripture given to Bani Israel which was revealed to Prophet Musa AS was no longer being accepted after it was distorted. Do we still consider the book as ‘Words of God’ when it has been altered and changed? Besides, they also rejected the message of Prophet Isa and Prophet Muhammad and this also causing them to go astray from the din al-fitrah. However, they continue to make it as a part of their religion and transmitted to the next generations causing their religion to develop and being the cultural religion.
Meanwhile, in Christianity they love Jesus Christ so much but making him as one of the Gods in trinity concept is no longer the real doctrine of the original teaching of Jesus. Furthermore, they were making a lot of changes in their religion and also touched Adam’s history of eating the prohibited fruit thus considering all human have sin although they are just being born. Accurately, whether Prophet Adam eats or not eat the fruit, Allah has already planned to make him as a caliph in this world as in Al-Quran (2:30) and he (Prophet Adam) already repented for eating the prohibited fruit. There is no such thing from Quranic perspective that a baby is inheriting the sin of anyone.
 In Surah As-Saf verse 6, Prophet Isa AS had told his people about his coming was to confirm the book revealed to Prophet Musa, Torah. Besides, he also mentioned about the final messenger namely Ahmad but later because of the arrogance of the people they did not accept their own prophet’s teaching and this made the religion to be corrupted. It follows that the Jewish and Christians still consider their religion as true even though they made changes to their doctrines while actually their belief has been developed and become new views and concepts leaving their prophet’s religion. It is important to see the word of Prophet Isa AS about his coming that was meant to confirm the book before him. The religion brought by Jesus was never being different with the religion brought by all of the prophets before him such as Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Isa and Prophet Muhammad PBUH although the term ‘Islam’ was started being used in the time of Prophet Muhammad PBUH and the Abraham religion is hanif.
In a nutshell,in Islam our religion is never meant to be developed and all the religions that are developing are cultural religion. Thus, the laws of human conducts may be varied between ummah but the fundamental aspects and the creed of religion are fixed from history of Adam until forever. Last but not least, acceptance of all prophets is the condition to be in right path. If one rejects one of them it destroys the whole of article of faith. In short, the altered concept of faith will never ever be the same with the original because the original definitely won’t change.
To be mention importantly here, the views from Islamic doctrine definitely have differences from the views of other religion's scholars. However, we hold to the concept of similarities where every religion preached to do goodness and there is no force in religion. As stated in Quran,' For you your religion, and for me my religion'