A Revolution Without
Author Sherif Mohammed
Why is it that makes Muslims believe that Islam is a tremendous bounty and a gift from
God, when the rest of the world views ALL religions as a burden on mankind created by
Islam is the faith that defines us, defines who we are, defines our identity. In fact
anyone who truly understand's Islam will be well aware of it's simplicity, elegance and
the power to lead man for what Muslims believe is mans true purpose. Why is there nothing
like Islam on earth? Why is Islam so revolutionary? :
- It is Islam that has taught human beings that the Lord their God is One and Only. That
He has no partners, no wife, and no son, and that there can be no compromise on the unity
- It is Islam that has taught human beings that they are all equal and that no Arab is
superior to non-Arab, nor a non-Arab is superior to an Arab and that the best of all of us
is the one who is most righteous.
- It is Islam that has taught human beings that they are all brothers and sisters created
from a single pair of a male and a female. Therefore, Islam , unlike Hinduism, neither
recognizes nor condones the idea of a caste system. Islam is a war on caste systems, on
aristocracies, and hereditary social groups of all kinds.
- It is Islam that has taught humanity the value of the intellect, the importance of
reflection, and the role of the mind in attaining faith. Christians teach that one can
never become a believer except when the Holy Spirit mysteriously occupies one's heart.
Islam teaches that faith is the fruit of reason and it is through continuous reflection on
the wonders of creation that faith can be obtained, maintained, and nurtured.
- It is Islam that has has taught humanity that people of all races, all colors, all
ethnicities are perfectly capable of attaining faith in the One and Only God. Hindus
believe that Hinduism is just for those privileged to be born in the faith and therefore
they do not invite the "less privileged" to embrace their faith. Jews believe
that they are the chosen race and even when they accept others to embrace Judaism, those
converts are always lower in rank than those born as Jews. Islam rejects all that and
calls upon all people of all backgrounds to submit themselves to their Creator. Once they
do, they automatically become members of the community of Islam with the same rights and
duties as any other Muslim. Islam is not, and can never be, the monopoly of one race or a
certain linguistic group.
- It is Islam that has taught humanity that God is absolutely Just and Merciful and that
He will never punish one person for the sins of others. Christianity teaches that Adam and
Eve had bequeathed their sin to all their descendants and thus all humans are born in this
"Original Sin" and therefore Jesus Christ had to be sacrificed on the cross to
redeem humanity of its 'original sin.' Islam says, NO. Humans are not born in sin. No
person will be held accountable for another's mistakes. Every soul will pay for its own
deeds, only. Divine justice is absolute.
- It is Islam that has taught humanity that righteous deeds are necessary for salvation.
Faith is indispensable, but not sufficient. Humans will be admitted to Paradise by their
faith and their righteous acts. They have to go together, hand in hand. Many Christian
denominations teach that faith in Jesus is enough for salvations. If you accept Jesus
sacrifice on the cross, then you are saved regardless of what you may do afterwards
because Jesus has already paid for all your sins. Islam totally disagrees. No one can pay
for your sins. Faith, doing righteousness, avoiding evil, and continuous repentance are
the only ways for salvation. Islam does not accept , nor condone the corrupting influence
on the individual as well as the society that can be caused by the idea of a
- It is Islam that has taught humanity how to balance the needs of this life and the next.
Islam does not accept the idea that renunciation of this world is the best means to get
salvation in the next. Catholicism and Buddism teach that by living a reclusive life, one
can attain higher spirituality. Buddism even taught the recluse must make his living by
begging. Islam rejects the whole notion of the alleged goodness of renouncing the world.
Islam teaches that best means for advancement in the next life is by getting involved in
the affairs of this world by commanding good and forbidding evil; by helping one another
in righteousness and piety; by doing Jihad, by struggling against all forms of evil,
injustice, tyranny, intolerance...Islam does not teach rejection of the world, it teaches
involvement, struggle, and change.
- It is Islam that has taught humanity that kindness to parents, to kin, to neighbors, and
to fellow humans is an essential part of faith and righteousness. Christianity claims that
Jesus has taught that one cannot come closer to God unless one hates one's father, mother,
wife, children,...(Luke 14:26) Islam teaches the opposite. One cannot come closer to God
unless one acts so kindly towards one's mother, father, family, neighbors, etc.
- It is Islam that has taught humanity that God is very close to them and that He is with
them wherever they are and that He hears their prayers and respond to them. Islam teaches
that God is so close that He needs no intermediaries to mediate between Him and His
servants. Islam does not accept the concept of priesthood and clergy acting as mediators
between God and humans. Islam teaches that one does not have to confess one's sins to a
priest in order to get forgiveness. One can simply confess one's sins to God without any
human intervention, seek forgiveness, and God will grant it. Many Jews today still believe
that prayers cannot reach God and get a response from Him unless the prayer is made at the
Wailing Wall in Juresalem. Some even fax their prayers or send it via the Internet to
Jerusalem so that someone there would take it and put it on the Wailing Wall to reach God.
Islam teaches that wherever one maybe, one can pray to God, confess to God, seek God's
help and forgiveness, and God will certainly respond. No human intervention is needed, no
special place or time is necessary. God is always very close.
- It is Islam that has taught humans to accept and respect their human nature. Islam
recognizes the strengths, the weaknesses, and the needs of humans. Islam never requires
humans to behave as angels or to ignore their physical and emotional needs. Christianity
does not allow divorce. Islam recognizes it as a human reality. Catholicism considers
celibacy an ideal. Islam does not. The Anglican Church frowns upon second marriages.
Prince Charles in order to become King of England has to behave as a practicing Anglican.
Therefore, he can commit adultery openly with his famous mistress but he cannot marry her
or else he will lose the throne for violating the rules of the Church of England. Islam
never engages in such irrationality and moral contradictions.
There is nothing like
Islam on earth. There is no faith, no religion, no ideology, no system of belief that can
rival Islam in its clarity and simplicity ; in its submission to God, the One and Only; in
its rationality and intellectual depth; in its egalitarianism and equality; in its
spirituality; in its code of ethics; in its unparalleled balance between the needs of this
life and the demands of the hereafter. Islam has elevated the human soul, body, and mind
to heights that have never been reached by any other faith or tradition. Islam is the only
religion that has truly enabled human beings to fulfill their humanity.
Islam is like a perfect piece of art at which the human eye can keep looking and
scrutinizing for days, weeks, years on end and still can find no flaws, no defects, and no
contradictions. All the human eye can do is to keep wondering at the amazing beauty and
coherence of this faith of ours: Islam. Leopold Wiess, the Austrian Jew who embraced Islam
in 1926 and became one of the greatest Muslim intellects of the twentieth century has
expressed the same level of astonishment at the overwhelming beauty and coherence of
Islam, "I was asked, time and again: 'Why did you embrace Islam ? What was it that
attracted you particularly ?' -- and I must confess: I don't know of any satisfactory
answer. It was not any particular teaching that attracted me, but the whole wonderful,
inexplicably coherent structure of moral teaching and practical life programme. I could
not say, even now, which aspect of it appeals to me more than any other. Islam appears to
me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to
complement and support each other: nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking, with the
result of an absolute balance and solid composure. Probably this feeling that everything
in the teachings and postulates of Islam is 'in its proper place,' has created the
strongest impression on me." In a nutshell, Islam is the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.
It is important to note that Islam is not just a set of ideals, it is a tremendous
force capable of transforming and regenerating individuals as well societies and whole
nations. The influence of Islam upon the first society that embraced it, the Arabian
peninsula, was nothing short of a revolution. Islam has revolutionized Arabia in all
aspects of life: politically, economically, socially, and above all morally:
- It was Islam that transformed the fiercely independent-minded Arabs who knew no
government, obeyed no authority, recognized no state into a nation with a government, a
capital, and a respected authority.
- It was Islam that taught the anarchic Arabs how to elect a head of state from among
themselves and how to run their government upon principles of mutual consultation.
- It was Islam that taught the Arabs who never agreed on any form of law to build a nation
based on the rule of one sacred, just, and merciful law. Islam also taught them that they
were all equals before the law and no one even the daughter of the Prophet was above the
- It was Islam that transformed the intensely militant Arabs from a group of tribes
massacring each other all the time -- to the extent that they had to agree on four months
of peace every year to prevent their whole race from extinction due to the incessant wars
-- into one nation with united tribal armies able to confront and defeat the armies of the
surrounding superpowers: the Byzantines and the Sassanids.
- It was Islam that abolished usury from Arabia and taught the Arabs how to make business
transactions justly and fairly without exploitation or abuse.
- It was Islam that abolished the gruesome habit of female infanticide from Arabia.
- It was Islam that taught the Arabs that women were full human beings, not mere chattel,
and that they were their sisters in humanity and in faith. It was Islam that guaranteed
for Arabian women their rights to: inheritance, property, divorce, and independent legal
- It was Islam that eradicated Alcohol, with all its evils, from Arabia.
- It was Islam that ended all forms of prostitution, gambling, and intoxicants from the
Arabian society. And it was Islam that opened all doors for freeing slaves.
- It was Islam that uprooted racism from the Arab mind completely to the extent that the
deeply racist and arrogant Arabs would accept to be soldiers in armies whose leaders were
- And above all, it was Islam that transformed the idolatrous and superstitious Arabs into
believers in the One and Only God. It was Islam that transformed them from idol
worshippers into a people who stand together in one line in prayer and prostrate their
heads to the Almighty.
Arabia before Islam was a society bound by tradition and
precedent. Whatever was customary was right and proper. Whatever the forefathers had done
deserved to be imitated. Islam rejected this blind faith in tradition. Islam challenged
all the customs of the society. Islam questioned all the mores and manners of the Arabs.
Islam introduced to them the standards of morality and the fundamentals of right and
wrong. Islam taught them how to think critically of everything around them and how to
reject the bad habits and keep the good ones. Islam showed them the proper way for peace
and happiness in this life and felicity in the next. This was the essence of the
revolution that Islam was.
The question that irresistibly comes to the mind is this: that was the past, what about
now? Can Islam revolutionize the world today as it did to seventh century Arabia? Is Islam
relevant today? Does Islam have anything to offer today's world? Yes, a great deal.
For us, Muslims living in the West, it would be reasonable to focus on what Islam has
to offer to our Western society at the dawn of a new millennium. The West, as the seventh
century Arabia and as any other society for that matter, has its own virtues as well as
vices. Islam can improve and enhance all the virtues while eliminating -- or, at least,
minimizing -- the vices.
- In a society where alcohol is the number one cause of criminal death and injury; where
alcohol costs billions of dollars each year in medical expenses and property damage; where
alcohol consumption causes the death of hundreds of thousands of people annually; where
alcohol is a major cause of rape and domestic violence -- Is there any faith more able
than Islam to prevent all the ills of alcohol?
- In a society still tormented by racial strife; where "black" churches are
continuously fire-bombed by bigots of all kinds; where one rarely sees a black person in a
"white" church or a white person in a "black" church -- Islam has so
much to offer because Islam does not tolerate the very idea of a "black" mosque
or a "white" mosque; Islam obliges believers to stand together in one line,
shoulder to shoulder and foot to foot, and prostrate their foreheads to God so that they
learn they are all humble servants of the Almighty.
- In a society where violence against women has risen to alarming proportions, where it is
not safe for women to walk alone in the dark, where even institutions of higher learning
have to provide 'walk home service' to protect women on campus at night -- Islam has much
more to contribute than escort services or karate lessons. Islam does implant modesty and
sense of propriety in the minds of the believers, Islam eradicates vulgarity, Islam
eliminates any possibility that men view women as sex objects.
- In a society as violent as the United States where some 25000 lives are taken every year
by handguns alone; where 5% of the world population consume 50% of the world's illegal
drugs despite the arrest of some 700,000 drug dealers every year; where a car is stolen
every few seconds; where a woman is raped every few minutes -- Islam has a lot more to
offer than merely putting more cops in the streets. Islam teaches that prevention is
better than cure and that crime can best be reduced by taking care of the family, the
community, and the neighborhood. Islam attaches great esteem and honor to the role of the
mother because when she takes proper care of her children, the whole society benefits.
Islam reminds the fathers of their duties, encourages the neighbors to take care of each
other's needs, strengthen community bonds, advocates commanding what is right and
forbidding what is wrong instead of apathy and individualism. Islam always eliminates
problems from their roots.
- In a society afflicted with intense individualism, excessive materialism, fierce
consumerism, and unabashed sensualism; Islam has the intellectual and the spiritual power
required to rectify all the excesses of the society because Islam preaches moderation and
balance in all worldly and other-worldly affairs.
The influence of Islam is not limited
to the social and moral domains, it extends to the political, economic, legal, cultural,
and educational realms as well. Two examples should suffice.
- In the realm of politics: the egalitarian nature of Islam requires major reforms in the
way democracy is practiced in the society today. As it stands, the existing democracy is
elitist and lopsided in favor of the wealthy, the powerful, and the special interests.The
average person almost has no meaningful say in how things are run by the elite. This state
of affairs falls far short of the ideal of mutual consultation in all affairs advocated by
- In the realm of economics: capitalism left unregulated has a tendency to make the rich
richer and the poor poorer. In a period of ten years only (1978-1987) the poorest fifth of
the American population got 8% poorer while the richest fifth got 13% richer. This is the
nature of capitalism; wealth breeds more wealth, sometimes even without any effort or
creativity. Islam obliges all rich people to pay part of their wealth annually to the poor
so that the wealth gets redistributed in the society in order to protect the poor from
perpetual poverty and give them a fair chance to compete in a world dominated by the
tyranny of capital.
There is so much in Islam that can truly make the West, and indeed the whole world, a
safer, better, and more decent place to live in. Islam is a formidable force with
potential great enough to revolutionize the world and radically change the course of
history as it once did some 1400 years ago.
The problem is we have got the theory, but we don't have the practitioners. We have the
revolution but we do not have the revolutionaries. And as there can be no democracy
without democrats, no socialism without socialists, there also can be no Islam without
Muslims. Islam is a message that is in constant need for messengers to deliver it to the
world. Yes, the Book of God is there, the guidance of the Prophet is there, the testimony
of history is there, but where are the Muslims? Where are the messengers? Where are the
revolutionaries? They effectively do not exist.
What does exist in the world today is some sort of "de-Islamized" Muslims.
People who call themselves Muslims but the Islam they practice is a vague shadow of the
Islam described in the magnificent words of the Quran. Muslims of today practice an Islam
without spirit, an Islam without a message to humanity, an Islam without a mission, an
Islam without ambition... An Islam without identity.
Islam will never revolutionize the world, as it once did, unless there are true
Muslims, as they once existed-- Muslims from the inside-out, Muslims in thought and in
action, Muslims in theory and in practice, Muslims in private and in public, Muslims in
spirit, in intellect, and in emotions.
The road to produce such Muslims is long and hard. It is perhaps more realistic to
focus on just one good first step. This first step, I believe, would be to raise a
generation of Muslim youth who take great pride in their great faith. A generation of
young Muslims whose identity is purely Islamic, a generation of Muslims for whom Islam
comes first and everything else - national, ethnic, racial, linguistic identity - comes,
at best, a distant second-- a generation that totally believes in what the great khalifa
Omar once said, " It is only because of Islam that we gained 'izzah' (honor, dignity,
and pride), and if we seek 'izzah' outside of Islam, Allah will humiliate us."
I once had a conversation with a brother who embraced Islam several years ago. I asked
him about the things he liked or disliked the most about Islam and Muslims. His answer
was, " Everything about Islam is beautiful, but there is one thing I dislike in
Muslims...They do not have a great sense of pride in Islam..."
The brother's point is precisely what we need to ingrain in the minds of our new
generation: the sense of pride in belonging to Islam -- A pride strong enough to make them
declare to the whole world openly and loudly, "We are Muslims, we will plead
guilty to that, and we are extremely proud of it."