The Colour of Islam

A-úthú billáhi minash shaytánir rajím. Bismilláhir Rahmánir Rahím!

[Arabic du’á]

Islam is not exclusive to any one country. Islam is not a territorial faith.

Islam is neither a mystical doctrine nor a philosophy nor a collection of soulless beliefs and rituals, but a real living and all embracing faith.

Islam is comprehensive of idea and action, morality and monetary exchange, of emotion and intellect. In the same way, it is also a special inclination of human nature and a peculiar state of mind. It embraces all the different aspects of human personality – spiritual and material, moral and physical, emotional and intellectual, and personal and social. Whoever embraces Islam with an open heart and believing it to be the chosen faith of the Lord and the last of the Divine messages, will become a changed person, a much-improved human being. He will be born anew, because Islam is a complete and eternal plan of life which comprehends all the aspects of change and revolution, and seeks to establish perfection and beauty.

Islam is not a wooden dogma or a traditional religion, but a faith that touches the deepest parts of the heart and the soul of every human being.

If the true image of Islam is kept in mind, evidently it is not something that can be communicated simply through the written or spoken word: As a living faith, it requires a particular way of thinking and a distinctive or special state of feeling. Therefore, it passes judgment about the goodness and badness, desirability and undesirability of things. It reported that the Prophet have liked or disliked many things.

For example. he liked to begin every good act with his right hand. Similarly, there were things that gave him pleasure or made him annoyed and uncomfortable. Islam, in fact, is a prophetic way of life that has come down from the heavens and the Divine messengers have been its bearers and custodians. They have left it behind as their legacy, for us to follow.

This is why Allah has described Islam as “Sibghatullah”( color of Allah) If Islam was only a body of doctrines or a code of conduct it would not have been called Sibgha, which denotes its different nature which spreads through every part and aspect of life.

This distinguishing feature is evident when Islam draws a clear line of demarcation between one man and another, between one life, character and temperament, and another life, character and temperament, and brings out clearly the difference between life-standards and values.

The criterion of Islam is quite different from the criterion of non-Islam or Kufr. This why you find warnings in the Sunnah against the Age of Ignorance which had its own values and standards for judging the goodness and the badness, the lawful and the unlawful. Allah disliked ignorance and therefore declared it to be undesirable for His servants. Again that is why whenever the Prophet noticed a trait of ignorance in a Muslim he took exception to it saying ” You are still under the influence of ignorance.”

It is because of the distinctive character and temperament of Islam that Allah has used the idea Sibgha in respect of it. Sibgha means “dye” or “colour”. The Arab Christians used to mix a dye or color in the baptizing water to signify that the baptized person got a new color in life. Allah says in the Holly Quran that:

“Our Sibgha (the color) religion of Allah (Islam) and which Sibgha religion, can be better than the religion of Allah?” Qura ch2/v138

No religion or faith can be better than the religion chosen by Allah, for His servants.

“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. ” Quran ch5/v3.

Allah declared that the directive to follow was exclusively with regard to the Prophet Muhammad, whose life was a perfect model for mankind and an ideal example. The following words were thus addressed to the believers through the prophet :

“Say ( O Mohammed to mankind ) if you really love Allah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islam, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive your sins and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Quran ch3/v31

If a Muslim is asked who is a Muslim?, he unhesitatingly replies that whoever recites and believes in the Holy KalimaShahaadah, is a Muslim. This affirmation sums up the whole of Islam. Its limits are marked out very clearly. It leaves no one in doubt about itself.

In concrete, well defined and clear cut terms, it makes it known that this is Islam and this is Kufr, this is Islam and this is ignorance, this is lawful, and this is forbidden, and this is where Islam ends and Kufr and apostasy begins (abandonment of belief). In Islam it is a mortal sin to be an apostate, in other words to abandon the faith or be disloyal to it.

If this is the case in Islam, then what is the responsibility of the Muslims in general and those who settled in the West in particular.

As Islam is a “color” and a program of life, as it stands so forcefully for a condition of feeling and awarence and requires change in life-values and ideals, the responsibility of Muslims settled in the west is a complex and serious matter.

We cannot, therefore, rest content with reading books and treatise only. Books, of course, are necessary but we cannot cultivate or develop the Islamic spirit only through them, nor we can develop the Islamic mood and temperament. Our reel need is an Islamic identity, an Islamic coloring and an Islamic environment in which we can see, hear and feel Islam directly. Personal contacts, celebrations, social activities and interactions and the adoption of the Islamic mode of living are all essential conditions. We should go where the Islamic way of life and Islamic society are present, where we can experience Islam as a living force.

The company of Muslims and truthful believers is so necessary that the Quran advises even the Prophet, whose life was a model of perfection, to seek the company of servants, pious and devoted:

“And keep your self with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of this life. And obey not any whose heart we have made heedless of our remembrance, who follow his own whims and desires and whose case has been abandoned .” Quran ch18/v28

When such was the advice to the Blessed Prophet, we can imagine how important it must be for ordinary Muslims like us to spend our time with the truthful and the pious!

“O ye who believe Be pious( have Taqwa) and be with the truthful.” Quran ch9/v119

Such, in brief, are the responsibilities we owe to our society. Islam and Quran demand that we should be the standard bearers of truth and virtue. We should possess a genuine Islamic disposition and character, so the non Muslims, here, can distinguish clearly between their own society which is driven without mercy by materialism and an Islamic society which is pure, healthy and dignified – a society which is aware of its duties and obligations in this life and the hereafter –

a society which remembers Allah not only in the Mosque and at special times and occasions but in all aspects of life, everywere and at all times. The creation of such society will lead constructively to the advancement and victory of Islam.

If we should withdraw into our selves and care only about study or work then the links which connect us to the real foundation of Islam and to the Islamic centers will be broken and our Islamic colour may fade away.

To preserve the distinctive character and temperament of Islam requires great efforts. It is essential to remain on guard against the danger of losing our Islamic identity. This struggle requires an Islamic environment, a network of personal relationships, collective work and activities, and a conscious efforts to adopt an Islamic mode of living.

Let us pray, and ask Alláh swt, to help us achieve this noble state. Let us all become living, worthy examples of the ideal, well rounded human beings that Islam seeks to build. Let our lives develop into exellent portrayals of the “Colours of Islam,and the Colours of Alláh,” as portrayed in our Holy Qur’án.

Ameen! Aqeemus Salaah!