“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it! Unless, it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense” - BUDDHA
For becoming a Muslim is relatively so easy! One only needs to recite the Shahada as signing a contract with the Great Allah above to enter the folds of Islam, and thereupon just adhere to the Five Pillars of Islam. Isn’t it too easy?
But these acts are all, sort of, perfunctory, unthinking and even emotionless. It only involves a little more than movements of the body and the tongue. These rituals merely mean very little, if not strengthened by the sincerity of faith of being a Muslim. The crux of the matter is the necessary 5 times of prayers (namaz) and the loud ‘Call to Prayers’ by clerics of the Mosque reminds the believer of his/her being faithful Muslim. This brings the manifestations to Islam, while the cyclic rituals band together all devotees.
There are supposedly three levels of Islamic beliefs that Muslims should aspire to. They are:
- Islam – The first and the easiest level attained is by simply taking (reciting) the Islamic Shahadah (creed) and also by fulfilling those five pillars. Thus a person is called to be a Muslim.
- Imaan – The second level achieved when one accepts only the articles of the Islamic faith, like believing all that is told in the Koran. This person is called a Mo’min.
- Ihsaan – The most difficult level to achieve in Islam. It represents when one is in closest relationship with Allah in servitude to Him, as if Allah is right in front of him keenly observing his performance. Such a Muslim is called a Mohsin.
Summary: These three levels of the Islamic belief were outlined in the famous Hadiths of Jibraiel. In this narrative, related to by Umar Ibn Khatab, angel Gabriel visited Prophet Muhammad in the company of some of his companions. Jibraiel came to Muhammad disguised as a man wearing pure white clothes with dark black hair. Jibraiel then proceeded to ask Muhammad a series of questions:
“O Muhammad! Tell me about Islam?”
The Messenger of Allah replied, “Islam is to bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God; and to perform the prayers; to pay zakat; with fasting in Ramadan; and to perform Hajj to the House if you are able.”
Jibraiel then wilfully verified the very words which were spoken by Muhammad in signifying that the prophet was indeed telling the truth of Allah and then asked: “Tell me about Imaan?”
The Prophet) replied to him: “It is to believe in Allah; His Angels; His Books; His Messengers; the Last Day; and in destiny —in good and bad.”
Once again Jibraiel verified of what he spoke was indeed the truth and asked then asked: “Now, tell me about Ihsaan?”
The Prophet replied: “It is to serve Allah as though you behold Him; and if you don’t behold him, (know that) He surely sees you.”
It is obvious as to how feeding religiously indoctrinated Islam to children leads to poverty of Muslims’ literary life, and the way their innate curiosity is squashed between pages of only one book – the Koran. Worse still, this book is given divine perfections, which can ‘‘stifle human creativity and ... ignore their capacity to think for themselves, to change and evolve into better humans.’’
This literalist belief in those revealed truths is more common in Islam, though the idea can infect Judaism and Christianity with equal virulence? The bottom line is: those knowledge alone cannot make a good life!
Virtues require reflections and the best way to teach them with exemplification, not lecturing or hectoring. Likewise, for science and philosophy, education is more than the peddling of well-packaged facts. But, in Islamic concepts, truth is just spoken words of an angelic being, who supposedly whispered into the ears of the prophet for a religion to come into being! Whereas, when one confronts it or disagrees with it as truth, then it is assumed and taken as being against Allah and Islam. So, when a Muslim accepts these articles of faith in blindness, which makes them perfect Muslims, but that takes them beyond the sphere of humanity and that’s a whole another ballgame.