A Religion Perfected for Humanity
Pilgrimage is an assembly of great significance. It has its historical associations which centre around the noble concept of faith which highlights the link between man and his Creator.
In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“This day I perfected your religion for you and bestowed on you the full measure of My blessings and chosen Islam as a religion for you”.
(The Repast: “ Al-Maidah”: 5:3)
Allah has chosen this religion for man. This verse from the Quran reflects the great truth regarding the duties and obligations which the community of believers must fulfill. The first thought that flashes in our minds concerns the perfection of this religion. What does a believer see when he looks at the progression of faith that has started ever since the early days of human life led by Allah’s messengers, the first of whom was Adam (peace be upon him), down to the last messenger conveyed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to all mankind? He sees a noble progression based on divine guidance and bringing light to mankind. He also sees clear landmarks defining the way. But he also realises that every messenger was sent to his own community and every message was meant for a certain period of time, with the exception of the last Messenger and the last message.
Submission to God Alone
Each was a special message to a particular community living in a particular environment. Hence, each of them was adapted to certain conditions. It is true that all of them called for submission to Allah alone, because that is the essence of divine faith. They all required that divine instructions be faithfully followed in an attitude of complete obedience to Allah alone, because this is the essence of Islam in its broader meaning of surrender to Allah. But each one of them had its own code which was suitable to the prevailing conditions of its community at the particular time in which it was revealed.
When it was Allah’s will to conclude His messages to mankind, he sent the last Prophet with a message to man, not to a particular community or a particular period. This message addresses the very nature of man which remains the same in all periods and communities. “ (This is) the natural disposition which Allah has instilled into man, no change shall be made in Allah’s creation. This is the ever true faith.” (30:30).
Regulates Human Life
This message contains a law which addresses all aspects of human life and lays down basic principles and guidelines for those aspects which change according to time and environment, as well as detailed regulations for those which remain constant in all periods and communities. With such general principles and detailed regulations, this law regulates human life from the time of the revelation of this message to the end of human life. All directives, laws and controls which are required to help human life to develop and prosper are given within this framework. When all this was established, Allah told the believers: “ This day I have perfected your religion for you and bestowed on you the full measure of My blessings and chosen Islam as a religion for you.” Thus the faith and the law have been brought to perfection, since the combination of both constitutes religion. No believer may then imagine that religion, in this sense requires any addition or complement to improve on it, or needs some modification or adaptation to suit local conditions. No one who entertains such thoughts is a true believer, for a believer accepts what Allah says and is satisfied with His choice. The law of the particular time in which the Quran was revealed applies to all time because according to Allah’s own statement, it is the law of the religion revealed to mankind, to be implemented by all communities for the rest of the time. The detailed regulations and laws will remain the same, while the basic principles constitute the framework within which human life develops and progresses. When the framework is broken, man abandons faith altogether.
It is Allah, the creator of man who knows His creation, who has chosen this religion for man including this particular legal code. Anyone who claims that the law of yesterday cannot be implemented today claims to know man’s deeds better than Allah. Secondly a believer is bound to reflect on the fact that Allah has bestowed the full measure of His blessings on the believers when He has perfected their religion for them. This blessing represents a rebirth of man as well as his fulfillment of the purpose of his existence. It was a life of insignificance that man has led, prior to knowing his Lord and Creator, the universe and his position and role in it as these are defined for him by the religion which his Lord has chosen for him. Prior to his liberation from submission to other creatures to attain the state of submission to Allah alone and prior to his attainment of a position of true equality through having a law devised by Allah and supported by His authority, man has led a life not worthy of his humanity. Indeed his new knowledge of these great facts as established by this religion of Islam was the herald of the birth of man. Without this knowledge, man could be no more than an animal or, at best a prospective human being or still in the process of being formed and molded. Only through acquiring this knowledge, man attains his most perfect position which is far removed from all man-made concepts which might have prevailed in different periods of human history.