Tuesday, 9 June 2015
The Sharing Group Discussion: Can One be Muslim without Acknowledging Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.)?
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following was posted by Sister Tina Arradondo, on The Sharing Group, on the 24th April, 2014: “Can one be considered Muslim without acknowledging Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.) as the final prophet?”
Brother Pako Projekt: No. It is not possible. In order to be considered a Muslim, you need to take the shahadah. And by taking the shahadah, you witness that the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as the Messenger of Allah (s.w.t.). He has already said he is the last Messenger. To not accept it fully would already have contradicted the shahadah.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: No, sister. That is impossible. The shahadah specifically mentions him.
Sister Tina Arradondo: By the way, I know he is the final prophet. However, what about those who accept the Islamic belief system in faith and practice but do not know of Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) existence? I ask this also to Christians about those who live in remote parts of the earth who have no knowledge of Christ.
Sister Lana Saffiyah de Veyra No. You cannot even be called Muslim if you will neglect even just one prophet before Muhammad (s.a.w.).
Brother Pako Projekt: Sorry, sister, one cannot accept the Muslim faith without acknowledging the Prophet (s.a.w.). To accept the faith, you have to recite the shahadah. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is mentioned in that shahadah: Laa ilaha illa Allah Muhammadar Rasulullah.
Sister Tina Arradondo: Is that part of the shahadah a requirement for the benefit of man? Mohammed (s.a.w.) is too deeply misunderstood for many in the Western world. However, the Islamic belief system is not. His message was not his own. Islam was taught by many before him. I accepted Islam as the Truth over a decade ago and it is only been a few years that I have accepted Muhammad (s.a.w.) as the final messenger.
Brother Marquis Dawkins: Well, it depends on your definition sister. So, in the Qur’an, depending on translation, Jesus (a.s.), his disciples, and his mother, Mary (a.s.) are also called ‘Muslims’; meaning, they submitted to One God. This is the meaning and summary of Islam and being a Muslim; submitting to the One True God. Also, unless we want to dive into trinity debates, Jesus (a.s.) had no knowledge of Muhammad (s.a.w.) forthcoming; and no, I do not accept that passage from John as talking about him, it was clearly related to the day of Pentecost, although some Christians say it was referring to Paul, which I also disagree with.
However, considering that indeed, Muhammad (s.a.w.) did come and did receive the final full Revelation from God connecting all previous revelations, it would indeed be hard to be considered a ‘Muslim’ in the modern sense and reject Muhammad (s.a.w.). As I said, when I completed my first reading of the Qur’an, if one reads it, they will indeed see it is from God and thus should accept Muhammad (s.a.w.) as a messenger of his, no higher veneration, but no lower of ignorance or rejection either. One who truly submits to God will acknowledge that his Revelation came from God. And I go a step further and say even if they disregard the ahadits, if they acknowledge that the Qur’an is a Revelation of God Given to Muhammad (s.a.w.), and thus he is the final prophet with direct communication from God, then that makes one a Muslim indeed.
Sister Tina Arradondo: But we then must agree that many died never knowing Muhammad (s.a.w.) but still died in submission to God’s Will as Muslims leading an Islamic life. Yes? I remember my step mother’s last few months of life. She was Christian, believed in the Trinity, the death of Christ and all that. I was torn between sharing Islam with her and having her reject it, or never having her know it therefore she could not reject it. It was difficult. I put it in God’s Hands.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: You see, sister, I understand where you are coming from. Putting the religion aside, nowhere does it say in the Qur’an that only Muslims are Saved and non-Muslims are all condemned. Certainly God is Merciful and Kind and we have hope in His Generosity.
Sister Tina Arradondo: Thanks, brother. That has been a huge worry for me since so many of my loved ones seem trapped in tradition, upbringing and loyalty to their beliefs. They are good people though. At a young age, I would always ask a simple but interesting question: who deserves punishment? Those who set the traps, or those who fall into them? And how can an equal punishment possibly b fair?
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The good are Rewarded, and the not so good are Admonished. And Allah (s.w.t.) Knows best what lies in the hearts of His Creations.
Sister Tina Arradondo: Amin.
Sister Sara Morton: So interesting, thank you. I met up with a group of ‘Muslims’ who believe in the gentleman who used mathematics to retranslate and interpret the Quran and call himself the last prophet. They also do not believe in the shahadah. This is completely out of my depth but it was fascinating to be with these well educated people and have an exploration around their Islam. I do believe this gentleman was assassinated.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Rashad Khalifa and his Code 19 are considered to have left Islam. One of the conditions of being a Muslim is the belief that Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the Final Prophet. There is no other prophet after him.
Sister Tina Arradondo: Condition? You must believe this in order to be accepted into our faith? That is cutting it too close to Christianity to me. Although we know Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the final messenger, saying ‘to deny his authenticity is to deny his message’ seems wrong to me, especially since, as I stated earlier, his message was not His.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: One may be a deist by believing in God, and a monotheist by believing that God is One, but he cannot be a Muslim without believing that Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the Final Prophet, any more than one can claim to be Christian without believing in Christ (a.s.). There are certain unavoidable parameters in organised religion. Having different parameters means that it is a different faith.
Brother Zakaria Ali: One cannot understand Islam without knowing Muhammad (s.a.w.); just my own two cents. Insha’Allah khayr.
Sister Nur Nadiah Zailani: Interesting conversations here. Sister Tina Arradondo. I am not one with much knowledge, so my apologies if I am wrong. I do know that Islam came about because the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) spread it through the Revelation of the Qur’an. The Qur’an would not be known to man unless it was Brought Down to someone to advocate and voice it out through words and actions. If one believe in Islam and what the Qur’an preaches, inevitably, one believes in the Prophet (s.a.w.), for it was the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) who delivered this message of the Oneness of God. How else will the world know about Islam? Would it be the same for the Bible?
Sister Tina Arradondo: So, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, you are saying believing Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the final prophet trumps worshipping God Alone with no partners? You are saying it is impossible for one to bypass Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) existence but still live his message? One cannot be Christian without believing in Christ because it holds his namesake and was established based on his life and death and teachings. That is nowhere near how Islam came to be. It was not built on Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) life and death. I must say, brother, that was a bad example. I chose Islam because it rejected the notion that faith in God can be organised. It rejects religion. Thus, no need for organised religion. It is just the correct way to live simply mapped out by our Creator.
Brother Marquis Dawkins: Not really, Sister Tina. There are a lot of atheist ‘Christians’ around now, meaning people who either think Christ (a.s.) was a myth or nothing special above being ‘a good man’, but agree with a majority of his teachings as far as the poor and such. They kind of do a Thomas Jefferson on him, leaving out his miracles but emphasising his message. I would think a ‘Muslim’ who disregards Mohammed (s.a.w.) would be in the same boat. But then, why say you are a ‘Muslim’ at all? Which goes back to definitions. Yes, one who submits to God is the strictest meaning of the word but if you submit to God, then it should be no big deal to acknowledge that Muhammad (s.a.w.) was a prophet. If one says they are Muslim but does not acknowledge Muhammad (s.a.w.) or the Quran, then one may be a hanif, but not a Muslim.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: If you believe in God and worship Him, that makes you a deist. But without believing in the Prophet (s.a.w.), there is no Islam.
Sister Nur Nadiah Zailani: Thank you for your kind sharing of the aspect of Christianity, Sister Tina Arradondo. I have learnt something new today. Perhaps I could share my similar experience of being in a spot and how I deal with it? Humans are generally very inclined to prove a point, to show that they are right. What I have learnt from reading the Qur’an is that arrogance leads to the Fire. This need of humans to prove a point of one’s perception of the Truth makes them unconsciously become arrogant and unknowingly conduct actions which lead to the Fire, even if they were in the beginning purely standing for Truth. If you do really believe in the Oneness of God, there is no God but The One, I would recommend you to sincerely pray to God to Guide you as to why Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is so important. Whenever you are in a spot, get back to The One True God and ask for Guidance. But at the same time, you must be prepared to accept and champion the Truth, for God is The Truth. If you ask me, none of us would have the ability to completely tell you of the ‘correct’ answer to your question for your perception and my perception of the world can be totally different.
Brother Anwar Khan: Here is a question: Is it possible to believe in a God and accept or live by the values of the Qur’an, but not in the Qur’an itself, in the form that we have, without believing in the Messenger (s.a.w.)? If so, could those people be considered ‘believers’?
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Being a Muslim is not synonymous with being a believer. It is God Alone Who Decides who is or is not a believer.
Brother Anwar Khan: Excuse my ignorance on this subject, but who defines the distinction between ‘muslim’ and ‘believer’? Of course God Alone is to Judge, but my question is more around our perspective on viewing others and who we include or exclude in our ‘faith’.
Brother Marquis Dawkins: Well, that is almost a person by person basis. If we go strict by Qur’anic standards, anyone who believes in God and the Last Day is a ‘believer’. And Islam is actually the most tolerant of the three Abrahamic faiths as far as who gets to Heaven or not.
Brother Anwar Khan: It seems that the Quranic standards are more general and inclusive than the standards imposed by people. If one measures up to the Qur’anic standards, is that not enough?
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Anwar Khan, who is the exemplification of this ‘Qur’anic standard,’ other that our Prophet (s.a.w.)? The Qur’an was Revealed through Muhammad (s.a.w.). It was ‘downloaded’ somewhere. One cannot divorce the Qur’an from the wasilah of Revelation. To be a Muslim, one says the shahadah: “There is no God but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” If one does not believe in the second part of the testification of faith, there is no testification of faith. The Qur’an itself is replete with verses extolling the Exalted station of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his role in Revelation. There is even a surah named after the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself. There are verses that directly address his role as the bringer of Revelation to us. So which Qur’an are you referring to? We respect everybody’s belief. But religion itself, our religion, is not a fancy. It is a banquet where some things are necessary and some things are optional. But the entrance to that banquet is nothing less than the shahadah.
As a convert myself, I understand that conversion itself is a process. It takes time to learn, to understand, to accept. I did not suddenly accept that Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the prophet. Love of the Prophet (s.a.w.) did not happen suddenly. Like any relationship it takes time. When someone wants to come to Islam, saying that they accept God is One is the beginning. Then comes actually believing it with certainty. And somewhere along the way between the two, it is discovering the role of the Prophet (s.a.w.). So what is a believer then? There are two ways of understanding it. On one hand, we refer to those who believe that God is One, but have no relationship to the Prophet (s.a.w.). This is a loose interpretation. We do not know the hearts of people and we have good thoughts of them. If someone believes in Jesus (a.s.), then they belong to his ummah and on the Day of Judgement, Jesus (a.s.) will intercede for them. On the other hand, within the context of Islam, a believer is higher than a Muslim. A Muslim has submitted. A believer is, as the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, someone who loves the Prophet (s.a.w.) more than anything in this world. Why? Because Allah (s.w.t.) Preferred him over all Creation.
Sister Tina Arradondo: Chose him over all Creation? Or Chose him over every other man during his time for the last time? God’s Message has always been final. He just Loved us so much He Continued to Keep using men to deliver it. Muhammad (s.a.w.) was simply the final time he was willing to do this. Is that because Mohammed (s.a.w.) was Given a message unique and different? Or is he the final messenger because time as we know it, is simply coming to its end? I am by no means trying to minimise our beautiful prophet’s message or life. Please do not get me wrong. I am simply trying to say the timing of the Holy Qur’an being Revealed and the finality of it more proves the urgency of accepting the message and not necessarily acceptance of the messenger.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Sister Tina Arradondo, I suggest you read the sirah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and learn a bit about him. Perhaps then we can continue this discussion.
Sister Tina Arradondo: I have learned a lot about him over the last few years and still learning every day. But thanks for the suggestion.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Perhaps this article from my blog can help a bit as a start: A Muslim Convert Once More: A Few Pointers about the Prophet (s.a.w.).
Sister Jennifer Smith: To not believe in Muhammad (s.a.w.) means that the Qur’an is not the Word of God to you. I am no longer Muslim, so to me, I could not care less what you call yourself. I just know that the Qur’an was God Speaking to Muhammad (s.a.w.). So if you do not believe in him, how can you believe what is in the Qur’an?
Brother Anwar Khan: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, there is a point for the Qur’an to be Revealed, and surely the values contained within it, those which God Intended be acted upon is more of a pressing issue than the manner, or as you put it, the wasila, of Revelation in itself. God Addressed people and their relevant issues based upon the prevailing culture and the circumstances of the time. Not everything is necessarily going to be applicable to us now. I can see how accepting, and indeed demonstrating love or allegiance, to the Messenger (s.a.w.) at that point in time was an imperative for those people as rejection of him was synonymous to rejecting the values themselves that were required to transform that society. The statement of the shahadah in its specific form would be a clear indication of communicating that loyalty to that nascent revolutionary community, and of course the choice of camp in war. Even something seemingly so straightforward as the technicalities of entering and leaving the faith, have been the focus of much debate among theologians for centuries in their attempt to define what orthodoxy really is – so it stands as a moot point.
There is much content contained within the Qur’an which many who identify themselves as Muslims, although in principle accept as part of their belief, oddly have no clue about some of it – which challenges the notion that the acceptance of every single part of the Qur’an is what defines one’s faith. Why would an average ‘Muslim’ unaware of the story of ‘Uzayr (a.s.) be excused by us over those who did not consider those ayat which mentioned the Messenger (s.a.w.)? Does our faith not allow for disparity in knowledge? I like to think that God does.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The shahadah is not a moot point. The orthodox position and the position of the vast majority of Muslims, even the Wahhabis, is that there is no Islam without the Prophet (s.a.w.). There is absolutely no such thing as a Muslim who does not believe in the Prophet (s.a.w.). And it is obvious that such a person has not read the Qur’an or understood it.
Brother Anwar Khan: I am getting a sense from you, Brother Terence, that you feel security in recourse to the juristic and theological classifications that have been established over time, rather than to think out of the box a little on this one. Whilst a little structure is good, I do like to think that God in His Infinite Mercy and Wisdom is above viewing His Creation according to the narrow strictures of debates that theologians of a given period might have had many centuries ago. To silence any discussion by playing the orthodox card is odd, given than orthodoxy itself is quite controversial and is merely the best guess of the theologians you might happen to follow
Sister Tina Arradondo: There is no Islam without the Prophet (s.a.w.)? I totally disagree. Muhammad (s.a.w.) did not invent Islam!
Sister Jennifer Smith: Technically, he did. No one would know of Islam if it were not for Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) message. I am confused with your thinking. If it were not for Muhammad (s.a.w.), it would be Christianity. That is where it would end.
Sister Tina Arradondo: That is absurd. He was Revealed a message given to all prophets before him and God Himself before them. Are you suggesting those prophets were Christian, not Muslim?
Sister Jennifer Smith: And yet, Islam did not exist until him.
Brother Marquis Dawkins: I have to agree with the points Brother Terence and Sister Jennifer Smith made. Without the Revelation Muhammad (s.a.w.) received, the corrupted form of Christianity would have been the final monotheistic message, and the sons of Ishmael (a.s.) would still be pagan idolaters.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Anwar Khan, I am not silencing any discourse. I am merely stating my position. If I were unable to think outside of the box, I would never have converted to Islam. Muslims are the worst advertisement of their faith. You would note that we are not discussing any theological position. You have not given any evidence whatsoever for your assertion. Is there any evidence that you can provide from the Qur’an itself that states categorically that the Prophet (s.a.w.) is irrelevant to the religion? Were we to actually be discussing theology, there has to be more than what you feel. If you think that organised religion is restricting and the discourse is irrelevant, then there can be no theological discussion since you base your faith on what you feel. There is no theological evidence to back it up. In that case, you are talking about faith, not religion. In this case, you are mistaking spirituality for religion per se. Every person has a right to faith. And if this is what Sister Tina Arradondo and you feel, we respect that. I am not here to convince people of anything. But there can be no theological discourse if the basis of your understanding is what you ‘feel’.
Sister Tina Arradondo: Studying and reading books by Christian scholars and historians is what led me to my faith in Islam.
Sister Barefoot Ra Ra: No. But one may take time, for whatever reason, to get to know, understand, and acknowledge him. Still, it appears strange. The error is one’s way must be found. What's the inner self’s problem with him? For some unfortunate folks, it's their exposure to erratic literature and hate-feats. Purity and good opinion must be sought of him, then. Sister Tina Arradondo, what exactly is your issue. It is not clear.
Brother Anwar Khan: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, let us not belittle ‘feelings’ here. At the risk of being presumptuous, a great many embrace the journey to God through little other than what they happen to ‘feel’ rather than to read tomes of dusty leather-bound treatise on controversial theological works of old in a library somewhere. ‘Feelings’ themselves could be an abstract description of an accumulation of knowledge, experience, intelligence, wisdom and even inspiration, so I am not sure why such a dim view of what one feels should be had in the context of our discussion. Presumably prior to your own conversion, you might have ‘felt’ it was the right thing to do?
The subject of evidence is a prickly one, and I am quite surprised with your demand to see some, in ironically quite similar fashion to those Wahhabis for whom, judging by your past comments, you hold much contempt, where for them merely a verbatim quote from Qur’an and sunnah will suffice as ‘evidence’. I am not sure what your particular qualifications are in the Islamic sciences and why you feel that you are in a position to evaluate evidences, but what you consider as evidence may itself be subject to much debate, and has been and will continue to be so. Does that fact in itself not indicate that these is much of this religion that is constructed by the minds of lawyers over the ages, and surely is an indication that the substance of our religion is far beyond the narrow set of technicalities and dogma that we have created and assigned to ourselves through the ages? Whilst this post is no way intending to bash classical theological discourse engaged by some great minds, I would propose that the discourse does need to keep moving along and enriched with new thinking as it always had been, rather than to be contented with all that was done up until the turn of the first millennium.
Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Anwar Khan, It is obvious you are not versed in theology. There is no point talking about it since you do not know enough. I leave you to your ‘feelings’. We call them ‘nafs’.
Sister Barefoot Ra Ra: This conversation between humans and God has been ongoing since the inception of humanity. When did the inception take place? Well, that really depends upon the perception of a human being. We have gone through various forms of being alive before emerging as humans on this planet. This is a scientifically verifiable fact. The mythological, metaphorical story is only the same story, told in a different language. So that is that.
Humans have conversed with Allah (s.w.t.) by whatever verbal-linguistic name or sound or gesture, since humanity’s inception. The form, method, and the imperative of communication changed too, over time. In the earliest days, Man’s perception had to understand the planet and the ecology. Language was extremely primitive in its early forms. This development of humanity, at least in latter stages, took place in concurrent places. Each place had its own flavour, imperative, community, society.
Several religions developed the planet over, each with their own sensibility and imperative. In general, you may be fascinated to see that the Eastern religions are more inclined towards matters that the right hemisphere of the brain leans to, and the West are more concerned with logical parts. Fast forward to Abrahamic times, where an old imperative began taking centre stage: that of the ‘end if the world’, a cataclysmic event spoken of by almost all human traditions, and denied by some.
The secret if this event, called qiyamah, meaning ‘establishment’ or ‘settlement’, was that the journey of the human across the planet will complete. It really was as simple as this. However, it will be experienced as an overwhelming and catastrophic event, because one feature of it will be establishing a planet-wide shared consciousness network, and accountability. Those brains not adjusted to that event, and those selves not in alignment with it, will experience an overwhelming clash with The Other. Since the planet will be interconnected, and become self-aware and self-organising, the ways of darkness will become impossible to sustain. And those still clung to them will face death and elimination. As well as those who could not escape to Light. And Allah (s.w.t.) is the Knower of their matter.
Brother Anwar Khan: Likewise, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, I shall leave you to your ‘theology’ or more specifically, to one of the various conflicting theological positions constructed by the minds of men, which you ‘feel’ more at affinity with.
Sister Barefoot Ra Ra: Very close to that event, a final shari’ah was Revealed: Islam. It was completed on Muhammad (s.a.w.). The purpose of this final shari’ah is not to obey Muhammad (s.a.w.) per se, who is but a messenger. The purpose of this shari’ah is to complete the framework through which Man can access God. Muhammad (s.a.w.) is well beyond the reproach and angst of petty minds; he came from Beyond and to that he has returned. He suffers no injury. This shari’ah is about living in an interconnected world, in which we shall inevitable share a reality. At this point, the prophets and sages of the time before Qiyamah, leave us. Now, we are on our own. Our knowledge framework is complete. It is possible for someone to be in submission to God without ever heard of the Qur’an, and of Muhammad (s.a.w.). These two realities are not merely outward tomes and puppets we are forced to accept. They are our inward reality.
Uways al-Qarni (q.s.) is an example of someone being esoteric ally connected to the Prophet (s.a.w.). In fact, the prophets and messengers, and the villains and creatures, Mentioned in the Qur’an refer to some of the core archetypes, inner parts and personalities, of a human being. And it is through their interplay that a personality is shaped and created. Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the archetype who sums up all archetypes. It is essential to accept Muhammad (s.a.w.) as the Final Prophet when one gets to hear of him, but it is not an imperative to copy all his thoughts actions and practices. Understand that the total actions and words of his life encompass everything from the universal law, to situational practices, to absolutely personal and fleeting moments. If he had flu on his 27th birthday, then no one died a lesser Muslim if they passed away at 15 and did not catch a chance to have flu at 27!
Brother Marquis Dawkins: Masha’Allah, Sister Barefoot Ra Ra, very nice words.
To this day I still have no understanding of why Brother Terence is seen as anything but Orthodox. He is well-versed in Qur’an and ahadits, but he keeps an open mind more than the Salafi of course. Everything has a connection through correct Islamic knowledge. That being said, I do understand Sister Tina’s frustrations.
There is a very good friend of mine, who is a Messianic Jew by faith. More accurately, he is a member of the Modern Hebrew Roots movement, which is actually a resurrection of the Ebonite beliefs of 1st century Christianity that was eventually suppressed by the Catholic Church. They are much closer to Islam, theologically than modern Christianity is. He lived in Afghanistan and we both went to the same church, Assembly of God. I asked him why he did not consider Islam, having lived there and his main reason was because of the terrible attitude of the Muslims he met. He could not embrace Islam simply because of Muslims, and I think all of us converts have been there. Yet, never have I seen a man at that time, before I was guided to Islam and met Brother Terence and others, more dedicated and loving to God, not even ministers here. He spoke often of submitting to God and how in each and every way, Elohim is the first of his thoughts. He pray the daily prayers and reads, recites scripture and is also learning Hebrew as a third language
To me, there is no doubt that he loves God and God Loves him. And no doubt that he has submitted to God and thus is a ‘Muslim’ in that sense. Also, no doubt for me that should he stay on his path, Heaven will be Open for him and his family.
Sister Tina Arradondo: Sister Barefoot Ra Ra, This is my point. God’s Message has always been final. He just loved us so much he continued to keep using men to deliver it. Muhammed was simply the final time he was willing to do this. Is that because Mohammed PBUH was given a message unique and different? Or is he the final messenger because time as we know it, is simply coming to its end?
Is something wrong with that observation? And again, I have no issue, I accept understand and know and fully acknowledge Muhammad (s.a.w.) as the final messenger. But as I asked earlier, what of the people who have never heard of him or seen let alone read the Qur’an or Bible for that matter?
Sister Barefoot Ra Ra: It is when the attention is moved from his essence to following these minutiae, that craziness ensues and flourishes, and it may rightly irritate a human being. That said, there is neither a harm in such innocent wishes unless one becomes didactic about them. I have met many such stupid people. They come up with a ritual that may actually serve them very well personally. But then they, insist that everyone does it, as though it is a central tenet of faith. If they install a birdbath, so must everyone. If they grow a rose in appreciation of Muhammad (s.a.w.), others must follow suit. If they have planned an ‘umrah, so must everyone in their company. If others do not, such landlords are irritated. In fact they are no more than extremely petty and juvenile egos, who cannot distinguish themselves for useful purposes from other human beings.
Brother Marquis Dawkins: If one submits to God, yet has not heard of Muhammad (s.a.w.) or read the Qur’an, through whatever reason, they are still ‘Muslims’ in that they Submit to God. They have the first of the shahadah already. Now we, who have read the Quran, studied the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) life, and recognise that the Qur’an is a Message from Allah (s.w.t.) through Rasulullah (s.a.w.); we have the second part of the shahadah. If we have that, and still reject the Qur’an and Muhammad (s.a.w.), then that bears answering on the Day of Judgement. A person who does such cannot be considered a Muslim, because, having been given the fullness of Revelation, they have no real excuse.
Sister Barefoot Ra Ra: The outward history of humanity has had an arc, and Islam as Muhammad (s.a.w.) conveyed, is the final method. But it is a method that contains, within it, a multitude of methods and possibilities. Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) message was unique and different, but it was not cut-off from collective reality or isolated from it. Rather, it was the culmination of it. Unique does not mean isolated. That is an erratic interpretation. In fact, something or someone that in unique can be just so by virtue of being inclusive of and containing vaster and more numerous realities. Muhammad (s.a.w.) indeed affirmed those who came before him —thus the stories before his time in the book that is Revealed to him. He is unique because he affirms all reality.
Brother Hudson Decoraters: I believe that it is an article of faith that his station is the beloved, and the seal of the prophets, and I feel that any statement that falls anything less than being feared it may be near deifying him is not doing him justice. The beauty of Islam is that you can say anything about him in praise and know that people will not misconstrue your praise as deifying him. No one has ever claimed he is God or the son of God. And truth is, we do not have the right to even praise him through our sins, but I guess that it is a Mercy from Allah (s.w.t.) that He Allows us to.
Sister Barefoot Ra Ra: It was no more than an example to illustrate a point. The point being that being a catalyst and bringing forth a unique and universal insight does not mean that you aren't drawing on thousands or billions of years of history, as the case may be.
Brother Aftab Ahmed: Since God Works behind the veils, and Muhammad (s.a.w.) is one of these veils, how could you think you may reject him and accept Who is behind the veil? To understand and comprehend the veiled reality, this last prophet was Sent; he was the instrument of God for us to have a liberation from this world and attain heights of felicity. To reject this instrument is illogical.
Moreover, the belief in all the prophets is not meaningless belief; God does not Command anything meaningless, and to my knowledge, Muhammad (s.a.w.) is well described in earlier Revelations of God, namely the Gospels, the Books of Moses (a.s.), and others. It was incumbent upon previous nations’ people to have belief on the prophecy of future prophets just as it is incumbent upon this last ummah to have belief of past prophets. To say that previous umam were Muslims without accepting the prophecy of Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) prophethood, which was in their scripture, is an absurd argument, just as it is an absurd argument to say we are Muslims here and we do not believe on the Day of Accounting, the second coming of Jesus (a.s.), or other future prophecies.
On one hand, there are people who are yet to confront the Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) reality, his life story. For them, I can surely say they are blameless because they are unaware of him. On the other hand, if one is confronted with who Muhammad (s.a.w.) was and his reality and still reject him, then one is covering that which God has Manifested and which should be believed in and accepted without further contention.
Sister Lisa Palmer: Can I just throw something in here? Islam says every child is born a Muslim. Tell me that baby has heard of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.)? If not, how are they considered Muslims?
Brother Colin Turner: Every child is born with the innate disposition to submit to its Lord. It is nothing to do with affiliation to Islam the religion.
Sister Lisa Palmer: But surely if that child is never influenced, especially if they stubborn, then they will grow up with their natural fithrah and belief not straying even without the influence or teachings we call the Qur’an. So is there such a thing as being a natural Muslim as opposed to what we consider as Muslim from adult perspective of having to know Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.)?
Brother Colin Turner: You said it yourself: the surroundings and context will have an inevitable effect on how the child’s ‘test’ in this world is framed. As for accepting the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), given that he is the conduit for Divine Speech and the bearer of Revelation, can there be any acceptance of God’s Revelation without accepting the bringer of that Revelation?
Brother Edge He: My question then arises, if one does not accept Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), how does one know how to pray? How does one know about the guidelines for zakat? What about the guidelines for hajj? Where does one go for truth, if not to the Prophet (s.a.w.)? It is not all in the Qur’an, and was Designed that way by Allah (s.w.t.). The Prophet (s.a.w.) was not just a mailman who dropped off the Qur’an one day to the Arabs. No. He was the walking talking Qur’an, and the fullest exemplar of the Qur’an in action, applied, in the fullest practical sense. If someone wants to get to know their Creator, that is their prerogative, that is their relationship with their Lord. But how fully can one know their Creator without the Prophet (s.a.w.).