Islam comes from the root word “sa-la-ma”, as do the words Muslim (one
who follows the message of Islam) and “salaam” (peace). The root word “Sa - la
– ma” denotes peace, security, safety as it does submission and surrender to
Almighty God. This security is inherent in the submission to the One God. When
a person submits to the will of God he will experience an innate sense of
security and peacefulness. He must also understand that God is the Creator
of all that exists or will come to exist, and has power over all things. With
this surrender and understanding comes peace – real, easily attainable, and
From the beginning of time, God has revealed Himself
through Prophets and Messengers, who have come with one message. Worship God,
without partners, without offspring and without intermediaries. The rules and
laws were sometimes different, because they were applicable for the people of a
particular time or place, but the creed of each Messenger was the same. Worship
Me, and your reward will be contentment in this life and in the hereafter.
When Prophet Muhammad came, in the 7th century, BCE, his message was
slightly different. He called to the worship of the One God, but his call was
for all of humankind. The message was now complete and revealed for all places,
and in all times.
Islam was completed for the benefit of all who will
exist, until the final Day of Judgement. It is not a religion belonging to the
Arabs, although Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon
him, was an Arab, nor is it a religion for the Asian countries or the third
world. Muslims exist in all continents and come from all races and ethnicities.
There are Muslims in New York, Sydney, Cape Town and Berlin as well as Cairo, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. Muslims are as diverse as this magnificent planet. Islam
is also not a religion that accepts part time or halfhearted commitment. Islam
is a way of life; Islam is a holistic way of life.
When God created the world He did not abandon it to
instability and insecurity, quite the contrary, He sent guidance. He sent a
rope, firm and steady, and by holding tightly to this rope an insignificant
human being can achieve greatness and eternal peace. A Muslim strives to obey
God’s commandments and does so by following God’s guide to life - the Quran,
and the authentic teachings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad.
The Quran is a book of guidance and the traditions of
Prophet Muhammad explain and in some cases expand on that guidance. Islam, as
a complete way of life, stresses the importance of maintaining good health and
offers the ways and the means to cope with ill health. The Quran is a book of
wisdom. It is a book full of the wonder and glory of God, and a testament to His
mercy and justice.
Through His infinite mercy, God has provided us with a holistic
approach to life, one that covers all aspects, spiritual, emotional and
physical. When God created humankind, He did so for one purpose – to worship
“And I (God) created not the jinn and humankind, except to
worship Me (Alone).” (Quran 51:56)
The comprehensiveness of Islam allows every aspect of
life, from sleeping and washing, to praying and working, to be an act of
worship. One who is truly submitted to God is grateful for the countless blessings
in his or her life and wants to thank and praise God for His generosity,
kindness and mercy. Prophet Muhammad explained that we should be thankful to
God in every situation, whether we perceive it to be good or bad. The reality
is that God is just, therefore, whatever situation a believer finds himself in,
he knows there is goodness and wisdom embedded in it.
amazing are the affairs of a believer! They are all for his benefit. If he is
granted ease then he is thankful, and this is good for him. And if he is
afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres, and this is good for him.” (Muslim)
The life of this world is not stable. Every person goes
through stages and phases; happiness is followed by sadness and then relief or
joy, ones’ faith is strong and unconquerable, and seemingly, for no reason it
plummets, next, by the will of God it slowly rises again. Periods of great
fitness and health are followed by injury or, sickness, but with each twinge of
pain or suffering a true believer feels some of his sins fall away.
a Muslim is afflicted by harm from sickness or other matters, God will expiate
his sins, like leaves drop from a tree.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Islam teaches us to be concerned, about the whole person.
Following the guidance and commandments of God allows us to face illness and
injury with patience. Complaining and bemoaning our situation will achieve
nothing but more pain and suffering. Our bodies and minds have been given to
us as a trust, and we are responsible for them. The guidance of God covers
every aspect of life and there are specific ways of dealing with health issues,
which we will begin to explore in the next article.