Monday, December 17, 2012

In Search for the Truth

While in graduate school in New Jersey, I met an Indian student who very passionately explained his perspective on the Truth to me. He said imagine that all the religious teachings were written on various sheaves of papers and that somehow got mixed up. Then the Truth, according to him, is what is common in the study of all wisdom gleaned from all such documents, irrespective of their origin. Surely one can not deny that there is wisdom in all religious scriptures -- be they divine or man-made -- but do they represent the Ultimate Truth?

Fortunately, Allah (SWT) did not leave man to spiritually wander from source to source in search for the Truth. He repeatedly revealed His guidance to mankind from Adam (AS) through to Muhammad (SWAS). The Truth has been the same - to worship only Him and to follow His Messengers in guidance. Yet, throughout history, man has corrupted this essential message by including partners in worshiping his Lord and have adopted modes of worship which were not practiced by the Messengers. For this reason, Allah (SWT) saw it fit to reveal the same Truth time and again through different Messengers. Thus the gist of all divine religions has been the same i.e. Islam; only their Laws were different -- according to the community of believers for their time and place in history. As the last Message and Messenger to humanity have been those of Islam, the Laws of Islam (Shariah) are the Ultimate Laws for the whole of humanity and are valid forever. Allah (SWT) has promised to preserve the Quran from corruption till the End of Time. Thus Islam represents the Ultimate Truth - from the onset of human history to its end.

"Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them - out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah , then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account." (Ale-Imran v. 19)

Other religious scriptures do contain wisdom, as their original message may be from Allah (SWT), but they also contain subsequent human corruption. Thus they can not be taken -- either by themselves or in combination -- to represent the Ultimate Truth for one's guidance.

"Anyone who accepts other than Islam his religion, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be with the losers." (Ale-Imran v. 85)

A seeker of knowledge should study other religions especially for dawah and comparison to the Truth, but should make a deep study and implementation of Islam his priority as that is the touchstone to whatever he may come in contact.

1 comment:

  1. At the khutba today the speaker mentioned the hadith of Wabisa Bin Mabad which is an important one in the search for truth. It is one of those meta-level hadith, that talks about right and wrong at a very abstract level. And yet it captures the truth.

    Nawawi's Forty Hadith, An Nawawi Hadith Number 027
    The Authority Of Wabisa bin Mabad
    I came to the messenger of Allah and he said: "You have come to ask about righteousness ?" . I said:" Yes." He said: "Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and moves to and from in the breast even though people again and again have given you their legal opinion [in its favor]."

    The speaker’s point was that this hadith shows that Islam is from our fitra. So its truth is based on our nature. When we approach Islam with an open mind we see it reflect back to us facts that we know in our hearts to be true.

    So to answer the question of what is truth, the speaker might say, your heart already knows truth. But it is clouded over with illusions and confusion. When it sees the truth it senses its truthfulness. Those whose hearts are clear see it.


Please leave your comments for feedback or if you wish to convey a message to others who read this blog.