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.