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freedom of choice is the cornerstone of responsibility. This does not exempt the parents from responsibility for their children. Nor does it condone their being indifferent to the spiritual welfare of their dependents. In fact, they must do everything possible to help them to build a strong inspiring faith. To establish Faith on sound grounds, there are various parallel avenues. There is a Spiritual approach which is based mainly on the Qur’ an and the Traditions of Muhammad. There is also the rational approach which eventually leads to Faith in the Supreme Being. This is not to say that the Spiritual approach lacks sound rationality. Nor is the rational approach deprived of inspiring spirituality. Both approaches, in fact, complement one another and may well become in state of lively interaction. Now if a person is sufficiently equipped with sound rational qualities, he may resort to the rational approach or to the Spiritual approach or to both, and may be confident that his conclusion will be right. But if a person is incapable of profound inquiry or is uncertain of his reasoning powers, he may confine himself to the Spiritual approach and be contented with the knowledge he can derive from the authentic sources of religion. The point is that whether one uses the Spiritual approach or the rational technique or both, one will in the end come to Faith in God. All these avenues are equally important and accepted by Islam, and when properly channeled, lead to the same end, namely Faith in the Supreme Being (Qur’ an, 5:16-17; 12:109; 18:30; 56:80). 15. The true Muslim believes that the Qur’ an is the word of God revealed to Muhammad through the agency of the Angel Gabriel. The Qur’ an was revealed from God piece by piece on various occasions to answer certain questions, solve certain problems, settle certain disputes, and to be man’ s best guide to the truth of God and eternal happiness. Every letter in the Qur’ an is the word of God, and every sound in it is the true echo of God’ s voice. The Qur’ an is the First and most authentic Source of Islam. It was revealed in Arabic, it is still and will remain in its original and complete Arabic version, because God has made it His concern to preserve the Qur’ an, to make it always the best guide for man, and safeguard it against corruption (cf. 4:82; 15:9; 17:9; 41:41-44; 42:7, 52-53). In testimony to God’ s conservation, the Qur’ an is the only Scripture in human history that has been preserved in its complete and original version without the slightest change in style or even punctuations. The history of recording the Qur’ an, compiling its chapters and conserving its text is beyond any doubt not only in the minds of the Muslims but also in the minds of honest and serious scholars. This is historical fact which no scholar from any faith – who respects his knowledge and integrity – has ever questioned. As a matter of fact, it is Muhammad’ s standing miracle that if all mankind were to work together they could not produce the like of one Qur’ anic chapter (2:22-24; 11:13-14; 17:88-89) 16. The true Muslim believes in a clear distinction between the Qur’ an and the Traditions of Muhammad. The Qur’ an is the word of God whereas the Traditions of Muhammad are the practical interpretations of the Qur’ an. The role of Muhammad was to convey the Qur’ an as he received it, to interpret it, and to practice it fully. His interpretations and practices produced what is known as the Traditions of Muhammad. They are considered the Second Source of Islam and must be in complete harmony with the First Source, namely the Qur’ an, which is the Standard and the Criterion. If there be any contradiction or inconsistency between any of the Traditions and the Qur’ an, the Muslim adheres to the Qur’ an alone and regards everything else as open to question because no genuine Tradition of Muhammad can ever disagree with the Qur’ an or be opposed to it Remarks In this discussion of the cardinal articles of Faith in Islam, we have deliberately differed from the Traditional view on the subject. We did not confine them to five or six articles. Instead, we tried to include as many Principles as was possible. But it should be pointed out here that all the articles of Faith mentioned above are based

Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II