For some non Muslims Islam is chopping hands and having four wives. How would we describe Islam.? Is Islam the acts of worship that we know.? Or is it morality and good manners? , Creed? Or legislation?

Islam is a message for all times and generations. It is not limited to a particular period or time like other religions before Islam.

The Prophet Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah to mankind.

"Say : (O Muhamad) O mankind, verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah." 7/158

He is the final messenger. He is the seal of all Messengers.

There is no message after Islam. There is no prophet after Mohammed. There is no scripture after the Quran.

The message of Islam is also not restricted to a particular place, people, or class. It addresses all nations, races, people and classes. In Islam there is no nation or people who can claim that they are the "chosen people" and that all others should be subjected to them. No class can claim that the message of Islam is exclusively theirs, or that their understanding of this message, or its interpretation is the special exclusive privilege of their particular people or class.

The message of Islam is for the individual as whole . It is not a message for his mind only, excluding the spirit. Nor is it a spiritual message which excludes the body, the thoughts or the feelings. In addition, this message of Islam accompanies man in all phases of life; from birth, or rather, before birth, till death and beyond. This is why we find Islamic rules and principles which deal with the developing foetus and pregnancy and also with funeral, burial, and inheritance.

And because Islam deals with man as a whole, at all different stages of life, it also covers all man’s activities whether they are materialistic, spiritual, social, practical, religious, political economical, moral or whatever.

The Catholic church gradually came to divide life into two halves, one managed by the church and the other is managed by the state. This is shown by the saying :

"Give what to Caesar what is for Caesar, and give to God what is for God."

This saying has nothing to do with Islam. Islam does not recognise this separation of Religion and State. The whole universe is for God. Caesar does not own an atom of it.

Caesar and all what is his belong to Allah.

"All that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah." 10/55

 This comprehensive nature of Islam is clearly evident in matters of faith or creed, worship, morality, legislation, and dealings with others.

For example, it is not acceptable for anyone to say "I am a Muslim, I believe in the Quran in all aspects related to worship, but I do not believe in morality and good Manners."

Or to say " I take from the Quran Worship and Morality, but nothing to do with legislation and order." Or to reject the historical events narrated in the Quran. Or to reject the descriptions of the Day of Judgement , Paradise, and Hell.

"Do You believe in part of the Scripture and reject the rest?

The recompense of those who do so among you shall be disgrace in the life of this world and on the day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous torment. Allah is not unaware of what you do." 2/85

Worship is comprehensive

The comprehensive nature of worship means that worship is not simply an act of the hand, the tongue, or the heart, it is all of these things together. Indeed, worship encompasses life completely. The familiar rituals of prayer, Siyam, Zakat, and Haj are not the exclusive acts of worship.

Any act consistent with the Sharia and intended for the sake of Allah, the betterment of life and the happiness of people could be considered as an act of worship.

Any useful act performed for the benefit of society or its members, especially the weak and destitute, is also considered as worship.

The hadith of the Prophet which says that removing an obstacle from the road is a Sadaqah, smiling in the face of your brother is a sadaqah, and a good word is a sadaqah.

The domain of worship in Islam also encompasses man’s struggle to gain a living for himself and his family. Moreover, the Prophet considered the proper satisfaction of one’s sexual desire to be an act of worship. When the companions enquired about this, he said : "Had he satisfied it improperly, would he not be sinful? Do you count sins and not good deeds?

Morality is comprehensive

The comprehensive nature of Islam is also evident in our standards of courtesy and good manners.

Good manners are not restricted to the performance of rituals, and it means more than avoiding pork and alcohol. Manners in Islam encompass our spiritual lives and our emotional lives as well as our private and public lives.

They also encompass our relationships with the family, with society, and even with animals and birds.

How one should deal with his partner, his children, parents, neighbours and other people are matters within the domain of Islamic manners and morality.

Legislation is comprehensive

Islamic legislation is not restricted to man's relationship with His Lord which is usually covered by rules related to Acts of Worship.

Islamic legislation deals with the individual as a whole. It also deals with family matters; (marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc.) civil and commercial matters, (such as buying, selling, rent, debts, loans etc.), punishment and crimes, administration, the rights and duties of the rulers and the ruled and relations between states.

This comprehensive nature of Islam should be matched by a comprehensive understanding of this important character of Islam and also by a comprehensive commitment to all its commandments and rules where no part of it is to be ignored or neglected.

Our understanding of Islam should be comprehensive. Our commitment to Islam should also be comprehensive.

Otherwise one may find himself or herself faced with the question:

"Do You believe in part of the Scripture and reject the rest?

The recompense of those who do so among you shall be disgrace in the life of this world and on the day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous torment. Allah is not unaware of what you do." 2/85

Therefore, it is contrary to Islam to accept one part of Islam and ignore the rest.

It is not right to take one part of Islam and treat it as the whole of Islam. It is not right to take Creed and faith and neglect or ignore worship and morality.

It is not right to take worship and turn our backs to morality and good manners. Morality and good manners are the fruit of proper worship and are part of good faith. At the same time it is not right to focus on morality and indulge in innovations, and neglect proper worship and sound faith. And it also not right to take faith, morality and worship and then reject the Islamic Shari ‘a or to believe that Islam and its rules and principles are to be kept within the walls of mosques. Islam is not a seasonal religion. It is not only for Fridays and Ramadan. Islam is Comprehensive. Are our commitments the same?

Aqeemus Salaah!

By Omar Tarhuni
Royal Holloway Khutbahs
Feb 1999