الاسلام والدين البهائي

Islam and the Bahá’í Faith

The Best Ummah

"You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; ..." - [Qur'an 3:110]

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Muslims for centuries rightly claimed this distinction. When the rest of the world rejected God's latest Messenger, the Muslims obeyed God and accepted Him. When the rest of the world was in the dark ages, Muslims ruled from the shores of Spain to the boarders of China, during which time, the arts and sciences flourished. and the people enjoyed an atmosphere of relative peace and justice.

Followers of other religions have claimed this same honor as well. The Jews have always called themselves "God's Chosen People". The Qur'an itself speaks of a time when this was the case:

"O Children of Israel! Remember My favour wherewith I favoured you and how I preferred you to (all) creatures." - [Qur'an 2:47]

Yet when Jesus (PBUH) came and they refused to accept him, God conferred the honor on the Christians instead:

"Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute." - [Qur'an 3:55]

When Muhammad (PBUH) came in fulfillment of the promises of previous religions, to bring new life and new teachings and bring people together in unity, He was rejected by most of the followers of the earlier religions. Those who followed Him became blessed with the new distinction.

As we read the rest of verse 3:110 however, we may understand that this honor and distinction of being the best of nations, rather than being an absolute, is conditional on, or associated with a certain code of conduct:

... you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah; and if the followers of the Book had believed, it would have been better for them; of them (some) are believers and most of them are transgressors. - [Qur'an 3:110]

The relative nature of this statement, may be further understood in the light of other verses in the Qur'an such as:

"Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you. And We appointed the qiblah which ye formerly observed only that We might know him who followeth the messenger, from him who turneth on his heels. In truth it was a hard (test) save for those whom Allah guided. But it was not Allah's purpose that your faith should be in vain, for Allah is Full of Pity, Merciful toward mankind." - [Qur'an 2:143]

The Muslim Ummah can only continue to claim to be the best of nations if it continues to live by the teachings of God.

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The purpose of all religion has been to bring people together in love and unity like brothers and sisters. This is stated in beauty and perfection and in the most eloquent speech in this verse:

And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided. - [Qur'an 3:103]

God makes it very clear that He abhors divisions, conflicts, and hatred. A people divided, can not even claim to be followers of the Prophet (PBUH):

"As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did." - [Qur'an 6:159]

When the Jews were the only ones who believed in the One True God, they were called His chosen people. When the Christians were the only ones who recognized the glory of Christ, they became His beloved. Neither of the two peoples however, continued in their practices, or showed the same devotion and obedience to the teachings as they did in earlier times. For that we read:

"And the Jews and the Christians say: We are the sons of Allah and His beloved ones. Say: Why does He then chastise you for your faults?" - [Qur'an 5:18]

God in His mercy, issued warnings to the Muslims, so they wouldn't make the same mistakes:

"And be not like those who became divided and disagreed after clear arguments had come to them, and these it is that shall have a grievous chastisement. On the day when (some) faces shall turn white and (some) faces shall turn black; then as to those whose faces turn black: Did you disbelieve after your believing? Taste therefore the chastisement because you disbelieved. And as to those whose faces turn white, they shall be in Allah's mercy; in it they shall-abide." - [Qur'an 3:105-107]

"But the sects disagreed among themselves. Then woe to those who committed evil from the punishment of a painful Day." - [Qur'an 43:65]

Moreover, dividing the Ummah (community) into sects is even likened to joining partners with God (shirk), as each sect becomes enamored with its own teachings, and a slave to its own doctrine. God tells us:

"Turn ye back in repentance to Him, and fear Him: establish regular prayers, and be not ye among those who join gods with Allah,- Those who split up their Religion, and become (mere) Sects,- each party rejoicing in that which is with itself!" - [Qur'an 30:31-32]

How about the political (non-sectarian) disunity and hatred among nations calling themselves Muslim by name, yet because of greed and love for power and wealth, have fought amongst themselves causing wars and bloodshed?:

"Never should a believer kill a believer..." - [Qur'an 4:92]

"If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him." - [Qur'an 4:93]

So, can we say today that as a nation, the Muslim Ummah, has continued to adhere to the laws of God, remaining worthy of the honor of being the best of nations?

Narrated Sahl bin Sad:

The Prophet said, "Verily! 70,000 or 700,000 of my followers will enter Paradise altogether; so that the first and the last amongst them will enter at the same time, and their faces will be glittering like the bright full moon." - [Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 470]

Prophet Muhammad said:

"...I hope that you would constitute half of the inhabitants of Paradise and I shall explain to you its (reason). The believers among the unbelievers would not be more than a white hair on (the body of a) black ox or a black hair on (the body of a) white ox." - [Sahih Muslim 1.427]

"The Apostle of God said: `There will come a time for my people when there will remain nothing of the Qur'an except its outward form and nothing of Islam except its name and they will call themselves by this name even though they are the people furthest from it. The mosques will be full of people but they will be empty of right guidance. The religious leaders (Fuqaha) of that day will be the most evil religious leaders under the heavens; sedition and dissension will go out from them and to them will it return.'"
- [Ibn Babuya, Thawab ul-A'mal]
- [Also, in Al-Bihar, by Al-Majlisi, Vol 13, Page 155]
- [Also, in Kanz Al-amal #766]

"My people will be divided into 73 sects ... Everyone will go to hell, except one ... the religion which is professed by me and my companions." - [Mishkat Vol. I Chapter 6:2]

Narrated AbuHurayrah:

The Prophet (PBUH) said: "The Jews were split up into seventy-one or seventy-two sects; and the Christians were split up into seventy one or seventy-two sects; and my community will be split up into seventy-three sects." - Kitabul Sunna , Sunan Abu-Dawud (partial collection)[Book 40, Number 4579]

Will there be reformers from within the Ummah who will bring back the lost glory, unite the people, and regain the privilege of being the best of nations? God tells us in His Holy Book:

"If ye turn back (from the Path), He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you!" - [Qur'an 47:38]

“He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body. Haste ye to win your share of God's good grace and mercy in this Day that eclipseth all other created Days. How great the felicity that awaiteth the man that forsaketh all he hath in a desire to obtain the things of God! Such a man, We testify, is among God's blessed ones.”
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