Before proceeding any further, we must draw the attention of the reader to the fact that the word ‘religion’ as used in this book refers mainly to Islam, although it may now and then assume its general meaning in the course of our narrative.
Religious arguments are on the everyday agenda of the media and form an object of heated debate among the public in general. How are we to arbitrate between such controversial questions? What makes such divergences? How is it that every one of these arguments claims to be the truth by their defenders? How are we to differentiate between truths and untruths?
The aim of the present book is to provide answers to these questions and dispel all ambiguities. The essential topic of discussion may be initiated by the question ‘What is the origin of Islam?’ The answer to this crucial question would be conducive to the clarification of problematic issues. We shall witness, in the coming pages, the fact that the divergent opinions originate from different answers given to this basic question. To start a discussion without attempting first to answer this question and without assessing every one of the issues within their respective frames, would lead us inevitably to endless controversies and dilemmas.
Our answer to the said question will clarify the steps we shall be taking. Those who start an argument without having dealt first with it proceed in a haphazard fashion. Their arguments are based on a variety of sources: some have their origin in the Quran, some in a hadith, some in their own lore, some in a religious sect of Islam, and some in an order of Islam. People who tackle the subject without any method try to impose their own ideas, wishes and obsessions in the name of Islam. Their claims, devoid of sound logic and method, seem puzzling to us, as we are at a loss to understand their reasoning. To provide an answer to the question: “What is the source of the Islamic religion?” is of utmost importance and rewarding insight into it.
Islam is a system devised by God. To know God’s expectations from His creatures, His commandments and injunctions would guide us to the answer we are after. Is the Quran the only source of Islam? Can hadiths (words attributed to Muhammad) contribute to the interpretation of the Quran? What is the authority of madhabs (religious sects) in Islam? How are we to conceive religious orders and the sheikhs, their chiefs, in terms of the established religion? You will find answers to all these questions. You will see how the answers traditionally given to these questions have played a role in misleading the masses.
After having read the present book, we would advise you to ask those who speak authoritatively in the name of Islam what the origin of their overall conceptions is, and to check the answers to be given to see whether there are discrepancies in them. If we can do this, we can easily see their paradoxes.
We must beware of people who speak about religion haphazardly, and whose lifestyles are at odds with the views they advocate. Observers of the ways of these people may be at a loss to understand the ground upon which their religious creeds are based. These people who profess to be the advocates of Islam should, in principle, lead a life like the way of life advocated by the Talibans; but they are far from willing to do so. There is a deep chasm between the lifestyle of these people and the ideas they champion. These people form not a minority, but a majority of the Islamic population. What must be done should not be directed at opening still wider the rift between their systems (theories/methods) and their actual lifestyles in the hope to better themselves. What must be done is to lay the foundation to which we refer, by such expressions as method or theory and to reduce to a minimum the clashes between faith and lifestyle. Only by developing an overall concept of Islam through a well-founded and coherent system that does not sever a person’s lifestyle from this concept can one attain a rational, logical and correct conclusion. The path leading to this achievement would be the correct answer. “What is the source of the Islamic religion?” On this conclusion shall be based a Muslim’s lifestyle and practice. This is the only way to guard against unwarranted interferences of arbitrary deductions and malicious interpretations. Our method aims at separating the true source of the Islamic religion emanating from God from the false arguments of humans. It is our fervent belief that the meticulousness in our approach will put an end to all misconceptions regarding the true source of Islamic religion.