Islam is distinguished with other religions or ideologies based on the following characteristics.
It is essential for everyone to understand these features:
(1) Allah has revealed Islam for humanity, thus ordaining what is convenient and suitable in a man’s life based on his day to day requirements. Allah said, “Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything).” [Al-Mulk 67:14].
(2) Islam speaks about man beginning with his creation until he dies narrating the very purpose of human’s life. Allah said: “O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women.” [An-Nisaa 7:1].
Allah further said, “Thereof (the earth) We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again.” [Ta-ha 20:55].
Allah in His Book, the Qur’an, said, “And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).” [Adh-Dhariyat 51:56].
(3) Islam is a natural religion since it is based on reality of life and not myth. Islam and the nature go hand in hand and nothing contradicts between the two. Allah said, “Allah s Fitrah (i.e. Allah s Islâmic Monotheism or nature), with which He has created mankind.” [Ar-Rum 30:30].
(4) Islam incorporates the logic, sense and rational of life, which altogether reflected in its commands. It also denounces the ignorance and the blind imitation of faith and hence it blames those whose attitude toward life is inadvertent and based on illogical thinking. Allah said, “Is one who is obedient to Allah, prostrating himself or standing (in prayer) during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the Mercy of his Lord (like one who disbelieves)? Say: “Are those who know equal to those who know not?” It is only men of understanding who will remember (i.e. get a lesson from Allâh s Signs and Verses)”. [Az-Zumar 39:9].
Allah in other verses said, “Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.” [Aal ‘Emran 3:190-191].
(5) Islam is the religion that comprises of a definite belief and specific Divine Laws.
Based on the comprehensive code of life Islam offers a perfect belief, which is the part of its Divine Laws (Shari’ah). It is not a religion based merely on thoughts or some theoretical concept of a human mind. It is a complete way of life. Its tenets include the correct set of true faith with an emphasis on wise dealings, noble characters and a disciplined behavior.
Islam is the religion meant for every individual and all societies including Arab or non-Arab, white or black, rich or poor irrespective of their caste and creed. As mentioned earlier, Islam is the complete way of life as it is the religion of Allah. Its teachings encompass guidance for both in this world and the Hereafter.
(6) Islam is the religion, which takes into account every aspect of the human sentiments.
Its teachings lead the human beings on to the path of truth encouraging them to achieve unlimited virtues.
(7) Islam is the religion of justice.
In all circumstances, it offers its followers to act in a just and fair manner while dealing with one’s foes or friends and relatives whether close or distant.
In the following verses of Qur’an, Allah said, “Verily, Allah enjoins justice.” [An-Nahl 16:90].
Allah said, “And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence, etc.), say the truth even if a near relative is concerned.” [Al-An’am 06:152].
Allah said, “And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety.” [Al-Maedah 05:8].
(8) Islam is the religion of honest fraternity.
Muslims are considered brothers in faith to each other in the religion of Allah. The variety that exists among them such as nations living in different parts of the world, gender, caste or color does not discriminate among the members of this fraternity.
In Islam, there is no concept of apartheid or the racial discrimination. Also, there is no ethnic priority or the gender preference. The serious and prime criterion that Islam views is the nobility of character. The superiority of human over another is only based on the degree of his/her piety, righteous deeds and the fear of Allah (or Taqwa in Arabic language).
(9) Islam is the religion of Knowledge.
Islam has made it mandatory for every Muslim to attain knowledge. Islam puts emphasis whether man or woman to acquire knowledge, as it enlightens him/her to differentiate between the right and the wrong and to recognize the true faith. It elevates a person to a higher position in life. Allah said, “Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge.” [Al-Mujadilah 58:11].
(10) Allah has assured true believers of granting ultimate happiness, glory, esteem and prestige. Allah has also pledged those believers of eventual victory be they individuals or groups.
Allah said, “Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me.” [An-Noor 24:55].
Allah further said, “Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islâmic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).” [An-Nahl 16:97].
(11) Islam is the religion that provides solution to every problem.
The Divine Laws (Shari’ah) of Islam provide answer to every issue in life. The Shari’ah constitute certain procedures and the basic rules, which never conflict with the natural laws and the reality of life.
(12) The Divine Islamic Laws are inclusive in that there is integrity in general to the entire humanity if they fall into any controversy or dispute in particular. The Islamic laws serve as the best reference to solve challenges to bring well-being in life be they in fields such as jurisprudence, inheritance, social or any others. In such difficult situations in man’s life Islam not only protects interest but also ensures his rights.
(13) Islam is a universal religion, which is applicable in all places, times and practiced by every nation and in all situations. Islam is the only religion, which cares for man’s entire worldly affairs. Therefore, it was proved with evidence that Islamic laws since they were comprehensively revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) some 1400 years, are applicable even in today’s modern world.
It is also true that as the world is making scientific progress other new evidences will come to man’s knowledge further proving the effectiveness, appropriateness and the nobility of the Islamic laws.
(14) Islam is the religion of love, fellowship, compassion and mercy.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs is afflicted, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad].
In another instance, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The merciful ones will be granted mercy from the Most Merciful. Have mercy on those on earth – the One above the heavens will then have mercy on you.” [At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, and Ahmad. At-Tirmidhi graded this Hadith as sound and authentic].
(15) Islam is the religion, which encourages prudence, firmness, earnestness, and assiduous research.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one in all good things. Adhere to that which is most beneficial for you. Keep beseeching Allah for help and do not refrain from it. If you are afflicted in any way, do not say: ‘If I had taken this or that step, it would have resulted into such and such,’ but say only, ‘Allah so determined and did as He willed.’ The word ‘if’ opens the gates of satanic conduct.” [Muslim].
(16) Islam is free from all possible controversies or contradictions.
Allah said, “Do they not then consider the Qur ân carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions.” [An-Nisaa 04:82].
(17) Islam protects its followers from falling into anarchy, confusion or from loss and faltering ways. Hence, Islam ensures the material and spiritual comforts of those who embrace it.
(18) Islamic teachings are plain, clear, comprehensive and easy to understand and practice.
(19) Islam is an open religion, whose doors are wide open for every human being intends to embrace it. It has no secret plans or any hidden agenda.
(20) Islam strengthens the power of mental reasoning and enriches the man’s spirituality. It teaches to uphold good character and conduct while encouraging to attain scientific education. The followers of Islam adhere to truth, perform righteous deeds, prove more purified and intelligent, and stand distinguished from among other nations.
(21) Islam commands its followers to be the model of good character and practicing Muslims showing morality and to shun the evil deeds.
Allah said, “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e. don t punish them).” [Al-A’raf 07:199].
Allah said, “Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! He, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” [Fussilat 41:34].
(22) Islam offers and preserves the mental enrichment. Therefore, Allah has forbidden the use of intoxicants, narcotics or drugs to protect the human mind from becoming unsound and malicious.
(23) Islam sets forth the guidelines for earning one’s livelihood. Everyone should deal with trustworthy and honesty one another. A person can also secure his savings, provided the source of such earning should be clean and based on legal ways. Islam ensures people of noble characteristics with an abode in the Paradise. Pious people under Islam can live with comfort and ease in this world and the Hereafter.
Islam forbids stealing and pilfering and warned the people indulge in such practices with severe penalties. Islam has put forward a penal code stating that the thieves would face amputation of his/her hand(s) as a punishment.
The severe penalties as mentioned in Islamic divine laws inculcate a sort of fear, which keeps a person from committing the crime, thus the wealth and property is secured. Besides, the corporal punishment being awarded by the authorities in this world Islam has warned of severe consequences for the criminals on the Day of Judgment.
Therefore, the people in countries, which implement the Shari’ah (Divine Laws), enjoy safety and security to their wealth and property. There is also capital punishment in Shari’ah for certain criminal acts. The crime rates is very low in such countries where the Shari’ah is being implemented.
Moreover, the exemplary punishment in Islam such as amputation of hand(s) for thieves serves as a warning to those who have a slightest inclination of the crime.
These measures taken in an Islamic society give protection to everyone’s property and wealth.
(24) Islam protects both body and soul.
Islam prohibits murder and or manslaughter of human being without any cause. If a man kills another man out of revenge, hate or other unjustifiable reason(s), the sentence for such an offence under the Islamic law is the capital punishment.
This is one of the main reason why the crime rate and the rate of manslaughter or murders is very little in the Islamic states, which effectively implement the Shari’ah.
However, if a person takes the law in his/her hands and kills another person considering the ‘law of equality’ then the fate of such a person under Shari’ah is to execute him/her by capital punishment. This clear ruling on killing of person serves as deterrent among the people from committing such a crime.
This law clearly demonstrates and shows the basics of the safety and security for the ordinary people by stopping the criminals from killing the innocents, by awarding them the death penalty.
(25) Islam promotes health and hygiene of a human body to keep it clean and away from medical complications.
There are several verses in the Book of Allah (Qur’an) and the traditions (Sunnah) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) mentioning tips for the preservation of the human health.
Allah said, “And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste by extravagance.” [Al-A’raf 07:31].
The Islamic scholars are of the opinion about the above-mentioned Qur’anic verse that it is a collection of guidelines on how to preserve a good and sound health.
They opined that maintaining a moderate diet without being extravagant is one of the significant bases for the preservation of sound health.
To protect the overall health and to stay physically fit, Islam forbids the use of intoxicating substances, because they contain numerous harmful and hazardous elements.
The use of intoxicants would have adverse affect on the human body, which might weaken the vital organs such as heart, kidney, liver and lead to their malfunctioning.
Similarly, Islam disapproves illicit sexual relationship between people including fornicating, homosexuality and sodomy. The consequences for such ‘malicious’ practices are recognizable in the society known to have brought physical diseases some of which include the epidemic ailments such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), etc.
It is essential to note here that in order to protect the health of the human being, Islam has forbidden the consumption of pork (meat of pig). It is medically proven that there are certain worms, which exist in the pig’s muscles and tissue and its coiled hair. Therefore, consuming pork is the root cause of many dangerous and sometimes life threatening diseases.
It is of prime importance to mention here that the performance of ablution (Wudu) before each prayer five times a day has proved amazing results to protect and prevent the human body from contracting many diseases.
Wudu (ablution) is an act of worship in Islam for every Muslim meant for cleansing, internally and externally, and is a pre-requisite before each prayer.
Some of which are prevention from the dental decay and nasal syndromes. Other significant advantage of Wudu is that it protects from the pulmonary tuberculosis. Doctors suggest that the major viral or bacterial infection, which sometimes might lead to serious health complications, is their accessibility through nose.
Since every Muslim, who before observing his/her five times a day obligatory prayer will also perform Wudu, too, this daily routine practice cleanses the nasal passage 15 times a day. This has helped in considerably reducing the presence of dirt particles or its traces on mucous membrane of the nose.
This is one of the reasons why the previously mentioned disease, most likely to occur among the Western people, is seldom found among the Muslims, especially those who are regular to their daily five-time prayers.
The main reason for this fact is that the Muslims are blessed to have performed the ablution (Wudu) daily in ritual form five times a day before offering their obligatory prayer every day. Each time a Muslim performs Wudu, he/she washes his/her nose at least once or twice or a maximum of three times.
(26) Islam is based on truth. This is evidence from the modern-day scientific findings, which complies with what has been mentioned in the Book of Allah (Qur’an), revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) some 1400 years ago.
As and when a new scientific discovery take place even in today’s modern times it matched with what Islam says, therefore, there is no contradiction between the scientific findings and Divine Laws (Shari’ah) and other textual proofs available through Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
In case there is any contradiction between Science and the Divine Laws, it simply signifies to an argument without any concrete proof. The reason could be that the textual proof on which the argument is based is not authentic. This is because of the fact that the divine textual evidences and the scientific findings are both based on certain dogmas. They both are positive things and unlikely to contradict with each other.
This is the general rule accepted not only by the Muslim scholars but also by many opened-minded Western scientists, authors and prominent personalities.
For instance, one of the most famous Western writers is Dr. Maurice Bucaille, a French philosopher and author of the largely circulated masterpiece “The Bible, the Qur’an and Science”.
Dr. Bucaille in his above-mentioned book said that the Torah and the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, were distorted from their original form and hence, contradict with the modern day scientific findings. Meanwhile, the contents of the Qur’an present in its original form were proved to be true and most authentic by modern scientific findings.
The author has also proved that the Qur’an is in perfect agreement with the scientific implications and has never contradicted with even a single scientific finding.
In fact, some of the scientific had based their experiments on the perception and the truthfulness taken from what Islam has introduced centuries ago through the revelation of the Divine Laws by Allah.
For example, let us consider one of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him): “If a dog drinks from the utensil of anyone of you it is essential to wash it seven times, the first of which should be (washed) with earth (or soil).” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaie, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad].
This saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has been proved from the modern-day research that there are certain harmful microbes, germs, or bacterium are present in the saliva or spittle of dog. These microorganisms can cause a number of epidemic diseases.
This was also proved that such microbes could not be removed merely by washing the utensil with water. The scientific research, in compliance with what the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) saying has proved that it would be appropriate to cleanse such a utensil with the sterilized soil.
It was also scientifically proved that the utensil used to feed (drinking purpose) a dog could carry harmful germs causing several serious diseases. Dog is such an animal, which always carry numerous types of microorganisms or their spores.
For instance, if a dog is fed in a utensil, or a man touched the dog, there is a high possibility getting the eggs of tapeworm transmitted from the dog’s body.
If a man uses the same utensil for eating or drinking purposes that a dog has already used, it is highly probable that the spores of tapeworm transmitting into the man’s stomach. Gradually, the spores make their way through stomach walls to the blood vessels affecting the man’s main body organs such as liver, cerebrum (brain) causing severe headache.
Other complications include continuous vomiting, coma, spasm of muscles and convulsion and paralysis of certain parts of the body. It might also weaken heart resulting in a stroke or failure causing a man to die.
Moreover, there are several natural and geo-scientific discoveries, which independently without getting any first hand information from the Islamic scholars have supported and proved the truthfulness of Islam.
The recent discovery of the pollination and fertilization in plants is best-described phenomenon in the Glorious Qur’an, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) some 1400 centuries ago.
In several verses of the Qur’an, Allah said, “And We send the winds fertilizing (to fill heavily the clouds with water).” [Al-Hijr 15:22].
In another verse Allah said, “And have produced therein (i.e. the earth) every kind of lovely growth (plants).” [Qaaf 50:07].
Allah further said, “And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember (the Grace of Allah).” [Adh-Dahriyat 51:49].
Allah specifically said, “Glory be to Him, Who has created all the pairs of that which the earth produces, as well as of their own (human) kind (male and female), and of that which they know not.” [Ya-Sin 36:36].
Qur’an is the word of Allah, the Lord of the whole universe. The scientific descriptions in the Holy Qur’an were made well in advance, even before the man discovered the natural science and started his study to find out the fact that every plants contains the pair: a male and a female.
A number of Europeans embraced Islam when they found in Qur’an lucid descriptions in precise details about the scientific findings of ocean and consequently learning that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), an unlettered and the dweller of the desert, has never embarked on any ship throughout his life.
For example, Allah said, “Or [the state of a disbeliever] is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with a great wave topped by a great wave, topped by dark clouds, darkness, one above another, if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light.” [An-Nur 24:40].
(27) Islam guarantees freedom systematically.
Islam also guarantees freedom of thoughts and expression. Allah has bestowed the human body with sense organs such as ears and eyes and brains in order for a man to hear, see, and think to search the real truth.
With this natural gift to the human beings, Islam encourages them to use the senses thus providing him/her a definite freedom of thought to comprehend between right and the wrong.
Therefore, the human beings have been commanded by Allah to reflect his/her thinking in a positive and proper manner and held accountable if they misuse their sense organs. They will be interrogated for any misuse committed.
Besides, Allah has also set forth certain rules for the man to do trade such as selling, buying and transporting of commodities or the related activities. By this, there is a total freedom for such activity in Islam. However, the person engaged in trade should not cross the limits through dealings, which involve cheating, fraud or corrupt practices.
Islam fully encourages a person to enjoy every amenity available in this world and lead a happy and prosperous life. For instance, a person can rejoice by consuming the delicious food, drinks, wear clothes, and use perfumes.
However, in Islam the full freedom is allowed but by following certain code of conduct and not touching the things which are forbidden for men. A person should not violate those rules set forth in Islam. Whatever forbidden in Islam is for the own good of men.
Islam never allows a person to misuse freedom or transgresses others’ liberty and endangers the personal free will.
For example indulging in illicit sexual drive against others is not a freedom in Islam. If a person performs such an act, based on personal whims and desires or as a fun, will definitely lead him/her to destruction.
As this perception is derived from insanity and a senseless attitude which only serve in distraction and leading to a path away from righteousness and virtues.
Therefore, it is a proven fact that a human being, who spends his/her life driven by their own sexual lust ignoring what is lawful and unlawful and as such the evil consequences would not be considered as freedom.
The resultant of such a life would be ill health, misery, loss of wealth and control over thinking between right and wrong and ultimate the discontentment in this world and the Hereafter.
Does a man achieve mental peace and comfort through the sexual enjoyment? The answer would be in negative.
If one looks around one’s own surrounding world, he/she will find it is a combination of materialistic and capitalist civilization, which lacks the spirituality and a peace of mind.
If such a state of affair were allowed to happen in the name of freedom, filled with frivolity and mischief, the life of the people would plunge deep into worries, anxieties and disturbance.
Consequently, the life of such a person would be an affliction not only to himself but also to others causing tribulations by both body and mind. It would also scourge of diseases resulting in the killings of innocent people. This has become a common practice in the world.
Similarly, such an attitude has also given rise to the prevalence of many other criminal acts including robbery, plundering, loot, psychiatric problems, suicide and other rare diseases around the world.
Moreover, becoming slave to one’s greed is not a freedom, because such an attitude directs one to lose the ability to think and to recognize its consequences on others.
Can you consider the use of power and might, aggression and the injustice committed by tyrannical ruler against the weak, a freedom?
The so-called superpowers neglect and undervalue the poor, depress their voices and views as we see around the world today.
How can such acts be called as freedom?
The answer is definitely ‘no’.
Therefore, the real freedom for man can only be found by following the way of Islam, which teaches the right behavior, and the dealings as it is revealed to man by Allah.
The secret to achieve greater freedom lies when the servants of Allah obey Him, the Lord of the Universe.
A man would definitely be emancipated from the influence of fellow human begins if he submits and surrenders to the Creator of this universe and offers Him prayer with piety in a state of hope, fear and love.
Thus, there is nothing to be worried or fearful except to his Lord, because he/she looks forward to Allah and no one else. This is the ultimate freedom and supreme victory.
Plainly speaking, Islam is the perfect and sublime religion, as well as the religion of true guidance and leadership.
One important thing to understand here is to follow the correct path of Islam and not the vice versa.
It is not appropriate to practice Islam based on one’s own whims and desires. And it is nothing to do with Islam if some followers practice the religion based on their own designs.
If a Muslim commits an act not according to the teachings of Islam, the blameworthy should be that person and not the Islam.
In such a case, Islam stands clear of any responsibility but the blind and ignorant followers, who misused the teachings of Islam, whether intentionally or unintentionally by flouting the religion, should be blamed.