[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]


Perhaps Islam is the only religion that is spreading in the world at an accelerated pace. It is becoming a phenomenon in the present context of the world when the affluent societies are becoming more and more “corrupt”, secularized and liberalized. Whereas Islam no where in the world is in a dominant position as a system of life [Al-Deen] or a political entity; whereas its inherent enormous blessings that are showered on a society when its social, economic and political system are controlled by the Divine laws are not visible even in the Muslim world, the spread of Islam in the four corners of the world is a fact that cannot be ignored. In spite of this anomalous situation, if Islam still attracts the people around the world, there must be something especial in its basic characteristics that enchants the people, the affluent, the down trodden and the oppressed alike. We have to discover its causes and present it to the world as a “gift” from the Creator and Sustainer, enabling mankind and the human societies to attain enlightenment, a balanced living condition and cultivate new heights of spiritualism.


1.  Simplicity: The first thing that attracts a man to Islam is its simplicity. One who confirms that Allah is One; He is the Supreme; He is the Creator, Sustainer and the Law Giver; accepts His authority in every walk of life, feels accountable to Him in the life Hereafter for what he/she does on this earth and undertakes to practice the life pattern of Prophet Muhammad (S) as his/her only model to live with. When he/she accepts and confirms the foregoing concept by reciting the prescribed words in Arabic: “La Ilaha Illallah Mohammedan Rasulullah” [There is no deity except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah], he/she enters into His fold immediately. H/she is now a Muslim [obedient to Allah alone] and his/her all the previous sins stand pardoned forthwith. Can there be any other method simpler and more sophisticated to get rid of the “past” within twinkling of an eye and start the life afresh, as if born today from the womb of mother? It is only Islam that gives such magnanimous “hope” to mankind.


2.  No Hierarchy: Just by recitation these few words in Arabic which is called as Kalama, he/she enters into direct communion with his/her Creator and Sustainer, no priesthood, no middleman - no hierarchy of any Mullah, priest, pundit or “prohat”. He/she has now direct access to the Qur’an, the Book of Guidance from Allah in His original words as how to live, act and behave on this earth. The life of Prophet Muhammad (S), the guide, is also available to him/her to follow in minutest detail in every walk of life. It would be not out of point to mention that currently there are about ten thousands Muslims in America of Caucasian-American origin and most of them entered into Islam through their direct study of the Qur’an and Prophet’s life and being impressed by its simplicity. A Muslim presents his prayers directly to his Lord, talk to him in secrecy at person-to-person level, begs His pardon for sins and seeks His help in distress and he/she gets His positive response forthwith without any intercession as He declares: “And when My servants question thee {O Muhammad} concerning Me, then surely I am nigh, I answer the prayer the suppliant when he cries unto Me. So let them here My call and let them trust in Me.” [The Qur’an. 2: 186] Allah further assures His servants: “Announce, (O Muhammad), unto My slaves that verily I – I alone – a true dispenser of grace [the Forgiving, the Merciful]” (The Qur’an. 15: 49)   



3.  Equality: All who enter into the fold of Allah are equal and at par, having no distinction on account of color, race, language, position, wealth or geographical affinities. They all are humans, obedient to Allah alone. The excellence is determined who fears Allah most [on the basis of Taqwah] as ordained in the Qur’an, Verse 13 of Chapter 49:


“O mankind! Lo! We have created you all out of a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes so that you might come to know one and another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, Allah is all-knowing, all-aware”.


This concept of Tawheed and equality brings the lowest down in the society at par with the highest-ups. It brought the slaves at par with tribal chiefs. Omar ® used to address Bilal ® as “Sayyedna Bilal” and used to accommodate him by his side whenever he called at him during his Caliphate. At that time only the Iranians and the Romans had rights and respectability. Rest were treated as serfdom. When Rustom, the Iranian c-in-c, asked Mughirah bin Sheba ®, the head of Muslim delegation that he [Rustom] called for dialogue: what for you have come over to Iran’? Mughirah ® replied, “To take out the slaves of Allah [humans] from the slavery of man into the slavery of their Lord”. Muslims throughout their period of their dominance established equality in every walk of life. It is the most attractive feature of Islam that attracted equally the oppressed, the high-ups, the down trodden, the “untouchables” and the have-nots around the world and they entered into the fold of their Lord in multitude to live in peace with respect and dignity and so they are entering today in the fold of Islam to get equality that they could not get elsewhere.     


Today humanity stands divided in so many “classes” of haves and have-nots, affluent and poor, white, blacks and yellow, Europeans –Americans and Asians-Africans, developed and underdeveloped that it is difficult to recognize them as the progenies of Adam and Eve. Every class wants to establish its supremacy over the other. The tragedy does not end here. Further more, the human society is divided currently in 196 watertight compartments of “nation states”, demanding loyalty to their respective national bounds. Is it not a curse of the “modern” age? Are they not fighting and competing with each other to establish the superiority of one over the other? Human society, if it aspires for unity, equality, fraternity and live at par with each other with dignity and self-respect, it has no choice but to accept Islam as Al-Deen, the only way of life, to live under One God, one human race and one creed, the Abrahamic faith, having no distinction except on account of Taqwah [Allah consciousness]. Islam offers all these benedictions and the suffering humanity is attracted to these charms.        


4.  Constant Hope:  To live under “hope” is the eternal urge of man as without hope man cannot survive and live in peace. As mentioned earlier that the moment one enters into Islam his all past sins are pardoned and he starts his/her life with an immaculate clean slate. Islam keeps the door of repentance to Allah [Al- Tawba] constantly open till the time he/she breaths last. One who commits sins and repents and the one, who does good deeds, both live under the hope that Almighty Allah will pardon them and put them into paradise of His eternal bliss. Solution of their problems on earth and salvation in the life hereafter are a Muslim’s constant hope to live in peace, struggle for Allah’s pleasure throughout his/her life and die in peace with the hope that His mercy will envelop him/her and place him/her in paradise [Jannah]. Nurturing this hope constantly is the key point to attain success [Falah] for a Muslim in both the worlds. “Truly Allah loves those who turn unto Him and loves those who care for cleanness” [The Qur’an 2: 222]   


A Hadith of hope: A person who killed 99 persons started repenting went to a scholar and asked him, “Can I get pardon?” The scholar said, “No”. That man killed that scholar out of frustration and went to see another scholar to seek pardon. On the way he died. Angels of hell and heaven both rush to capture his soul. There arose a dispute: who should capture his soul, the angles of hell or heaven? Allah told the angels to measure the distance he covered to his destination for seeking pardon. When measured, it was found that he was nearer to the point of pardon. The angels of Heaven took his soul and brought him into paradise. (See how the “hope” to get pardon paves his way to Jannah) [Narrated by Abu Sayeed Khudri (R) and quoted both by Bukhari and Muslim].


Hope is the essence of man’s living condition on earth, irrespective of the fact whether he is rich or poor, the oppressor or the oppressed, the haves or the have-nots. Everyone will be accountable for his/her actions and deeds and everyone hopes to get His pardon if he/she repents before the ultimate death arrives. Islam alone provides a realistic faith to suffering humanity to live in peace with hope and honor.


Additional charms:  Besides the aforesaid beauties and bounties of Islam that attract human beings when, in fact, it is not in power anywhere in the world, the concept and methods of Ebadah - Salah, Sawm, Hajj and Zakah are very often found fascinating to different individuals in different manner at different time. Further, there are many more sublime aspects of Islam that would be more attractive to human beings alike when Islam will be dominant and conduct the human affairs in its own way:


* The self-sustained welfare system of an Islamic state that guarantees the basic fundamental needs of man – food, clothing, shelter, education, medical needs and justice, to every individual who is poor, needy, unemployed, under-employed or incapacitated;


*  The family system of Islam and its values: respectability to parents, especial position of mothers, the emancipation of women, the care and concern for elders, the love and affection for youngsters and the environment that Islam creates and promotes for well groomed children, the hope for mankind;


* The care, concern and promotion for human rights, delivering justice and fair play to all and sundry;


* The upholding of the rights of the oppressed, the down trodden and stressing for special care for human sufferings.


These few features of attraction that I have briefly enumerated above in this paper are the obvious ones that fascinate men and women equally to enter into the fold of Islam and reap the harvest of Allah’s mercy in their personal, family and collective lives. If these salient features of Islam cannot attract the human imagination what else can? Equally, it explains reasonably why Islam attracts most?



Shamim A Siddiqi

January 13, 2004