M. Fethullah Gulen
The author, one of Turkeys most respected Islamic scholars, discusses Islams core beliefs. After giving brief summaries of traditional arguments for Gods Existence and Unity, Gulen analyzes modern theories related to nature, natural laws, and causes, as well as matter and chance. Supporting his arguments with accounts of scientific experiments, he also appeals to common sense by asking if any person or thing can be created without an author or by itself.
The second chapter analyzes angels, jinn, the spirit, death, Satan, and other spiritual topics. The third chapter, dealing with Destiny and free will, refutes the idea that Islam teaches predestination. According to Gulen, we œreap what we sow, for we have been given the Truth and told that we will be rewarded or punished according to how much we live our lives by it. Besides, fatalism is based upon a mistaken belief: that our human and therefore artificial division of time into past, present, and future somehow affects God. It does not.
The fourth chapter provides the Quranic and general arguments for the resurrection and the afterlife, while the fifth chapter discusses how Muslims understand Prophethood and Muhammads Prophethood. Gulen presents both sides of the Prophets life: spiritual and material. He also mentions the Bibles references to Muhammad, and deals with his miracles and polygamy. The final chapter presents the Quranic view of Prophet Muhammad and why the Quran and science are compatible.
The author is to be commended for relying upon Muslim sources, as well as his own practice and study. He presents Islam as devout and practicing Muslims understand it. It is a refreshing break from books by scholars who seek to explain a religion that they do not follow, and whose sacred language they often do not know, to others who want to learn about it.
This book should be read by all those who want to understand how Muslims understand Islam and view themselves.
Essentials of the Islamic Faith
- By Jay Willoughby
- Category: Issue 41 (January - March 2003)
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