A person should base his religious life on the Sunnah of the Prophet, not on his own mind and reason. That is, he should know how the Prophet practiced the religion and what he advised to his ummah.
Is Islam only a theoretical religion without practice? You should find answers to the questions above and try to practice Islam by surrendering to Allah. There might be differences in the life of a person at certain phases of life due to the effect of his age.
When we mention Islam, the first thing that comes to the mind is the Quran and the life of the Prophet. Allah sent a book containing His orders and prohibitions and a prophet that practiced the contents of that book. Then, the way of being a good Muslim is to obey the Quran and the Prophet (pbuh). To take the Prophet, who is a living Quran, as an example is something that Allah likes very much. As a matter of fact, Allah states the following in the Quran: “Say: ‘If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins…’” (Aal-i Imran, 188)”
In a hadith reported by Abu Dawud, the Prophet said, “Be careful! In near future, some people will say the Quran is sufficient for us. However, I was given as much or twice as much knowledge as the Quran.” Thus, he stated that the Quran would not be understood fully without the Prophet.
As for the decrees that Islamic scholars concluded from the Quran, we have the following verse, which is very clear, regarding the issue: “…If they had only referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have tested it from them (direct)…” (an-Nisa, 83)
As it can be seen, we are asked to refer to those charged with authority after the Prophet. The existence of four madhhabs is an explanation of this verse.
To sum up, the way of learning Islam well and to practice it is to act in accordance with the Quran, the Sunnah and the decrees concluded by Islamic scholars from these two resources.
As for researching other religions and the views opposite Islam, it is necessary for us to learn our religion strongly and correctly first. Is it reasonable to search the beauties in the garbage dump in our neighborhood before we construct the foundations and walls of our building strongly?
Do not misunderstand me; I do not want to say that there is nothing good there but if we want to pass through a poisonous room, we need a good mask. Otherwise, we will be poisoned. If we want to search some religiously harmful and poisonous things, we need a good mask that will prevent all kinds of gases, that is, we need a good and true religious belief so that those views will not harm us.
Yes, the only way to find God and the truth is to believe in the Quran and to act in accordance with it because the Quran is a holy book sent by Allah in order to lead humanity to absolute goodness and truth. It is the Quran that will show man the worldly and otherworldly bliss and that will make man mature. It invites man to belief and oneness, worship and servitude, brotherhood and love. It imposes the best criteria regarding belief and righteous deeds. Islam was constructed based on the criteria of the Quran. There is no truth outside the unshakable and magnificent rules of Islam and there is no need to search it. Whatever the Quran regards as good and approves is true; whatever it regards as bad and rejects is false. Islam, which was established by the Quran, rejects old wrong beliefs, superstitions, disgrace and prostitution. Then, all Muslims need to evaluate the holy realities related to creed, worship, ethics, halal, haram, mentioning Allah, ideas and love based on the Quran.
The verses of the Quran are strong enough to persuade everybody. Ordinary people love the plainness of its style; scholars and scientists admire its fluency and rhetoric. “Without doubt, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” Thinkers of all levels satisfy their need for belief with the Quran and they become mature by following it.
The Quran has encouraged man to meditate and has given man the criteria for it. People have been able to read the book of the universe through the criteria it has taught, have discovered the hidden realities in it and have found their Creator and Lord. It is a divine torch given to the mind in order to illuminate the dark and stormy ways of life. The sun illuminates the material world and the Quran was sent down to illuminate the spiritual world.
The following is stated in the Quran: “Verily this Qur’an doth guide to that which is most right (or stable).” (al-Isra, 9)
It is necessary to follow the laws of a science in order to be successful in that science; similarly, it is necessary to accept the principles of the Quran and the Sunnah in order to find the truth.
Yes, man can know the personality and attributes of God Almighty only through the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah. He can understand where he is coming from and where he is going, what his duty in the world is, the nature and the reality of the other world, and what will be acceptable and rejected there only through those two means. He will learn what deeds, actions and attitudes will attract the consent of God Almighty and what deeds, actions and attitudes will attract His wrath, what is true and what is wrong what is a mistake and what is right from the book of Allah and His Prophet. Every Muslim is responsible for realizing his own world of belief and worship under the guidance of these two realities.
He will also learn from these two fundamentals, the Quran and the Sunnah, how he will enter the sphere of Islam and believe in what principles and how he will remain in the sphere of Islam (by doing what deeds and avoiding what deeds).
Since the criteria of all Muslims are the Quran and the Sunnah, a Muslim has to evaluate all human views, claims, beliefs and creeds based on the Quran and hadiths, which are the interpretation the Quran.
First,the Quran teaches us the principle of belief, “belief in Allah, as well as belief in angels, divine books, prophets the hereafter qadar (that Allah created everything, whether good or bad). A person becomes a believer only when he believes the truths of belief as it is stated by the Quran.
The Quran has taught Islam which consists of all of the orders and prohibitions of Allah, to believers. When a believer obeys these orders and prohibitions, he becomes a perfect Muslim.
Alaaddin Başar (Prof.Dr.)