The religion of Islam is often thought of as beginning
with Muhammad, who was born in Mecca in 5770 CE. Forty years later
the word of God was revealed to him by the angel Gabriel, and
this revelation was the first of many which were collected and
came to constitute the Qur'an, the Muslim holy book. But Muslims
believe that Muhammad was the last in a line of prophets and that
the message given to him was the final one. Thus they do not see
him as the founder of the religion, but believe that Islam has
its origin in the very creation of man.
In the time before time, God was. And when God
wants to create something, all he needs to say is "Be",
and it becomes. So it was that God created the world and the heavens.
He made all the creatures, which walk, swim. Crawl and fly on
the face of the earth. He made the angels, and the sun, moon and
the stars to dwell in the universe. And consider, as the Qur'an
says, how God poured down the rain in torrents, and broke up the
soil to bring forth the corm, the grapes and other vegetation;
the olive and the palm, the fruit trees and the grass.
Then it was that God ordered the angels to go to the earth, and
to bring seven handfuls of soil, all of different colours, from
which he could model man. God took the seven kinds of earth and
moulded them into a model of a man. He breathed life and power
into it, and it immediately sprang to life. And this first man
was called Adam. God took Adam to live in Paradise. In Paradise,
God created Eve, the first woman, from out of Adam's side. God
taught Adam the names of all the creatures, and then commanded
the angel to bow down before Adam. But Iblis, one amongst the
angels, refused to do this, and thus began to disobey God's will.
God place the couple in a beautiful garden in Paradise, telling
them that they could eat whatever they wanted except the fruit
of on forbidden tree, But the evil one tempted them to disobey
God, and eat the fruit. When God knew that Adam and Eve had disobeyed
him, he cast them out of Paradise and sent them to earth. But
God is merciful. The earth was created to give food, drink and
shelter to the human race. The sun, moon and stars give light.
It is a good world, where everything has been created to serve
people. And people, the Qur'an teaches, should serve God and obey
his will. For those who submit to the will of God will be saved,
and taken to live for ever in Paradise.
The Muslim creation story is found in the
Qur'an, and further explained in various teachings given by Muhammad,
which were collected and are known as the Hadath. At the heart
of the creation story is something which Muslims all over the
world hear every day in their Call to Prayer - God is great. For
Muslims believe there is only one God who created everything.
God's world is a good world, and when people obey or submit to
God then life is good. The word 'Islam' means submission. Although
God made humans superior to the rest of creation, Muslims believe
that this means humans have been given everything on earth to
care for and look after. The world is not ours to do with as we
want. The Qur'an teaches that Muslims should be thankful for all
living things, for God is the creator of all life.
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