My question is, how can the religious believe in these values which are like a mirage that did not exist on earth except at the time of the Prophets and the Sahaabah? I really hope that you can answer this question that is bothering me.
First of all we want to remind you of an important point, advice which was given by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah to his student Ibn al-Qayyim, as it says in Miftaah Daar al-Sa’aadah, 1/140. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah be pleased with him) said to me – when I started to ask him one question after another –
“Do not make your heart like a sponge soaking up any idea and specious arguments that come to mind, rather make it like a glass through whose surface the specious arguments pass but do not settle there, otherwise if all those doubts and specious arguments settle in your heart, it will be overwhelmed by them.” I do not think that I have ever benefited from any advice on how to deal with doubts and specious arguments as much as I benefited from this.
Know, may Allaah bless you, that the purpose behind the sending of the Messengers was to guide mankind to the worship of Allaah, so that proof may be established against His slaves. The Prophets of Allaah were not charged with the task of instilling faith in people’s hearts, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“You are only a warner, and to every people there is a guide”
“Say (O Muhammad): I am only a warner and there is no Ilaah (God) except Allaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah) the One, the Irresistible”
“Verily, this is an admonition, therefore whosoever will, let him take a Path to His Lord!”
“And say: ‘The truth is from your Lord.’ Then whosoever wills, let him believe; and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve”
In Saheeh Muslim (2865) it is narrated from ‘Iyaad ibn Himaar al-Mujaashi’i that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said one day in his khutbah:
“My Lord has commanded me to teach you something of which you are unaware, that He has taught me today…: ‘I created all My slaves as haneefs (pure monotheists), but the devils came to them and turned them away from their religion, and forbade them that which I permitted them and commanded them to associate with Me others with no authority from Allaah. Allaah looked at the people of the earth and despised them, Arabs and non-Arabs, except a few left over from the People of the Book. And He said, ‘I have only sent you in order to test you and test (others) by means of you.”
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“It may be that you (O Muhammad) are going to kill yourself with grief, that they do not become believers”
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together. So, will you (O Muhammad) then compel mankind, until they become believers”
“And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly”
Allaah has decreed that some of the sons of Adam will be believers and some will be kaafirs. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“He it is Who created you, then some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers. And Allaah is All-Seer of what you do”
It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah will say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘O Adam!’ He will say, ‘Here I am, our Lord.’ Then a voice will call out: ‘Allaah commands you to bring forth those of your offspring who are to be sent to Hell.’ He will say, ‘O Lord, who are those who are to be sent to Hell?’ He will say, ‘From every thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine.’” That affected the people so much that their expressions changed. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “From Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj nine hundred and ninety nine, and from you one. Among the people you are like a black hair on the side of a white bull, or like a white hair on the side of a black bull. I hope that you will be one-quarter of the people of Paradise.” We said, “Allaahu akbar!” Then he said, “One third of the people of Paradise.” We said, “Allaahu akbar!” then he said, “Half of the people of Paradise.” And we said, “Allaahu akbar!”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4741; Muslim 222
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that Islam started as something strange, and it will go back to being strange as it started. Muslim narrated in his Saheeh (no. 145) that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Islam started as something strange and it will go back to being strange as it started, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) spoke of the Prophets who came before him, whose followers were few, as it says in the hadeeth narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh (no. 5705): It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The nations were shown to me and one or two Prophets came past me with a small group, and a Prophet with no one with him. Then a great crowd was shown to me and I said, ‘What is this? Is this my ummah?’ It was said, ‘No, this is Moosa and his people.’ Then it was said, ‘Look at the horizon,’ and there I saw a (vast) crowd filling the horizon. Then it was said to me, ‘Look there and there on the horizon,’ and I saw a crowd that had filled the horizon. It was said, ‘This is your ummah, and seventy thousand of them will enter Paradise without being bought to account.’”
It should be noted that for values to be sound, it is not essential for all the people to adhere to them. Most people, of all times, all classes and all languages – except for those on whom Allaah has mercy – do not follow their better instincts, let alone the commands that Allaah has enjoined, and the fact that they do not follow these laws does not mean that these laws are not good in and of themselves.
The reason for that is that Allaah has created the human soul, and made among its basic attributes ignorance and injustice, as Allaah says of man, and He knows best about him (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results)”
This soul knowingly does things that harm it, because of its inherent unjust and ignorant nature.
For the Muslim who has submitted fully to Allaah, Soorat al-‘Asr is enough, of which al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If Allaah had not revealed any soorah to His slaves apart from this, that would have been sufficient for them.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“By Al-‘Asr (the time).
Verily, man is in loss,
Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth [i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma‘roof) which Allaah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allaah has forbidden], and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allaah’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad)”
Every kind of human being is in a state of loss, apart from those who fulfil these conditions.
We ask Allaah to make us among them and to make us steadfast in following this path.