A Call to Buddhists: “Enlighten” yourself with Islam
“Alif-Lam-Ra. (This is) a Book which We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad ) in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness (of disbelief and polytheism) into light (of belief in the Oneness of Allah and Islamic Monotheism) by their Lord's Leave to the Path of the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praise. “[The Qur’an 14:1]
Buddhism has a fundamental concept known as “Enlightenment”. The goal of enlightenment in Buddhism is for an individual to be ‘guided’ or to comprehend the higher realities. However, Buddhism is not the key to enlightenment, and its practices (such as meditation) do not bring the practitioner out of darkness to light whatsoever. Rather, meditation and constant contemplation without guidance from Allah simply cause the individual to float into more darkness and confusion.
There is only one Truth
Allah uses the parable of darkness versus light several times throughout the Noble Qur’an. An example of this is in the verse:
“All praises and thanks be to Allah, Who (Alone) created the heavens and the earth, and originated the darknesses and the light, yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord.” [The Qur’an 6:1]
Allah uses the plural for “darkness” and the singular for “light” in order to suggest that there are many paths of falsehood and conjecture, whereas there is only one straight path, and only one Truth.
If there had been many truths, then the universe would not have been well-ordered. Additionally, subjects of logic, mathematics, and sciences would be of no avail in understanding the universe’s affairs.
Likewise there is only one purpose that mankind has to fulfill, and only one God for mankind to turn to.
Allah is the Truth
The Higher Realities of this universe can not be comprehended by the intelligence of a human being alone. We were not given the mental capacity or ability to fully delve into the knowledge of the Unseen, life after death, the soul, and the full makeup of the spiritual realities. In order to bring mankind out of their irresolute conjectures, doubt, excessive contemplation and distress upon unknown and unsure matters, Allah sent down His Divine Guidance (the Qur’an) that He may bring us out of this darkness into light:
"It is He (God) Who sends down manifest Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) to His slave (Muhammad) that He may bring you out from darkness into light. And verily, Allah is to you full of kindness, Most Merciful. " [The Qur’an 57:9]
Man, when left to his own speculation, continues to be confused and blind (to the truth) unless he turns to Divine Revelation. Philosophers (such as Buddha) have pondered upon the spiritual and unknown realities for centuries; their opinions are wide-ranging, yet they all have one aspect in common: they theorize upon issues in which they have little or no knowledge of, and they suppose that these theories are correct. This aspect has kept man in disarray:
“Or [the state of a disbeliever] is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with a great wave topped by a great wave, topped by dark clouds, darkness, one above another, if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light.” [The Qur’an 24:40]
This is the likeness of one who turns away from what Allah has revealed; he is left in the darkness of his own whims, or the whims of others whom he follows instead of the Lord. He does not know true guidance, and seeks it in his own conjectures (or those of others), which is in reality a never ending path of confusion and uncertainty.
Allah sent us Messengers in order to convey unto us how we should live our life, our purpose, and our position in the universe. This is all in accordance with the Will of our Creator, Allah, the Originator of the Heavens of the Earth, the All-knower of the seen and unseen, and indeed all matters return to Him (for decision). By following what Allah reveals, we have guidance for our life, based upon the Truth, not in the accordance with what any man or men may invent:
"And if the truth had been in accordance with their desires, verily, the heavens and the earth, and whosoever is therein would have been corrupted! Nay, We have brought them their reminder, but they turn away from their reminder." [The Qur'an 23:71]
Many Buddhists may say that they do not take Buddha as a god. Yet the truth of the matter is, by following the Buddha's conjectures instead of what the All-Knowing Creator (Allah) has revealed to us, he (the Buddhist) has indeed become his (Buddha’s) worshipper:
“Say: "Is there of your (Allah's so-called) partners one that guides to the truth?" Say: "It is Allah Who guides to the truth. Is then He, Who gives guidance to the truth, more worthy to be followed, or he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he is guided? Then, what is the matter with you? How judge you?"” [Surah yunus ayah 35]
How could someone seek guidance and truth in the intelligence and speculation of another human being? How could someone follow the guidance of another individual, whom neither received knowledge from God, nor a clear book giving light? Such individuals are not coming nearer to the truth, yet merely dwelling in the fabrications of men:
“And upon Allah is the responsibility to explain the Straight Path, but there are ways that turn aside (such as Paganism, Judaism, Christianity, etc.). And had He willed, He would have guided you all (mankind).” [Surah An-Nahl ayah 9]
"Say (O Muhammad ): "Verily! My Lord sends down Inspiration and makes apparent the truth (i.e. this Revelation that had come to me), the AllKnower of the unseen" [The Qur'an 34:48]
Similarly, one who seeks spiritual guidance from his “Higher Self” or searches for “an answer” within himself will only end up more astray and confused. This is because he has tried to ponder upon issues he has little or no knowledge of. Allah’s guidance is indeed the only guidance, and submitting to him, is indeed, the only path to the truth:
"Say: "Verily, Allah's Guidance is the only guidance, and we have been commanded to submit (ourselves) to the Lord of all Creation" [The Qur'an 6:71]
“Is he who was dead (without Faith by ignorance and disbelief) and We gave him life (by knowledge and Faith) and set for him a light (of Belief) whereby he can walk amongst men, like him who is in the darkness (of disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy) from which he can never come out? Thus it is made fairseeming to the disbelievers that which they used to do.” [The Qur’an 6:122]
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as (if there were) a niche and within it a lamp, the lamp is in glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east (i.e. neither it gets sun-rays only in the morning) nor of the west (i.e. nor it gets sun-rays only in the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun all day long), whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! Allah guides to His Light whom He wills. And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything.” [The Qur’an 24:35]
Meditation does not lead to Spiritual fulfillment
It is in the nature of man to strive towards achieving a purpose. It is in man’s nature to have an intention behind every action. Meditation, seeks to diminish one’s sense of purpose by clearing the mind from all thoughts, desires, or sense of direction. It seeks to make a person a worshipper of nothing, a lifeless soul, who seeks absolutely nothing. In this, the Buddhists say, is when enlightenment comes, when one is free from all thoughts. In reality, the only way a person can seek absolutely nothing is if he was unconscious or utterly dead. Likewise, the process of seeking nothing is an aim in itself, so the concept of meditation proves itself illogical.
Many practices in meditation involve concentrating on something peaceful in order to clear the mind. In reality (such a practice) is not to clear the mind of all things (as the Buddhists claim), but simply to focus on one thing (and nothing else).
How could a person seek guidance in no guidance? How could someone seek purpose in no purpose?
Rather, I say to you, who is reading this article, that spiritual fulfillment lies in worshipping the Creator, being a servant to Him, doing your actions purely for His sake, and making your intention, purpose, and will all for Him(and no one and nothing else). The purpose, for which Allah created us, is to worship Him (alone). In knowing Allah, His attributes, and recognizing the TRUE purpose of our existence lays true relief in the soul.
“Truly in the heart there is a void that can not be removed except with the company of Allah. And in it there is a sadness that can not be removed except with the happiness of knowing Allah and being true to Him. And in it there is an emptiness that can not be filled except with love for Him and by turning to Him and always remembering Him and if a person were given all of the world and what is in it, it would not fill this emptiness."
- Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya
The path to Enlightenment in the Buddhist sense is illogical and only brings a person more astray from the path of his Lord (Allah). It brings a person to follow falsehood that he himself invents about the universe (while he may think he is guided) yet it merely leads him into more darkness:
“Those who reject Our evidences and revelations are deaf and dumb in darkness.“ [The Qur’an 6:39]
The Qur’an revealed unto Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah’s light on earth. Accepting it is the only way to realizing the truth, and it is the only way to bringing true peace, faith, and certainty to one’s life. It is true guidance, which we follow, trusting and worshipping our Creator, and submitting our souls to Him. This is Enlightenment.