Islam is not a new religion. It is the same truth that God revealed to all His prophets throughout history. Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy and forgiveness that should not be associated with acts of violence against the innocent. The Quran is the record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad.
The Meaning of Islam
Islam is derived from the Arabic root "Salema": peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law.
Everything and every phenomenon in the world is administered totally by God-made laws, ie. they are obedient to God and submissive to his laws, they are in the State of Islam. Man possesses the qualities of intelligence and choice, thus he is invited to submit to the good will of God and obey His law, ie, become a Muslim.
Submission to the good will of God, together with obedience to His beneficial Law, ie, becoming a Muslim, is the best safeguard for man's peace and harmony.
Islam dates back to the age of Adam and its message has been conveyed to man by God's prophets and messengers, including Abrahim, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
Islam's message has been restored and enforced in the last stage of the religious evolution by God's last prophet and messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him - pbuh)
The word Allah in the Arabic language means God, or more accurately, The One and Only Eternal God, Creator of the Universe, Lord of all lords, King of all kings, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. The word Allah to mean God is also used by Arabic speaking Jews and Christians.
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Beginners Q and AWhat is Islam?
Islam is not a new religion. It is the same truth that God revealed to all His prophets throughout history. Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy and forgiveness that should not be associated with acts of violence against the innocent.
Who are Muslims and what do they believe?
There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide. No more than 20 percent of Muslims live in the Arabic-speaking world. The country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia. Muslims believe in One, Unique, and Incomparable God. They believe in the Day of Judgement and individual accountability for actions. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets beginning with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus. God’s eternal message was reaffirmed and finalized by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on them all). One becomes a Muslim by saying, “There is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” By this declaration, the person announces faith in all of God’s messengers.
What is the Quran?
The Quran is the record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad. It was memorized by Muhammad and then dictated to his companions. The text of the Quran was cross-checked during the life of the Prophet. The 114 chapters of the Quran have remained unchanged through the centuries.
What are the “Five Pillars” of Islam?
1. The Declaration of Faith: This consists of the two sentence declaration described above.
2. Prayer: Muslims perform five obligatory prayers each day. Islamic prayers are a direct link between the worshiper and God. Islam has no hierarchical authority or priesthood. A learned Muslim chosen by each congregation leads the prayers.
3. Zakat: One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God and that wealth is held in trust by human beings. Zakat, or charitable giving, “purifies” wealth by setting aside a portion for those in need. This payment is usually two and a half percent of one’s capital.
4. Fasting: Every year in the Islamic lunar month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from first light until sunset. The fast is another method of self-purification.
5. Pilgrimage: A pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, is an obligation for those who are physically or financially able.
What about Muslim women?
Under Islamic law, women have always had the right to own property, receive an education and otherwise take part in community life. Men and women are to be respected equally. The Islamic rules for modest dress apply to both women and men equally. (Men cannot expose certain parts of their bodies, wear gold or silk, etc.) If a particular society oppresses women, it does so in spite of Islam, not because of it.
What is Jihad?
“Jihad” does not mean “holy war.” Literally, jihad means to strive, struggle and exert effort. It is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield for self-defense (e.g., – having a standing army for national defense), or fighting against tyranny or oppression.
Islam is a Code of Life
- Spiritual Life
- Intellectual Life
- Personal Life
- Family Life
- Social Life
- Economical Life
- Political Life
- International Life
Islamic prescription: Prayer, fasting, charity giving, pilgrimage, love for God and His Messenger, love for truth and humanity for the sake of God, hope and trust in God at all times and doing good for the sake of God.
2. Intellectual Life
Islamic prescription: True knowledge based on clear proofs and indisputable evidence acquired by experience or experiment or by both. The Quran points to the rich sources of knowledge in the whole universe.
Islam demands faith in God on the basis of knowledge and research and leaves wide open all fields of thought before the intellect to penetrate as far as it can reach.
3. Personal Life
Islamic prescription: Purity and cleanliness, a healthy diet, proper clothing, proper behavior and good healthy sexual relations within marriage.
4. Family Life
Islamic prescription: A family is a human social group whose members are bound together by the bond of blood ties and/or marital relationship and nothing else (adoption, mutual alliance, common law, trial marriage. . . . etc.)
Marriage is a religious duty on all who are capable of meetings its responsibilities. Each member of the family has rights and obligations.
5. Social Life
Islamic prescription: Man/Woman is ordained by God to extend his/her utmost help and kindness to other family members, relations, servants and neighbors. No superiority on account of class, color, origin or wealth.
Humanity represents one family springing from one and the same father and mother. The unity of humanity is not only in its origin but also in its ultimate aims.
6. Economical Life
Islamic prescription: Earning one's living through decent labor is not only a duty, but a great virtue as well. Earning is man's private possession. The individual is responsible for the prosperity of the state and the state is responsible for the security of the individual.
The Islamic economic system is not based on arithmetical calculations alone but also on morals and principles. Man comes into this world empty-handed and departs empty-handed. The real owner of things is God alone. Man is simply a trustee.
7. Political Life
Islamic prescription: The sovereignty in the Islamic State belongs to God; the people exercise it by trust from Him to enforce His laws.
The ruler is only an acting executive chosen by the people to serve them according to God's law. The State is to administer justice and provide security for ALL citizens (Muslims and Non-Muslims).
Rulers and administrators must be chosen from the best qualified citizens. If an administration betrays the trust of God and the people, it has to be replaced.
Non Muslims can administer their personal life of marriage, divorce, foods and inheritance according to the Islamic law or to their own religious teachings. They may pay Zakah (Islamic tax) or a different tax "Tributes" "Jizyah". They are entitled to full protection and security of the state including freedom of religion.
8. International Life
Islamic prescription: Man has a common origin, human status and aim. Other people's interests and rights to life, honor and property are respected as long as the rights of Muslims are intact. Transgression is forbidden. War is only justified if the state security is endangered. During war destruction of crops, animals and homes, killing non-fighting men, women, children and aged people are forbidden.
Summary: Islam is a total submission to God and His laws.
Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.
Articles of Faith
1. A Muslim believes in One God, Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and Provider.
God has no father nor mother, no sons nor daughters. He has not fathered anyone nor was He fathered. None equal to Him. He is God of all mankind, not of a special tribe or race.
God is High and Supreme but He is very near to the pious thoughtful believers; He answers their prayers and helps them. He loves the people who love Him and forgives their sins. He gives them peace, happiness, knowledge and success.
God is the Loving and the Provider, the Generous and the Benevolent, the Rich and the Independent, the Forgiving and the Clement, the Patient and the Appreciative, the Unique and the Protector, the Judge and the Peace. God's attributes are mentioned in the Quran.
God creates in humans the mind to understand, the soul and conscience to be good and righteous, the feelings and sentiments to be kind and humane. If we try to count His favours upon us, we cannot, because they are countless.
In return for all the great favours and mercy, God does not need anything from us, because he is Needless and Independent.
God asks us to know Him, to love Him and to enforce His Law for our own benefit and our own good.
2. A Muslim believes in all the Messengers and Prophets of God without any discrimination.
All messengers were mortals, human beings, endowed with Divine revelations and appointed by God to teach mankind. The Holy Quran mentions the names of 25 messengers and prophets and states that there are others. These include Noah, Abrahim, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Their message is the same and it is Islam and it came from One and the Same Source; God, and it is to submit to His will and to obey his law, ie, to become a Muslim.
3. A Muslim believes in all scriptures and revelations of God, as they were complete and in their original versions.
Revelations were given to guide the people to the right path of God. The Quran refers to the books revealed to Abrahim, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad.
Today, the books before the Quran do not exist in their original form. They are lost or corrupted or concealed. Weakness in the early period of Judaism and Christianity are partly responsible.
Today the Quran is the only authentic and complete book of God. No scholar has questioned the fact that the Quran today is the same as it was more than 1400 years ago. Muslims till today memorize the Quran word by word as a whole or in part.
God who revealed the Quran is protecting it from being lost, corrupted, or concealed.
4. A Muslim believes in the angels of God.
They are purely spiritual and splendid beings created by God. They require no food or drink or sleep. They have no physical desires nor material needs.
Angels spend their time in the service of God. Each charged with a certain duty. Angels cannot be seen by the naked eyes. Knowledge and truth are not entirely confined to sensory knowledge or sensory perception alone.
5. A Muslim believes in the day of Judgement.
This world as we know it will come to an end and the dead will rise to stand for their final and fair trial. Everything we do, say, make, intend and think are accounted for and kept in accurate records. They are brought up on the day of Judgement.
People with good records will be generously rewarded and warmly welcomed to God's Heaven. People with bad records will be fairly punished and cast into Hell.
The real nature of Heaven and Hell are known to God only, but they are described by God in man's familiar terms in the Quran.
If some good deeds are seen not to get full appreciation and credit in this life, they will receive full compensation and be widely acknowledged on the Day of Judgement.
If some people who commit sins, neglect God and indulge in immoral activities seem superficially successful and prosperous in this life, absolute justice will be done to them on the Day of Judgement.
The time of the Day of Judgement is only known to God and God alone.
6. A Muslim believes in "Qadaa" and "Qadar".
"Qadaa" and "Qadar" means the Timeless Knowledge of God and His power to plan and execute His plans. God is not indifferent to this world nor is He neutral to it.
God is Wise, Just and Loving and whatever He does must have a good motive, although we may fail sometimes to understand it fully.
We should have strong faith in God and accept whatever He does because our knowledge is limited and our thinking is based on individual consideration, whereas His knowledge is limitless and He plans on a universal basis.
Man should think, plan, and make sound choices, but if things do not happen the way he wants, he should not lose faith and surrender himself to mental strains or shattering worries.
7. A Muslim believes that the purpose of life is to worship God.
Worshipping God does not mean we spend our entire lives in constant seclusion and absolute meditation. To worship God is to live life according to His commands, not to run away from it.
To worship God is to know Him, to love Him, to obey His commands, to enforce His laws in every aspect of life, to serve His cause by doing right and shunning evil and to be just to Him, to ourselves and to our fellow human beings.
8. A Muslim believes that humans enjoys an especially high ranking status in the hierarchy of all known creatures.
Humans occupies this distinguished position because he alone is gifted with rational faculties and spiritual aspirations as well as powers of action.
Humans are not a condemned race from birth to death, but a dignified being potentially capable of good and noble achievements.
9. A Muslim believes that every person is born "Muslim".
Every person is endowed by God with spiritual potential and intellectual inclination that can make him a good Muslim.
Every person's birth takes place according to the will of God in realization of His plans and in submission to His commands.
10. A Muslim believes that every person is born free from sin.
When the person reaches the age of maturity and if he is sane, he becomes accountable for all his deeds and intentions. Man is free from sin until he commits sin.
There is no inherited sin, no original sin. Adam committed the first sin, he prayed to God for pardon, and God granted Adam pardon.
11. A Muslim believes that man must work out his salvation through the guidance of God.
No one can act on behalf of another or intercede between him and God.
In order, to obtain salvation a person must combine faith and action, belief and practice. Faith without doing good deeds is as insufficient as doing good deeds without faith.
12. A Muslim believes that God does not hold any person responsible until he has shown him the Right Way.
If people do not know and have no way of knowing about Islam, they will not be responsible for failing to be Muslim. Every Muslim must preach Islam words and in action.
13. A Muslim believes that faith is not complete when it is followed blindly or accepted unquestioningly.
Man must build his faith on well-grounded convictions beyond any reasonable doubt and above uncertainty.
Islam insured freedom to believe and forbids compulsion in religion. (one of the oldest synagogues and one of the oldest churches in the world are in Muslim countries).
14. A Muslim believes that the Quran is the word of God revealed to prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel.
The Quran was revealed from God on various occasions to answer questions, solve problems, settle disputes and to be man's best guide to the truth.
The Quran was revealed in Arabic and it is still in its original and complete Arabic version until today. It is memorized by millions.
15. A Muslim believes in a clear distinction between the Quran and the Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. Whereas the Quran is the word of God, the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (his teachings, sayings, and actions) are the practical interpretations of the Quran.
Both the Quran and the Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad are the primary sources of knowledge in Islam.