WHAT IS ISLAM?
The religion of Islam is the complete acceptance of Allah (God, the most high) and Muhammad (peace be upon him). At the same time it is obedience to the teachings of God and also His Messenger and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Islam is a religion of mercy and a complete way of life. Islam simply means “submission” and derives from a word meaning peace and mercy.
The religion Islam is a system of divine guidance which if chosen as a criterion for a way of life is intended to show mankind the way to happiness and success in both this temporary world and the eternal hereafter.
IS ISLAM A NEW RELIGION?
Islam is not a new religion. However, God revealed the same truth through all His previous prophets to all people.
Prophet Adam (pbuh) was the first man and also the first prophet and prophet Mohammed (pbuh) is the last prophet that God sent as His messengers to reveal His divine religion to all people. In essence, all these religions are Islam and the followers are Muslims.
Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said: “All prophets are brothers and their religions are one, the same”.
However, since the earlier divine religions were later mixed with the incorrect sayings and ideas of some priests; their messages became corrupt and consequently lost their original purity and were longer dependable for a particular people or time. For this reason God, through His prophet Muhammed (pbuh), revealed to the whole of mankind and all the angels the last and the most complete of all the religions, namely the religion of Islam.
One who has entered into the fold of Islam is called a “Muslim”.
Muhammad (pbuh) did not come to abolish, but to purify, admonish, approve, correct and to complete the previous messages that were revealed to all the previous Prophets who came before Him. Among those Prophets were Jesus, Moses, Abraham, David, Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael, Noah, and many more.
WHAT IS FAITH (AL-IMAN)?
The articles of Faith to Muslims are:
1-To believe in God
2- To believe in His angels.
3- To believe in His books.
4- To believe in His Prophets (peace be upon them)
5- To believe in the Day of Judgement
6- To believe in divine predestination; namely that both good and evil are from Godand that there is life after death.
One who does not accept any one of the above-mentioned articles of faith is regarded as having denied them all. For instance, one who has accepted the first five conditions but has rejected belief in life after death cannot be considered to be a Muslim.
The qur’anic-arabic word ALLAH means the-Almighty GOD; “The One and Only true God who created the whole universe”.
No one shares His divinity, nor His attributes. In the Quran, Allah (TMH) describes Himself:
Say, “He is God, the One. God, to whom the creatures turn for their needs. He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none like Him” (Quran, 112:14)
He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and the Most Beneficent. In one of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, we are told that: “Allah (TMH) is more merciful to His creatures than a mother to her child.”
The angels are honoured creatures, gentle, spiritual beings that can take any form they wish. They are creatures made from light. While they are seeing us, we cannot see them. They are neither male nor female nor do they disobey God. They obey Him, and act only by His command. They do not need to eat or drink and they do not get tired.
QURAN, THE HOLY BOOK
The holy book of Islam. The holy scriptures that God from time to time revealed to His last prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
In the holy Quran God describes:
“Surely this Quran guides to that which is most right, and gives good tidings to the believers who do deeds of righteousness that theirs will be a great reward”(Quran:17:9)
Muslims believe that God revealed books to His messengers as proof for mankind and as guidance for them.
Since prophet Muhammad (pbuh), not a single letter of the glorious Quran has been changed and all copies of the noble Quran in the world are exactly the same.
WHO IS THE FIRST PROPHET
Muslims believe in all the prophets and the messengers of God. The first man and the first prophet was Adam (pbuh).
Adam (pbuh) our first father and Eve (Hawa) our first mother were placed on earth from paradise clean and pure.
The prophets and messengers of God are; starting with Adam, including Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus peace be upon them. But Allah’s (TMH) final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message, was revealed to the prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
WHO IS MUHAMMAD (PBUH)?
God has said:
“Muhammad (pbuh) the seal of the Prophets, that is the last Prophet. No other Prophet shall come after him”
“He was appointed as the last Messenger of the whole of humanity and angels”
“He has been sent as a mercy to all worlds” (Quran: 21:107)
“The religious code and way of life (al-shariah) which he brought shall remain in effect until the day of judgement”
“Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but he is the messenger of Allah and the last of the Prophets”(Quran:33:40)
THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT
The hereafter (al-Akhirah) is the endless eternal life after this temporary worldly life. God has created this world and the whole creation for a limited period of time.
Muslims believe in the Day of Judgement (the Day of Resurrection) when all people will be resurrected for Allah’s (TMH) judgement according to their beliefs and deeds.
AL-QADAR (DIVINE DECREE)
Muslims believe in Al-Qadar, which is divine predestination, but this belief in divine predestination does not mean that human beings do not have freewill.
Rather, Muslims believe that God has given human beings freewill. This means that they can choose right or wrong and that they are responsible for their choices.
WHAT DOES ISLAM SAY ABOUT THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT?
Muslims believe that the present of life is only a trail preparation for the nest realm of existence. This life is a test for each individual for the life after death.
A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and the dead will be resurrected for judgement to God.
This day will be the beginning of a life that will never end. This day is the Day of Judgement.
On that day, all people will be rewarded by God according to their beliefs and deeds.
Those who die while believing that “There is no true God but God , and Muhammad is the messenger (prophet) of God” and are Muslim will be rewarded on that day. They will be admitted to Paradise forever, as God has said: “And those who believe and do good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they dwell therein forever.”(Quran:2:82)
And He has said: “Did you the think that we had created you in jest (without any purpose), and that you would not be returned to us (in the Hereafter)? So, God is exalted, the True King. None has right to be worshipped but Him…”
HOW DOES SOMEONE BECOME A MUSLIM?
Simply by saying with conviction, “La ilaha illa allah, Muhammadun Rasoolu allah” someone converts to Islam and becomes a Muslim.
This saying means, “There is no true God but God(Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.”
The first part, “There is no true God but God,” means that none has the right to be worshipped but God alone, and that God has neither partner nor son.
WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS?
Muslims respect and revere Jesus (peace be upon him). They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind. The Quran confirms his virgin birth, and a chapter of the Quran is entitled “Maryam”(Mary). The Quran describes the birth of Jesus as follows:
“(Remember) when the angels said: “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary revered in this world and the hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God). He will speak to people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.”She said: “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said: “So (it will be). God creates what He wills. If He decrees things, He says to it only, “Be!” and it is” (Quran: 3:45-47)
Jesus was born miraculously by the command of God like how He had brought Adam into being without a father. God has said:
“The case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam. He created him from dust, and then He said to Him, “Be!” and he came into being.”(Quran:3:59)
“His command, when He (God) intends things, is only that He says unto it: Be! And it is. Therefore glory is to Him in whose hand is the dominion of all things! Unto Him you will be brought back” (Quran,36:82:83). During his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles. God tells us as that Jesus said:
“ I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I make for you the shape of a bird out of clay, I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission. I heal the blind, the dead from birth and the leaper. And I bring the dead to life by God’s permission. And I tell you what to eat and what you store in your houses.”(Quran,3:49)
WAS JESUS CRUCIFIED?
Muslim believes that Jesus was not crucified. It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him. And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man. Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus. God has said:
“…They said: “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)…”(Quran, 4:157)
Neither Muhammad (p.b.u.h), nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in God, brought by earlier prophets, but rather to confirm and renew it.
DO MUSLIMS BELEIVE IN THE BIBLE?
Muslims believe that God (the most great) from time to time revealed to creation through his prophets (p.b.u.h) the holy books. Thus He could communicate to mankind His wisdom, His commands, His prohibitions and in general His divine wisdom. These Holy Scriptures are collectively referred to as divine books. Muslims also believe that God revealed one of these holy books to Jesus (p.b.u.h.) called the Injeel (BIBLE).
Muslims believe in the original scriptures of the holy book of God to Jesus (p.b.u.h).
WHAT DOES ISLAM SAY ABOUT TERRORISM?
Islam is a religion of mercy and a complete way of life. Islam, simply means “submission” and derives from a word meaning peace and mercy. Islam does not permit terrorism. In the Quran, God (Allah; the most great) has said:
“God does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who have neither made war on your religion nor driven you from your homes. God loves the equitable.”(Quran: 60:8)
Whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whosoever saves one life, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.
The term Muslim terrorist is on oxymoron; one who really practices Islam cannot be a terrorist. Since Islam, as a faith, means total and sincere surrender to God so that one can live in peace and tranquility.
WHAT DOES ISLAM SAY ABOUT KILLING PEOPLE IN WAR?
The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) used to prohibit soldiers (even in war) from killing defenceless civilians, killing women and children and he would advise them. “Do not betray. Do not be excessive. Do not kill a newborn child.”(Bukhari, 3015)
And he also said “Whoever has killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of paradise, though its fragrance is found a span of forty years.”
WHAT DOES ISLAM SAY ABOUT ANIMALS?
Muslims are even encouraged to be kind to animals and are forbidden to hurt them.
Additionally, while taking the life of an animal for food, Muslims are commanded to do so in a manner that causes the least amount of fright and suffering possible. The prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) said: “When you slaughter an animal, do so in the best way. One should sharpen his knife to reduce the suffering of the animal.”
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT OF A KILLER IN ISLAM?
In Islam, to kill someone without just cause, thereby repeating the crime of Cain, is considered a crime against all humanity. It is as if the murdered had killed not just one man, but everyone.
To commit acts of terror are treason both against society and against God and His Prophet. Although the Islamic jurists differ somewhat on the interpretation of this provision, it is acknowledged that those who commit armed robbery combined with murder are to be punished. With one of the four penalties specified above. The actual penalty applicable is decided upon by the legislature in accordance with what is deemed suitable for the region’s culture and norms.
“ Whosoever kills a human being for other then manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whose saves the life of one, it shall be as if had saved the life of all mankind”
HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN ISLAM?
Islam is a religion of peace and mercy and a complete way of life. Islam provides many human rights for the individual. The following are some of these human rights that Islam protects.
The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred, whether a person is Muslim or not.
Islam also protects honours. So, in Islam, insulting others or making fun of them is not allowed.
The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Truly your blood, your property, and your honour are inviolable.”(Al Bukhari 1739)
WHAT DOES ISLAM SAY ABOUT RACISM?
Racism is not allowed in Islam, for the Holy Quran speaks of human equality in the following terms.
“O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes for you to know one another. Truly, the noblest of you with God is the most pious. Truly, God is All-knowing, All-Aware.” (Quran, 49:13)
Islam rejects certain individuals or nations being favoured because of their wealth, power or race.
God created human beings equally, who are to be distinguished from each other only on the basis of their faith and piety.
A pious person is a believer who abstains from all kinds of sins, performs all good deeds that God commands us to do, and fears and loves God.
ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF JUSTICE
God has said: “Truly God commands you to give back trust to those to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, to judge with justice…”
And He has said:”…And act justly. Truly, God loves those who are just.”(Quran, 49:9)
We should even be just with those who we hate, as God has said: “…And let not the hatred of others makes you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety” (Quran, 5:8)
The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) said: “On the Day of Judgement, rights will be given to those to whom they are due (and wrongs will be redressed)…” (Muslim 2582, Musnad 7163)
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF WOMAN IN ISLAM?
Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property (whether that she is living with her father, husband, or anyone else).
Women and men are equal before God. Both are accountable before God.
Islam encourages the husband to treat his wife well, as the prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) said:
“The best among you are those who are the best to their wives.”(Ibn Majah, 1978, and Al-Tirmizi, 3895)
Also marriage is strongly encouraged and is both a legal agreement and a sacred bond. Islam sees every women married or unmarried, as individual in her own right.
She has the same right to own property, earn wealth and spend it as a man has. Her wealth does not become the property of her husband after marriage or divorce.
A woman has the right to choose whom she marries and, when married does not change her last name, out of respect for her lineage. A woman can seek a divorce if her marriage does not work out.
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF PARENTS IN ISLAM?
Mothers and fathers in Islam are highly honoured. Islam recommends treating them in the best way. God (Allah, the most high): Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you show kindness to your parents. If either or both of them attain old age with you (show no sign of impatience, and) do not (even) say “fie” to them; nor rebuke them, but speak kind words to them. And lower unto them the wing of humility and tenderness and say: “ May care for me when I was small”.
A man came to the Prophet Muhammed and said:” O messenger of Allah! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?”
The Prophet said:” Your Mother”
The man asked:”Then who?”
The Prophet said:”Then your mother”
The man asked again,” Then who?”
The Prophet said: “Then your father”
(Saheeh Muslim, 2548 and Saheeh Al –Bukhari, 5971.)
THE FAMILY IN ISLAM
The family, which is the basic unit of civilisation, is now disintegrating. Islam’s family system brings rights of the husband, wife, children, and relatives into a fine equilibrium. It nourishes unselfish behaviour, generosity, and love in the framework of a well-organized family system.
The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued, and it is seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members. A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families and by treasuring children.
HOW DO MUSLIMS TREAT THE ELDERLY?
In the Islamic world, one rarely finds “old people’s homes.” The strain of caring for one’s parents in this most difficult time of their lives is considered an honor and a blessing and an opportunity for great spiritual growth.
Mothers are particularly honoured. When Muslim parents reach old age, they are treated mercifully with kindness and selflessness. In islam serving one’s parents is a duty second to prayer, and it is their right to except it. It is considered despicaple to express any irritation when, through no fault of their own, the elderly become difficult.
WHAT ARE THE “FIVE PILLARS” OF ISLAM?
The essential articles of Islam are five:
1. To pronounce the formula of testimony (al-Kalimah al-Shahadah)
2. To perform prayer (salah)
3. To give alms (zakah)
4. To fast during the month of Ramadan (sawm)
5. To make pilgrimage (Hajj).
One who fulfils the conditions of Islam is called Mu’min or Muslim. Whoever denies any one requirement removes himself from Islam.
1) The Testimony of Faith (Al-Kalimah Al-Shahadah)
The testimony of faith is saying with conviction, “Ash’hadu an la ilaha illallah, wa ash’hadu anna Muhammad’an abduhu wa Rasuluh”
Meaning: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and messenger of Allah”
Or “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun rasoolu Allah.”
The testimony of faith is the most important pillar of Islam.
2) Prayer (Al-Salah)
Muslims perform five prayers a day. Each prayer does not take more than a few minutes to perform. Prayer in Islam is a direct link between God and the worshipper.
Daily prayers are performed at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night. A muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories or universities.
3) To Give Alms (al-Zakah):
Giving Zakah: Support of the Needy
In Islam, all things belong to God, and wealth is therefore held by human beings by trust. The original meaning of the word zakah is both “purification” and “growth”.
Giving zakah means “giving a specified percentage on certain properties to certain classes of needy people.”
A person may also give as much as he or she pleases as voluntary alms or charity on certain properties to certain classes of needy people.
4) Fasting the Month of Ramadan (Al-Sawn):
Every year in the month of Ramadan all Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, obtaining from food, drink and sexual relations.
The month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (which is lunar, not solar).
Although the fast is beneficial to health, it is regarded principally as a method of spiritual self-purification. By cutting oneself off from orderly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry, as well as growth in his or her spiritual life.
5) To Make Pilgrimage (Al-Hajj):
The annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah is an obligation once in a lifetime for those who are physically and financially able to perform it.
About three to four million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe. Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, annual Hajj is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.
Male pilgrims wear special simple cloths which strip away distinctions of class and culture so that all stand equal before God.
The rites of the Hajj include circling the Kaaba seven times and going seven times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa, as Hajar, the wife of prophet Abraham, did during her search for water. Then pilgrims stand together in Arafat and ask God for what they wish and for His forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Day of Judgement.
The end of Hajj is marked by a festival, Eid Al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers. This, and Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are the two annual festivals of the Muslim calendar.
EID; THE ANNUAL FESTIVALS OF MUSLIMS
In Islam, there are two annual festivals in the Muslim calendar; Religious Eid-Festivity.
The English meanings for the Arabic word of eid is happiness, rejoice and recurring happiness and festivity.
1•Eid Al-Fitr: Feast of fasting-breaking; festivity after fasting the month of Ramadan. It is for three consecutive days.
2• Eid Al-Adha: The end of the Hajj is marked by a festival, Feast of Sacrifice, the feast of pilgrimage. It is for four consecutive days.
WHAT IS A SIN AND WHAT ARE THE MAJOR SINS (HARAM) IN ISLAM?
Sin is violating any of God’s laws. Sins are divided in two types:
A• Major –Big-Sins
B• Minor Sins.
A• Major Mortal Sins:
1- Associating partners with God;
3- False Accusation;
5- Desertion from a just war;
6- Making “Black Magic” or using charms and spells;
7- Misusing the orphan’s wealth;
8- Disobeying the legitimate wishes of one’s parents;
9- Commiting a sin at the Kaaba;
10- To deal in interest;
11- Thievery; and
12- Drinking beverages containing alcohol.
Even though these above mentioned major sins are twelve, according to the opinion of Muslim scholars (ijtihad), other ugly deeds resembling these are also regarded as major – big- sins. On the other hand, a minor sin becomes a major sin if it is continually repeated.
MEANING OF SOME WORDS AND MANNERS
AMEER: Leader, a religious leader.
AYAH, AYAT: Verse; it is true unit of the Qur’an. Ayat is plural.
AZAN: Call for the prayer. Announcement. The call or summons to congregational prayers proclaimed by the Mu’azzin as:
“Allah is most great!
There is no God but Allah.
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah!
Come to pray!
Come to salvation!
Prayer is better than sleep!”
DU’AA’: Supplication: Muslims should make Du’aa’ directly to God without any intercession. Du’aa’ is the climax of worship asking God’s forgiveness, guidance, mercy and blessings.
GHUSL: Taking a bath for the purpose of (ritual) cleanliness.
HADITH: Saying of Prophet Muhammad. The plural of which is Ahadith.
HAFEEZ: Who had memorised all pages and lines of the Holy Book (Qur’an).
HAJJ: Pilgrimage to Makkah and its vicinities at least once in life. It is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is to be performed in the first ten days of last lunar month of Zul-Hijjah.
HALAL: Which is lawful (legal and allowed), as distinguished from haram or that which is unlawful.
HARAM: Prohibited. That which is unlawful. Forbidden, banned, illegal.
HIJAB: Muslim women’s dress code. According to the belief of Islam a Muslim woman must always cover her head with a scarf when she is on the presence of other men.
IMAM: A religious leader as well as the person who leads Muslims in their prayer. An Imam must be truthful and trustworthy. A Muslim congregation will choose amongst themselves the one person with the most religious knowledge and experience to lead prayer when there aren’t any imams available.
JAMA’AH: Group, congregation especially for prayers.
JIHAD: Striving for the best. It is not a holy war, but a struggle to achieve the best in life.
JUMU’AH: Friday, Weekly holiday for Muslims, also a chapter in the Qur’an.
KA’BAH: The first House of Worship to God on earth. It is in Makkah City in the Arabian Peninsula. It was built by: Adam, Eve and Angel Gabriel. It was reconstructed by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail.
KHUTBAH: A sermon mainly for the Friday and Eid prayers.
MASJID: The Place for prayer and to worship God by prostrating to Him. The place of worship prostration. Mosque, or place of public prayer.
MU-AZZIN: A person who calls for prayer. Assistant of Imam.
QIBLAH: Direction of the Ka’bah in Makkah is the kiblah for the Muslims all over the world. They pray to God five times a day and they direct their faces toward the Qiblah, Ka’bah.
QUR’AN: The holy Book of Islam to all creatures that God has created. It is a guide to Muslims and all humanity.
RAMADAN: it is the holy month of fasting. It occurs in the 9th Lunar month of the Islamic calendar.
SADAQAH: Charity. It is to be given with good intention and without bragging about it. Sadaqah could be money, a favour, a help, or refraining from doing harm to others.
SALAT: Prayer; it is a union between the creature and God. Muslims pray five times a day and congregate once a week on Fridays.
SAWM: Fasting; Muslims are to fast the whole month of Ramadan which is the 9th Lunar month every year. They are to fast from dawn to sunset with total abstinence from food, liquids, matrimonial relationships, as well as from all types of backbiting.
SHAIKH: A respectable man, a man of authority, a leader, a learned man.
SHARI’AH: Islamic Jurisprudence. The right way of Religion. The law, including both the teaching of the Qur’an and of the traditional saying of Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h.).
SUNNAH: Tradition; here it is the teachings of the Prophet: saying, Hadith, lifestyle, customs, habits, etc.
SURAH: A chapter or portion of the qur’an is called Surah.
TAKBEER(Allahu Akbar): Saying God is the Greatest.
TARAWEEH: Special prayer to perform during thr Month of Fasting (Ramadan) after Isha (night) salat.
ULAMA: Scholars in Islamic laws (Shariah)
UMMAH: The Community of Islam throughout the world and history till the Day of Judgement
WUDOO: The Ablution made before performing the appointed prayers.
ZAKAH, ZAKAT: The forth pillar of Islam: it is a type of obligatory payment of money (by those who have more than their basic needs).