- Religion and Philosophy
Everything you need to know about Islam
Islam is a very beautiful and massive religion. Unfortunately it also very misunderstood and people have many misconceptions about it. There is much, much to say about Islam but I have briefly put together the main facts about it and I hope it will help you get a better understanding of Islam and its true beauty.
What is Islam and what does it mean?
Islam is not only a religion but also a complete way of life. Contrary to popular belief Islam does not literally mean peace. 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.
What are the followers of Islam called?
A person who follows Islam is called a Muslim, (sometimes the term Muslimah is used to describe a Muslim women) and this means "one who surrenders to God."
When does Islam date back to?
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 (peace and blessings be up on them all).
Who and what do they believe in?
Islam is a monotheistic religion so they believe in one God;
Allah. Allah is an Arabic word that describes God. "Allah" comes from
the Arabic word "elah"a god' or something worshiped. This word (elah)
can be made plural (gods), as in "aleha" and it can be male or female
just as the word in English can be "goddess." "Allah" comes
from "elaha" but it brings more clarification and understanding.
Allah = Has no gender (not male and not female)
"He" is used only out of respect and dignity - not for gender
Allah = Always singular - Never plural
"We" is used only as the "Royal WE" just as in English for royalty
Allah = Means "The Only One to be Worshipped"
Allah has 99 names or attributes.
Click on the link below to find the meaning and explanations of these attributes.
Also watch the beautiful video below.
99 Names of Allah
What is their holy book?
The holy book of Islam is called the Qur’an (also spelt as Koran or Quran). Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind, and consider the original Arabic text to be the final revelation of God. Muslims believe that the Qur’an was revealed to the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) through angel Jibreel (Gabriel) (peace be upon him). Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the word of God word for word.
What are the main articles of faith?
- A Muslim believes in One God, Supreme and
Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and
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 is their source 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 man 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.
- 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 (peace and blessings be upon them all). 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A Muslim believes in "Qadaa" and
"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.
- 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.
- A Muslim believes that man enjoys an
especially high ranking status in the hierarchy of all known creatures.
Man occupies this distinguished position because he alone is gifted with rational faculties and spiritual aspirations as well as powers of action.
Man is not a condemned race from birth to death, but a dignified being potentially capable of good and noble achievements.
- A Muslim believes that every person is born
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
A Muslim believes that the Quran is the word of God revealed to prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) through the Angel Gabriel (peace be upon him). 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.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.
What are the 5 Pillars of Islam?
Islam is built on five pillars. These acts are obligatory on
every Muslim adult. Some are done daily, monthly, anually, while one is only
required once in a lifetime.
To do this one must simply state publicly "Ashadu alla ilaha illa Allah, wa ashadu anna Muhammed ar-rasool Allah".
This means, "I bear witness that there is no God other than Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammed is His messanger."
It should be a genuine belief from one's heart. The witnessing
of the Oneness of Allah is the rejection of any form of deity other than Allah,
and the witnessing that Muhammad is His Messenger is the acceptance of him
being chosen by Allah to convey His message of Islam to all humanity and to
deliver it from the darkness of ignorance into the light of belief in, and
knowledge of, the Creator.
In prayer, every muscle and bone of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of Allah(swt).
Offering of prayers is obligatory upon every Muslim who is sane, mature and in the case of women free from menstruation and confinement due to child birth. some requirements must be met in oreder for the prayer to be valid. These include but are not limited to:
Performing wudu - ritually cleaning the body clothes and ground used for prayer.
Clothing - one must be covered in the manner according to his gender.
Facing the Ka'ba (referred to as the Qibla)
Intention - merely saying in your mind that you are attempting to pray and gain the benefits from it.
Prayers are required at least five times a day. Other obligatory prayer include the Friday congregational prayer, Eid prayers and the funeral prayer. Times of the five daily obligatory prayers:
2.Zuhr-After the sun begins to decline from its zenith.
4.Magrib-Just after sunset.
In addition one is also encouraged but not required to perform
prayers during the day and night. Prayer should be offered in its due time,
unless there is a reasonable excuse. Delayed obligatory prayers must be made
up. In addition to the prescribed prayer, a Muslim expresses gratitude to
Godand appreciation of His favours and asks for His mercy all the time.
Especially at times of, childbirth, marriage, going to or rising from bed,
leaving and returning to his home, starting a journey or entering a city,
riding or driving, before or after eating or drinking, harvesting, visiting
graveyards and at time of distress and sickness.
Obligatory charity giving is an act of worship and spiritual investment. Zakah does not only purify the property of the contributor but also purifies his heart from selfishness and greed. It also purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, from hatred and uneasiness and it fosters instead good-will and warm wishes for the contributors. It also frees society from welfare, distrust and coruption. Zakah is paid on the net balance after paying personal expenses, family expenses, due credits, taxes, etc. Taxes paid to government do not substitute for this religious duty. The contributor should not seek pride or fame but if disclosing his name and his contribution is likely to encourage others, it is acceptable to do so.
The recipients of Zakah are:
- the poor, the needy,
- the new Muslim converts,
- the Muslim prisoners of war (to liberate them),
- Muslims in debt,
- employees appointed to collect Zakah,
- Muslims in service of research or study or propagation of Islam,
- wayfarers who are foreigners in need of help.
Note that Zakah is obligatory. Muslims can also go above and
beyond what they pay as Zakah, in which case the offering is strictly voluntary
(blessing will come to those who wish for his brother what he wishes for
Fasting is abstaining completely from eating, drinking, and intimate sexual contacts from the break of dawn till sunset. It is a matchless Islamic institution which teaches man the principle of sincere love to God, creative sense of hope, devotion,patience, unselfishness, discipline, etc. Obligatory fasting is done once a year for the period of the month of Ramadan. Fasting during this time is obligatory on every muslim adult if he is mentally and physically fit and not on a journey. Women are allowed to skip a fasting day due to menstruation, and while nursing a baby.
It is obligatory to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, at least
once in a lifetime. Muslims from all walks of life, from every corner of the
globe assemble in Mecca in response to the call of Allah. It is to commemorate
the Divine rituals observed by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael, who
were the first pilgrims to the house of Allah on earth: the Ka'bah. It is also
to remember the great assembly of the Day of Judgement when people will stand
equal before Allah. Muslims go to Mecca to glorify Allah, not to worship a man.
The visit to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad at Madena is highly recommended but
not essential in making the Hajj valid and complete.