Islam

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Introduction to Islam           
Concept of God In Islam
The Five Pillars of Islam
The six articles of Muslim faith
What is the Quran
Who is Prophet Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him)
Salvation in Islam
Women In Islam
Islam and other religions
Human rights in Islam(NEW)

 

 

 

Introduction to Islam:

  • "Islam" is an Arabic word which means Submission (literally). It comes from the root word "Salam" which means peace. So Muslims would say that submission to God will lead you to the ultimate peace of mind and soul. Muslims say that the complete religious meaning of the word "Islam" would be Submission under God's will.
  • Islam as a religion emphasizes the worship of the one, and only one, god who created every thing in the universe.
  • The essence of Islam is to enable you to live your life according to the orders and the will of God.

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Concept of God in Islam:              

  • The God that Muslims worship is the creator, sustainer, evolver,...etc of the universe. He is the same God that is Jesus, Moses and Ibrahim called for to worship. 
  • God created every thing out of nothing. He did so by his own will, merely by saying to something "Be" and it is.
  • He is considered to be one in his person. He is manifested in only one personality, that is his own, and not in two, three, four, or any number of personalities.
  • He is eternal (he doesn't die).
  • He doesn't have and never had a wife or children. That is to say that he was never married and he doesn't have any children neither biologically nor spiritually.
  • He controls every thing in the universe by his own will and ability. He does this alone and there is no other Gods in the universe who share with him his Kingdom.
  • The oneness of God is clearly explained in the Quran in chapter 112 which says " Say, He is Allah (God) the one and only, Allah the eternal absolute, he did not beget nor was he begotten, and there is nothing like unto him."
  • As you can see that God's name in Islam is Allah. The name is uniquely used to him only which is different than the word God which can be pleural (Gods) or feminine (Goddess). This name is found in the Quran, so Muslims didn't invent it, as you can see in the above verses of chapter 112.
  • A Muslim's relationship with God is a one to one (direct) relationship. There is no agent or medium between Muslims and God. Muslims pray directly to God without any intervention between the two. A Muslim who puts any medium between himself and God is considered to be a Non Muslim.

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The five pillars of Islam:

  • Islam is based on five important pillars which are the testimony of faith (to say " I witness that there is no God but Allah, and I witness that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah"), five prayers per day, paying charity money, fasting the month of Ramadan, and making pilgrimage to Mecca once in the life time (if he/she can). Following is a discussion of every one of the pillars alone.
  • The testimony of faith: This is considered to be the main thing in Islam and the most important pillar. By saying this phrase "I witness that there is no God but Allah, and I witness that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah" a person is directly considered to be a Muslim. A Muslim who says this phrase is considered to be a Muslim even though if he didn't fulfill the other pillars (out of laziness). But if the person didn't fulfill the other pillars because he believes that he is not required to do them, then this takes him out of the circle of Islam because he has denied something that is very well known in Islam under the authority of the Quran and Prophet Mohammad's (peace be upon him) teachings. The importance of this pillar is that it summarizes the Muslims' creed. It affirms the ones of God and affirms that Mohammad is his final messenger to humanity.
  • The five daily prayers: A Muslim should pray five times every day. The word in Arabic which is roughly translated as prayer is "SALAH" which means connection (a close enough meaning not an exact one). This means that by these five prayers the Muslim get the chance to be in contact with God in a way that brings the Muslim closer and closer to God as every prayer ends. By this a Muslim gets his Islamic battery charged at various times in the day. Muslims pray at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and night. Having to pray at these important day dividers the Muslim becomes continuously waiting to meet with God and stand before him. This in turn helps increase the remembrance of God in the Muslim's mind and by this he will restrain himself from doing sins between one prayer and another. Please understand that this does not mean that Muslims only remember God at prayer time only, Muslims are in continuous remembrance of God since they are always thinking that after a while they are going to be standing before him (not physically of course).
  • Paying charity money: Muslims are required to pay, every year, a certain amount of their total wealth to certain persons who are mentioned in the Quran at many places such as chapter 9 verse 60 "The charity money is for the poor , the extremely poor, the persons who are employed to collect the money, the persons who their hearts incline towards Islam, and to free the captives, and for the cause of Allah (God), and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cutoff every thing); a duty imposed by Allah, and Allah is all knowing all wise". By paying charity money you get to share with the poor and the needy. The more you give for the people the more you will get to know the true love and compassion. Paying charity money is also considered to be a thing that washes off sins like water puts off fire.
  • Fasting the month of Ramadan: Muslims have to fast the month of Ramadan (a month of the Loral calendar) each year. They are not allowed to eat, drink, have sex with their spouses, or enjoying their desires from dawn to sunset. The essence behind this is to increase Muslim's piety. Fasting depends on concentrating on God and on his obedience especially from dawn to sunset. By giving up his desires, willingly, the Muslim get to learn patience and discipline in a way that can increase his spirituality and brings him closer to God. Another essence of fasting is for the Muslim to experience the feelings of the needy and the poor. Many Muslims fast from food and water unwillingly simply because they cannot afford them. So when an able Muslim will experience thirst and hunger first hand, he will feel the pain of his fellow poor Muslims and will be more willing to help them and share his wealth with them.
  • The pilgrimage to Mecca: Muslims are required to go to Mecca (a city in Saudi Arabia) and make a pilgrimage in what is considered to be the holiest place on earth which is the Ka'aba. The ka'aba is a building that prophet Abraham and his son prophet Ishmael (peace be upon them) built for the worshipers of the one God to go pray and remember God. Muslims (as being the followers of the true religion) are commanded to go to this holy place and make certain rituals which increases their spirituality and make them remember the day of the resurrection.

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The six articles of the Muslim faith:
 

  • Every Muslim in order to be considered a true Muslim should have complete faith in six things. God, his angels, his books (divine revelations), his messengers, the day of judgment, and divine fait whether good or bad. Following is a brief discussion for every one.
  • God: Muslims should believe in God as being the creator, cherisher, sustainer, evolver,...etc of the whole universe. They should also believe that he is one and only one in his person and his rights. So no one should be worshiped with him, and no body or thing stands between his creation and himself.
  • Angels: Muslims should believe in the angels as being another creation by God whose one and only job is to serve God and carry out his orders.
  • Books (divine revelations): Muslims should believe in all the revelations that has been sent to mankind which are mentioned in the Quran and the teachings of prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Muslims believe in four revelations that has been sent by God to his messengers. These are the Torah (the revelation given to Moses peace be upon him), the Zaboor (the revelation given to David peace be upon him), the Injeel (the revelation given to Jesus peace be upon him), and the Quran the final revelation of God given to prophet Mohammad peace be upon him.
  • Messengers: Muslims should believe in messengers that has been sent by God in order to teach humanity about God. Prophets such as Moses, Jesus, David, Ishmael, Isaac, Jonah,.... (peace be upon them all) and of course sealed by Mohammad (peace be upon him) are believed to be great men that God chose for the great mission of bringing the word of God and teachings of God to humanity.
  • The day of judgment: Muslims believe that on one day every single creature will die, even the angel of death. After that, all people are going to be resurrected and judged by God for what they did in their life on this earth. As a result of this judgment some will go to paradise (which is a beautiful place with things that no eye has seen or ear has heard) and some will go to hell (and I don't have to say how horrible this place is).
  • Divine fait: Muslims, knowing that they are just a creation and that their destinies are controlled by their creator, get to submit to all what happens in their lives from happiness and tribulations as being from God. Happy events are considered to be a reward from God on earth. It is also considered to be an exam from God; the question will be whether you thanked God for his bounty by preserving it and doing the right thing with it. On the other hand tribulations are considered to be an exam from God to see whether Muslims will be stead fast with God and ask for his help or they will become frustrated and loose their faith.

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What is the Quran:

  • The Quran is the revelation that has been inspired to prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).
  • Muslims believe that it is the final revelation from God to man kind as it contains all the truth and all the laws that God planned for his creations to live by; as the Quran says about that in chapter 5 verse 3 "...... today I completed for you your religion, and perfected my bounty on you, and chosen Islam as your religion.....".
  • The Quran is considered to be a proclamation from God to man kind. It is full of incredible laws of nature, economics, politics, science...etc. It contains laws for how to live your life, how to deal with others (Muslims or Non Muslims), how to deal with women...etc.
  • The most amazing thing about the Quran is that it has been written from 1418 year ago. All these rules has been made centuries ago when people were living in their dark ages.
  • The Quran has it own miracles and challenges to prove to anyone that it is a revelation from God and not just a forgery made by Mohammed. From the scientific miracles of the Quran its discussion of embryology and the stages that an embryo takes inside his mother's womb in chapter 23 verses 12 through 14 "And We (God) created man from an extract of clay, then We made him a Nutffa (mixed drops of the male and female discharge) and lodged it in a safe lodge (the mother's womb), then We made the Nutffa into a clot then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh, then We made of that lump of flesh bones, then We closed the bone with the flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation". (please note that the word WE has been used when God addresses himself because in the Arabic language there are two kinds of pleural, the pleural of numbers and the pleural of respect, so "we" has been used as a pleural of respect and not that God is more than one person).
  • The Quran made the first set of laws that protects women and give them all their rights and make them as an equal partner in life together with men.
  • There are many other things about the Quran that will take forever to talk about so I will just stop here. But please note that although that these things that I mentioned about the Quran may seem normal nowadays that is because we are now in 1999. But the Quran was revealed 1418 years ago. Does this mean anything to you?

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Who is prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him):

  • Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) is a decedent of prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) through prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him), the father of the Arab race.
  • He is just a man who God has chose to be the seal of prophets. He is not God, the son of God, or a medium between Muslims and God.
  • He was born in Mecca and was raised by his uncle after his mother died. His father died before he was born.
  • On the day he was born the thrown of Heracules was shaken and the fire of Kisra (the leader of the Persian empire) was put off (something which was considered to be a bad omen for the Persians).
  • He received his revelation when he was forty years old. His miracle as a prophet was the Quran because he was illiterate and he couldn't have possibly authored a book that challenged the kings of the Arabic language at that time in a way that made them helpless.
  • He fought with the pagan Arabs in order to establish the religion of Islam in the Arabian peninsula. After establishing it there people from all over the world started to enter in Islam.
  • He was a modest man. He was an honest person to the extent that the pagan Arabs (before his prophet hood) used to call him the truthful honest.
  • After his prophet hood his manners even became more gentle and tolerant to the extent that he asked God to forgive people who were stoning him and said "My lord forgive my people for that they don't know".
  • The Quran says about him "And We (God) didn't send you (Mohammad) except as mercy unto mankind".
  • One of his famous sayings "Don't praise me allot, but say the slave of God and his messenger".

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Salvation in Islam:

  • Muslims believe that all Muslims who say the testimony of faith "I witness that there is no God but Allah, and I witness that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah" are saved and will enter paradise. This means that the Muslim's belief in only one God is the guarantee for salvation. This is of course the basic belief.
  • Also a Muslim, if he has a correct understanding of the oneness of God, he should obey God and live his life according to the laws in the Quran and by this he might deserve God's mercy and forgiveness which are the two most important aspects of salvation.
  • This is because all people will sin but God had promised to forgive the sins of humans as long as they affirm his unity and continuously ask for forgiveness for their sins. So if a person thinks that his sin is so big to the extent that God will not forgive it, he will be leading himself into a big loss because nothing is greater than God and his mercy and forgiveness.
  • In one verse in the Quran God says "Verily God does not forgive to be associated with anything (in worship), and forgives sins other than that to whom he wills".
  • If a Muslim enters paradise he will be rewarded with things that no one has ever heard about or even see in all his life. In one of prophet Mohammad's (peace be upon him) sayings that the person with the lowest level in paradise will have wealth more than the wealth of the earth (and this is just the poor person among the people of paradise).

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Women in Islam:

  • Women in Islam has a very special place.
  • You might be surprised if you know that in a Muslim's belief the woman is the holiest person after God.
  • Islam really recognizes the woman as being an incredibly important element of the human life.
  • Women are viewed as being equal partners to men in every thing, and they share with the man the responsibility to make this life a better one.
  • When the Quran was first reviled, 1418 years ago, women was treated like less than human. They didn't have the right to do anything, they were literally treated as body's without brains.
  • But of course God wouldn't have created women to be humiliated, and so when God revealed the Quran he established in it the laws that will give women all their rights that are originally theirs and to end the injustice shown to them. Following are some of the rights that Islam gave to women 1418 years ago:
    • The right to go outside her home.
    • The right to education.
    • The right to seek employment.
    • The right to maintenance.
    • The right to dowry.
    • The right to good treatment.
    • The right to have her honor defended.
    • The right to be safe from abuse.
    • The right to adequate sexual relations.
    • The right to conduct independent ownership and legal transactions.
    • The right to inherit.
    • The right to keep her own identity after marriage.
  • I know that nowadays these rights doesn't mean much of a big deal to prove anything about the Quran, but again I remind you that all these rights were given fully and completely to women 1418 years ago when women literally had nothing. Even until now, and in the most civilized societies, women are not yet given their rights completely as they should be according to the Quran.

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Islam and other religions:

  • Islam emphasizes the freedom of belief and religion to all people.
  • The Quran says "There is no compulsion in religion, the true path is clear from the false one".
  • So Muslims believe in the freedom of believe. Every human being has the right to worship God as he see fit without any transgression from any other party. So it is the duty of Muslims to defend and protect people of other religions if transgression has been shown towards them.
  • The Muslims are people of peace, and peace is their major concern. They will do what ever they can in order to prevent war and corruption.
  • The Quran says describing Muslims "You are the best nation brought out to the world because you order people to do good deeds and restrain from doing bad deeds".
  • Islam is completely against terrorism and killing innocent people. These bombings and terrorist acts that has been made by a few Muslims cannot represent the whole religion. That is why the media is very wrong when it says the word "Islamic terrorism". It will be just as taking the Mafia (which all of its leaders are Christians) and saying the "Christian Mafia". A small group of Muslims cannot represent the whole religion.
  • Jihad (fighting in the cause of God) has certain rules. And one of these rules is not to fight a country because I disagree with the way in governs its people.
  • The right of Muslim towards a Non Muslim is to try to deliver to him the message of Islam in order to give him the chance to have a choice in this delicate issue of religion.

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Human rights in Islam:

Since God is the absolute and the sole master of men and the universe, He is the sovereign Lord, the sustainer and Nourisher, the Merciful, Whose mercy enshrines all beings; and since He has given each man human dignity and honor, and breathed into him of His own spirit, it follows that, united in Him and through Him, and apart from their other human attributes, men are substantially the same and no tangible and actual distinction can be made among them, on account of their accidental differences such as nationality, color or race.

Every human-being is thereby related to all others and all become one community of brotherhood in their honorable and pleasant servitude to the most compassionate Lord of the Universe. In such a heavenly atmosphere the Islamic confession of the oneness of God stands dominant and central, and necessarily entails the concept of the oneness of humanity and the brotherhood of mankind.

Although an Islamic state may be set up in any part of the earth, Islam does not seek to restrict human rights or privileges to the geographical limits of its own state. Islam has laid down some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed and respected under all circumstances whether such a person is resident within the territory of the Islamic state or outside it, whether he is at peace with the state or at war. 

The Qur'an very clearly states: { O ye who believe!  Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not there be hatred of others to make you swerve to wrong and depart from Justice.  Be just:  that is next to Piety:  and Fear Allah.  For Allah is well -acquainted with all that you do } (Quran 5:80)

Human blood is sacred in any case and cannot be spilled without justification.  And if anyone violates this sanctity of human blood by killing a soul without justification, the Qur'an equates it to the killing of entire mankind: { ..... Whoso slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, should be as if he had slain mankind altogether }

It is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded.  Women's honor and chastity are to be respected under all circumstances.  The hungry person must be fed, the naked clothed and the wounded or diseased treated medically irrespective of whether they belong to the Islamic community or are from amongst its enemies.

When we speak of human rights in Islam we really mean that these rights have been granted by God; they have not been granted by any king or by any legislative assembly.  The rights granted by the kings or the legislative assemblies, can also be withdrawn in the same manner in which they are conferred.  The same is the case with the rights accepted and recognized by the dictators.  They can confer them when they please and withdraw them when they wish; and they can openly violate them when they like.  But since in Islam human rights have been conferred by God, no legislative assembly in the world or any government on earth has the right or authority to make any amendment or change in the rights conferred by God.  No one has the right to abrogate them or withdraw them.  Nor are they basic human rights which are conferred on paper for the sake of show and exhibition and denied  in actual life when the show is over.  Nor are they like philosophical concepts which have no sanctions behind them.

The charter and the proclamations and the resolutions of the United Nations cannot be compared with the rights sanctioned by God; because the former is not applicable on anybody while the latter is applicable on every believer.  They are a part and parcel of the Islamic Faith.  Every Muslim or administrator who claim themselves to be Muslims, will have to accept, recognize and enforce them.  If they fail to enforce them, and start denying the rights that have been guaranteed by God or make amendments and changes in them, or practically violate them while paying lip service to them, the verdict of the Holy Qur'an for such government is clear and unequivocal: { Those who do not judge by what God has sent down are the disbelievers } (5:44).
 
Human Rights in an Islamic State :
1. The Security of Life and Property:  In the address which the Prophet delivered on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, he said:  "Your lives and properties are forbidden to one another till you meet your Lord on the Day of Resurrection".  The Prophet has also said about the dhimmis (the non-Muslim citizens of the Muslim state):  "One who kills a man under covenant (i.e., Dhimmi) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise".


2. The Protection of Honor:  The Holy Qur'an lays down- 
    1) {You who believe, do not let one (set of) people make fun of another set}
    2) {Do not defame one another}
    3) {Do not insult by using nickname}
    4) {Do not backbite or speak ill of one another}


3. Sanctity and Security of Private Life:  The Qur'an has laid down the injunction- 
    1) {Do not spy on one another}
    2) {Do not enter any houses unless you are sure of their occupant's consent}


4. The Security of Personal Freedom:  Islam has laid down the principle that no citizen can be imprisoned unless his guilt has been proved in an open court.  To arrest a man only on the basis of suspicion and to throw him into a prison without proper court proceedings and without providing him a reasonable opportunity to produce his defense is not permissible in Islam.


5. The Right to Protest Against Tyranny:  Amongst the rights that Islam has conferred on human beings is the right to protest against government's tyranny. Referring to it the Qur'an says.  "God does not love evil talk in public unless it is by some one who has been injured thereby". In Islam, as has been argued earlier, all power and authority belongs to God, and with man there is only delegated power which becomes a trust; everyone who becomes a recipient or a done of such a power has to stand in awful reverence before his people towards whom and for whose sake he will be called upon to use these powers.  This was acknowledged by Abu Bakr who said in his very first address:  "Cooperate with me when I am right but correct me when I commit error; obey me so long as I follow the commandments of Allah and His prophet; but turn away from me when I deviate".


6. Freedom of Expression:  Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all citizens of the Islamic state on the condition that it should be used for the propagation of virtue and truth and not for spreading evil and wickedness.
The Islamic concept of freedom of expression is much superior to the concept prevalent in the West.  Under no circumstances would Islam allow evil and wickedness to be propagated.  It also does not give anybody the right to use abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism.  It was the practice of the Muslims to enquire from the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) whether on a certain matter a divine injunction had been revealed to him.  If he said that he had received no divine injunction, the Muslims freely expressed their opinion on the matter.


7. Freedom of Association:  Islam has also given people the right to freedom of association and formation of parties or organizations.  This right is also subject to certain general rules.


8. Freedom of Conscience and Conviction: Islam has laid down the injunction: There should be no coercion in the matter of faith.
On the contrary totalitarian societies totally deprive the individuals of their freedom.  Indeed this undue exaltation of the state authority curiously enough postulates a sort of servitude, of slavishness on the part of man.  At one time slavery meant total control of man over man - now that type of slavery has been legally abolished but in its place totalitarian societies impose a similar sort of control over individuals.


9. Protection of Religious Sentiments:  Along with freedom of conviction and freedom of conscience Islam has given the right to the individual that his religious sentiments will be given due respect and nothing will be said or done which may encroach upon his right.


10. Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment: Islam also recognizes the right of the individual that he will not be arrested or imprisoned for the offences of others.  The Holy Qur'an has laid down this principle clearly: {No bearer of burdens shall be made to bear the burden of another}


11. The Right to Basic Necessities of Life: Islam has recognized the right of the needy people that help and assistance will be provided to them:  And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute.


12. Equality Before Law:  Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of the law.

13. Rulers Not Above the Law:  A woman belonging to a high and noble family was arrested in connection with theft.  The case was brought to the Prophet, and it was recommended that she might be spared the punishment of theft.  The Prophet replied, "The nations that lived before you were destroyed by God because they punished the common-man for their offences and let their dignitaries go unpunished
for their crimes; I swear by Him Who holds my life in His hand that even if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed this crime, I would have amputated her hand".


14. The Right to Participate in the Affairs of State: {And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves} (42:38).
The shura or the legislative assembly has no other meaning except that:  The executive head of the government and the members of the assembly should be elected by free and independent choice of the people.

Lastly, it is to be made clear that Islam tries to achieve the above-mentioned human rights and many others not only by providing certain legal safeguards but mainly by inviting mankind to transcend the lower level of animal life to be able to go beyond the mere ties fostered by the kinship of blood, racial superiority, linguistic arrogance, and economic privileges.  It invites mankind to move on to a plane of existence where, by reason of his inner excellence, man can realize the ideal of the Brotherhood of man.
 

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