What is Islam?
Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world’s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.
Who are the Muslims?
Over one billion people from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures across the globe – from the southern Philippines to Nigeria – are united by their common Islamic faith. About 18% live in the Arab world; the world’s largest Muslim community is in Indonesia; substantial parts of Asia and most of Africa are Muslim, while significant minorities are to be found in the Soviet Union, China, North and South America, and Europe.
What do Muslims believe?
Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for actions; in God’s complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But God’s final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through Gabriel.
GOD AND HIS ATTRIBUTES
Islam teaches that the Universe had been created by a Mighty, Wise, Merciful, Ever-living and Loving God. In proclaiming this doctrine, Islam does not rely on a book or authoritative word, not even the words of the prophets, because the belief in God should come before the belief in any prophet or religious book. Furthermore, the religious books and the prophets are not believed by all people, while the evidence of the existence of God must be universal and available to everyone. For this, the Holy Qur’an offers the very existence of the universe, its order, the life, the marvelous structures of the eyes and the hearing as signs of the existence of God, His Wisdom and benevolence. Islam describes God as Infinite in life, power and knowledge.
That ALLAH (God) is only One is the most emphasized theme in the Holy Qur’an. Islam is uncompromising in Monotheism (the belief in the oneness of God). God is One Alone, without partner or associate. For this, Islam is called the religion of the belief in One God. Professing the belief in His oneness is the first phrase in the Declaration of The Faith:
“I bear witness that there is no Allah (God) but the Almighty Allah (God), and that Mohammad is a Messenger of Allah (God).”
More than one administration for the Universe is like more than one administration for a city or a state or a country. It would produce disorder. The existence of order in the Universe indicates the existence of one Universal Administrator. From the Qur’an:
“If there were in them (the Heavens and the Earth) gods, besides the Almighty God, they would have been in state of disorder. Glory be to Him. He is above what they describe. ”
“The Almighty God, there is no god but He, the Ever-living, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist. Slumber overtakes Him not nor sleep. To Him belongs what is in the Heavens and whatever is on the Earth. Who is he that intercedes with Him but with His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they encompass nothing of His
knowledge except what He chooses. His power extends over the Heavens and the Earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Great. ” 2:255
What does Islam mean?
The Arabic word ‘Islam’ simply means ‘submission’, and derives from a word meaning ‘peace’. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. ‘Mohammedanism’ is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad rather than God. ‘Allah’ is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.
Why does Islam often seem strange?
Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion does not dominate everyday life in the West today, whereas Muslims have religion always uppermost in their minds, and make no division between secular and sacred. They believe that the Divine Law, the Shari’a, should be taken very seriously, which is why issues related to religion are still so important.
Do Islam and Christianity have different origins?
No. Together with Judaism, they go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons, Muhammad from the elder son Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from the younger son Isaac. Abraham established the settlementwhich today is the city of Makkah, and built the Ka’ba towards which all Muslims turn when they pray.
Who is Muhammad?
Muhammad (PBUH) was born in Makkah in the year 570, at a time when Christianity was not yet fully established in Europe. Since his father died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. The historians describe him as calm and meditative.
Muhammad was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society. It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira near the summit of Jabal al-Nur, the ‘Mountain of Light’ near Makkah
What is the Qur`an?
The Quran is a 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, and written down by scribes, who cross-checked it during his lifetime. Not one word of its 114 chapters, Suras, has been changed over the centuries, so that the Quran is in every detail the unique and miraculous text which was revealed to Muhammad fourteen centuries ago.
What is the Qur`an about?
The Quran, the last revealed Word of God, is the prime source of every Muslim’s faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects which concern us as human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures. At the same time it provides guidelines for a just society, proper human conduct and an equitable economic system.
Are there any other sacred sources?
Yes, the sunna, the practice and example of the Prophet, is the second authority for Muslims. A hadith is a reliably transmitted report of what the Prophet said, did, or approved. Belief in the sunna is part of the Islamic faith.
Examples of the Prophet`s sayings
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
‘God has no mercy on one who has no mercy for others.’
‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’
‘He who eats his fill while his neighbor goes without food is not a believer. ‘
‘The truthful and trusty businessman is associated with the prophets the saints, and the martyrs.’
‘Powerful is not he who knocks the other down, indeed powerful is he who controls himself in a fit of anger. ‘
‘God does not judge according to your bodies and appearances but He scans your hearts and looks into your deeds.’
‘A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well he descended into it, drank his fill and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man saw that the dog was feeling the same thirst as he had felt so he went down into the well again and filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink. God forgave his sins for this action.’ The Prophet was asked: ‘Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?’ He said, ‘There is a reward for kindness to every living thing.’
From the hadith collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Bayhaqi