Islam is..

10462878_728500590541575_8892351014572326238_n“Islam is not a new religion, but a final restatement of the original revelation that has been conveyed to humanity by messengers and prophets sent by God. The original unchanged revelations given to Abraham and other prophets (like Moses, Jesus etc) reaching back to Adam(peace be upon all of them) all came from One true God (The Creator). This common origin explains their similarities in many beliefs and values However over time the teachings of the various religions, due to a variety of reasons, have become distorted and mixed with man-made ideas…
The Last Prophet and Messenger of God, Muhammad(peace be upon him) who is a direct descendent of Abraham through his first born son, Ishmael, was sent with the last Guidance, Revelation, Testament, The Holy Quran to amend and correct the changes and corruption made in “Torah” which was sent to Moses and the true “Gospel” which was sent to Jesus. To say the truth, God preserved all other Holy Books plainly by preserving His last Book the Holy Quran, which contains the right and the truth of all that was changed in those other Books.
Continue reading “Islam is..”

The holy month of Ramadhan

fasting-in-Islam1

Ramadhan Awareness

In the Name of God; the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Definition of Ramadhan

Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is the month during which Muslims observe fasting from morning twilight (Fajr Prayer) to the evening twilight (Maghreb Prayer). The term Ramadhan is literally driven from al-Ramd which means ‘burning heat of the sun’.1 It is believed that this name is given to the fasting month due to the thirst experienced during fasting.

It is narrated from the Prophet of Islam (S) that the name is given to the fasting month because fasting burns the sins. 2 According to some narrations ‘Ramadhan’ is one of the Names of Allah and hence the more appropriate way to refer to the month of fasting is to say “The Month of Ramadhan”, not Ramadhan.3

We should however bear in mind that the term ‘Ramadhan’ without the prefix ‘the month’ is mentioned in many Hadiths with reference to the month of fasting. Hence, it seems the recommendation for the expression of ‘the month of Ramadhan’ is with respect to the Qur’anic expression as mentioned in Surah 2, Ayah 185, and as an honour to this holy month, which is referred to in the words of the Prophet (S) ‘the month of Allah’.

Significance of the Month of Ramadhan

Continue reading “The holy month of Ramadhan”

Islam is the fastest growing religion in England and Wales- CNS News

557367_527521627318233_943019257_n(CNSNews.com) – New census data released in Britain show that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in England and Wales, as the number of people identifying with no religion has almost doubled over the last 10 years, and the number of those describing themselves as Christian has dropped to 59 percent, down from 72 percent in 2001.

Of the total 56.07 million people counted in the census, 33.24 million described themselves as Christian. The number of self-identified Muslims rose to 2.7 million–an increase from 3.0 percent to 4.8 percent over a decade, making it the fastest- growing religion. Continue reading “Islam is the fastest growing religion in England and Wales- CNS News”

Are You Ready For Islaam? – A beautiful advice to the people of this world

702_463151463772185_791676755_n

A beautiful advice to the people of this world

Alluring to people is the love of women and sons, and mountains of gold and silver and fine horses and cattle and land. These are the glamours of the life of this world. The hereafter is best in ALLAH’s sight. Should I tell you about something which is better than these things? For those who believe and do right, there wil…l be for them gardens of paradise, beneath which rivers will flow. I give you the good news of being there.

ALLAH has made a trade with the believers that in return for their wealth and their own selves, He will give them a home in His paradise, gardens of happiness beneath which rivers flow, to stay in there forever. A repayment from their Lord, for their good deeds. They will have therein pure friends, and ALLAH will make them enter cool shades. The promise of ALLAH is true, and whose word can be truer than ALLAH’s? Continue reading “Are You Ready For Islaam? – A beautiful advice to the people of this world”

Mission Dawah

559716_islamconverts.wordpress.com_1628107744_n

Masha Allah brother Dennis was out yesterday doing the dawah, remember he has only been Muslim one year..

(O Prophet), call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation,122 and reason with them in the best manner possible.123 Surely your Lord knows best who has strayed away from His path, and He also knows well those who are guided to the Right Way.

[The Holy Quran, Surah An-Nahl V.125]

So whoever Allah wants to guide – He expands his breast to [contain] Islam; and whoever He wants to misguide – He makes his breast tight and constricted as though he were climbing into the sky. Thus does Allah place defilement upon those who do not believe.

[The Noble Quran, Surah Al- Anam 6:125]

 

The Taqwa

When you choose Allah over everything else, He will most certainly take care of you. So when you are given two choices, remember Allah and choose wisely. Choose truth over falsehood, piety over desire, mercy over harshness, justice over oppression, and choose Him over yourself… then sit back and watch how beautifully Allah chooses for you and runs the affairs of your life ever so beautifully.

We Invite You To ISLAM

Assalamu ‘alaikum .

Welcome to our blog,

This website is dedicated especially to our not-yet-Muslim friends, so that they can learn from their friends’ experience of converting to ISLAM. The compilation of articles and videos in this website is based on their true stories published in various sources of books, magazines, websites etc. I hope this tiny effort can be an opening door for those who are interested in knowing about ISLAM, to unfold further and seek the truth of ISLAM.

I invite you to embrace ISLAM and may ALLAH guide us to the truth, ameen.

“…The only religion in the sight of God is Islam…” ( Holy Quran 3:19)

“…Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path.” (Al-Qur’an 2:256)

“If Allah wants to favor someone, He grants him comprehension (understanding) of this religion.”

[Sahih Bukhari vol.1 # 71, Tirmidhi and Musnad Ahmad]

Continue reading “We Invite You To ISLAM”

How To Convert/Revert To ISLAM?

All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon Mohammad, His last messenger.

“Some people have a wrong notion that entering into the Islamic fold requires an announcement from the concerned person in the presence of high ranking scholars or shaikhs or reporting this act to courts of justice or other authorities. It is also thought that the act of accepting Islam, should, as a condition, have a certificate issued by the authorities, as evidence to that effect.

We wish to clarify that the whole matter is very easy and that none of these conditions or obligations are required. For Allah, Almighty, is above all comprehension and knows well the secrets of all hearts. Nevertheless, those who are going to adopt Islam as their religion are advised to register themselves as Muslims with the concerned governmental agency, as this procedure may facilitate for them many matters including the possibility of performing Hadj (Pilgrimage) and Umrah.” [1]

To become Muslim, you have to pronounce the Testimony of Faith ‘Shahada’, with sincere faith.

Continue reading “How To Convert/Revert To ISLAM?”

Turn to Allah swt before its too late!!

O’ you who believe, turn to ALLAH with sincere repentance.

Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when ALLAH will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, “Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.

[Translatio of the Noble Quran, Chapter #66, Verse #8]

Important Islamic Reminders

She said: “O my Lord! how shall I have a son when no man has touched me.” He said: “So (it will be) for Allah creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: “Be!” – and it is.

( Translation of the Holy Quran, Surrah Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #47)

And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad PBUH) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination!
( Translation of the Holy Quran, Surrah , An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #115)

how can you disbelieve in Allah? seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return .
( Translation of the Holy Quran, Surrah, Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #28)

Gaining forgiveness on laylatul Qadr (The Night of Decree):

Abu Huraira (R.A) narrated that the Messenger said: “Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.”

(Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)

How bad is that for which they have sold their ownselves, that they should disbelieve in that which Allah has revealed (the Qur’an), grudging that Allah should reveal of His Grace unto whom He wills of His slaves. So they have drawn on themselves wrath upon wrath. And for the disbelievers, there is disgracing torment.
( Translation of the Holy Quran, Surrah, Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #90)


Say;
(O Muhammad (Peace & Mercy be upon him) to mankind):
“how do you worship besides Allah something which has no power either to harm or benefit you? But it is Allah Who is the All-Hearer, All-Knower.”
( Translation of the Holy Quran, Surrah, Al-Maeda, Chapter #5, Verse #76)

“And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him”

[Translation of the Holy Quran, Surrah, Al-Talaaq 65:3]

Muslims neither worship Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) nor pray through him. Muslim solely worship the unseen and Omniscient Creator, Allaah Sub’haan wa ta’alaa (Almighty GOD).

My Name: Muslim
My Identity: Islam
My Purpose: Peace
My Aim: Jannatul Firdaus
My Favorite and Ideal Personality (Role Model In my life):
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

And finaly ….

and …finaly..open ur mind, think and judge without descrimination u would find that the Real way of life is ISLAM 🙂

In Sha Allah, “search the truth and the truth shall free u.”

The Real Modesty of a woman

The woman in Hijab is the wife of Hashim Amla (South African Cricket Player). MA SHA ALLAH! Love her confidence. May Allah Subhana Taala Bless her and reward her. Ameen Suma Ameen

✿ A woman modestly dressed is like a pearl in its shell.
✿ The value of a woman rests in her level of Taqwa and good deeds, not in her apparent looks and wordly earnings.

♥ ALHAMDULILLAH ♥

The Status of Women In Islam

ROLE:

HIJJAB:

Polygamy:

Liberation?

Injustice & Distortions:

Conversion:

Sex in Islam

It’s very natural to be slightly embarrassed or uncomfortable in the face of this issue but we have to admit that sex is a natural part of our existance. Also, teens and adolescents will be curious and they will search for answers. If they have nowhere or no one reliable to go to because of embarrassment, they will go to more readily available but unreliable or unIslamic sources. This might end doing more harm than good. I hope providing this information will benefit everyone – parents and kids alike.
 

Living Islam

Basic Information about Islam

Belief in God
Is There a God?
God and Love
At a Glance
In 60 Minutes
Aqidah al-Tahawiyya
Great Online Book
The One True God
Chronology of Islam
Descriptions of Allah
What Islam has to Offer
Is Allah literally in the sky?
Literalism and the Attributes of Allah
Fortitude on Our Path
The Nature of Allah
99 Names of Allah
Beginners FAQ
5 Pillars of Islam
Myths & Facts
Tell me more
Islamic Quiz
Misconceptions
QNA on Islam
Life after Death
Is Sufism bid’a?
Is every new thing a Bid’a?
Questions from You
Who are the Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah?
Islamic Spirituality: the forgotten revolution

The Holy Quran

The Amazing Quran

Etiquettes of Reading and Handling the Quran
Nine great benefits of Reciting the Quran
Bridge between Scientists and Religion
What is the Speed of Time?
The miracle and challenge of the Quran
Dozens of responses to ‘Errors’ in Quran
Another Miracle of the Quran
Guide to Memorising the Quran
“This Darned Arabic Language”
Thoughts On Abrogation
Index to Words in the Quran
Grammatical Errors in the Quran?
Scribal Errors In The Quran?
Proof of Preservation
Who Wrote the Quran?
What They Say about It
Refutation of “What is the Quran?”
Hidden Message in the Number of Suras

Read the Quran in your language
Arabic
Arabic III
Chinese
Dutch
English
French
German
German II
Indonesian
Italian II
Japanese
Malay
Spanish
Swahili
Turkish

Introduction to Islam

Preface

Basics of Islamic Belief

The Six Articles of Faith

The Five Pillars

Controversial Issues Regarding Islam

 

Preface

The purpose of this page is to provide a brief introduction to Islam and its beliefs.

To any non-Muslims who are visiting this page, I encourage you to take the time to learn more about Islam. Talk to Muslims and read what they have written. There are more than 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, and as many as 6-7 million Muslims in the United States. Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States and in the world. There must be something about it that is appealing to a lot of people, and satisfying to a lot of people! Don’t just take the word of the media on it, read and learn for yourself and make your own decision.

Note 1: To learn more about the 1.2 billion Muslims around the world, visit my World of Islam page.

Note 2: To see a different kind of example of Islam’s diversity, check out my Links About Latino Muslims; learn about Latinos who are converting to Islam.

Note 3: Learn why The Nation of Islam is Not Islam. The name may be the same, but the beliefs are totally different.

For many years I was an agnostic and whenever I read anything about religion written from a Christian perspective, it didn’t reach anything in me. I thought that because I didn’t believe in the Christian concept of God I might not believe in God at all. It was as I studied and learned about Islam that I saw how wrong I was. What is most appealing about Islam to me is its purity, its simplicity, and its common sense. You don’t have to be a theologian or a learned scholar to understand its basic doctrines: what could be easier to grasp than “There is no god except God“?

 

Basics of Islamic Belief

The Quran teaches us that monotheism is part of the “fitra“, an Arabic word which means “the way God has created us” (see Surah ar-Rum verse 30). About this, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and the blessings of God be upon him) said, “Every child is born according to the fitra then its parents make it a Jew, a Christian, or a Zoroastrian“. Today we could add “or a Hindu, a Buddhist, an atheist, etc”. Recognition of God’s oneness is part of our innate human nature, it is just that we clutter it up with doctrines and ideas we have created.

The Quran also teaches us that we have only to look at the world around us to see the signs of God’s handiwork. In literally hundreds of verses, it points to some feature of the natural world and says “these are signs for those who think” or a similar phrase. When we look at a beautiful work of art, do we imagine that it came into being randomly and by chance, or do we know that there must be an artist behind it who designed it and created it? We know that there must be an artist, of course! So how is it that we look at our beautiful world, which is beautiful on the largest scale (solar systems, galaxies, etc) and the smallest scale (cells, atoms, etc), and which we as humans could not even begin to replicate no matter how we tried, and we think that it came into being randomly and by chance? If you said that about a painting or another work of art, people would think you were irrational, even mad. So why is it that when it is said about the universe we live in, it is called “scientific”? Surely the beauty and design of the world we live in point to One who desinged and created it.

So Islam teaches us that monotheism, faith in God alone, is something that is innate to us as human beings, something we know instinctively, and it is also something that we can easily rediscover by looking at the world around us. What is more simple or natural? Islam also teaches us that the fundamental error of human beings is forgetfulness or heedlessness. Even though we have been given this knowledge as part of our inborn make-up and even though it is easy to re-affirm through looking at the created world, we are still easily distracted by our own fancies and the caprices of our minds into forgetting.

It is in order to counter-act this tendency towards heedlessness that God sends prophets, messengers from Him, with a reminder to us. The Quran tells us that God has sent a messenger to every nation of humankind. He would not leave anybody without His guidance! Unfortunately, our heedlessness is so great that we have forgotten or corrupted the messages that were sent to us. It is for this reason that God has also sent a Scripture for us to keep by us and to read in order to remember. This Scripture is the Quran. It is a message for all the world, teaching us about God, about the world that He has created, and about how He wants us to live.

If you didn’t know that Islamic beliefs are like this, then you definitely owe it to yourself to study and learn more. How can you say that you reject Islam, when you don’t even know what it’s about?

 

The Six Articles of Faith

Islam does not have a complicated theology like Christianity does (3=1?, 100% human and 100% divine at the same time?), although some of the most sophisticated thinking on theological issues has been done by Muslims. There are only six articles of faith, which are as follows:

1) God. There is no god except God. God is ONE. He has no parents, no children, no associates, no partners. Nothing is like Him. The famous “99 names” are names of His qualities. These include The Real (al-Haqq), The Alive (al-Hayy), The Powerful (al-Qawiyy), and The Good (al-Barr). Everything we have we owe to God: our existence, our life, our ability, our goodness. If He ever stopped sustaining us, we would vanish into non-existence at that instant. If a person provided you with everything that you have, your shelter, food, clothing, money, etc, wouldn’t you be utterly thankful to that person? Wouldn’t you want to do whatever you could to give back to him for it? Wouldn’t you feel that if he asked you to do something, you should try to your utmost to do it, just because he deserves it from you? So why is it that when God has given us far more than any human being ever could, we scorn Him and act ungratefully to Him, and refuse to do what He asks of us?

Note: The name Allah is just the Arabic word for God and is used in the Arabic Bible

Aside: Please see An Introduction to Islamic Monotheism to learn a bit more about how Muslims think about God.

2) Angels. We’re not talking about those syrupy New Age angels people seem to be so enamored of these days, nor of cute little babies with wings and bows and arrows (?), nor of pale, sighing maidens with wings. These are God’smessengers. Certainly there is Gabriel, the angel who brought the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). There are also the two angels assigned to each human being to record his or her deeds (see Surah al-Infitar verses 10-12 and Surah at-Tariq verse 4); the angels who question each soul in the grave (mentioned by the Prophet Muhammad); the angel of death (Surah as-Sajda verse 11); an angel who is the gate-keeper of Paradise; angels placed in charge of meting out the punishments of Hell (Surah at-Tahrim verse 6); and angels of battle (Surah al-Anfal verse 12). This is just a brief summary. The angels will descend in ranks on the Last Day of this world as a sign of the imminence of the Judgment (see Surah al-An’aam verse 8 and Surah al-Furqan verses 25-26). The angels are God’s chosen way of sending His commands into the world, and of taking reports on the fulfilment of these commands. Thus it is obligatory for every Muslim to have faith in angels as part of having faith in God and His ways.

3) Prophets. Notice the plural. The testimony of faith one makes to become a Muslim includes in its second part “And Muhammad is a Messenger of God“. But in fact, it is obligatory for a Muslim to have faith in all of God’s prophets. Those the Quran has named include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elijah, Job, Jonah, Zachariah, John (the Baptist), and Jesus, plus of course Muhammad (peace be upon them all). The reason for God’s sending so many of His messengers has been discussed above. It is also important to understand that the Quran confirms certain details of the history that is told in the Bible (although it makes certain corrections to that history.) In short, the first stage of God’s plan was to send messengers to every nation. The second stage was to send a scripture to a single nation who would show the way. This nation was the Children of Israel and the scripture was the Torah. But this was not the end of the story. Nor was the universal religion that God established to replace Judaism meant to be Christianity, much less in its modern, Trinitarian form. No! Jesus was a human being only, and a prophet and messenger of God sent to the Children of Israel to prepare them for the coming of the last prophet. The third stage of God’s plan is the revelation of the Quran, a scripture for all humankind. Thus Islam has a similar but rival vision to Christianity. It is not some weird “cult” believing in some strange god named “Allah” (Allah is just the Arabic word for “the one God”, even as the French call Him “Dieu”, the Germans “Gott”, etc. Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians use Allah when they talk about God). It is the culmination and perfection of the same religious tradition that for Jews and Christians began when God singled out Abraham (p.b.u.h.) and his descendants. If there is any one thing that I hope people come away from reading this with, it is the understanding that Islam’s history is familiar not foreign.

4) Scriptures. Notice again the plural. Muslims of course believe in the Quran, but we also believe that God revealed the Torah to Moses (p.b.u.h), the Psalms to David (p.b.u.h.), and the Gospel to Jesus (p.b.u.h.). Are the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel that are known today the ones that were originally revealed? Even Christian and Jewish scholars don’t seem to think so anymore. Here’s another interesting fact: Did you know that the coming of a prophet like Moses (p.b.u.h.) with a new scripture is promised by the Torah? Read Deuteronomy 18:15-20. Not only was this prophecy delivered by Moses, but the Children of Israel are specifically commanded to obey the new prophet. And did you know that Jesus (p.b.u.h.) promised a prophet to come after him, with the explanation of all things? Read the Gospel of John especially 16:7-15. Not only was this prophecy delivered by Jesus, but the Christians are specifically commanded to obey the new prophet. The only prophet who has come who is like Moses and brings a scripture like the Torah is Muhammad, with the Quran. The only prophet who has come at all after Jesus is Muhammad. So why do not the Jews obey their own scripture and accept the prophethood of Muhammad, and why do not the Christians obey their own scripture and accept the prophethood of Muhammad? The fact of the matter is, if you truly obey every commandment in the Torah, you have to accept the prophethood of Muhammad, and if you truly obey every commandment given by Jesus, you have to accept the prophethood of Muhammad. Read these passages without any preconceived notions. If possible, read what it says in the original language (Hebrew for Deuteronomy, Greek for the Gospel of John) so that you are not instead reading the interpretation of the translator. You will find that these passages are quite clear and unambiguous.

Note: To check out some resources for learning more about the Quran, visit my Quran Page.

5) The measuring out. This is from the Arabic phrase “al-qada wa al-qadar” which is usually translated to mean “the divine decree and the predestination“. But qadar actually means “to measure out“. God has measured out every thing. He has measured out the sustenance in the world, and He also measures out what He has given us, the span of our life, the amount of our goodness and our evil, the things that happen to us. The question of predestination versus free will is a challenge in any religion and is certainly beyond the scope of this simple introduction. Rather than get into it, I will simply mention two of the most frequently used phrases of Muslims. One is “inshallah” which means “if God wills“. It is used whenever a statement about the future is made. For instance, “Next I am going to discuss Judgment Day, if God wills”. We all know that very often things do not go as planned. I could be interrupted by anything from a telephone call to an earthquake and never get back to writing my introduction. What we have willed does not always happen. What God has willed does. The second phrase is “mashallah” which means “what God has willed“. This is used in two ways. One is a statement of acceptance of whatever happens, e.g., “I didn’t get the job. What God has willed”. The other is as a compliment of something good. In this sense it might be interpreted as “What a good thing God has willed”. For instance, “What a beautiful flower that is! What a good thing God has willed”. By the use of this phrase, we acknowledge that all things, both bad and good, happen according to God’s will. I think the two phrases “inshallah” and “mashallah” provide a simple, practical demonstration of how Muslims think about “the measuring out”.

6) The Last Day. This refers to the last day of this world, aka Judgment Day, aka The Day of Resurrection. The Day of Judgment and the Hereafter are essential beliefs. Muslim thinkers sometimes talk about three “roots” of belief, which are monotheism, prophecy, and the judgment. Monotheism and prophecy have already been discussed in the essay above and in the articles of faith devoted to them. Judgment Day and the Hereafter are crucial too. They are a necessary aspect of God’s justice. Judgment Day isn’t for God to discover our good and our evil. He already knows it. He is delivering His judgment to us, so that we can know it. Now, we all know that things happen in this world that aren’t fair. Innocent people suffer. Evil seems to go unpunished. These are the results of our free will, and through them God tests us. Will we still remember Him when times are rough? How would it be a fair test for us if He stepped in every time somebody did something wrong? Think about it. Religion’s answer to the question of the existence of evil has usually been that it is a result of God’s justice regarding our free will. But at the same time, it isalso an essential component of His justice that the good will be rewarded and the evil punished. The Hereafter is necessary because it is there that the reward and punishment will come. Moreover, as the Quran says, the Hereafter is “better and more abiding” than this world. The suffering we may undergo now will seem as fleeting as a nightmare when we look back at it. So will the pleasures and joys of the things of this world. But the pain of Hell will last forever for those whom God condemns to it, and the joy of Paradise will last forever for those whom God admits to it. In this way, the reward of the good truly is a just recompense for what they worked, and the punishment of the evil likewise. This is part of God’s design and plan for us and belief in it is an essential part of having faith in Him and His ways.

 

The Five Pillars

Above, I have given a very brief introduction to the six articles of faith of Islam. These are what define a belief as Islamic rather than being of some other religion. There are also five practices which define the Islamic religion. These are known as the “five pillars” because they support the foundation of Islam just as pillars support a building.

1) The Shahadah. Shahadah is an Arabic word meaning “testimony” or “bearing witness“. The Shahadah is therefore the testimony of faith that every Muslim must make. It is the necessary ritual for conversion to Islam. It consists of the following statement in Arabic, “Ashhadu an laa ilaha ill’Allah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul Allah“. This translates as, “I testify that there is no god except God, and I testify that Muhammad is a messenger of God“. The Shahadah is repeated in the daily prayers (see below) and therefore is said many times a day by observant Muslims. It may be said that any person who recites the Shahadah is a Muslim; however if he or she does nothing else they are a lapsed Muslim. We can also say that by bearing witness that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a messenger of God, it necessarily means that we are bearing witness that the Quran is a message from God – a messenger is defined by the message he brings. And since everything we have is due to God, we should necessarily desire to obey what He tells us. Therefore, by bearing witness that the Quran is a message from God, we are also stating our willingness to obey the Quran to the best of our ability. It is in this way that obedience to the Quran becomes obligatory on Muslims even though it is not one of the five pillars. Rather, the five pillars are the forms of worship that have been prescribed for Muslims.

2) The salat. Salat is an Arabic word meaning “prayer” or “blessing“. It refers to the prayer service through which Muslims praise God. The salat is to be offered in a fixed form, at fixed times during the day. Muslims also offer spontaneous prayers for their needs. This is called du’a which means “calling (on God)“. However, the ritual prayer, or salat, is an essential part of Islamic observance. The five prayer times are dawn, mid-day, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. Being able to complete the salat at its appointed time is very important to observant Muslims, and is often a concern on the job. The salat must be offered in a state of ritual purity and facing towards Mecca. It involves standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting, and recitation from the Quran and praise and glorification of God, as well as the recitation of various other ritual phrases. Although many people may feel that ritual, fixed-time prayer must be a burden or joyless, most Muslims feel that it is a good “time-out” from a busy day to get in touch with what is really important, and that it is easier when the form is fixed so that you don’t have to decide on the words each time. To learn a bit about the salat, see Manner of Performing Salat.

3) The zakat. Zakat is an Arabic word whose root meaning is “purification“. It refers specifically to purifying one’s wealth by giving a portion of it to help those who are less fortunate. The zakat is due on that wealth which is “hoarded” for one year; that is, on money that is not spent towards meeting one’s needs. There is a sort of “standard exemption”; what this means is that if your income equals your expenses so that you have no money “hoarded” then no zakat is due, and if your income exceeds your expenses by this “standard exemption” or less than it then no zakat is due. It is only on your surplus wealth above the “standard exemption” that the zakat is due. For cash (including precious metals and the like) the rate of the zakat is 2.5%, or 1/40 of the surplus. Besides the zakat, spontaneous giving to the needy is strongly recommended; it is called sadaqa.

4) The Ramadan fast. Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar is purely lunar and each month begins at the sighting of the new crescent moon. It thus lasts for 354 or 355 days, while a solar calendar (such as the Gregorian calendar used in the West) is 365 or 366 days long. Because the lunar calendar is shorter, a given date, such as the first of Ramadan, will fall 10 or 11 days earlier according to the Gregorian calendar each successive year. Over a period of 33 years, it will cycle through all the seasons and come back to where it started. The lunar month is 29 or 30 days. Observance of the Ramadan fast entails refraining from any kind of food or drink, and (if you are married) from sexual relations between dawn and sunset. Especially in northern latitudes, the fast may be relatively short when it falls in winter, and quite long when it falls in summer. Over a lifetime, therefore, a Muslim experiences both easy fasts and difficult fasts and it balances out. For the year 2001, Ramadan is predicted to start on November 17. The fast is a marvelously spiritual experience. It requires discipline to maintain the fast when you are aware that only God will know if you keep it or if you cheat. It is often the most difficult at about the three-week point, then becomes easier near the end. I have also found that there is a wonderful sense of community to know that Muslims all over the world are observing the fast at the same time.

Aside: I have a section on my site devoted to Ramadan, which includes some articles for non-Muslims.

5) The hajj. Hajj is an Arabic word meaning “pilgrimage“. It refers to the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. This is obligatory on each Muslim once in a lifetime, but only if one is financially capable of the journey. I have not yet made the hajj. The most interesting thing about the hajj is that the rituals are not about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or events in his life, but instead they commemorate events in the life of the patriach and prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and his family. The hajj takes place in the Islamic month of Dhu’l-Hijja, during the eighth to twelfth days. Millions of Muslims from all over the world gather each year. Read the impressions of Malcolm X about the hajj.

 

Controversial Issues Regarding Islam

So far I have attempted to provide a brief, simple introduction to Islamic beliefs and worship practices. God willing, this should refute some of the more outlandish ideas that are sometimes put forth about Islam, such as that it is not a “real religion” or that it is a “cult” about the foreign god “Allah”. However, there are some serious concerns that many people may have with Islam and that a sincere Muslim must address. In two words, these are terrorism andwomen. I would like to say a few words about each in turn, God willing.

Terrorism

who kills a single soul...

In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001, I have posted several special links.

It is especially difficult in the wake of the attacks to write about the issue of Islam and terrorism, yet it is perhaps even more necessary than before. What these people did IS NOT ISLAM. No sane person could ever believe that God has allowed much less “commanded” such an abhorrent act. Whoever did this must be deranged, psychotic. Please do not rush to judgment or condemn all Muslims, or Islam, because of this act. I have provided some links above showing what Islamic sources and what individual Muslims really have to say about what happened.

But we need to look at the larger issue. Why do some Muslim individuals commit violent acts? And why is there such a pervasive idea that violence and terrorism are somehow Islamic? These questions are worth your careful reading and serious and thoughtful consideration. Each is discussed in turn.

1) Muslim groups are not the only ones who commit violent acts. Equally notorious, at least to their own people, are the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in Ulster, the ETA Basque separatists in Spain, the Shining Path guerrillas of Peru, and the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, to name just four. The conflict in Northern Ireland is specifically defined by the religion of the two sides, Catholics versus Protestants. Yet we do not attribute the acts of these groups to Christianity. Instead, we recognize that those who give the name of Christianity to it are distorting their claims, and that they have political motivations instead. We cannot have a double standard that assumes that all violent actions committed by Muslims or even given the name of Islam are in fact commanded by Islam, and that ignores any political motivations that these Muslims may have. The Palestinians, the Chechens, and the Kashmiris are all engaged in political struggles against what they perceive as oppression by, respectively, Israel, Russia, and India. This is just the same as the IRA, who perceive oppression by Great Britian, and the ETA, who perceive oppression by Spain. The very least we can do is give the Palestinians, Chechens, and Kashmiris the same thoughtful consideration that we do the causes of the IRA and the ETA. Don’t just go by what you read or see in the mass media. See what human rights groups such as Amnesty International have said about the conduct of Israel, Russia, and India. Are all Muslims terrorists – or may some be freedom fighters?

Aside 1: Read Understanding Terrorism, by John M. Gates, a military analyst. This article discusses what the proper definition of “terrorism” is, whether some “terrorist groups” are actually national liberation movements, and whether states can inflict terrorism on their own citizens. Also see The Politics of Terrorism, by William Pfaff.

Aside 2: View official statistics on global terrorism against the U.S. by region and on domestic terrorism in the U.S. by group. The Middle East and Muslims are not as high on the list as you would think.

2) Some violent acts committed by militant Muslim groups cannot be justified even by their struggle against what they perceive as oppression (such as the horror that occured on September 11). These acts are committed against people not involved in their situation, or against innocent civilians including children. There can be no excuse for these acts (read my Condemnation of the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001) and no moral Muslim could ever make such an excuse. Are you aware of criticism by Muslim leaders of terrorist acts? (visit my Muslims Condemn Terrorist Attacks page) Have you read what they say and what sources they quote to assert that such actions are not permissible under Islamic Law, and are certainly not commanded by it? (read my articles Some Quranic Verses on Jihad and What Islam Really Says About Killing the Innocent) There are over 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. The number of terrorists is an infinitesimal fraction of this. More than 99% of all Muslims have no connection whatsoever to terrorism and have never taken any sort of violent action as part of a political struggle. If asked, most of them would roundly condemn terrorism. Those who have the knowledge could cite the sources of Islamic law to prove that all such terroristic acts are forbidden in Islam. Why are such voices not sought out? Why this relentless focus on the 0.001% of Muslims who are engaged in terrorism and depiction of them as typical without any consideration of the lives and beliefs of the other 99.999%?

Aside 1: I have written A Field Guide to Islamic Activists, which provides a brief survey and history of contemporary Islamic movements and how “militant Islam” fits in. I encourage you to read this and to learn more about the context of the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.

Aside 2: Read some interesting perspectives by Western journalists on the September 11 terrorist attacks and what political motives might have led to them.

Terrorism by Muslims is indeed a problem. So is the way it is all too often depicted in the West. In this depiction, all Muslims and indeed Islam itself are tarred with the actions of an very tiny minority of extremists. No attempt is made to determine if the actions of these extremists are in fact motivated by politics rather than religion and it is just that they think religion makes a good-sounding rationale for their actions. This double standard has to end. You have never met me and you do not know anything about what I have done, and of my beliefs you know only the little that I have written here. If you think that I must be a “fundamentalist” or that I advocate violence just because I have told you I am a Muslim that is prejudice. You have pre-judged me, because of my religious belief. There can be no fair and productive discussion of terrorism until there is an end to the prejudice that assumes that Islam is by its nature terroristic or that all Muslims advocate violence. To learn more about anti-Islam prejudice, visit my page of links on stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims. Worst of all, this kind of prejudice can all too easily lead to violence taken against innocent Muslims. See A Month of Backlash for reports on the backlash against Muslim and Arab-Americans in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Also: Read Faith and Terror, by Robert Malley. Is it “Islamic terrorism”, or “terrorists who happen to be Muslims”?

Another good article is America’s New Crisis: Understanding the Muslim World, by John L. Esposito. The author is a noted scholar of Islam.

Also, for comparison, read about Jewish and Hindu fundamentalism. These have a very real effect on the policies of, respectively, Israel and India. Are they a “threat” too?

Women

Almost as pervasive as the association of Islam with terrorism is the idea that Islam is a religion that is uniquely oppressive of women. Again, it would be folly to deny that some men and some societies injure women and give the name of Islam to it. However, there are again some issues that are worth your thought and consideration.

1) More or less all Muslim countries are part of the developing world. When we look at the situation of women in Muslim countries, we should compare it to other developing countries, not to the wealthy, developed West. What is the status of women in China, or India, or sub-Saharan Africa, or Central and South America? Are some women in these countries abused by their fathers and husbands? Are they subjected to cruel or oppressive practices that are called “traditional”? And what is this due to? Their religion? Or their hopeless poverty? There is another double standard at work here, and again it attributes everything to Islam and negates the idea that there could be any other motivations for the actions of Muslims. Given that women in desperately poor families and desperately poor societies are frequently oppressed and abused, why are the oppression and abuse in Muslim countries uniquely attributed to Islam, and the socio-economic factors are ignored?

2) Sometimes also the ways of a conservative religion are treated as “oppressive”. If you want to see sexism, look at the status of women in Orthodox Judaism, or traditional Christianity. In the former, men pray every day, “Blessed is God…who has not made me a woman” (see a discussion by a Jewish feminist of this at The Role of Women in the Synagogue) while in the latter women are unequivocally declared subordinate to all men (1 Corinthians 11:3) and to have been created for the benefit of men (1 Corinthians 11:9). You owe it to yourself to study both the Bible and the writings of traditional Jews and Christians. You will find that Islam is far from alone in conservative ideas about women.

Note 1: To read an interesting study of the place of women in traditional Judaism and Christianity and how it compares to the place of women in Islam, read Women in Islam Versus Women in the Judeo-Christian Tradition.

Note 2: Also, you can read an interesting comparison of Islam and Judaism at Maidens and Warriors, by Israel Shamir. The author is an Israeli Jew.

Despite the points I have made above, some aspects of Islam are treated as uniquely oppressive, such as polygyny (i.e., the taking of multiple wives, more commonly known as polygamy) and the hijab or modest dress.

Concerning polygyny, a few points should be made. First, the sex ratio is the same in Muslim countries as in the rest of the world, i.e., one man to one woman. This fact alone means that polygyny must necessarily be limited – there aren’t enough women to go around for it to be very common! The vast, overwhelming majority of Muslim men have a single wife. Second, Islamic law requires a man to treat his wives equally in terms of his money and his time (see Surah an-Nisa verse 3 and also verse 129 of the same surah). Only a wealthy man can afford to support more than one wife even if there were a surplus of women. It should also be noted that Muslim men are limited to four wives even if a given man could support many more than that. The Quran also warns men “You will not be able to be entirely just among your wives, even if you are vigilant” (Surah an-Nisa verse 129) and says “if you fear that you will not be just [to two, three, or four wives], then a single one only” (Surah an-Nisa verse 3). In short, polygyny is a concession to human nature and is limited both in practice and under the law, rather than being something that is commanded or even encouraged for all men or that has no restrictions on it. It must also be noted that polygyny is mentioned in the Bible. It was practiced by Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon, among others. It is specifically legislated for (Deuteronomy 21:18-17). Jesus mentions a wedding of a man with ten women without any condemnation (Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13 – read it!) while Paul places restrictions on polygyny only for priests and bishops (see for example 1 Timothy 3:12). Clearly, Islam did not “establish” polygyny, which was already well-known, but instead regulates it.

Note: To read about polygyny and Christianity, see my page on Polygyny in Christianity.

Then there is the hijab. Feminists in the West decry the treatment of women as sexual objects and the use of scantily clad women to sell products or the expectation in our culture that a woman must look like an actress or a model. Yet when a Muslim woman decides to take her sexuality out of the picture, somehow this is seen as a great oppression. Another thing that we value in our culture is individuality and standing up for what you believe. Yet when a Muslim woman goes against the tide by wearing her hijab, and does it to stand for what she believes, this is again seen as some kind of great oppression on her. In a culture where primary school girls are starting to dress like Britney Spears (see Britney Brigade from Time Magazine) and a woman’s cleavage seems to jump out from every other ad, for a woman to cover all of her body except her face and hands takes a lot of strength and self-confidence. The sheer amount of attention that is given to the hijab suggests that women are still very much judged by how they dress. Last thing: a man in his business suit covers everything but his head and his hands, and his hair is short and plain in style. Isn’t a Muslim woman who covers all of her body, and who makes sure that her hair is not a decoration, doing the same thing? Why not encourage women to be equal to men in their business dress?

Note 1: Read my message to non-Muslims about anti-hijab discrimination. This vilification of hijab needs to stop.

Note 2: Is there such a thing as “Christian hijab”? Read my article on The Veil in Christianity to learn more about this forgotten commandment of the Bible.

Note 3: Read my response to the question “Why Do You Dress Like That?” to learn more about the rules governing hijab.

Note 4: To learn more about the issue of hijab and its place in Islam, read On Veiling…

Note 5: Read about young Muslim women and why they choose hijab at Hijab: This Is My Struggle. This is a great article and gives a real feel for why Muslim women love hijab.

Note 6: The rules and restrictions that the Taliban impose on women are not only not part of Islam, they are actually anti-Islamic. In an interesting article, The Social Degradation of Women is a Crime and a Libel on Islam, written in1927, the British convert and Islamic scholar Mohammad Marmaduke Pickthall discusses very similar rules that were being imposed in India. This article still reads well today. Pickthall discusses why the total seclusion of women and the preventing them from obtaining an education are contrary to Islamic teachings.

As a final comment on the issue of Islam and women, I would like to draw to your attention the fact that Islam has some surprisingly positive things to say about women. I have compiled a list of Quran verses that describe the value of women in God’s sight, the reward that women can expect in the world and the Hereafter for their actions, and the responsibility of women under the law, all as they compare to the value, reward, and responsibility of men. Check it out. You might be surprised at what it says. You can find it at: Men and Women in the Quran

Note 1: Also learn about the exalted position of mothers in Islam at Mothers in Islamic Teaching. Did you know that the person with the greatest right over a Muslim man is his mother?

Note 2: Is “Islamic feminism” a contradiction in terms? Not according to many Muslim reformers. To see some examples of Muslims who seek to advance women’s rights while remaining true to Islam, visit Muslim Women’s League,Karamah, and Kamilat. Also, here are some good articles written from a similar perspective:

 

Afterword

Read some non-Muslims’ opinions on why people should seek to learn more about Islam at:

 

Some other resources

1) Visit my page of Books about Islam for Non-Muslims.

2) See some sites on Islam created by ordinary Muslims.

3) Interested in becoming a Muslim? Visit my converts page.

 

The materials on this page are written by Al-Muhajabah. You may copy, display, or distribute these materials for non-commercial purposes as long as you give me proper attribution as the author.

George Bernard Shaw and Islam

“If a man like Muhammad (Peace be upon him) were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.”

George Bernard Shaw in His book “The Genuine Islam” said:
“I have studied him – the wonderful man – and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ he must be called the saviour of humanity.”  

Prayer ♥

Prayer Changes Things

Worry Changes Nothing

So, Instead Of Worrying About ..
What You Can Do Just Pray and Think Of What ALLAH Can Do For You..

Prophet  Muhammad (PBUH) said : “Nothing repels divine decree except du’a, and nothing increases one’s lifespan except good deeds”

(Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim)

INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM


What is Islam?

The word “Islam” is an Arabic word which means “submission to the will of God”. This word comes from the same root as the Arabic word “Salam”, which means “Peace”. As such, the religion of Islam teaches that in order to achieve true peace of mind and surety of heart, one must submit to God and bring one’s life in accordance to the Divine will. The most important truth that God revealed to mankind is that there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God, hence it’s wise to recognise and submit to this truth.
———————————-
What is Al-Quran:
The Qur’an (“Qor-Ann”) is a Message from Allah (swt) to humanity. It was transmitted to us in a chain starting from the Almighty Himself (swt) to the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad (saw). This message was given to the Prophet (saw) in pieces over a period spanning approximately 23 years (610 CE to 632 CE). The Prophet (saw) was 40 years old when the Qur’an began to be revealed to him, and he was 63 when the revelation was completed. The language of the original message was Arabic, but it has been translated into many other languages.

The Qur’an is one of the two sources which form the basis of Islam. The second source is the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw). What makes the Qur’an different from the Sunnah is primarily its form. Unlike the Sunnah, the Qur’an is literally the Word of Allah (swt), whereas the Sunnah was inspired by Allah but the wording and actions are the Prophet’s (saw). The Qur’an has not been expressed using any human’s words. Its wording is letter for letter fixed by no one but Allah.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) was the final Messenger of Allah to humanity, and therefore the Qur’an is the last Message which Allah (swt) has sent to us. Its predecessors such as the Torah, Psalms, and Gospels have all been superseded. It is an obligation – and blessing – for all who hear of the Qur’an and Islam to investigate it and evaluate it for themselves. Allah (swt) has guaranteed that He will protect the Qur’an from human tampering, and today’s readers can find exact copies of it all over the world. The Qur’an of today is the same as the Qur’an revealed to Muhammad (saw) 1400 years ago.
———————————



Who are the Muslims?

The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of God, regardless of their race, nationality or ethnic background. Being a Muslim entails recognising and submitting to God’s will, while doing one’s level best to live in accordance with His message. Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion for Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth. Not only are there converts to Islam in every corner of the world, especially in England and America, but by taking a look at the Muslim World from Bosnia to Nigeria, and from Indonesia to Morocco, one can clearly see that Muslims come from many various races, ethnic groups and nationalities. It is also interesting to note that in actual fact, more than 80% of all Muslims are not Arabs – there are more Muslims in Indonesia than in the whole Arab World! So even though it is true that most Arabs are Muslims, the large majority of Muslims are not Arabs. However, anyone who submits completely to God and worships Him alone is a Muslim.

Islam and the Message of Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jesus:



In many respects, Islam is not a new religion because recognition of and submitting to the Divine will (i.e. the very definition of “Islam”), is a central message of virtually all holy scriptures, which other religions of the world are based upon. Divine will is itself manifested in natural laws, such as the laws of physics, like gravity and thermodynamics. For this reason, one can say Islam is the “natural religion” and is the same eternal message revealed throughout history to all of God’s creation.

Muslims believe that all of God’s prophets, which include Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them, brought the same message highlighting the Oneness of God, who is merciful and kind to all His creation. Thus, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was not the founder of a new religion, as many people mistakenly think, but he was the Final Prophet of Islam (i.e. He brought people to and finalised the same Divine message espoused by all true prophets of God).

Through the revelation of His final message to Prophet Muhammad, which is an eternal and universal message for all of mankind, God finally fulfilled the covenant that He made with Abraham, who was one of the earliest and greatest prophets. Suffice to say that the way of Prophet Muhammad is the same as the way of Prophet Abraham, because both the Bible and the Qur’an portray Abraham as a towering example of someone who submitted himself completely to God and worshipped Him in the purest manner, without ascribing any partners to Almighty God.

Once this is realised, it should be clear that Islam has the most continuous and universal religious message throughout history, as all the prophets and messengers were “Muslims”, i.e. in the sense that they submitted to God’s will and promoted “Islam”, i.e. the recognition of and submission to the will of the One true God, a message encouraging conscious of the pure Oneness and Unity of God.

The Oneness of God (or Monotheism):

The foundation of the Islamic faith is a belief in the Oneness of Almighty God – the God of Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus. Islam teaches that a pure belief in One God is intuitive in human beings and thus fulfils the natural inclination of the soul. As such, Islam’s concept of God is straightforward, unambiguous and easy to understand.

Islam teaches that the hearts, minds and souls of human beings are fitting receptacles for clear divine revelation, and that God’s revelations to man are not clouded by self-contradictory mysteries or irrational ideas. As such, Islam teaches that even though God cannot be fully comprehended and grasped by our finite human minds, He also does not expect us to accept absurd or demonstrably false beliefs about Him. According to the teachings of Islam, Almighty God is absolutely One and His Oneness should never be compromised by associating partners with Him – neither in worship nor in belief. Due to this, Muslims are required to maintain a direct relationship with God, and therefore all intermediaries are absolutely forbidden. From the Islamic standpoint, believing in the Oneness of God means to realise that all prayer and worship should be exclusively for God, and that only He alone is truly deserving of such worship.

Some religions, even though they believe in “One God”, do not make all of their worship and prayers for Him alone, even elevating beings that are not All-Knowing, All-Powerful and Un-Changing to divine status, even though such beliefs are untenable according to their own scriptures.

However, Islam teaches it is not enough that people believe that “God is One”, but they should be striving to live in accordance with their beliefs, through how they worship and how they live their daily lives. In short, in the Islamic concept of God, which is completely based on Divine Revelation, there is no ambiguity in divinity – God is God and man is man. Since God is the only Creator and continual Sustainer of the Universe, He cannot be compared or confused with His creation – a comparison between a mushroom and the sun isn’t even touching upon how incomparable a creature is with the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth!

Islam teaches that God has a unique nature and that He is free from gender, human weaknesses and beyond anything which human beings can imagine. The Qur’an teaches us that the signs and proofs of God’s wisdom, power and existence are evident in the world around us. As such, God calls on man to ponder over the creation in order to build a better understanding of his Creator. Muslims believe that God is Loving, Compassionate and Merciful, and that He is concerned with the daily affairs of human beings. In this, Islam strikes a unique balance between false religious and philosophical extremes. While some religions and philosophies portray God as just an impersonal “Higher Power” who is uninterested or even unaware of the lives of each individual human being, other religions tend to give God human qualities and teach that He is present in His creation, by being incarnate in someone, something – or even everything.

Islam stresses that Almighty God has clarified the truth, by letting mankind know that He is Compassionate, Merciful, Loving and the Answerer of Prayers. But that God also emphasised strongly that “there is nothing like unto Him” and that He is in no way dependent upon time, space and His creation; rather all creation is completely dependent upon the Creator.

Finally, it should be mentioned that the God which Muslims worship, is the same God that Jews and Christians worship – as there is indeed only One God. It is unfortunate that some people mistakenly believe that Muslims worship a different God than Jews and Christians, and that “Allah” is just the “god of the Arabs”. This myth, which has been propagated by the enemies of Islam, is completely false, since the word “Allah” is simply the name “God” in Arabic. Indeed, Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians use the same name “Allah” in their own prayers, and Christians even call Jesus “ibn Allah” – “son of God”.

However, it should be clarified, that even though Muslims worship the same God as Jews and Christians, there is some variation in the conception of God in the beliefs of each of these religions. Jews and Muslims for instance, reject the Christian belief that God is a Trinity, not only because both the Torah and Qur’an reject this, but also because if this was God’s true nature, He would surely have revealed this clearly to Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus and all of the other prophets.

The Holy Qur’an:

The Arabic words “Al Qur’an” literally mean “the recitation”. When used in regards to Islam, the word Qur’an means God’s final message to mankind that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. The Qur’an, sometimes spelled Koran, is believed by Muslims to be the literal word of God – as it clearly says time and time again. Unlike other sacred scriptures, the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved in both its words and meaning in a living language. The Qur’an is a living miracle in the Arabic language; and is known to be inimitable in its style, form and spiritual impact. God’s final revelation to mankind, the Qur’an, was revealed to Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years. The Qur’an, in contrast to many other religious books, was always considered to be the Word of God by those who believed in it, i.e. it wasn’t something decreed by a religious council many years after being written. Also, the Qur’an was recited publicly in front of both Muslim and non-Muslim communities during the life of Prophet Muhammad.

The entire Qur’an was completely written down during the lifetime of the Prophet, and numerous companions of the Prophet memorised the entire Qur’an word-for-word as it was revealed. So unlike other scriptures, the Qur’an was always in the hands of the common people, it was always thought to be God’s word and due to wide-spread memorisation, it was perfectly preserved. In regards to the teachings of the Qur’an – it is a universal scripture, and is addressed to all of mankind, not to a particular tribe or “chosen people”. The message that it brings is nothing new, but the same message of all the prophets – submit to Almighty God and worship Him alone. As such, God’s revelation in the Qur’an focuses on teaching human beings the importance of believing in the Unity of God and framing their lives around the guidance which He has sent.

Additionally, the Qur’an contains the stories of previous prophets, such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus; as well as many commands and prohibitions from God. In modern times, when so many people are caught up in doubt, spiritual despair and “political correctness”, the Qur’anic teachings offer solutions to the emptiness of our lives and the turmoil that is gripping the world today. In short, the Qur’an is the book of guidance par excellence.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

Unlike the founders of many religions, the final prophet of Islam is a real documented and historical figure. He lived in the full light of history and many of the smallest details of his life are known. Not only do Muslims have the complete text of God’s words that were revealed to Muhammad, but they preserved many of his sayings and traditions in what is called the “Hadith” literature, also known as “Sunnah” (“example” or “way”). Having said this, it should be understood that Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad was a man created by God, and that he is not divine in any way. In order to avoid the misguided wish to deify him, even Prophet Muhammad taught Muslims to refer to him as “God’s Messenger and His Servant”.

The mission of the last and final prophet of God was to simply teach that “there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God”, as well as being a living example of God’s revelation. In simple terms, God sent the revelation to Muhammad, who in turn taught it, preached it, lived it and put it into practice. In this way, Muhammad was more than just a “prophet” in the sense of many of the Biblical prophets, since he was also a statesman and ruler. He was a man who lived a humble life in the service of God, and established an all-encompassing religion and way of life by showing what it means to be an ideal friend, husband, teacher, ruler, warrior and judge. For this reason, Muslims follow him not for his own sake, but in obedience to God, because Muhammad not only showed us how to deal with our fellow human beings, but more importantly, he showed us how to relate to and worship God, in the best of ways.

Like other prophets, Muhammad faced a great deal of opposition and persecution during his mission. However, he was always patient and just, he even treated his enemies well. The results of his mission were very successful, and even though his mission started in one of the most backward and remote places on Earth, within a hundred years of the death of Muhammad, Islam had spread from Spain to China. Prophet Muhammad was the greatest of all of God’s messengers, not because he had new doctrines or greater miracles, but because the results of his mission have enabled more human beings to become conscious of the One True God, than any other prophet.

The Islamic Way of Life (Minhaj):

In the Holy Qur’an, God teaches human beings that they were created in order to worship Him, and that the basis of all true worship is God-consciousness. Since the teachings of Islam encompass all aspects of life and ethics, God-consciousness is encouraged in all human affairs. Islam makes it clear that all human acts are acts of worship if they are done for God alone and in accordance with His Divine will. As such, worship in Islam is not limited to religious rituals. The teachings of Islam are a mercy and healing for the human soul, and such qualities as humility, sincerity, patience and charity are strongly encouraged. Additionally, Islam condemns pride and self-righteousness, since Almighty God is the only judge of human righteousness.

The Islamic view of the nature of man is also realistic and well-balanced. Human beings are not believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen as equally capable of both good and evil. Islam also teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand. God has given people free-will, that a measure of one’s faith is one’s deeds and actions. However, human beings have also been created weak and regularly fall into sin. This is the nature of the human being as created by God in His Wisdom, and it is not inherently “corrupt” or in need of repair. This is because the avenue of repentance is always open to everyone, and Almighty God loves the repentant sinner more than one who does not sin at all.

The true balance of an Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of God as well as a sincere belief in His infinite Mercy. A life without any fear of God can lead to sin and disobedience, while believing that we have sinned so much that God will not possibly forgive us only leads to despair. In light of this, Islam teaches that: only the misguided despair of the Mercy of God.

Additionally, the Holy Qur’an contains many references to the life hereafter and the Day of Judgement. Muslims believe that all human beings will ultimately have to give an account to God, for their beliefs and actions during their earthly lives. But, through the Mercy of God, human beings will only be held accountable for what they were truly capable of. Suffice it to say that Islam teaches that life is a test, and that everyone will be held to account before God. A sincere belief in God and the life to come, is key to leading a well-balanced life which is morally and ethically sound. Otherwise, there is a tendency in people to view life as an end in itself, which causes human beings to become more selfish, materialistic and immoral.

Islam for a Better Life:

Islam teaches that true happiness and peace of mind, is only obtained through living a life conscious of God, and through being satisfied with what God has given us. Additionally, true “freedom” is freedom from being controlled by our base desires and being ruled by man-made ideologies. This stands in stark contrast to the view of many people today, who consider “freedom” to be the ability to satisfy all of their desires without any inhibitions.

The clear and comprehensive guidance of Islam, gives human beings a well-defined purpose and direction in life. In addition to highlighting the fact we are all members of one human family, its well-balanced and practical teachings are a source of spiritual comfort, guidance and morality. A direct and clear relationship with God, as well as a sense of purpose and belonging that one feels as a Muslim, frees an individual from the many worries of everyday life. In short, the Islamic way of life is pure and wholesome. This builds self-discipline and self-control through regular prayer and fasting, freeing human beings from superstition and all sorts of racial, ethnic and national prejudices. By accepting to live a God-conscious life, and realising that the only thing that distinguishes people in the sight of God is their consciousness of Him, a person’s true human dignity and potential is realised.