A Brief Introduction to Islam – Part 3

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A Brief Introduction to Islam – Part 3

1.1What 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.

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?

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 Judgement 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 (SAW) through Gabriel.

How does someone become a Muslim?

Simply by saying ‘There is no god apart from God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.’ By this declaration the believer announces his or her faith in all God’s messengers, and the scriptures they brought.

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 (SAW) 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 (SAW) from the eldest, Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them, from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement which today is the city of Makkah, and built the Ka’ba towards which all Muslims turn when they pray. To find out more, visit: An Islamic perspective on Christianity.

What is the Ka’ba?

The Ka’ba is the place of worship which God commanded Abraham and Ishmael to build over four thousand years ago. The building was constructed of stone on what many believe was the original site of a sanctuary established by Adam. God commanded Abraham to summon all mankind to visit this place, and when pilgrims go there today they say ‘At Thy service, O Lord’, in response to Abraham’s summons.

Who is Muhammad (pbuh)?

Muhammad (SAW) 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 (SAW) 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.

How did he become a prophet and a messenger of God?

At the ag e of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for twenty-three years, is known as the Quran. As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate. This event, the Hijra, ‘migration’, in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After several years, the Prophet (SAW) and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively. Before the Prophet (SAW) died at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China.

How did the spread of Islam affect the world?

Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the simplicity of its doctrine. Islam calls for faith in only One God worthy of worship. It also repeatedly instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation. Within a few years, great civilizations and universities were flourishing, for according to the Prophet (SAW) ‘seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim man and woman’. The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history. Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also the concept of the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from Islam. Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps. The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Seek knowledge even into China’: the Hui Shen mosque was built in the seventh century.

The One True God

Most people realize that there is only one true God. Throughout history, this one true God has appointed many good men to tell others about Him so that humans everywhere may turn away from false gods and worship Him alone. Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them) all spoke about this one God and worshiped Him alone.

In the Gospel According to Matthew, 26:39 (King James Version) we are told that Jesus “fell on his face, and prayed” to God. And in the Gospel According to John, 17:3, Jesus declares that the one he prayed to is the only true God.

This very God speaks to us in these last days in His final Scripture which He will safeguard from corruption. God announces in His book good news to all those who believe in Him and do right. He says: Surely those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and afterward are upright, the angels descend upon them, saying: Fear not nor grieve, but hear good tidings of the Paradise which you are promised. We are your protecting friends in the life of the world and in the Hereafter.

“There you will have (all) that your souls desire, and there you will have (all) for which you pray. A gift of welcome from the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Al-Qur’an 41:30-32]

Those who believe and do good works and believe in that which is revealed unto Muhammad – and it is the truth from your Lord – He rids them of their ill-deeds and improves their condition. That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood and because those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. [Al-Qur’an 47:2]

Accept this invitation, therefore, and enjoy a life of peace and satisfaction on earth, then everlasting life in God’s Paradise. The true scripture promises all this to those who choose no other god except the one true God who was worshipped by Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them). The truth has now come to you from your Lord! Won’t you accept it?

Who Do Muslims Worship?

The submission of man to his Creator is the essence of Islam. The word “Islam” literally means, “to submit” or “to surrender.” The real question one should ask is: “submit and surrender” to whom? Muslims submit and surrender their will and desires to the will and the laws of the Creator. This is what “Islam” truly means. By referring to, The Creator”, Muslims are talking about “Allah.”

Allah is the Creator of all that is in the heavens and the earth. In Islam, Allah is the True and Only Creator, and only he deserves to be worshipped. Nothing else is worthy of worship; not stones, statues, crosses, the sun, the moon, stars, temples, animals, Prophets (from any religion), messengers, saints, priests, movie stars, musicians, athletes, or religious scholars. All of those are created beings, and are not worthy of worship in Islam. In fact, doing that is to associate partners with Allah, and it is the only sin that would never be forgiven on the Day of Judgment.

Allah is the Arabic word for God. This is the way all Arab Jews, Christians and Muslims call God. Allah is the person-al name of God, which He gave to Himself in the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the last and final revelation from Allah to mankind, that Allah gave to Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, through the Angel Gabriel. The name “Allah” is unique. It has no feminine or masculine form unlike ‘god’ or ‘goddess’). It also has no plural form (unlike ‘gods’ and goddesses’). The name “Allah” simply means ‘The One and Only True God.”

The name “Allah” was not a name invented by the Arabs. It has been the name of God since the beginning of time. In the Torah, we can easily find the name that God gave Himself, “Elah”, or in some cases, “Eloh” (Elohim – [im] being a form of respect in the Hebrew language). It was also used in the Aramaic language, which was the language spoken by our beloved Prophet Jesus, alayhes salam.

The Creator, Allah, has perfect attributes. He is the First; there was none before Him, and He is the Last. Allah is the Everliving; everything will end in death, except Him. He is the Protecting Friend and to Him is the Final Return, where everything will be dealt with and judged in the Most Perfect and Just way. Muslims are confident of the Just and Perfect Judgment of Allah, The Creator, because He tells us repeatedly in the Qur’an that He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, and perfectly just.

Allah also tells us in the Qur’an, that He does not beget, nor is He begotten. Begetting offspring, eating and sleeping are all characteristics of created things. Compare this, for example, to the Biblical ideas of God resting on the seventh day of creation, and begetting a son.

Muslims believe that Allah does not have the characteristics of people, animals or any created things. Muslims also believe that Allah is All- Powerful and able to do-all things, He merely says to it “Be” and it is. Such as the case of the miraculous birth of Prophet Jesus, alayhes salam, and when Allah created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them.

The most important point about Islamic worship is to understand that Muslims worship One God only. This pure and simple message of Islam has remained unchanged since the first man walked on earth. From the Prophet Moses, alayhes salam, calling out to his people, “Hear ‘O Israel.-The Lord our God is One” [Deuteronomy 6:4 (English-KJV)]; to Prophet Jesus, alayhes salam, teaching and reprimanding his disciples, “Why does thou callest me good? There is none good but one, that is, God” [Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19 (English-KJV)J; to the last messenger of monotheism who came with the final revelation from God proclaiming, “Your God is One God, there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful” [2:163].

Allah, The One. This is whom over one-billion Muslims across the world pray to five times each day.

The declaration of faith for one who wants to embrace Islam is:”Ashadu Alla Ilaha Illallah waashhadu anna Muhammadan rasoolullah”, which means when translated to English: “There is nothing worthy of worship but Allah; alone, and Muhammad is His Messenger.”

This simple, yet profound belief is what draws thousands of Westerners and people from all walks of life, religions, cultural and ethnic backgrounds to Islam every year and has made the religion of Islam the fastest growing religion on earth today.


**For Islamic Articles & News Please Go one of the Following Links……

www.ieroworld.net
www.myzavia.com
www.taqwaislamicschool.com


Courtesy :
MyZavia
Taqwa Islamic School
Islamic Educational & Research Organization (IERO)

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