Islam and Muslims
The Arabic word Islam means peace, submission and obedience. The religion of Islam is the complete acceptance of the teachings and guidance of God as revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). A Muslim is one who believes in God and Strives for total reorganization of his life according to His revealed guidance and the saying of the Prophet. He also works for building human society on the same basis. "Mohammedanism" is a misnomer for Islam and offends its very spirit. The word "Allah" is the proper name of God in Arabic. It is a unique term because it has no plural or feminine gender.
continuity of Message
Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance, which Allah revealed to all Prophets:
Say, we believe in Allah and that which has been revealed to us, and Ismael and Issac and Jacob and the tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to that other Prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to him we submit. (Qura'n 3:83).
The message which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form.
The Five Pillars of Islam
There are five pillars of Islam
The declaration of faith: To bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His messenger to all human beings till the day of judgment. The Prophet hood of Muhammad obliges the Muslims to follow his exemplary life as a model.
Prayers: Daily prayers are offered five times a day as a duty towards Allah. They strengthen and enliven the belief in Allah and inspire man to a higher morality. They purify the heart and prevent temptation towards wrong-doings and evils.
Fasting the month of Ramadan: The Muslims during the month of Ramadan not only abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, but also from evil intentions and desires. It teaches love, sincerity and devotion. It develops a sound social conscience, patience, unselfishness and will power.
Zakat: To pay annually 2.5% of one's net saving on which a year has passed as religious duty and purifying sum to be spent on poorer sections of the community.
Pilgrimage to Makkah: it is to be performed once in a lifetime, if one can afford it financially and physically.
Besides these pillars every action, which is done with awareness that it fulfills the will of Allah, is also considered an act of worship. Islam enjoins faith in the Oneness and Sovereignty of Allah, which makes man aware of the meaningfulness of the Universe and of his place in it. This belief frees him from all fears and superstitions by making him conscious of the presence of the Almighty Allah and of man's obligations towards Him. This faith must be expressed and tested in action.
Faith alone is not enough. Belief in one god requires that we look upon all humanity as one family under the universal omnipotence of god- the creator and nourisher of the all Islam rejects the idea of a chosen people, making faith in god and good action only way to heaven. Thus, a direct relationship is established with god, without any intercessor
Ramadan in Islam
Ramadan is the (month) In which was sent down the Qur'an as a guide to making. Also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong) so every one of you Who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting.
But if any one is ill, or on a journey.
The prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later.
When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell closed and the devils are chained. The period of Ramadan does not occur at fixed time of year, but is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar one, months are determined according to various positions of the moon. This means that over a period of a limited number of years, Islamic fasting covers the four major seasons of the year and circulates back and forth between summer and winter through autumn and spring in a rotating manner. Hence the Muslim enjoys the moral experience of Fasting on several levels and variant climates, sometimes in the winter of short and cold days, sometimes in the summer of long and hot days, sometimes in between.
Fasting is one of the five obligatory pillars of Islam. It teaches the Muslim self-restraint and is compulsory for every Muslim, male or female who is mentally and physically fit. It is obligatory for children when they reach the age of puberty and discretion, at about 14. However, children under this age are often encouraged to start fasting little by little so by the time they reach property, they will be both mentally and physically able to fast. Those who are exempt form fasting are children under age, the insane, the aged who can not physically fast, the sick and travelers who are 50 miles or more from home, also expectant mothers and mothers who suckle their children if fasting endangers their health or the health of their infants.
In other religions and dogmas, philosophies and doctrines, the observer of fasts abstains from certain kinds of food or drinks or material substances, but he is free to substitute for that and fill his stomach with the substitution which is also of a material nature. In Islam, one abstains from things of material nature, food, drink, smoking, etc, in order to have spiritual joys and moral nourishment. While the Muslim empties his stomach, he fills his heart with love and sympathy, his spirit with piety and faith, and his mind with wisdom resolution. The purpose of fasting in other religions and philosophies is invariably partial. It is either for spiritual aims or physical needs or intellectual cultivations, but never for all combined. In Islam it is for all these gains and many other purposes, social and economic, moral and humanitarian, inner and outer, local and national all combined together.
Fasting in Islam is not a divorce from life, but a happy marriage with it, not a retreat but a penetration with spiritual armaments, not a negligence but a moral enrichment. it does not break but Harmonizes, does not dissolve but transfuses, does not disintegrate but bridges and redeems. It is a shield from committing sins. A fasting person learns patients
Man: the Free Agent
Man is the highest creation of god. He is equipped with the highest of potentialities. He is left relatively free in his will, action and choice. God has shown him The right path, and the life of prophet Muhammad provides a example man's success and salvation leis in following both. Islam teacher the human personality and confers equal rights upon all without any distinction of race, sex or color.
The law of god. Enunciated in the qura'n and exemplified in the life of the prophet . is supreme in all cases. It applies equally to the highest and the lowest, the prince and the peasant, the ruler and the ruled.
Qura'n and Hadith
The qura'n is the last revealed word of god and the basic source of Islamic teachings and laws. The Qura'n deals with the bases of creeds, morality, history of human relationship in all aspects.Comprehensive teaching on which, can be built sound systems of social justics, economics, politics, legislation, jurisprudence, law and international relations, are important contents of the holy qura'n
Muhamed (PBUH) himself was an unlettered man who could not read or write. Yet , the holy qura'n was committed to memory and writing by his followers, under his supervision, during his lifetime
The original and completed text of the qura'n is available to everybody in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed. Translations of the meaning into many languages are widely used.
HADITH, the teaching, sayings and actions of prophet Muhamed, meticulously reported and collected by his devoted companions, explain and elaborate the qura'nic verses
If the Creator is eternal and everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then His attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment's thought shows that this is not feasible.
The Quran summarizes this argument in the following verses:
God has not taken to Himself any son, nor is there any god with Him: For then each god would have taken off that which he created and some of them would have risen up over others. And Why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than God, they (heaven and earth) would surely go to ruin.
Islamic way of life
Islam provides definite guidelines for all people to follow in all walks of life. The guidance it gives is comprehensive and includes the social, economic, political, moral and spiritual aspects of life. The Qura'n reminds man of the purpose of his life on earth, of his duties and obligations towards himself, his kith and kin, his community, his fellow human beings and his creator. Man is given fundamental guidelines about a purposeful life and then he is left with the challenge of human existence before him so that he might put these high ideals into practice. In Islam, man's life is a wholesome, integrated unit and not a collection of fragmented, competitive parts. The scared and secular are not separate parts of man: they are united in the nature of being human.
Muhammad (blessing and peace by upon him) was born in the year 570 A.C. in the city of Makkah in Arabia. He came of noble family; he received the first revelation at the age of forty. As soon as he started preaching Islam, he and his followers were persecuted and had to face sever hardships. He was, therefore, commanded by God to migrate to Madinah, another city in Arabia. During a short span of 23 years, he completed his mission of prophet hood and died at the age of 63. He led a perfect life and set an example for all human-beings as his life was the embodiment of the Qura'nic teachings.
Islam Rational Appeal
Islam in its clear and direct of expressing truth has a tremendous amount of appeal for any seeker of knowledge. It is a solution for all the problems of life. It is a guide towards a better and complete life glorifying, in all its phases, God, the Almighty Creator and Merciful Nourisher.
Number of countries with over 50% Muslim population is 58.
In view of the growth in population and worldwide trend of conversions to Islam, the Muslim population is believed to have risen above 1,2 billion.
Islam - The Solution of Modern Problems
The brotherhood of Man:
A major problem which modern man face is that of racism. The materially advanced nations can send man to the moon but they cannot stop man from hating and fighting his fellow man. Islam, over the last 1400 years, has shown in practice how racism can be ended. Every year, during Hajj, the Islamic miracle of real brotherhood of all races and nations can be seen in action.
The family which is the basic unit of civilization is disintegrating in all western countries. Islam's family system brings into a fine equilibrium the rights of man, wife, children and relatives. Islam nourishes human unselfishness, generosity and love in a well-organized family system.
Un-fragmented View of Life:
Human beings live according to their view of life. The tragedy of secular societies is that they fail to connect the different aspects of life. The secular and the religious, the scientific and the spiritual seem to be in conflict. Islam puts an end to this conflict and brings harmony to man's vision of life
The Believers Attitude
In order to be a Muslim i.e., to surrender oneself to God, it is necessary to believe in the oneness of God, in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc.. But this belief - later on called Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah is not enough. Many of the idolaters knew and believed that only the supreme God could do all this. But that was not enough to make them Muslims. To Tawhid ar-rububiyyah one must add tawhid al'uluhiyyah i.e., one acknowledges the fact that it is God alone who deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstains from worshipping any other thing or being.
Having achieved this knowledge of the one true God, man should constantly have faith in Him, and should allow nothing to induce him deny truth.
When faith enters a person's heart, it causes certain mental states, which result in certain actions. Taken together these mental states and actions are the proof for true faith. The prophet said, "Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds".
Foremost among those mental states is the feeling of gratitude towards God, which could be said to be the essence of Ibada (Worship).
The feeling of gratitude is do important that a non-believer is called "kafir", which means "one who denies a truth" and also "one who is ungrateful".
A believer loves, and is grateful to God for the bounties He bestowed upon him, but being aware of the fact that his good deeds, whether mental or physical, are far from being commensurate with Divine favors, he is always anxious lest God should punish him, here or in the Hereafter. He, therefore, fears Him, surrenders himself to him and serves Him with great humility. One cannot be in such a mental state without being almost all the time mindful of God. Remembering God is thus the life force of faith, without which it fades and withers away.