What is Islam?? And what do Muslims do??
Basic Beliefs in Al Islam
Islam as a word comes from the root Seem Laam Meem (all Arabic words come from a three letter root). The root word Salima means to be safe, sound, unharmed, unimpaired, intact, and secure. Islam itself means submission to the will of Allah (The God). With such a submission one finds safety, security, protection and guidance, among other things. One who does submit to Allah and adheres to Islam is called a Muslim.
The religion of Islam is Allahs religion, created and named by Allah
" This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion " Holy Quran Surah 5:3
In order to follow Islam and be a Muslim certain basic beliefs are required. Without such beliefs one cannot be a Muslim, for one would not be following Islam, but rather another religion created by man. Some of these basic beliefs are as follows.
As a word Allah means The God, which is the one and only God. Allah is the creator of all, Allah is neither male or female, although "He" is often used when referring to Allah, it in no way denotes a gender to Allah. Allah has no sons, daughters, or any partners.
"And your Lord is One Lord, there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He, the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful" Holy Quran Al Baqara 2:163
"There is Nothing like unto Him (Allah) and He is the All Hearer the All Seer" 42:11
"And He (Allah) is the Oft Forgiving, full of Loving Kindness, Lord of the Throne, Full of all Glory, Doer (without let) of all that He intends 85:14-16
In Islam there is no concept of a trinity. Allah, as has been already stated, is ONE with no partners. Allah is not a man, and does not come to earth in the body of a man.
"They disbelieve who say: Allah is one of three for there is No god except Allah " 5:72
"And verily, We have sent among every nation a messenger (proclaiming) worship Allah and avoid all false deities" 16:36
"And there never was a nation but a Warner had passed among them" 35:24
As in all other major religions, in Islam we know that there have been Prophets from Allah sent to mankind. The Prophets and Messengers came to teach mankind of the truth of their Lord. In the Quran There are listed 25 Prophets, some of which are also mentioned in the Torah and the Bible. This in no way indicates that there were only 25 prophets, these are just the only ones mentioned to us by name in Quran.
"We did aforetime send Messengers before thee: of them there are some whose story We have related to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee " 40:78
They are as follows, given first in English then Arabic:
Adam (Adam) Isaiah (Isiah)
Idress (Idress) Moses (Musa)
Noah (Nooh) Aaron (Haaroon)
Hood or Herber (Hood) David (Dawood)
Methusaleh (Saalih) Solomon (Sulaymaan)
Abraham (Ibrahim) Elisha (Ilyaas)
Lot (Loot) Elijah (al-Yaasa)
Ishmael (Ishmael) Jonah (Yoonus)
Isaac (Ishaq) Zachary (Zachariah)
Jacob (Yaqoob) John (Yahya)
Joseph (Yoosef) Jesus (Easa)
Jethro (Shuayb) Muhammad (Muhammad)
As Muslims we are to accept every Prophet and not reject any, nor are we to make distinctions between the Prophets making one better than others, we are to accept them all equally.
"Those who deny Allah His Messengers, and wish to separate between Allah and His Messengers, saying "We believe in some but reject others": and wish to take a course midway, To those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of the Messengers We shall soon give their rewards: for Allah is Oft Forgiving Most Merciful." 4:150-152
"Follow the revelation given unto you from your Lord, and follow not, as friends or Protectors, other than Him ." 7:2
Revelation from Allah was given to many messengers, some of which has been told in the Quran:
Torah of Moses (Musa)
Injil(Bible) of Jesus (Easa)
Zaboor of David (Dawood)
Mushaf of Abraham (Ibrahim)
Angels and Jinn
Every Muslim must believe in the Angels and what are called Jinns. Jinns are creatures who, unlike Angels have the ability to choose between right and wrong, like humans. They were created out of a smokeless fire, unlike Angels which were created from light. We are told in the Quran that Satan (Iblis) is a jinn, unlike the Bibles teaching of the fallen angel.
"Praise be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, who made the angels messengers with wings, two, three, or four: He adds to creation as He pleases: for Allah Has power over all things." 35:1
"And the jinn race, We had created before from the fire of a scorching wind." 25:27
In Islam we are taught that a day will come that every person will stand before Allah and account for the deeds and beliefs in their lives. For those who disbelieved or committed evil deeds in their lives they will be judged accordingly and receive a just and equal recompense. Those who believed and did good deeds will also be judged and receive what they have earned. There are two possibilities, one is Hell, the same fire-flamed place taught in the Bible, or there is Heaven which is a peaceful place full of luxuries.
"Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only on the day of judgment shall you be paid for your full recompense. Only he is saved far from the fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of life): for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception." 3:185
FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
Islam is based on five basic pillars. These include the Shahadah(the declaration of faith), Salat(Prayer), Sawm (fasting), Zakat(charity), and Hajj(pilgrimage). It is the responsibility of every Muslim to follow these pillars and to incorporate them into their everyday lives. A man once came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and inquired about his duties as a Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad(saw) said to him, "You have to offer five Salat (prayers) perfectly in a day and night (24 hours)." The man asked, "Are there any more Salat (prayers) upon me?" Allahs Messenger (saw) replied, "No, but if you want to offer the Nawaful (extra prayers) prayers (you can)." Allahs Messenger (saw) further said to him: "You have to observe Sawm (fasts) during the month of Ramadan." The man asked, "Are there any other (more) fasting upon me?". Allahs Messenger (saw) replied, "No, but if you want to observe the Nawafil fasts (you can)." Then Allahs Messenger (saw) further said to him, "You have to pay the Zakat." The man asked, "Is there any thing other (than the Zakat) for me to pay?" Allahs Messenger (saw) replied, "No, unless you want to give alms of your own." And then that man retreated saying, "By Allah! I will neither do less nor more than this." Allahs Messenger (saw) said, "If what he said is true, then he will be successful (i.e. he will be granted paradise)."
This is this first pillar of Islam and is considered the most important pillar. This pillar forms the basis for the rest of the practices and beliefs in Islam. It is basically your declaration of faith. You must say and believe the following : "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger."
This is the initial act of faith and brings a person within the boundaries of Islam.
The second pillar of Islam is Salat or offering prayer. There are 5 basic prayers that a Muslim must offer in a day. Prayer for a Muslim is a direct link to his Lord. In Islam no priesthood exists, a Muslim prays and asks help from God directly through his 5 daily prayers and any other extra prayers that he would like to offer. The timings of these prayers are before dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night. Muslims can pray anywhere but it is preferable that they pray in the masjid(holy place of worship).
Muslims must fast for a whole month (the Islamic month of Ramadan) from dawn until sunset. Those that are exempt from the fast are the elderly, the sick, children, those who are on a journey, women who are pregnant, nursing, or menstruating. Children must start fasting when they reach the age of puberty. While fasting a Muslim must abstain from eating, drinking, sexual intercourse, and smoking. These are just the physical things that they must abstain from, but during Ramadan the Muslim should be extra careful as to what comes of his mouth, controlling his anger, and to keep in constant remembrance of his Lord. This month is a form of self-purification for Muslims because they are cutting themselves off from worldly things that they are so dependent on for the love of their Lord.
It is required of every Muslim who is financially able to give a fixed percentage(about 2 and a ½ percent) of his assets to charity every year. This charity should go to the poor who are not able to provide for themselves such as the widowed, the innocent children, the wayfarer, etc. Zakat is a reminder to Muslims that all of their bounty is from Allah and they must spend it in His cause.
It is an obligation on all Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in their lifetime. There are many rites and rituals that are done on the Hajj. The tradition of the Hajj started with Prophet Abraham and has continued ever since. It is said that after doing the Hajj all of the past sins of the Muslim are forgiven. It is a form of renewal and rebirth for the Muslim.
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