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Definition Of Islam

The word ISLAM has a two-fold meaning: peace, and submission to God. This submission requires a fully conscious and willing effort to submit to the one Almighty God. One must consciously and conscientiously give oneself to the service of Allah. This means to act on what Allah enjoins all of us to do (in the Qur'an) and what His beloved Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged us to do in his Sunnah (his lifestyle and sayings personifying the Qur'an).

Once we humble ourselves, rid ourselves of our egoism and submit totally to Allah, and to Him exclusively, in faith and in action, we will surely feel peace in our hearts. Establishing peace in our hearts will bring about peace in our external conduct as well.

Islam is careful to remind us that it not a religion to be paid mere lip service; rather it is an all-encompassing way of life that must be practiced continuously for it to be Islam. The Muslim must practice the five pillars of the religion: the declaration of faith in the oneness of Allah and the prophet hood of Muhammad (pbuh), prayer, fasting the month of Ramadan, alms-tax, and the pilgrimage to Makkah; and believe in the six articles of faith: belief in God, the Holy Books, the prophets, the angels, the Day of Judgment and God's decree, whether for good or ill.

There are other injunctions and commandments which concern virtually all facets of one's personal, family and civic life. These include such matters as diet, clothing, personal hygiene, interpersonal relations, business ethics, responsibilities towards parents, spouse and children, marriage, divorce and inheritance, civil and criminal law, fighting in defense of Islam, relations with non-Muslims, and so much more.

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Who Is Allah?

Some of the biggest misconceptions that many non-Muslims have about Islam have to do with the word "Allah". Many people have come to believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews.  

 

What do Muslims believe about Allah?

1. He is the one God, Who has no partner.

2. Nothing is like Him. He is the Creator, not created, nor a part of His creation.

3. He is All-Powerful, absolutely Just.

4. There is no other entity in the entire universe worthy of worship besides Him.

5. He is First, Last, and Everlasting; He was when nothing was, and will be when nothing else remains.

6. He is the All-Knowing, and All-Merciful,the Supreme, the Sovereign.

7. It is only He Who is capable of granting life to anything.

8. He sent His Messengers (peace be upon them) to guide all of mankind.

9. He sent Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last Prophet and Messenger for all mankind.

10. His book is the Holy Qur'an, the only authentic revealed book in the world that has been kept without change.

11. Allah knows what is in our hearts.

 

These are some of the basic guidelines Muslims follow in their knowledge of God:

1. Eliminate any anthropomorphism (human qualities) from their conception of Allah. His attributes are not like human attributes, despite similar labels or appellations.

2. Have unwavering faith in exactly what Allah and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) described Allah to be, no more, no less.

3. Eradicate any hope or desire of learning or knowing the modality of His names and attributes.

4. Believe totally in all the names and attributes of Allah; one cannot believe in some and disbelieve the others.

5. One cannot accept the names of Allah without their associated attributes, i.e. one cannot say He is Al-Hayy - 'The Living' and then say that He is without life.

6. Similarity in names (or meanings) does not imply similarity in what is being described (referents). As a robotics arm differs from a human arm, so the "hand" of Allah is nothing like a human hand, His speech is nothing like human speech, etc.

7. Certain words are ambiguous or vague in their meanings, and thus may be susceptible to misinterpretation. Only those meanings that are in accordance with what is specified by Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) are acceptable.  

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Read also:

Do Muslims Worship a Different God?

 

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The Five Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam are the framework of the Muslim life. They are the testimony of faith, prayer, giving zakat (support of the needy), fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime for those who are able.

1. The Testimony of Faith

The testimony of faith is saying with conviction, “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah.” This saying means “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” The first part, “There is no true god but God,” means that none has the right to be worshipped but God alone, and that God has neither partner nor son. This testimony of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which should be said with conviction in order to convert to Islam . The testimony of faith is the most important pillar of Islam.


2. Prayer


Muslims perform five prayers a day. Each prayer does not take more than a few minutes to perform. Prayer in Islam is a direct link between the worshipper and God. There are no intermediaries between God and the worshipper.
In prayer, a person feels inner happiness, peace, and comfort, and that God is pleased with him or her. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Bilal, call (the people) to prayer, let us be comforted by it.} Bilal was one of Muhammad’s companions who was charged to call the people to prayers.
Prayers are performed at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night. A Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories, or universities.

3. Giving Zakat (Support of the Needy

All things belong to God, and wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The original meaning of the word zakat is both ‘purification’ and ‘growth.’ Giving zakat means ‘giving a specified percentage on certain properties to certain classes of needy people.’ The percentage which is due on gold, silver, and cash funds that have reached the amount of about 85 grams of gold and held in possession for one lunar year is two and a half percent. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a small portion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
A person may also give as much as he or she pleases as voluntary alms or
charity.


4. Fasting the Month of Ramadan


Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from dawn until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations.
Although the fast is beneficial to health, it is regarded principally as a method of spiritual self-purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry, as well as growth in his or her spiritual life.

 

5. The Pilgrimage to Makkah

The annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah is an obligation once in a lifetime for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. About two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe. Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. Male pilgrims wear special simple clothes which strip away distinctions of class and culture so that all stand equal before God.

Pilgrims praying at the Haram mosque in Makkah. In this mosque is the Kaaba (the black building in the picture) which Muslims turn toward when praying. The Kaaba is the place of worship which God commanded the Prophets Abraham and his son, Ishmael, to build.
The rites of the Hajj include circling the Kaaba seven times and going seven times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa, as Hagar did during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together in Arafaand ask God for what they wish and for His forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Day of Judgment.
The end of the Hajj is marked by a festival, Eid Al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers. This, and Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are the two annual festivals of the Muslim calendar.

 

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Six Articles of Faith

Six Beliefs (Muslims must believe in the six articles of faith):

  1. Allah
  2. Angels
  3. Books
  4. Prophets
  5. Judgment Day
  6. Predestination

 

 
Allah - Believe God Almighty is One, Unique, Unlike His Creation, Perfect in every way; Not like or in His Creation

Angels -
Made from light, follow Allah's orders perfectly, never make mistakes and are never disobedient (devil is not a fallen angel in Islam).

Books -
Torah (Old Testament), Suhoof (Scriptures of prophets), Zabur (Psalms), Enjil (Evangel or New Testament), Quran (Recitation to Muhammad)

Prophets -
Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, Muhammad, and others mentioned in Books, peace be upon them all.

Resurrection -
All people, believers and disbelievers will be resurrected for Judgment Day in real flesh and blood bodies to be judged.

Divine Destiny -
Allah has complete control of all that happens, both good and evil and He has full knowledge of it all.
 

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