Islam 101

bismillah al rahman ir rahim

[In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate]

The Complete Quran PDF

The word Islam means voluntary “Submission” or “Surrender” to the Will of God. It derives from the root word “salam,” meaning peace.

Muslims, like Christians and Jews, believe in God’s revelation, prophets, ethical and moral accountability and a day of judgment. They revere Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, David and Jesus as prophets but believe that Muhammad was God’s final and most important prophet and messenger.

God sent Prophets to teach mankind how to worship Him; starting with Adam, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the last of the messengers, Muhammad (peace be upon them all). The Islamic position is that all of these prophets came with the same message, that there is no deity worthy of worship except the One True God, known in Arabic as Allah.

Islam recognizes the close relationship between the body and soul. Whereas the body originates from the earth and has a defined period of life on this earth, the soul originates from God and does not die. Islam encourages the individual to focus on keeping the soul healthy, through the remembrance, obedience and worship of God. There should be a correct balance in strengthening the soul and not over-indulging with the pleasures of the body. Islam is a natural way of life that encourages one to give due attention to their relationship with God and His creation. Islam teaches that it is through the doing of good deeds and seeking the pleasure of God that souls find true happiness and peace. It is in this context that the word Islam derives from the root word “salam,” or peace.

Muslims believe that people are born free of sin. It is only after they reach the age of puberty and it is only after they commit sins that they are to be charged for their mistakes. No one is responsible for or can take the responsibility for the sins of others. However, the door of forgiveness through true repentance to God is always open.

The basic beliefs of Muslims fall into six main categories, which are known as the “Articles of Faith”:
  • Faith in the unity of God
  • Faith in angels
  • Faith in prophets
  • Faith in books of revelation
  • Faith in an afterlife
  • Faith in destiny/divine decree

The Five Pillars of Faith:

In Islam, faith and good works go hand-in-hand. A mere verbal declaration of faith is not enough, for belief in Allah makes obedience to Him a duty.
  • Declaration(Shahaadah): Each Muslim must declare, “There is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.”
  • Prayer(salat): Muslims are expected to perform prayers at five set times a day, facing Mecca. Prayers include a ritual washing of face, hands and feet with water and kneeling on a prayer rug.
  • Charity(zakat): The Quran instructs Muslims to make an annual payment to charity, or zakat, generally 2.5 percent of their income or assets.
  • Fasting(sawm): During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are expected to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity from sunrise to sundown.
  • Pilgrimage(hajj): Every Muslim who is physically and financially able is required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his life

The shahaada is, phonetically, “ash-hadu an laa illaaha illa (A)llah wa ashadu anna Muhammada(n) rasulu (A)llah.” The meaning is:

“ash-hadu an” = I bear witness that there is
“laa illaaha illa (A)llah” = no god but God
“wa ashadu anna” = and I bear witness that
“Muhammada(n) rasulu (A)llah.” = Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

Sacred Text

Muslims believe the Quran was dictated to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It is considered to be the exact words of God, rather than the words of Muhammad. Muslim practice is also defined by the Sunnah, the sayings, practices and customs of Muhammad. His sayings are known as the hadith.

 Islam’s holiest sites:

  • Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Muslims pray facing Mecca — the site of the Ka’bah, a mosque Muslims believe Abraham built – and take pilgrimages there.
  • The Dome of the Rock, a mosque in Jerusalem built on the site where Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to heaven

   There are three main branches of Islam – Sunni, Shiite and Sufi. Sunnis make up about 85 percent of the Muslim population globally, while Shiites account for about 15 percent; the proportions are the same for the U.S. Muslim population. The two split over differences of who should succeed Muhammad.

HOW DO YOU BECOME A MUSLIM?

The only thing you need in order to be a Muslim is the belief in the One God and that Muhammad (salallaho alayhi wasalaam) was His last messenger.

Praying five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan, giving yearly charity and going for hajj are acts that one does because of this faith and out of love for Allah.

The Shahadah  is the dividing line between unbelief (kufr) and Islam. It is also called the kalimah (word). Whoever says it with truthfulness will enter the Gardens of Paradise.

One Response “Islam 101” →
  1. Islam 101 Tales of A Modern Hijabi is a good article. I liked reading this. If you like, check out my personal website.

    Reply

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