About Islam

   

What is Islam?

Islam is an Arabic word that means peace or surrender. As a term used to describe the faith it means submission to the Will of God. Islam is not a new concept; it is the same truth that God revealed to all His prophets throughout history including Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy and forgiveness that should not be associated with acts of violence.

 

Who are Muslims and what do they believe?

There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide. Islam today, consists of over one billion people worldwide. It is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe. Muslim Arabs, however, make up only about 18% of the Muslim population; in fact the country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia. Muslims believe in the One, Unique, and Incomparable God. They believe in the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for actions. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets beginning with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus. God’s eternal message was reaffirmed and finalized by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on them all). One becomes a Muslim by saying, “There is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” By this declaration, an individual announces faith in all of God’s messengers.

 

Who is God?

The Arabic word for God is “Allah” which means “The God.” He is the Supreme Being, who in the eyes, mind, and heart of a Muslim, is the God of the sun and the moon, the God of the believers and the unbelievers, the God of the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims and all of mankind. He alone created the earth and the heavens in six days. He knows no sleep nor does He get tired. He is One and alone. All good attributes belong to Him. He is the Creator, the Protector, the Sustainer, the Merciful, the All-seeing, the All-hearing, and the All-knowing. He is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent. He is the Master of the universe and He is Peace.

 

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Who is Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)?

Muhammad is the Prophet of Islam. He is the seal (last) of all the Prophets. He is from the progeny of Ishmael, the first son of Prophet Abraham. God appointed him as His messenger to deliver His message of “The Oneness of God” to all mankind and to spread Islam as the salvation of humanity. This is the same message that Prophet Abraham (the father of monotheism) started almost 4000 years ago. It is the message which all the Prophets including Noah, Moses, and Jesus delivered; that there is no god but the One God and that none is worthy of worship but Him. At the age of forty the Divine revelation came down to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel while meditating alone in the cave of Hira in Arabia, (he received revelations for 23 years). During his life time these revelations, called the Qur’an, were written and arranged under his supervision.

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What is the Quran?

The Quran is the Muslim Holy Scripture. It is God’s word, received by Muhammad through the angel of revelation, Gabriel. It was memorized by Muhammad and then dictated to his companions. It contains 114 chapters and is written in Arabic, the same language in which it was revealed to the Prophet nearly 1400 years ago. Miraculously, nothing has been changed, added, or deleted since its revelation centuries ago.

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What are the “Five Pillars” of Islam?

 

1) The Declaration of Faith -This pillar is the cornerstone of Islam and comprises of the belief in the one universal God for all humanity, and belief in all the Prophets as the messengers of God. It is to bear witness that there is no god but the One God, and that Muhammad is the last Messenger of God.

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 2) Prayer –This pillar is the noblest act for a Muslim. They perform five obligatory prayers each day. Islamic prayers are a direct form of communication between the worshiper and God. Muslims are commanded by God to keep the five daily regular prayers and thereby show their love of God, their obedience to His commands, and their sincerity in submitting themselves to His Will. 58581237420643Prayer.jpg
3) Zakat -This third pillar of Islam requires that Muslims pay 2.5% of their accumulated wealth to the poor and the needy. One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God and that wealth is held in trust by human beings. Zakat, or charitable giving, “purifies” one’s wealth by setting aside a portion for those in need. This act of worship also purifies the heart of the giver from greed and selfishness, and purifies the heart of the recipient, of jealousy and hatred. It also purifies the society at large of social struggle, conflict and injustice.  

4) Fasting – This pillar deals with fasting the month of Ramadan (9th month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims follow the lunar year). Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day for the whole month and abstain from food and drink until sunset. Fasting is another act of self-purification that teaches discipline, sacrifice and submission to the will of God.

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5) Pilgrimage –The last pillar is pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia for every Muslim who is physically and financially able. During this act of worship, Muslims practice true brotherhood. People from all over the world, nearly three million people, gather before the One God in worship. During the pilgrimage all Muslims see themselves as they are truly meant to be seen – as a single community. There is no rich or poor, no powerful or weak, and no black or white; everyone is equal in the eyes of God. 15131237420648Pilgrimage.jpg

What about the American Muslim community?

There are an estimated 7 million Muslims in America. The Muslim community in America is made up of people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds and national origins. There are almost 2,000 mosques, Islamic schools and Islamic centers in America. Muslims are active in all walks of life. Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in this country and around the world.

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What about Muslim women?

Under Islamic law, men and women are to be respected and treated equally. They are seen as equals in the eyes of God. Historically, Islam liberated women with its advent by giving them the right to inherit, own property, receive an education and otherwise take part in community life. The Islamic rules for modest dress apply to both women and men equally. (Men cannot expose certain parts of their bodies, wear gold or silk, etc.) If a particular society oppresses women, it does so in spite of Islam, not because of it.

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