“Verily, in the creation of the skies & the earth and the alternation of the night & day, are signs for those of understanding.” Quran 3:190.
HOW DO WE KNOW THERE IS GOD?
IS THE QURAN GOD’s WORD?
ISLAM IN BRIEF.
THE MUSLIM JESUS.
The Five Pillars of Islam The most important Muslim practices are the Five Pillars of Islam. The Five Pillars of Islam are the five obligations that every Muslim must satisfy in order to live a good and responsible life according to Islam.
The Five Pillars consist of:
Shahadah: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith
“There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”
This is the basic statement of the Islamic faith: anyone who cannot recite this wholeheartedly is not a Muslim.
When a Muslim recites this they proclaim:
That Allah is the only God, and that Muhammad is his prophet
That they personally accept this as true
That they will obey all the commitments of Islam in their life
The Shahadah is the first of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Becoming a Muslim
Reciting this statement three times in front of witnesses is all that anyone need do to become a Muslim.
A Muslim is expected to recite this statement out loud, with total sincerity, fully understanding what it means.
The Arabic can be transliterated into the Roman alphabet like this:
Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammad Rasulu Allah
Transliteration of the shahadah from the Arabic
The Shahadah is written in Arabic on the flag of Saudi Arabia, the state that contains Islam’s holiest places.
Salat: performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day.
Salat is the obligatory Muslim prayers, performed five times each day by Muslims. It is the second Pillar of Islam.
God ordered Muslims to pray at five set times of day:
Salat al-fajr: dawn, before sunrise
Salat al-zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest
Salat al-’asr: the late part of the afternoon
Salat al-maghrib: just after sunset
Salat al-’isha: between sunset and midnight
All Muslims try to do this. Muslim children as young as seven are encouraged to pray.
Prayers of body, mind and soul
The set prayers are not just phrases to be spoken.
Prayer for a Muslim involves uniting mind, soul, and body in worship; so a Muslim carrying out these prayers will perform a whole series of set movements that go with the words of the prayer.
Muslims make sure that they are in the right frame of mind before they pray; they put aside all everyday cares and thoughts so that they can concentrate exclusively on God.
If a Muslim prays without the right attitude of mind, it as if they hadn’t bothered to pray at all.
Woe to those who pray, but are unmindful of their prayer, or who pray only to be seen by people
Zakat is the compulsory giving of a set proportion of one’s wealth to charity.
It is regarded as a type of worship and of self-purification. Zakat is the third Pillar of Islam.
Zakat does not refer to charitable gifts given out of kindness or generosity, but to the systematic giving of 2.5% of one’s wealth each year to benefit the poor.
The benefits of Zakat, apart from helping the poor, are as follows:
Helping a person acknowledge that everything comes from God on loan and that we do not really own anything ourselves
And since we cannot take anything with us when we die we need not cling to it
Acknowledging that whether we are rich or poor is God’s choice
So we should help those he has chosen to make poor
Freeing oneself from the love of possessions and greed
Freeing oneself from the love of money
Freeing oneself from love of oneself
The 2.5% rate only applies to cash, gold and silver, and commercial items. There are other rates for farm and mining produce, and for animals.
Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan
Sawm is fasting. It’s the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
During the 29/30 days of Ramadan all adult Muslims must give up the following things during the hours of daylight:
Food or drink of any sort
Smoking, including passive smoking
Muslims who are physically or mentally unwell may be excused some of these, as may those who are under twelve years old, the very old, those who are pregnant, breast-feeding, menstruating, or travelling.
If an adult does not fast for the reasons above they should try to make up the fast at a later date, or make a donation to the poor instead.
Muslims do not only abstain from physical things during Ramadan. They are also expected to do their best to avoid evil thoughts and deeds as well.
There are many good reasons for this fast, including:
Becoming spiritually stronger
Appreciating God’s gifts to us
Sharing the sufferings of the poor and developing sympathy for them
Realising the value of charity and generosity
Giving thanks for the Holy Qur’an, which was first revealed in the month of Ramadan
Sharing fellowship with other Muslims
Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca
Once a year, Muslims of every ethnic group, colour, social status, and culture gather together in Mecca and stand before the Kaaba praising Allah together.
It is a ritual that is designed to promote the bonds of Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood by showing that everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah.
The Hajj makes Muslims feel real importance of life here on earth, and the afterlife, by stripping away all markers of social status, wealth, and pride. In the Hajj all are truly equal.
The Hajjis or pilgrims wear simple white clothes called Ihram. During the Hajj the Pilgrims perform acts of worship and they renew their sense of purpose in the world.
Mecca is a place that is holy to all Muslims. It is so holy that no non-Muslim is allowed to enter.
For Muslims, the Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam. It occurs in the month of Dhul Hijjah which is the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is the journey that every sane adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it and are physically able.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ISLAM.
Purpose of Life and the Prophets
In Islam everyone is born pure without sin (and as a muslim). God has given each soul a conscience (the knowledge of what is right and wrong), and free will.
The prophet Mohammed is known to have said,
Righteousness is composed of good behavior. And sin is what you don’t want people to know, despite the fact that it eats away at your heart (Muslim, Birr 14-15)
This short transitory life is then simply a test within ourselves to recognise and praise God, and outweigh our righteous actions over our bad. Thus proving worthy on the on the Day of Judgement in front of Almighty God. To ultimately gain entry to paradise to live forever in bliss.
To reinforce this and show the clear way to worship God, prophets were sent as a guide to the right path.
“Say: We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us, and in what was revealed to Abraham, Ishma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, to Moses and Jesus and the other prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Allah we have surrendered ourselves.” (Qur’an, 2:136)
“It is not devotion to turn your faces towards the East or the West. Rather, true devotion is believing in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the prophets. (Quran 2:177)
In addition: “Anyone who rejects Allah and His angels and His Messengers and the Last Day has gone very far astray.” (Quran 4:136)
Mohammed (P.B.U.H),was the last of the prophets, who reaffirmed the same message, removing any distortions that may have crept in over time..
Present day Sources of Guidance
As no more prophets are to come God has left two sources of guidance:
a) The holy Quran, the final testament.
A summation of all the holy books of the past. The literal word of Allah, which Allah has promised to keep unchanged. This challenge by the Almighty is witnessed by the oldest Qurans being exactly the same as the newly printed ones 1400 years later. One billion muslims around the globe read the same one Quran.
b)The Hadiths (sayings and actions of the Prophet).
The prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was the living interpretation of the Quran, his every action and saying was a mirror reflection of the Quran with the guidance of Allah(swt). So for muslims, and non-muslims, the study of the Quran and Hadiths is of utmost importance. Preferably with the aid of an Islamic scholar as a guide to gain a deeper understanding.
Those to whom We have sent the book, study it as it should be studied: They are the ones that believe therein: Those who reject faith therein,- the loss is their own.
Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, 2: 256
“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error;
whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy
hand-hold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.”