Islam, the religion of over 1.2 billion in
the world, provides humankind with a
unified view about the purpose of our
creation and existence, our ultimate
destiny and our place among other
creatures. It is a way of life that is in
complete conformance with nature, and
with reason, logic and science.
The Arabic word,Islam, means voluntary surrender
to the will of Allah and obedience to His commands.Allah is the Arabic word that Muslims use
for God. A person who freely and consciously
accepts the Islamic way of life and sincerely
practices it is called a Muslim.
Oneness Of God (Tawhid)
This is the most
important Islamic belief. It implies that everything
in existence originates from the one and only
Creator, who is also the Sustainer and the sole
Source of Guidance. This belief should govern all
aspects of human life. Recognition of this fundamental
truth results in a unified view of existence
that rejects any divisions of life into the religious
and the secular. Allah is the sole source of Power
and Authority and therefore entitled to worship
and obedience from mankind. There is no scope
for any partnership with the Creator. Tawhid
teaches man that Allah is not born, nor is anyone
born of Him. He has no son or daughter. Human
beings, like the rest of creation, are His subjects.
Prophethood (Risalah) or Messengership.
Since the creation of the first human, Allah has
revealed His guidance to mankind by sending
prophets, who all called to the belief of One
God. The prophets who received books from
Allah are called messengers. Whenever the
teachings of a prophet were distorted by people
Allah sent another prophet to bring human beings
back to the Straight Path. The chain of Risalah
began with Adam, included Noah, Abraham,
Ishmael, Isaac, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and
Jesus, and ended with Muhammad (peace be
upon them all), as the final messenger of Allah to
all of mankind.
The revealed books from Allah are: the Torah
(Tawrah), the Psalms (Zabur), the Gospel (Injeel)
and the Quran. The Quran was revealed to
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)1, as the final book of
Guidance. Among all these books, it is only the
Quran that remains unchanged, in its original
Life After Death (Akhirah)
This belief has
a profound impact on the life of a believer by making
them accountable to Allah. On the Day of Judgment
we will be judged according to how we lived our
lives. One who obeys and worships Allah will be
rewarded with a permanent place of happiness and
bliss in Paradise; One who does not do so will be sent
to Hell, a place of punishment and suffering.
Five Pillers Of Islam
Acting correctly and sincerely on the five pillars
transforms a Muslims life into one that is in harmony
with nature and thus in conformity with the will of the
Creator.It inspires one to work towards the establishment
of justice, equality and righteousness in society, and
the eradication of injustice, falsehood and evil.
1. Testimony (Shahadah)
, the first of the five basic
foundations, is the declaration,knowingly and voluntarily,
of La ilaha illal lahu Muhammadur rasulul lah. There is
no god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of
Allah.This declaration is the basis of all actions in Islam,
and the other basic duties follow this affirmation.
2. Compulsory Prayes (Salah)
is offered five
times a day. It is a practical demonstration of faith, and
keeps a believer in touch with their Creator.The Salah
develops in a believer the qualities of self-discipline,
steadfastness and obedience to the Truth, leading one to
be patient, honest and truthful in the affairs of their life.
3. Charity (Zakah)
is a compulsory payment
from a Muslims annual savings. It can only be spent
on helping the poor, the needy, and the oppressed,
and for the general upliftment of society. Zakah is one
of the fundamental principles of Islamic economy,
which ensures an equitable society where everyone
has a right to contribute and share.
4. Fasting (Sawm)
is the annual obligatory fasting
during each day of the month of Ramadan - the ninth
month of the Islamic calendar. One must refrain from
eating, drinking, smoking, and sex, from dawn to
sunset. Sawm develops a believers moral and spiritual
standard and keeps them away from selfishness, greed,
extravagance and other vices. Sawm is an annual training
program that increases a Muslims determination to
fulfill their obligation to the Almighty Lord.
5. Pilgrimage (Hajj)
is an annual event, obligatory
on those Muslims who can afford to undertake it, at
least once in their lifetime. It is a pilgrimage (journey)
to the House of Allah(Al-Kabah) in Mecca, Saudi
Arabia, in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.
Hajj symbolizes the unity of humankind; Muslims
from every race and nationality assemble together in
equality and fraternity to worship their Lord.
The Quran is the final Book of guidance from Allah,
revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through the
angel Gabriel (Jibrail). Every word of the Quran is
the word of Allah. The Quran is unrivaled in its
recording and preservation. Unlike other scriptures
that were corrupted with human interpolations and
omissions, the Quran has remained unchanged, even
to a letter, for over 1400 years.The Quran is the last
and final revelation to mankind and covers all aspects
of human life, and its relation to the life after death.
The Hadith is the collection of sayings, actions and
silent approvals of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
It explains the Quran, and how to practice it.
The Hadith were recorded meticulously by the
Prophet Muhammad(Peace Be Upon Him)
Muhammad (pbuh), the final messenger of Allah,was
born in Mecca, Arabia, in the year 571 CE. He
received the first revelation from Allah at the age of
forty. The people of Mecca at that time used to
worship idols. The Prophet (pbuh) invited them to
Islam. Some of them accepted and became Muslims,
while others rebuked him and turned against him. In
the 13th year of his Prophethood, Muhammad (pbuh)
migrated from Mecca to Madinah.
The Prophet (pbuh) organized the early Muslims
and preached the message of Allah with patience and
profound wisdom. Eventually Islam was established
in the whole of Arabia and was set to make a
tremendous contribution to the history and
civilization of the world. Prophet Muhammad
(pbuh) died in 632 CE at the age of 63. He left
behind the Quran and his Sunnah (way) as the
source of guidance for all generations to come.
Marriage and Family Life
Marriage is the basis of family life in Islam. It is a
solemn yet simple contract between a consenting
man and a consenting woman. Islam does not allow
the free mixing of men and women; nor does it allow
sex before marriage. Extra-marital sex is severely
punishable. No discrimination is made on the basis of
sex. Husband and wife are equal partners of the family
and play their part in their respective fields.
Muslims are encouraged to eat what is good for
them. Islamic law requires an animal to be
slaughtered while invoking the name of Allah. All
varieties of alcoholic drinks are prohibited. Pork and
blood are also forbidden.
Muslims must cover their bodies properly and
decently. When it comes to dressing-up, simplicity
and modesty are encouraged. No particular dress is
recommended, however, men must cover their body
from navel to the knees.Women must cover their
whole body except the face and hands.Any dress that
is suggestive, transparent, skin-tight or half-naked
may send wrong signals to others; signals that are
contrary to Islams teachings. Pure silk and gold are
not allowed for men.
Islam teaches decency, humility and good manners.
Keeping promises, truthfulness, justice, fair play,
helping the poor and needy, respect for parents,
teachers and elders, love for children and good
relations with neighbors and relatives are the most
valued virtues of a Muslim. Islam condemns enmity,
back-biting, slander, blasphemy, ridicule, use of
offensive names, suspicion and arrogance.
1. (p) here stands for peace be upon him