What is Islam?
Islam is not a new religion. It is the same truth that God revealed to all His prophets throughout history. 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 against the innocent.
Who are Muslims and what do they believe?
There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide. No more than 20 percent of Muslims live in the Arabic-speaking world. The country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia. Muslims believe in One, Unique, and Incomparable God. They believe in the Day of Judgement 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, the person announces faith in all of God’s messengers.
What is the Quran?
The Quran is the record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad. It was memorized by Muhammad and then dictated to his companions. The text of the Qur'an was cross-checked during the life of the Prophet. The 114 chapters of the Qur'an have remained unchanged through the centuries.
What are the “Five Pillars” of Islam?
- The Declaration of Faith – This consists of the two sentence declaration described above.
- Prayer – Muslims perform five obligatory prayers each day. Islamic prayers are a direct link between the worshiper and God. Islam has no hierarchical authority or priesthood. A learned Muslim chosen by each congregation leads the prayers.
- Zakat – 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” wealth by setting aside a portion for those in need. This payment is usually two and a half percent of one’s capital.
- Fasting – Every year in the Islamic lunar month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from first light until sunset. The fast is another method of self-purification.
- Pilgrimage – A pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, is an obligation for those who are physically or financially able.
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.
What about Muslim women?
Under Islamic law, women have always had the right to own property, receive an education and otherwise take part in community life. Men and women are to be respected equally. 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.
What is Jihad?
“Jihad” does not mean “holy war.” Literally, jihad means to strive, struggle and exert effort. It is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield for self-defense (e.g., – having a standing army for national defense), or fighting against tyranny or oppression.
What is Shariah?
Shariah literally means :
- The well trodden, straight and easily accessible path that leads to water.
- The open source of water, which sits in the middle of the desert at the end of the easy path where one can find water. Arabs says the camel went to the Shariah means went to the source of life which is water.
Sharia is all the rules and basis that Allah has legislated for His servants to arrange their affairs in all aspects of life in this world and in the hereafter . By applying these rules of guidance, humanity will achieve happiness, peace and welfare in the both sides of life ( materially and spiritually)in this world and will have eternal happiness in the hereafter.
so the term " shariah" means everything that came from Allah, arranging our matters and affairs. The relation between us and God is shariah, the relation between a son and his parents is shariah, the relations between individuals and communities is part of the shraiah, how to divided the inheritance of dead person is part of the shariah, how to pray, how to fast and how to pay poor due are part of the sariah, how to marry, how to sell and buy according to shariah. All previous kinds are part of the word shariah.Shariah is the guidance came from heavens to make this world better place for all of mankind to live in peace. it's not just guidance but it a comprehensive way for life.
The Origins and the sources of Shariah:
- Quran: the miraculous speech of Allah, the almighty God. Non of rules, words or even a letter in the Quran can be changed or modified.
- The Sunnah ( traditions ) of Prophet Mohamed ( peace be upon him). This category contains, the sayings, deeds, stories and silent permissions of Prophet Mohamed ( peace be upon him).
- The consensus of the scholars. If a new issue occurred nowadays and it was not existed by the time of prophet Mohamed, the scholars will try to find a" fatwa" ruling or for this invented issue , if all scholars agreed upon something and reached consensus, it became part of the shariah.
- Qiyas (Analogical Deductions) is the extension of a Shariah value from an original case, which already have a ruling, to a new case, which does not have a ruling yet, because the latter has the same effective cause as the former. A recourse to analogy is only warranted if the solution of a new case cannot be found in the Qur'an, the Sunnah or a definite consensus of the scholars.
Where can I find other resources on Islam?
Here are ING's answers to Frequently asked questions about Muslims and Islam. Here also is a free online course about Islam.
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