Content of article
WHAT is Islam and who are Muslims?
Islam is a natural and complete way of life that encourages one to give due attention to their relationship with God and His creation. It teaches that souls find true happiness and peace through performing good actions that are approved by God and which benefit both the society and the individual.
The message of Islam is simple: to believe in and to worship The One True God alone, and to accept Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as His final Messenger. The word “Islam” means submission to God, and its followers are known as Muslims, who can be from any racial or ethnic background.
WHAT is the Purpose of Life?
God did not create humans to simply wander aimlessly. Rather, we have a higher purpose – to acknowledge and worship God alone, so that we live upon the guidance of our Creator. This guidance enables us to live a successful and blessed life in all aspects, in this world and the hereafter. The test of one’s faith is in using one’s intellect and reasoning abilities to contemplate and recognise God’s signs and to live according to His guidance.
In God’s ultimate wisdom, He gave humans free will as a test to see who will willingly follow His path.
WHO is Allah?
Allah is the personal name of The One True God. Allah has no partners, equals, parents or children. All of Allah’s attributes are perfect, such as The Creator, The Most Merciful, The All-Powerful, The Most Just, The All-Wise and The All-Knowing. No human or object shares in Allah’s lordship and His divine attributes, as such, He alone deserves to be worshipped directly and exclusively.
WHO is Muhammad?
Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final Prophet in the long line of Prophets, sent to call all mankind to the worship of God alone. He was an ideal father, husband, teacher, leader and judge, and a perfect example of an honest, just, compassionate and brave human being. Although greatly respected, he, like the other Prophets, is not worshipped by Muslims.
WHY believe in God?
There are many reasons for believing in God including those based on simple logic (summarised below) and through revelation (discussed in the next section).
Beginning of the Universe – A fairly straightforward reason for believing in God relates to reflecting on the origin of the universe. Where did the universe ultimately come from? The Universe hasn’t always existed (it has a beginning according to modern science) and it couldn’t have come from nothing or create itself. A reasonable conclusion is that it was created. Unlike the universe, The Creator of the universe, God, is eternal, has no beginning and has always existed
Order of the Universe – Another simple reason for believing in God is by pondering over the order of the universe using the following logic:
- Anything that is ordered indicates intelligence
- Our solar system is highly ordered with intricate laws, systems and patterns
- Therefore, the order in our universe indicates the existence and intelligence of the Creator
WHAT is the Quran?
The Quran is the final revelation to mankind and provides a strong argument for the existence of God for those who are open-minded and sincere. It is unmatched in its style, wisdom, guidance, beauty and eloquence. It is the literal word of God, as revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the Angel Gabriel, and supersedes all previous revelations, such as the Gospel and the Torah. It is the primary source of Islamic knowledge. It explains and clarifies many issues like the purpose of our existence; the correct concept of God; the actions liked and disliked by God; the stories of the Prophets and their lessons; accounts of Heaven, Hell, and the Day of Judgement. One of the great miracles of the Quran is that it has been preserved and unchanged since it was revealed over 1400 years ago. It also contains many scientific and historical facts that were unknown to the people of that time and have only been discovered recently, which is one of the proofs that it is from God.
WHAT are the Main Practices of Islam?
The main practices of Islam are referred to as the five pillars.
1st Practice: The Testimony of Faith. To declare that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is His final Messenger.
2nd Practice: Prayers. To be performed five times daily: once each at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, after sunset and at night.
3rd Practice: Prescribed Charity. This is an annual compulsory charity paid to those less fortunate and is calculated as a small portion of one’s total annual savings, which includes 2.5% of monetary wealth and may include other assets. It is paid by those who have excess wealth.
4th Practice: Fasting the Month of Ramadan. Throughout this month, Muslims must refrain from all food, drink and sexual relations with their spouses, from dawn to sunset. It promotes self-restraint, consciousness of God and empathy to the poor.
5th Practice: The Pilgrimage. Every able Muslim is required to make the pilgrimage to Mecca in their lifetime. It involves prayer, supplication, charity and travelling, and is a very humbling and spiritual experience.
WHAT do Muslims Believe about Jesus and Other Prophets?
Thousands of Prophets were sent by Allah, at least one to every nation, with the same message: to worship Allah alone and not associate any partner with Him. Some of these Prophets include Adam, Noah, Joseph, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).
Jesus (peace be upon him) was one of the greatest Prophets sent by Almighty God. He was born miraculously without a father and performed many miracles– all by the will of God. Jesus is not God or the son of God or part of a trinity as this clearly contradicts the pure teachings of God in Islam. Consider the following:
- There are many examples in Christian teachings of Jesus speaking and behaving as if God is a separate being to himself, e.g. Jesus prays to God – If Jesus was God, who would he be praying to?
- The term “Son of God” is symbolically used in the earliest biblical languages for a “righteous person” for many people – not exclusively for Jesus. The problem arises when using the term literally or in other ways.
Although Muslims love and respect Jesus (and all other Prophets), they do not worship him nor attribute to him divine attributes, as this is reserved solely for God
ARE all religions the same?
While most religions generally have the same teachings regarding good manners and kindness to others and so on, Islam additionally focuses on the Greatness of God with no compromises with his Oneness and Perfection. Unlike other religions, Islam primarily teaches that God is completely different and unique compared to His creation and that all praise and worship is due directly and exclusively to Him. Islam is also comprehensive; simple yet profound; has revelation that is preserved; does not reject any of God’s Prophets but states that they all came with the one and same message.
WHAT Happens After Death?
Death is the passage from this brief life into the next eternal life. Each person will be resurrected to be held to account on the Day of Judgement. If a person lives a good, honourable life by worshipping and obeying Allah, they will be entered into Paradise, through Allah’s Mercy. If they choose to disbelieve, Hellfire awaits them.
If there was no afterlife in which the good were rewarded and the bad punished, that would contradict the perfect justice of God, and life would not be fair.
HOW does Islam View Women?
In Islam, men and women are viewed as equals before God, in terms of both receiving equal reward and accountability for their actions. Allah, the Creator of both genders, has assigned different roles and responsibilities for each, taking into account their differences. Women are given the utmost respect and honour, with no form of oppression condoned towards them.
DOES the Concept of Original Sin Exist in Islam?
The concept of “original sin” does not exist in Islam. God is just; so no person is held accountable for any sin they themselves were not responsible for.
WHAT is Jihad?
The essence of Jihad is to struggle and sacrifice for one’s religion in a manner which is pleasing to God. Linguistically, it means to “struggle” and can refer to striving to do good deeds, giving charity, or fighting for the sake of God. The most commonly known form is the military Jihad which is permitted in order to preserve the well being of society, to prevent oppression from spreading, and to promote justice.
DOES Islam Condone Terrorism?
In war, the targeting of innocent non-combatants is a despicable act which Islam clearly prohibits. In fact, Muslims are not even allowed to destroy plants and animals unnecessarily, let alone innocent humans. This is just but one example of many ethical guidelines of war stipulated in Islam. However, it is important to distinguish between terrorism and legitimate resistance to occupation, as the two are very different.
WHAT is Halal Food?
Halal, or lawful, foods are those permitted by God for Muslims to consume. Generally, most foods and beverages are considered halal, with the main exceptions being pig and alcohol. Meats and poultry must be slaughtered humanely and correctly, which includes mentioning God’s name before slaughter and minimising the suffering of animals.
WHO Can Become a Muslim?
Allah has opened the doors of Islam to all of mankind, regardless of their past or current situation. Therefore, anyone can become a Muslim at any time by simply believing in, and uttering the following testimony of faith:
‘I bear witness that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger’.
Becoming a Muslim means acknowledging the greatness of The Creator and developing and maintaining a close relationship with Him by obeying Him. This will lead to happiness and contentment in this life and the next, and the realisation of one’s purpose of life.