The word Islam means submission to Allah (God) and an adherent of Islam is called a Muslim. The message of Islam was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him), 400 years ago. The prime message of Islam is that the Creator of the world is One and He alone is worthy of worship and that Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) is His Messenger and Servant.
A Muslim has five main duties to perform, namely; bearing witness to the Unity of Allah (God) and Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) as His Messenger, observing the prescribed prayer, payment of Zakat, keeping the fasts of Ramadhan and performing the pilgrimage to Mecca. Rights of parents in old age, orphans and the needy are clearly stated. Women’s rights were safeguarded 1,400 years ago when the rest of the world was in total darkness about emancipation.
Islamic teachings encompass every imaginable situation and its rules and principles are truly universal and have stood the test of time. In Islam virtue does not connote forsaking the bounties of nature that are lawful. On the contrary one is encouraged to lead a healthy, active life with the qualities of kindness, chastity, honesty, mercy, courage patience and politeness. In short, Islam has a perfect and complete code for the guidance of individuals and communities alike.
Islam teaches that the path to spiritual development is open to all. Any individual who searches the One Creator can seek nearness to God through sincere and earnest worship; it is central to establishing a relationship with the Almighty. This positive message for humanity fills hearts with hope and courage.
Muslims believe that Allah (God) is One and incomparable. Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through the Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Muslims maintain that previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time,but consider the Quran to be both unaltered and the final revelation from Allah (God).
Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, encompassing everything from banking and welfare, to warfare and the environment.
About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, 25% in South Asia,20% in the Middle East,2% in Central Asia, 4% in the remaining South East Asian countries, and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa. With about 1.41-1.57 billion Muslims comprising about 21-23% of the world’s population, Islam is the second-largest religion and one of the fastest-growing religions in the world.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kmShLbfsf4[/youtube]
Etymology and Meaning:
The word islam is a verbal noun originating from the triliteral root s-l-m, and is derived from the Arabic verb ’áslama, which means “to give up, to desert, to surrender (to God).” Another word derived from the same root is salaam (????) which means ‘Peace’. Muslim, the word for an adherent of Islam, is the active participle of the same verb of which Isl?m is the infinitive. Believers demonstrate submission to Allah (God) by worshipping Him, following His commands, and avoiding polytheism.
Articles of Faith
All?h is the term with no plural or gender used by Muslims to refer to the one God. Other non-Arab Muslims might use different names as much as Allah, for instance “Tanr?” in Turkish or “Khod?” in Persian.
Islam’s fundamental concept is a rigorous monotheism, called tawh?d. Allah (God) is described in chapter 112 of the Qur’an as:
“Say: He is Allah (God), the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.”
The Holy Quran tells us that Allah (God) has given human beings a choice between good and evil and to seek God’s pleasure through faith, prayer and charity. The Islamic holy books are the records which most Muslims believe were dictated by Allah (God) to various prophets. Muslims believe that parts of the previously revealed scriptures, the Tawrat (Torah) and the Injil (Gospels), had become distorted—either in interpretation, in text, or both.
The Qur’an (literally, “Reading” or “Recitation”) is iewed by Muslims as the final revelation and literal Word of Allah (God) and is widely regarded as the finest piece of literature work in the Arabic language. Muslims believe that the verses of the Qur’an were revealed to Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) by Allah (God) through the Archangel Gabriel (Jibr?l). On many occasions between 610 and his death on June 8, 632. The Qur’an was reportedly written down by Muhammad’s companions (sahabah) while he was alive.
Muslims identify the prophets of Islam (Arabic: ????) as those humans chosen by Allah (God) to be His Messengers. According to the Qur’an the descendants of Abraham and Imran were chosen by Allah (God) to bring the “Will of Allah (God)” to the peoples of the nations.
Islamic theology says that all of God’s messengers preached the message of Islam—submission to the Will of Allah (God). The Qur’an mentions the names of numerous figures considered Prophets in Islam, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, among others.
Muslims believe that Allah (God) finally sent Muhammad (Seal of the Prophets) to convey the divine message to the whole world (to sum up and to finalize the word of Allah).
In Islam, the “normative” example of Muhammad’s (Peace and Blessings Upon Him)’s life is called the Sunnah (literally “trodden path”).
Resurrection and Judgment:
Belief in the “Day of Resurrection”, Qiyamah (also known as yawm ad-d?n, “Day of Judgment” and as-s?`a, “the Last Hour”) is also crucial for Muslims. They believe that the time of Qiy?mah is preordained by Allah (God) but unknown to man.
The trials and tribulations preceding and during the Qiy?mah are described in the Qur’an and the hadith, and also in the commentaries of scholars. The Qur’an emphasizes bodily resurrection, a break from the pre-Islamic Arabian understanding of death.
The Qur’an lists several sins that can condemn a person to hell, such as disbelief, riba, (Interest) and dishonesty.
Duties and Practices
The Pillars of Islam (arkan al-Islam; also arkan ad-din, “pillars of religion”) are five basic acts in Islam, considered obligatory for all believers.
The Quran presents them as a framework for worship and a sign of commitment to the faith. They are (1) the shahadah (creed), (2) daily prayers (salat), (3) almsgiving (zakah), (4) fasting during Ramadan and (5) the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) (610–632)
Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) (c. 570 – June 8, 632) was a trader later becoming a religious, political, and military leader. Muslims regard him as the last messenger of Allah (God), through which the Qur’an was revealed. Muslims view Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) as the restorer of the original, uncorrupted monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets.
In Muslim tradition, Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) is viewed as the last and the greatest in a series of prophets—the possessor of all virtues. For the last 22 years of his life, beginning at age 40 in 610 CE, Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) started receiving revelations from Allah. The content of these revelations, known as the Qur’an, was memorized and recorded by his companions.