Islam is an Arabic word which connotes submission, surrender and obedience. Islam is complete submission to Allah (God), Alone. Islam is a true religion given by Allah to mankind and the religion of all the Prophets sent by Allah, and Islam is the religion of all Muslims.
Who is a Muslim?
A Muslim is one who believes in the Oneness of Allah and he submits to the Will of Allah, Alone, without associating any partners with the Creator. The one who practices Islam is a true Muslim.
Where does the name Muslim come from?
From Allah. He has given this name. It is mentioned in the Final Revelation of Allah to mankind: “It is He Who named you Muslims both before and in this (Revelation).” (Qur’an, 22:78)
Why should we be Muslims?
Because Islam is Allah’s religion and the only that is acceptable to Him. The Qur’an says: “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he shall be among the losers.” (Qur’an, 3:85)
Submission is of two types:
1. Compulsory: Such as that of the sun, the moon, the stars, the oceans, plants, animals, etc. Even one’s blood pressure or biological system have no choice but to obey the Law of Allah.
2. Voluntary: To do or not to do something in obedience to the Commands of Allah. So we can say that Islam is the natural way of life, the natural religion.
What are the Pillars of Islam?
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Islam is built upon five (pillars):
1. To testify that none is worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah;
2. To establish prayer;
3. To pay Zakat (obligatory charity upon the rich to the poor);
4. To fast the month of Ramadan;
5. And to perform Haj to the House of Allah for whomsoever has the means.” (Al-Bukhari)
What are the Pillars of Faith?
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Faith is to believe in:
1. Allah (that He is the One and Only Lord and Creator, Who Alone has the right to be worshiped and that He has Names and Attributes that are not shared by any of His creatures);
2. His angels (created by Allah from light, they perform certain duties assigned to them and they are totally obedient to Allah).
3. His Books (the Torah, the Injeel, the Zaboor and the Qur’an, which confirms and fulfills the previous Revelations).
4. His Messengers (the bearers of Revelation sent to mankind).
5. The Final Day (the Day of Resurrection, when man will be judged).
6. And to believe in Qadr (Allah’s Divine Decree) both good and bad (i.e. to be content with whatever Allah has decreed for us, while taking the precautions and lawful causes that lead to the desired result).” (Sahih Muslim)
Why has Allah created us?
Allah has created us to worship Him: He says: “And I created not the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an, 51:56)
What is worship?
Worship is a comprehensive term which includes all actions and deeds which are loved and ordained by Allah, such as du’a (supplication), prayer, reciting the Qur’an, giving charity etc.
How do we worship?
We worship Him in the way that He and His Messenger commanded us. Allah says: “O, you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and render not vain your deeds.” (Qur’an, 47:33)
Why did Allah send prophets?
He sent them to call mankind to the worship of one God – Allah, and to reject the association of partners with Him. He says: “And verily, We sent among every nation a Messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship Allah (Alone) and avoid the Taghoot (false gods).’” (Qur’an, 16:36)
One day the Prophet of Islam seated himself in a mosque in Medina, along with some companions. Shortly thereafter, a Bedouin entered the mosque and began urinating. The Prophet’s Companions rose with the intention of beating the Bedouin. But the Prophet forbade them to do so, asking them to let him be. When the man had finished urinating, the Prophet asked the Companions to fetch a bucket of water and wash the place clean.
Afterwards he explained to his Companions:
“You are sent to make things easy and not to make things difficult” (Fathul Bari, 1/386).
This illustrates for us an unwavering principle of Islam, that is, in social life when any unpleasant incident takes place, the believers should concentrate on finding a solution to the problem and not just think in terms of what punishment to mete out to the problem-maker. On all such occasions the urge to reform should be engendered within the believers instead of a desire to exact revenge. Such methods should be adopted as alleviate rather than aggravate the problem. Just as when some building is set on fire, the most natural impulse is to immediately extinguish it, rather than fan the flames to make it flare up even more.
In most controversial matters there can be both easy and difficult ways of resolving the problem. Treading the path of facility usually eases matters, whereas treading the path of difficulty can cause matters to flare up with even greater intensity. In all situations, Islam gives preference to the former, rather than to the latter approach.
This is an eternal principle of Islam, relating to both personal and social life. It ought to be applied in all matters inside as well as outside the home. It is a perfect principle on which to base a perfect system of life.
Islam was the final message God sent to mankind. Before it a long line of prophets and messengers gave guidance to mankind in various ways and places. However, the divine message maintained its essence in all its forms. The essence is the belief in God’s oneness and His being the only one to whom worship may be addressed and from whom help is to be solicited. He is the sole Creator and everyone in the universe submits to His will, whether willingly or unwillingly. The messages given by prophets differed in details of worship requirements and in certain laws, but the essential moral values remained the same. An earlier message might be complemented, or amended, through a later messenger, as in the case of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) who relaxed some of the restrictions God had imposed on the followers of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). Jesus declared that he did not come to abrogate the message, but to endorse and complement it.
Earlier messages were often distorted, with some divine legislations undergoing change, abrogation or neglect. At times, learned men of religion disagreed on certain principles, with the disagreement leading to great divisions that continued over the centuries. Islam came to set the record straight and purge the divine message of all distortions that crept into it. God has guaranteed to preserve the message contained in His last revelation, the Qur’an. Muslims are required to make this message known to mankind, telling them that God wants them to follow it and then leave people to make their free choice, whether to follow this message or not. No one should be compelled in any way or form to follow it. Faith is a matter of choice. Hence, the Qur’an declares the everlasting principle: “No compulsion is admissible in matters of religion.” (2: 256)
One aspect of the divine faith is that people have a day every week when they are required to perform a special type of worship, and to be a day of relaxation and renewal of their resolve to follow divine guidance. To Muslims, this day is Friday. The following Hadith tells us that it was also applicable to earlier nations.
Abu Hurayrah says that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he said: “We are the last community, but we will be ahead of all on the Day of Resurrection. They, however, (i.e. other nations) were given the divine book before us. Then, this (i.e. Friday) is the day that has been made obligatory to them, but they differed concerning it, while God has granted us His guidance. Therefore, others come on our trail concerning it: the Jews tomorrow and the Christians the day after.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).
This statement by the Prophet tells us that Friday was always the day God wanted people to assign for special worship. Muslims offer a congregational prayer at midday, starting with a speech by the imam who should remind people of their duties toward God and that they will have to answer for all their deeds on the Day of Judgment. They then offer a short prayer. God has given us an hour on that day when all our prayers are answered.
It appears from other Hadiths that Moses informed his followers that they should make their special worship on Friday, but they said to him that God did not create anything on Saturday, and they would prefer to make Saturday their special day. He left them to carry on with their choice. The Christians, on the other hand, chose Sunday because it was the day on which God started to create His creation. Both groups erred by not following the guidance given them by their prophets. Muslims on the other hand followed God’s messenger and observed Friday as their special day. On the Day of Judgment they will be the first to be assigned their places after they have submitted their accounts of what they did in this present life.
– By Adil Salahi
Countering the intellectual attack
We must confront the intellectual onslaught represented in the radio, books, newspapers, magazines and writings which the Muslim communities in our present time have been afflicted with.
The Muslim male and female spend most of their time with such, despite the fact that they contain deadly poison and misleading propagation most of the time. Therefore confronting this is a very important issue if we want to protect Islam and the Islamic culture from its conspiracies and evil.
The da’ees and the defenders of Islam must devote their time in writing beneficial researches, articles, periodicals and give da’wah. They should respond to different types of cultural attack and expose its defects and clarify its falseness. The enemies have gathered now and are preparing all their efforts and abilities to establish different organizations and various ways to scheme and plot against the Muslims and deceive them.
Therefore we must counter attack these enemies. We must refute and disapprove of their networks, expose them, and present Islam as a faith, belief, legal system and a social and moral system. This should be done in a way that will make the people learn it, through good methods suitable for the age, and with wisdom and good admonition, arguing in a way that is best. We should use all the methods of the media, according to the resources available and our ability.
The deen of Islam is a complete deen, which contains all good. It is the source of happiness for all mankind, and helps us in achieving righteous prosperity, sound progression, security, tranquillity and a noble life and victory in this life and in the Hereafter.
The leaders and the scholars should exert efforts to enlighten and direct the population of Muslims and combat the efforts of the enemies of Islam, by retaliating with their own efforts.
The Muslim Ummah is an Ummah that has been entrusted with this religion and has the responsibility of conveying it. If we are careful to arm our boys and girls in Islamic societies, with knowledge, understanding and comprehension of Islamic Jurisprudence and accustom them to apply these things from a small age, then we will not fear, by the permission of Allah, the Most High, as long as they continue to holding onto the deen of Allah, glorifying it, following its laws, and fighting that which contradicts it. And indeed their enemies will fear them.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“O you who believe! If you help Allah, He will help you and make your foothold firm.” (Qur’an, 47:7)
“If you remain patient and become pious not the least harm will their cunning to do you. Surely Allah surrounds all that they do.” (Qur’an, 3:120)
There are many verses in the Qur’an which convey this message. The most important factor for us in fighting against the efforts of our enemies is raising and preparing a generation that knows the reality of Islam.
This can be achieved through guidance, taking care of the house and family, the method of educating them, the media and improvement of the society.
In addition to this is the role of steering and guiding which needs to be taken by the Muslim leadership, persevering in beneficial work and continually reminding the people that which will benefit them and make the belief within them grow and flourish.
– Words of Advice regarding Da`wah , Al-Hidaayah Publishers
First and foremost, I want to remind you that Allah created Paradise and Hellfire, and divided people into believers and disbelievers.
And, He will give paradise to the one who obeys Him, and He will give the Hellfire to the one who disobeys Him.
“For those who answered their Lord’s call (believed in the oneness of Allah and followed his Messenger Muhammad (P.B.U.H), i.e., Islamic Monotheism) is the best reward (i.e., paradise). But those who answered not His call (disbelieved in the oneness of Allah and followed not His Messenger Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) if they had all that is in the earth together its like, they would offer it in order to save themselves (from the torment, but it will be in vain). For them, there will be the terrible reckoning. Their dwelling place will be Hellfire and worst indeed is that place for rest.”
Narrated Anas bin Malik [May Allah be pleased with him]:
Allah’s prophet (P.B.U.H.) used to say, “A disbeliever will be asked: suppose you had as much gold as to fill the earth, would you offer it to ransom yourself (from the Hell-fire)? He will reply, “Yes”. Then it will be said to him, “You were asked for something easier than that (to join none in worship) with Allah (i.e., to accept Islam, but you refused).”
“Verily, the dwellers of paradise, that day, will be busy with joyful things, they and their wives will be in pleasant shade, reclining on thrones. They will have therein fruits (of all kinds) and all that they ask for. (It will be said to them) salaam (peace be on you) – a word from the Lord (Allah), Most Merciful.”
Allah’s Messenger Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said;
“When anyone of you dies, his destination is displayed before him both in the forenoon and in the afternoon, so if he is from the people of paradise, he is shown his place in paradise and if he is from the people of Hell, he is shown his place in Hell.”
Islam brings social and political peace because submission to Allah requires that a society totally rejects corruption, wrong-doing, deviant and harmful behaviors. Commitment to peace with God and His creation leads to unity, love, harmony, dialogue and respect for others. An ideal society is what human beings have been dreaming of since even before Plato’s ‘Republic’ or Augustine’s ‘Eternal City of God’. With Muhammad (S), the ideal society was constituted of faithful followers called the Sahaaba or the companions, who submitted to the Message in obedience to God and His Prophet and Messenger (S).
The organization of that society started from basic requirements such as the brotherhood between all Muslims. Peace was declared verbally in every daily encounter of two individuals or more. Salutation – As-Salaamu Alaikum!- in its verbal form means “Peace be upon you!” Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Salute each other a greeting of blessing and purity as from Allah” (Q 24:61).
And He also says:
“When a courteous greeting is offered to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or at least of equal courtesy. Allah takes careful account of all things.” (Q 4:86).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was once asked:
“Which is the best Islam?” He (peace be upon him) replied: “You feed the hungry and you say Salaam to those you know and those you don’t know.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
He (peace be upon him) also said:
“You won’t enter Paradise unless you believe, and you won’t believe unless you love each other. Do you want me to show you something that if you do it you will love each other? Say Salaam to each other- Send messages of peace to each other-” (Related by Muslim).
If a sick person doesn’t realize that they are sick, the doctor will never be able to cure her. So realizing that there is a spiritual sickness is a sign that your faith is strong. I have the following words of advice for you:
Al-Haakim reported in al-Mustadrak, and al-Tabaraani reported in al-Mu jam, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts. (Reported by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 1/4;. Al-Haythami said in Majma al-Zawaa id, 1/52, It was reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer and its isnaad is saheeh. ) This Hadith tells us that our faith will become weak but we will have to strengthen it with various actions and different good deeds. If we try to implement the following, In Sha Allah it will help us all.
On a weekly basis, try to attend some Halaqah or an Islamic gathering. That is a great way of keeping the battery of Iman and actions charged.
A good suggestion would be that you join some weekend or evening Islamic course or something of that sort. You will find good company there which will be a means of strengthening your faith and Iman. And when you feel like you are all burnt out , there will be others there who will guide you and help you out and get you back up on your feet again.
Try to read some portion of the Quran everyday and make Zikr of Allah. It will not be a bad idea to start off the day by reciting Surah Yaseen.
Try to have a daily Halaqah of reading from a Hadith book at home. The most widely used Hadith book in English is probably Riyadh us Salihin. Set aside a time at home, and try to sit down with other family members. It does not have to be long. Even five minutes or ten minutes will suffice. A daily dose of the words of Allah and his beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam goes a long way in keeping us attached to our faith.
After prayers or whenever, try to recite as many times as possible the words which are mentioned in the following Hadith: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Do not forget to say in every prayer, Rabbi a inni ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibaadatika (O Allah, help me to remember You, thank You and worship You properly.). (al-Nasaa i, 1303)
Islam is the religion of mercy, tolerance and forgiveness and many other human values. One of the values that Islam has given due attention to is dialogue. Here, I will try to shed some light on dialogue as a noble value in Islam.
Islam sees that dialogue is the golden means to know the other as Allah, praise be to Him, created people of different cultures, natures, languages and faiths and this is stated in the Holy Qur’an, “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (Qur’an, 49:13)
But dialogue with the other requires patience, flexibility and open-mindedness which were clearly revealed in Prophet Muhammad’s dialogue with others even if they were idolaters and this is why Allah praises him, “It is part of the Mercy of Allah that you deal gently with them. Were you severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you: so pass over (their faults), and ask for (Allah’s) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when you have taken a decision put your trust in Allah; for Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (Qur’an, 3:159)
Good listening is one of the principles of dialogue in Islam. It was never reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not listen well to anyone. In other words, he was always an attentive listener: he was never reported to interrupt anybody even if the speaker was one of his enemies and he used to say “Have you finished, brother?” This was his way of respecting other people’s rights to express themselves.
Even if this dialogue involves an argument or debate, the Holy Qur’an advises Muslims to do that in a civilized way, “Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” (Qur’an, 16:125)
The above verse emphasizes that dialogue with the other requires wisdom and common sense, which are basic requirements to convey the teachings and message of Allah. It can be said that Islam stresses that dialogue is the way to communicate with the other.
By: Dr. Khaled Tawfik