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Islam is a faith and comprehensive way of life that literally means ‘peace through submission to God.’ It provides a clear understanding of a person’s relationship with God, purpose in life, and ultimate destiny. A Muslim is someone who adopts the Islamic way of life by believing in the Oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh). Today, Islam is one of the fastest growing religions and is practiced by more than 1.2 billion Muslims across the world.
The most essential principle in Islam is the purely monotheistic belief in one God. God is the Creator of everything in the universe and is unique from His creation. Muslims are encouraged to develop a direct and personal relationship with God without any intermediaries. Muslims often refer to God as Allah, which simply means “God” in the Arabic language. Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians also refer to God as Allah. God describes Himself in the holy book of Muslims, the Quran (also spelled ‘Koran’), by stating:
“Say, ‘He is God the One, God the eternal. He begot no one nor was He begotten. No one is comparable to Him.’” [Quran 112:1-4].
A Universal Faith
However, after the prophets delivered the divine guidance to their people, their message was lost, abandoned, or changed over time, with only parts of the original message intact. God then sent another prophet to rectify their beliefs. In order to restore the original call of all prophets, God sent Muhammad (pbuh) as the final prophet to all of humanity in the 7th century C.E.
In 610 C.E., Angel Gabriel visited Muhammad (pbuh) with the first divine message. For the next 23 years, he continued to receive revelations until the message was completed. Muhammad (pbuh) called people towards the belief in one God and encouraged them to be just and merciful to one another. He was a living example of God’s guidance for the benefit of the entire humankind.
“Then We revealed to you [Muhammad], ‘Follow the creed of Abraham, a man of pure faith who was not an idolater.’” [Quran, 16:123]
Muslims also believe that God sent revealed books as guidance to humanity through His prophets. These include the Torah given to Moses, the Gospel conferred upon Jesus, and the Quran received by Muhammad (pbuh). The Quran is the last revelation from God, consisting of God’s literal speech. It confirms truths from the previous scriptures and maintains the same core message of worshiping God and living righteously. God has ensured that the Quran is protected from corruption, safeguarding it for all of humanity to benefit from until the end of time. It is the only holy book that has been meticulously preserved in its original text.
Purpose of Life
This way of life promotes strong moral character, good relations with people, and just and harmonious societies. Devoting one’s self to a life of submission to God is the key to attaining a true sense of peace because it produces a balance of spiritual needs with worldly affairs. It also lends special meaning to the concept of living one’s life responsibly, aware of the accountability to come in the hereafter.
Belief in the Day of Judgment is extremely important in Islam. This event will signal the transition between the temporary life of this world to the eternal life in the hereafter. On that day, people will be resurrected and held accountable for their deeds in life, which will determine their eternal destination in Heaven or Hell. Many verses in the Quran describe the events on the Day of Judgment in great detail and give a description of Heaven and Hell.
Worship in Islam
1. Testimony of Faith (Shahadah): The first of the five basic foundations is knowingly and voluntarily asserting that, “There is nothing worthy of worship except God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” This statement is the basis of faith in Islam, affirming that no partners can be associated with God and Muhammad is His final prophet. As a result of this belief, Muslims seek guidance in life through God’s revelation (the Quran) and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
2. Prayer (Salah): Muslims are required to pray five times a day to maintain a spiritual connection with God and remind themselves of their ultimate purpose in life. Through sincerity, repentance, and direct prayer to God, Muslims strive to establish a personal spiritual relationship with their Creator all throughout the day. This prayer includes physical motions of bowing and prostrating, which were also performed by Jesus, Moses, and the prophets before them.
3. Charity (Zakah): This is an annual charity given to the poor. Muslims must give 2.5% of their yearly savings to help the poor, the needy, and the oppressed. Charity is one of the vital sources of social welfare in Islam, encouraging a just society where everyone’s basic needs are provided for.
4. Fasting (Sawm): Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar, by refraining from eating, drinking, and sexual interaction from dawn to sunset. It is an act of self-restraint and spiritual cleansing that increases one’s empathy for the less fortunate and enables one to consciously control bad habits such as foul language, idle talk, and anger. Fasting also helps people develop strong willpower as they overcome the essential desires of their body and the damaging acts of their tongue.
5. Pilgrimage (Hajj): The pilgrimage (journey) to Mecca is an act that every Muslim must perform once in their life if they are physically and financially able. It symbolizes the unity of humankind as Muslims from every race and nationality assemble together in equality to worship God, following the traditions of Prophet Abraham.
A Holistic Approach
Islam has a practical approach to living that positively transforms people’s individual connection to God and fellow humans. Islam offers guidance on all matters of life, including one’s diet, manners, and social relationships. God tells Muslims to eat everything “good and pure” while adhering to simple dietary restrictions such as avoidance of pork, alcohol and anything slaughtered in the name of other than God.
When it comes to dressing and behavior, modesty and humility are ordained for both men and women. Muhammad (pbuh) has stated, “Every religion has an essential character and the essential character of Islam is modesty.”
Parental obedience and dutifulness is integral to Islam. Men and women are to sanctify their relations in a marital contract, taking their spousal roles and family units seriously. Raising children who are morally upright and responsible participants in their communities is also a significant obligation. The preservation of family ties is a fundamental principle of Islam, along with kind treatment of orphans, widows, travelers, and neighbors. Professional and philanthropic contributions to one’s society are encouraged in order to nurture individual and collective success.
God calls on people to remember Him in all of their actions and purify their hearts so that they can live a truly balanced life. Spirituality in Islam is about nurturing tolerance, kindness, control, righteousness, and forgiveness while shunning arrogance, pride, ego, anger and selfishness. This spirituality and God-consciousness should be reflected in a person’s interactions with other people. Therefore, Islam stresses the importance of treating people with respect, mercy, and dignity.
In conclusion, Islam is not a new way of life; rather, it maintains the same message God sent to humanity through all of His messengers. Islam teaches people how to have a meaningful relationship with God, without any intermediaries, and how to reform their souls, beautify their character, and be part of a vibrant, healthy community. Through this message, God encourages individuals to draw closer to Him and fulfill their purpose in life.
“Is it not time for believers to humble their hearts to the remembrance of God and the Truth that has been revealed?” [Quran, 57:16]
12 September 2012
10 September 2012
09 September 2012
He quickly made Wudhu and performed Salat-ul Maghrib.
While making Tasbih, he again remembered his grandmother and was embarrassed by how he had prayed.
His grandmother prayed with such tranquillity and peace.
He began making Dua and went down to make Sajdah and stayed like that for a while.
He had been at work all day and was tired, so tired.
He awoke abruptly to the sound of noise and shouting.
He was sweating profusely.
He looked around.
It was very crowded.
Every direction he looked in was filled with people.
Some stood frozen looking around, some were running left and right and some were on their knees with their heads in their hands just waiting.
Pure fear and apprehension filled him as he realized where he was.
His heart was about to burst.
It was the Day of Judgment.
When he was alive, he had heard many things about the questioning on the Day of Judgment, but that seemed so long ago..
Could this be something his mind made up?
No, the wait and the fear were so great that he could not have imagined this.
The interrogation was still going on.
He began moving frantically from people to people to ask if his name had been called.
No one could answer him.
All of a sudden his name was called and the crowd split into two and made a passageway for him.
Two angels grabbed his arms and led him forward.
He walked with unknowing eyes through the crowd.
The angels brought him to the centre and left him there.
His head was bent down and his whole life was passing in front of his eyes like a movie.
He opened his eyes but saw only another world.
The people were all helping others.
He saw his father running from one lecture to the other, spending his wealth in the way of Islam.
His mother invited guests to their house and one table was being set while the other was being cleared.
He pleaded his case,
‘I too was always on this path..
I helped others.
I spread the word of Allah.
I performed my Salah.
I fasted in the month of Ramadhan.
Whatever Allah ordered us to do, I did.
Whatever he ordered us not to do, I did not.’
He began to cry and think about how much he loved Allah.
He knew that whatever he had done in life would be less than what Allah deserved and his only protector was Allah He was sweating like never before and was shaking all over.
His eyes were fixed on the scale, waiting for the final decision.
At last, the decision was made.
The two angels with sheets of paper in their hands, turned to the crowd.
His legs felt like they were going to collapse.
He closed his eyes as they began
To read the names of those people who were to enter Jahannam.
His name was read first.
He fell on his knees and yelled that this couldn’t be,
‘How could I go to Jahannam?
I served others all my life,
I spread the word of Allah to others’.
His eyes had become blurry and he was shaking with sweat.
The two angels took him by the arms.
As his feet dragged, they went through the crowd and advanced toward the blazing flames of Jahannam.
He was yelling and wondered if there was any person who was going to help him.
He was yelling of all the good deeds he had done, how he had helped his father, his fasts, prayers, the Noble Qur’an that he read, he was asking if none of them would help him.
The Jahannam angels continued to drag him.
They had gotten closer to the Hellfire.
He looked back and these were his last pleas.
Had not Rasulullah [SAW] said,
‘How clean would a person be who bathes in a river five times a day, so too does the Salah performed five times cleanse someone of their sins’?
He began yelling,
‘My prayers? My prayers? My prayers.?’
The two angels did not stop, and they came to the edge of the abyss of Jahannam.
The flames of the fire were burning his face.
He looked back one last time, but his eyes were dry of hope and he had nothing left in him.
One of the angels pushed him in.
He found himself in the air and falling towards the flames.
He had just fallen five or six feet when a hand grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back.
He lifted his head and saw an old man with a long white beard.
He wiped some dust off himself and asked him,
‘Who are you?’
The old man replied,
‘I am your prayers’.
‘Why are you so late! I was almost in the Fire!
You rescued me at the last minute before I fell in’.
The old man smiled and shook his head,
‘You always performed me at the last minute, did you forget?’
At that instant, he blinked and lifted his head from Sajdah.
He was in a sweat.
He listened to the voices coming from outside.
He heard the Adhan for Salat-ul Isha.
He got up quickly and went to perform Wudhu.
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08 September 2012
"By (the Token of) time (through the Ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy." Quran 103:1-3
03 September 2012
01 September 2012