About Islam

 

What is Islam?

Islam means “submission to the will of God.” Islam teaches belief in only one God, the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for actions. Islam greatly values peace; in fact the traditional Muslim greeting is 'Salaam' which means "peace."

Who is "Allah"?

"Allah" is simply the Arabic word for God, the same God worshiped by Christians and Jews. It is the God of Abraham and Moses, not a different God. Christian Arabs also refer to God as "Allah".

What is the Quran/Koran?

The Quran is the holy book of Islam. Muslims believe that the Quran was divinely revealed and is the last testament of God. The Quran is preserved in its original Arabic form and has never been changed.

When was Islam started?

Contrary to popular belief, Islam was not started by Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the 7th century. Muslims, the followers of Islam, believe that Islam was first followed by Adam, then by all of the prophets thereafter. Muslims believe that the same basic message of belief in one God was communicated through all prophets including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) over time.

How many Muslims are there?

There are currently 1.2 Billion Muslims in the world, with 7 million in the United States. Contrary to popular perception, only 20% of Muslims are Arabs and live in the Middle East. The countries with the largest Muslim populations are India and Indonesia with about 175 million Muslims each.

What are the basic teachings of Islam?

The basic teachings of Islam are similar to those of Christianity and Judaism. Islam teaches the belief in one God, the Angels, the Day of Judgment, Heaven and Hell, Adam and Eve, Prophets, Prayer, and Equality.

 

The Basic Teachings of Islam

What are the basic teachings of Islam

The basic teachings of Islam are similar to those of Christianity and Judaism. Islam teaches the belief in one God, the Angels, the Day of Judgment, Heaven and Hell, Adam and Eve, Prophets, Prayer, and Equality.

There are five Pillars in Islam:

Faith: Believe in one God and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as his last messenger

Prayer: Pray towards Mecca five times each day to remember God and thank him for his grace

Charity: Donate a portion of your wealth to the poor

Fasting: Go without food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan to empathize with the poor and learn self-discipline

Pilgrimage: Visit Mecca and perform the Hajj once in a lifetime, if you are able and have the means

 

These pillars are built on the Articles of Faith:

  • God: There is only one God with no associate or partner. All that happened in the past, is happening now and is going to happen in the future is by the will of God.
  • The Angels of God: Angels can only do only good and serve God
  • The Books of God: This includes the Torah, the Psalms given to David, The Bible and gospels revealed to Jesus (peace be upon them) and recorded by his disciples, and the Quran the holy book of Islam.
  • Prophets of God: Muslims believe that there were thousands of prophets who preached God's message. Muslims believe in all of the prophets mentioned in the Torah and the Bible including Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them). We also believe that Muhammad was the last prophet for all humanity and completed the message of God started by Adam (peace be upon him).
  • Day of Resurrection or Judgment Day: Muslims believe that all mankind will be raised back to life and judged by God. Those whose good deeds outweigh their bad deeds will be rewarded and those whose bad deeds outweigh their good deeds will be dealt with according to God's judgment.
  • Power of doing Good or Evil: Humans are given intelligence and the knowledge of right and wrong actions. The free will and conscience of each individual is their guide.
  • Life after Death: The eternal life in heaven where one will be rewarded for living a righteous life on Earth, or the fire of hell where one will be punished for the evil that one committed.

 

What is a Muslim?

A "Muslim" is one who follows Islam and submits to the will of God.

How does Islam view killing innocent people?

Islam does not condone the killing of innocent people under any condition or circumstances. It is one of the greatest sins in Islam.

How does Islam view suicide?

Islam states that life is a gift from God and must be cherished. Suicide is a major sin in Islam and not permitted or justifiable under any circumstances.

What does Islam say about War?

Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat that include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. As Muslims see it, injustice would be triumphant in the world if good people were not prepared to risk their lives in a righteous cause.

One reads in the Quran: "Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors." (Quran 2:190)

"And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for God. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers." (Quran 2:193)

"If they seek peace, then you seek peace. And trust in God for He is the One that hears and knows all things." (Quran 8:61)
War is therefore the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The often misunderstood and overused term jihad literally means "struggle" and not "holy war" (a term not found anywhere in the Qur'an). Jihad, as an Islamic concept, can be on a personal level- inner struggle against evil within oneself; struggle for decency and goodness on the social level; and struggle on the battlefield, if and when necessary.

How does Islam view human rights?

Freedom of conscience is laid down by the Quran itself: "There is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from falsehood; whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And God is All-Hearing and All-Knowing." (Quran 2:256)

The life, honor and property of all citizens in a Muslim society are considered sacred whether the person is Muslim or not. Racism and sexism are incomprehensible to Muslims, for the Qur'an speaks of human equality in the following terms:

"O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God's sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware." (Quran 49:13)

Where can I learn more about Islam?

One way to learn about Islam is to read an authentic translation of the Quran. Most libraries carry an English translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. An English translation is available onlinewhere you can also find general information about Islam

Why do Muslim women cover their hair?

Islam teaches modesty for women and men. Women are required to cover their bodies so that their figure is not revealed and that only their face and hands are shown. This requirement is designed to protect women and give them respect. The dress of Muslim women is very similar to that of Christian Nuns who also cover their bodies and hair.

What is "Jihad"?

Jihad does not mean "holy war". Jihad in Arabic 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, for self-defense or fighting against tyranny or oppression.

What does Islam say about Christians and Jews?

Islam teaches that Christians, Jews and Muslims are all descended from Abraham and are "people of the book". By that it means that the three religions share the same basic beliefs articulated through their holy books. Muslims hold Jesus and Moses (peace be upon them) in high regard and believe that they were prophets blessed with the power of miracles to show the glory of God.

What is an Islamic Fundamentalist?

This term has no basis in Islam. This term is incorrectly used in the media to refer to some Middle Eastern people and does not represent Muslims.

What is a Mosque/Masjid?

A Mosque or Masjid is a place of worship for Muslims. Muslims pray in a mosque in the same way that Christians pray in a church.