In the Name of Allah

the Source of All Mercy the All Merciful

 

 

Islam

 

For Your Information . . .

 

 

 

Second expanded edition

 

Keysar Trad

 

Copyright Notice:

 

Anyone wishing to reproduce this book in its entirety without making any changes, additions or omissions may do so after receiving written permission from the author.  No part of this book may be reproduced or utilised in any form or by any means,  including photocopying and recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the publisher or the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews or for study purposes.

 

Keysar Trad

 

Keysar@speednet.com.au

http://www.speednet.com.au/~keysar

Mobile: 0410 33 69 22

 

 

Sydney Australia: 2001

ISBN: 0646386700

 

 

This book is a FREE gift, it is NOT for sale.

 

            First edition, Dec. 1999                        5000 copies

            Second edition  2001

 

 


 

Abstract

 

All gratitude to Allah, and peace and blessings upon His messengers.

 

Peace and tranquillity come through following true guidance.

 

The purpose of this booklet is to give a brief outline of the basic teachings of Islam as these appear in the Holy Qur`an, the book that contains the words of Allah the God and Creator of all that exists and as they appear in the Sunna of the final messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him.

 

I originally wrote this material in 1995 after dealing with many questions about Islam from Muslims and non-Muslims.  This booklet developed over the years and was completely revised   and printed in 1999.  The first book was distributed within a short period of time, the need for more understanding in our world led to the reprint and expansion of the information in the book.  I pray that the reader will find the answers that they seek in this book.  As for those who find that they have acquired more than one copy, I earnestly request that they distribute them to friends, acquaintances or neighbours so that the benefit of the book can spread and reach the maximum number of people.

 

As before, I welcome any constructive comment with respect to this humble offering.  My email address is on the previous page, this will give you, my dear reader, easy access to me.  If for some reason, I change my ISP, simply search for my name on the internet and you will find my new email address.

 

Finally, I would like to thank all those who provided constructive feedback with respect to the English terms that I use in order to express Arabic concepts.

 

In particular, I would like to thank my son Mohammad and my daughter Sanna for proof-reading the final manuscript.  I would also like to thank my other children, their teachers, in particular Mr. Peter Calman and all those who gave me feedback on the first edition

 

 

God bless you one and all.

 

 

Your brother

 

 

Keysar Trad

August 2001


 

Contents

 

Copyright Notice: 1

Abstract 2

Contents. 3

The Three Foundations of Islam.. 4

1 - The Unity of God. 4

2 - Muhammad is the messenger of Allah to all Humanity. 4

3 - Resurrection. 5

Aspects Of Islam: 5

Elements of Faith (Arkanul Iman): 6

The Degree of Beauty (Al Ihsan): 6

The best words that one may speak: 7

Social Duties In Islam.. 7

The Qur`an’s  advice concerning parents, neighbours and kin: 8

The Qur`an commands kindness to parents even when the parents are evil: 8

The Qur`an Recommends the Promotion of Virtue and the Prohibition of Vice. 8

Dealing with those who cause you harm: 9

Sources of Islamic Guidance. 9

1 - The Qur`an: 9

More about the Qur`an: 10

The position of the Qur`an with respect to earlier revelations: 10

The Qur`an cannot be altered: 11

2 - The Hadith: 11

The importance of Hadith: 11

3 - Sunna: 12

The significance of Sunna: 12

4 - Seerah: 12

5 - Ijma': 12

6 - Qiyas: 12

Sharia and Hudood. 13

Who Is Allah?. 13

Why do we say Allah when referring to God?. 14

Why do we often say that a person reverted to Islam, and not converted?. 14

Why do we call ourselves Muslims?. 14

Islam is a religion that promotes peace. 15

Islam promotes peace even during times of war 15

Islam is a religion that condemns transgression. 15

Islam promotes forgiveness, tolerance and understanding. 15

What is in a name?. 16

How Religions Developed Their Names. 18

Does Islam Have Anything In Common With Christianity And Judaism?. 19

The Most Major Sins in Islam.. 20

Other major sins include: 20

God forgives the sins of those who repent 20

Muslim Diet 21

Islam promotes modesty. 23

Islam is a religion of moderation. 23

Places for offering worship. 24

Architectural standards of mosques: 25

How mosques developed: 26

When is a Muslim obliged to go to the mosque?. 26

Etiquette inside the mosque. 27

Islam and Science. 27

Islam and Democracy: 27

Feast / Festive Occasions In Islam.. 28

Inviting Others To Islam (A Few Examples) 29

How Does A Person Embrace Islam?. 29

Is a revert obliged to adopt a new name?. 29

A person cannot be forced to revert to Islam: 30

Should I embrace Islam?. 31

Further reading. 31

Further information. 32

Some Advice from Allah. 32

Glossary of terms. 32

Appendix A.. 34

 

 

=============================================================

 

 

The Three Foundations of Islam

 

Islam is established on three basic premises, these are:

 

1 - The Unity of God

 

There is only one God, per Sura[1] 112 of the Noble Qur'an

 

In the name of Allah the Source of All Mercy the All Merciful

 

"Say: He is Allah the One, Allah the absolute, He does not beget, Nor was He begotten, and there is nothing comparable to Him."

 

"Allah declares that there is no god except Him, as do the angels (witness) and those who are learned (give witness), He establishes justice, there is no God except Him, the Glorious in Might, the Wise." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3; Aya[2] 18).

 

The oneness of God is attested in many other Ayat[3] in the Qur'an, as it is also attested in other divinely revealed books.  Please refer to Appendix A for more on the names and attributes of God.

 

2 - Muhammad is the messenger of Allah to all Humanity

 

Muhammad is the final messenger of Allah. Muhammad peace and blessings upon him was happy to be referred to as the servant and devotee of Allah.  Muhammad peace and blessings upon him was a human being who was chosen by Allah to deliver the perfect and complete message of Islam, as presented in the Noble Qur'an, and the prophetic traditions.

 

The Qur`an says:

 

"Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 48: Aya  29)

 

"And Muhammad is no more than a messenger, messengers have passed away before him." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3: Aya 144)

 

Muhammad is the messenger of Allah to all humanity:

 

"Say: People, I am the messenger of Allah to you all."   (The Noble Qur`an Sura 7: Aya 158)

 

3 - Resurrection

 

Resurrection is true; every thing that lived in this world will be brought back to life and judged by God.  This will take place after everything that has been created perishes and nothing remains except Allah, the Owner of Majesty and Honour.

 

"Then on the day of resurrection you will be brought forth." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 23: Aya 16)

 

"Say: Yes, by My Lord, you will be brought forth, then you will be informed of what you did." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 64: Aya 7)

 

 

 

Aspects Of Islam:

 

The five basic practices required of every Muslim (Arkanul Islam):

 

1.         Testimony of faith, this is referred to as Shahada, the Shahada is to bear witness that there is no God except Allah and to bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.

 

2.         Establishing Salat, Salat may be described as prayer; Salat is the formal form of worship that is performed by Muslims.  The word Salat comes from the word Silat which means connection, hence, Salat is the process where a Muslim actually communicates with Allah and praises and worships Allah.  In Salat, the Muslim recites the words of Allah as these are learnt from the Noble Qur`an.  Salat is a spiritual exercise that actually helps a Muslim transcend the demands of the material world to focus on his spirit and the ascension and growth of this spirit.  The Salat is composed of words and physical actions, the physical actions are: Standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting[4].

 

The Qur`an states:  “Establish Salat, pay Zakat and bow with those who bow.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 43).

 

“Speak beautifully to people and establish Salat.” (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 83)

 

“Believers! Seek help through patience and Salat.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 153).

 

“Salat is at appointed times for the believers.” (The Noble Qur`an Sura 4; Aya 153).

 

“Salat deters a person from evil and shameful behaviour.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 29; Aya 45).

 

Prior to engaging in Salat, the Muslim must have a valid ablution:  “Believers! When you stand for Salat, wash your faces, your arms to the elbows, wipe your heads and wash your feet to the ankles ...”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 5; Aya 6).

 

3.         Paying the Zakat (prescribed obligatory charity), the Noble Qur`an states:  “Establish Salat and pay Zakat.” (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 110).

 

“Establish Salat and pay Zakat and obey the messenger.”  The Noble Qur`an Sura 24; Aya 56).

 

“In fact, charity is (to be paid) for the poor, the needy, those who work to collect it, those whose hearts are ameliorated, to purchase the freedom of those who are unfairly detained or enslaved, to assist debtors, in the path of Allah and for the wayfarer.  This is imposed by Allah, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (The Noble Qur`an Sura 9; Aya 60).

 

4.         Fasting during the month of Ramadan[5], the Noble Qur`an states:  “Believers! fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you.”  (Sura 2; Aya 183).

 

5.         Performing the pilgrimage (Haj) to Mecca if one is able to do so.  The Noble Qur`an states:  “A duty on people to Allah; to perform the pilgrimage to the house, those who have the ability to go there.”  (Sura 3; Aya 97).

 

 

Elements of Faith (Arkanul Iman):

 

1.         To believe in Allah,

2.         To believe in the existence of His angels,

3.         To believe in His books,

4.         To believe in His messengers,

5.         To believe in the day of judgement, and

6.         To believe in the decree and measure, the good and the bad of it.

 

 

The Degree of Beauty (Al Ihsan):

 

Muslims aim for Ihsan (beauty, perfection and proficiency) in all aspects of our activities.

 

“Allah commands justice, Ihsan and kindness to kin.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 16; Aya 90).

 

“Adopt Ihsan (in your actions), Allah loves those who adopt Ihsan.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 195).

 

“The grace of Allah is with those who apply Ihsan.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 7; Aya 56).

 

The messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him stated:

 

"Allah has decreed Ihsan with respect to every activity."

Ihsan has been described by the messenger of Allah as:

 

"Worshipping Allah as if we can see Him[6], and if we do not see Him, then to live with the knowledge that He sees us."

 

As Muslims we are also required to invite to good works and to guide people away from evil.

 

 

The best words that one may speak:

 

The Noble Qur`an states:

 

“Tell my devotees to say that which is better.” (Sura 17; Aya 53).

 

"Who is better in speech than the one who invites to Allah, performs good deeds and says: I am (one) of the Muslims?" (sura 41; Aya 33)

 

“Do you not see how Allah strikes an example, a beautiful word is like a beautiful tree, its roots are stable and it branches into the heavens.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 14: Aya 24).

 

The prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him said:  “Whoever believes in Allah and in the final day should say good things or remain silent.” (narrated in Bukhary, Muslim and others).

 

 

Social Duties In Islam

 

In addition to the individual duties that are listed above under the heading: "The Five Basic Practices ...", the Muslim also has other duties.  These duties are both individual (referred to as Fard 'Ayn) and collective (Fard Kifaya).  There are individual obligations towards parents, kin, neighbours, guests, colleagues, companions and those charged with authority.

 

The collective duties cover provision for the needy, and the destitute as well as an area in Islam that is referred to as Hisba (literally; accountability), or Promoting Virtue and Prohibiting Vice.

 

Collective duties are those that are obligatory on the community, so, if a section of the community fulfils these duties, other individuals will not need to focus their attention on them.

 

Collective duties may become individual obligations in situations where the immediate attention of an individual is required.  For example, when a person sees a need that must be addressed immediately, this person must address this need if he is able to do so, without looking to refer it to someone else.

 

If we take the example of promoting virtue and prohibiting vice, if a Muslim sees another person about to commit a crime, his immediate duty will be to assess the situation, and if he is able to personally prevent the crime, he must do so.  Care would be required so as not to expose himself to direct danger.

 

 

The Qur`an’s  advice concerning parents, neighbours and kin:

 

"Your Lord decreed that you worship none but Him and kindness to both parents, they may reach old age whilst they are with you, one of them or both of them, so do not say to them: ‘uffen’[7]  and do not yell at them.  Speak honourably to them and lower to them the wing of humility through compassion and say: My Lord have mercy on them as they raised me when I was small."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 17: Ayat 23 - 24).

 

"Worship Allah and do not associate in Him anything.  Be kind to your parents, your kin, the orphans, the needy, the neighbour who is near and the neighbour who is far, and the companion who is by your side  and the wayfarer and those whom your right hand possesses.  Indeed, Allah does not love the one who is arrogant and boastful." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 4: Aya 36).

 

 

The Qur`an commands kindness to parents even when the parents are evil:

 

"We commended the human being to be good to his parents.  However, if they strive against you to associate in Me that of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them.  To Me is your return and I will inform you of what you used to do."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 29: Aya 8).

 

"We commended to the human being his parents, his mother carried him in weakness over weakness, then his weaning in two years, be thankful to Me and to your parents, to Me is the return.  However, if they strive against you to associate in Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them.  Accompany them in the world in goodness and follow the path of the one who turns to Me.  To Me will be your return and I will inform you of what you used to do."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 31: Ayat 14 - 15).

 

 

The Qur`an Recommends the Promotion of Virtue and the Prohibition of Vice

 

"Let there be a group from amongst you calling to goodness, commanding right conduct and prohibiting vice, these are the successful." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3: Aya 104).

 

"You are the best community that is brought forth for humanity, commanding decency and prohibiting vice, and believing in Allah.  Had the people of the book[8] believed, it would be good for them, some of  them are believers and the majority are deviant."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3: Aya 110).

 

"They are not the same, amongst the people of the book is a group who recite the words of Allah during the night whilst they are prostrate.  They believe in Allah and the final day and they command decency and prohibit vice and they hasten to good works, these are the righteous."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3: Ayat 113 - 114).

 

"The believing men and the believing women, some of them are protecting friends of some, they command virtue and prohibit vice, they establish prayer and give in charity and obey Allah and His messenger, those will have the mercy of Allah, Allah is Glorious in Might, Wise."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 9: Aya 71).

 

 

Dealing with those who cause you harm:

 

The Qur`an advises:

 

"Say to My devotees to speak that which is better (or more beautiful), Satan indeed wishes to create enmity amongst you.  Verily Satan is an open enemy for the Human being." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 17: Aya 53).

 

"Repel the bad deed with goodness We are better knowing of what they describe." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 23: Aya 96).

 

"The good deed and the bad deed are not equal, apply the one that is better, then the person between you and whom there was enmity will become like a faithful friend." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 41: Aya 34

 

 

Sources of Islamic Guidance

 

1 - The Qur`an:

 

This contains actual words of God that were revealed to prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him over a period of 23 years (610 - 633 CE).  It was dictated by the prophet peace and blessings upon him to his companions (supporters) as soon as it was revealed.  The words in the Qur`an are the actual words of God as spoken by God.  The Qur`an has its own style of recitation which is known as Tajweed.  The recitation of the Qur`an is an act of worship, because of the great guidance that it contains, reciting the Qur`an earns the believer a blessing from Allah that is equivalent to ten good deeds for each letter recited.

 

To assist the reader to understand that the Qur`an contains only the words of God, the Qur`an gives the reader some ideas as to ways that the reader may test the Qur`an.  The reader may use these ideas as well as his own tests to verify that the Qur`an is from God.  Amongst these tests are the following:

 

The Qur`an challenges the reader to find a fault with respect to its scientific, historical and geographical accuracy, or to find a flaw in its cohesion:

 

"Alef, Lam Meem[9], that is the book, there is no flaw in it, (it is) guidance for those who are God-conscious." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Ayat 1 & 2).

 

"Do they not ponder over the Qur`an, had it been from other than Allah, they would have certainly found many inconsistencies in it." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 4; Aya 82).

 

The Qur`an also issues a number of other challenges to those who doubt its authenticity, it challenges them to try and emulate it or to emulate any of its chapters.

 

"And if you are in doubt with respect to what we revealed to Our servant, then come up with a Sura of its likeness, and call your witnesses other than Allah if you are truthful." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 23).

 

"Or they say: he forged it, say: come up with a Sura like it and call upon whoever you can other than Allah, if you are truthful."  (The Noble Qur`an sura 10; Aya 38).

 

The first challenge tells them to come up with a Sura that is on par with a Sura in the Qur`an and asks them to call their witnesses (or experts) to verify their claim to parity.  The second Aya says that if you cannot do so on your own, then call upon whoever you like to help you to compose such a Sura.

 

"Or they say: he forged it, say: come with ten Suwar[10]  like it, forged, and call upon whoever you can other than Allah if you are truthful." (The Noble Qur`an sura 11; Aya 13).

 

In this Aya, the Qur`an challenges the doubters to come up with ten Suwar in order to circumvent a claim that if they come up with only one Sura, this effort may not produce a meaningful treatise.

 

"Say: if humanity and the Jinn were to get together to come up with anything like this Qur`an, they would not be able to come up with anything like it, even if they were supporters of one another." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 17; Aya 88).

 

With this Aya, the Qur`an is telling the sceptics that they will never be able to emulate it.  However, Sura 52; Aya 34 gives them an easier challenge, but even this challenge, they will never be able to meet:

 

"Let them come up with a discourse like it if they are indeed truthful."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 52; Aya 34).

 

 

More about the Qur`an:

 

"Alif. Lam. Ra`[11]. A Scripture that We have revealed unto you that thereby you may bring forth humanity from darkness unto light, by the permission of their Lord, unto the path of the Mighty, the Owner of Praise,"  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 14; Aya 1)

 

 

The position of the Qur`an with respect to earlier revelations:

 

"We revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Scripture and Muhayminan[12] over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single community, but that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, all (of you), He will let you know about that in which you differed;" (The Noble Qur`an Sura 5; Aya 48)

 

 

The Qur`an cannot be altered:

 

"We, reveal the Zikr[13], and We are its Guardian." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 15; Aya 9) 

 

In the above Aya, God is reminding us that He - Most High - revealed the Qur`an, here referred to as Zikr, or oft recited book, or reminder as it is usually translated, and He has guaranteed to guard it and preserve it.

 

"Those who disbelieve in the Zikr  when it comes unto them (are guilty), for it is an unassailable Scripture.

Falsehood cannot come at it from before it or from behind it. (It is) a revelation from the Wise, the Owner of Praise."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 41: Ayat 41-42)

 

2 - The Hadith:

 

The Hadith comprises of a collection of the statements of the messenger Muhammad peace and blessings upon him.  It also includes some statements that were made by his closest disciples on issues that he did not personally discuss during his lifetime.  The Hadith has its own science of authenticity, each Hadith carries the chain of narrators from the messenger peace and blessings upon him or his disciples to the actual person who placed the Hadith in a book.

 

There is a science of grading Hadith, the most authentic Ahadith[14] collections are those of Bukhari and Muslim.  The Muwatta is also an authentic collection, however this book is not a collection of Ahadith, it is rather a collection of topics with the most relevant Ahadith on the topic.  In all, there are over 20 collections of Ahadith. 

 

The science of Hadith includes biographies of every person who ever narrated a Hadith.

 

 

The importance of Hadith:

 

The importance of Hadith is described in the following Ayat:

 

"What the messenger brings you, take it, and what he forbids you from, abstain from it"  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 59; Aya 7)

 

"Obey Allah and the messenger" (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3: Aya 32 & Aya 132)

"Obey Allah and Obey the messenger" (The Noble Qur`an 4:59, 5:92, 24:54, 47:33 & 64:12)

 

"Obey Allah and His messenger" (The Noble Qur`an 8:1, 20, & 46, 58:13)

 

 

3 - Sunna:

 

Sunna refers to the way of life of the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him, this includes his Ahadith, his condoning of certain acts without actually saying anything about them, and his general behaviour.

 

 

The significance of Sunna:

 

"Verily in the messenger of Allah you have a beautiful example for the one who hopes for Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 33; Aya 21)

 

 

4 - Seerah:

 

Seerah refers to the biography detailing the life of the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him.

 

 

5 - Ijma':

 

This includes the opinions of scholars, who are referred to as the righteous predecessors, on various issues.  The most famous of these scholars are Malik, Shafii, Abu Hanifa, and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.  These venerable scholars are credited with founding the schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, Islamic Jurisprudence is referred to as Fiqh.

 

 

6 - Qiyas:

 

Qiyas is the legal process of comparing an issue to one that has already been dealt with, if the issue is found to be on par with the previously decided issue, then the same rules would be applied.  There may be modifications to the rules in accordance with the variations in the issues.  There are some similarities between this concept and the condept of legal precedence.

 

The Qur`an remains the ultimate authority, a scholar who wishes to interpret the Qur`an must have studied the Qur`an thoroughly first.  To interpret the Qur`an, the scholar is bound to interpret the Qur`an through the Qur`an, if he fails, then he would turn to what the Hadith says about certain Ayat, if he fails again, then he would turn to what the companions of the messenger peace and blessings upon him said about these Ayat.  If the researcher fails again, he would check what the righteous predecessors said.  A scholar is only permitted to express his opinion on the Qur`an after he / she has studied all the aforementioned resources.

 

 

Sharia and Hudood

 

Sharia refers to the system of laws within Islam, Sharia is derived from the Qur`an, the Hadith, Ijma’ and Qiyas.  Hudood are the limits or the boundaries and the penalties that may be imposed when some of the laws are breached.  Only the more serious breaches are subject to penalty or Hudood.  In general, Hudood may be waived in the case of reasonable doubt.  The object of Hudood is to deter people from open breaches of the law, hence, the stringent evidentiary requirements and the strict penalties for false witness.  A breach of Hudood that impacts on people may be resolved by forgiveness and private contrition and amends, this is something that is purely in the hand of the victim to decide, the victim may choose to forgive or to take the matter to court.  On moral breaches that are consensual, the repentance can be private and personal and there is no need for the matter to go before the court.  For example, a person who commits adultery and repents may do so privately without undergoing any penal process.  In such cases, if the breach occurred in the presence of witnesses, the witnesses are advised to provide private counselling rather than bring the matter to court.  Generally, only open flagrant breaches are intended to be penalised.  The bulk of Sharia is there to protect the life, safety and freedom of individuals and of society, especially women, a small portion of Sharia relates to Hudood or penalties and this portion is included to deter those who would threaten the freedom of society.

 

 

Who Is Allah?

 

"Allah! There is no God except Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep (can ever) overtake Him.  To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth.  Who is he that intercedes with Him except by His permission?  He knows that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He will. His throne includes the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 255)

 

"Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star.  Kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guides unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaks to humanity in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 24; Aya 35)

 

"There is nothing comparable to Him, and He is the All Hearing, the All Seeing." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 42; Aya 11).

 

"He is Allah, than Whom there is no other God, the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible. He is the Beneficent, the All Merciful.

He is Allah, than Whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, The Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him).

He is Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 59; Ayat 22 - 24)

 

"Say: He is Allah, the One!

Allah, the eternally Besought of all!

He begets not nor was He begotten.

And there is none comparable unto Him." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 111; Ayat 1 - 4)

 

 

Why do we say Allah when referring to God?

 

The name Allah is perfect, it cannot be made plural, or given a gender, it is the only word in Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic and many other languages that has this attribute.  It is a perfect name for God, a name that God revealed to humanity through His prophets and messengers.

 

There are two opinions about this name, the other opinion states that the word is derived from Al-Ilah meaning, the One God, or the One and Only God.  I favour the former view which is supported by the majority of Arab scholars that the word Allah is one of the names of God.

 

 

Why do we often say that a person reverted to Islam, and not converted?

 

The messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said:

 

"Every child is born a Muslim, it is his parents who make of this child a Jew, a Christian, or a Magian. ..." 

 

So when a person embraces Islam, this person is reverting back to the religion to which he / she was born.

 

 

Why do we call ourselves Muslims?

 

The word Muslim refers to: A person who willingly submits to the law of Allah, or a person who knowingly applies the law of Allah to his life.  It is derived from the word Silm and Salam, which means peace, and the word Sallam and Aslam which mean submitted.  Therefore, Islam is the way of peace through following the Will of God.  The word Islam has been used by all the prophets of God as they are all Muslim and they all called to Islam. 

 

In this context, the submission must be a willing submission, that is, a person of his own free will decides to seek the divine guidance and to attempt to comply with this guidance.  A person who does comply with the divine guidance will find peace on a number of important fronts, these include:

 

            1 - Peace with himself = A person who complies with the divine guidance does not experience bitterness about his physical condition, or about aspects beyond his or her control.  This person will seek self improvement without feelings of bitterness, envy or grudge, this person will be in fact in a state of peace with his or her condition.

 

            2 - Peace with God = This person will not question the will of God but rather will seek to understand the wisdom behind the divine guidance.

 

            3 - Peace with our fellow human beings = A person who complies with the divine guidance will seek to create peace on earth.  This person will accept others for what they are and will not behave in an arrogant or condescending manner towards others.  This person will be helpful to others and will respect all other human beings.

 

            4 - Peace with other living things = This person will look to other living things that share this world with us with understanding, he or she will not seek to exploit them but rather will manage resources so that animals, birds and fish will continue to live in harmony in this world.

 

             5 - Peace with the environment = Again, a person who complies with the divine guidance seeks to live a managed life with the environment, he or she will not exploit or abuse resources but rather will take what is necessary, recycle where possible and ensure that there will be a process of regrowth and regeneration so that the world will remain safe for succeeding generations of all living things.

 

 

Islam is a religion that promotes peace

 

The prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him advises Muslims to establish peace, he stated:

 

“You will not enter paradise until you believe and you will never be true believers until you love one another, do you want to know how to create an atmosphere of love in your community?  Promote peace amongst all.”

 

The greeting that is used by Muslims is a greeting of peace and goodwill, the name of the religion is derived from the word peace as indicated earlier and each of the five daily prayers is concluded with words of peace.

 

The Noble Qur`an states:

 

“Believers! Enter into a state of complete peace[15].” (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 208).

 

The Noble Qur`an also states:  “Allah invites to the house of peace.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 10; Aya 25).

 

 

Islam promotes peace even during times of war

 

The Noble Qur`an clearly states that when those who are fighting against you give any indication of a desire for peace or capitulation, then the Muslims must also work for peace.  This is stated at Aya 8 of Sura 61: “If they incline towards peace, you must also incline towards it and place your reliance on Allah.”

 

 

Islam is a religion that condemns transgression

 

"Allah does not love those who are involved in acts of transgression" (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 190 and Sura 5; Aya 87).

 

 

Islam promotes forgiveness, tolerance and understanding

 

“Forgive them and overlook (their bad deeds towards you), Allah loves those who are kind.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 5; Aya 13).

 

“Hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden the breadth of which is the Heavens and the Earth, prepared for those who are God-conscious.

“Those who spend in ease and hardship, those who suppress their anger and those who forgive people, Allah loves those who are kind.”  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3; Ayat 133 - 134).

 

 

What is in a name?

 

As a religion of submission to God, pursuit of the will of God, compliance with the divine guidance and a religion that creates peace, I believe that any reader will agree that Islam, per this definition is the ideal for all humanity and all living things.  We as people, perhaps following religions with different names only differ with respect to the name of our religions and not with respect to the broader principles of peace, mutual respect and friendship.

 

In this regard, I offer statements from other prophets of God where they invite others to the way of peace, the way of seeking the will of God, the way that is summarised in the word “Islam”:

 

In Sura 10 Aya 72 Noah states:

 

 

" … If you turn away, I have not asked you for any fee, my recompense is with Allah, and I have been commanded to be of those who are Muslims."

 

Allah says in Sura 2 Ayat 130 - 131: 

 

"Who would prefer other than the way of Abraham except the one who deludes himself?  Verily We have chosen him (Abraham) in this world and indeed in the afterlife he will be among the righteous.  As His Lord said to him: embrace Islam, he said:  I have submitted in Islam to the Lord of the worlds."

 

Moses made the following supplication along with the righteous of his followers, in Sura 7 Aya 126: 

 

"Our Lord bestow patience upon us, and cause us to die as Muslims."

 

Allah tells us in Sura 3 Ayat 52 to 53: 

 

"And when 'Eesa[16]  felt rejection from them, he said:  Who are my supporters to the way of Allah?  The disciples said:  We are the supporters of Allah, we have believed in Allah, bear witness that we are Muslims, Our Lord (Allah), we have believed, and followed the messenger ('Eesa), so record us amongst the witnesses."

 

Sura 2 Ayat 127 - 128:

 

"And Abraham would raise the foundations of the house and Isma'il:  Our Lord accept it from us, verily You are the All Hearing the All Knowing, our Lord, and make us Muslims to You, and of our progeny, a community of Muslims to You."

 

 Sura 2 Aya 132:

 

"And Abraham enjoined it on his sons and Jacob, my sons, verily Allah has chosen for you the religion, so do not die except that you are Muslims, or were you witnesses when death came to Jacob, when he said to his sons:  What will you worship after me?  They said:  We will worship your God and the God of your fathers Abraham, Isma'il, and Isaac, One God, and to Him we are Muslims."

 

Joseph says in Sura 12 Aya 101: 

 

"My Lord, You have given me of sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, You are my Patron in this world and in the hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim, and cause me to follow the righteous."

 

Allah says in Sura 10 Ayat 84 to 85:

 

"And Moses said:  O people, if you have believed in Allah, then rely on Him if you are Muslims.  They said:  On Allah we rely."

 

Then the letter that Solomon sent to the Queen of Sheba as it appears in Sura 27 Aya 31:

 

"In the name of Allah the Source of All Mercy, the All Merciful:  Do not go above me, and come to me as Muslims."

 

The queen of Sheba says in Sura 27 Aya 44:

 

"My Lord (Allah), I had (previously) wronged myself, I have now become Muslim with Solomon, to Allah the Lord of the worlds."

 

With the completion of the revelation of the Holy Qur'an, Allah Glorified and Exalted tells us:

 

"Today, I have completed the revelation of your religion for you, perfected My bounty upon you and accepted for you Islam as your religion."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 5; Aya 3).

 

Again in Sura 3 Aya 19 Allah Most Exalted says:

 

"Verily the religion acceptable to Allah is Islam"

 

And at Aya 85:

 

"Whoever aims at other than Islam for his religion, it would not be accepted from him, and in the after life, this person will be one of the losers."

 

Sura 4 Aya 125: 

 

"Who is better in religion than the one who surrenders his face to Allah, whilst he is doing beautiful works, and follows the way of Abraham who is upright? ..."

 

The messenger of Allah peace and blessings upon him also tells us of the unity of the message of the prophets of God, viz:

 

In Sahih Bukhary and Sahih Muslim, the messenger of Allah peace and blessings upon him is reported as saying: 

 

". . . All the prophets are brothers; the children of the one faith, their mothers are varied, but their religion is one."

 

"My example and the example of the prophets before me is the same as that of a man who built a house, then beautified it and decorated it, except for the position of one brick in one of its corners, the people would go around this house, and marvel at it, and say:  If only this brick was put in place?  I am that brick, I am that brick, and I am the seal of the prophets." (That is:  There will be no prophet after him, peace and blessings upon him).

 

It is amazing that when one analyses both Jewish and Christian beliefs, one finds that those who follow these belief systems profess much of what the final messenger Muhammad peace and blessings upon him came with.  It seems that they are either yet to accept or they do not accept in totality what Muhammad peace and blessings upon him brought, this is usually so because they are yet to acknowledge Muhammad peace and blessings upon him as a messenger from God.  In this Regard, God says in the Noble Qur`an: "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 48; Aya 29) and "He is the seal of the prophets" (The Noble Qur`an Sura 33; Aya 40).

 

"If the people of the book were to believe, it would be better for them." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3; Aya 110).

 

"Those who follow the messenger, the illiterate prophet, the one (whose detail) they find written with them in the Torah and the Injeel[17] , he commands them with decency and forbids them from vice, he makes the wholesome things permissible for them and prohibits them from the evil things.  He removes from them their burden and the shackles that were over them.  Those who believe in him, honour him, support him and follow the light that was sent down with him, they are the successful.  Say: "People, I am the messenger of Allah to you all, the One to Whom belong the Heavens and the Earth, there is no god except Him, He gives life and causes to die, believe in Allah and His messenger, the illiterate prophet who believes in Allah and His words and follow him so that you may be guided." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 7; Ayat 157-158 )

 

The Qur`an states:  "Allah commands justice, beautiful conduct and caring for the kin.  He prohibits sin, corruption and transgression, He advises you so that you may remember.  Fulfil the pledge in Allah that you have pledged, do not break your oaths after affirming them for you have made Allah your guarantor, indeed, Allah knows what you are doing." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 16; Ayat 90-91).

 

The messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him summarised his prophetic mission in the following words:  "I have only been sent to (teach people how to) behave with perfect Akhlaq."  The word Akhlaq encompasses: morality, manners, character, ethics and virtue.

 

 

How Religions Developed Their Names

 

The word Muslim describes a person who accepts willingly the sovereignty of God in his / her life and who also seeks to establish and promote peace.  Unfortunately, history shows that schisms occur within groups and followers of the same religion decide to identify with a particular ideal, at times, this ideal may be a particular belief from within their own religious tradition.  As a result, either the main body or the schism decide to use a name that identifies with the principle or the person that they feel the need to support.  For example, the Bible is clear in its reference to seeking the will of the Father, or submitting to God, therefore, people felt that they need to distinguish themselves from others who make the same claim.  This need for distinction led to the creation of additional descriptors.  It is the use of these descriptors that led to the alienation from the original name of Islam. 

 

If we look at the definition of Islam and Muslim, no believer in God, irrespective of religious tradition would ever deny that he or she is a Muslim.  People differ with respect to two issues relating to being labelled Muslim, firstly, they may not wish to identify with some of the Islamic teachings, secondly, whilst they identify with the dictionary definition, they do not wish to identify with the religion itself.  As a result, people who believe in a different religious tradition prefer to identify with the name of the reformer / man of God such as Buddhism and Christianity, or a particular place of interest such as Hinduism or a combination of name, place and significant term such as Judaism.

 

 

Examples of where a translation of variations of the word Muslim is used in the Holy Bible:

 

James 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

Ephesians 5:21  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

 

Psalms 66:3  Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.

Psalms 66:4  All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

Psalms 66:5  Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.

Psalms 66:6  He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.

 

 

Does Islam Have Anything In Common With Christianity And Judaism?

 

The Noble Qur`an instructs the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him to address the people of the book, that is, the Jews and the Christians, in the following terms:

 

"Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a mutually agreeable term between us and you: that we shall worship none except Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that we should not take each other as lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.

“O People of the Scripture! Why will you argue about Abraham, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Do you not comprehend?

You are those who argue about that of which you have some knowledge: Why then do you argue concerning that of which you have no knowledge? Allah knows and you know not.

“Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian; in fact, he was an upright Muslim, and he was not of the idolaters.

Indeed those who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who believe; and Allah is the Protecting Guardian of the believers."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3: Ayat 64 to 68)

 

The Qur`an speaks of a number of earlier revelations, however, it clarifies that these had been altered at the hands of humans:

 

" . . .  a party of them used to listen to the words of Allah, then used to change them knowingly, even after they had understood them." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 75)

 

 

The Most Major Sins in Islam

 

The Hadith tells us that there are seven most major or deadly sins, any person who commits any of these will go straight to Hell unless there is true repentance before this person dies.  Such a repentance would include serious efforts to make amends with any person who has been wronged through these sins.  These sins are:

 

a - Associating a partner to God,

b - Sorcery and witchcraft,

c - Murder,

d - Taking usury or interest,

e - Taking the money of orphans unjustly,

f - Fleeing from battle when the army is advancing (desertion),

g - Maligning the honour of a woman.

 

 

Other major sins include:

 

(Please note that this list is not exhaustive, it is only a guide)

Dishonouring ones parent or parents or ingratitude to them.

Adultery and fornication.

Gambling.

Consuming, producing or selling intoxicants.

Lying.

Stealing.

Arrogance.

Homosexuality.

Giving False Witness.

Committing Suicide.

Treason.

Slander, Defamation and backbiting.

 

 

God forgives the sins of those who repent

 

"... Except the one who repents and believes and does right.  Such will enter the Garden, and they will not be wronged in aught -

Gardens of Eden, which the Beneficent has promised to His devotees in the unseen.  Verily His promise is ever sure of fulfilment -

They hear therein no idle talk, but only Peace; and therein they have food for morn and eve." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 19; Ayat 60 - 62)

 

"The (faithful) devotees of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the foolish ones address them answer: Peace;

And who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing,

And who say: Our Lord! Avert from us the doom of hell; indeed, the doom thereof is anguish;

Verily it is wretched as abode and station;

And those who, when they spend, are neither prodigal nor miserly; and there is ever a firm station between the two;

And those who call not unto any other god along with Allah, nor take the life which Allah has forbidden save in (course of) justice, nor commit adultery - and whoso does this shall pay the penalty;

The doom will be doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein disdained for ever;

Save the one who repents and believes and does righteous work; as for such, Allah will change their evil deeds to good deeds. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.  And whosoever repents and does good, he verily repents toward Allah with true repentance -

And those who will not witness falsehood, but when they pass near senseless play, pass by with dignity.

And those who, when they are reminded of the revelations of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat.

And who say: Our Lord! soothe our aspirations with respect to our spouses and our offspring, and make us role-models for the pious.

They will be awarded the high place forasmuch as they were steadfast, and they will meet therein with welcome and peace,

Abiding there forever. Happy is it as abode and station!" (The Noble Qur`an Sura 25; Ayat 63 - 75) (underlining mine).

 

 

Muslim Diet

 

Allah Most High says:  "Believers, eat of the wholesome things that We provide for you and thank Allah."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 172).

 

"Prohibited to you are carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, that which had been slaughtered with other than the name of Allah, that which had died through suffocation, that which had died through beating, that which had died through falling from a height, that which had died through goring by another animal and that which had been (partly) eaten by a predator unless you (are able to) purify it (that is; slaughter it in the appropriate manner before it dies), (prohibited is also) what is killed on an altar, it is also prohibited to raffle meat, all this is deviation ... ."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 5; Aya 3).

 

"Believers! Intoxicants, gambling, idols and divination are abominations, of the work of Satan, avoid him if you wish to be successful.  Satan wishes to create enmity and hatred amongst you through intoxicants and gambling and (wishes to) obstruct you from remembering Allah and from prayer, so will you cease?"  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 5; Ayat 90-91).

 

To clarify the topic further, Allah Most High says concerning Himself:  "He has detailed to you what He had prohibited for you. ..." (The Noble Qur`an sura 6; Aya 119).

 

In another verse, Allah Most High states:

 

"Say: I find nothing in what had been revealed to me prohibited for one seeking food to eat unless it be carrion or blood that is shed or the flesh of swine, for it is filth or deviation that has been slaughtered with other than the name of Allah ..."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 6; Aya 145).

 

Concerning intoxicants, The six most authentic books of hadith state: "Every intoxicant is Khamr, and every Khamr is prohibited."

 

The messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him also stated:  "Allah has cursed Khamr and cursed its drinker, the person who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who purchases it, the one who presses it, the person for whom it is rendered into juice, the person who transports it, the person to whom it is being transported, and the person who takes its price." Narrated by Abu Dawood and Al Hakem refer Saheeh Al Jame'ul Sagheer hadeeth number 5091.

 

In another Hadith, the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him said:  "Anything, a large quantitiy of which intoxicates, a small quantity of it is also forbidden." Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Tirmizy, refer Saheeh Al Jame'ul Sagheer hadeeth number 5530.

 

In general, seafood is permitted for food, herbivorous animals are also permitted provided they are slaughtered in the humane Islamic manner, most birds are also permitted as food.  Carnivorous land animals are prohibitted to Muslims. All mind altering drugs, including alcohol are also prohibited to Muslims.

 

Whilst these prohibitions apply, there is an allowance for emergency.  If a Muslim was stranded without access to permissible food and there was only prohibited food available, he would be able to consume that quantity which will save his life.  This provision is stated in the Qur`an in the following manner:

 

"... As for the one who is forced by necessity, not intending nor transgressing, no sin is upon him, Allah is Oft Forgiving, Merciful."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 173).

 

"... Whoever is forced by necessity, not intending nor transgressing, your Lord is indeed Oft Forgiving Merciful."  (The Noble Qur`an 6:145 & 16:115).

 

Whilst this is the case with food, it does not extend to alcoholic beverages, the messenger peace and blessings upon him even prohibited the use of alcoholic beverages for medicinal purposes, refer to the following Hadith: "Allah did not make the remedy for a disease in that which He had prohibited." 

 

The messenger of Allah peace and blessings upon him said: "Allah sent down disease and cure.  He placed a cure for every ailment. Seek cure, but do not seek it in the forbidden things." (reported in the collection of Abu Dawood).

 

This prohibition forbids the drinking of alcoholic beverages to treat aliments or for any other reason.  The prohibition would extend to alcohol-based mouthwash.

 

This prohibition does not forbid the use of alcohol based antiseptics and disinfectants that are to be applied externally to cuts or abrasions.  However, an alternative antiseptic would be preferred where one is available.

 

The messenger of Allah peace and blessings upon him said: “There are three for whom Paradise has been prohibited - a habitual drinker, a person who is unkind to his / her parents, and a negligent husband who brings impurity to his family." (reported in the collection of Ahmad and Nasa`i).

 

 

Islam promotes modesty

 

Islam advises Muslims to wear modest loose fitting clothing.  There is a slight variation between the standard of dress of a man and that of a woman.

 

To further promote virtue in society, the Qur`an also advises both men and women not to ogle at members of the opposite gender (unless they be their own spouses):

 

"Say to the believing men to avert their glance and preserve their private parts, that is purer for them, indeed, Allah is Well Informed with respect to what they are doing.

Say to the believing women to avert their glance and preserve their private parts and not to reveal their adornments except for what is normally manifest and to draw their veils over their bosoms and not to reveal their adornments except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or the sons of their husbands or their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters or their women or what their right hands possess or their male servants who have no sexual desire or small children who are not yet alert as to the nakedness of women.  They should not stamp their feet so that they do not reveal their concealed ornaments[18].  Repent to Allah, all of you O believers so that you may find success." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 24; Ayat 30 - 31).

 

"Prophet; say to your wives and your daughters and the wives of the believers to draw their cloaks over them, that is better for them to be known so that they are not molested.  Indeed, Allah is Oft-Forgiving All Merciful."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 33; Aya 59).

 

The Hadith describes the nakedness of a man that must be covered as being between the navel and the knees.  It describes the nakedness of a woman that must be covered as being the entire body including the head with the exception of the face and the hands.

 

As the Noble Qur`an prohibits ogling at members of the opposite gender, the religion by necessity prohibits free mixing of the sexes.  It also prohibits touching between the different sexes unless they are intimate family. Therefore, the general rule is that Muslims will not shake hands with members of the opposite gender.  Muslims will also not attend gatherings where men and women mix freely unless there is a compelling reason to attend such a gathering.

 

There is a difference of opinion amongst Muslims whether the practice of the messenger peace and blessings upon him not to shake hands with members of the opposite gender was a prohibition or a personal act of self-purification.  They opine that the statement in the Hadith that prohibits touching is a reference to unwelcome touching that is harassing in nature.  That the prohibited form of touching is that which would be regarded as intimate because intimacy is only permitted in marriage.  These Muslims offer a number of Ahadith to support their view that if a lady reaches out to shake their hand, they will allow her to do so because they do not wish to risk offending her, though, they prefer not to shake hands with the opposite gender.  It is interesting that the first Hadith below is explained by Fat-hul Bary[19], as an indication of the humility of the messenger peace and blessings upon him, that in humility, even if a female slave was to grab him by the hand and ask him to help her with a task, he would do so without complaint, that he in fact was a friend of the weak and helpless.  The Ahadith in question are:

 

Anas Ibn Malek said that any slave girl from the slaves of Medina used to come and take the messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him by the hand, and take him wherever she wished.  Reported in the Hadith collection of Bukhary

 

In the Hadith collection of Ibn Majah, we have the Hadith:  Anas Ibn Malek said that any slave girl from the slaves of Medina used to come and take the messenger of Allah peace and blessings upon him by the hand and he would not take his hand away from her hand until she takes him wherever she wished in Medina to help her with her task.

 

In the Hadith collection of Ahmad, Anas Ibn Malek is reported to have said that any young girl in Medina would come and take the hand of the messenger of Allah peace and blessings upon him, he would not take his hand out of her hand until she takes him to wherever she wished.

 

 

Islam is a religion of moderation

 

The Qur`an states: "Thus we made you a moderate community, to be witnesses over people and for the messenger to be a witness over you ... ."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 143).

 

The reference to being witnesses over people in this context is a reference to the feasibility of a moderate life, where people do not go or resort to extremes.  The Qur`an is basically stating to those who live in extremes of materialism or extremes of monasticism or extremes of secularism or extremes of any 'Ism" that there is proof represented in the billions of Muslims (throughout history) that life in moderation will be spiritual, successful, blissful and contented.  It is also saying to these extremists that they can find moderation and balance in their lives if they were to embrace the principles and tenets of Islam. 

 

The above verse is also telling the Muslims that the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him is a model of moderation and that he is a witness over us in terms of the living proof of his life which has been faithfully recorded in detail.  So whilst the verse carries a warning to non-Muslim extremists, it is also telling Muslims not to go to extremes because Islam condemns extremism as will be shown in the succeeding references.

 

The Qur`an tells people who insist on adhering to other creeds: "People of the Scripture, do not go to extremes with respect to your religion and do not say concerning Allah anything except the truth. ..."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 4: Aya 171).

 

"Say: People of the Scripture, do not go to extremes in your religion beyond the truth and do not follow the whims of people who had strayed before you and who had caused many to stray and strayed far from the straight path."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 5; Aya 77).

 

The Qur`an also says:  "Do not waste, He does not love those who waste." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 6; Aya 141).

 

"Eat and drink but do not waste, He does not love those who waste."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 7; Aya 31).

 

The messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him stated: "Any person who tries to go to extremes in his religion will be defeated (by his own extremes)."

 

The Hadith also states:  "Whenever the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him was given a choice between two matters, he chose that which was easier."

 

The Hadith relates the story of three men who came to the home of the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him, they asked his family about his manner and frequency of worship.  When they received the information, they reacted in a manner as if to indicate that it was too little, they said: "Who are we in comparison to the prophet peace and blessings upon him, Allah has forgiven all past errors and any possible future error of his?  One of them said: "As for me, I will pray my entire nights forever."  Another one said:  "As for me, I will fast during the day forever."  Another said:  "As for me, I will keep away from women and will never marry."  When the messenger of Allah peace and blessings upon him saw them, he said:  "Are you those who said such and such?  By Allah, I am more in Awe of Allah than you and more conscious of Him and more pious than you, yet I fast and break my fast, I pray and I rest and I do marry women.  Whoever adopts other than my way of life is not one of my followers."

 

 

Places for offering worship

 

There are two types of places for offering worship.  One is referred to as a Masjid , this is the term that is often used in the Qur`an, the second term is Jame` , whilst colloquially, the terms are used synonymously, the Jame' is a mosque that tends to have a minaret, a pulpit and a Mihrab (explained below), though these are not requisites, a Masjid is any other place used by Muslims for offering worship.  A Jame’, once identified as such, becomes a trust and cannot be converted to other use.  The other term used for a place for offering worship is Mussalla  (prayer hall).  The Qur`an states the following concerning mosques:

 

"Mosques are for Allah, do not call upon anyone with Allah."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 72: Aya 18).

 

"Those who bring to life the mosques of Allah are they who believe in Allah and in the final day."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 9: Aya 18).

 

"Establish yourselves at every mosque and call upon Him, sincere to Him in your religion." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 7: Aya 29).

 

"Progeny of Adam, adorn yourselves at every mosque." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 7: Aya 31).  This verse is a command to people to be well presented when they go to pray.

 

 

Architectural and other standards of mosques:

 

            1. That it faces Mecca,

 

            2. That there be a minimum of two entrances one for the ladies and one for the men.

 

            3. That the entrances be towards the back of the mosque

 

            4. That there be three steps or a higher elevation inside the mosque in the front, for the Imam to ascend and deliver his sermon.  (The Imam is the Cleric who leads people in prayer and who attends to the religious services of the congregation).  The steps serve to elevate the Imam so that his voice carries further and so that he is visible to the congregation.  Today, most mosques have more than three steps and a platform with a chair (The Pulpit, Arabic name "Mimbar"), the Imam uses the chair to rest for a few seconds between the two Friday midday sermons.  The Friday sermon is usually referred to as two sermons although they can be described as one sermon with a few seconds rest break in the middle or towards the end.

 

            5. A chair in the front, next to the steps, this is used to give lessons, lectures or other religious talks by the Imam (this is actually where the term chairman originated).

 

            6. No images and no imagery are permitted inside the mosque.  No idols are permitted in the mosque either.

 

            7. Plenty of open floor space.

 

            8. Perhaps the simplicity of the mosque is best illustrated by the very first mosque that was ever built on planet earth, this is the Ka'ba, the cubical structure inside the great mosque in Mecca, it is simply a cubical building with no other external or internal features, other than one of its cornerstones being a meteorite from paradise.

 

How mosques developed:

 

            1. A person sized niche was introduced inside the mosque at the front (Arabic name is "Mihraab"), this serves two purposes, one purpose is that it allows the Imam to stand further in front, thus giving more room behind him to the worshippers.  It also improves the acoustics inside the mosque and gives the Imam's voice a resonance and allows it to carry further.

 

            2. Over the years, the Muslim community decided to place a minaret, which represents a tall tower-like structure that can be ascended by the Mu`azzin (the person who calls to prayer) to call people to pray.  Being an elevated tower like structure, the minaret allows the voice of the Mu`azzin to reach further, as a result people can hear his voice and will realise (if they are distracted) that the time of praying is at hand and they will make preparations to come to the mosque.

 

            3. They also decided to place a dome on the roof of the mosque.  The dome serves a number of practical as well as aesthetic purposes.  The dome helps with the acoustics inside the mosque.  The dome allows the voice of the Imam to carry further or resonate better inside the mosque and allows it to also reach the back of the mosque.  The dome also helps bring more light inside the mosque as domes usually tend to have windows all around.  The dome also provides for better air circulation inside the mosque, this provides natural air-conditioning inside the mosque.  The aesthetic purposes are self-evident as domes tend to be decorative in nature, domes tend to be also decorated with calligraphy.

 

            4. Another development over the years was the placement of a crescent, or a crescent and star at the top of the minaret and dome.  This innovation was introduced over four hundred years after the death of the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him.  The crescent being usually pointed serves as a lightning conductor, the star is purely for decoration.  The crescent and star are not symbols of Islam, Islam has no symbolism, they are used mainly as decoration.

 

            5. As no imagery is permitted in or around a mosque, Muslim artists have expressed their love for Allah and for the mosque by either sculpting or drawing geometric shapes, hence mosques tend to be decorated by calligraphy and geometric shapes.  In some mosques, the calligraphy is actually carved into the stone walls of the mosques.  The calligraphy used to decorate a mosque is often either verses from the Qur`an (that is, words of God) or words from the Hadith (oral tradition of the messenger of Allah, Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him).

 

            6. Many mosques also tend to be decorated with a number of arches, the arches are purely for aesthetic purposes.

 

 

When is a Muslim obliged to go to the mosque?

 

Muslim men must go to the mosque for the five daily prayers if they live within a sufficient proximity of a mosque to be able to hear the call to pray.  If the call to pray will not reach them, they may pray where they happen to be.  This is based on the Hadith of the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him when he was asked by one of his followers as to whether they had to pray at the mosque.  The messenger replied: "Can you hear the call to pray?"  the man replied: "Yes."  The messenger peace and blessings upon him advised him that he must come to the mosque to offer his prayer.

 

The following Hadith authorises the Muslim to pray wherever he or she may happen to be, if they are too far away from a mosque:

 

"The entire earth is a clean mosque for me."  and

"Wherever you happen to be when the time for Salat comes, then perform your Salat."

 

It is obligatory on Muslims to offer the Friday congregational Salat in a mosque.

 

 

Etiquette inside the mosque

 

Decorum is required inside the mosque, arguments and improper language are not appropriate inside a mosque.  A person must be modestly attired before entering a mosque.  The visitor to a mosque must also perform the ablution as if for prayer.  In some cases, the visitor must take a shower prior to entering a mosque.

 

Ladies who are menstruating may not enter a mosque until the menstruation is over and they perform the ritual cleansing.  Similarly, ladies experiencing after birth bleeding may not enter the mosque until the bleeding is over and they perform the ritual cleansing.

 

 

Islam and Science

 

Islam strongly encourages the pursuit of knowledge, the Noble Qur`an states:

 

“Allah raises those who believe amongst you and those who have been given knowledge to high degrees.”  (58:11)

 

There are more than 80 verses in the Noble Qur`an that use the word knowledge, there are hundreds of others that call people to study, reflect, analyse, contemplate, think and consider.

 

Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him stated: “The pursuit of knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim male and female.”

 

There are many other references that encourage the pursuit of knowledge.  This encouragement to learn led to the development of many sciences by Muslim scientists.  Whilst Europe was going through its dark ages and persecuting scientists, all those who wanted to learn would go to the Muslim universities to pursue the science of their choice.  Prominent Muslim scientists of that era include:  Ibn Sina (Avicenna), AlRazy, Ibn Rushd (Averro), Ibnul Haytham (Alhazen), Gaber Ibn Hayyan (Algeber), Omar Khayyam, Ibn Khaldun and many others.

 

One of the main aspects of Science in Islam is that in Islam Science was not exploited for commercial or military gain.  Science was always developed for the benefit of humanity and the environment.  Unfortunately, modern science, whilst producing many good discoveries, also produced the means that produce great pollution and mass destruction.  Muslim scientists on the other hand were on the main, devout Muslims and focussed on the constructive sciences, following the principle of “No harm.”

 

 

Islam and Democracy:

 

Whilst democracy has many positive aspects, Islam believes in and endorses a higher principle, this principle is referred to as Shura, or consultation.  Under this system all the important decisions are made in consultation with the people.  In fact this system is even applied in the rituals of worship in that the congregation decides who will lead the prayer.  The process of consultation is one of the strongest principles in the Qur’an, one entire Sura (chapter) in the Qur`an is named after it.  I quote the following verses from this chapter:

 

Sura 42, verses 36-38:  “Whatever you are given, this is the provision for this worldly life, that which is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who believe and on their Lord they rely.  Those who keep away from major sins and from ugly behaviour and if they become angry, they forgive.  Those who respond to their Lord, establish prayer and all their affairs are decided by mutual consultation amongst them, and from what We bestowed upon them, they spend.”

 

The Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him used to always consult with members of the Muslim community on matters that concerned them.

 

 

Feast / Festive Occasions In Islam

 

There are two major festive occasions per year in Islam, one of these festive occasions is called Eid -ul - Fitr, or the festival of breaking the fast, this is celebrated on the first day after the conclusion of the lunar month of fasting which is known as Ramadan.

 

The second festive occasion is known as Eid - ul - Adha, or the festival of sacrifice, this is celebrated on the tenth day of the third lunar month after Ramadan.  This is referred to as the month of Zul Hijja, it is the final month of the Islamic Calendar.  This is also the day of pilgrimage to Mecca.  On this day, Muslims sacrifice food to the equivalence of a lamb or a sheep, generally, the sacrificed food is given to the poor.

 

In addition to these two days, every Friday is considered a festive day for every Muslim.  However, whilst Muslims are not permitted to work on the days of the two major festivals except in essential services, we can work on Fridays except for the time of midday "Jum'a"[20] prayer and services.

 

There are other festive occasions that relate to specific activities that Muslims may undertake.  For example, marriage entails festivities (referred to as Waleema) as does the birth of a child (‘Aqiqa).  These are not tied to a particular day of the year, rather, they are associated with the event itself.

 

Muslims commemorate other events such as Laylatul Qadr, literally; “The Night of Decree” sometimes referred to as “The Night of Power.”  This is popularly believed to be on the night preceding the twenty-seventh day of the month of Ramadan (The ninth month of the Islamic Calendar).  Another event that is commemorated is the night of Al Israa` Walmi’raj, this is the night of the Night Journey and Ascension, this coincides with the Twenty-Seventh of Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic Calendar.  Some Muslims also commemorate the birth of the prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him, this falls on the 12th of the month of Rabi’ul Awwal, the third month of the Islamic Calendar.

 

 

Inviting Others To Islam (A Few Examples)

 

In recognition that Islam represents guidance from God to help humanity live a life free of error or sin, Muslims are obliged to share this guidance.  Hence, Muslims are generally eager to give correct information about Islam.  Whilst a Muslim feels the need to share the message, a Muslim may only offer this information if the listener is interested, a Muslim has no right to impose this information on others.

 

A Muslim presents the information in the hope to assist his fellow person.  This springs from an innate love for others and a strong aspiration for the betterment of society.  The method of discussion depends on whom the Muslim is holding discussions with, the following verses explain this concept:

 

"Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. Verily, your Lord is Best Aware of those who stray from His path, and He is Best Aware of those who go aright." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 16; Aya 125)

 

"O Messenger! Make known that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, for if you do it not, you will not have conveyed His message. Allah will protect you from humanity[21]. Verily, Allah guides not the disbelieving folk." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 5; Aya 67)

 

"Argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, except with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which has been revealed unto us and that which had been revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender." (The noble Qur`an Sura 29; Aya 46)

 

 

How Does A Person Embrace Islam?

 

By saying:

 

Ash hadu Anna La Ilaha Illallaah, Wa Ash hadu Anna Muhammad Rasulullaah. 

 

Meaning:  I bear witness that there is no true god except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.

 

The above phrase is referrred to as "Al Shahada", which means witnessing or testifying.

 

After Al Shahada the revert must take a shower, and perform two units of prayer in gratitude to Allah for the blessing of guidance to Islam.

 

 

Is a revert obliged to adopt a new name?

 

The prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him would only recommend a change of name to a revert if the name of the revert was ugly, repugnant or implied a meaning that was contrary to the message of Islam.  There were many reverts whose names he did not change.

 

 

A person cannot be forced to revert to Islam:

 

"There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error.  Whoever rejects false deities and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is All Hearing, All Knowing." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 2; Aya 256).

 

"In truth We revealed it and in Truth it came down.  We sent you as a conveyor of glad tidings and a conveyor of warning.  Say; believe in it or do not believe, indeed, those who have been given knowledge before, when it is recited to them, fall down prostrate to their chins.  They say: Glory to our Lord, indeed the promise of our Lord is done."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 17: Ayat 106-108).

 

"Say: The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills, let him believe and whoever wills, let him disbelieve." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 18: Aya 29).

 

"You cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides Mann Yashaa`.  And He is Best Aware of those who are guided[22]."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 28; Aya 56)

 

In embracing Islam, a person renders a witness statement to three important facts.  Firstly, the person must deny all false deities by saying: “I bear witness that there is no god.”  The negation is followed by an assertion that there is an exception to this statement, the exception is: “Except Allah”, meaning that the person testifies that there is no god except God.  The third testimony is: “I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

 

A person can only provide this testimony if this person has witnessed it or this person has a strong conviction that this is true.  Thus, a person cannot be compelled to be a witness, it is a testimony that must come from the person without any external influence.

 

The statement:  “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” is recited by all Muslims throughout the day.  This fact raises the question:  “How do these people make such a testimony?”

 

Allah states in the Qur`an that He took a pledge from all humanity before He created our physical bodies:  "As your Lord took from the children of Adam, from their backs, their progeny, and made them bear witness concerning themselves: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes, we witness.  That you may not say on the day of resurrection: we were to this fact, oblivious!"  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 7; Aya 172).

 

This was the first meeting with Allah and this was the prime knowledge of our Creator and of His Lordship.

 

The Qur`an also advises people to reflect upon creation and ponder the different phenomenon in this universe, look at what exists around you, most surely there is a great power that made them and subjected them to certain laws.

 

Could it be: “A god with Allah?” no indeed not:  “Allah is above what they associate.” (The Noble Qur`an Sura 27; Aya 63).  The Qur`an repeats the question in the succeeding verse:  “A god with Allah?  Say: Bring your evidence if you are truthful.” (Aya 64).

 

Hence, the Qur`an affirms the unity of God and negates the possibility of additional deities.

 

Contemplating the phenomenon in this universe, reflecting on the degree of order in this great plane of existence all reinforce the perception that points to a wise Omnicient Creator.

 

A Muslim must by necessity utilise his intellectual processes, a Muslim must think, must study, must reflect.  With thought and reflection, obscurities tend to fade and the Muslim will remember the pledge made to God.  This leads the Muslim to assert with complete certainty:  “I am a witness that there is no god except Allah.”

 

The next part of the testimony comes as a matter of course.  It was to Muhammad peace and blessings upon him that the Qur`an was revealed, it was through his lips that the words of the Qur`an were conveyed to humanity.  Through him, we received information about God that led us to make the first testimony with conviction.  Hence, he must be a true messenger of God.

 

 

Should I embrace Islam?

 

My duty as a Muslim writing about Islam is to bring you the information about the religion of Islam.  Embracing Islam is a personal lifestyle choice.  This is a decision that remains up to you, the reader, as an individual person.

 

Islam invites you to evaluate it with your mind.  It gives you the aspects for your spirit, intellect, emotions, and body.  It deals with your individual role and your social role in every aspect of life.

 

Islam is a religion that covers every aspect of a believers life, it provides guidance for every moment, from the moment of creation which is prior to the instant of conception to the moment of entering paradise or descending into hell.  It provides the Muslim parent with the guidance with respect to choosing a partner, to what to pray at the time of intercourse, to what to say at the time of death and even in the grave, after one is buried.

 

Researching Islam gives a person first hand access to the Divine Guidance.  The Divine Guidance in turn allows you as a person the opportunity to establish the will of God in you life.  In essence, this enables you to arrive at the appropriate decision on every occasion that you are faced with a decision to make.

 

 

Further reading

 

Now that you have read about Islam, I invite you to read the sources of Islamic guidance.  The Qur`an in its language of revelation (Arabic) contains the perfect words of God.  A translation to another language will always be nothing more than an attempt to render the meaning in that language.  The issue with translation is that the translation will always be limited to the linguistic and scientific knowledge of the translator(s).  As such, a translation cannot encompass the complete meaning of all the verses, it can only present the understood meaning of the message.

 

Genuine attempts to translate the Qur`an into English can be purchased from Islamic bookshops as can other good Islamic books.  If you encounter difficulty obtaining copies of the books that I have described, please write to me and I will insha Allah (God Willing) direct you to where you can obtain your own copy.

 

 

Further information

 

If you have questions in relation to Islam or in relation to this booklet, please write to me, and God willing, I will get an answer to you.

 

You may write to me at the following email address: keysar@speednet.com.au

or visit my website: http://www.speednet.com.au/~keysar

You may also contact me on:

0410 33 69 22

 

 

Some Advice from Allah

 

"Believe in Allah and His messengers, if you believe and ward off (evil) then you will have a reward that is great." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3: Aya 179).

 

"Our people; respond to the one who invites to Allah and believe in Him; He will forgive you from your sins and give you protection against a painful doom." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 46: Aya 31).

 

"People: The messenger has come to you with the truth from your Lord, so believe, this is better for you.  If you disbelieve, to Allah belongs what is in the Heavens and the Earth and Allah is All Knowing, Wise."  (The Noble Qur`an Sura 4: Aya 170).

 

"Believe in Allah and His messenger and the light that We revealed, Allah, with respect to what you are doing, is Well Informed." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 64: Aya 8).

 

"However, if they turn away, say:  Bear witness that we are Muslims." (The Noble Qur`an Sura 3: Aya 64).

 

Thank you for reading this book, my gratitude to Allah for guiding me to this, and peace and blessings upon His messengers.

 

 

 

Glossary of terms

 

Ahadith = plural of Hadith.  Hadith represents statements or actions made by the messenger of Allah, Muhammad peace and blessings upon him.

 

Akhlaq this word encompasses: morality, manners, character, ethics and virtue.

 

Al Ihsan = Beauty, kindness, proficiency and perfection.

 

Al Israa` Walmi’raj = The night journey and ascension.  This refers to the miracle when the prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him was taken by the Archangel Gabriel from Mecca to Jerusalem and ascended to the heavens from there and then returned to Mecca during the same night.

 

Arkanul Iman = The pillars of faith.

 

Arkanul Islam = The pillars of Islam.

 

Ayat is plural for Aya, the word Aya refers to a verse in the Qur`an, it means: verse, sign, miracle, portent, etc..

 

'Eesa is the name of the Messiah (Christ) the son of Mary in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic.

 

Fard ‘Ayn = Individual duty.

 

Fard Kifaya = Collective duty.

 

Fiqh = Islamic Jurisprudence.

 

Hudood = Literally means borders, boundaries or limits.  This is a reference to the limits that may not be breached, they indicate where your freedom ends and the freedom of others begins.  This is also a reference to the penal provisions for the different breeches.

 

Huj (or Hajj) = The pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

Ihsan = Beauty, Excellence, Proficiency, kindness, self-actualisation.

 

Injeel = Commonly translated as Gospel.

 

Jum'a; Literally Friday or congregation.  The term is also used to refer to the congregational services on Fridays.

 

Lailatul Qadr = The night of Divine Decree, also referred to as the night of power.

 

Mann Yasha` means: "Who wills."  In Arabic, the "Who" can be attributed to Allah as well as the person who seeks the truth.  The way this guidance works is that Allah will guide the person who wills to be guided and who strives to find guidance.

 

Muhayminan is usually translated as guardian over, watcher over, or criterion over.  The Qur`an is basically the criterion by which one can judge the remnants of earlier revelations.  If an academic wished to know which parts of the bible had not been misinterpreted, then refer these parts to the Qur`an.  Therefore, if a biblical prophet is mentioned in the Qur`an, the Qur`anic reference is the more accurate reference, similarly in matters of creed, the creed described in the Qur`an prevails.

 

Prayer:  There are three types of prayer in Islam, there is the formal prayer which is referred to as Salat, this term is derived from the word Silat which means link or connection.  There are five formal prayers that every Muslim must perform every day and night.  The first prayer is at dawn, the second immediately after midday, the third at mid afternoon, the fourth after sunset and the fifth after the redness disappears from the horizon.  The Qur`an states that these prayers must be performed in a timely manner, refer Sura 4; Aya 103.  These prayers must be offered in congregation wherever possible.  The second type of prayer is referred to as Du'a`, Du’a` literally means supplication.  The third type is referred to as Zikr, this entails either recitation of verses or sections from the Noble Qur`an or the recitation of praises of Allah as narrated in the Hadith.

 

Ramadan = The month of Ramadan is the 9th month of the lunar year.

 

Salat: refer to praying above.

 

Sawm = Fasting, fasting requires the abstention from food, water and conjugal activity from dawn to sunset.

 

Shahada = The declaration of faith is: "I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.  This statement is referred to as the Shahada, meaning "The Testimony" or "The Bearing of Witness."  Reciting the Shahada with conviction brings a person into the fold of Islam.  The Arabic transliteration of the Shahada is: "Ash Hadu Anna La Ilaha Illallah, Wa Ash Hadu Anna Muhammad Rasulullah."

 

Sharia = Pronounced Shari’ah, this refers to the body of law in Islam, it is derived from the Qur`an, the Hadith, Ijma’ and Qiyas.

 

Suwar = plural for Sura.  Sura = the name given to a chapter in the Noble Qur`an, it comes from the word Sur, which means wall, usually used when referring to the wall of a fort or in reference to a protective wall.  Hence a Sura of the Qur`an also provides fortification for the believer.

 

Uffen = a two letter exclamation of anger in the Arabic language.  This is the shortest expletive in Arabic.

 

Zakat = Literally, purification.  This is a reference to charity that is paid on saved wealth or on primary production.  It is usually 2.5% of wealth (above a certain sum) that has been held for one year.  The rate differs with primary production.

 

Zikr = That which is recited often, that which is remembered and helps you remember.  See reference to prayer above.

 

 

Appendix A

Names and Attributes of Allah

 

There are ninety nine names and attributes of Allah that are mentioned in the Noble Qur`an.  These attributes are divided into two categories, one of these categories is for Muslims to learn so that they can live up to these sublime qualities and standards of love, mercy and compassion.  The second of these categories describes the strong attributes such as might, vengeance and pride.  The Muslim must know that attributes in the second category should be left to God and should not be adopted.

 

The names of attributes are:

 

1 - Allah

2 – ArRahman = The Source of All Mercy

3 – ArRaheem = The Most Merciful

4 – AlMalek = The Sovereign

5 – AlQoddoos = The Holy

6 – AsSalam = The Source of Peace

7 - AlMu`min = The Giver of Faith

8 – AlMuhaymin = The Overall Controller

9 - Al’Azeez = The Almighty

10 – AlJabbar = The Subduer

11 – AlMutakabbir = The Proud

12 – AlKhaliq = The Creator

13 - AlBare` = The Maker

14 – AlMussawwer = The Fashioner

15 - AlGhaffar  = The Forgiver

16 – AlQahhar = The Superior Force

17 – AlWahhab = The Giver

18 – AlRazzaq = The Provider

19 – Alfattah = The Revealer

20 - Al’Aleem = The All-Knowing

21 – AlQabid = The Grasping

22 – AlBasit = The Extender

23 – AlKhafid = The Abaser

24 - AlRafi’ = The Exalter

25 - AlMu’izz = The Honorer

26 – AlMuzill = The Dishonorer

27 - AlSami’ = The All-Hearing

28 – AlBaseer = The All-Seeing

29 – AlHakam = The Judge

30 - Al’Adl = The Just

31 – AlLatif = The Gentle

32 – AlKhabir = The All-Aware

33 – AlHaleem = The Forbearing

34 - Al’Azeem = The Limitless

35 – AlGhafoor = The Forgiving

36 – AlShakoor = The Responsive to Gratitude

37 - Al’Aly = The Most High

38 – AlKabeer = The Great

39 – AlHafeez = The Protector

40 – AlMuqit = The Sustainer

41 – AlHaseeb = The Reckoner

42 – AlJaleel = The Majestic

43 - AlKareem = The Generous

44 – AlRaqeeb = The Watchful

45 – AlMujeeb = The Respondent

46 - AlWase’ = The All-Encompasing

47 – AlHakeem = The All-Wise

48 – AlWadood = The Loving

49 - The AlMajeed = The All - Glorious

50 - AlBa’eth = The Resurrector

51 – AlShaheed = The Witness

52 – AlHaqq = The Truth (The Reality)

53 – AlWakeel = The Patron Guardian

54 – AlQawwi = The Strong

55 – AlMateen = The Steady

56 – AlWaly = The Patron

57 – AlMuhhsy = The Counting

58 – AlHameed = The All Worthy of Praise

59 - AlMubdi` = The Originator

60 - AlMu’eed = The Restorer

61 – AlMuhyi = The Giver of Life

62 – AlMumeet = The Giver of Death

63 – AlHayy = The Ever living

64 – AlQayyum = The Eternal Being

65 – AlWajed = The Finder

66 – AlMajed = The Giver of Glory

67 – AlWahed = The One

68 – AlSamad = The Eternal Cause of All Being

69 – AlQader = The Able

70 – AlMuqtader = The Prevailing

71 – AlMuqaddim = The Promoter

72 – AlMu`akhkhir = The Deferrer

73 - Al Awwal = The First

74 - Al Akhir = The Last

75 – AlZhaher = The Manifest

76 – AlBaten = The Unseen

77 – AlWaal = The Supporter

78 - AlMuta’al = The High Exalted

79 – AlBirr = The Righteous

80 – AlTawwab = The Acceptor of Repentance

81 – AlMuntaqim = The Avenger

82 - Al’Afuw = The Pardoner

83 - AlRa`oof = The Compassionate

84 - Malik AlMulk = Owner of Sovereignty

85 – AlMuqsit = The Equitable

86 - Zul Jalal WalIkram = The Owner of Majesty                                            and Beneficence

87 - AlJame’ = The Gatherer

88 – AlGhany = The Self-Sufficient

89 – AlMughny = The Enricher

90 - AlMani’ = The Withholder

91 – AlDarr = The Distresser

92 - Alnafi’ = The Giver of Benefit

93 – AlNour = The Giver of Light

94 – AlHady = The Guide

95 - AlBadee’ = The Originator

96 – AlBaqy = The Everlasting

97 – AlWareth = The Inheritor

98 – AlRasheed = The Right-Minded

99 – AlSabour = The Patient

 

 


About this booklet

 

Comments about the first edition:

 

 “Who can say any better words than to invite to Allah, do good work and says: I am one of the Muslims.  The book: “Islam: Your Information” is a glimmer of light in the path of every seeker of truth.  May God bless those who read it.”

 

                                                                        Shaykh Taj Aldin Alhilali

                                                                        Mufty of Australia

 

 

“This booklet fulfils the urgent need for information about Islam, ... very timely.”

 

                                                                        Shaykh Abdul Quddoos Azhary

                                                                        Chairman, Board of Imams, Queensland

 

 

“Harmony of thought, conviction of a true believer and beauty of language which captures both the mind and the heart of the reader.”

 

                                                                        Shaykh Fehmi El-Imam

                                                                        Imam, Islamic Society of Victoria,

                                                            General Secretary, Board of Imams, Victoria

 

 

“Beautifully written, well researched and presented ... one of the best books that I have read on the subject.”   

 

                                                                        Shaykh. Yahya A Ibrahim

                                                                        Canada

 

 

“This book is just the beginning – it is the introduction, the sparkle before the Light.  God bless.”

 

                                                                        Keysar Trad

                        The Author



[1]  Sura = the name given to a chapter in the Noble Qur`an, it comes from the word Sur, which means wall, usually used when referring to the wall of a fort or protective wall.  Hence a Sura of the Qur`an also provides fortification for the believer.

[2] Aya refers to a verse in the Qur`an, it means: verse, sign, miracle, portent, etc..

[3] Ayat = plural for Aya.

[4] Please contact the author for more information on how to perform Salat.

[5] Fasting, or Sawm requires the complete abstention from food, water and conjugal activities from dawn to sunset.  The month of Ramadan is the ninth Lunar month in the Islamic Calendar.

[6] Knowing fully well that no person can actually see Allah with his / her eyes because Allah is not subject to the limitations of sight, time or space.  Therefore, this vision must be one of perceiving the presence of Allah and the cognisance that Allah sees us at all times..

[7] Uffen = a two letter Arabic expression of annoyance, the usage of this term in the Qur`an is to indicate that not even the slightest expression of anger is allowed with parents.

[8] People of the book, this is a reference to people who believe in the Scriptures.

[9] Alef, Lam Meem, three letters in the Arabic alphabet, the Qur`an is directing the attention of the reader to the fact that it is made up of simple everyday letters like these.  Letters that are used by all Arabs, if you think that it is not from Allah, try to use these letters to produce words of such depth, beauty, eloquence and spiritual meaning.

[10] Suwar = Plural for Sura, refer earlier footnote.

[11] Alif, Lam, Ra`, more individual letters as per footnote 9, page 9.

[12] Muhayminan is usually translated as guardian over, watcher over, or criterion over.  The Qur`an is basically the criterion by which one can judge the remnants of earlier revelations.  If an academic wished to know which parts of other scriptures had not been misinterpreted, then refer these parts to the Qur`an.  Therefore, if any prophet is mentioned in the Qur`an, the Qur`anic reference is the more accurate reference, similarly in matters of creed, the creed described in the Qur`an prevails.

[13] Zikr = informal prayers, literally: remembrance, words and phrases that a person may use to praise and glorify Allah.  In this verse, Zikr is predominantly referring to the words of the Qur`an.  Words from the Qur`an are also referred to as Zikr.

[14] Ahadith = plural for Hadith.

[15] The word used in the Qur`an in this verse is Silm, Silm literally means peace.  In this context, the verse is generally interpreted as an invitation to Muslims to comply with all aspects of Islam.

[16] ‘Eesa is the name of Christ the Messiah the son of Mary in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic.

[17] Injeel = Gospel

[18] This is a reference to bangles and anklets that make a sound when a person is walking.  Women are advised not to stamp their feet when walking outside of the home so that a jingle will not emanate from the bangles.

[19] 20 - Fat-hul Bary:  This is a comprehensive commentary on the Hadith of Sahih Bukhary compiled and explained by Ibn Hajar Al'Asqalani.

[20] Jum'a; Literally Friday or congregation.  The term is also used to refer to the congregational services on Fridays.

[21] That is, Allah will protect you from the designs of those who conspire to harm you.

[22] I have left the Arabic expression here as the translation carries two meanings.  Mann Yashaa` means: “Who wills.”  In the Arabic, the “Who” can be attributed to Allah Most Exlated and can also be attributed to the person who seeks the truth.  The way this guidance works is that Allah will guide the person who wills to be guided and who strives to find guidance.