Al-Haram Mosque in Makkah The Prophet's Mosque in Madinah . Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem

 

daltonislamiccenter.org  

Part I: Basic Information and Principles

 

1. Islam: A Brief Introduction 

 

2. Performing Islamic Prayers

3. Three Levels of Faith: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan

4. The Scientific Evidence That God Exists and the Holy Qur'an Is His Message to Humanity

5.  Creation and Evolution in the Holy Qur'an 

 

6. Humans, As God's Caliphs on Earth

 

7. Adam's Contest With the Angels, and Getting Out of Paradise

 

8. The Relationship Between the Spiritual and the Physical in Islamic Teachings

 

9. Mind, Self, Soul, Spirit, and Happiness from an Islamic Perspective

 

10. Heart-Mind Relationship in the Holy Qur'an

 

11. Worshippers By Choice Or Forced Slaves?

 

12. Introduction to Islamic Law, Shari'a, Part I, Prohibition, Don't Do, and Do Commands in the Holy Quran

 

Part II: Allah and His Messengers

 

1. Allah, As He Described Himself in the Holy Quran

 

2. Muhammed

 

3. 'Eissa, Jesus Christ

 

4. Moussa, Moses

 

5. Ibrahim, Abraham

 

6. Noo'h, Noah

 

***

Articles with Islamic Perspective:

 

Health Care Crisis in the US: An Islamic Perspective

 

"Terrorism" & "Islamo-Fascism" Propaganda Campaigns: An Interactive Lecture

 

Six Questions About Islam, Muslims and Jews

 

Five Islamic Issues: Predestination and choice, position toward other religions, angels, and the End of Days

Food Islamic Rules and Teachings  

 

Are Muslim women second-class citizens  

 

The French Ban on Islamic Headscarf, an Interview with

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007-2010

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007

 

Links to Islamic topics 2006

Links to Islamic topics 2005

 

Links to Islamic topics 2004

 

Links to Islamic topics, 2003

2002 Links to Islamic topics

 

 

Islam:

God's Message of Guidance to Humanity

1

Islam:

A Brief Introduction

By Hassan A. El-Najjar

May 20, 2007

Updated on 15th of Jumada Al-Thaniya, 1433, May 6, 2012

 

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

I seek refuge with God from the Stoned Shaitan (Satan)

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

***

On the authority of Abu Abdul Rahman Abdullah, the son of Umar Bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with both of them), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him (pbbuh) say:

"Islam has been built on five (pillars) [1]: The proclamation that there is no other god than Allah and that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the Zakat, making the pilgrimage to the House (of God in Makkah) [2], and fasting (during the month of) Ramadhan." [3]

 

The word "Islam" means believing in Allah (The God) [4] to the extent of surrendering your will to Him. In this sense, the messengers of God such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ (Nooh, Ibrahim, Moussa, and 'Eissa) and their righteous followers are also considered Muslims. It is one religion, revealed to people on Earth  for thousands of years to guide them in this life and to reward them in the Hereafter. Muhammed, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (pbbuh),  was the last of these Muslim Prophets and Messengers of God. [5]

The Arabic verb root of the word "Islam" is /salima/, meaning kept safe. The word "Muslim" is one of its derivatives. The Prophet (pbbuh) said, "The Muslim is the person from whose tongue and hand Muslims are kept safe." In other words, a Muslim does not harm people with his/her tongue or hand.

 

Other derivatives of the verb include /silm/, which means peace, as in 2: 208, and /salam/, which also means peace, as in reference to Paradise as Dar es Salam, or the House of Peace (6: 127).

 

Finally, Islam is the first level of faith, attaining it is required to gain the mercy and contentment of God, in order for a person to live happily in this world and to enter Paradise in the hereafter. A higher level is Iman, and the highest is I'hsan (See: Three Levels of Faith: Islam, Iman, and I'hsan for more information).

 

Sources of the Islamic teachings:

1. The Holly Book, the Qur'an (pronounced as two separate syllables Qur - an.

 

It is also referred to as Koran but this is an inaccurate translation, as the letter Q is closer to the Arabic sound than the letter K. The Holy Quran is the first source of the Islamic teachings. It is the Word of God and His Message to humanity. It was revealed, in the 7th century, to the Prophet Muhammed (pbbuh) in 23 years, through the Senior of Angels, Jibril (Gabriel), peace to him.

 

The Holy Quran was written by the scribes during the life of the Messenger of God, pbbuh, as he received by inspiration through the Senior Angel, Jibril, peace to him. He would speak and they would write down the revelations, then they would read what they wrote and he would approve of it. During the reign of 'Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, who was the third Successor of the Messenger of God, one version of the Holy Quran was kept and the rest were burned.

 

The Holy Quran includes the basic Message and Teachings of God to humanity, which were revealed through His Messengers, with special references to the Old and New Testaments. It also includes clarifications about the differences between Jews and Christians such as the nature of Jesus and his message to the Israelites and the world.

The most important characteristic of the Holy Quran, as the Word of God and His Message to humanity, is that it is in its authentic Arabic text, since revelation, more than 1400 years ago. It will be guarded and will be kept safe, away from distortion, as promised by God in 15: 9.

 

The first word uttered by the Angel Jibril, peace to him, to the Prophet Muhammed (pbbuh) was /iqra'/, or the command verb: "Read." Thus, a direct translation of the word "Al-Qur'an" may be "The Reader." This means that God, the Knowledgeable, wants his beloved human creation to be as knowledgeable as they can be, through reading, writing, and accumulation of knowledge.

 

The Quran in its Arabic original version and its translations into other languages can be found in many libraries and internet sites, such as www.tanzil.net, which has 14 different English translations, translation to other languages, and an excellent Arabic research function. Another important site is http://quran.al-islam.com/, which has a research function allowing access to the major interpretations of the Holy Quran by early Islamic scholars, particularly Bin Katheer, Al-Qurtubi, and Al-Tabari [6] .

 

2. The Sunna [7] .

 

It includes sayings or (Hadith), actions, and approval of the Prophet (pbbuh). The Sunna explains the Qur’an in more details, and includes teachings of the Prophet, and how his life was an example for Muslims to follow in various aspects of life.

 

The above Hadith is an example of how the Messenger of God, pbbuh, taught the Holy Quran, summarizing the five pillars of Islam. All of these ways of worship are mentioned in various chapters of the Holy Quran but the Hadith put them together, emphasizing them as the five major and manifest Muslim obligations.

 

For example, the proclamation of faith was mentioned in 3: 18 and 40: 33, Prayers and Zakat in 2: 110, fasting in 2: 183, and Haj in 3: 97 [8].

 

The Prophet, pbbuh, discouraged the scribes to write down anything about him except the Holy Quran, the Word of God. That's why the Sunna was collected and written a long time after his death. 

The Sunna in its Arabic original version and its translations into other languages can be found in many libraries and internet sites, such as http://hadith.al-islam.com/ , which has indexes of the Sunna subjects in Arabic.

 

3. Research.

 

It is conducted by Islamic scholars concerning contemporary issues. These are graduates of Islamic universities, who hold the highest degrees in Islamic studies. They are experts on the Quran and the Sunna. Their investigations, discussions, and arguments are guided by the first two sources.

 

Five Islamic 'Ibadat, or Ways of Worship, or Obligations:

 

A Muslim is required to perform the following five 'Ibadat, or ways of worship, or obligations. They are considered the pillars of the structure of Islam.

 

1. In order to be a Muslim, a person has to announce the Proclamation of Faith, which states: "There is no other god than Allah, and that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah."

 

2. A Muslim has to perform Prayers five times a day, before the Sun rises, at noon, mid afternoon, after the Sun sets, and at twilight (about one and a half hours after the Sun sets).

 

Prayers include reciting certain verses from the Qur’an accompanied by doing certain movements that range between standing, bowing down, prostrating, and sitting down on the floor.

 

Before performing prayers, a Muslim has to make Wudu', which is washing and cleaning of hands, mouth, nose, face, head, ears, arms, and feet. A shower or bath is also sufficient as Wudu, and it is required after sexual intercourse.

 

The Creator, praise to Him, wants people to be healthy by cleaning themselves of dust, sweat, and microbes five times a day. Moreover, the unique movements performed in prayers function as exercise for various body organs on daily basis. In addition, reciting Al-Fati'ha and Al-Tashahud in every prayer represents a form of contemplation, which has tremendous benefits to the mind. Reciting other verses of the Holy Quran, in addition to Al-Fati'ha, means a continuous study of the Word of God, on daily basis.

 

A detailed description of how Muslims pray can be found at: Performing Islamic Prayers. This includes wudu' (cleanliness), Adhan, Iqama, making Raka'as, reciting Al-Fati'ha, other excerpts from the Holy Quran, Tashahud, and Tasbeeh. See it on Video Here.

 

3. A Muslim has to give Zakat, which is often translated as "alms-tax" or "poor-due" but it is more than that. It is a right for the poor in the wealth of the wealthy. It is calculated as 2.5 percent of a person's wealth annually. This includes income, profits, and commercial property (not used for necessity, like dwelling, tools, women's jewelry, and cars).

 

In an Islamic state, it is a tax levied on a man's wealth and spent by the state. In absence of an Islamic state, Muslims as individuals have the responsibility to calculate and spend it annually. Whether it is collected by the state or calculated by individuals, Zakat should be spent on the areas prescribed by the Holy Qur'an (Chapter 9, Al-Tawbah, Verse 60).

إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ  السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ  

Alms (charity or charitable offerings) are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage, and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer; ordained by Allah, and Allah is Knowledgeable and Wise (Chapter 9, Al-Tawbah, Verse 60).

 

4. A Muslim has to fast during the month of Ramadhan. This means that Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and having sexual intercourse during the day time. This extends from about one and a half hours before the Sun rises until the Sun sets. The objective is to train one’s spirit to resist body desires and to feel for the hungry poor. It also has numerous benefits to the body, such as getting rid of fat and giving a break to the digestive system. Many articles can be found on the internet about the benefits of fasting, such as: reaping_the_benefits_of_ramadan, and Fasting health benefits ramadan .

 

5. A Muslim has to go to Makkah (Mecca) in a pilgrimage, Haj, at least once in one’s lifetime, if one is capable to do that. This is a visit to the first House of God on Earth. It is now in Saudi Arabia. There, several million Muslims gather every year, responding to God's call, confirming their faith, and remembering the story of the Messenger of God Ibrahim (Abraham), peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when he left his son, Isma'il, and his wife Hajar (Hagger), over there.

 

In particular, pilgrims remember the story of slaughter and sacrifice. As Ismail grew older, Ibrahim came to slaughter him in obedience to God. It was a test for the three of them. They passed the test by expressing obedience to God and disobedience to the Shaitan (Satan) by throwing stones at him. As Ibrahim put his knife on Isma'l's neck, the Angel Jibril came with the good news that they passed the test and Ibrahim was given a sheep to slaughter instead. 

 

Then, Ibrahim and Isma'il rebuilt Al-Ka'aba, the House of the Lord, the most sacred place of worship for Muslims. Pilgrims perform rituals resembling various parts of the story, as well as orbiting the Ka'aba and worshipping on the sacred places of Arafat and Muzdalifa.

 

The pilgrimage (Haj) can be watched in many videos in the internet, such as: how-to-make-hajj-45 min with explanation, and Haj, 5min, with a song.

 

----------------------------------

 

Notes:

 

 [1]. The word "pillars" does not appear in the Arabic text but has been supplied for clarity of meaning. Pillars (arkan) is the generally accepted term in this context. These are also considered the core of 'ibadat, or ways of worshipping Allah.

 

 [2]. The House is a reference to the first House of worshipping God on Earth, the honorable Ka'aba and the Nobel Sanctuary, Al-Masjid Al-Haram, surrounding it in Makkah.

 

 [3]. This Hadith was translated by Ezzeddin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davies (Abdul Wadoud), "An-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths." 1976. Dar Al-Manar.

 

 [4].  "Allah" is the name which God has chosen for himself, as stated in Surat Al-Naml  (Chapter 27), Verse 9 of the Holy Quran. He is the Creator of life, Who is worshipped by His creation as an expression of gratitude for the blessings of life, care, provision, and promise of everlasting life in the hereafter for the righteous believers among them.

The word "Allah" means "the God," or "Al-Ilah." In addressing God, a Muslim may say in Arabic "Ilahi" (my God). However, Muslims usually refer to God with the definite article, Al, contracted with the noun to become Allah, thus addressing Him with "Ya Allah" or "O Allah."

 

The definite article (the) in Arabic takes two forms: "El" and "Al." Almost all usage of the definite article in the Holy Qur'an is in the "Al" form. However, there are three words in the Holy Qur'an, which include the "El" form. These are used in reference to the Prophet "El-Yass" (Elijah or Idris), his house (family) "El-Elyassin," and Prophet "El-Yassa'a," with the Hamza under the Alef, for which the English vowel "E" is the correct translation (The Holy Qur'an: Chapter 6, Verse 85 and Chapter 37, Verse 130).

 

The definite article "El" was also used in in the ancient Arabic dialect of Aramaic, spoken in the Holy Land of Baitul Maqdes, which was called Palestine at the time of Jesus Christ, Peace and blessings of God be upon him. The Bible tells us that Jesus addressed God the same way Muslims address Him today (Ilahi, or my God).

In Mark 15, Verse 34, Ps. 22:1, and Mat 27: 46, the Bible says: "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying Eloi, Eloi, la ma sabchtani (sabakhtani)? which was translated as "My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken me?" or "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?"

 

While "Ilahi, Ilahi li ma" are standard Arabic words, which can be understood by the average educated Arabs, the verb "sabakhtani" is not used by average educated Arabs now. They may use other verbs, such as "taraktani" or hajartani." However, a noun derived from it is still in use. Many Arabs may refer to a deserted lot of land (as a result of being soaked with water or salt) as "sabkha." 

 

Apparently, the sound "h" in "ilahi" was missed during one of the successive translations of the Bible from Aramaic to Greek, Roman, old European languages, middle languages, to modern European languages. 

 

It is noteworthy that Christian Arabs also refer to God as Allah in their Bibles, prayers, and daily discourse. A famous Christian Arab phrase is "Allah Mahabah," or "God is love."

 

This should be enough evidence for non-Muslims to know that the name of God (Allah) was used by messengers of God who preceded Muhammed (peace and blessings of God be upon all of them).

More can be found at: "Allah, As He Described Himself in the Holy Quran."

 

 [5]. The Holy Quran mentions that all Messengers of God and believers before Prophet Muhammed (pbbuh) were also Muslims, as stated in Verses 2: 132-133; 3: 19, 52, 67, 84; 7: 126; 12: 101; 27: 42, 91; 28: 53; 32: 12; 51: 36; 72: 14.

 

 [6]. The three early prominent Islamic scholars, known for their interpretations of the Holy Quran, are Al-Tabari (Died in 310 Hijria), Al-Qurtubi (Died in 671 Hijria), and Bin Katheer (Died in 774 Hijria). They employed their knowledge of Arabic as well as their comprehensive knowledge of the Holy Quran, using verses in one context to explain other verses in other contexts. Their most important contribution, though, was including explanations from the Hadith of the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him, and from his companions, may Allah be pleased with them.

 

 [7]. Allah, praise to Him, says: "Whatever the Messenger came to you with, take it; and whatever he prohibited you, abstain from it (The Holy Qur'an, Al-Hashr (59): 7).

 

The Messenger of Allah (pbbuh) said, "You need to follow my Sunna (path) and that of the guided successors after me. Stick to it strongly." (A translation of the meanings of the Hadith, the Arabic text of which can be found in "Riyadh Al-Saliheen," Hadith Number 157.

 

In a Hadith narrated by Muslim, in Al-Zuhd Wal Raqa-iq, number 5326, on the authority of Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, the Messenger of God, pbbuh, said (addressing the scribes):

"Do not write anything about me except the Quran, and whoever wrote anything other than the Quran, let him erase it, but narrate about me (verbally) and there is nothing wrong with that."

 

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : ( لا تَكْتُبُوا عَنِّي وَمَنْ كَتَبَ عَنِّي غَيْرَ الْقُرْآنِ فَلْيَمْحُهُ وَحَدِّثُوا عَنِّي وَلا حَرَجَ ... ) رواه مسلم (الزهد والرقائق/5326)

http://islamqa.info/ar/ref/22394

Names of the twenty-three scribes, according to Bin Katheer:

 

الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه، أما بعـد:

فقد اختلف أهل السير في تحديد عدد كتاب الوحي، فمنهم من جعلهم ثلاثة عشر، ومنهم من جاوز بهم العشرين، وجعلهم ابن كثير ثلاثة وعشرين كما في البداية والنهاية، وهذه أسماؤهم كما أوردها، قال: أما كتاب الوحي وغيره بين يديه صلوات الله وسلامه عليه ورضي عنهم أجمعين فمنهم

الخلفاء الأربعة أبو بكر وعمر وعثمان وعلي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنهم.... ثم ذكر: أبان بن سعيد بن العاص، وأبي بن كعب، وزيد بن ثابت، ومعاذ بن جبل، وأرقم بن أبي الأرقم واسمه عبد مناف، وثابت بن قيس بن شماس، وحنظلة بن الربيع، وخالد بن سعيد بن العاص، وخالد بن الوليد، والزبير بن العوام، وعبد الله بن سعد بن أبي سرح، وعامر بن فهيرة، وعبد الله بن أرقم، وعبد الله بن زيد بن عبد ربه، والعلاء بن الحضرمي، ومحمد بن مسلمة بن جريس، ومعاوية بن أبي سفيان، والمغيرة بن شعبة رضي الله عنهم أجمعين.

http://www.islamweb.net/fatwa/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=69904

 

   

  [8]. Examples of verses about the Proclamation of Faith were mentioned in such verses as 3: 18 and 40: 33, about Prayers and Zakat in 2: 110, about Fasting in 2: 183, and about Haj in 2:197 and 22: 27.

 

  شَهِدَ اللَّـهُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ وَأُولُو الْعِلْمِ قَائِمًا بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ  (آل عمران ، 3: 18).

 مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَـٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّـهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا  (الأحزاب ، 33: 40). 

  وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ  (البقرة ، 2: 110).

  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ  (البقرة ، 2: 183).

  وَلِلَّـهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ   (آل عمران ، 3: 97).

 

Allah witnesses that there is no other god except Him, and (so do) the angels and those of knowledge. (and that He is) maintaining (creation) with justice. There is no other god except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise (Al-'Imran, 3: 18).

 

Muhammad is not the father of (any) one of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah and last  of the prophets. And Allah is, of all things, Knowing (Al-A'hzab, 33: 40).

 

And establish Prayer and give Zakat (Al-Baqara, 2: 110).

 

O you who have believed, fasting has been decreed upon, as it was decreed upon those before you, that you may become righteous (Al-Baqara, 2: 183).

 

And (due) to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House, for whoever is able to find a way to it (Al-'Imran, 3: 97).

 

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* Dr. Hassan Ali El-Najjar is a native speaker of Arabic. He has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology.

 

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