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ISLAM IS. ISBN 0-9¯19158-0-6
(opvright © 2002 Pete Seda All rights reser·ed
1his book is copvrighted. Anv or all parts oí this book mav be used íor educational purposes as
long as the iníormation used is not in anv wav quoted out oí context or used íor proíit.
1his material has been re·iewed and íorwarded íor publishing and distribution bv the Lnglish
language section oí the Department oí Islamic Resources.
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An Introduction to Islam &
1able of Contents
\hat Is Islam· 6
1he Oneness oí God in lis Lordship Omnipotence, 8
1he De·otion oí All \orship to the One God Alone 9
1he Uniqueness and Oneness oí God in lis Names and Attributes 11
1he Six Articles oí laith 14
Belieí in God 14
Belieí in lis Angels 14
Belieí in lis Books 15
Belieí in lis Prophets and Messengers 16
Belieí in the Dav oí Judgment 18
Belieí in Di·ine Decree 19
1he lree \ill oí the luman Being 21
1here Is No (ompulsion in Religion 22
1he li·e Pillars oí Islam 23
1he Declaration oí laith Shahadah, 23
Praving li·e 1imes a Dav Salah, 24
Paving the \earlv Alms Zakah, 25
lasting During Ramadan Sawm, 26
Making the Pilgrimage to Makkah lajj, 26
1he Our'an 28
1he Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah Peace be upon him, 32
1he Dangers oí Inno·ations in Islam Bid'ah, 34
1he Storv oí Adam and L·e 36
Jesus Peace be upon him, 39
Sin and Repentance 41
Organizational Structure oí Islam 43
Islamic Law 45
1he Islamic Dress (ode 4¯
\omen in Islam 49
Male (hau·inism and the Muslim \orld 51
Science and 1echnologv 54
Lditor`s Note 58
1he purpose oí this work is to present the authentic teachings oí
Islam. \e do not present anv speciíic ·ersion or a unique inter-
pretation oí Islam. \e present Islam as it is. without sugarcoat-
ing. and we allow it to stand on its own merits. 1here is onlv one
Islam and onlv one example oí how it is to be li·ed - that oí the
Prophet Muhammad ,.
Our intention is to pro·ide a basic
o·er·iew oí the main tenets oí Islam as gi·en in the Our'an and
as exempliíied bv the Prophet ,. \e also intend to address
some oí the commonlv asked questions about Islam.
Despite the íact that o·er one-íiíth oí the world`s population is
Muslim. Islam is oíten misunderstood and misrepresented in con-
temporarv \estern societies. It is hoped that this work will help
shed light on Islam as it was di·inelv communicated to Muham-
mad , and dispel anv commonlv held misconceptions that per-
petuate prejudice and hatred. \e write this booklet in the hope
that people oí all íaiths will join us in making this a world oí tol-
erance. kindness. understanding. and peace.
1he svmbol , means Peace and Blessings be upon him or them,`. It is an
Islamic tradition to oííer blessings oí peace to all the Prophets and Messengers
oí God. 1o respect God`s representati·es is to respect God.
What is Islam?
1he Arabic word Islam literallv means surrender` or submission.`
Islam. as a íaith. means total and sincere surrender to God so that
one can li·e in peace and tranquilitv. Peace Salam in Arabic. Sha-
lom in lebrew, is achie·ed through acti·e obedience to the re-
·ealed commandments oí God. íor God is 1he Just. 1he
1he name Islam
is uni·ersal in meaning. Islam is not named aíter
a tribe oí people or an indi·idual. as Judaism is named aíter the
tribe oí Judah. (hristianitv aíter (hrist. and Buddhism aíter Bud-
dha. Islam is not a name chosen bv human beings: it was di·inelv
communicated írom God. Islam is a global íaith. not oí the Last
or the \est. Islam is a complete wav oí liíe. implving total sub-
mission to God. One who surrenders his or her will to God. ·ol-
is called a Muslim. It was not Muhammad , but Adam
, who íirst brought Islam to humanitv. 1hen. each Prophet
and Messenger came to exhort the people to a clear understand-
ing oí God`s commandments. 1hev oííered teachings rele·ant to
that time. until God chose the íinal Prophet. Muhammad ,. to
come with the Last 1estament reíerred to as the Our'an.
Allah is an Arabic word. meaning ·1he One and Only 1rue
Deity'. the proper name oí 1he One who created the hea·ens
and the earth. Arabic-speaking Jews and (hristians also call God
1he words in bold throughout the text indicate either a ·erse írom the
Our'an or one oí the names and attributes oí God.
Some Muslims are uncomíortable calling Islam a religion.` as Islam is not
an institutionalized íaith. In Arabic Islam is reíerred to as a Deen. \av oí
liíe.` 1his is the same as earlv (hristians who also called their íaith 1he \av.`
Voluntarilv` in this sense means more than not being coerced.` It means
surrendering to God without ulterior moti·es or reser·ations. and with genu-
bv the name Allah. lor a Muslim. Allah is the greatest and most
inclusi·e oí names íor God. denoting 1he One who is adored in
worship. 1he One who created all that exists.
1he concept oí monotheism known as tawheed` in Arabic, is
the single most important concept in Islam. Monotheism points
to the íirst oí the 1en (ommandments. and in Islam e·ervthing is
built upon the oneness oí God. Islam calls humanitv awav írom
the worship oí anv part oí creation to the worship oí 1he One
and Only 1rue God. No act oí worship or de·otion has anv
meaning or ·alue ií the concept oí monotheism is in anv wav
Due to its importance. the concept oí monotheism di·ine unitv
and singularitv, must be properlv and íullv understood. lor ease
oí discussion. monotheism can be looked at írom the íollowing
a. 1he Oneness oí God in lis Lordship Omnipotence,
b. 1he De·otion oí all worship to 1he One God Alone
c. 1he Uniqueness and Oneness oí God in lis Names
1his breakdown is bv no means the onlv wav to approach the
subject that God is one and unique. but it allows the topic to be
easilv analvzed and discussed. Monotheism is the kev to under-
standing Islam. and re·isiting this concept is recommended.,
1he Oneness of God in His Lordship
1he oneness oí God in lis Lordship means that God. 1he
Originating Creator of the Heavens and the Larth. has abso-
lute and períect masterv o·er the uni·erse. le alone is 1he
Creator oí all things. le alone causes e·ervthing to happen. le
is 1he One who pro·ides all sustenance and who determines all
liíe and death. le is 1he Powerful. 1he Omnipotent. abso-
lutelv períect and íree írom anv deíect. No one shares in lis
dominion. None can resist lis decree. le is 1he One who cre-
ated each oí us írom a single cell and made us into what we are.
le is 1he One who created o·er a hundred billion galaxies and
e·erv electron. neutron. and quark contained within them. keep-
ing all that exists and all the laws oí nature in períect measure.
Not a leaí íalls írom a tree without lis permission. L·ervthing is
kept in a precise record.
le is íar greater than our imagination. le is so poweríul that íor
anvthing to be created le simplv savs. Be!` and it is. le created
time. space. and all the known and unknown worlds. vet le is
not part oí anv oí them. Most íaiths recognize that 1he Creator
oí the uni·erse is one. without partner. Islam includes the knowl-
edge that God is not a part oí lis creation and none oí lis crea-
tion shares in lis power.
In Islam. to belie·e that anv oí God`s creation shares in lis
power or attributes is considered polvtheism and disbelieí. Lx-
amples oí such íalse belieís would be to consider that íortune-
tellers or astrologers can predict the íuture: God. 1he All-Aware.
savs that onlv le possesses the knowledge oí the íuture. Onlv the
Di·ine can gi·e di·ine help. No being except God has the abilitv
to gi·e di·ine help or di·ine guidance. Belieí that good luck
charms and talismans ha·e anv power is a íorm oí polvtheism.
1hese concepts are renounced in Islam.
1he Devotion of All Worship to the One God Alone
Onlv God. 1he Appreciative. is to be worshipped. 1his was
proclaimed bv all the Prophets and Messengers oí Islam who
were sent bv God throughout the ages. and is the core belieí oí
Islam. God tells us that the purpose oí the creation oí humanitv
is to worship lim alone. 1he purpose oí Islam is to call people
awav írom the worship oí creation and to direct them toward the
worship oí 1he Creator alone.
1his is where Islam diííers írom other religions. Although most
religions teach that there is a creator who created all that exists.
thev are rarelv íree oí some íorm oí polvtheism idolatrv, with
respect to worship. 1hese religions either call on their adherents
to worship other beings besides God though usuallv placing
these other gods on a lower le·el than the God who is 1he Crea-
tor,. or thev demand that their adherents call on other beings as
intercessors between themsel·es and God.
All the Prophets and Messengers oí God. írom Adam , to
Muhammad ,. called people to worship God alone. without
partner or intermediarv. 1his is the purest. simplest. most natural
íaith. Islam rejects the notion held bv cultural anthropologists
that the earlv religion oí human beings was polvtheism - which
graduallv e·ol·ed into monotheism. In íact. Muslims belie·e just
the opposite. human cultures descended into idolatrv during the
inter·als oí time between the manv Messengers oí God. L·en
while the Messengers were among them. manv people resisted
their call and practiced idolatrv despite their warnings. Subse-
quent Messengers were commissioned bv God to bring people
back to monotheism.
God created humans with an innate. natural inclination toward
the worship oí lim alone. Satan. on the other hand. does his ut-
most to get people to turn awav írom monotheism. enticing man-
kind to the worship oí creation idolatrv,. Most people ha·e a
tendencv to íocus their de·otion on something thev can ·isualize.
something imaginable. e·en though thev ha·e an instincti·e
knowledge that 1he Creator oí the uni·erse is íar greater than
their imaginations. 1hroughout human historv. God sent a suc-
cession oí Prophets and Messengers to call the people back to the
worship oí 1he One and Only 1rue God. Due to the allure oí
Satan. people repeatedlv de·iated to the worship oí created be-
ings idolatrv and polvtheism,.
God created human beings to worship lim alone. In Islam. the
greatest possible sin is to worship anvthing or anvone other than
God. e·en ií the worshipper intends to draw nearer to God bv
oííering de·otions to another being. God. 1he Sufficient. does
not need intercessors or intermediaries. le hears all oí our
pravers and has complete knowledge oí e·ervthing that happens.
At the same time. God does not need our worship. but le savs
that it is pleasing to lim. le is completelv independent oí all
things. All creation is dependent upon lim. Ií e·erv person in
the world were to come together to worship onlv God. it would
not beneíit God in the least. It would not add an atom`s weight
to lis majestic dominion. (on·erselv. ií all creation abandoned
the worship oí God. it would not decrease lis dominion in the
least. Bv worshipping God. we beneíit our own souls and íulíill
the noble purpose íor which we were created. God has no needs:
le is 1he Lternal. 1he Absolute.
\orship is not just traditional religious ceremonies or practices.
1he concept oí worship is inclusi·e. (hanging a diaper. honoring
and caring íor one`s parents. as well as picking up a piece oí bro-
ken glass írom the sidewalk - all can be íorms oí worship ií thev
are done with the primarv intent to please God. Ií anv sort oí
gain. be it wealth. job. power. or recognition. becomes more im-
portant than pleasing God. e·en that is a íorm oí polvtheism.
1he Uniqueness and Oneness of God in His
Names and attributes
1he uniqueness and oneness oí God in lis names and attributes
indicates that God does not share in the attributes oí created be-
ings. nor do thev share in anv oí lis. God is unique in e·erv wav.
le cannot be limited in anv wav. íor le is 1he Creator oí e·erv-
thing. God. 1he Most Great savs.
´God! None is worthy of worship but He,
1he Lver Living, 1he One who sustains
and protects all that exists. Neither slum-
ber nor sleep overtakes Him. 1o Him be-
longs whatever is in the heavens and what-
ever is on the earth. Who is he that can in-
tercede with Him except with His permis-
sion? He knows what happens to them
¡His creatures¡ in this world, and what will
happen to them in the Hereafter. And they
will never encompass anything of His
knowledge except that which He wills. 1he
pedestal of His throne extends over the
heavens and the earth, and He feels no fa-
tigue in guarding and preserving them.
And He is 1he Most High, 1he Supreme.¨
In Islam it is íorbidden to attribute to God characteristics oí lis
creation. 1he onlv attributes that mav be ascribed to God are the
ones le re·ealed limselí in the Our'an or those used bv the
Prophet , to describe lim. Manv oí God`s names and attrib-
utes seem to ha·e equi·alents on the human le·el. but this is onlv
a reílection oí human language. God`s attributes. like God lim-
selí. are unlike anvthing in our experience. lor instance. God has
di·ine knowledge. Man has knowledge. God`s knowledge how-
e·er. is nothing at all like the knowledge oí human beings. God`s
knowledge is unlimited omniscient. 1he All Knowing,. It is nei-
ther learned nor acquired. God`s knowledge encompasses all
things without experiencing increase or decrease. luman knowl-
edge. on the other hand. is acquired and limited. It is constantlv
changing. increasing and decreasing. and subject to íorgetíulness
God. 1he Irresistible. has di·ine will. 1he human being also has
a will. God`s will alwavs comes to pass. Like lis di·ine knowl-
edge. lis will encompasses all things that God wants to come to
pass in creation - past. present. and íuture. luman will. on the
other hand. is merelv an intention. a desire. It can onlv come to
pass ií God wills it to happen.
luman attributes cannot be ascribed to God. All human attrib-
utes are limited. God has no gender. weakness. or deíiciencv.
God is bevond the human and creation attribute oí gender. lere
we ha·e used the pronoun le` onlv because there is no gender-
neutral pronoun in Lnglish´Semitic languages. and it íollows the
con·entions oí Lnglish usage. \hen the roval \e` is used in
the Our'an to reíer to God. it is íor respect and in no wav implies
pluralitv. 1o ascribe to God attributes oí created things is a íorm
oí polvtheism. It is likewise a íorm oí polvtheism to ascribe to
cre ated things attributes that belong to God alone. lor instance.
anvone who belie·es that anv other than God is 1he All-Wise or
All Powerful has committed the sin oí polvtheism.
´Blessed be the name of your Lord, full of
majesty, bounty, and honor.¨
1he Six Articles of Iaith
1here are certain tenets one must belie·e without anv doubt in
order to be considered a Muslim. 1hese articles oí íaith are as
a. Belieí in God
b. Belieí in lis Angels
c. Belieí in lis Books
d. Belieí in lis Prophets and Messengers
e. Belieí in the Dav oí Judgment
í. Belieí in God`s Di·ine Decree
Belief in God
Islam emphasizes that God is 1he One without partner. 1he
Lncompassing of all that exists, and le is unique in e·erv
wav. Onlv God. 1he Most Benevolent. has the right to be wor-
Belief in His Angels
1he angels are creations oí God. God. 1he Originator. created
them írom light. 1hev are poweríul. and alwavs do preciselv as
thev are commanded bv God.
God has re·ealed to us the names and the duties oí some oí the
angels. A Muslim must belie·e in the existence oí angels. Gabriel
and Michael are among the angels mentioned in the Our'an. lor
instance. it is Gabriel`s , dutv to take God`s re·elation to the
Prophets and Messengers.
Belief in His Books
Muslims belie·e in all oí the original scriptures re·ealed bv God
to lis Messengers. A Muslim must belie·e in e·erv scripture
mentioned bv God in the Our'an. God. 1he Giver. re·ealed
them and thev were. in their original íorms. the actual word oí
God. 1he scriptures God mentions in the Our'an are as íollows:
1. 1he original Scrolls as re·ealed to Abraham
2. 1he original 1orah as re·ealed to Moses
3. 1he original Psalms as re·ealed to Da·id
4. 1he original Injeel Gospel oí Jesus, as re·ealed to Jesus
5. 1he Our'an as re·ealed to Muhammad which still remains in
its original íorm,
Muslims do not consider the scriptures re·ealed beíore the
Our'an. which are presentlv in circulation in ·arious editions and
·ersions. to be an accurate representation oí their original re-
·ealed íorm. According to the Our'an. people ha·e distorted
these scriptures íor their own worldlv gain. 1hese distortions
ha·e occurred in manv diííerent wavs. such as additions or dele-
tions oí text or changes in the meaning or the language. 1hese
distortions were adopted o·er time and what remains is a mixture
oí the original di·ine text with manmade interpretation and con-
tamination. Although Muslims belie·e in all the pre·ious re·ealed
books. the íinal means bv which thev judge diííerent matters and
seek ultimate guidance is sought through the Our'an and the au-
thentic traditions oí the Prophet Muhammad ,.
1he diííerent gospels in todav`s Bible were written aíter the time oí Jesus
, bv other authors. 1he Injeel mentioned in the Our'an reíers onlv to the
re·elations that came through Jesus ,. the son oí Marv.
Belief in His Prophets and Messengers
1he Prophets and Messengers were indi·iduals who recei·ed
re·elation írom God and con·eved it to the people. 1hev were
sent to humanitv to return people to monotheism. to ser·e as li·-
ing practical examples oí how to surrender to God. and to guide
people to the path oí sal·ation. None oí the Prophets and Mes-
sengers share in anv part oí God`s di·initv. 1hev were merelv
human beings. It is íorbidden íor a Muslim to worship them or to
use them as a conduit to God. A Muslim should ne·er in·oke
them. make supplications to them. or seek God`s mercv and íor-
gi·eness through or írom them. 1hereíore. the term Muhamma-
danism` is an insult and should ne·er be applied to Muslims.
L·erv single Prophet and Messenger taught that all such acts are
polvtheistic. and anvone who engages in them is outside the íold
1hroughout the ages. God. 1he Bestower of Good. has sent
Prophets to people all o·er the world. A Muslim must belie·e in
all oí the Prophets and Messengers sent bv God. God has men-
tioned some oí them in the Our'an. Among those mentioned bv
name are Adam. Noah. Abraham. Moses. Jesus. and Muhammad
All the Prophets and Messengers oí God brought the teachings
oí Islam. 1hroughout historv. all monotheistic people who
submit ted to the will oí God and íollowed God`s re·elation to
the Prophets and Messengers oí their time are considered
Muslims. 1he entitlement to Abrahamic inheritance is acquired
through one`s adherence to Abraham`s monotheistic íaith and
surrender to God. not bv lineage alone. \hen Moses , came
and proclaimed Prophethood. all those who trulv íollowed him in
monotheism were Muslims. Likewise. when Jesus , came and
1he Prophets mentioned in the Our'an are: Adam. Lnoch Idris,. Noah.
lud. Salih. Abraham. Lot. Ishmael. Isaac. Jacob. Joseph. Shu`avb. Job. Moses.
Aaron. Lzekiel. Da·id. Solomon. Llias. Llisha. Jonah. Zachariva. John 1he
Baptist`. Jesus. and Muhammad Peace be upon them all,.
theism were Muslims. Likewise. when Jesus , came and de-
clared his Prophethood with clear signs and miracles. it was
obligatorv íor e·ervone to accept him unconditionallv ií thev
were to be considered Muslims. All those who rejected Jesus ,
became disbelie·ers in Islam because oí that rejection.
or disliking anv oí God`s Messengers disqualiíies one as Muslim.
Muslims are required to lo·e and respect all the Prophets and
Messengers oí God who called upon humanitv to worship 1he
Creator alone without ascribing to lim anv partner. All the
Prophets and Messengers surrendered completelv to God. which
1he Prophets. írom Adam , to Muhammad ,. were all
brothers in íaith. 1hev all called people to the same truth. Diííer-
ent Messengers came with diííerent sets oí laws sent bv God to
guide and go·ern the people. but the essence oí their teachings
was the same. 1hev all called people awav írom the worship oí
created things to the worship oí 1he Creator. 1he Supreme.
In Islam. Muhammad , has the distinction oí being God`s íinal
Messenger and the Seal oí the Prophets.
1he reason íor this is.
íirst. because God completed lis re·elations to humanitv and
períectlv preser·ed them íore·er in the Our'an. and second. lis
íinal Prophet and Messenger , led an exemplarv liíe íor the
twentv-three vears oí his Prophethood. establishing clear guide-
God re·ealed to Muhammad ,. ´1he same religion has He established
for you as that which He enjoined on Noah, that which We have sent by
inspiration to thee, and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses,
and Jesus: Namely, that you should remain steadfast in religion, and
make no divisions therein. 1o those who worship other things than God,
hard is the ¡way¡ to which you call them. God chooses to Himself those
whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn to Him.¨
Some Muslims reíer to the íollowing Biblical ·erses as the íoretelling oí the
Prophet Muhammad ,: |Deut. 18:15. 18:18: John 1:19 - 21. 14:16. 14:1¯.
15:26. 16:¯ - 8. 16:12 - 13|
lines íor all generations to íollow. God savs in the Our'an that no
Prophet or Messenger will come aíter him. 1his is the reason
Muhammad , is known as the Seal oí the Prophets. 1his means
the di·ine law that was re·ealed and embodied in the teachings oí
Prophet Muhammad , is íor all oí humanitv until the Dav oí
Resurrection Dav oí Judgment,. 1o be a belie·er. it is obligatorv
to belie·e in Muhammad , and the laws that ha·e been re-
·ealed through him. as well as in all the Prophets and Messengers
oí God who came beíore. Muhammad and the Prophets and
Messengers , beíore him also had to belie·e in. obev. and sur-
render to 1he Almighty God. Although Muslims belie·e in all
the Prophets and Messengers , oí God. thev íollow and emu-
late the teachings and example oí the íinal Messenger Muham-
mad ,. God 1he Most Glorious. states about Muhammad ,.
´And We have not sent you, but as a mercy
to the worlds.¨
Belief in the Day of Judgment
Muslims must belie·e. without anv doubt. in the Dav oí Judg-
ment and the phvsical resurrection. when the bodv will be recre-
ated and the soul will surelv be reunited with the bodv bv God`s
unlimited power. Just as God. 1he Gatherer of Mankind. cre-
ated us the íirst time. le is surelv 1he Resurrector who will
bring us íorth írom death to stand in períect judgment beíore
lim. Aíter the Dav oí Judgment. death will no longer be. and our
existence will be íore·er. 1he Dav oí Judgment is when each and
e·erv indi·idual will stand beíore 1he Creator and be questioned
about his or her deeds. On that momentous dav. we will each see
in detail the results oí e·en the smallest good and the smallest e·il
we ha·e set íorth in this liíe. On that dav. lving and deception will
no longer be possible. 1he ultimate reward is Paradise and the
penaltv is lell. lea·en and lell are literal places that actuallv ex-
ist. 1hev are not svmbols or metaphors.
God. 1he Recognizer and Rewarder of Good. describes Para-
dise lea·enlv garden, as a wonderíul place oí pleasure. íilled
with amazing eternal gardens with ri·ers ílowing beneath. In
Paradise. no heat or cold. no disease. íatigue. or e·il will exist.
God. 1he Giver of Security. will remo·e disease írom the heart
and bodv oí its inhabitants. and e·ervthing one wishes íor will be
granted. It will be said to those who enter Paradise. 1his Para-
dise vou ha·e inherited as a result oí God`s mercv and vour good
deeds.` 1he greatest oí pleasures in the lereaíter will be the be-
lie·ers` abilitv to see the íace oí God. 1he Most High. Being a
Muslim in and oí itselí does not assure Paradise unless one dies
in a state oí Islam- submission to 1he One God alone.
God. 1he Reckoner. describes lell as an eternallv horrible
place. bevond imagination. a íire whose íuel is men and stone.
\hen stern angels place people in lell. thev will sav.
´1his is that which you used to deny.¨
\e belie·e God is 1he Most Compassionate and 1he Most
Merciful: howe·er. le is also se·ere in lis punishment to those
who deser·e it.
God`s iníinite justice is absolute and períect. On the Dav oí
Judgment. all deeds will be re·ealed and e·ervone will be justlv
treated. \e will not enter Paradise because oí our deeds alone.
but bv God`s mercv.
Belief in God's Divine Decree
God. in lis timelessness. knows e·ervthing that goes on in lis
creation. lrom the perspecti·e oí temporal beings like us. this
means that God. 1he Lver Watching. knows e·ervthing that
happened in the past. e·ervthing that is now taking place. and
e·ervthing that will happen in the íuture. God`s di·ine knowledge
is períect. God is 1he All Knowing. and all that le knows will
come to pass.
God. 1he Subduer. las absolute so·ereigntv o·er lis creation.
L·ervthing that exists within lis creation and e·erv e·ent that
occurs is a direct result oí lis creating it. Nothing happens in
creation except bv lis power. lis will. and lis knowledge.
1he Iree Will of the Human Being
An important aspect oí Islam is that e·erv human being has the
íree will to choose between right and wrong. God. 1he Giver.
has honored humanitv with this great giít. It comes with hea·v
responsibilitv. and on the Dav oí Judgment. we will be account-
able íor our use oí this giít.
luman íree will does not in anv wav contradict the íact that God.
1he Witness. knows e·ervthing that will e·er occur in creation.
Someone might ask. Ií God knows that I am going to commit a
sin tomorrow. then it is una·oidable that I do so because God`s
knowledge is iníallible. and what God knows will come to pass.`
God`s knowledge oí this person`s decision does not mean that he
or she is being íorced to make that decision.
luman íree will does not in anv wav contradict God`s absolute
so·ereigntv o·er e·ervthing in creation. Neither does it contradict
the íact that nothing happens in creation except what God wills.
Some might sav. 1hereíore. I ha·e no íree will. Mv íree will is
but an illusion.` On the contrarv. God created within each oí us
the abilitv to íormulate an intention. God wants us to be able to
make our own choices. \hen a person makes a choice. God. bv
lis di·ine will. creates the actions and circumstances that allow
the person`s intention to be carried out. It is God`s will that hu-
man beings ha·e íree will. God is not alwavs pleased with the de-
cisions people make. but le wants them to be able to make these
decisions bv their own íree choice. An example oí this is a per-
son`s will to do a good deed. 1he good deed mav ne·er be carried
out. but God mav reward the person íor his or her intention to
do a good deed. Ií the good deed comes to pass. God`s will al-
lowed it to take place. and God will reward both the intention
and the action. In other words. God. 1he Judge. mav reward
vou íor good deeds willed but not carried out: howe·er. le does
not punish people íor bad intentions not acted upon.
1here is No Compulsion in Religion
lrom this emphasis on íree will. it íollows that Islam can onlv be
accepted bv íree choice. 1he purpose oí human liíe is to worship
God oí one`s own íree will. 1hereíore. matters oí íaith ha·e ·alue
onlv ií thev are accepted on the basis oí íreedom oí choice. Ií a
person is coerced into accepting anv religion. that acceptance is
íalse and has no ·alue. God. 1he Gentle. savs.
´1here is no compulsion in religion. 1ruth
stands out clear from error: whoever rejects
evil and believes in God has grasped the
most trustworthy handhold that never
breaks. And God hears and knows all
1he Iive Pillars of Islam
1here are íi·e obligatorv acts oí worship that e·erv Muslim must
dutiíullv carrv out. lailure to do so is a gra·e sin. 1he ediíice oí
Islam rests upon these íi·e pillars. One cannot be considered a
Muslim ií he or she denies that anv one oí these acts is obligatorv.
1he íi·e obligations oí Muslims are as íollows:
a. 1he declaration oí íaith. to 1estiív that there is no true
deitv except God. and that Muhammad is lis Messenger`
b. 1o prav íi·e times a dav Salah,
c. 1o pav the vearlv alms Zakah,
d. 1o íast during the month oí Ramadan Sawm,
e. 1o make the pilgrimage to Makkah lajj,
1he Declaration of Iaith (Shahadah)
It is obligatorv íor e·erv person intending to enter Islam to be-
lie·e and to sav. I testiív that there is no true deitv except God.
and that Muhammad is lis Messenger.` \ith this simple. impor-
tant. and poweríul declaration. a person is considered a Muslim.
1here is no initiation into the íold oí Islam.
1he concepts within the testimonv oí íaith can be explained bv
analvzing each oí three parts within the testimonv. 1he íirst part
No true deitv.` is a negation oí polvtheism.
It is a negation oí
the existence oí anv true deitv other than God. or anv entitv that
1his negation means that nothing is to be worshipped except God. nothing
has di·initv except God. none share the attributes oí God. and none can be
the creator or sustainer oí creation except God. who is without equal or part-
shares in anv oí the di·ine attributes oí God. 1he second part
.except God` is an aííirmation oí monotheism. God is the
onlv one worthv oí worship.
Muhammad is God`s Messenger` is the third part oí the declara-
tion oí íaith. It is an aííirmation oí the Prophethood oí Muham-
mad , as the íinal Prophet and Messenger oí God.
quires the unconditional acceptance oí the Our'an and the au-
thentic savings and traditions oí Muhammad ,.
Bv belie·ing and saving the testimonv oí íaith. a person rejects all
íalse objects oí worship and asserts that God is the onlv one to
be worshipped. God is without equal or partner. God promises
that once a person aííirms and sincerelv savs. I testiív that there
is no true deitv except God. and that Muhammad is lis Messen-
ger.` all oí his or her pre·ious sins are íorgi·en. One`s pre·ious
good deeds mav also be rewarded bv God. 1he Most Iorgiving.
Praying Iive 1imes a Day (Salah)
It is required íor e·erv Muslim to períorm íi·e obligatorv pravers
a dav. A Muslim turns toward Makkah Mecca, when períorming
these pravers. íacing the íirst house built íor the worship oí 1he
One God. 1his house is called the Ka`bah. an emptv cube-like
structure which is located in what is now Saudi Arabia. It was
erected bv Abraham , and his son Ishmael , íor the wor-
ship oí 1he One and Only 1rue God.
One mav ask. Ií Islam teaches that all the Prophets and Messengers are
equal. then whv does the testimonv oí íaith onlv aííirm the Prophethood oí
Muhammad without mentioning the other Prophets·` It must be understood
that anvone who aííirms the Prophethood oí Muhammad , is acknowledg-
ing all the Prophets and Messengers oí God that came beíore him. Ií one were
to testiív íor example. that. 1here is no deitv except God. and Moses is the
Messenger oí God.` this does not necessitate the person`s acceptance oí the
Prophets and Messengers that íollowed Moses ,. such as Jesus, or
One must remember that Islam does not ha·e anv sacred relics or
svmbols. \e are not worshipping the Ka`bah: we simplv worship
God while íacing the Ka`bah. lacing the Ka`bah to prav uniíies
the worshippers in their praver to 1he One God. Anvone who
worships the Ka`bah or anv other created thing would be consid-
ered an idol worshipper. 1o put it plainlv. the building materials
that make up this house are no more sacred than anv other build-
1hese pravers take place throughout the dav and night. and are a
constant reminder oí a person`s dutv and surrender to God. 1he
pravers are a direct link between the worshipper and God. It is a
chance to turn to God in worship. to gi·e thanks. to ask íor íor-
gi·eness. and to ask íor lis guidance and mercv.
A Muslim mav ·oluntarilv períorm pravers more oíten. Pravers.
in the general sense oí supplication. can be oííered practicallv at
anv time or place.
Paying the Yearly Alms (Zakah)
It is a religious dutv íor e·erv Muslim who is prosperous enough
to accumulate and retain a suííicient amount oí sa·ings to gi·e a
portion oí his or her wealth to the needv each vear. 1hese alms
are called Zakah in Arabic. which literallv means puriíication.` All
things belong to God. 1he Most Merciful. and wealth is held in
trust bv human beings. Paving these alms is a wav íor people who
are íinanciallv able to puriív the ethicallv gained wealth that God
has bestowed upon them. In addition. it is a means to directlv
distribute wealth throughout societv and help the poor and needv.
Zakah alms, also puriíies the soul oí the gi·er. reduces greed.
and strengthens compassion and generositv among humanitv.
1he basic rate oí these alms is two and a halí percent oí the
wealth that has been held in sa·ings íor an entire vear. 1hese alms
are le·ied on sa·ings. not income.
Iasting During Ramadan (Sawm)
A phvsicallv able pubescent Muslim must íast during the lunar
month oí Ramadan. 1his month is signiíicant because the íirst
re·elations oí the Our'an to Muhammad , occurred during this
month. Since a vear in the lunar calendar is ele·en davs shorter
than the solar calendar. the month oí Ramadan graduallv passes
through all seasons oí the vear. Just as almsgi·ing is a íorm oí
wealth puriíication. íasting is a íorm oí selí- puriíication. lasting
begins at dawn and ends at sunset. local time. During davlight
hours. a íasting person must abstain írom íood. drink. and mari-
tal sexual intercourse.
1hese acti·ities are permissible írom sun-
set to the íollowing dawn. lasting teaches selí-control and pa-
tience. Like praver. íasting is a wav oí turning to God in sincere
worship. 1he two holidavs íor Muslims are `Lid Al-litr which is
celebrated at the end oí Ramadan. and `Lid Al-Adha which is
celebrated at the end oí hajj. lasting reminds us oí the conditions
oí the needv and gi·es us appreciation íor the simple blessings we
oíten take íor granted. such as drinking a glass oí pure water or
eating íood at will.
Making the pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj)
L·erv Muslim is to make the pilgrimage to the Ka`bah. in Mak-
kah. once in a liíetime ií he or she has the abilitv and means to do
so. Muslims írom all o·er the world gather together íor the pur-
pose oí worshipping and pleasing God alone. Millions oí pilgrims
·isit the Ka`bah and períorm hajj annuallv.
1he rite oí hajj originated írom the Prophet Abraham , and
was restored bv Muhammad ,. 1he pilgrimage to Makkah
compels the pilgrims to break down the racial. economic. and
social barriers that mav still plague their societies. It also in·ites
each pilgrim to practice patience. selí-restraint. and pietv. 1he
Islam requires chastitv and íorbids anv premarital sexual relationships.
pilgrims wear simple garments that strip awav the distinctions oí
class and culture. Lach oí these obligatorv acts oí worship keeps
the remembrance oí God ali·e and reminds all Muslims that írom
God we come and to God we will all return.
1he Our'an is the íinal. iníallible. direct. and complete record oí
the exact words oí God. brought down bv the angel Gabriel
íirmlv implanted in the heart oí lis íinal Prophet and Messenger.
Muhammad ,. 1he Our'an was learned and memorized bv
manv oí Muhammad`s , companions and passed down to us
·ia meticulous oral primarv, and written secondarv, preser·a-
tion through the centuries.
1he books that came beíore the Our'an through God`s Prophets
and Messengers , were also sent bv God. Bv re·ealing the
Our'an. God`s message was restored and clariíied. 1he Our'an is
unique in a number oí wavs. God. 1he Guardian. has períectlv
preser·ed the Our'an and guaranteed it írom corruption until the
end oí time. 1he Our'an is regarded. not just bv Muslims but also
bv historians oí religion. as the most authentic religious text
among the world`s religions.
None oí the other re·ealed books
ha·e reached us in their original íorm or language. Some oí them.
like the scrolls that were re·ealed through Abraham ,. ha·e
not reached us at all. O·er the course oí time. parts oí other
scriptures were rewritten and some parts remo·ed. distorting
God did not allow this contamination to happen to the Our'an
because it is lis íinal book íor all oí humanitv until the Dav oí
It is taught in Islam that the spirit oí the lolv One` is the angel Gabriel.
who should ne·er be worshipped. Belieí in the trinitv clearlv contradicts the
core principle oí the Islamic íaith - monotheism.,
See Joseph ·an Lss. Muhammad and the Our'an: Prophecv and Re·ela-
tion` in (hristianitv and the \orld Religions: Paths to Dialogue with Islam.
linduism. and Buddhism. edited bv lans Kung Garden (itv. N\: Doubledav
& (o.. 1986,: and Michael Sells. Approaching the Our'an: 1he Larlv Re·ela-
tions Ashland. OR: \hite (loud Press. 1999,.
Judgment. No new Prophet or Messenger is going to be sent. Ií
God had not protected the Our'an. it would ha·e ne·er reached
us in its original pure íorm. lor this reason. God did not entrust
human beings with preser·ing the Our'an.
Di·ine preser·ation oí the earlier scriptures was not as critical
because God continued to send a succession oí Prophets and
Messengers to the people. 1he law as embodied in these older
scriptures was not in its íinal complete íorm. Bv God`s order. Je-
sus , came with modiíications to the law. íor instance. making
lawíul some things that had pre·iouslv been unlawíul without
making anv changes to the core concept oí monotheism.
Another unique qualitv oí the Our'an is that it is an amazing
miracle in and oí itselí. A miracle is a phenomenon that goes
against the natural order oí things and clearlv demonstrates the
direct inter·ention oí God. 1he Almighty.
All the Prophets and Messengers brought miracles írom God that
clearlv demonstrated the truthíulness oí their claim to
Prophethood. Abraham , sur·i·ed being thrown into a blaz-
ing íire without being harmed. Moses , raised his staíí and
the sea parted íor him bv God`s mercv. Jesus ,. the son oí
Marv. touched the dead and terminallv ill and restored them to
liíe and íull health bv the permission oí God. All oí these mira-
cles re·ealed the legitimacv and ·aliditv oí the Prophets and Mes-
sengers. but these miracles could onlv be witnessed bv the people
who were actuallv there at that time.
\hile the Prophethood oí Muhammad , was similarlv at-
tested to bv ·arious miraculous occurrences. bv íar the most im-
portant oí all is the Glorious Our'an. God challenges all those
who doubt the authenticitv oí the Our'an to produce a single
1he Our'an consists oí 114 chapters and is a single book. unlike the ·arious
current ·ersions oí the Bible. Protestant (hristians count 66 books in their
·ersion and Roman (atholic (hristians count ¯2 books. 1here are e·en more
books in other ·ersions.
chapter similar to a chapter oí the Our'an. It should be pointed
out that the smallest chapter oí the Our'an is composed oí just
three short ·erses., 1his has ne·er been accomplished though
there ha·e been manv people throughout historv who would ha·e
lo·ed to discredit the Our'an and do awav with Islam. God`s chal-
lenge remains open until the Dav oí Judgment. One oí the
Our'an`s miracles is that it is the pinnacle oí literarv excellence. It
is the most eloquent Arabic prose in existence. It has a stvle like
no other work in the Arabic language. a stvle that is inimitable.
1he Our'an is íor all people and is a·ailable to us in its original.
li·ing language. Arabic. which is still greatlv used throughout the
world bv millions oí people. 1he original texts oí manv other re-
ligious books ha·e been lost o·er time and were originallv written
in languages that are no longer commonlv spoken.
Not a single word in the Our'an is the word oí Muhammad ,.
but all are the words oí God. Muhammad , actuallv did not
know how to read or write. le recited the Our'an preciselv as it
was re·ealed to him bv the angel Gabriel ,. while his compan-
ions. at his direction. recorded it in writing and memorized it. 1he
Our'an is the direct word oí God. 1hereíore. the Our'an is the
onlv book we ha·e todav that is known to be authored bv God
alone. 1here are no other ·ersions oí the Our'an. Although there
are manv translations oí the meaning oí the Our'an. thev are not
nearlv as magniíicent and beautiíul as the Our'an`s plain Arabic
text. lere is a sample oí the Our'an. chapter 112 oí the Lnglish
translation oí its meaning:
´In the name of God, 1he Most Gracious,
1he Most Merciful
J. Say: He is God, 1he One and Only,
2. God, 1he Lternal, Absolute,
3. He begets not, nor was He begotten,
4. And there is none comparable unto
1he Prophet Muhammad ( ) and his
Muhammad , was born in the vear 5¯0 (L írom the honorable
lineage oí the two great Prophets oí God. Abraham , and his
íirstborn son. Ishmael ,. Muhammad , grew up with the
title oí 1he 1rustworthv`. At the age oí íortv. Muhammad ,
was chosen bv God to be lis last Prophet and Messenger.
1he Sunnah reíers to the savings. actions. and tacit appro·als oí
the Prophet Muhammad ,. 1he reports and narrations about
the Sunnah are known as ladith. and are collected in well-known
books. Like the Our'an. the Sunnah is inspired bv re·elation írom
God through the Prophet Muhammad ,. Unlike the Our'an. it
is not the direct. literal word oí God. 1he teachings came írom
God di·ine re·elation, and the words were írom the Prophet
Muhammad , an example íor humanitv,. 1he Sunnah was also
It is obligatorv íor Muslims to íollow the Sunnah oí the Prophet
Muhammad ,. In the Our'an. God orders the belie·ers to obev
the Messenger lis representati·e,. God savs.
´Obey God, and obey the Messenger.¨
1he purpose oí liíe is to ser·e and obev God. 1his is achie·ed
through íollowing the teachings and practices oí the Prophet ,.
´You have indeed in the Messenger of God
a beautiful pattern ¡of conduct¡ for anyone
whose hope is in God and the final day,
and who engages much in the praise of
1he Prophet , showed Muslims how to períorm all aspects oí
worship. le died at the age oí 63 in the vear 632 (L, and was
buried at his home in the citv oí Medina \athrib,. le alwavs
greeted and parted írom his companions with salutations and in-
·ocations oí peace. which is recommended íor all Muslims.
\ithin a centurv. Islam spanned three continents. írom (hina
across Asia. throughout Aírica. and into Spain in Lurope.
1he Dangers of Innovations in Islam
God ordered Muslims not to di·ide themsel·es into sects. Inno-
·ations and di·isions in matters oí religion and worship within
Islam are considered to be contamination. error. and de·iation.
Larlier heinous de·iations írom monotheism. such as worship-
ping creation. resulted in condemnation bv God. lowe·er. in-
no·ations in other matters. such as science and technologv to im-
pro·e liíe. are greatlv encouraged., God. 1he Most Compas-
sionate. has told us through lis last Prophet Muhammad ,.
when Muhammad , was nearing the end oí his liíe. that le had
completed the religion oí Islam. Muslims must recognize that anv
change in matters oí worship is strictlv íorbidden. No change in-
troduced bv humankind. who is constantlv under the iníluence oí
Satan. could e·er add anvthing positi·e and would onlv contrib-
ute to the degradation oí the completed and períected religion
estab lished bv God. All inno·ations in matters oí religion lead to
straving. and all straving leads to hellíire. People must not allow
anv de·iation addition or deletion,. e·en as small as one degree.
in matters oí worship.
Ií anv changes are allowed. those de·ia-
tions will be compounded bv íuture generations. and the result
will be another manmade religion. not the Islam as it was per-
íected bv God. 1he 1ruth. 1o build a íaith using a shopping
cart` approach or the blind íollowing oí anv religious leader is in-
1he changing oí God`s laws is íorbidden in Islam. God con-
demns religious leaders who alter di·ine principles. One who at-
tempts to make changes places him or herselí on the same le·el
Islam teaches that íor an act oí worship to be accepted bv God it must íulíill
two conditions: 1he intention must be íirst and íoremost to please God. and
the act must be done according to the Sunnah oí the Prophet Muhammad ,.
with God. committing polvtheism. An example oí this would be
to make the killing oí innocents lawíul. 1he laws oí God are per-
íect and do not need to be modernized` bv anvone. God allows
us the íreedom to obev or disobev lim bv choosing to íollow
lis íaith or to íollow our own desires. lowe·er. le íorbids us to
change lis religious principles.
It is interesting to note that the crescent moon is not representa-
ti·e oí the religion oí Islam. as the Prophet Muhammad ,
ne·er used or mentioned it. It was a pagan svmbol and an inno·a-
tion brought about bv later generations as a political svmbol.
Sadlv. it is commonlv adopted and mistaken as an Islamic svm-
1he Story of Adam and Lve
1he storv oí Adam and L·e is told in the Our'an. Although it is
similar in manv wavs to what is íound in the sur·i·ing remnants
oí the pre·ious scriptures. some important principles diííer.
God announced to the angels that le was placing a new species
on earth. God created Adam ,. íashioning him írom clav. le
breathed the soul into Adam ,. taught him the names oí all
things. and created írom the same soul his wiíe. L·e. God al-
lowed them to dwell in Paradise with íree will. God said to the
angels. ´Bow down to Adam¨ 1hev did so in a íorm oí respect.
not worship,. Satan was present among the angels. though he was
not one oí them. le was oí the jinn.
a race oí beings. possess-
ing íree will. that God created beíore Adam , írom a smoke-
less ílame oí íire. \hen God ordered the angels and those in
their companv to bow down to Adam ,. thev all did so except
Satan. who reíused out oí pride and arrogance. claiming to be
better than Adam , because he was created írom íire. whereas
Adam , was created írom clav. Indeed. Satan was the íirst rac-
Satan íell írom God`s grace. God. 1he Reckoner. condemned
him íor his disobedience. but Satan. the accursed. asked God to
gi·e him respite until the Dav oí Judgment resurrection,. so he
could make Adam , and his descendants unworthv. Satan
said. ´Verily I will mislead them and surely I will arouse in
them vain desires.¨ God granted him this respite as a trial íor
humanitv. God knows what Satan knows not. It is important to
note that there is no wav Satan could e·er war` with God. be-
1he jinn were created beíore Adam: thev ha·e íree will. Disobedient jinns
are demons. 1hev li·e here with us in some manner bv which thev can see us
but we cannot see them unless thev choose to make themsel·es appear. Sor-
cerv. which is íorbidden in Islam. is also períormed through them.
cause just like e·ervthing else. he is God`s creation. Satan exists
onlv bv God`s \ill: he is completelv under God`s power. Ií God
did not want Satan or his helpers to exist. thev would not be able
to remain in existence íor e·en a moment.
Islam does not gi·e Satan anv share oí God`s di·initv. It does not
attribute to him anv godlike or di·ine qualities. Islam rejects the
notion that Satan went to war with God and took a third oí the
hosts oí lea·en with him. Satan is an a·owed enemv oí human-
itv. but he is merelv a creature. absolutelv dependent upon God
íor his ·erv existence.
1hough prideíul. accursed. and íallen írom the grace oí God. Sa-
tan ser·es a purpose. God wanted humans to ha·e íree choice
between right and wrong. le granted human beings an innate
abilitv to recognize 1he Creator and turn to lim. 1he human
being is considered to be originallv good bv nature. born pure in
the state oí Islam submission,. Satan and his hosts order e·il and
oppose good. seeking to misguide humanitv. his a·owed enemv.
into e·il and idolatrv. awav írom monotheism. righteousness. and
the path oí God. God. 1he All Wise. in·ites Muslims to enjoin
good and íorbid e·il. Because we exercise íree will. bv resisting
the temptation oí Satan. humans can attain a great le·el oí honor.
1he íollowing is a summarv oí the trial oí Adam and L·e in
Paradise. 1hev enjoved períect íreedom and happiness in Para-
dise. God told them to eat oí the íruits oí the Garden with pleas-
ure and delight as thev pleased. le íorbade them írom approach-
ing one tree. and warned them that ií thev did. thev will both be
oí the wrongdoers. Satan came and decei·ed them. saving that
God onlv íorbade them írom eating oí that tree because it would
make them immortal or thev would become like the angels. 1hev
were thus decei·ed bv Satan and ate oí the tree.
Adam and L·e íelt shame. 1hev turned to God in sincere repen-
tance and God. 1he All-Iorgiving. 1he Most Gracious. 1he
Most Merciful. íorga·e them. Islam clearlv rejects the concept oí
original sin. or the notion that all humans are born sinners be-
cause oí the actions oí Adam. No human shall e·er bear the bur-
den oí another íor God is 1he Just,. L·erv human being is re-
sponsible íor his or her actions and is born as a Muslim. pure and
íree írom sin. It is important to note that Islam does not place
the blame on L·e. Both Adam and L·e had íree will. Both oí
them ate oí the tree. 1heir sin and disobedience was a joint ·en-
ture. Islam rejects the idea that women are wicked temptresses or
cursed with the burden oí menstruation and pain oí childbirth
due to the sin oí L·e.
God remo·ed Adam and L·e írom Paradise and made them to
dwell on earth. God had earlier said to the angels that le was
placing a new being on earth. Larth is where God. írom the time
oí creation. in lis timeless knowledge. wanted us to be.
Jesus ( )
Jesus , was a Prophet and Messenger oí God. le called to
the oneness oí God. le ne·er claimed di·initv íor himselí. nor
did he e·er ask to be worshipped.
le was born oí a ·irgin. 1his was one oí the manv miracles re-
garding Jesus , gi·en bv God. Jesus , was born without a
íather. God savs in the Our'an.
´1ruly the likeness of Jesus with God is as
the likeness of Adam. He created him of
dust and then said to him ·Be!' and he
God created Jesus , as le created e·ervthing else in exis-
tence. Jesus ,. Adam and L·e were all uniquelv created: Jesus
, was created without a íather: Adam and L·e were created
without a íather or a mother. 1he rest oí us were all created with
a mother and a íather. 1o belie·e that Jesus , is the begotten
son oí God or that God has anv relati·es such as a íather.
mother. son. or daughter. gi·es the attribute oí procreation to
Muslims belie·e this to be polvtheism and it is
absolutelv íorbidden in Islam. Likewise. gi·ing attributes oí 1he
Creator to lis creation is a great sin. which. in Islam. is clearlv in
opposition to monotheism. 1his belieí is in contradiction to the
It was in the ancient citv oí Nicea which was located in modern-dav 1urkev
approximatelv ¯00 miles or 1100 km NN\ oí Jerusalem near the eastern Ro-
man capitol, that the lirst (ouncil oí Nicea con·ened. 325 vears aíter the birth
oí Jesus ,. It was at this council that Jesus , was declared bv the major-
itv oí the council members to be di·ine rather than God`s Prophet and Mes-
senger. 1he concept oí the trinitv was established bv declaring that Jesus ,
was the same as and equal to God. 1his is in direct opposition to the Abra-
hamic principles oí monotheism. which Jesus , himselí called people to
teachings oí all the Prophets and Messengers oí God.
bevond anv created or human attributes. Jesus , is the Mes-
siah. the (hrist. the word oí God. the anointed one. sent bv 1he
Most Merciful God as a Prophet and Messenger.
God also iníorms us that Jesus ,. the son oí Marv. is not
dead. and that le raised Jesus , up to lim. Muslims belie·e
that the return oí Jesus , will be a sign oí the Last Dav. \hen
Jesus , returns. he will not come in the capacitv oí a Prophet
and Messenger to bring new re·elations. Rather. he will be the
commander oí the íaithíul and will destrov the antichrist. who
will ha·e brought to the earth enormous trials and e·il. Jesus
, will íollow the íinal maniíestation oí the law that was re-
·ealed to Muhammad ,.
L·en though (hristians and Jews mav ·iolate some oí the monotheistic ten-
ets oí their original Abrahamic íaith. Islam reíers to them as the People oí the
Book`. 1hev are reíerred to in this wav because thev ha·e recei·ed re·ealed
laws and scriptures írom God and do recognize some oí lis Prophets.
Sin and Repentance
Sin is willíullv and knowinglv disobeving God. 1he greatest oí all
sins is polvtheism. though anv intentional ·iolation oí the com-
mandments oí God is a siníul act. God. 1he Preventer. has pro-
hibited a number oí things that are harmíul to the indi·idual or to
societv. Murder. assault. theít. íraud. usurv íootnote 19,. íornica-
tion. adulterv. sorcerv íootnote 16,. consumption oí alcohol. eat-
ing pork. and the use oí illicit drugs are all examples oí siníul acts.
Islam rejects the doctrine oí original sin. No soul shall bear the
burden oí another. as this would be a great injustice. because
God. 1he Most Merciful . is 1he Just. Lach oí us is accountable
beíore God. 1he All-Seeing. íor our own deeds. lowe·er. ií
one person encourages another to commit a sin. both are punish-
able. One oí them deser·es punishment íor actuallv committing
the sin: the other deser·es punishment íor encouraging it.
\hen a person commits a sin. he or she is deser·ing oí God`s
punishment. lortunatelv. God is 1he Most Compassionate and
1he Oft-Iorgiving. God acts out oí iníinite knowledge and jus-
tice. Muslims do not belie·e that Jesus ,. the son oí Marv. had
to die íor the sins oí mankind. God. 1he Most Compassionate.
íorgi·es whome·er le chooses. 1o belie·e that it was necessarv
íor Jesus , to suííer and die in order to ha·e our sins íorgi·en
denies God`s iníinite power and justice. God is unlimited in lis
God. 1he Answerer. promises us that le will íorgi·e us ií we
turn to lim in sincere repentance. Repentance is a serious mat-
ter. It is the wav a person can attain sal·ation bv the mercv oí
God. Repentance cannot be taken lightlv. Sincere repentance has
the íollowing conditions:
1. 1he person must recognize and acknowledge that he or
she has committed a sin and must trulv regret ha·ing
2. 1he person must humblv turn to God íor íorgi·eness.
3. 1he person must ha·e a sincere resol·e not to commit
the sin again.
4. Ií the sin caused harm to someone else. the person
must make e·erv possible attempt to remedv the harm.
1his does not mean that ií the person returns to the same sin in
the íuture. his or her íormer repentance is annulled. \hat is
needed is a serious commitment in the heart not to sin again. Be-
cause we do not know what the íuture holds. the door to repen-
tance is alwavs open. God. 1he Oft-Pardoning. is pleased when
the children oí Adam turn to lim íor lis abundant íorgi·eness.
Repentance is a íorm oí worship.
No one can íorgi·e sins except God. It is íorbidden íor a Muslim
to seek di·ine íorgi·eness íor sin through or bv turning to anvone
else. as Muslims belie·e this would be considered polvtheism.
Organizational Structure of Islam
Islam places great emphasis on the indi·idual`s relationship with
God. 1he íramework íor this relationship íollows the guidelines
set out bv the Our'an and Sunnah. 1his relationship. in turn. de-
íines a Muslim`s relations with e·ervone. which brings about jus-
tice. organization. and social harmonv.
1he Our'an savs.
´Verily the most honorable of you with
God are the most pious among you.¨
1he wise. the pious. the knowledgeable in Islam. and the true in
practice are Islam`s natural leaders.
Islam is not speciíic as to who can become a scholar. Anvone
with enough intelligence. studv. and determination can stri·e to
become a scholar. but not e·ervone will ha·e the time and re-
sources to do so. All people should stri·e to learn as much as
possible. while recognizing that God is 1he One. 1he Bestower
oí knowledge and understanding.
1he scholar plavs a critical role in Muslim societv. le or she de-
·otes vears to the studv oí Islam. Scholars cannot íorgi·e sins.
bless people. or change the law oí God. 1hev impart the iníorma-
tion thev ha·e acquired bv reíerence to the Our'an and Sunnah:
bv the nobilitv oí their character thev inspire others to be better.
Some ha·e used the word cleric` to describe a Muslim scholar.
1his is a misnomer. 1here is no íormal clergv. no ordaining bodv.
and no hierarchv. 1he relationship between the indi·idual and
God is a direct one. No one besides God can declare what is law-
íul and what is siníul. No created being can bless another. Lach
indi·idual is directlv accountable to his or her Lord and (reator.
One ·isiting a mosque mav see a person leading the congrega-
tional pravers. \hene·er Muslims prav together. thev must select
one indi·idual to stand in íront and lead the others in praver so
that all might prav in unitv and harmonv. It is best to select a per-
son who has the most knowledge oí the Our'an and Islam. 1his
person is called an Imam. which literallv means the one who is
leading.` At middav on lridavs. there is a special congregational
praver. All Muslim men are required to attend: it is ·oluntarv íor
women. 1his weeklv praver is preceded bv a short sermon. 1he
one who gi·es this sermon should be the best a·ailable in terms
oí his deep understanding oí Islamic principles.
Islamic law is deri·ed onlv írom the Our'an and the Sunnah oí
the Prophet Muhammad ,. Like the Our'an. the Sunnah is an
inspired re·elation írom God. Islamic law co·ers all aspects oí
liíe. It deals with how to worship God and how to deal with oth-
ers. God commands the belie·ers to do certain things and bans
them írom doing others. God alone. 1he All-Knowing. 1he
Just. has the right to make some things lawíul and other things
siníul and íorbidden. An Islamic societv can legislate anv laws íor
the impro·ement oí liíe e.g.. traííic laws, as long as thev are not
in contradiction to Islamic law. God. 1he Guide and 1he Di-
rector. encourages some things without commanding them and
discourages some beha·iors without prohibiting them outright.
All oí these injunctions. taken together. íorm the law oí Islam.
\hen we add the íact that there are issues that Islamic law con-
siders simplv permissible. this results in íi·e basic rulings under
which e·erv human action can be classiíied :
Islamic law is oí di·ine origin. 1he reason we obev these laws is
because God commands us to do so. \e are encouraged to un-
derstand the wisdom behind the law. vet we are expected to obev
e·en when we do not íullv understand the reasons whv. Under-
standing is an added giít. lor example. eating pork is íorbidden
because God made it so. \e reírain írom eating it íor that rea-
son. and not because we also happen to know scientiíicallv that it
contains unique diseases and is the least healthv meat. L·en ií
scientists were able to geneticallv breed pigs to be a disease-íree
and most nutritious íood. it would still be íorbidden to eat pork.
lowe·er. someone mav eat pork to sa·e his or her liíe ií there
are no other options leít. and there would be no sin in doing so.,
1he sources oí Islamic law are the Our'an and Sunnah. God con-
siders it polvtheism to allow a religious leader to change God`s
command bv making lawíul what God has made íorbidden. or bv
making íorbidden what God has made lawíul.
In this world.
God alone determines what is good and what is siníul. In the
lereaíter. God alone has the power and wisdom to reward those
who do good and punish those who do e·il.
(harging anv amount oí interest on a loan. or usurv. was originallv íorbid-
den in Judaism. (hristianitv. and Islam. lowe·er. (hristians in Lurope írom
the time oí the Middle Ages graduallv changed this prohibition. 1odav. e·en
Islamic` countries ha·e allowed this gross ·iolation oí God`s law.
1he Islamic Dress Code
Islam promotes modestv and seeks to minimize ·ice and immor-
alitv in societv. One oí the wavs it does so is bv requiring modest
dress. Islam sets the standards oí decencv íor both men and
In most \estern countries there are laws deíining what is decent.
1his usuallv amounts to the male ha·ing to co·er his genitals and
the íemale ha·ing to co·er her genitals and her breasts. Ií this
minimum requirement is not met. the most a person can be
charged with is indecent exposure. 1he reason cited íor the dií-
íerence in required clothing between men and women in this
matter is the diííerence in their anatomies.
Islam prescribes a more conser·ati·e minimum dress code íor
both men and women. In Islam. both men and women are ex-
pected to dress simplv. modestlv. and with dignitv. A man must
alwavsbe co·ered in loose and unre·ealing clothing írom his n a-
·el to his knee. 1his is the absolute minimum co·ering required.
le must ne·er. íor example. go out in public wearing a short
bathing suit. \hen lea·ing the home. a Muslim woman must at
least co·er her hair and bodv in loose and unre·ealing clothing.
obscuring the details oí her bodv írom the public: some also
choose to co·er their íace and hands. 1he wisdom behind this
dress code is to minimize sexual enticement and degradation in
societv as much as possible íor both men and women. Obeving
this dress code is a íorm oí obedience to God. Islam íorbids anv
sex appeal and phvsical allurement outside oí marriage. In con-
trast. Islam encourages sex appeal and phvsical attraction íor both
men and women within the pri·acv between married couples.
Some \estern obser·ers ha·e assumed that the head co·ering oí
a woman is meant to show her iníerioritv to men. 1his could not
be íurther írom the truth. In Islam. a woman who dresses this
wav commands respect. and through her modestv. she rejects
sexual ser·itude. 1he message that the woman gi·es when she
wears Islamic dress in societv is. Respect me íor who I am. I am
not a sex object.`
Islam teaches that the consequences oí immodestv íall not onlv
on the indi·idual but also upon the societv that permits women
and men to mingle íreelv. displav themsel·es. and compete or
allure one another through sexual attraction. 1hese consequences
are signiíicant and cannot be ignored. 1o make women into sex
objects íor the pleasure oí men is not liberation. In íact. it is a
dehumanizing íorm oí oppression rejected bv Islam. 1he libera-
tion oí the Muslim woman is that she is recognized bv the con-
tent oí her character rather than bv the displav oí her phvsical
attributes. lrom the Islamic point oí ·iew. liberated` \estern
women- who must oíten worrv about their looks. íigure. and
vouth íor the pleasure oí others- are trapped in a íorm oí sla·erv.
Women in Islam
\omen and men are equal beíore God. Both are accountable
beíore God. 1hev equallv recei·e their reward in the lereaíter
íor their íaith and good deeds.
Marriage is stronglv encouraged and is both a legal agreement and
a sacred bond. Islam sees e·erv woman. married or unmarried. as
an indi·idual in her own right. She has the same right to own
propertv. earn wealth and spend it as a man has. ler wealth does
not become the propertv oí her husband aíter marriage or di-
·orce. A woman has the right to choose whom she marries and.
when married. does not change her last name. out oí respect íor
her lineage. A woman can seek di·orce ií her marriage does not
Lconomicallv. each man and woman is an independent legal en-
titv. Men and women ha·e the right to own their indi·idual prop-
ertv. engage in business. and inherit írom others. Both ha·e the
equal right to recei·e an education and to enter into gainíul em-
plovment. as long as Islamic principles are not ·iolated.
Seeking knowledge is the obligation oí e·erv Muslim. male or íe-
male. 1he tvpe oí knowledge that is most emphasized is religious
knowledge. It is also required within a societv to ha·e proíession-
als oí both genders a·ailable íor the beneíit oí the public. lor
example. societv requires doctors. teachers. counselors. social
workers. and manv other important ·ocations. \hen there is a
shortage oí qualiíied personnel. it mav become obligatorv íor
women or men to gain expertise in these íields to íulíill the needs
oí the Muslim communitv. In this situation. the guidelines oí Is-
lam are to be upheld.
\omen are encouraged to seek Islamic knowledge. pursue their
academic endea·ors within the íramework oí Islam. and stri·e to
íulíill their intellectual curiositv. 1o pre·ent anvone írom getting
an education is contrarv to the teachings oí Islam.
A man is responsible íor maintaining and protecting his íamilv
and pro·iding the basic needs such as íood. clothing. and shelter
íor his wiíe. children. and ií needed, other íemale relati·es in the
household. \omen are not primarilv responsible íor this. e·en ií
married. 1he Prophet Muhammad , said that the most períect
in íaith among belie·ers is he who is best in manners to his wiíe.
Male Chauvinism and the Muslim
Manv people percei·e Islam as a chau·inistic religion that belittles
women. 1hev cite the condition oí women in some Muslim`
countries to pro·e this point.
1heir mistake is that thev íail to
separate the culture oí a gi·en people írom the true teachings oí
the religion thev mav proíess. It is appalling that todav the op-
pression oí women still exists in manv cultures around the world.
\omen in manv 1hird \orld countries li·e horrible li·es. 1hev
are dominated bv men and denied manv basic human rights. 1his
does not applv to Muslim countries alone. nor does it applv to all
Muslim countries. Islam condemns this oppression. It is a tragic
injustice to blame these cultural practices on religious belieís
when the teachings oí the religion do not call íor such beha·ior.
1he teachings oí Islam íorbid the oppression oí women and
clearlv emphasize that men and women are to be respected
Uníortunatelv. oppressi·e practices against women that exist in
certain parts oí the world ha·e mistakenlv been associated with
Islam bv some people. One oí these practices is the ancient pagan
custom oí íemale genital mutilation. sometimes mistakenlv called
íemale circumcision. which originated and is still practiced in the
Nile Ri·er Vallev and surrounding areas. It is practiced bv a num-
ber oí ethnic groups oí a wide ·arietv oí íaiths throughout parts
oí Aírica. especiallv in northeastern Aírica. Manv women in Aí-
rica are ·ictims oí this horrible. dismembering. barbaric custom.
lemale genital mutilation is an abomination and is absolutelv íor-
bidden in Islam. It is uníortunate that. e·en though Islam íorbids
Uníortunatelv. an Islamic` countrv does not necessarilv mean that the coun-
trv`s go·ernment or the people are íollowing Islamic law Shari'a,.
it. certain ethnic groups ha·e perpetuated this practice e·en aíter
their acceptance oí Islam. leading some to assume that it is a part
oí Islam. 1odav. as these people graduallv gain a better under-
standing oí Islam. thev are abandoning this cruel pagan practice.
In Kenva. íor example. one group oí people who do not practice
íemale genital mutilation are the Muslims.
Male circumcision. howe·er. is clearlv an Islamic practice and in
íact was taught bv God`s Prophets and Messengers. including the
Prophet Abraham ,. 1here should be no coníusion between
the prohibited act oí íemale genital mutilation and the encour-
aged act oí male circumcision.
Another horrible practice is that oí honor killing`. when a man
kills a íemale relati·e in his íamilv because he íeels disgraced and
humiliated bv her beha·ior. 1his conduct. although extremelv
rare. is practiced bv certain groups oí people in the Indian sub-
continent. the Middle Last. and other places. 1his is outright
murder in Islam. It is not permissible íor a person to kill anvone
out oí some notion oí honor`. It is bv no means exclusi·e to
Muslims and Islamic` countries. and it ·iolates Islamic law. Ra-
cism. sexism. and all íorms oí bigotrv or prejudice are also pro-
hibited in Islam.
Uníortunatelv. íorced marriage is practiced in manv traditional
societies. It is another practice that is íorbidden in Islam. Some
íathers had íorced their daughters into marriage at the time oí the
Prophet Muhammad ,. \hen the women complained to the
Prophet , oí this. he nulliíied their marriages or ga·e them the
option oí ending the marriage e·en ií it had alreadv been con-
summated. establishing the clear precedent íor Islamic law con-
cerning íreedom oí choice about marriage and putting an end to
this oppressi·e practice. Sadlv. this still goes on in manv parts oí
the world todav. including in a number oí Islamic` countries. Al-
though this practice is illegal in almost all countries. manv women
in traditional societies either do not know their rights or are too
aíraid to demand them.
All oí these practices are against Islamic law. and it is the respon-
sibilitv oí all Muslims to eradicate them in their societies. \es.
Islam is tolerant oí cultural di·ersitv and does not belie·e in
eradicating the wavs oí liíe oí diííerent people. nor does it íorce
people to gi·e up their cultural identitv when thev embrace Islam.
lowe·er. when the cultural practices oí a people contra·ene the
laws oí Islam or depri·e people oí their God-gi·en. inalienable
rights and íreedom oí choice. it becomes a religious obligation to
abandon those practices.
Science and 1echnology
One oí the hallmarks oí Islam is its complete harmonv with sci-
ence. A Muslim considers conílict between scientiíic íacts and
religion to be impossible. Religion comes írom God. 1he Iirst
and 1he Last. and so does the uni·erse that le alone created. It
is impossible íor one to contradict the other.
A Muslim assumes that a natural explanation can be íound íor
e·ervthing in God`s creation- írom the íormation oí the stars and
galaxies to the origin and di·ersitv oí diííerent species. A Muslim
should ne·er relv on miracles to explain natural phenomena. A
Muslim belie·es that miracles are instances where God contra-
·enes lis own natural laws íor a speciíic reason. such as to assist
one oí lis Prophets or to answer a praver. Miraculous explana-
tions should ne·er be resorted to in order to explain something in
the natural world or to co·er up human ignorance on a scientiíic
1here has ne·er been a scientiíic íact or a ·alid scientiíic theorv
that contradicted the teachings oí Islam. \hate·er science un-
co·ers. it onlv increases our knowledge oí God`s magniíicent
creation. 1his is whv Islam acti·elv encourages scientiíic endea·-
ors and whv the Our'an commands us to studv God`s signs in
nature. In íact. the Our'an has manv amazing scientiíic reíer-
ences. that with the help oí todav`s modern technological ad-
·ancements. are just recentlv becoming íullv understood.
Islam also allows us to íullv enjov the íruits oí human ingenuitv.
\e are encouraged to stri·e to better the world. Islam welcomes
technological ad·ances. 1echnologv can be emploved íor good or
e·il. 1echnologv itselí is neutral. It is our responsibilitv to use the
knowledge that God has blessed us with íor the betterment oí all
In the earlv davs oí Islam. when people adhered to its belieís and
principles. there was a ílowering oí science. culture. trade. and
technologv. Scholars in the Islamic world researched and ad-
·anced the íields oí mathematics. chemistrv. phvsics. medicine.
astronomv. architecture. art. literature. geographv. historv. and
more. Muslim scientists in·ented the magnetic compass. the as-
trolabe. and the clock pendulum. to name a íew. Manv critical
svstems such as algebra. the Arabic numerals which are the same
numbers that we currentlv use,. and the ·erv concept oí zero ·i-
tal to the ad·ancement oí mathematics, were introduced to me-
die·al Lurope through Muslim scholars. 1he teachings oí Islam
brought about this scientiíic awareness. which e·entuallv ignited
and propelled the Luropean Renaissance. It was onlv aíter people
began de·iating írom the simple original Islamic principles and
belieís that the ad·ancements and scientiíic achie·ements oí the
Muslim world began to cease and íall into obscuritv.
Islam is. a religion oí justice. peace. mercv. and íorgi·eness. a
íaith which is oíten misunderstood and misrepresented. Islam
means to surrender one`s will to God. 1he Peace. Islam is the
wav oí liíe íor anvone who chooses to accept that there is one
God onlv. and none is worthv oí worship but lim. 1his world is
temporarv and no more than a trial íor humanitv. aíter which we
will all die and return to God. 1he 1aker. 1he liíe oí the lereaí-
ter is íore·er. God. 1he Light, íor the guidance oí the children
oí Adam ,. sent us Prophets: Abraham ,. Moses ,.
Jesus ,. Muhammad ,. all Prophets oí Islam. God chose
Muhammad , as lis íinal Prophet and Messenger and honored
him with the pri·ilege oí re·ealing the Our'an through him. 1he
Our'an is the direct unalterable word oí God. not the word oí
Muhammad ,. who was an unlettered man. God has preser·ed
the Our'an with its teachings íor all oí humanitv.
1he íi·e íundamental acts oí worship íor Muslims are as íollows:
1. 1o testiív that there is no deitv except God. and that Muham-
mad is lis Messenger`
2. 1o prav íi·e times a dav
3. 1o pav the vearlv alms
4. 1o íast during Ramadan
5. 1o make the pilgrimage to Makkah.
God states that there is no compulsion in religion. luman rights
and íreedom oí choice are sacred. In Islam. women plav a ·erv
important role. \omen are equal to and required to be honored
God mentions in the Our'an that le has períected Islam as a re-
ligion íor all oí humanitv. thus completing lis ía·or upon us.
God has prepared íor us the light oí Islam as a guide íor human-
itv`s return to lim.
\e are told bv scientists that space contains o·er 120 billion gal-
axies. \e know that e·erv one oí us was created bv God 1he
Most Magnificent. írom a single cell. \hen I think about this. I
can`t help but be humbled and realize mv extreme insigniíicance
in the light oí God`s amazing splendor. Satan swore to decei·e
humanitv. to bring us misunderstanding. animositv. hatred. and
war. 1o do mv part in opposing Satan. mv moti·es are to please
mv Lord bv promoting peace through understanding.
Liíe is short and precious: it is tragic to waste it bv piling up tem-
poral material gain while ignoring the true purpose oí creation: to
worship God alone. Manv people spend their precious li·es ac-
cumulating temporal material wealth. 1hrough Islam. God in·ites
us to turn to that which is e·erlasting. eternal. On the Dav oí
Judgment. we will be accountable íor what we knew and how we
had applied it. \e will be asked about our worship. Now is the
time íor us to prepare íor the answer.
1his book is based on the lectures I ha·e been gi·ing on Islam
íor the past two decades. It would not ha·e been possible with-
out God`s mercv and the help and assistance oí mv brothers and
sisters. I thank vou. mv readers. íor vour time and interest in un-
derstanding Islam. the íaith oí one-íiíth oí the world`s popula-
tion. \e also welcome vour questions as well as vour comments
and íeedback íor consideration in this ongoing work. I in·ite vou
to share anv or all oí this material. I ask onlv that vou do not
quote this iníormation out oí context.
Please íorgi·e me ií in this work I ha·e oííended anvone. Because
oí mv passion íor Islam. I express mv íaith stronglv. I greatlv
·alue indi·idual choice and respect diííerences. Understanding
and justice are the wav to peace. and because Islam is oíten per-
cei·ed in the \est as a religion oí narrow-minded zealots out to
con·ert the world bv íorce. I íeel it is ·ital that I con·ev mv íaith
in clear and unambiguous language to counter misconceptions.
Mav God bless us all with guidance. Anv good that comes írom
this work is bv God`s bene·olence. and ií I ha·e said anvthing
unhelpíul. it is mv shortcoming. God. 1he Lxalted and 1he
Loving. is períect.
Oh. 1he All learing. protect us írom all e·il and guide us to the
Peace be upon those who íollow the Righteous Guidance.