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Regardless of where a person’s conscience asks him or her to look – if guided – a seeker of truth will inevitably find mysterious door leading to God.
Man is weak and vulnerable; many unpredictable forces can affect him, obstructing his desires and goals. He becomes ill, he loses things, he gets hurt, he plans - and he often fails. As man looks at the scale of the universe around him - seas, mountains, the grandeur of the heavens and galaxies - he must consider his insignificance and weakness. At this point, unless he is extremely arrogant, he will begin to feel humble and helpless next to the vastness of things around him. When a person weighs up everything, he will realise that something is missing. He will ask himself: ‘What is the explanation for this life; what is the purpose of living?’ This is where FAITH begins. He will realise that there must be some great mysterious power behind existence, something which controls the harmony and sequence of events; something behind the mere dust and materialism of this world. Man will then look for something ABOVE HIMSELF worthy to worship and believe in. This is the amazing spiritual nature of man, which makes him unique and also makes him accountable. It is the inner discussion he has with his own SOUL, which distinguishes the human being from the ANIMALS. If he is guided, he will find the One True God, and will fulfil his need to worship by believing in Him and obeying the Divine Inspiration sent by Him. This is basically the meaning of Islam; surrender to the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe - Allah.
According to Islam, everything that we see, as well as that which we don’t see, in this immeasurable universe – including us – is the domain of one Supreme Being, Allah, the one true God and Master. He exists without need of anything, not born or created, but Who Himself created everything and provides for every entity; every atom. Islam is not a new religion; it simply represents the original message and Revelation which was sent since the appearance of man on the pages of existence, and that the original faith of unity is this belief in One God of all creation. This was the message of all God’s prophets, before the break up of religion into sects and denominations Regarding this, Allah says in the Qur’an: "We sent no Messenger before thee but We inspired him that there is no god save Me, so worship Me."
God is the Creator of all that exists, unique, incomparable, eternal, absolute, perfect, and without peer or associate God sent Messengers to humankind, of whom Muhammad was the
last The Qur'an is the Word of God; Humans are responsible to God for their actions; On Judgment Day, an All-Knowing and Merciful God will judge all humans according to their faith, intentions, and deeds in this life.
Muhammad (peace upon him) was the Prophet and Messenger through whom God sent the last divine revelation to humankind. Biblical prophecies on the advent of the Prophet Muhammad are numerous (Deuteronomy 18:18-19), (John 1:19-21 and 16:7-14). Muhammad was born around the year 570 C.E. in the Arabian city of Makkah (traditionally spelled Mecca). In the middle of the city stands an ancient house of worship called the Ka'bah, which is believed to exist from the time of Adam and later rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Muhammad, a descendant of Abraham, was orphaned at age six and grew up in the care of relatives. When he was 40 years old, during his seclusion in the Mountain Hira (Mountain of Light) just outside Makkah, God revealed the first five verses of the Qur’an through visitation of the Arch Angel Gabriel. It called him to teach people to worship the One God and revive the pure monotheistic faith of Abraham. But for thirteen years Muhammad faced severe opposition and persecution from the population of Makkah, who believed in multiple pagan deities and the worship of idols. In the early fall of 622, Muhammad and his followers emigrated from Makkah, northward to the town of Yathrib (later renamed al-Madinah). This emigration -historically known as the Hijrah -- marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, because it was in Madinah that the followers of Muhammad developed a model society based on the spiritual teachings of the Qur'an. In 630 Muhammad peacefully re-entered Makkah, where he forgave his enemies and cleared the sacred Ka'bah of idols. Two years later he died, on June 8, 632 C.E.
God has revealed various Books at different times to guide mankind, such as the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalms given to Moses, Jesus and David. The Qur'an is the last holy book, or scripture; the Word of God, originally transmitted to Muhammad in Arabic by the Angel Gabriel. But it was always meant for all humanity, not for any exclusive group. At its heart is the teaching of monotheism -- the worship of One God and no others -- but the Qur'an also provides guidance for every part of a believer's life.
There is only one version of the Qur'an, unchanged since Muhammad received it. A number of his followers had carefully memorized each of God's revelations, word for word -- an achievement still common among Muslims today. Muslim scholars regard versions of the Qur'an in other languages to be interpretations or paraphrases, rather than true translations, and in Arabic literature there is no work whose eloquence, clarity and erudition approach that of the Qur'anic text.
There are five divine guidelines that the Qur'an clearly presents to Muslims for building tolerance and understanding among differing religions. Everyone's God-given human dignity must be respected, regardless of his or her faith, race, ethnic origin, gender, or social status (Qur’an 17:70). Because everyone is created by God Almighty, the Maker of all, humans must treat one another with full honor, respect, and loving-kindness. Islam teaches it is by Divine Will that God's human creation follows different religions, or no religion at all -- no religion is nevertheless a faith, or belief-system (10:99). But God Almighty is not pleased when some humans choose not to believe (39:7) The Qur'an states clearly that freedom of religion is a God-given right (2:256). The final judgment of all humanity lies in the hands of God, the One Almighty, their Creator, to whom we all ultimately return (22:6869), (42:15). God loves justice and those who strive to practice it, especially toward people who are different from them in any way, including in matters of religious belief (5:8), (60:8). A muslim Eid postage stamp by master calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya has brought his work into probably millions of homes in the US. On it is a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which translates to: “There is no facilitating or reciprocating harm.”
The Ka'bah is the black one-room cubical stone structure in the courtyard of the Great Mosque at Makkah. It was built by Adam and rebuilt by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismail (Ishmael) as the first place on earth wholly dedicated to the worship of God Almighty, the One True Creator of all. It has been given the honorary name, Beit-Allahalharam, meaning "the sacred house of God." 4
The interior of the Ka'bah is now completely empty, and it is not entered except for a ritual cleaning each year. A new black cloth covering, called the Qiswah, embroidered in gold with Qur'anic calligraphy, is made for it each year. When Muslims pray, wherever in the world they are, they face toward the Ka'bah. During the Hajj -- a spiritual pilgrimage that every Muslim aspires to enact at least once in his or her life -- pilgrims circle the Ka'bah seven times in a ritual called the "tawaf," or circumambulation, literally a walking anti-clockwise of the circumference. The tawaf is also performed throughout the rest of the year.
Islam, in Arabic, means "submission," that is, submission to the will of God. It also means "to enter peace," specifically, the peace one finds through submission to God's will. Muslims accept five primary obligations in life, commonly called the "Five Pillars of Islam." In practice, of course, Muslims can be seen observing all of these to varying degrees, for the responsibility of fulfilling the obligations lies on the shoulders of each individual. 1 - The profession of faith (shahadah): This is a simple statement of the words, "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God." 2 - Prayer (salah): Muslims pray five times a day -- at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and evening -- facing toward the Ka'bah, which is the House of God, in the Great Mosque at Makkah. They may pray wherever they are when prayer-time arrives, in any clean place, preferably in the company of other Muslims. On Fridays at noon, Muslims pray in congregational mosques, or masjids; this weekly prayer is called the Jumah. 3 - Charity: (zakah): A fixed proportion (2.5%) of a Muslim's net wealth -- not just his or her current income -- is prescribed to be donated for the welfare of the community as a whole. 4 - Fasting (sawm): Every day from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual contact and, even more than at other times, they must also avoid undesirable, or imperfect behaviours.
5 - Pilgrimage (hajj): The journey to Makkah is obligatory once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to make it. The Hajj proper is made between the eighth and 13th days of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, and every pilgrim carries out specified rituals at particular times. At any other time of year, Muslims can perform similar prayers and rituals and thus complete the 'Umrah, or "lesser pilgrimage."
The Islamic calendar is based on a lunar year of 12 full lunar (monthly) cycles, taking 354 days. Each new year in the Islamic calendar thus falls 10 or 11 days earlier according to the 364 day solar calendar. The 12 months of the Islamic year are: 1- Muharram 2- Safar 3- Rabi' al-Awwal ("Rabi' 1") 4- Rabi' al-Thani ("Rabi 2") 5- Jumada al-Ula ("Jumada I") 6- Jumada al-Akhirah (Jumada II) 7- Rajab 8- Sha'ban 9- Ramadan 10- Shawwal 11- Dhu al-Qa'dah 12- Dhi al-Hijjah The first day of Year One of the Islamic calendar was set as the first day of the Hijrah, the Prophet's migration from Makkah to Madinah on July 26, 622 C.E. The western convention in designating Islamic dates is thus by the abbreviation AH, which stands for the Latin anno hegirae, or "Year of the Hijrah."
To roughly convert an Islamic calendar year (AH) into a Gregorian equivalent (A.D./C.E.), or vice versa, use one of the following equations. AD = 622 + (32/33 x AH) AH = 33/32 x (AD - 622)
Islam's golden age in science, technology and intellectual culture spanned about 500 years, from the ninth until the 14th centuries. Muslim achievements in these areas greatly influenced the European Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as the birth of modern scientific method in the 17th century. Bertrand Russell, the famous British philosopher, has rightly claimed, it was Muslims "who introduced the empirical method" in the study of nature and cultivated it widely when they were leaders of the civilized world. The scientific method, as it has been developed in modern western science, was indeed invented by Muslims and first practiced by them on a large scale. Muslim scientists then were not only Arabs, but also people of other racial and ethnic groups such as Persians, East Indians, and Chinese. Decades ago, when the Italian Orientalist, Assendro Baussani, tried to hammer home the point that "Islam is an integral part of western intellectual culture," he was one of the few western voices then aware of the historical role of Islam in European civilization. Very few people today know that Ibn Sina's best medical work, The Canon of Medicine, was taught for centuries in western universities and was one of the most frequentlyprinted scientific texts of the Renaissance. When the famous 13th-century theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, wanted to create a new rational theology, he studied an Islamized Arabic version of Aristotle. Aquinas realized that Aristotle had found a new home in Islam, so he wanted to seek one in Christianity as well. Given the fact that today some people believe in an imminent "clash of civilizations" and a fundamental incompatibility between Islam and the west, it is worth remembering that our two civilizations do share a precious intellectual heritage. The west takes great pride in modern science as one of the greatest achievements of its intellect, an achievement no one should deny or belittle. Modern science could not have developed without the Renaissance. But without Islamic science and philosophy to build on, there would have been no Renaissance!
There are seven Articles of Faith in Islam. These basic beliefs shape the Islamic way of life. 1- Belief in the Oneness of God: There is One God, Supreme and Eternal, Creator and Provider, Who is Merciful and Compassionate. God has neither father nor mother, and no sons or daughters. God has never fathered anyone, nor was He fathered. God has no equals. He is God of all humankind, not of a special tribe, race, or group of people. He is the God of all races and colours, of believers and unbelievers alike.
God is Mighty and Supreme, yet is also very near to pious, thoughtful believers, answering their prayers and helping them. God asks us to know Him, to love Him, and to follow His Law, for our own benefit and salvation. 2- Belief in the Angels of God Angels are pure and spiritually obedient beings, created by God to fulfill His commands and worship Him tirelessly. 3- Belief in the Revelations (Books) of God Muslims believe in the Revelations sent by Almighty God to His Prophets and Messengers including the Qur’an, the Torah, the Gospel, the Scrolls of Abraham and the Psalms of David. 4- Belief in the Prophets of God All Messengers and Prophets of God such as Noah, Moses, Solomon, Jesus and Muhammad were mortal human beings endowed with Divine Revelations and appointed by God to teach humankind how to submit to His will and obey His Laws. 5- Belief in the Day of Judgment Muslims believe in an appointed Day of Judgment and in Heaven and Hell. 6- Belief in Premeasurement (Qadar) Muslims believe that Almighty God has knowledge of, and control over, everything that exists in all time and space. 7- Belief in Resurrection after Death After the world ends, Muslims believe that all people who have died will be brought back to life (or, resurrected) in order to face the Judgment rendered to each of them by Almighty God.
Muslims belong to one of the two main branches of allegiance in Islam -- the majority are Sunni (comprising more than 90% of believers) or Shia'. The basic difference between the two is that the Shia' School believes in the necessity for a spiritual leader from the Family of the Prophet Muhammad, hence a religious structure. The Sunni School on the other hand, does not necessarily require the same. Each local Muslim Community, whether Sunni or Shia', has one or more religious leaders (people who have attained formal Islamic education or who are proficient in Islamic knowledge). This kind of leader is often referred to as an Imam, Director of the Islamic Centre, or Khateeb (one who gives the Sermon, or Khutba).
Islamic laws distinguish among: Halal, or that which is permitted by God the Law-Giver; Mustahabb, that which is loved by God but is not obligatory and is rewardable; Makruh, that which is disliked, but is a lesser degree than Haram; and Haram, that which is prohibited. Anyone who engages in Haram is liable for God's punishment and in an Islamic State may be subject to legal prosecution and discipline.
Some supportive issues include: The basic principle in Islamic law is that all things and actions are allowed (Halal), except those which are specifically prohibited by God. Every thing or action which is Haram is very harmful to the individual and/or the family, community, etc. Good intentions do not make any Haram action acceptable. Doubtful things are best to be avoided. Whatever leads to Haram is in itself considered Haram. God has prohibited (as Haram) all killing (except for capital punishment), stealing, robbing, consumption of any intoxicant, all types of gambling, sex outside marriage, all types of pornography and prostitution, homosexuality, wasteful spending and consumption, interest on money (usury), bribery, spreading gossip and backbiting. Additionally art, music, movies, TV, books, or magazines that promote any acts which are Haram are prohibited.
In Islam, clothing has two purposes; to cover the body and to modestly beautify one's appearance. Men are to dress modestly, not imitating women. Women's clothing must cover all of the body including the head, and should not be tight or transparent. For a Muslim, there are two types of food and drink; Halal (lawful) and Haram (unlawful). Unlawful, forbidden (Haram) food and drink includes: Meat from dead animals that died naturally through accidents [except fish], or by strangling, falling, beating, or being killed by
wild animals. Blood that has poured forth (as distinguished from the blood adhering to flesh or organs). Flesh of swine, such as bacon or pork, including all products and byproducts (lard, pepsin, gelatin, etc.) prepared from swine. Only vegetable oil is used for frying and in the preparation of bread, salad dressing, desserts, muffins, other bakery products, etc. Food upon which any other name has been invoked, besides that of God. Intoxicants, including all types and varieties of alcohol and intoxicating drugs. The Islamic method of slaughtering an animal or bird follows these steps: First, the Muslim mentions God's name as a reminder that God has command over the life of all creatures. Taking life from an animal or a bird is done by God's permission for the sole purpose of obtaining food.
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