Introduction to Islam

Islamic Center of Pittsburgh www.icp-pgh.org icp@icp-pgh.org

Islam: An Overview
 Prophet

of Islam  The Muslim Community  Islam—A Formal Definition  To Hot to Touch:
Women  Jihad

Muhammad and the Birth

 Resources
15 Oct. 2002

for the Interested
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What is in the Name?
 “Islam”

derived from an Arabic word, meaning “to surrender”, with shadow meanings of “purity” and “peace”  Not a religion, in the sense of the English word—It’s a way of life  No duality—Everything is from God and for God
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The Birth Place
 The

world’s three monotheistic faith— Judaism, Christianity and Islam— were born and developed in Center of Pittsburgh 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic the Middle

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The Birth Place

The Middle East—Historical Context:

Inhabited by Semites (and other races) who spoke many languages, including Hebrew (language of Torah) and Arabic (language of Qur'an).  Cradle of many ancient civilizations, e.g., Egyptian, Sumerian and Babylonian   1st Century: Occupied by Greeks and Romans  7th - 18th Century: Islamic Civilization and culture spread through the rest of the world  11th Century: Several waves of Crusades  19th - 20th Century: Partitioned among major 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic 5 Western powers Center of Pittsburgh

The Birth of Islam

The Arabian Peninsula, currently known as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries; mostly desert Populace of Arabian Peninsula:
    

Mostly nomadic tribes three Jewish tribes in Yathrib and Yemen Some Christians in the north and west Mostly pagan, idol worshipers Extensive trade between East and West
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Prophet Muhammad
 Born

in 570 AD, in Makkah, for the most powerful and honorable tribe of the Arabia (Quraysh)  Lost his father, then mother, then grandfather; lived with his uncle  Was illiterate, but respected by all for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity. Oct. 2002 15 Known to be trust-worthy and Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 7

Prophet Muhammad
 Known

to meditate in solitude of desert, in a cave called Hira’  Human, but chosen to fulfill divine mission  Received 1st revelation from God, through angel Gabriel, at age of 40  Revelation continued for 23 years  Died soon after (632 AD)
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Qur’an 96:1-5, First Revelation

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Proclaim! (or Read!) In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created— Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,— He Who taught (the use of) the Pen; Taught man that which he knew of Pittsburgh 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center not.

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Fast Forward—Muslims Today

Muslim Community World-wide

 

Over 1.3 billion people from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures across the globe Muslims allover the world are united by their common Islamic faith About 14% live in the Arab world Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, is non-Arab country Significant minorities allover the world
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Fast Forward—Muslims Today
 About

7-8 millions in the USA

From all walks of life, mostly professionals  About 40% African-American, 60% from all other ethnic and national backgrounds
 About

7-10 thousands in Pittsburgh
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About the same distribution in the USA 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh  Five Islamic centers/mosques

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Islam in Religious Context

Islam recognizes all prophets, starting with Adam, peace be upon him:
   

Ibrahim (Abraham), founder of first temple (Ka’ba) Father of Ishaq (Isaac)  Judaism Father of Isma’il (Ishmael)  Islam Muhammad is the seal of prophets

Special relation with “the people of the book”  Prophets are humans chosen for divine mission 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 13  The Word “Islam”: To Surrender, to

Islam in Religious Context

Three Fundamental Unities
  

God Humankind The Message

  

Islam Not a New Religion; it’s the Religion of all Prophets Historical Evolution Lead to an AllEncompassing Religion—Islam Universal Message for All Times, All Places and All People
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Islam in Religious Context
 Islam

is a “way of life”, which regulates relationships
Between the Creator and the Created  Among all created (humans, animals & things)  Establishes basis of accountability

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Islam—Formal Definition
 Binding

Sources on Every Muslim

Qur’an  Tradition of Prophet Muhammad (Sunnah)
 Oness

or Unity of God (Tawheed)  Creed or Belief (Iman)  Pillars of Islam
Testimony Charity 15 Oct. 2002  Fasting

 

Prayer

 Paying
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Islamic Center of Pittsburgh

Pilgrimage

Islam Binding Sources: Qur’an
 The

literal word of God, in its Arabic text; unchanged since revelation  Preserved—The promise is built-in  Comprehensive and Integrated Guide to Live—The Miracle of Islam  Translations are only human efforts to approximate of the 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 17 meaning of Qur’an

Islam Binding Sources: Qur’an
 Structure

of Qur’an

Organized in 114 chapters, called Suwar (plural of Surah)  Each chapter (Surah) consists of smaller units, called Ayaat (plural of Ayah)  The meaning of the word Ayah  Chapters vary significantly in length
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Islam Binding Sources: Sunnah
 Tradition

of Prophet Muhammad, described in his sayings (Hadith)
A hadith is a reliably transmitted report of what the Prophet said, did, or approved

 Exemplification

of Qur’an  Example to aspire for and imitate
Qur’an and Sunnah are complementary sources of Islam; 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh Binding on every Muslim
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Qur’an 49:13

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most Righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things). 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 20

Prophetic Hadith
On the authority of Abu Huraira (may God be pleased with him), the Messenger of God (peace and blessings of God be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in God and the Last Day should speak good things or keep silent. Whoever believes in God and the Last Day should be courteous and generous to his neighbor. Whoever believes in God and Last Day should be courteous and generous to his [traveling] visitor.” Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim
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Once or Unity of God (Tawheed)
There is no deity worthy of worship but God; One, Unique, Incomparable God (or Allah); Nothing is like unto Him; The Creator  Pluralism exists only in the domain of the created  Beautiful Names (attributes) of God  Let’s see how God describes Himself

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Qur’an 112 The Sincerity

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.
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Islamic Creed or Belief (Iman)
Angels created by Allah  Chain of prophets through whom Allah sent His revelations to mankind, starting with Adam, including Moses and Jesus, and concluding with Muhammad, peace be on all of them  Day of Judgment, resurrection, Heaven and Hell  Individual accountability for one’s deeds  Allah's final message to man, revealed to Prophet Muhammad through Angel 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 24 Gabriel

Pillars of Islam
 Prophetic

Hadith:

"Islam is built on five (pillars) testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the charity, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan."

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Pillar 1: Testimony (Shahada)
“I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”  One becomes Muslim when one utters Shahada with understanding and conviction—No other rituals required  Being of becoming a Muslim is not 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center Pittsburgh a destination; it’sofa journey or a 26

Pillar 2: Prayer (Salat)
 Required

Prayers:

Establishes a direct connection between The Creator and the created  Five times a day: Dawn, Afternoon, Late Afternoon, Early Night, Night  Each taking 5-10 minutes reciting ayaat from Qur’an—in Arabic  Personal supplications (after prayer) offered in one’s own language
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Pillar 2: Prayer (Salat)
 Required

Prayers:

Five prayers may be offered individually, but congregation is encouraged  Congregation led by learned man (Imam), usually selected by the congregation.  A woman may lead a congregation of women  Required congregation is Friday 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 28 Afternoon prayer—takes about an hour

Pillar 2: Prayer (Salat)
 Face

Ka’ba in Makkah in all prayers  Prayer symbolizes equality and humility before Allah  Physical cleansing (ablution), followed by spiritual cleansing (prayer)  No acceptable excuse for missing required prayers
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Pillar 2: Prayer (Salat)

A Moroccan in Prayer
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Muslims Praying in Jerusalem Outside The Dome of the Rock Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 30

Pillar 3: Religious Charity (Zakat)

A Muslim either pays Zakat or gets Zakat

All things, including wealth, belong to Allah  Wealth is held by hands of human beings as trust—Should be spent in ways that please Allah  Paying Zakat is a “purification” of wealth and causes its “growth”  Actually two forms: Zakat is tangible, but Sadaqa tangible and intangible (kind 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic 31 word or smile) Center of Pittsburgh

Pillar 4: Fasting During Ramadan (Siyam)
 

Ramadan is 9th month of the lunar calendar Complete fast from dawn to sunset

No food, drinks or sexual activities  Exempt: Sick, elderly, on a journey, a pregnant or nursing women. Should make it up later in the year.  If physically unable to fast, one must feed a needy person for every day missed  Emphasis on piety and religious observancesIslamic Center of Pittsburgh 15 Oct. 2002 32

Pillar 4: Fasting During Ramadan (Siyam)
Children begin to fast, observe prayer from puberty, although many start earlier  Ramadan is like an annual Islamic workshop of proper conduct—An exercise in self-control  Eidul Fitr commemorates end of Ramadan  Allah specifies what is Lawful (Halal) 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 33 and what is unlawful (Haram)

Pillar 5: The Pilgrimage (Hajj)
 Visit

the Sacred Mosque in Makkah (at least) once in a lifetime if physically and financially capable — 12th month of lunar calendar  Rituals have Abrahamic origin  Largest human (peaceful) gathering, 2+ million from every corner of the globe Oct. 2002 15 Eidul Adha overlaps the Hajj rituals Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 34

Pillar 5: The Pilgrimage (Hajj)
The Sacred Mosque, at Makkah alMukarramah (”Makkah the Honored”) during a regular prayer. At the center of the Sacred Mosque is the focal point of Islamic prayer worldwide— the Ka'ba.
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Qur’an 2:256

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 36

The Religion of Islam

Acts of Worship:
 

Mandated by Qur’an, but details described by Prophet Muhammad Revolves around the community

An Important Question: Why do we engage in these acts of worship?
  

Because they make sense?! Because they have good social values?! Because they are likely to build a good society?!

Because we know Allah has commanded 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center 37 us to do so. Period. of Pittsburgh

Islam—Formal Definition
 Binding

Sources on Every Muslim

Qur’an  Tradition of Prophet Muhammad (Sunnah)
 Oness

or Unity of God (Tawheed)  Creed or Belief (Iman)  Pillars of Islam
Testimony Charity 15 Oct. 2002  Fasting

 

Prayer

 Paying
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Islamic Center of Pittsburgh

Pilgrimage

Why is Islam so Attractive?
 Clarity,

simplicity and logic of faith and religious practices  Complete way of life, not only acts of worship  Emphasis on individual responsibility and commitment  No hierarchy or any organized clergy  Insists on equality, justice and 15 Oct. 2002 39 peace for allIslamic Center of Pittsburgh

Women in Islam
 Equal

rights and responsibilities in terms of religious, ethical, moral, civil, economic and legal matters
Same religious expectation of both men and women  Full economic freedom achieved 1400 years ago  Education is essential  Must maintain family heritage

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Women in Islam
 In

family context, husband given overall responsibility for family:
Respect for wife and/or mother is enormous  Husband’s decision arbitrates disagreements that cannot be resolved otherwise  Objective is safeguarding the family

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Women in Islam
 Inheritance:

Guiding principles are:

Social and economic responsibilities – a son (who is now responsible for family) inherits twice a daughter (who has no social or economic obligations)  Financial obligations not fulfilled yet – daughter inheritance is larger than mother’s  Human needs – father and mother of a deceased inherit equal amounts
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Women in Islam
 Giving

Testimony

Every Muslim is expected to be honest and trust-worthy  On expert professional matters, a woman’s testimony is equal to a man’s testimony  On family and children matters, a woman’s testimony takes precedence over a man’s  On financial and commerce matters, two women’s testimony are required,43 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh lest one forgets, the other reminds

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Jihad in Islam
 Holy

War?!

The expression/concept is foreign to Islam  There is nothing “holy” about what Muslims do; “holiness” is reserved for Allah, not humans  The expression was coined and used extensively before and during the crusades 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh  Injustice – the victims are charged with46

Jihad in Islam
 Jihad

means “exerting effort” to:

Resist sinful behavior or tendencies  Spread correct information about Islam by peaceful means  Fight in defense against an aggressor; but do not transgress – don’t kill a woman, child or even uproot a tree unnecessarily
 Being

Muslim is not a destination; it is a journey – Jihad 15 Oct. 2002 Islamic Center of Pittsburgh

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Resources

Islamic Center of Pittsburgh
  

www.icp-pgh.org icp@icp-pgh.org Humanity Day: Saturday, 23 Nov. 2002, 4:30 PM—Everyone is invited! <need a good site for non-Muslims> <need a good site for women in Islam> http://www.islamicity.com/
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Web Sites:
  

15 Oct. 2002

Islam: An Overview
 Prophet

of Islam  The Muslim Community  Islam—A Formal Definition  To Hot to Touch:
Women  Jihad

Muhammad and the Birth

 Resources
15 Oct. 2002

for the Interested
Islamic Center of Pittsburgh 49