WHAT IS ISLAM?
Can we find an explanation of the great universe? Is there any convincing interpretation of the secret of existence? We realize that no family can function properly without a responsible head, that no city can prosperously exist without sound administration, and that no state can survive without a leader of some kind. We also realize that nothing comes into being on its own. Moreover, we observe that the universe exists and functions in the most orderly manner, and that it has survived for hundreds of thousand of years. Can we then say that all this is accidental and haphazard? Can we attribute the existence of man and the whole world to mere chance.
Man represents only a very small portion of the great universe. And if he can make plans and appreciate the merits of planning, then his own existence and the survival of the universe must also be a planned policy. This means that there is an extraordinary power to bring things into being and keep them moving in order.
In the world then must be a great force in action to keep everything in order. In the beautiful nature there must be a Great creator who creates the most charming pieces of art produces every thing for a special purpose in life. The deeply enlightened people recognize this creator and call him Allah "God". He is not a man because no man can create or make another man. He is not an animal, nor he is a plant. He is neither an Idol nor is He a statue of any kind because non of these things can make itself or create anything else. He is different from all these things because he is the maker and keeper of them all. The maker of anything must be different from and greater than things which he makes.
There are various ways to know God "ALLAH'' and there are many things to tell about him. The great wonders and impressive marvels of the world are like open books in which we can read about God. Besides, God Himself comes to our aid through the many Messengers and revelations He has sent down to man. These Messengers and revelations tell us everything we need to know about God.
The complete acceptance of the teachings and guidance of God 'Allah' as revealed to His Messengers Muhammad is the religion of Islam. Islam enjoins faith in the oneness and sovereignty of Allah, which makes man aware of meaningfulness of the Universe and of his place in it. This belief frees him from all fears and superstitions by making him conscious of the presence of the Almighty Allah and of man's obligations towards Him. This faith must be expressed and tested in actions, faith alone is not enough. Belief in one God requires that we look upon all humanity as one family under the universal Omnipotence of God the Creator and Nourisher of all. Islam rejects the idea of chosen people, making belief in God and good actions the only way to heaven. Thus, a direct relationship in established with God, without any intercessor.
Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all Prophets. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ismael, David, Moses and Jesus (PBUT). But the message which was revealed to Prophet Mohammed (PBUT) is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form.
The Quran is the last revealed word of Allah and the basic source of Islamic teachings and laws. The Quran deals with the basis of creeds, morality, history of humanity, worship, knowledge, wisdom, God-man relationship, and human relationship in all aspects. Comprehensive teaching on which, can be built sound systems of social justice, economics, politics, legislation, jurisprudence, law and international relations, are important contents of the Quran. Hadith, the teachings, sayings and actions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUT), meticulously reported and collected by his devoted companions. Explained and elaborated the Quranic verses.
THE FUNDAMENTAL ARTICLES OF FAITH IN ISLAM
The true faithful Muslim believes in the following Principal articles of faith:
- He believes in One God 'Allah', Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and Provider.
- He believes in all Messengers of God without any discrimination among them. Every known nation had a warner or Messenger from God. They were chosen by God to teach mankind and deliver His divine message. The Quran mentions the name of twenty five of them. Among them Mohammad stands as the last Messenger and the crowning glory of the foundation of Prophethood.
- Muslin believes in all scriptures and revelations of God. They were the guiding light which the Messengers received to show their respected peoples the Right Path of God. In the Quran a special reference is made to the books of Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus. But long before the revelations has been lost or corrupted. The only authentic and complete book of God in existence in the Quran.
- The true Muslim believes in the Angels of Allah. They are purely spiritual and splendid beings whose nature requires on food, drink or sleep. They spend their days and nights in the worship of God.
- Muslim believes in the last Day of Judgement. This world will come to an end someday, and the dead will rise to stand for their final and fair trial. People with good records will be generously, rewarded and warmly welcomed to the Heaven of Allah, and those with bad records will be punished and cast into Hell.
- Muslim believes in the timeless knowledge of God and His power to plan and execute His planes and nothing could happen in His Kingdom against His will. His knowledge and power are in action at all times and command over His creation. He is wise and merciful, and whatever He does must have a meaningful purpose. If this is established in our mind and hearts, we should accept with good faith all that He does, although we may fail to under stand it fully, or think it is bad.
THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
Faith without actions arid practice is a dead end, as far as Islam is concerned. Faith by nature is very sensitive and can be most effective. When it is not out of practice or out of use, it quickly loses its liveliness and motivation power.
There are five pillars of Islam:
- The declaration of faith: To bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Mohammad (PBUH) is His Messenger to all human beings till the Day of Judgment. The Prophethood of Mohammad obliges the Muslims to follow, His exemplary life as a model.
- Prayers: Daily, prayers are offered five times a day as a duty towards Allah. They strengthen and enliven the belief in Allah and inspire man to a higher morality. They purify the heart and prevent temptation towards wrong - doings and evil.
- Fasting the month of Ramadan. The Muslims during the month of Ramadan not only abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset but also sincerity and devotion. It develops a sound social conscience, patience, unselfishness and will - Power.
- Zakkah: The literal and simple meaning of Zakkah is purity. The technical meaning of this word designates the annual amount in kind or coin which a Muslim with means must distribute among the rightful beneficiaries. But the religious and spiritual significance of Zakkah is much deeper and more lively. So it has humanitarian and sociopolitical values.
- Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah): It is to be performed once in a lifetime, if one can afford it financially and physically.