What is Islam? | Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik
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What is Islam? | Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik

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What is Islam? | Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik

What is Islam? | Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik

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    What is Islam? | Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik What is Islam? | Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik Document Transcript

    • Bismillah-hir-Raluna11-/7 i r-Rahcem In th e name of Allah (God), the Co m passiona te, th e Mer ciful Please accept our greetings of PEACE. There are hundred s of immigrants enterin g this beautiful cou ntry of ours every d ay from all around the globe who belong to different religions which include Mu slims. The impression Am er ican s have abou t Islam and Mu slim s is mo stly throu gh the media, wh ich has treated Mu slims rather unfairly. They have been lab eled as terror ists, fundamentalists an d so forth. As a matter of fact, this ima ge is far fro m the truth. At the Institu te of Islam ic Knowled ge we cons ider it our responsibil ity to inform the residen ts of North Am er ica abou t Muslim s and their religion ISLAM just as we ar e obliga ted to tell Mu slims ar ound the world ab ou t Am erica at lar ge and Uni ted States in particul ar. We would like to en lighten the read er abou t som e of the ba sics of Islam with the intention of building a bridge be tween the Mu slim and non-Muslim com m unities. Thi s will crea te mu ch be tter understandin g and a sense of harm on y between our com mu nity members, en abling all of us to live and w ork together w ith int egri ty and honesty in a peaceful atmosphere. Islam is an Arabic word, which no t onl y means subm ission (to God) but also means PEACE. It is our aim to clari fy our posit ion and dispel an y false impression th at exists ab ou t Islam and Muslim s. We hope th at by informin g the reader ab ou t Islam, our daily intera ction with each other will becom e more productive for ou r com munities of God-Loving and God -Fearin g people. May God A lmighty bless you for taking the time to read this booklet. Your Well Wisher Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik Chairman, Board of Trustees
    • AT A GLANCE ISLAM WORSHIP Wh at is Islam? Is Islam a ne w Religion? Wha t is th e d istinctive Featu re of Islam ? How does Islam re late to Mankind? What is Worship in Isla m? What are the Five Pillars of Isla m ? Wh a t is th e Ka 'bah? MUSLIMS Who are th e Muslims? What are th e Pillars of Faith? Why Mus lims use th e wo rd 'Allah' ins tea d of ' God'? How d oes so meone becom e a Muslim? PROPHETHOOD What is Prophethood in Islam? Who is Muhammad? What is Sunnah? Wha t d oes Islam say abou t Torah and Bible? How Islam views Judaism and Christianity? Wha t does Islam say abo ut Original Sin? Wha t does Islam say abo u t Je sus? QUR 'AN What is th e Qur'an ? Does Isla m recognize Science and Technology? COMMUNITY Wha t are Human Rights in Islam ? Wha t is Jihad in Islam ? Wh at is Hijaab (Islamic Dress Co de)? How does Islam view Fam ily Life ? Wha t is the Status of Women in Islam ? Wh at is Marriage in Islam? Why is More than One Wife pe rmi tted in Islam ? Wh at d oes Islam say abo u t Parents and the Elderly? Wha t does Islam say abo ut Food ? Wha t d oes Islam say abo u t Intoxicants and Gambling? Wha t Islam say abo u t Business Interaction? CONCEPTS What is th e What is th e Wha t is the in Islam ? What is the concep t of God in Islam? concept of Life in Islam ? conce p t of Life after Death concept of Sin in Islam ?
    • which was given to Moses and to Jesus and to other Prophets from their God; we make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we are ivIuslims." A I-Qur'an 3:84 In the name of Allah (God), the Compassionate, the Merci u l f What is Islam? Islam is an Arabic word which means peace, subm iss ion an d ob ed ience. It also mean s acceptan ce and comm it­ ment to abide by th e tea chin gs and gu id an ce of God. On e of th e beautiful n ames of God is As-Salem (The Pea ce). Islam also m eans to be at peace with God and H is creatures. Bein g at peace wi th God implies complete sub m iss ion to Hi s w ill, Who is th e source of all purity an d goodness. Bein g at peace with Hi s crea tu res implies living in peace within one 's self, with other peop le an d with th e en v ironmen t. Thus, Islam is a tot al system of living in peace. Isl am is the same m essa ge and guidan ce which Go d reveal ed through all Hi s Pro phets to every pe op le throughout the h ist ory of m ankind . One who follows Islam is called a Mus lim (an A rabic wor d which m ean s, the one who sub m its to the w ill of Go d ). Is Islam a new Religion? No! It is th e same religion w hich w as preache d b y all th e proph ets and is further elab or at ed th rou gh the P rop he t Mu hammad, peace be u pon him. God or d ered him: "Say: We believe in A llah and in that which was revealed to 1/S, and in that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and in that The re ligio n of Islam is as old as humanity itself. It wa s in fact th e religion of e ver y proph et of Go d, w ho ap pe are d in an y pa rt of the world . Acco rding to the Quran, Islam was the religio n of Adam, N oah, Ab ra ha m , Ishmae l, Isaac, Jacob, M oses an d Jesus, peace be upon them all. Howe ver, it was revealed to Prophet Muham m ad , p eace be up on him, in its com p reh ensive, com p lete and fina l for m . What is the distinctive Feature of Islam? The m ajor characteristic of Islam is th at through b elievin g in all the Prophets an d God 's message reveal ed to each of th em; it lays d own the basis of peace an d harmony amo ng th e peop le of the w orld. The grea t mis sion of Islam is not on ly to preach th e abo ve-mentione d tru th , but also to corr ect those er ro rs w h ich had crep t into th e prevailing religions. Most important o f all, Islam ga th er s in on e b ook all th ose truths which we re conta ine d in ea rlier Di vine re velat ions gra n ted to pr evious Prophe ts for the gu id an ce of m ankind , an d to m eet all the sp iritu al and m oral req u irements of an ever-adva ncing humanity. Muslim s ar e encou rage d to coo pe ra te w ith all th ose who a re faithful and God-con sciou s p eople, namely those w h o received scrip hues (Torah, Ps alms and Gos p el) th rough Hi s
    • Pro phe ts. Christia ns and Jews ar e called th e "People of th e Book: ' and the ir Prophe ts and Scrip tu res a re ho nored by the Musli ms. How Islam relates to Mankind? Islam teache s th at diversity amo ng human beings is a sign of God 's mer cy and no one ha s su pe riority based on one's color, lang uage or nationali ty. Islam p ro motes th e br otherhood of m an , toleration of one ano the r, sy m path y for th e unfortunate and coope ration for general human happiness. If th ere is anyone religion in the world w hich ha s strove to elim ina te racism, it is Islam. The re is no di stinction bet ween men on accou nt of mere birth in a partie ular family, particul ar profession, particul ar race or p arti cula r coun try, and that all human beings ar e equal. God crea ted people of di ffer ent colors, na tio nalities, lan gu ages and ethnic origins so th at we may recognize one another. In Islam , su periority is based on the lov e and fear of Go d, doing good d eed s, and maint aining h igh mor al an d spi ritual qua lities . In many resp ects Islam ha s reg u lated the relation ships between men regardless of cree d s, races or colors. One of the aims of Islam is to em phasize the oneness of humanity as a whole and also the One nes s of the Crea tor of m ankind an d of all beings. Islam prono unce s loudly, dearly, and with gre at em p hasis th at all people are, b y nature, equa l in all resp ects an d th at no one is be tte r or su perior to an yone else excep t throu gh p iety. Who are the Muslims? Mu slims are those 1.9 billion people (per CIA Wor ld 's Facts Book in year 2000), from all races, color s, nation alities and cu ltu res who believe in One God (Allah ) and accept Muham mad, peace be u po n hi m,as the last Prophet. The majorit y of Muslim s live in Indonesia, Ban glad esh , Pak istan , Afghanis tan, Iran , Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egy pt, Libya , Algeria, Morocco, Bosnia and other parts o f the con tine n ts of Asia and Africa. Significan t min or ities are in India, China, Russia, Europe, North Ame rica (ove r 9.993 million in the USA) and Sou th Ame rica. A Mu slim is a person who freely and willing ly accepts the sup reme power of God an d strives to organize his or her life in accorda nce w ith His comma ndments. He nce a Mus lim is an y person anyw here in the wo rld whose obe dience, allegiance, an d loyalty are to the One and Only God (Allah), the Creator of the Universe, and as such sub mits to the Divin e Laws following the Sunnah (tradition s) of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him . My Lord! Let me die as a Muslim and count me among the right eous
    • COUNTRY _ < 3% 3% -6% 7%-20% _ 21% -100% What are the Pillars of Imaan (Faith)? Muslims believe in: • One and Onl y Go d (Allah) w ith all H is unique attributes; • Angels created by Him; • All the Holy Book s or iginall y revealed to the different Prophet s, in clu din g th e Tora h, Psalms, Gos pel (Bible) and th e Quran: • All the Prophets through whom Go d sen t Hi s Messa ge to mankind including N oah, Abrah am, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad, pea ce be upon them all; • Th e Da y of Jud gm ent (the Day o f Resurrection - Life after Death) an d in divid ua l's acco un ta bility (re wa rd and pun ishment ) for good an d bad d eed s / actions; an d • Al-Qa d ar (God's Pre-estimation), whi ch m eans God kno ws ever ything. H e knows what ha s happen ed and what will h appen. Why Muslims use the uiord 'Allah' instead of 'God'? The wo rd 'Allah' is the com bin ation of tw o Arabic words 'A L Ilah' which means 'Th e God'; it is the proper name of the onl y Su p reme Bein g Wh o ex ists necessarily by Himself . Thi s word comp rises all the attributes of p erf ection . This word is neither femin ine n or p lural and has never been applied to an y other being. Thi s word ha s no correspond ing word in English or in an y other lan gu age of the world. Allah is th e One an d Only True God's personal name. Nothing or no one else can be called Allah. That is why Muslims us e th e wo rd All ah, Hi s p ers onal name, and not God . It is inter estin g to note that Allah is also used for God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus, p ea ce be upon him, an d that all Arab Jew s and Christians also us e the word Alla h for God .
    • How can someone become a Muslim? between God and m an. Th e purpose of Prophethood is to con firm what m ankind alrea d y kn ows or can kn ow, and to teach th em what th ey do not An yon e w ho believes in One Go d or cannot kn ow by thei r own me ans. and d oes not cons ide r any other deity Su ch as: why we ar e cre ated? Wh at w ill worthy of worship besides Him, all he happen to us after death ? Is ther e any or she ha s to do is to affirm the belief in life after death? Are we accountable for th e last Prophet of Go d Muhammad, our actions? Sim ila rly qu estions abo u t p eace be upon him throu gh saying: Go d, An gels, paradise, and hell cannot be ans we red La llaha l llallahu Ivuihu mmad-ur­ withou t revel ations from th e Cre ato r and Knower of the unseen . RasooIIaII ail It is also to h elp man to fin d th e Right Path, an d to d o what is righ t an d sh un what is wrong. Pr ophethood is an eloqu en t exp re ssion of God's love for human bein gs an d Hi s will to gu ide th em to the right way of belief and behavior. He p rovides true gu idance 'There is no deity (god) except A llah (the to ma n kind, and then h old s them One and Only True God) and Muh ammad responsible for their d eed s. H e gave is the M essenger of All ah,' an d th en th em warnings through Hi s prophets follo w the Qu ran an d tr adition s of abo u t th e conseque nces of th eir th e Prophet Muhammad , pe ace be wrong fu l de eds, an d th e goo d n ew s of upon him . This is called th e Sha h adah rewards for th eir goo d d eeds. (bearing witness to the Tru th) . Th e Source of Prophethood and the appointment of all th e p rophet s is One and th e Same : it is th e On e an d Only Go d (Allah) . The Prophet's aim is to serv e God, to acq u ain t hum an bein gs The Me rciful an d Loving God not with God and H is Divin e teach in gs, to only crea ted human bein gs, but also est abli sh tru th an d goodness, to h elp arranged for th eir gu idance through m an kind realize th e true purp ose of appo inting Pr ophets through out th eir existence and to help th em in th e ag es fr om amo ng th e human livin g th eir lives in a purposeful w ay. beings. Go d revealed Hi s will to the It is on thi s basis that th e Mu slims Pr ophet s, peace be upon th em all, and m ak e no d istinction amo ng an y of th e commission ed them to deliv er that Pr ophets an d accep t their tea chings as Message. In every known n ati on on e consistent and comp lemen tary to each or m ore Prophets we re appointed. All othe r. th e prophets of Go d w ere m en of good ch ara cter an d high honor. The ir h onesty and truthfulness, th eir in telli gence an d integrity we re beyond d oubt. Muham mad, peace be upon him, is What is Prophethood in Islam? Who is Muhammad? The appointment of these Proph ets from God is a clear manifes tati on o f a strong link between Heaven an d Earth, th e last Prophet of Go d ap poin te d for th e guidance of th e whole of m ankind. H e is answer to th e prayer of Prophets
    • Abraham an d Ishmael, peace b e upon them: "Our Lord, appoint f rom among them (residents of Makkah) a Messenger who shall recite to them Your Revelations and teach them the Book and the Wisdom and purify them; surely, You are the A ll~ Mighty, the W ise." Al -Qur 'an 2:129 Muhammad, peace be upon him, is a human being who was chosen by God and as ~i gn ed the mission of leading hu m an ity to righteousnes s, and se rving as a mod el of moral condu ct. In this role, Muhammad pea ce be upon h im , did ex perie nce the diffi culties and trials w h ich all Prophets before him experi en ced . His appointment is foretold bv th e Prophet Jesus, peace be upon hiI~ : "And remember when lsa (Jesus) the son of M~ry said: " 0 children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah towards you, confirming the Torah which came before me, and giving you good news of a Messenger that will come after me whose name shall be Ahmad (another name of the Prophet M uhammad)." Al -Qu r'an 61:6 He was b orn in 570 AD in M akkah. Arabia . As he grew up h e be came known for hi s honesty and truthfuln ess and p eople u sed to call him Al-Arn een (the trustworthy) and Al-Sadiq (the truthful) . H e was very calm an d meditative. H e had no ambition for becoming a leader. He u sed to go awa y from the city cro wd and meditate in a cave calle d H ira on a nearby barren mountain. o Prophet' Surely. We have sent you as a witness. as a bearer of good news and as a Warner, and to call the people towards Allah As soon as he began to re cite th e revelations he received from God, he and hi s small gro u p of follower s suffered bitter persecution. Fina lly in the year 622 A.D. (after 13 years of preaching), Go d ga ve him p ermission to immigr at e from Makkah to a city o ver 200 miles away called Yathr ib which is now known as Al-Mad inah . This mi grati on , called the Hijra, m arks the beginning of the Islamic calen d ar. Cave of Hira at the Mountain of Light Masjid Nainoi - Madinah, Saudi A rabia It wa s in thi s se clu d ed pla ce wher e Of all th e Pr ophets of Allah, Prophe t Muhammad , peace be upon him, is the only on e whose life is well documented in the hi stori cal records. Although Jesus, peace be upon him, lived only God sent him the first re velati on through An gel Gabriel when h e wa s forty years old . It is im p or tant to note that he cou ld n either read nor writ e.
    • 2,000 years ago in an important part of the Roman Empire, the Empire was at its prim e and had many em ine n t historians and wr iters recording every development, bu t no early historian mentioned the birth, the mission an d the crucifixion of Jesu s, p eac e be upon him . Only one Jewish hi storian, Josephus, m ade a cas u al reference, which is consid ered to be a later addition. Inside view of Masjid Nobi oi - Madillah It is part of human nature to look to someon e higher and nobler for g uid an ce to make him on e's ro le model. Muhammad, pea ce be up on him, is an exe m pla r. The life of Muhammad is like an open book from cover to cover; from his posthumous birth to his childh ood, to hi s you th, to his Prophethood. to his being the rul er of Arabia and finally right up to his death. One non-Muslim sch olar, Lamartine, writes the followin g words ab out him: " If greatness of purpose, sm allne ss of means, and astounding re sults are the three criteria of human genius, who co uld dare to com pare an y great m an in modern history with Muhammad. Th e most famous m en created arms, laws and em p ires on ly. They found ed , if an ythin g at all, n o more th an m aterial powers which often cru m bled away before th eir eyes. This m an moved not only armies, legislations, empires, people an d dyna sties but mill ions of m en in one-third of th e then inhabited world ; and more than that, he mo ved the altars, the god s, the religions, th e ideas, the b eliefs and souls. On the basis of a Book , every letter of which h as become law, he created a sp iri tu al n ationality, w h ich blended together people of ev ery tongue and of ev ery race. H e ha s left for us as the ind elible characteristic of this Muslim nati onality, th e h atred of false gods an d the p assion for th e on e and immat er ial God. Philosopher, Orator, ap os tle, leg islat or, wa rrior, con queror of id ea s, restorer of rational d ogm as, of a cult without im age s, the founder of tw enty terrestrial empires and of on e sp iritual empire, th at is Muhammad. As regards all st andards by w hich human grea tn ess may be measured w e m ay well ask , is th ere an y man great er th an he is?" H istorledela Turquie, Paris. Vol.lI, pp.276-277 What is Sunnah? Sunnah is th e sayings, actions and tacit approval of the Prophet Muhammad , peace be upon him . It is another source of Islamic Laws, rul es an d regulations, an d ranks secon d after the Quran. Su nn ah is re corded in b ook s of Hadith (narrations) and is important in under standing the meaning of the Qurani c text, exp loring the principl es outlined in the Quran and show in g how to und erstand and practice th em . Examples of Prophet's sayings: No one can be a believer until he wishesfor his brother what he wishesf or himself It is not befitting f or a believer to sever his relationship (not be on speaking terms) with his brother for more than three days. The one who is ungratef ul to others is ungrateful to God.
    • others), We sent Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming whatever remained intact from the Torah in his time, and gave him Actions (and deeds) are judged (by God) the lnieel (Gospel/Bible) wherein was based on one's intentions. guidance and light, confirming what was The best approach in everything is revealed in the Torah; a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. moderation. Therefore, let the people who follow the This world is a prison for the believer and lnjeel (Gospel/Bible), judge by the Law paradise for the unbeliever. which Allah has revealed therein; those In forgiveness of a king lies the survival of who do not judge by the Law which A llah has revealed, are indeed the transgressors. his kingdom. To you (0 Muhamm ad), We have revealed this Book (A I-Qur'an) with the truth. It confirms whatever has remained intact from the Book which camebefore it (Gospel! Bible) and also to safeguard it. Therefore, judge between them according to A llah's revelations and do not yield to their vain desires, diverging f rom the truth which has come to you. We have ordained a law M uhammad is the Messenger of A llah and a Way of life for each of you. If Allah The upper hand (giving) is better than the wanted, He could have made all of you a lower hand (receiving). single nation. But He willed otherwise in order to test you ill what He has given you; True Mu slim is the onefrom whose tongue therefore, try to excel aile another in good and hands other Mus lims aresafe. deeds. (Ultimately) you all shall return to /sllah; then He will tell you the truth of those matters in which you disputeo What does Islam say III-Qur'an 5:46-48 When the leader of a Community comes to you, receive him with due respect. about Torah and Bible (Injeel/ Gospel)? How Islam views Islam requires th e Muslims to be lieve Judaism and in all th e p rior scr ip tu res including Christianity? Taurat (Torah) an d Injeel (Gos pel! Bible) th at th ey were the true revelati on s from All ah. Because of not preser ving in orig ina l lan guages in written form and tran slat in g them in vari ous lan gu ages fro m oral n a rr ati ons through centuries, human words w ere min gled with Divin e Words, th erefore, th ey lost th eir pure forms. Relating to thi s fact th e Holy Quran s tates: Then in the f ootsteps of those Prophets (llbraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, M oses and Islam calls Jew s an d Christians as 'the Peopl e of the Book ' to wh om came th e great Prophets incl uding Mo ses (Musa) an d Jesu s (Isa) . Islam invites th em to cooperat e in w ha t is com mo n b etween th em an d Islam. In the resp ective Prophets' tim e th ey w ere also called Muslims as God Alm igh ty sa id in the Holy Quran ab out Prophet Abraham , th e for efather of Mo ses and Jesus, p eace b e upon th em, in th e following words:
    • Say: " 0 people of the Book! Let us get together on what is common between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah (the One and only True God); that we shall not associate any partners with Him; that we shall not take [ro m among ourselves any lords beside A llah." If they reject your invitation then tell them: "Bear witness that we are M uslims (who have surrendered to Allah)." 0 people of the Book! Why do you argue with us about A braham as to whether he was a Jew or a Christian ? You know that the Torah and the Gospel were revealed long aft er him? Have you no sense at all? So far, you have been arguing about things of which you had some knowledge! M ust you I lOW argue about that of which you know nothing at all? Allah knows while you do not. A braham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but he was a Mu slim, true in faith. He was not one of the Iviu shrikeen (who set up partners with Allah). A l-Qur 'an 3: 64-67 have believed, they shall be rightly guided; if they reject it, they will surely fall into dissension (divide into differing factions); Allah will be your sufficient def ender against them, and He hears and knows everything. Baptism is the baptism of Allah; and who is better than A llah in baptizing ? Him do we worship. Say (0 Muhammad): "Would you dispute with us concerning A llah, who is our Lord and your Lord as well? We shall be accountable to Him for our deeds and you f or yours; to Him Alone we are devoted. Do you claim that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants were all Jews or Christians? Say: Are you more knowledgeable than A llah? rr Who is more unjust than the one who hides the testimony receivedfrom A llah? A llah is not unaware of what you do. A l-Qur'an 2:B6-140 Muslims are requir ed to believe in all the Holy Scri ptu res revealed to variou s Pr ophets in th e followin g word s: Say: "We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us; and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants, and that which was given to Moses, Jesus and other Prophets f rom their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him (A llah) we have surrendered ourselves (in Islam)." So, if they believe (accept Islam) like you Ioday all good clean things have been made lawf ul for you; and the food of the People of the Book (jews and Christians) is also made lawful for you and your food is made lawful for them. Likewise, marriage with chaste free believing women and also chaste women among the People who were
    • given the Book bef ore you is made lrm1iAi for you, provided that you give them their dowries and desire chastity, neither committing fornication nor taking them as mistresses. A nyone who commits Kufr with bruin (rejects faith), all his good deeds will become void (zero) and in the hereaft er, he will be among the losers. A I-Qur'an 5: 5 truth distinct from falsehood). A I-Qur'an 17:15 Foll owing is th e prayer of Ada m and Eve, p eace be upon th em, w h ich they made, after the y were sen t down on ear th , seeki ng for gi veness for th eir sin of d isobedi ence to God : What does Islam say about Original Sin? Islam says th at every sou l is b orn sin free. When a chi ld grow s up an d is abl e to distinguish b etwe en right an d wrong, sin an d virtue an d in ten tion ally does so meth ing wrong or com m its a sinful ac t then h e/sh e commits th e first sin . Regardi ng this th e Holy Q uran states: By the soul and He (Cod) Who perf ected it and inspired it with knowledge of what is wrong f or it and what is right for it: indeed successf ul will be the one who purifies it, and indeed unsuccessjul will be the one who corrupts it! A I-Qur'an 91:7-'10 Everyo n e w ill bear the burden of one 's own sin an d no one wi ll be held for th e sin of another: Say: "Should ] seek another Lord besides Allah when He is the Lord of everything?" Every soul will reap the fr uits of its own deeds; no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. Ultimately you will return to your Lord, and He will resolve for you your disputes. AI-Qur'an 6:164 He that seeks guidance, that guidance shall bef or his own soul, but he that goes astray does so to his own loss. No bearer shall bear the burden of another (on the Day of Judgment), We do not inflict punishment un til We send f orth a Messenger (to make Our Lord! We have wronged our souls. If You do not forgive us and have mercy on us, we shall certainly be among the losers. When th ey rep ented, Go d for ga ve their sin of disobed ience. Th e H oly Quran sta tes: But Satan (tempted them to disobey A llah's commandment) and caused them to slip therefrom (paradise), and get them expelled from where they were. We said: "Get down from here, some of you being enemies to others, and there is for you in the earth an abode and provisions f or a specified period." Then Adam received appropriate words from his Lord and repented, and (A llah) accepted his repentance. Surely, He is the Acceptor of Repentance, the Merciful. A I-Qur'an 2:36-37 Islam says th at all ch ild ren th at die before th e age th ey cou ld di stin guish between rig ht an d w rong shall en ter Paradise. Th is is w here Islam differ s w ith Ch ristiani ty : The church holds that all unbaptised people, including new born babies who died, would go to hell. This was because original sin - the punishment that Cod inflicted on humanity becauseof Adam and
    • Eve's disobedience - had not been cleansed by baptism. Father Brian Harrison, a theologian, argues that the clear "doctrine of the Catholic Church for two millennia has been that wherever the souls of such inf ants do go, they defin itely don't go to heaven." BBCs Religion and Ethics Website What does Islam say about Jesus? In Islam Jesus, p eac e be upon him, was a Prophet of God the same as Noa h, Abraham, David , Mo ses an d Muhammad , pe ace be upon th em all. He wa s a human being, son of M ary an d born miraculously without a father. His example .Is like that of Adam born without a mother or father an d so wa s Jesus, pea ce be upon him, born without a father. These examples are from th e signs of God to show mankind th at He, the Almighty, does not ne ed p arents to cre ate if He so Will s. Muslims believe in Jesu s, peace be upon him, as a Prophet of God; they respect and revere him to the extent that they n ever mention him simply as Jesus but add the word s ' pea ce be upon him .' Th ere is a full chapter in th e Holy Quran called "Ma ry" (Chapter 19). He said, 0 my Lord! Grant me a righteous child as Your specialfavor; surely, You hear all prayers. The Quran describes the birth of Jesus, peace be upon him, and th e miracles given to him as follows: Behold! When the angels said " 0 Mary! God gives you the good news with a Word from Him that you will be given a son: his name will be Messiah, lsa (jesus) the son of Mary. He will be noble in this world and the Hereafter; and he will be from those who are very close to God. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in his old age and he will be among the righteous." Hearing this, Mary said, "0 my Lord! How can I have a son when 1'10 man has ever touched me?" He replied, "Even so, A llah creates however He wants; whenever He decides to do anything, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is! God will teach your son the Book the Wisdom, the Torah, and , the Injeel (Gospel) and send him forth as a Prophet to the Children of Israel with this message: 'I have brought you signs of my Mary, may Allah be pleased with her, is appo intment from your Lord. I will make conside red am ong the purest women for you the likeness of a bird f rom clay; I in the whole world . As for Jesus, peace will breathe into it and, with God's leave, it will become a living bird. I will heal the be upon him, God says in the Quran: blind and the lepers, and raise the dead to These are the Messengers (which We have life, by God's leave. Furthermore, I will sent for the guidance of mankind). We tell you what you have eaten and what you have exalted some above others. To some have stored in your houses. Surely these Allah spoke directly; others He raised in are the signs to convince you if you are AI-Qur'an 3:45-49 ranks; to Isa (Jesus) the son of Mary, We believers. gave Clear Signs and supported him with About the status of Jesus, peac e be the Holy Spirit. AI-Qur'an 2:253
    • u pon him, God sa ys : o People of the Book! Do not transgress the limits of your religion. Speak nothing but the Truth about God. The Messiah, Jesus the SOIl of M ary was no more than a Prophet of God and His Word (Be) which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit from Him (which took the shape of a child in her womb). So, believe in God and His Prophet and do not say: "Trinity" ." Stop saying that, it is betterfor you. God is only One Deity. He is far abovefrom the need of having a son! To Him belong all that is in the Heavens and in the Ea rth. God alone is sufficient for their protection. Al-Qur'an 4:1 71 While poin ting ou t th e innovation s an d cha nges m ade by th e Jew s an d Chris tians in th eir religions an d their claim ab ou t the di vinity an d crucifixion of Jesus, peac e be upon him, th e H oly Quran h as stated th e foll owing facts: They (Jews) went in their unbelief to such an extent that they uttered terrible slander against M ary. They even say: "We have killed the Messiah, lsa (Jesus), son of Mary, the Prophet of God." 'vVhereas in f act, neither did they kill him nor did they crucify him but they thought they did (because the matter was made dubious f or them). Those who differ therein are only in doubt. They know nothing abou t it but f ollow mere conjectures, for they were not sure that they did actually succeeded in killing Jesus. Nay! The fact is that God raised him up to Himself God is Mighty, Wise. There are none of the Peo ple of the Book but will believe in this before his death; and on the Day of Resurrection Jesus will bear witn ess against them. Al-Qur 'an 4: 156-159 On the Day of Jud gm ent Go d will ask Jesus, peace be up on him, to testify abo u t his own sta tem ents an d the mi sunder st andings a ttributed to him by the Ch ris tians; th is d ialo gu e is d ocum ented in th e Holy Quran in the follow ing wo rds: (On the Day of Judgment) God will ask: "0 Isa (Jesus) son of M ary, Did you ever say to the people, "worship me and my mother as gods beside Allah (God)?" He will answer: "Glory to You! How could I say what 1 had / 20 right to say? If I had ever said so, you would have certainly known it. You know what is in my heart, but I know not what is in Yours; for Yo u have f ull knowledge of all the unseen. I never said any thing other than what Yo u commanded me to say, that is to worship Allah (God), vVho is my Lord and your Lord. I was a witness over them as long as 1 remained among them; but when You recalled me, You were the Watcher over them and You are a Wi tness to every thing. If You punish them they surely are Yo ur servants; and if You forgive them, You are M ighty, W ise." A l-Qur'an 5: 116-118 Our Lord, do 110t let our hearts deviatefrom the truth. aft er you have guided us, and grant us Your OW I1 mercy; You are the Grantor oj bounties without measure. What is the Qur'an? Th e Qur'an is th e last w ord of God revealed to th e Prophe t Mu ha m ma d, p eace be upon him, th rough Angel Gabriel. It is the primar y source of Isl amic teac hings an d la ws. It d eals wi th th e w ho le of hum an life including the basi c beliefs of Islam, m or alit y,
    • worship, kn owledge, wi sdom, God ­ an d -man rel ationship an d re la tions with one another. Com prehe ns ive tea chings on which so u n d systems of social ju stice, p oliti cs, econom ics, leg islation, jurisp ru de n ce, law and international relati on s can be built form an important part of the Holy Quran. Th e Qu ran wa s revealed to the Prophet Muhammad , peace be upon him, from God gr adually on va riou s occasi ons ove r a 23 year period to answer certain qu est ion s, solve certain problem s, settle certain di sputes, an d to be man 's best guide to th e truth of God an d ete rn al happiness. Every lett er in th e Qu ran is the word of God . Reve aled in Arab ic, it is still and will remain in its original and com plete Ara bi c ver sion, bec ause God ha s m ad e it Hi s conc ern to pr eser ve th e Qu ran, to m ake it alw ay s th e best gu id e for m an , an d to safeg u a rd it against cor ru p tion . Th e Quran has 114 cha p ters called Su rahs, with over 6,000 ve rses . In testimon y to Go d's conservation, the Quran is the only Scripture in human hi story th at has been preserved in its com p lete and original ver sion w ithout the sligh tes t chang e in style or even punctu ati on. The h istory of recording the Quran, compiling its cha pters an d con serving its text is beyond an y doubt. Of all religiou s books, the Quran alone ha s remain ed unaltered , uned ited and un changed. Wh ether or not non -Muslim scho lars acce p t the Quran as th e word of God , they ar e unanim ous in the view th at its lan gu age an d its wording have rem ain ed in their or iginal form. Th is is unique to Islam. All other di vine books ha ve been ed ited , reh ash ed and revis ed by their votaries w ith th e pa ssage of time . As a matter of fact, it is suc h a s tan di ng miracle best owed on Muh ammad, p ea ce be upon him, th at if th e w ho le of mank in d we re to work together th ey could n ot p rodu ce th e like of one Quran ic chap ter. Th e Holy Qu ran is neith er only a b ook of law (th ou ghit contains the principl es of th e law s n ecessary for th e gui d ance of m ankind), n or me rely a book of sac red hist ory (tho ugh it con tains th e n ecessary sacred history). It is p re­ em in entl y a book th at manifests th e glory, gr eatness. grandeur, go odness, love, pu rit y, p ower an d knowl edge of God , th e Su preme Being. Thi s is the onl y bo ok that is m em ori zed by hundred s of th ou sands of Muslims. It is a living miracle that the whole book can b e memorized word for word with punctuation . Th e origin al and complete text of the Quran in Arabic an d tran slati ons of its m ean ing in m os t known lan guages are ava ilable in ma jor libra ries, Islamic cen ters and bookst ores. Within a sh or t peri od of tw enty­ three year s its injunction s swe p t aw ay the deep-rooted ev ils, like id olatry, d rinkin g, gamb ling, ad u ltery, fornicati on, child abuse, etc., from Ar abi a and any w here Islam spread. It erased all tra ces of vice s in the Ar abi an society and transformed ign or ant p eople into the for emost torchb earers of knowled ge and science. Every word of this Book gives expression to the
    • Divine Majest y an d Glory, and Power in a m anner which is not approached by an y other religious book. TIle Holy Quran has ch allenged ev eryone, who has a doubt in its revelation from God, to produce on e cha p ter like any ch ap ter of thi s Holy Book. No on e has been able do it. Does Islam recognize Science and Technology? Islam recognizes and en courages th e use of science and the scien tific methods. According to th e Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, acquisi tion of knowled ge is obli gatory on eve ry Muslim m an and woman . In Islam , scien ce an d technology shou ld be used for m oral en ds and serve all legitimate needs of m ankind . Moreover, both ar e view ed as ye t an othe r means to understand an d see th e power and glory of God . ~ ,1' ~ --- 1~~!f0:: );1' J,::;.7 t '::;'-j IJG • ...,:..;:;J...,:~t:i.& ~ is indeed the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is a witness over everything ? Al-Qur' an 41:53 Based on th e sa yin gs of th e Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the tea chings of th e Quran, Mu slims of th e early period of th e Islamic era be cam e pioneer s in medicine, che m istry, physics, arts, astronomy, navigation, poetry, geography, mathematics, logarithms, calcu lu s, ar chitecture, literature, and history. Islamic Architect: Taj Mahal- Agra ill India Arabic numer als, th e con cep t of zero (which is vital to the advancement of m athematics) and algebra were d ev eloped and transmitted from Islam ic states to Europe, which con tribu ted to the Renaissance of Europ e and world civiliza tion. Muslims also d eveloped sop histicated in struments like th e astrolab e, the quadrant and good navigational m aps. What is Worship in Islam? Read! Your Lord is the Most Gracious, Who taught by the Pen, taught man what he knew not. A l-Qur'an 96:3-5 Soon shall We show them Our signs in the universe and in their own souls, until it becomes clear to them that this Qur 'an In Islam ea ch an d ev ery acti on which is d one in accorda nce with God's commandment is w orship. Th erefore, doing a job, raising a famil y, in teraction with comm u nity ar e all acts of worship if done in accordance with God 's
    • commandments as acted upon and di rected by th e Prophet Muh am mad, pe ace be upon him. Islam requires the individual to submit h ims elf complet ely to Allah: forb id wrongdoin g and oppression, to p ractice ch a rity and justice and to se rve H im by se rving mankind . Th e Qu ran presents this su blime concep t in the following word s: "Say, sureLy my prayer, my sacrifice, my Life and my death are aLL for ALLah, the Lord of the worlds, He has no partners; thus 1 am commanded, and 1 am the first of the M uslims." A -Qur'an 6:162-163 "It is not righteousness that you tum your faces to the East or the West, but righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the AngeL and s the Book and the Prophets; and gives his wealth for L of Him to kinsfolk and to ove orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and sets slaves free; and observes proper worship and pays the Zakah. A nd those who keep their treaty iohen they make one, and they are patient in tribulation, adversity and time of stress; such are those who are sincere. Such are A I-Qur'an 2:177 the God-fearing." Inside of King Faisal Masjld Islamabad in Pakistan Masjid Quba First Mosque of the Prophet in Madinah, Saudi A rabia Th e natural re sult of th is submission is th at on e's action s sho u ld conform to the ins truc tions of th e One to Wh om the pe rso n is sub mitting . Islam re qu ires that its follow er s m odel th eir lives accor d in g to its teachings in ev ery respect. Islam d oes not teach ritualism. It places grea t em phasis on in ten tion an d action . To wo rship God is to love Him an d to act upon Hi s commands in eve ry asp ect of life, to enjoin go od ness and What are the Five Pillars of Islam? Eve ry ac tion d one w ith the aw areness that it ful fills the Will of Go d is cons ide red an act of worshi p in Islam . But five specific acts of worsh ip ter m ed as th e Pill ar s of Isla m p rovide the framework of Muslim 's spiritual life. These are: declar ation of Faith, Pr ayer s, Alms giving. Fas tin g and Pilgri mage to M ak kah for tho se who can afford to d o so physi cally and fin anci ally. 1. The Declaration of Faith: To say: La lIaha Illauohu Mu hl1l1lmlld-lir-Rllsoolll111 l1h
    • "Th er e is none wor th y of w orshi p except On e God (Alla h), and tha t M u ha m ma d is His m essen ger." p ar en ts, ch ild re n , an d th e rest of the w orld . It is called Shahadah (to b ear witness). This is to affirm th at God is One and th at M u ham mad, pea ce be upon h im , is one of H is Prophets. In other words, to m ak e a comm itm ent th at on e sha ll follow Go d's com mandments and th e exem p lary life of th e P ro phe t Muh am mad, peace be u p on him, in each an d every respect. 2. Prayers (Salat) are p rescribed five tim es a d ay as a d u ty tow ard s God . Sal at is the d irect link betw een the w orsh ip p er and Go d. Sal at and Za kat (2nd and 3r d p illa r of Islam ) have been m an d at ory in th e Sh ari'ah (laws) of all p rior p rophet s. The Holy Qu ran states th e ad d ress of Jes us, p eace be u p on him, to hi s people at hi s birth: Whereupon the baby (jesus) spoke out: NJ am indeed a servant of Allah. He has given me the Book (Gospel) and made me a Prophet. He has made me blessed wherever J may be. He has commanded me to establish Salah (prayer) and give Zakah (obligatory charity ) as long as I live. Al-Qur'all 19: 30-31 Salat (Pr ayer) is co m mand ed for sp iri tual eleva tio n of the in d ividu als. It p urifies th e heart an d con trols tem ptati on, wrongd oing, an d evi l. There is no p riesthood in Islam , so th e collec tive prayers are led by a learned person w ho knows the Quran, an d is chosen by th e congregation . Praye rs are offered th e way th e Pr op h et offered his p rayers. Prayers ar e said in Arabic which inclu d e: p raise to God, a few verses fr om th e H ol y Quran, sa luta tion to th e P rophet an d supp lica tio n for oneself, one's Prayers are o ffere d at d a wn, a fte rnoon , b efo re s un se t, after su nset and nightfall. A lthou gh it is p refer able to offer th e prayers in congrega tio n in a m osque, a Muslim can pra y a t h ome or an yw here, such as in offices , facto ries an d parks when it is the time to offer th e prayer. 3. Almsgiving (Zakat) m eans 'purification' an d it also means grow th . We alth is p urified through se tting asi de a specified portio n o f one's wea lth fo r the poor, n eedy, those who su ffer losses from inc id ents beyond th eir con tro l and th e general welfa re to es tablish econom ic balance and social jus tice in th e soc iety. Muslims ar e enco u raged to spen d in charity as much as th ey can beyond th e m an d at ory requiremen t of Za ka t w h ich is calle d Sadaqa h (vo lu n ta ry ch arity) . It is im p ort ant to no te that Zakat is on savings held for one full year and is n ot on th e m oney in circu lation . In other w ords Islam encourages th e Muslims to put th eir m oney in circ u la tion so th at ev eryone in th e com m un ity can benefit from it. Th ose w h o h ol d capital fro m circula tion ar e hurtin g th e p oor and the co m m u ni ty 's w elfare p rojects. Th er efore, The P r ophet M u hamma d
    • (peace be upon him ) ordered suc h per sons to pay a m inimum of on e fortieth (tw o and a ha lf p ercent) for th e p oor, n eedy an d com m u n ity we lfare proje cts. following th is m or al cod e d uri ng Ram adan , fastin g is re duced to sim ple starv ation w i th outbringin g any reward or sp irit ua l b en efit. Fas ting d evelops pati en ce, piet y, self -restra in t, Go d consc ious nes s, an d willpower to bea r hardship s. Its ob jective is to d evelop a com m u nity of God-cons cious people. I Zak at is an act of worsh ip for th e wealth of a belie ver and pla ys an import ant role in pr ovidin g fina n cial sta bility to th e com mu n ity.The Pr ophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, sa id: "Zaka h is th e tre asure of Islam ." On e of th e ma in reasons for povert y in th e Mu slim coun tries is neglectin g this pillar of Islam . 4. Fasting tSaunn) du ring the m onth of Ramad an : Th is m ean s abs tention from foo d, bev erages , an d sex from d aw n to suns et, a nd curbing evi l int ention s, desir es and ac tions. Thos e w ho are sick, on a journey, too old, an d wome n who ar e in m en st ru ation , pr egn ant or nursing are n ot required to observe the fastin g but are required to make u p th e mi ssed da ys later in the year. All those who are physically unabl e to ke e p the fast, th ey must feed a poor or need y p er son (mini m um of tw o m eal s tha t they wou ld ea t th em selves) for ev ery day mi ssed . It inculcates sy m pa thy for th ose who go hungry, an d increa ses love, sincerity, d evoti on an d obedience to God's comman dments. Fas ting requ ires the Muslims to live by the mo ra l code of Islam. Without It is the month of Ramadan in which the Qur'al1 is ieucaled, the Guidancefor I1wnkin d, clear prooj« ami the criterion of Right and Wrollg Surely, the noblest of yO Il ill the sight of A llah, is he who is the most righteous The close of th e m onth of Fasting is m arked by a festiva l called Eid­ al-Fitr wh ich is celebrate d throu gh givin g charity to poor pe ople in the com m u n ity an d congrega tiona l pra yer s. 5. Pilgrimage (Hajj) to M akk ah , once in a lifetime. It is an obliga tion only on th ose who are physicall y an d finan cially ab le to undert ak e the jou rney. Over tw o milli on p eopl e go to Ma kka h eac h yea r from almost all th e cou n tries of th e wo rld. In fact it is a p eace
    • conf erence at the world leve l. It is m eant to provide a m eeting place for Mu slims fro m the various part s of the wo rld to exch ange th e progress of Islam in their respective coun tries an d to su ggest to each othe r wo rking solu tions of their mutu al problem s. Over three million pilgrims in prayer daring Hajj in the valley of Amfat near Makkah Pilgrims ar e requ ired to wear specia l dress to strip away the distin ctions of class an d cu lture. It provides pra ctical train in g to kn ow th at th e who le of m an kind is a single b rot herhood, and that no on e has superiority over the other based on lan gu age, colo r, rac e and ethnic ba ckgr ound, excep t th rough p iety and righ teou sn ess. l'ilgrims during prayer around the Ka'bnh Haj j is p erform ed on the 9th day of the 12th month of Islam ic Ca lenda r called Z ul-H ijjah. Th e rites of H ajj in clu d e circling aro und th e Ka'bah seven tim es counter clockwise, wa lking and runn in g b etween th e tw o hills called Safa and M arwa as did Haga r, the w ife of the Prophet Abra ham, p eace be u pon h im , in search of wa ter for her baby Ishmael. Walking between the hills of Safa and M arwa daring pilgrimnge - a tradition ofiooman (wife of the Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him) The pi lgrims sta nd in p rayer togeth er in th e wide valley of Arafa t ncar the 'M oun t of Mercy' where Adam, p eace be u p on him, stood to repent for h is sin of d isobeying God as a res ult of w h ich he was expelled fro m paradise . God forgave his sin and now th e chi ldren of Adam stan d in the sa me pl ace to see k forg iveness for their sins. The close of Hajj is m arked by com m em ora tin g the tradition of the Prophet Abraham, p eace be u p on him, when he offered h is son Ishm ael , peace be u pon h im , in sacrifice to God an d God replaced his son wi th a lamb an d accep ted th at grea t sac rifice . God man dated the followers of Abra h am, peace be up on him , to sac rifice an animal on tha t day (10th of Z ul­ Hijjah, which is called Eid-al-Adha (Festival of Feast). It is celebrated with congreg ational prayers, sa cri ficing an anim al (lam b, goat, cow or camel) and the exchange of gifts in th e family an d Muslim comm uni ties all over the world .
    • What is the Ka'bah? The Ka'ban is the central place of wor ship for Mu slim s, locat ed in Makkah, Saudi Arabia . Thi s is the first Hou se of God built by Adam (pea ce be upon him ), the forefather of mankind. This place of worship was demolished during the great fl ood of Noah, peace be up on him , and rebu ilt by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishm ael, peace be upon them. This is a cube sh ape building in the cent er of sacr ed Mosqu e called Al-Masjid A i-Horaani. eve ryone sayin g: "0 mankind you are all the children of A dam and Adam was created f rom dust." Islam ha s laid down some fund am ental rights fo r humanity as a whole, which are to be respected under all circu m stan ces whether a person is a t peace with th e Isl amic st at e or a t w ar. It op p oses all tho se who ex plo it, op p ress an d deal unjustly with people. Th e Holy Quran very clearly st ate s: "0 believers! Be stead ast for the sake of f A llah and bear true witness and let not the enmity of a people incite you to do injustice; do justice; that is nearer to piety. Fear Allah, surely, Allah is f ully aware of all your actions." AI-Qu r'an 5:8 Free d om of ch oice is laid down in th e Quran, saying: Ka'bah ill the middle of Masjid-al-Haraam Thi s san ctuary can accom mo d a te over one million worshippers at a time. Every year ov er three million w orsh ip pe rs visit th e Ka'bah during Hajj and Umrah (pilgrimage at an ytime other th an th e tim e of H ajj). What are Human Rights in Islam? Islam clearly commands unqualified tole rance towards all human beings . In fact, Islam defend s humanity a ga in st all crim in al behavior including di scrimination. The life, honor an d property of all citi zens in an Islamic State are considered sacred. Islam does not seek to restri ct human rights or p rivileges to a geogra phical boundary. Th e Prophet Muhammad, p eac e be upon him, reminded "There is no compulsion in religion." AI-QIlr'an 2:256 Thi s principle is the ba sis for establishin g universal peace. Islam in teg ra tes races and colors and enc ourages tolerance, friendliness and com pa ssion among hum an beings. Thi s humanitarianism is ea sily di scerned in the gene ra l Islamic principl es. God says : "0 mankind! We created youf rom a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other)." A I-Qur'an 49: 13 Islam protect s all noble va lue s and human righ ts. Free d om, eq u ality, justice, and the right to life , lib ert y, an d secu rity of person ar e of prim e conce rn in Islami c law. "Whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the
    • earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of A I-Qllr'an 5:32 all mankind. . . rr • Pro tection of Religiou s Sen timen ts • Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment • The right to Basic Necessities of Life • Equality before l aw - Rulers are not above l aw • The right to participate in the Affairs of Sta te Good is the rewardfor the righteous people ill this world and the home of the hereafter will be evell better, an ti splen did will be the home for the righteous Islam places gre a t em p hasis on social ju sti ce an d does n ot permit to op press m en, wom en, child ren, old p eo ple, orphans, th e sick o r th e wounded. Women 's honor and cha stity ar e to be respected under a ll circumst an ces. Th e hungry p erson must be fed, the wou n ded an d sick must be provided m edical treatment irre sp ective of whether th ey b elong to the Muslim com m u n ity or fro m among the ene m ies . Human rights ha ve been gran ted by Go d, not by any king or legisl ative as sembly. N o legislative ass em b ly or govern me n t has the right or authority to amen d, ch ange or abro ga te th e ri ghts con ferr ed by Go d . These rights in clude: • • • • • • • • The Secur ity of Life and Prop erty The Protection of Honor Sanctity and Security of Priva te Life The Security of Person al Freedom The Right to Pro test Agains t Tyranny Freedom of Exp ression Freedom of association Freedom of Cons cience and Conv iction Hold fast to the rope of Allah all together and be not divided amollg yourselves The verd ict of th e Holy Quran is very clear an d unequi vocal: "Those who do not judge by what God has sent down, they are the disbelievers ... they are the transgressors ... they are the wrong doers." A l-Qur'an 5:44, 46 and 47 What does Islam say about Justice? Isl am stresses th e u se of ju sti ce, ev en if it be agains t one 's own int er est . H ere is what the H oly Quran sa ys abo u t ju sti ce: o believers! Stand firm for justice and bear true witness for the sake of A llah, even though it be against yourselves, your parents or your rela tives. It does not matter whether the party is rich or poor - Allah is the well wisher of both. So let not your self ish desires swerve you from justice. If you distort your testimony or decline to give it, then you should
    • remember that A llah is f ully aware of your actions. . rr A I-Q Hr 'an 4:135 o believers! Be steadfast f or the sake of A llah and bear true witness and let not the enm ity of a people incite you to do injustice; dojustice; that is nearer to piety. Fear A llah, surely, Allah is fu lly aware of all your actions. A I-Qur'an 5:8 "...Cooperate righteousness coopera te in Have fear of punishment." with one another tn and piety, and do not sin and transgression. Allah. Allah is stem in Al-Our'an 5:2 Isl am stan ds for peace and p eace can no t be achiev ed wi thout establishing ju sti ce. Th er efore , Islam requires all Muslims to strive for es tablish ing justice in the land . ~:qt~-~ ~ . ~t!~;;~~1:3 'J ~;",I w~", ';;'i;<"1 ,:: !;.:.! I ..) I;J.;i l j • .,;:.~ . • ~ ij ~~~ I .f"":;'..J Islam com m an ds Muslims to stan d up ag ains t injustice, op pression, poverty, and ignorance, racism , bigo try in tolerance eve rywh ere in th e wo rld . Without jus tice, rights are denied, victims ar e crea ted, ang er giv es way to an ar ch y a nd extremism in its different forms gains more gro un d. We ha ve had eno ug h wa rs, crimes, terro r and an ger in human hi st or y. N ow, it is time to id entify the root cau ses and find so lu tions w itho u t partiality and fav or itism . What is Jihad in Islant? In Isl am , pe ace is th e ru le w h ile wa r is the excep tion . Peace is a pr eamble to the principle of ha rm ony in the univer se, th e laws of life an d th e origin of m an, while w ar is th e res ult of viol ations of harmon y such as injus tice, desp otism an d corruption. Islam el iminat es almos t all reasons th at normally in cite war and abo lishes all wa rs for unju st gain an d op pre ssion . Jihad, which is often confused w ith figh ting an d war, actua lly m eans " to s truggle or to str ive. " Jihad is of three kinds. Th e first and primary for m of Jihad is 'Jihad A lan-Nate,' th e personal struggle again st on e's ow n shortcomings. Second is 'Jihad A lash­ Shai tiin, ' the str u ggle agains t the temptati ons of Satan . Thi rd is 'Jihad A lai- KlIf7~ ' th e stru gg le ag ains t those w ho d o n ot le t the Muslims liv e in accordanc e w ith the Com m an d me n ts of Go d (A llah) and the traditions of the Prop he t Muh ammad , peace be upon him. Un der thi s ca tegory of Jih ad Islam allo ws th e fightin g in self-defense and in defen se of reli gion or on th e pa rt of th ose w ho h a ve been ex pe lled forc ibly fro m th eir h omes. Islam con de m ns fighting which is based on: • Racism, as con trary to the principles of the oneness of human ity. • Ambiti on and exploitation . It does not permit wa r which aims at cap tu ring market s, acqu iring materi als or exp loiting h um an labor an d resour ces. In fact, Islam looks at humanit y as one big cooperative family and a part of a univers al un ity. It orda ins all believ ing peopl e to coop erate in realizin g uni ver sal welfare and in abs taining from doing wrong. Islamic jur isp rudence pro mis es all hu mans absolut e equa lity and justice
    • regardless of race, sex, or creed . • Ostentation, the purpose of wh ich is to magnify the p ride and pom p of kings . Islam allows figh ting as th e last resort whe n h u ma n rights ar e vio la ted, propagation of God 's M essage to man kind is obs truc ted an d d ipl omat ic solutions have failed to solve th ese oppressions. Islam lays d own strict rul es of com ba t an d prohibits h ar ming civ ilians , m onks, pri ests, nuns, old people, wom en an d you ng ch ild ren who a re un abl e to fight. Islam also p rohib its dest roying th e cro ps, tre es, livestock an d looting which usu all y follows conquest: "Fight in the cause of God with those who fight against you, but do not transgress the limits. God does not like the transgressors." A I-Qur 'an 2:190 "If your enemy is inclined towards peace, do make peace wi th them, and put your trust in God. He is the One Who hears all and knows all." AI-Qur'an 8:61 What is Hijaab (Islamic Dress Code)? except what normally appears thereof let them draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their adornment except to their husbands, theirfathers, theirfathers­ in-law, their own sons, their stepsons, their own brothers, their nephews on either brothers' or sisters' sides, their ow n womenfolk, their own slaves, male attendants who lack sex ual desires or small children who have no carnal knowledge of women. Also enjoin them not to strike theirfeet in order to draw attention to their hidden trinkets. And 0 believers! Turn to Allah in repentance, all of you (about your past mistakes), so that you may attain salvation." A l-Qur 'an 24:30-3 1 Islam requires both m en and women to dress sim p ly, m od estl y, and with di gnity. A man must alwa ys wear loo se and unrevealing clothes from his n av el to h is knee. Thi s is th e abso lu te m inimum covering required . He must n ever, for exa m p le, go ou t in public wear ing a short whi ch d oes not m eet th e minimum requirem ent. A wom an must cove r all h er bod y with loose an d unrevealing clothing exce pt her face an d hands. When leaving the h ome she People usuall y discuss 'h ijaab' in th e con text of women. H ow ever, th e Q u ran, firs t m ention s hijaab (d ress code) for m en before h ijaab (d ress code) for the wo men : "Enjoin the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that is chaster for them. Surely, A llah is well aware of their actions." Then th e hijaab for wom en m enti oned in th e next verse: is "Likeunse, enjoin the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty; not to display their beauty and onJaments sh ou ld also cove r h er hair ob scuring th e details of her body from the public. The wisdom beh ind th is dress cod e is to minimi ze sex u al e nticeme n t and degradation in society as much as possible for b oth m en an d w om en. In men's clothing an d adorn me n t,
    • Islam se rio us ly cons iders the principles of decency, m odesty, ch astity an d manliness. Any clothin g or adornmen t inco mpat ibl e w ith the a ttai n me n t, m ain tenance an d develop ment of th ese qualities are proh ibited in Isla m . Cloth ing m at erial s, w hic h s tim u la te arrogance or fal se pride, are strictly p rohibited. Th is is the reason why Islam wa rns men n ot to u se certai n clo thing m at eri al s, su ch as p ure silk, an d wearing cer tain adorn me n t, su ch as go ld . Th e Islamic d res s cod e ap p lies to both wo me n an d men. It sets expecta tions of m oral an d respectfu l in teractions between the gen ders. As a result both men and wo me n are liberat ed from their baser instin cts to focus on hi gh er pu rsu its. Islamic dress takes on m an y beau tifu l for ms, reflecting cul tura l di versity fro m all over the world . Is lam allows wo man to u se those th in gs w h ich are forb id den fo r m en bu t ar e sui tab le for the fem in ine nature. Wh en a girl reaches the age of puberty, she shou ld cover her bo dy except face an d hands. Th e m anner in which wo men sho u ld d ress, beautify, wa lk, tal k an d eve n look is a very d elicat e question, and Isl am pa ys speci al attention to the matter. Islam teac hes th at the cons equences of im modesty fall not on ly on the in di vidual but also upon the soc iety tha t pe rm its wo me n and men to mingle freel y, dis play them selves, and com pet e or all u re one an other through sexual attrac tion. How does Islam view family life? Family in Islam is the fou nd ation of society. The fam ily pro vid es sec urity an d op portunity for th e sp iritua l an d m at e rial grow th of its mem bers. The fam ily bond entails m u tual expecta tions of righ ts and ob liga tio ns tha t are prescribed by relig ion, en forced by la w, an d observed by th e family members. Accordingly, th e fa mi ly members share cer tain m u tual com m itm ents. These per tai n to id entity and p ro vision , inherit an ce an d cou nsel, affec tio n for the yo ung an d sec uri ty for th e ag ed, and m aximi zati on of effort to ens ure th e fam ily con tinu ity in peace. Ch ild re n are considered to be th e main treasu re of the fami ly. Say: "0 my l.ord! Forgive, have Mercy; You are the Best of those who show mercy! " M u tu al alliance, clien tele, private consen t to sex ual intim acy, and "comm on law " or " trial m arr iages" are not acceptabl e in Is lam . Islam bu ild s the fam ily on so lid groun ds to provide reasonabl e conti nuity, true sec u ri ty, an d m ature intim acy. Islam recognizes tha t there is no m ore n a tu ral rel ati on ship th an th a t of blood , an d n o m ore wholesome pa tte rn of sex ua l in tim acy th an on e in w hi ch mo ra lity and gra tification ar e join ed . Islam recogni zes th e religiou s vi r tue, th e socia l n ecessi ty, an d th e moral advantages of m arriage. Th e norma l course of beha vior for th e M us lim individual is to be fam ily orien ted an d to seek a fami ly of th eir own. There are m an y passages in the Qu ran an d sta tements by the Prop he t
    • Muhammad, peace be upon him, wh ich go as far as to say th at when a Mu slim m arries, he or sh e h as th er eb y per fected h alf of th eir religion; so let th em b e Go d-conscio us an d car eful with th e other h alf. Mu slim scho la rs ha ve in terpreted the Quran to mean th at marriage is a rel igiou s duty, a m oral sa feg ua rd, an d a social com mit me n t. As a re ligious duty, it mus t b e fulfilled ; but like all other duties in Islam, it is enjoined on ly up on tho se who are capable of m eetin g th e resp on sibilit ies in volved. What is the Status of Women in Islam? Islam regards m an an d wo ma n as tw o comp onents of hum anity, one com p leting the o ther. Wom an is h alf of hum ani ty and m an is the other h alf. Both play a p art in p erformin g th e fun ctions of humanity and, in fac t, one without the other is incomplete and can no t fu n ction p ro perl y for th e purposes of hum an ity. Thus, both ar e com p leme ntary as well as su p ple me nta ry to one ano ther in life. Any p ro gr am of life ign ori n g on e of th ese com p on en ts, m an or woman, w ill be d efective and in com plete. There fore , it is not pr actical to form a socie ty consistin g of on ly wome n or onl y m en . Th ey are d ep en d ent on ea ch othe r, m an cannot b ecom e ind ep endent of woma n, nor can woman ever liv e a full an d com plete life w itho u t ma n . Bo th n eed ea ch other, no t on ly for sexu al relationship, but also for em oti on al satisfaction, as well as for companions h ip . The typ e of know ledge th at is m ost em pha size d is religious kn owl ed ge. It is also req u ired within a society to h ave profession als of bo th ge n de rs availabl e for th e ben efit of the public; su ch as d octors, teacher s, co unselors, so cial worke rs . In Islam , a wo ma n h as th e right to ow n, inheri t and di spose of her propert y as she likes. At th e tim e of m arriage d owry given by groom to th e br id e is for h er p ersonal use and she keeps h er own fam ily n ame rather th an takin g h er husb and's. She h as the right to vo te an d voice h er op inion even in th e affairs of go vern m en t. Go d enjoins good con d u ct toward wo m en fr om b irth to death . Verb al, psychological, emotiona l, sexua l, and physical violence are forbi d den , as a re false allegations against w om en 's ch as tity an d honor. God h as d eclar ed in the H oly Quran : n Anyone who does righieou» deeds, whether a male or afemale - provided he or she is a believer - shall enter paradise and no injustice will be done to them, even to the size of a speck." A I-Qur'an 4:124 What is Marriage in Islam? In Islam m arriage is a simp le legal con tract b etween a m an and a woman to live together as husb and and w ife. In thi s contract ei ther pa rty is free to in clude con di tions. A Muslim girl cann ot b e forced to m ar ry aga inst her will; pa ren ts Sim p ly sugges t a you n g m an tha t th ey think may be su itable for h er, an d sh e is free to choose. See kin g kn owled ge is the obligation of every Mu slim, m ale or female. Ma rr iag e is s tro n gly encou rage d and is based on mutual love and resp ect. It 24
    • is both a leg al ag ree ment and a sac red bond . Go d has com man de d in th e H oly Qu ran: "Get the singles among you married as well as those who are f it for marriage anzong your male slaves andf emale slaves. If they are poor, A llah will make them free from want out of His grace: for A llah has boundless reso urces and is A ll-Knowing." A I-Qur'an 24:32 "And of His signs is that He crea ted for you mates f rom among yourselves that you may find comfort with them, and He planted love and mercy for each other in your hearts; surely, there are signs in this for those who think about it." A l-Qur'an 30:21 A woman has th e same right to own proper ty, ea rn weal th and spe nd it as a m an h as. H er wea lth d oes n ot bec ome the prop ert y of her husb an d after m a rri age or di vorce. A wo ma n d oes not h ave to change her las t name as a result of ma rr iage. Husbands an d wi ves are p rotectors of ea ch othe r. Th ey are eq ual p artners and best of friend s, rem aining fai thfu l to one ano th er. The husb and provides, m aintains, p rotects and is resp on sibl e for the fam ily. H e fulfills hi s duties wi th con sultation and kindness. If cou p les are un abl e to live wi th' one an other p eacefully, ami cabl e d ivorce is permi tted as a last resort. Divorce, ev en th ou gh perm itted an d sim p le, is no t common in Mu slim fam ilies . In case of di vorce mother s are give n priority in th e custo dy of yo ung ch ildren an d th e father is required to provide chi ld support. Th e Pro phet Muhammad , peace be u p on hi m , h as said : "The best among the believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife." Why is 'More than One Wife' permitted in Islam? Islam is for all societi es an d for all tim es to com e, th erefore, it accommod ates va rio us different social re quiremen ts. To h ave m or e than one w ife is neither m and atory nor enco uraged, but m er ely permitted . The reason for p ermission to marry more th an on e is com passion an d support toward wi dows an d orphans . Even in suc h a situ ation, the p ermi ssion is far more res tricted th an th e norm al practice, w hic h exis ted at th e tim e of th e Prophe t, peace be upon him, among the Ar abs and o ther p eopl e who married as m any as ten or mo re w ives . Dealing justly with on e's wives is an obliga tion . Th is appl ies to h ou sin g, food, cloth in g an d kind trea tment. If one is not sure of being a ble to deal ju stl y wi th m or e th an one, th e Q ur 'an says: "Then (marry) only one." A I-Qur'an 4:3 Th ere was n o restriction on m arriages before thi s commandm ent. Th is comm an d m ent pu ts a rest riction on th e number of w ives eve n in exceptiona l cases. The requi rement of justi ce between the wives ruled out the fanta sy that a m an can h ave as many w ives as h e pleases. Go d -consc ious m en d o n ot marry more than one if they are unabl e to d o just ice bet ween th em . Th at's why m ore than one wife is an excep tion among Muslim s and n ot a gene ra l rul e. M arr iage in Isla m is a legal con tract an d it is not valid unless both con trac ting parties conse n t to it. Thus no wom an can be forced or " give n" to a man wh o is alre ady m arri ed aga inst her will.
    • What does Islam say about Parents and the Elderly? reach old age , Muslims are required to treat the m with m ercy, kindness and sel flessne ss . All elderly p eopl e of the com m u ni ty enjoy the sim ilar respect an d h onor. Islam puts grea t em phasis on the s tatus and honor of p ar ents and elderly folk. Parents ar e nex t on ly to God Almighty when it comes to resp ect, obedience a nd h onor. Go d says in th e Q uran : "Your Lord has decreed to you that: You shall worship none but Him, and yOIl shall be kind to your parents; if one or both of them live to their old age in your lifetime, yOlt shall not say to them any word of contempt nor repel them and you shall address them in kind words. YO li shall lower to them your wings of humility and pray: '0 Lord! Bestow 011 them YOllr blessings just as they cherished me when I was a little child.' Your Lord knows best what is i11 your hearts. If .110 11 do good deeds, certainly He is most f orgiving to those who tum to Him in repentance." AI-Qur'an 17:23-25 God d id n ot give an yone a choice to se lect ch ildren or p arents. This cho ice is m ad e by God H imself, th erefor e, H e wan ts eve ryone to h on or H is cho ice by putting the re qu iremen t of obeyin g the paren ts im med ia tely after commanding the human bein g to obey H im . H e has com manded th e believers to be k ind to th eir paren ts and m ake a p rayer of forgiveness for their parents, their ch ildren an d believe rs at large. In Islam, ther e is n o ro om for nursing h om es for elde rly peop le. Takin g care of the eld erly is consi de red an honor and blessin g. Mo th ers are par ticul arly honor ed ; th e Prophet, peace be upon h im , sa id: "Paradise lies under th e feet o f yo ur m other." Serving one's parents is a duty secon d only to p rayer, and it is th eir ri gh t to exp ect it. Wh en p aren ts Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and all believers a ll the Day when acco untability W Ill take place. M others h ave a sp ecial pl ace of h on or a nd resp ect in Isla m . A m an once came to th e Prophe t Muhammad, peace be up on him, an d asked: "0 Messenger of God! Who among the p eople is m ost worthy of m y good comp ani on sh ip?" The Prophet, peace be u p on h im, rep lied : " Your m oth er." Th e m an then asked who is next, the Prophet, peace be upon him, replied "You r mother." The man repea ted th e question a th ird time and go t th e same answer. The ma n aske d on ce aga in, "Who is next? On ly th en did the Prophet, peace be upon him , said "Your father." What does Islam say about Food? Science tells us tha t wh atever on e ea ts, it h as an effect on one 's beh avior. This is one of th e reasons that Islam proh ibits the eati ng of carnivorous anim als like lion, tiger, leop ard , etc. who are vi olent an d ferocious . Th e cons u mp tion of th e meat of suc h ani mals wo uld proba bly make a person vi olent and fero ciou s. Islam only allows th e ea ting of herb ivor ous ani mals like cow, goa t, sheep, w h ich are peaceful an d d ocile.
    • The Pro phet, peace be upon hi m, prohi bited th e ea ting of wil d animals with canine tee th and mea t eatin g carnivorous animals such as lio ns, tige rs, cats, d ogs, wo lfs, and hyenas and cer tain ro dents lik e m ice, rats, an d rab bits w ith claws. Also reptiles like snakes and alliga tors. Bird s of prey w it h talons or claws, like vu ltures, eagle, crows an d ow l are also prohi bited. Islam re quires tha t in order to m aintain a pure hea rt an d a so und m ind, to nourish an asp irin g so u l an d a clean heal th y body, sp ecia l a ttentio n shou ld be giv en to th e di et on which m an lives. Th e ge neral princ ip le of Isl am in thi s respect is th at all those things, w h ich are pu re and good for m en and w om en, are lawful, as long as th ey are taken in moderate qu antities. A n d all th ose th ings, which are impure, ba d or harm fu l, are unlawful under all ordi nary circ umstances. Ther e is a lways roo m and tl exib ili ty for excep tio ns to m eet cases of a bso lute necessity. ... Beyond th is genera l p rin cip le, th ere are cer tain foods and d rinks specified by Go d as forbidd en . Among these are : m eat of d ead ani mals and bir ds, th e fles h of swine an d tha t of an y ani mal which is slaughtered with the invocatio n of an y name ot her than th at of God . The Prophet said : "Your body ha s rig hts over yo u ," and at another tim e he sai d, "No on e is given any gift better than health ." Wholesome food and leadi n g a h ea lth y life sty le are considered religio us ob liga tion s, The drinks which Islam considers ha rm ful and destruc tive to the human sp irit an d m ora lity as well as to th e physique are in cluded in the Quranic verse w hic h for bid s all intoxicants an d all forms of gambling or games of chance. What does Islam say about Intoxicants and Gambling? In the proh ib itio n of in tox ica n ts an d ga m bling, Islam stan ds uniq ue among all religions and am ong all sys tems. "0 believers! Intoxicants and gambling (games of chance), dedication to stones (paying tribute to idols) and using arrows (for seeking luck or decision) are the filthy works of Satan. Get away from them, so that you may prosper. Satan desires to stir up enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling, to prevent you from the remembrance of A llah and from Salah (prayers). W ill you not abstain? Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and abstain from these things. If you do flat , then you should know that Our Messenger's duty is only to convey My message clearly." A l-Qur'an 5:90-92
    • Th ese vices have ruined innumerable liv es, sha tte re d multitudes of homes, and cau sed more mi ser y to m ankind th an all other vices pu t togeth er. In Islam, drinking alcohol is a serio us crime. A drunkard in intoxication is d eprived of m akin g th e distinction b etween right and wrong, virtue an d vice, good an d evil. Hi s action s can result into en m ity and h atred , which di sturb the p eac e an d tranquillit y of the society. Gamblin g is a lso a sin w h ich d estroys w ealth . Th ese m or al vices are injurious to the hea lth y atmosphere of the society. What Islam says about Business Interaction? God h as provided gu ida nce ab out all aspects of human life including bu siness in teraction. H er e is what th e Holy Q uran say s ab out business tr ansaction s: "0 believers! When you deal with each other in lending for a fixed period of time, put it in writing. Let a scribe write it down with justice between the parties. The scribe, who is given the gift of literacy by A llah, should not refuse to write; he is under obligation to write. Let him who incurs the liability (deb tor) dictate, fearing A llah his Rabb and not diminishing anythin g from the settlement. if the borrower is mentally unsound or weak or is unable to dictate himself let the guardian of his interests dictate for him with justice. Let two iuitneseesfrom among you bear witness to all such documents, if two men cannot be found, then one man and two women of your choice should bear witness, so that if one of the women f orgets any thing the other may remind her. The witnesses must not ref use when they are called upon to do so. You must not be averse to writin g (your contract) for a f uture period, whether it is a small matter or big. This action is more just for you in the sight of Allah, because it establishes stronger evidence and is the best way to remove all doubts; but if it is a common commercial transaction concluded on the spot among yourselves, there is no blame on you if you do not put it in writing. You should have witnesses when you make commercial transactions. Let no harm be done to the scribe or witnesses; and if you do so, you shall be guilty of transgression. Fear A llah; it is A llah that teaches you and A llah has knowledge of everything." Al -Qur'an 2:282 What is the concept of God in Islam? Islam tells u s th at God, Who crea ted the whole of univer se, is One. His personal n ame is A llah. N othing else can be called Allah. The term ha s no plural gender. Th is sh ow s its uniqueness as compared to th e term ' god,' w hich can be m ade plural, gods or feminine, goddess. Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth To a Muslim Allah is th e Almighty, Cre a tor an d Susta ine r of the u niverse, Who is sim ilar to nothing and nothing is com p arable to Him.
    • H e depends on n on e but eve ry th in g else, which exists, d ep ends on Him; neither h as H e begotten an y ch ild nor is H e Hi m self the chi ld of anyone. Th ere is n o on e else th at can be sai d to be p arallel or eq u al to Him. He is the first, an d He is the Last. He is the ult im at e go al of all that ex ists in thi s univers e. Th e uniqu e belief in th e One God (Allah) is a reflection of Islam 's emph asis on the purity of the belief in Go d , which is the essence of th e m essa ge of all His Prophets. Because of this, Islam considers ass ocia ting an y deity or pe rson ality with God as a d eadl y sin, w hic h Go d w ill neve r for give, despite th e fact th at H e m ay forgive all oth er sins. 'f Surely, A llah does not forgive shirk (asso ciating any partner with Him); and may forgive sins other than that if He so pleases. This is because one, who commits shirk with Allah, does indeed invent a A I-Qur'an 4:48 great siniu l lie. Surely A llah will never forgive the one who commit s shirk (worships anyone other than Him); and may forgive anyone else, if He so pleases. One who commits shirk has indeed gone far away from the Right Way. Al -Qur 'an 4:116 Say: "He is Allah the One and Only; A llah is the Self-Sufficient (independent of all, while all are dependent on Him); He begets not, nor is He begotten (he has no child, nor is He a child of anyo ne); and there is none comparable to Him." A l-Qur 'an 112:1-4 , ~ . Islam rejects characterizing God in any human for m or d epi ctin g H im as favoring certain in d ividuals or n ations on th e basis of w ealth, power or ra ce. H e cre ated all human bein gs as equals . Th ey may di st in gu ish th em selves an d ob tain H is favor onl y th rough vi rtue and p iety. The con cep t th at Go d res ted on the seventh d ay of cre ation, th at Go d wr estl ed with one of H is sold iers, that God is an en vio us p lotter aga ins t mankind, or that God is in carnat e in an y human being are consid ered blasphemy from the Islami c point of view. He (Allah) has power over every thing God ha s th e power to do whatever He w ills. H e is Ever -Liv ing. H e is the Give r of life. Th e Love of God for Hi s creatu res is immense and beyond hum an ima ginati on . Manki nd canno t measure or coun t the favors of Go d . He creates men an d wo me n in the best form of cre ation and gives th em all th e se nses and faculties th at they ne ed for thei r growth. H e creates
    • th e m in d to understand, the so u l an d conscience to be goo d an d righteou s, and th e feelings an d sen time n ts to b e kind and humane. Th e m er cy of Go d gives m en an d w omen hope and p eace, cou rage and con fid en ce. It ena bles them to remedy their grief and sorrows, to overcome their diffi culties and obtain success an d happiness. Ind eed, th e m er cy of C od reliev es the di stressed , che ers the afflicted, consol es th e sick, strength ens th e d esperate, an d com forts the ne ed y. God m ean s to help m an to fulfill the purpose of life an d realize the go al of exis ten ce. He means to help him to learn the creative art of living and enjoy th e go od taste of life acco rd in g to Di vine gu ida n ce. Life is a trust from C od, an d m en an d women ar e trustees who should handle th is tru st with consc ious ness of responsibility to Him. What is the concept of Life in Islam? Life is a b rilli ant d emonstration of God's wi sd om and kn owledge, an d a vivid reflecti on of Hi s art and pow er. H e is th e Civer and Crea tor of life. No thing com es in to exist en ce by chan ce. Life is a d ear an d cherishab le asset, an d n o sens ib le or n orm al p erson would like to lose it by choice. Life is give n to mankind by Cod, and He is the onl y Rightful Owner to take it back. Thi s is w hy Islam forbids all kinds of suic ide an d self-de struc tion, and recommend s patienc e an d good faith when a dear soul p asses aw ay. When a murder er is exe cu ted in p unishment, hi s life is tak en away by the right of Go d and in accor d ance with Hi s Law. It is a traged y th at the secu lar and the religious, th e scien tific and th e spiritual seem to be in confli ct in secu lar soc ieties . Islam puts an end to th is con flict an d brings harm on y in all these asp ects of human life. When God giv es life to m en an d w omen, it is no t in va in th at He endows them wi th unique qualities and gr eat abilities. N or is it in vain that He ch arges them with certain ob ligations. W e have indeed created mall in the best stature Life may be liken ed to a journey st arting fr om a cer tain point and ending at a cer tain d estination. It is a transi tor y sta ge, an introduction to th e Etern al Life in the Hereafter. In this journey, m en an d wom en ar e traveler s an d shou ld be conce rned with on ly what is of us e to th em in the Future Life. In other words, th ey shou ld do all th e good the y can an d make themselves fully prep are d to m ove an y minute to Eternal Life. The y shou ld con sider thei r life on earth as a ch ance provided for them to make the b est of it while they can, becau se when their tim e to leave com es the y can n ever d ela y it for on e moment. If their term exp ires, it will be too lat e to d o an ything ab out it or ex tend it. The best u se of life, th er efore, is to live it accordin g to th e teachings of Cod an d m ak e it a safe p assage to th e fu ture Eternal Life. Islam h as laid d own a
    • compl ete sy stem of regulations an d principles to sh o w man how to live it, what to tak e and what to leave, w h a t to do an d what to shun, and so on. In one of hi s comprehensiv e statem en ts Prophet Muhammad, pea ce be upon him, wi sely ad vised m an to cons ider himself a stranger in thi s life or a tr aveler pa ssing through this world. , .. Wha t is the concept of Life after Death in Islam? Man's life is not lim ited to th e short span of ea rth ly existence. Thi s world w ill come to an end some da y, and th e d ead w ill rise on th e Day of Judgment to s tan d for th eir fina l and fair trial. Every one will a p pe ar befor e th e Almighty God and face th e con sequences of th eir deeds d on e in thi s life. Thus, life in th e H er eafter is a con tinua tio n of th e ea rthly life but different in n ature . Our Lord! Give us the good life, both ill this world and ill the Hereaft er and save us from the torment of the fire. Everythin g we d o in thi s world, ev ery in tention we ha ve, every move we m ake, ev ery th ought we en ter tain, and every word w e say, are all coun ted and kept in accurate records. On th e Da y of Judgm ent, the y will be brought forth . People with go od records w ill be gen erou sly rewarded and warmly welcomed to the Paradise of God, an d th ose with bad record s will be punish ed an d cas t into H ell. Th e real na lure o f Paradise or H ell, and th e exa ct descripti on of them ar e kn own to God only. Th ere are d escriptions of Paradise and Hell in th e Quran. In Paradise, said the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, ther e ar e things, whi ch no eye has ever seen, no ea r has eve r h eard, an d no min d ha s ev er conc eived . Belief in Life afte r Death and man's accou n ta bility to God gives a se ns e and meaning to on e's life and differentiates human beings from animals . In fact , if th ere is n o life aft er death, the very belief in God becomes irrelevant because God w ould be unjust and indifferent; ha ving created human beings not concerned w ith cruelty, corr u p tion, ag gression an d inju sti ce tha t is going on in thi s world. God is ju st. H e will punish those who are re sponsible for killing inno cen t p eople, cre a tin g corruption in the societies, en slavin g tho usan ds' to serve their whims. Punishment and reward equ al to th e evil or no ble d eed s of p eopl e are n ot p ossible in this sh or t sp an of worldly life. Life aft er d eath will be etern al an d it will be possibl e to reward or punish th e persons to th e full exten t that the y d eserve, th erefore, b elief in the ' Life after De ath' serv es as a reminder against crime, corr u ption, immorality, and injusti ce on thi s earth . What is the concept of Sin in Islam? One of the maj or troublesom e area s of human existence is th e pr oblem of sin or evil in th e world. Th e belief th at the first sin started with Ad am an d Eve during their life in the Garden of Eden.
    • That even t led to th eir fall an d has ever since branded the hum an race with gu ilt, sti gma, an d bewild erment. Islam tak es a u n iqu e position on the whole issue. The Quran states that Adam and Eve w ere directed by God to resid e in the Gar de n of Eden and enjoy its produ ce as they pleased, assured of bountiful supplies and comfort. The y w ere w arned not to ap pro ach a particul ar tree and not to follow the footsteps of Sa tan so that they would not run into h arm and injustice. Satan in trig ue d th em to temptation and cause d th em to for get God's prohibition, and ther efor e, to lose thei r joyful state. TIley were expelled from the Gard en an d br ou ght down to earth to live , die, and be tak en out again for the final Jud gm en t. Ha ving realized what th ey had d on e, they felt sha me, guilt, an d rem orse. TIl ey prayed for God 's for giveness an d were forgi ven. The id ea of O rigina l Sin or h ereditary crimin ality h as n o pl ace in th e teachings of Islam . Man , accordin g to the Qu ran an d to the Prophet, is born in a n atural state of purity called fitrah (nature), which is Islam or submission to th e w ill an d law of God . After that, whatever becomes of man is th e res u lt of ex terna l in fluen ces and in tru d ing factor s. A p erson is innocent until he grows to an age when he can di stinguish Right from Wrong. Th e home envi ro nmen t is crucial and it pl ays a decisive role in the formation of human pe rso nality and th e development of m oral character. Thi s does not d en y the in dividu al his or her freedom of choice nor exempt him or her from respon sibility, rather it is a relief from heavy burd en of hereditary criminality or in stinctual sin. According to th e moral scale of Islam , it is not a sin to be imperfect or fallib le. Thi s is part of human n ature as a finit e limited creatu re. But it is a sin if a p er son h as the ways and means of relati ve perfec tion and chooses n ot to see k it. A sin is any act, thought, or will th at is: 1. Deli bera te 2. Defies the un equivocal law of Go d 3. Viola tes th e rig hts of God or th e rights of m an 4. H a rm ful to the soul or body 5. Norm ally avo id ab le 6. Co m mi tted rep eatedly These are th e components of sin, wh ich are n ot innate or hereditary. It is true th at men and women h av e th e pot ential of sin latent in them , but thi s is n ot be yond their capacity of pi et y an d goo dne ss. If th ey choose to actualize the po ten tial of sin, ins tead of th e p otential of good ness, th ey will be ad d ing a n ew ex ternal elem en t to thei r pure nature. For this added ex terna l eleme n t man alone is responsible . o A llah! 1 ask You to provide me a good life and let me die 0 /1 the Right Path Allah has told the Greatest Trut h
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