"Beginners' Manual on Islam" (2) Complete Pages 1 139


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"Beginners' Manual on Islam" (2) Complete Pages 1 139

  1. 1. Chapter 1 I NTRODUCTION - I SLAM “ The way of life before God is Islam (peaceful submission to His Will) Nor did the people of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the signs of God, God is swift in calling to account. “ (Qur’an : Al-Imran 3:19) What is Islam? Islam is a complete way of life. It is the religion provided by the Creator of the Universe for all mankind. Its teaching and guidance cover all aspects of a person’s life. Islam tells us the purpose of our creation, our destiny and our place among other creatures and creations. It shows us the best way to conduct our private, social, political, economic, moral and spiritual affairs of life. Meaning of the word “Islam”? The word “Islam” in Arabic means complete submission and obedience. “Submission” is acceptance of God’s commands and “obedience” means putting God’s commands into practice. Therefore a person who accepts the Islamic way of life is called a “Muslim”, which means “a person who submits and obeys Allah’s will by doing what is enjoined and refraining from that which has been forbidden”. Beginners' Manual on Islam 1
  2. 2. The word “Islam” also means peace from the root word ‘(SLM). It is the way of peace and harmony. If we look around we see that everything including the sun, the moon, the stars, the mighty ocean, etc. are obeying a Law - the Law of God, the Creator. We find no disorder or chaos in them. A superb harmony and perfect order is evident in the system of nature. It is by their being subservient to that Law and Will of the Creator that we see everything in balance and harmony, peace and tranquility. By this sign it is obvious that for mankind to attain peace and tranquility, he has to do likewise - to obey the natural laws of the Creator. But Man has been created different from the rest of creation. He has a free will and has been created in the best of form, bestowed with the ability to think and reason, and with this he has the responsibility of choosing between what is right and what is wrong. Therefore to help mankind, Allah has revealed His laws and guidance through His Messengers and Prophets. They invite mankind to this Way of Life of submission and obedience to the Will of Allah, so that mankind may fulfill their true function as the representatives of God on earth. Islam teaches mankind all that they need to know to be truly successful - here in this world as well as in the hereafter. This way of life was the religion preached by all the prophets and messengers of Allah, and it was perfected and completed as a total way of life by Allah’s final messenger, the seal of the Prophethood, Muhammad (pbuh). It is the natural religion for mankind and the only religion accepted by Allah. Brief history of Muhammad (pbuh) 1 - the Seal of Prophethood The message of Islam has been brought to mankind through various prophets and messengers of Allah since the beginning 1 (pbuh) means "peace & blessings of God be upon him"- a respectful address whenever the messenger's name is mentioned. Beginners' Manual on Islam 2
  3. 3. of the history of mankind. Unfortunately, the teachings of these earlier messengers were either lost or were changed by subsequent generations, thereby deviating from the true original message. Thus it was necessary for mankind to receive the last of Allah’s messengers, Muhammad (pbuh) who was given the Qur’an (the final Book of Revelations) and with it, he re-established Islam and perfected it. He was born in Makkah in 571 C.E. into the Quraish tribe of Banu Hashim, who were direct descendants from the Prophet Abraham through his first son, Prophet Ishmael (peace be upon them) . He received his first revelation when he was forty years of age in a cave of Hira, about 3 miles from Makkah. For the next 23 years, he preached the message of Islam and was able to transform the whole of Arabia from the worship of idols to the worship of the One true God. His message of Islam was not just meant for the Arabs but for the whole universe, and it spread to all parts of the world. It provides solutions to all the world’s problems and it unifies all people into one universal brotherhood of Islam. The most significant contribution was that it lay the foundation for the establishment of a world civilization, ie. the Islamic Civilization. The two basic sources of guidance that Muhammad (pbuh) has left behind for all Muslims to follow are: 1 The Holy Qur’an (the revealed words of Allah) 2 His Sunnah (the Traditions or examples of the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]) The Qur’an is the book of Guidance from God, for all to follow. It is the Criterion (to teach mankind what is right and what is wrong) and revelations of Allah and it has remained pure and unchanged in the Arabic, and will be so till the end of the world. With it is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). From the first revelations that he received in Makkah and for the 23 Beginners' Manual on Islam 3
  4. 4. years of his prophethood, he succeeded in establishing Islam - the complete way of life of peaceful submission to the will of Allah. Prophet Muhammad’s life was the demonstration of how Islam is to be. Based on the guidance of the Qur’an, and his way of life, the best example for all to emulate, Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an : “Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah (Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]), you have for you, the best example.” (Q : Al-Ahzab 33:21) And in the Holy Qur’an too, Allah tells us the true purpose of the role of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], ie. : “He (Allah) it is Who has sent His messenger (Muhammad [pbuh]) with the guidance and the religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the idolaters may detest it.” (Q : As-Saff 61:9) It is indeed noteworthy that within his lifetime, Arabia underwent a tremendous reform; from idolatory to the worship of the One God; from ignorance to knowledge and culture; from an oppressive system to one which epitomises justice and the brotherhood of man. “Behold, the only [true] religion in the sight of God is “al-Islam” (man’s self-surrender unto Him)” (Qur’an: aali-Imran: 3: 19) “And strive hard in God’s cause with all the striving that is due to Him: it is He Who has elected you [to carry His message] and has laid Beginners' Manual on Islam 4
  5. 5. no hardship on you in [anything that pertains to] religion, [and made you follow] the creed of your forefather Abraham. It is He Who has named you - in bygone times as well as in this (divine writ) “al-Muslimin” (“those who have surrendered themselves to God”)” (Qur’an: al-Hajj: 22: 78) “Today have I perfected your religious law for you, and have bestowed upon you the full measure of My blessings, and willed that “al-Islam”(self- surrender unto Me) shall be your religion.” (Qur’an : al-Maa’-idah : 5 : 3) Thus to use terms like “mohammadan” or “mussalman” or such terms is regarded as most inappropriate and reflect a person’s ignorance (or perhaps prejudice) of this religion. From ‘historical perspective’ Anthropologist says, “Man is the specie of animal that worships.“ Religion is as old as man himself. But was there ever a single religion for man, which assert truth that is universal - not a man-made phenomenon? In explaining Islam as being that religion we have to present the Qur’anic perspective of history of man and of religion: Muhammad [pbuh] never claimed to have found a new religion, nor did he deny the truth, which have been revealed before him. Rather, he was sent as a messenger following that series of prophets, whose task was to bring mankind back, because deviation and corruption to the Truth has led men astray from the straight path which God has ordained. If a Muslim was asked what was the religion of the past prophets like Noah, Abraham, Moses or even Jesus (may peace be upon them all), he would not hesitate to reply that it was “Islam”. For to Muslims, there has always been one religion for mankind, revealed through various prophets since Adam, sharing the same basic truth, but with it’s practical laws gradually being perfected. Beginners' Manual on Islam 5
  6. 6. As these (practical laws) are related to differing living conditions which gradually would evolved towards a higher and more universal or global civilization). “Say: ‘Nay, but [ours] is] the creed of Abraham, who turned away from all that is false, and was not of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God.’ Say: ‘We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus, and that which has been vouchsafed to all the [other] prophets by their Sustainer: we make no distinction between any of them. And it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves [Muslimuun].” (Qur’an: al-Baqarah: 2: 135-136) • Muhammad [pbuh] – The bringer of glad tiding, a warner and seal of Prophethood “O People of the Book! Now, after long time during which no messengers have appeared, there has come unto you [this] our Messenger to make [the truth] clear to you, lest you say, ‘No bearer of glad tidings has come unto us, nor a warner: for now there has come unto you a bearer of glad tidings and a warner - since God has power to will anything,” (Qur’an: al-Ma’idah: 5: 19) “ Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but is God’s Messenger and the Seal of all the Prophets. And God has indeed full knowledge of everything.” (Qur’an: al-Ahzab: 33: 40) Beginners' Manual on Islam 6
  7. 7. Adam (Adam) * Peace and blessings of God be upon all the prophets* Nuh (Noah) Ham Sham Yaphet ( the Semitic line) ( the Hamitic line) ( the Japethic line) “And indeed within every community have We raised up a Messenger [with this message): Worship God, and shun the powers of evil.” (Qur’an: an-Nahl 16: 36) Lut (Lot) Ibrahim (Abraham) Isma’il (Ishmael) Ishaq (Isaac) Ya’kub (Jacob) Yusuf (Joseph) Musa (Moses) Harun (Aaron) Dawud (David) Sulaiman (Solomon) Zakariya (Zacha Yahya (John the Isa (Jesus) Muhammad (he was a direct descendant of Ishmael through the Quraysh tribe from clan of Bani Hasyim) {note : only certain names of prophets are given for their relevance and comparison] Beginners' Manual on Islam 7
  8. 8. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 1 1 What does the word “Islam” in Arabic mean ? 2 Who was Muhammad (pbuh) ? 3 What is the Qur’an ? 4 What is the Sunnah ? 5 What was the major contribution of Islam to the world ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 8
  9. 9. Chapter 2 TAUHID (The Oneness of God) FOUNDATION OF THE MESSAGE OF ISLAM “ If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allah, there would have been confusion in both! But limitless in His glory is Allah, enthroned in his awesome almightiness (far) above anything men may devise by way of definitions! “ (Q : Al Anbiya 21:22) The religion of Islam is based on the most fundamental and important concept called TAUHID. It is the belief in the Oneness of God, Who is the only Creator, Preserver, Sustainer and Nourisher of all creations. It is summarised in a simple “KALIMAH” or statement : LAA-ILAA-HA-IL-LALLAH (There is no god except Allah ) “Allah” [s.w.t.] 1 is the Arabic pronoun for God. It refers to the One and only God. He does not have partners and does not share His divinity with any one or anything. He alone is Lord and Master of the Universe and all that is contained in it. Nothing moves without His knowledge and His permission. He 1 [s.w.t] - abbreviation that usually follows the name Allah, for the Arabic phrase which means "Glorious and exalted is He" Beginners' Manual on Islam 9
  10. 10. is the source of all existence. He creates man and appoints for each human being a fixed period of life. He gives man organs and faculties so that man is the most capable amongst the creatures on earth. In fact He has created this earth and whatever it contains for man. Through His messengers and prophets, He reveals the knowledge of Himself, and the purpose of man’s creation. To help mankind achieve that purpose, He prescribes a certain code of life which is the correct one - a code of life which is practical and achievable. Allah also gives man freedom of choice as to whether or not to adopt this code as the actual basis of his life. With this freedom, man shall be responsible for the choice he makes. It is not enough for a person to say that he believes in One God. Many idolators will tell you that they actually believe there is only one supreme god. Yet they take on other things as gods. Islam teaches that in believing in the Oneness of Allah, a person must acknowledge the fact that Allah alone deserves to be worshipped. And he is expected to show this belief in his words and deeds. In Islam, 'worship or serving Allah' is called “IBADAH” and has a wide meaning. It is not restricted only to rituals of prayers and devotion but includes guidelines that cover every aspect of our life. Therefore a believer’s life is the acknowledgement of his belief that he worships only Allah and that he shows it by obedience to the Laws given by Allah. A believer does all that Allah has commanded and refrains from all that Allah has forbidden. A believer fulfills this by following the complete code of life that was brought and established by the last and final messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]. Therefore the KALIMAH OF TAUHID is followed by the second statement:- Beginners' Manual on Islam 10
  11. 11. MUHAM-MADUR-RASUU-LULLAH (Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) Beginning with this concept of TAUHID, which is the most fundamental of the teachings of Islam, a person is motivated to strive towards becoming a true Muslim. This concept of TAUHID seeks to develop a Muslim towards a higher level of consciousness, righteousness and piety in his relationship with Allah and the rest of creation. In one reported exchange between the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] and a stranger (later revealed to be the archangel Gabriel, who came to teach the Muslims the religion), the Muslims were concisely taught concerning the fundamentals of their religion : “One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet (may the blessings of Allah be upon him). Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said: O Muhammad! Tell me about Islam. The Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said : Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House (Ka’aba) if you are able to do so. He said: You have spoken rightly, and we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly. He said : Then, tell me about Iman. He said : It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny, both the good and Beginners' Manual on Islam 11
  12. 12. the evil thereof. He said : You have spoken rightly. He said : Then tell me about Ihsan. He said : It is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you.” (Hadith reported by Muslim) Thus in order to realise TAUHID (the belief in the Oneness of Allah) a Muslim must understand and strive to establish in himself 3 aspects:- [1] IMAN - Belief or Faith/Conviction [2] ISLAM - Obedience and submission (through practice) [3] IHSAN - Best or righteous conduct All three constitute what every Muslim should know and fulfill. One without the other is insufficient to truly realise the con- cept of TAUHID. For faith without obedience is meaningless and obedience cannot be without faith. Together, faith and obedience must lead to the best and righteous conduct of a Muslim who truly submits himself to the will of Allah. TAUHIID - Attesting to the Oneness of God (3 aspects) IIMAN 'AMAL IHSAN Development Manifesting Inculcation of by way of of Conviction Practice Righteousness Beginners' Manual on Islam 12
  13. 13. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 2 1 What does the Arabic statement “LAA-ILAAHA-IL- LAL-LAAH” mean ? 2 What do you understand by the term TAUHID ? 3 What does the Arabic statement “MUHAM-MADAR- RASUU-LUL-LAAH” mean ? 4 State the 3 aspects from which TAUHID is to be established in a person who accepts the concept of the Oneness of God? 5 What is the meaning of a Iman ? b Islam ? c Ihsan ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 13
  14. 14. Chapter 3 IMAN (Belief or Faith) “ The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord; as do men of Faith. Each one (of them) believes in Allah, His angels, His books and His Messengers: “(They say) we make no distinction between one and another of His Messengers.” And they say, “we hear and we obey. “ (Q : Al Baqarah 2:285) “Iman” means belief or faith. It deals primarily with abstract concepts, termed as “the unseen”(al-Ghayb). Yet it is not blind acceptance of notions of truth but it must correspond with our awareness of things perceived by the faculty inherent in man. Its basic appeal is to man’s reasoning and pure instincts. It seeks to inform man what the purpose of this creation is; why many things have been created. Man is informed by Allah concern- ing their relationship, the reason for man's existence here, his role and how to fulfill it as well as warn him of man’s responsi- bility and final destiny. Man is being informed of all the things created that can be seen as well as some of those that man can- not see. It is so that man may know of his place in the grand design of the whole of Allah’s creation. Therefore Iman or be- lief is derived from the knowledge revealed by Allah to His messenger, which a person has confirmed and which he is con- vinced of thereby. This is to be nurtured by contemplation and pondering over the signs that are around us, using reason and instinct. The degree of Iman or belief therefore varies from time to time and from person to person. The basic aspect of Iman or belief is called ARKAANUL - IIMAN (The Articles of Faith). Beginners' Manual on Islam 14
  15. 15. WHAT ARE THE ARTICLES OF FAITH IN ISLAM? (ARKAANUL - IIMAN) From the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], a Mus- lim is to develop faith in seven aspects. A Muslim, when asked of his belief, will say:- [1] aa-mantu-bil-laahi I solemnly believe in Allah; [2] wa-ma-laa-i-katihi and His angels; [3] wa-kutu-bi-hi and in His revealed books; [4] wa-rusu-lihi and in His messengers; [5] wal-yau-mil-aa-khir and in the Day of Judgement; [6] wal-qadri-khai-rihi and that the power of good wa-shar-ri-hi-minallahi and bad is from Allah ta’ala the most high; [7] wa-ba’-thi-ba’dal maut and in the life after death Beginners' Manual on Islam 15
  16. 16. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 3 1 What do you understand by the term “Iman” ? 2 How does one develop his “Iman” ? 3 List down the articles of faith on which Muslims are to develop their faith. NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 16
  17. 17. Chapter 4 THE DETAILED EXPLANATION OF ISLAMIC ARTICLES OF FAITH [1] B ELIEF IN A LLAH “ And yet, some people choose to worship certain earthly things or beings as deities that [are supposed to] resurrect the dead; and they fail to realize that, had there been in heaven or on earth any other deities other than Allah, both [those realms] would surely have “ fallen in ruin! But limitless in His Glory is Allah, enthroned in His awesome almightiness [far] above anything that man can devise by way of definition! (Q : Anbiya 21:21 - 22) Who is Allah? What do we know about Allah? “Allah” (God) is One and One alone. There is no other god except Allah. He has no partner nor associates. He is the Creator of everyone and everything. Everyone and everything depends on Him for He is the Sustainer and Nourisher of the universe. The knowledge concerning God is not a creation of human imagination, but has been revealed by Him. Thus we find one of the shortest and earliest revelations in the Qur’an:- “Say: He Allah is One; Allah is He on whom all depends; He begets not, neither was He begotten; And none is comparable to Him.” (Q: Al Ikhlas 112:1-4) Beginners' Manual on Islam 17
  18. 18. What does the term “Allah” mean? The Arabic word “Allah” is unique and almost incapable of translation into non-Semitic languages. The English word “God”, although close, does not convey the actual meaning of the word, “Allah”. It is not a common noun but is a proper noun par excellence. We cannot obtain the plural of this word just as “god” becomes “gods”, nor can we turn it into feminine like “goddess”. It is an Arabic word referring to the One Supreme Being with all the attributes of Perfection and Beauty in their infinitude and it denotes none but the One and Unique God (a being Who exists necessarily by Himself, ie. not caused or created; endowed with all the attributes of perfection). “Allah” [glorious and exalted is He], has revealed the knowledge concerning Himself for us to know and to develop a close relationship with Him. Islam firstly teaches Muslims that God is full of Compassion and Mercy. When a Muslim begins to read the words revealed by Allah, i.e. the Holy Qur’an, or begins an act, the first praise that he says is the “Basmalah” ie. the reciting of : Bis-millaahir-Rahmaa-nir-raHiim In the Name of Allah, The Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. The Compassionate and Merciful The Arabic word “RAHMAAN” informs us of an attribute of Allah. The word is only expressive of God’s love to man, and not of man’s love to man. Allah’s compassion is to one and all, whether a believer or an unbeliever, whether a saint or a sinner, a doer of good or evil. He provides for and sustains everyone irrespective of their behaviour. When a Muslim recites His name, he calls Allah first of all “AL-RAHMAAN” (the Most Compassionate) and “AL-RAHIIM” (the Most Merciful) which hints at God’s relation to man - the relation of love, sympathy, Beginners' Manual on Islam 18
  19. 19. concern, solicitude, compassion and mercy. But He is also Just and His Justice shall be fully be manifested only on the Day of Judgement. Most Beautiful Names of Allah In the Holy Qur’an we learn many other attributes by the names which Allah addresses Himself and we can invoke any of these names. The names are collectively called “ASMAA-ALLAH- AL-HUSNA” (The Most Beautiful Names of Allah). For example, in the Holy Qur’an :- Allah is He, whom there is no other god; Who knows (all things) (‘AALIM) Both secret and open, He, the Most Compassionate (AR-RAHMAAN) The Most Merciful; (AR-RAHIIM) Allah is He, whom there is no other god; The Sovereign, (AL-MAALIK) The Holy One, (AL-QUDDUS) The Source of Peace (AS-SALAAM) (and Perfection) The Guardian of Faith (AL-MU'MINU) The Preserver of Safety (AL-MUHAY-MIN) The Exalted in Might (AL-AZIZ) The Irresistible (AL-JAB-BAR) The Supreme (AL-MUTTAKAB-BIR) Glory be to Allah! (High is He) Above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah, The Creator (AL-KHAA-LIQ) The Evolver (AL-BAA-RI) Beginners' Manual on Islam 19
  20. 20. The Bestower of forms (and colours) (AL-MUSAW-WIR) To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names Whatever is in the Heavens and on Earth Both declare His Praise and Glory; (Q : Al Hashr 59:22-24 ) Do not ascribe any partners to God A Muslim strictly believes that Allah is One. The statement “LAA-ILAA-HA- IL-LAL-LAAH” (There is no god except Allah) shows that the believer does not worship any other except Allah. Allah is the Creator of everything for the benefit of human beings. None of these creations, the stars, sun, moon, man, animals, wood, stones, etc. are to be worshipped. To worship these things is to commit the gravest sin in Islam, termed SHIRIK (meaning “to ascribe partners to God”). Allah has no partner, nor adviser, nor helper. He is above every need because need presumes deficiency. He is not like a created thing with a body because a body needs space. He cannot be seen because He has no body. He is everywhere because His power and knowledge are magnificently apparent everywhere. Nor can He be defined in terms of time. Since He is the Creator of time, He is not affected by it (like getting old). In short, there is none comparable to Him for Allah is One and only One. Man is to have a direct relationship with God The relationship between man and his Creator, Allah, is direct and personal since Allah is Omniscient (All-Knowing), Omnipresent (Ever-Present) and Omnipotent (All-Powerful); and does not require any intermediary. Even the saintliest of saints, such as prophets, are only guides and messengers - it is Beginners' Manual on Islam 20
  21. 21. left to the individual to make his choice and be directly responsible to Allah. In man’s weakness he may commit errors and transgression. Yet, Islam recognises the possibility of pardon through repentance and reparations by turning away from all falsehood and wrong, and beginning to lead a life of submission to the One God, Allah. Knowledge concerning Allah has been revealed by Him to us in the Holy Qur’an. For example : Allah is near to us though we cannot see Him And if my servants ask you concerning Me - behold, I am near; I respond to the call of him who calls unto Me: let them then, respond unto Me, and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way. (Q : Baqarah 2:186) Allah is merciful and is able to forgive all sins Say : “[Thus speaks Allah] O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of Allah’s mercy : behold, Allah forgives all sins - for verily, He alone is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!” (Q : Az Zumar 39:53) Allah is all-aware No vision can encompass Him whereas He encompasses all vision : for He is unfathomable, all-aware. (Q : Al Anam 6:103) To Allah is the final goal That no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another’s burden; and nought shall be accounted unto Beginners' Manual on Islam 21
  22. 22. man except what he is striving for; and in time [the nature of] all his striving will be shown [to him in its true light], whereupon he shall be requited for it with the fullest requital; and that with thy Sustainer is the beginning and the end [of all that exists]; (Q : Najm 53:38-42) EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 4 1 What or Who is God ? 2 List down the 4 important messages concerning God in the short chapter 112 of the Holy Qur’an (Surah al-Ikhlas). 3 Do you know the meaning of “BIS-MIL-LAAH HIR- RAHMAA-NIR-RAA-HIIM” ? 4 All beautiful names (identifying goodness and perfection) belong to Allah. Can you name some of them ? 5 What should be our relationship to God ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 22
  23. 23. Chapter 5 [2] B ELIEF IN A NGELS “ All praise is due to Allah, Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who causes the angels to be [His] message-bearers, endowed with wings, two or three or four. [Unceasingly] He adds to His creation whatever He wills:for verily, Allah has the power to will anything. “ (Q : Fatir 35:1) What are Angels? This world created by Allah is not only physical but also includes spiritual elements, eg. we ourselves consist not only of a body but an element referred to as a “soul”. A Muslim also believes in the existence of spiritual beings in this universe called “angels”. Angels are created beings although their nature is different from ours. They are loyal to Allah and they should never be regarded as partners or agents of Allah. There exists an angelic world which cannot be seen by human sense- perception in our everyday life. But man's imagination does not deny the possibility of the existence of such beings. Literature about them is abundant. They speak of this subject which may show that our physical existence is not the only existence. But regarding the knowledge of these spiritual beings, leaving it to man’s imagination alone may bring about exaggeration. Thus the truth concerning them has been revealed by Allah, to us. Angels cannot be seen except by the command of Allah, such as when they were sent to give lessons to human beings, Beginners' Manual on Islam 23
  24. 24. especially in the presence of the prophet. Created from light, they can take on different forms. They have no special shape or colour, and they neither eat, drink, sleep nor play. They have neither wives nor children. There exists a hierarchy of angels and Allah has informed us of them and their functions. Prominent among them are:- [1] JIBRAA‘IL (Gabriel) [a.s.] 1 - the leader of the angelic world. His mission was primarily to bring revelations to the prophets and messengers of Allah. The popular title given to him by Allah is “RUH-HUL-QUDDS”- the Holy Spirit. But in Islam there is no such notion as the Trinity of Christianity in which the holy spirit shares a divine place. We understand the holy spirit mentioned in previous scriptures to be the Archangel JIBRAA‘IL, the trusted spirit and loyal servant of Allah; a created being just like man is a created being. [2] MI-KA‘IL (Michael) [a.s.]- one of the four most important angels of Allah who acts as supervisor in the angelic world. His duties are general, as he is the guardian spirit (of land, sea and air) and the angel of providence. [3] ISRAA-FIL (Seraphil) [a.s.]- another one of the four most important angels whose duty is to blow the SOOR (trumpet/ horn) to signify the end of the world. He is also the guardian angel in charge of the LOH-AL-MAHFUDZ (the protected Board of Decree) in the angelic world. [4] IZ-RA‘IL [a.s.]- another one of the four most important angels who is also known as “Mala‘ikat-al-Maut” the angel of death. He comes to every man at the hour of death to take away the soul. 1 [a.s.] stands for "'alay-his-salaam " meaning "peace be upon him" Beginners' Manual on Islam 24
  25. 25. The names of the other angels are:- [5] RIDWAAN [a.s.] who is the guardian angel of Paradise [6] MAALIK [a.s.] who is the guardian angel of Hell [7] RAQIIB [a.s.] who records every good act of man [8] ‘AATID [a.s.] who records every evil act of man [9] MUNGKAR [a.s.] who works with angel Naakir [10] NAAKIR [a.s.] together with Mungkar, is in charge of trialing man in the grave. In short, Muslims believe in and confidently affirm the existence of angels. We believe that the angels are the honoured servants of Allah, created from light and who never disobey Allah in what He commands them to do. They were all created for a purpose by Allah and they fit in the grand design of the creations of Allah.Thus, although many happenings in nature can be explained by way of physical laws, these laws are only part of the Law willed by Allah. There may be instances which cannot be fathomed by physics, but such things do happen. For a Muslim, it only shows that over all things, Allah has absolute power. Knowledge of the angels is to assure man that even angels, being the highest form of spiritual beings, were created only to carry out the decree of Allah. In certain cultures, fear of the unknown makes peoples’ lives uncertain whereby they have to appease many so-called spirits and deities. They become subservient to these spirits whereas it is to Allah alone that man should be subservient. For man has been assigned a place of honour as Allah’s representative on earth. Beginners' Manual on Islam 25
  26. 26. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 5 1 What are angels ? 2 What do you know about the Archangel Jibraa‘il ? 3 What do you know about the Archangel Mikaa‘il ? 4 Should we fear the angels ? 5 Should angels be worshipped ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 26
  27. 27. Chapter 6 [3] B ELIEF IN REVEALED BOOKS OF A LLAH “ Thereupon Adam received words [of guidance] from his Sustainer, and He accepted his repentance : for verily, He alone is the Acceptor of Repentance, Dispenser of Grace. [For although] We did say, “Down “ with you all from this [state]”, there shall, none the less, most certainly come unto you guidance from Me : and those who follow My guidance need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve; (Q : Baqarah 2:37-38) What are the Books of Allah? How many were there and to whom were they revealed? From the beginning of the history of mankind, Allah has not left man without guidance. Allah has communicated with man by way of revelations to His prophets and messengers throughout the ages. These were revelations which all the prophets received. But not all were given divine books which formed the code of living. We are told that there were four Revealed Books sent by Allah to mankind:- [1] TAURAH ( Torah ) the book revealed to Prophet Musa (Moses) [pbuh] [2] ZA-BUUR ( Psalms) the book revealed to Prophet Daud (David) [pbuh] Beginners' Manual on Islam 27
  28. 28. [3] IN-JIIL ( Gospels) the book revealed to Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus) [pbuh] [4] AL-QUR’AN ( ) the book revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); the last and final messenger of Allah. The Qur’an also mentions and recognises the scrolls [SUHUF] of Ibrahim (Abraham) [pbuh]. But today, there is no trace of these scrolls. And we know of the sad story of the Taurah of the Prophet Musa (Moses) [pbuh], and how writings of it were destroyed by pagans or lost. The same fate befell the writings of Zabuur of Prophet Daud (David) [pbuh]. As for the Injil of Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus) [pbuh], we know that what he received from God was not compiled or recorded during his lifetime. Thus for Muslims, although we are to believe in these earlier revelations, it does not mean that we are to accept the present day Bible. They may contain some of these revelations amongst many other words written by many unknown authors. Judging from the history as well as internal evidence within the Bible, we know that the Bible is just a collection of writings which serves to preserve the history of the Jewish and early Christian community. The Muslim is concerned only with the actual revelation from God. Al-Qur’an, the final Book of Revelation Only the Qur’an has remained intact and available in the original form in the Arabic language. It contains the Words of Allah dictated word for word to the last messenger of Allah, Muhammad [pbuh], through the Archangel Jibraa’il. Today, Muslims all over the world recite and follow the same book and in the same language as it was revealed. And the Qur’an will be preserved in this pure form till the end of the world. It is the Guidance, the Criterion, and the outstanding Miracle of the last messenger of Allah - Muhammad (pbuh). Beginners' Manual on Islam 28
  29. 29. How does the Qur’an present itself? As it is the Book dictated to Muhammad [pbuh] from Allah, it offers itself to be scrutinised so that the reader can verify its claim of divine authorship. One of the most important criteria that it offers is that it is inimitable - the like of it could never be produced by any other except Allah. It offers a challenge to all to try and produce something like it. It has stood this test since the time of Muhammad [pbuh] and the most glaring quality of the Qur’an is its perfectness of the language and the simplicity yet profoundness of its content (amongst other characteristics). Even with the vast scientific knowledge acquired by man today, it only magnifies the profound meaning of the Qur’an. The Qur’an contains no inconsistencies. It even offers another challenge to those who doubt its divine origin, ie. to try and find any mistakes or discrepancies within it. With such characteristics, there can be no doubt that this book, the Qur’an is of divine origin. Another of the most important criteria to consider is the capacity for this Book to be preserved intact in its original form. Today, wherever one may go amongst the Muslims, there is only one Al-Qur’an. But most significant of all is that principles taught in it are still relevant and diligently referred to by the whole community of Muslims - it is the Book of Guidance. 1 Al-Qur'an means "the Recitation" and was revealed in the form of recitations, which were also recorded in the form of writing. Although generally the Qur'an is taken to refer to the written recorded form, the preservation of the Qur'an is actually concerned with the pronouncing of the words from this Book. The science of its recitation, and the meticulous rendering of each word from it, is what make its preservation unique. For the Qur'an is the most often recited and memorised Book in the whole world. Beginners' Manual on Islam 29
  30. 30. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 6 1 In what form was the Guidance given to mankind ? 2 Name the 4 Books of Guidance from Allah, and to whom they were revealed ? 3 Which of these Books can be found today, preserved as it was originally revealed ? 4 What language was the Qur’an revealed in ? 5 Have you seen a copy of the Qur’an (ie. in Arabic) ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 30
  31. 31. Chapter 7 [4] B ELIEF IN THE MESSENGER OF A LLAH “ And indeed, within every nation have We raised up an apostle [entrusted with a message] : “Worship Allah and shun the powers of evil!” And among those [past generations] were people whom Allah graced with Hisguidance, just as there was among them [many a one] who inevitably fell prey to grievous error : go then, about the earth and behold what happened in the end to those who gave “ the lie to the truth! (Q : An Nahl 16:36) Man needs to be guided When we ask ourselves : Why have we been created? What is the purpose of our being in this world? Does it end here? etc., we are in fact asking the same and most fundamental questions that are inherent in everyone, although some people may choose to ignore them. From the first man up to the present, every one of us has asked these questions which somehow require some answers. Yet, with our limited knowledge, these basic questions cannot be fathomed by ourselves. The phenomenon of prophethood - what were their characteristics? Allah, who is Creator, has not left man to wander aimlessly in this world. In His infinite mercy and compassion, He has Beginners' Manual on Islam 31
  32. 32. communicated through selected people in every age. These people are called prophets (Nabi) and messengers (Rasul) of Allah. They were men chosen by Allah to guide mankind along the Right Path (SWIRAATUL MUSTAQIM). They were endowed with qualities of being TRUTHFUL, TRUSTWORTHY, REVEALING (the messages) and WISE. The basic message that they brought was: “Worship none but Allah for there is no god but HE”. They taught, guided and trained people to follow the ways of Allah so that this world can be a happy and peaceful place to live in. More importantly, they conveyed the promise of a great reward in the life after death for those who follow this guidance, and warned of a grievous punishment for the wrongdoers. Who were these Prophets ? There were many prophets (Nabi) and messengers (Rasul) of Allah sent to mankind. A Rasul is a prophet to whom Codes of Religion or Commandments of Allah [swt] were given. A Nabi is one who receives revelations, but does not necessarily bring any new code of religion. However, he still abides by what the previous Rasul has brought. To every nation prophets were sent at different times. According to a saying of Muhammad (pbuh), there were one hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets. The Holy Qur’an mentions the most prominent twenty-five by name (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all) : ADAM - (Adam) MUSA - (Moses) IDRIS - (Enoch) HARUN - (Aaron) NUH - (Noah) DZULKIFLI - (Ezekiel) HUD - (Heber) DAUD - (David) SALIH - (Methusela) SULAIMAN - (Solomon) IBRAHIM - (Abraham) ILYAS - (Elias) ISMA’IL - (Ishmael) AL-YASA’ - (Elisha) ISHAQ - (Isaac) YUNUS - (Jonah) LUT - (Lot) ZAKARIYYA - (Zachariah) Beginners' Manual on Islam 32
  33. 33. YA’KUB - (Jacob) YAHYA - (John the YUSUF - (Joseph) Baptist) SHUAIB - (Jethro) ISA - (Jesus) AYUB - (Job) MUHAMMAD - the seal of prophethood [ * Names in brackets are possible Biblical equivalents.] As Muslims, we must believe in all of these prophets and messengers of Allah. They were all human beings who were righteous and we should not refer to them as the sons of Allah. All of them brought the same religion of submission and obedience to the will of Allah (Islam), beginning with Prophet Adam [pbuh] and which was completed and perfected with Muhammad [pbuh], who was the last and the Seal of Prophethood. After him there will be no more prophets sent to mankind. Being the last messenger of Allah, his teachings have been preserved by Allah and will remain so till the end of the world. Through him, the message of Islam was transformed from a message for a particular tribe or nation into a universal message for all mankind. The Book of Revelation dictated to Him from Allah is manifested in his life and personality collectively termed as AS-SUNNAH (meaning “the Way or the Tradition”) which have also been preserved in the AHADITH (Reports from the Prophet). Thus not only do we have the Book of Guidance (ie. the Qur’an) we also have the example of how the Guidance is to be implemented (ie. the Sunnah). Prophet as the best examplar Verily in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example for everyone who looks forward [with hope and awe] to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah unceasingly. (Q : al-Ahzab 33:21) Beginners' Manual on Islam 33
  34. 34. No more prophets after Muhammad [pbuh] [And know that] Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but is Allah’s Messenger and the Seal of all Prophets. And Allah has indeed full knowledge of everything. (Q : al-Ahzab 33:40) EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 7 1 Who were the Prophets ? 2 State the characteristics of the Prophets. 3 Can you name some of these Prophets ? 4 Who was the Prophet closest to us in terms of time, whose teachings are the most relevant for us to follow ? 5 How should we regard the Prophets ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 34
  35. 35. Chapter 8 [5] B ELIEF IN THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT AND LIFE IN THE HEREAFTER “ Thereupon Adam received words [of guidance] from his Sustainer, and He accepted his repentance : for verily, He alone is the Acceptor of Repentance, Dispenser of Grace. [For although] We did say, “Down “ with you all from this [state]”, there shall, none the less, most certainly come unto you guidance from Me : and those who follow My guidance need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve; (Q : Baqarah 2:37-38) Concept of the Justice of God Stemming from the knowledge that Allah is also AL-’ADL, (ie. The Just), man has been commanded to establish justice. In this universe, there exists Allah’s law of cause and effect. This is a universal truth. Although the effect from a cause may occur immediately, sometimes it takes a much longer period to happen. But for sure there will be an effect to a cause. As to man’s conduct, he has been shown the right and wrong. With the free will given to him, he must exercise it prudently. He must never think that he has absolute power and that his deeds here in this world will never be accounted for. It is only because of the mercy of Allah that He delays many of the inevitable effects upon the wrongdoers. As for those who believe and do good deeds, they will certainly be rewarded because of their righteousness even though in this world they sometimes have Beginners' Manual on Islam 35
  36. 36. to face hardship. Therefore, although in this life true justice is not seen to be fully manifested, Allah has warned mankind of the Day when the full effect of His Justice will be meted out. Life here is a temporary abode and a test Hallowed be He (Allah) in whose hand all dominion rests, since He has the power to will anything : He who created death as well as life, so that He might put you to a test [and thus show] which of you is best in conduct, and [make you realize that] He alone is almighty, truly forgiving. (Q : al Mulk 67:1-2) In the Qur’an, Allah has informed us that our life is but a test and a trial. Given the limited term of our life, we are reminded to always prepare ourselves. Death will surely overtake us. Nothing of this creation will remain forever; everything will face its destruction. Then Allah will resurrect mankind to life again and they shall be brought to face the True Justice of Allah. All records of their past deeds, no matter how small they may be, shall be unfolded so that none shall be wronged except for their own deeds. Successful indeed are those who heed the warnings of all the prophets and messengers of Allah. They are those who in this life, conscientiously seek the mercy of Allah by turning to Him in repentance and striving patiently in the path of submission and obedience to Him, ever careful of not transgressing the limits. The mercy and forgiveness of God As long as we are alive, there is always the opportunity for us to mend our ways and seek the forgiveness of Allah, the Merciful. This message has been communicated through all the prophets. As for the heedless, they will regret their arrogance of denying Beginners' Manual on Islam 36
  37. 37. or rejecting the warnings that have been conveyed to them. They are those who, in this world, refuse to seek the mercy of Allah even though Allah has said: Say: O my servants who have trangressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn ye to your Lord (in repentance and bow to His (Will), before the Penalty comes on you: After that ye shall not be helped. (Q : As-Zumar 39:53-54) Refutation against the doubters Some sceptics have scoffed at the notion of the certainty that man will be revived after death. They arrogantly argue that when a man has turned to dust and ash, how could we speak of his resurrection? This argument has been refuted by Allah with: Was he not a drop of fluid which gushed forth? Then he became a clot; then Allah shaped and fashioned, and made of him a pair, the male and female? Is not He (Who does so) able to bring the dead to life? (Q : Qiyaamah 75:37-40) And he coineth Us a similitude and hath forgotten the fact of his creation saying : Who will revive these bones when they have rotted away? Say : He (Allah) will revive them, Who produced them at the first (instance), for He is Knower of every creation. (Q : Yaa-sin 36:78-79) Beginners' Manual on Islam 37
  38. 38. He (Allah) it is Who produces creation, then re- produced it, and it is easier for Him (to raise the dead). His, is the sublime similitude in the heav- ens and in the earth, He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Q : Rum 30:27) For those who already accept that our existence owes itself to a Creator (God), belief in the resurrection is a corollary to the present life. It is not difficult to accept the possibility of resurrection since we are already convinced that our existence is created by Allah. But, those who are doubtful of it, should first seek to explain how their present existence came about in the first place. Until then, it is beyond their capacity to theorise about what will happen after their death. DAY OF RESURRECTION/JUDGEMENT DAY After its destruction, a new creation shall Allah create and at the appointed time, the angel Israafil [pbuh] shall be revived. He will be commanded by Allah to blow the SOOR (siren/ trumpet) for the second time. Thenceforth, mankind will be resurrected and gathered to face the judgement of Allah. Mankind then will be left in a state of distress and great discomfort. This long period of waiting will be ended with Prophet Muhammad's supplication to Allah and the Judgement will begin. Book of Records Every man shall receive his own book of records in which nothing shall be left out. Every deed, no matter how small it may be, the good as well as the bad, even if it be as an atom’s weight, shall be revealed to him in this book. Allah, the Most Just, does not wrong anyone. Each shall be judged on what he himself has done. No mitigation nor legal disputations shall take Beginners' Manual on Islam 38
  39. 39. place on this Day for every organ of a man’s body which has committed a wrong shall testify against him. We shall set up scales of Justice for the Day of Judgement, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, we will bring it (to account): and enough are We to take account. (Q : Anbiya 21:47) ETERNAL LIFE IN THE HEREAFTER Our life here is a temporary state. All the prophets were sent to warn mankind of the inevitable life in the hereafter - a life that is eternal, where we shall see the result of whatever we have striven for. Just like the other laws of the Creator, where there is cause and effect to everything, our life will definitely have a consequence. Then, remind others of the Truth, regardless of whether this reminding [would seem to be] of use [or not] : he who stands in awe of [of Allah] will keep it in mind, but those who are aloof from it will be the hapless wretch - ie. he who [in the life to come] shall have to endure the great fire, wherein he will neither die nor remain alive. Those who purify themselves [in this world] will attain to happiness [in the life to come] and remembers his Sustainer's name and prays [unto Him]. But nay [O Man], you prefer the life of this world, although the life to come is better and more enduring. Verily, all this has indeed been said in the earlier revelations - the revelations of Abraham and Moses. (Q : Al A‘la 87 :9-18) Beginners' Manual on Islam 39
  40. 40. Paradise and Hell The final place prepared in the hereafter is the Paradise [Al- Jannah] as reward for the righteous, while Hell [An-Naar] awaits those who reject the clear evidence and persist in living the life of transgression. Verily, those who [despite all evidence] are bent on denying the truth - [be they] from among the followers of earlier revelation or from among those who ascribe divinity to anything beside Allah - will find themselves in the fire of hell, therein to abide : they are the worst creatures. [And] verily, those who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds - it is they, they who are the best of creatures. Their award [awaits them] with Allah : gardens of perpetual bliss, through which running water flows, therein to abide beyond the count of time. (Q : Al Bayyinah 98 : 6-8) Beginners' Manual on Islam 40
  41. 41. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 8 1 What do you understand by the concept of the Justice of Allah ? 2 What will happen after our death ? 3 Even if we have committed wrong, can we be forgiven by Allah while we are still alive ? 4 What must we do to deserve Allah’s forgiveness ? 5 What is Paradise and Hell ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 41
  42. 42. Chapter 9 [6] B ELIEF IN THE QADA' AND QADAR “ (Allah’s foreknowledge) No calamity can ever befall [man] unless it be by Allah’s leave : hence, whoever believes in Allah guides his own heart towards this truth; and Allah has full knowledge of everything. Pay heed, then, unto Allah and pay heed to the Messenger; and if you turn away, [know that] Our Messenger’s only duty is a clear delivery of this message; Allah! there is no deity save Him! In Allah then, let the believers “ place their trust. (Q : At Taghaabun 64:11-13) Allah’s knowledge and power encompass all Belief in Allah is the source of strength and succour for Muslims because it gives them confidence in facing the ups and downs of life. In the Qur’an Allah informs us: Allah! There is no God but He - the Living, The Self-Subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appears to his creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of his knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth Beginners' Manual on Islam 42
  43. 43. extend over the heavens and the earth and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, The Supreme (in glory). (Q : Al Baqarah 2:255) Man’s limited knowledge and responsibility Man on the other hand does not know and cannot claim to know the future. Allah does not burden man with responsibility except in the things that man has control over. Man also knows that there is cause and effect in Allah’s creation. Therefore man must live responsibly, striving with his utmost within his capability to make the correct choice of action, for which he shall be held responsible. Verily We created man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him : so We gave him (the gifts), of Hearing and Sight. We showed him the Way : whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will). (Q : Ad-Dahr 76:2-3) How to face the test/trials of life Life is a test and trial for man. Within the grand divine plan, man must realize that events occurring in our life are inter- related and often other causes outside our control may affect our life. Although we shall not be held responsible for those things which we have no control over, the fact that Allah has allowed them to take place indicates that there is a certain wisdom which we do not as yet understand. Certainly it requires inculcation in ourselves the virtues of trusting [tawakkal] in Beginners' Manual on Islam 43
  44. 44. Allah, patiently perservering [as-Sabr’] and always being conscious that Allah has power over all things. To Him alone we must turn, for nothing can occur without His permission or outside His knowledge. Why the test for man? Faith and belief in Allah is a virtue which mankind, in order to attain it, must be tested. Mere claim to faith does not make a person faithful in life. Every Muslim is to expect tests which are the means given to us to attain the honour promised by Allah. How easily sometimes we become forgetful of this; distracted by the world with its ups and downs, thinking that Allah has nothing to do with it. Such are the pitfalls which Muslims must avoid. Tests from Allah occur in all events in our life. The good as well as things we consider bad; happiness and sadness; health and sickness, etc. are all ordained in the divine knowledge. This will be unfolded to us by Allah in our life. And there is not a thing but with Us are the stores thereof, And we send it not down except in appointed measures. (Q : Hijr 15:21) But Allah is Most Beneficent and Wise. All tests are meant to elevate our rank amongst the rest of His creation. Virtues such as being trustful of Him, patience and perseverance, etc. are those that can only be attained through life experience. Allah reminds us constantly that those who develop such virtues will certainly be helped by Him. And unto everyone who is conscious of Allah, He [always] grants a way out [of unhappiness] and provides him a manner beyond all expectations, Beginners' Manual on Islam 44
  45. 45. and for everyone who places his trust in Allah, He [alone] is enough. Verily Allah always attains His purpose : [and] indeed, unto everything has Allah appointed [term and] measure. (Q : At Talaq 65:2-3) EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 9 1 Can anything happen without Allah knowing it ? 2 What are we expected to do, since we do not know the future ? 3 What will be our responsibility ? 4 Why are there tests/trials of life ? 5 How must we face these trials and tribulations of life ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 45
  46. 46. Chapter 10 ISLAM (Submission and Obedience to the Will of Allah) “ Because of this, then, summon [all mankind], and pursue the right course, as thou hast been bidden [by Allah]; and do not follow their desires. “ (Q : Ash-Shura 42:15) As has been explained, the second aspect of the concept of TAUHID (belief in the Oneness of Allah) after Iman (faith) is Islam - ie. submission and obedience to the Will of Allah. Faith or belief without its manifestation in words and actions is meaningless. True belief will motivate a believer to attest to it in words and deeds, just like a seed after sprouting roots will eventually bear stems that manifest themselves above the soil. The deeper and firmer the roots, the stronger and sturdier will the tree grow, which eventually will bear fruits. Thus “Islam” is the natural consequence after “Iman” has been established. “Submission” is acceptance of Allah’s commands and “obedience” means putting Allah’s commands into practice. Therefore a person who accepts the Islamic way of life is called a Muslim. He submits to and obeys Allah’s Will by doing what is enjoined and refraining from that which has been forbidden, in every aspect of his life. To do this a person must perform the five major practices called Beginners' Manual on Islam 46
  47. 47. ARKAANUL-ISLAM or the principles of Islam, as taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] who said: BUN-YAL ISLAA-MU-‘ALAL- KHAMSIN Islam is built on 5 things SHA HAA-DATU-AN- To bear witness that LAA- ILAAHA IL-LALLAH There is no god except Allah WA-ANNA-MUHAMMADAN And that Muhammad is ‘ABDUHUU- WA-RASUU-LUHU His Servant and His Messenger WA-IQAA-MUS-SWALAH And to establish Swalah (prayer) WA-IITAA - IZ-ZAKAH And to pay Zakat (obligatory tax contribution) WAL-HAJJIL-BAYTI And to make pilgrimage to the House (Ka’aba in Makkah) for Hajj MANIS-TA-TWAA- ILAYHI SABII-LA for those who have the means to (do) it WA-SOO-MU-RAMADAAN And to observe fast in the month of Ramadhan. Beginners' Manual on Islam 47
  48. 48. What are the 5 pillars (principles) of Islam? From the above, the ARKAA-NUL ISLAM (Principles of Islam) which every Muslim has to perform are : [1] Declaration of Faith - by saying the kalimah shahadatain (the attestation of faith) - ASH - HADU AL-LAA - ILAAHA IL- LALLAAH (I bear witness that there is no god except Allah) WA-ASH HADU AN-NA MUHAMMADAR RASUULULLAH (And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) [2] Swalah - by performing the five daily obligatory prayers [3] Zakat - by payment of tax on his wealth, to be distributed to 8 catagories of Muslims in the community [4] Hajj - by making the pilgrimage to Mecca for performance of Hajj (at least once in your lifetime, if you are able) [5] Fasting - by observing the daily fast in the month of Ramadhan - 29 or 30 days) Beginners' Manual on Islam 48
  49. 49. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 10 1 What are the 5 principles of Islam ? 2 Can there be Faith without Practice ? 3 What or who is a “Muslim” ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 49
  50. 50. Chapter 11 THE DETAILED EXPLANATION OF THE PRINCIPLES OF ISLAM D ECLARATION OF (Shahadatain) F AITH “ Allah [Himself] bears witness - and [so do] the angels and all who are endowed with knowledge - that there is no deity save Him, the upholder of Equity: there is no deity save Him, the Almighty, the Truly Wise. “ (Q : Al Imran 3:18) What is the Declaration of Faith ? The first and most important act of being a Muslim is the Declaration of Faith termed as “Kalimah Shahadatain”, ie. the saying of :- ASH-HADU AL-LAA - ILAA-HA- IL-LALLAAH (I bear witness that there is no god except Allah) WA-ASH-HADU ANNA- MUHAM-MADAR-RASUU-LULLAAH (And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) Beginners' Manual on Islam 50
  51. 51. A person who, without any compulsion or coercion declares the “Kalimah Shahadatain” has made the first step of coming into the fold of Islam. As such, he/she is accepted as being a Muslim by the whole Muslim community and is regarded as a brother/ sister in the universal brotherhood of Islam. This brief statement is the gateway to Islam and therefore has a very important significance. It is not merely repetition or recitation of words at the time of conversion but is a very serious declaration which will have to be upheld from then on and serves as the basis for his/her whole life. What is the significance of the declaration? In the statement a person declares that he/she is a witness to the two basic truths ie. that there is none worthy of worship and devotion except Allah and that Muhammad [pbuh] is the Messenger of Allah. Thus, by making this declaration, he/she must strive to fulfill its ideal in his/her whole life. This brief statement reflects the commitment which a Muslim constantly seeks to portray - that of being a true witness. That is why the highest achievement in Islam, which is martyrdom, is termed SHAHID (which means being a true witness). A Muslim never acknowledges any to be equal to Allah. Our life is meant only to serve and worship Him. This can be achieved by following the messenger sent by Him. To be witness to the fact that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger means that we accept him as the teacher sent by Allah to lead mankind out of ignorance and darkness, into true knowledge and light. He has been sent by Allah with the Book (al-Qur’an) and the DEEN (the complete way of life; the religion of truth) so that this DEEN shall triumph over all other systems or ways of life. Therefore as our teacher and leader, his life is the best example for us to emulate. The way of life taught by him is the only way for mankind to truly achieve success; success in this world and success in the hereafter. Beginners' Manual on Islam 51
  52. 52. Striving to become true witnesses Being a true witness requires a person to be constant and steadfast in striving on the path of God, ie. Islam. The two basic sources from which the teachings of Islam are derived are the two legacies left by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), namely:- [1] AL-QUR’AN - (The book that contains the words of Allah) [2] AS-SUNNAH - (The traditions or the way of the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]) Therefore a person who declares the “Kalimah Shahadatain” must strive to fulfill its meaning by following the Book of Guid- ance (Al-Qur’an) and following the teachings of the messenger of Allah (As-Sunnah). Only by doing this can a person truly realise the way of life of complete submission to the Will of Allah ie. AL - ISLAM. Say : “To Allah belongs whatever is in the east and the west; He guides whom He wills onto a straight way.” And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way [ie. justly balanced], so that [with your lives] you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind, and the Messenger might bear witness to it before you. (Q : Baqarah 2:142-143) What nullifies a person’s declaration? A person after making the declaration is considered a Muslim as long as he does not nullify it by : [a] SHIRIK - which means to ascribe a partner to Allah. This is in terms of believing that there are other gods, or that they Beginners' Manual on Islam 52
  53. 53. share the absolute power of Allah. Such a person is called a “Mushrik”. [b] RIDDAH - which means to rebel or renegade. It is the manifestation of words or actions which shows that the person is no more a Muslim. For example, by denouncing any one of the principles of Islamic belief or in imitating the act of wor- ship of the polytheists. Such a person is called a “Murtad”. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 11 1 What is “Shahadatain” ? 2 What is the meaning of the statement “ASH-HADU AL-LAA-ILAAHA-IL-LAL-LAAH” and “WA-ASH HADU AN-NAA MUHAM-MADAR-RASUU-LUL- LAAH” ? 3 What is the significance of this Declaration ? 4 What is “SHIRIK” ? 5 What is “RIDDAH” ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 53
  54. 54. Chapter 12 AS S- (The Prayer) WALAH After the declaration of faith, the next major practice of a Muslim is to perform SWALAH (the five obligatory prayers). It is the next most important principle of Islam and is considered as the pillar of the religion. Allah has said in the Holy Qur’an:- “ “ Verily I am Allah. There is no god but I: So serve thou Me (only). And establish regular prayer (SWALAH) for My remembrance. (Q : Taha 20:14) What is Swalah? Most often “Swalah” has been translated as prayers, but this is not an accurate definition because in Islam prayers are divided into two categories:- [1] The non-specific form of prayer ie. supplication which is called “DO’A”. This can be said in any language at any time. It is encouraged that we invoke Allah for whatever our needs. The Sunnah (example) from the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] shows how we are to develop reliance upon Allah in whatever circumstances through do’a. Although the do’a shown by the Beginners' Manual on Islam 54
  55. 55. Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] is recommended, we are permitted to compose our own since Allah listens to all those who call out to Him. [2] The specific form of prayer or devotion is called “SWALAH”. Although in essence it is also supplication or do’a, it is in the prescribed form based upon the example as shown by the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], which comprises: (a) Intention (b) Postures and actions (c) Recitations The Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] has said: “So establish your SWALAH as you see me perform it.” (Hadith reported by Bukhary) WHAT ARE THE FIVE OBLIGATORY DAILY SWALAH? Historically, the commandment for Swalah was given to the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] when he was brought in a miraculous night journey of ISRA’ and MI‘RAJ from Makkah to Jerusalem and then ascended to the Heavens. Amongst the many obligations, Swalah is special in that it is a form of worship which is bestowed upon Muslims. Just as Allah brought the Prophet to ascend to Him, the prayer is, in a way, a special audience granted to believers, five (5) times a day. The fulfilment of Swalah provides a means for a Muslim to always be in constant contact with and conscious of Allah, and not distracted by mundane worldly affairs. This remembrance of Allah will make a Muslim always under His Guidance. Beginners' Manual on Islam 55
  56. 56. “Set up regular prayers (SWALAH) for such prayers are enjoined on the Believers at stated times.” (Q : An Nisa 4:103) The five daily SWALAH obligatory upon Muslims are: [1] SUBUH or FAJAR (dawn) [2] ZUHUR (afternoon) [3] ‘ASR (late afternoon) [4] MAGHRIB (after sunset) [5] ‘ISHA’ (night) Note: For a male Muslim, it is obligatory for him to perform the JUMA’AT (congregational) SWALAH in the mosque on Friday during ZUHUR time. Juma’at congregational prayer is preceded with sermons given by a preacher (Khatib). IMPORTANCE AND BENEFITS OF SWALAH The Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] has stressed the importance of performing the obligatory Swalah and described it as the pillar of our religion. Whosoever establishes it, he is establishing his religion. Thus after the Shahadatain (Declaration of Faith), Swalah is one of its fulfilments. Although performed at intervals, it nurtures and regulates a Muslim’s life of worship and devotion to Allah. The timing of Swalah reminds us of the importance in Islam of adopting a balanced way of life (note that the performance of Swalah corresponds to the times when we think of food). If we see the importance of food as a nourishment for our physical self, then spiritual nourishment is equally important and this is through Swalah. Beginners' Manual on Islam 56
  57. 57. And establish regular prayer (SWALAH) : for prayer will give us the strength to be able to refrain from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greater (thing in life) without doubt. (Q : Ankabut 29:45) We are weak and always forgetful. We are even so forgetful that we become ungrateful to the Most Compassionate who has bestowed upon us many favours. But Allah is so merciful that He has prescribed for us Swalah which has the ability to transform us into people who remember Him and thereby constantly seek forgiveness from Him. It will also enable us to restrain ourselves from shameful and unjust deeds because we remember Allah. Thus we are in need of Swalah. Once the Prophet [pbuh] asked his companions, “Do you believe that dirt can remain on a person bathing five times a day in a stream running in front of his doors?” “No,” replied the companions. “No dirt can remain on his body.” The Prophet [pbuh] remarked, “so exactly similar and the effect of SWALAH offered five times a day. With the Grace of Allah, it washes away all the sins.” (Reported by Bukhary and Muslim) It is through our being close to Allah that we may be purified and exalted by Him. Swalah is that key which He has given us that we may receive His mercy and forgiveness for all our failings. How apt it is that five times a day our life is intermittently paused by our personal approach to Him in a special audience. It is also done with our whole self not just our thoughts alone: our limbs and our entire body also participate in His glorification, humbling themselves before the Almighty. Beginners' Manual on Islam 57
  58. 58. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 12 1 What is Swalah ? 2 Name the 5 obligatory daily Swalah which Muslims must perform, and state when each is to be performed ? 3 What is JUMA’AT Swalah ? 4 What example did the Prophet (pbuh) describe to the Companions regarding a person who performs Swalah fives times a day ? 5 What are the benefits of Swalah ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 58
  59. 59. Chapter 13 P REPARING FOR S WALAH The five considerations before performance of Swalah [1] State of Purity [2] Mode of Dressing [3] Place of Performance [4] Time for the Performance [5] Direction to face towards [1] STATE OF PURITY “For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.” (Q : Baqarah 2:222) As Muslims, we are required to maintain a certain standard of hygiene and cleanliness. Islam stipulates that Muslims must know how to cleanse themselves, to know and be able to per- form, on certain occasions, a complete bath and the washing of certain parts of the body ie. ablution. The following are 3 things every Muslim must know and be able to perform : [a] Istinja’ (toilet hygiene) [b] Obligatory Ghusl’ (bath) [c] Wudhu’ (ablution) Beginners' Manual on Islam 59
  60. 60. WHAT IS “ISTINJA’” ? Istinja’ means the cleansing of both the private parts after urination or bowel movements using clean water, (preferably running tap water). It is preferable to use toilet paper first before washing. Use the left hand in cleansing and ensure the removal of all traces of the discharge. If running water is not available, then you may use other absorbent material such as paper but preference must be given to the use of water. It is obligatory for male Muslims to be circumcised, before which the uncircumcised male must ensure that when he does the istinja’, the foreskin is pulled back and the glans washed thor- oughly. Note: All discharges from the private parts are regarded as impure and require cleansing. Other impure things are pus, vomit, blood and carcasses of forbidden animals. WHAT IS OBLIGATORY BATH (GHUSL’)? “ O Ye who believe! Approach not prayers .....in a state of impurity until after washing your whole body.” (Q : An-Nisa 4:43) “If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body.” (Q : Maidah 5:7) Obligatory ghusl’ is a complete washing (bath) which must be taken as commanded by Allah, on all occasions when a Muslim is affected with major impurity (termed “Jannabah”). The 5 occasions which cause one to be in a state of ceremonial impurity (jannabah) ie. requiring the taking of this obligatory bath, are:- Beginners' Manual on Islam 60
  61. 61. [1] when a Muslim dies, in which case his body will be given the bath. [2] for women after their menstruation/monthly period* * If the menstruation (which usually takes about 6 - 7 days to complete) becomes irregularly prolonged (ie. longer than normal), give a grace period of a day, after which the bleeding is not considered as menstruation, but an ailment. After this grace period, if there is still bleeding, the woman can begin to perform Swalah. But each time, she has to take her obligatory bath immedi- ately before performing the Swalah. [3] for women who have lochia after childbirth ie. when the post-natal bleeding has ceased [4] when sexual penetration has occurred. In this case both parties are in the state of ceremonial impurity (even if the sexual act is not completed) [5] when semen has been ejaculated HOW TO PERFORM THE OBLIGATORY GHUSL’ There are 2 important criteria to be fulfilled: [1] Intention [2] Whole body is washed The detailed performance of the obligatory bath (sequential method) [1] Cleanse the genitals (or do the istinja’) [2] Wash the face, hands up the elbows, wipe the head and ears Beginners' Manual on Islam 61
  62. 62. [3] At the start of the bath, formulate the intention in your heart/mind : “I am doing the obligatory bath (ghusl’) for the sake of Allah.” Then: [a] wash the head thoroughly (including hair, beard, sideburns, etc.) If by pouring water over it, three times is preferred. [b] wash the right half of the body thoroughly, from shoulder down to the feet, and if by pouring water over it, three times is preferred. [c] wash the left half of the body thoroughly, from shoulder down to the feet, and if by pouring water over it, three times is preferred. * “thoroughly” entails rubbing over the parts of the body. If during the bath, soap or shampoo is used, ensure that you rinse over it with water. Bathing by immersion One may also perform the obligatory bath by total immersion eg. in pool, sea , river, etc. but the important criteria must be met, ie. thoroughness and intention. Thus when one performs the obligatory bath by total immersion, ensure that one moves about while submerged so that all parts of the body come into contact with water, preferably rubbing the hands over all parts of the body. Intention accompanying the immersion is to be formulated at the start of the bath. (Note that for total immersion in static water, as in a container, the amount of water has to be not less than 1.50 cubic metre capacity, to ensure that it does not become contaminated.) Beginners' Manual on Islam 62
  63. 63. THINGS THAT ARE FORBIDDEN WHILE A PERSON IS IN A STATE OF MAJOR IMPURITY (JANNABAH) [1] Performance of Swalah [2] Performance of TAWAF - circumambulating the Ka’aba in Mecca [3] Touching or carrying the Mushaf - (the Holy Qur’an totally in Arabic) [4] Reciting the Holy Qur’an as an act of devotion * But it is permissible in “zikr" (daily utterances as a form of remembrance), extollation and glorification of Allah. [5] Remaining inside any mosque WHAT IS WUDHU’ (ABLUTION)? “O Ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; rub your heads (with water) And (wash) your feet to the ankles.” (Q : Maidah 5:7) From the above, “Wudhu’ (ablution)” means conditional washing of certain parts of the body prior to the performance of SWALAH. HOW DO YOU PERFORM WUDHU’ (ABLUTION)? The detailed manner of its performance, including preliminar- ies as shown by the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh,] is as follows: Beginners' Manual on Islam 63
  64. 64. IS IN A STATE OF MAJOR IMPURITY (JANNABAH) [1] Performance of Swalah [2] Performance of TAWAF - circumambulating the Ka’aba in Mecca [3] The actual Wudhu’ begins with the washing of the face. It is at this point that your intention must be made, or formulated thus “I am performing this Wudhu’ for the sake of Allah”. The face constitutes the area from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin and between the two ears. [4] Then, the right arm is washed up to the elbow, followed by the left arm. [5] The head is wiped with moistened hands, followed by the ears. [6] The feet are then washed up to the ankles, the right foot first and then the left. Note: [a] The washing of limbs in wudhu’ must all be done following the sequence stated in Qur’an (5:7) viz. face, hands, head and then the feet. [b] It is recommended to use running tap water. Wherever possible avoid using water in a small container as it may become polluted by usage. [c] It is recommended that washing be done 3 times for each limb. After wudhu’ it is recommended to recite: “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. Beginners' Manual on Islam 64
  65. 65. There is no equal to Him. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. O Allah make me one who seeks repentance (from you) and one who is purified (by you).” (REFER TO ILLUSTRATION ON PAGE 106 FOR PERFORMANCE OF WUDHU’) What Nullifies/Spoils Wudhu’? After performance of wudhu’, the following may cause it to be nullified:- [1] when any impurity proceeds from the two lower openings viz. stool, gas, worms, urine, seminal discharge. [2] when one losses consciousness through sleep, drowsiness, insanity, fainting, etc. [3] when one touches, with the palm, the private parts of any human being, including one’s own (#1). [4] touching a person of the opposite sex whose relationship is within the marriageable degree (*2) EXCEPTIONAL METHOD OF PURIFICATION TAYAMUM - Sand Ablution “And if ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth and rub therewith your faces and hands.” (Q : An Nisa 4:43) ______________________________________________________________ (#1) This view is held by the Shafie mazhab based on the following basis:- “Whosoever touches his genitals, let him re-take his wudhu.” (Hadith reported by Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Nasai and Ibnu Majah) (*2) This view is held by the Shafie mazhab based on the literal understanding of : “.....or when ye have been in contact (aw-laa-mastu) with women” (Q: Maidah 5:7) Beginners' Manual on Islam 65
  66. 66. In exceptional cases where water is not available or cannot be used, the alternative to an obligatory bath (Ghusl’) and ablu- tion (wudhu’) is TAYAMUM (sand ablution). How is Tayamum performed ? With intention, the palms of the hands are tapped on the sur- face of sand or where there is fine dust. Blow any coarse sand away and then wipe the face with the palms, top downwards, once only. Repeat the tapping a second time and wipe the two hands up to the elbow, right and left (it must be done in this order). [2] MODE OF DRESSING “O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful ap- parel at every time and place of prayer.” (Q : A’raf 7:31) [1] One must ensure that the dress/attire used for prayer is clean from any traces of impurity such as urine, excrement, blood, pus, etc. [2] For ladies, the area of coverage is the whole body except for the face and palms of the hands (shape of women must be concealed by wearing loose clothes). [3] For men, the area between the navel and the knees should not be exposed. [4] Of course, the material used should not be transparent. [3] PLACE OF PERFORMANCE “Allah has made for me the earth pure and as a place for prostration.” (Reported by Bukhary and Muslim) Beginners' Manual on Islam 66
  67. 67. All places that are clean and free from filth or impurity can be used for prayer. No prayer should be offered in slaughterhouses, garbage dump, toilet, stable, public access or where it may endanger life, or on top of graves and on the roof of the Ka’aba. [4] TIME OF PERFORMANCE “Set up regular prayers; for such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.” (Q : An Nisa 4:103) The appropriate time of performance is to be within the prescribed period:- Subuh - from dawn until the sun begins to rise (“shuruk” or sunrise marks the end of dawn) * Note that another name for “Subuh” is “Fajar” Zuhur - from beginning of afternoon until the shadow of an object is equal to its size. When Zuhur ends, ‘Asr begins. ‘Asr - After Zuhur until the sun begins to set. Maghrib - After the sun has completely set below the horizon, when the sky becomes crimson. Maghrib begins and shall remain until the crimson disappears. ‘Isha’ - When the crimson glow vanishes, it marks the night or ‘Isha’ prayer time. * Note: Nowadays the prayer timetable, which details times to the minute, is available and can be conveniently referred to. [5] DIRECTION TO FACE Turn then, thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque (Ka’aba in Mecca): (Q : Al Baqarah 2:144) Beginners' Manual on Islam 67
  68. 68. “Then face the Kiblat (direction) and say the Takbir (glorification).” (Report by Bukhary and Muslim) Whenever one is to perform the SWALAH, the direction is towards the most ancient house of worship established by Allah, the Ka’aba in Mecca. For us in Singapore, the direction is towards the north-west (the bearing is about 291o clockwise). FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF SWALAH, REFER TO SPECIAL ADDENDUM ON “Detailed Performance of the Five Daily Swalah” WHAT ACTS NULLIFY OR SPOIL SWALAH? Swalah begins with the recitation of the first “Takbir”and ends with the recitation of the “Salaam”. While performing it, any one of the following acts/factors will cause it to be nullified: [1] Swalah has to be performed while one is in a state of purity. If one’s wudhu’ [ablution] is nullified such as when any impurity proceeds from one’s body eg. urination, stool, gas, worm or much vomitting - the swalah itself will be invalidated. The wudhu’ has to be retaken before repeating the swalah all over again. [2] Talking will render the swalah invalid. But if need be, there are ways of communication allowed eg. during congregational prayer, a mistake by the Imam [prayer leader] may be corrected by those praying behind him with the saying of “sub-haanAllah” aloud. [3] Making too much movement other than what is required Beginners' Manual on Islam 68
  69. 69. in swalah. “Too much movement” means 3 consecutive movements of the major limbs. [4] Drinking, eating or smoking while praying will nullify the swalah. [5] Turning the chest away from the Qiblat (ie. the direction towards the Ka'aba) will invalidate a prayer. [6] Changing the niat/intention eg. from that of performing an obligatory (fardh) prayer to a recommended (sunnat) prayer. [7] Commiting breach of (or lacking in) any of the following arkan (essentials) viz.: [i] intention [niat] at the start of the prayer [ii] all the postures: standing , bowing, prostration, sitting [iii] pausing for a moment while in a particular position [tuma’ninah] [iv] in the correct order of sequence [v] essential recitations : “takbiratul ihram” “al-Fatihah” “Tasy-syahud” with “swalawat” and “Salaam” [8] When the “aurat” [ie. the parts of the body that require covering] becomes exposed - eg. for a man, the area between the navel and the knees, and for a woman, all parts of her body except for the face and hands up to her wrists. But when the exposed area can be quickly covered, the swalah will not be affected. Beginners' Manual on Islam 69
  70. 70. EXERCISE FOR CHAPTER 13 1 What are the 5 considerations before performing Swalah ? 2 When does a Muslim have to take the obligatory bath (Ghusl’) ? 3 How does one perform the ablution (Wudhu’)? 4 What is the alternative if one cannot perform the obligatory bath (Ghusl’) or ablution (Wudhu’) ? 5 Which direction must one face when performing Swalah ? 6. What acts can nullify/spoil Swalah ? NOTES: Beginners' Manual on Islam 70
  71. 71. Chapter 14 F ASTING “ “ O You who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. (Q: Al Baqarah 2:183) What is the Obligatory Fast? Fasting in Islam is amongst the forms of devotion that provides a Muslim with necessary training in the exercise of self-denial, so that he may become truly one who is able to submit himself to the will of Allah. In the month of Ramadhan, it is compulsory for every able Muslim to observe the daily fast for the whole month. Exceptions are for those who are on a journey, the sick, insane, infants, etc. For every fasting day missed, it has to be made up in some other months. How to observe the Fast The rule of fasting begins with intention to be formulated on the night before the fast, in the language which one understands. Basically, one must be conscious or aware of the fast to be observed and the reasons for doing it. Thus, the intention formulated in the heart or mind is as follows:- Beginners' Manual on Islam 71