Islam is to submit to Allah in His Oneness (Monotheism) to be subservient to Him in obedience, and to shun associating any partners, rivals, and intercessors with Him. It is a religion of tolerance and ease. What do They Say About Islam? The Pillars of Islam Who is the Messenger of Islam What Do They Say About Muhammad? Pillars of Faith What is the Quran? What Do They Say About the Quran? What is Islam? Islam is to submit to Allah in His Oneness (Monotheism) to be subservient to Him in obedience, and to shun associating any partners, rivals, and intercessors with Him. It is a religion of tolerance and ease. Allah says: Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.(2:185) Islam is a religion through which one would be spiritually contented and would have peace of heart. Allah says: Those who believe, and whose hearts find their rest in the remembrance of Allah - for, verily, in the remembrance of Allah hearts do find their rest. (13:28) Islam is a religion of mercy and compassion. The Messenger of Allah said: "The All-Merciful shows mercy to those who show mercy. Show mercy to those on Earth, and you will be shown mercy by the One above the heavens." (Tirmidhi) Islam is a religion of love and loving good for others. The Messenger of Allah said: "The most beloved of people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to others." (Tabaraani) Islam is a religion which has no confusion or ambiguity associated with it. Allah says: "And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message [i.e. former scriptures] if you do not know." (16:43) Islam is a religion for all, for it is a call directed to mankind at large, not to a specific race or people. Allah says: And We have not sent you except to all of humanity, as a herald of glad tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know. (34:28) Islam is a religion which effaces all previous sins. The Prophet said: "Islam effaces all (sins) committed before it." (Muslim) Islam is a complete and perfect religion which abrogated all revelations, and it is the last religion. Allah says: This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. (5:3) Islam comprises a number of acts of worship, among which are verbal, physical and creedal acts of worship. These acts of worship play an important role in refining one's manners, purifying one's soul, reforming an individual, and maintaining the integrity and unity of Muslim society. What do they say about Islam? W. Montgomery Watt in his book: 'What is Islam?' said: 'Prejudice is only one of the difficulties to be met by the European or American student of Islam. As soon as he begins to describe Islam as 'the religion of the Quran', or 'the religion of the four hundred million Muslims of today', he introduces a category which does not fit, the category of 'religion'. For what does 'religion' now mean to the occidental? At best, for the ordinary man, it means a way of spending an hour or so on Sundays in practices which give him some support and strength in dealing with the problems of daily life, and which encourages him to be friendly towards other persons and to maintain the standards of sexual propriety; it has little or nothing to do with commerce or economics or politics or industrial relationships. At worst it fosters an attitude of complacency in the more prosperous individuals and breeds smugness. The European may even look at religion as an opiate developed by exploiters of the common people in order to keep them in subjection. How different from the connotations to the Muslim of the verse (3:19): 'the true religion with God is Islam!' The word translated as 'religion' is Deen, which, in Arabic, commonly refers to a whole way of life. It is not a private matter for individuals, touching only the periphery of their lives, but something which is both private and public, something which permeates the whole fabric of society in a way of which men are conscious. It is all in one theological dogma, forms of worship, political theory, and a detailed code of conduct, including even matters which the European would classify as hygiene or etiquette. The Pillars Of Islam Physical and verbal acts of worship are called the Pillars of Islam. These are as follows: 1. The Testimony of Faith (Shahaadatayn) This is the testimony that "none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and messenger". This testimony is the key with which one becomes a Muslim. The meaning of the first part of the testimony, 'none has the right to be worshipped but Allah', is: 1. Allah is the Creator of all that exists. 2. Allah is the Proprietor of all that exists and the Disposer of all affairs. 3. Allah is the One Who deserves to be worshipped alone. There is no other God worthy of worship except Allah, and Mohammad is his messenger. The meaning of the second part of the testimony, 'Muhammad is His slave and messenger' contains the following meanings: 1. To obey the Prophet in what he ordered. 2. To believe in everything he said. 3. To refrain from what he prohibited and warned against. 4. And that you do not worship Allah except by what he legislated. 2. The Prayer (Salah) The Prayer is a means through which a slave maintains relationship between himself and his Lord. In it, he privately converses with his Lord, seeking His forgiveness and asking Him for help and guidance. There are five prayers which must be performed daily. Men must observe them in the Masjid (mosque) in congregation, except for those who have a valid excuse. Through this, Muslims come to know one another, and the bonds of love and unity which hold them together are built, maintained and strengthened. They come to know of the condition of their fellow Muslims on a daily basis. If someone is not present and thought to be sick, they visit him, and if it seems that he is falling short in some of his obligations, they advise him. All social differences, such as class, race, and lineage are disregarded, for Muslims line up side by side in straight rows, all facing one direction (Makkah) all at the same time. All are rendered equal in regards to their subservience to Allah and standing before Him. A large assembly of believers prostrating themselves to God, the Exalted, in unique array, which clearly demonstrates their humbleness and submissiveness to Him. 3. The Obligatory Charity (Zakaah) This charity is a small percentage of wealth which a rich Muslim gives to his poor and needy brothers. There are certain conditions under which it is to be given. A Muslim gives it willingly and fulfills the command of Allah when giving it out. The goal behind the obligation of this charity is to revive mutual and social support among Muslims, as well as to eradicate poverty and put an end to the dangers which result from it. Through it, the hearts of the rich are cleansed from greed, and the hearts of the poor are cleansed from hate and jealousy which they may feel towards the rich. They see the rich giving from their wealth that which Allah decreed, continuously giving them money and caring for their needs. 4. The Fast of Ramadan (Siyaam) It is obligatory upon every muslim to fast once every year, Known as the month of Ramadan. From the break of dawn until the sun sets, Muslims must abstain from anything that breaks the fast, whether it is food, drink, or sexual intercourse. Fasting is an act of worship in Islam and was an obligation legislated in the previous religions as well. Allah says: (O you who have believed, fasting has been decreed for you as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.) (2:183) Muslims use the lunar calendar to determine the beginning and end of each month. It is also used to determine the beginning of 'religious seasons' (such as fasting and Hajj). 5. The Pilgrimage (Hajj) Hajj is the pilgrimage one makes to the Sacred House of Allah (the Kabah) in order to perform certain rites at specific places and times. This pillar of Islam is obligatory upon every Muslim, male or female, who is sane and has reached the age of puberty once in a lifetime, if they have the physical and financial capability to perform it. Pilgrims circumambulating the Kabah during the Hajj season. This Mosque can accommodate over two million people at one time Allah says: (Pilgrimage to the House is a duty owed to Allah by all people who are able to undertake it. And as for those who deny the truth - verily, Allah does not stand in need of anything in all the worlds.) (3:97) Hajj is the largest Islamic gathering. Muslims from all over the world come together at one place and one time; they all call upon the same Lord, wear the same clothes, and perform the same rituals. No difference is made between rich and poor, noble and ignoble, white and black, Arab and non-Arab; all are equal in front of Allah. There is no difference between them except in piety (taqwaa). The Hajj is an event which emphasizes the brotherhood of all Muslims and the unity of their hopes and feelings. Who is the Messenger of Islam? He is Abul-Qasim, Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, the son of Abdul- Muttalib, the son of Hashim. He belonged to the Arab tribe of Quraish whose ancestry traces back to 'Adnaan, one of the children of Ishmael, the Prophet of Allah. Ishmael was the son of Abraham, who was the messenger of Allah, may Allah praise him. He was born in the year 571 C.E. in the honored city of Makkah. Makkah was the religious center of the Arabian Peninsula, as it housed the Honored Kabah, which was built by Abraham and his son, Ishmael. Even before he received revelation, he was known amongst his people as 'The Trustworthy', and they would entrust him with their possessions when they intended to go on a journey. He was also known as 'The Truthful" due to what they knew of him from truthfulness. He never lied or acted treacherously. He always desired good for others. He received his first revelation at the age of forty and informed his wife, Khadeejah, may Allah be pleased with her, apprehensively: "Indeed I fear for myself." Khadeejah replied, "No, by Allah! Allah will never humiliate you. Indeed you maintain ties of kinship, you bear the problems of others, you give wealth to those who do not have it, you honor and feed your guests, and you give support in times of true calamity." (Bukhari) He remained in Makkah for thirteen years thereafter, calling people to believe in the Oneness of Allah. He then migrated to the city of Medina and called its inhabitants to Islam, which they accepted. There, Allah revealed to him the remaining legislations of the religion. He returned and conquered Makkah eight years after his migration, and died at the age of 63 after Allah revealed to him the entire Quran. All the legislations of the religion were perfected and completed and majority of the Arab nation accepted Islam. Muhammad (peace be upon him) What Do They Say About Muhammad? George Bernard Shaw in The Genuine Islam said: "I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to possess that assimilating capability to the changing phases of existence which make itself appeal to every age - I have prophesized about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today. Medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance or bigotry, painted Mohammedanism in the darkest colors. They were, in fact, trained to hate both the man Muhammad and his religion. To them, Muhammad was an anti-Christ. I have studied him, the wonderful man, and in my opinion, far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of humanity."2 Annie Besant3 in The Life and Teachings of Mohammad, said: It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knew how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for the mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel, whenever I reread them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher. Pillars of Faith Creedal acts of worship are called the Pillars of Faith (Iman); and they are as follows: 1. Belief in Allah Belief in Allah entails belief in His existence, and that He is the only One Who deserves to be worshipped, and He has no partners, equals or rivals in His Ruboobiyah4 , Uloohiyah5 , and His beautiful names and attributes6. He is the Creator of this existence, its Proprietor and the One Who disposes of all its affairs. Only that which He wishes comes to pass and He is the only One who deserves to be worshipped. Allah says: (Say, 'He is Allah, [who is] One. * Allah As-Samadh (the Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need). * He neither begets nor is born. * Nor is there to Him any equal. ) (112:1-4) This is the 114th chapter in the Quran. It was revealed when the polytheists asked Prophet Muhammad to describe the Lord of the worlds. 2. Belief in Allah's Angels No one knows their exact number except Him (Allah). He created them to worship Him. Allah says: (Never would the Messiah disdain to be a slave of Allah, nor would the angels near [to Him]. ) (4:172) The angels do not share any of Allah's specific qualities, nor are they His children. Rather, Allah created them to perform certain tasks. Allah says: (And they say, 'The Most Merciful has taken a son.' Exalted is He! Rather, they (Those they claim to be 'children' of Allah, such as the angels, Ezra, Jesus, etc.) are [but] honored slaves. They cannot precede Him in word, and they act by His command ) (21:26-27) 3. Belief in Allah's Books It is to believe that Allah revealed Divine Books to His Messengers in order for them to convey to mankind. These Books contained nothing but the truth at the time of revelation. All these Books called people to the Oneness of Allah, and that He is the Creator, Proprietor and Owner, and to Him belong the Beautiful Names and Attributes. Some of these Books are as follows: .The Suhuf (Scriptures of Abraham): The Suhuf is the Sacred Scripture which was revealed to Prophet Abraham . .The Torah: The Torah is the Sacred Book which was revealed to Prophet Moses . .The Zaboor (Psalms): The Zaboor is the Sacred Book which was revealed to Prophet David . .The Injeel (Gospel): The Injeel is the Sacred Book which was revealed to Prophet Jesus . .The Noble Quran: One must believe that the Quran is the Speech of Allah which Angel Gabriel brought to Muhammad and that it is the last of the Divine Books which abrogated all previous Books. 4. Belief in the Messengers The Holy Quran 4. Belief in the Messengers of Allah It is to believe that Allah chose the finest amongst mankind to be Messengers whom He sent to His creation with specific legislations; to worship and obey Him, and to establish His religion and His Tawheed (oneness). Allah ordered His Messengers to convey the Message to people, so that they would not have any proof against Him after He sent them. Allah says: (And We sent not before you, [O Muhammad] except men to whom We revealed [the message] so ask the people of the message [i.e., former scriptures] if you do not know. ) (21:7) The first Messenger was Noah and the last was Muhammad. 5. Belief in the Last Day It is to believe that the life of this world will come to an end. Allah says: (Everyone upon it [i.e., the earth] will perish. And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.) (55:26-27) Following this, Allah will resurrect all creation, take them to account and reward those who did well, due to their righteous deeds, belief (in Allah) and adherence to their Prophets and Messengers with an everlasting life in Jannah (The Heavenly Gardens). He will punish those who committed evil deeds, disbelief, and were disobedience to their messengers, with an everlasting life in Hell 6. Belief in Qada and Qadar (Predestination) It is to believe that Allah knew everything before it came into being, and what will happen to it afterwards. He then brought them into existence, all in accordance to His Knowledge and Measure. Allah said: ( and [Allah] has created each thing and measured it with [precise] measure. ) (25:2) This belief does not contradict the fact that one must strive to attain things. Belief in Divine Measure results in the following: Belief in Qadaa´ and Qadar results in a clear conscience and peace of heart. No room is left for one to feel sad about what results or does not come to be. It encourages knowledge and exploration of what Allah created in this universe. Afflictions, such as diseases drive humans to seek a cure, and this is done by searching for the sources of medicine which Allah, the Most High, created in this universe. It increases one's dependence upon Allah and removes fear of the creation. Ibn 'Abbaas said "I was behind the Messenger of Allah one day and he said to me: 'O young boy, I will teach you some words: Guard Allah's commandments and He will guard you. Guard Allah's commandments, you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah, and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah and know that if the whole world was to gather to help you, they would never be able to help you except with something which Allah has already preordained for you. And if the whole world gathered to cause you some harm, they would not be able to harm you except with something which Allah has already preordained for you. The pens have been lifted, and the scrolls have dried." (Tirmidhi) What is the Quran? The Quran is the constitution of the Muslims from which they derive the teachings which organize both their religious and everyday affairs. It differs from the previous Divine Books in the following ways: . It is the last Divine Book which was revealed, and for that reason, Allah, the Exalted, promised to protect it from any distortion until the Last Day. Allah says: (Indeed, it is We who have sent down this Reminder [i.e., the Quran] and indeed, it is We who are its Guardian. ) (15:9) . The Quran includes all the legislations which reform society and guarantees happiness for all in its implementation. . The Quran has documented the stories of the Prophets and Messengers, and what happened between them and their peoples, from Adam till Muhammad, may Allah exalt his mention. . It was revealed to all of mankind so that they would live a life of peace and happiness, and to take them out of darkness and bring them into the light. . Reciting, memorizing and teaching it are acts of worship. What Do They Say About the Quran? Maurice Bucaille said in his Book: The Quran, and Modern Science: 'A totally objective examination of it [the Quran] in the light of modern knowledge, leads us to recognize the agreement between the two, as has been already noted on repeated occasions. It makes us deem it quite unthinkable for a man of Muhammad's time to have been the author of such statements, on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations are part of what gives the Quranic Revelation its unique place, and forces the impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide an explanation which calls solely upon materialistic reasoning.'