This is a short Introduction to ISLAM
What IS ISLAM???
The Arabic term 'Islam', meanining submission, points to the fundamental religious creed which dictates that a Muslim submit to the will of Allah, conforming inwardly and outwardly to His laws.The word islam is also derived from the word silm which means peace.
The religion Islam lays great emphasis on uncompromising monotheism and strict adherence to certain creeds and acts of worship. It enjoins submitting to the will of Allah and following the exemplary way of the life of Muhammad, the last of the Prophets and Messengers, may peace be on them all.
Allah, the Exalted created the universe and what is in it that He be recognised as the One and only God. He created man and jinn only to celebrate His praise and worship Him. His words signify: "I have only created Jinn and men, that they may Serve Me" Quran51:56.
The ways and acts of worship are not left to man's option or choice. Allah is One Who ordains and decrees all acts of worship and the means in which they must be observed. Since Islam deals in every aspect of life, spiritual and physical, its jurisprudence is based on creeds, acts of worship and ordinances regarding social, economical and political transactions.
Because Islam is a perfect way of life, it enjoins maintaining a refined code of manners. The Messenger of Allah said: "Verily, I have been sent to accomplish the fine manners". Allah has praised the fine manners of His Messenger saying: "And surely thou hast sublime morals"64:4. For this reason Allah commands the believers to follow the exemplary life of His Messenger, peace be on him, saying "Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exampler"33:21.
Islam enjoins good manners for every occasion: seeking permission, greeting, sitting, eating, learning, teaching, sporting, travelling, dressing, visiting, sleeping, marriage, treating people, particularly relatives and neighbours with kindness, etc. Codes of all such great manners are found in both the Qur'an and the Prophetic traditions of the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him.
The Pillars of Islam
The Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, said: Islam is built on five
- as-Shahaadah (the profession of faith) which must be recited by anyone embracing Islam. (La ilah illallah, Muhammad Rasoolullah) meaning: "There is no true god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah". This means that there is no god worthy of being worshipped but Allah, and that He must be worshipped only according to the teaching of His Messenger Muhammad, peace be on him.
- Salat (prayer), which must be performed five times a day. The first is Fajr prayer, [two rak'aat (units)] which may be performed between dawn and sunrise. The second, Dhuhr, just afternoon,[four rak'aat]. The third Asr, in the late afternoon, [four rak'aat]. The fourth, Maghrib, [three rak'aat], immediately after sunset. The fifth, Isha', [four rak'aat] after the sun's redness disappears from the horizon. Prayers, however, must be preceded by ablution which is washing hands, face, wiping over the head, washing the forearms and feet. The prayer is one of the greatest pillars of Islam. It is the first act of worship about which man shall be asked on the Day of Reckoning. If it is accepted by Allah, then the rest of man's good deeds are accepted too.
- Zakat (the poor-due) is one of the greatest financial institutions of Islam, literally meaning 'purification', indicating that such a payment makes the rest of the Muslim's wealth pure. Zakat is levied annually on certain types of food grain, cattle and cash possessed fo one lunar calender year to be given out to the poor, the needy and other specified classes of people.
- Sawm (fasting) to be observed during the month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar). It begins at daybreak (dawn), and ends at sunset. Eating, drinking and sexual activities with one's wife are forbidden.
Besides health benefits one gains through fasting, it is an act of worship which helps one who observes it attain piety, humbleness and share the feeling of the beret and hungry in the community. Fasting also allows one to be more benevolent and charitable.
- Hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah, prescribed for those Muslims who can afford the trip financially and healthy wise, once in a life time. The Hajj rites take place during the Islamic or lunar months od Shawwal, Dthul-Qi'dah and the first ten days of Duth-Hijjah only. It is a precondition for the pilgrim to enter the state of Ihram at a certain point before entering the boundries of Makkah.
The information that being provided above is from a book called: ISLAM IN BRIEF
By Mahmoud Murad
Here is a list of other useful books:
- The Holy Qur'an, (English translation of the meaning)
by T. Al-Hilali.
- Sahih al-Bukharri and Sahih Muslim, collections of the authentic Prophetic traditions.
- The first teahcing of Islam by Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui'
- Studies in Islam GCE'0'level Edited by Dr Bilal Philips.
- Towards Understanding ISLAM by Abul A'LaMawdudi,
- The Fundamentals of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism)