Islam, a religion of peace and submission to Almighty God
Different people have different ideas and impressions about Islam due to existing world conditions. Islam is a continuation of the monolithic belief and was preached by Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.), who was born in Arabia in the year 570 A.D. He started preaching Islam after receiving a divine revelation at the age of 40. The revelation took 23 years to complete, and is the Holy Quran, which still exists in its original text in Arabic. The translations are available in many world languages side by side with the original Arabic text.
The Holy Quran contains a complete code of life for mankind. It came at a time when Arabia was passing through dark ages detached from other civilizations. Tribal warfare, the worshiping of idols and the killing of female children at birth were the norm.
The Prophet had no formal education. God was his teacher through the angel Gabrail. The Quran contains information about previous prophets and their teachings, from Adam all the way to Prophet Jesus (pbuh). Muslims are supposed to revere and believe all prophets equally.
Besides the Quran, Muslims also follow the teachings of Prophet Mohammed derived from the teachings of the Quran – for example, “We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. … Mankind was one single nation and Allah sent messengers to all.”
To deal with others Islam instructs:
“Repel evil with that which is better.”
“Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and reason with them in the better way.”
“When you are greeted with a greeting, greet ye with a better than it.”
“Argue not with the People of the book unless it be in a better way.”
“People who make mischief will find their place in Hell.”
Regarding keeping peace and avoidance of violence, Quran says, “For those creating mischief through the land, cutting off of hands or exile from the land.”
The Prophet told his followers, “Nobody can be a good Muslim unless he/she checks whether their neighbor has something to eat before going to bed.”
There are six aspects of belief in Islam: the oneness of God, angels, prophets, divine books, day of judgment, hell and heaven, and fate. There are five basic pillars of Islam: belief in One God, prayer five times daily, fasting during Ramadan, obligatory alms to the poor, and Pilgrimage once in a lifetime, if one is healthy and financially able. These rituals help followers of Islam practice complete submission to the will of God. Prayer five times a day purifies the heart and reminds them constantly of God.
During the month of Ramadan, which will start June 28 this year, Muslims do not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. Not only must they abstain from eating and drinking, they must avoid evil talk or thought of any unlawful act which might nullify the fast. Fasting teaches fellow feeling for the poor and starving.
After the end of Ramadan they celebrate it with a feast and also giving donations to the poor and gifts to friends and family. Rich people are to give 2.5 percent of their annual savings to the poor and needy besides other optional charity. The Pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able comes about two months after Ramadan.
To learn more about Islam, readers can check websites such as www.islamicfinder.org. We also have a mosque in Williamsport near Memorial Park. There is a Friday gathering and prayer around 1 p.m. All are welcome to visit and interact with others.