This article highlights the basic tenets and beliefs in Islam. Different people have different ideas and impressions about Islam due to existing world conditions. Islam is a continuation of monotheistic belief and was preached by Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.*), who was born in Arabia in 570 A.D. Although he lacked formal education, he started preaching Islam after receiving divine revelation at the age of 40 through the angel Gabriel. The revelation, which took 23 years to complete, is the Holy Quran, and it still exists in its original Arabic text. Translations are available in different languages of the world along side the original Arabic.
The Holy Quran contains a complete code of life. It came when Arabia was passing through dark ages and detached from other civilizations. Tribal warfare, idol worship and female infanticide were the norm.
The Quran contains information about previous prophets and their teachings, starting from Adam and going all the way to Prophet Jesus (p.b.u.h.*). Muslims are supposed to revere and believe all prophets equally. Besides the Quran, muslins also follow the teachings of Prophet Mohammed, which really are derived from the teachings of the Quran.
To quote from the Quran: "Say: we believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord." "O Mankind, I have created you from a male and female, made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. The best of you in the sight of your lord is the one best in conduct."
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."
The Prophet told his followers, "No body can be a good muslim unless he/she checks whether their neighbor has something to eat before going to bed."
There are seven 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 one month during Ramadan,
Paying obligatory poor dues, and
Going on pilgrimage once in a lifetime if one has the financial ability.
These rituals help followers practice complete submission to the will of God.
During five various parts of the day, muslims pray, which purifies their hearts and reminds them constantly about God.
During the month of Ramadan, which began July 9 this year, muslims do not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. Not only do they need to abstain from eating and drinking, they must avoid evil talk or thought or any unlawful act that may nullify the fast. Fasting teaches fellow feeling for the poor and starving. After Ramadan ends, muslims celebrate with feasts, donations to poor and gifts to friends and family.
Rich people should give 2.5 percent of their annual savings to the poor and needy besides other optional charity. Once in a lifetime a rich and healthy muslim should go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, the time for which comes after about two months of Ramadan.
To learn more about Islam, readers can check web sites such as www.islamicfinder.org or visit a mosque or Islamic center. All are welcome to visit and interact with others.
(*) p.b.u.h. stand for the phrase, "peace be upon him," used to honor all prophets.
- Pathan makes his home in Williamsport.