Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Islaam in Focus|
|10/26/01 at 17:13:30|
|ISLAM IN FOCUS|
Say: He is Allah, the one and only.
The absolute, the eternal
He begets not, nor is He begotten
And there is nothing comparable to Him.
Al-Qur'an, Chapter 112
Islam is an Arabic word meaning attaining "peace" through the submission of onself to the will of Allah. Muslims are the people who practice Islam. Out of 1.2 billion Muslims all around the world, about 13% are Arabs. There are over 7 million Muslims living in North America and Islam is statistically the fastest growing religion in the world.
Islam stands for complete and pure monotheism. That means that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. Allah is the personal name for God and the closest meaning to it is "the one and only."
The prophets and messengers sent to humanity is for the purpose of leading mankind to the worship and obedience of Allah. Islam recognizes all prophets sent by Allah, starting from Adam and ending with the final messenger Muhammed (peace be upon him).
Islam recognizes five major messengers of Allah: Nooh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus), and Muhammed (peace be upon all of them). All the messengers taught the same basic message of oneness of Allah and submitting to His will. Thus all messengers were Muslims and proclaimed the message of Islam.
Every person is accountable to his or her own deeds in front of Allah on the day of judgment. It is the faith in Allah and His messengers and sincere submission to the commands of Allah that will lead the individual to attain the mercy and grace of Allah and will take him to paradise. Thus Islam rejects the notion of original sin and sacrificial atonement. Every newborn is pure and free from sins. When an individual attains the age of puberty is when his or her accountability starts.
The message of Islam is universal. It is the same message proclaimed by all prophets of Allah. The finality of prophethood has been marked by the advent of prophet Muhammed (peace be with him). Unlike all other prophets, Muhammed has been sent to the entire humanity.
The message of Islam is for all people. It does not differentiate based upon the color of skin, amount of wealth, position in the society, or place of birth. Rather, Allah says in Qur'an: "The most honorable in the sight of Allah is the one who is the most righteous and God fearing."
The final message from Allah is Qur'an. This is the word of Allah, revealed to prophet Muhammed through archangel Jibreel (Gabriel), and was written down by some officially appointed scribes during the lifetime of Muhammed. Prophet Muhammed himself was an unlettered prophet.
There is no boundary between rituals and non-rituals in Islam. Every action should be done in order to attain the pleasure of Allah. By this way, everything will be equivalent to worship. Thus Islam is not a "religion", rather it is a complete way of life.
There are many aspects in Islam that are obligatory in nature. These include five daily ritual prayers, fasting in the month of Ramadan everyday from dawn to dusk, giving obligatory charity to the poor and needy, treating parents with utmost care and concern, and the like.
Islam also puts some prohibitions on certain things. These include alcohol and drugs, fornication and adultery, gambling and telling lies, injustice and prejudice, etc.
The obligations and prohibitions in Islam serve for two major purposes. Firstly, it is to test the people to see whether they are truthful and sincere to their commitment to Allah. Secondly, it is to make an individual obtain the highest moral and ethical character.
The most major sin in Islam is associating partners to Allah. If a person dies with this belief, he will never be forgiven by Allah. Short of this sin, Allah will forgive whoever He wills, and Allah is the most just and merciful.
One major characteristics of Islam is that it recognizes repentance. Repentance is between an individual and Allah. A person is prone to mistakes and sins, but as long as sincere repentance is made that is acceptable by Allah, Allah will forgive him. One condition of repentance is that the person will try the best to avoid the same kind of sin in the future.
Any person can enter Islam by saying the "Shahada" : "There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammed is the slave of Allah and His last and final messenger."
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