Sunday, 13 June 2010

The "I" Word! (Islam 101)


Asalamu aliakuam wa rahmat Allah wa barkatoo and Hello!
How is everyone? Well, recently, I’ve been asked a few questions about Islam. One was about ‘our Scripture’ and another was about our concept of salvation.  


I thought I would answer by first, giving a tiny little intro on Islam. And then, I would make a new post dealing with the concept of salvation.
Ready?
1.      What does Islam mean? Islam comes from the Arabic root word ‘salama’ which linguistically it means to submit or yield to. In essence Islam is all about submitting to God. It’s surrendering the white flag to Him, following His path, putting Him above everything, including your own self. Islam also derives from the Arabic word meaning peace. It is the way to [inner] peace and its essence is peace [between you and God, between you and others, etc.]. You can also think of it as ‘peaceful submission’ to God, meaning that you voluntarily submit to God.

2.      Who is Allah? Many people do not realize that the word Allah is the Arabic word that literally means “The God”. In fact, Arab Christians use the word “Allah” to refer to God.  It’s similar to the Hebrew “El” or “Elah”,  and you can think of it as the English word ‘God”. However, it should be noted that Allah is a bit more specific because the word is grammatically unique. It can NOT be made into a masculine or feminine form and it cannot be made into a plural. Therefore, it signifies the One and Only. The Magnificent whom there is None Like. The Perfect God who is the Creator and Sustainer of all.


3.      What are our Scriptures? Well, since Islam goes back to Prophet Adam and has existed all through history (has been the Message of God since Adam’s time), we sincerely believe that the Torah and the Bible were Divinely Inspired and were Scriptures of Islam; however, the Book that we use today/follow today is the Qur’an. This is because we believe it is the only Scripture that has remained completely intact and has not been changed. It is God’s ultimate and final message to mankind. The Qur’an in fact remains completely unaltered in its original Arabic text. The other thing that we look at are the ‘hadiths’ of the Prophet. These are his teachings, his sayings, and ‘reactions’. Everything he did was carefully recorded and memorized by his Companions who actually witnessed and heard them themselves. (They did this because we believe that he was the best example for all of mankind). It is important to note that every hadith has two parts- the text and list of narrators or transmitters. (Whenever we ‘accept a hadith’ a rigorous study is undertaken to determine  whether this ‘list of transmitters truly did meet and whether the whole chain of narrators is known to be completely sound and reliable.)

I'm keeping this post short because the next one will be long. Heheh. However, You can read more about what we believe in here:






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5 comments:

  1. mashaAllah sis, you know how to explain things really well!

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  2. If Islam is so peaceful, how do you explain jihad?!

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  3. What is jihad? Think of it this way. Can you imagine a country that has no army or military defense? Why do countries have armies? For defense, right? This is what jihad is. Jihad is not about going and randomly killing non-Muslims. Jihad is all about self- defense, defending the right people have to practice their religion or fighting tyranny and oppression. It is only when the rights of Muslims have been trampled and when injustice has befallen a people, that we are allowed to fight.

    The Qur’an clearly points that this is why jihad has been legislated and that Islam has no problems with peaceful non-Muslims:

    Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors. (2:190)

    If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things. (8:61)

    Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loves those who are just (Surat Al Mumatihina)

    Allah advocates justice, charity and regarding the relatives. And He forbids evil, vice and transgression. He enlightens you, that you may take heed. (16: 90)

    And if you punish, let your punishment be proportional to the wrong that has been done to you. But if you show patience, that is indeed the best course. Be patient, for your patience is from God. And do not grieve over them,
    or distress yourself because of their plots. For God is with those who restrain themselves,
    and those who do good.
    Qur'an 16:125-128

    In fact, not only is jihad to be used only for defensive reasons, but there are very specific rules to it. That is, 1, 400+ years ago, long before the Geneva convention, the Prophet clearly laid down the rules of combat in which he clearly prohibited the cutting down of trees, killing livestock, killing monks or elderly men, killing women and children, etc.

    The Prophet even stated “Whoever kills a mu’aahid (a person from another religion with whom there is a peace treaty) will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, even though its fragrance may be detected from a distance of forty days”.

    Finally, Islamic teachings say: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error (2: 285)”.

    “Say, O, disbelievers: I do not worship what you worship. (2) Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. (3) Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. (4) Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. (5) For you is your religion, and for me is my religion." (6) (Chapter 109)

    I'll be back though to post up a good article regarding the rights of non-Muslims that may surprise ya :)

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  4. Anon, I was typing really fast and erased the part by accident that said 'thank you for asking and keep asking questions' :)

    Susanne and oldie goldie, thanks guys <3

    Okay, so the article(s) I was referring to for anon can all be found here:

    http://www.islamreligion.com/category/85/

    Please do come visit again and let me know what you think?

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Hey :D So am I talking to myself or...? Tell me what you think :D