What is Islam?

  • The word Islam means peace and surrender to Allah, the Arabic name for God.
  • Islamic beliefs are not difficult to comprehend. Ideas about God, angels, prophets, and such make Islamic concepts seem close to Judeo-Christian concepts.
    • As an Abrahamic faith, Islam is a natural extension of Judeo-Christian principles.
    • The God of Islam, Allah, is same as the God of Judaism and Christianity.
  • Muslims are found in every corner of the world and have a history and culture that is as rich as any other.
  • Humans have a kind of free will that God is testing.
  • People have a moral compass called fitrah, which directs them to look for God.
  • There are 5 basic pillars of Islam:
  • The first pillar is to proclaim that there is no other God, but Allah and that Prophet Muhammad is his last messenger. This is called the Shahada.
    • In Arabic this is: laa ilaaha illalaah Muhammadur rasullullah.
  • The second pillar of Islam requires Muslims to remember Allah (God) in prayer five times a day
    • Muslims gather on Friday afternoon for their congregational religious service.
    • Muslim students and employees need a few minutes every afternoon to preform their obligation of prayer.
  • Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, is a yearly charitable tax on every Muslim that amounts to 2.5 % of all the person’s annually valued assets.
  • Fasting, the fourth pillar of Islam, teaches Muslims to control their desires and urges of worldly satisfaction and to feel empathy for the poor. The reward for successful completion is forgiveness of the individuals sins.
    • Ramadan is the name of the month in which Muslims fast from food and drink from first light until sunset.
  • Performing Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam.
    • Every Muslim who can afford it and who is physically able to must make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her life.
    • The Hajj ritual consists of a series of activities each designed to teach the pilgrim a different lesson.
    • The main idea behind the Hajj is to learn how to let go of what we love in place of God.
  • The hijab (or headscarf) is worn by Muslim women to cover their hair.
    • It portrays modesty and sincerity, and vanity that degrades women is removed.
  • The study of Islam in Europe and North America has been colored by false stereotypes that have hindered good relations and been the cause of much misunderstandings and hostility.
    • A good resource on Islam and its final Prophet Muhammad is the book by Karen Armstrong, entitled: Muhammad: A biography of the Prophet
  • Muslims in general feel they have been stereotyped and are being treated unfairly by the media and entertainment industries.
    • It is unfair to point to a few villains in the Muslim world and then blame all Muslims for the actions of a very few.
  • Stereotypes of Islam being a violent religion began in the Middle Ages and have persisted into modern times.
  • Jihad does not mean holy war. It means the exertion or struggle in the cause of God. Outside the religious context, many women around the globe could identify with a diet jihad.
    • Any war for conquest or glory is forbidden in Islam.
  • Terrorism is forbidden in Islam, and the actions of people who engage in it and use Islamic slogans are not sanctioned by Islamic teachings.
  • Islam has a strong tradition of social activism, and the Quran calls on Muslims to oppose vice by working for the welfare of their fellow human beings. Such a struggle is also considered a jihad.

The Idiot’s Guide to Islam is another fine resource for learning more about this world religion. I would like to thank Arabized for this wonderfully concise compilation on the basics of Islam.

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4 Responses to What is Islam?

  1. AhueBrazil says:

    Hi digitalniqabi , how are u.. I like very much your explanations about Islam for the people… It’s basic, good, much important to bring!
    I see you ๐Ÿ™‚

    oops, my new adress blog! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wait for you too:
    http://ahue.br.gs
    Hasta ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. White Silk says:

    Hi AhueBrazil! Nice to see you! Aaaahhhh, I just finished an exam, more on that tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚ This was actually a fun posting for me, I am going to make an MS Word version to give out to people who ask me about Islam, when I don’t have time to explain ๐Ÿ˜€

    Link has been updated–thanks for the gentle reminder ๐Ÿ™‚
    Peace ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Arabized says:

    im happy at least someone is passing the knowledge. ๐Ÿ™‚

    hahah thats awesome, giving out hard copies to people..

  4. DigiN says:

    Thanks Arabized! And with the curiosity about Islam, its nice to have materials on hand, that people can just take home; coming from a real person, maybe it will make more of an impact. I have friends who do this, just give people stuff to read rather than repeating the same basics over and over lol.

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