Understanding Islam (Submission in English Language)
We would like to start off with a verse from the Quran that, in a few words, says a great deal about the religion.
[2:62] Surely Those who believe, Those who are Jewish, The Christians, the converts; anyone who 1) believes in God, and 2) believes in the Hereafter, and 3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord, they have nothing To fear nor will they grieve.
The Quran is the holy book of the Muslims (Submitters in English). They believe it to be the word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad 1400 years ago.
Although prophet Muhammad lived in the Arabian peninsula ( currently Saudi Arabia) , Islam has spread throughout the world and is presently the second largest religion. It is also the fastest growing religion. The Quran was revealed in Arabic and the scripture still exists in its original form.
Fundamentals of Islam
What is Islam?
That is the most misunderstood Word. It simply means submission. Anyone submitting to the one God is practicing Islam and is a Muslim or a Submitter. (Quran 3:19, 3:85, 21:92)
One God? Which God? Allah?
Yes, but Allah is simply an Arabic word meaning 'The One God', that being the Creator of the Universe. (Quran 2:255). Arab Christians and Jews also use the same word (Allah) for God.
A verse in The Quran says "Such is God your Lord, there is no god except He, The Creator of all things. You shall worship Him alone..." (Quran 6:102). This is The same God that Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad worshipped.
So anyone who submits to Allah or God is a Muslim?
Yes. Again Islam means submission. Anyone who submits to the One God, believes in the Hereafter and leads a righteous life is called a Muslim or Submitter. (Quran 2:62)
If that's all that's required, then why do Muslims pray five times a day?
It's for our benefit. God decrees these prayers called the contact prayers as a means of remembrance of Him and to keep us on the right path. God doesn't need our prayers. (Quran 2:3, 23:1,2, 24:41) The Quran specifies the limes for the (contact) prayer as was given to Abraham and his two sons. (Quran 22:26)
Abraham? I thought Muhammad was the founder of Islam.
No, Muhammad was not the founder of Islam. He was the prophet who received the Quran and he was told in the Quran to follow the religion of Abraham including the practices such as salat or prayer, fasting, charity, and the pilgrimage. (Quran 2:97,128, 6:161, 16:1-3, 17:1, 21:72,73, 53:1,18)
You mentioned Muhammad as a prophet. Do Muslims believe in other prophets?
Yes, the Quran mentions several messengers and prophets by name and says there are many other messengers. Some of the ones mentioned are: Lot, Job, Jonah, Moses, David, Solomon, Joseph, Jacob, Noah Jesus, the son of Mary. Their stories are recounted in the Quran. (Quran 10:47, 13:7, 16:36)
Jesus, The son of Mary. is That the Virgin Mary
Yes, we believe in Mary, The mother of Jesus. In fact, chapter 19 of the Quran is entitled MARY and tells the story of MARY and the birth of Jesus. (Quran 19:16-36).
I believe There are some common practices in your religion.one of them being fasting. Could you tell us what that is about?
Fasting is observed during the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. While fasting, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or have sex from dawn to dusk. After sunset and before dawn they can do these things as they please. (Quran 2:183,184,187,194, 5:89,95, 19:26, 58:4)
How about the pilgrimage?
The pilgrimage is called the Hajj and is supposed to be performed at least once in a lifetime if one is able. It requires making a trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and performing certain rites which are outlined in the Quran. The main purpose of the pilgrims is to perform the Hajj as decreed to them and commemorate God all the time during the Hajj period. The rites mainly take place around the kaaba, which is the focal point for all Muslims when performing the contact prayers. The kaaba was originally built by Abraham as a place of worship, (Quran 2:158, 2:196-200, 2:203, 3:97, 5:1, 5:95-96, 9:3,19, 22:26,29, 28:27, 48:25-27)
I've heard the word "zakat" mentioned by Muslims. What is this?
Zakat is a form of charity generally accepted at a rate of 2.5% of one's earnings. It is payable when one receives income and should be distributed amongst one's family, the orphans, the poor, or needy travelers according to their need. (Quran 2:43,215, 6:141, 7:156)
I understand that Muslims get together on Fridays, what is the reason for that?
God tells us in the Quran that all believers, male and female, should attend the Friday congregational prayer which is the noon prayer of the five daily prayers. This prayer is required to be done as a group rather than individually, on Fridays. (Quran 62:9). Just a note here that before Muslims pray they prepare themselves by washing their faces, arms and feet and wiping their head with wet hands. Sometimes people see us in a bathroom doing this and they wonder what we're up to. (Quran 4:43, 5:6)
All religions have a moral code That they follow. What is expected of a Muslim in terms of conduct and morality?
This is a very big topic but to give you some idea:
We are required to look after and honor our parents. (Quran 17:23).
To look after the orphans and the needy. (Quran 2:215).
We are not to backbite, steal, or be unchaste. (Quran 49:12).
Life is sacred so we are not allowed to commit murder except in the course of justice.(Quran 4:92-93, 6:151)
We must be truthful, trustworthy, stand by our word, and give accurate testimony. (Quran 23:8, 33:24)
Bribery and corruption are condemned. (Quran 2:188).
God tells us to be tolerant of other religions because there is no compulsion in religion. (Quran 2:256)
Oppression is worse than murder. (Quran 2:217).
To be equitable in all ways is highlighted throughout the Quran and we are commanded to treat each other amicably. (Quran 3:195, 4:32, 5:8).
We are also enjoined to be humble. (Quran 52:26)
We've heard a lot about jihad during many of the military conflicts around the world. can you tell us what it means?
The word actually means striving in the cause of something. Jihad when used in reference to Holy War would mean that people are striving or struggling to practice their religion in the face of oppression or opposition. (Quran 2:190, 4:94, 60:8-9)
Americans in some Islamic countries were prohibited from drinking alcohol. Is There an Islamic basis [or this?
First of all, a Muslim cannot impose his or her religious beliefs on anyone else. I think it has already been mentioned that there is no compulsion in religion (Quran 2:256). However, God makes it clear in the Quran that alcohol has some benefits but the evil far outweighs the good. Therefore, God says, stay away from it. (Quran 2:219, 5:90). Another verse mentions that intoxicants and gambling are satanic abominations. This again shows how God abhors these practices.
How would you then view prescribed drugs or drugs for treatment ?
There is a precedent in the Quran where in extenuating circumstances one is allowed to take something which is normally prohibited. For example, eating of pork is permissible if facing starvation. So it seems that life saving measures are allowed. (Quran 2:173, 5:3, 6:145)
So normally pork is prohibited. Are there any other dietary prohibitions ?
Yes, the Quran also prohibits eating animals that die of themselves (or carrion), running blood, and animals dedicated to other than God. Injured animals are also prohibited. (Quran 2:173, 5:3, 6:145)
If there is a major commandment in the Quran, what would it be?
Without a doubt, the major commandment is to refrain from all forms of idolatry. Our basis of faith is that there is no god but the One God. He alone is worthy of worship. Worshipping other than God in any way would be considered idolatry which is defined as an unforgivable sin if maintained until death, (Quran 4:48,116)
Misconceptions in Islam
What forms the basis of your religion?
The worship or God alone in accordance with God's revelations as found in the Quran. (Quran 17:46, 39:45)
Does Islam have a priesthood?
No. God did not ordain a priesthood. You may hear the word Imam, an Imam is a person who leads the congregational prayers. They do not have any special status, they are simply chosen by the people for this purpose. They do not make any special vows such as that of celibacy or poverty. (Quran 17:36; 41:44, 55:2, 75:19)
What position then do the Ulemas, Mullahs and Sheiks have in Islam?
They are considered scholars in what is construed to be Islamic law or Shari'ah. Their authority does not come from God, it comes from men. They also study the Quran, which God tells us all to do. (Quran 4:82, 13:4,20)
Why do muslim women wear a head cover?
Not all muslim women wear a head cover. The verse that most people believe tells women to cover their heads actually says for them to cover their bosoms. However, in some climates it is very practical to wear a head cover and veil. It started out as a necessity and became a cultural habit. Later, some Muslims thought of it as a religious, not a cultural practice which is wrong. In terms of dress in general, modesty is required for both male and female. (Quran 24:30-31, 33:59)
Can Muslim men have several wives?
No, it is not permissible except to give an orphan a home. This permission, however, have been abused by some Muslim men against the teachings of the Quran. God says you cannot be equitable in dealing with more than one wife no matter how hard you try. (Quran 4:3,19,20,129; 33:4)
Why is the Islamic punishment so extreme? For example the death by stoning as a punishment for adultery.
This is not an Islamic punishment. According to the Quran, the punishment for adultery is whipping or isolation from the community. However, God says that if the couple repent and reform, they should be pardoned. (Quran 4:16,25; 24:1-4). Many laws in the so called Islamic countries are man-made but they claim it to be Islamic. Quran is the only law that a Muslim (Submitter) should accept for religious matters.
What about chopping off the hand of the thief?
The Quran states to cut the hand of the thief. It does not say to cut off. (Quran 5:38, 12:31). This "cut" is to put a mark on the thief's hand. A reminder to not do it again. The cutting off the hand is one of these man-made laws and is not Quranic.
How about murder, what is the punishment?
The Quran encourages forgiveness and an equitable compensation from the murderer to the victim's kin. (Quran 2:178-179, 4:92-94, 5:45, 6:151)
Is the Quran a copy of the Bible?
No. The Quran is not a copy of the Bible. God says that the Quran came to confirm and supersede all previous scriptures. Since the Quran and the previous scriptures all came from the same source, from God, The similarities between them are understandable.
However, the Quran is unique. Embedded in it is a mathematical code which is easy to understand but, at the same time, impossible to imitate. It is based on the prime number 19 and the system mathematically codes the chapters, the verses, the words, and even the letters. Numerous other elements are also part of the code. The significance of this coding is that it proves beyond a doubt that the Quran is the word of God, not of man. (See, QURAN THE FINAL TESTAMENT, translated from the original by Rashad Khalifa, Ph.D.)
Are men and women equal in Islam?
Of course. God says in the Quran that men and women are equal. If God says this, then who are we to dispute it? (Quran 3:195, 4:32, 9:71)
Do individuals need an intermediary or intercessor with God?
No, submission to God is a matter between the individual and God. (Quran 2:186,254, 39:44, 50:16)
is belief in the existence of God enough?
No. Satan believes in the existence of God but he is not going to Paradise. Belief in God is necessary but not sufficient. One also needs to accept God's attributes and live according to His laws. It's an effort/reward system. (Quran 2:1-5, 23:1-11).
S0, The more you strive, the higher the rank you achieve? Yes. Paradise has ranks. (Quran 7:40-49, 56:3-11)
If there is a God, why is there poverty and suffering on this Earth ?
Much of man's suffering would be reduced if we were to follow God's system. For example, if there were equitable distribution of God's provisions, there would be less poverty, hardship and disease. Poverty and suffering would not be completely eliminated, because many people, still, would not follow God's law, otherwise we'd be in Paradise. (Quran 10:57-58)
God also explains that our life on this Earth is a test. We are tested through adversity and blessings. God says: "Do the people think that they will be left to say we believe without being tested? "(Quran 2:155,214, 29:2).
Tested by, Children (7:190), Scholars (9:31), Property (18:42), Ego (25:43), Saints (16:20-21, 35:14, 46:5-6).
So anything bad that happens to you, is part of a test?
No, hardship can be as a result of a test or as a consequence of something you've done. (Quran 42:30). Sometimes, what we think of as adversity, is really a blessing when viewed through hindsight. (Quran 18:71,74,79,80)
16. Does God control everything?
Of course, God is in full control. However, we have the freedom to choose to follow his guidance. And we are accountable for our actions. (Quran 2:165, 51:58)
Do you need to know Arabic to understand the Quran?
No. "Whether it is Arabic or non-Arabic, say, for those who believe it is a guide and a healing (regardless of their language)." (Quran 41:44)
Quran has been translated into many languages and for those who sincerely seek to understand it, God says that He will teach It to them no matter what language it is in. (Quran 55:1-2)
Why do Muslims follow Muhammad?
Muslims do not follow Muhammad. They follow the word of God that was revealed to prophet Muhammad. (Quran 3:79-80)
Could Muhammad read and write?
Some people believe that he couldn't. But a careful study of Quran indicates that he could. (Quran 25:5, 53:5, 96:1-5)
Is Islam the religion of the Arabs?
No. Definitely not. People all over the world practice Islam. Quran came to all the people. (Quran 3:3-4, 5:48, 12:111, 21:106-108)
Does Islam condone terrorism?
No. anyone who practices Islam and follows Quran would not indulge in or advocate terrorism. (Quran 2:190-191, 6:151)
What part does Sunnah and Hadith play in Islam?
The sunnah are the practices and the hadith are sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. Most Muslims consider the Sunnah and Hadith a source of religious guidance and laws but it is very interesting that the Quran commands the Muslims to follow no other source than the Quran for their religion. The books of Hadiths and Sunnah are full of corruption and contradictions to the teachings of the Quran. They have many insults to the religion that they allegedly serve. Many of these corruptions were introduced into these books by the enemies of Islam. Quran says:
[3:78] Some of them twist their tongues to imitate the scripture, that you may think it is from the scripture, when it is not from the scripture. They then claim that it is from GOD, when it is not from GOD. They utter lies and attribute them to GOD, knowingly.
[3:79] Never would a human being whom GOD has blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, ' Be worshipers of me besides GOD. ' Instead, they would say, ' Be devoted to your Lord alone, in accordance with the scripture you received, and learned.
[39:23] God has revealed herein the best Hadith. A book that is consistent and points out both ways ...
[39:27] We have cited for The people every kind of example in this Quran that they may take heed.
[45:6] These are God's revelations that we recite to you truthfully. In which Hadlith other than God and His revelations do they believe?
Is Muhammad the last prophet?
Yes, according To the Quran, Muhammad is the seal of the prophets. But the Quran says that a messenger is sent to every community. (Quran. 7:35, 10:47, 33:40)
[10:47] To each community, a messenger. Once their messenger comes, they are judged equitably.
God also teaches us in the Quran that after all the prophets have come a consolidating messenger will come, the messenger of the covenant. See 3:81
What is the Declaration of Faith or Shahada as it is called?
The central theme of the Quran is the oneness of God and the shahada is a statement that acknowledges that there is no God but the one God. This statement or declaration can be found in various places in the Quran. For example the Quran says that "God bears witness that there is no God except He and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge." (Quran 3:18)
[47:19] You shall know that there is no god besides God ....
Which sect should you belong to .. Sunni or a Shi'ite
Neither. Simply a Muslim. (Quran 6:159, 42:13)
[6:159] Those who divide themselves into sects do not belong with you. Their judgment rests with God, then He will inform them of everything they had done.
[42:13] He decreed for you the same religion he decreed for Noah and what we revealed herein, and what we decreed for Abraham, Moses and Jesus. "You shall uphold this one religion and do not divide it." (Quran )
Women in Islam
The western image of Muslim women is one of suppression .... (e.g. they don't drive cars, they must stay in the house, etc.) The Quran refers to men and women as being equal in the sight of GOD. (Quran 2:228, 3:195, 4:32, 33:35)
In a lot of cases, we see Muslim women covered from head to toe. In some Muslim countries, women are not allowed out without the "veil'. What does the Quran say about these requirements
Modest dress is the requirement in the Quran. There are specific instructions for women to cover the bosom and for both men and women to cover the private parts. (Quran 24:30-31, 33:59). The Quran does not command to cover the head or face. These are cultural dress codes, not religious requirements.
So what about the head cover, is it mentioned in the Quran?
The instruction in the Quran is to pull a cover over The bosom. It doesn't say anything about covering the head. The scholars tried to interpret this cover to mean a head cover when it is not. It is just any cover.
Are men and women required to be segregated?
No, men and women am not required to be segregated. Only The prophet's wives were told not to mix excessively. (Quran 33:32-33)
Does the woman have the right to choose her own spouse?
Yes. The consent of both parties is required. (Quran 33:35)
In some cultures there is a system of dowry. Does one exist in Islam?
Yes. The dowry is to be paid to the bride. (Quran 2:236, 4:4)
What does the Quran say about polygamy?
Quran discourages polygamy but allows it under strict conditions. Polygamy was a common practice before the revelation of the Quran, but the Quran was the first scripture to limit or restrict it. For example, Abraham had two wives and Solomon had many wives. The Quran does allow additional marriages to the mothers of orphans if it is in the best interest of the orphans. The consideration here is for the orphans, not the man's desire to have another wife, (Quran 4:3). The Quran also says that you should be content with only one wife or what you already have (for those who are already married to more than one). This way you are more likely to avoid inequity. However, God says that one can never be equitable in dealing with more than one wife, no matter how hard one tries. Since being equitable is such an important commandment in the Quran, monogamy is greatly encouraged. However, if a man wants to take on this challenge, that is between him and his Creator, (Quran 4:129)
Is divorce allowed in Islam (Submission)?
Yes, God in His wisdom has allowed for the ending of a marriage (in extenuating circumstances). But divorce is supposed to be a last resort when all attempts at reconciliation have failed. Like polygamy, divorce is discouraged. (Quran 4:35,128)
Who can initiate The divorce, the man or the woman?
Either. If they cannot be reconciled as recommended, they are encouraged to part amicably and the husband is required to give her alimony. Children remain the financial obligation of the father. (Quran 2:228,233,241, 65:1-7).
Until recently in the west, women and children were considered the property or chattel of the men. What is the status of women in Islam?
A woman is an individual in her own right, independent of her husband, father, etc. She is not required to take on her husband's name when marrying and she has the right to her own property. She has the same political and contractual rights as any other individual. In short, she has the same rights and freedom as a the man.
How are Muslim women supposed to be treated within a marriage?
Marriage is supposed to be a harmonious relationship where the spouses are a comfort and joy to each other. Anything that disturbs the harmony has to be addressed. The suggested mechanism in dealing with conflict or dispute is arbitration. (Quran 4:32, 4:34-35). All believers are required to treat each other in the best possible manner and this of course applies to the married couple too. (Quran 9:71). Men are designated as the bread earners of the family and women are the bearers of the children.
Islam is one of the most advanced and most sophisticated religions of our time. It allows individual development as well as harmony to prevail in family life.
Are women encouraged to get an education according to Quran?
Quran advocates acquiring both religious and other knowledge for all individuals. (Quran 4:82, 17:36, 73:4,20)
How about traveling or freedom of mobility for women?
God recommends that we travel His Earth. (Quran 27:69, 29:20, 40:82)
The Quran does not designate that a woman must be accompanied by anyone when travelling nor does it restrict anyone's freedom in any way.
Is there such thing as a primary obligation of women ?
Yes, to worship none other than God. Her relationship with God supersedes all others. (Quran 4:48, 7:3,29)
Why do women walk behind men in Muslim countries?
This is only part of the culture and traditions. Not Islam (Submission).
The practice of female circumcision is quite common in some Islamic countries. Is this a correct practice?
No. Again, this is a cultural practice that has nothing to do with Islam (Submission). The circumcision of women is aggression and a violation of a woman's body. Freedom is one of the greatest gifts given to all human beings by the Almighty, therefore violation of such a right indeed sacrilege. Again, this is culture and tradition only.