Q & A

 

1. What is Islam?

Islam is a religion based on the same truth that God revealed through the prophets that preceded the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For a quarter of the world’s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life that promotes peace, mercy, and forgiveness.

2. What does Islam mean?

The Arabic word Islam simply means ‘submission’, and derives from a word meaning ‘peace’. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. ‘Mohammedanism’ is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad (peace be upon him) rather than God.

3. Who is Allah?

‘Allah’ is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.

4. How do we know Islam is the truth?

1- It is the only religion that holds Allah as the one and only unique and perfect Being.
2- It is the only religion that believes in the sole worship of Allah, not an idol, a human being believed to be the Son of God (i.e. Jesus), a prophet, or an angel. Only Allah.

3- The Quran (Islam’s holy book) does not contain any contradictions.

4- The Quran contains scientific facts, which are 1300 years ahead of their time. The Quran, while revealed more than 1400 years ago contains scientific facts, which are only now being discovered. It does not contradict scientific facts.

5- Allah has challenged the world to produce another document like the Quran. And He says it is not possible.

6- The Quran was preserved by Allah and if you randomly check copies of the Quran selected from all corners of the world there is not a single character difference. Its      authenticity is in tact. The Quran has been memorized by millions of Muslims since it was first revealed and through the generations until the end of days it will remain the same.

7- The Prophet Muhammad had many prophecies, and all of his prophecies have come true, or are still coming true.

5. Why does Islam often seem strange?

Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion does not dominate everyday life in the West today, whereas for most Muslims their religion is always at the forefront of their minds. Most Muslims do not differentiate between their beliefs and their way of life. In Islam there is no division between secular and sacred. They believe that the Divine Law, the Shari’a, must be taken very seriously, and followed.

6. Do Islam and Christianity have different origins?

Islam, Christianity and Judaism all go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham. The central prophets of these three religions are direct descendants of Abraham -Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the son of Abraham’s eldest son, Ishmael; Moses and Jesus are descendants of Abraham’s son Isaac. Abraham established a settlement in what is known today as the city of Makkah (Mecca), and built the Kabah – a monument which all Muslims face when they pray. This is why; in hotel properties in Muslim countries you will often see a symbol in the room identifying the direction of Mecca.

7. Who are Muslims?

One and half billion people form a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures across the globe, from the southern Philippines to Nigeria, are united by their common Islamic faith. About 18 per cent live in the Arab world; the world’s largest Muslim community is in Indonesia; substantial parts of Asia and most of Africa are Muslim, while significant minorities are also to be found in Russia, CIS, China, North and South America, and Europe.

8. What do Muslims believe?

Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God, in the Angels created by Him, in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in God’s complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist and Jesus, (peace be upon them). Muslims also believe that God’s final message to mankind, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through Gabriel.

9. Who is Allah?

Allah means God. It is a personal name, which Allah calls Himself in the Quran. That is where it originates. It can also be found in an Aramaic copy of the Bible, and even Christian Arabs say Allah.

10. Does Allah look like us?

No, Allah is perfect. He is not like any of His creations. He has told us that He has hands, eyes, a face, and feet, but all of these attributes are metaphors befitting to His might and glory. A Muslim does not say a single thing about Allah other than what Allah says about Himself. Allah is perfect and unique.

11. What does it mean to believe in Allah?

To believe in Allah means to believe in total perfection, and uniqueness.

It means to believe in His prophets because they are His, and He sent them. We can not pick and choose. A Muslim must believe in all the prophets of Allah.

It means to believe in the Angels! We must love them all. We cannot hate an Angel say, for example, Michael to whom rain and the vegetation of the Earth are attributed or Gabriel to whom revelation (bringing down the scriptures to the prophets) is attributed.

It means to believe in Allah’s predestination of good and bad.

It means to believe in the last day: The Day of Judgment.

12. Does Allah see us?

Allah sees us and knows everything about us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. There is not a leaf on a tree that blows away, or stays in its place except that He knows it. There is not a dry spot, nor a wet spot, nor a grain in the depths of the earth except that Allah knows it.

13. Does Allah answer my prayers?

We know that Allah answers all the prayers of the believers. He answers in four ways:

1- Granting us what we request.

2- Granting us something as good as, or better than what we requested.

3- Being spared something bad that would have happened otherwise.

4- Being rewarded on the Day of Judgment with a much greater reward than what we experienced or asked for while on earth.

14. When does Allah not answer our prayers?

1- When it is bad for us.

2- When we ask, but not from our heart.

3- When we say: I asked and asked and He did not answer.

4- When we eat or drink unlawful food i.e. pork, wear unlawful clothes or use or possess     property that was earned unlawfully (either through interest from the bank or that was stolen, etc).

15. What can I ask of Allah?

Anything, but don’t ask Him to do things like make you a prophet because He has already said that there will be no more prophets. You can ask Allah for guidance, meaning you can ask Him to show you the correct religion and guide you to the straight path.

16. Who is Muhammad (peace be upon him)?

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in Makkah in the year 571 A.D., at a time when Christianity was not yet fully established in Europe. Since his father died before his birth and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle who was from the respected tribe of Quraish. As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity so much so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. Historians describe him as calm and meditative. Muhammad (peace be upon him) was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society. It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira near the summit of Jabal al-Nur, the Mountain of Light near Makkah.

17. How did Muhammad (peace be upon him) become a prophet and a messenger of God?

At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad (peace be upon him) received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for twenty-three years, is known as the Quran.

 

As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth that God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God commanded them to emigrate. This event, the Hijrah, ‘migration’, in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.

After several years, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively. Before the Prophet (peace be upon him) died at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as Far East as China.

18. What is the Quran?

The Quran is a record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It was memorized by Muhammad (peace be upon him) and then dictated to his companions, and written down by scribes, who crosschecked it during his lifetime. Not one word of its 114 Surahs, has been changed over the centuries, so that the Quran is, in every detail, the unique and miraculous text which was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him) fourteen centuries ago.

19. What is the Quran about?

The Quran, which Muslims believe is the last revealed Word of God to mankind, is the prime source of every Muslim’s faith and practice. Its teachings address all aspects of our daily lives: wisdom, doctrine, worship, and law, with its core content directing the relationship between God and His creatures. The Quran provides guidelines for a just society, proper human conduct and an equitable economic system. It also contains plenty of scientific information pertaining to the cosmos, the human body, animals, plants, insects and many other scientific facts.

20. Are there any other sacred sources?

The Sunnah, which describes the activities of the Prophet (peace be upon him), is the second authority for Muslims. The Sunnah contains numerous Hadiths (a Hadith is a reliably transmitted report of what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, did, or approved). Belief in the Sunnah is part of the Islamic faith.

Below are some examples of the Prophet’s sayings taken from the Sunnah:

‘God has no mercy on one who has no mercy for others.’

‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’

‘Powerful is not he who knocks the other down, indeed powerful is he who controls himself in a fit of anger.’

21. Who is Jesus to Muslims?

According to Islam, Jesus is a servant and messenger of God, who was conceived when God breathed his Word into Mary and a spirit emanating from Him created Jesus (peace be upon him). Muslims believe Jesus is a true prophet, sent by Allah, like Moses, Abraham, Lot, Noah, Jonah, Joseph and other prophets (peace be upon them) who was born miraculously, demonstrating God’s perfect and ultimate abilities.

22. Can Jesus (peace be upon him), or Muhammad (peace be upon him) be worshipped?

Muslims only worship Allah.  The Muslim religion does not permit followers to worship a prophet, a person, an angel, a cow, a stone, or anything other than Allah. Worship must be to Allah, the Creator of all.

23. Is Allah the same as what Christians call “the father”?

Allah is the Creator, who Jesus (peace be upon him) worshipped. He is the Creator who spoke to Moses and split the sea for Moses and his followers. That is Allah. But Allah tells us: “Say Allah is one, He is Perfect, He has never begotten, nor was He begot, and there is no one equal to Him.”

24. Is there a trinity in Islam?

No. Allah is one and perfect.

25. Can anyone become a Muslim?

Yes. To become a Muslim one must make two declarations:

1- To bear witness that no one deserves to be worshiped except Allah.

2- To bear witness that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah.

After making these declarations in Arabic, the person takes a shower and they can then be declared a Muslim and must follow the five pillars of Islam: praying five times a day, fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan, giving alms to the poor, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca once in their lifetime.

Practicing Muslims consider all human beings as their brothers and sisters and focus on spreading goodness, being charitable and actively applying the teachings of Islam, as dictated in the holy Quran, in all aspects of their lives.

26. Do bad things happen to the believers (good people)?

Muslims trust and accept that when bad thing happens to believers it is a part of God’s plan, and it is not for them to judge God’s intent. They believe that even though things may appear to be bad, it is for their best interest and they must trust that it is God’s will.

When bad things happen, believers should be patient and look for the wisdom behind this incident. God most defiantly will inspire he/she sooner or later to the wisdom behind what happened and this contemplation gives peace of mind and prevents depression.

27. Why is the family so important to Muslims?

The family is the foundation of Islamic society. Muslims value the peace and security offered by a stable family unit. They believe the extended family is an important support for individual spiritual growth and promotes harmonious social order. Muslims value children and customarily they leave home when they are ready to marry.

28. What about food?

The code which Muslims observe forbids the consumption of pork products and any kind of intoxicating beverage. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught the consumption of wholesome food and leading a healthy lifestyle are religious obligations.

29. What is the Kabah?

The Kabah is the place of worship, which God commanded Abraham and Ishmael to build over 4,000 years ago. The building was constructed of stone on what many believe was the original site of a sanctuary established by Adam. God commanded Abraham to summon all mankind to visit this place, and when pilgrims go there today they say ‘At Thy service, O Lord’, in response to Abraham’s summon.

30. What are the obligations around fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan?

Muslims believe that all mature and sane Muslims, male and female are obliged to fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. Those who are under the age of puberty, sick, traveling, elderly, pregnant breastfeeding or menstruating or whose health may be compromised by a fast are exempt.

31. Are there rules that a non-fasting Muslim must respect?

Muslims who are exempt from fasting are not to eat in the presence of a fasting person. It is also customary to repay the time by fasting the number of days missed, after Ramadan, or when it is safe to do so. Alternatively, one may offer a charitable donation to the poor for each day missed.

32. Can I perform Hajj every year?

Performing the Hajj ONCE in a lifetime is compulsory for adult Muslims who are financially and physically able to do so. There is no rule prohibiting anyone from performing the Hajj more than once. Those who plan to perform it yearly are encouraged to consider the following:


A: There are numerous things you can do to walk in the way of Allah. Rather than committed to participating in an annual Hajj, consider donating the funds you would use for these trip to a charity or give it to a Muslim who is struggling to find the financial resources to do the obligatory once in a lifetime visit.

B: With nearly 3 million people converging in the Holy Land annually to perform the Hajj, the Saudi authorities have understandably imposed Hajj quotas. Allow a reasonable time gap before going to perform the Hajj again.

 

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