ISLAMIC GLOSSARY OF TERMS *
Acts of Worship
The Arabic term used for Acts of worship is Ibaadah.
This does not mean worship but rather service. To serve God in
the manner in which He has commanded his creatures to serve Him
is Ibaadah. The term would include all acts of piety as
well as the mandatory acts of worship. The mandatory acts of
Salaah (Daily Prayers)
Hajj (Pilgrimage to
Zakah (The Wealth
Jihad Struggle or
Striving (Jihad Al-Akbar and Jihad Al-Asghar)
Amr Bi L-Ma’Aroof (Directing
Others Towards Good)
’An Al Munkir
(Directing Others Away From Evil)
Khums (The One-Fifth
There are approximately 1.5 billion Muslim adherents that make
Islam the second largest religion in the world. (Next to
Christianity with approximate 2.1 billion.)
The term Allah is derived from a contraction of the Arabic
definite article al “the” and ilah “diety, god” to
allah meaning “the sole deity, God”. The Muslim name for
the one and only God is Allah, meaning: the Name of God’s own
presence, Almighty God, the Supreme Being, God, Absolute. “He
begetteth not nor was begotten, and to Him have never been one
equal.” (Sura 53:19).
To Muslims, Allah is considered to be omnipotent, omnipresent,
and omniscient. According to the Qur’an (67:16), He is said to
be “in heaven” and “in the heavens and theearth. (66:3) Also,
Allah is said to be “nearer him (man) than his jugular vein.”
Adherents to Islam believe in the Unseen world as mentioned in
the Qur’an. From this world are the angel’s emissaries of God,
each assigned with a specific task. They have no free-will or
ability to disobey; it is their very nature to be God’s faithful
servants. Angels are not to be taken as demigods or objects of
praise or veneration; they are mere servants of God obeying His
Belief in Life after Death
Muslims believe that a day will come when all of creation will
perish and resurrected in order to be judged for their deeds:
The Day of Judgment. On this day, all will gather in the
presence of God and each individual will be questioned about
their life in the world and how they lived it. Those who held
correct beliefs about God and life, and
followed their belief with righteous deeds will enter Paradise,
even though they may pay for some of their sins in Hell if God
out of His Infinite Justice chooses not to forgive them. As for
those who fell into polytheism in it many faces, they will enter
Hellfire, never to leave therefrom.
Central Religious Holy Days Eid-al-Fitr, Eid-al-Adha,
The Qur’an enjoins the spending of one’s wealth in the
cause of Allah, for the poor, the needy, the freeing of
slaves, the curing of the sick and other good causes. Charity
is a precondition to the attainment of piety.
Church and State
To Muslims, it is integrated into all of society where there is
no separation of Church and State.
Muslims are the largest single religious group to circumcise
boys. In Islam circumcision is also known as tahara,
meaning purification. Circumcision is not mentioned in the
Qur’an but is highlighted in the Sunnah (the Prophet
Muhammad’s recorded words and actions). In he Sunnah,
Muhammad stated that circumcision was a “law for men and a
preservation of honor women.”
The main reason given for the ritual is cleanliness. It is
essential that every Muslim washes before praying. It is
important that no urine is left on the body. Muslims believe
the removal of the foreskin makes it easier to keep the penis
clean because urine can’t get trapped there. Supporters of
circumcision also argue that excrements may collect under the
foreskin which may lead to fatal diseases such as cancer. Some
Muslims see circumcision as a preventive measure against
infection and diseases.
For the majority of Muslims, circumcision is seen as an
introduction to the Islamic faith and a sign of belonging. In
Islam there is no fixed age of circumcision. The age at which
it is performed varies depending on family, region and country.
The preferred age is often seven although some Muslims are
circumcises as early as he seventh day after birth and as late
There is no equivalent of a Jewish ‘mohel’ in Islam.
Circumcisions are usually carried out in a clinic or hospital.
The circumciser is not required to be a Muslim but he must be
medically trained. In some Islamic countries circumcision is
performed after Muslim boys have recited the whole of the
Qur’an from start to finish. In Malaysia, for example, the
operation is a puberty rite that separates the boy from
childhood and introduces him to adulthood. Circumcision is not
compulsory in Islam but it is an important ritual aimed at
improving cleanliness. It is strongly encouraged but not
The ritual dates back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
According to tradition Muhammad was born without a foreskin (aposthetic).
Some Muslims who practice circumcision see it as a way of being
Compulsion or Freedom
The various schools of thought are divided: 1) Mutazzilas
believe that man is totally free and God exercise no power over
his action. Those who subscribe to this view are also known as
Qadariyyas. 2) Mujabbira school of thought believes
that man has no freedom and is only a tool in the hands of God.
3) The Asharia school of thought to which most Sunnis
subscribe believe that though man has no free will, he will earn
the reward of his good deeds. 4) The Shias believe that
there is neither total compulsion nor total freedom. The true
position is the one in-between. They maintain that Allah has
fore-knowledge of human action but does not compel man to any
particular course of action.
Compulsory Charity (Zakah)
In Islam, the true owner of everything is God, not man. People
are given wealth as a trust from God. Zakah is worship
and thanksgiving to God by supporting the poor, and through it
one’s wealth is purified. It requires an annual contribution of
2.5 percent of an individual’s. Wealth Tax wealth and assets.
Therefore, Zakah is not mere “charity”; it is an
obligation on those who have received their wealth from God to
meet the needs of less fortunate members of the community.
Zakah is used to support the poor and the needy, help those
in debt, and in, olden times, to free slaves.
“Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the
murdered.” (2:178) “As for the thief, both male and female, cut
off their hands.” (5:38) “The adulterer and the adulteress,
scourged ye each one of them with a hundred stripes.”(24:2)
Culture has been defined as “the totality of socially
transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and
all other products of human work and thought characteristic of a
community or population. It is the set of shared beliefs,
attitudes, values, and behavioral patterns of a group or
Religion on the other hand is “the expression of man’s belief in
and reverence for God who created the universe and govern it.”
It is as naïve to think that any religion encompasses the
totality of culture as it is to think that any culture is solely
the product of a religion. Islam like many other religions
claims to be universal accommodating within its fold the
cultures of all its adherents provided that the bounds of the
religions laws are not transgressed.
Islam consists of beliefs, acts of worship, a code of conduct
and jurisprudence. So long as the culture of a society lies
within the parameters of Islamic beliefs, acts of worship, code
of conduct and the shariah, that culture would be
acceptable in Islam.
Day of Judgment
Muslims believe that all human beings will ultimately be judged
by God (Allah), the Absolute Sovereign King and Judge, for their
beliefs and actions in their earthly lives.
Day of Worship
Declaration of Faith
A Muslim is one who testifies that “none deserves worship but
Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. This
declaration is known as he “shahada” (witness,
testimony). Allah is the Arabic name for God, His exclusive
right to be worshipped, as well as the doctrine that associating
anything else with God is the one unforgivable sin as the Koran
reads: “God does not forgive anyone for associating something
with Him, while He does forgive whomever He wishes to for
anything else. Anyone who gives God partners has invented an
awful sin.” (Quran 4:48)
The second part of the testimony of faith states that Muhammad
is a prophet of God like Abraham, Moses and Jesus before him.
Muhammad brought the last and final revelation. In accepting
Muhammad as the “seal of the prophets,” Muslims believe that his
prophecy confirms and fulfills all of the revealed messages,
beginning with Adam’s. In addition, Muhammad serves as the role
model through his exemplary life. A believer’s effort to follow
Muhammad’s example reflect the emphasis of Islam on practice and
Directing Others Away From Evil (Nahy’An Al Munkir)
Directing Others Towards Good (Amr Bi L-Ma’Aroof)
The Qur’an mentions five divine books: 1) The Book of
Abraham, sometimes referred as the Booklet. 2) The Psalms give
to David. 3) The Torah granted to Moses. 4) The Evangel or the
Gospel revealed to Jesus. 5) The Qur’an revealed to
Muhammad. A Muslim must believe in all the Holy Books. He must
also believe in all the prophets. The Shiahs also
believe that all the prophets were infallible and sinless. Not
all the Sunnis subscribe to this belief.
Islam asserts that God has full power and knowledge of all
things, and that nothing happens except by His Will and with His
full knowledge. What is known as divine decree, fate, or
“destiny” is known in Arabic as al-Qad. The destiny of
every creature is already known to God.
This belief however does not contradict with the idea of man’s
free will to choose his course of action. God does not force
one to do anything; one can choose whether to obey or disobey
Him. The choice is known to God before one even does it. One
does not know what their destiny is; but God knows the fate of
all things. Therefore, one should have firm faith that whatever
befalls a person, it is according to
God’s will and with His full knowledge. There may be things
that happen in this world that a person does not understand, but
one should trust that God has wisdom in all things.
Islam permits divorce where the marriage has Irreparably broken
down. But first there must be a process of reconciliation in
which the elders of the two families as well as the community
must strive to get the parties to reconcile. The Prophet
Mohammad has said that of all the permissible things divorce is
the most detestable to Allah.
The Qur’an commands both men and women to “lower their
gaze and be modest”. The women have been further commanded “not
to display their ornaments except what appears thereof and to
wear their head covering over their bosom and not to display
their ornaments except to their husband.
The proper dress is interpreted by some jurists as requiring a
veiled face and body and others as requiring a scarf over the
head to conceal the hair (an essential ornament) and the rest of
the body, except the face, the hands and the feet, to be covered
by a loose fitting outer garment. In different cultures
different forms of women’s dress, or veil or purdah have
evolved. The Quraanic object clearly appears to be
protection of women from molestation and disrespect and not
their treatment as inferior beings.
“Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight
against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not
aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them.” (2:190) “O
Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight.”(8:65) O ye who
believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near you, and
let them find harshness in you.” (9:123) “Lo! Allah
loveth those who battle for His cause in ranks, as if they were
a solid structure.” (61:4)
Evil Afterlife Eternal hell
Fast of Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar
which is spent in fasting. Healthy Muslims abstain from dawn to
sunset from food, drink, and sexual activity. Fasting develops
spirituality, dependence upon God, and brings identification
with the less fortunate. A special evening prayer is also held
in mosques in which recitations of the Quran are heard.
Families rise before dawn to take their first meal of the day to
sustain them till sunset. The month of Ramadan ends with
one of the two major Islamic celebrations, the Feast of the
Breaking of the Fast, called Eid al-fitr, which is marked by
joyfulness, family visits, and exchanging of gifts.
Freeing of Slaves
This is not only an act of piety but is also prescribed as the
primary penalty for certain willful acts or omissions, failure
to fast or repay a lapsed fast, infringement of any regulation
required to be observed during pilgrimage, etc. Liberation of
slaves is highly recommended as an atonement of various sins.
Ill treatment of slaves and servant s is forbidden. It is
highly recommended that zakaah and other alms be spent
for liberating slaves.
God’s Purpose and Plan
Allah does as He pleases. Allah has created mankind
primarily so that they may know their creator through his
creation. Muslims believe that God (Allah) in the end of
time will bring all the world into submission and worship of the
only true God (Allah).
To the Muslim, the Islamic way of life is pure and wholesome.
It builds self-discipline and self-control through regular
prayers and fasting. By accepting to live as God conscious
life, and realizing that the only thinking that distinguishes
people in the sight of God is their consciousness of Him in
which a person’s true dignity is realized.
God is not a Spirit
An angel can be a spirit but God is not a spirit.
Old Testament Prophets, Jesus, culminating in Muhammad.
Muhammad was the final prophet of God.
God’s Written Word
al Qur’an (the recitation) of 114 suras (units)
supported by many volumes of hadith
(traditions). The Qur’an was dictated to Muhammad by the
Angel Gabriel in pure Classical Arabic. It is our link to God.
The six major hadith collections; Arabic: Al-Kutub Al-Sittah)
are collections of hadith by Islamic scholars who, approximately
200 years after Muhammad’s death and by their own initiative,
collected “hadith” attributed to Muhammad. They are
sometimes referred to as Al-Sihah al-Sittah, which
translates to “TheAuthentic Six”.
Sunni Muslims view the six major hadith collections as their
most important. They are in order of authenticity: 1) Sahih
Bukari, collected by Imam Bukhari 2) Sahih Muslim,
collected by Muslim b. al-Hajjaj 3) Sunan al-Sughra,
collected by Al-Nasa’i 4) Sunan Abu Dawood, collected by
Abu Dawood 5) Jami al-Tirmidhi, collected by al-Tirmidhi
6) Sunan ibn Majah, collected by Ibn Majah.
Hijab refers to the traditional head, face, or body
covering worn by Muslim women or men. It does not only refer to
the physical body covering, but also embodies a metaphysical
dimension, where al-haijab refers to “the veil which
separates man or the world from God.”
Hijab can also be used to refer to the seclusion of women from
men in the public sphere. Most often, it is worn by Muslim
women as a symbol of modesty, privacy, and morality,
particularly in the presence of nonrelated adult males.
According to the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World,
modest in the Qur’an concerns both men’s and women’s gaze, gait,
garments, and genitalia.
God (Allah) has said in the Qur’an: “Those who
have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the
earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if one
offered it as a ransom. They will have a painful punishment,
and they will have not helpers.” (3:91)
So, this life is the only chance to win Paradise and to escape
from Hellfire, because if someone dies in disbelief, he will not
have another chance to come back to this world to believe. As
God (Allah) has said in the Qur’an about what is
going to happen for the unbelievers on the Day of Judgment: “If
you could be see when they are set before the Fire (Hell) and
say, “Would that we might return (to the world)! Then we would
not reject the verses of our Lord, but we would be of the
Islam teaches that Hell is a real place prepared by God for
those who do not believe in Him, rebel against His laws, and
reject His messengers. Hell is an actual place, not a mere
state of mind or a spiritual entity. The horrors, pain,
anguish, and punishment are all real, but different in nature
than their earthly counterparts. Hell is the ultimate
humiliation and loss and nothing is worse than it.
Hell exists at the present time and will continue to exist
forever. It will never die down, and its inhabitants will
remain in it forever. No one will come out of Hell except
sinful believers who believed in the Onenes of God in this life
and believed in the specific prophet sent to them (before the
coming of Muhammad).
The Names of Hell are: 1) Jaheem – fire – because of its
blazing fire 2) Jahannam – Hell – because of the depth of
its pit 3) Ladthaa – blazing fire – because of its
flames 4) Sa’eer – blazing flame – because it is kindled
and ignited 5) Saqar – because of the intensity of its
heat6) Hatamah – broken pieces or debris – because it
breaks and crushes everything that is thrown into it 7)
Haawiya – chasm or abyss – because the one who is thrown
into it is thrown from top to bottom.
House of Worship
The Islamic view of the nature of man is that human beings are
not believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen as equally
capable of both good and evil; it is their choice. Islam
teaches that faith and action go hand in hand. God has given
people freewill, and the measure of one’s faith is their deeds
and actions. However, since human beings have also been created
innately weak and regularly fall into sin, they are in need of
continually seeking guidance and repentance, which is, in
itself, also a form of worship accepted by God (Allah).
The nature of the human being as created by God in His Majesty
and Wisdom, is not inherently “corrupt” or in need of repair.
Adam is believed to have been tempted by Satan and disobeyed
God. However, God forgave him for his sins. Muslims have no
concept of original sin. Adam is considered a prophet.
Idle Chatter, Slander and Infringement of Privacy
These are totally forbidden for Muslims.
Only the Shiahs believe in the institution of Imaamah.
Literally imaam means a leader. In Shiah belief
an Imaam is the person appointed by God and introduced by
the Prophet and then by each preceding Imaam by explicit
designation (nass) to lead the Muslim community,
interpret and protect the religion and the law (shariah),
and guide the community in all affairs.
An Emaam is first and foremost the Representative of God
and the successor of the Prophet. He must be sinless and
possess divine knowledge of both the exoteric and the esoteric
meaning of the verses of the Qur’an.
And infidel is known as a kafir and is someone who
“rejects submission to God” even though he is fully aware of His
existence, as well as meaning a person who is a true Atheist,
one who “rejects the very existence of God.” Just because
someone believes there is a God, they can still be a kafir
and be (technically) condemned to hell. There are specific
things that make someone an infidel, which Arabic words describe
such as Kafir, Kufr, Mushri and, Shirk.
Kafir – Generally the word kafir means
“unbeliever” and it is not meant as a derogatory label (unless
it is used against Muslims by another Muslim). Of course, there
are different levels of Kufur (disbelief) so although a
person may be correctly identified as a kafir, that
person is not kafir in the strongest sense of the word.
Absolute kufur is the denial of God. Here are some
examples of kufur:
A person is known as a Kafir if they are disbelievers in
Allah, in His Oneness, and in His final Messenger, Muhammad
(SAW). (An apostate from Islam).
A “Muslim” who disbelieves in a necessary tenant of Islam like the 5
Pillars or some other things, is known as a disbeliever.
An originally non-Muslim person who denies the religion of Islam
while knowing in his heart that it is true.
A disbeliever in Islam only because they originally follow another
A person who follows another (monotheistic) faith and know nothing
A person who believes in many gods (polytheist).
An agnostic who is a monotheist is a lesser kafir than a
And Atheist – ultimate kufur.
Generally a Christian or Jew is not identified as a kafir
but they are known as Ahlul kitab – People of the Book
(s), and Islam considers their religions valid but once they
find Islam they are expected to follow the updated covenant sent
by God (Allah).
– The action of
showing ungratefulness to Allah and
disbelief in Him and His Prophets. One who does this is known
as a Kufr.
– Polytheist, pagan, idolater, disbeliever in the Oneness of
Allah, a person who worships others along with Allah,
and also those who set up rivals with (or partners to) Allah.
false gods with the One, True God, or adding partners in worship
with Allah (God). This is a form of Kufur
(disbelief in the religion of God), and any person who does this
is not a Muslim. A person who commits shirk is a
The Gospels of
Jesus Christ: The words of Jesus. To Muslims, those accounts
have been corrupted over the years. Others believe the Injil
is not a book, but a group of teachings.
Inspiration of Sacred Text
Literal Word of God (Allah)
Date Founded 622CE - Name derived from an Arabic word for
“submission”: a state of submission to God worshipping Allah
alone and reverently accepting and obeying His Law. Through
this submission, the peace, security and wholesome well-being
implied in its literal meaning is achieved. Place Founded
One of many accepted prophets of God, whose message has been
corrupted, but he is not the Son of God and not the Savior of
He was born of a Virgin. Jesus did not die, but ascended alive,
bodily into heaven. Jesus Resurrection is denied, since he did
not die. Jesus Second Coming is affirmed.
Jesus Christ is a prophet of God, born of Virgin Mary, by the
word of the God as told to Mary by Angel Gabriel. He was taken
up by Allah without experiencing death.
There are two kinds of jihad, the major jihad and the minor
jihad. The Major Jihad: (Jihad Al-Akbar) is the struggle
against one’s inner self (nafs) to subjugate and control one’s
passions and carnal desires. The Minor Jihad (Jihad Al-Asghar)
means to struggle for Islam for the defence of Islam and the
protection of its values. Such a struggle can take many forms,
through the use of pen, through the use of tongue or through the
use of sword. This last form is often referred to in the Qur’an
as Quital (Warfare).
A Muslim is required to act with justice in all his dealings
with other human beings and in all circumstances.
Justice of God
Allah is Just. The Sunni school of thought subscribes to the
view that nothing is good or evil per se. What God commanded us
to do became good by virtue of His command. What he forbade
The Shias believe that there is intrinsic good or evil in
things. God commanded us to do the good things and forbade the
veil. God acts according to a purpose or design. Human reason
cannot comprehend this design or purpose in its entirety though
man must always strive to understand as much as he can.
Lewdness and Indecencies
These are totally forbidden for Muslims.
Life after Death
Muslims believes that a day will come when all of creation will
perish and be resurrected in order to be judged for their deed:
The Day of Judgment: Paradise or Hell On this day, all will
gather in the presence of God and each individual will be
questioned about his life in the world and how he lived it.
Those who held correct beliefs about God and life, and followed
their belief with righteous deeds will enter Paradise, even
though they may pay for some of their sins in Hell if God out of
His Infinite Justice chooses not to forgive them. As
for those who fell into polytheism in its many faces, they will
enter Hellfire, never to leave therefrom.
Sunni and Shi’ite
Sunni and Shia, 650 CE This division occurred due to a dispute
as to the legitimate successor of the prophet Mohammed. There
is also a mystical/ascetic movement in Islam known as Sufi.
Major Location Today
Middle East & Southeast Asia
Major Sacred Rituals
DOCTRINE OF FIVE PILLARS:
Declaration of Faith
Compulsory Charity (Zakah)
Fast of Ramadan (Sawm)
Pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca
Crescent, name of Allah in Arabic
Marriage is a solemn contract between a man and a woman, each
giving his or her consent freely and without any duress, to
become life partners and enjoy the rights conferred and fulfill
the obligations imposed by the shariah.
Marriage Temporary (Mutaa)
The Shiah law also permits temporary marriages. It has
the same rights and obligations as a permanent marriage except
that the marriage will terminate by effluxion of time, and, if
the parties so agree, the relationship may be for companionship
only without consummation.
The Qur’anic Arabic word shaheed means “witness”
and can also denote a “martyr”. It is used as an honorific for
Muslims who have laid down their life fulfilling a religious
commandment, or have died fighting defending their faith,
country or family.
A shaheed is considered one whose place in Paradise is
promised according to these verses in the Qur’an: “Think
not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they
live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord;
They rejoice in the bounty provided by Allah: And with regard to
those left behind, who have not ye joined them (in their bliss),
the Shudada’s (martyrs’) glory is in the fact that on
them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve.” (Qur’an
Sura 3 (Al-i-Imran), Ayat 169-10)
Allah hath purchased
of the believers their persons and
their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise):
they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise
binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the
Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than
Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded:
that is the achievement supreme.” (Qur’an, Sura 9 (At-Twba),
“Those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, and are then
slain or die, on them will Allah bestow verily a goodly
Provision: Truly Allah is He Who bestows the best provision.”
(Qur’an, Surah 22 (al-Hajj), Ayah 58)
Muslims note that the above Quranic passages are often
misinterpreted to mean that martyrsare promised Paradise, but it
is also promised to those who die. In other words, it is not
the way that a Muslim dies that determines if they go to
Paradise or not, rather, it is their faith and deeds.
Means of Repentance & Salvation
According to Muslim belief, the avenue of salvation and
repentance is open to all. God (Allah) knew that humans
were going to make mistakes, so the real test is whether they
seek repentance for their sins and try to avoid them, or if they
choose a life of heedlessness and sin, knowing well that it is
not pleasing to God. The true balance of an Islamic life is
established by having a healthy fear of God’s (Allah)
rightful punishment for crimes and sins, as well as a sincere
belief that Allah, in His infinite Mercy, takes pleasure
in bestowing His reward for our good deeds and sincere worship
Once a person reaches puberty, his/her account of deeds is
opened in Paradise. To attain paradise at death, their good
deeds: (Helping others, Testifying to the Truth of Allah,
Leading a virtuous life) must out way evil deeds.
In summary, there must be the following:
1) Correct belief 2) Good Deeds 3) Adherence to the Five
Pillars: a) Prayer b) Pilgrimage c) Charity d) Fasting e)
and Confession of faith.
Mode of Divine Revelation
Muhammad wrote the Qur’an as instructed by the angel
Gabriel, which was transcribed by his followers.
“Tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest…and
to draw their veils overtheir bosoms…let them not stamp their
feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.” (24:31)
“Tell thy wives and thy daughters to draw their cloaks close
round them…” (33:59)
Muslims regard Muhammad more as the restorer of the true
monotheistic faith, rather than the founder of a new religion.
Muhammad is believed by Muslims to be the last and final prophet
whom God (Allah) sent to humanity. At the age of forty,
he is purported to have received the revelation from God (Allah).
He then spent the remaining portion of his life explaining, and
living the teachings of Islam, the religion that Allah
revealed to him. He is believed by Muslims to guide humanity
until the Last Day because he has been sent as a mercy to all of
mankind. To Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad, was sent as the
final Messenger to all humanity.
Muslims believe the result of his mission has brought more
people into the pure belief in One God than any other prophet.
Since the beginning of time, God sent prophets to the earth,
each one to his own specific nation. The Prophet Muhammad,
however, was sent as the final Messenger to all of humanity.
To Muslims, all of God’s Messengers preached the message of
Islam, i.e., submission to the law of God and the worship of God
alone, but Muhammad is the last prophet of Islam who brought the
final and complete message which was never to be changed until
the Last Day.
Mohammad’s early life in the Arabian Peninsula is a story of
tragedy and struggle. He was born around AD 570. His father,
Abd-Allah, died before he was born. Allah was a part of his
father’s name because that was the name of the primary deity of
his clan. Amina, Muhammad’s mother, followed an old Arab custom
of giving the infant to a Bedouin woman to be nursed for a
significant period of time. When he was six years old, his
mother died. To be an orphan in the sixth century Mecca was a
sad situation. Abui-Talib, the head of the impoverished Hashim
clan of the Quraysh tribe and Muhammad’s uncle, was given charge
of the boy. He grew up in the midst of violent conflicts
between individuals and tribes.
One of the ways a person in Muhammad’s position could gain
wealth and power would be to marry well. A forty-year-old
businesswoman named Khadijah decided to marry the
twenty-five-year-old Muhammad if he proved himself responsible
by acting as her agent on a caravan to Syria. She had been
married twice before. Until her death, Khadijay was Mohammed’s
only wife. They raised four daughters but their two sons died
in infancy. In spite of his influential wife, Muhammad
struggled to gain respect from the merchants in Mecca who
excluded him from their inner circle. It is probable that this
is one factor that led him to seek spiritual help.
Muhammad’s Religious Quest
Muhammad found the Arabian religious life more troubling than
helpful. The Christians of the Roman and Byzantine empires
dominated much of the world and had gained converts in Arabia.
Even Khadijah’s cousin, Waraqah, had become a Christian. There
were also wealthy Jewish tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, yet
the main religion of the country and the faith of Muhammad’s
tribe was idol worship.
Mecca was the center of this polytheistic religion of which
Muhammad belonged. These pagans prayed by facing Mecca. They
traveled to Mecca for annual pilgrimages. There they would
enter an arena (Masjid) where they circled around an ancient
stone building, which was filled with idols. A black stone
could be seen from the outside of the Kaaba like a cornerstone.
The stone or meteorite was kissed in veneration. About one mile
away from the Kaaba, at the Wadi Mina, the pilgrims threw rocks
at a pillar that represented the devil. They believed in a
lunar month of fasting and giving alms to the poor.
When Muhammad seized control of Mecca, he destroyed all the
idols inside the Kaaba, except the revered black stone.
However, he preserved each of these pagan practices and today
they remain a significant part of the Islamic monotheistic
rituals. This certainly made conversion to Islam easier for the
people of Muhammad’s day. Many of today’s Muslims, though, have
trouble following these rituals while still keeping with a
highly technological society. The vast majority of Muslims also
live far from Saud Arabia where they must go for their
pilgrimage, which becomes a great financial burden to them.
Muhammad - Qur’an
Muhammad’s distressing situation culminated in reported
spiritual experiences. For reasons of his own, Muhammed began
to meditate in wilderness caves. He claimed that it was during
one of these times that he was visited by a spiritual being
which commanded him to recite a few sentences. Later, Muhammad
believed he was being demon possessed and tried to kill himself
but then again claimed to be rescued by another spiritual
appearance, which assured him of his prophet-hood.
According to Muslim history, Muhammad continued to receive
messages. He recited them to his followers who wrote them on
any objects available such as rocks or bones. These messages
came as Muhammad had episodes in which he would seem to have
seizures. In the midst of these spells, Muhammad spoke as if
Allah were speaking instead of him. He claimed that his
spiritual guide, whom he later identified as the angel Gabriel,
funneled messages through his poetic revelations. The Qur’an
makes it clear that most and Jews of the time believed this
behavior to be either insanity or demonic. At first the sayings
were short, but later in his life they became quite lengthy.
Muhammad – The Qur’an Becomes a Book
Shortly after Muhammad’s death, his verses remained written on
stones, bones, leather, and hidden in the memories of his
devoted followers. Years passed and most of those, who claimed
to remember all of the Qur’an by heart, were killed in
battle. Some of the items on which verses were written were
damaged or lost. So with great urgency experts shared what they
remembered and gathered the verses recorded by others to produce
the first Qur’an. They were copied and distributed
throughout the Islamic communities.
Muslims today are committed to the idea that there was one
original Qur’an which was compiled without any mistakes,
omissions or additions. Yet, Islamic history shows that perhaps
four to seven different versions of the Qur’an emerged. One of
Mohammad’s successors, Caliph Uthman, was shocked by this
fact. He assigned a committee of three people to construct a
standardized version of the Qur’an. Then Muslim leaders tried
to burn all other versions of the Qur’an (Sahih Bukari,
Vol. 6, p. 479).
The vast majority of Muslims are strongly offended by scholars
who suggest that the Qur’an was edited, changed or was in
any way different from the original pronouncements of Allah
through Muhammad. They believe that the burned Qur’ans
had only minor differences and that the standard copy, blessed
by Caliph Uthman, was made by devout followers of Muhammad who
had memorized the verses with unerring perfection. They would
reject the traditions that imply any deficiencies in the
Qur’an as unreliable Islamic history. They revere the
Qur’an as the perfect word of Allah and resist
critical scholarly inquiry into imperfections in the
Muhammad - Qur’an Attributes
Thy physical characteristics of the Qur’an are
interesting. It is a book that is somewhat shorter than the
Christian New Testament. Its chapters were not arranged in the
sequence that they were spoken, but by size with most of the
largest chapters first and the shortest last. For this reason,
it has no chronology of events or ideas. The Koran, published
by Penguin Classics, attempts to correct this by rearranging the
chapters according to when they might have been recited by
Following the train of thought within a chapter is a challenge.
The subject within a chapter and even a verse may change to
different topics with no transition. This is why a topical
study is so important.
When Muhammad spoke the verses, he did not use the first person
singular as in “I say that you must believe”. He spoke as if he
were relaying a message from Allah, transmitted by an
angel (Gabriel), who was supposed to have spoken in the first
person plural: “We created the world and we command the people
to believe in you (Muhammad) as a prophet,” for example.
Muslims do not believe that the use of “we” for Allah is
a contradiction of the oneness of Allah.
Muhammad spoke Arabic which is the language of the Qur’an.
Even Muslims who do not understand the language are instructed
to memorize the Qur’an in Arabic. They do this because
they believe that the Qur’an stops being the true
Qur’an when it is translated into another language losing
the true meaning in the process.
Muhammad - Qur’an Teachings
A few themes repeat themselves often in the Qur’an. The
foremost are the commands to believe in Allah’s oneness as
opposed to idolatry and Muhammad’s validity as a prophet equal
to Biblical prophets. In support of these beliefs, the
Qur’an repeats the wonders of creation, the foolishness of
idol worship, the terrors of Judgment Day and the alleged
confirmation from the Bible.
The word “alleged” is used in reference to the Qur’an’s
link with the Bible for a good reason. When the Jews and
Christians of the time heard the Qur’an’s references to
the Bible, they recognized two problems. They found many
strange tales being portrayed as Biblical stories. One example
is King Solomon communicating with ants and birds. This was one
reason Muhammad lacked the support he expected from the other
monotheistic faiths. The second was that the theology of the
Qur’an contradicted the Bible. The Qur’an claimed to
agree with the Gospel of Jesus Christ while denying the Trinity,
the divinity of Christ, and salvation through the cross and the
resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
To persuade readers to believe and obey the teachings of the
Qur’an, several incentives are reiterated in the text.
Earthly regards are extended such as victory in battle and the
spoils of war which come from fighting for the cause of Islam.
After death, there are promises of sensual pleasures in the
Gardens of Paradise contrasted with the many horrors of hell.
There are five basic pillars of Islam which Muslims highlight as
being taught by the Qur’an and their sacred history books
call the Hadith. They include the confession that
Allah is one and Muhammad is a prophet (Kalim),
prayer facing Mecca five times each day (Salat), alms giving (Zakat),
a month of fasting during the daylight hours practices annually
(Ramadan), and a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a
Muslim’s life (Hajj).
Muhammad’s - Rejection
The Qur’an has a certain poetic quality which Muslims
believe is miraculously beautiful. Even so, the vast majority
of Muhammad’s contemporaries did not believe Muhammad’s verses
to be extraordinary since the Arabian Peninsula was famous for
its many poets and mystic seers. This fact is attested to in
the Qur’an itself.
Aside from the writing style, the content of the message was
offensive to the idol worshipers of Mecca. Muhammad was
reciting verses that announced that Allah was the one and only
deity. His message condemned idol worship, upon which the
Meccan economy relied. As a result, Muhammad gained a very
small following in the first ten years of his self-proclaimed
prophet-hood. Even his tribe turned against him which was
unheard of in an age when clan loyalty was the foundation of the
culture. When Muhammad sought to transfer his movement to a
town called At-Taif the leaders ended the negotiations with such
strong opposition that they encouraged the residents of the
community to throw stones at Muhammad as he retreated.
Muhammad - Holy War
The Meccans were plotting to take Muhammad’s life so relocation
to a different place was essential. Negotiations with the town
of Medina went much better than those at At-Taif. Medina was a
prosperous agricultural center that struggled with tribal
friction. Some in Medina hoped that the presence of the Muslims
would bring a spiritual sense of peace and Muhammad was invited
to come as an arbitrator of disputes. Just before the Meccans
tried to execute their plan to kill Muhammad, he and his small
group of believers fled to Medina where the community of
followers began to grow in influence and power. The first day
of this move was July 1, 622. Muslims cite this date as the
first day of the Islamic calendar.
Shortly after the migration, the Islamic religion turned to
violence as a means of dealing with their enemies. Muhammad
proclaimed verses that allowed Muslims to fight for Islam. They
began by targeting the Meccans. The Muslims raided caravans in
the name of Allah, which eventually led to formal battles
between them and the armed forces of Mecca. The fighting
expanded to include those who supported Mecca. The Muslims
began to acquire riches in the way of spoils of war.
The Muslims were experiencing success. The fact that they were
now a military force unified their ranks and increased their
membership. The Muslims’ influence over the tribes of Medina
grew as their enemies began to fear them. For example, there
were three Jewish tribes in Medina. All three rejected Muhammad
as a genuine prophet in the tradition of Biblical prophets.
This must have been a great disappointment to Muhammad as the
Qur’an claims to be an extension of the Bible. There is no
evidence that they took military action against the Muslims, but
Muhammad attacked them one at a time. The first two, Banu
Qaynuqah and Nadir, were forced into exile.
The Islamic forces confiscated their homes, lands and rich
orchards. The last remaining Jewish tribe in Medina was the
Banu Qurayzah. Muhammad’s forces surrounded the Banu Qurayzah.
The siege was a success. Upon surrendering all their weapons
they received a sentence which was severe even for those times.
The Muslims executed all the Jewish men, somewhere between 600
and 900, and their women and children became the slaves of their
Muslim conquerors or were sold. Muhammad was in charge of
distributing their riches. Muhammad also took one of their
widows, Rayhana, whose husband had just been executed, to be his
The soldier of Mecca met the Muslim forces in battles at Badr
and Uhud. At the Battle of Uhud in AD 625, Muhammad himself was
wounded in the head so severely that a mistake cry went out that
he was dead. The battle was a draw, but for the Muslims to have
faced Meccans and survived was, in a sense, some kind of
Eventually, Muslim forces became strong enough that Mecca agreed
to a peace treaty with Muhammad called the treaty of “Al-Hudaybiya”
in March AD 628. It was to have insured peace for ten years.
The mistake the Meccans made in the treaty was to allow Muhammad
the freedom to attack neighboring tribes who were not protected
by the truce. Muhammad also allowed raids to continue on Meccan
caravan by groups whom he claimed were not member of his
forces. They were allegedly operating beyond Muhammad’s
The treaty was broken only two years after it was ratified.
There are differing reasons for how the truce ended, but the
outcome is history. Muhammad claimed that the Al-Hudaybiyah
Peace Treaty had been broken by the Meccans. His Islamic forces
invaded and conquered Mecca in January AD 630.
Following Muhammad’s death, the Islamic military victories in
northern Africa, Europe and the Middle East certainly added to
the spread of the religion as did international trade with Asian
countries. The Muslim’s use of violence against their enemies,
as a part of their religious duty called “jihad” or “holy
war,” is still widely practiced around the world into the new
millennium for self-defense and to enhance Islamic power and
influence. The question Muslims face is how and when jihad
should be practiced.
Muhammad - Success
Muhammad had tremendous wealth and power at the age of sixty.
His rise to prominence in Medina and the Muslim’s eventual
victory over Mecca brought Muhammad into complete control over
an expanding domain. He was revered as the voice of Allah.
He controlled the fate and property of those who opposed Islam.
Many Jewish and Christian communities were allowed some freedom
of worship as long as they paid taxes to Muhammad, submitted to
Islamic rule and stopped sharing their faith in order to
The respect given to him was so great that even to this day his
opinions on rules for conduct, dress, daily habits and even
beard style are held as examples to follow around the world.
Muhammad’s opinions and the history of his rise to power are
recorded in writings call the Hadith. The Hadith
is not one volume but rather a large number of texts compiled
several hundred years after the time of Muhammad. The most
respected of these is the collection called, Sahih Al-Bukari.
It details the rules Muhammad gave for daily life, boasts of
Muhammad’s exploits and offers the faithful Muslim a guide for
For one who had to prove himself worthy to marry a wealthy
widow, Muhammad now had numerous female relationships.
Following the death of Khadijah, Muhammad had approximately
sixteen wives plus slave girls who were captured in battle.
Upon his death Muhammad had nine wives still living and two
slave girls. Two of his more controversial marriages were to
Ayisha and Zainab. Ayisha was wed to Muhammad when she was only
six years old with the marriage being consummated when she was
the age of nine. At the time, Muhammad was fifty three years
old. Zainab was his adopted son’s ex-wife.
Muslim View of Christianity
When Muslims and Christians read the Bible and the Qur’an,
it is evident to both communities that there are vital
differences, as well as similarities that exist between these
religions. The differences, Muslims feel, are innovations and
corruptions introduced by Christians and Jews into the Bible
during the course of history. These innovations and
corruptions, Muslims would say, do not belong to the original
holy Books which the prophets received from God. Thus, they
conclude, the Qur’an also corrects the Bible where it had become
Moreover, some Muslims would add, Jews and Christians wrongly
interpret portions of their Scriptures which, Muslims feel,
refer to Muhammad as God’s final messenger and to the Qur’an as
God’s final message for mankind.
Some of the following teachings in the New Testament, which
Muslims view as innovations, corruptions and false
interpretations, are as follows:
Christians Worship Several Gods
- The Qur’an frequently recognizes that Jews and Christians
worship one God. Some Muslims also recognize that Jews and
Christians worship one God. Yet some verses in the Qur’an
also suggest that Christians are worshippers of more than one God,
or of Jesus the Messiah in the place of God: “They surely disbelieve
who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three.” (5:73) “And when
Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto
mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?”
(5:116) “They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the
Messiah, son of Mary.” (5:17)
When as some Muslims think, Christians believe in three gods or
associate another god with God or substitute someone or something
for God, they become idolaters and polytheists. To associate
anything or anyone with God is the supreme and unforgiveable sin,
according to the Qur’an.
fact, many Muslims view Christians as tritheists rather than as
Trinitarians, worshippers of three gods: God, Mary and Jesus (or
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit). Thus Christians appear to Muslims
to contradict the cardinal belief in Islam that God is one, that
there is no god except God (Allah).
God is Not Father and Jesus is Not the Son
of God – Related to the Muslim affirmation that God is one,
is the Muslim denial that God is Father and that Jesus is the Son of
The Qur’an says: “The Originator of the heavens and the
earth! How can He have a child, when there is for Him no
consort…? (6:102) And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of
Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of
Allah…How perverse are they!” (9:30) “I befitteth not (the
Majesty of) Allah that He should take unto Himself a son. …
(19:35) “Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the
eternally besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten.
And there is none comparable unto Him. (112:1-4)
From the above and other Quranic passages, many Muslims
conclude that Christian belief in the Fatherhood God and the
Sonship of Jesus rests on the belief that God has a consort.
Apart from a woman how else can one beget a son and become a
Jesus Did Not Die on the Cross
– Muslims generally deny that Jesus died on the cross on the basis
of the following Quranic verses:
because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary,
Allah’s messenger. They slew him not nor crucified, but it
appeared so unto them, and lo! Those who disagree concerning it are
in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a
conjecture: they slew him not for certain, but Allah took him
up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.” (4:157-158)
Jews and Christians Have Changed Their
Scriptures – It has already been noted that the opinion of
many Muslims that Jews and Christians no longer possess the
Scriptures originally given them by God or accurate copies of them.
Muslim responses to the Bible usually take the form of one or a
combination of the following claims: 1) The Scriptures previous to
the Qur’an have become textually corrupted. 2) The
scriptures previous to the Qur’an have been abrogated by the
Qur’an. 3) The Injil (Gospel) was taken into heaven
with Jesus at the time of his ascent.
The Bible Prophesies the Coming of Muhammad
– The following Quranic passages encourage Muslims to seek
predictions of Muhammad in the Bible: “Those who follow the
messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they
will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with
them… (7:157) “And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of
Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming
that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good
tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is Praised
Muslims appeal particularly to two portions of the Bible to
substantiate their claim: The Torah, in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 and
the Gospel in John chapters 14 through 16.
The Message of Jesus Is for Israel Only
– Many Muslims say that Christians have altered the original
Gospel. Yet some Muslims freely cite the following passage from the
Gospel accounts to support their assertion that in an absolute sense
Jesus’ message was solely for Israel: “Jesus answered: I am sent
only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
The Quranic passage in (3:71) summarizes the Muslim view
of the corruption of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures: “O
People of the Scripture! Why confound ye truth with falsehood
and knowingly conceal the truth?”
Nature of Man
Man is sinless at birth with capacity for unlimited moral and
spiritual progress through belief in God and faithful adherence
to the teachings of Muhammad. In the Qur’an, Allah teaches
human beings that they were created in order to glorify and
worship Him, and that the basis of all true worship is
God-consciousness. All of Allah’s creatures worship him
naturally and only the humans have the free will to worship
Allah their Creator or to reject Him. This is a great test,
but also a great honor.
Since the teachings of Islam encompass all aspects of life and
ethics, God-consciousness is encouraged in all human affairs.
Islam makes it clear that all human acts are acts of worship if
they are done for God alone and in accordance to His Divine
Scripture and Law. As such, worship in Islam is not limited to
religious rituals, and for this reason it is more properly known
as a “way of life” than a religion.
The Islamic view of nature of man is that human beings are not
believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen rather as equally
cable of both good and evil; it is their choice. Islam teaches
that faith and action go hand-in-hand. God has given people
free-will, and the measure of one’s faith is their deeds and
actions. However, since human beings have also been created
innately weak and regularly fall into sin, they are in need of
continually seeking guidance and repentance, which is, in
itself, also a form of worship loved by Allah. The
nature of the human being as created by God in His Majesty and
Wisdom, is not inherently “corrupt” or in need of repair.
The avenue of repentance is always open to all. Almighty God
knew that humans were going to make mistakes, so the real test
is whether they seek repentance for their sins and try to avoid
them, or if they prefer a life of heedlessness and sin, knowing
well that it is not pleasing to God. The true balance of an
Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of Allah’s
rightful punishment for crimes and sins, as well as a sincere
belief that Allah, in His infinite Mercy, takes pleasure
in bestowing His reward for our good deeds and sincere worship
The Holy Qur’an as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, also
contains a great deal of teachings about life in the hereafter
and the Day of Judgment. Muslims believe that all human beings
will ultimately be judged by Allah, the Absolute Sovereign King
and Judge, for their beliefs and actions in their earthly
lives. In judging human beings, Allah the Exalted will
be both Absolutely Just, by only punishing the truly guilty and
rebellious unrepentant criminals, and Absolutely Merciful for
those people who He, in His wisdom, judges worthy of mercy.
None will be judged for that which was beyond their capacity, or
for that which they did not actually do. It is sufficient to
say that Islam teaches that life is a test designed by
Allah, the Creator, Almighty and Most
Wise; and that all human beings will be accountable before Allah
for what they did with their lives.
Other Good Deeds
This includes the respect of the elders, teachers and scholars,
hospitality, keeping of promises, adhering to contracts and
covenants, and repayment of debts, and the forgiving of any debt
owed to one by a person unable to repay. All of these good
deeds are mandatory.
Mawlid and Ashura
Other Spiritual Beings
Angels, demons, jinn
Other Written Authority
Hadith (See study of Hadith above)
Janna is the Arabic word for garden and is described as
translated into English as, “Paradise, a garden on high, a home
that will last, garden of eternity, garden of everlasting bliss,
gardens of delight, home of peace and home of the righteous.
There will be no sickness, pain, sadness or death there.
The Prophet Muhammad said that there are things in Paradise
“which no eye has seen no ear has heard and no human mind has
thought of.” According to Surah 55:72, “The prophet Muhammad
said, The smallest reward for the people of paradise is an abode
where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands
a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as
the distance from Damascus to Yemen.”
“Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as
the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their
offspring: and angels shall enter unto them from every gate:
Peace unto you for that ye persevered in patience! Now how
excellent is the final home!”
The Islamic texts describes life for its immortal inhabitants
as: one that is happy, without hurt, sorrow, fear or shame,
where very wish is fulfilled. Traditions relate that
inhabitants will be the same age (33 years), and of the same
standing/equal. Their life is one of bliss including: wearing
fancy robes, bracelets, perfumes as they partake in exquisite
banquets, served in priceless vessels by immortal youths, as
they recline on couches inlaid with gold or precious stones.
Other foods mentioned include meats, scented wine and clear
drinks bringing neither drunkenness nor rousing
quarrelling. Inhabitants will rejoice in the company of their
parents, spouses, and children (provided they were admitted to
paradise) conversing and recalling the past.
Dwellings for inhabitants will be pleasant, with
lofty gardens, shady valleys, fountains
scented with camphor or ginger, rivers of water, milk, honey and
wines; delicious fruits of all seasons without thorns: One day
in paradise is considered equal to a thousand years on earth.
Palaces are made from bricks of gold, silver, pearls, among
other things. Traditions also note the presence of horses and
camels of dazzling whiteness, along with other creatures. Large
trees are described, mountains made of musk, between which
rivers flow in valleys of pearl and ruby.
In spite of the goodly dwellings given to the inhabitants of
paradise, the approval of God and nearness to him is considered
greater. According to the Qur’an, God will bring the
elect near to his throne, a day on which some faces shall be
shining in contemplating their Lord. The vision of God is
regarded as the greatest of all rewards, surpassing all other
Finally, quoting from Surah 52:17, 19, 20 & 22-24) “As to the
righteous, they will be in gardensand in happiness to them will
be said: Eat and drink ye, with profit and health, because of
your good deeds. They will recline with ease on thrones of
dignity arranged in ranks; and we shall join (marry) them to
companions with beautiful big and lustrous eyes…And we shall
bestow on them, of fruit and meat, anything they desire. They
shall there exchange one another, a cup free of frivolity, free
of all taint of ill, and round about them, youth (handsome) as
Respect for, and obedience and kindness to, parents are enjoined
upon Muslims. Obedience is, however, excused where the parents
require injustice to be perpetrated.
The activities of the wicked and of the saint, of the generous
and of the grasping, are all Allah’s creation. Allah may
give up to seven spirits to a man. But those who choose good
will be rewarded and evil punished.
Pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca
At least once in a lifetime, every adult Muslim who is
physically and financially able is required to sacrifice time,
wealth, status, and ordinary comforts of life to make the Hajj
pilgrimage, putting himself totally at God’s service. Every
year over two million believers from a diversity of cultures and
languages travel from all over the world to the sacred city of
Mecca to respond to God’s call.
Sovereignty belongs to God. The ruler, whether a king or an
elected or nominated representative, can only rule as His
vicegerent and in accordance with His laws.
A marriage with up to four wives is permitted. There are,
however, strict conditions as to equal and just treatment of all
(Ob’adah-b-Swa’met reported that Muhammad had said: “Five
prayers i.e., times of prayer – the Almighty Allah made
them obligatory.) When the call is heard for the prayer of the
day of congregation, haste unto remembrance of Allah”
Muslims worship five times a day: at daybreak, noon,
midafternoon, sunset and evening. It helps keep believers
mindful of God in the stress of work and family. It resets the
spiritual focus, reaffirms total dependence on God, and puts
world concerns within the perspective of the last judgment and
the afterlife. The prayers consist of standing, bowing,
kneeling, putting the forehead on the ground, and sitting.
The Prayer is a means in which a relationship between God and
His creation is maintained. It includes recitations from the
Quran, praises of God, prayers for forgiveness and other
various supplications. The Prayer is an expression of
submission, humility, and adoration of God. Prayers can be
offered in any clean place, alone or together, in a mosque or at
home, at work or on the road, indoors or out.
It is preferable to pray with others as one body united in
worship of God, demonstrating discipline, brotherhood, equality,
and solidarity. As they pray, Muslims face Mecca, the holy city
centered around the Kaaba-the house of God built by Abraham and
his son Ishmael.
God created mankind to serve Him. He endowed man with faculties
and freedom of action and out of His Grace and Justice sent
Prophets to instruct and guide mankind. No nation or community
was left without such guidance.
Some of these prophets were sent with Divine Revelation,
scripture and miracles. The first Prophet was Adam and the last
was Muhammad, the Seal of Prophets. Five of these prophets
brought new codes of law. These were Noah, Abraham, Moses,
Jesus and Muhammad. These are called the ulu l-azm
prophets meaning those of great constancy.
The Twelvers believe that the Prophet was succeeded by twelve
Immams: 1) Ali ibne Abu Talib who died 40 A.H./659 A.D. (He was
the Prophet’s son-in-law, having married his daughter Fatimah.)
2) Hassan ibne Ali who died A.H. /669 A.D. 3) Hussain ibne Ali
who died 61 A.H. /680 A.D. 4) Ali ibne Husain who died 95 A.H.
/712 A.D. 5) Muhammad ibne Ali who died 114 A.H. /732 A.D. 6)
Ja’far ibne Muhammad who died 148 A.H. /765 A.D. 7) Musa ibne
Ja’far who died 183 A.H. /799 A.D. 8) Ali ibne Musa who died
203 A.H. /817 A.D. 9) Muhammad Ibne Ali who died 220 A.H. /835
A.D. 10) Ali Ibne Muhammad who died 254 A.H. /868 A.D. 11)
Hassan Ibne Ali who died 260 A.H. /872 A.D. 12) Muhammad Ibne
Hassan who was born 256 A.H. /868 A.D.
On the death of his father in 260 A.H. the twelfth Imam went
into occultation (Gabah), appearing only to a few leading
Shiahs. Until 329 A.H. /939 A.D. he performed the
functions of the Imaam through representatives appointed
by himself. He then went into major occultation which will
continue until the day God grants him permission to manifest
The Sunni view is that the term Imaam is synonymous with
the term khalifah. A khalifah may be elected, or
nominated by his predecessor, or selected by a committee, or may
acquire power through military force. A khalifah need
not be sinless. It is lawful for a person of inferior qualities
to be a khalifah while persons of superior qualities are
Prophets and Messengers
According to Muslims, Islam is a universal and inclusive
religion. Muslims believe in the prophets, not just the Prophet
Muhammad, but the Hebrew prophets, including Abraham and Moses,
as well as the prophets of the New Testament, Jesus, and John
the Baptist. Muslims believe in all the prophets sent by God
mentioned in the Qur’an, without making any distinction
between them. Muhammad was sent with the final message, and
there is no prophet to come after him. His message is final and
eternal, and through him God completed His Message to humanity.
Pursuit of Knowledge
Islam regards ignorance as impure (najasah) and the
acquisition of knowledge as a great act of piety.
Qur’an means “recitation”. When used in regards to Islam,
the word Qur’an means God’s final message to mankind,
which was revealed by the Arch-Angel Gabriel in Arabic in sound,
word and meaning to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23
years. To Muslims the Qur’an is the literal word of God and has
been perfectly preserved in both its words and meaning in a
Muslims believe that the entire Qur’an was written down
in the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, and that numerous
companions of the Prophet memorized the entire Qur’an and
thus perfectly preserved.
To the Muslims, the teaching of the Qur’an is a universal
scripture addressed to all mankind. The message is the same as
all the prophets: Submit to Allah the One God and worship Him
alone and follow Allah’s Messengers for success in this life and
salvation in the hereafter. God’s revelation to Mohammad
focuses on teaching human beings the importance of believing in
the Oneness of God and forming their lives around the guidance
which He has sent.
Additionally, to Muslims the Qur’an contains the stories
of the previous prophets, such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and
Jesus; as well as many commands and prohibitions from God. To
Muslims, the Quranic teachings offer solutions to the
emptiness and turmoil gripping the world today. In short, the
Qur’an is the book of guidance par excellence.
The world will come to an end on the Day of the Rising (Oiyamah),
the day of final human accountability. All men will be
resurrected and presented before God who will decide their fate
according to their deeds. The good will be rewarded with
paradise (jannah) and the evil will be punished with hell
(jahannam). The dominant factor in the administration of
His Justice by Allah will be His Mercy.
Qur’an, which to Muslims is the final revelation of
Allah to all of mankind, which was spoken by Allah
the Exalted Himself and conveyed through the Arch-Angel Gabriel
in Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad, in sound, word and meaning.
The Qur’an was then relayed to the Prophet’s companions,
and they memorized it verbatim and meticulously compiled it into
written form. The Qur’an (Koran) has been continually
recited by the companions’ successors until the present day.
Thus to Muslims, the Qur’an is the revealed book of
Divine scripture from Allah to all humanity for their
guidance and salvation.
1) What is Salvation to the Muslims? Islam teaches
that salvation is attainable through theworship of God alone. A
person must believe in God and follow His commandments. This is
the same message taught by all Prophets including Moses and
Jesus. There is only One worthy of worship: One God, alone
without partners, sons, or daughters. Salvation and thus
eternal happiness can be achieved by sincere
In addition to this, Islam teaches that human beings are born
without sin and are naturally inclined to worship God along
(without any intermediaries). To retain this state of
sinlessness, humankind must only follow god’s commandments and
strive to live a righteous life. If one falls into sin, all
that is required is sincere repentance followed by seeking God’s
forgiveness. When a person sins, they push themselves away from
the mercy of God; however, sincere repentance brings a person
back to God.
Salvation is a powerful word that the dictionary defines as the
act of preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty,
or evil. Theologically it is spiritual rescue from sin and its
consequences. “Those who remember God (always and in prayers)
standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think
deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth,
(saying), “Oh Lord, You have not created this without purpose,
glory to You! (Exalted are You above all that they associate
with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of
the Fire.” (3:191)
2) Worship and Obey God! Salvation in Islam is through
tawheed, monotheism. Tawheed is an Arabic word
that means oneness, and when we talk about tawheed in
relation to god it means realizing and affirming God’s oneness.
It is the belief that God is One, without partner or associate.
There is no god worthy of worship but Allah, and this is the
foundation of Islam. To profess such a belief along with the
belief that Muhammad is His messenger is what makes a person
Muslim. To believe in tawheed with certainty is what
There is no need for God, or even a Prophet of God to sacrifice
himself for humankind’s sins in order to buy forgiveness. Islam
refuses this view entirely. The foundation of Islam rests on
knowing with certainty that nothing should be worshiped but God
alone. Forgiveness emanates from the One True God; so, when a
person seeks forgiveness, he must turn to God submissively with
true remorse and ask for forgiveness, promising not to repeat
the sin. Then and only then will sins be forgiven by God
Islam teaches that Jesus did not come to atone for the sins of
humankind; rather, his purpose was to reaffirm the message of
the Prophets before him. The Islamic belief about Jesus’
crucifixion and death is clear. He did not die to atone for
humankind’s sins. There was a plot to crucify Jesus but it did
not succeed; he did not die but rather ascended into heaven. In
the last days leading up to the Day of Judgment, Jesus will
return to this world and continue to spread the belief in the
Oneness of God. The Qur’an tells us that on the Day of
Judgment Jesus will deny ever asking the people to worship him
instead of, or along with God.
God tells us in the Qur’an that there is only one
unforgiveable sin, and that is if one dies having associated
partners with God and did not repent from it before his death.
Every human being can attain salvation by worshipping One God.
Staying connected to God and repenting from mistakes and sins is
the road to salvation.
3) Repentance! Islam states unreservedly that there is
no such concept as original sin and that God does not require a
blood sacrifice in order to forgive humankind for their sins and
transgressions. Making mistakes, falling short in our obedience
to God, forgetting, and committing sins are all part of the
imperfect nature of humankind. No human being is free from sin,
no matter how good they appear to be and every human being is in
need of God’s forgiveness. We are all vulnerable, we all commit
sins, and we all need to be forgiven.
We have an innate need to feel close to God and God in His
infinite wisdom has made the path to forgiveness easy. Prophet
Muhammad himself experienced the sublime joy that came from
feeling “right” with his Lord. He said, “By God, I seek the
forgiveness of God and I turn to Him in repentance more than
seventy times each day.”
God the creator knows humankind perfectly, He knows our
imperfections and our shortcomings, and thus He has prescribed
repentance for us and left the door to repentance open unto the
sin rises from the west (near Judgment Day). “And turn in
repentance and in obedience with true Faith to your Lord and
submit to Him, before the torment comes upon you, then you will
not be helped.” (39:54)
Repentance is essential for a person to lead a peaceful life.
The reward of repentance is a good life close to God and covered
with contentment and peace of mind. However, there are three
conditions to repentance: 1) Giving up sin. 2) Feeling regret
forever having committed the sin. 3) Resolving never to go back
to the sins. If these three conditions are fulfilled with
sincerity then god will forgive. If the sin was to do with the
rights of another person then there is a condition 4) To
restore, if humanly possible, the rights taken away.
God’s mercy and forgiveness are so all encompassing that He will
go on forgiving. If a person is sincere, God will forgive him
until the moment that the death rattle reaches the throat. The
noted Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir said, “Surely, when hope in
continued living diminishes, the Angel of Death comes forth to
collect the soul. When the soul reaches the throat, and is
gradually pulled out, at that point there is no accepted
Genuine repentance marks the road to salvation. Salvation is
attained through sincere worship of God. There is not God but
Him, the most powerful, the most merciful and most forgiving.
Shia Islam encompasses most Muslims who are not counted
among the Sunni. The division between Sunni and
Shi’a, dates to the death of the Prophet Muhammad when
his followers were faced with the decision of who would be his
successor as the leader of Islam. Shi’ites are those who
followed Ali, the closest relative of Muhammad, as Muhammad’s
successor. Today there are approximately 120 million Shite
Muslims in the world. The Shi’a consist of one major
school of thought: known as the Jafaryia or the “Twelvers”,
and a few minor schools of thought, as the “seveners” or the
“Fivers.” These names all refer to the number of imams they
recognize after the death of Muhammad. The term Shi’a is
usually meant to be synonymous with the Jafaryia/Twelvers.
With approximately 940 million adherents out of about 1.5
billion Muslims, Sunni Islam is the largest Islamic
sect. Followers of the Sunni tradition are known as
Sunnis or Sunnites; they sometime refer to themselves
as Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa’h, “adherents to the Sunnah
and the assembly.”
Sunnis have their historical roots in the majority group
who followed Abu Bakr, an effective leaders, as Muhammad’s
successor instead of the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law Ali.
The Sunnis are so named because they believe themselves
to follow the sunnah (“custom” or “tradition”) of the
Status of Biblical Prophets
Biblical Prophets are True prophets.
Status of Jewish Bible
Non-canonical but useful as (corrupted) inspired text
Status of New Testament
Non-canonical, but useful as a (corrupted) inspired text
Summary of Doctrine
Six Articles of Faith
Some scholars trace the roots of Islamic terrorism back to the
11th Century Assassins, and order of Isma’ili
Shi’ism that targeted political and religious opponents who
stood in the way of the Assassin’s sectarian ideology. In
positioning a continuity between Islamic terrorism’s medieval
and modern manifestations, namely loyalty to a divine
imperative, and similar tactics, such as actively
seeking out martyrdom.
The emergence of modern Islamic terrorism has its roots in the
19th Century. The Wahhabi movement, an Arabian
fundamentalist movement that formed in the18 Century, began to
establish a broad following during the 1800’s and gradually
inspired other fundamentalist movements during the 20th
Century. Waves of politically motivated terrorist movement in
Europe during the 1800’s and early 1900’s served as inspirations
and models which would inspire the Islamists over the course of
the 20th century and beyond, During the Cold War,
the United States and the United Kingdom supported the rise of
fundamentalist groups in the Middle east and South Asia as a
hedge against Soviet expansion and as a means to weaken
anti-Western nationalist movements in some countries.
The escalation of terrorism during the later 20th
Century has its roots in several pivotal events circa 1979:
Iranian revolution; the post-Cold War global religious revival;
and the Soviet invasion and withdrawal from Afghanistan is often
seen as the global trigger of Islamic terrorism. These events
were factors and fueled a recourse to religious terrorism.
“Ideology”, rather than any individual or group, is the “center
of gravity” of al-Qaeda and related groups, and the
ideology is a “collection of violent Islamic thought called
Qutbism. A summary of the tenets of Qutbism as being
the following: 1) A belief that Muslims have deviated from true
Islam and must return to “pure Islam” as originally practiced
during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. 2) The path to “pure
Islam” is only through a literal and strict
interpretation of the Qur’an and Hadith, along
with implementation of the Prophet’s commands. 3) Muslims
should interpret the original sources individually without being
bound to follow the interpretations of Islamic scholars. 4)
That any interpretation of the Quran from a historical,
contextual perspective is a corruption, and that the majority of
Islamic history and the classical jurisprudential tradition is
The role played by the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred text, in
opposing or in encouraging attacks oncivilians is disputed.
Some scholars say, “At notime did the (Muslim) jurist approve of
terrorism. Nor indeed is there any evidence of the use of
terrorism (in Islamic tradition). Muslims are commanded not to
kill women, children, or the aged, not to torture or otherwise
ill-treat prisoners, to give fair warning of the
opening of hostilities, and to honor agreements. Similarly, the
laws of Jihad categorically preclude wanton and indiscriminate
slaughter. The warriors in the holy war are urged not to harm
non-combatants, women and children, “unless they attack you
first”. A point on which they insist is the need for a clear
declaration of war before beginning hostilities, and for proper
warning before resuming hostilities after a truce. What the
classical jurists of Islam never remotely considered is the kind
of unprovoked, unannounced mass slaughter of uninvolved civil
populations that were seen in New York in 2001. For this, there
is no precedent and no authority in Islam.
Other scholars say: “It is the duty of those who have accepted
them (Allah’s word and message) to strive unceasingly to convert
or at least to subjugate those who have not. This obligation is
without limit of time or space. It must continue until the
whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted
to the power of the Islamic state.”
Finally, a word concerning terrorist’s use of suicide bombing.
This tactic is used against civilians, soldiers, and government
officials of any regimes the terrorists oppose. The use of
suicide bombers is seen by many Muslims as contradictory to
Islamic teachings; however, groups who support its use often
refer to such attacks as “martyrdom operations” and the
suicide-bombers who commit them as “martyrs” (Arabic: shuhada,
plural of “shahid”). The bombers and their sympathizers
often believe that suicide bombers, as martyrs (shaheed)
for the cause of jihad against the enemy, will receive
the rewards of paradise for their actions.
Islam does not have the concept of secularism. All human
activities must be either in accordance of the law (The
Shariah) or the prescribed code of conduct. An act which is
within accord with either is an act of piety.
A Muslim considers his life on this earth as a journey from his
Maker to his Maker and must strive to gain the pleasure of his
Type of Theism
Strict monotheism: the Oneness of God (Allah)
One creator God (Allah)
Unity of God
The Islamic creed is that “There is no God save Allah and
that Muhammad is His Prophet. Muslims believe that Allah
is ONE. He was neither begotten nor does He beget. He has no
Partner. He is the Beginning and He is the End. He is
Omniscient and Omnipresent.
View of Other Religions
Christians are a “People of the Book”, but theyhave mistaken
beliefs and only partial revelation. Jesus was a prophet, but
not the son of Allah. The Old Testament
prophecies of, and fulfilled by, Jesus, were mere coincidence.
Women in Islam
Islam does not accept that the first woman was created of any
inferior composition or that it was Eve who fell to the
promptings of Satan in disobeying God. Both were equally to
The wife is under a duty to obey the lawful and just commands of
“Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has
preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they
have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore
obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those you
fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches,
and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way
against them.” (Sura 4:38)
As a mother, the woman occupies a unique position. She is the
pivot of the family, and Islam holds the family as being the
most important unit of the society. From the moment of
conception to birth and up to the attainment of puberty, it is
the mother who shapes the mind, the thinking and the behavior of
that future member of the society. The Prophet Muhammad
repeatedly emphasized the importance of the upbringing of
children and the role of the mother.
A Topical Study of the Qur’an @Islam.org
Definitions & Translations @Wikipedia.org
Faith Freedom @faithfreedom.org
Guide Dones @guidedones.com
Introduction to Islam @al-islam.org
Islam Religion @islamreligion.com
Islamic Dictionary @Islamic-dictionary.com
Qur’an and the Bible @answering-islam.org
Religion Facts @religonfacts.com
Religious Tolerance @religioustolerance.org;
The Religion of Islam @Islamreligion.com