What is ISLAM?

The Arabic word 'Islam' stands for 'Submission' or 'Peace'. In a religious context, it implies the peace that reaches out to one when one completely submits oneself to the will of Almighty God. This is achieved only when the indidual acts in accordance with the direction of his Creator in all spheres of life.

Who is the founder of Islam?

The Almighty God who created the universe, endowed man with a special gift of intelligence and thought, to enable him to discriminate between good and bad. Man has also been given, the freedom to choose his own path by either accepting or rejecting the instructions of the Almighty Creator. The divine revelations were conveyed by God to mankind through numberous prophets who preached the ideals to all communities during different periods of human history. The thousands of prophets whom God selected for human guidance have promulgated the basic doctrine with remarkable similarity.

The belief in and the profound reverence for all messengers and revealed scriptures from God forms an integral part of Islamic faith. Islam is not a religion founded by Prophet Muhammad (s). The Qur’an has most emphatically corroborated the fact that the Islamic conception of life was revealed to man by along chain of prophets chosen by the Almighty Creator.

Who are Muslims?

The word ‘Muslim’ means one who has submitted oneself to the Omnipotent Creator. A true Muslim is one who has disciplined his life in accordance with the instructions conveyed by God through His messengers. A person becomes a Muslim not by birth alone, but his faith and deeds.

How can one be a Muslim?

“I testify that there is none who deserves to be worshipped but Allah. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. By taking this solemn oath sincerely and endeavouring to regulate one’s life following the instructions conveyed by Allah through his messengers, one becomes a true Muslims. By declaring that there is none worthy of worship save Allah, and that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah, the believer announces his or her faith in God’s oneness, His sole right to be worshipped and that Muhammad is the last of the prophets. It also confirms his or her belief in all prophets and the scriptures they brought.

Why does Islam seem to be strict?

No prophet taught that religion is to be confined within the walls of places of worship. On the contray, Muslims are expected to follow the instructions of Almighty Allah in the Course of all their activities in life.
The word ‘Muslim’ means one who has submitted his self to the will of Allah, and for the same reason a true Muslim cannot compromise on anything that stands in the way of guiding his life according to divine strictures. The view that consciousness of God is to be confined only to the place of worship is alien to Islam always have religion foremost in their minds whereas many others consider religion as irrelevant in the present age.

What are the Islamic beliefs?

Muslims believe in one, unique, incomparable God, in the angels created by Him, in the revealed Scriptures, in the prophets through whom His revelations were made to mankind, in the Day of judgement and life after death, individual accountability for actions, and in God’s complete authority over human destiny.

What does faith in ‘one God’ mean?

Allah, the Creator and Protector of all beings in the universe, big and small, in His essence, His goodness and His deeds, remains alone and unique. One offers worship only to Him, who is Almighty, higherthan everyone else and Himself being perfect in everything. By monotheism, Islam implies, not the mere belief that there is just one God, but it powers the way for prayers and offerings to the one who is all Merciful and Omniscient.

Who is Allah?

The Arabic word ‘Allah’ is the shortened from of ‘al ilah’, The God, the one and only God, the first, the last, the eternal, the hidden, the manifest, the ultimate reality. Even non-Muslim Arabs use the term ‘Allah’ when they speak of God. The basic creed of Islam is this simple formula : ‘There is no God but Allah’ (La ilaha illallah). The Arabic term ‘Allah’ denoting God, is unique in many ways. It has no plural like ‘gods’; it has no gender like ‘goddess’; nor does this work generate a visual image of any kind. “Allah”, He is God, the One true God, He is the one whi deserves all worship and there is nothing comparable to him. Nevertheless, ninenty nine different attritutes of Allah are named in the Qur’an

Who are the angels?

Angels are the servants of God and they were created from light. They are beyond the realm and reach of human comprehension. They do not have freedom of action and can only carry out the commands of God.

What are the scriptures?

The Scriptures are the sacred books containing divine revelations from God which were conveyed through His messengers for the guidance of man. Prophets were sent to all peoples of all ages, to warm them and guide them to righteousness and virtue. The names of the four known scriptures are ‘the Thorah’, ‘the Zabur’, ‘theInjeel’ and ‘the Qur’an’. ‘The Thorah’ was revealed to Prophet Moses (a) and it is the gratest among the Israelities books. ‘The Zabur’ was revealed to Prophet David (a). ‘The Injeel’ which Allah revealed to Prophet Jesus (a), is a confirmation of the Torah and complement to it. ‘The Qur’an’, which was revealed to the last of the prophets, is but a restatement of the faith delivered to the prophets before him. The more the Qur’an is studies with an unprejudiced mind, the more this truth emerges, that the Qur’an is a confirmation of all the earlier scriptures and messages sent by God through His messengers who lived and preached among various sects of humanity.

Who are prophets?

Prophets are men, chosen by God at various stages and under varying circumstances of history, to lead men from darkness to light. The Qur’an repeatedly states the fact that prophets with the same message were sent to each and every community. The process of revelation continued unabated, sometimes in succession, at other times in brocken sequences until the period in history, when the termination of Divine revelation and messengership, with the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad (s) became a significant milestone in the history of mankind.

It is true that the lives and mission of many a prophet has been made obscure and distorted by legends that grew around them or by people with vested interest, who used names of these prophets to exploit men and mislead them from the right faith. No prophet of God has claimed himself to be divine. They were all mortals who lived and passed away from this earth after completing their mission of conveying the basic message to mankind. Which was a call for the recognition and affirmation of God’s existence, uniqueness and Lordship over all creation. It is an integral part of Islamic faith to believe in all the prophets of God.

What does Islam say about life after death?

Death does not terminate man’s life. On the other hand, Islam teaches that is the door that opens to an eternal life after death. The appropriate reward for one’s earthly deeds, good or bad, is disbursed only in the Hereafter. The Islamic belief is that mankind will be ressurrected, on the Day of judgement, after every creation is destroyed. After being reborn, man will face a trial which will be in absolute control of the Almighty. Here, all the good and bad acts of men during his sojourn on earth will be unfurled before his eyes in order to be ultimately judged by God. The virtuous will be rewarded with virtue and the wrongdoers punished appropriately. Those who have made sacrifices and discharges noble deeds will receive the shelter of peace in Heaven and those who have denigrated their lives through vices and evil will be condemned to suffer the horrors of Hell. Islam inculcates the concept of accountability both in public and private life of a person by emphasising the paramount importance of life Hereafter for mankind.

What does faith in destiny mean in Islam?

The Law of God, the Creator and Ruler of the worlds, is a powerful, all pervasive law which governs all that comprises the universe. No creation can lodge this Law and man’s position is no different. Even man’s environment and physical constitution are regulated on the basis of this divine law. The good and the bad that befall him happen on the basis of divine Destiny. How they befall on each one is in accordance with the predetermined decision made by the Omniscient Creator, who is aware of the ultimate good and evil of mankind. Hence, Islam directs man to believe in Destiny, whether good or bad, which Allah has measured and ordained for all creatures according to His previous knowledge and as deemed suitable by His wisdom.

What are the fundamental sources of Islamic faith?

The sacred fundamental sources of Islamic faith are the Qur’an, and the practice and example of Prophet Muhammad (s).

Who is Muhammad?

Muhammad (s) is the last of the prophets of Islam. It is through him that the religion of absolute submission to God, was perfected. Muhammad (s) is not just the successor of Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, but of all the prophets who were sent across the world, whose names are either known or unknown. His mission was not to establish a new Religion, but on the other hand, to perfect the Religion taught by the earlier prophets.

How was the life of Muhammad?

Muhammad (s) was born at Makkah in AD 570. Having lost his father before his birth and mother at the age of seven, he grew up as an orphan. Despite the immoral circumstances prevailing in the Arabia of his time, Muhammad (s) was particularly well known for his personality radiating honesty, nobility, sincerity, generosity and trustworthiness. Muhammad (s), at the age of twenty five married Khadeeja, a forty year old trader. He started receiving divine revelations at the age of forty. Being chosen as a prophet, he preached the divine messages to the people of Makkah. Their response however was bitter, arrogant and violent. Beaten up, tortured, and threatened with death, he fled his motherland to Yarthib (Madeena) a city in the northern side of Arabia. Consequently a Muslim nation was formed in Madeena and its leadership was taken up by him. Battle after battle had to be fought while in Madeena when unbelievers attacked the Muslims seeking to destroy the religion of truth. Infact, they were battles fought for freedom to practice religion.

The most amazing success of the Prophet’s life is the tremendous success which he achieved in transforming the life of his followers in all aspects, in a span of just 23 years, he raised them from the depth of degradation to great moral and spiritual heights so as to make them a model for future generations. He passed away at the age of 63 in Madeena, having lived a most fruitful life.

Why is Muhammad called the last prophet?

The earlier prophets had been sent exclusively to particular regions or sects. We learn that many prophets had predicted the arrival of a great prophet who would be a blessing to the whole world. Muhammad (s) is indeed a prophet to the entire world. The messages presented through him are applicable to the last of man on earth. The super human powers which were bestowed on some prophets never lasted beyond their lives. However, the Qur’an which proves the prophethood of Muhammad (s), illustrates its consistency and supremacy and is open for verification by anyone. All authorities are unanimously agreed upon the fact that the life and mission of prophet Muhammad (s) was realised completely under the fullest glare of documented history. The whole life of Muhammad (s) has been recorded in detail and each incident, whether major or minor is worthy to be adopted as a model. It has been emphatically asserted that no messenger of God would appear after Muhammad and that all mankind ought to adopt the guidelines laid down in the Qur’an and to emulate the practice and example of Muhammad (s) since the religion of Islam was perfected by them.

What is Qur'an?

The Qur'an is the final sacred scripture presented through the Last Prophet of Islam. It contains nothing but the words of God. It is the scripture that can guide all mankind to the last day. For the same reason, the very God who presented it, promised mankind that the Qur'an will be protected and preserved to the last without any alternation or interpolation. The Qur'an is the only religious text that is free from any human tampering. It is at the same time a text that can guide men of all times through the right path and is also an irrefutable evidence for the prophethood of Muhammad (s).

Why is the Qur'an considered divine?

The Qur'an is a unique book, the like of which no man is capable of composing. Despite being compliled by an illiterate, who had displayed no literary flair until the age of forty, the unique literary style of the Qur'an, is one that remains absolutely inimitable. Amongst the existing scriptures, the Qur'an remains apart, for it can claim to be the only divine text that maintains the very from in which it was first presented. The moral codes laid down in the Qur'an are applicable for all times and matchless is the righteousness that they manifest. It is indeed a wonder, that over a spell of twenty three years, under varied circumstances, the Qur'an verses dealt with subjects that are vast and intense, without any discrepancy whatsoever. Incomparable and great is the transformation that the Qur'an engendered. In such a short span, the Qur'an transformed a degraded and depraved society to a point that attained the highest levels of moral excellence, making them the models for the future generations of men.

It has been proved beyond doubt that, word for word the prophecies in the Qur'an stem from a supreme source. It is a greater wonder that the Qur'an, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago, at a time when the world was in absolute darkness in the fields of science and technology, does not contain asingle statement that is contradictory to modern scientific knowledge. Yet another explicit evidence that indicates the supremacy of the Qur'an is that many of the findings of modern science attest the view that the Qur'an is indeed the word of the Almighty, the Creator of the universe.

What are the 'Five Pillars of Islam'?

There are five compulsory acts of worship that are paramount to Islam. They are the Vow of truth, Salaat (Prayer), Zakaath (Charity), Fasting and Hajj (Pilgrimage).

What is the Vow of truth?

"I testify that, none but Allah deserves to be worshipped and Muhammad (s) is the messenger of Allah". It is after taking this pledge that one becomes a Muslim. The person who chants this pledge vows that he will offer worship to the One and Only creator and none else, and that he will lead his life, following the practice and example of Prophet Muhammad (s).

What is Salaat (Prayer)?

It is the compulsory responsibility of every Muslim to offer Salaat five times a day. The timing to be strictly adhered to fall before sun rise, during midday, evening, after sunset and at night. The Salaat is to be perfomed after doing ritual ablutions which symbolises purification of body and soul. It is certain that the life of a true Muslim who sincerely takes the vow of truth and offers prayer five times, meticulously standing with folded hands, bowing, prostrating and sitting, thus involving oneself in a conversation with the Creator, will be freed of all wrongs.

What is Zakaath (Charity)?

The literal meaning of Zakaath is 'to purity'. It is not just a form of charity or almsgiving. Muslims are liable to set apart a share of their own wealth for those who suffer poverty and want in the society. This compulsory charity is known as Zakaath. The Zakaath rate of per annum is fixed at the rate of 2.5% for goods to be trade and 10% for agriculture produce, (5% if the produce is the result of irrigation). Certain minimum limits have been prescribed for each item, above which 'Zakaath' is due. The Zakaath is to be collected from those liable, by the government or by an institution entrusted by the community, in order to distribute to the deserving.

What is Fasting (Saum)?

It is the responsibility of a Muslim to abstain from taking food and drink and also to abstain from sexual intercourse during day time for a period of one month. Ramadaan, the month in which the Qur'an was first revealed, is the stipulated month for fasting. The believer who observes fasting for a month is able to elevate his self above all temptations of a physical nature.

What is Hajj (Pilgrimage)?

Every healthy and affluent Muslim should undertake a pilgrimage to Makkah, once in his life time. This pilgrimage is known as Hajj. People of different nationalities, languages and colours, gather in millions at Makkah during the month of Hajj. The concept of one humanity upheld by Islam is explicit during Hajj pilgrimage when the pilgrims have the same thought, carry the same prayer on their lips, and are uniformly dressed (the man using just 2 pieces of cloth-one to wear and the other to cover and the women covering all the parts of their bodies except their face and hands). A single humanity, where there is no discrimination between master or labourer, black or white, elite or lowly, native or foreigner, is symbolized by the multitude of humanity that assemble for this holy pilgrimage.

What is Ka'aba?

The Ka'aba is a place of worship situated in Makkah. It is the first shrine built to worship the Almighty. It was in the premises of the Ka'aba that Ibrahim (a), the prophet, abandoned his child and wife, obeying God's command. Ka'aba was rebuilt by Ibrahim and his son Ismayeel following God's command. Muslims around the world offer Salaat, facing Ka'aba. The Hajj rituals are performed in the premises of Ka'aba.

Do Muslims worship Ka'aba?

Muslims worship only the Omnipotent Creator of the universe. The Ka'aba is a creation, and being the first monument built for the worship of the One True God, Muslims revere it. The Hajj is performed around the Ka'aba, but it does not contrain any prayer to the Ka'aba. This applies also to the Salaat being performed facing the Ka'aba. He who worships the Ka'aba and offers prayers to it, does not belong to Islam.

What is the view of Islam with regard to Virtue and Vice?

Man is incapable of accurately distinguishing and understanding virtue and vice. Prophets were sent by the Almighty to enlighten man on the nature of virtue and vice. Prophet Muhammad (s) is the last prophet and therefore for any man after Muhammad (s), the yardstick to measure virtue and vice is simply the life of Muhammad (s) and the Qur'an, the sacred scripture presented through him. It is sufficient to look up the Qur'an and the ideal life of Muhammad (s) to comprehend the good and bad related to any subject.

What are the specialities of the charactor of a Muslim?

The Qur'an and the sayings of Muhammad (s) enjoins each Muslim to have the following characteristics in each of his actions. They are honesty, justice, honouring of contracts, patience, perseverance, tolerance, mercy, humanity, affection, decency, love, respect etc.

What are the characteristics that ought not to be in a Muslim?

The Qur'an and the sayings of Muhammad (s) make it clear that, Muslims ought not to harbour feelings of deceit, jealousy, greed, hatred, treachery, extravagance, miserliness, pride, hypocrisy, vainglory, mockery, falsehood, gossip, scandalmongering and short temper.

What is the Islamic stand with regard to food?

Islam does not accept the stand which recommends the absolute abstinence from food and drink, in order to attain salvation. While permitting the consumption of all good food and drink, Islam strongly and particularly disapproves excesses in this field. A true Muslim is one, who completely abstains from the forbidden food and drink such as carcass, pork, blood, alcohol and the meat that is slaughtered in the name of some one other than Allah.

What is the Islamic code of dress?

Garments are for beautifying and for covering one's body. The mode of dress should never display excess show and arrogance. Islam teaches a decent way of dressing to all women and men. The paramount purpose of clothing is to cover one's nakedness. No man or a woman should dress in a way which rouses sexual desire in a stranger. Women ought to fully cover all the parts of their bodies except the face and hands. The aim of prescribing such a dress code for woman is to protect her honour and to ensure her safety.

How do Muslims regard entertainments?

Islam, while allowing all entertainments that cheer one's mind and body, strictly states that they should not transgress the limits. Islam detests all those pleasures which keep man away from the consciousness of God and those that cause moral degeneration.

What is the Islamic view of marriage?

It is the stern command of Islam that the sexual instinct natural to man should attain consummation only through wedlock. Matrimony is a holy act. Celibacy has been strongly prohibited. Marriage is viewed by Islam as a sacred contract. The dos and dont's that the two mates ought to adopt in matrimonial life have been prescribed by Islam.

Obeying these stipulations, man and woman can ensure a successful and blissful married life and peaceful life after death.

What is Islamic wedding?

When the father or guardian of the bride offers to give her in marriage to the bridegroom and when the accepts the offer in the presence of witnesses, the marriage is solemnised.The prescription of Islam is that the bridegroom ought to give the bride 'mahar' (dower) on the occation of the wedding and that the consent of the bride should be sought beforehand.

What are the responsibilities of man and woman in a family?

Going by the teachings of Islam, though the responsibilities and rights of man and woman are different in matrimonial life, they are complementary. It is the responsibility of the woman to maintain the home and rear the children. The man's duty is to protect his home and earn decent livelihood. Islam, which revers the motherhood of women, reposes the full responsibility on man to look after her and the children.

What is the Islamic view on polygamy?

Islam permits polygamy on condition that the husband treats the wives in a just manner. However the number of wives should not exceed four. It is sinful and mean to have extramarital relations. As per the strict code of Islam, on no account should a man stray towards another woman. A man who cannot satisfy his thirst for sex with one wife is allowed to resort to polygamy. Islam completely bans the heinous practice of disowning responsibility after having sexual relation with a woman. Instead, Islam permits, in unavoidable circumstances, a sacred arrangement for keeping wives legitimately, where they are protected and allowed their rights without any partiality.

There are contexts where the practice of polygamy becomes more of social necessity than a personal need. Especially when the number of women in a society exceeds that of men. Generally women out number men. During war times the proportion varies further, as men are more likely to die in action. Islam takes into account situations like this, when polygamy becomes socially indispensable, and permits it conditionally.

What does Islam say about divorce?

Islam gives necessary instructions for the preservation of family relashionship. Conformation to these instructions paves the way for a strong family bond and trouble free matrimonial life.However, Islam is not blind to the discords that may occur in family life. Islam recommends three practical and scientific methods to prevent the serving of family relashions due to discord caused by lack of discipline.

The first procedure recommends good advice, failing which one boycotts the bed. If this also fails, mild physical punishment can be given, without bruising her body or mind. When all the three methods fail, the relatives of the couple can arbitrate and try for a compromise.If this attempt also fails to reunite the couple, Islam permits a divorce in a decent manner. Islam is very stern on the issue of divorce and it is allowed only in absolutely unavoidable situation.

Who has the right for a divorse?

A divorse is possible for both man and woman who are certain that they cannot get along in any way with the partner. Only the manner of divorse varies a little between the man and the woman.

What does Islam say about bringing up children?

It is the duety of the parents to bring up children who are the blessing of family life, in a manner beneficial to their life on earth and life after death. Parents should take care of the material and spititual needs of the children. They should be loved and respected. Besides, they should be encouraged to do good and prevented from indulging in evil deeds. Islam permits minor punishments to correct wrong deeds without causing injury to their pride. Childre should be treated equally. Islam strongly desires that both boys and girls should be brought up with equal regard, without any discrimination.

How should one behave to one's parents?

Islam teaches that after the obligation to the Creator, one's great obligation is to one's own parents. It is a great sin to be impertinent, negligent and disobedient to them. Only if parents ask the children to act against God, they shall disobey. Even if the parents remain non Muslims, it is the responsibility of the Muslim children to look after them. It is the unavoidable responsibility of the children to protect their parents who have attained old age. Islam also teached that it is sinful to rebuke and abuse one's aged parents.

How are the societies that have been conceived by Islam?

Islam teaches that all men are the creations of the One and Only God and that they exist under His protection. It is from a single matter, the essence of clay, that everyone has been created. The origin of all humanity is from the first parent Adam and Eve. The distinctions that men have created have absolutely no place before the Almighty who created them. The worship offered only to One True God is the source of strength that can unite mankind. Narrowmin dednes and shrivelled outlook disappear when one prostrates before the Almighty.

When one realises that faith and good deeds alone are what makes a man noble in the presence of God, all haughtiness and arrogance fostered by pride and vanity evaporates from his mind and he becomes humble and pious. With the realisation that there is only one God, and that all men are His servants, with no distinction between the rich and the poor, the native and the foreigner, the fair and the dark, the elite and the lowly, the master and the slave,they prostrate only before him, the Almighty, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

This is the picture of the society that has been conceived by Islam, a society without narrow boundaries.

What does Islam say about the neighbourhood?

Just as relationship in a family, Islam views that the relationship between neighbours ought to be warm and cordial. The Prophet (s) advised decent behaviour to the neighbours without causing any kind of disturbance to them. He taught us to take into account the opinion of the neighbour with regard to one's character and personality. It is clear that the mutual responsibility amongst neighbours is indeed significant, as exemplified by the advice of the Prophet when he said that no true Muslim fills his belly when his neighbour is starving and that should be considered even if one has to dilute the broth by adding a little water.

Can a Muslim be communal?

Islam teaches that it is not one's birth, but good deeds and faith that determine one's nobility. The Islamic slogan 'One God for one mankind' aims at eliminating all the narrow views, like communalism, casteism, racism, etc...

Prophet Muhammad (s) declared in plain words that,

"He who invites to communalism, fights and dies for communalism, does not belong to us"

The followers of Muhammad (s) therefore can never be communal.

What are the Islamic directions in the financial front?

According to Islam all the resources on earth have been created for mankind. It is the right of every human being to make use of the natural resources. Everyone has the right to work hard and earn wealth. However, the earnings should not be the result of the explotation of others. Income can be earned through business, cultivation, hardwork, trade and the like. But in every transaction, clear moral instructions have to be observed. What one earns, while observing these moral laws, is his own and not of the society or of the nation. But it is the responsibility of the individuals to spend from their income, to meet the needs of the society and the nation.

While Islam sanctions business transactions and approves of fair profit, it prohibits profiteering and hoarding. It bans taking or giving interest and usury. In business, there ought not to be deceit, treachery or fraudulence. The field of production should be free from exploitation. No product should be marketed supressing its drawbacks. Miserliness and extravagance should be shunned. Aid should be provided to those who suffer from poverty. Zakath has been instituted for this.

What does Islam say about master-labourer relationship?

It is only natural that the master and labourer come to picture when production, trade and cultivation sets in. The relationship between the master and labourer does not warrant any conformation. On the other hand , it ought, to be of co-operation, as per the teachings of Islam.

The Prophet (s) has said that the income earned through one’s own labour is the best income

The labourer should be given the wages that they deserve. There should be a proper agreement with regard to the wages, between the employer and the labourer, before the work starts. The amount thus arrived at should be disbursed without making any deduction whatsoever and it should be paid even before the sweat of the labourer dries up. The employee should not be exploited and he should have complete security while doing the work assigned to him. It is the responsibility of the employee to endeavour sincerely for a satisfactory completion of the work assigned to him.

What should be the approach of Muslims towards non-Muslims?

The teachings of Islam state that the Muslim community should coexist in complete harmony and tolerance with people of other communities. The Qur’an prescribes that as long as the other communities do not oppress the members of the Muslim community, they ought to coexist in love and tolerance. This has been demonstrated by Muhammad (s) through his life. Even the subjects of a Caliphate have no right to hamper the freedom of faith nor the freedom of worship of the non-Muslim citizens. The ruler is liable for the complete protection of their lives and property. The Prophet (s) has taught that it is an unpardonable sin to be unjust to non-Muslim citizens.

What is ‘Jihad’?

Jihad means “effort”, “strive” or “struggle”. All efforts to sacrifice, adopting the divine path and in the pursuit of truth are Jihad. The control over self and the surrender to the will of God, in the first phase of Jihad. Jihad is the conquest of one’s self in order to ward off all kinds of temptations which might ultimately lead to evil.

Jihad is also the worthy utilization of one’s wealth, energy and time for the divine cause. Justn as it is imperative for a person to worship the One True God for becoming a member of the Islamic community, after pledging the vow of truth, it is also his responsibility to propagate the message of the true religion amongst his fellowmen. The efforts of sacrifice which from the path of fulfilling the aforementioned responsibility, is indeed Jihad.

The message of the true religion should be conveyed to others by making one’s own life the example of the teachings of the religion and also by resorting to the use of logic and good advice. Islam is averse to the idea of forced conversion. The Qur’an makes it very clear that in matters related to religion there ought to be no coercion, and the duty of the followers of the faith is just to enlighten the people and that if any person accepts the faith should be done it on his own accord.

Islam does not permit attack on innocent people in the name of religion. Islam permits the use of force if it is indispensable, to ensure freedom of religion in the event of a situation where the right to live according to the tenets of Islam is denied and the freedom to propagate religion is hampered. Islam has sanctioned war only to ensure the end of violence and restoration of peace. It is the stricture of the Qur’an that even in war one should not shed one’s dignity nor should one transgress the limits

In the event of a Muslim society being forced into war, all those who are able and healthy should volunteer. All these efforts of sacrifice to protect the true religion constitute Jihad. The armed war is but the last of them, which would be resorted to, when every other choice fails.

How did Islam Spread in the world?

The reason for the rapid spread of Islam was the attraction that the thinking people developed towards and ideal free from superstion upholding the worship of the ‘One and Only God’, the Creator and the pursuit of His messengers. It was only natural for those thinking people to be drawn to the practice of a faith that sought the path of ‘surrender to God’, at a time when their perceptions were fogged by false dieties, and their agents who posed as priests.

The ideal of ‘One God’, one humanity, simultaneously put forth by Islam, uproots the parochial beliefs put up in the name of ones birth. The access to the message of ‘one humanity’ experienced by those who were being oppressed in the name of religion and caste, further led to the propagation of Islam. The selfless and sincere lives led by Muslims who migrated different parts of the world for business purposes and the like, also drew the people of those countries to Islam.

To this day, Islam, which occupies the mind of man though manifold noble ways, continues to influence the thoughts and deeds of millions of peoples in all continents around the world, with its sterling ideals.

The evils of innovation [Bid'ath] in the religion

Allah says: “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:4)

This verse embodies a clear statement that the religion has been completed and so has no need of addition and deletion, and Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “There is nothing that Allah ordered you with except that I have ordered you with it, and there is nothing that Allah forbade you from except that I have forbidden you from it” (Al-Bayhaqee and others)

And he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “There is nothing that will take you closer to paradise but that I have enjoined it upon you, and there is nothing that will take you closer to hell but that I have warned you from it” (Musnad ash-Shaafi’ee and others).

So the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) fulfilled the trust placed upon him by Allah completely, explaining the religion to the people in its inward and outward form, making clear the lawful from the prohibited, the encouraged from the discouraged, even to the extent that he taught us the manners of going to the toilet.

Allah says in His Book,“And We have revealed to you a Book explaining everything” (Surah An-Nahl 16:89), and He says, “We have neglected nothing in the Book” (Surah Al-An’am 6:37).

So in the Qur’an are explained the principles of the religion, tawheed in all its various categories, even to the extent that it teaches us the manners of sitting in circles, visiting other peoples houses, the correct clothing etc.

The Importance of Sticking to the Sunnah

Allah says: “Indeed you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example for the one who hopes in Allah and looks to the Last Day.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:21)

He also says: “So if you obey him (i.e. Muhammad), then you will be guided” (Surah Al-Furqan 25:54)

The Messenger of Allah said: “I have left behind me two things, if you cling to them you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah” (al-Haakim)

And he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) also said: “And you will live to see great difference, so cling to my Sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs after me, even if it be with your teeth” (Bukhari)

The Taabi’ee, the Imaam, az-Zuhree commented, “clinging to the sunnah is to be saved, as Imaam Maalik said, ‘like the Ark of Noah’, he who embarked upon it was saved, and he who did not was destroyed.” (ad-Daarimee)

In these narrations is clear evidence that the way of salvation and safety is to closely follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and not to deviate from his path, not accepting the guidance of another individual, nor accepting a corrupted form of the Sunnah.

Allah says: “And whosoever contends with the Messenger after guidance has been made clear to him, and follows a way other than the way of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell, what an evil destination!”

The people will attempt to corrupt the Sunnah

We are taught in the revelation that the Sunnah shall become corrupted and this corruption would become the norm, so much so that the people who follow the Sunnah would become as strangers, and those that call to purifying the Sunnah would be slandered and reviled.

The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “Islam began as something strange, and it shall return as something strange as it began. So Tooba (a tree in paradise) to the strangers.” It was asked, “who are the strangers?” He replied, “those that purify and correct what the people have corrupted of my Sunnah” (Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer [6/202])

And what is this corruption? It is none other than innovation, introducing into the pure religion of Allah new ways of worshipping Him that He has not taught, blemishing His religion with our whims and desires, something that Allah Himself condemns, “or do they have partners that legislate some religion which Allah has not given permission for?” (Surah Ash-Shura 42:21)

The Companion, Abdullaah ibn Mas’ud laments, “how will it be when the trials overcome you, in which the young grow old and the old grow senile. And the people take the bid’ah as the Sunnah, and when it changes they say: the Sunnah has changed. It was said: when will this be O Abu Abdurrahmaan? He replied: when your speakers are many and your scholars are few, and the wealthy ones are plenty and the trustworthy ones are few.” (ad-Daarimee)

How true this statement is today, that the innovations have become so widespread in the religion that the people have taken them to be the Sunnah. And when the true scholar speaks out against these innovations he is labelled as a ‘wahhabi’ by the people because to them it seems that he is changing the Sunnah. To Allah we complain of the ignorance of our times!

Only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has the right to tell us how to worship Him

Follow that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and do not follow as Friends and Protectors other than Him” (Surah Al-A’raaf 7:3)

From the tafseer of this verse we learn that this verse embodies a categorical statement that the privilege to tell people how to worship Allah belongs to Allah Alone. And how could it be otherwise when the true meaning of ibaadah is to worship Allah in a way which He is Pleased with and not according to our desires, “And who is more astray than the one who follows his own whims and desires devoid of revelation” (Surah Al-Qasas 28:50)

In this regard the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “I warn you of the newly invented matters (in the religion),and every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire” (an-Nasaa’ee)

And he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to say at the beginning of his lectures, “and the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters (in the religion) ” (Muslim)

And he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) commanded us, “whosoever does an action which we have not commanded then it must be rejected.” (Muslim)And again, “whosoever introduces into this religion of ours that which is not part of it then it must be rejected” (Ahmad)

And in this hadith is a clear evidence that every action which is not legislated in the Shari’ah must be rejected’ [Jaami al-Ulum of ibn Rajab 1/120]

So every bid’ah that is introduced in the religion has to be rejected because only Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) have the right to legislate in the Shari’ah of Islam.

Shari’ah definition of bid’ah

Hence in the light of what has preceded we can now give the formal Shari’ah definition of bid’ah: “A newly invented way (in beliefs and actions) in the religion, in imitation of the Shari’ah, by which nearness to Allah is sought, not being supported by any authentic proof, neither in its foundations nor in the manner in which it is performed.” [al-I’tisaam 1/231 of ash-Shaatibee]

And in what has preceded is ample evidence for any fair-minded Muslim that all bid’ah is blameworthy, and in fact a major sin. But unfortunately the Muslims are in such a state today that the words of Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) are no longer enough to convince them. And certain groups of people have come up with a new belief to assist them with the destruction of Islam. The belief of ‘bid’ah hasanah’, i.e. a good bid’ah, meaning that a scholar can introduce a new action of worship in Islam which can be considered to be good as long it does not contradict any of the principles of Islam. A belief that has absolutely no foundation in Islam at all. So we resort to the sayings of the Companions and the Imaams to illuminate the road ahead of these people.

The sayings of the Companions

Abdullaah ibn Umar (RA) states, “every innovation is misguidance, even if the people regard it as good.” (ad-Daarimee)

This narration is enough to demolish the concept of ‘a good bid’ah’, for you have amongst the most knowledgeable companions of Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) saying the exact opposite. So who do you choose to follow, ibn Umar or these modern day Shaykhs and Mullahs who are Imaams of their own whims and desires.Abdullaah ibn Abbaas (RA) said, “do not sit with the people of innovation, for verily their sittings are a sickness for the hearts” [ash-shari’ah pg 65 of al-Aajurree (d.360)]

Mu’aadh bin Jabal (RA) used to say, whenever he sat in a circle of knowledge, “and I warn you of what is innovated, for all that is innovated is misguidance” [ash-shari’ah pg.55, also Abu Dawood with similar wording]

Abdullaah ibn Mas’ud (RA) said, “follow the Sunnah of Muhammad and do not innovate, for what you have been commanded is enough for you.” [ad-Daarimee]

Hudhayfah bin al-Yaman said, “every act of worship that the Companions did not do, do not do it” [Abu Dawood]

Is this not enough? That the Companions tell us to follow the way of Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and not to make up new ways of worship? “whomsoever Allah guides to the truth, none can misguide him, and whomsoever Allah misguides, none can guide”! [Muslim]

The sayings of the 2nd & 3rd generation scholars

Hasan al-Basree said, “do not sit with the people of innovation, do not debate with them or listen to them” [ad-Daarimee 1/121]

Abu Aaliyah said, “learn Islam. Then when you have learned Islam, do not turn away from it to the right or to the left. But be upon the Straight Path and be upon the Sunnah of your Prophet and that which his companions were upon And beware of these innovations because they cause enmity and hatred amongst you, but stick to the original state of affairs that was there before they divided.” [al-Hilya of Abu Nu’aym 2/218]

Sufyaan ath-Thawree, “innovations are more beloved to Satan than sin. Since a sin may be repented from but an innovation is not repented from” [Sharh Usul I’tiqaad of al-Laalikaa’ee (d.414) no.238]

This is because the innovator believes that he is doing something good and therefore sees no need to repent. He also said, “so cling to the original state of affairs” [al-Hilya 6/376] meaning stick to the Way of Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions.

Imaam al-Awzaa’ee said, “patiently restrict yourselves to the Sunnah, stop where the people stopped, say what they said, avoid what they avoided. Take to the path of the salaf, for indeed what was sufficient for them was sufficient for you.” [ash-shari’ah pg. 58]

Ibraaheem al-Masayrah said, “he who honours an innovator has assisted in the demolition of Islam” [Sharh Usul I’tiqaad 1/139]

The sayings of the Later Imaams

Imaam Abu Haneefah said, “stick to the narrations and the way of the salaf, and beware of the newly invented matters for all of it is innovation” [Sawnul Muntaq of as-Suyutee pg.32]

Imaam Maalik said, “he who innovates an innovation in Islam regarding it as something good, has claimed that Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has betrayed his trust to deliver the message as Allah says, ‘this day have I perfected for you your religion’. And whatsoever was not part of the religion then, is not part of the religion today.” [al-I’tisaam]

He also said, “how evil are the People of Innovation, we do not give them salaam” [al-Ibaanah of ibn Battah (d.387) no.441]

Imaam Ahmad said, “the fundamental principles of the Sunnah with us are: avoiding innovations and every innovation is misguidance” [Usul as-Sunnah of Imaam Ahmad pg.1]

As for the narrations from Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee in which he categorises bid’ah into two, then it is weak as all of its chains of narrations depend upon unknown narrators. [al-Bid’ah of Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee, al-Masaabeeh fee Salaatit Taraaweeh of as-Suyutee with Alee Hasans footnotes].

Not only this but in his risalah he rejects the concept of istihsaan because ‘the person doing so has legislated in the Shari’ah’ i.e. without permission from Allah.

Imaam Bukhari said, “I have met more than a thousand scholars (then he mentioned the names of the more prominent in each of the lands that he travelled to) and I found that they all agreed on the following points: they all used to prohibit bid’ah – that which the Prophet and his Companions were not upon, because of the saying of Allah, ‘and hold fast to the rope of Allah and do not separate’” [Imaam Bukhari’s article on belief as quoted in Sharh Usul I’tiqaad 1/170. From amongst the scholars he met were: Ahmad bin Hanbal, Abu Ubaid al-Qaasim, ibn Ma’een, ibn Aasim, ibn Abee Shaybah.]

What’s narrated here is just a small number of the many authentic narrations that are found in various books, and Allah knows best. It is good to know that the early Imaams were prolific in writing and warning against bid’ah, and even today we have a number of books from them dealing just with this topic. Amongst them: Al-Bid’ah of al-Qarnushi, Al-Bid’ah of ibn Waddah, Al-I’tisaam of ash-Shaatibee and many more.

So once this topic becomes clear, a truth that none can deny, then know that all these innovations in the religions are a clear denial of the abovementioned verses and ahadith, for none were done by the Companions.

So reflect on following the hadith of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam): “So he who follows my Sunnah has been guided, and he who follows the innovations has been destroyed.” (Ahmad)And our Lord the Most High is the One that guides to attaining the truth.

QUR'AN, The Last Scripture

The Qur'an is the final sacred scripture presented through the Last Prophet of Islam. It contains nothing but the words of God. It is the scripture that can guide all mankind to the last day. For the same reason, the very God who presented it, promised mankind that the Qur'an will be protected and preserved to the last without any alternation or interpolation.

The Qur'an is the only religious text that is free from any human tampering. It is at the same time a text that can guide men of all times through the right path and is also an irrefutable evidence for the prophethood of Muhammad (s).

What is the Qur’ân?

The Qur’ân is the name given to Allah’s speech that He revealed to His Servant and Messenger Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); speech that is recited as an act of worship, is miraculous, and cannot be imitated by man. It is the name of Allah’s Book, and no other book is called by this name. The most common names for Allah’s Book are al-Qur’ân (the Recital) and al-Kitâb (the Book). This is an indication of how much care has been taken in its preservation, both in the memories of people as well as in written form, each way of preserving it reinforcing the other.

The Quran, the last revealed word of God, is the primary source of every Muslim’s faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects which concern human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, transactions, law, etc., but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures. At the same time, it provides guidelines and detailed teachings for a just society, proper human conduct, and an equitable economic system.Note that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad in Arabic only. So, any Quranic translation, either in English or any other language, is neither a Quran, nor a version of the Quran, but rather it is only a translation of the meaning of the Quran. The Quran exists only in the Arabic in which it was revealed.

The meaning of revelation

Revelation is where Allah gives whatever knowledge He wills to those whom He chooses to receive it. Allah gives this knowledge to them in order for them to convey it to whomever else He wishes. All the Messengers of Allah experienced revelation.

Allah says: “Verily, We have sent Revelation to you (O Muhammad) as We have sent Revelation to Nûh (Noah) and the prophets who came after him. We had sent revelation to Ibrâhîm (Abraham), Ismâ`îl (Ishmael), Ishâq (Isaac), Ya`qûb (Jacob), the Tribes, `Isâ (Jesus), Ayyûb (Job), Yûnus (Jonah), Hârûn (Aaron), and Sulaymân (Solomon). And to Dâwûd (David) We gave the Psalms. And Messengers We have told you about before, and Messengers We have not told you about – and to Mûsâ (Moses) We spoke directly.”

The Occurrence of Revelation

Revelation is a fact that cannot be denied by anyone who believes in the existence of Allah and His absolute Power. The Creator and Sustainer maintains His creation in any manner that pleases Him. The connection between the Creator and his Creation is by way of His Messengers, and these Messengers only know what Allah wants from them by way of revelation, either directly or indirectly. The rational mind cannot dismiss the possibility of revelation, since nothing is difficult for the All-Powerful Creator.

Why is the Qur'an a miracle ?

1- The Qu'ran is an untouchable book : After 1400 years, from the begining of Prophet Muhammad's, peace be upon him, message, the Qu'ran has not changed in any way, even as a matter of one charachter. Prooving this is very easy, since you can compare all the versions of the Qu'ran everywhere in the world and you will find them all the same. God ensured that this book would be saved from any changes attempted by human beings. God said in the Qur'an : " We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)"

2- The Qu'ran contains many scientific facts that have been discovered recently using computer systems and microscopes. Many scientists have attended conferences dealing with this subject and have themselves accepted Islam. These same scientists have said that it is not possible that Muhammad, peace be upon him, an illiterate man, who lived 1400 years ago, could have discovered such things on his own. God said in the Qur'an : "Soon will We show them Our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things" ( Quran 41:53 ).

3- The Qu'ran, which is in Arabic, was revealed to the people of the Arabian Gulf who invented the Arabic language. Through Muhammad, peace be upon him, Allah challenged the people who claimed that a human wrote it to emulate such a book. No one from the time of the Prophet till now could write a book that contained the many scientific facts, miracles and similar effects on people that the Qu'ran did and still does today.

4- The Qu'ran had not one Arabic grammar mistake, which was recognized by the disbelievers at the time of the Prophet, who were the founders of the Arabic language.

These are a few examples of why Muslims believe in the Qur'an.

Here are some verses from God to Muslims encouraging them to invite the People of the Book ( Jews and Christians to Islam ): God said : Say: "O People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah, when Allah is Himself witness to all ye do? (Quran 3:98) God tell Muslims to say : ..'We believe in that which had been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender". (Quran 29:46).

7 Reasons to Read the Glorious Quran

(1) Intimate:

It dares you to disprove it. How? It says that humans can not write a book like this even if they pooled all their resources together and got help also from the spirits. The Quran said this fourteen hundreds years ago and yet no one has been able to disprove it. Billions of books have been written - but not another one like the Quran.

(2) Incorruptible:

It is the only religious sacred writing which has been in circulation for such a long time and yet remains as pure as it was in the beginning. The Quran was kept intact. Nothing was added to it; nothing was changed in it; and nothing was taken away from it ever since it was completely revealed 1400 years ago.

(3) Unsurpassable:

The Quran is God's final revelation to humankind. God revealed the Torah to Moses, the Psalms to David, the Gospel to Jesus, and finally the Quran to Muhammad. Peace be upon all of them. No other book will come from God to surpass his final revelation.

(4) Indisputable:

The Quran withstands the test of time and scrutiny. No one can dispute the truth of this book. It speaks about past history and turns out right. It speaks about the future in prophecies and it turns out right. It mentions details of physical phenomena which were not known to people at the time; yet later scientific discoveries confirm that the Quran was right all along. Every other book needs to be revised to accord with modern knowledge. The Quran alone is never contradicted by a modern discovery.

(5) Your Roadmap for Life and Afterlife:

The Quran is the best guidebook on how to structure your life. No other book presents such a comprehensive system involving all aspects of human life and endeavor. The Quran also points out the way to secure everlasting happiness in the afterlife. It is your roadmap showing how to get to paradise.

(6) God's Gift of Guidance:

God has not left you alone. You were made for a reason. God tells you why he made you, what he demands from you, and what he has in store for you. If you operate a machine contrary to it's manufacture specification you will ruin that machine. What about you? Do you have an owner's manual for you? The Quran is from your function for success lest you fail to function. It is a healing mercy from God. It satisfies the soul, and cleans the heart. It removes doubts and brings peace.

(7) Your Calling Card to Communicate with God:

Humans are social creatures. We love to communicate with other intelligent life. The Quran tells us how to communicate with the source of all intelligence and the source of all life- the One God. The Quran tells us who God is, by what name we should address God, and the way in which to communicate with God. Are these not seven sufficient reasons for reading the Quran?

The Final Revelation

The Qur'an is the last scripture that has been revealed to mankind by the Lord Creator and Protector. It was through the last messenger, Muhammad (pbuh), that the world first heard of it. It certainly the Divine scripture that is to be accepted by all, up to the very last man. The term 'Qur'an' has the meanings of 'the recitation', or 'that which is to be recited' and of 'that which is recited.'

Indeed, the Qur'an itself has employed the connotation 'the scripture that is recited' in connection with this term (13:31). Unlike the earlier scriptures, the Qur'an is never a compilation of legal pronouncements or code of laws (Taurat), or hymns (Zaboor) or a collection of Gospel of good news (Injeel). It is highly probable that the Qur'an has been named as the last scripture because each one of its words is to be repeatedly read by thousands upon thousands of its believers and is to be so etched into their hearts as to mould their very lives according to its guidelines. As for the actual reason, it is the Lord Who sent it Who knows the answer thereof.

As far as its believers are concerned, the Qur'an is but the criterion to distinguish truth from falsehood. They understand that all that has been commanded therein constitute the good and all that has been prohibited therein constitute evil. In fact, the Qur'an introduces itself as Furqaan (2:53, 2:185, 3:4, 25:1) which means 'the criterion to distinguish between truth and falsehood.' The Qur'an also describes itself as Kitab (book), Dhikr (guidance), Burhaan (evidence), Shifa (cure), Kayyim (that which is pure), Muhaymin (that which preserves the previous scriptures) and the like. Through these attributes the reader of the Qur'an is exposed to the clear picture of the morality enshrined within.