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 Seven Common Questions about Islam

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MessageSujet: Seven Common Questions about Islam   Mar 11 Aoû - 1:51

Seven Common Questions about Islam (part 1 of 2)



Description:
Some of the most common questions asked about Islam. Part 1: What is Islam? What are Muslims? Who is Allah? Who is Muhammad?
--------------------------------------------------------------

1. What is Islam?Islam
is the name of the religion, or more properly the
‘way of life’, which God (Allah) has revealed and which was practiced
by all of
the Prophets and Messengers of God that He sent to mankind. Even the
name
stands out unique among other religions in that it means a state of
being; it
does not refer to any particular person, such as Christianity, Buddhism
or
Zoroastrianism; a tribe like Judaism; or a nation like Hinduism. The
root
Arabic word from which Islam is derived implies peace, safety,
salutation,
protection, blamelessness, wholesomeness, submission, acceptance,
surrender,
and salvation. Islam specifically means being in the state of
submission to God,
worshipping Him 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. Hence, a Muslim or Muslimah is a person
(male or
female) in that state of submission. A person’s Islam weakens through
sins, ignorance, and wrong-doing, and becomes nullified in totality by
associating partners with God or
disbelieving in Him.




2. What are Muslims?




The Arabic word
“Muslim” literally means “someone who is
in a state of Islam (submission to the will and law of God)”. The
message of Islam
is meant for the entire world, and anyone who accepts this message
becomes a
Muslim. Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion
for
Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, over
80% of
the world's Muslims are not Arabs! Even though most Arabs are Muslims,
there
are Arabs who are Christians, Jews and atheists. If one just takes a
look at
the various peoples who live in the Muslim World - from Nigeria to
Bosnia and from Morocco to Indonesia - it is easy enough to see that
Muslims come from
all different races, ethnic groups, cultures and nationalities. Islam
has
always been a universal message for all people. This can be seen in
the fact
that some of the early companions of the Prophet Muhammad were not only
Arabs,
but also Persians, Africans and Byzantine Romans. Being a Muslim
entails
complete acceptance and active obedience to the revealed teachings and
laws of God
the Exalted. A Muslim is a person who freely accepts basing his
beliefs,
values and faith on the will of Almighty God. In the past, even though
you do
not see it as much today, the word “Mohammedans” was often used as a
label for
Muslims. This label is a misnomer, and is the result of either willful
distortion or sheer ignorance. One of the reasons for the
misconception is
that Europeans were taught for centuries that Muslims worshipped the
Prophet
Muhammad in the same way that Christians worship Jesus. This is
absolutely not
true, since one is not considered a Muslim if he worships anyone or
anything
besides God the Exalted.

3. Who is Allah?




Often one hears the Arabic word “Allah” being used in
discussions regarding Islam. The word “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for
Almighty God, and is the same word used by Arabic speaking Christians and Jews.
As a matter of fact, the word Allah was in use far before the word God ever
came into existence, since English is a relatively new language. If one were
to pick up an Arabic translation of the Bible, one would see the word “Allah”
being use where the word “God” is used in English. For instance, Arabic
speaking Christians say that Jesus is, according to their canon belief, the Son
of Allah. In addition, the Arabic word for Almighty God, “Allah”, is quite
similar to the word for God in other Semitic languages. For example, the
Hebrew word for God is “Elah”. For various reasons, some non-Muslims
mistakenly believe that Muslims worship a different God than the God of Moses
and Abraham and Jesus. This is certainly not the case, since the Pure Monotheism
of Islam calls all people to the worship of the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses,
Jesus and all the other prophets, peace be upon them.

4. Who is Muhammad?




The last and final prophet whom God sent to humanity was
the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. At the
age of forty, he received the revelation from God. He then spent the remaining
portion of his life explaining, and living the teachings of Islam, the religion
that God revealed to him. The Prophet Muhammad is the greatest of all prophets
for many reasons, but primarily because he was chosen by God to be the last
prophet - whose mission to guide humanity would continue until the Last Day -
and because he has been sent as a mercy to all of mankind. 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.


Even though other religious communities have claimed to
believe in One God, over time, some corrupted ideas entered into their beliefs
and practices leading them away from the pure sincere monotheism of the
prophets. Some took their prophets and saints as intercessors with Almighty
God. Some even believed that their prophets were the manifestations of God, or
“God Incarnate” or the “Son of God”. All of these misconceptions lead to the
worship of created beings instead of the Creator, and contributed to the
idolatrous practice of believing that Almighty God may be approached through
intermediaries. In order to guard against these falsehoods, the Prophet Muhammad
always emphasized that he was only a human-being with the mission of preaching
and obeying God's message. He taught Muslims to refer to him as “the Messenger
of God and His Slave”. Through his life and teachings, God made Muhammad the
perfect example for all people - he was the exemplary prophet, statesman,
military leader, ruler, teacher, neighbor, husband, father and friend. Unlike
other prophets and messengers, the Prophet Muhammad lived in the full light of
history, and all his sayings and acts were meticulously recorded and collected.
Muslims don't need to have mere ‘faith’ that he existed, or that his teachings
are preserved - they know it to be a fact. God took it upon Himself to protect
the message revealed to Muhammad from distortion or from being forgotten or
lost. This was necessary because God promised that Muhammad was to be the
final Messenger to mankind. 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.
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