'Islam' is an Arabic word meaning 'submission', and more
specifically 'submission to the Will of Allah (Arabic for God)'. 'Muslim', a
word derived from the same root, means 'one who submits to the Will of Allah'.
Some Western writers have mistakenly used the words 'Mohammedanism' and
'Mohammedan' for 'Islam' and 'Muslim'. This labeling is incorrect as it suggests
that Muslims worship Muhammad
- a concept opposed to the very foundation of
Islam. 'Mohammedanism' also implies that Muhammad
was the author or founder of
Islam - a belief also opposed to it roots.
Islam is composed of two basic components: the ' Quran' and
the 'Sunnah'. The ' Quran' is the Book containing the exact Words of Allah as
revealed to the Prophet Muhammad . The 'Sunnah' is the body of sayings, actions,
approvals or disapprovals of the Prophet Muhammad . From these two main sources
are derived the laws, beliefs and rituals of Islam.
Islam is not a new religion, but the same basic truth with
which Allah sent all Prophets and Messengers. The first pillar of Islam is the
testimony: "There is nothing worthy of worship besides Allah, and Muhammad
is the Messenger of Allah." Indeed, all the Prophets, including Moses and
Jesus, called their followers to a similar testimony - as exemplified in the
first of the Ten Commandments.
Over one billion people, one-fifth of the world's population,
from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures are united by a common
Dispelling the myth that Islam is a religion for the Arabs is
that Arabs comprise only about 18% of the world's Muslims. The world's largest
Muslim community is in Indonesia, and substantial parts of Asia and most of
Africa's population is Muslim. Additionally, significant Muslim populations are
to be found in the Soviet Union, China, North and South America, and Europe.
Muslims believe that there is none but One God (Allah), Supreme and
Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, who created everything
and provides all with sustenance.
Muslims believe in the Messengers of Allah. Allah raised a
Messenger among every nation which called to his people saying: "Worship
Allah, you have no other God besides Him." They were selected by Allah to
instruct mankind in conduct and to correct their beliefs. The Quran mentions
twenty-five messengers by name. It declares Prophet Muhammad
to be the final
messenger and the seal of prophet hood.
Muslims believe in all the scriptures and revelations of Allah. They were the
codified Guidance revealed to the Messengers - the Words of Allah. In the Quran,
special reference is made to the Books of Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus.
However, these Books were edited, mixed with falsehoods or
completely lost. The only authentic and complete book of Allah in existence
today is the Quran.
Muslims believe in Angels. They are real beings, created by
Allah from light. Muslims do not worship or deify them in any way. They are but
slaves of Allah who spend their days and nights continuously obeying His commands and
worshipping Him. Angels are mentioned repeatedly in both the Quran and in the
sayings of Prophet Muhammad .
Muslims believe in the Day of Judgment. Allah warns of this
day in the Quran. Before that Day, He will cause all beings to die. He will
grasp the skies and the earth within His Hand. Then, Allah will cause all beings
to be resurrected and gather them to be judged. Each will be recompensed,
forgiven or punished for their deeds in this world. Those whom He will forgive
will be allowed to enter Heaven. Others He will punish in Hell for a time and
then allow them to enter Heaven. Those who died rejecting faith or worshipping
others along with Allah will enter Hell and will never leave it.
Muslim believes in the timeless knowledge of Allah and in His
power to plan and execute His Will. Nothing is possible without His decree.
Every thing we do or happens in this life is decreed by Allah and written in His
Among His attributes are Ultimate Wisdom and Mercy, and whatever He does has a
meaningful purpose. If this is established in our minds and hearts, we should
accept with good Faith all that He does, although we may not fully understand
In Islam, faith without supporting action is at best
incomplete. Rather, when Allah refers to faith in the Quran he almost always
mentions it along with good actions.
Islam is built upon five pillars:
1. The Testimony: "That there is none worthy of worship
except Allah, and that Muhammad
is His Messenger". This statement denies
any and all object of worship besides the One True God and obligates the
testifier to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad
in matters of belief,
performance of religious rites, and daily behavior.
2. Prayer: Muslims are obliged to perform five ritual prayers
each day. These prayers serve to strengthen and invigorate the belief in Allah
and compel the human to higher morality.
3. Fasting the month of Ramadan: During the daylight hours of
the month of Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to abstain from all food, drink, and
spousal relations. Also during this time, Muslims are to exert themselves in
avoiding lying, backbiting and all other evil acts. Fasting teaches love,
sincerity and devotion, and develops a more sound social conscience, patience,
4. Zakah: Muslims, whose wealth qualifies, are obliged to pay
approximately two-and-one-half percent of their excess wealth to the poor.
5. Hajj: Once in a lifetime, given sufficient financial and
physical ability, Muslims are to undertake the journey to the House of Allah in
Mecca. click here to see some pictures from Hajj.
Muslims believe that people are born free of
sin. It is only after they reach the age of puberty, and commit sins that they
are to be charged for their mistakes. No one is responsible for the sins of others, as Allah said in the Quran:
64. Say: "Shall I seek a lord other than
Allah, while He is the Lord of all things? No person earns any (sin) except
against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of
another. Then unto your Lord is your return, and He will tell you that
wherein you have been differing.
Muslims believe that Adam and Eve has
committed a sin by eating from the tree which Allah has commanded them not to
come near, but we believe that Allah has forgiven both of them as the Quran
narrates the story:
117. Then We said: "O Adam!
Verily, this (Satan) is an enemy to you and your wife. So let him not get you
both out of Paradise, so that you be distressed in misery.
118. Verily, you have (a promise
from Us) that you will never be hungry therein or naked.
119. And you will not suffer from
thirst therein nor from the sun's heat.
120. Then Satan whispered to him,
saying: "O Adam! Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom
that will never waste away?"
121. Then they both ate of the
tree, and so their private parts appeared to them, and they began to stick on
themselves the leaves from Paradise for their covering. Thus did Adam disobey
his Lord, so he went astray.
122. Then his Lord chose him, and
turned to him with forgiveness, and gave him guidance.
Its worth noting that the blame
for committing the sin goes mainly to Adam, as the Quran mentions the story it refers to Adam not Eve all the
time, on the contrary of what is written in the current Bible, which was edited
by men who physically overpowered women and abused them for a sin they never
Islam places great emphasis on intention behind actions, as Prophet Muhammad
said: "Every action is with its
intention, and to everyone will be what they intended..." Therefore in
Islam, the condition of the heart is of great importance. To worship Allah is to
obey His Commands found in the Quran and to obey His Messenger with whom He sent
guidance to humanity. Worshipping Him consists of this obedience out of love for
Him and fear of His Punishment. The Quran explains this concept in the following
177. It is not the righteousness that you turn your faces to the East
or West, but righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the
Angels and the Book and the Prophets; and gives his wealth for love of Him to
kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and
sets slaves free; and observes proper worship and pays the Zakah. And those who
keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and
adversity and time of stress; such are those who are sincere. Such are the
A Muslim scholar (Ibn Taimiyah) said: "Worship is an all inclusive term
for all what Allah loves of external and internal sayings and actions of a
Islam looks at the individual as a whole. He is required to
submit himself completely to Allah, as the Quran instructed Prophet Muhammad
162. Say (O' Muhammad) my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my
death belong to Allah;
163. He has no partner and I am ordered to be among those who
Allah says in the Quran:
31. They (Jews and Christians) took their
rabbis and their monks to be their lords beside Allah, ....
Once, while Allah's Messenger
was reciting the above verse, Adi bin Hatim said: "O' Allah's Prophet!
They do not worship them", Allah's Messenger
said: "They certainly do. They made legal things illegal and illegal things
legal, and they followed them; and by doing so they really worshipped
(Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol. 10, Page No. 114).
Islam requires that the Muslim comply in each matter upon
which Allah or His Messenger have ruled. This covers rituals, mutual dealings,
behavior, beliefs, etc.
Islam is perhaps more than what we normally think of as
religion. It covers all aspects of individual and collective living, because of
this it does not allow for 'separation of church and state'. Rather, this way of
life is all-inclusive, and yet maintains sufficient internal flexibility to accommodate
In Islam, honest work is considered in a type of worship. The
Prophet said: "
"Whoever finds himself tired at nightfall because of his
work, Allah will forgive his sins."
Seeking knowledge is one of the highest types of worship. The
Prophet told his companions that "Seeking knowledge is a (religious)
obligation on every Muslim."
In another saying he said:
"Seeking knowledge for one hour is better that
worshipping for seventy years."
Social courtesy and cooperation are part of worship when done
to please Allah, as the Prophet told us:
"Receiving your brother with a smile is a type of
charity, helping a person to load his animal is a charity and putting some water
in your neighbor's bucket is a charity."
It is worth noting that even performing one's duties is
considered worship: The Prophet informed us that whatever a person spends to
care for his family is charity; and he will be rewarded for it if had acquired
it through legal means.
Kindness to the members of one's family is an act of worship
as when one puts a piece of food in his spouse's mouth as the Prophet informed
us. Not only this but even the acts that we enjoy doing are considered
acts of worship. The Prophet said :
"... And in man's sexual Intercourse (with his wife,)
there is a charity. The Companions said: Messenger of Allah, is there reward for
him who satisfies his passion among us? He said: Tell me, if he were to devote
it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he
were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward."
(Saheeh Muslim, Book 005,
Islam does not consider sex as a dirty thing that one should
avoid. It is a dirty and a sinful act only when it is made outside marital bounds.
It is well known that in the United States,
Islam is the fastest-growing religion. The following are some observations on
| "Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America,
a guide and pillar of stability for many of our people..." (Hillary Rodham
Clinton, Los Angeles Times).|
"Moslems are the world’s fastest-growing group..."
(The Population Reference Bureau, USA Today).
"....Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the
country." (Geraldine Baum; Newsday
Religion Writer, Newsday).
"Islam, the fastest-growing religion in the United
States..." (Ari L. Goldman, New York Times).|
indicates that Islam is truly a religion from Allah. It is unreasonable to think
that so many Americans converted to Islam without careful consideration and deep
contemplation before concluding that Islam is true. These Americans come from
different classes, races, and walks of life. They include scientists,
professors, philosophers, and journalists.
It was a miracle that Prophet Muhammad
could bring even his
toughest enemies into the fold of Islam without adequate material resources.
Worshippers of idols, blind followers of the ways of their forefathers,
promoters of tribal feuds, abusers of human dignity and blood, became the most
disciplined nation under the guidance of Islam and its Prophet.
Islam opened before them vistas of spiritual heights and
human dignity by declaring righteousness as the sole criterion of merit and
honor. Islam shaped their social, cultural, moral and commercial life with basic
laws and principles which are in conformity with human nature and hence
applicable in all times as human nature does not change.
Here we furnish some observations on Islam by great and
acknowledged non-Muslim scholars. Truth needs no advocate to plead on its
behalf, but the prolonged malicious propaganda against Islam has created great
confusion even in the minds of free and objective thinkers.
Paper read before the Church Congress at Wolver Hampton, Oct. 7, 1887,Quoted by Arnold in "The Preaching of
Islam", pp. 71-72:
"It (Islam) replaced monkish ness by manliness. It gives
hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind, and recognition of the fundamental
facts of human nature."
Sarojini Naidu: Lectures on "The Ideals of
Islam" see Speeches and Writings of Sarojini Naidu, Madras, 1918, p. 167:
"Sense of justice is one of the most wonderful ideals of
Islam, because as I read the Quran I find those dynamic principles of life, not
mystic but practical ethics for the daily conduct of life suited to the whole
H.A.R. Gibb, Whither Islam,
"But Islam has a still further service to render to the
cause of humanity. It stands after all nearer to the real East than Europe does,
and it possesses a magnificent tradition of inter-racial understanding and
cooperation. No other society has such a record of success in uniting in an
equality of status, of opportunity, and of endeavors so many and so various
races of mankind. Islam has still the power to reconcile apparently
irreconcilable elements of race and tradition. If ever the opposition of the
great societies of East and West is to be replaced by cooperation, the mediation
of Islam is an indispensable condition. In its hands lies very largely the
solution of the problem with which Europe is faced in its relation with the
East. If they unite, the hope of a peaceful issue is immeasurably enhanced. But
if Europe, by rejecting the cooperation of Islam, throws it into the arms of its
rivals, the issue can only be disastrous for both."
G.B. Shaw, The Genuine Islam,
Vol. 1, No. 81936:
"I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high
estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which
appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of
existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the
wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called
the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the
dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a
way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied
about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of
tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today."
W. Montgomery Watt, Islam And Christianity Today,
London, 1983, p. ix
"I am not a Muslim in the usual sense, though I hope I
am a "Muslim" as "one surrendered to God," but I believe
that embedded in the Quran and other expressions of the Islamic vision are vast
stores of divine truth from which I and other occidentals have still much to
learn, and 'Islam is certainly a strong contender for the supplying of the basic
framework of the one religion of the future.'"
James A. Michener, Islam the Misunderstood Religion,
Readers Digest (American Edition), May 1955:
"No other religion in history spread so rapidly as
Islam... The West has widely believed that this surge of religion was made
possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts that idea, and the Quran is explicit in support of the freedom of conscience."
Gandhi, Young India, 1924
"....I became more than ever convinced that
it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of
life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the prophet, the
scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and
followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in
his own mission. These, and not the sword carried everything before them and
surmounted every trouble."
Austrian statesman, journalist, former foreign correspondent for the Frankfurter
Zeitung; author of Islam at the Crossroads and Road the Mecca and translator of
the Quran. He embraced Islam in 1926:
"Islam appears to me like a perfect work of
architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support
each other. Nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking, with the result of an
absolute balance and solid composure."
Ahmed Holt: British Civil Contractor, traveler in search
of the Divine Truth, spent much of his time in research and comparative study of
Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He embraced Islam in 1975:
"The SWORD OF ISLAM is not the sword of steel. I know
this by experience, because the sword of Islam struck deep into my own heart. It
didn't bring death, but it brought a new life; it brought an awareness and it
brought an awakening as to who am I and what am I and for what am I here?"
Herbert Hobohm: German diplomat, missionary and social
worker. An intellectual who has been serving the German diplomatic missions in
various parts of the world. Presently working as Cultural Attache in German
Embassy in Riyadh. He embraced Islam in 1941:
"I have lived under different systems of life and have
had the opportunity of studying various ideologies, but have come to the
conclusion that none is as perfect as Islam. None of the systems has got a
complete code of a noble life. Only Islam has it; and that is why good men
embrace it. Islam is not theoretical; it is practical. It means complete
submission to the will of Allah."
Margaret Marcus: Formerly an American Jewess, essayist
and author of many books. She embraced Islam in 1962:
"The authority of Islamic morals and laws proceeds from
Almighty Allah. Pleasure and happiness in Islam are but the natural byproducts
of emotional satisfaction in one's duties conscientiously performed for the
pleasure of Allah to achieve salvation. In Islam duties are always stressed
above rights. Only in Islam was my quest for absolute values satisfied. Only in
Islam did I at last find all that was true, good, beautiful and which gives
meaning and direction to human life and death."
(now Muhammad Ali); American; three-time
World Heavyweight Champion, former Christian. He embraced Islam in 1965:
"I have had many nice moments in my life. But the
feelings I had while standing on Mount Arafat on the day of hajj (Muslims'
pilgrimage), was the most unique. I felt exalted by the indescribable spiritual
atmosphere there as over a million and a half pilgrims invoked Allah to forgive
them of their sins and bestow on them His choicest blessings. It was an
exhilarating experience to see to people belonging to different colors, races
and nationalities, kings, heads of states and ordinary men from very poor
countries all clad in two simple white sheets praying to Allah without any sense
of either pride or inferiority. It was a practical manifestation of the concept
of equality in Islam."
These were the impressions of a few persons who had
themselves been struck by the 'Sword of Islam', that is, the Message of Islam.
As you have read, Islam is a comprehensive religion, covering
the spiritual and practical realms. Through it Allah calls people to His
obedience and eventually to His Forgiveness and Paradise.
According to recent statistics, Islam is the fastest growing
religion in the United States of America. Also Europeans are entering Islam in
increasing numbers. Men and women of all walks of life, races and cultures are
accepting Islam at an amazing rate. Projections show that by the year 2000 Islam
became the second largest religion in the U.S.
Allah has made this religion open to all people, so we invite
you to come and learn more!
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