What Is Islam?
Can we find an explanation for the great universe?
Is there any convincing interpretation of the secret of its existence? We realize that no family can function properly without a responsible head, that no city can prosperously exist without sound administration, and that no state can survive without a leader of some kind. We also realize that
nothing comes into being on its own.
Moreover, we observe that the
universe exists and functions in the most orderly manner, and that it has survived perhaps
billions of years. Can we, then, say that all this is accidental and haphazard? Can we attribute the
existence of man and the whole world to a mere chance? Man represents only a very small portion of the great
universe, and if he can make plans and appreciate the merits of planning, then his own existence and the survival of the universe must also be based on a planned policy.
This means that there is a designing will behind our material existence, and that there is an
extraordinary power to bring things into being and keep them moving in order. In the world there must be a
great force in action to keep everything in order. In the
beautiful nature there must be a Great Creator who makes these great pieces of art and produces everything for a special purpose in
The deeply enlightened people recognize this
Creator and call Him Allah. He is not a man because no man can create or make another man. He is not an animal, nor is He a plant. He is neither an idol nor is He a statue of any kind, because none of these things can make itself or create anything else.
He is different from all these things, because He is the
Maker and Keeper of them all. The maker of anything must be different and greater than the things that he makes.
There are various ways to know Allah and there are many things to tell about Him.
The great wonders and impressive marvels of the world are like open books in which we can read about Him. Besides, Allah comes to our aid through the many
Messengers and Revelations He has sent down to humanity. These
Messengers and Revelations tell us everything we need to know about our Creator.
The complete acceptance of the teachings and guidance of our Creator as revealed to all
His messengers (Ďalaihimus salaam) is the religion of Islam.
Islam enjoins faith in the oneness and sovereignty of Allah, which makes man aware of the meaningfulness of the universe and of his place in it. This belief frees the human being from
all fears and superstitions as it makes him conscious of the presence of Allah Almighty, and of his
obligation towards Him.
This faith must be expressed and tested in action, for faith alone is not enough.
Belief in one God requires that we look upon all humanity as one family under the universal omnipotence of the Creator, and Nourisher of all.
Islam rejects the idea of a chosen people while on the other hand, it approves that belief in the
Creator, and doing righteous deeds is the only way to Heaven. Thus, a direct relationship is established with Allah and without any intercessor at that.
Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all His
Prophets, like Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, David, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (Ďalaihimus salaam). But the message which was revealed to
(sallAllahu Ďalaihi wa sallam) is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form.
The Qur'aan is the revealed words of Allah and the basic source of
Islamic teachings and Laws. It deals with the basis of creeds, morality, history of humanity, worship, knowledge, wisdom, manís relationship with God, and human relationships in all aspects. It contains comprehensive teachings of which, can be built
sound systems and social justice, economics, politics, legislation, jurisprudence, law and international
relations, all of which are important contents of the Qur'aan.
hadeeth, which contains the teachings, sayings, approvals and actions of
(sallAllahu Ďalaihi wa sallam) meticulously reported and collected by his devoted companions, explains and elaborates on the
Arkaanul-Eeman: The Fundamental Articles Of Faith In Islam (The Beliefs).
The true faithful Muslim believes in the following principal articles of faith:
Belief in one God (Allah), Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Forgiving, the Creator and the Provider, He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none equal or comparable unto
Belief in all Messengers of Allah (Ar-Rusul) without any discrimination among them, as every known nation had a Warner or Messenger from Allah. They were chosen by Allah to teach humanity and deliver His Divine message. The
Qur'aan mentions the names of some of them, and Muhammad
(sallAllahu Ďalaihi wa sallam) stands as the Last Messenger and the crowning glory of the foundation of
Belief in all original scriptures and revelations of Allah (Al-Kutub), accepting them as the guiding light that the messengers received to show their respective people the right path to Him. In the
Qur'aan, special reference is made to the books of Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus (Ďalaihimus salaam), but long before the revelation of the Qur'aan to
(sallAllahu Ďalaihi wa sallam) some of these books and revelations had been lost or corrupted. The only authentic and complete book of Allah in existence today is the
Qur'aan, which has been preserved as it was revealed to
(sallAllahu Ďalaihi wa sallam) in its pristine, pure form.
Belief in the Angels
(malaa-ikah) of Allah, recognizing them as spiritually pure and splendid beings whose nature requires no food, drink or sleep. They are honored servants who are assigned certain functions, and spend their days and nights in the worship of Allah. They do not speak before Allah does, and they act only by His command.
Belief in the Last Day
(Yaum Al-Qiyaamah) and the Hereafter (Al-Aakhirah), acknowledging that this world will end someday, and that the dead will rise to stand for their final and fair trial. People with good records will be
generously rewarded and warmly welcomed to the Heaven of Allah, and those with bad records will be
punished and cast into Hell and none will be treated with injustice.
Belief in Fate (Qadr), whether good or bad, which Allah, measured and ordained for all creation according to His previous knowledge, and as deemed suitable by His wisdom. And in the timeless knowledge of Allah, and in His power to plan and execute His plans, nothing could happen in His Kingdom against His will.
His knowledge and power which are always in action command over His creation.
He is Wise and Merciful, and whatever he does must have 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 fail to understand it fully, or think it is bad.
Faith without action and practice is a dead end as far as
Islam is concerned, for faith by nature is very sensitive and can be most influential. When it is out of practice or out of use, it quickly loses its liveliness and
Arkaanul-Islam: The Five Pillars Of
Islam (The Actions)
Shahadatain (Testimony): To bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah (The Creator), and that
(sallAllahu Ďalaihi wa sallam) is His Messenger. Muslims are obliged to follow his exemplary life as a model.
Salaah: Daily prayers are offered five times a day as a duty towards Allah. They strengthen and enliven the belief in Allah and inspire man to a higher morality. They
purify the heart and prevent temptation towards wrong-doings and evil things. They are:
- Salaatul-Fajr (The Dawn Prayer)
- Salaatul-Dhuhr (The Noon Prayer)
- Salaatul-Asr (The Afternoon Prayer)
- Salaatul-Maghrib (The Sunset Prayer)
- Salaatul-Isha (The Evening Prayer)
Zakaah (Charity): The literal and simple meaning of Zakaah is
purity, while its technical meaning designates the annual amount in kind or cash that a
Muslim with means must distribute among the rightful beneficiaries from his yearly net savings. But the religious and spiritual significance of Zakaah is much deeper and more valuable than its
humanitarian, and socio-political value.
Sawm (Fasting): The Muslims during the month of Ramadhaan do not only
abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset but they are also required to refrain from evil intentions and desires throughout the whole months of the year in general, and during the month of
Ramadhaan in particular. It teaches love, sincerity and
devotion, and develops a sound social conscience, patience, selflessness and will power as well.
Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca): It is to be performed once in a
lifetime, so long as one can afford it financially and physically, and it is the largest annual convention of faith where Muslims meet to know one another, study their common affairs and promote their general welfare without prejudice or bias as to one's color, race, nationality as well as status in life. After all, everyone is equal in the sight of Allah, and so
Hajj therefore demonstrates in effect the universality of Islam and the brotherhood and equality of