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January 4, 2012

Introduction to Islam

The Core Beliefs of Islam

1. Belief in God – That Allah is one and that there is none like Him; He has no partner; He neither begets nor is He begotten; He is indivisible in person; He is eternal; He is infinite; He has neither beginning nor end; He is All-Mighty, the All-Knowing; the All-Just, the Cherisher of all worlds, the Patron, the Guide, the Helper, the Merciful, the Compassionate, etc.

2. Belief in Angels – That Angels are spiritual creatures of Allah, ever obedient to Allah to His Will and Commands. They are neither males nor females; they have neither parents, nor wives, nor husbands, nor sons, nor daughters. They have no material bodies, but can assume any form with His permission

3. Belief in the revealed Books of God – That Allah revealed Commandments and Codes of Religion to various Prophets at different stages of history for the guidance of mankind. Taurat was revealed to Prophet Musa (Moses), Zaboor to Prophet Dawood (David), Injeel (New Testament) to Prophet ‘Esa (Jesus), and the Qur’an (Quran) to Prophet Muhammad (Mohammad). Taurat, Zaboor, and Injeel do not exist in their original forms. The present-day editions are only interpretations by their respective followers of later ages. Qur’an is the Gospel of the Religion of Islam. The previous Commandments and the Codes of Religion are also incorporated in it. Its verses were inspired and revealed by Allah to Prophet Muhammad through Angel Jibraeel and they are still preserved in their original form in the Arabic language. The verses of Qur’an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad either singly or in batches during the last twenty-three years of his life, and were written down at his dictation and arranged under his direction during his lifetime.

4. Believe in God's many Prophets – That at different stages of the history of mankind, Allah sent Prophets as His Messengers for the guidance of mankind. To believe in all of them in general, and in those whose names are mentioned in the Qur’an in particular. Cannot personify anyone as a Prophet if his name is not mentioned in the Divine Book, nor can deny the prophethood of anyone whose name is so mentioned in the Divine Book. Muslims do not know the names of all the Prophets who delivered the Message of Allah to mankind, but the names of some of the Prophets are mentioned in the Qur’an. Among the Prophets whose names are mentioned n the Qur’an are: Adam, Idris (Enoch), Nuh (Noah), Hud, Salih, Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Is-haq (Isaac), Lut (Lot), Ya’qub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), Ayyoub (Job), Shu’aib, Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Dhul Kifl (Ezekiel), Dawud (David), Sulaiman (Solomon), Ilyas (Elias), Al-Yasa’ (Elisha), Yunus (Jonah), Zakariyyaa (Zachariahs), Yahiya (John the Baptist), ‘Esa (Jesus), and Muhammad. Muslims do not worship any of the Prophets, but only love and revere them as well as consider them as models of conduct for humanity. The Prophets themselves worshipped Allah and taught the same. None of the Prophets can be called God, for they were all created by Allah Who is Self-Existing and has no partner. None of the Prophets claimed Divinity, for, besides being Messengers and Servants of Allah, they were human beings. As all the nations of the world had either lost or forgotten the Messages delivered by the Prophets sent to them, Prophet Muhammad proclaimed the Message of Allah to all lands and to all nations. His prophethood is, therefore, not confined to any one land or one nations, but is universal, i.e., for the whole world and for all the nations. There is no need of a Prophet after Prophet Muhammad, for the Message, i.e., the Qur’an is the final and the complete Code of Religion, and is and will be preserved for all time absolutely intact in its original form; besides the authentic record of the Prophet’s eventful life covering all human activities is also extant, and will always remain as a Model for mankind. Hence no Prophet either with code and commandments, or without, is required after him, and therefore, the Qur’an says that Prophet Muhammad is the last and the Seal of all Prophets.

5. Accepting that there will be Last Day of Resurrection and Judgment - It is the Day on which Allah will resurrect the dead, i.e., make the dead alive again. He will then judge each person according to his good or bad actions on earth. He will reward those who have led a righteous life and pleased Him, by sending them to Heaven, and punish those who have disobeyed His commands and incurred His displeasures by committing sins and bad actions, by consigning them Hell. Heaven is an abode of peace and happiness where every wish is fulfilled. Hell is a place of torture, pain and agony. A person who dies with complete Faith in the Oneness of Allah and in the Prophets of Allah will remain in Heaven for ever, while a person who dies without having any belief in the Oneness of Allah or having disbelief in others as partners of Allah will remain in Hell for ever. Those who have firm belief in the Oneness of Allah and in the Prophets of Allah, but die without atoning for an repenting sins they have committed in this world, will be sent to Hell for a time, from where, after receiving due punishment, they will be liberated by the Mercy of Allah and sent to Heaven, where they will live for ever.

6. Belief in the Divine measurement of human affairs - To believe in the power of doing all actions (whether good or bad) proceeds from Allah, but that we are responsible for our actions – That Allah has given the human being the power of action (good or bad), but He has also given him reason and a code of life to choose between good and evil, and therefore, he is responsible for his actions. For example, Allah has given him the power of speaking, it is for him to use his tongue for speaking the truth or abuse its power by speaking lies. Any action against the Commands of Allah is a sin. Allah and Allah alone can forgive sins. In order that a person’s sins can be forgiven, one must pray to Allah with all his heart and, atoning for all his evil deeds, resolve never to commit any such or other misdeeds again.

7. Belief in a life after death

Declaration of Faith –
1. Tayyab (Declaration)
- “La ilaha ill-Allah Muhammad ur Rasool ul Allah” meaning “There is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah”.

2. Shahadah (Submission of Evidence) - "Ash-hadu anla ilaaha il-lalaahu wahdahu la shariika lahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammada 'abduhu wa rasuuluhu" meaning "I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, the One, Who is without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Apostle."

3. Tamjeed (Glory of Allah) - Subhaan Allaahi wal hamdu lil-laahi wa la ilaaha il-lalaahu wal-laahu Akbar. Wa la hawla wa la quw-wata il-la bil-la hil 'aliyyil Azeem." Meaning "Glory be to Allah and praise; there is no deity but Allah; Allah is the Greatest, and there is no power, no might but from Allah, the Highest, the Greatest.

4. Tauheed (Oneness of Allah) – "Laa ilaaha il-lalaahu wahdahu la sharika lahu lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu yuhyii wa yumiitu wa huwa Haiyyun la yamutu abadan abadaa. Zul jalali wal ikram. Biyadi hil khair. Wa huwa 'alaa kul-li shai-'in qadiir." Meaning "There is none worthy of worship but Allah; He is One and has no partner; His is the Kingdom (of the whole universe) and unto Him is due all Praise; He gives life and He causes death; In his hand is all good; and He has power over all things".

5. Astaghfaar (Seek Forgiveness) - "As-taghfi rul-laaha rab-bii min kul-li zam-bin az-nabtu-hu 'ama-dan aw khataa'n sir-ran aw 'alaa-niya-tan wa-atubu ilaihi minaz zabmi al-lazi 'alamu wa minaz zambi la a'lamu in-naka anta 'al-laamul ghuyubi wa sit-taarul 'uyuubi wa ghaf-faaruz zunubi wa la hawla wa la quw-wata il-la bil-la hil 'aliyyil Azeem." Meaning "I seek forgiveness from Allah, who is my sustainer, for all of my sins which I committed intentionally or mistakenly, covertly or overtly. I repent from Him for those sins which I am aware of, and also of those sins which I am not aware of. Certainly you are best aware of matters of Unseen. And You are ---

6. Raddil-Kufr (Refutation of Disbelief) – "O Allah! Verily do I seek refuge in Thee from associating any partner with Thee knowingly; I beseech Thy forgiveness for the sins which I am not aware of; verily, Thee are the Best Knower of all secrets. I repent for all the sins and make myself proof against all teachings except the teachings of Islam. I have entered the fold of Islam, and I hereby declare: - There is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah."

Fundamentals Principles of Islam

1. The declaration of kalimah
2. The observance of the obligatory salat (prayers) five times a day.
3. Distribution of Zakat (Islamic alms-fee) among the deserving amounting to one fortieth in one’s possession for a complete year.
4. The observation of sawm (fast) during the day time in the month of Ramadhan.
5. The performance of Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, at least once in a lifetime, if circumstances permit.

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