Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Brief Overview of Islam

"Islam" means submission and "Muslim" means one who submits. This submission is to Allah (God) only and no one else. We believe that there is only one God, and that no one is worthy of worship except for Allah, and we believe that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was His final messenger.


Allah is the Arabic word for God . Allah is One, has no partner and no son. The Muslim's focus and aim is concentrated, focused on his Lord and Creator; he puts his trust in Him and asks Him for help, patience and support; he believes that Allah is able to do all things, and has no need of a wife or son. Allah created the heavens and earth; He is the One Who gives life and death; He is the Creator and Sustainer from Whom the Muslim seeks provision. He is the All-Hearing Who responds to supplications, and from Whom the Muslim hopes for a response. He is the All-Merciful and All-Forgiving, to Whom the Muslim turns in repentance when he has committed a sin or fallen short in his worship of Allah. He is the Omniscient and All-Seeing, who knows all intentions and what is hidden in people's hearts.

Allah said in the Quran (interpretation of the meaning):

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. [al-Ikhlas, 112:1-4]

Allah also said (interpretation of the meaning):

Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). [al-Baqarah, 2:255]

The name Allah and is not exclusive to Muslims. Arabs of different faiths (Christians, Jews etc...) also use the word Allah in reference to God.


Muhammad was the last of Allah's prophets to be sent to mankind. There were many prophets before him, and I will explain that later. A part of the Muslim's faith is to believe that Muhammad was the final Prophet of Allah, and that his message was the truth. Allah spoke to Muhammad through revelation through the angel Gabriel. Some of this revelation was a part of the Quran (the Holy book) and some of it was applied in the Prophet's life, without it being a part of the Quran. That is why the two main sources in Islam are the Quran and the life of the Prophet.


The Quran is the Holy book that was revealed from Allah to the Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel.


Hadith are the sayings or teachings of the Prophet that Allah ordered him to say in order to teach his companions.

The Five Pillars of Islam:

1) The testimony of faith: The belief that there is no God to be worshiped except Allah (the one God) and that Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) is His messenger.

2) Performing the prescribed prayers, five times a day.

3) Charity; which is paid to the poor and needy once every year.

4) Fasting once a year, from sunrise to sunset throughout the entire month of Ramadan.

5) Hajj, which is the pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime if one is physically able and can afford it financially.

The Six Pillars of Iman (Faith):

1) Belief in Allah

2) Belief in His Angels

3) Belief in His Holy Books

4) Belief in His Messengers

5) Belief in the Last Day (i.e. the Day of Judgment)

6) Belief in Divine Will and Decree (Al-Qada' wal-Qadar)

Two of the Pillars of Faith is to believe in Allah's books and Allah's Messengers. You will notice that this is plural. The reason being that as a Muslim, we have to believe in all the scriptures that were sent down before the Quran, and all the Messengers that were sent before the Prophet Muhammad.

We believe that there were four scriptures sent down in total:

1) the Tawraat (or Torah) which was sent with Prophet Musa (Moses)

2) the Zaboor (or Psalms) which was sent with Prophet Dawud (David)

3) the Injeel (or Gospel) which was sent with Prophet 'Isa (Jesus)

4) the Quran which was sent with Prophet Muhammad

The Prophets and Messengers that Allah sent were many, but Allah only mentions 25 in the Quran (listen below in chronological order):

Adam, Idrees (Enoch), Nuh (Noah), Hud, Salih, Ibrahem (Abraham), Loot (Lot), Ismae'l (Ishmael), Ishaaq (Isaac), Ya'qoob (Jacob), Yuseuf (Joseph), Shu'ayb, Ayyoub (Job), Dhul-Kifl, Musa (Moses), Haroon (Aaron), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Ilyaas (Elias), Al-Yasa' (Elisha), Yunus (Jonah), Zakarriya (Zachariah), Yahyaa (John), 'Isa (Jesus), and Muhammad.

The Prophet 'Isa (Jesus):

Our beliefs concerning the Messiah 'Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus the son of Mary – peace be upon him) are those indicated by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of our Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) [i.e. in the Hadith].

We believe that 'Isa (peace be upon him) was one of the slaves of Allah, and one of His noble Messengers. Allah sent him to the Children of Israel to call them to believe in Allah alone and worship Him alone.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And (remember) when 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), said: 'O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming the Tawraat [(Torah) which came] before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.' But when he (Ahmad, i.e. Muhammad) came to them with clear proofs, they said: 'This is plain magic'" [al-Saff 61:6]

We believe that 'Isa was born from the Virgin Maryam (Mary) with no father, and that is not impossible for Allah Who, when He wills a thing, says "Be!" and it is.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"Verily, the likeness of 'Isa (Jesus) before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: 'Be!' — and he was" [Aal 'Imraan 3:59]

"(Remember) when the angels said: 'O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word ['Be!' — and he was! i.e. 'Isa (Jesus) the son of Maryam (Mary)] from Him, his name will be the Messiah 'Isa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), held in honour in this world and in the Hereafter, and will be one of those who are near to Allah."

He will speak to the people, in the cradle and in manhood, and he will be one of the righteous.'

She said: 'O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me.' He said: 'So (it will be) for Allah creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: "Be!" and it is'" [Aal 'Imraan 3:45-47]

The first words that 'Eesa spoke when Allaah caused him to speak when he was in the cradle were (interpretation of the meaning):

"He ['Eesa (Jesus)] said: 'Verily, I am a slave of Allaah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet'" [Maryam 19:30]

We believe that Allaah supported him with miracles that proved he was speaking the truth.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"(Remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection). 'O 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Remember My Favour to you and to your mother when I supported you with Rooh‑ul‑Qudus [Jibreel (Gabriel)] so that you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and when I taught you writing, Al‑Hikmah (the power of understanding), the Tawraat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel); and when you made out of the clay, a figure like that of a bird, by My Permission, and you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My Permission, and you healed those born blind, and the lepers by My Permission, and when you brought forth the dead by My Permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from you (when they resolved to kill you) as you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers among them said: This is nothing but evident magic'" [al-Maa'idah 5:110]

We believe that he did not die and his enemies did not kill him, rather Allah saved him from them and raised him up to heaven alive.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And because of their disbelief and uttering against Maryam (Mary) a grave false charge (that she has committed illegal sexual intercourse);

And because of their saying (in boast), 'We killed Messiah 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah,' — but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it appeared so to them the resemblance of 'Isa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man)], and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)]:

But Allah raised him ['Isa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is Ever All‑Powerful, All‑Wise" [al-Nisa' 4:156-158]

'Isa was not a god or the son of God as the Christians claim.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"Surely, they have disbelieved who say: 'Allah is the Messiah ['Isa (Jesus)], son of Maryam (Mary).'" [al-Maa'idah 5:72]

"And the Jews say: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths, resembling the saying of those who disbelieved aforetime. Allah's Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth!" [al-Tawbah 9:30]

"And (remember) when Allaah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): 'O 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men: Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah?' He will say: 'Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner‑self though I do not know what is in Yours; truly, You, only You, are the All‑Knower of all that is hidden (and unseen).

Never did I say to them aught except what You (Allah) did command me to say: Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when You took me up, You were the Watcher over them; and You are a Witness to all things'" [al-Maa'idah 5:116-117]

We believe that 'Isa (Jesus) will come back down at the end of time, and will disprove the claim of his enemies that they killed him, and will disprove the claim of the Christians that he is God or the son of God, and he will not accept anything from them but Islam.


You may be wondering, why were there so many Prophets? And why was the Prophet Muhammad sent if there were already Prophets and scriptures before him? As Muslims, we believe that everyone is born in the state of fitrah (natural disposition) and are born with this innate belief in Allah (God) but then their fitrah (natural disposition) is corrupted by the influences around them. Similarly,when Adam was first placed on earth, the generations following were righteous, but then shaytan (satan) led them astray, and thus there was a need for a prophet to remind them and set them aright once more. However, Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet to be sent and Allah promised that He will preserve His book so that the knowledge of the truth will be available until the Day of Judgment.

Also, we believe that anyone who hears of the message of Islam and does not choose to follow it, will not enter Paradise.

If you want to know more, check out A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam.

No comments:

Post a Comment