An Introduction to
In the name of Allah
the Beneficent the Merciful
In the year 571, there was born, in the country of Arabia a baby boy name Muhammad (pboh). He was from the descendent of Ishmael who was from Abraham and Hagar.
Muhammad (pboh) grew up to be an outstanding person; gentle, kind, loving, truthful and trusted. He was known as Al Ameen—the trusted one.
This title was given to him by the barbarous Arabs, who, at that time, lived by the principles of "might is right, and survival of the fittest".
When he was forty years old, one day, in the Cave of Hira, where he was meditating, Angel Gabriel appeared to him and informed him that he was a Prophet of God; the last of the divinely appointed Messengers. His mission was to remind the people of the teachings of all the previous Messengers from Adam to Jesus.
Muhammad's (pboh) birth was the beginning of the promise God made to Abraham many centuries before, concerning the progeny of Ishmael, which, up to that time was not yet fulfilled.
The Bible has it recorded in the following words:
As for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (Gen.17:20)
What did Muhammad (pboh) preach?
Prophet Muhammad (pboh) was not sent to any particular tribe or nation like the previous messengers. He was sent as the Universal Messenger with a Universal Message.
The first thing that he preached was belief in One God (Allah). He reminded the people that all the previous Prophets taught their followers to believe in One God and to worship Him alone.
The Bible supports belief in One God: some of the verses are:
Abraham said: I have lifted my hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of the heaven and the earth. (Gen.17:9)
Moses was commanded to preach: Thou shalt have no other god before me. (Ex.20:3)
Isaac prayed: O God of my father Abraham… I am not worthy of the least of thy mercies, and of all the truth … deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother… (Gen.332:9 ff.)
Jesus said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. (Mt.22:37)
The Qur'an adds:
The sons of Jacob said to their father: We shall worship thy God, the God of thy father, Abraham, and Ishmael and Isaac. One god, and unto Him have we surrendered. (3:165)
He is Allah, the One Allah, the Eternally besought of all. He begets not; nor was He begotten; and there is none comparable unto Him. (Ch.112)
The Essence of Islam:
Belief in One God and submission to Him alone: form the main theme upon which the whole message of Islam is based. In fact, humanity at large is invited to surrender themselves to Allah and His Commands. The Commands are nothing but that prescribed by Him for leading a successful life here with guarantee of a place in the Garden of Bliss in the Hereafter.
Anyone who accepts these two principles are said to have surrendered, and is expected to follow the example set by the Divinely appointed Messenger Muhammad (pboh) in order to be successful in both the worlds.
Declaration of belief:
There are no rituals for becoming a Muslim; and no baptism. Anyone wishing to become a Muslim must believe in one God. He or she also has to believe that Muhammad (pboh) is the Final Messenger of God, as Muhammad (pboh) is the best example of submission to the Divinely Revealed Code of Life.
It is expected then that such a person will be ready to declare such a belief. This has to be done before two witnesses. This is called the declaration of faith.
The standard form of declaration is:
I testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah; Who is alone and has no partner; and I testify to the fact that Muhammad (pboh) is Allah's servant and Apostle.
Prophet Muhammad (pboh) reminded the people of the wrath of Allah on all those who do not submit to Him. The Qur'an gives examples of some nations and tribes who were destroyed when they deliberately continued to refuse to recognise His Oneness: Sodom, Gomorrah, Pharaoh, the people in the time of Noah. Etc.
Prophet Muhammad (pboh) also told the people that they should acquaint themselves with the message from Allah if they want to stay rightly guided. He told them that they can only find the true and pure message from Allah in the Holy Qur'an—the last of the Revealed Scriptures.
The Holy Qur'an:
The Holy Qur'an is not the word of any human being; it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pboh). Allah sent the revelations through Angel Gabriel, a little at a time.
The Angel used to read the verses and the Prophet used to recite after him; then the Prophet recited and the Angel listened. The Prophet used to then dictate to a scribe who would copy what was dictated to him. The scribe would then read what he wrote and the Prophet used to listen in order to verify that the scribe wrote correctly what was dictated. The other companions would then write and memorised what was revealed.
The Qur'an has been preserved in memory and in written form all through the ages; and it has not undergone any change. It is the chief source of guidance for the whole of mankind, as a result, Muslims from everywhere in the world follow its guidance. In it the dos and don'ts are clearly stated, and anyone can be guided by reading the Commands and upholding them.
There is no Sabbath in Islam; as every day is a day of activity and prayer. There is the Friday Congregational prayer (Jumuah); which is compulsory for all male adult Muslims, who may not be sick, travelling or feeble.
The Qur'an tells us about the Friday Congregational Prayer in the following verse:
O you who believe, when the Call is proclaimed to prayer of Friday, hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah; and leave off business. That is better for you if you only knew. And when the prayer is finished, then you may disperse through the land and seek of the Bounty of Allah; and celebrate the Praises of Allah often that you may prosper. (62:9-10)
What Islam teaches:
• It is the words, deeds and intentions of the individual that are important to him or her. On the Day of Judgment, every individual has to stand before the Lord and account to Him about his/her life on earth.
• The devil to man is an enemy trying to prevent him from becoming Godly.
• Man can resist the temptations by following the part that takes him away from it. That path is called the Straight Path.
• Islam gives a complete moral code of life, based on the principle of Justice translated into action that a believer should like for his brother what he would like for himself.
• The fundamentals for this Code of belief are declaration of faith, prayer, fasting, compulsory poor tax, and pilgrimage for those who can afford.
• These five fundamentals strengthen the individual's relationship with Allah on one hand and with human beings on the other.
• Life is this world is not permanent; and the grave is not the end. There is a Great Day called the Day of Judgment, after which the individual will either dwell in Eternal Bliss or Damnation.
• Between death and the Day of Judgment is "waiting" barrzakh. The individual cannot come back physically in any form, but waits there until resurrection.
• Everyone is living in the presence of Allah all the time. He knows what a person does openly and secretly, and all actions are recorded in a "book of deeds". This will be given to the individual on the Day of Judgment.
• Both man and woman are equal in the sight of Allah; and both pious men and women will enter heaven.
• There are no racial or class barrier in Islam; all are equal in the sight of Allah; the best among human beings is the one possessing the best moral conduct.
• The acquisition of knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim
Dear friend; if by reading this short introduction to Islam, you are convinced that it is the best way of life for which you were looking, then I invite you to become a Muslim.
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