Fundamentals of Islam
NOTE: Many readers have been asking for this for a while now. We focus a lot on Christianity (because that’s what we know best). So, Amanda Brown has taken the time to research Islam and will be writing several posts to help educate people n what it is all about… and why’s it’s crazy too.
Guest Author: Amanda Brown
Islam is one of the three Abrahamic religions. It is a lot like Christianity only slightly more intense and the stories have been changed here and there to suit the country where it began. Islam began during the 6th and 7th century and is ascribed to the lifetime of the Prophet Mohammad (570-632 A.D.). The Prophet Mohammad was born in Saudi Arabia and lost both of his parents before the age of five. He was raised by his uncle and, at the age of 25, married a wealthy woman who was 15 years older than himself.
According to historians, Mohammad often meditated in a cave, Hira, located outside of Mecca. While in this cave he was visited multiple times by an Angel who taught him different verses in praise of Allah and eventually after Mohammad had received enough training from this Angel was told to go out and spread this message about Allah and all Allah has to offer.
So what does Allah have to offer?
- We all must remember that Allah is the one and true God and to NEVER worship any other Gods and to also not reject him once you have knowledge of him. Sorry everyone, you now know of him so if you continue to reject him now you will pay the price (which I will get into later).
- You cannot have friends who deny Allah and His messenger (Mohammad)
- We are all created by Allah; he has given us sustenance and guidance.
- Prayer is the essence of worship, so you must pray.
- Fear Allah. “Be you not afraid of them, but fear Me, if you have faith.” (3:175 Quran)
- Allah is the one who gives us hope
- We trust only Allah and nothing else. “But on Allah put your trust if you have faith.” (5:23) “And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him.” (65:3) “Whoever expect to meet his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer), admit no one as partner.” (18:110)
- Your aspiration is from Allah as is your humility.
- Any apprehension of others who do not worship Allah should not be feared but only fear Allah. “So fear them not, but fear Me; and that I may complete My favors on you, and you may (consent to) be guided.” 2:150
- Ask for forgiveness before you are chastised and you will be forgiven otherwise you will not be helped. “Turn you to your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) (in repentance) and submit to Him, before the chastisement comes on you: after that you shall not be helped.” (39:54)
- Only ask Allah for help. “You Alone do we worship, and Your aid we seek.” (1:5) From the Hadith: “if you need aid, supplication to Allah for aid.”
- Allah only asks for your service and your life as the only sacrifice. “Say: Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds: No partner hath He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit to His will.” (6:162)
Now that we know what Allah asks of us how do we go about it? According to wefound.org Islam has 3 ranks in order to worship or rather follow Islam correctly. First, you must submit to Islam, the religion itself. To do this you have to complete the five pillars. 1. Testify that there is no God but Allah, and that Mohammad is His Messenger. 2. Perform the prayers 3. Pay the Zakat (Zakat is a tithe in which every member of Islam pay 2.5% of their total income for the year) 4. Fasting the Month of Ramadan and 5. Make a pilgrimage to the Sacred House (Mecca). After completing all of this you then attain what is called the second rank of Eman (Faith). Eman is comprised of over seventy different branches the highest of which is to testify that there is no god but Allah and the lowest is the removal of obstacles in a person’s life. Whether those obstacles are modesty or lack thereof to bashfulness of the person’s ability to teach or speak about Islam. To achieve this level in Islam you must have faith in Allah, his angels, books, messengers, The Last Day, and your Destiny (whether good or bad).
Finally the third rank: Ehsan (perfection of worship). Ehsan has only one pillar or aspect. You must worship Allah as if you see Him. Even though you don’t see him, he sees you. You must be aware of this “fact” and worship according to His word. “For Allah is with those who restrain themselves, and those who do good.” (16:128) I could go on and one with examples from the Quran and the Hadith that say Allah is all around us and always watching us etc. but that would be a waste of time. If you want to know more about the specific passages for supporting the different ranks and pillars of Islam please refer to wefound.org.
Islam is a fairly dangerous religion when you look at what it asks of its followers. No wonder suicide bombers honestly think what they are doing is a good thing. Allah specifically tells his followers to convert everyone to his religion and to follow exactly as he says in order to reach “Paradise” (Heaven). If you don’t you will go to Hell – a horrible place full of fire and other tortures which will be different for each person based on the misdeeds that person has committed during their lifetime. Although Islam is not unlike Christianity it is becoming one the most prevalent religions on the planet. And what is there steadfast rule: Allah is the one true god and we must convert everyone who doesn’t believe and those who refuse to believe shall be in peril. Whether a Muslim believes the peril must be done by their own hands or after the person has died naturally and will be judged by Allah is a huge debate within Islam itself. Islam like all other religions has separated, reformed, retranslated, and interpreted the Quran in many different ways. In my next installment I will begin to discuss the different sects of Islam and their meanings.