Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z - Internet FAQ Archives

Intro to Soc.Religion.Islam FAQ

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Houses ]
Archive-name: islam-faq/intro
Posting-Frequency: monthly (First day of the month)

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Last-modified: 2000/12/13

Expires: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 00:00:00 GMT

Version: 1.16

X-Revisions: - Updated Moderator Zaharuddin Fikri's e-mail address.

             - Added Abd ul-Rahman Lomax as a moderator.

             - Updated Islamic bookstore listing.

      In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Soc.Religion.Islam Frequently Asked Questions

1)    What is SRI?

2)    What is Islam?

3)    SRI Administration and Guidelines

4)    How to contribute articles to SRI

5)    Frequently Asked Questions Concerning News Articles

6)    FUT's (Frequently Used Terms)

7)    Other Sources of Information on Islam


Subject: 1) What is SRI?

Soc.Religion.Islam (SRI) is a forum for discussions related to Islam.

People from all backgrounds and of all religious beliefs may

contribute to SRI, by asking questions or providing answers, comments,

or arguments.  SRI is moderated to filter out irrelevant discussions

and abusive language.


Subject: 2) What is Islam?

"Islam" is the Arabic word for "submission."  It is derived from the

root S-L-M, from which the word "salaam" or "peace" is derived.  The

essence of Islam is the complete submission of one's self and life to

the Will of Allah -- the One and Eternal God and the Lord and Creator

of the Universe. One who submits to Allah is thus called a Muslim.

Muslims number about one billion, almost a fifth of the world's

population.  Islam is thus one of the world's largest religions, and

its present rate of growth and vitality is probably unrivaled.

Muslims believe that the religion of Islam was revealed by Allah

through a long line of human messengers, starting with the Prophet

Adam and culminating in the revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet

Muhammad.  Some of these Prophets are well-known to readers of the

Bible, such as Prophets Abraham, Jesus, and Moses (peace be upon

them.)  They carried the same essential message of submission to

Allah, though some details of religious laws varied with time and

place.  With the passage of time, however, much of the revelation sent

to these earlier Prophets was lost or changed.  The Prophet Muhammad

was thus sent down by Allah to renew and complete the message of


Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him [pbuh]) (570 - 622 CE)

to humanity to teach the message of Islam.  The first main source of

Islamic knowledge is the Qur'an, the Words of Allah revealed to the

Prophet, and the Holy Book of Muslims.  The Qur'an was revealed

piecemeal by God to the Prophet Muhammad during the last twenty three

years of his life.  The Qur'an has been preserved in its original form

to this day, and supersedes all other sources of Islamic knowledge.

Secondary to the Qur'an, but also an important source of Islamic

knowledge and law, is the example of the Prophet (pbuh) himself.

Reports purporting to describe the sayings and deeds of the Prophet

(pbuh) are extant and are called "Hadith."  The hadith is to be

distinguished from the Qur'an.  The latter was specified by Muhammad

to be the literal Word of God and was preserved from the outset with

great care.  The Hadith, on the other hand, is not the Word of God and

vary in their degree of authenticity.

The six basic Beliefs in Islam are the beliefs in:

      1) Allah (the one God).

      2) Angels of Allah.

      3) Books revealed by Allah (including the final, uncorrupted

         revelation: The Qur'an).

      4) Messengers of Allah, from Adam to Muhammad (peace be upon them.)

      5) Day of Judgement -- the Day when all our actions in this

           life will be judged by Allah, and we will be rewarded or

      6) Al-Qadar or the Supremacy of the Divine Will and Knowledge.

A Muslim is to mold his or her entire life based on "submission to

God", Islam.  The most essential practices are known as the Five

Pillars of Islam.  They consist of the folllowing:

      1) Shahadah ("bearing witness") - The sincere belief in:

         "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that

         Muhammad is His Messenger".

      2) Prayer - Performing the five daily prayers.

      3) Fasting - abstention from food and drink from dawn to

           sunset of every day of the month of Ramadan (a holy month

           in the Islamic calendar.)

      4) Charity - Giving a certain portion of one's wealth yearly

         to the poor.

      5) Pilgrimage - Performing the pilgrimage to Makkah at least

         once in one's lifetime as long as one is physically and

         financially able.

Though the above constitute the basics of Islam, the "building" of

Islam consists of more than just the "pillars."  Being a Muslim

entails constant God-consciousness and submission to God in all

spheres on life, spiritual and material.


Subject: 3) SRI Administration and Guidelines

SRI is a moderated newsgroup.  There are currently four moderators:

Catherine Hampton <>

Fariduddien Rice <>

Zaharuddin Fikri <>Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <>

You can also reach all the current moderators by sending e-mail

Articles submitted to SRI are forwarded by a "forwarding site"

<> to a moderator for review.  If the article meets

the SRI Guidelines (described below), the moderator approves and posts

it.  The sole criteria for approving articles are the SRI Guidelines.

The Guidelines were established by the public vote that created the

newsgroup in November 1989.

3.1  The Guidelines of Soc.Religion.Islam


Any individual submission is to be accepted for posting in

soc.religion.islam provided it satisfies the following two Guidelines.

The submission must be:

1) relevant to Islam

2) free from verbal abuse, name calling, and insults

In addition to these guidelines, moderators reserve the right to return

copyrighted posts submitted without the copyright holder's approval, since

posting such material may expose the moderator to legal action.

3.2  When the Guidelines are not Met


An article that does not meet the two SRI Guidelines is returned to

its author with a detailed explanation outlining exactly how either of

the two guidelines was violated in the submitted article.  Any article

satisfying these two conditions will be posted without regard to the

moderator's opinion on its contents.  Therefore, the views expressed

in SRI do not necessarily represent the moderators' opinions.

3.3  Note on Asim Mughal's FAQ


There is a FAQ maintained by a person named Asim Mughal which falsely

purports to give the rules and procedures governing

Soc.Religion.Islam. You may have seen it floating around on the net.

Asim Mughal was a moderator prior to March 6, 1994, when he was

removed from the position by the unanimous decision of a consultative

group (shura) as a result of a variety of abuses that he committed.

The contents of his FAQ are outdated and do not represent the current

policies and practices of SRI and its moderators.


Subject: 4) How to contribute articles to SRI

You may submit articles to SRI through USENET (like submitting to any

other newsgroup), or by emailing them to:

Articles are usually reviewed within 2 business days of submission.

You will hear from a moderator within this time.  If you do not,

resubmit your article with the words SECOND ATTEMPT in the Subject

line.  However, do not post the same article repetitively without

giving the moderator enough time to review it.  If even your SECOND

ATTEMPT article is unanswered after two business days, email the

article to moderators with a note on when and how earlier attempts

were submitted.  Always keep a copy of your article until after you

know about its fate.  Do ask about your article if you do not hear

>from moderators!

If your article does not meet the SRI Guidelines, it will be returned

to you with an explanation.  If you wish, you may request a review

>from the moderator who returned your article.  However, chances are

you would be better off to edit your article so that it clearly meets

the SRI Guidelines.

If your article is rejected, you may request the moderators to post a

rejection report containing your e-mail address and the subject of

your article so that interested readers may obtain the article from

you if they so wish.

4.1  Recommendations to Consider When Posting


The following are suggestions on points to follow when submitting an

article.  It must be emphasized that articles which do not satisfy

some of these points, but which are relevant to Islam and free of

verbal abuse, will still be posted (as is obligatory under the

fundamental guidelines of the newsgroup stated previously).

A. Please make sure every line in your article contains less than 72

characters.  This keeps your article and follow-ups on it within the

the 80 characters-per-line limit.

B. Please choose descriptive Subject: headings.  Subject headings like

"Question" or "Help" tell very little about your article.

C. If responding to an earlier article, please limit the amount of

quoted text that you include.  The moderators' server does not allow

them to post articles that have more quoted text than new.  You may

generally assume that readers have already seen the article to which

you are responding.  Further, instead of responding to a previous

article point-by-point (including the greetings), please consider

summarizing the earlier viewpoint or quoting a statement that does.

D. Please do not include a lengthy .signature at the end of your

article.  But since the From: line in the header of your article does

not always contain your correct email address, please consider

providing your name and correct email address at the end of your


E. Please try to limit your articles to 40 KiloBytes in length at

most.  For lengthy articles, please consider posting a short

announcement instead, informing people about the long article and how

they can obtain it (by email or ftp).  Also, it is good practice to

add the word "LONG" to the Subject: line of long articles.

F. Please remember, vigorous discussion and criticism are permissible,

flames are not.


Subject: 5) Frequently Asked Questions Concerning News Articles

The moderators are constantly getting the following questions from

posters looking for their articles. If you have one of the following

problems, please read on before complaining to the moderators.

1. I posted an article several days ago and received an

acknowledgement but my article never appeared. What happened?

Each site stores news articles on its own local machine. It takes time

for approved articles to propagate through the net and arrive at your

site. Be patient and your article should arrive eventually. Note also

that some news reader programs are configured to not show articles

that the user submits.

2. I saw my article on the newsgroup but it disappeared after a few

hours. Did you delete it?

Due to the increasing volume of Usenet news, many internet service

providers have reduced the "expiration" time for articles

considerably. On many systems, articles may last three days or less

>from the time that they are posted. You may even miss articles

entirely if you don't check newgroups regularly. If this is a problem

on your system, talk to your system administrator.

3. I discovered a mistake in my article. Could you please delete it?

Please consider submitting a follow-up to your original article

instead of asking the moderators to delete it, as it a hassle for

moderators to delete articles.

4. I submitted an article several days ago but never heard about its

fate. What happened?

This usually means that the moderators have not received your article,

due to any number of possible problems. These include problems at your

site, problems at the forwarding site ( or problems

at the moderators' sites. Moderators are not responsible for articles

they have not received. If you have not heard from the moderators

within forty-eight hours of submitting your article, submit it again

by mailing it directly to with "repost" in the

subject heading.

You may also not be receiving acknowledgements if the e-mail address

in your From: header is bogus. You should list a known good e-mail

address at the bottom of your article, in your signature.

5. Are anonymous articles accepted for posting?

We review articles based on whether their contents meet SRI

guidelines and not based on who wrote them. Anonymous articles are

processed like any other articles. In general, moderators do not

"anonymize" articles. A user who wishes to remain anonymous should

submit the article anonymous, not ask the moderators to withhold the

user's name.

6. I see a lot of material bashing Islam on soc.religion.*ISLAM*.

You should fear Allah and not approve this material!

Please note that approving an article does not imply approval or

endorsement of its content by the moderator. The moderators' job is

solely to ensure that the material is relevant to Islam (for or

against, and regardless of accuracy), and that its language is

appropriate.  It is the job of readers like you to check the accuracy

of articles and to speak up if you think they are wrong or misleading.


Subject: 6) FUT's (Frequently Used Terms)

The following is a list of Islamic terms that are often used in SRI

articles, along with their meaning (spellings may vary slightly from

those given here):

Alhamdu lillah          Praise be to Allah

Allah             God

Allahu Akbar            Allah is Most Great

Amanah                  Trust

Assalamu Alaikum Peace be upon you--the "official" Islamic greeting.

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

                  "Peace and the Mercy and Blessings of God be

                  upon you" Extended form of the above.

Astaghfir Allah         I seek forgiveness from Allah (used when

                    mentioning something that goes against the

                    standards of Islam)

Ayah/Ayat         Qur'anic verse

Bid`ah                  Innovation, addition to the religion's essentials

Bukhari                 One of the most noted compilers of hadith. His

                    collection is known as Sahih Bukhari

Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim

                  In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious,

                    Most Merciful

Da'wa             Invitation (for humankind to Islam)

Du`aa             Supplication

Eid               Islamic holiday

Fatwa             Islamic legal ruling

Fiqh              Islamic law as interpreted by scholars

Fitnah                  Corruption and disorder, also temptation

Hadith                  A report of a saying or deed of the Prophet

Haj               Pilgrimage

Halal             Allowed (per Islamic law)

Haram             Forbidden (per Islamic law)

Hazrat/Hadrat           Honorable

Hijab                   Modest way of behavior and dress (including

                    head scarf for women)

Imam              Leader

Iman              Faith

In Shaa Allah           If God wills. (Used when talking about a

                    future event)

Injeel                  The scripture sent down to Prophet Issa (Jesus)

Isnad                   Chain of transmitters, the list of people who

                         successively narrated a given hadith

Jannah                  Paradise

Jazakallah Khair  May God grant you what is good. (Often used

                    instead of "Thank you")

Jihad             Striving for Islam, whether by peaceful or

                  violent means  (NOT holy war!)

Jinn              Unseen beings, who, like humans, are given the

                    power to choose between right and wrong

Kafir             One who denies the truth.  Literally, one who "covers"

                          the truth (sometimes applied to non-Muslims).

Khalifah          Caliph: Leader of Muslim nation

Khilafah          Caliphate

Khutba                  Sermon

Kufr              Denial of the Truth, rebellion against God

La Ilaha Illa Allah     There is no deity but God

Ma Shaa Allah           What God has willed! (Usually used to express

                    wonder at Allah's creation)

Madhhab                 School of jurisprudential thought

Makruh                  Detested, but not forbidden (per Islamic law)

Mandoub                 Recommended, but not required (per Islamic law)

Mubah             Neither forbidden nor commended. Neutral

                  (per Islamic law)

Mushrik                 One who commits Shirk

Muslim                  One who submits to Allah and is a follower of

                    Islam; also, name of one of the

                    most notable hadith scholars. His collection

                    is known as Sahih Muslim

Nabi              Prophet

Qur'an                  The Words of Allah conveyed to us by the Prophet

PBUH              Peace Be Upon Him.  Same as SAW

RAA               (Radia Allahu Anhu/Anha.)  May Allah be please

                    with him/her

Rasool                  Messenger (Prophet to whom a scripture is revealed)

Rasool Allah            Messenger of God (used to refer to Prophet Muhammad)

Sahaba                  Companions of Prophet.  Singular is "Sahabi"

Sahih                   "Sound in isnad." A technical attribute applied

                         to the "isnad" of a hadith

Salaam                  Peace.  An abbreviated version of the Islamic


Salaat                  Prayer

SAW               (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam.)  Peace Be

                    Upon Him

Sawm/Siyam        Fasting

Seerah/Sirah            History of the Prophet's life

Shahadah          Bearing witness that there is no god but Allah

                    and that Muhammad is His Messenger.

Shari'ah          Divine Law

Sheikh                  Scholar (or any elder and/or respected man)

Shirk             Associating partners (e.g. helpers, other gods) with


Shura             Consultation among Muslims

Subhan Allah            "Glory be to God"

Sunna/Sunnah            Tradition of the Prophet

Surah/Sura        A Chapter in the Qur'an

SWT               (SubHanahu Wa Ta`ala.)  Glory be to Him.  Used

                    only in reference to Allah

Tafsir                  Interpretation

Tawraat                 The scripture sent down to Prophet Musa (Moses).

Ulama             Religious scholars

Umma              Nation, community.

Ustadh                  Teacher

Wassalaam         And peace.  It means "goodbye"

Zakat             Required charity


Subject: 7) Other Sources of Information on Islam

7.1   Introductory Books


- "What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims", by Suzanne

   Haneef.  Kazi Publications, 1979.

- "Islam", Fazlur Rahman. Univ of Chicago Press, 1979.

- "Islam and the Destiny of Man", by Gai Eaton.  Allen & Unwin, 1985.

- "Islam", by Ismail al-Faruqi.  Arugus Communications, 1979.

- "Towards Understanding Islam", by Abul Ala Maududi.  The Islamic

   Foundation, 1980.

- "Islamic History: A New Intepretation", M.A. Shaban. Cambridge Univ

   Press, 1971, 1976.

- "Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources", Martin Lings.

   A.S. Noordeen, 1983

- "Qur'an and Woman", Amina Wadud-Muhsin. Fajar Bakti Malaysia,

   available through Oxford Univ Press, 1992.

- "Struggling to Surrender", by Jeffrey Lang. Amana Publications, 1994.

7.2   Bookstores for Islamic Books and Audio/Video/Diskette/CD


Sound Vision. 432-4262(312) 226-0205

Islamic Bookstore
284-7526(410) 744-7393 (Maryland)Islamic Publications International. 568-9814

Council on Islamic Education. Seller of Islamic education
materials. 839-2929 (California)

7.3   Quran translations


- "The Holy Qur'an: Translation and Commentary" by A. Yusuf Ali:

   probably the most popular

- "The Message of the Qur'an" by Muhammad Asad

- "Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an" by Marmaduke Pickthall

- "Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur'an" by Muhammad

   Taqi-ud-din al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan

7.4   Mailing Lists


Subscription request address  Description

---------------------------   -----------

ISLAM-L@ULKYVM.BITNET         Islamic history mailing list      Muslim Student Assoc Net (MSA-NET)

                        News about Islam, Muslims, and Muslim World    Mailing list for Muslim sisters only.           Mailing list for Muslim educators (incl.

                            teachers, parents, home schoolers.)

7.5   World-Wide Web Sites


The following web sites have comprehensive hotlists and will lead you

to scores of more pages on Islam and Muslims. They also store

articles and a lot of information.           Comprehensive site on Islam,

                              including Quran and Hadith

                              search.             Various resource guides for

                              MSA's and local organizations,

                              including lists of MSA's, mosques,

                              Islamic Centers, etc in North

                              America.             Large number of various articles.              Many links to other resources.

---End of Frequently Asked Questions for Soc.Religion.Islam

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
"Serene Taleb-Agha" <>

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM