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Islam FAQ (Part 3/15): Introduction to Islam

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Part15 )
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Archive-name: islam-faq/part3
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1995/3/27
Version: 3.3
Organization: Alumni Association, Caltech, Pasadena, California

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
        Copyright 1993,1994,1995  Asim Mughal (mughal@caltech.edu) 

        Redistribution  for  profit,    or   in  altered  content/format
        prohibited without explicit  written  permission  of the author.
        Any other redistribution must  include this copyright notice and
        attribution. 



                       Frequently Asked Questions: Part 3
                       __________________________________
        

        This message  is  automatically  posted  to 'soc.religion.islam'
        every  month  and  when  updated.  This  lists  answers  to most
        commonly asked questions on  the  forum. Contributions & changes
        are requested and should be directed to: mughal@caltech.edu 



        OVERVIEW:  The   Frequently   Asked   Questions   document   for
        Islam  has  been  divided  in  parts.  Below is the index. 


        Part 1 - Welcome & Index
        Part 2 - Info on Islamic News Groups
        Part 3 - Introduction to Islam
        Part 4 - God & Worship
        Part 5 - Islam, Quran & Muhammad (PBUH)
        Part 6 - Marriage Laws in Islam
        Part 7 - Women In Islam
        Part 8 - Life after Death, Moral System & Human rights in Islam
        Part 9 - Islam: Prophethood, Jesus & Trinity
        Part 10 - Islam: Farrakhism & Malcom X
        Part 11 - Islamic Internet Guide: Islamic Resources on Internet
        Part 12 - Other Islamic Resource Guides on Internet
        Part 13 - Islamic Literature: Books & Video
        Part 14 - Islamic Calendar & Prayer Time Table for 1994
        Part 15 - Misc: List of Halal Foods

        

            ________________________________________________________ 

                         PART 3: Introduction to Islam
        


        III&E Brochure Series; No.  1  (published  by  The  Institute of
        Islamic Information and  Education  (III&E)  and reproduced with
        permission) 




				    Contents				    

				 --Articles--
 1. Islam & Muslims ................................................ from III&E 
 2. Muslims & Arabs ................................................ from III&E 
 3. Allah The One & The Only God ................................... from III&E 
 4. Muhammad (PBUH) ................................................ from III&E 
 5. Source of Islam ................................................ from III&E 
 6. Some Islamic Principles ........................................ from III&E 
 7. Practices of Islam ............................................. from III&E 
 8. Other Related Aspects .......................................... from III&E 
 9. Non-Muslims .................................................... from III&E 
				--Announcements--
10. Archive Info .............................................................. 
11. Credits ................................................................... 



 Articles .....................................................................


 1. Islam & Muslims ................................................ from III&E 



    The name of this religion is Islam,  the root of which is Silm and Salam
    which means peace. Salam may also mean  greeting one another with peace.
    One of the beautiful names of God is that He is the Peace. It means more
    than that: submission to the  One  God,  and  to  live in peace with the
    Creator, within one's self, with other  people and with the environment.
    Thus, Islam is a total system of living. A Muslim is supposed to live in
    peace and harmony with all these segments; hence, a Muslim is any person
    anywhere in the world whose  obedience,  allegiance,  and loyalty are to
    God, the Lord of the Universe. 




 2. Muslims & Arabs ................................................ from III&E 


    The followers of  Islam  are  called  Muslims.  Muslims  are  not  to be
    confused with Arabs. Muslims  may  be  Arabs,  Turks, Persians, Indians,
    Pakistanis,  Malaysians,  Indonesians,  Europeans,  Africans, Americans,
    Chinese, or other nationalities. 

    An Arab could be a Muslim, a Christian,  a Jew or an atheist. Any person
    who adopts the Arabic language is called  an Arab. However, the language
    of the Qur'an (the Holy Book of  Islam)  is Arabic. Muslims all over the
    world try to learn Arabic so that  they  may  be able to read the Qur'an
    and understand its meaning.  They  pray  in  the language of the Qur'an,
    namely Arabic. Supplications to God could be in any language. 

    While there are one  billion  Muslims  in  the world there are about 200
    million Arabs. Among them,  approximately  ten  percent are not Muslims.
    Thus Arab Muslims constitute  only  about  twenty  percent of the Muslim
    population of the world. 




 3. Allah The One & The Only God ................................... from III&E 


    Allah is the name of  the  One  and  Only  God.  Allah  has  ninety-nine
    beautiful names, such as: The  Gracious,  The  Merciful, The Beneficent,
    The Creator, The All-Knowing, The  All-Wise,  The  Lord of the Universe,
    The First, The Last, and others. 

    He is the Creator of all human beings. He is the God for the Christians,
    the Jews, the Muslims,  the  Buddhists,  the  Hindus,  the atheists, and
    others. Muslims worship God whose name is Allah. They put their trust in
    Him and they seek His help and His guidance. 




 4. Muhammad (PBUH) ................................................ from III&E 


    Muhammad was chosen by  God  to  deliver  His  Message  of Peace, namely
    Islam. He was born in 570 C.E.  (Common  Era)  in Makkah, Arabia. He was
    entrusted with the Message  of  Islam  when  he  was at the age of forty
    years. The revelation that he  received  is called the Qur'an, while the
    message is called Islam. 

    Muhammad is the very last  Prophet  of  God  to mankind. He is the final
    Messenger of God. His message was  and  is  still to the Christians, the
    Jews and the rest of mankind. He  was  sent to those religious people to
    inform them about the true mission  of  Jesus,  Moses, Jacob, Isaac, and
    Abraham. 

    Muhammad is considered to be the  summation  and  the culmination of all
    the prophets and  messengers  that  came  before  him.  He  purified the
    previous messages from adulteration and completed the Message of God for
    all  humanity.  He  was  entrusted    with   the  power  of  explaining,
    interpreting and living the teaching of the Qur'an. 




 5. Source of Islam ................................................ from III&E 


    The legal sources of Islam are the Qur'an  and the Hadith. The Qur'an is
    the exact word of God; its  authenticity,  originality  and totality are
    intact. The Hadith is the report of  the sayings, deeds and approvals of
    the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet's sayings and deeds are called Sunnah.
    The Seerah is the writings of  followers  of  Muhammad about the life of
    the Prophet. Hence, it is the life history of the Prophet Muhammad which
    provides examples of daily living for Muslims. 




 6. Some Islamic Principles ........................................ from III&E 


    A. Oneness of God: 

    He is One and the Only One. He is  not  two in one or three in one. This
    means that Islam rejects the  idea  of  trinity  or  such a unity of God
    which implies more than one God in one. 


    B. Oneness of mankind: 

    People are created  equal  in  front  of  the  Law  of  God. There is no
    superiority for one race over another.  God made us of different colors,
    nationalities, languages and  beliefs  so  as to test who is going to be
    better than others. No one can  claim  that he is better than others. It
    is only  God  Who  knows  who  is  better.   It  depends  on  piety  and
    righteousness. 


    C. Oneness of Messengers and the Message: 

    Muslims believe that  God  sent  different   messengers  throughout  the
    history of mankind.  All  came  with  the  same  message  and  the  same
    teachings. It was the people who misunderstood and misinterpreted them. 

    Muslims believe in Noah, Abraham,  Isaac,  Ismail,  Jacob, Moses, David,
    Jesus, and Muhammad. The Prophets of Christianity and Judaism are indeed
    the Prophets of Islam. 


    D. Angels and the Day of Judgment: 

    Muslims believe that there are  unseen  creatures such as angels created
    by God in the universe for special missions. 

    Muslims believe that there is a  Day  of Judgment when all people of the
    world throughout the history  of  mankind  till  the last day of life on
    earth, are to be brought for accounting, reward and punishment. 


    E. Innocence of Man at Birth: 

    Muslim believe that people are  born  free of sin. It is only after they
    reach the age of puberty and it is only after they commit sins that they
    are to be charged for their  mistakes.  No one is responsible for or can
    take the responsibility for  the  sins  of  others. However, the door of
    forgiveness through true repentance is always open. 


    F. State and Religion: 

    Muslims believe that Islam is  a  total  and  a complete way of life. It
    encompasses all aspects of life. As  such, the teachings of Islam do not
    separate religion from politics. As a matter of fact, state and religion
    are under the obedience of Allah through  the teachings of Islam. Hence,
    economic and social transactions,  as  well as educational and political
    systems are also part of the teachings of Islam. 




 7. Practices of Islam ............................................. from III&E 


    God instructed the Muslims to  practice  what  they believe in. In Islam
    there are five pillars, namely: 


    A. Creed (Shahada): 

    The verbal commitment and  pledge  that  there  is only One God and that
    Muhammad is the Messenger  of  God,  is  considered  to  be the Creed of
    Islam. 


    B. Prayers (Salat): 

    The performance of the five daily prayers is required of Muslims. 


    C. Fasting (Saum): 

    Fasting is total abstinence from food,  liquids and intimate intercourse
    (between married couples) from dawn to sunset during the entire month of
    Ramadan. 


    D. Purifying Tax (Zakat): 

    This is an annual payment of a certain percentage of a Muslim's property
    which is distributed among the poor or other rightful beneficiaries. 


    E. Pilgrimage (Hajj): 

    The performance of pilgrimage to Makkah  is required once in a life time
    if means are available. Hajj is  in  part  in  memory  of the trials and
    tribulations of  Prophet  Abraham,  his  wife  Hagar  and his eldest son
    Prophet Ishmael. 




 8. Other Related Aspects .......................................... from III&E 


    A. Calendar: 

    Islamic practices are based on the lunar calendar. However, Muslims also
    use the Gregorian calendar in  their  daily  religious lives. Hence, the
    Islamic calendar includes both the common  era and the migration (Higra)
    year of the Prophet of Islam from  Makkah  to Madinah in the year of 623
    C.E. 


    B. Celebrations (Eid): 

    Muslims have two celebrations (Eid); namely, Eid of Sacrifice and Eid of
    =46ast-Breaking. The Eid of Sacrifice is in remembrance of the sacrifice
    to be by Prophet Abraham of his  son.  The Eid of Fast-Breaking comes at
    the end of the month of fasting, Ramadan. 


    C. Diets: 

    Islam allows Muslims to eat everything  which is good for the health. It
    restricts certain items such as  pork  and  its by-products, alcohol and
    any narcotic or addictive drugs. 


    D. Place of Worship: 

    The place of worship is called  Mosque  or  Masjid. There are three holy
    places of worship for the  Muslims  in  the  world. These are: Mosque of
    Kaaba in Makkah, Mosque of the  Prophet  Muhammad in Madinah, and Masjid
    Aqsa, adjacent to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. 

    A Muslim may pray any where in the  world  whether in a Mosque, a house,
    an office, or outside. The  whole  world  is  a  place of worship. It is
    preferable that Muslims pray in a congregation, however, he/she may pray
    individually anywhere. 


    E. Holidays: 

    The holy day of the Muslims is Friday. It is considered to be sacred and
    the Day of Judgment will  take  place  on  Friday. Muslims join together
    shortly after noon on Friday for  the  Friday congregational prayer in a
    Mosque. A  leader  (Imam)  gives  a   sermon   (Khutba)  and  leads  the
    congregational prayer. 


    F. Distribution of Muslims in North America: 

    There are approximately five  million  Muslims  in North America and are
    distributed in its  major  cities  such  as  New  York, Detroit, Boston,
    Toledo, Chicago, Los  Angeles,  San  Francisco,  Houston,  Cedar  Rapids
    (Iowa),  Toronto,  Montreal,  Ottawa,   Edmonton,   Vancouver,  Windsor,
    Winnipeg, Calgary, and others. 


    G. Contributions in North America: 

    Muslims are not established in  North  America. Sears Tower and the John
    Hancock buildings in Chicago were designed  by a Muslim chief architect,
    originally  from   Bangladesh.   Muslims   have   established   academic
    institutions, community centers and organizations, schools and places of
    worship. They live in peace and harmony among themselves and among other
    groups of people in the society. The rate of crime among Muslims is very
    minimal. Muslims in North  America  are  highly  educated  and they have
    added to the success of American scientific and technological fields. 

    The Muslims of the early period  of  the  Islamic  era  were pioneers in
    medicine,  chemistry,  physics,  geography,  navigation,  arts,  poetry,
    mathematics, algebra, logarithms, calculus, etc. They contributed to the
    Renaissance of Europe and world civilization. 




 9. Non-Muslims .................................................... from III&E 


    Muslims are required  to  respect  all  those  who  are faithful and God
    conscious people, namely those  who  received  messages.  Christians and
    Jews are called People of the  Book.  Muslims are asked to call upon the
    People of the Book for common terms,  namely, to worship One God, and to
    work together for the solutions of the many problems in the society. 

    Christians and Jews lived  peacefully  with Muslims throughout centuries
    in the Middle East and other  Asian  and  African  countries. The second
    Caliph Umar, did not pray in the  church  in Jerusalem so as not to give
    the Muslims an excuse to take it over. Christians entrusted the Muslims,
    and as such the key of the Church in  Jerusalem is still in the hands of
    the Muslims. 

    Jews fled from Spain during the  Inquisition,  and they were welcomed by
    the Muslims. They settled in the  heart  of  the Islamic Caliphate. They
    enjoyed positions of power and authority. 

    Throughout the Muslim world, churches, synagogues and missionary schools
    were built within the Muslim neighborhoods.  These places were protected
    by Muslims even during the contemporary crises in the Middle East. 




 Announcements ................................................................


10. Archive Info .............................................................. 


    This FAQ is archived  at  several  sites  and  is  available  for public
    retrieval thru anonymous FTP, E-MAIL, Gopher & World Wide Web. 


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    send usenet/news.answers/islam-faq/part3
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                              pub/
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        Site:          latif.com 70
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                           -- World-Wide-Web (WWW) --
    

    One recommended interface is 'mosaic,' below are mosaic 'home pages.' 



URL at USENET Archive site:
http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/islam-faq/faq.html


URL at Caltech MSA site:
http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~calmsa/links.html






11. Credits ................................................................... 


    The author wishes to thank all those who contributed in any capacity for
    the original one part FAQ or this multi-part FAQ. 


                                 -- SOURCES --
    

    The basic  introduction  and  literature  presented  in  the FAQ is from
    brochures on Islam distributed  by  Institute  of  Islamic Information &
    Education (III&E). These  brochures  were  typed  in  electronic form by
    Ms.M.Ahmed. 

    The  information  on   soc.religion.islam  forum  (in  Part  2) has been
    compiled  from   USENET   archives   and  administrative  logs  of
    Soc.Religion.Islam moderator panel. 

    What is III&E? 

    III&E is an acronym for the Institute of Islamic Information & Education
    which was  established  in  Chicago,  Illinois  in  1985.  The  III&E is
    registered in the  State  of  Illinois  and  recognized  by the Internal
    Revenue Service (IRS) as a not-for-profit religious organization. 

    More information can be obtained by  contacting Dr. M. Amir, III&E, P.O.
    Box 41129, Chicago,  IL  60641-0129,  U.S.A.;  Fax:  (312)  777-7199; or
    Tel: (312) 777-7443. 



                                  -- FORMAT --
    

    The format of the FAQ series  has  been  done  by utilizing resources of
    Islamic Information & News  Network  (IINN).  A  custom program, Nebula,
    written by editors of IINN for generating newsletters has been used. 


    What is IINN? 

    Islamic Information & News Network  is  a forum dedicated to educate the
    network community on issues relating to Islam and Muslims in an academic
    & non-political environment.  Weekly  digest is available on internet by
    subscribing to  MUSLIMS@ASUACAD.BITnet  (A  Bitnet listserv list) and on
    USENET: bit.listserv.muslims. 



                               -- Permissions --
    

    Permission to  post  this  multi-part  FAQ  has  been  obtained  by  the
    following: 

	o	Institute of Islamic Information & Education (III&E)
	o 	Islamic Information & News Network (Muslims@PSUVM.bitnet) 
	o 	Moderator(s) of Soc.Religion.Islam (Br.Nauman Mysorewala)	
	o 	Moderator(s) of News.Answers (Thomas Khoenig & P.Huang)
	o 	Moderator(s) of Soc.Answers (Thomas Khoenig & P.Huang)



# End of Islam FAQ Part 3 #

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM