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What is Islam?

Islam is one of the major monotheistic religions in the world, with over a billion followers, known as Muslims. It was founded in the 7th century CE in the Arabian Peninsula by the Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W). Islam is based on the teachings of the Quran, which Muslims believe to be the word of God as revealed to Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W).

The core beliefs in Islam include:

  1. Monotheism: Muslims believe in the existence of only one God, known as Allah, who is all-powerful, merciful, and compassionate.
  2. Prophethood: Muslims believe that God sent prophets throughout history to guide humanity. The last and final prophet is believed to be Muhammad(S.A.W), who Muslims consider to be the “Seal of the Prophets.”
  3. The Quran: Muslims consider the Quran to be the holy book of Islam. It is believed to be the literal word of God, revealed to Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W) over a period of about 23 years.
  4. Five Pillars of Islam: These are the five essential acts of worship and practice that form the foundation of a Muslim’s life:
    • Shahada: The declaration of faith, proclaiming that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad(S.A.W) is his messenger.
    • Salah: The performance of five daily prayers facing the Kaaba in Mecca.
    • Zakat: Giving alms or charitable donations to help the less fortunate and those in need.
    • Sawm: Observing fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset.
    • Hajj: The pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, which is required for those Muslims who are physically and financially able to undertake it at least once in their lifetime.
  5. Respect for the Prophets: Muslims also believe in the prophethood of many figures from the previous Abrahamic religions, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, among others.

Islam promotes moral and ethical principles, emphasizing virtues like honesty, compassion, charity, and justice. It encourages individuals to submit to the will of God and lead a life in accordance with Islamic teachings.

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It’s important to note that there are different sects within Islam, with the two largest branches being Sunni and Shia. Despite their theological differences, all Muslims share the core beliefs mentioned above. Islam plays a significant role in shaping the culture, laws, and traditions in many countries around the world with predominantly Muslim populations.

what does the Quran say about itself or the religion of Islam?

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What the Quran says about itself or the religion of Islam. Let’s address both aspects:

  1. What the Quran says about itself: The Quran describes itself as the literal word of God and the final revelation to humanity. It is considered the central religious text of Islam. According to Islamic belief, the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel over a period of approximately 23 years, starting in 610 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death.

The Quran asserts its divine origin and inimitability, claiming that it is beyond human ability to produce something like it. It challenges people to bring even a single verse similar to its style and eloquence:

“Say, ‘If mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to each other assistants.'” (Quran 17:88)

  1. What the Quran says about the religion of Islam: The Quran discusses various aspects of the Islamic faith, its beliefs, practices, and moral principles. It emphasizes monotheism and the oneness of God, as well as the belief in the prophethood of Muhammad. It calls people to submit to the will of God, and that submission is the essence of the word “Islam” itself, which means “submission” or “surrender.”

The Quran also outlines the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the core acts of worship and practice that Muslims are obligated to follow:

  • Shahada (Declaration of Faith): “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
  • Salah (Prayer): The performance of five daily prayers.
  • Zakat (Almsgiving): The giving of a portion of one’s wealth to those in need.
  • Sawm (Fasting): Observing fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
  • Hajj (Pilgrimage): Undertaking the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca for those who are physically and financially able.

The Quran also addresses various social and ethical matters, providing guidance on matters such as justice, kindness, honesty, family, charity, and other aspects of a Muslim’s life.

It’s essential to understand that the Quran is written in Arabic, and its original form is considered to be preserved without any alteration since its revelation. Muslims recite and memorize parts of the entire Quran as an act of worship and seek guidance from its verses in their daily lives.

However, to fully understand the Quran’s teachings, Muslims often rely on scholarly interpretations (Tafsir) and the Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad) to provide additional context and understanding of its verses.

What does the Ahadith say about the religion of Islam?

The Ahadith, also known as Hadith, are the sayings, actions, and approvals of the Prophet Muhammad. These are an essential source of guidance and interpretation for Muslims alongside the Quran. The Hadith literature is vast and encompasses a wide range of topics, including the beliefs, practices, and moral teachings of Islam. Here are some key aspects of Islam that Ahadith shed light upon:

  1. Beliefs and Monotheism: The Hadith reinforce the belief in the oneness of God (Tawhid) and the rejection of all forms of polytheism and idolatry. They emphasize the importance of maintaining pure monotheism and recognizing the uniqueness of God.
  2. Importance of Prayer (Salah): The Hadith provides details about the performance of the five daily prayers, including the times, manner, and specific actions and supplications involved in each prayer.
  3. Charity (Zakat): The Hadith emphasizes the obligation of giving alms and charitable donations to help the less fortunate and those in need. They outline the rules and calculations for paying Zakat.
  4. Fasting during Ramadan (Sawm): The Hadith offers guidance on the observance of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, including the importance of self-discipline, spiritual reflection, and acts of kindness during this period.
  5. Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj): The Hadith provides details about the rituals and obligations of the pilgrimage to Mecca, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. They also highlight the spiritual significance of Hajj.
  6. Moral and Ethical Principles: The Hadith offers guidance on various moral and ethical matters, such as honesty, kindness, patience, forgiveness, and treating others with respect and compassion.
  7. Family and Social Relationships: The Hadith address the importance of maintaining good family ties, respecting parents, and fulfilling the rights and responsibilities of spouses, children, and relatives.
  8. Justice and Fairness: The Hadith emphasizes the importance of justice, fairness, and equality in all aspects of life, whether in legal matters or day-to-day interactions.
  9. Avoidance of Harmful Actions: The Hadith warns against harmful actions and behaviors, such as lying, backbiting, gossiping, and harming others physically or emotionally.
  10. Prohibition of Usury (Riba): The Hadith emphasizes the prohibition of usury and interest, encouraging ethical and fair economic practices.
  11. Seeking Knowledge: The Hadith highlights the significance of seeking knowledge and acquiring education, whether religious or worldly.

It’s important to note that the authenticity and reliability of Hadith are crucial to Islamic scholarship. Muslim scholars have categorized Ahadith based on their authenticity, and they have developed rigorous methods of authentication to ensure that the sayings and actions attributed to Prophet Muhammad are reliable and valid.

Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) heavily relies on the Hadith in interpreting and understanding the implementation of Islamic law and teachings in various aspects of life. However, it’s worth mentioning that not all Ahadith are considered equally authentic, and scholars carefully scrutinize their chains of narration and content before accepting them as valid sources of guidance.

What does the Quran say about the other religion?

The Quran addresses the topic of other religions in various ways. The Quranic approach to different religions can be summarized as follows:

  1. Recognition of Other Prophets and Scriptures: The Quran acknowledges the existence of previous prophets and the divine scriptures revealed to them. It mentions figures such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, among others, and recognizes their prophethood. The Quran refers to the Torah (given to Moses) and the Injil (given to Jesus) as earlier revelations from God.
  2. Oneness of God and Rejection of Polytheism: The Quran emphasizes the oneness of God and strongly rejects any form of polytheism or associating partners with God. It calls people to worship the one true God and to avoid worshiping idols or other deities.
  3. Respectful Dialogue and Invitation to Islam: The Quran encourages Muslims to engage in respectful dialogue with people of other faiths and to invite them to Islam through wisdom and good conduct:

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.” (Quran 16:125)

  1. Freedom of Religion: The Quran emphasizes that there should be no compulsion in matters of religion and that people have the freedom to choose their faith:

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.” (Quran 2:256)

  1. Rejection of False Beliefs: The Quran criticizes certain beliefs and practices that it sees as erroneous, such as the idea of the Trinity (Quran 4:171) and the deification of Jesus or any other human being.
  2. Warning Against Excess and Extremism: The Quran warns against excess and extremism in religious beliefs and practices. It calls for moderation and balance in faith and encourages people not to go to extremes in their religious practices:

“Thus, we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.” (Quran 2:143)

  1. Promotion of Good Deeds and Virtuous Conduct: The Quran encourages people of all faiths to engage in righteous deeds and virtuous conduct. It highlights the importance of honesty, kindness, charity, and justice.

It is essential to understand the Quranic teachings in their context and to interpret them holistically. While the Quran calls Muslims to adhere to their own beliefs firmly, it also promotes a spirit of tolerance, respect, and understanding towards people of other faiths. This approach reflects Islam’s broader principles of peace, coexistence, and recognizing the dignity of all human beings, regardless of their religious affiliations.

  1. Esposito, John L. “Islam: The Straight Path.” Oxford University Press, 1998.
  2. Armstrong, Karen. “Islam: A Short History.” Modern Library, 2002.
  3. Aslan, Reza. “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.” Random House, 2011.
  4. Rippin, Andrew. “Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices.” Routledge, 2005.
  5. The Quran, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Amana Publications, 2004.
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