The word “Islam” is an Arabic word which means “peace, purity, submission, and obedience to the will of Almighty God”. The word Islam comes from the Arabic root word “sa-la-ma”, which means peace.
Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all Prophets, e.g., Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ismael, David, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them).
THE FUNDAMENTAL ARTICLES OF FAITH IN ISLAM
The true faithful Muslim believes in the following Principal articles of faith:-
- He believes in One God ‘Allah’, Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and Provider.
- A Muslim believes in the Angels of Allah. They are purely spiritual and splendid beings whose nature requires no food, drink or sleep. They spend their days and nights worshiping God.
- A Muslim believes in all scriptures and revelations of God. They were the guiding light which the Messengers received to show their respected peoples the Right Path of God. In the Quran a special reference is made to the books of Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus. But long before the revelations has been lost or corrupted. The only authentic and complete book of God in existence in the Quran.
- A Muslim believes in all Messengers of God without any discrimination among them. Every known nation had a Messenger from God. They were chosen by God to teach mankind and deliver His divine message. The Quran mentions the name of twenty five of them. Among them Mohammad stands as the last Messenger and the crowning glory of the foundation of Prophethood.
- A Muslim believes in the Day of Judgment. This world will come to an end someday, and the dead will rise to stand for their final and fair trial. People with good records will be generously, rewarded and warmly welcomed to the Heaven of Allah, and those with bad records will be punished and cast into Hell.
- A Muslim believes in the timeless knowledge of God and His power to plan and execute His plans and nothing could happen in His Kingdom against His will. His knowledge and power are in action at all times and command over His creations. He is wise and merciful, and whatever He does must have a meaningful purpose. If this is established in our mind and hearts, we should accept with good faith all that He does, although we may fail to under stand it fully, or think it is bad.
THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
The prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) said “Islam is built upon five: the testimony that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; establishing regular prayer (salaah); paying the zakaah; Hajj (pilgrimage) and fasting Ramadaan”. (Agreed upon; narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 8 and Muslim, no. 22 16 )
- The declaration of faith: To bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Mohammad (PBUH) is His Messenger to all human beings till the Day of Judgment. The Prophethood of Mohammad obliges the Muslims to follow, His exemplary life as a model.
- Prayers: Daily, prayers are offered five times a day as a duty towards Allah. They strengthen and enliven the belief in Allah and inspire man to a higher morality. They purify the heart and prevent temptation towards wrong – doings and evil.
- Fasting the month of Ramadan. The Muslims during the month of Ramadan abstain from food, drink from dawn to sunset. It develops a sound social conscience, patience, unselfishness and will – Power.
- Zakkah: The literal and simple meaning of Zakkah is purity. The technical meaning is designating an annual amount equal of 2.5% of one’s wealth, if it values more than 3 ounces of gold and has been sitting or growing for the past year. Zakkah must be distributed among the rightful beneficiaries. But the religious and spiritual significance of Zakkah is much deeper and more lively. So it has humanitarian and sociopolitical values.
- Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah): It is to be performed once in a lifetime, if one can afford it financially and physically.