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 What is Islam?

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PostSubject: What is Islam?   Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:14 pm

What is Islam?

Islam is a religion and a way of life. Centered around devotion for the creator, Allah [swt].
Everything I write in this intro is from an Islamic perspective so please, do not be offended if what I write does not conform with your beliefs, and also feel more than free to ask any questions you may have. =]
Islam is not a new religion it is the same religion as revealed to the first man by Allah [swt] and that he has reveals to all of His prophets through-out history.
Contrary to what the media says, Islam is a prominent religion and way of life internationally and Muslims come from every nation in the world.
Muslims believe in one God, creator of everything. Unique, all knowing and incomparable. We believe Allah [swt] has sent to us Prophets to make us aware of Him. We believe in Angels.
We believe that Jesus [as] was a prophet [and messenger*] of Allah [swt]. And not divine, that would be assigning partners to Allah [swt]. We also do accept His miraculous birth.
The Prophet Muhammad [saws] was sent to us by Allah [swt] and to Muhammad [saws] Allah [swt] revealed the Qur'an to the angel Jibreel [Gabriel]. To confirm all that was before him. Allah [swt] said in the Qur'an "And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it , and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works . Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ." [Surah Al-Ma'idah Ayah 48]

Islam is centred around the five pillars.

1. Belief in Allah, His books and His messengers.
2. The prayer [or Salat]. [Five obligatory prayers. Fajr, before sunrise. Dhuhr, at noon. Asr, mid-afternoon. Maghrib, sunset. Isha, night.]
3. Zakat. Obligatory charity given at the end of the month of Ramadhan.
4. Fasting the month of Ramadhan. [Fasting includes astaining from food, water, ill thoughts, harsh temper and sexual activity during daylight hours. Also focussing at night on prayer, community union and things of this nature.]
5. Hajj. [The pilgrimage to Makkah if able]

In Islam we also have the six pillars of belief or articles of faith.

These include:

~ Belief in Allah.
~ Belief in His Angels.
~ Belief in His books.
~ Belief in His Messengers.
~ Belief in the final day.
~ Belief in the Divine Destiny and that the good and bad of it are all from Allah.

Islam is a very complex way of life, and it takes an entire lifetime, if not more to learn.
This was quite brief.

Feel free to ask questions.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:25 pm

I don't wish to offend you, and I know its only a fraction of muslims I will now refer to, is why do some Islamics believe its the will of their god to perform acts of terror, like the 9/11?

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:26 pm

Also, i'm going to start a thread with a quote I took from you on an alternative subject.

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:35 pm

Unsane_Swami wrote:
I don't wish to offend you, and I know its only a fraction of muslims I will now refer to, is why do some Islamics believe its the will of their god to perform acts of terror, like the 9/11?
Any question asked with sincerity cannot be offensive. Smile

To be honest, it seems to unfortunately happen in areas of the world where people are vulnerable. Take for example the thought [though it's still only alleged] that Al-Qaeda were hiding out in Afghanistan, at the time. Also take into account the treatment of the Afghans at the time. I think there is the answer.

I believe acts of terror/war/etc are most all political in one way or another as opposed to religious as many others will tell you. Though, that doesn't stop religion being used as a justification.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:46 pm

It's a shame they reacted in a way that caused thousands of 'innocent' people to perish through an act of terror. I highlight innocent because I don't believe many humans are truly innocent, though to be punished for their government is shocking.

I agree it may have been caused by such affairs, but they have done themselves, and their religion, no favours amongst those who don't understand their own religion, let alone other races.

Many people who are racist or ignorant point the finger at all Muslims, which is unfair. because it seems like it should be a peaceful religion, and it probably would be if all religions were the same. Religion can bring about an equal amount of war than it could peace IMO

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:10 pm

To be honest, in your last paragraph, it's something that affects me and before I converted I didn't see the finger being pointed at everyday Muslims on the street like I do today.

I've had comments based on the way I dress. "That's not how men dress in Australia", "Go home" thigns of that nature. I do let it roll off of my back, but I'd be lying if I say I'd appreciate it. Also, I have trouble when trying to talk to some people. There was a guy I went to school with who asked me "Are you a good Muslim, or a bad Muslim?" o__0 on the train last year when I randomly saw him. :S
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:55 pm

I'd say its a complete lack of understanding towards your religion. I'm lucky to be speaking with a Muslim now and can hear your views and I respect them. Others, who sit around, watching TV, without a care in the world for their own countries religions let alone other races, will not care to scratch the surface of Islam.
They will know only what they see on the news. Which, I'm sorry to say, is mostly bad news from the countries in question.

Racism is universal though, many ethnic groups hold racism towards each other, even towards white people, though nobody ever raises an eyebrow at a black man calling a white man 'white bred', or 'white trash' etc.

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:43 am

I know that I'm required to be respectful of others' beliefs, and so I express concern that my cynicism as an atheist may be too easily misconstrued. With that caveat, I venture forth to say that the explanation of Islam is too simplistic, and, as such, actually misrepresents Islam as monolithic when it is not. A major misrepresentation is this part:

Quote :
In Islam we also have the six pillars of belief or articles of faith.

These include:

~ Belief in Allah.
~ Belief in His Angels.
~ Belief in His books.
~ Belief in His Messengers.
~ Belief in the final day.
~ Belief in the Divine Destiny and that the good and bad of it are all from Allah.

Islam is a very complex way of life, and it takes an entire lifetime, if not more to learn.
This was quite brief.

This part makes the pretense that "his books" are universally agreed on by all Muslims and that simply is not the case. Another bone of contention is just who "his messengers" are. Still greater diversion is between different major schools, Sharia, and other judgements and declarations made by various clerics.

Further, the largest misrepresentation of Islam is made by those who explain the difference between Sunni and Shiya is line of succession. That, too, is a misrepresentation.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:52 am

Questioning isn't being disrespectful, neither is using what you know or think you know to do so.

And Sayf will be back to tackle you head on I'm sure LOL

The man's got passion... Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:10 am

Passion about the religion is one thing you can definitely say about nearly all Muslims--which is why it's like pulling teeth to get one to tell you if he/she is Sunni or Shiyat. If you don't know much about Islam, you're not likely to ask, either, and it's thereby that the misleading notion that Islam is monolithic continues to perpetuate.

While we're waiting for Sayif, permit me to add that Sunnis believe that "his books" necessarily include the Sunnah, and Shiites disagree. Because this is one of many differences between Sunni and Shiya, I fully expect that you now know better than to believe the explanation for the difference between Sunni and Shiya is confined to line of succession.

It's a good place to start.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:27 am

I don't know anything about Islam lol

What you just said may as well have been written in Chinese Very Happy

I intend to get around to reading into it one day...

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:44 am

I tread hazardous terrain attempting to give you a secular thumbnail synopsis of Islam because it's secular. Muslims tend to demand theological tenets to be adhered to and strongly caution you to disbelieve a nonbeliever who gives you an account.

It's by this token that I counterassert that no believer will give you a straightforward, facts-only, account of his own religion either.

Islam 101

We all know that all forms of Islam was founded by Mohammed. That's a given. Mohammed, however, didn't grow up in a vacuum or without outside influences. A little-known fact is that a Nestorian monk who went by the name of Felix was excommunicated, rightly or wrongly, on the charge that he assisted Mohammed with coming up with the Quran. You won't find any Muslim who will tell you this either. You won't find any Muslim giving an accurately historical account of the Day of the Camel, or the Battle of the Bridge, either, but...I'm getting ahead of myself with those....

In short, Mohammed started life as son of a Christianized Jewish mother and a Sabean father ("idol worshipper"). He was orphaned around the age of six or seven years of age and was adopted by an uncle, whose son, Ali, was later to become a significan figure in Islam. I fully expect no Muslim will agree with my description of Ali, either....but...here goes...

Ali and Mohammed were cousins. After Mohammed's adoption, they were also brothers. Upon adulthood, when Mohammed married a woman much older (and much richer) than himself, he had a daughter named Fatima. Upon achievement of what passed for adulthood in that culture, Ali married Fatima.

So Ali was:
1) Mohammed's cousin
2) Mohammed's brother
3) Mohammed's son-in-law.

Additionally, Ali was Mohammed's second convert to Islam. Mohammed's wife was his first convert. It is by this account that the claims about succession have been contended between Sunni and Shiya.

.....and this is just the tip of the ole Islamic iceberg. I'll leave it at that for now and bring up the issue of Ayisha later.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:53 am

LOL

I find followers of organised religions tend to base their history on the books - like the bible for example, and not history orientated books regarding the religion itself...unless they're very biased and are written by other followers of the same religion. Like one nutcase who swore blindly that women were actually made and originated from the rib bone of Adam.

frustrated 2

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:00 am

Nuthouse Orderly wrote:
LOL

I find followers of organised religions tend to base their history on the books - like the bible for example, and not history orientated books regarding the religion itself...unless they're very biased and are written by other followers of the same religion. Like one nutcase who swore blindly that women were actually made and originated from the rib bone of Adam.

frustrated 2
Alas, every religion posits its own version of revisionist history because they have a vested interest in an outcome flattering to its claim to ancient God-established veracity. Given the bazillion different, disparate denominations, cults, and sects, it's clear by that alone that there exists no central divine source for any of it, let alone an all powerful one.

But here's a cause for pause--Islamic history may very well be tainted by religious bias, but among the Abrahamic branches, its history is more accurate with respect to archaeological discoveries and writings of authentic antiquity than those of the other two. I will give it that much credit, especially given the painstaking measures that Islam has taken to ward off corruption, particularly of the Quran.

The Quran, originally, is an oral recitation. It was recognized even as far back as Calif Othman that "playing telephone" with the Quran invited corruption, but also that the written word failed to the convey meanings of vocal inflections (Calif Othman was the first of Mohammed's direct followers to put the Quran in written form). By that reason, a formulaic methodology was established for reciting the Quran with the goal of being as close to Mohammed's own recitation, inflected meanings and all. Jews didn't do this with their scripture, nor did Christians with theirs. Islam is unique among Abrahamics in this.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:30 am

Pagans think that every god and goddess of every land and culture - mostly before Christian time - are all manifestations of the divine - which to me is more acceptable than religions claiming they are the only right ones and the rest of the world are just evil and will go to hell lol

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:55 pm

Well, the gods and goddesses of pagan pre-Christian era originated as personifications of natural phenomena, so that stands to reason.

Checked back eagerly a number of times for Sayf's responses and I have to confess that at this point I'm wondering where he's off to.

On the other hand, I can't say I'm surprised because the issues I raise are controversial even among Muslims and it's entirely possible he's about the business of doing additional research...which is fine, I suppose. Like a lot of people who present themselves as a good person to ask questions of, they assume the people he's addressing don't know even the first thing about Islam and don't know what to do when someone who does shows up.

Of course, until he shows up to respond, this is all speculation (based on past experience) on my part.

But back to the pre-Christian pagan gods and goddesses--noteworthy is what Sayf said about "his angels" because Muslims don't just believe in the Christian and Jewish roster of the winged human-types, they also believe in the jinn. That would be "genies" to you. There isn't an Abrahamic of any branch that will acknowledge that angels and jinn are of Celtic pagan origin. They will deny up and down that Celts were even in the Middle East region prior to Abraham's first godly experience, but they were. They were pretty much all over the place, but Abrahamics prefer instead to ignore them.

This is why we're never routinely taught any sort of Celtic history in schools.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:38 pm

Sayf pops in every now and then, not really a regular - thought he would've seen it by now LOL

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:40 pm

I've seen it, and apologise sincerely. Sad As I've said, during the week I get quite busy and tend to steer clear of serious threads with long answers required, bar on my own forum, but even then I must sometimes. Smile Also last weekend there was a lot for me to do. Sad

I get a reprieve from work on Friday. See you then inshaa`Allah?

Peace,
Sayf.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:24 pm

You got a deal. I know all too well how complex the topic of Islam is--but that's exactly why I take issue with oversimplifications. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:04 am

Well. Happy Friday morning boys and girls and what a glorious day it is too.
Also Masha'Allah Clara. You have a lot of knowledge. But I imagined you would from our small conversation in your introduction.
AstaghfiruAllah.
I have tried my best here, I will admit I'm still on a learner's permit
with a lot of the things you have brought up though. Smile

Also apologies for the wait. On any other week I would have left this until Saturday [if I was home Embarassed ] due to work constraints and such. Alhamdulillah today was a public holiday.

Quote :
I'd say its a complete lack of understanding
towards your religion. I'm lucky to be speaking with a Muslim now and
can hear your views and I respect them. Others, who sit around,
watching TV, without a care in the world for their own countries
religions let alone other races, will not care to scratch the surface
of Islam.
They
will know only what they see on the news. Which, I'm sorry to say, is
mostly bad news from the countries in question. I'd say its a complete
lack of understanding
towards your religion. I'm lucky to be speaking with a Muslim now and
can hear your views and I respect them. Others, who sit around,
watching TV, without a care in the world for their own countries
religions let alone other races, will not care to scratch the surface
of Islam.
They
will know only what they see on the news. Which, I'm sorry to say, is
mostly bad news from the countries in question.
This is true.
A lot of people believe what they hear without evening looking for a source. Smile
Quote :
This part makes the pretense that "his books"
are universally agreed on by all Muslims and that simply is not the
case. Another bone of contention is just who "his messengers" are.
Still greater diversion is between different major schools, Sharia, and
other judgements and declarations made by various clerics.
His
books are agreed upon by Muslims, as an article of faith. We believe
the Qur'an is the only perfect one, and the Torah and Bible contain
truth amongst falsehood. An examples of this, however, are for the most
part historical. I wouldn't trust the Bible or Torah to give accurate
daleel [evidences].
As for His messengers. In the Qur'an it is
revealed to us that God has sent 124,000 prophets to speak of him to
all nations and tribes throughout history, and Muhammad [saws] was the
last of 300-something messengers.
The difference between a Prophet and a Messenger is as follows.
A Prophet came to merely remind the people of God, and Islaam.
A Messenger came to bring forth law. Smile [Islam came piece by piece until the Qur'an as we know it and our beloved Prophet Muhammad [saws].
As for the schools of Sharia, you are quite right. And it is unfortunate.
Quote :
Further, the largest misrepresentation of Islam
is made by those who explain the difference between Sunni and Shiya is
line of succession. That, too, is a misrepresentation.
Again
this is true. Personally, I am Sunni and I consider the Shi'a my
brothers and sisters in Islaam. I know a lot of people who don't
though. And from both sides there are so many lies spread about the
other side. Sad This is
all over a division based on who would take charge after Muhammad
[saws], unfortunately and visibly it has become more than just that.
Insha'Allah the Ummah finds the unity we once had. May Allah [swt]
guide us all. Ameen.
Quote :
Passion about the religion is one thing you can
definitely say about nearly all Muslims--which is why it's like pulling
teeth to get one to tell you if he/she is Sunni or Shiyat.
It is?
I've never seen/heard of that.
I'm Sunni. And subscribe to the Shafe'ii madhab.
Quote :
I tread hazardous terrain attempting to give you
a secular thumbnail synopsis of Islam because it's secular. Muslims
tend to demand theological tenets to be adhered to and strongly caution
you to disbelieve a nonbeliever who gives you an account.
Actually, we always ask for daleel. Smile Islam purely comes from the Qur'an and Sunnah. So if something is Islamic, you can give evidence from one, or both.
If that makes sense?
Religiously
we're not going to follow something we've just been told. Also, I would
have no problem trusting a learned non-Muslim so long as I could see
the proof they offered for myself. Smile

As per your secular thumbnail on the schism. I don't see any apparent problems in it.
Quote :
I find followers of organised religions tend to
base their history on the books - like the bible for example, and not
history orientated books regarding the religion itself...unless they're
very biased and are written by other followers of the same religion.
Like one nutcase who swore blindly that women were actually made and
originated from the rib bone of Adam.
Actually,
the Qur'an references very closely to with what was going on in the
world at the time and came as advice for the Muslims of the times in
many cases. Smile
That's why when reading a lot of Ayaat from the Qur'an it's necessary
to have a historical understand of what was going on at the time the
Ayah in question was revealed.
Quote :
Islamic history may very well be tainted by
religious bias, but among the Abrahamic branches, its history is more
accurate with respect to archaeological discoveries and writings of
authentic antiquity than those of the other two. I will give it that
much credit, especially given the painstaking measures that Islam has
taken to ward off corruption, particularly of the Quran.
Glad to know you recognise the Qur'an has been unchanged. Smile
Quote :
Pagans think that every god and goddess of every
land and culture - mostly before Christian time - are all
manifestations of the divine - which to me is more acceptable than
religions claiming they are the only right ones and the rest of the
world are just evil and will go to hell lol
Muslims
believe that Islam was extended throughout the world by God's prophets
and messengers sent to all nations and tribes more than once.
We also believe that Islam has been with us since the beginning of humanity. Smile

AstaghfiruAllah.
And Allah [swt] knows best.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:59 am

Quite an extensive response, Sayf; I need to break it up into separate posts for my own response.

You've said that all Muslims agree about "all his books" and then say in a different paragraph that "his books" include the Sunnah. The only way that those two statements can be true is if the Shiites claim that the Sunnah are included in "all his books". They do not. Additinally, they don't agree that Ayisha Hadiths should be included as Hadiths.

Shiites also don't agree that Mohammed is God's last messenger, although Mohammed was God's last prophet. Try talking to an Ishmaili in particular to see what I mean.

You should also recognize that the crux of the Sunni-Shiya divide is Ayisha. OF COURSE at this late date, so far removed from The Day of the Camel and the slaughter of Hussein and his tribe, Shiites and Sunnis will often regard each other as brothers under Allah (and more will during the Hajj, at least) but when you get down to brass tacks, theologically, each regards the other as heretic.

This is also why (even if present company might be excepted), it's generally true that a Muslim presenting him/herself as a Muslim will fail to identify themselves as either Shiite or Sunni Muslim, even when attempting to explain Islam to someone who knows nothing about it, and the person getting the explanation doesn't know enough about it to ask.

In the interest of honesty, this type of identification is necessary; otherwise a Sunni attributing Sunni Islam as being true for Shiites is dishonest (as well as for vice versa). Thank you very much for additionally identifying which school you follow, too. There are times when that makes a critical difference.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:05 am

Quote :
As for His messengers. In the Qur'an it is
revealed to us that God has sent 124,000 prophets to speak of him to
all nations and tribes throughout history, and Muhammad [saws] was the
last of 300-something messengers.

Out of all them prophets and messengers, were any ever women?

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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:42 am

As an atheist I'm out front when it comes to debunking what's false, right up with the best of 'em with skepticism, but I'lll also acknowledge what's true is, in fact, true. But I want independent facts; I summarily reject any holy book as sufficient proof of itself. That's a logical fallacy filed under the heading of "recursive". Show me proof by way of a third disinterested party, and more of such parties the more solid your proof. This is the issue I take with the following:



Sayf Udeen wrote:
...
His books are agreed upon by Muslims, as an article of faith. We believe
the Qur'an is the only perfect one, and the Torah and Bible contain
truth amongst falsehood. An examples of this, however, are for the most
part historical. I wouldn't trust the Bible or Torah to give accurate
daleel [evidences].
...
Quote :
I tread hazardous terrain attempting to give you
a secular thumbnail synopsis of Islam because it's secular. Muslims
tend to demand theological tenets to be adhered to
and strongly caution
you to disbelieve a nonbeliever who gives you an account.
Actually, we always ask for daleel. Smile Islam purely comes from the Qur'an and Sunnah. So if something is Islamic, you can give evidence from one, or both.
If that makes sense?
Religiously
we're not going to follow something we've just been told. Also, I would
have no problem trusting a learned non-Muslim so long as I could see
the proof they offered for myself. Smile

This is recursive. No book is sufficient to prove itself in the secular sense. As a believer, you invariably beg the question, and that's not proof--that's begging the question.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:45 am

Nuthouse Orderly wrote:
Quote :
As for His messengers. In the Qur'an it is
revealed to us that God has sent 124,000 prophets to speak of him to
all nations and tribes throughout history, and Muhammad [saws] was the
last of 300-something messengers.

Out of all them prophets and messengers, were any ever women?
Ayisha.

Oh, is there ever a can of worms around Ayisha. And Fatima.
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PostSubject: Re: What is Islam?   Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:32 am

I bump up on a religious bias in the following response:


Sayf Udeen wrote:

Quote :
Islamic history may very well be tainted by
religious bias, but among the Abrahamic branches, its history is more
accurate with respect to archaeological discoveries and writings of
authentic antiquity than those of the other two. I will give it that
much credit, especially given the painstaking measures that Islam has
taken to ward off corruption, particularly of the Quran.
Glad to know you recognise the Qur'an has been unchanged. Smile

I didn't say that I recognize that it has been unchanged. All I said was that measures had been taken to avoid corruption. There exist Hadiths found to be corrupted and although the written transcript of the Quran hasn't changed, certain recitations HAVE. There is a significant difference between the way it's recited in, say, Saudi Arabia and in Malaysia or Indonesia. Still different, Tunisian. Still different yet, Morrocan. Etc.
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