What is Islam?
Islam means to submit or surrender to God or to God`s will. Islam is a monotheistic religion from the line of Abraham. Muslims are Monotheist, meaning the followers of Islam believe in One God without partners, who created everything and does not need anything. This verse called “Verse of the Throne” describes God and is the most powerful verse of the Quran:
God! There is no deity but Him, the Alive, the Eternal.
Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him.
Unto Him belong whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth.
Who is he that intercedes with Him save by His leave?
He knows that which is in front of them and that which is behind them,
while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will.
His throne includes the heavens and the earth,
and He is never weary of preserving them.
He is the Sublime, the Tremendous. -Quran 2:255
Followers of Islam are called Muslims. Muslims are those who submit to God and attain peace.
And when I revealed to the Apostles [of Jesus], “Have faith in Me and in My messenger,” they said, “We have faith, and we bear witness that we are Muslims.” -Quran 5:11
Muslims believe that everything in the world is Muslim, in that they submit to God willingly except Humans. Humans have been given the intellectual capacity to choose to submit to not submit every day and in every speech and in every action. Submission is a constant struggle which includes all of the human capacities including; internal, mental and emotional and all of the body parts. An example can be a simple drink of water which can just a simple drink of water, however to a believer in God it is so much more. It is a connection between the Creator and the creation, it is a realization that someone knew we needed water and made enough for our substance, it is an appreation of the Love of God. We see the manifestation of Gods love, compassion, mercy, beauty, healing, and many more attributes/names through the water. So a simple drink of water is no longer a simple drink of water but it is pointing to a Divine source of substance that knows us better than ourselves.
99 Names of Allah
Muslims see the world through the names and attributes of God which are called the 99 Names or Attributes of God. These attributes are as follows:
Arabic English Translation
Allah (الله) The Greatest Name
1 Ar-Rahman The All-Compassionate
2 Ar-Rahim The All-Merciful
3 Al-Malik The Absolute Ruler
4 Al-Quddus The Pure One
5 As-Salam The Source of Peace
6 Al-Mu'min The Inspirer of Faith
7 Al-Muhaymin The Guardian
8 Al-Aziz The Victorious
9 Al-Jabbar The Compeller
10 Al-Mutakabbir The Greatest
11 Al-Khaliq The Creator
12 Al-Bari' The Maker of Order
13 Al-Musawwir The Shaper of Beauty
14 Al-Ghaffar The Forgiving
15 Al-Qahhar The Subduer
16 Al-Wahhab The Giver of All
17 Ar-Razzaq The Sustainer
18 Al-Fattah The Opener
19 Al-`Alim The Knower of All
20 Al-Qabid The Constrictor
21 Al-Basit The Reliever
22 Al-Khafid The Abaser
23 Ar-Rafi The Exalter
24 Al-Mu'izz The Bestower of Honors
25 Al-Mudhill The Humiliator
26 As-Sami The Hearer of All
27 Al-Basir The Seer of All
28 Al-Hakam The Judge
29 Al-`Adl The Just
30 Al-Latif The Subtle One
31 Al-Khabir The All-Aware
32 Al-Halim The Forbearing
33 Al-Azim The Magnificent
34 Al-Ghafur The Forgiver and Hider of Faults
35 Ash-Shakur The Rewarder of Thankfulness
36 Al-Ali The Highest
37 Al-Kabir The Greatest
38 Al-Hafiz The Preserver
39 Al-Muqit The Nourisher
40 Al-Hasib The Accounter
41 Al-Jalil The Mighty
42 Al-Karim The Generous
43 Ar-Raqib The Watchful One
44 Al-Mujib The Responder to Prayer
45 Al-Wasi The All-Comprehending
46 Al-Hakim The Perfectly Wise
47 Al-Wadud The Loving One
48 Al-Majid The Majestic One
49 Al-Ba'ith The Resurrector
50 Ash-Shahid The Witness
51 Al-Haqq The Truth
52 Al-Wakil The Trustee
53 Al-Qawiyy The Possessor of All Strength
54 Al-Matin The Forceful One
55 Al-Waliyy The Governor
56 Al-Hamid The Praised One
57 Al-Muhsi The Appraiser
58 Al-Mubdi' The Originator
59 Al-Mu'id The Restorer
60 Al-Muhyi The Giver of Life
61 Al-Mumit The Taker of Life
62 Al-Hayy The Ever Living One
63 Al-Qayyum The Self-Existing One
64 Al-Wajid The Finder
65 Al-Majid The Glorious
66 Al-Wahid The Unique, The Single
67 Al-Ahad The One, The Indivisible
68 As-Samad The Satisfier of All Needs
69 Al-Qadir The All Powerful
70 Al-Muqtadir The Creator of All Power
71 Al-Muqaddim The Expediter
72 Al-Mu'akhkhir The Delayer
73 Al-Awwal The First
74 Al-Akhir The Last
75 Az-Zahir The Manifest One
76 Al-Batin The Hidden One
77 Al-Wali The Protecting Friend
78 Al-Muta'ali The Supreme One
79 Al-Barr The Doer of Good
80 At-Tawwab The Guide to Repentance
81 Al-Muntaqim The Avenger
82 Al-'Afuww The Forgiver
83 Ar-Ra'uf The Clement
84 Malik-al-Mulk The Owner of All
85 Dhu-al-Jalal wa-al-Ikram The Lord of Majesty and Bounty
86 Al-Muqsit The Equitable One
87 Al-Jami' The Gatherer
88 Al-Ghani The Rich One
89 Al-Mughni The Enricher
90 Al-Mani' The Preventer of Harm
91 Ad-Darr The Creator of The Harmful
92 An-Nafi' The Creator of Good
93 An-Nur The Light
94 Al-Hadi The Guide
95 Al-Badi The Originator
96 Al-Baqi The Everlasting One
97 Al-Warith The Inheritor of All
98 Ar-Rashid The Righteous Teacher
99 As-Sabur The Patient One
Human beings are given the gift of intellect, feeling, emotions, power and much more and are therefore required to protect and take care of the whole earth and everything within it. This protection extends to smallest of creation including the ants as mentioned in the Quran when Prophet Solomon and his army came upon a valley of ants and Prophet Solomon stopped his army for the care of the ants (Quran 27:18-19).
Allah is Arabic translation of God. It literally translates to The God. It is a unique term that cannot be gendered or pluralized. Allah is therefore neither male or female. However many English translations will use He when referring to Allah. Allah is term used by Arabic speaking Christians where referring to God. Allah is the same God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, John and Jesus.
“The Messenger believes in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and the believers; each one believes in God and His angels, and in His Books and His Messengers; we make no division between any one of His Messengers. They say, 'We hear, and obey. Our Lord, grant us Thy forgiveness; unto Thee is the homecoming.” – Quran 2:285
Belief in God is referred to as Iman and is different than submission. Submission is an outward action and can be devoid of internal feeling while Iman is the belief through verification and often can include a “sweetness in the heart” or “noor face”. Noor is a light that enters the heart through remembrance of God and avoidance of sin. It thus manifests upon the face of a person close to Allah. A Muslim always aims for Ihsan or excellence in faith by consistently and constantly doing goof and forbidding evil first within ones own soul and than the souls he or she is responsible for. Every act, speech must have two key components to be accepted by Allah, 1. Sincerity, must be for Allah’s sake only 2. Comply with sacred law (sharia).
6 pillars of belief
1. The first article of Islamic faith is God. Belief in one God.
2. Angels – Angel Gabriel among countless others. Angels are a creation of light who cannot disobey God. They care the carriers of Gods decree and signs.
3. Prophets – 124,000 Prophets and 313 Messengers
4. Books – Books of God including Torah, Gospel and Quran among many others known or unknown.
5. Afterlife – the life on earth is followed by an after life which includes time in the grave, followed by a judgement day, and then heaven and hell.
6. Destiny – everything good or bad comes from God.
5 pillar of practice – all of which have Abrahamic roots
1. Declaration of Faith – a declaration that God is One and that Prophet Muhammad pbuh is his final messenger. With this declaration is a declaration that Jesus, Noah, Adam, Moses, Abraham and all of the Prophets are the Prophets of God with their sacred books.
2. Prayer 5 times a day which includes half bow and full bowing on the ground. The words and positions can be found in almost every religion in the world.
3. Obligatory Charity – Obligatory Charity also known as Zakat is 2.5% of end of the year wealth. Charity beyond this is highly recommended and has so many manifestations beyond wealth including smiling, planting a tree, planting a plant and more.
4. Fasting – Fasting again is an Abrahamic tradition which is a requirement in Islam. 30 days in the month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations. It is a detox from food, bad thoughts, bad actions and a raising of the soul and heart over stomach and desires.
5. Pilgrimage – Pilgrimage to the first place of worship of God on earth which was built by Prophet Adam. It was than rebuilt by Prophet Abraham after the great flood. Many of the pilgrimage rituals are in commemoration of Prophet Abraham and his family. Every man wears a white cloth to signify equality before God.
Sources of Islamic Practice
Quran – Holy book revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad through Angel Gabriel. Preserved verbatim in the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad by memorization and written down by scribes. Complied into one book within 2 years of lifetime of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Filled with miracles including future predictions, scientific, linguistic, and historical that are not explained except by a Divine power. Here is a graph depicting the Qurans many topics:
Hadith/Sunnah - a collection of traditions containing sayings, doings, and approvals of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh.
Seerah – Biography of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh.
Recommended Books on Islam – all can be found on Amazon
-Vision of Islam by William Chittick
-Sharia Law: An Introduction by Mohammad Hasan Kamali
-Principals of Islamic Jurisprudence by Mohammad Hasan Kamali
-Hadith Studies by Mohammad Hasan Kamali
-The Road to Mecca by Muhammad Asad
-Struggling to Surrender: Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam by Jeffery Lang
-Even Angels Ask by Jeffery Lang
-Purification of the Heart by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
-Being Muslim: A Practical Guide by Asad Tarsin
-Quran – English translation by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
-In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the life of Muhammad by Tariq Ramadan
-Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction by Johnathan A.C. Brown
-American Jihad: Islam after Malcolm X by Steven Barboza
-Islam: Spirit and Form by Osman Nuri Topbas