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An Introduction to Basic Islamic Beliefs

The Message of Islam Team
3/17/2009
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I. Islam and Muslims
 
The name of this religion is Islam, the root of which, Silm or Salam, means peace.  Salam is also part of the greeting of peace among Muslims.  In addition, one of God's beautiful names of is As-Salam, meaning "The Peace."  The word, however, means much more than just "peace."  It means submission to the One God, as well as to live in harmony with other people and with the environment.  A Muslim is, therefore, any person, anywhere in the world, whose obedience, allegiance and loyalty are to God, Lord of the Universe, and who strives to live in accordance with God's laws.

 


 

 

 

II. Muslims and Arabs
 
The followers of Islam are called Muslims.  We should not confuse Muslims with Arabs.  Muslims may be Arabs, or they may be Turks, Persians, Indians, Pakistanis, Indonesians, Europeans, Africans, Americans, Chinese, or any other nationality.  Islam is not limited to any nationality or race.
 
Arabs, also, are not limited to only one religion.  An Arab may be a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian, an atheist, or part of any other belief system.  Any person who adopts the Arab language as his or her mother tongue is called an Arab.
 
While there are over one billion Muslims in the world, there are about 200 million Arabs, among whom about ten percent are not Muslim.  Thus, Arab Muslims constitute only about twenty percent of the Muslim population of the world.
 
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 meanings.  They pray in the language of the Qur'an, but supplications to God may be in any language.
 
III. Allah, the One and the Only God
 
Allah is the name of the One and Only God.  Allah has many 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 many others.
 
He is the Creator of all human beings.  He is the God of the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Hindus and all others, including those who do not even believe in Him. Muslims worship Allah, put their trust in Him, and seek His help and guidance. 
 
IV. Muhammad
 
Muhammad was chosen by Allah 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 at the age of forty.  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 humankind.  He is the final Messenger of God.  His message was and still is to all of humankind, including the Christians and Jews.  He was sent to inform the people about the true mission of Jesus, Moses, David, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham.
 
Muhammad's message is essentially the same as his brothers in faith who preceded him in prophethood, and is Allah's final revelation to humanity.  He was entrusted with the power of explaining, interpreting, and living the teachings of the Qur'an and is, thus, the ultimate role model for the believer who seeks to live a life pleasing to his/her Lord.
 
V. Sources of Islam
 
Islam is based on two scriptural sources: the Qur'an and the Sunnah; the former is the Lord's literal speech, revealed to His Prophet via the Archangel Gabriel, while the latter is the practical implementation of that revelation embodied in the life of Prophet Muhammad.  These sources are the guiding light that show the believer the direction to Paradise.
 
VI. Non-Muslims
 
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.  In a famous historical event, Islam's second Caliph, Umar, visited the Church of Jerusalem and the Christians, in turn, entrusted him with the Church's key, which remains in the hands of the Muslims to this day.
 
During the Spanish Inquisition, while Jews were being persecuted and extradited, they were welcomed with open arms in the Islamic Caliphate, where they settled and even enjoyed positions of power and authority.
 
Throughout the Muslim World, churches and synagogues have been built and maintained for the comfort of their followers.  They have even been honored and protected amidst the contemporary crises in the Middle East.

 

 






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