|Facts About Islam|
|Written by Dr. Ibrahim Dremali|
1) “Islam” literally means “peace through the submission to God”.
2) “Muslim” literally means “anyone or anything that submits itself to the will of God”.
3) Islam is not a culture its followers number over 1.9 billion worldwide. Along with Judaism and Christianity, it is considered to be one of the three Abrahamic traditions.
4) There are five pillars of practice in Islam. These practices must be undertaken with the best of effort in order to be considered a true Muslim: A) Shahadah – declaration of faith in the oneness of God and that Muhammad is the last prophet of God. B) Formal prayer five times a day. C) Fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan. D) Poor-due “tax” – 2.5% of one’s savings given to the needy at the end of each year. E) Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once, if physically and financially able.
5) There are six articles of faith in Islam. These are the basic beliefs that one must have in order to be considered a true Muslim. They are belief in: A) the One God. B) all the prophets of God. C) the original scriptures revealed to Prophets Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad. D) the angels. E) the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter. F) the divine decree (or destiny).
6) Islam is a complete way of life that governs all facets of life: moral, spiritual, social, political, economical, intellectual, etc.
7) Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. To become Muslim, a person of any race or culture must say a simple statement, the shahadah, that bears witness to the belief in the One God and that Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet of God.
8. “Allah” is an Arabic word that literally means “God”. Muslims also believe that “Allah” is the personal name of God.
9) Allah is not the God of Muslims only. He is the God of all people and all creation. Just because people refer to God using different terms does not mean that they are different gods. Spanish people refer to God as “Dios” and French people refer to God as “Dieu”, yet they are all the same God. Interestingly, most Arab Jews and Arab Christians refer to God as “Allah”. And the word Allah in Arabic appears on the walls of many Arab churches.
10) The Islamic concept of God is that He is loving, merciful, and compassionate. But Islam also teaches that He is just and swift in punishment. Nevertheless, Allah once said to Prophet Muhammad, “My mercy prevails over my wrath.” Islam teaches a balance between fear and hope, protecting one from both complacency and despair.
11) Terrorism, unjustified violence, and the killing of innocent people are absolutely forbidden in Islam. Islam is a way of life that is meant to bring peace to a society, whether its people are Muslim or not. The extreme actions of those who claim to be Muslim may be, among other things, a result of their ignorance or uncontrolled anger. Tyrant rulers and those who commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam are simply not following Islam. These people are individuals with their own views and political agendas. Fanatical Muslims are no more representative of the true Islamic teachings than Timothy McVeigh or David Koresh are of Christianity. Extremism and fanaticism is a problem that is common to all religious groups.
12) The word “jihad” does not mean “holy war”. Instead, it means the inner struggle that one endures in trying to submit their will to the will of God. Some Muslims may say they are going for “jihad” when fighting in a war to defend themselves or their fellow Muslims, but they only say this because they are conceding that it will be a tremendous struggle. But there are many other forms of jihad which are more relevant to the everyday life of a Muslim such as the daily struggles against self-desire, the struggle against a tyrant ruler or against the temptation of Satan, etc., etc.
13) Women are not oppressed in Islam. Any Muslim man that oppresses a woman is not following true Islam. Among the countless teachings of Prophet Muhammad which protected the rights and dignity of women is his saying, “…the best among you are those who treat their wives well.”
14) Islam grants Muslim women numerous rights in the home and in society. Among them are the right to work and earn money, the right to financial support, the right to an education, the right to an inheritance, the right to being treated kindly, the right to vote and representation on a board, the right to a dowry, the right to keep their maiden name, the right to worship in a mosque, etc.,
15) All Muslims are not Arab. Islam is a universal religion and way of life which includes followers from all races of people. There are Muslims in and from virtually every country in the world. Arabs only constitute about 20% of Muslims worldwide. Indonesia has the largest concentration of Muslims with over 120 million.
And a nasheed (beatbox, not music):