Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What is the Religion of Islam?

It's been a while since I've written; it's just been a busy month. It's our month of Ramadan were it is 100% dedicated in developing our spirits to make it stronger and more peaceful by disciplining our lower self. With me, the results have been strikingly successful and there has been amazing change in me and I got learn a lot more about myself. So up till now, it has been a remarkable month.

A little while ago S.R. brought to my attention some really important issues that I think that might have been a misunderstanding of what I was saying in my earlier post. I'll have 2 separate posts clarifying my statement.

1st post: Explaining the Pillars Islam and the Pillars of its creed.

2nd post: Explaining the misconception of the actual word "Jihad" in Islam and Islamic ethics of war.

The Islamic religion is a really simple concept. It's just unfortunate that there are Muslims. That doesn't make them non-Muslim. I have no right and it is against Islamic teachings to make these accusations. I'm just saying that they are misinterpreting major details of the Qur'an. Plus, in my previous post, I wasn't defining the religion of Islam, I was just merely defining the word "Islam"

There are 5 pillars for being a Muslim according to the Prophet (PBUH):

1) Shahada: This Pillar is believing that there is only one God and Mohammad (PBUH) is His Prophet.

2) Salah (Prayer): This Pillar is praying five times a day.

3) Zakah (Charity): Muslims are supposed to give a fixed proportion of their savings for endeavors such as helping the poor.

4) Sawm (Fast): Refraining from food and drink during the month of Ramadan during daylight hours.

5) Hajj (Pilgrimage): This is making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your life, if it can be afforded.

The Islamic Creed and the 7 pillars of faith according to the Prophet (PBUH):

1) Believe in God.

2) Believe in Angels

3) Believe in God's books such as Torah, The Gospel, The Psalms and the Qur'an.)

4) Believe in God's Prophets ( Noah (PBUH), Jonah (PBUH), David (PBUH) Abraham (PBUH), Joseph (PBUH), Moses (PBUH), Jesus (PBUH) and Mohammad (PBUH)), just to name a few.

5) Believe in the Last Day

6) Believe in the Devine Destiny.

We, just like Jews and Christians, do also follow the 10 commandments and as humans we do mistakes. In Arabic the word human is "Insan" which derives from the word "nisyan" which means forgetfulness. Another words, we humans it is in our nature to forget the comandments or we choose to forget them, so we end up doing mistakes. It is only normal. We aren't perfect only the Creator of the Universe is. God is The Most Merciful and Most Compassionate. He forgives us when we do those mistakes if we admit them and if we don't realize we actually did a mistake. Hence we should always ask forgiveness even though we think we might not have made a mistake. In His own words: "My Mercy, comes before My Wrath"

What does Submission to God means in Islam? It's not just praising Him in unison. That's is one part of submission. We have to look at the bigger picture of the meaning of submission in Islam. In simple terms it means follow what God asks you to do. Surely, God does NOT ask of us only to pray for Him. He asks us to work hard on earth, to fix it, make it a better place. Be good to yourself and taking care of ourself and the people around us. Spread love, peace and justice. That's all part of submission. Believe it or not, recreational activities that doesn't conflict with Islamic ethics is considered as submission.

Why you may ask? It's simple… We are brought to earth for a reason and that is to make it a better living place. Help the poor, take care of the needy, clean the environment, help the mistreated, including animals, developing and building on this earth. Etc.. That is our reason of our existence as far as Islam is concerned. It's all about being Proactive.

The Qur'an says:

"Righteousness is not whether you turn your face to the east or to the west, but righteousness is he who believe in God, and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets; and gives of his wealth for the love of God to relatives orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, and those who ask, and for liberation of slaves and establishes the ritual prayer and pays the Zakah; and those who keep their pledges when they make then, and show patience in hardship and adversity, and times of distress. Such are truthful, and such are God-fearing." (2:177)

In order to be able to keep up with our duties, we need to be mentally, physically and spiritually healthy. So sleeping, eating, reading, learning, exercising, having a good laugh, etc… Any basic human need that helps us to be healthy in every shape and form is considered as a form of worship. Even smiling to another human being is considered a form of worship because it brings happiness to others. As I said earlier anything that feeds our intellect, emotions and spirit, as long as it doesn't conflict Islamic ethics, is considered a form of worship and that is what I meant by "submission" to God.

I hope that clears up the misunderstanding…

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