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Basics of Islam

A person who accepts Islam is called a Muslim. It means "one who surrenders". A Muslim is required to do all that Allah and his Messenger Muhammad (PBUH) have told not to do.

Allah and his Messenger (PBUH) have told us to do good deeds like being kind to our parents, to help others who are less fortunate and to be kind to animals.

Allah is One and Almighty.
He is our Lord.
He is created everything that is in the earth and the heavens.
He has no partner.
He has no mother or father, son or daughter.
He is Eternal.
There is nothing similar to Him.
He knows everything.
He sees everything.
He hears everything.
Nothing is hidden from Him.

He is Kind and Loving. He is Gracious and Merciful.

He is Clement and Forgiving.
Allah has beautiful Names which indicate His Attributes.
He is the One Who provides each and every one of His creation with the means to survive. 
He is the One Who created everything for our survival like the earth in which crops grow, water living things drink from, the air which they breathe and kindling for fire.
Muslim should turn only to Him in their times of need and sadness.
Muslim should seek help only from Him.
He is the One Who worthy of worship. Nothing else should be worshipped but He. There is no greater sin than Shirk, which means to associate partners unto Allah and believe that they can give us benefit or cause us harm, or worship or seek help from others besides Him.

Muhammad (PBUH) was the Prophet. Allah chose him to reveal His Last Message. He came with complete guidance for mankind. He received the Noble Quran from Allah through Angel Jibril. He was born in Makkah and was orphaned at a young age. He was cared for by his grandfather and then his uncle after grandfather died. Muhammad (PBUH) led an honest life, and was known as As-Sadiq (the truthful) and Al-Amin (the trustworthy) He received the first Revelation at the age of forty. 

He lived in Makkah for thirteen years, and called people to Islam. However, most of the people of Makkah refused to follow him. Theu made fun of him and tortured him and those who followed him. He suffered a great deal, but continued to preach the Word of Allah. He was forced to leave Makkah and go to Al-Madinah for ten years calling peoples to obey Allah. He had fight those who tried to stop him from spreading the Message of Allah.

Before he died, the whole Arabia had accepted Islam. He passed away at the age of 63. This shows that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a human being just like us. He was not a Divine being, but was only a slave of Allah. Muslims must obey him, respect him, love him, but must not worship him nor attribute to him qualities which Allah possesses.

Muslims must follow his excellent example and follow the Right Path according to his teachings. He taught that all men, whether rich or poor, of whatever colour or race, are equal before Allah. it is only their obedience to Allah and their good deeds which may make some people better than others. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us to love, respect and be kind to one another, and to others of Allah creation.

He was the last and fianl Prophet. No Prophet shall come after him. Those who obey Allah and follow the teachings of His Messenger Muhammad (PBUH) be rewarded with Paradise in the Hereafter.

A Muslim must have Iman. Iman means to have firm belief in six things:

1: The first believe in Allah, to believe that He exists, He is One, and He Alone is the creator, Sustainer and Lord over everything, and He Alone is worthy of worship.

2: The second is to believe in the angels who are also the creation of Allah. Allah created them from light, and they always obey Him. They have been assigned various tasks which they carry out faithfully. Some of them were given the task of carrying the Message to the Prophets. Others are assigned to record the good and bad actions of human beings. The number of angels is well-known to us. They are Jibril, Mikail, Izrail and Israfil.

3: The third is believe in Allah Prophets. They were His Messengers on this earth, and were responsible for teaching Islam to their people. They came to teach people to do good, and lived their lives according to what they preached. The first man was also the Prophet, and he was Adam (PBUH). The last Prophet was Muhammad (PBUH). Some other famous ones are Nuh ( Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismail (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus). A Muslim must believe in all the Prophets and give them due respect but they should not be worshipped.

4: The fourth is to believe in the Books of Allah. Allah revealed Books to His Prophets. These Books contain the guidance of Allah for mankind. The Noble Quran is the Book revealed to our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The three Books known to us which were revealed before the Quran are the Torah which was revealed to Musa, the Zabur which was sent down to Dawud, and Injil which given to Isa. Some people who were disobedient to Allah have distorted some of these Books to mislead the people. Allah has protected the Noble Quran from any kind of distortion.

5: The fifth is to believe in life after death. A Muslim has to believe that life in this world will come to an end one day. Everything in this world will perish. Then Allah will bring all human being back to life and judge them according to their deeds which they did while they lived on earth. The people who have obeyed Allah and spent their lives doing good will go to Paradise. There they will have everything good that they could possibly want, as a reward for their good deeds. The people who have disobedient to Allah Commands and have done bad things will go to Hell. There they will be cast into a big Fire as punishment for their bad deeds.

6: The sixth is to believe that everything comes from Allah. This means that Allah knows everything that is Going to happen whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. Nothing in this world takes place without His Permission or Knowledge. If something good happens to a Muslim, he should thank Allah for it. He should be patient and ask Allah for relief if something bad happens to him.

 This is the Holy Book which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a guidance to mankind. It was revealed to him over twenty-three years. The first revelation to him when he was contemplating in the cave of Hira.

Then suddenly Angel Jiril appeared to him and asked him to read. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "i cannot read" The Angel embraced him tightly and then released him saying, "Read" Again the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said,  "i cannot read" Once again angel Jibril embraced him tightly and then released him saying: Surah Al-Alaq, Verse: 1-5

Recite in the name of your Lord who created -

Created man from a clinging substance.
Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous -
Who taught by the pen -
Taught man that which he knew not

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was terrified and rushed to his house. He told his wife Khadijah (PBUH) what had happened. She consoled him and asked him to rest. The Verses of The Quran continued to be revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) telling him to ask the people to follow the Right Path of Islam.

Every time the verses were revealed, the Prophet (PBUH) would order his people to write them down. All verses of the Quran were presevred in this way. Later they where made into a Book which we have today.

The Quran is the Book of guidance for all mankind, It contains all the basic principles of the religion os Islam. It has given the details of the matters of Belief, the duties which are compulsory for Muslims to perform, and code of conduct which Muslims must follow.

Muslims must recite the Quran in Arabic and learn its meaning in their own languages. They must also act according to its teachings. There are 114 chapters in the Quran. Some are very long, and some are short. The Quran is divided into 30 parts. This is to make it easy for people to recite one part a day, and finish reciting it in a month. Recitation of the Quran and remembering its chapters and verses by heart are good deeds for which a person will be rewarded.

You have earlier learnt that Islam is based on Five Pillers. Now let us look at each pillar in turn:

1. Shahadah: 

This is to firmly believe in the heart and decide:

This is Shahadah. It is the very basis of Islam. Once a person declares it, he becames a Muslim. The Shahadah has two parts/ The first part is a declaration that Allah is the only Lord and Ruler, and He Alone is worthy of worship.

He has no partner, and He cannot be compared with other thing. Everything which in this universe is under His control and works according to His command. Mankind is also required to live according to the Commands of Allah.  Allah loves those who follow His Command. Allah dislike those who disobey Him.

The second part of the Shahadah is the declaration that Muhammad (PBUH) os the Messenger of Allah. He was the one who brought the Quran to us. Muslims are required to obey the Prophet (PBUH)  and follow his example without any hesitation.

Muslims are also required to honour and respect him, and ask Allah to give him blessing and salutations. Whenever his name is mentioned we must say:

2. Prayer (Salat)

This is to pray (perform Salat) five times a day. It is the distinguishing feature of Islam. A person abandons prayer at the risk of going out of Islam. Prayer is the most ssential obligatory duty which a Muslim must perform. This is the most obvious act which a Muslim does to show his obedience to Allah. Salat is also a means ot remembering Allah.

In prayer a person leaves everything and devotes himself to the worship to Allah. He dose exactly what he has been instructed by Allah's Messenger Muhammad (PBUH) . He changes from one posture to another in a composed manner, focusing his mind on Allah. He feels that he is standing before Allah the Almighty. Prayer is indeed a means of bringing mankind close to Allah.

In prayer, one stands facing the direction of the Kabah, bows and kneels before his Lord. He recited the Opening Chapter of the Quran ( Surat Al-Fatihah) praising and glorifying Allah, and asking for His Support and Help. This is Al-Fatihah,

In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
[All] praise is [due] to Allah , Lord of the worlds -
The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,
Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.
It is You we worship and You we ask for help.
 Guide us to the straight path - 
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

Because of its importance, every Muslim male or female must learn how to perform Salat. Children should start performing it from the age of seven. When they reach the age of ten, their parents should discipline them if they dont do it. Prayer must be done by all Muslims and in all conditions. Those who cannot stand, can pray sitting down. Those who cannot sit, can do it lying down. Travelers should shorten their prayers.

There are five prayers each day. There are:

Fajar, which is observed at dawn before then sun rises.

Zuhr, which is observed at noon when the sun start to decline from the meridian.
Asr, which is to be observed in the late afternoon.
Maghrib, which is to be observed when the sun sets.
Isha, which is offered at night before going to bed.

One can therefore see that a Muslim's day starts and ends with prayer. The first thing a Muslim dose when he/she awakes in the morning is to think of Allah, praising Him and giving Him thanks. At the close of the day after doing all his/her daily activities he/she remembers Allah in his/her prayer, praising and thinking Him before he/she sleeps.

Prayer may be offered individually or in congregation. When it is performed in a congregation, the people stand in straight rows. The person who leads the prayer in called the Imam. He stands in front of the rest of the congregation. The congregation follows him in each step of the prayer. It is best to perform all the five obligatory prayers in congregation.

On Friday, prayer in congregation is compulsory for men. Women may also attend if they like. This Friday prayer is performed in place of the normal noon prayer. Before the prayer, the Khutba (sermon) is given by the imam. This contains guidance for Muslims as to how to deal with the problems of daily life.

Before performing prayer, a person must make sure that his body, clothes and his place of worship are clean. A special act of cleansing, called Wudu (ablution) must be done before prayer.

Wudu is performed by first washing hands. This is followed by rinsing the mouth and nose. Then the face is washed and the forearms up to the elbows. After this, wet hands are passed over the head and inside and outside of the ears. Finally, the feet are washed up to the ankles.

Each time Wudu, is made, all these parts should not be washed more then three times except when passing wet hands over the head which is to be done only once. If a person has done Wudu and then puts on socks, he does not need to take them off when he next makes Wudu. He may just pass wet hands over them once.

3. Zakat

Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. It is a way to doing our duty to other Muslims. Zakat is also to remind a person that his wealth is not his own, but its real owner is Allah. This should make a person ready to spend it in accordance with Allah's Command. Zakat is an annual payment made by people. It is not a tax imposed by Islam, but a due fixed by Allah so that the wealth of a person may be purified.

Zakat becomes due on savings which have been kept for one full year. Two and half percent of the total money is given to those who are in need. For example, if a person has 1000$ in savings which he has kept for a year then he will pay 25.00$.

Zakat is an act of worship. It is also a way of showing sympathy to those who are less fortunate. It is meant to take away from our hearts greed and the love of money. It is also a bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Zakat purifies one's wealth. Wealth on which Zakat has not been paid will be a source of punishment for its owner.

4. Fasting

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 183 O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.

Fasting means to keep away from eating, drinking and the sexual act from dawn to sunset. Fasting is a compulsory for every Muslim during the month or Ramdan.

Fasting is both a physical and spiritual exercise. The person who is fasting is required to keep himself away from any act which displeases Allah. He should not engage in any evil behavior He should not say bad things nor quarrel with anyone. If he does not control himself and avoid evil deeds. his fast will not bring him any benefit nor reward from Allah.

Fasting through Ramadan trains one to control the desires. It also teaches one to discipline the behavior. Fasting helps one to strengthen his will-power. It also develops a person's endurance and steadfastness.

Fasting provides Muslims with the opportunity to experience the hunger and thirst suffered by many starving people in this world. Only in this way can Muslims learn and understand what it really feels like not to have food or drink. A Muslim will then be able to show sympathy, and be prepared to help and support them. This is why the fasting month of Ramadan is called the Month of Endurance and Sympathy.

Fasting is the true manifestation of obedience to Allah. The person who is fasting does so for the sake of Allah. For this reason, Allah has prepared a great reward for those who fast. They will go into Paradise through a very special gate.

During the month of Ramadan, a special prayer is offered which is called Tarawih. Parts of the Noble Quran are recited during Tarawih. Usually, the recitation of the whole Book is completed by the end of the month.

The month of Ramadan is also important for another reason. In it is a very special night called Laylat-ul-Qadr. It was on this night that the Noble Quran was revealed. It is night full of blessings. Muslims are encouraged to spend that night worshipping and remembering Allah.

Worship during Laylat-ul-Qadr carries the reward of more then one thousand months. We are not told when exactly in Ramadan that night is, but Allah's Messenger Muhammad (PBUH) said that it was one of the odd-numbered nights in the last ten days of Ramadan. He encouraged Muslims to spend most of their time in worshipping Allah in Ramadan, especially during the time when they might find Laylat-ul-Qadr.

Indeed, We sent the Qur'an down during the Night of Decree.
And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree?
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.
The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter.
Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. 

A day of celebration called Eid-ul-Fitr comes after the end of Ramadan. It is a day to rejoice the success of completing the month of fasting. It is a happy occasion and is full of joy. The day starts with special prayer and reciting the words of praise and glory of Allah. Before going to the Eid prayer every Muslim is required to give Sadqat-ul-Fitr for himself and his dependents.

Sadqat-ul-Fitr is the giving of either money or food to the poor and needy so that they could satisfy their needs on that day, and join in celebrating the day of joy and happiness. It is also meant to purify fasting in Ramadan from any fault or defect.

5. Hajj (Pilgrimage)

The fifth pillar of Islam is to perform Hajj or pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Makkah. It is compulsory on Muslims who can afford the expenses and physically able to undertake the journey. It is obligatory only once in a Muslim's Life.

Hajj was performed for the first time by the Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail (PBUH). Ibrahim was ordered by Allah to call people for pilgrimage  It is in response to his call call that Muslims rush to Makkah every year. They carry out the act of Hajj with devotion and sincerity. They confirm their readiness to forsake worldly enjoyment and comfort for the sake of Allah.

Hajj is the largest annual gathering of Muslims. They come from all over the world to assemble in the Holy Land. They meet one another and exchange good wishes.

Hajj is true demonstration of the fact that Islam is a universal religion and all Muslims are brothers and equal to one another. Pilgrimage wear the same clothing and gather on the plain of Arafat. This is a reminder that all mankind will one day gather on the Day of Judgement when they will be presented to Allah. They will stand equal before Allah except in the degree of piety and righteousness. Hajj symbolises devotion to Allah and obedience of His Commands.

This post first appeared on Mesothelioma Symptoms Online, please read the originial post: here

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Basics of Islam


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