Monday, November 22, 2010

Articles of faith Main articles: Aqidah and Iman


The term Allāh is used by Muslims to refer to the one God while ʾilāh is the term used for a diety or a god in general.[25] Other non-Arab Muslims might use different names as much as Allah, for instance "Tanrı" in Turkish or "Khodā" in Persian.
Islam's fundamental concept is a rigorous monotheism, called tawhīd. God is described in chapter 112 of the Qur'an as:[26] "Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." (112:1-4) Muslims repudiate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism but accept Jesus as a prophet. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension and Muslims are not expected to visualize God. God is described and referred to by certain names or attributes, the most common being al-rahman, meaning "the compassionate" and al-rahim, meaning "the merciful" (See Names of God in Islam).[27]
Muslims believe that the purpose of existence is to worship God.[2] He is viewed as a personal God who states “We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein[28] and responds whenever a person in need or distress calls Him.[6][29] There are no intermediaries, such as clergy, between God and thecreation that he brought into being by the sheer command “‘Be’ and it is.”[6][30]


Belief in angels is fundamental to the faith of Islam. The Arabic word for angel (malak) means "messenger", like its counterparts in Hebrew (malakh) and Greek (angelos). According to the Qur'an, angels do not possess free will, and worship God in total obedience.[31] Angels' duties include communicating revelations from God, glorifying God, recording every person's actions, and taking a person's soul at the time of death. They are also thought to intercede on man's behalf. The Qur'an describes angels as "messengers with wings—two, or three, or four (pairs): He [God] adds to Creation as He pleases..."[32]


The first sura in a Qur'anicmanuscript by Hattat Aziz Efendi
The Islamic holy books are the records which most Muslims believe were dictated by God to various prophets. Muslims believe that parts of the previously revealed scriptures, the Tawrat (Torah) and the Injil (Gospels), had become distorted—either in interpretation, in text, or both.[3] The Qur'an (literally, “Reading” or “Recitation”) is viewed by Muslims as the final revelation and literal Word of God and is widely regarded as the greatest literary work in the Arabic language.[33][34][35] Muslims believe that the verses of the Qur'an were revealed to Muhammad by God through the archangel Gabriel (Jibrīl). on many occasions between 610 and his death on June 8, 632.[36] The Qur'an was reportedly written down by Muhammad's companions (sahabah) while he was alive, although the prime method of transmission was orally. It was compiled in the time of Abu Bakr, the first caliph, and was standardized under the administration of Uthman, the third caliph.
The Qur'an is divided into 114 suras, or chapters, which combined, contain 6,236 āyāt, or verses. The chronologically earlier suras, revealed at Mecca, are primarily concerned with ethical and spiritual topics. The later Medinan suras mostly discuss social and moral issues relevant to the Muslim community.[37] The Qur'an is more concerned with moral guidance than legal instruction, and is considered the "sourcebook of Islamic principles and values".[38] Muslim jurists consult the hadith, or the written record of Prophet Muhammad's life, to both supplement the Qur'an and assist with its interpretation. The science of Qur'anic commentary and exegesis is known as tafsir.[39]
When Muslims speak in the abstract about "the Qur'an", they usually mean the scripture as recited in Arabic rather than the printed work or any translation of it. To Muslims, the Qur'an is perfect only as revealed in the original Arabic; translations are necessarily deficient because of language differences, the fallibility of translators, and the impossibility of preserving the original's inspired style. Translations are therefore regarded only as commentaries on the Qur'an, or "interpretations of its meaning", not as the Qur'an itself.[40]


Hadith collections

Muslims identify the prophets of Islam (Arabicنبي‎) as those humans chosen by God to be His messengers. According to the Qur'an [41] the descendants of Abraham and Imran were chosen by God to bring the "Will of God" to the peoples of the nations. Muslims believe that prophets are human and not divine, though some are able to perform miracles to prove their claim. Islamic theology says that all of God's messengers preached the message of Islam—submission to the Will of God. The Qur'an mentions the names of numerous figures considered prophets in Islam, including AdamNoahAbrahamMoses and Jesus, among others.[42] Muslims believe that God finally sent Muhammad (Seal of the Prophets) to convey the divine message to the whole world (to sum up and to finalize the word of God). In Islam, the "normative" example of Muhammad's life is called the Sunnah (literally "trodden path"). This example is preserved in traditions known as hadith ("reports"), which recount his words, his actions, and his personal characteristics. The classical Muslim jurist ash-Shafi'i (d. 820) emphasized the importance of the Sunnah in Islamic law, and Muslims are encouraged to emulate Muhammad's actions in their daily lives. The Sunnah is seen as crucial to guiding interpretation of the Qur'an. Six of these collections, compiled in the 3rd century ah (9th century ace), came to be regarded as especially authoritative by the largest group in Islām, the Sunnites. Another large group, the Shīʾah, has its own Ḥadīth contained in four canonical collections.[6]

Resurrection and judgment

Belief in the "Day of Resurrection", Qiyamah (also known as yawm ad-dīn, "Day of Judgment" and as-sā`a, "the Last Hour") is also crucial for Muslims. They believe that the time of Qiyāmah is preordained by God but unknown to man. The trials and tribulations preceding and during the Qiyāmah are described in the Qur'an and the hadith, and also in the commentaries of scholars. The Qur'an emphasizes bodily resurrection, a break from the pre-Islamic Arabian understanding of death.[43]
The Qur'an lists several sins that can condemn a person to hell, such as disbelief, riba, and dishonesty. Muslims view heaven as a place of joy and bliss, with Qur'anic references describing its features and the physical pleasures to come. There are also references to ridwān.[44] Mystical traditions in Islam place these heavenly delights in the context of an ecstatic awareness of God.[45]


In accordance with the Islamic belief in predestination, or divine preordainment (al-qadā wa'l-qadar), God has full knowledge and control over all that occurs. This is explained in Qur'anic verses such as "Say: 'Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector'..."[46] For Muslims, everything in the world that occurs, good or evil, has been preordained and nothing can happen unless permitted by God. According to Muslim theologians, although events are pre-ordained, man possesses free will in that he has the faculty to choose between right and wrong, and is thus responsible for his actions. According to Islamic tradition, all that has been decreed by God is written in al-Lawh al-Mahfūz, the "Preserved Tablet".[47]

Friday, November 19, 2010


Islam (Arabicالإسلام‎ al-’islām, pronounced [ʔislæːm]  ( listen)[note 1]) is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Arabicالله‎, Allah), and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah collected in the hadith) of Muhammad, the last Prophet of Islam. The word Islam means 'Submission (to God)',[1] and an adherent of Islam is called a Muslim (see Islam (term)).
Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable.[2] Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through the prophets AbrahamMoses and Jesus. Muslims maintain that previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time[3], but consider the Quran to be both unaltered and the final revelation from God. Religious practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law (Arabicشريعة Šarīʿah), which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, encompassing everything from banking and welfare, to warfare and the environment.[4][5]
The Muslims belong to two denominations, with the majority (c. 80-90%) practicing Sunni Islam and approximately 10-20% Shia Islam.[6][7][8] About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country,[9] 25% in South Asia,[9] 20% in the Middle East,[10] 2% in Central Asia, 4% in the remaining South East Asian countries, and 15% in Sub-saharan Africa.[11] Sizable communities are also found in China and Russia, and parts of the Caribbean. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world. With about 1.57 billion Muslims comprising about 23% of the world's population[11] (see Islam by country), Islam is the second-largest religion and arguably the fastest-growing religion in the world.