An Introduction to Islam November 14th, 2006 By Suhail Niazi
Table of contents 1. Who am I? 2. Five pillars of Islam 3. Basic beliefs 4. Who is Allah? 5. Who is Muhammad? 6. What is the Quran and Sunnah? 7. Islam and other religions 8. Islamic dress 9. What is forbidden in Islam 10. Muslim Population and divisions 11. Misconceptions about Islam 12. Questions and Answers
Who am I? • What is my background? • What do I do? • IT Security Consultant • Part-time at MuslimGear Clothing www.MuslimGear.com • Webmaster at Beconvinced Islamic website www.Beconvinced.com • How did I learn about Islam?
Five Pillars of Islam • Shahadah = Faith / Testimony • Salat = Prayer • Siyaam= Fasting (Ramadan) • Zakat = Charity • Hajj = Pilgrimage
Shahadah = Faith / Testimony • Faith in One God • Testimony of faith is “There is no God but God and Muhammed is his Messenger”
Salat = Prayer • Five Daily Prayers from Dawn to Late Evening regulate a Muslim’s day • Prayers involve ablution, standing, bowing, prostrating, sitting postures • Facing Kabah prayers are in Arabic as taught by Muhammed • Additional Prayers optional • Prayers can be done almost anywhere • Friday prayers are done at the Masjid \ Mosque • Prayers done to remember and thank God for all your blessings
Siyaam= Fasting (Ramadan) • Fasting is done for 30 days during the month of Ramadan determined by the moon sighting • Means abstinence from eating, drinking, sexual relations, lying, cheating, backbiting from dawn to sunset time on the day of fasting • Fasting for both male and female after the age of puberty. Pregnant, nursing, ill, old, child and traveler are exempted from fasting during Ramadan.
Fasting Benefits • Piety: Help believers to reach piety. • Learn self-control: especially helpful to control bad habits like smoking, excessive eating, backbiting and more • Feel the pain of poor starving people. • Feel the weakness of one’s body and the continuous need for God’s support. • Become more thankful to God • Bring families, and people all over the world together (when they fast then break the fast at the same time)
Zakat = Charity • Required 2.5% charity on yearly savings • A Muslim must be a charitable person • Removing a stone from the road is charity • Greeting a person with a smile is charity
Hajj = Pilgrimage • Pilgrimage to Makkah once in life time for able Muslims • About 2.5 million Muslims perform Hajj each year from all over the world. • Prophet Abraham built the Kabah as the first place of worship • Performing Hajj is a series of rituals that were done by Abraham, Sarah and Muhammad (peace be upon them all)
Basic Beliefs 1. Belief in One God 2. Belief in all Prophets 3. Belief in all Scriptures 4. Belief in the Angels 5. Belief in the Day of Judgment 6. Belief in Predestination
Who is Allah? • Allah is the Arabic name for God • Is not gender specific and is unique • Tawhid • Attributes not like mankind • Sent Prophets with revelations
Who is Muhammad? • The final Prophet for Muslims • Descendant of Ishmael, the first son of Abraham. • Born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in the year 570 C.E. • His parents died very early. • He never worshiped idols, drank alcohol or lied. • He worked as a shepherd and then as a trader. • Received first revelation at the age 40 through angel Gabriel. • Died a natural death in the year 632 C.E at the age of 63
What is the Quran and Sunnah? Quran • Final revelation sent from God to Muhammed via angel Gabriel • Sent in 23 years in parts. 114 chapters • Memorized to preserve authenticity • Recited during the 5 daily prayers • Quran can be misinterpreted if not read with context and background
What is the Quran and Sunnah? Sunnah • Statements or actions of Muhammad • Collected and preserved by his companions • Sunnah is the application of the Quran • Sunnah explains the Quran • Compiled in books called Hadith
Islam and other religions • Respect for other religions, their Gods and their places of worship • People of the book have closer resemblance • Prophets (Adam, Noah, Ibraham, Moses, Jesus) • Scriptures (Torah, Psalms, Gospel) • Marriage (Christianity and Judaism) • Similar beliefs
Islamic dress Islamic Dress • Men and Women each must dress modestly when in public • Men: Navel to the stomach, not tight fitting, preferred to have beard to follow tradition of Prophets • Women: Full body, not tight fitting, Hijab
Forbidden in Islam • Shirk: worshiping anybody/anything other than God. • Treating parents badly: not obeying there orders, speaking to them in loud voice even if they have a different faith. • Murder, suicide • Stealing • Usury \ Interest • Gambling • Treating neighbors badly even if they have a different faith. • Adultery, homosexuality • Backbiting • Drinking Alcohol, drugs • Eating pork.
Where are Muslims located • Between 1.3 – 1.5 Billion Muslims, 2nd largest • Indonisia largest Muslim population • Under 20% of Muslims from the middle east. Majority from Indian sub continent, Asia and Africa • Sunni 89% and Shia 10%. Very similar • Between 500,000 - 600,000 Muslims live in Canada • Between 6-7 Million in the United States
Misconceptions about Islam • Muslims are violent, terrorists and / or extremists • Islam oppresses women • Muslims worship a different God • Islam was spread by the sword and is intolerant of other faiths • All Muslims are Arabs • The concept of Polygamy in Islam • Muslims are a barbaric, backward people
Warfare in Islam • The battles during Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) time • Do not kill innocent civilians • Women and children must not be harmed • Places of worship of other religions must not be destroyed • Water should not be contaminated • Green trees should not be cut • Elderly and sick should not be killed • Those who surrender must be protected • Forgiveness must prevail over revenge • Killing someone because of his/her nationality or religion is a crime
Equality in Islam • All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white (person) has no superiority over a black (person) nor a black has any superiority over a white except by piety and good action