Islam • The Arabic meaning of Islam is submission to God/Allah; the creator of the universe. • Islam provides a comprehensive concept to humanity’s eternal question: who are we? • Islam is a comprehensive and balanced system of life encompassing the spiritual and the temporal realms.
The Creator • Attributes • Genderless and beyond imagination • Mercy • We are his honoured creatures • Direct relationship between God and the believers • Worship is intimate & personal
Trustees of God on Earth Relationship with Nature & Environment Harmony Complementary Animals are like us Humanity on Earth A purpose and a design
Inherent designed diversity Based on justice & fairness Obligations towards the poor Freedom of faith; no compulsion in religion Freedom of religious practice Special status for Christian and Jews (monotheist outlook) Relationship with fellow humans Relationship with other religions
Five tenets of Islam • Declaring your faith (Shahada) • Five daily prayers and one communal on Friday • Fasting one month every year • Pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia once in a life time • Helping the needy and the poor (Zakat)
An orphan of a noble, but not well-to-do, family that lived in Mecca. His father died before his birth. His mother died when he was six. His uncle raised him. He was known for being honest and truthful before prophethood. Worked as a shepherd and later as a trader Married his first wife Khadija, and the mother of his surviving children, when he was 25. She was 40. The ProphetHis background
In 610, he received his first revelation at 43. These revelations were compiled later into the Quran; the holy book of Muslims The nobles of Mecca refused his call, ostracized and persecuted him and his followers. After 12 difficult years, he immigrated in 622 to Medina whose people welcomed him. In Medina, he was a prophet and a statesman. In 633, he died in Medina after 11 years at 63 His personality revolves around the traits of mercy, generosity and forgiveness. The ProphetHis prophethood
The oneness of God, the creator of the whole universe Islam is the continuation of divine messages that God sent to humanity through prophets like Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and Jesus. The moral principles of the ten commandments are reflected in the message of Muhammad. It acknowledges the diversity of the human race and freedom of religions The ProphetThe message
The revelation of God to Muhammad It has been preserved as revealed 14 centuries ago. It consists of 114 chapters of various lengths. In Arabic, it numbers about 604 pages. The translation of its meaning is available in English, French and most of the world’s languages The Quran
Appeals to the mind to reflect on creations and the creator Glad tidings for the believers Admonitions to the non-believers Stories of previous messengers of God such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, Mary, etc. Rulings on social and commercial issues. The Quran
What the Quran says about • Moses: And we sent Moses with our signs; get your people from darkness to light and remind them of the miracles of Allah. For in it are signs for the thankful (14:5) • Mary: The angels said. “O Mary! Allah has chosen, purified and chosen you among the women of this world. Mary, worship your Lord devoutly: Prostrate and bow with those who bow down.(3:42-43) • Jesus: The angels said, “O Mary! Allah brings you good news; a word from Him whose name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the hereafter and of those nearest to Allah. He shall speak to the people when infant and old and shall be of the righteous. (3:45-46)
Consists of the following components: Rulings mentioned in the Quran Precedents in the life of Muhammad as it explains and complements the Quran in more details Opinions (fatwa) of Muhammad’s prominent companions. Opinions of previous jurisprudents Opinions of contemporary scholars Importance of majority and consensus The Muslim legal code “Shari’a”
The Mosque • The Muslim’s house of God • Muslims are encouraged to pray their daily prayers in congregation at the mosque. • Consists, in Canada, of a prayer hall, offices, washrooms, multi-purpose hall. • The mosque is run by a board or a committee. • The Imam (religious leader) leads the prayers and delivers sermons. His powers vary but normally limited to just that. • Persons entering the mosque are supposed to have cleansed themselves. • As a courtesy, and to avoid embarrassment or offence, non-Muslims should seek permission before entering the mosque. Islamic Foundation, Scarborough
The Muslims of the world • The number of Muslims in the world is estimated between 1.2-1.5 billions • The fastest growing religion • Sects: Sunni (the majority), Shia 7%, Ismaili 1%? • Homogenous when it comes to core beliefs and essential practices of Islam like daily prayers, fasting, etc • Like followers of international religions, Muslims are not homogenous in their interpretation and practice of Islam. History, dominant culture, government, and social factors influence them. • Socially diverse
Why Muslims are positive about Islam? • Islam brought liberation and justice for the underprivileged; the poor and women. • No nation can claim a monopoly on Islam. Everyone is welcome to enter. • The Muslim clergy, in general, defended the rights of the oppressed and constituted the moral and vocal opposition to tyrants and dictatorships.
The Muslim Women • The first to accept Muhammad’s message was his wife Khadija. Many of his followers were women who embraced Islam before their spouses or fathers. • Islam gave women the following rights, 1400 years ago: • The right to decide their future Muslim husbands. • The right to a definite share of the estate of a father, husband or children. A will cannot take away or abrogate this right. • The right to own property independently of their husbands or children. • The right to education. • The right to conduct their own commercial business. • The right to participate in politics.
The Muslim Women • The family/home is the focus of the majority of Muslim women; many qualified women don’t work, or defer work, for the sake of looking after their children (usually longer than the Canadian average). • The relationship between a man and a woman is to be established only through marriage with mutual, mostly traditional, roles and commitments. • Muslim men and women are urged “to keep the temptation away” and to remain faithful to their spouses. To achieve this: • Men are requested to lower their gaze when talking to women and not to indulge in their beauty. • Women are requested to dress modestly and cover their hair; they display their beauty only to their near family. • Separation between men and women, with various rigour and degrees in different societies, at schools, work and social functions • Women keeping maiden names
Islamic Terrorism • The expression • New phenomenon for Muslims. • Politically, and not religiously, rooted. • Grows with despair and hopelessness. • Hijacking • Suicide bombing • It has only political solutions.
Myths • Muslims have existed fundamentally and irreparably in a state of conflict with the Judeo-Christian civilization. • Islam is fundamentally aggressive or totalitarian. • Jihad can always have a radicalizing potential upon any and all Muslims. • Muslims have different sets of standards or rules when dealing with non-Muslims
Muslims take their religion, and its symbols, very seriously. Muslims invoke prayers frequently in their daily chores. Muslim women are required to dress modestly and not to show their beauty except to near family. Muslims are not supposed to sit or meet alone with members of the opposite sex. Muslims are respectful of elders, women and persons of authority. Out of respect they may not look you in the eye, not because they are avoiding you. Muslims have dietary restriction; mainly they are not allowed to eat pork, wild animals or animal slaughtered improperly. Islam forbids alcoholic beverages and drugs. Dealing with Muslims