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Charity Registration No:1119082

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Islam at a Glance

What is Islam?
Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all his Prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world’s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the vast majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events, which have come to be associated with their faith.

Who are Muslims?
One billion people from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures across the globe – from the southern Philippines to Nigeria- are united by their common Islamic faith. About 18% live in the Arab world, substantial parts of Asia and Africa are Muslim, while significant minorities are to be found in the Soviet Union, china, North and South America and Europe.

What do Muslims believe?
Muslims believe in one unique, incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the Prophets through whom his revelations were brought to mankind; the day of judgement and individual accountability for actions; in God’s complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But God’s final message to man, a reconfirmation of eternal message and a summing – up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through Gabriel.

How does someone become a Muslim?
Simply by saying ‘there is no other God apart from Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’ By this declaration the believer announces his or her faith in all God’s messengers, and the scriptures they brought.

What does ‘Islam’ mean?
The Arabic word ‘Islam’ simply means ‘submission’, and derives from a word meaning ‘peace’. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. ‘Allah’ is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.

Why dos Islam often seem strange to non- Muslims?
Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because religion does not dominate everyday life in the west today, whereas Muslims have religion always uppermost in their minds, and make no division between secular and sacred. They believe that the divine law, the Shariah, should be taken very seriously, which is why issues related to religion are still
so important.

Do Islam and Christianity have different origins?
No. together with Judaism, they go back to the Prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons – Muhammad from the eldest, Ismael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement, which today is the city of Makkah, and built the Ka’bah towards which all Muslims turn when they pray.  

What is the Ka’bah?
The Ka’bah is the place of worship, which God commanded Abraham and Ismael to build over 4000 years ago.  The building was constructed of stone on what many believe was the original site of a sanctuary established by Adam. God commanded Abraham to summon all mankind to visit this place, and when pilgrims go there today they say ‘ At Thy service, O lord’, in response to Abraham’s summons.

Who is Muhammad (peace be upon him) ?
Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in Makkah in the year 570 CE, at the when Christianity was not fully established in Europe. Since his father died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quarysh. As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for this ability to arbitrate in disputes. The historians describe him as calm and meditative. Muhammad was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society.  It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the cave of Hira near the summit of Jabal un-Nur, the ‘Mountain of Light’ near Makkah.

How did Muhammad become a Prophet and a Messenger of God?
At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for 23 years, is known as the Qur’an. As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth, which God had revealed, to him, he and his small pf followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate. This event, the Hijra, ‘migration’, in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After several years, the Prophet and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and established definitively. Before the Prophet died at the age 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread to Spain in the west and as Far East as China.

What is the Qur’an?
The Qur’an is a record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad. It was memorised by Muhammad and then dictated to his companions, and written down by scribes, who crossed – checked it during his lifetime. Not one word of its 114 chapters, suras, has been changed over the centuries, so that the Qur’an is in every detail the unique and miraculous text which was revealed to Muhammad fourteen centuries ago.

Are they any other Sacred Sources?
Yes, the Sunnah, the practise and example of the Prophet, is the second authority for Muslims. A Hadith is a reliably transmitted report of what the Prophet said, did, or approved. Belief in the Sunnah is part of the Islamic faith.

 What are Five Pillars of Islam?
They are the frameworks of the Muslim life: faith, prayer, concern for the needy (Zakat), self-purification, and the pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.

Five Pillars of Islam: Faith - 1
There is no god worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger. This declaration of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which all the faithful pronounce.

Five pillars of Islam: Payer - 2
Salat is the name for the obligatory prayers, which are preformed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Qur’an, chosen by the congregation. These five prayers contain versus from the Qur’an, and are said in Arabic, the language of the revelation, but personal supplication can be offered in one’s own language.

Five pillars of Islam: Zakat - 3
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust.  The word Zakat means both ‘Purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.

Five Pillars of Islam: The Fast - 4
Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically unable to do this, they must feed a needy person for everyday missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier. Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self – purification. By the cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry as well as growth in one’s spiritual life.

Five Pillars of Islam: Pilgrimage (Hajj) - 5
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah, the Hajj, is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. Although Makkah is filled with visitors all year around, the annual Hajj itself begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic (with is lunar not solar, so that the Hajj and Ramadan for sometimes in winter or summer). Pilgrims were special clothes: special garments which strip away distinction of class and culture, so that all stand equal in front of God.

What do Muslims think of Jesus?
Muslims respect and revere Jesus and await his second coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s Messenger to mankind. A Muslim never refers to him as simply as Jesus but always adds the phrase upon him ‘Be peace’. The Qur’an confirmed his virgin birth (a chapter of the Qur’an is named Mary) and Mary is considered as the purest women in all Creation. The Qur’an describes the annunciation as follows:

‘Behold!’ the Angel said, ‘God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the messiah, Jesus son of Mary honoured in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near to god. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be righteous.’ She said: ‘O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?’ He said: ‘Even so; God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, “Be!” and it is’ Al-Qur’an 3:42-7

Jesus was born miraculously through the same power, which had brought Adam into being without a father.

Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the Likeness of Adam. He created him of dust,And then said to him, ‘Be’ and he was.Al-Qur’an 3:59

During his prophetic mission Jesus performed many miracles. The Qur’an tells us that he said:

I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God’s leave.Al-Qur’an 3:49

Neither Muhammad nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in One God, brought by earlier Prophets, but to confirm and renew it. In the Qur’an Jesus is reported as saying that he came:

To attest the law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden you: I have come to you with a sign from your lord, so fear god and obey me.Al-Qur’an 3:50

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Whoever believes there is no God but Allah, Alone without a partner, that Muhammad is His messenger of God, that Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit emanating from Him, And that paradise and Hell are true, shall Be received by God into Heaven.
Hadith from Bukhari.

Why is the Family so important to Muslims?
The family is the foundation of Islamic society. The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued, and seen as essential for spiritual growth of its members. A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families; children are treasured, and rarely leave home until the time they marry.

What about Muslim Women?
Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage dowry is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband’s, Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is modest and dignified; the traditions of female dress found in some Muslim countries are often the expression of local customs.

The messenger of God said:

‘The most prefect in faith amongst believers is he who is bet in manner and kindest to his wife.’

Is Islamic Marriage like Christian Marriage?
A Muslim marriage is not a ‘sacrament’, but a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions. Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. As a result, divorce is not common, although it is not forbidden as a last resort. According to Islam, no Muslim girl can be forced to marry against her will: her parents will simply suggest young men they think may be suitable.

How do Muslims treat the Elderly?
In the Islamic world there are no old people’s homes. The strain of caring for one’s parents in the most difficult time of their lives is considered an honour and blessing, and opportunity for great spiritual growth. God asks that we not only pray for our parents, but acts with limitless compassion, remembering that we were helpless children they preferred us to themselves. Mothers are practically honoured: the prophet taught that ‘Paradise lies at the feet of mothers’. When they reach old age, Muslim parents are treated mercifully, with the same kindness and selflessness. In Islam, serving one’s parents is a duty second only to prayer, and it is their right to except it. It is considered despicable to express any irritation when, through no fault of their own, the old become difficult. The Qur’an says:

Your lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and be kind to parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, do not say ‘uff’ to them or chide them, but speak them in terms of honour and kindness. Treat them with humility, and say, ‘My Lord! Have mercy on them, for they did care For me when I was little’. Al-Qur’an 17:23-4 

How do Muslims view Death?
Like Jews and Christians, Muslims believe that the present life is only a trial preparation for the next realm of existence. Basic articles of faith include: day of judgement, resurrection, Heaven and Hell. When a Muslim dies, he or she is washed, usually by a family member, wrapped in clean white cloth, buried with a simple prayer preferably the same day. Muslims consider this one of the they can do for their relatives, and an opportunity to remember their own brief existence here on earth. The Prophet taught that three things can continue to help a person after death; charity which he had given, knowledge which he had taught and prayers on their behalf by a righteous child. 

What does Islam say about War?
Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defence, in defence of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat, which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crop, tree and livestock. As Muslims see it, injustice would be triumphant in the world if good men were not prepared to risk their in a righteous cause. The Qur’an says:

Fight in the God against those who Fight you, but do not transgress limits.God does not love transgressors. If they seek peace, then seek your peace. And trustIn God for He is the One that hearth and knows all things.
Al-Qur’an 2:190 & 8:61

War, therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The terms Jihad literally means ‘struggle’, and Muslims believe that there are two kinds of ‘Jihad’ is the inner struggle, which everyone wages against egotistic desires, for the sake of attaining inner peace.

How does Islam guarantee Human Rights?
Freedom of conscience is laid down by the Qur’an itself:

‘There is no compulsion in religion’.Al-Qur’an 2:256

The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred. Racism is incomprehensible to Muslims; the Qur’an speaks of human equality as follows:

O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honoured of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is all knowing, all aware. Al-Qur’an 49:13

Muslims throughout the world.
The Muslims population of the world is around one billion - 30% live in the Indian subcontinent, 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 17% in South East Asia, 18% in the Arab world, 10% in the soviet union and china. Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan compromise 10% of the non- Arab Middle East. There are approximately 5m Muslims in the USA and 2m in the UK.









Jalalia Mosque and Islamic Education Centre
Machen Place • Riverside  • Cardiff  • CF11 6ER  • United Kingdom
tel: 029 2022 1309