Sunday, July 1, 2012

Questioning Islam :What-Why-How ?

Wow, I’m posting a serious topic : about Islam. I try to make it as light as I could, in fact I’m a lite writer. So what makes me want to write Islam topic is not just because I’m a Muslimah. There are many views of Islam out there which actually to me is not Islam. Islam is perfect but the imperfection of its follower brings misunderstanding about Islam. In some parts of the world Islam always been connected with jihad which means terror bombing and also women oppression. Insha Allah I’ll write the topic Women in Islam saparetely. I’m not an Islam expert/ustadza, the article mostly shows how my belief in Islam, my personal view based on my Islam knowledge.  My knowledge itself always need to be improved. Allah’s knowledge is like an amount of water in the ocean while human’s knowledge is just a tiny little drop of water. We may find sources about Islam everywhere but of course always careful with what we read. Make sure the accuracy, don’t be fooled by fakes. The true sources are Al Qur’an and Hadist. Allah promises that the holiness of Qur’an will be preserved until the End of The World. 

When I was in teenages, honestly I’m not a religious person though my parents kept me going to mosque everyday to learn how to recite Qur’an and Islam since I was 6. I was using that time to play around with my childhood friends besides learning.  Now, to me Islam is more than religion to manage relationship between human and God, it consists how we live in the world in managing all side of human living. Not just the way we worship Allah, it also manages how to relate with human and other Allah’s Creation such as animal and nature. So in Islam we are guided to walk in the right path for  law,  health, economy/finance, wardrobe, marriage, food/drink, and more. Prophet Muhammad saw. is the role model. Thanks to IslamReligion website for becoming the source of paragraps below.    

Muslims believe in Almighty God by worshipping Him Alone and obeying His commandments. The oneness of God, the prophethood of Muhammad, and the concept of life after death are the basic articles of its faith.  They are based on reason and sound logic. Islam does not refer to any particular person, such as Christianity, Buddhism or Zoroastrianism; a tribe like Judaism; or a nation like Hinduism. Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion for Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth.  In actuality, over 80% of the world's Muslims are not Arabs! Even though most Arabs are Muslims, there are Arabs who are Christians, Jews and atheists.  If one just takes a look at the various peoples who live in the Muslim World - from Nigeria to Bosnia and from Morocco to Indonesia - it is easy enough to see that Muslims come from all different races, ethnic groups, cultures and nationalities.  Islam has always been a universal message for all people.  This can be seen in the fact that some of the early companions of the Prophet Muhammad were not only Arabs, but also Persians, Africans and Byzantine Romans.

In Islam, there are 6 Articles of Belief :
Belief in God
The core of the Islamic creed is bearing witness to the phrase, La illaha illa Allah, “There is no true deity deserving worship but God.”  The testimony to this belief, called tawhid, is the axis around which all Islam revolves. For many non-Muslims, the term Allah, the Arabic name of God, refers to some distant and strange deity worshipped by the Arabs.  Some even think it to be some pagan “moon-god”.  However, in Arabic, the word Allah means the One True God. Even, Arabic speaking Jews and Christians refer to the Supreme Being as Allah. According to Islam, the correct way of finding God is through the preserved teachings of the prophets.  Islam maintains that the prophets were sent by God Himself throughout the ages to guide human beings to Him.  God says in the Holy Quran that the correct path to belief is to reflect upon His signs
Belief in Angels/Malaikat
I remember I learnt Names of Angels in one of my Islam lessons. Unlike humans or jinn, they have no free will and therefore can do only what God orders them to do. An example of a task they carry out is that of testing of individuals by granting them abundant wealth and curing their illness. Just as humans are made of clay, and jinn are made of smokeless fire, angels are made of light. As Indonesian muslim I pronounce Gabriel as Jibril, Raphael as Israfil, Michael as Mikail and Ezrael as Izrail. There are also other Angels such as Munkar and Nakir who questioning us inside grave, Ridwan and Maalik who guard Jannah/Paradise and Jahannam/Hell and more Angels.
Belief in the Prophets and Messengers
From Adam to Muhammad. So Noah, David, Solomon, Jacob, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Abraham, Ishmael, Jesus/Isa are also Prophet and Messengers of Islam. They brought Allah’s Messeges  from time to time, reminding sins and telling to worship to the Only Allah. Devils never stop as themselves promised to Allah will always distracting human, keep us away from Jannah.
Belief in the Sacred Texts
These books include the Books of Abraham, the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  These books all had the same source (God), the same message, and all were revealed in truth.  This does not mean that they have been preserved in truth.  Muslims (and many other Jewish and Christian scholars and historians) find that the books in existence today are not the original scriptures, which in fact have been lost, changed, and/or translated over and over again, losing the original message.
Belief in Life After Death
After Qiamat/End of the World, all human will be judged and enter Heaven or Hell.
Belief in the Divine Decree
Try our best effort in every aspects and Allah will do the rest. Accept our destiny because Allah Knows what’s best. Everything good or bad, all moments of happiness or sorrow, pleasure or pain, come from God.

And these “Pillars of Islam” represent the core that unites all Muslims :
The ‘Declaration of Faith’
A Muslim is one who testifies that “none deserves worship but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”  This declaration is known as the “shahada” (witness, testimony).  Allah is the Arabic name for God, just as Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God.  By making this simple proclamation one becomes a Muslim. The second part of the testimony of faith states that Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is a prophet of God like Abraham, Moses and Jesus before him.  Muhammad brought the last and final revelation.  In accepting Muhammad as the “seal of the prophets,” Muslims believe that his prophecy confirms and fulfills all of the revealed messages, beginning with Adam’s. 
The Prayer (Salah)
Muslims worship five times a day: at daybreak, noon, mid afternoon, sunset, and evening.  It helps keep believers mindful of God in the stress of work and family.
The Compulsory Charity (Zakah)
In Islam, the true owner of everything is God, not man.  People are given wealth as a trust from God.  Zakah is worship and thanksgiving to God by supporting the poor, and through it one’s wealth is purified..  It requires an annual contribution of 2.5 percent of an individual’s wealth and assets.
The Fast of Ramadan (Shaum)
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar which is spent in fasting.  Healthy Muslims abstain from dawn to sunset from food, drink, and sexual activity.  Fasting develops spirituality, dependence upon God, and brings identification with the less fortunate.  A special evening prayer is also held mosques in which recitations of the Quran are heard.
Pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca
At least once in a lifetime, every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able is required to sacrifice time, wealth, status, and ordinary comforts of life to make the Hajj pilgrimage, putting himself totally at God’s service.  Every year over two million believers from a diversity of cultures and languages travel from all over the world to the sacred city of Mecca to respond to God’s call.

Islam, a religion of mercy, does not permit terrorism.  In the Quran, God has said:
“God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes.  God loves just dealers.” (Quran 60:8)
The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, used to prohibit soldiers from killing women and children, and he would advise them: “...Do not betray, do not be excessive, do not kill a newborn child.” And he also said: “Whoever has killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise, though its fragrance is found for a span of forty years.”
Also, the Prophet Muhammad has forbidden punishment with fire.
He once listed murder as the second of the major sins, and he even warned that on the Day of Judgment, “The first cases to be adjudicated between people on the Day of Judgment will be those of bloodshed.

Muslims are even encouraged to be kind to animals and are forbidden to hurt them.  Once the Prophet Muhammad said: “A woman was punished because she imprisoned a cat until it died.  On account of this, she was doomed to Hell. While she imprisoned it, she did not give the cat food or drink, nor did she free it to eat the insects of the earth.”
He also said that a man gave a very thirsty dog a drink, so God forgave his sins for this action.  The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was asked, “Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?”  He said: “There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human."
Additionally, while taking the life of an animal for food, Muslims are commanded to do so in a manner that causes the least amount of fright and suffering possible.  The Prophet Muhammad said: “When you slaughter an animal, do so in the best way.  One should sharpen his knife to reduce the suffering of the animal.”
In light of these and other Islamic texts, the act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, the bombing and maiming of innocent men, women, and children are all forbidden and detestable acts according to Islam and the Muslims.  Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the vast majority have nothing to do with the violent events some have associated with Muslims.  If an individual Muslim were to commit an act of terrorism, this person would be guilty of violating the laws of Islam.

It is a common misconception with some non-Muslims that Islam would not have millions of adherents all over the world, if it had not been spread by the use of force.
The famous historian, Thomas Carlyle, in his book Heroes and Hero worship, refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam: “The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword? Every new opinion, at its starting is precisely in a minority of one; in one man’s head alone.  There it dwells as yet.  One man alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men.  That he takes a sword and tries to propagate with that will do little for him.  You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.” If Islam was spread by the sword, it was the sword of intellect and convincing arguments.  It is this sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people.  The Quran says in this connection:
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.”  (Quran 16:125)

Indonesia is the country that has the largest number of Muslims in the world, and the majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims.  But, no Muslim army ever went to Indonesia or Malaysia.  It is an established historical fact that Indonesia entered Islam not due to war, but because of its moral message.  Despite the disappearance of Islamic government from many regions once ruled by it, their original inhabitants have remained Muslims.  Moreover, they carried the message of truth, inviting others to it as well, and in so doing endured harm, affliction and oppression.  The same can be said for those in the regions of Syria and Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, North Africa, Asia, the Balkans and in Spain.  This shows that the effect of Islam on the population was one of moral conviction, in contrast to occupation by western colonialists, finally compelled to leave lands whose peoples held only memories of affliction, sorrow, subjugation and oppression.
Muslims ruled Spain (Andalusia) for about 800 years.  During this period the Christians and Jews enjoyed freedom to practice their respective religions, and this is a documented historical fact. Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries.  Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and Jewish populations. Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years, and therefore had the power to force each and every non-Muslim of India to convert to Islam, but they did not, and thus more than 80% of the Indian population remains non-Muslim. Similarly, Islam spread rapidly on the East Coast of Africa.  And likewise no Muslim army was ever dispatched to the East Coast of Africans. An article in Reader’s Digest ‘Almanac’, yearbook 1986, gives the statistics of the increase of the percentage of the major religions of the world in half a century from 1934 to 1984.  This article also appeared in The Plain Truth magazine.  At the top was Islam, which increased by 235%, while Christianity had increased by 47%.  During this fifty-year period, there was no “Islamic conquest” yet Islam spread at an extraordinary rate. Today the fastest growing religion in America and Europe is Islam.  The Muslims in these lands are a minority.  The only sword they have in their possession is the sword of truth.  It is this sword that is converting thousands to Islam. Islamic law protects the privileged status of minorities, and that is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world.  Islamic law also allows non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves.  The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether they are Muslims or not.

Alhamdulillah I could post something more about Islam. I hope my post could reveal what’s Islam about, still the core is inside you in your FAITH. I pray Allah bless and grant us Jannah. Aamiin…

Note : pict taken from here

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