As you might have guessed or read (on the about page of this blog) by now, I am a Muslim and one of the more disturbing things that I have come to discover is that people know very little about the second largest religion on earth (with regards to the number of followers it has) and the fastest growing one worldwide.
Still many non Muslims who are dissatisfied with the faith of their parents and looking for a deeper and more thorough understanding of life and the afterlife skip the religion revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). This might be because they believe that Islam is for Arabs (nope! actually Arabs are the minority. The largest populations of Muslims live in Indonesia, Malaysia and China) or because of the negative propaganda that most western media has waged on the faith and its followers for decades if not centuries.
Let me first give you a few basic points about our belief:
The Same Religion
We believe that Islam is essentially the same religion that Allah (arabic for God) has revealed to his Prophets and Messengers throughout the ages.
Whenever the religion become corrupted by its followers (by them rewriting their scriptures to garner worldly benefit) then Allah sent forth the next prophet.
Muslims are required to Believe in all the prophets of God or else their faith is considered faulty; The Prophets we believe in Encompass but are not limited to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ismail, Issac, Jacob, Moses, David, Soliman, John (the baptist), Jesus and of course Muhammad peace be on all of them.
Unlike the Jews we believe that Jesus is the Messiah and a mighty prophet and messenger of Allah. But unlike the majority of Christians we do not believe he is the son of God. We believe in his Miraculous birth and we greatly revere his Mother the Virgin Mary. We believe in his second coming but we do not believe he was crucified. We believe he was given the gift of curing the lepers and bringing life back to the dead with the will of God.
The Jesus Dilemma
On several occasions I have read the accounts of Christians who wanted to convert to Islam but the idea of abandoning Jesus was the only thing stopping them from embracing Islam. The truth is you don’t have to give up Jesus (peace be upon him) a Muslims is not considered MusliM if he disbelieves in the prophet Issa (as he is called in Arabic) only two things will be different though:
1. That he is not the Son of God… but a prophet & messenger of Allah that was sent as an example to all mankind. He is as miraculous in his existence as Adam who was not born of father or mother but was shaped by the hand of God and if anything he is closer to our mother eve (hawaa’ in arabic) who was created of a father but no mother (Adam’s rib).
2. There is no intercession for yourself & God. You do not need to confess your sins to anyone and you do not need ask someone to contact God… In islam there is a direct connection between you and your creator and if you need something then you ask him. You do not ask Muhammad (peace be upon him) or Jesus (peace be upon him) but must realize that everything that happens is the will of God. It would not have happened if he didn’t will it.
For those of you who are not aware. The prophet Jesus was mentioned in the Quran (The holy book of Muslims) as well as his mother the Virgin Mary. In fact Maryam (the arabic way of saying Mary) has a whole verse in the Quran dedicated to her story. Here is a link to a translation of that chapter.
So although embracing islam invalidates the concept of the trinity… God is not 3… God is 1 exalted and Almighty is he. Allah would not need children… for we are all his creation. It is our shortcomings as humans that force us to thinking of Allah as a creature (like ourselves) who needs things like sleep and reflection and offspring. Iit is our miniature minds that force us to wonder… how can something not have a beginning a middle or an end.
The Time Paradox
Many people face this paradox and it makes their mind ache. If everything has a beginning a middle and an end… then how did God start… and who started him. The false assumption here is that God is subject to time. God infact created time and exists outside of it. We as mortals are bound by the confines of time and so we think everything else must be confined by the rules that govern us as well.
A person once was talking to me about this and said. It’s like an animal looking at us and thinking that we are equal in thought capacity, deduction and creativity. The truth is that no animal that humanity has encountered has been able to match the human mind in its capacity to theorize, understand and create. This animal is at a disadvantage because it was created with boundries. Humans were also created with boundries… and one of those boundries is our being bound to time. So we are born… we age and we die. For anything to exist outside this cycle that we see in everything (even stars die… it might take them millions of years… but they eventually die). For us to fathom God and think that not only is he not bound by these limits… but he created them.
What are the Principles of the Faith?
The principles of Islam are as follows: Do not Steal, Do not Cheat, Fear Allah in your business and trading, Treat your parents with respect, Do not lie, Be respectful to others especially your neighbors, take care of your families, be gentle with your wife, your children.
What are the Pillars of the Faith?
- That you bare witness that there is No Diety worthy of worship but Allah (God) and that Muhammad is his final Messenger.
- The Performing of the 5 Daily Prayers (except for women who have their menses)
- The Fasting of Ramadan
- The Payment of Zakah
- The Performing of Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able to
What are the Beliefs of Muslims?
The Belief in:
- God Almighty(Allah Jala Jalaaloh)
- His Angels
- His Prophets
- His Books (among others The Torah, Psalms, Bible & Quran)
- The Day of Judgement
- The Reward of Heaven or Hellfire
- Predestination of Allah The Good and The Bad.
The Reward System
In Islam the reward system is pretty straight forward. If you do something good then you get Hasanaat (good points) and if you do something bad you get Sayiaat (bad points). These points are recorded by two angels that sit on your right shoulder (good points) and on your left shoulder (bad points). By the end of your life the good points and the bad points are tallied and if you have more good than bad then you go to heaven without punishment… and if you have more bad then good then you go to Hell fire until you have been cleansed.
This reward system is applicable to everyone who has ever and will ever live and the reason for it’s existence is that there has to be a fair way for people to be judged on the day of Judgment.
This system is also biased toward Good deeds…and that means that Allah (God) gives incentives to do the good deeds and those include that when you do a good deed God can reward you from ten times the amount till up to 700 times more. And for the bad deeds… you do one bad thing… then you get awarded exactly the amount of bad points according to the deed… not more. Add to that, that Allah has given the angel who writes the good deeds hierarchical superiority over the one who writes the bad deeds so that if a person does a good deed then it is written in his/her book immediatly and if he does a bad deed the Angel in charge (the one who writes the good deed) orders the angel who writes the bad deeds to hold his pen from writing lest the person wish to repent for their sin.
The Fairness of Allah
For those who do not believe in God and yet perform good deeds… their deeds are not gone unrewarded. But since they do not believe in God’s existence or follow the teachings of his prophets then they will get their reward in this life (the world that exists now and not in the afterlife) But if somehow these people are guided to the righteous path and become Muslim (subservient to Allah) then Allah rewards them twice, in this life and the next.
The reward that non-believers can get in this life for their “Good” deeds like philanthropy or having good Morals is wealth and children in this life.
The Stages of Existence
Although this might be a little advanced for some of those reading this page.. it might be beneficial to know what the stages of existence are:
- Creation – We were all created from Adam (as the original) all the humans that ever lived and ever will live were created as souls at the same time.
- The Wait – These souls that were created wait to be assigned bodies so that they can live out their life and take the test of life.
- Living – This world that you are experiencing right now. This world does not end when you die nor does it go on forever… it is an existence with a finite lifespan all your actions are recorded and will be displayed to you on the day of judgement and will determine whether you go to heaven or hell.
- The Grave – This is a life of limbo for those who have finished their lives on Earth and await the day of judgment. For those with minor infringements this can be a place of torture until you are cleansed.
- The Day of Judgement - The Toughest day humanity will ever see. This is when we are resurrected to stand forth in-front of Allah to be judged for our deeds during our Life.
- The Hereafter – Either life in Heaven or life in Hell… For those believers who committed numerous sins but did not disbelieve in the creator… they will suffer a period of time in hell to atone for their previous sins then be allowed to enter Paradise. For those who disbelieved in Allah and the hereafter then this is torture eternal. It is also appropriate to mention that Allah will eliminate death all together so that those in Heaven know that this is reward without end… and those in hellfire realize that they will be punished without end.
So for those wondering if this life is the only life there is… You’ve lived before as a soul and your life will continue after you finish with this life… but beware that this life is action without reward… and the one after is reward with no action.
If you would like to know more about the Religion of Islam and what Muslims believe then please visit some of the links I have provided below: