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Islamic Religion

Introduction to Islamic Religion & Arabic Philosophers


The religion and philosophy of Islam, is based upon the belief that God (Allah) transmitted knowledge to Muhammad (c. 570–632) and other prophets (Adam, Ibrahim, Moosa, and Eesa). The followers of Islamic religion, muslims, believe that this revelation to humanity was written down in the Quran, which is the flawless word of God.
The theology of the Islamic scriptures informs most aspects of muslim life and culture. The Five Pillars of Islam is expressed in the Quran , which is a practical doctrine that encourages Muslims to pray 5 times a day, fast during Ramadan, pilgrimage to Macca, declare 'There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet' and pay money to the poor.
Do not turn away a poor man...even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you...God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.
(Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376)
The Hadith is a collection of sayings and stories which are commonly related back to the life and sayings of prophet, Mohammed.
With such a strong foundation in revelation and prophets of God, Islamic philosophy benefited in the eighth century a.d. by the translations of ancient Greek philosophy into Arabic. In the ninth century a.d. a school of translators and intellectuals, known as 'The House of Wisdom' was founded in Baghdad. It was here and largely through the translations of these scholars, that the writings of Plato, Aristotle and the Neoplatonists became known to the Arabs, and subsequently to the western world which led to the Renaissance. The influence of the ancient Greek philosophers upon the arabic philosophers / thinkers stimulated them to study and interpret the Quran from a rational foundation.

Islam / Muslim Religion Islam / Muslim Religion

Islam is a monotheistic faith and the world's second-largest religion.
In Arabic, Islam means "submission" and is described as a Din, meaning "way of life" and/or "religion." Etymologically, it is derived from the same root as, for example, Salam meaning "peace" (also a common salutation). A more precise translation of the word Islam would be the serenity that is created by submission. The word Muslim is also related to the word Islam and means "one who surrenders" or "submits" to God.

Islam / Islamic / Muslim Beliefs

Followers of Islam, known as Muslims, believe that God (or, in Arabic, Allah) revealed his direct word for mankind to Muhammad (c. 570–632) and other prophets, including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Muslims assert that the main written record of revelation to mankind is the Qur'an, which they believe to be flawless, immutable and the final revelation of God. Muslims believe that some parts of the Bible and the Torah may have been misinterpreted or distorted by their followers. With that perspective they view the Qur'an as corrective of Jewish and Christian scriptures.
Muslims hold that it is essentially the same belief as that of all the messengers sent by God to mankind since Adam, with the Qur'an (the one definitive text of the Muslim faith) codifying the final revelation of God. Islam sees Judaism and Christianity as derivations of the teachings of certain of these prophets - notably Abraham - and therefore see them as fellow Abrahamic religions, and People of the Book. Islam has two primary branches of belief, based largely on a historical disagreement over the succession of authority after Muhammad's death; these are known as Sunni and Shi'ite.
The basis of Muslim belief is found in the shahadatan ("two statements"): la ilaha illa-llahu; muhammadur-rasulu-llahi — "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God." In order to become a Muslim, one needs to recite and believe these statements. All Muslims agree to this, although Sunnis further regard this as one of the five pillars of Islam.
There are six basic beliefs shared by all Muslims:
Belief in God, the one and only one worthy of all worship.
Belief in the Angels.
Belief in the Book (al-Quran / Koran) (sent by God).
Belief in all the Prophets and Messengers (sent by God).
Belief in the Day of Judgment (Qiyamah) and in the Resurrection.
Belief in Fate (Qadar)
The Muslim creed in English:
I believe in God; and in His Angels; and in His Scriptures; and in His Messengers; and in The Final Day; and in Fate, that Good and Evil are from God, and Resurrection after death be Truth.
I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship but God; and I testify that Muhammad is His Messenger.

Islam God / Allah

The fundamental concept in Islam is the oneness of God (tawhid). This monotheism is absolute, not relative or pluralistic in any sense of the word. God is described in Sura al-Ikhlas, (chapter 112) as follows: Say "He is God, the one, the Self-Sufficient master. He never begot, nor was begotten. There is none comparable to Him."
In Arabic, God is called Allah, a contraction of al-ilah or "the (only) god". Allah thus translates to "God" in English. The implicit usage of the definite article in Allah linguistically indicates the divine unity. In spite of the different name used for God, Muslims assert that they believe in the same deity as the Judeo-Christian religions. However, Muslims strictly disagree with the Christian theology concerning the unity of God (the doctrine of the Trinity and that Jesus is the eternal Son of God), seeing it as akin to polytheism.
"O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth . The Messiah , Jesus son of Mary , was only a messenger of Allah , and His word which He conveyed unto Mary , and a spirit from Him . So believe in Allah and His messengers , and say not "three" . Cease! ( it is ) better for you! Allah is only One God . Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that he should have a son . His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth . And Allah is sufficient as its defender." [Chapter 4 : Surah 171]
No Muslim visual images or depictions of God exist because such artistic depictions may lead to idolatry and are thus prohibited. Moreover, many Muslims believe that God is incorporeal, rendering any two or three dimensional depictions impossible. Instead, Muslims describe God by the many divine attributes mentioned in the Qur'an, and also with the 99 names of Allah. All but one Surah (chapter) of the Qur'an begins with the phrase "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful". These are consequently the most important divine attributes in the sense that Muslims repeat them most frequently during their ritual prayers (called salah in Arabic, and in India and Pakistan called "namaz" (a Persian word)).

Prophets of Islam: Muhammad (Mohammed)

Mohammed (Muhammad): 'In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.' (The Quran)The Quran speaks of God appointing two classes of human servants: messengers (rasul in Arabic), and prophets (nabi in Arabic and Hebrew). In general, messengers are the more elevated rank. All prophets are said to have spoken with divine authority; but only those who have been given a major revelation or message are called messenger.
Notable messengers include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, all belonging to a succession of men guided by God. Islam demands that a believer accept all of the Judeo-Christian prophets, making no distinction between them. In the Qur'an, 25 specific prophets are mentioned.
Mainstream Muslims regard Muhammad as the 'Last Messenger' or the 'Seal of the Prophets' based on the canon. However, there have been a number of sects whose leaders have proclaimed themselves the successors of Muhammad, perfecting and extending Islam, or, whose devotees have made such claims for their leaders. However, most Muslims remain unaffected by those claims and simply regard those said groups to be deviant.

Islamic Law

Muslims in Islamic societies have traditionally viewed Islamic law as essential to their religious outlook. For Muslims living in secular Western countries sharia ceases to be relevant as law, but remains a source of personal ethics (for example, the avoidance of pork and alcohol, and the use of Sharia-compliant banking services). The Qur'an is the foremost source of Islamic jurisprudence; the second is the Sunnah (the practices of the Prophet, as narrated in reports of his life). The Sunnah is not itself a text like the Qur'an, but is extracted by analysis of the Hadith (Arabic for "report") texts, which contain narrations of the Prophet's sayings, deeds, and actions of his companions he approved.
One hadith of special importance for Islamic contractual law should be mentioned here. A merchant named Hakim ibn Hizam reported, "I asked the Prophet: O Messenger of Allah! A man comes to me and asks me to sell him what is not with me, so I sell him and then buy the goods for him in the market. And the Prophet said: sell not what is not with you." This hadith has rendered controversial within the Muslim world much of what is considered routine finance outside of it, including the sale of futures and options, both of which might be characterized as the sale of 'what is not with you.'
In recent times, traditional Islamic law has often been questioned by liberal movements within Islam. In a related development, Mohammad Hashim Kamali has questioned the reliability and contemporary relevance of the above quoted hadith of Hakim ibn Hizam.

Islamic Religious Authority

There is no official authority who decides whether a person is accepted to, or dismissed from, the community of believers, known as the Ummah ("Family"). Islam is open to all, regardless of race, age, gender, or previous beliefs. It is enough to believe in the central beliefs of Islam. This is formally done by reciting the shahada, the statement of belief of Islam, without which a person cannot be classed a Muslim. It is enough to believe and say that you are a Muslim, and behave in a manner befitting a Muslim to be accepted into the community of Islam.

Islamic eschatology

Islamic eschatology is concerned with the Qiyamah (end of the world) and the final judgement of humanity. Like Christianity and some sects of modern Judaism, Islam teaches the bodily resurrection of the dead, the fulfillment of a divine plan for creation, and the immortality of the human soul; the righteous are rewarded with the pleasures of Jannah (Paradise), while the unrighteous are punished in Jahannam (a fiery Hell, from the Hebrew ge-hinnom or "valley of Hinnom"; usually rendered in English as Gehenna). A significant fraction of the Qur'an deals with these beliefs, with many hadith elaborating on the themes and details.

The Five Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam is the term given to the fundamental aspects of Islam. These five pillars are the most important obligations of a Muslim under Sharia law, and which devout all Muslims will perform faithfully, because they are essential to pleasing Allah.
The Five Pillars of Islam are:
"Shahadah": The Testimony that there is none worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad is his messenger.
" Salah": Establishing of the five daily Prayers (salah).
" Zakat": The Giving of Zakaah (charity), which is one fortieth (2.5%) of the net worth of possessions kept for more than a year, with few exemptions, for every Muslim whose wealth exceeds the nisab, and 10% or 20% of the produce from agriculture. This money or produce is distributed among the poor.
" Ramadhan": Fasting from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramadan (sawm).
" Hajj": The Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca during the month of Dhul Hijjah, which is compulsory once in a lifetime for one who has the ability to do it.
NOTE: For the Shi'a a sect of Islam, the Five Pillars, or more correctly translated "the principles of religion", are the five fundamental principles of Islam; no more, no less. The Shi'a sect consider the Sunni five pillars to be merely the most important obligations rather than these being the Five Pillars of Islam.
The Five Pillars of the Shi'a sect are:
The Oneness of God (tawhid).
The Justice of God ('adl).
Prophethood (nubuwwah).
The Leadership of Mankind (imamah).
The Resurrection (me'ad).

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