The Message of
Islam in brief
What is the name of God?
His name is "Allah". It is pronounced Allaah with a long vowel “a”. Also, God has many beautiful names and attributes. Some of these attributes were mentioned in the Old Testament. For example, the name Quddous in Arabic is similar to the name Qadosh or Hakkadosh in Hebrew, which means "The Holy". The name Ahad in Arabic is similar to the name Echad in Hebrew, which means "The One". In Islam, God is often described as "The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful".
In the Arabic Bible, the word Allah is frequently mentioned to indicate God.
In Islam there are 99 acknowledged "beautiful names" and attributes for God
He is Allah, besides Whom there is no God; the King, the Holy, the Author of Peace, the Granter of Security, Guardian over all, the Mighty, the Supreme, the Possessor of greatness. Glory be to Allah from that which they set up (with Him)!
He is Allah; the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner: His are the most beautiful names. Whatever is in the heavens and the earth declares His glory; and He is the Mighty, the Wise". The Quran, 59:22-24
Muhammad and Islam
When a man asked Muhammad to explain Islam in simple words so that he should not seek any further clarification from anyone else, Muhammad concisely said:
“Say, I believe in Allah (the one God) and then be straight.”
Embracing the Islamic faith requires following a balanced way of life without diversion to extremism in words, actions or deeds.
Islam and peace:
Linguistically the word “Islam” in Arabic comes from the root word “salama”, which means free of harm and is related to the word “Salaam” , which means peace.
Prophet Muhammad defined a Muslim as “the one whom other people are safe from harm coming from his tongue and hands”, i.e. people should not receive any harm from his actions and words.
In Islam, “The Peace” is one of the magnificent names and attributes of God (Allah). The one who submits to Allah should find inner peace within him/ herself and should be at peace with the environment and the people.
It is interesting to know that in a Muslim society, people greet each other with the word “ Assalamo Alaykom” which means “peace be upon you” instead of the words “Hi” or “Hello”. The full version of this statement is “peace be upon you as well as Allah’s mercy and blessings”.
|1||Shahada||Uttering (verbally saying) the creed of Islam (there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is a messenger of Allah)|
|2||Salat||Performing daily prescribed prayers|
|3||Siyam||Fasting the lunar month of Ramadan|
|4||Zakat||Paying alms as charity once a year|
|5||Hajj||Pilgrimage to the Sacred Mosque (the House of God) in Makkah once in a life time for those who have the physical and financial ability|
1. Uttering the Creed of Islam, Shahada
This is to acknowledge that there is one and only one God Who created all beings. His name is Allah.
A person is said to be a Muslim when he or she believes in heart and utters (acknowledges verbally) the statement of Shahada "there is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." (In Arabic it is spelled: Ash’hado an la Ilaha illa Allah, Wa Ash’hado anna Muhammadan rasoolo’Allah.)
Acknowledging Muhammad as a Prophet and a Messenger of God requires the acknowledgement of all Prophets and messengers God sent before him.
This is a testimony in Arabic calligraphy, which was designed in an artistic way. It states: I witness that there is no God except Allah and Muhammad is His servant and His messenger.
4. Fasting in Ramadan
Muslims are required to fast the whole lunar month of Ramadan (29 or 30 days), from the break of dawn to sunset. During the fasting time, Muslims are required to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual contact while practicing a normal life. Fasting for the sake of Allah helps acknowledging that the sustenance (that may be taken for granted) actually comes directly from Allah. When people feel the pangs of hunger, they experience the suffering needy people go through specially in areas that starve or lack the basic sustenance. The rich will be more inclined to give charity when they fast. This builds up a relationship between the rich and the poor and helps build social harmony. Fasting enables one to curb the inner desires, learn self-control and hence achieve better spiritual development. Fasting has many health benefits and doctors recommend it to cure some diseases.