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 Basic Questions About Islam-Part 1

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PostSubject: Basic Questions About Islam-Part 1   Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:13 am

1. What is Islaam? The word "Islaam" is an Arabic word that means "submitting and surrendering your will to Almighty God". The word comes from the same root as the Arabic word "salam", which means peace. Unlike the names used for other religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, the name for the religion of Islaam was both revealed by God and carries a deep spritual meaning - only by submitting one's will to Almighty God can one obtain true peace both in this life and in the life hereafter. Islaam teaches that all religions originally had the same essential message - which was to submit whole-heartedly to the will of God and to worship Him and Him alone. For this reason, Islaam is not a new religion but is the same divinely revealed Ultimate Truth that God revealed to all prophets, including Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.


2. Who are Muslims?
The Arabic word "Muslim" literally means "someone who submits to the will of God". The message of Islaam is meant for the entire world and anyone who accepts this message becomes a Muslim. Some people mistakenly believe that Islaam is just a religion for Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth, since 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 and nationalities. From the very beginning, Islaam had 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. Being a Muslim entails complete acceptance and active obedience to the revealed will of Almighty God. A Muslim is a person who freely accepts to base his beliefs, values and faith on the will of Almighty God. In the past, even though you don't see it as much today, the word "Mohammedans" was often used as a label for Muslims. This label is a misnomer and is the result of either wilful distortion or sheer ignorance. One of the reasons for the misconception is that Europeans were taught for centuries that Muslims worshipped the Prophet Muhammad in the same way that Christians worship Jesus. This is absolutely not true since a Muslim is not permitted to worship anyone or anything besides Almighty God.

3. Who is Allaah?
Very often one will here the Arabic word "Allaah" being used in regards to Islaam. The word "Allaah" is simply the Arabic word for Almighty God, and is the same word used by Arabic speaking Christians and Jews. If one were to pick up an Arabic translation of the Bible, one would see the word "Allaah" being use where the word "God" is used in English. Actually, the Arabic word for Almighty God, "Allaah", is quite similar to the word for God in other Semitic languages - for example, the Hebrew word for God is "Elah". For various reasons, some non-Muslims mistakenly believe that Muslims worship a different God than the God of Moses and Abraham and Jesus. This is certainly not the case, since the Pure Monotheism of Islaam calls all people to the worship of the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all of the other prophets.

4. Who is Muhammad?
The last and final prophet that God sent to humanity was the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad explained, interpreted and lived the teachings of Islaam. The Prophet Muhammad is the greatest of all prophets for many reasons, but mainly because the results of his mission have brought more people into the pure belief in One God than any other prophet. Even though other religious communities claimed to believe in One God, over time they had corrupted their beliefs by taking their prophets and saints as intercessors with Almighty God. Some religions believe their prophets to be manifestations of God, "God Incarnate" or the "Son of God". All of these false ideas lead to the creature being worshipped instead of the Creator, which contributed to the idolatrous practice of believing that Almighty God can be approached through intermediaries. In order to guard against these falsehoods, the Prophet Muhammad always emphasised that he was only a human-being tasked with the preaching of God's message. He taught Muslims to refer to him as "the Messenger of God and His Slave". To Muslims, Muhammad is the supreme example for all people - he was the exemplary prophet, statesman, military leader, ruler, teacher, neighbour, husband, father and friend. Unlike other prophets and messengers, the Prophet Muhammad lived in the full light of history. Muslims don't need to have "faith" that he existed and that his teachings are preserved - they know it to be a fact. Even when his followers only numbered a few dozen, Almighty God informed Muhammad that he had be sent as a mercy to all of mankind. Because people had distorted or forgotten God's messages, God took it upon Himself to protect the message revealed to Muhammad. This was because Almighty God promised not to send another messenger after him. Since all of God's messengers have preached the message of Islaam - i.e. submission to the will of God and the worship of God alone - Muhammad is actually the last prophet of Islaam, not the first.
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