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What is Islam?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Based on its linguistic origin, the Arabic word 'Islam' means to achieve peace; peace with God, peace within oneself, and peace with the creation of God through submission to God and commitment to His guidance.

Islam is the final culmination and fulfillment of the same basic truth that God revealed through all His Prophets and Messengers to all nations through the ages and not a new religion.

Islam is a complete way of living and not a personal religion. Muhammad the Messenger of Allaah, stated that Islam consists of five pillars:

  1. Affirmation of the faith, that is, testifying that none is worthy of worship but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah.
  2. The five daily prayers, which the Muslims perform facing Ka'bah in Makkah (Mecca).
  3. Fasting from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan.
  4. Performing pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime if one's financial and physical conditions permit it.
  5. Paying Zakah (obligatory alms) of one's wealth. This is used to help certain categories within the Muslim community.

Muslims are also commanded to exhort others to perform good acts and to abstain from evil. Ethics lie at the heart of Islamic teachings and all men and women are expected to act ethically towards each other at all times. As Prophet Muhammad said: "None of you will be a true believer until he loves for his brother (in faith) what he loves for himself."

Faith in Islam is defined as believing in Allaah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Day of Judgment and Predestination (the good of it and the bad). It is important to understand that the definition of Faith refers to books and prophets in the plural thus pointing directly to the universality of this revelation and the respect for other religions is very much emphasized in the Quran.

There is also the important concept, perfection in worship, which is to worship Allaah as though one sees Him, knowing that even if one does not see Him, He still sees us. This Concept encourages one to be mindful of Allaah at all times and it marks the highest level of being a Muslim.

Allaah knows best.

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