Topic: the basic teachings of Islam Introduction Religion is one way of helping people establish a meaningful way of life, ground on promoting humanity’s personal growth and the concerns of others. Religion is not a simple term to define because different people from different societies, cultures and contexts may give different meanings and interpretations of religion. Roger Schmidt in his book, Exploring Religion, comments that, “religion is a set of beliefs, practices, and social structures, grounded in people’s experience of the holy that accommodates their emotional, social, intellectual, and meaning-giving needs. There are thousands of religions that have existed in the world; some of the major religions are composed of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. In this paper, I would like to choose the Islam religion as my topic, and I will describe the basic teaching concepts of Islam. Islam is one of the world’s largest religions as well as the youngest of the world’s great religious traditions with almost one billion followers.
Islam, as other major traditional religions, has also sought converts across the lines of kinship, nationality, and religious affiliation and tries to bond the follower into a holy community on the basis of doctrine. Before discussing the beliefs and the practices of this universal religion, one must understand the status of Islam and its founding figure. The word Islam means ‘submission’ and the peace that is achieved in submission to the one God, Allah; As Mahmoud M.
Ayoub commented, “Islam is a person’s total submission to the will of God, which gives one inner peace and soundness of nature in this life and safety from divine retribution in the life to come. ” Many Muslims believe that Muhammad is the life of Islam’s founding figure. Muhammad is one who received the message from god, the prophet whose revelations and leadership catapulted the religion of God in to the world scene. The six Articles of Belief Islam, one of the monotheistic religions, does not have the complicated theology like Christian does.
Islam only has six fundamental elements of faith to study, understand and obey, which are known as the “Six Articles of Belief”. The six articles of faith are the main doctrines and central believes of Islam. Belief in God Islam is one of the greatest monotheistic religions and the second largest religion in the world. Islam believes in the oneness of God, it is well known that every language has a term referring to God. In Arabic, the word God is called Allah, which is the individual name of the one true god. Allah is the sole creator with all power, mercy and compassion, the savior of the universe.
As in Christianity and Judaism, Islam asserts that God is a moral and jealous God who detests sin and evil and tolerates no other gods besides himself. In the Quran, the fundamental element of true belief is uncompromising monotheism. In the five pillars of Islam, particularly Shahadah, it is thought that, “there is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God. ” This recitation of the creed verifies monotheism and rejects polytheism. In traditional Islam, God is beyond all understanding; Muslims are not anticipated to imagine God but to also worship, venerate and respect God and no one else.
Belief in the Quran Islam is a comparatively straightforward religion with respect to its Holy bible. The Quran is the central text of Islam and considers justice to be a supreme virtue. The Arabic word “Quran” literally means “the recitation. ” In Islam the word “Quran” means God’s final message to humankind, which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The important message of the Quran is the supremacy of God. Muslims believe that the Quran is eternal, uncreated, literal, and the ultimate word of God revealed to Muhammad as guidance for humanity.
Compared to other religious texts, The Quran was always considered to be the Word of God by those who trust in it. The Muslims understand the Quran to reveal its teachings in the Arabic language. Since the Quran is a record of holy speech to Muhammad, the language of revelation, Arabic, is Crucial. Furthermore, there are three stages in the origins and developments of the Quran: the first stage is the revelation received by the prophet of Muhammad, the second stage is Muhammad’s oral transmission of the revelation to his follower, and the final stage is the recording of the revelation.
Moreover, the Quran is also comprised of the stories of the previous prophets, such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus; as well as many commands and prohibitions from God. “The use of the Quran in the religious life of a Muslim is ritually prescribed. ” The Quran is a widespread scripture to all humanity, and does not only address a special ethnic group. The teaching of the Quran is a guide for humanity and provides answers to the blankness of our lives and the confusion that is fascinating the world today. Belief in the Angel Belief in the Angel is the significance of Islam.
The believers of Islam have to believe in the invisible world as mentioned in the Quran. The Quran was revealed to the prophet of Muhammad not directly by God, but by the Angel Gabriel speaking as a representative of God. The Angel is the messenger of Allah, the Angels responsibilities consist of: communicating revelations from God, worshiping God, recording human’s actions, and taking a person’s soul at the time of death. As a servant of God, the angel must obey God’s commands and cannot be regarded as the object of praise or worship. Belief in the Prophets and Messengers
A prophet, in this sense, is not necessarily a person who predicts the future but one who speaks on behalf of god, such as Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and so forth. These prophets are all Muslims. Nevertheless, in these earlier prophet’s scriptures, the prophets were corrupted and falsified by evil humans. At this point, the truth was difficultly discriminated from false theory. The history of Islam properly begins with the prophet of Muhammad, who was born around A. D. 570 in Mecca. He was the leader of Islam, created the Islamic religion, political and military systems.
In Islamic tradition, Muhammad was considered the final and greatest prophet, closest to the perfect mortal, and to have all the virtues in one. Many Muslims copied the prophet’s idiosyncrasy and social behavior, known as the Sunnah. The Sunnah represents the words, the actions, and personal characteristics of the Prophet. All Muslims are fostered to imitate Muhammad’s actions in their daily life. Belief in Life after Death Islam, as well as other religions, believes in life after death and divine judgment. Being one of the essential faiths of Islam, life after death is integrally related to the concepts of human responsibility.
In Islam belief, when a person dies, they go into a state of sleep until resurrection day. In this day, the person’s soul and body will reunite, and those resurrected will be judged by the power of God. In the Islamic system, every person will receive a fair trial on the Day of Judgment. All good and bad deeds will be evaluated accurately in order to decide a person’s destiny. Furthermore, there are two destinations after death in Islam: the Garden of heaven and Hell. Those who believe in God will be rewarded with the happiness of heaven; those who do not believe in God will be dispatched into the limitless torrents of hell.
Belief in the divine decree Muslims believing in divine creed refer to predestination and believe that everything that has occurred, is occurring, or will occur in the world, has been predicted, and nothing can occur unless allowed by God’s will and with his full knowledge. Since the Quran stimulates much emphasis on the judgment of God, it clearly states that human beings have free will. God does not force humans to do anything, they can choose whether obey God or to have non-compliance with god. God knows our choices, even before we make the choice. We don’t know our fate but God knows everything.
Nothing lies outside God’s control, and that includes the free will of humans. The five pillars of Islam As other religious traditions, the Islam practice is also affected by contexts, beliefs, and human understanding or interpretation, which has taken numerous forms during the centuries. However, despite different historical context, cultural context, and practices, the five pillars have provided a religious system of belief and social responsibility and worship. The five pillars, as the foundations upon Islam, are the primary obligations for the life of submission for a Muslim.
All of the Muslims have to follow: the profession of faith, worship or prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and the pilgrimage to Mecca constituted by the five pillars. The profession of Faith (Shahadah) Shahadah is the first of five pillars of Islam and is the most significant of the five pillars because it is the word of initiation into the Muslim community. To become a Muslim, a person has to recite the Shahadah. The terms of Shahadah are Islam’s creed and is used in Islam to denote the significant confession or affirmation of the unity of God and the apostleship of Muhammad.
As Muslims proclaim, “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God. ” This brief statement marks a person’s entry into the Islamic community and is repeated at least five times in a formal daily prayer. It confirms that Islam is a monotheistic religion and a steadfast belief in the unity of God. Also, the second part of the confession of faith is the assertion of a person’s Islamic identity and Muhammad as the messenger of God, the ultimate prophet, who is considered a model of the Muslim community. Muslims are convinced that Muhammad brought from god the last and ultimate revelation.
The Muslim’s strive to follow Muhammad’s paradigm which reflects the importance of Islam on practice and action. Ritual Prayer (Salat) Salat is the second of the five pillars of Islam. A Muslim is required to pray five times each day: at sunrise, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. In the five specific times during the day, life is given a direction and filled with a sense of holiness, “Prayer is preceded by a series of ablutions to cleanse the body and symbolize the purity of mind and body required for worshiping God. ” The prayer should be performed as an individual or a group in a mosque.
If there is no mosque that can be prayed in, then one must perform the prayer at an appropriate place, such as at home, in the airport, or on the road. The ritual day of the week for Muslims is Friday; the noon prayer is a congregational prayer that is required to take place in a mosque. Salat helps Muslims remain conscious of the significance of their belief and the role it plays in every part of life. Also, Salat Prayer is actually a constant reminder and warning of the day, it helps people to remember Allah, to keep adherents mindful of god during the stresses of work, family, and unhappy life.
Almsgiving (Zakat) The third of the five pillars of Islam is Zakat. The term Zakat is viewed as an obligatory charity, which is a religious practice called Almsgiving. Muslims are encouraged to give help to those who are needy. Besides the private charity, Islamic law requires the payment of a special tax for the purpose of Zakat. The Zakat is not only on one’s income but also is a tithe on one’s accumulated wealth and assets. According to the Quran, “alms are to be given to those who are poor and needy and to slaves for their ransom. The statement specifically mentions that the Alms can only be used for specific things: to support the poor and the needy and to free slaves and debtors. Those who have obtained bestowal from god and who have received their wealth as a trust from god, are required to take care of the needs of the less fortunate members of the Muslim community. God provided wealth to the person; in Islam the concept of wealth is considered to be a present from god. Almsgiving reminds Muslims that everything they gain belongs to God. People have to donate their wealth as a faith to God, the more people that help, the more God will help the people.
The purpose of Almsgiving is to free Muslims from their love of money. The fast of Ramadan (Sawm) The fourth of the five pillars of Islam is the fast of Ramadan. Fasting is not unique to the Islamic religion, which has been practiced for centuries in connection with religious rituals by Christians, Jews, Hindus and so forth. Once each year, Muslims are required to fast during the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of Islam’s lunar calendar, and participate in the abstention from all foods, drinks and sexual activities from sunrise to sunset.
The significance of fasting does not only emphasize on abstinence and self- mortification, but rather on helping Muslims develop self- discipline, reflection, strong performance, and obtain a better understanding of God’s gifts and greater compassion towards poverty. At dusk, the fast is broken with a light sweets and foods served only at this time of the year. At the end of the month of the Ramadan celebration, family members will exchange gifts in a celebration that lasts for three days. Pilgrimage to Mecca (The Hajj) The last pillar in the sacred canopy of Islam is the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Hajj consists of a series of ceremonies, with unparalleled spiritual significance. The Hajj starts on the twelfth month of the Muslim lunar calendar. Every year, there are millions of people who pilgrimage to Mecca, and pray from different races, cultures, societies and nations to fulfill a unified worship. The Hajj makes the world’s Muslim become a unified international community. The proper Pilgrimage is considered to be a particularly commendable activity. The Hajj is offered as a penance – the final forgiveness for sins, purification of the mind, devotion and intense spirituality.
The Hajj is a unique religious practice that makes all people who pray believe a unique God and worship the Lord. The purpose of all the pilgrims is to only worship Allah and obey Allah’s commands. If possible, every Muslim is expected to journey to Mecca on the Hajj once in their lifetime. The law of Shariah Islam as a belief and way of life is to be comprehended within the frame work of divine law, the Shariah. The term Shariah literally means “the right path”, is an important Islamic law created by traditional Islamic scholars, and is the central law of Islam that most Muslim groups have to observe.
The original source of Shariah comes from the Quran itself, which prescribes all the rituals incumbent on a believer. The Shariah is mainly concerned with relating individuals and societies to God. The Shariah comprises not only laws about severely religious matters, but also many other parts of life, such as marriage and the family, legacy, divorce, government, foreign relation and issue of daily living. Additionally, the Muslim family law has always been depicted as the heart of the Shariah, representing the significance of the family in Islam, due to the role of the family as the fundamental element of society.
In the divine law of Islam, all humanity’s actions are divided into five classifications of acts: obligatory actions, recommended actions, indifferent actions, repulsive actions, and forbidden actions. Some acts are necessary of all Muslims. Some acts are necessarily forbidden. Both of these acts are related with punishment; punishments are incurred for failing to accomplish something or for performing forbidden actions. In fact, the Shariah not only focuses on the present, but also concentrates on salvation and the afterlife; the rules state that one obtains salvation by performing appropriate actions in the present life.
Conclusion Islam as a peace religion is one of the most widespread of the world religions. Islam is flourishing in the modern world, which has many significant implications in terms of world religion, politics and culture. These implications can be extended to analyze and comprehend the new world order. Islam study is not only concentrated on the belief of scripture but also focuses on practices. “Like believers in other faiths, the critical question today, facing Islam and Muslim communities globally, is the relationship of faith and tradition to change in a rapidly changing and pluralistic world. In recent years, there are some Muslims involved in terrorist activities, many other religious believers begin to doubt the faith of Islam, and in some degree discriminate Islam. However, the majority of Muslims who wish peace on one another also wish to create a harmonious world. Personally, I studied in Malaysia for over five years, and most of the Muslims treated the people that came from different cultures, races, and nations very kindly and pleasantly. Generally, Islam, as the second largest religion, has a hundred million believers all over the world.
Islam has to live along with other religions and has to stick out peacefully in order to avoid being converted. Through addressing their needs calmly rather than through force, this avoidance can be done. As one of the three largest monotheistic religions in the world, Islam has to promote the dialogue between different interactions of the different religions in order to improve their own religion. Bibliography 1. Esposito, John L. , Darrell J. Fasching, and Todd Thornton Lewis. World Religions Today. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. 2. Ian S. Markham, and Ruparell, Tinu. Encountering Religion: An Introduction to the Religions of the World. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2001. 3. John A. , Hardon, Religions of the World. Westminster, Md: Newman Press, 1963. 4. Kenneth Cragg. Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. Vol. 12. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 5. Nancy C. , Ring. Introduction to the Study of Religion. Maryknoll, N. Y. : Orbis Books, 1998. 6. Schmidt, Roger, Exploring Religion. 2nd ed. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1988. 7. Schmidt, Roger, Patterns of Religion.
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub, 1999. 8. Willard Gurdon. , Oxtoby, World Religions: Western Traditions. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1996. 9. T. Patrick. , Burke. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts. Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell, 1996 ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Ring, Nancy C. Introduction to the Study of Religion. ( Maryknoll, N. Y. : Orbis Books, 1998), 319. [ 2 ]. Roger Schmidt, Exploring Religion, 2nd ed. (California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1998), 17. [ 3 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub, 1999), 583. 4 ]. Ibid. [ 5 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion , 584. [ 6 ]. Ibid. [ 7 ]. Oxtoby, Willard Gurdon. World Religions: Western Traditions. (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1996), 353. [ 8 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion,584. [ 9 ]. Ibid. , 589. [ 10 ]. Oxtoby, Willard Gurdon. World Religions: Western Traditions, 374. [ 11 ]. Ibid. [ 12 ]. Kenneth Cragg. Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. Vol. 12. 2nd ed. ( Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005), 8266. [ 13 ]. Ibid. [ 14 ]. Burke, T. Patrick. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts. Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell, 1996), 243. [ 15 ]. Esposito, John L. , Darrell J. Fasching, and Todd Thornton Lewis. World Religions Today. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 194. [ 16 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion, 587. [ 17 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion, 587. [ 18 ]. Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 196. [ 19 ]. Markham, Ian S. , and Tinu Ruparell. Encountering Religion: An Introduction to the Religions of the World. (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2001), 345. [ 20 ]. Burke, T. Patrick. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts. Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell, 1996), 247. [ 21 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion, 285. [ 22 ]. Burke, T. Patrick. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts, 247. [ 23 ]. Burke, T. Patrick. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts, 246. [ 24 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion, 587. [ 25 ]. Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 192. [ 26 ]. Ibid. [ 27 ]. Ibid. [ 28 ]. Ibid. [ 29 ]. Burke, T. Patrick. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts, 248. [ 30 ]. Ibid. [ 31 ]. Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 200-205. [ 32 ]. Burke, T.
Patrick. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts, 248. [ 33 ]. Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 208. [ 34 ]. Oxtoby, Willard Gurdon. World Religions: Western Traditions , 376. [ 35 ]. Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 208. [ 36 ]. Encountering religion P355. [ 37 ]. Kenneth Cragg. Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. Vol. 12. 2nd ed. ( Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005), 8266. [ 38 ]. Ibid. [ 39 ]. Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 208. [ 40 ]. Ibid. [ 41 ]. Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 209. [ 42 ]. Ibid. , 210. 43 ]. Burke, T. Patrick. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts, 249. [ 44 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion, 592 . [ 45 ]. Oxtoby, Willard Gurdon. World Religions: Western Traditions , 381. [ 46 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion, 594. [ 47 ]. Oxtoby, Willard Gurdon. World Religions: Western Traditions , 381. [ 48 ]. Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 210. [ 49 ]. Ibid. [ 50 ]. Hardon, John A. Religions of the World. (Westminster, Md: Newman Press, 1963), 356. [ 51 ]. Burke, T. Patrick. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts, 251. [ 52 ].
Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 212. [ 53 ]. Ibid. [ 54 ]. Ibid. [ 55 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion, 594. [ 56 ]. Ibid. [ 57 ]. Oxtoby, Willard Gurdon. World Religions: Western Traditions, 384. [ 58 ]. Oxtoby, Willard Gurdon. World Religions: Western Traditions, 405. [ 59 ]. Burke, T. Patrick. The Major Religions: An Introduction with Texts. (Cambridge, Mass: Blackwell, 1996), 248. [ 60 ]. Ibid. [ 61 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion, 601. [ 62 ]. Ibid. [ 63 ]. Roger Schmidt, Patterns of Religion, 620. [ 64 ]. Esposito, John L. , World Religions Today, 267.