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In the Name of  Allah, the Beneficent, the merciful

 

   

THIS MESSAGE

IS

FOR YOU

     

The  Co-operative Office for Islamic call and Guidance

For more information about islam, Please contact or visit:

 

Cooperative Office for Call and Guidance

P.O. Box 20824,  Riyadh 11465 - Saudi Arabia

Tel. Nos. 403-0251 / 403-0142 / 403-1587

Fax No. 405-9387

 

UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF MINISTRY OF ISLAMIC AFFAIRS

ENDOWMENTS, PROPAGATION AND GUIDANCE

Islamic Studies, Call & Guidance - Philippines (ISCAG-Phil.)

Gnd. Flor-Alforque Building

935-A Aurora Blvd.,  Cubao, Quezon City

Metro Manila,  Philippines

Tel. No. 911-0130  -   Fax. No.

 Introduction

This message is for every inquiring and broad-minded human being.  It is for every seeker of the truth who might have once wondered what the religion of Islam is all about?  Who is Allah?  What is the ultimate goal of man's existence?  Or what happens after death?  These questions and many others one may come across on certain occasions but brushed them aside for various reasons.  Islam is indeed misunderstood and misrepresented in the West. 

      Hence, Islamic ideals remain obscure from the vast majority of non-Muslims.  This booklet does not attempt to answer all the questions you may have.  It will open before you, however, a new dimension of thinking and helps you appreciate the importance of your role as a human being in this universe, and the relationship between you and your Creator, God Almighty Allah.  It presents Islam to you concisely, and provides straightforward answers to many questions about Islam and its credentials.

 From this booklet, you may begin to understand who Allah is, what Islam means, and the role of man in this life, and to familiarize yourself with the Last of the Divine Scriptures, and the last of the Prophets and Messengers.

 The Qur'an exists only in Arabic.  Allah did not reveal its contents in any other language.  Therefore no one can give literal translation of the meaning of any ayah, (verse) or surah, (chapter) of the Qur'an into any other language.  The same applies, though to a lesser extent, also to the sayings of the man commissioned by Allah to interpret the Qur'an namely, the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him.

 Although I prefixed the Qur'anic quotations and Prophetic traditions cited in this booklet by, "Allah says" or "the Prophet says," yet I have given only the general meaning of such quotations in English. 

 Mahmoud Murad

Jamada II 1414

December 1993

 

Who is Allah?

 Allah is the proper name applied to the true God Who exists necessarily by Himself comprising all the excellent Divine names and attributes of perfection.  Allah is One and Unique.  He has no son, partner, or equal.  He is the sole Creator and Sustainer of the universe.  Every creature bears witness to His Oneness, Divinity, and Rubbobiyyah,3 and to the uniqueness of His attributes and names.  His essence does not resemble any other essences.  He does not inhere in anything, nor does anything inhere in Him.  "There is none like unto Him."  He is the One, the Sole, the Indivisible.  He is the Rubb4 who accomplishes all affairs, Allah is the Omnipotent and the Omniscient.  His knowledge comprehends in perfect manner all things, hidden or manifest.  He is greater than can be encompassed by the knowledge of His creatures.  He knows everything and He is aware of all that take place in the earth or in the heavens.  Allah, the Supreme, is the Rubb of everything and has a free hand in the disposal of all affairs.  Allah-exalted be He-is the One Who manages the things that take place.  There is no affair occurs in the visible or the invisible world without His determination, His decree, His will and His decision, so that what He will takes place, and what He does not will does not take place.  There is no one who can every resist His command or make change in His decision.  He is the Merciful One, and His mercy encompasses everything.5  He is far removed from injustice and tyranny.  He is wise in all His actions, just in all His decrees.  His justice ensures order in the universe, in which nothing is our of order.  There is no one to share His dominion, nor does He take an aide or supporter from His creatures.  He is the Rubb of the worlds.  He is tough nearer to man than man's own jugular vien.6  Whenever a believer is in need or distress calls on Him, he responds.  He is above the Seven Heavens, mounting His throne in the manner that suits His grandeur and majesty.

 Allah has revealed His final Scripture, the Qur'an, to the last of His messengers, Muhammad, peace be upon him, who was responsible for conveying the Message of Islam to mankind.  He is the Exalted Allah.  Glory is due to Him.  He is far removed from every imperfection.

What is the Qur'an?

 The Qur'an, the Torah, the Gospel are Scriptures of Allah that he sent down to His Messengers, peace be upon them.  The "Qur'an" is Allah's speech, not a created thing that may perish nor is it an attribute of any created thing.  Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) brought down the Qur'an to Muhammad, peace be upon him, bit by bit as circumstances warranted, over a period of twenty-three years.  The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, would memorize the verses he received and recite them to the companions who happened to be with him and order them to write the verses down immediately.  Muhammad, peace be upon himself used to keep a copy of the revealed portions in his house.  The Qur'an, the last of Allah's Scriptures is divided into 114 suwar of unequal length.  It is one of the fundamental sources of Islamic teachings.  Allah revealed some of the Qur'ans suwar and ayaat in Makkah, and the rest He revealed in Madinah.  The Makkan suwar and verses deal mainly with the issues of aqeedah, such as tawhid, the belief in the Oneness of Allah, the signs of the existence of Allah, resurrection, and the Day of Resurrection.  The Prophet, peace be upon him, laid great emphasis on the Oneness of Allah, so did all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah before him, beginning with Adam and ending with Muhammad, peace be upon them all.  The suwar revealed in Madinah dealt with the actions of the individuals and every aspect of life, including forms of worship.

 Allah says:

             And this Qur'an is not such as could ever be produced by other than Allah, rather, it is the confirmation of that which was before it, (i.e., the Torah and the Gospel, etc.) and a full explanation of the Book which is no doubt, from the Rubb of the worlds.  Or do they say: "He has invented it?"  Say:  "Then produce a surah like it, and summon whoever you can [to help you apart from Allah, if you are truthful."8

This is no national that had ever cared about, revered, and preserved its Divine Scripture as the Muslim Ummah (nation) has cared about, revered and preserved the Qur'an.  Unlike the other Divine Scriptures, the Qur'an is not kept in the hands of a particular group or elite or Muslims, and for this reason is not subject to suspicion that is might have been tampered with or altered.  Rather it has always been within the reach of all Muslims.  The Prophet, peace be upon him, commanded the Muslims to recite Qur'anic suwar, chapters, or ayat, verses in their prayers.  Allah commands the Muslims to refer all their disputes to the Qur'an for final judgement.  The Qur'an was compiled in its final form at a time when the first Muslims to commit it to memory were still alive.  Allah has promised to preserve it, and it will be preserved until the Day of Resurrection.  The Muslims today read and recite the Qur'anic texts exactly as they were read and recited during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his Companions.  Not a single letter has been added to the Qur'an or deleted from it.  After having examined the Qur'an, Dr. Maurice Bucaille ascertains:

Thanks to its undisputed authenticity, the text of the Qur'an holds a unique place among the books of revelation.9

AI-Baqillani wrote about how the Qur'an is the evidential miracle of the Muhammad's Prophetic Office:

             What makes it necessary to pay quite particular attention to that branch of Qur'anic science known as I'jaz al Qur'an is that the Prophetic Office of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is built upon this miracle.  Even though later on he was given the support of many miracles, yet those miracles all belonged to special times, special circumstances, and concerned special individuals.10

Allah, the Exalted, has challenged the Arabs and non-Arabs to produce a Qur'an similar to the Divine one.  The challenge was reduced to ten suwar, yet they failed to do so.  Finally, Allah challenged them to produce a single surah comparable to any of His.  Although they were the masters of eloquence and rhetoric, yet they were incapable of taking up the challenge.  They realized that the Qur'an could never be from other than Allah, the Rubb of the worlds.

The difference between the miracles of the previous Messengers, which proved their veracity, and that of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, is that theirs took place during the lifetime of each one of them, whereas the miracle of the Qur'an remains effective, everlasting, and challenging until the Day of Resurrection.

Scholars have mentioned three particular aspects of the miraculous nature of the Qur'an.  AI-Baqillani quoted:

             One of them is that it contains information about the unseen, and that is something beyond the powers of humans, for they have no way to attain it.  One example is the promise Allah, Most High, made to His Prophet, peace be upon him, that his religions.  Thus Allah, Mighty and Exalted is He, says:

            He it is Who Has sent his Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth that He might make it victorious over all religion, even though the polytheists dislike it.

Allah, the Exalted, did indeed fulfill His promise, and Muslims captured all the lands as far as Balk and the land of India.  The early Muslims ruled a vast land encompassing many countries in the world.  The Qur'an foretold the victory of the Romans against the persians.11 Allah says:

            The Romans have been defeated in the land nearby, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious.12

The second aspect is that it is well known that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was an ummi13 who could neither write nor read.  Likewise it was generally recognized that he had no knowledge whatever of the books of the earlier people, nor of their records, or histories.  Yet he produced summaries of past great and important events such as the stories of the previous Prophets and their peoples.

A person who reads the Qur'an objectively will realize that the prophesies in it are far removed from conjecture or speculation.  This is due to the fact that the One Who revealed it is the One who preceded all events till the Day of Resurrection.

 The Qur'an constitutes the most comprehensive concept of Islam on the practical level as the source of the shari'ah, or the Divine laws and legislation.  It is comprehensive because it includes law, as well as the underlying purposes and moral principles, and the creed to which every Muslim must subscribe.  Islam shari'ah is designed and suitable not only for Muslims, but for all mankind at all times.  The Islamic law governs all human acts, by delineating every person's public or private duties toward Allah and toward His Creation, including man.

 Man-made laws are subject to alteration and are based on theories.  Whenever a new body of legislators assumes authority, or a new theory appears and appeals to the legislators, the laws are changed accordingly.  The Divine law, on the other hand, is unalterable and perpetual because the One Who made it is the Ever-loving and Everlasting.  He is the Creator Who created mankind and ordained for all human beings what is best for them until the end of time.  For this reason, the Qur'an, being the last revelation to the last of the Prophets and Messengers, supersedes all previous Scriptures.

Muhammad, peace be upon him, was unlettered.  He could neither read nor write, and he grew up in Makkah where there were no schools. He lived far away from the circles of science and scholars that existed in Syria, Alexandria, Athens, or Rome.  Moreover, the scientific facts mentioned in the Qur'an were not known in that time, i.e. in the Seventh Century AC Having studied and examined the Arabic text of the Qur'an, Dr. Bucaille marvels:

            I could not find a single error in the Qur'an.  I had to stop and ask myself: if a man were the author of the Qur'an, how could he have written facts in the Seventh century.  AC that today are shown to be in keeping with modern scientific knowledge?  I had to acknowledge the evidence in front of me? the Qur'an did not contain a single statement that was assailable from a modern scientific point of view.  I repeated the same test for the Old Testament and the Gospels, always preserving the same objective outlook.  In the former, I did not have to go even beyond the first book, Genesis, to find statements totally out of keeping with what modern science considers to be indisputable facts.14

Dr. Bucaille studied many scientific facts mentioned in the Qur'an such as the creation of the universe, astronomy, the animal and vegetation kingdoms, human reproduction, and other related issues.  We shall select, for the sake of brevity, only two of the above issues to draw the attention of the reader to one of the objectives of this booklet.

The Creation of  Earth

Man's knowledge of the origin of the universe is very limited.  Scientists have proposed hypotheses and theories of evolution centered around one theme: the primordial fireball and the primordial era of matter and antimatter.  According to these theories, the universe consisted mainly of strongly interacting particles.  The primordial matter and antimatter eventually annihilated each other and those particles that survived formed the present universe.15  This history is given further credence because it conforms to the basic process of the development of the universe as presented very simply in the Qur'an.  Allah commands His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, to ask the unbelievers:


            Say (to them): Do you disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two days?  And yet you set up equals to Him, Who is the Rubb of the worlds.  And He placed therein firm mountains above its (the earth's) surface and blessed it, and in four days equitably apportioned the means of subsistence to all who would seek it.  Then (Allah) turned to the heaven when it was smoke (yet only gaseous) and said to it and to the earth:  Submit willingly or unwillingly! They both said:  "We submit in willing obedience."  Then He decreed that they become seven heavens in two days, and imparted to each (of the seven) its function.  And We decorated the heaven nearest to earth with lights and made them secure.  Such is the decree of the All Mighty, the All Knowing.16

And Allah says:

            Are the unbelievers not aware that the heavens and the earth were once a single entity which We then separated, and that We made every living thing out of water? 17 Will they not then (begin to) believe?18

The concept of rending one unit into two or more, and the celestial "smoke" referred to in the above, confirms what is considered to be factual scientific data.  The English physicist and astronomer, Sir James jeans, wrote:

             We have found that, as Newton first conjectured, a chaotic mass of gas of approximately uniform density and of very great extent would be dynamically unstable: nuclei wold tend to form in it,  around which the whole of matter would ultimately condense."  On the basic of this theory he proposed that all celestial objects originated by a process of fragmentation.19

The space program helped verify the homogeneity of the substances of which the moon, the earth, and other planets are formed.  "Such statements in the Qur'an concerning the creation, which appeared nearly fourteen centuries ago." Dr. Bucaille concluded, "obviously do not lend themselves to a human explanation."20

Human Reproduction

The complexities of human reproduction were decoded and understood only after the invention of the microscope, which was invented hundreds of years after the death of Muhammad, peace be upon him.  But the Qur'an refers to all the stages through which the human embryo passes.  As Allah says:

            Verily, We created man from the quintessence of mud.  Then We placed him as a drop of sperm in a safe depository.  Then We fashioned the drop of sperm into a thing that clings, and then we fashioned the thing that clings into a chewed lump (of flesh), and We fashioned the chewed flesh into bones.  Then We clothed the bones with (intact) flesh.  Then We developed it into a different (form of) creation.  So blessed be Allah, the best of creators.21

The observations of modern science indicate the stages of human reproduction are:

1.         Fertilization of an ovule, which takes place in the fallopian tubes.  The fertilizing agent is the male sperm.

2.         The implantation of the fertilized egg, which takes place at a precise spot in the female reproductive system.  It descends into the uterus and lodges in the body of the uterus.  Once the embryo begins to be observable to the naked eye, it looks like a small mass of flesh.  It grows there in progressive stages well known today, which lead to the bone structure, the muscles, the nervous and circulatory system, and the viscera, etc.22

In conclusions, Dr. Bucaille ascertains:

            More than a thousand years before our time, at a period when whimsical doctrines still prevailed, men had a knowledge of the Qur'an.  The statements it contains express in simple terms primordial truths that man has taken centuries to discover by himself.23

Who is Muhammad? (peace be upon him)

Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the last of Allah's Messengers  and Prophets.  His name is Muhammad, son of Abdullah, son of Abdul-Muttalib, peace be upon him.  His lineage is traced back to Ibraheem, peace be upon him, the Friend of Allah.  He was in Makkah in 570 AC.  Due to the fine reputation he enjoyed among his people, they nicknamed him "the Trustworthy."  At the age of 40, he was endowed with Prophethood when Allah, the Exalted, revealed to him, through the angel Jibreel, the first Qur'anic verses, and commanded him to preach the Oneness of Allah and warn people against polytheism.

The Makkan polytheists opposed him and threatened his few followers harshly, but that did not shake his faith nor cause his steadfastness to waiver, nor did it stop more people from responding to his preaching.

Finally, when the majority of the people of Madinah embraced Islam, the Makkan Muslims took flight to Madinah.  Later on, the Messenger of Allah himself migrated to Madinah to establish there the Islamic Nation.  A few years later, the polytheists of Makkah and their allies succumbed to the growing power of the Muslims, and through the mercy of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, Makkah was liberated without violence.  Some thirty years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, Islam had already spread throughout the world and displaced the two greatest empires at the time; the Persian and the Roman.

What is Islam?

The Arabic term, "Islam," meaning "submission," points to the fundamental religious creed, which dictates that a Muslim submit to the will of Allah by conforming inwardly and outwardly to His law.

Islam is the last of all the Divine revealed religions.  The name, Islam, for this universal and eternal, Deen24 of Allah, was instituted by Allah during the farewell pilgrimage; Allah says:

            Today I have perfected your deen for you, and I have completed My favor upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion.25

Islam is the last and universal faith and today numbers more than one billion followers.  Every country in the world has at least a small Muslim minority.  Islam has shown itself to be not only the most widespread religion in the world, but also the most dynamic, attracting converts at a faster rate than at any time  in the last 500 years.

Islam is not a "religion" in the narrow sense used by secular humanists, in the West, but in the universal and eternal deen known through Prophets to every nation of people since the human race first began.  This Islamic deen lays great emphasis on uncompromising monotheism and strict adherence to its creed and method of worship.  It enjoins submission to the will of Allah and urges every person to follow as closely as possible the exemplary way of the life of Muhammad, the last of the Prophets and Messengers, peace be on them all.

Allah, the Exalted, created the universe and what is in it to express the truth that He is the one and only God.  He created man and jinn only to celebrate His praise and worship Him.  In His words signifying:

            I have created the jinn and man only to worship Me.26

The method and form of worship are not left to man's option or choice.  Allah is the One Who ordains and decrees all acts of worship and the means by which they must be observed.  Since Islam deals with every aspect of life, spiritual and physical, its jurisprudence is based on a creed, instruction on worship, and ordinances regarding social, economic, and political aspects.

Because Islam is a perfect way of life, it enjoins the maintenance of refined standards of character.  The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, says:

            Verily, ! have been sent to develop in you good character and refined behavior.  Allah praised the model behavior of his messenger, peace be upon him, by saying: "And you surely exhibit an exalted standard of character. 26

A'ishah, the wife of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was asked about the behavioral characteristics of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him.  She said: "His standard of behavior was the Qur'an."  A'ishah meant that the Prophet, peace be upon him, rigorously followed the Qur'an, its rules of discipline, commands, and prohibitions and all its excellent, beautiful, and gracious teachings.  For this reason, Allah commands the believers to follow the exemplary life of His Messenger, peace be upon him, in His words:

            You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent model.28

Islam enjoins good character expressed in good manner for every occasion: entreating, greeting, sitting, eating, learning, teaching, sporting, travelling, dressing, visiting, sleeping, and treating people, particularly relatives and neighbors with kindness.  Codes for all such refined behavior are found in both the Qur'an and the Prophetic traditions of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him.

The family enjoys a high status in Islam.  It is the core, of the society, because a healthy family means a healthy society.  Hence Allah, the Exalted, commands that parents be treated with gentleness and submissiveness, saying:

And your Rubb has commanded that you worship none but Him, and treat your parents with kindness.  If one or both of them attain old age in your care, never say to them a word (suggesting) disgust, nor reproach them, but address them with reverent speech.  And humble yourself out of mercy before them and supplicate: "My Rubb be merciful to them for having fostered me in my childhood.29

Next to the nuclear and immediate family come the kinfolk.  The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said that Allah has promised to be kind to the person who treats his kindred. with kindness, and to bar from His mercy the person who severs relations with his relatives.

The Pillars of Islam

The Messengers of Allah, peace be upon him, said: Islam is based on five pillars:

1)  Shahaadah (the profession of faith). 

 It is also called the kalimah (word), which must be recited by anyone embracing Islam.  It means, "There  is no true god except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."  This means that nothing and no one is worthy of being worshipped but Allah, and that He must be worshipped only according to the teaching of His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Abdullah bin Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah said:

            A man will be brought along to the balances on the Day of Resurrection, and there will be brought out for him ninety nine scrolls, every scroll of them stretching (when unrolled0 as far as an eye can reach, in which are written his sins and his guilty acts, and they will be put in one pan of the Balances.  Then a small card will be brought out on which is written the Testimony of Faith:  "There is no true god except Allah, and Muhammad is His slave and messenger, "which will be put in the other pan, and it will outweigh all his wrongdoing.

This means that if a person professes the testimony of faith fulfilling its conditions, Allah forgives his sins regardless of how many sins he may have committed.

The Conditions of Testimony of Faith

Pronouncing the testimony of faith is sufficient to make one a convert to Islam.  There are however, six conditions that must be observed before it can effectively make on a Muslim.

These are:

•     Al-ilm (Knowledge), knowing  both concepts of the testimony of faith, i.e., disclaiming all deities, denouncing shirk, polytheism, and affirming title Oneness of Allah.  Allah the Exalted, addressed His Messenger, peace be upon him, saying: "Know, therefore that there is no true god but Allah. "30

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

            He who dies acknowledging there is no true god except Allah will assuredly enter Jannah.

And he said:

            Allah will forbid the fire [from touching] anyone who has testified 'There is no true god except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.".

•           Al-Yaqeen (Certainty):  The heart must be firmly certain of the meaning of shahadah without a blemish of doubt.  Allah the Exalted says:

            Verily, the believers are only those who truly believe in Allah and His Messenger, and then doubt not.31

Allah praises such believers saying:

            "It is they who are the truthful.

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

            I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah.  No slave meets Allah with this testimony, having no doubt in it but shall enter Jannah.32

•           AlIkhlass (Sincerity):  Allah, the Exalted, said: "And they were not commanded but to worship Allah, being sincere in (devoting) religion to Him".33 Abu Hurairah said:

            I asked the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him:  'Messenger of Allah! Who will be most fortunate to enjoy your shafa'ah (intercession) on the Day of Resurrection)'? the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: 'I was certain that no one else would ask me about this other than you, because I have noticed your keenness  for hadeeth… the most fortunate of men who will enjoy my shafa'ah on the Day of Resurrection is the one who says sincerely from his heart.34

•           As-Sidhq (Truthfulness):  Allah the Exalted says:

            But he who has brought the truth35 and those who testify to the truth, these it is who are the righteous.36

The messenger of Allah said:

            Anyone testifies that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, truthfully from his heart, Allah would forbid his admittance to Fire.37

•           Al-Mahabbah (Love and devotion):  Allah says:

            Allah shall bring forth a people whom He loves and they love Him.38

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

            There are three (qualifies), whoever possesses them, will taste the sweetness of iman (belief): to love Allah and His Messenger more than anyone else, to love the Muslim only for the sake of Allah, and to dread returning to kufr (apostasy) as he dreads being thrown in fire.39

The prophet, peace be upon him, also said:

            None of you shall (really) believe until I become dearer to him than his own father, and son and all mankind.40

•           Al-Inqiyaad (Submission): internally and externally:

Allah, the Exalted, says:

            And he who submits himself to Allah, and does good, he has surely grasped a strong handle.41

Allah also says:

            And turn you to your Rubb, and submit yourselves to Him.42

•           Al-Qubool (Acceptance):  All the above conditions must be accepted and adhered to.  In other words, none of the conditions or requirements of the testimony of faith should be rejected.  Allah says:

            When it was said to them, "there is no god but Allah, "they used to turn away with arrogance, and say, "Are we going to relinguish our gods for an insane poet."43

Abu Musa al-Ash'aree reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him said:

            The parable of guidance and knowledge which Allah has sent me with is like a rain which fell on a land.  A patch of that land received the water and produced much herbage and grass.  And a patch which was barren.  The latter retained water wherewith Allah extended benefits to man: they drank from it, irrigated and planted their vegetation.  And a patch which was a sandy plain, it neither retained water nor produced herbage.   This is parallel to the person who conceived the religion of Allah and benefited from the Message with which Allah has sent me, whereby he learnt and taught others.  The other person turned away from it (from my Message), and rejected the guidance of Allah with which I am sent.44

2) Salat (Prayer)

 An act of worship consisting of series of movements, and Qur'anic recitations.  The performance of the salaah five prescribed times daily is obligatory (fardh,) beginning at the age of reasoning, which is deemed to be at ten years.  Each unit of salaah is called rak'ah (pl. rak'at), Some prayers are performed silently in whole or in part; that is to say, the Fatihah, or the opening surah of the Qur'an and the chosen passage of the Qur'an are not recited in audible voice.  Prayer is clearly the most important pillar after shahadah.  It is a daily act of worship.  The five prayers may be performed either individually or in congregation, but if in congregation, they are lead by an imam who directs the ritual.  At these five times a day there is an adthan, or a call to announce the time for prayer, and to summon Muslims to the mosque (masjid) for prayer.

To perform prayer, the person must be in the sate of ritual purity conferred by the wudu', or ablution.  A prayer must be performed in a clean place, facing the qiblah, the direction of Makkah,45 a direction which is indicated in a masjid by a mihrab, or a notch in one of the masjid walls.  The daily prayers are the following:

The Format of Salaah (prayer) :

 

a)   Salatul-Fajr, or dawn prayer, consisting of two obligatory rak'aat during which the Qur'anic passages are recited loudly.  Its time is from dawn to sunrise.

 

b)   Salat adth-Dhuhr, the noonday prayer; four obligatory rak'aat with quiet recitation.  It is performed after the moment the sun passes its zenith until the time of Asr.

 

c)   Salat al-Asr, the fate afternoon prayer, consists of only four obligatory rak'aat. with quiet recitation.  It is performed when the shadow of a vertical stick becomes equal to the length of the stick until just before sunset.

 

d)   Salat al-Maghrib, sunset prayer, consists of three obligatory rak'aat, the first two of which are recited in audible voice, while the third is recited quietly.  This prayer may be performed soon as the sun sinks below the horizon until the red glow disappears, but is best performed immediately after sunset.


Besides the five prescribed daily prayer, there are also certain special congregational prayers that are in common observance.  The most important of them is the Jum'ah, Friday congregational prayer performed in place of the normal noon prayer. It can only be performed in congregation following a khutbah, or preaching delivered by the imam.  There are also special prayers for time of lunar or solar eclipse.  Another prayer called Salatul-Istisqaa' time of drought, a two rak'aat prayer supplicating Allah for rain.  It is to be performed by the community in the open. Janazah, funeral prayer, is performed for the recently dead by the mourners and by anyone present in the masjid at the time.  Salatul-Khawf, (prayer of fear) to be performed in place of normal prayer in the battlefield.  A-Eedain prayer, for the two annual festivals, the first al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Fasting month of Ramadan and the al-Adh-ha, the sacrificial festival which marks the end of the Pilgrimage.

There are some arkan or fundamental requirements that must be observed in order that the prayer be accepted.

an-niyyah (intention), i.e., stating in mind what prayer one proposes to perform;

2.         Takbiratul-al-Hiram (sanctification), i.e., pronouncing takbeer [saying. "Allahuakbar"], whereby the worshipper detaches himself from profane things for the period of prayer.

3.         al-qiyam (standing), i.e., taking up one's position standing, facing the qiblah and ready for prayer;

4.         al-qira'ah (recitation), i.e., the recitation of the Fatihah (First Chapter of the Qur'an) and some other portion from the Qur'an;

5.         ar-ruku' (bowing), i.e., bending the body so that the palms grab the knees;

6.         as-sujud (prostration of obeisance), i.e., going down on hands and knees to that the forehead touches the praying place;

7.         at-tasleem (salutation), which ends the formal prayer;

8.         at-tarteeb (arrangement), i.e., performing all the above in proper sequence.

Prayer is one of the greatest pillars of Islam.  It is the first act of worship about which man shall be questioned on the Day of Reckoning.  If Prayer of a Muslim is accepted by Allah, then the rest of good deeds are accepted too.46

3)   Zakah

 means "purification" consists of giving away a certain percentage of the wealth one may possess for a whole lunar year to needy Muslims in order thereby to purify or legitimize one's wealth and property.  Zakah is one of the greatest financial institutions, of Islam as practical sharing with those less fortunate the bounty one receives from Allah.  A sharing which reflects characteristics of a true Muslim.  Zakah is levied annually on certain types of food, grain, cattle, and cash retained for one lunar calendar year to be given out to the poor, the needy, and other specified classes of people.  The amount due varies according to different kinds of properties.

4)   Sawm (fasting)

is to be observed during the month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar).  The beginning of the fasting is announced in all Muslim countries by the sighting of the new moon of Ramadan, and ends with the sighting of the new moon of Shawwal.

All Muslims in normal health abstain from food, drink,47 and sex enjoyment from dawn to sunset.

Fasting is a beneficial act of worship that helps one who observes it to attain piety and humbleness and to share the feelings of the bereft and hungry in the community so as to be more benevolent and charitable.  Meritorious fasting is also recommended on various occasions throughout the year.

5)   Hajj (pilgrimage)

to the sacred sites in certain Makkan areas, each with its own special rites and ceremonies is an elaborate series of symbolic acts requiring several days for their accomplishment.  It is performed at a particular period of the Islamic year at the al-Masjid al-Haram, the Sacred Masjid in Makkah, and in Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat, which are the places directly adjacent to Makkah.  It is obligatory on those whose health and means permit in once in a lifetime.48  Umrah49 however, is voluntary act or worship.  The Hajj rites take place during the Islamic or lunar months of Shawwal, Dthul-Qi'dah, and the first ten days of Dthu-Hijjah only.  It is a pre-condition for the pilgrim to enter the state of ihram50 at a certain point before entering the boundaries of Makkah.

 

The doctrines of Islam

Iman, or faith may be strengthened by obedience to God Almighty Allah, and may be weakened by acts of disobedience.  Iman has over seventy branches; its uppermost is the testimony of faith.  There is no true god except Allah, and the slightest of which is removing a harmful object from the road.

Islam contains six basic articles of faith.

1)   Belief in the Oneness of Allah, Who is the sole Creator upon Whom all the creation depend for their means of subsistence.  Everything stands in need of Allah, but he stands in need of no one.  This belief entails also believing in Allah as the only God who is worthy of being worshipped, and in the uniqueness of His tributes.   He is not a body that has been formed.  He does not resemble any created thing, nor does any created thing resemble him.  Space does not encompass Him, nor do he earth and the heavens contain Him.  He is situated above His Great Throne in the manner which suits His Majesty.  Although He is above His Throne and separated from all His creatures, yet in spite of this He is near to every existing thing.  He is nearer to man than his jugular vein.

Allah is known by the intellect to be existing in His essential being.  Thus it follows for Islam that the greatest of all sins is shirk, i.e., associating partners with Allah or giving to anyone or anything even the smallest share in Allah's unique sovereignty.

2)   Belief in angels.  sexless creatures from light.  Allah has created the angels and tasked angels to perform numerous duties besides worshipping Him.  They are His obedient slaves.  "They stand in awe of Him. "51  Some of them are mentioned in the Qur'an and the Prophetic traditions such as Jibreel, the angel that brings down the divine revelation to the Prophets and Messengers, Mika'eel, the angel of provisions, Israfeef, the angel of the trumpet of doom, the angel of death.  Ridhwaan, the guard of the Jannah52, Malik, the guard of Hell, Raqeeb and Atted, the two angels who record man's deeds and utterances, Munkar and Nakeer, the questioners of the dead, the throne bearers, and others.

3)   Belief in His Scriptures, specifically thatthey were free from any imperfection of errors at the time of their revelation.  All Scriptures preceding the Qur'an have been tampered with or distorted by the people of the Book, whereas the Qur'an is protected by Allah from change or tampering. He sent down Scriptures to Abraham, Isma'il, Is'haq, Ya'qoob (Jacob) and his twelve sons, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon them.  Scripture were revealed through Jibreel to the various Prophets in succession.  Thus Scriptures is really one and each successive Book confirms those that preceded it.  With the revelation of the Qur'an, all previous Scriptures were abrogated, and what the Jews and the Christians now have are not the original Torah of Musa (Moses), and Gospel of Issa (Jesus) but later productions by the hands of men.

4)      Belief in His Messengers whom Allah has chosen at various times from among mankind whom He has honored by making them, mediators between Himself and His slaves.  They were sent in order to give good tidings of rewards to those who do good, and to warn those who do ill of coming punishment.  It is equally important to believe that the information they brought is characteristically and necessarily veracious.  The Messengers were to make clear to people all they had need to know of what was befitting in religion and in secular life, and to make specific to them the acts of worship whereby the would attain the highest ranks in the Hereafter.  Allah, the Glorious, aided His Messengers by clearly apparent signs and by splendid miracles.  The first of the Prophets series was Adam, and the last of them is our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon them all.  Believing in the Messengers of Allah means also believing in the Messengers of Allah means also believing that they were trustworthy in what they transmitted to men, and that they I were preserved from anything that would contradict their mission from Allah.  Among whom the most prominent and steadfast are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them.  They are human and slaves of Allah.  Every Prophet or Messenger before Muhammad, peace be on them, was sent to his own people, but Muhammad, peace be upon him, is sent to all mankind.  Allah says:

            Blessed is He Who has sent down the Qur'an to His slave so that it might be a Warner to the world.53

None of Allah's Messengers or Prophets claimed to be god or part-god.  Allah says:

            Allah has not taken unto Himself any son, nor is there any god with him, for otherwise each god would have taken away what he had created, and some of them would surely have dominated over the others.  Far be Allah above all that which they attribute to Him.

Muslims accept all the Prophets and Messengers sent by Allah as theirs, moreover they accept Jesus, not as Christians claim him to be the Divine manifestation or son of God, but as a Messenger, albeit of miraculous birth since he was born of a virgin, hence he is called Jesus son of Maryam (Mary).

Although Jesus is highly respected in Islam, yet Islam does not concede any idea of his divinity, or believe that he is the son of God.  This, or any Trinitarian idea of God, or any suggestion that Jesus is somehow an hypothesis of God, is utterly rejected in Islam.  Jesus did not die upon the cross, rather someone else was substituted for him.  Allah says:

            They slew him not, nor did they crucify him but it appeared so to them.  But God took him up to Him.  Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.54

5)   Belief in the Last Day, i.e. the Day of Resurrection.  Allah has preceded a term of each creature, and a term for the life of this world.  Allah will assuredly raise the dead from their tombs.  The end of this world will be marked by the sounding of the Trumpet.  Then the Trumpet will sound again and mankind shall be resurrected so that every person will stand before the Rubb of the worlds and be questioned about his or her deeds in this world.  Allah, the Exalted, has created the Jannah and has prepared it as an eternal dwelling for his pious who He will honor by the vision of His face.  He has also created Hell for those who disbelieve in Him.  On the Day of Resurrection, rewards and penalties are assigned, the balances will be set up for weighing the works of men and those whose balance weighs heavy will be those who will prosper.  Everyone will be given his record sheet.  It is to be believed that the Bridge over hell is real, and men will have to cross.  The pious of them will do so safely, and the impious will fall in Hell.

6)   Belief in al-Qada, and Qadar, or predestination, of both good and evil consequences.  All man's thoughts, words, and deeds were foreordained, determined and decreed by Allah from all eternity, and that everything that happens takes place according to what has been written for it.  Allah has created everything in due proportion.  His determination of the nature of things was established fifty thousand years before He created the Heavens and the earth.  Nothing occurs or takes shape within the heavens or on earth but with His knowledge, and by His order.  In other words, man's life as predestined in the sense that nothing can finally oppose the Will of God Almighty Allah.  Man nonetheless has the gift of free will in that he does make choices and decisions.

Believing in predestination however, necessitates believing:

•     that the knowledge of Allah encompasses all things, and that nothing escapes his knowledge, be it in the heavens or on the earth.  Allah has known His creatures before he brought them into existence.  He reassigns their provisions, term of life, utterances, deeds, actions, movements, their internal and external affairs, and who of them is assigned for Jannah, and who of them is doomed to Hell.

•     that the will of Allah is effective and His capacity is inexhaustible and inclusive.  Doubtlessly, whatever Allah wills does take place, and whatever He does not will does not take place, due not to incapacity rather to His infinite wisdom.  There is nothing that frustrates the capacity of Allah.

•     that Allah, the Exalted, is the sole Creator of all things.  All praise is due to Him.  He is the One other than Whom there is no god.

Conclusion

Having studied the Qur'an thoroughly, and made extensive researches on its contents, Dr. Maurice Bucaille came to the conclusion:

            I could not find a single error in the Qur'an.  I had to stop and ask myself: if a man were the author of the Qur'an, how could he have written facts in the Seventh century A.C. that today are shown to be in keeping with modern scientific knowledge?  There was absolutely no doubt in it: the text of the Qur'an we have today is most definitely a text of the period, What human explanation can there be for this observation?  In my opinion there is no explanation: there is no special reason why an inhabitant of the Arabian Peninsula should, at a time when King Dagobert was reigning in France (629-639 A.C.), have had scientific knowledge on certain subjects that was ten centuries ahead of our own?55

In conclusion, it should be borne in mind that Islam is not just a set of rituals restricted to the above, rather, it is a set of statutes and injunctions that regulate every aspect of man's life; from cradle to grave.

Now that you have read this booklet and become more acquainted with the central principles of Islam, it is up to you to make the choice.  Every one is heading for the same end, but he or she may choose one route or another.  Allah is so merciful; He is far removed from injustice.  Allah says:

            We never punish until We have sent a Messenger.56

 

Out of our concern, we prepared this message for you.


Refrences

1                    1)The book was originally written in French, entitled La Bible, le Coran et la Science.  Its English version was published by American Trust Publications in 1979.

2                    P. ii

3                    Infinitive noun of Rubb,

4                    Some translate the term `Rubb' into Lord, but since the meaning of  `Rubb' is far more comprehensive be restricted to a single word such us `lord'.  Rubb, means among other things, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Provider, and the One in whose hands is the disposal of all affairs.

5                    Even the unbelievers enjoy Allah's mercy in this world by having their means of subsistence maintained by Him.

6                    This signifies that Allah is well aware of man's insight more than man himself.

7                    Aqeedah is a religion tenet upon which ones mind and heart is firmly settled, and to which one holds and adheres.

8                    Qur'an 10:38-40

9                    Dr. Maurice Bucaille is a surgeon who has taken great interest in the scientific aspects of the Qur'an.  He learned Arabic and managed to study the Qur'an in its original text. He was amazed with its precise scientific data.  As a result of his study, Dr. Bucaille embraced Islam.

10                Al-Baqillani, I'jaz al-Qur'an, pp. 13, 36-38.

11                The reference to this prophecy is found in surah #30 titled `Arrum' or the Romans.  This refers to the battle that took place between the Persians and the Romans in 614 AD when the Romans were defeated.  Eight years after that, the Romans defeated the Persians, and the prophesy of the Qur'an was fulfilled to the letter.

12                Qur'an 30: 1,2

13                An unlettered man.

14                The Bible, the Qur'an, And Science, p.120

15                Macropaedia, Vol.18, p.1008, of the Encyclopedia Britannica

16                Qur'an 41:9-12

17                Some have misconstrued this verse to substantiate Darwin's theory of evolution.  This verse means that Allah chose to develop the universe to its present state by causing water to constitute the substantial element of every living thing.

18                Qur'an 21:30

19                Ibid.

20                Ibid.

21                Qur'an 23:12-14

22                The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p.199

23                Ibid.

24                A deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practice a as well as a way of life.

25                Qur'an 5:5

26                Qur'an 51:56

27                Qur'an 68.4

28                Qur'an 33:21

29                Qur'an 17:23,23

30                Qur'an 47:19

31                Qur'an 49:15

32                Sahih Muslim

33                Qur'an 98.5

34                Musnad al-Imam Ahmad

35                The one who brought the truth refers to Muhammad, peace be upon him.  While the `truth' refers to the kalimah

36                Qur'an 39:33

37                Sahih Muslim.

38                Qur'an 5.54

39                Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim

40                Ibid.

41                Qur'an 31.22

42                Qur'an 39.54

43                Qur'an 37.35,36

44                Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Mualin.

45                The Qiblah, orientation for prayer, i.e., the Ka'bah, to which all Muslims turn during prayer.

46                Man shall be held accountable for every minute thing he does, and shall stand all by himself on the Day of Resurrection or Reckoning to be questioned by the All-Mighty Allah.  Every one shall be held accountable for his own deeds.  The life in the Hereafter is either everlasting happiness or everlasting torment.

47                Drinking, refers to water, fruit juices and other non-alcoholic and soft drinks.  Liquor and smoking are strictly prohibited in Islam.

48                This means that a person must have enough provisions for his journey and for his family during his absence.

49                Umrah, or visitation, which is concerned more particularly with the central shrine of al-Masjid al-Haram, in Makkah, can be performed at any time of the year.  Its rituals take place entirely within the precincts of the Sacred Mosque of Makkah.  Umrah is also a part of the Hajj.  It is composed of the seven tawaf, or circumambulations of the Ka'bah, followed by a prayer of two rak'aat, the drinking of water of Zamzam, and finally walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times.

50                Ihram is purposely entering upon the performance of Hajj or Umrah by wrapping a piece of cloth around one's body, covering it from the chest down, and another piece to cover one's upper body, excluding the head.  This makes it unlawful to wear sewed garments, socks or shoes.  Only slippers or the like are permissible to wear.  Also prohibited are all sexual activities with one's wife, hunting, and the like.   Under normal circumstances, once a Muslim enters the state of ihram, he may not break it until he has completed all hajj and Umrah rituals.  If however, one is held back from completing Hajj and Umrah, for health reasons, fear of an enemy, or great danger, he then may quit his ihram and sacrifice a sheep a goat, a cow, or a camel as an expiation.

51                Qur'an. 32:11

52                The abode of recompense in which various delights prepared therein for the obedient slaves of Allah who will live in it eternally.  The paradise is atop it.

53                Qur'an 25:1 9

9                    Qur'an 23:91

54                Qur'an 4:157, 158

55                The Bible, the Qur'an And Science, American trust Publication, p.120

56                Qur'an 17:16