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Project Islam: Part 1

INTRODUCTION

Islam has existed for aeons - long before the advent of the Prophets and the Revelations that were bestowed upon them. Islam means submission and ever since the universe came into existence it has submitted to the Laws instituted by its Creator - so that all parts of creation fulfill their purpose and function in accordance with their nature. This means that they are not possessed of the ability to decide or choose their course - they must follow the path ordained for them by their Creator. However, Mankind is unique in that he has been endowed with free will and thus has the ability to choose the direction of his path. Whatever his choice he alone is held both responsible and accountable for the consequences of his actions.

The Books of Islam are -

The Torah - the Book given to Musa (pbuh) and followed by the Jewish community.

The Psalms - the Book of Daud (pbuh) - which forms part of the Torah

The Gospels (Injeel in Arabic) - the Revelations granted to 'Isa (pbuh) and followed by the Christian community

and finally, the Last Testament from Allah SWT - The Qur'an - bestowed upon  Muhammad (pbuh) over a period of 23 years. The Qur'an thus confirms, continues, completes and concludes all the previous Scriptures - this Chapter in the life of Mankind is closed and there will be no further prophets or revelations proceeding from Allah SWT.

These are Books of Guidance for all Mankind, those who follow them and adhere to their Laws and Principles are Believers, those who do not are non-Believers.

The Hadith are a compilation of sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as reported by HIS family members, his Companions and others who were acquainted with him. The Hadith comprise a vast collection by various great Muslim scholars, the most celebrated of which is The Sahih (correct or right or true) of Imam Al-Bukhari. I must add here that unless these reports find corroborating evidence in Al-Qur'an, they cannot be accepted as valid - they belong to the realm of hearsay, and such evidence is never accepted in a court of law - we know the Prophet and his Companions could not have said or done anything contrary to the Word of Allah SWT. Thus, Al-Qur'an is the only definitive Book of Islam because it remains free of corruption/alteration - it is, in fact, the unchanging Authoritative Word of Allah SWT.

The beliefs central to all three Communities unify them and they are as follows:-

1) Belief in The One God

2) Belief in HIS Revelations

3) Belief in HIS Angels

4) Belief in HIS Prophets

5) Belief in The Day of Judgement

6) Belief in Life after Death

7) Belief in Heaven and Hell

The main purpose of this project is to explain Islam in a manner that is both simple and interesting. You will be relieved to hear that your Religion is easy to understand and follow. There are no complicated formulas or systems which obscure the Message - which rests upon the premise that there is only One, Unique and Incomparable Creator of the heavens and the earth. From this foundation a beautiful construction of Faith and Worship is formed.

We will start and continue our Project with the task of explaining, translating, clarifying words, phrases and terms which you may be familiar with. Eventually we will begin the process of learning how to perform prayer - its purpose and meaning. We will also try to read the Book of Islam, Al-Qur'an - at first in English and then in the language in which it was Revealed, Arabic.

 We are about to embark upon a spiritual journey which will encompass and embrace all and every aspect/facet of your being. I pray you will enjoy this new adventure and will emerge from it having absorbed and understood the True Message from your Bountiful, Blessed, Beautiful and Beloved Creator, Allah The Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

 

Name Explainer

We will now turn our attention to the names which compose and embrace Islam, its Message and Purpose.

Allah means - The God. It is an Arabic word employed to refer to the One Creator, it is composed of 2 words - AL, which means "the" and ILAH, which means god, deity, godhead. Obviously when the word god is preceded by the word "the" it becomes defined and relates exclusively to The One God - without associates or partners.

Islam means - submission, resignation, reconciliation, ie., to the Will of Allah SWT.

Muslim means - one who submits, ie., to the Will of Allah SWT.

Salaam means -  soundness, well-being; peace, peacefulness; safety, security, etc.

All 3 of the above words have their origins in the Arabic word "Salima" which means -  to be safe and sound, unharmed; to surrender, submit; to greet, salute, etc.

Qur'an - the Final Revelations - has its origins in the word Qara'a, which means - to read, recite, study, and so on.

Qiraa'a means - recitation, reading, recital. Iqraa is the imperative form of the verb and it means - Read! or Recite!

Salaat (namaaz) means prayer and it comes from the root Salu which means - to pray, worship.

 

The Term-Translator

There are many terms employed by Muslims which make up the true language of Islam. We will begin with the ones most familiar to us all.

1) BISMILLAH - this term is actually composed of 3 words;

Bi - which means either "with" or "by"

Ism - which means "name"

Allah - the Name of The Creator

Put together this tranlates into "By (or with or in) The Name of Allah"

As we know this term continues on and is completed with 2 of the most repeated of the Names of Allah SWT:- Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem, these Names refer to the Beautiful Attributes of Kindness, Tenderness, Gentleness, Mercy, Grace, and so on. Thus we have this term which precedes each and every good, right, proper, excellent, action of a Muslim - which means that all the doings/sayings of a Muslim are performed/uttered in the Name of The Blessed Creator, Allah SWT.

B-ISMI-LLAH- IR-RAHMAN-AR-RAHEEM - By the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

2) SHUKR-AL-HAMDU-LI-LLAH - this expression comprises 5 words.

Shukr means - thankfulness, gratitude.

Al, as mentioned above, means - the.

Hamdu represents one of the Attributes of Allah SWT, Al-Hamid, The Praiseworthy,  so Hamdu means - commendation, praise.

Li means - to or for.

Allah again is of course the Real and Proper Name of our Creator.

This term is used many times in a day by Muslims in order to thank Allah SWT for all of the beautiful blessings HE unceasingly bestows upon HIS creation and creatures.

3) AS-SALAAMU-'ALAYKUM with its corresponding response, WA-'ALAYKUM AS-SALAAM - As you know, this is a form of greeting and means

As-Salaam - another one of the Names/Attributes of Allah SWT, which means "The Source of Peace"

Alaykum means - upon you

Wa means - and.

So, Muslims meet and greet people with expressions of peace saying, in effect, "may Allah SWT Bestow upon you HIS Peace"

4) MA SHAA ALLAH - this term is composed of 3 words -

Ma, which means - what or whatever

Shaa meaning - to want, to wish

Allah

Combined in this way, this term means "What (ever) Allah Wills (or Wishes)"

And it refers to the All-Encompassing Will/Intention of The Creator, so that it is only in accordance with HIS Will that things do/do not take place. Even the bad things in the world take place because Allah SWT Permits them to in accordance with HIS Knowledge and Wisdom.

Similarly, we have the oft-repeated invocation -

5) IN SHAA ALLAH, again here there are 3 words;

In, which means - if

Shaa as we have observed above means - to want or wish or will

Allah

This brief prayer is uttered whenever a Muslim hopes to begin or embark upon something knowing that its accomplishment is entirely dependant upon the Will of Allah SWT. So we can never say "I will do this, that or the other" without adding In Sha Allah - If Allah Wills -for it is HE Alone Who enables us to carry out our intended actions, we possess no ability or strength or power other than that which flows from The Creator.

 

Phrase-Clarifier

The vocabulary of Muslims is beautifully enriched with all manner of spiritual concepts which heighten the senses, sharpen the mind, soften the heart and illuminate/enlighten the soul. The following are a few exceedingly important phrases which form the substance and essence of true Faith in The One God, Allah SWT.

1) ASH--HADU-AN-LAA-ILAHA-ILLA-LLAH - To clarify the meaning of this Declaration/Proclamation/Confession of Faith we need to separate the different words of which this phrase is comprised. Thus:-

ASH-HADU means - I Bear Witness. The origin of the word is Shahada meaning - testimony, witness, evidence, statement.

An means - that

Laa means - no

Ilaha means - god or deity

Illa means - except

Allah

Thus Muslims are those who are willing to bear witness to the Truth "that there is no deity/god except Allah" - in other words, they reject the idea that there are two or numerous gods/deities because they have no evidence, whereas they are provided with an abundance of evidence that only One God Exists.

2) 'AUDHO-BI-LLAHI-MIN-ASH-SHAITAAN-IR-RAJEEM - This phrase is always uttered before performance of prayer or recitation of Al-Qur'an. Its meaning is as follows -

'Audho means - I seek protection. The root verb is 'AADHA and it means - to seek protection, to take refuge, etc.

Bi as already noted means - with or by

Allah

Min means - from

Ash-Shaitaan means - the Devil, or Satan, who encourages bad behaviour and evil actions/words

Ar-Rajeem means - the one who is damned and cursed - The Devil -  ie., by Allah SWT

The believers employ this phrase in order to seek the protection of Allah SWT from all the evils that exist both within and outside of themselves. By taking refuge with one's Creator from evil Muslims avail themselves of HIS Constant Support/Help/Guidance/Protection from all manner of bad/destructive elements, and are thus enabled to live their lives free from all fear and grief which arises out of the darknesses of evil thoughts/emotions/actions/intentions.

 

 

 
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