What is Islam?
Linguistically, Islam means submission. According to Islamic terminology, Islam means a specified submission. It is the submission to what the prophet brought. This takes place by uttering the two testification of faith. Belief, on the other hand, linguistically means certitude. According to Islamic terminology, it means a specified certitude. It is to accept as true what the prophet brought. The least of Belief is to belief in the THE TWO TESTIFICATIONS OF FAITH. Islam and Belief cannot be disassociated. One of them is not accepted without the other, although their original meaning are not identical. Imam Abu Hanifah said in Al-Fiqh Al-‘Akbar: “Islam is not acceptable without Belief and Belief is not accepted without Islam. They are like the front of something and its back.” Islam is the Religion of all the prophets.
Everything that exists, except Allah, the Creator, is created by Him. Allah has full power over every bit of His creation. Allah is not created; He existed always, having His attributes; He will never perish, nor will His attributes diminish. Among His attributes is that He has knowledge of all His creation, that He sees the seeable and that He hears the hearable, and His knowing, seeing and hearing are in no way similar to ours. Allah speaks and His Speech is not made up of language or sound, nor does it resemble the speech of man in any way. He does not need any of His creation for His existence and He does not resemble any of His creation in any way. This means that Allah is not a man or a woman; He is not “a Father” or “a Mother”. He does not have a wife, a mother, a father, a son, or a daughter; He has no equal or partner. Allah does not divide into parts; no creation, including man, has “a part of Allah” in him, nor can any creation become like Allah. He is the only God.
Allah existed eternally before He created any place, such as Paradise (Heaven), the skies, earth, or any planets. Hence, we know He is now as He was before He created all these places; He does not need any place to exist in. Allah has always known about every bit of His creation; there is no thing in His creation which escapes or defeats Him. No thing goes against the will of Allah. Both good and evil occur by His Will. However, Allah orders humans to do only the good; humans make the choice to obey or disobey Allah. Our ability to do good or evil is given to us by Allah, the Exalted.
Men and women are one of the creations of Allah. They are distinct from plants, animals, jinn, and angels. They were created after angels and jinn; the first man was created from clay. Allah puts a soul into man but in no way is man’s soul Allah, or “a part of Allah”. The first man was Adam and all human beings come from his family. Adam had no mother or father; he was created and given life by Allah. Allah created a wife for Adam who bore his children. Allah created the human beings to order them to believe, profess the truth about Allah and His messengers, worship Allah only, and follow His orders during life on earth. Some of mankind has and does worship Allah correctly, obeys His orders, and will be rewarded beyond imagination. Some of mankind has not and will not worship Allah correctly and will be punished by Allah with severity in Hellfire.
Jinn are a distinct creation of Allah, who are invisible to humans. Allah created them from the pure flame of fire. They are male and female and have offspring. They exist here on earth and out of it. Like humans, some jinn worship Allah, but some do not. The ones who do not are known as the devils, whose head is Satan.
Angels are another distinct creation of Allah. They are not male or female and have no children. Allah created them from light. They never sin, obeying Allah in every matter. Humans have angels near them that record all they do. Some angels have appeared to men in the form of men but they never take a woman’s shape. Some angels protect people from jinn by Allah’s will. The angel who brought revelations to the prophets is Gabriel.
Prophets are the greatest men that ever lived. Prophets received Revelation from Allah and conveyed it to the people. The prophets received the Revelations and conveyed them exactly in the language Allah ordered. The language of the scriptures is created, but Allah’s speech is not. A messenger is a prophet who comes with abrogating some of the laws brought by the previous messenger or receives a new set of laws. Prophets were intelligent, trustworthy, truthful, did not commit major sins and never left their Religion. Many prophets have lived in the past. Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, who lived some 1400 years ago, was the last and greatest prophet.
Other prophets before him include: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph (son of Jacob), David, Solomon, Moses, and Jesus, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon all of them.
The true scriptures were Revelations received by prophets. Moses and Jesus both received scriptures, but what are now called the Torah and the Bible have been tampered with by man and are not the true Revelations received by the great messengers Moses and Jesus. The only scripture which is unchanged and will never be changed is the Qur’an, which is the scripture Allah gave Muhammad, His last prophet, in clear and eloquent Arabic. Allah has promised to protect the Qur’an from any changes by man, and it has remained unchanged since it was received some 1400 years ago. Unlike the prophets before him who were sent to a particular people, Muhammad was sent to all people who lived at his time and all people who live after him until the Day of Judgment when the earth will be destroyed.
THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
This earth, planets and stars were all created by Allah at a point in time. They did not always exist and they will perish by Allah’s will. On a day which only Allah knows (not even the angels or prophets know it), Allah will make everything on earth and in the skies die (including angels, Satan, and all devils) and then He will resurrect them all and judge humans and jinns on what they did during their lives. Because humans and jinn made the choice to be believers or non-believers, pious or sinners, they will be rewarded or punished, by Allah’s will, for what they believed, said, and did.
Those of mankind and jinn who believe correctly in Allah, and believe in the Messenger sent to them and profess their belief (i.e., becoming followers of the true Religion) and die with that status will dwell forever in Paradise, which Allah has created for them. The life in Paradise is better than what any human living on earth can imagine. Those in Paradise will experience it in body and soul, but the body will be a new body with no defects. Paradise is not allegorical. It is very real and actual. There will be wonderful riches, foods, joy, and peace. People will be married and have interaction with one another. Those in Paradise will be in ranks according to their piety. Those who are rewarded with Paradise will never be sent out of it.
Hell, another creation of Allah, is the everlasting dwelling place for those of humans and jinn who rejected the revelations of the prophets. Hence, they disbelieved in Allah and His messengers. Hell is also a particular place and is not experienced here on earth. Its torture will not cease. The suffering will also be in body and soul. Some humans who were followers of the true Religion will suffer in Hell for some time, because they had sinned and did not repent of their sins during their lifetime. Being believers of the true Religion, they will get out of Hell after a time which Allah wills. Then they will enter Paradise and dwell there forever and receive no further punishment. Some believers of the true Religion who die as sinners will be forgiven by Allah on the Day of Judgment and will not go to Hell before entering Paradise.
LIFE AND DEATH
This life of a human or jinn always ends with death and there is no exception. Humans do not choose their race, sex, parents, or birthplace and will not be held accountable for those aspects of their life on the Day of Judgment. No human is doomed to Hell because he was born as a certain sex or race. Allah the Merciful, has promised any human or jinn who dies as a follower of the true Religion will receive Paradise forever. Those people who truly never heard about the correct belief in Allah and any of the messengers during their entire lifetime and died in that state will not go to Hellfire. But those sane and pubescent people who have heard of the correct belief in Allah and His messenger and die not embracing this true Religion will dwell in Hell forever.
The correct belief in Allah has never changed and every prophet and messenger has said the same concerning belief in Allah: No one is God but Allah and mankind is to believe in Him and worship Him only. The prophet for the people on earth at present is Muhammad, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and the laws for the present population are the laws that prophet Muhammad was given by Allah for mankind. There will be no new laws given, for there will be no new messenger.
Usually, the person is given one life in this world, so a person is wise to live this life correctly. No matter how appealing it is to some people, they will not “reincarnate” after they die. This and other false beliefs about mankind and Allah are whispered into human’s minds by Satan and the devils, and some men are fooled into believing them.
Satan, the first jinn, was present with the angels when Allah ordered him and the angels to bow down in respect before Adam. Satan did not bow down in respect. He objected to Allah and said he was better than Adam, because he was made from fire whereas Adam was made from clay. Because of this objection, Allah banished Satan. Satan vowed that he would try to persuade humans into false belief and worship and shameful conduct. Allah promised that Satan and those who follow him will be the inhabitants of Hell on the Day of Judgment.
Satan is man’s accursed enemy and his vow to ruin many of mankind is not to be taken lightly. He attempts to confuse and ruin man by his prompting, making bad deeds seem good. A person is not sinful when Satan whispers to him; he is sinful if he believes and/or acts on the prompting. Although humans must believe that Satan exists and take the warning about him very seriously, we must remember that Allah has full power over Satan. Satan can do nothing against the will of Allah. When a believer of the true Religion strives to follow Allah’s orders and asks Allah for protection from Satan, he should not doubt Allah’s great protection and mercy.
There is only one true Religion–that of believing the correct belief in Allah and His messengers, worshipping Allah only, loving, respecting, and following the prophet of the time, and loving and respecting other prophets. Every prophet and messenger followed and called people to the same Religion; this Religion is called ISLAM. A believer in Islam is called a MUSLIM. The meaning of Islam is “to submit to Allah”. The meaning of the word Muslim is “one who submits to Allah.” The name Allah is the name of the only true God. Although prophets and messengers spoke different languages, what they called people to was the same Religion. A person can declare that he believes and follows the true Religion–Islam–in any language, for belief is known to Allah regardless of the language. Those who say they are Muslim, yet deny the true belief in their heart, with their tongue, or by some actions, are surely not Muslim. Allah knows fully who are the ones who truly believe in Islam. Both messengers Moses and Jesus called their people to the true Religion–Islam–which is clearly described in the QUR’AN–the last and preserved scripture for all of mankind on earth.
Jesus, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, is dearly loved by Muslims, for he is one of the greatest of messengers and he is one of the most loved creations to Allah. Jesus has no father; he was created within Mary, and the Muslims believe that his mother Mary is the best of all women.
By Allah’s will, Prophet Jesus performed many miracles and was obedient to Allah in every way. Jesus spoke only the truth and his followers were Muslim. Never did Jesus say he was Allah, “the son of Allah”, or that his followers should pray to him or to anyone other than Allah. Jesus is a man, but had no father; Adam was a man but had neither a father nor a mother. The Qur’an tells us that the Jews did not crucify Jesus as some believe. He was not crucified at all, by Allah’s will; Jesus was raised from the earth. Jesus is alive, and Allah will send Jesus back to the earth before the Day of Judgment. Jesus will attest that Islam is the true faith and that Prophet Muhammad, is the last messenger. He will follow the laws that Allah gave to Muhammad, and slay the one-eyed impostor. This is the truth, although some do not believe.
When a person goes against Allah’s orders (which are conveyed by His messenger), this person has sinned. The worst sin is blasphemy, which is caused by any belief, saying, or action that contradicts Islam. When a person becomes Muslim he leaves all blasphemy. A Muslim must learn about all the types of blasphemy so to avoid committing any of them as he proceeds through life. If a Muslim commits blasphemy, he becomes non-Muslim and must become Muslim again. If he dies without becoming a Muslim, he will be in Hell forever in the Hereafter. If a Muslim commits a sin which is less than blasphemy and dies without repenting to Allah of the sin, then this sin is counted against him on the Day of Judgment. Similarly, if a Muslim follows Allah’s orders, in obedience to Him, this is counted in his favor. All of this is known by Allah and no thing escapes Him.
When a Muslim commits sins, he must repent of them immediately. To repent of blasphemy, one must utter the Testification of Faith, clearing himself of the committed blasphemy. The Testification of Faith (Shahadatan) can be stated as follows:
“I testify that no one is God but Allah,
and I testify that Muhammad is
the Messenger of Allah.”
For a sin less than blasphemy, one must stop doing the sin, regret having done it, and have the intention not to commit the same sin again. If the sin is stealing from a person, for example, then the stolen goods must be returned in addition. Allah is ever-merciful to the Muslim and no matter how many times he sins in his life, if he stops it, regrets having done it, and intends not to do it again, he will be forgiven by Allah. But for those who are non-Muslim, no matter what good things they do, those deeds are not to their credit in the Hereafter; they must first become Muslim.
A few examples of blasphemy are: believing that Allah has a son, worshipping an idol, and saying that Allah does not know everything. Some examples of sins less than blasphemy are: killing a person unjustly, adultery, drinking alcohol, and stealing. When a Muslim makes sincere repentance as was described, it is as if he did not sin, in that he will not be punished for what he repented of, for Allah is ever-merciful to the Muslims. Also, when a person becomes a Muslim for the first time, Allah forgives all his past sins.
Upon the order of Allah, Prophet Muhammad commanded the Muslims to pray five times a day. This order applies since the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad until the Day of Judgment. The prayers have a specific format with the one praying praising and thanking Allah, asking for His help and guidance, and asking Him to bless the prophets and the pious Muslims. A Muslim knows that at any moment of his life he can ask Allah for help and guidance, and he is encouraged to do so, but this does not replace the five prescribed prayers, which have a specific format to be followed.
BECOMING A MUSLIM (How to Be Muslim)
A person becomes a Muslim by leaving all that contradicts the meaning of the following Testification of Faith, believing in the heart and declaring with the tongue:
“No one is God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”
Believing in all this implies–Allah, the Creator, has perfect attributes, only Allah must be worshipped, Prophet Muhammad, the last prophet, was truthful in all that he conveyed from Allah, all the prophets before him (the first of whom was Adam) conveyed the same message of belief to their people and are to be loved and respected, yet in no way do prophets (or any creation) have Allah’s attributes.
A person can become Muslim, as aforementioned in the solitude of a forest or in a crowded subway; he does not need to go to a mosque or have Muslims witness his profession. Allah knows the hearts of His creation. However, when he becomes Muslim he may declare his belief to some fellow Muslims so he will be known as a Muslim among the people.
Anyone who has read this booklet must know if you are not already Muslim you must become Muslim immediately, for you do not know when you will die. To anyone who becomes Muslim while reading this paper, we advise you to seek knowledge as to the practice of Islam from a trustworthy Muslim teacher. As people go to college to be taught by those learned on different subjects, one should go to a learned Muslim to learn about the practice of Islam. There will always be more to learn and more ways to improve for a devoted Muslim, so arrogance is not a part of a good Muslim’s life.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the heavens and earth and Allah knows best.