Introducing Islam

An introduction to basic Islamic belief and practices

The name of this religion is Islam, the root of which, Silm or Salam, means peace. Salam is also part of the greeting of peace among Muslims. In addition, one of the beautiful names of God is As-Salam, meaning "The Peace". The word, however, means much more than just "peace". It means submission to the One God, as well as to live in harmony with other people and with the environment. A Muslim is, therefore, any person, anywhere in the world, whose obedience, allegiance and loyalty are to God, Lord of the Universe, and who strives to live in accordance with God's laws.

Introduction to Islamic Beliefs and Practices

7 basic beliefs and 7 basic practices by M. Amir Ali, Ph.D.

The approach to the presentation of Islamic beliefs and practices depends upon the addressee's religion and culture. A reference point of commonalty or contrast is useful. For example, the Christians believe in the "original sin"; the connotation is that a human being has the stigma of being born as a sinner and is dirty filthy by nature. What has a newborn done to be a sinner or to be a filthy person? Contrast this with the Islamic teaching that every human being is born in nature, meaning good with no stigma of any kind and, if left alone without any brain washing will do no wrong.

Concept of God in Islam

It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah. Allah is the personal name of the One true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word "god," which can be made plural, as in "gods," or made feminine, as in "goddess." It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic.

Prophethood in Islam

Prophethood is not unknown to heavenly revealed religions, such as Judaism and Christianity. In Islam, however, it has a special status and significance. According to Islam, Allah created man for a noble purpose: to worship Him and lead a virtuous life based on His teachings and guidance. How would man know his role and the purpose of his existence unless he received clear and practical instructions of what Allah wants him to do? Here comes the need for prophethood. Thus Allah has chosen from every nation at least one prophet to convey His Message to people. One might ask, how were the prophets chosen and who were entitled to this great honor?



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