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Muslim

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Template:Islam A Muslim is a believer in or follower of Islam. The word Muslim means one who submits and implies complete submission to the will of God (Allah). Muslims believe that nature is itself Islamic, since it follows natural laws placed by God. Thus, a Muslim strives to surrender to God's commands every step of the way.

Until recently the word was also spelled Moslem. Muslims do not recommend this spelling because it is often pronounced "mawzlem," which sounds like an Arabic word for "oppressor." Many English-language writers used to call Muslims "Mohammedans" or "Mahometans", meaning "followers of Mohammed", but this terminology is considered incorrect and insulting, because Muslims believe it implies that they worship the prophet Muhammad, contrary to the fundamental principles of Islam itself.

Contents

Sources of Islam

Sunni sources of Islam

  • The Holy Quran
  • Ahadith (singular Hadith) - recordings of the life of the Prophet Muhammad, reported by any one of his companions. Many matters not specifically mentioned in the Qur'an are covered in the Ahadith.
  • Ijma (consensus)
  • Qiyas - the process of analogical reasoning from a known injunction (nass) to a new injunction.

Shi'a sources of Islam

  • The Holy Quran
  • Ahadith (singular Hadith) - narrations reported from the Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatimeh Zahra or any of the twelve Imams appointed by God to succeed Muhammad. The narrations are reported by their companions.
  • Ijma (consensus)
  • Aql (intellect)

Beliefs

The holiest book for Muslims is the Qur'an or the 'Koran' in English. Muslims consider the Arabic Qur'an as the direct revelation of God; translations do exist to other languages but are not regarded as the literal word of God. Muslims believe that God has revealed one religion to Mankind, namely Islam, in different stages via Messengers. Muslims believe that God's final Messenger, Muhammad, completed the religion according to God's command. Muslims believe that previously revealed scriptures, such as the Injil (Christian Gospels), the Torah and the Psalms, have been changed by Mankind, whereas God promises that the Qur'an cannot be changed and will not be changed.

The basic beliefs of all Muslims are:

  • Belief that there is only one god, namely Allah.
  • Belief in Allah's angels.
  • Belief in Allah's revealed Scriptures.
  • Belief in Allah's Messengers.
  • Belief in the Day of Judgement.

Muslims share many prophets in common with both the Jews and the Christians. However, neither the Jewish nor the Christian faiths recognize Muhammad. Jesus ("Isa") is believed by Muslims to have been a Prophet of God. The virgin birth is also accepted by Muslims (Qur'an 3:45-48). Muslims do not consider Jesus as divine but do believe that he was born without sin (Qur'an 19:19). Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified, as God would never allow such a gruesome death to happen to one of his prophets (4:157). The basic belief is that Jesus was called up to heaven and someone was sent to take his place on the cross. Muslims do not acknowledge the concept of original sin, therefore everyone according to Islam is born sinless.

Sunni Islam beliefs

The Five Pillars of Islam on which a Sunni Muslim's life is founded are:

  • The Testimony that there is none worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad is his messenger.
  • Establishing of the five daily Prayers (Salah). These prayers are ritualistic in nature and adherence to the ritual practice is required. The location at which one prays is not strictly defined as long as one is able to establish the Qiblat (this is the direction of the Ka'bah).
  • The Giving of Zakat (charity), which is generally 2.5% of the yearly savings for a rich man working in trade or industry, and 10% or 20% of the produce for agriculturists. This money or produce is distributed among the poor.
  • Refraining from eating, drinking and having sex from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramadan (Sawm).
  • The Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah during the month of Zul-Hijjah, which is compulsory once in a lifetime for one who has the ability to do it. This ability includes the financial means and the physical strength since the hajj can be strenuous. Also, one has to obtain a permit from the Saudi government which is granted based on an annual quota based on country.

Sunni Islam also teaches the concept of Al-Qadar (divine pre-destination).

Shi'a Islam beliefs

The beliefs and practices of Shia Islam are categorised into:

  • Usool-ad-Deen (Roots of the Religion) - these are the five Shi'a Islamic beliefs; and
  • Furoo-ad-Deen (Branches of the Religion) - these are the ten Shi'a Islamic practices.

The Usool-ad-Deen (Roots of the Religion)

  • Tawheed (The Oneness of God)
  • Adl (The Justice of God)
  • Nubuwwah (Prophethood)
  • Imamah (Leadership of Mankind)
  • Me'ad (The Resurrection)

The Furoo-ad-Deen (Branches of the Religion)

  • Salah ("Prayer" - performing the five daily prayers)
  • Sawm ("Fast" - fasting during the holy month of Ramadhan)
  • Hajj ("Pilgrimage" - performing the pilgrimage to Mecca)
  • Zakat ("Poor-rate" - paying the poor-rate)
  • Khums ("One-fifth" - paying tax on one-fifth of financial gain)
  • Jihad ("Struggle" - struggling to please God)
  • Amr-Bil-Ma'roof ("Enjoin what is good")
  • Nahi-Anil-Munkar ("Forbid what is wrong")
  • Tawalla (To love the Ahl-ul-Bayt and their followers)
  • Tabarra (To hate the enemies of the Ahl-ul-Bayt)

Muslim civilization

Muslim civilization is over fourteen centuries old. Early Muslim philosophy is one of the main bridges between classical Greco-Roman civilization and the Europeans of The Renaissance. What Europeans call the "Dark Ages" were in fact the golden age of civilization for Muslims and Islam itself, which spread extremely rapidly through Asia to China in its first decades of existence, and then spread more slowly to Africa and Indonesia. This golden age is usually regarded as the time of the second caliphate under the Abbasids (approx 750AD). In this period, scholars in the Islamic world made contributions to every field of inquiry, while making efforts to translate and absorb the knowledge of preceding and surrounding civilizations.

During that time, the principal language of religion and science for all Muslims was Arabic, and for many, it was also the language of daily life. A list of Islamic terms in Arabic provides simple definitions of the most important concepts by which society, religion and law were ruled.

The golden age of Muslim civilization includes the works of Farabi whose ideas were similar to those of Aristotle and Plato. Since Islam forbids artistic representation of living beings, to prevent deification, Islamic artists developed highly stylized calligraphy, an art form still prevalent in many parts of the Islamic world.

Under the Ottoman Empire and later under colonialism and the British Empire, practices (especially fiqh or jurisprudence) ossified, and failed to keep up with al-urf, or change in culture. Muslim culture began to revive after World War I, and some consider 1979 to be a crucial year when several events (peace between Israel and Egypt, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Iranian revolution) conspired to be a "wake up" call to the ummah. Shortly thereafter, innovative programs such as the Islamization of knowledge began to emerge, and these are presently spreading widely.

The Islamic World is the world-wide community of all believers in Islam, who are known as Muslims, and who number approximately one-and-a-half billion people.

Both the Arab and the Non-Arab Muslims perform up to five daily prayers (Salaah) in Arabic. Some other languages with mainly Muslim speakers (Persian, Urdu, Pashtun, Punjabi and Sindh spoken in Pakistan, Turkish before the reforms of Mustafa Kemal Atat?d most Muslims ethnic groups that were part of the Russian Empire, before the Soviet Union ordered that they be standardized and written in Cyrillic) are written in scripts derived from the Arabic script. Muslims speaking other languages often learn the Arabic script only to read the Qur'an. Such readings often only involve vocalization without comprehension, although this is not recommended.

Muslim civilization and modernity

Islamism is a new form of Islam which views its teachings as the original, authentic form of Islam. The word "Islamism" is an English word. In contrast, many in Sufi Islam see the incorporation of modern enlightenment values as consistent with the original theological program that they believe Islam was based on (see ijthad). In between these two views one can find a wide array of beliefs in Shiite and Sunni Islam.

There are distinctions between those who seek to live their lives as the first three generations of Islam did, and those who seek to change or reform Islam to conform to today's international norms. All the major denominations of Islam are fundamentalist, in the technical sense of the term. The term fundamentalist describes a movement to return to what it considers the defining or founding principles of the religion. For religious fundamentalists, their sacred scriptures are the words of God. Fundamentalist beliefs depends on the twin doctrines that God articulated His will precisely to prophets, and that they also have a reliable and perfect record of that revelation, which has been passed down to our day in an unbroken chain of tradition. Since Scripture is the word of God, no one has the right to change it or disagree with it. There are no major denominations of Islam that have a liberal theological approach, but there are some smaller liberal movements within Islam. See also: Islamic fundamentalism, Jihad, Modern Islamic philosophy.

Muslim marriage culture

See also: Islamic view of marriage

The institution of marriage/family is very important in Islam. Muhammad considered marriage for a Muslim as half of his or her religion. Muslim believe that God created men and women as company for one another. Men and women, who can get married, are highly encouraged to do so. The Arabic term zawaj is used to mean marriage.

Because one of the tenets of Islam is that all mankind is one, orthodox Muslims do not have religious objections to inter-racial marriage. Marriage to those who are not Muslim is another matter entirely. A Muslim man can only marry a woman from the People of the Book (Christians, Jews, and in some cases other religions), though offspring must be raised as Muslim. Due to the inherent complications of such an arrangement, some Muslim states require conversion prior to marriage. A Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man.


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