THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD RELIGION part two
WHAT ARE THE "FIVE PILLARS" OF ISLAM?
1. THE DECLARATION OF FAITH - "There is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God."
2. PRAYER - Muslims perform five obligatory prayers each day. Islamic prayers are a direct link between the worshiper and God. Islam has no hierarchical authority or priesthood. A learned Muslim chosen by each congregation leads the prayers.
3. ZAKAT - One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God and that wealth is held in trust by human beings. Zakat, or charitable giving, "purifies" wealth by setting aside a portion for those in need. This payment is usually two and a half percent of one’s capital.
4. FASTING - Every year in the Islamic lunar month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from first light until sunset. The fast is another method of self-purification.
5. PILGRIMAGE - A pilgrimage to Makkah, or Hajj, is an obligation for those who are physically or financially able.TERMS AND CONCEPTS
Allah - Allah is the Arabic word for "God." It is the same word Arabic-speaking Christians use when referring to God. Allah is not the "Muslim God" but is the same God worshipped by Christians and Jews.
Muhammad - The last of the prophets beginning with Adam. The term "Mohammedanism", which is used in some books, implies that Muslims worship Muhammad. This is not so. God instructs us in the Quran about him: "Muhammad is no more than a Messenger. Many were the Messengers who passed away before him..." (3:144)
Fundamentalist - Muslims view the label "fundamentalist" as stereotypical and ill defined. Muslims also object to the use of terms such as "radical" and "extremist." These terms lack definition and are seen as pejorative. More neutral and objective terms include "Islamist" or Islamic activist." If the person in question is involved in a criminal act, name that act, not the faith of the person who commits the crime.
Muslim/Arab - Not all Muslims are Arab, just as not all Arabs are Muslim. In fact, Arabs are a minority within the Islamic world. According to modern usage, "Arab" is a linguistic, no t an ethnic, designation. An Arab can be Christian or Jewish.What do Muslims believe about Allah?
1. He is the one God, Who has no partner.
2. Nothing is like Him. He is the Creator, not created, nor a part of His creation.
3. He is All-Powerful, absolutely Just.
4. There is no other entity in the entire universe worthy of worship besides Him.
5. He is First, Last, and Everlasting; He was when nothing was, and will be when nothing else remains.
6. He is the All-Knowing, and All-Merciful,the Supreme, the Sovereign.
7. It is only He Who is capable of granting life to anything.
8. He sent His Messengers (peace be upon them) to guide all of mankind.
9. He sent Muhammad (pbuh) as the last Prophet and Messenger for all mankind.
10. His book is the Holy Qur'an, the only authentic revealed book in the world that has been kept without change.
11. Allah knows what is in our hearts.
These are some of the basic guidelines Muslims follow in their knowledge of God:
1. Eliminate any anthropomorphism (human qualities) from their conception of Allah. His attributes are not like human attributes, despite similar labels or appellations.
2. Have unwavering faith in exactly what Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) described Allah to be, no more, no less.
3. Eradicate any hope or desire of learning or knowing the modality of His names and attributes.
4. Belief totally in all the names and attributes of Allah; one cannot believe in some and disbelieve the others.
5. One cannot accept the names of Allah without their associated attributes, i.e. one cannot say He is Al-Hayy - 'The Living' and then say that He is without life.
6. Similarity in names (or meanings) does not imply similarity in what is being described (referents). As a robotics arm differs from a human arm, so the "hand" of Allah is nothing like a human hand, His speech is nothing like human speech, etc.
7. Certain words are ambiguous or vague in their meanings, and thus may be susceptible to misinterpretation. Only those meanings that are in accordance with what is specified by Allah and His Prophet (pbuh) are accept