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WHAT IS ISLAM? :-)

(Source : Japan Islamic Center)

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Japanese Version

 

ISLAM AND MUSLIMS

The Arabic word Islam means peace, submission and obedience. The religion of Islam is the complete acceptance of the teachings and guidance of God as revealed to His Prophet Muhammad. A Muslim is one who believes in God and strives for total reorganization of his life according to His revealed guidance and the sayings of the Prophet. He also works for building human society on the same basis. "Muhammadanism" is a misnomer for Islam and offends its very spirit.

The word 'Allah' is the proper name of God in Arabic. It is a unique term because it has no plural or feminine gender.

About Basic Social Conduct of Muslim

CONTINUITY OF MESSAGE

Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all Prophets:

Say, we believe in Allah and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ismael and Issac and Jacob and the tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to other Prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit. (Qur'an 3:83)

The message which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form.

 

THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM

There are five pillars of Islam

1. The declaration of faith : To bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His messenger to all human beings till the Day of Judgement. The Prophethood of Muhammad obliges the Muslims to follow his exemplary life as a model.

2. Prayers : Daily prayers are offered five times a day as a duty towards Allah. They strengthen and enliven the belief in Allah and inspire man to a higher morality. They purify the heart and prevent temptation towards wrong-doings and evils.

3. Fasting the month of Ramadhan : The Muslims during the month of Ramadhan not only abstain from food drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, but also from evil intentions and desires. It teaches love, sincerity and devotion. It develops a sound social conscience, patience, unselfishness and will-power.

4. Zakat : To pay annually 2.5% of one's net saving on which a year has passed as a religious duty and purifying sum to be spent on poorer sections of the community.

5. Pilgrimage to Makkah : It is to be performed once in a lifetime, if one can afford it financially and physically.

Besides these pillars every action which is done with the awareness that is fulfills the will of Allah is also considered an act of worship.

Islam enjoins faith in the Oneness and Sovereignty of Allah, which makes man aware of the meaningfulness of the Universe and of his place on it. This belief frees him from all fears and superstitions by making him conscious of the presence of the Almighty Allah and of man's obligations towards Him. This faith must be expressed and tested in action. Faith alone is not enough. Belief in one God requires that we look upon all humanity as one family under the universal Omnipotence of God-the Creator and Nourisher of all. Islam rejects the idea of a chosen people, making faith in God and good action the only way to heaven. Thus, a direct relationship is established with God, without any intercessor.

 

MAN : THE FREE AGENT

Man is the highest creation of God. He is equipped with the highest of potentialities. He is left relatively free in his will, action and choice. God has shown him the right path, and the life of Prophet Muhammad provides a perfect example. Man's success and salvation lies in following both. Islam teaches the sanctity of the human personality and confers equal rights upon all without any distinction of race, sex or color.

The law of God, enunciated in the Qur'an and exemplified in the life of the prophet, it supreme in all cases. It applies equally to the highest and the lowest, the prince and the peasant, the ruler and the ruled.

 

QUR'AN AND HADITH

The Qur'an is the last revealed word of God and the basic source of Islamic teachings and laws. The Qur'an deals with the bases of creeds, morality, history of humanity, worship, knowledge, wisdom, God-man relationship, and human relationship in all aspects. Comprehensive teachings on which, can be built sound systems of social justice, economics, politics, legislation, jurisprudence, law and international relations, are important contents of the Holy Qur'an.

Prophet Muhammad himself was an unlettered man who could not read or write. Yet, the Holy Qur'an was committed to memory and writing by his followers, under his supervision, during the lifetime. The original and complete text of the Qur'an is available to everybody in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed. Translations of the meaning into many languages are widely used. HADITH, the teachings, saying and actions of Prophet Muhammad, meticulously reported and collected by his devoted companions, explain and elaborate the Qur'anic verses.

 

ISLAM-THE SOLUTION OF MODERN PROBLEMS

The Brotherhood of Man : A major problem which modern man faces is that of racism. The materially advanced nations can send man to the moon but they cannot stop man from hating and fighting his fellow man. Islam, over the last 1400 years, has shown in practice how racism can be ended. Every year, during Hajj, the Islamic miracle of real brotherhood of all races and nations can be seen in action.

The Family : The family which is the basic unit of civilization is disintegrating in all western countries. Islam's family system brings into a fine equilibrium the rights of man, wife, children and relatives. Islam nourishers human unselfishness, generosity and love in a well-organized family system.

 

UNFRAGMENTED VIEW OF LIFE

Human beings live according to their view of life. The tragedy of secular societies is that they fail to connect the different aspects of life. The secular and the religious, the scientific and the spiritual seem to be in conflict, Islam puts an end to this conflict and brings harmony to man's vision of life.

 

For further information about Islam, you can contact Islamic associations around you. If you are in Japan, contact Japan Islamic Center for Islamic literature in Japanese and detailed explanations about anything to do with Islam. The Center is open on all days except Friday and Sunday or national holidays. Please call, write or fax.

ISLAMIC CENTER, JAPAN

(Est. 1965Built 1982)

1-16-11 Ohara, Setagaya-ku,

Tokyo 156, Japan.

TEL : 03-3460-6169 FAX : 03-3460-6105