ISLAMIC RESOURCE CENTRE
( Islamic Dawah & Converts Association of New Zealand)
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 (PBUH).
A Muslim is one who believes in God and strives for total reorganization of his life according to His revealed guidance and the saying of Prophet. Mohammedanism is a misnorm 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.
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 Judgment. The Prophet hood 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 evil.
3. Fasting in the month of Ramadan: The Muslims during the month of Ramadan 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 (Poor Due): To pay annually 2.5% of one's net savings 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 it fulfills the will of Allah is also considered an act of worship.
Human 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. 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 Quran and exemplified in the life of the propjet, is supreme in all cases. It applies equally to the highest and the lowest, the prince and the peasant, the ruler and the ruled.
Quran and Hadith
The Quran is the last revealed word of God and the basic source of Islamic teachings and law. The quran 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, legislations, jurisprudence, law and international relations, are important contents of the Holy Quran.
Muhammad (PBUH) himself was an unlettered man who could not read or write. Yet, the Holy Quran was committed to memory and writings by his followers, under his supervision, during his lifetime. The original and complete text of the Quran is available to everybody in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed. The translations of the meanings into many languages are widely used. Hadith, the teachings, sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad, meticulously reported and collected by his devoted companions, explain and elaborate the Quranic Verses.
Concept of Worship
Islam does not teach or accept mere ritualism. It emphasizes intention and action. To worship God is to know Him and love Him, to act upon His law in every aspect of life, to enjoin goodness and forbid wrong-doing and oppression, to practice charity and justice and to serve Him by serving mankind.
Islamic Way of Life
Islam provides definite guidelines for all peoples to follow in all walks of life. The guidance it gives is comprehensive and includes the social, economic, political, moral and spiritual aspects of life. The Quran reminds man of the purpose of his life on earth, of his duties and obligations towards himself, his kith and kin, his community, his fellow human beings and his Creator. Man is given fundamental guidelines about a purposeful life and then he is left with the challenge of human existence before him so that he might put these high ideas into practice. In Islam, man's life is a wholesome, integrated unit and not a collection of fragmented, competitive parts.
Muhammad (PBUH) was born in the year 570 A.C. in the city of Makkah in Arabia. He came of a noble family; he received the first revelation at the age of Forty. As soon as he started preaching Islam, he and his followers were persecuted and had to face severe hardships. He was, therefore, commanded by God to migrate to Medina, another city in Arabia. during a short span of 23 years, he completed his mission of prophet hood and died at the age of 63. He led a perfect life and set an example for all human-beings as his life was the embodiment of the Quranic teachings.
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 nourishes human unselfishness, generosity and love in a well-organized family system.