Topics

Introducing Islam
Muslim Communities
Prophet Muhammad
The Holy Qur'an
Jesus in Islam
Women in Islam
Jihad in Islam
Science and Islam
How to become Muslim

For further questions regarding Islamic information please contact:

Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City
Saad Mohammad
E-mail: islam68@cox.net

Sisters:
Sara: sjordan2@ucok.edu

 

Islamic Society of Tulsa Ourtreach Dir: Sheryl Siddiqi E-mail: sherylsiddiqui@yahoo.com

 

 

Introducing Islam

What is Islam?


Islam is the proper name to use when referring to the religion (or way of life) practices by Muslims. Islam is NOT a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people.

The Arabic word "Islam" translated into English in brief means two things: (1) - to surrender your will to God; and (2) - to acquire peace in your soul. Islam, or more accurately denoted in English as "Islaam", is a word which comes from the root letters SLM, as in the Arabic language the vowels are not written. See below:

ISLAAM = SLM

 

The meaning of the word Islaam is derived from the following words containing the same root letters.

 

 
Root
Meaning

(action) ->

ASLAM

Submit, Surrender or Obey

(result) ->

SALAAM

Peace, Tranquility, Security, Safety

(result) ->

SALEEM

Soundness, Perfection or free of defects

(result) ->

SALLAMA

Salvation, Deliverance or Perseverance

 

The legitimacy of using this word comes from the Muslim Holy Book, the Qur'an. It is the name that the Holy Qur'an uses to refer to the way which human beings are meant to live (i.e. the religion to follow). All others things in the Universe are also created on this natural state, in a state of complete surrender to God's law. The properties which all things possess, from the stars and planets, to the plants and animals, each molecule in existence must follow certain rules and laws by which are assigned to it by the Creator. However, human beings have the opportunity to be the best of all of God's creation, or to be the worst of the worst through the virtue of free will. For mankind has been given the knowledge of good and evil as a test. Yet, they possess the freedom to choose between the two, obtaining a status of Greatness, or humiliation and destruction. It is only by submitting to God's will and obeying the laws which He has prescribed for us can we as human beings attain true peace and perseverance; Salvations through surrendering to God; to reject being a slave to the creation and obtain perfection by being a servant of the Creator. This is the meaning of the word Islam, which in actuality is a comprehensive summery of the very same basic message that all previous Prophets and Messengers of God taught.

Who is a Muslim?

A Muslim is a follower of Islam, as the word "Muslim" comes from the word "Islaam". In Arabic, by adding the letter (Mim) or the "M" sound before a word become as denoted below:


Muslim= MSLM


From the word "Islaam" a Muslim is the (one doing the action); meaning the one who is submitting or obeying. A Muslim is anyone or anything that submits their will to the will of the creator thereby obtaining total peace and tranquility with complete security and safety. Through their submission and obedience to God they will also obtain Salvation and be delivered for destruction. Any soul who is not in a state where they are surrendering their will to the will of the one who created them (i.e. their Lord/God) is by definition defective and void of security and safety. For the one who has the power to give them life, has the power and the just right to punish for disobedience, ingratitude and unthankfulness of the countless favors for which they have. For the human being, it is only though living a life of gratitude, admission of God's favors, and showing thankfulness by living a life submission to His commands by which they can find true peace.


Who is Allah?

Allah is the name of the one true God in the Arabic language. Allah in the Arabic language is the greatest and most inclusive of the Names of God. It is a word of rich meaning, denoting the one and only God and ascribing no partners to Him. Allah is the god of both Christians and Jews, as well as Muslims; for Christians and Jews who speak Arabic use the name "Allah" rather than "God." Allah or 'Alah' is the very same name used by Jesus Christ in the language he spoke (Aramaic). Likewise, the name for God in the language of Moses (Hebrew) is written with the very same letters and pronounced almost the same. Below is the name of God as written in each language:

Elef - Lamed - He

Hebrew [the language of Moses]

Alef - Lamed - He

Arama'a [the language of Jesus]

Alef - Lam - Lam - He

Arabi'a [the language of Muhammad]

In essance, Allah is the same word for God in Hebrew and Aramaic in a compound with the word (Al) meaning "The" as a definite article and the word (ilah) meaning "a god or deity". In written Arabic the use of an additional "L" is an emphasis, meaning THE (one and only) GOD, which clarifies to a reader that they are not just talking about some god or deity, but "The God". Therefore, Allah literally means "The God"- somewhat parallel to the adding of im for "Elohim" in Hebrew and the capitalized "God" in English.

The Holy Qur'an (3:2) [Hebrew translation]
"Elohim, ein eloh mibaladaiv, ha-Chai, ha-Qayam"

 

The Holy Qur'an (3:2) [Arabic transliteration]

"Allahu, la ilaha ila huwal hayyul Qayyum"

 

The Holy Qur'an (3:2) [English translation]

"God, There is no god but He, the Living, the Eternal"

From an Islamic point of view, Allah is the special name of God and is the most precious name because it is not a descriptive name like the other Ninety-nine names of Allah, but the name of God's own presence. It is impossible to alter the word in Arabic unlike in English; such as creating a plural form (gods), or changing genders to (godess). The Islamic concept of mankind's place in the universe hinges on the notion that Allah, or God, is the only true [reality]. There is nothing permanent other than God. Allah, Almighty God is considered eternal and "uncreated", whereas everything else in the universe is "created." Although commonly referred to as a "He", the word "Allah" in Arabic is absolutly unique as it is genderless. The use of "He" is only employed because, just like in English, it would be disrespectful to refer the Almighty Creator as an "It." Also, "Allah" is the name used for God in the Bible. Below is a page from Genesis in the Arabic Bible where the name Allah is underlined in Red:

The first line of the above passage translates as:

"In the beginning Allah created the heaven and the earth."

 

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. However, this is not the case with name "Allah". The word Allah is absolutely unique in the Arabic language and is not just thought of as a name for God, but as 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." Although the word "Allah" is clearly superior linguisticallyto the name "God" in English Muslims who speak English as their first language feel just as comfortable using "God" in prayer or in speech. Even so, modern christian scholars of the Bible have endorsed "Alah" as the name for God in English Copies of the Bible. See below: (Copy from the New Scofield Reference Bible)

As for Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, the beloved Prophet and Messenger of God, there is a common example we may recognize. In (REVELATION 19:1) of the Bible reads the following, "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, ALLELUYA..." What is Alleluya? So what does this word actually mean? ALLELUYA is literally an exclamation of "Praise" to God. The last syllable "YA" is a vocative and and exclamatory expression in both Arabic and Hebrew meaning "OH!" In other words YA = OH (the vocative), or YA = (!); a note of exclamation, an exclamatory particle, or as is more commonly known an Exclamation Mark. For Semites, both Arabs and Jews, the "Ya" is employed, while for most westerners the "!" or exclamation mark would be used as the "Oh" emphasis. For example: Stop! Go! Fire! Bang! "ALLELUYA" is a Glorification of God meaning: "God be Praised!" or "Praise be to God!". This is respectively written as: "ALLE-LU-YA!" or "YA!-ALLE-LU". In Arabic the "Ya" or "!" would apear first as ["YA"-ALLE-LU], meaning: ("Oh"-Alleh-be Praised), while in Aramaic the exclamation of "Ya" is placed at the tail in [ALLE-LU-"YA"], meaning: (Alleh-be Praised-"!"). As you can see this ancient Aramaic text has even retained the use of 2 "L"s in the Name of God.

Below His Name is written in A'rabia below:


Concept of God in Islam

There have been some people of other faiths that have alleged that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully and is not loving and kind. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur'an begins with the verse " In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate". In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we are told that “God is more loving and kind than a mother to her dear child”.

The Oneness of God in Islam

The belief that the Lord our God is ONE god and in His Absolute Unity is the foundation which the entire message of Islam rests upon. Save some among human beings, every creature in the heavens and on the earth bears witness to His Oneness as their Lord. This paramount understanding in Islam charges that God is Unique and Alone possesses divinity as the Most High in Majesty and Glory. That He does not give His glory to another. Islam declares that before Him there was no god formed, neither shall there be any formed after Him. That He alone is the Lord, and beside Him there is no Savior. Islam teaches that the Almighty does not have any associates. He does not have any partners, nor is there any one who can intercede in His power or decree. Islam also says that the Creator possesses only the best attributes to perfection, and that it does not befit His majesty to assume any of the attributes of His creation. Almighty God is not part of a family tree having a genealogy or lineage, for He does He multiply Himself. God does not BREED gods. He Creates. He does not Pro-create. He was not born, nor does He give birth. He is the Alpha & the Omega (beginning and the end), the ever-living. God is Immortal and free of Death, while the creation has not the power to escape its clutches. Not a single soul born in the world resembles Him in any way. There is none is like unto Him. None creates and sustains except for Him, and none has the right to govern creation but Him. Only He is the All-Powerful and only He is the All-Knowing, worthy of Praise and Worship.

 

The Attributes (Names) of God

The concept of God in Islam is that God is Perfect, Eternal and Everlasting. Since the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then his attributes are absolute, constant, and unchanging. Well, can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be, for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment's thought shows that this is not feasible nor rational. The Qur'an summarizes this argument in the following verses: "God did not breed any other god's (He did not have any offspring), nor is there any god with Him: for then each god would have taken of that which He created and some of them would have risen up over others” The Qur'an (23:91). This idea that God could multiply Himself is also refuted in the following verse: “And why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than God, they (heaven and earth) would surely go to ruin” The Qur'an (21:22). This is also the same concept of God that was taught by previous Prophets in former scriptures as you can see from the following verses of the Bible: "...and understand that I am He: Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." Isaiah (43:10) [KJV] And also: "For I am the Lord, I change not..." Malachi (3:6) [KJV]

God Charateristics or Attributes that are mentioned in the Holy Qur'an are 99:

1. The Gracious; Benificient
2. The Merciful; Compassionate
3. The King
4. Most Holy
5. All Peaceful
6. The Granter of security
7. The Protector
8. The Mighty
9. The Compeller
10. The Majestic
11. The Creator
12. The Maker
13. The Shaper
14. The Forgiver
15. The One Who Subdues
16. The One Who Bestows
17. The Provider
18. The Opener
19. The All-Knowing
20. The Withholder
21. The Expander
22. The One Who Abases
23. The Exalter
24. The Bestower of Honor
25. The One Who Humiliates
26. The All Hearing
27. The All Seeing
28. The Judge
29. The Equitable
30. The Gentle
31. The All-Aware
32. The Forbearing
33. The Incomparably Great

34. The Forgiving
35. The Appreciative
36. The Most High
37. The Most Great
38. The Preserver
39. The Sustainer
40. The One Who Reckons
41. The Majestic
42. The Generous
43. The Watchful
44. The Responsive
45. The All Embracing
46. The Wise
47. The Loving One
48. The Most Glorious
49. The One Who Resurrects
50. The Witness
51. The Truth
52. The Ultimate Trustee
53. The Most Strong
54. The Authoritative
55. The Protector
56. The Praiseworthy
57. The Appraiser
58. The Originator
59. The Restorer of life
60. The Giver of life
61. The Causer of death
62. The Ever Living
63. The Self Existing
64. The Self Sufficient
65. The Glorified
66. The Unique

67. The One
68. The Eternal
69. The Able
70. The Powerful
71. The Expediter
72. The Delayer
73. The First
74. The Last
75. The Manifest
76. The Hidden
77. The Governor
78. The Most Exalted
79. The Source of Goodness
80. The Acceptance of Repentance
81. The Avenger
82. The Pardoner
83. The Most Kind
84. The Eternal Owner of Sovereignty
85. The Lord of Majesty
86. The Just
87. The Gatherer
88. The All Sufficient
89. The One Who Enriches
90. The One Who Prevents
91. The Afflicter
92. The One Who Benefits
93. The Light
94. The Guide
95. The Originator
96. The Ever Lasting
97. The Ultimate Inheritor
98. The Guide
99. The Patient

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Holy Qur'an 17:110

Say: Call upon "Allah (God), or call upon "Rahman" (The Most Gracious); By whichever Name you call upon Him (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names (i.e. the 99 Names)."

 

Basic Beliefs

In Islam there are 6 key Articles of Faith, which one must believe in to be considered a "Beliver". Faith or Belief is clearly defined by the words of the Prophet (pbuh) when he said, "Imaan (i.e. True & Correct Faith) is to have certain belief in:

1) God and His absolute oneness-(perfect unity)
2) His Angels
3) His Books
4) His Messengers
5) The Day of Judgment or Repayment
6) Divine Decree

Worship in Islam

THE PURPOSE IN LIFE:

The essence of Worship in Islam is the expression of Love, Fear, & Hope for God. Our purpose in life, after first recognizing our creator and understanding that He is worthy of all praise & worship is to WORSHIP (and serve) Him alone. Although the Almighty does not need our worship (God is Self-sufficient, free of all needs), we as His creation on the other hand are the ones that need to worship Him, and it is only us that will benefit from our devotion, gratitude, and sincerity to God.

THE HOLY QUR'AN (51:56)

"And assuredly I did not create …Mankind (human beings),

Except that they should worship/serve Me."

A LIFE OF WORSHIP:

Any activity started with the intention of pleasing our Creator that has both a good goal and a good means to achieve it is considered worship in Islam. In Islam there are also more set ritualistic act of worship, or outward manifestations of worship which God has made obligatory for all of those who chose a life of submission to Him. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has defined Submission to God as the following obligitory acts of worship when he said:

ISLAAM -(obedience & submittion to God/obtaining peace & salvation) IS BUILT ON FIVE:

1) Testimony of Faith
2) Prayer
3) Charity
4) Fasting
5) Pilgrimage

(1)-Testimony of Faith or 'Shahada' is to declare ones belief by simply saying the following: "I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship, except Almighty God (alone), without any partners; And I testify that Muhammad is God's Messenger and Servant." Any person who says this from their heart with firm belief in it has (Submitted to God), and is therefore a Muslim. As you can see, this declaration of faith is in two parts or phrases. These two phrases are a pledge and covenant with God, the Creator of the heavens and earth, the Lord and Ruler of all that exists on FOUR points:

1. Recognition of God:

Point I- A confession with your heart, your understanding, and with your mouth that - "The Lord is Almighty God," who is the Creator of all things. That He is the Organizer and Planner of all the affairs of His creatures. This is called (your confession of the) "Oneness of the Lordship of God."

Point II-A confession with your heart, your understanding, and with your mouth that - "All Worship/Servitude are for God alone." This is called (your confession of the) "Oneness of the worship of God."

Point III-A confession with your heart, your understanding, and with your mouth that - "God's Attributes and Qualities are Perfect and Absolute." That His qualities, by which He has qulified Himself in His Books and by His Prophets are true, and that all those names and qualities (see the section: "God's Attributes") are for the Almighty alone without resembling any of His creation. This is called (your confession of the) "Oneness of the Names and Qualities of God."

2. Recognition of God's Representive on Earth (i.e. His Prophet):

Point IV-A confession with your heart, your understanding, and with your mouth that - "Muhammad is the servant and Messenger sent by Almight God." This confession simply put is two things. (1) Firstly,-to declare (that you) believe in the concept of "Prophethood"; and (2) Secondly -to declare (that you) believe Muhammad is a Prophet. In this confession is the testimony of belief in all the previous prophets of God, such as: Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. [An explamation of Prophethood and a more full list of Prophets are provided below in the section "Prophethood in Islam]. The complete 'Shahada' with the Arabic pronounciation is written below:

1. "Ash-hadu an-la ilaha ill-Allah"

[There is no "ilaha"-(deity/god or anything worthy of worship/obeying) except God]

2. "Wa ash-hadu an-na Muhammader-Rasuloollah"

[And that Muhammad is the Messenger-of-God]

 

(2)- Prayer or 'Salah' is the name for the obligatory (formal) prayers which are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and their Lord and Creator. The Prayers are said at Dawn, Noon, Mid-afternoon, Sunset, and Nightfall; thus determining the rhythm of the entire day. Although it is preferable to worship together in the Masjid/Mosque-(place of prayer), a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in a field, in offices, factories and universities, etc. Visitors to countries where the practice of Islam is predominant are struck by the centrality of prayers in the daily lives of Muslims, who live each day with sincerity to God by continually renewing their connection with their Creator to strengthen their relationship with God. The origin of word "Salah" in Arabic is found in Aramaic (the language of Jesus). Salah is the canonical, or ritual formal prayer, as opposed to the spontaneous petitioning of God (informal prayer), which is called "Dua". The "Salah" consists of a series of movements and
recitations, and is thus a ritual, more of a liturgy, or an act of worship. The "Salah" is to be performed in a specific mannor unlike making "Dua", which is made at any time and at almost any place through simply supplicating or invoking God. As an act of worship, the salah models the body, mind, and soul - the latter in the form of speech - to the invisible prototype of awareness of God. The prescription of the "Salah" (daily prayer) is to be performed five times each day and is obligatory, beginning at the age of reason, which is deemed to be seven years. The "Salah" is, however, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and is clearly the most important after the Declaration of ones faith.

Below are Muslims performing the 4 commonly seen positions of the obligatory (formal) daily prayers ::

1. Standing 2. Bowing
3. Prostring 4. Sitting

Below is a translation of opening words of the prayer from the first chapter of the Holy Qur'an, which all Muslims read in while standing each cycle of their daily Salah:

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful:
-Praise be to God, Lord of all that exists-
-The Compassionate, the Most Merciful-
-The Lord and Master of the Day of Judgment-
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path, the path of those who have received your grace;
Not the path of those who have earn Your Wrath, nor of those who go astray.
Amen.


(3)- Charity or 'Zakah' is the poor due in which God commands the believers to give up a portion of their annual SAVINGS for the benefit of the poor. This imposed 'tax' by the Almighty is a welfare to alleviate the suffering of those who are less fortunate. Of the most important principles of submitting our lives to God (Islam) is to have the understanding that all things belong to Him, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word Zakah means literally 'purification' and 'growth'. Through giving to the poor, our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth. The Holy Qur'an says: "God has bought from the believers their lives and wealth and in exchange will give them Gardens in Paradise (Heaven)." For Muslims, both our lives and our money are given in pledge to God. When we declare that we believe in Him and seek to follow His will, it follows that we recognize our responsibility to our Lord. Sometimes God requires sacrifice on our part in the great plan He has for the universe, and taking care of the poor in society is of the foremost responsibilities that the believers have to God. God says:

"Spend (on Charity) Oh son of Adam, and I shall spend on you."

(4)- Fasting or 'Sawm' is a necessary form of worship in living a life of Submittion to God. Likewise, It has been this way even before the instruction, which were given in God Final Testament (The Holy Qur'an). As He says: "Oh you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed upon you just as it was prescribed on those before you - that you may become God Conscienceness-(Pious & Righteous)."


(5)- Pilgrimage or 'Hajj' literally means 'to set out for a place'. In Islam however it refers to the annual Pilgrimage that Muslims make to Meca (Beca) in Arabia with the intention of performing certain religious rites in accordance with the method prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad. Hajj and its rites were first ordained by God in the time of the Prophet Abraham and he was the one who was entrusted by the All-Mighty to build the sacred House of God called "The K'aba" - along with his son Ishmael at Meca (Beca). God described the K'aba and its building in His Glorious Recitation [i.e. The Qur'an] as follows:

The Holy Qur’an (22:26)

"And remember when I showed Abraham the site of the Sacred House [saying]: Associate not anything [in worship] with Me and purify My House for those who encircle it in worship and those who stand up for prayer and those who bow down prostrating themselves ([to Me)."

The Holy Qur’an (3:96)

"The Indeed, the first house of worship appointed for mankind was that at Beca (Meca): full of blessing and of guidance for all the world. In it are clear signs, the station of Abraham, whoever enters it attains security; Pilgrimage to it is a duty men owe to God – Those who have the means; but if any deny faith, God stands not in need of any of His creatures."

The Pilgrimage is an obligation once in a lifetime for those Muslims who are physically and financially able to perform it. About 3 Million people go to Meca each year from every corner of the globe. Although Meca is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj-(or Pilgrimage) is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. Male pilgrims wear special simple clothes which strip away distinctions of class and culture so that all stand equal before God. Above is a picture of Pilgrims praying at the Grand Mosque in Meca. The K'aba (the black building in the picture) is the focal point, which all Muslims turn toward when praying to God.

The Pilgrims Call:

Oh my Lord, Here I am at Your service, Here I am. There is no partner with you. Here I am!

Truly, the Praise are Yours, the Favors are Yours, and the Kingdom is Yours. There is no partner with you.

Some of the rites of the 'Hajj' include circling the Ka'aba 7 times and going 7 times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa, as Hagar did during her search for water. (see in Genesis 21:12-21) Then the pilgrims stand together in the valley of Arafa and ask God for what they wish and for His forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Day of Judgment. The end of the Hajj is marked by a festival, 'Eid Al-Adha', which is celebrated with prayers. This is the greatest time of year for Muslims in Islam.

 

Prophethood in Islam

THE HOLY QUR'AN (16:36)


"And assuredly (God All-Mighty) sent among every people a messenger (with the command), "Serve/Worship God (alone) and shun wickedness/sin."

 

Below is a list of all of the Prophets that are mentioned by name in the Holy Qur'an. Also Prophets which are not mentioned in the Qur'an but are mentioned in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):

Adam Samuel (Hadith)
Enoch David
Noah Soloman
Hud Jonah
Salih Jeremiah (Hadith)
Lot Exekiel (Hadith)
Abraham Elias
Ishmael Elijah
Isaas Isaiah (Hadith)
Jacob Daniel (Hadith)
Job Zachariah
Shuaib John (the Baptist)
Moses Jesus
Aaron Muhammad
Ezra [God's Peace be upon them all]

 

 

 

THE HOLY QUR'AN (2:136)


"Say: (Oh Prophet) We believe in God and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, & Jacob, & the tribes, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them (we do not differentiate between them) and unto Him -(God alone) have we Submitted."


The purpose of the Prophets and Messengers of God was to bring us back to:

1) Acknowledge the Supremacy of God Almighty (Allah)
2) Worship and Thank our Creator and Sustainer (Allah)
3) Follow Divine Guidance by serving mankind and our world utilizing:

a. Compassion
b. Justice
c. Material conservation

Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City | Islamic Society of Tulsa