Islam: Principles and Practices- God, Confession of faith, five pillers of islam
Concept of God
Islam is often seen as having the simplest doctrines of the major religions. Its most fundamental concept is a rigorous monotheism, called tawḥīd . God is described in chapter 112 of the Quran as: “Say, He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him”. Muslims repudiate polytheism and idolatry, called Shirk, and reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension and Muslims are not expected to visualize God. God is described and referred to by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahmān, meaning “The Compassionate” and Al-Rahīm, meaning “The Merciful”.
Belief in angels is fundamental to the faith of Islam. The Arabic word for angel means “messenger”, like its counterparts in Hebrew (malʾákh) and Greek (angelos). According to the Quran, angels do not possess free will, and therefore worship and obey God in total obedience. Angels’ duties include communicating revelations from God, glorifying God, recording every person’s actions, and taking a person’s soul at the time of death. Muslims believe that angels are made of light.
The Islamic holy books are the records which most Muslims believe were dictated by God to various prophets. Muslims believe that parts of the previously revealed scriptures, the Tawrat (Torah) and the Injil (Gospel), had become distorted—either in interpretation, in text, or both. The Quran (literally, “Reading” or “Recitation”) is viewed by Muslims as the final revelation and literal word of God and is widely regarded as the finest literary work in the Arabic language.
Prophets and sunnah
Muslims identify the prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God to be his messengers. According to the Quran, the prophets were instructed by God to bring the “will of God” to the peoples of the nations. Muslims believe that prophets are human and not divine, though some are able to perform miracles to prove their claim. Islamic theology says that all of God’s messengers preached the message of Islam—submission to the will of God. The Quran mentions the names of numerous figures considered prophets in Islam, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, among others.
Resurrection and judgment
Belief in the “Day of Resurrection”, Yawm al-Qiyāmah is also crucial for Muslims. They believe the time of Qiyāmah is preordained by God but unknown to man. The trials and tribulations preceding and during the Qiyāmah are described in the Quran and the hadith, and also in the commentaries of scholars. The Quran emphasizes bodily resurrection, a break from the pre-Islamic Arabian understanding of death.
On Yawm al-Qiyāmah, Muslims believe all mankind will be judged on their good and bad deeds and consigned to Jannah (paradise) or Jahannam (hell). The Qurʼan in Surat al-Zalzalah describes this as, “So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it .” The Qurʼan lists several sins that can condemn a person to hell, such as disbelief in God , and dishonesty; however, the Qurʼan makes it clear God will forgive the sins of those who repent if he so wills. Good deeds, such as charity, prayer and compassion towards animals, will be rewarded with entry to heaven. Muslims view heaven as a place of joy and blessings, with Qurʼanic references describing its features and the physical pleasures to come. Mystical traditions in Islam place these heavenly delights in the context of an ecstatic awareness of God. Yawm al-Qiyāmah is also identified in the Quran as Yawm ad-Dīn .
Practices: Five pillers of islam
There are five basic religious acts in Islam, collectively known as ‘The Pillars of Islam’ (arkan al-Islam):
Islam is often seen as having the simplest doctrines of the major religions. Its most fundamental concept is a rigorous monotheism, called tawḥīd . God is described in chapter 112 of the Quran as: “Say, He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him” . Muslims repudiate polytheism and idolatry, called Shirk, and reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension and Muslims are not expected to visualize God. God is described and referred to by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahmān, meaning “The Compassionate” and Al-Rahīm, meaning “The Merciful”.
Ritual prayers are called Ṣalāh or Ṣalāt . Salat is intended to focus the mind on God, and is seen as a personal communication with him that expresses gratitude and worship. Performing prayers five times a day is compulsory but flexibility in the specifics is allowed depending on circumstances. The prayers are recited in the Arabic language, and consist of verses from the Quran. The prayers are done with the chest in direction of the kaaba though in the early days of Islam, they were done in direction of Jerusalem. The act of supplicating is referred to as dua.
“Zakāt” is giving a fixed portion of accumulated wealth by those who can afford it to help the poor or needy and for those employed to collect Zakat; also, for bringing hearts together, freeing captives, for those in debt (or bonded labour) and for the (stranded) traveller. It is considered a religious obligation (as opposed to voluntary charity) that the well-off owe to the needy because their wealth is seen as a “trust from God’s bounty”.
Fasting from food and drink, among other things, must be performed from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan. The fast is to encourage a feeling of nearness to God, and during it Muslims should express their gratitude for and dependence on him, atone for their past sins, and think of the needy. Sawm is not obligatory for several groups for whom it would constitute an undue burden. For others, flexibility is allowed depending on circumstances, but missed fasts usually must be made up quickly.
The obligatory Islamic pilgrimage, called the ḥajj , has to be performed during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the city of Mecca. Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it must make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her lifetime.
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