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 Basics of faith

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PostSubject: Basics of faith   Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:54 am

Basics of faith




Islam
began
with the first man, who was also the first prophet, namely Adam (peace be upon
him). The meaning of Islam is submission and obedience to Allah, the Creator of
all. From Adam (peace be upon him) through to Muhammad (peace be upon him) was
delivered the message of Allah to mankind; calling them to the worship of the
One true God and establishing piety on earth.
Each prophet was sent to a particular group of
people, like Abraham, Noah, Joseph, Ishmael, Isaac, Elias, Zakariah, Jonah,
Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them all) (as well as many others).
The difference with the final prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was that he
was sent to the whole of mankind and his message would continue until the Day of
Resurrection.

The essence of Islam is the acknowledgement of the Lordship
of Allah; that He alone is to be worshipped and obeyed. The whole of
creation is His handiwork and thus should be respected and cared for. That
is why even when killing animals for food, the Muslim mentions the name of
Allah, and so acknowledges the fact that this animal is owned by Him and has
been provided for mankind out of His bounty. The Muslim recognizes that
nothing happens within creation except by the knowledge and permission of Allah
and that there exists wisdom and knowledge far beyond the reach of human
beings. Indeed of knowledge, we have only been given a little. Hence
there is no pride or arrogance as Allah alone is the Sovereign Lord and one of
the things, which He dislikes is oppression. The Muslims have been called
upon to spread good relations, honor the ties of the womb, help the poor and
oppressed and alleviate suffering. To help the Muslims do this, Allah
prescribed a way of life for the human beings so that all their duties and
responsibilities in life could be fulfilled, as well as their spiritual
potential and the development of their character.

Everything done in the
life of a Muslim can be regarded as an act of worship if it is done with the
intention of gaining the pleasure of Allah. So learning, working,
taking care of the family and even the so-called mundane duties of life can be
turned into means of closeness to Allah, as they are performed according to
Islam and with the intention of gaining closeness to Allah.

In His
Infinite Mercy, Allah turned to mankind and provided them with the necessary
guidelines to live by, in order to attain success in this life and the
next. Prohibitions from evil and all that leads to it, and
encouragement to do good and establish piety have been prescribed and clearly
set out.

The Muslim must worship Allah alone, pray five times a day, fast
from dawn to sunset in the month of Ramadan, pay Zakat (a percentage of ones'
wealth given to the poor), and perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah, if one is
able to do so, once in their life time). Along with these basic pillars of
Islam, the Muslim must follow the laws of Allah which outline the duties and
responsibilities of family members, behavior in society, business, etc including
all aspects of life. Every person has a trust, a role to perform which
binds society into a harmonious unit. There are strict punishments
for murder, theft, adultery, oppression and vices, which destroy the body and
soul of man. How many families have been destroyed because of
adultery? How many children suffer because of that? How many people
today live in constant fear of being killed or robbed? These laws were
instituted to protect human beings from evil.

The human being is
regarded as a wondrous creation of Allah and within each person resides an
innate nature that urges him/her to search for Allah (God) , truth, peace,
justice and all that is good. Each child is born pure and no one
bears the sins o r burdens of another. However, as the child grows, often
this innate nature becomes distorted according to environment and education, but
it remains deep within the psyche of man, emerging from time to time throughout
life; responding to the individual's desire to attain their spiritual potential
and closeness to Allah.

The relation between the body, mind and soul of
man is paid a lot of attention in Islam. Man was created, prone to
weakness and desires and so a lot of spiritual strength is required to overcome
the evil in and around us. The struggle between good and evil is
ongoing. It began in the beginning of time when satan refused to bow
down to Adam and acknowledge his superiority and then again when satan tempted
both Adam and Eve until they were cast out of the Gardens of Paradise.
Allah forgave Adam and Eve but the consequences of their actions was that they
were to live on the earth. Hence, the beginning of mankind. Satan
remains as the enemy of mankind, having vowed to entrap as many as possible in
his evil designs but Allah promised His help and protection to those who follow
His ways and trust in Him.

Islam
prescribes many forms of worship which help to develop spiritual strength in
man. For example, prayer five times a day becomes a life line for the Muslim; a
time to stop the activities of life and remember the bounties of Allah, His
Mercy, Kindness and the reality of the Day of Judgment. It requires
commitment and discipline and a high level of personal cleanliness of both body
and soul. Also, fasting in Ramadan from dawn until sunset is a rigorous
feat that can only be performed by those who are patient. It is not just
keeping away from food and drink, but controlling the tongue, the desires and
the urge to become angry, gossip and all other kinds of evil. There is
also the pilgrimage to Makkah, which was the first mosque erected in the history
of mankind, for the worship of Allah. It was built by prophet Abraham and
his son Ishmael and continues to be visited by Muslims from all over the
world. People until today, travel to Makkah in many ways. Some by plane,
ship, motor vehicle and still some walk and ride animals. The atmosphere
there is one of peace, love and fear of Allah, seeking forgiveness of sins and
renewal. It is an event of great spiritual and practical
significance, as people return from Hajj, refreshed and ready to face life and
its hardships, while striving to obey Allah and establish piety of
earth..
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