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Sabtu, 02 Januari 2010

ISLAM

Rahim Tabet | 06.58 |
In The Name Of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and
made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one
another. Truly, the most honored of you in God's sight is the greatest
of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware 49:13)
WHAT IS ISLAM?
Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His
prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world's population, Islam is both a religion
and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and
forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events
which have come to be associated with their faith.
WHO ARE THE MUSLIMS?
One billion people from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures across the
globe -- from the southern Philippines to Nigeria -- are united by their common Islamic
faith. About 18% live in the Arab world; the world's largest Muslim community is in
Indonesia; substantial parts of Asia and most of Africa are Muslim, while significant
minorities are to be found in the Soviet Union, China, North and South America, and
Europe.
WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE?
Muslims believe in One Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in
the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of
Judgment and individual accountability for actions; in God's complete authority over
human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting
with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses,
Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon
them. But God's final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a
summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad
through Gabriel.
HOW DOES SOMEONE BECOME A MUSLIM?
Simply by saying 'there is no god apart from God, and Muhammad is the Messenger
of God.' By this declaration the believer announces his or her faith in all God's
messengers, and the scriptures they brought.
WHAT DOES 'ISLAM' MEAN?
The Arabic word 'Islam' simply means 'submission', and derives from a word meaning
'peace'. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God.
Mohammedanism' is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship
Muhammad rather than God. 'Allah' is the Arabic name for God, which is used by
Arab Muslims and Christians alike.
WHY DOES ISLAM OFTEN SEEM STRANGE?
Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because
religion does not dominate everyday life in the West today, whereas Muslims have
religion always uppermost in their minds, and make no division between secular and
sacred. They believe that the Divine Law, the Shari'a, should be taken very seriously,
which is why issues related to religion are still so important.
DO ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY HAVE DIFFERENT ORIGINS?
No. Together with Judaism, they go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and
their three prophets are directly descended from his sons Muhammad from the eldest,
Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. Abraham established the settlement which
today is the city of Makkah, and built the Ka'abah towards which all Muslims turn
when they pray.
WHAT IS THE KA'ABAH?
The Ka'abah is the place of worship which God commanded Abraham and Ishmael to
build over four thousand years ago. The building was constructed of stone on what
many believe was the original site of a sanctuary established by Adam. God
commanded Abraham to summon all mankind to visit this place, and when pilgrims go
there today they say 'At Thy service, O Lord', in response to Abraham's summons.
WHO IS MUHAMMAD?
Muhammad was born in Makkah in the year 570, at a time when Christianity was not
yet fully established in Europe. Since his father died before his birth, and his mother
shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As
he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he
was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. The historians describe him as
calm and meditative. Muhammad was of a deeply religious nature, and had long
detested the decadence of his society. It became his habit to meditate from time to
time in the Cave of Hira near the summit of Jaba al-Nur, the 'Mountain of Light' near
Makkah.
HOW DID HE BECOME A PROPHET AND A MESSENGER OF GOD?
At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad received his first
revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for
twenty-three years, is known as the Qur'an. As soon as be began to recite the words
he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and
his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution which grew so fierce that in
the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate. This event, the Hijra,
'migration', in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah some 260 miles to the
north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After several years, the Prophet
and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies
and established Islam definitively. Before the Prophet died at the age of 63, the
greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread
to Spain in the West and as far East as China.
HOW DID THE SPREAD OF ISLAM AFFECT THE WORLD?
Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the simplicity of its
doctrine-Islam calls for faith in only one God worthy of worship. It also repeatedly
instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation.
Within a few years, great civilizations and universities were flourishing, for according
to the Prophet, 'seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim man and
woman'. The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with old,
brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy,
geography, architecture, art, literature, and history. Many crucial systems such as
algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also the concept of the zero (vital to the
advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from Islam.
Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of
discovery were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good
navigational maps.

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Item Reviewed: ISLAM Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Rahim Tabet