Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Summary of Islam

Islam is a prophetic religion of a comparatively late origin. It has its origin in the teaching of prophet Mohammad, who is taken by its followers as messenger of God Allah. Mohammad was born in Arabia in the year 570 A.D. Mohammad preached a religion of strict monotheism and a life of religious discipline devoid of any ritualism or ideology. For some time after birth, Mohammad used to live like an ordinary man. He had a wife named Khadjjah and also children . it was so often that he retired to caves and mountain for prayer and meditation. He had become fond of solitude.
In the revelation through Gabriel, Mohammad got a call from God for prophecy. The voice that Mohammad heard in this revelation is reported to be the following “ O Mohammad, thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel. Then Gabriel asked Mohammad to recite the following.
In the name of the Load who created, created man from slots of bloods, Thy Load is the most beneficent, who taught by the pen, Taught that which they knew not unto men.
Islam is said to be the religion of the Book. All the basic principles of Islam as a religion  are contained in one book called Quran.
Basic features of Islam as a religion
1 Islam believes in one and only one God called Allah. 2 it believes in the reality and authenticity of prophets who are regarded as carrying the message of God to people. 3 It believes in the sacredness and authoritativeness of many scriptures. 4 It believes in the existence of angels and spirits, both of good and evil dispositions. 5 Islam believes in a life after death comprising of the resurrection of the dead on the day of judgment and retribution of reward and punishment by God in the form of membership of Heaven and hell. 6 heaven and hell are regarded by it as permanent abodes of the righteous and the evil doers respectively after their physical death. 7 It is out and out a legalistic religion providing its followers with definite codes of ethical, religious and other individual and social conduct. 8 it is totally opposed to polytheism, ritualism, idolatry and priesthood. 9 it believes in the absolute decree of God. 10 It teaches an ethics of perfect purity, service of humanity and brotherhood of man. 11 it also seems to preach a holy war or Jihad against all those who are unbelievers, Jihad is also interpreted as exerting for the cause of religion. 12 Amongst many ethical and religious duties as prescribed by Islam.
Islam is a strictly monotheistic religion. It believes in one and only God having no place for any other. It is so much conscious of and emphatic about its monotheistic character that the Quran reminds us surah after surah that there is no God except one called Allah. It is clear that God as the supreme reality, is the lone creator of everything. The world is entirely dependent on God. He is all powerful, omnipotent.
The world is creation of God. everything in it the rivers, the mountains, the trees, the animals, the birds, and everything other thing has been created by God. The Quran repeatedly remind man that he is surrounded everywhere by things created by God. Everything in the world speaks of God’s glory and power. The world is real and not illusory. It is finite and temporal. The world will not stay even for a moment without God’s support.
Clearly man, with everything else in the world, is the creation of God. It is said in the Quran that man has been created from “clots of blood”. Man according to Islam is a real unit of existence. Man is possessed of no right against God, he has only duties. His duty is only to pray and serve God. Even during prayer he is not to ask for anything from God except God’s grace and guidance.
Evil and Suffering
As Islam is strictly monotheistic and repeatedly emphasizes the absoluteness and all-powerfulness of God, it is quite easy to see that whatever is there in the world is God’s creation and everything lies within his control and power. Quran takes suffering in simple and direct terms as it occurs, and not as a theoretical problem. Suffering is a punishment for sin and suffering is a trial or test for faithfulness in God. Evil according to Quran seems to be a necessary part of God’s purpose.
Life after Death
The Islamic eschatology seems to be a combination of Zoroastrian and Judaic ideas in this respect. It mainly consists in the ideas of the day of final judgment, the rising of the dead in their earthy lives. Heaven and hell are really very graphically described in the Quran. Heaven is painted as a rose bed of pleasure and hell as an unending abyss of terrible pain and suffering. Heaven and hell are in Islam the places of eternal pleasure or eternal damnation meant for good and bad people respectively.
Human destiny
Destiny of man lies in assuming the eternal membership either of heaven or of hell in accordance with one’s good or bad deeds on earth. The end to be aspired after by a man is the attainment of heaven where he has the occasion to live in the company of God and his angels in eternal pleasure.
Islamic Discipline
The most important factors in giving Islam its distinctive character is the religious discipline of daily life that it prescribes for its followers. It consists in the following five duties known as the five pillars of Islam. 1 repetition of faith in the absolute oneness of Allah. 2 Daily prayer. The observance of set prayers five times a day. 3 alms giving. Giving alms to the poor and the needy is another essential duty of all the Muslims. 4 Fasting. Another important religious rite to be observed by a Muslim is fasting during the whole month of Ramazan. 5 Pilgrimage. For every able bodied Muslim who can take journey, pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during life time is regarded in Islam as an essential religious duty.
Principle Sects
Mohammad himself is said to have predicted that his followers would divided into 27 different sects but time showed that the actual number far exceeded his prophecy. However, the most important division of Muslims has been between the Shiahs and the Sunnis.

Source: Comparative religions class take note.


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