Islam: A Religion of Peace
What is a Muslim? In what do the followers of Islam believe? In today's world, people should be asking these questions, if only to learn more about the world around them. In this paper, I will discuss how the basic ideas of Islam compare to the six bases of religion listed in our textbook. The six bases are: (1) deal in some way with peoples' relationship to the unseen world of spirits, ancestors, gods and demons; (2) developed a system of myths about the unseen world and rituals designed for communing with or propitiating the spirits; (3) developed a system of organized rituals, temples, priests and scriptures at some point in their history; (4) usually have some statement about life beyond death, either survival in some shadowy hades, in some version of heaven and hell, or through reincarnation; (5) usually have developed a code of conduct or moral order; and (6) generally have attracted a large following, either currently or at some time in the past. Also, I will discuss the influence Islam has over the people who follow it, and we will see how the basic teachings of Islam could improve our situation on earth. The first of the six bases is that the religion deals in some way with peoples' relationship to the unseen world of spirits, ancestors, gods and demons. Allah, Angels and the Jinn
Islam is not just a religion to the people of Islam, also known as "Muslims". It is a way of living according to one's faith. (Dodge-7). Muslims believe there is only one God, Allah. They worship only Him and reject any notion that He shares divinity with any other thing. (Dodge-4). Allah is not alone in Paradise; He is surrounded by angels and the Jinn. Angels are servants of God. It is through angels that humans are aware of God. Angels do not have free will; they do what God asks of them. The Jinn are either good or bad, because they have free will and can use it to decide to be either good or bad. Iblis is the leader of the Jinn. He refused God's command to honor humans, because he thought he knew better than God. He became the enemy of humans and tries to leads peoples' hearts and minds away from God. (Maqsood-40). Having established that Allah is, to Muslim's the one God, let us look at some of the myths and stories surrounding Him. The second of the six bases is that the religion developed a system of myths about the unseen world and rituals designed for communing with or propitiating the spirits. The Black Stone
One of the myths about the unseen world is surrounding the Black Stone. Muslims believe it was sent down from heaven. They say it was originally white in color, but turned black in sorrow at the world's sin (Maqsood-86). During their pilgrimage to Mecca they must kiss or touch the Black Stone as part of the ritual around the Kab'ah. The Five Pillars of Islam
Muslims observe five formal acts of worship, which they refer to as the pillars of Islam. These pillars help build and structure a Muslim's daily life. The five pillars of Islam are the declaration of faith, prayer, fasting, almsgiving and pilgrimage to Mecca. (Dodge-74). The declaration of faith (Sha-haada) occurs when a Muslim first opens themselves to God's service. They must say "There is no God worthy to be worshipped except Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." They must truly believe in the declaration in their heart and mind and once they have given themselves over to God they must show their faith in acts as well. Examples of this are: not eating pork or any other food products that are not hatal (permitted), no drinking of alcohol, entertainment based on the social giving of alcohol, and immodest dress. They also must never show arrogance, selfishness, deceitfulness, lust and indecency and many other weaknesses in character. (Maqsood-53). The Sha-haada is also used for the call to prayer and is repeated throughout the day during formal and informal prayer. The mu'adhin (the person who...
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