Perhaps one of the most discussed religions in the world today is Islam. People all across the globe known its name and have an impression of it as well, which unfortunately is not a good one. However, the point to ponder is that people simply believe on what anyone says about Islam without knowing what it truly is.
It is a common practice that whenever one has to create an impression of anything of any person on one’s mind, a research is done and knowledge is gathered about the respective phenomenon. The lines below give a brief introduction about Islam and some of its basic concepts.
The etymology of the word ‘Islam’ means ‘peace’ or ‘submission’ in Arabic. Therefore, in its meaning, Islam is a religion of peace and submission to Allah Almighty. The Muslim greeting word ‘As-Salam u Alaykum’, which means ‘peace be with you’ has its roots in the word Islam. It is considered one of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions of the world in addition to Christianity and Judaism.
The people who follow Islam are called ‘Muslims’. The root of ‘Muslim’ also comes from Islam, meaning ‘someone who follows Islam’. At this point of time because of Muslim population, Islam is one of the largest religions of the world with over a billion followers which constitute almost 1/5 of the world’s population. The Muslims are as diverse as the world could be, the followers are spread all across the globe and belong to different cultures.
Like every religion Islam also has a set of Beliefs. The prime Islamic belief is the oneness of Allah Almighty. In Islam, Allah Almighty is the only God having no equal and no family. Allah Almighty is alone and the supreme authority according to Muslim beliefs. One cannot be a Muslim without accepting Allah Almighty as the One and Only God. Including this primary belief, Muslims have six articles of faith which are:
- Faith in the unity of God
- Faith in angels
- Faith in Prophet
- Faith in Divine Books
- Faith in Afterlife
- Faith in destiny/fate
Pillars of Islam:
Besides the article of faith, Islam also has five pillars upon which the building of Islam stands. When a person concurs with the articles of faith, the next thing a person needs to do is to follow and apply the five pillars of Islam in his or her life. These five pillars of Islam are basically concerned with worshipping. The concept of worshiping in Islam is very broad and everything a person does in life can also be regarded as an act of worship if done under the guidance of Islam. There are five pillars of Islam, which are:
Kalima- It is the testimony of faith that Allah Almighty is one and Muhammad (PBUH) is His Prophet.
Salah- These are the prayers, which every Muslim has to say five times a day. The prayers are mandatory upon every Muslim man and woman.
Zakah- It is Almsgiving where the rich Muslims who have a certain amount of gold, money or such assets that can be converted into monetary values give a certain part of it to poor every year. This is also mandatory upon the Muslims who are eligible for it.
Sawm- Another mandatory way of worshiping upon Muslims is fasting. There is the month of Ramadan every year, in which the Muslims have to fast for the whole month.
Hajj- It is the pilgrimage which Muslims pay to the House of Allah Almighty in the month of Zill-Hujja. It is also mandatory for the able Muslims only.
The general impression that the life of a true Muslim would have nothing to do with this world is plain wrong. Islam is a religion of moderation, and recommends its followers to keep both religion and world side by side and condemns the life of seclusion and leaving the world altogether. A Muslim needs to balance his or her life, and Islam in no case encourages any form of extremism, whether it is religious extremism, or adapting extremely to worldly life and forgetting religion. This is why the true Muslims in the west, besides their busy life, manage time to read Quran online, thus keeping both world and religion side by side.
In short, the image or preaching of Islam is against what the apparent image Islam has today. Rather, Islam is a religion of peace where a Muslim has to keep world and religion abreast without being too much inclination towards religion or the world.