A friend of Prophet Muhammad said: “We were ignorant people who lived like wild animals. The strong among us lived by preying upon the weak. We obeyed no law and acknowledged no authority except for brute force. We worshiped idols that were made of stone or wood. We knew nothing of human dignity. Then God, in His Mercy, sent us His Messenger who was himself one of us. We knew about his truthfulness and integrity. His character was exemplary; and he was also the most well-born of the Arabs. He invited us toward the worship of One God and forbade us from worshiping idols. He exhorted us to tell the truth and to protect: the weak, the poor, the humble, the widows, and the orphans. He ordered us to show respect to women and never to slander them. We obeyed him and followed his teachings.”
The information presented here is collected and summarized from many different sources. The article is divided into the following parts:
What is Islam?
How to be a Muslim?
Creator’s Existence (Existence of God).
The need for the right Belief.
What is Islam?
Believing in Allah (the standard word for “God” in Arabic is “Allah”). Giving full testimony to the existence of Allah and declaring He has neither associate nor intermediary.
How to be a Muslim?
1- Declaration of Faith (Shehadeh): Pronouncing faithfully: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Prophet of God.”
2- Prayer (Salah): Five prayers per day. There is no particular place or a person required for the performing these prayers. It is not necessary for a Muslim to have an intermediary when they pray as they pray directly to their Lord.
3- Fasting (Saum): In a certain month (Ramadan) during the year, a Muslim has to fast from dawn to sunset. That’s, abstaining from food, water, and sexual intercourse.
4- Alms (Zakah): A Muslim must give 2.5 % of their wealth as alms to the poor and needy – on an annual basis. Muslim’s own needs and those of their family have to be met first.
5- Pilgrimage (Hajj): Islam has arranged for certain periodical gatherings for Muslims. They congregate together five times a day to offer prayer – less than 15 min each. This is if they could; otherwise, they can do it at home for example. There is the weekly congregation on Fridays for Jumaa prayer. This lasts for less than an hour. It is compulsory for all male Muslims to attend. Moreover, there are mass congregations held twice a year on the occasion of the two Eids (festivals). Attendance is not compulsory and they last less than an hour. Finally, there is the annual world congregation known as the Hajj. It is a kind of mammoth public gathering that is held once a year at Mecca. If able to, a Muslim is expected to attend Hajj once in their lifetime.
Apart from the above, all Muslims are required to abstain from certain modes of behavior. These are actions which any sensible/wise person would deplore, such as: killing without a valid reason, intruding on the rights of others, aggressive behavior and all forms of injustice, any kind of intoxication which would affect the brain, and adultery (since it destroys honor & dignity and violates the sanctioned form of blood relationship). Other forms of forbidden behaviors may include: usury, lying, betrayal, making false oaths, or producing false witnesses, and above all, disobedience of one’s parents or dismissing them and neglecting their needs.
However, God forgives a Muslim who fails to carry out some of their duties and disobeys some of the Islamic laws but repents and asks for pardon. On other hand, a Muslim will be deprived of their Islamic identity when they: refuse to acknowledge any basic Islamic principle or belief, reject their duties and Islamic regulations, or deny even the smallest detail outlined in the Holy Quran.
Note: Allah is One, the only God, the Creator of everything per a well-defined measure, and the omniscient. He is fully just and His justice cannot be assessed on the norms of human justice. Justice means we should be taught/informed before being judged. That’s, there should be Constitution & Legislation; here, they are the Revealed Holy Books – including Quran. Quran is the last one and the one that is used in Islam. These books were revealed to humans by Messengers/Prophets through angels. And of course, this requires a next life (after death) so we be judged fairly.
Creator’s Existence (Existence of God):
Believers and non-believers alike feel worried and anxious when facing a life crisis. At such times, they find no consolation in their material surroundings and seek solace and comfort in a power beyond the material world. Why then do people turn to God at such times? Faith in God exists in the core of every human being. Believing in God is a self-evident truth which we can perceived intuitively. It does not need proof. Although in fact, evidence can be found wherever we look.
1- No Effect without Effector. Things on a specific way can’t change its way without an effector. The original matter of a thing is to keep on its way (behavior) as much as there is no effect on its behavior.
2- Generation Series. All the series come from an origin that affects them but is not affected by anything. A plant comes from a branch of another plant; this other plant comes from another plant’s branch; and so on… There must be an origin of this plant. Otherwise, it’s not existed. But, it is existed!
3- Cycling. You can’t say that the existence of a thing depends on the existence of another thing while this other thing depends in its existence on the first thing! Self-reaction means that universe is the cause of its existence. That’s, the universe (while it was non-existent) depended on its existence (outside of this non-existence) to be created. So, when it’s existed, it became the reason of its existence! Can you believe this?!
4- Wisdom & Universal System. If you looked inside a clock, you see a lot of well-made parts that each has its own job in making this clock works effectively. There must be a creator for these parts who made them work in this systematic effective way. The same can be said regarding the whole universe in its effective and systematic way of working.
The need for the right Belief:
Why doesn’t God leave His servants free to do whatever they want?
When the God will was to create this universe, He decided to choose a kind of the creatures (Man) to be the master of this universe to build and to organize it. Therefore, He provided Man with characteristics & capabilities that enable them of doing this job:
Brain (science, perception, ability to analyze things…)
Selfish meanings (desire in possession…)
Power (control, highness, …)
Emotions to complete the previous characteristics (love, hate, angry, …)
These are weapons of two sides. They can be good or bad. They might become reasons for Man’s miserable instead of tools to be used in building and organizing the universe. Based on this, there was a need for another power to direct these capabilities to the right way that is useful for Man and for the universe. This power is the religion. Or, let’s say, the right belief regarding Man, Universe, Life, and after that.