Understanding Islam - Islamic Party of Britain

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Merci-Giving An introduction to the faith, culture and people of Islam by Dr. Sahib Mustaqim Bleher Outline Muslims in the World History of Islam

Beliefs and practice Key differences Misconceptions Questions/Answers Muslims in the

World 1.2 billion, Muslims represent just over 20% of the world's population = 1 of 5 humans in the world is a Muslim Second largest religion in the world Fastest growing including Europe and America World Distribution of Muslims Africa 308,660,000 27.4%

Asia 778,362,000 69.1% Europe 32,032,000 2.8% Latin America 1,356,000

0.1% North America 5,530,000 0.5% World 1,126,325,000 100% Source: Britannica Yearbook, 1997 Muslims in Britain

1.6 million Muslims live in the UK = 3% of general UK population Higher concentrations in metropolitan areas, e.g 8.5% of London population Disproportionate presence in custody: 8 % of prison population in UK (x2.67) Coin with Islamic inscription issued by Anglo-Saxon King Offa of

Mercia, 8th century History of Islam Monotheistic Tradition Prophet Muhammad in Arabia Expansion and development Fall of the Caliphate Monotheistic Tradition

Islam literally means achieving peace with oneself and ones environment through submission to God It is seen as a continuation of the previous monotheistic teachings, particularly Judaism and Christianity (the people of the Book) The Quran confirms the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel as divinely revealed scriptures before the Quran Monotheistic Tradition Most of the prophets mentioned in the Quran

are known to the previous traditions: Adam (Adam), Idris, Nuh (Noah), Hud, Saleh, Lut (Lot), Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismail (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), Shuayb (Jethro), Ayyub (Job), Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Yunus (Jonah), Ilyas (Elijah), AlYasa (Elisha), Dhu-l-Kifl, Zakariya (Zechariah), Yahya (John), Isa (Jesus) Prophet Muhammad in Arabia

Muhammad, peace be upon him, was born in Arabia in 570 and received the first revelation at the age of 40. After 10 years in Makkah, where the growing faith was soon persecuted, he emigrated with his followers to Madinah in 622. This is known as the Hijrah and marks the beginning of the Muslim lunar calendar. During the remaining 13 years of his life he laid the foundation for the city state at the heart of the growing Muslim sphere of influence.

Expansion and development Islamic rule spread within decades to the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. The developing civilisation absorbed and adapted the heritage of ancient people like Egypt, Persia and Greece and excelled in art, architecture, astronomy, geography, history, linguistics, literature, medicine, mathematics and physics, laying the foundation for European enlightenment.

Expansion and development At the same time the Islamic sciences of Quranic studies (Tafsir), Hadith classification, Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) matured, leading to a wealth of religious literature which formed the foundation for subsequent development. Fall of the Caliphate

Soon after the death of the prophet, however, Islam also saw numerous political upheavals, leading, for example to the split between Sunni and Shia traditions. In spite of power struggles within the Islamic territory, for most of the time there was some kind of political unity. The dissolution of the Caliphate at the end of WWI and the resulting age of colonialism presented Muslims across the world with a new phenomenon of fragmentation and disunity from which they have still not recovered to date. Beliefs and practice

Five pillars Halal and haram Variations within Islam Relationship to other faiths The five pillars of Islam Declaration of faith (Shahadah) Prayer (Salah) Charity (Zakah)

Fasting (Saum) Pilgrimage (Hajj) Beliefs of Islam Allah Angels Scriptures Messengers Predestination

Hereafter Belief: Allah One God Allah is the Arabic name for God used by Muslims of the world as well as Arab Christians. Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like Him. (The Quran, Surah 112) Belief: The Angels

Part of the belief in the unseen is the belief in other forms of creation (the angels made from light; the Jinn (spirits, demons) made from the essence of fire) Some angels have specific tasks: Jibril (Gabriel) brings the revelation, Israfil delivers commands and blows the trumpet on the day of judgment, Mikail (Michael) is the bringer of blessing and in charge of nature, Izrail the angel of death. Our deeds are recorded by two personal angels

Belief: Scriptures The Quran Revealed over 23 years in Makkah and Madinah Both memorised and recorded in writing, todays copy is proven to be exactly the same as at the time of revelation 114 Surahs (chapters) divided

in Ayahs (signs/verses) Explanation (Tafsir) takes account of historic situation, linguistic understanding, and context of other verses Recited in Arabic during prayer; translations are accepted for personal use, but not authoritative Belief: Messengers Muhammad

Descendant of Ishmael, the first son of Abraham. Born in Mecca, Arabia, in the year 570 Received first revelation at the age 40 through angel Gabriel. Died in the year 632 C.E, after preaching Islam for 23 years. Seal of the chain of prophets; no more prophets to follow. Belief: Predestination (Qadr)

We are accountable for our deeds, but cannot influence the events we encounter, which are intended to test us Our knowledge is limited, but the Creator has complete knowledge of past present and future The belief in predestination helps in times of affliction but is not intended to prevent us from trying our best Belief: The Hereafter

Life is part of a journey from God back to God Life has a purpose; we are on trial with regard to our behaviour The soul is eternal and will be raised again Perfect justice does not exist

on earth; full justice can only be achieved in the Hereafter Nobody will escape accountability Prayer (Salah) Five Daily Prayers Prayers involve ablution, standing,

bowing, prostrating, sitting postures, followed by personal invocations Muslim face a common prayer direction (Qiblah) towards the Kaabah in Makkah Prayers can be said alone or in congregation On Fridays congregational prayers preceded by a sermon are mandatory Prayer (Salah) The five daily prayers are: Fajr (from early twilight till just before sunrise Zuhr (after the zenith of the sun till mid afternoon

Asr (between mid and late afternoon Maghrib (shortly after sunset) Isha (during night-time and before the next mornings twilight) There are additional voluntary prayers as well as are prayers for special occasions Prayer: The Mosque Mosques do not contain statues or images

Calligraphy and arabesque geometric designs beautify the mosque interior There are no seats and no reserved places Worshippers remove their shoes before entry Washing facilities are attached to the mosque The mosque also serves as a cultural centre Charity (Zakat) Everybody above the poverty

threshold must pay 2.5% of surplus (not income) for the benefit of the needy annually Only Muslims pay Zakah Other charity can be given at any time The concept of Zakah ensures an awareness of social obligation and prevents hording Fasting (in Ramadan)

Ramadan is 9th month in Islamic Lunar calendar and thus starts 10 days earlier every year of the solar calendar Abstinence from food and drink and marital relations from dawn to sunset It is traditional to break the fast with dates Fasting is to teach self-control and awareness of God Eid ul-Fitr holiday at the end; celebrations are preceded by

giving charity and a congregational prayer Hajj (Pilgrimage) Pilgrimage to Makkah once in life time for able Muslims during the last month of the Muslim calendar About 2-3 million Muslims perform Hajj each year from all over the world The rituals of Hajj commemorate the sacrifice of Ibrahim (Abraham) Eid ul-Adha: the major Muslim holiday; congregational prayer followed by sacrifice, food distribution and celebrations

A lesser pilgrimage (Umrah) can take place any time during the year as a visit to the Kaabah Halal and Haram Islam governs personal and public life through a concept of permitted and forbidden actions, further divided into a complex system of individual and social rights and duties. The lawful and unlawful

actions are graded into the obligatory, recommended, value-neutral, disliked, and prohibited. Islamic Law: Shariah Sources of laws Divine revelation (Quran) Prophetic Tradition (Hadith/Sunnah) Scholarly analogy/ consensus (Ijtihad/ Qiyas/Ijma)

Islamic Law: Shariah Classification of laws Laws of God (human rights) Laws of people (public order) Laws of self (private morals) Islamic Law: Shariah Jurisdictions Daru-l-Islam

(territory governed by Islamic Law) Daru-l-Harb (enemy territory) Daru-l-Ahd (territory subject to agreement with Islamic State) Islamic Law: Shariah Dual Citizenship Muslims (to be drafted/obliged to pay Zakah) Dhimmis (not to be drafted/obliged to pay

Jizya/protection tax) Minority rights Monotheists (Ahl Kitab) Polytheists Halal/Haram: Food Carrion, blood and pork are amongst the forbidden food items Meat must be slaughtered in the name of Allah and

all blood must be drained Only non-carnivorous animals are permitted for consumption All sea animals are permitted Alcohol and intoxicating drugs are prohibited completely Food prepared by the People of the Book (Jews/Christians) is permitted; food dedicated to other gods is prohibited Halal/Haram: Behaviour Prohibited actions: Murder

Theft Usury Gambling Intimate relationships outside marriage

Same sex relationships Variations within Islam Sunni Shia Sufi Different races, different cultures

Relationships with other faiths Monotheistic faiths: Jews Christians Polytheistic faiths New faiths/cults after Islam Key Differences

The role of religion Church and State No church hierarchy No separation of religion and politics Key differences: Christianity

No divinity of man No crucifixion No original sin Personal salvation Misconceptions A foreign religion? Role of women, polygamy

Jihad (holy war) Confusion between religious and cultural traditions Questions and Answers ? ? ! !

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