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UNDERSTANDING ISLAM
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Overcoming stereotypes!
Gorge Orwell: Why I write?
To see things as they are,
 To find out true facts,
 Store them up for the use of posterity
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Building our future on truth and
understanding
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In the Name of God, the
Beneficent, the Merciful
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ISLAM
Historical Context
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1500BC 1440
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660
600
563
30AD
610
World Religions
Aryans
Abraham
Judaism
18 Million
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Christianity
2 Billion
Islam
1.3 Billion
Hinduism
900 Million
Buddhism
360 Million
Muslim population (1.3 Billion)
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30% of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent,
20 % in Sub-Saharan Africa,
18% in the Arab world,
17% in Southeast Asia,
10% in the Soviet Union and China.
Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan comprise 10% of the
non-Arab Middle East.
There are 6 million Muslims in USA.
What is Islam?
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Islam is not a new religion.
It is the religion brought by all of the prophets of God
for humankind.
Islam was the religion of Adam, Abraham, Moses
and Jesus (peace be upon them all).
Islam is the complete acceptance of and obedience
to the teachings of God, which He revealed to His
last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). One
who follows Islaam is called a Muslim.
What does 'Islam' mean?
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The Arabic word 'Islam' simply means 'submission',
and derives from a word meaning 'peace'.
"Islam" literally means "peace through the
submission to God".
It means complete submission to the will of God.
"Muslim" literally means "anyone or anything that
submits itself to the will of God".
'Mohammedanism' is a misnomer because it
suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad (PBUH)
rather than God.
Allah=God
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Allah in Arabic implies the one and only true
God, the beginning and the end of everything,
neither born nor giving birth.
He is merciful, the Beneficent, the Lord, the AllKnowing, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the
Magnificent, the Wise, and the Loving,
Do Muslims worship a different deity? NO!
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Muslims do not worship a different God. Allah is
simply the Arabic word for God.
Allah is exactly the same word that the Jews, in
Hebrew, use for God (eloh), the word that Jesus
Christ used in Aramaic when he prayed to God.
God has an identical name in Judaism, Christianity,
and Islaam; Allaah is the same God worshipped by
Muslims, Christians and Jews.
What do Muslims believe?
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Muslims believe in One and Unique God;
in the Angels
in the prophets
in the Day of Judgment
in God's complete authority over human
destiny
and in life after death.
Original Sin
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“...Islam teaches that people are born
innocent and remain so until each makes him
or herself guilty by a guilty deed.
Islam does not believe in ‘original sin’; and its
scripture interprets Adam’s disobedience as
his own personal misdeed—a misdeed for
which he repented and which God forgave.”
I.Faruqi
Who is Muhammad?
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He was born in Mecca in 570, CE.
He became known for his truthfulness,
generosity and sincerity.
Muhammad received first revelation through
the angel Gabriel on the summit of the
'Mountain of Light' near Mecca.
He died in 632, at age of 63 in Medina.
Muhammed, The Prophet
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Before becoming the Prophet, Muhammad
led a relatively modest life.
He was raised in a Bedoin tribe by his
grandfather after both his parents died.
Muhammad worked as both a shepherd and
a caravan manager before he married the
caravan owner.
Muhammad at Mecca
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Muhammad preached to people in Mecca
and gained a small group of followers,
including his wife.
Muhammad and his followers were subjected
to violent reaction toward his new faith.
migration to Medina in 622 C.E., which
known as the Hijra and marks the beginning
of the Muslim calendar.
Muhammad at Medina
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In Medina, he flourished as a Prophet, and
gained a mass following.
Eight years after he had fled, Muhammad
was welcomed back to Mecca and the city
underwent a mass conversion to Islam.
Muhammad died in 632 C.E, leaving behind
the foundations for a religion that would one
day parallel in power both Christianity and
Judaism.
“The mighty spirit of Muhammad”
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When he appeared Arabia was a desert -- a
nothing. (spiritually and materially)
Out of nothing a new world was fashioned by
the mighty spirit of Muhammad -- a new life,
a new culture, a new civilization, a new
kingdom which extended from Morocco to
Indies and influenced the thought and life of
three continents -- Asia, Africa and Europe.
Prof. K. S. Ramakrishna Rao
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Muhammad as a Leader
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"Mohammad is the most successful of all
Prophets and religious personalities".
The Encyclopedia Britannica
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"If greatness of purpose, smallness of
means, and astonishing results are the
three criteria of a human genius, who
could dare compare any great man in
history with Muhammad? LaMartaine, French Poet
central teachings
the goodness, omnipotence and unity
of God,
 the need for generosity and justice
among humans and a fear of Judgment
Day.
 He overcame opposition to be
recognized as both lawgiver and
prophet.
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What is the Qur’an?
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The Qur’an is a record of the exact words revealed
by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet
Muhammad during a period of 23 years.
It was memorized by the Prophet Muhammad and
then dictated to his Companions, and written down
by scribes.
Not one word of its 114 chapters (Suras) has been
changed over the centuries.
No one throughout the history of Islam has
challenged the accuracy of the Qur'an.
The chapter 'Mary' in a Qur’anic manuscript
written around 1400 year ago.
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Qur’an: a memorandum for the faithful
"It is a memorandum for the faithful, a reminder
for daily doings, and a repository of revealed
truth. It is a manual of definitions and
guarantees, and at the same time a road
map for the will. Finally, it is a collection of
maxims to meditate on in private, deepening
endlessly one's sense of divine glory.“
Huston Smith
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Opening Chapter
In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful(1)
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All praise belongs to God, Lord of the Universe, (2)
the Beneficent, the Merciful (3)
and Master of the Day of Judgment (4).
(Lord), You alone We do worship and from You alone we do
seek assistance (5)
(Lord), guide us to the right path, (6)
the path of those to whom You have granted blessings, those
who are neither subject to Your anger nor have gone astray (7)
This opening Chapter contains the essence
of the Qur’an
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First Revelation:
The Mountain where
Gabriel came to Muhammad (PBUH)
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Macca: the city where Muhammad (PBUH)
first lived.
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Mecca at Night
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Medina: the Prophet established both his
political and religious leadership here
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The Hadith
A saying of the Prophet transmitted
outside the Qur'an through a chain
of known intermediaries
 There are various collection of
traditions: Bukhari, Mulsim, Abu
Du’ad, Al-Tirmidhi, Al Nasa, Ibn
Madja.
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Beliefs and Practices of Islam
In order for Muslims to submit themselves to
God and reassert their faith in Islam, there
are various practices and beliefs that each
Muslim should follow.
Islam isn't just a belief, it is a way of life. What
Muslims believe, dictates how they should
live for God. The following are generally
accepted practices.
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Six Pillars of Faith:
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To believe in God.
To believe in Angels.
To believe in revealed books, the Qur’an, the New
Testament, the Psalms of David, the Torah, and the
Pages of Abraham.
To believe in messengers.
To believe in the last day.
To believe in God's determination of affairs, good or
bad.
Five Pillars of Islam :
these are obligations of every Muslim that uphold the
structure of Islam.
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Testimony (sahadah) : Faith or belief in the Oneness of God
and the finality of the prophethood Muhammad;
salat : Five-times-daily prayers. Starting at just before
sunrise, just after noon, mid-afternoon, just after sunset, and
after nightfall;
zakat : Concern for almsgiving to the needy;
sawm : Self-purification through fasting. This usually done
from before sunrise to sunset each day of Ramadan, the
ninth month of the Muslim calendar; and
hajj : The pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able.
Prayer: Muslim Praying in congregation
Muslims praying
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Social Responsibilities
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The teachings of Islam concerning social
responsibilities are based on kindness and
consideration of others
our first obligation is to our family
then to other relatives, neighbors, friends and
acquaintances, orphans and widows, the
needy of the community, our fellow Muslims,
all our fellow human beings and animals.
Parents
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Your Sustainer has decreed that you worship
none but Him, and that you be kind to
parents. Whether one or both of them attain
old age in your lifetime, do not say to them a
word of contempt nor repel them, but
address them in terms of honor. And, out of
kindness, lower to them the wing of humility
and say: My Sustainer! Bestow on them Your
mercy, even as they cherished me in
childhood." (17:23-24)
Relatives
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"And render to the relatives their due rights,
as (also) to those in need, and to the
traveler; and do not squander your wealth in
the manner of a spendthrift." (17:26)
“spend of your wealth-in spite of your love for
it-for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for
the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the
ransom of slaves” (2:177)
the family
The family is the foundation of Islamic society.
The peace and security offered by a stable
family unit is greatly valued, and seen as
essential for the spiritual growth of its
members.
A harmonious social order is created by the
existence of extended families; children are
treasured, and rarely leave home until the
time they marry.
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Nations!
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O mankind! We created you from a single [pair] of a
male and a female, and made you into nations and
tribes, that you may know each other.1
That is, “I created you as peoples, nations, and
tribes, so that you should know one another and the
relations between you in social life, and assist one
another; not so that you should regard each other as
strangers, refusing to acknowledge one another, and
nurturing hostility and enmity.”
A Muslim Family
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Neighbors
The Prophet (PBUH) has said:
 "He is not a believer who eats his fill when
his neighbor beside him is hungry";
 "He does not believe whose neighbors are
not safe from his injurious conduct."
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Animals and Environment
Islam regulates not only relations between
man-man, man-state.
it also regulates relations between man and the
environment.
 Hunting of birds and animals for the sake of
game is not permitted.
 Trees and plants which yield fruit is forbidden
unless there is a very pressing need for it.
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Planting Trees
“If a Muslim plants a tree, that part of its produce
consumed by men will be as almsgiving for him.
Any fruit stolen from the tree will also be as almsgiving
for him.
That which the birds eat will also be as almsgiving for
him. Any of its produce which people may eat thus
diminishing it, will be as almsgiving for the Muslims
who planted it”. The Prophet
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Environmental Protection
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Muslims should scrupulously avoid doing anything to
upset or disturb others in any circumstances or in
any place.
To pollute or dirty the city in which one lives, or the
town or village and their surrounding countryside,
waters, air, or views, and to scatter rubbish and
refuse is both a sin and extremely discourteous.
Animals
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The Prophet Muhammad said that animals
and birds should not be ill-treated, but should
be well looked after and kept clean, and
employed in work suitable to their natures,
and should not be loaded with burdens
greater than they can bear.
He put a ban on hunting, forbidding the
arbitrary hunting of animals for pleasure.
Jihad
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Basic Arabic meaning of "jihad" is struggling or striving and
applies to any effort exerted by anyone.
It does not mean holy war.
In its primary sense it is an inner thing, within self, to rid it from
debased actions or inclinations, and exercise constancy and
perseverance in achieving a higher moral standard.
Military action is therefore a subgroup of the Jihad and not its
totality.
Muhammad emphasized to his companions when returning
from a military campaign: "This day we have returned from the
minor jihad (war) to the major jihad (self-control and
betterment)."
Major Problems of 21st Century
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Wars
Violence and Terror
Poverty
Illiteracy
Drug and Alcohol
AIDS