What is Islam? Who are the Muslims?
By Rafiq Ebrahim
Glen Ellyn, IL
At the time when the Muslim image is being tarnished by the so-called Muslims who resort to violence, terrorism and frequent devastations in various parts of the world, it becomes a duty for all right-thinking and conscientious Muslims to come forward and inform the world that this is not what Muslims are supposed to do, or what Muslims are born for, and that Muslim community wants to live in peace and have harmonious relations with all non-Muslims as per the teachings of Islam.
By the Grace of God, there are many scholars, religious mentors, writers and orators, but very few of them are making efforts to educate and inform our brothers belonging to other religions of what the true image of a Muslim is, or what Islam really stands for.
What is Islam? Who are the Muslims? the book under review comes as a heartening step in this direction, letting Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all other non-Muslims know the good aspects of Islam. It also educates those Muslims, who live in the West, and are not fully familiar with the teachings of Islam.
This 32-page book explains that Islam is an Arabic word which means peace, submission and obedience, and so naturally all Muslims must remain peaceful and submit themselves to God and obey Him. The book says, ‘ Muslims are encouraged to cooperate with all those who are faithful and God-conscious people, namely those who received scriptures (Torah, Psalms and Gospel) through His Prophets. Christians and Jews are called the People of the Book, and their Scriptures and Prophets are honored by the Muslims.” This very fact is enough to bring harmony among all believers, irrespective of what religion they belong to.
Many other facets of the Faith, supported by Verses from the Qur’an and convincingly brought to light in the book are pointed out below..
The Pillars of Faith which form the foundation of a true Muslim are belief in One and Only God, Angels created by Him, all the Holy Books, all the Prophets through whom God sent His Message, the Day of Judgment, and individual’s accountability and God’s Pre-estimation meaning that God knows what has happened and what will happen.
Islam recognizes the importance of Science and Technology. “Based on the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the teachings of the Qur’an, Muslims of the early period of the Islamic era became pioneers in medicine, chemistry, physics, arts, astronomy, geography, navigation, poetry, mathematics, logarithms, calculus, architecture, literature and history. Arabic numerals, the concept of zero (which is vital to the advancement of mathematics) and algebra were developed and transmitted from Islamic states to Europe, contributed to the Renaissance of Europe and world civilization. Muslims also developed supplicated instruments like the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps.”
The five Pillars of Islam - the declaration of Faith, prayers, almsgiving, fasting and pilgrimage to Mecca - are explained in details and their importance emphasized.
About human rights and justice, the book points to what God confers through Islam:
* The security of life and property
* The protection of life and honor
*Sanctity and security of private life
*The security of personal freedom
*The right to protest against tyranny
*Freedom of expression
*Freedom of association
*Freedom of conscience and conviction
*Protection of religious sentiments
*Protection from arbitrary imprisonment
*The right to basic necessities of life
*Equality before law
*The right to participate in the affairs of state.
Other attributes of Islam, like Hijaab, family life, status of women, rights of parents, etc are fully explained in the book.
What is Islam? Who are the Muslims? is a recommended reading for non-Muslims and Muslims alike. It has been published by the Institute of Islamic Knowledge, P.O.Box 8703, Houston, Texas, and is available at most Islamic centers in USA and through the publishers.