What is Islam?

Islam means submission and also means peace (Salam in Arabic). Submission to the Creator and Lord of the Universe, Allah, glory be to Him: the One God, to whom men have named with different names and have known Him by the signs of His Kindness, His Mercy and His Power, through His prophets, and sent messengers. The consequence of submission to His commands is peace, both in its internal sense and the social sense.

Islam is the teaching and guidance of all the prophets and messengers of God from Adam, the first human and the first prophet, to Muhammad, peace be upon him, seal and culmination of all of them.

Is a transforming science which was transmitted in its time and its people by Noah, Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joseph, John and Jesus, son of Mary, the expected Messiah and rejected by those who knew the signs and scriptures, peace and blessings of Allah upon them.

All of them called to awaken to the truth and to leave the illusion, ignorance and brutality. All have guided men to a path of action and nobility of character in this life and recalled the consequences in the next life, beyond time and space. They have shown with their own lives and example the way to go. The final divine message and model of human perfection in all spheres of the individual and the social is the prophetic message of Islam. The last divine revelation is the Quran.

The revelation came upon Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, the Quran, is full and complete, it has not been altered not even a letter. It is translated into other languages for its understanding, but the original Arabic is still intact and memorized with photographic accuracy by millions of people on the five continents.

The detailed compilation of life, deeds and sayings of the Messenger of Allah is so thorough and so reliable that there are dozens of volumes scrupulously verified that give us accurate knowledge of his noble example and model of justice, courage, compassion and generosity of men and women of his community. Ten thousand men and women who lived beside him in Medina represented the pinnacle of human phenomenon. And more importantly, this example is still alive in practice and in daily behavior by millions of Muslims imitating and following the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah in his conduct and character. This pattern of behavior is what is called the ‘sunnah’.

 

What are the practices of the Muslim?

Islam is based on five pillars that mark the life of the believer in the course of time: declare the Unity of Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger, pray five times a day at set times, fast one month a year, pay each year a small proportion of accumulated wealth (2.5%) to the needy and at least once in life do the pilgrimage to the ancient House of Allah in Mecca, repeating the rites of the prophets.

The concern for the poor, care and respect for nature, loyalty, good neighborly, fellowship among believers, open and extended families, homes where God is remember and worshiped … these are the traits of a way of life fundamentally different from an individualistic neurosis by the consumer society.

Islam forbids usury, the loan with interest and speculation, which are at the root of all injustice and abuse of modern society. The Muslim is advised to give hospitality, food and money sharing what Allah has given to him, to assist the needy and to defend the oppressed, regardless of race, creed or community. Promote what is correct and reject injustice, corruption and oppression. The highest form of sincerity is to fight with the own possessions and life itself to establish the truth, justice and preserve the worship of Allah.

The Muslim refrains from taking and giving loan with interest, eating pork, consume intoxicants, illicit sex and from deceive or defraud in price, quality and measurement.

When the believer acquire an agreement, a pact or a commitment, it has to be honored, when he promises, he fulfills and when he speaks, he says the truth. Parents are respected and obeyed and the neighbors are entitled to good treatment, support and generosity.

These natural parameters are assumed criteria without external imposition and form the basis of a kind of society where men are safe from each other and where it is possible to exercise compassion and justice.

 

What are the pillars of Muslim belief?

Only Allah is worthy of worship and submission. Worship is the expression of gratitude. He is One and Unique in his divinity, has no partner or participant in His Lordship over all that exists, the visible and the unattainable. Nothing and no one is like Him.

Existence is a gift and a responsibility. The behavior and actions of man make him accountable to his Creator: good acts are rewarded and evil is punished. Reward and punishment are final and permanent in the next life, where everyone will gather what he sowed.

The source of all good is the recognition of Allah, the One God, Compassionate and Merciful, gratitude and submission to Him. Allah is known by His names, His attributes, and His signs, manifested in the universe and ourselves. Acceptance of Divine power is accompanied by the recognition and acceptance of His prophets and messengers. The last and culmination of all of them brought clear and definitive criteria valid for all time and everywhere is the Prophet Muhammad, to whom the Quran was revealed in pure Arabic.

Belief in Allah includes accepting that there are worlds in subtle dimensions of existence that our senses do not perceive in an ordinary way and are invisible but essential to our lives, like the angels, the genies, the Garden and the Fire and that our existence after death is lasting and real as this one or even more.

The consequences of the rejection of the Lord of the worlds are evident in the disastrous situation of human beings of the animal species and nature in the world today.