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Personal Note/Intro

Salam alaikom, everyone. I'm glad you've taken time to come and read this. I've probably worked harder on this thread than any other thread within this group. While I'm not a Muslim or a Jew two of my greatest passions in life are soothing what I find the unfair and ignorant prejudice against the Jewish and Islamic people.

Islam is typically translated to mean peace through surrender. It does not advocate war, it does not advocate discrimination-and, in fact, Muhammad was staunchly against racism. He believed that our brotherhood under-god was more important than any nationality or tribal background.

I’ve tried to reveal this to the world. Actually, it was during a debate about Islam that I decided to make this group. I intend to educate people, so that we can see that many, probably most, attacks on Islam are nothing more than bits of political propaganda engendered by antireligious zealots as a form of motivation for war.

Well, that’s my opinion, but I’m going clinical from here on out-simply speaking as a historian.

Brief Glance

The word Muslim translates to “submitter,” and about one fifth of the worlds population identifies themselves with this term. The Islamic religion is a massive faith, second only to Christianity in size. Yet, despite its mass, this religion is subjected to severely pessimistic scrutiny, and severe prejudice. Negative stereotypes and false images have formed against the Islamic religion and its practitioners.

Jihad, for example, is a major piece of the Islamic teachings. While this word really means, “striving,” it is commonly, and often purposefully, mistranslated as “Holy War.” This is a misleading and false interpretation-one of the reasons many Islamic scholars caution against the translation of their holly cannon of divine literature, the Qur’an (reciting.)

Jihad has two faces. The Greater Jihad, according to Muhammad, is a civil war that wages within us. The struggle to choose right, to do good, rather than pick evil, and behave evilly is the greater Jihad.

The lesser Jihad takes on a physical note. It is self defense, the effort to preserve one's life, honor, integrity, and faith. Jihad has been used to justify wars in Islamic society, no doubt, but only in the same nature that self-defense has been used to justify murder. The Islamic faith differs from other large monotheistic religions in that it allows and encourages the wronged to defend themselves.

“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight,) because they have been wronged.”

The ultimate goal of Islam, and this specific element of the religion, is to create a paradisiacal society of peace. Sri Lankan Sufi Shaykh M.R. Bawa Muhaiyadeen, a piece of Islamic literature, observes:


If one knows the true meaning of Islam, there will be no wars. All that will be heard are the sounds of...peaceful greetings...That is the ocean of Islam. That is unity. That is our wealth and our true weapon, not the sword..."


This is only one example of how text-books have been influenced by political propaganda and prejudice. While on the surface the Islamic religion appears direct, with simple lessons and demands, it is actually ripe with profound subtleties-of which, most of the world is ignorant.

These two major branches are separated into many subdivisions and sects, but generally speaking most Muslims identify themselves as either a Sunni Muslim or a Shia Muslim, (Shiite.) The former branch is by far the largest, making up 80-90 percent of the 1.5 million Muslims living in our world today.

The Sunni believe that the first four caliphs A caliph is an Islamic figure with authority, considered the successor of the prophet) and their heirs, who ruled the Islamic world until WWI, are the rightful leaders of the Muslim people. They believe that the prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him,) intended to refrain from appointing successor (as he did,) so that the Qur’an could stand as the sole guide for Muslims. Some Sunni believe that Muhammad left the issue up to the ummah-or, Muslim community.

The Shia branch is concentrated in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. Adherents of this Islamic sects believe that only the decedents of Ali, the fourth caliph, are the successors of Muhammad. The other three caliphs are valued as historical figures, but nothing more. Only Ali carried the bloodline of the prophet.

The relationship between the Shiites and Sunni Muslims can be, in some ways, compared to the relationship between Catholics and Protestants within Christianity. Catholics believe that the word of God is given to men first through the church and then through the bible, the protestants believe the inversed version of this.

Similarly, the Shiites believe that the imam (Muslim scholars who lead the mosque,) are divinely appointed by Allah as spiritual guides, while the Sunni adhere not to the words of Imam but use Imam as vessels to learn the words of the Qur’an. The Shiites are commonly considered to be more conservative and extreme than the Sunni.

Whatever the case I do not intend to dive too deeply into doctrinal debate within the Islamic community. However, this being said, I would like to at least give a general view of the Islamic religion.

The central focus of Islam is not the prophet but Allah. (Allah means The Deity or God.) However, Muhammad is an important character within the Islamic religion. He is considered to be a model of the teachings of the Qur’an, which were allegedly revealed to him by the angel Gabriel. The Qur’an is considered the literal word of Allah. He is also a foundationial Mujahid-one who stuggles for the way of God, who values God's path more than riches, wealth, and even his family.

Muhammad:

Muhammad (peace be upon him,) was born in the city of Mecca, 570 CE. His father died before he was born, and his mother perished when he was six. Muhammad was then raised by his granfather and grew to have a close relationship with his uncle.

The name Muhammad means “The Praised One.” The Hadith is a divine and massive, though not completely authenticated literature that reports the sunnah (words and deeds,) of Muhammad. This collection of the prophets traditions, stories, and teachings is accepted as a source for Islamic doctrines-as well as law; and is considered second only to the holly Qur’an.

Whenever he was still very young Muhammad was identified as a prophet by marks on his body. In his early adulthood he met a beautiful and rich woman; an intelligent caravan owner who would become his greatest follower. (Yes, Muhammad’s greatest and first follower was a woman.) Her name was Khadijah, and at the age of forty she proposed to Muhammad, though he was a decade-and-a-half her junior. At this point she had already been married and divorced four times. Muhammad agreed and the two were married.

Fifteen years later, during the month of Ramadan, while he was on a spiritual retreat, Muhammad was visited by the Arch-Angel Gabriel. Gabriel came in “humanoid” form, and demanded that Muhammad proclaim or recite.

At first Muhammad demurred. Three times he nixed the command, arguing that he was uneducated and illiterate. Three times the Angel insisted, and so, at last, desperately, the prophet asked what he was to recite. The Angel revealed to him what would become the the first lines of the Qur’an:

“Proclaim, in the name of your Lord and Cherisher, who created-created man out of a mere clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! Thy Lord is most bountiful-he who taught the use of the pen-taught man that which he knew not!”

Muhammad was startled and shocked, flatly frightened of the ridicule his responsibility may bring upon him. His wife, however, supported him, and encouraged him. The messages from God did not stop here. They continued for a period of twenty-three years, and stressed that Allah was calling his people to the completely trusting and absolute surrender that is Islam.

For three years he kept his revelations relatively secret, revealing them only to a small entourage of companions. They included his wife and his cousin Ali; Muhammad's dear friend Abu Bakr, and a freed slave named Zayd. However, after three years had elapsed, the revelations prompted him to preach publicly.

Muhammad went to the nobles of his tribe-his current employers. They were called the Qurayshites, and were very wealthy because they ran the Ka’bah (Constructed by Abraham and his son Ishmael, it is considered the holiest of Islamic sanctuaries. It is supported by the black-stone, a block of venerate meteorite.) as a pilgrimage center and used it to profit from trading. However, they ostracized and debased Muhammad, even struck him with stones.

Muhammad found some shelter and protection from the influences of his uncle, but his followers were not sheltered by this tie. They were subjected to attack and persecution, and many scholars believe that this influenced Muhammad to teach that self-defense was justified.

After three years of preaching Muhammad had only thirty followers. He was feared by the wealthy, who thought he might be a danger to the established political and social structure. Indeed Muhammad did disregard social and racial classes. His first muezzin was a dark-skinned Abyssinian slave who belonged to Abu. The muezzin is a mosque official who, five times a day, calls Muslims together to pray from a minaret (a tall and slender mosque tower.)

The Prophet was greatly demoralized by the rejection of his revelation, as well as the attacks on his followers. They were banished to a dessert where they were forced to eat wild foods to survive. Whenever they were allowed to return to Mecca discrimination against them continued.

Things became so bad that Muhammad’s fiftieth year has since been known as the “Year of Sorrow.” In this year he lost his uncle and his wife. Without the protection of his uncle or the support of his spouse, persecution reached a peak. Muhammad was hit with stones, dejected, and humiliated. At this point Muhammad experienced “The Night of Ascension.

In this event he was taken up and carried past the seven paradises, carried to the edge of the cosmos, and was dropped into Divine Proximity. He spoke with all God’s prophets, from Adam to Jesus, and was blessed with Divine Presence.

622 CE would become the first year in the new Islamic calendar. In this year, Muhammad at last gathered his loyal followers and migrated from Makkah. He headed north in a journey that would be called Hijrah, from Makkah to the city of Madinah Yathrib. (Madinah means City of the Prophet) This journey marked the transformation from persecution to gratitude toward the Muslims.

While in Madinah Muhammad wrote what would become a model for Islamic social administration. This model was also the constitution for Madinah (the city of the prophet,) but was viewed with hostility by Mecca. The leaders of Mecca declared war with Madinah.

Muhammad led a small group of Muslims in a raid against an Meccan caravan. Allegedly angels swarmed from heaven and joined his negligible band in the fight. Muhammad was said to have cast a handful of pebbles at his enemies, and as the stones flew they became a great tide and whipped through the prophets foe, for it was God who threw the rocks through Muhammad.

Divine Intervention or no, the battle ended in a decisive victory for the Muslim raiders, and this enraged the Meccans. They quickly launched a counter-attack and routed the Muslims-winning a decisive victory of their own, and leaving Muhammad injured. The Islamic forces were crushed and scattered.

Mecca did not stop there. They marshaled a massive martial force that brought cavalry, archers, infantry, and siege equipment against Medina. However, alerted by their spies, the defenders of the latter city hastily constructed a mote around their city-and the bulwark proved enough to subdue the invaders.

Muhammad did not press further conflict. Instead he chose peace through negotiation. He was able to instill a mutually agreed truce between the cities. Muhammad preached unity, especially the spiritual unity of those who followed the monotheistic traditions of Abraham.

These included Jews and Christians. However, Christians largely clashed with the Muslims for their claim that Christ was not the son of God, and that Christ was not divine. The Jews had lasting alliance with some of those who had come in opposition of the Islamic movement, and were often murdered by Islamic extremists as a political statement. (They also shunned the Islamic religion and considered it a new movement outside of their own traditions. One reason was because it claimed to complete the Torah, and another was that it acknowledged Jesus Christ.)

Muhammad, however, did not advocate such behavior, and nor does the Islamic religion. Muhammad viewed Christians and Jews as brothers, and the Islamic mass largely treated their fellow monotheists as dhimmis, protected companions. The Islamic people were more than willing to allow the Jewish and Christian people to continue with their beliefs, and asked only that the Christians priests and Jewish monks refrain from attempting to convert Muslims.

Muhammad received revelations that he was to restore the words of the prophets and apostles, who had distorted the original monotheism. He dictated that people should face Mecca, where Abraham constructed the Ka'bah rather than Jerusalem where King Solomon constructed his temple-the center of Jewish worship.

After he instilled peace Muhammad gained great political power. He used this to spread Islam throughout the city of Mecca, and to purge Ka’bah of idols. The Ka’bah became the center of Islamic piety, and Muslims are required by one of the five pillars of Islam to make a pilgrimage to see the Ka’bah and Black Stone in Mecca at least once in their life.

Medina, however, remained the center of Islamic spirituality and politics. Muhammad spread the reach of Islam to Northern Africa, Persian states, and various other places. He claimed that the religious community of those who submitted to God was more important than tribal identity. Muhammad and the Islamic religion spread message of racial equality.

Muhammad died in 632 CE without designating a successor. Abu Bakr became the first Caliph, however, the Shiite faction believes that this was a sham, and that the true heir was meant to be Muhammad’s cousin, and the husband of Muhammad’s favorite daughter, Ali. Historically speaking, even Muhammad’s enemies identified him as being strikingly attractive mentally and physical. Muhammad was known to be kind, generous, and humble.

According to the revelations of Muhammad, recorded in the Qur’an, the mandate of Islam and the Islamic people is to reform society by continuously fighting oppression, corruption, and discrimination. Muhammad was not considered divine by himself, or his followers, and Muslims do not view him as anything more than a highly respectable man.





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The Qur'an
Extreme respect and reverie are held for the prophet by the Islamic society. However, he is not the focus or the heart of Islam. The former is Allah, and the latter is the holly cannon of divinely inspired literature that we call the Qur’an.

After the Hijrah Muhammad began to recite the revelations from Allah to a scribe; and many of his companions began memorizing them, learning them by heart. The Qur’an has, throughout history, been extremely well preserved. Muhammad’s entourage staunchly protected it from omission, transformation, or even minor paraphrasing that westerners might find negligible.

Most Muslim scholars agree that the Qur’an itself cannot be translated, only its lessons. One reason for this is that the Qur’an is written with aesthetics and poetic flares that are lost in the translation. Muhammad gave instructions on how the Qur’an was to be read and recited, and these cannot always be followed when reading the versions outside of the original.

The Qur’an is to be read in a melancholy and subdued tone, and only by those in a purified state. Muslims are expected to memorize the Qur’an as small children, when it comes more naturally, and when it has the most chance to influence their futures.

At the start, the caliphs attempted to protect the Qur’an as an oral tradition. However, the words were recorded as an additional bulwark against loosing the meaning. Then, in 650 CE the third caliph convened a council and a single-authorities text was put into place. (Authority, at its root, simply means: “Right by origin.)

The Qur’an is separated into 114 chapters, which are called surras. The first of these is called the Fatiha, and is one of the most important-for, this surra proclaims the very essence and theme of the Qur’an.

The verses within the Qur’an are at times very brief and appear to be simple in their directness. However, very few Islamic Scholars would describe the Qur’anic verses as shallow or uncomplicated. Quite the contrary, the verses are typically considered to be very deep, with many levels of tiered messages.

According to Abdullah Yusuf Ali they have three layers. The first is a physical layer, explaining the historical events and setting. The second is a spiritual message, a lesson. The third is a mystical significance.

The Qur’an is considered a corrected version of the bible. Muslims believe that all the Jewish prophets as well as Jesus Christ and his followers preached the same message, but that these messages were added to, taken away from, or changed by the Catholic church and other human organizations.

The Qur’an cites John 14:16, claiming that Christ prophesied the coming of Muhammad. The Qur’an is supposedly the true word of God, unchanged by man, untouched by the influences of the world.
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Five Pillars

Within Christianity we have the “Ten Commandments,” and these are considered the structure to Christian philosophy. The Ten Commandments are a guideline on how to live a fulfilling life, as well as a explanation of what behaviors God expects/desires from us. Within the Islamic religion the equivalent would be the Five Pillars and Jihad-which are the major elements to the Shari'ah, the sacred laws of Islam-administered by the caliphs.

Muslims are expected to give all their efforts to fulfilling the five pillars. These are the commandments of Allah, and the general structure to Islamic behavior and ideology. They are, respectively: Shahadah, Salaah, Zakaah, Soum, and Haji. In terms that westerns might understand they are, respectively: Believing and witnessing, daily prayers, sharing with those in need, fasting in the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to the Mecca.

Shahadah:
“La ilaha ill-Allah Muhammad-un Rasulu-llah,” is the embodiment of the Shahadah. The term translates to mean, “There is no deity except -the- deity, and Muhammad is the messenger of the deity,” where ‘the deity,’ is synonymous with Allah or God. The Shahadah represents the absolute and unquestioned monotheism of the Islamic religion. According to Muhammad Christians are actually polytheistic, for they view God as a triune deity, an entity with three personifications. This is contrasted in the Islamic religion in that the Qur’an says “You God is One God,” and straightly “The Christians are wrong about the trinity.”

The first pillar requires Muslims not only to believe in the ultimate reality of eternal oneness with Allah, and the “messengership” of Muhammad, but also to preach and profess it.

Salaah:
Muslims are obligated to recite five prayers everyday. Unlike Judaism there is no Sabbath to rest from worship. Rather, Muslims believe that reverence, submission, worship, and praising of God is a daily requirement. The Muezzins are mosque officials who call the Muslims together for the daily abolitions, in which the people cleanse themselves with water, sand or dirt. In mosque and Imam may lead the prayer, but there is no preacher.

Muslims cleansed themselves, face Mecca, and begin to pray while bowing. However, there is more to Salaah than simple chanting. Mechanical prayer is not considered prayer at all. While mouthing the words and bowing Muslims are expected to concentrate on the inner prayer of the heart. Muhammad is said to have spoken, “Prayer without the presence of Allah in your heart is not prayer at all.”

Within Mosque prayer the people stand shoulder to shoulder, as equals, and siblings of the same family. The facing of Mecca and continuity of Salaah brings Muslims together that they may praise God in unison. Men and women are segregated, but not because of the inferiority or superiority of one sex in relation to the other. Rather, women stand in rows behind the men, to keep from sexual distractions.

At the end of the ritual Muslims turn to their guardian angels and greet, “Assalamu Alaykum,” which means, “Peace be upon you.”

Zakaah

Once a year wealthy Muslims are called to give a minimal of 2.5% of their riches to those less fortunate. Zakaah has many layers. On one hand it is meant to keep a healthy circulation of currency flowing throughout the Islamic community, and on another it promotes equality, brotherhood, kinship, generosity, and humility. Zakaah can be translated to mean, “purity,” for it purifies the use of material fortunes.

Some Muslims believe that Zakaah calls them to give to other needy Muslims, but not those of outside religions. However, this introversive opinion is not a popular or common one. The Hadith tells many stories of Muhammad teaching against this very principle. Muhammad stressed the Muslims obligation to share with all people in need, regardless of race, nationality, or religion. The Islamic Relief Organization has made an undeniable effort to bring charities to all people in need, mainly in regions recently stricken by natural disasters.

Saudi Arabia, and Islamic country, makes a point to equal its military expenditures with charity, funding the Islamic Relief Organization while simultaneously spreading wealth around the world. Saudi Arabia spends a greater percentage of its GDP on military operations than any other nation, including America and Israel. In other-words, 15% of the Islamic countries gross domestic production is dedicated to Zakaah, or zakaat. (It might be noted that Shia are also required to donate to the Imams.)

Soum
Fasting is considered a highly beneficial practice for Muslims. There are many suggested fasts, but one is obligatory. Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink, sex, drugs, and cigarettes from dusk-to-sun-down every day for the entire month of Ramadan. Women who are menstruating, pregnant, or nursing are not required to participate. Children who have not completed puberty are also omitted from this requirement, as are the sick and elderly.

The Muslims follow a lunar calendar, and as a result the month of Ramadan circulates throughout all the seasons. While the fourth pillar is an relatively easy task during the winter months, when days are short and cool, it is an excruciating challenge during the summer. Abstaining even from the taste of hydration during the long hours of extreme heat embodies the absolute surrender to God that is Islam. Soumrepresents one’s acknowledgment of Allah’s control over their lives and earthly desires.


Haji
Haji comes with many traditions that go far beyond mere travel. In this tradition Muslims with the wealth and power to afford such an expenditure, are to gather at the Ka'Bah before making a pilgrimage. During the great migration hajis (Muslims making pilgrimage,) are to continuously recite the Talbiya. This is translated: "I respond to Your call O Allah, I respond to Your call, and I am obedient to Your orders, You have no partner, I respond to Your call All the praises and blessings are for You, All the sovereignty is for You, And You have no partners with you." Men wrap themselves in attires similar to burial shawls, to represent their dying to the world.

There are many phases within Haji. First the participants circle the Great Mosque of Ka’Bah seven times, as the angels eternally circulate Allah in the seventh heaven. From there they march to Mina. After this they proceed to Arafat Valley.

This is a holly sight in the Islamic religion for many reasons. Adam and Eve were taught the meaning of Human life here, Allah spawned a spring for Hagar and Ishmael when they were thirsty here, and Muhammad gave his last speech at this very place. The hajis stop to pray from noon to night. During the prayers they beg forgiveness for sins that have separated them from The Beloved.

Next the pilgrims gather 49 stones and throw them at the pillars which represent evil. Three days of ritual sacrifice begin, to honor Abraham’s willingness to submit to God. At the end of this they return to the Great Mosque and repeat the first step. Then, they walk seven times, back and forth, to the well of Zam-Zam (The afore mentioned spring,) and back-drinking from the waters each time.

Two Major Sin

In additions to the Five Pillars and Jihad, there are two other concepts within Islam that govern the behavior of Muslims. These are the two great sins of humankind, and both involve one’s relationship with God. They are shirk and kufr. The first is worshipping anything other than Allah. Muslims are not to praise natural forces or idols. The Qur’an says, “Do not adore the sun and moon, but adore Allah who created them.” The latter sin is lack of gratitude toward Allah and disbelief.

Six Main Beliefs

Before is considered a Muslim one must believe in:

1. Allah as the One True God.

2. The angels of God

3. The books revealed by God

4. The messengers sent by God

5. The Day of Judgment

6. Divine Destiny

Allah as the One True God:
Muslims must believe that the almighty Allah engendered everything within existence. Human beings, Jinn, and Angel are a part of that creation; therefore, they are obliged to submit to him. The first part of this submission, for Humans, is to believe in the Islamic image of the One True God. (One might note that Angels have no free-will, and Jinn have less than Humans because they “know of” instead of “believe in,” Allah.)

Why add The One True before the word God? Because God standing alone is not specific enough, and is too easily manipulated. Allah is the creator of everything, and has no rivals, peers, or partners.

This belief is a major dictator in the dogmatic life of a Muslim.

Belief in Angels:
Angels are tools of God. They have various tasks. Mika’il, for example, controls the weather. Other Angels carry messages from God to man or protect humans according to their respective mandate.

Belief in Books:
Muslims believe that Allah communicates with his people through sacred tombs. These are books of revelation, and Muslims are supposed to refer to them in every decision of their life. The Qur’an mentions five of these. One of the five is the Qur’an itself, and the other four are: the Gospel, the Torah, the Psalms and the Scriptures of Abraham.

Belief in Messengers of God:
Another of the criteria one must meet before they are classified as a Muslim is that they must believe that God communicates with Muslims through divinely appointed messengers. Allah picks his prophets well, and so it is believed that these messengers make no mistake. They recite and proclaim their revelations accurately, and though they are Human they are sinless. They are not God’s or Demi-Gods, but they are the best of Human beings.

An Islamic prophet can be compared to the image of Christ found in modern Humanistic Christology.

These messengers are also considered to have the support of Allah. So, a part of the submission to God is to support his messengers; a prime example of why these beliefs must be held before one can completely submit to God.

Day of Judgment:
Muslims believe that this life is not the end. They believe that when we all die we will be brought up before Allah and judged. We will ultimately reside in either heaven or hell. (It may be noted that in Islam hell is not necessarily eternal-for a select few will reside there for only an appointed amount of time.) It is all, ultimately, up to Allah.

Divine Destiny:
This belief simply states that everything is already put in place. This does not mean we do not have freedom of choice. It does, however, mean that Allah has the ultimate control-and that Allah knows everything that will ever come.

(This was taken directly from my blog: http://religiousgenocide.blogspot.com/)


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Posted 3/27/08
I have to say i truly enjoyed reading this. I like the way you explained everything. I couldn't have done it better myself. Well i did notice some minor things like for example you forgot to mention how islam also means peace and you called the fasting Siyaam. The correct term is Soum. finally you said that during Hajj muslims recite the shahadah. What muslims recite while performing hajj is the Talbiya. which is translated as "I respond to Your call O Allah, I respond to Your call, and I am obedient to Your orders, You have no partner, I respond to Your call All the praises and blessings are for You, All the sovereignty is for You, And You have no partners with you."

Oh and also there is the 6 pillars of iman(belief) maybe you can talk about that next.


His first muezzin was a dark-skinned Abyssinian slave who belonged to Abu.


I'm guessing here you are talking about Bilal. Did you know that there is a hadith about him. In the hadith the prophet Muhammad has a dream about jannah (heaven) and before him he hears Bilal's saddles. So a slave enters heaven before the prophet. I found this information very fascinating when i first read about it.
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Posted 3/27/08

Amina17 wrote:

I have to say i truly enjoyed reading this. I like the way you explained everything. I couldn't have done it better myself. Well i did notice some minor things like for example you forgot to mention how islam also means peace and you called the fasting Siyaam. The correct term is Soum. finally you said that during Hajj muslims recite the shahadah. What muslims recite while performing hajj is the Talbiya. which is translated as "I respond to Your call O Allah, I respond to Your call, and I am obedient to Your orders, You have no partner, I respond to Your call All the praises and blessings are for You, All the sovereignty is for You, And You have no partners with you."


Oh, shoot, that’s not good. I’ll fix those errors A.S.A.P. Sorry about that. I had originally intended to have an Imam from a mosque come and create the Islam thread for me, but in the end he wasn’t available. The result was that I had to create the thread on my own, and when I started my knowledge was painfully finite. What you see here was what I uncovered during my research. The problem with this is that the Qur’an is an anathema in my state, you can’t even find it at the libraries anymore-because they’ve outlawed the publishing of the Qur’an.

So, what I had was history books. Most of which I tossed aside because they were propaganda, a few of which were incredibly useful. Still, the useful books are the college books-which don’t focus on Islam alone-but rather, survey all world religions. So, I was collecting information from multiple sources and combining them. On one hand this allowed me multiple view-points, while on the other it disarrayed details.

Well, let me know if you catch any other errors. I’ll go back and edit them.

As far as the six pillars, I don’t know, I’ll search my sources and see what they say. Glancing at my text-books, there doesn’t seem to be much mention of them. You can discuss them here if you like, I’d love to be educated.

Well, I’m likely going to post some Islamic courtesy, phrases, and cultures-maybe list the months-and then move on to the next religion. Oh, and, because it’s something that many people are curious about, I think I may also compare some of the similarities and differences between the Islamic and Christian and Judaic religions. I’m not sure.

Anyway, glad you enjoy it, thanks for reading, and thanks for participating. Makes me glad I went through the trouble-encourages me to continue, which is good, because sometimes things seem so hopeless. Ignorance and prejudice is like a massive plague, and only education can cure those tainted with this disease, but sometimes I wonder…am I resourceful enough to provide this vaccine on large enough scale to make a difference?

Sorry, I’m having fun with my metaphor. Anywho, I’ll look at those errors.
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hey its ok. You did an amazing job. If I was good at writing I would love to do this. My problem is that I have a lot of say but don't have the writing skills needed to put it all on paper. About books why don't you order some islamic books form islamic bookstores online. I know of a great one if you are interested.

hey can you tell me which state you live in? You said that your state banned the publication of Quran. I didn't think that the states would have that power. Well if you are still looking for the Quran you can always read them online. i know of a two great site with multiple translations.

The 6 pillars of belief are to believe in Allah, his Angels, his Books, his Messengers, the Last Day, the Divine Destiny and that the good and bad of it are all from Allah, the Most High.
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Amina17 wrote:

hey its ok. You did an amazing job. If I was good at writing I would love to do this. My problem is that I have a lot of say but don't have the writing skills needed to put it all on paper. About books why don't you order some islamic books form islamic bookstores online. I know of a great one if you are interested.

hey can you tell me which state you live in? You said that your state banned the publication of Quran. I didn't think that the states would have that power. Well if you are still looking for the Quran you can always read them online. i know of a two great site with multiple translations.

The 6 pillars of belief are to believe in Allah, his Angels, his Books, his Messengers, the Last Day, the Divine Destiny and that the good and bad of it are all from Allah, the Most High.


Yes, I do often read it online, but I have bad eyes, and I can't read off the comp screen for too long without getting severe headaches. Still, I do sometimes look at the Qur'an online, but I'm afraid of mistranslation... Oh, you can always message me with your info and I'll include it here. I'm a good teacher, I think... Well, maybe that's just my ego. Anyway, just send the info and your sources.

Thanks, I'm glad I did good. I live in Oklahoma state. I don't know what power the state has, but the Qur'an isn't held in any library I've found, and; moreover, I read in the news-paper that it was banned. Maybe I'm confused, but I'm fairly certain that's what it said.

I may look more into purchasing more reading on Islam after I've gotten through my college courses. It's hard to specalize right now, but I -will- dive deeper into this, mark my words I will! :p anyway, it's late, so good night.
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Seraph you are amazingly eloquent. I cannot write that much with so little grammatical errors. Anyways I just wanted to make one little change. Hajj is not required for every Muslim it is only required for those who have the money and the health to make the journey. I'll write some more later I need to get to class.
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^Thanks for the complement, but to be honest I used a spell-checking system. I wrote all of this in Microsoft Word and then copied it here and hit post. I can take credit for the grammatical correctness. As for the eloquence, well-I’m not eloquent IRL. It’s easy to be eloquent over the internet, but IRL I stutter a bit and get tongue tied. I’m a loosery nerd-boy. :p

I'll make the correction.
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Posted 3/29/08

SeraphAlford wrote:

Yes, I do often read it online, but I have bad eyes, and I can't read off the comp screen for too long without getting severe headaches. Still, I do sometimes look at the Qur'an online, but I'm afraid of mistranslation... Oh, you can always message me with your info and I'll include it here. I'm a good teacher, I think... Well, maybe that's just my ego. Anyway, just send the info and your sources.


Here's a website that might be helpful to you. You can send for a free copy of the Qur'an with translations and perhaps transliterations.
http://www.freekoran.com/

Hope it helps.
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^Oh, my, wonderful. I filled out the aplication, thank you very much.
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SeraphAlford wrote:

The Qur'an

The Qur’an is to be read in a melancholy and subdued tone, and only by those in a purified state. Muslims are expected to memorize the Qur’an as small children, when it comes more naturally, and when it has the most chance to influence their futures.


The Qur'an is not necessarily read in a melancholy tone. If you hear someone recite it in the way it's supposed to be recited it sounds very relaxing (I can't put it into words but when I hear my friends dad recite it it's just amazing. You just want to keep on listening to it...). And apparently the muslims aren't expected to memorize the Qur'an. It is encouraged but not required. They are just required to read it every day (not the whole Qur'an but just little parts of it.) People can read the whole Qur'an everyday if they feel like it but it is not requried.

The small children are encouraged to memorize the Qur'an because apparently younger ones can memorize it better and faster than the older ones can (and like you said when they memorize it with the meaning when they're young it has the most chance of influencing their future.)

Once again you did an amazing job of putting together everything. I can't wrap my head around how much work and effort you put into everything.
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angelangel wrote:


The Qur'an is not necessarily read in a melancholy tone. If you hear someone recite it in the way it's supposed to be recited it sounds very relaxing (I can't put it into words but when I hear my friends dad recite it it's just amazing. You just want to keep on listening to it...). And apparently the muslims aren't expected to memorize the Qur'an. It is encouraged but not required. They are just required to read it every day (not the whole Qur'an but just little parts of it.) People can read the whole Qur'an everyday if they feel like it but it is not requried.

The small children are encouraged to memorize the Qur'an because apparently younger ones can memorize it better and faster than the older ones can (and like you said when they memorize it with the meaning when they're young it has the most chance of influencing their future.)

Once again you did an amazing job of putting together everything. I can't wrap my head around how much work and effort you put into everything.


Well, that’s why I chose melancholy instead of sad, dismal, or dejected. Muhammad said that a true Muslim should be brought to tears by the Qur’an. Melancholy carries a certain connotation that suggests a tranquility, a remembrance and revelry-which is-it seems, the best way to explain the tone in which the Qur’an is to be read-in my knowledge, though perhaps I’m misinterpreting the Prophet, peace be upon him, his sunnah, and his intent within the sunnah.

Like I said, however, the only way to understand a religion is to experience it. We cannot really explain the sensation that is supposed to be felt and shared while reciting the Qur'an, I can't completely comprehend it. I can relate it to similar experiences, but really I'm just trying to get these in terms that westerners are familiar with, so that we can begin to relate with those of eastern religions. When I was writing about how the Qur'an should be read it was based on research-yes, but also the feelings that I'm endowed with while reading about Christ and his sacrifice, or about our martyrs.

I’m happy that I’m saved, but it’s still a “melancholy,” thing to think about the death of Christ. This is what I have against the Passion of the Christ. (That, and I don’t like being guilt tripped into my religion.) The Passion of the Christ shows only the vulgarity of the crucifixion, but it ignores the wondrous miracle of it.

Like child-birth. It’s a bloody and painful thing-but beyond the pain there is more, there is an aesthetics, a more profound connotation.


Thanks for the complement. I do work hard, but to be honest this is only possible because I’m required by my schooling to study religion itself. All the religions I’ve mentioned here have also been discussed in my Survey of World Religions class here at South Eastern Oklahoma State College.

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Islamic Calendar

The Islamic Calendar is a lunar dating device, eleven days shorter than the solar calendar more familiar to most Westerners. It began in 622 CE (Common Era) and continues through the present. The days of the Islamic week are sevenfold, and the names of each follow:

1. yaum al-ahad يوم الأحد (What we might assosciate with Sunday, though there is no Sabbath within Islam.)
2. yaum al-ithnayn يوم الإثنين
3. yaum ath-thulaathaa' يوم الثُّلَاثاء
4. yaum al-arbia`aa' يوم الأَرْبِعاء
5. yaum al-khamis يوم الخَمِيس
6. yaum al-jumu`a يوم الجُمُعَة
7. yaum as-sabt يوم السَّبْت

The months within the Islamic Calendar are, respectively:

1. Muharram محرّم
2.Safar صفر
3. Rabi' al-awwal ربيع الأول
4. Rabi' al-thani ربيع الآخر أو ربيع الثاني
5. Jumada al-ula جمادى الاولى
6. Jumada al-thani جمادى الآخر أو جمادى الثاني
7. Rajab رجب
8. Sha'aban شعبان
9. Ramadan رمضان
10. Shawwal شوّال (
11. Dhu al-Qi'dah ذو القعدة
12. Dhu al-Hijjah ذو الحجة


I will try to find a guide to pronunciation, but for now this must suffice. I'm open to any help on this. Sorry I've not update much lately, but schools a drag, work a bigger drag, and Suffism is confusing to me. I can't tell if Sufi's are actually Muslims. Some sources-many straigh from the ummah, say they aren't, and some sources right out of Islamic scholars say that they are. I'm a little confused, so give me more time and provide any help you can.

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