Introduction to Islam
CLOSE & DIRECT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
PURE & CLEAR CONCEPT OF GOD
UNIVERSAL & TIMELESS MESSAGE
What is Islam?
Islam is to believe in and to worship The One True God (“Allah” in Arabic) alone, and to accept Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as His final Messenger.
- Approximately 1 in 4 people (23%) are Muslim – over 1.5 billion Muslims
- Followers of Islam are known as Muslims who can be from any racial or ethnic background
Faith & Attitude
God calls on us to acknowledge Him through His signs. God has made it our responsibility to recognise Him. This is part of the test of this life. Without the right attitude, no amount of information can make someone believe.
|✔ Objectivity & an open mind
|✖ Preconceived barriers/misconceptions to not believe
|✔ Humbleness & sincerity
|✖ Pride & arrogance
|✔ Contemplation about our purpose
|✖ Focus only on material world
|✔ Receptive to God’s signs
|✖ Dismiss everything as meaningless
Reason 1: Beginning of the Universe
The first reason for believing in God relates to reflecting on the origin of the universe.
How did the universe come to exist?
✖ Did it come from nothing? From nothing, comes nothing. So, obviously not.
✖ Did it create itself? No, this is irrational. It is like saying a mother gave birth to herself.
✖ Has it always existed? No, modern science concludes that the universe is not eternal and had a beginning.
✔ Was it created? Yes. Muslims believe something beyond the universe created it – The Creator.
But who created God?
God was not created. Unlike the universe and the rest of creation, God is eternal, has always existed and has no beginning.
Reason 2: Order of the Universe
Another simple reason for believing in God is by pondering over the order of the universe using the following logic:
- Anything that is ordered indicates intelligence
- Our solar system is highly ordered with intricate systems, laws & patterns
- The order in our universe indicates the intelligence of the Creator!
Many features in the universe clearly indicate it to be specially designed to support life. If these measurements were slightly different to what they currently are, life could not exist. Examples below.
- Ozone Layer
- Thickness of earth’s crust
- Oxygen % in the air
- Distance from sun
- Relative size of sun, earth & moon
Could a large complex universe form by coincidence, without supervision? It should be noted that Islam encourages scientific research and reflection. The role of science helps us describe the many observed patterns that God places in His creation and appreciate the extent of His power and wisdom.
Reason 3: Revelation – Quran
The Quran provides a strong argument for the existence of God and it is unmatched in its style, wisdom, guidance, eloquence as well as its uniqueness in how it addresses the reader.
- No errors or contradictions
- Pure & clear descriptions of God
- Pinnacle of arabic linguistic beauty
- Revealed via Prophet Muhammad ho was illiterate
- Preserved – no alterations in 1400 years
- Deep insights into human behaviour
- Memorised by millions of people
- Contains scientific facts not known at that time
“On earth there are signs for those with sure faith; and in yourselves too, do you not see?”Quran 51:20-21
Who is God?
One of the main beauties of Islam is that it acknowledges the complete perfection, greatness and uniqueness of God with absolutely no compromises.
- God is One & Unique and has no rivals, partners or sons.
- God is Worthy of All Worship – directly & exclusively (no intermediaries).
- God is Perfect & Flawless – No limitations or weaknesses.
- God is the Most Merciful – He knows we are imperfect and commit sins, however the key is to always acknowledge our mistakes and to sincerely ask for forgiveness.
- No part of God is present in His creation nor do others share in His divine attributes.
When trying to understand the concept of God in Islam, it is important to discuss the status of Jesus, given the widespread confusion and claims about his nature.
Islam acknowledges Jesus as an honourable Prophet and Messenger of God, but Muslims do not worship him – as worship is for God alone who created Jesus and everything that exists. As such, the belief of Jesus as God, or the son of God, or part of a trinity, clearly contradicts the pure teachings of God in Islam.
If Jesus was God, who would he be praying to?
There are many examples in Christian teachings of Jesus speaking and behaving as if God is a separate being to himself, e.g. Jesus prays to God.
How can God be both perfect and imperfect?
Jesus was born, ate, slept and had limited knowledge – all attributes not befitting God. God has attributes of perfection whereas Man is the opposite.
What does the term “son of God” really mean?
We find the term “son of God” is symbolically used in the earliest biblical languages for a “righteous person” for many people – not exclusively for Jesus. God is far removed from having a physical and literal son.
If God can do anything, why can’t he become a man?
God always maintains attributes of perfection and does not do anything to compromise this perfection. By definition, God does not do ungodly acts. So, if God became man and took on human attributes, he would, necessarily, no longer be God.
+ other prophets
God sent Prophets to every nation throughout time with the same essential message – to worship one true God. Although Muslims love and respect all Prophets, they do not worship them or attribute divinity to them, as this is reserved solely for God.
Purpose of Life
It is part of God’s infinite wisdom that He created us and gave us the opportunity to know Him and to experience our lives and make our own choices.
Islam is a complete and practical way of life that teaches Muslims to be balanced, decent and contributing members of society. The concept of worship in Islam does not only include praying and supplicating to God. It is a broad definition that includes any action that God is pleased with. Some examples include:
- Earning an honest living
- Opposing oppression
- Taking care of orphans
- Looking after the environment
- Having patience & humility
- Benefitting the community
- Respecting parents
- Standing up for justice
- Kindness to neighbours
- Having mindfulness of God
- Providing for one’s family
- Speaking the truth
Acts of worship require the sincere intention to please God and must be performed correctly according to Islamic guidelines.
What does Islam say about…
Women: Women have the highest respect in Islam. They are to be treated with love, honour and respect. They are the partners of men, and no oppression can ever be condoned towards them.
Terrorism: Islam permits fighting in order to preserve the well being of society, to prevent oppression from spreading, and to promote justice. However, targeting innocent non-combatants is a despicable act which is prohibited.
Halal food: Halal foods are those lawful for Muslims to consume. Meats and poultry should be slaughtered humanely with suffering minimized, and God’s name should be mentioned during slaughter.
Evolution: God created the first human being, Adam, in his final form – as opposed to evolving gradually from advanced apes. This cannot be directly confirmed or denied by science because this was a unique and singular historical event – a miracle. As for living creatures other than humans, Islamic sources are silent on the matter and only require us to believe that God created them in whatever manner He wanted, using evolution or otherwise.
A Muslim’s Outlook on Life
- Balance of hope in God’s Mercy and fear of His punishment
- I have a noble purpose
- If good happens, be grateful. If bad happens, have patience
- This life is a test and God sees everything I do
- Put my trust in God – nothing happens except by His permission
- Everything I have is from God
- Genuine hope & concern for non-Muslims to be guided
- Focus on what is in my control & try my best
- I will return to God and be accountable