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 Definition of islam

اذهب الى الأسفل 
كاتب الموضوعرسالة
أحــمــد لــبــن AhmadLbn
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مُساهمةموضوع: Definition of islam    الإثنين 2 أبريل - 8:04


Definition of islam
Published in: Spiritual
-----------------------------------
LECTURE  1
DEFINITION OF ISLAM:
LITERAL MEANING:
Islam is derived from the Arabic root "Salama": peace, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. Everything and every phenomenon in the world other than man is administered totally by God-made laws, i.e. They are obedient to God and submissive to his laws, they are in the State of Islam. Submission to the good will of God, together with obedience to His beneficial Law, i.e., becoming a Muslim, is the best safeguard for man's peace and harmony. The other literal meaning of the word "Islam" is "peace." This signifies that one can achieve real peace of body and of mind only through submission and obedience to Allah. Such a life of obedience brings peace of the heart and establishes real peace in society at large.

Distinguishing Qualities of Islam
SPECIALITIES
[1] UNITY IN INJUNCTIONS:
There are explicit texts in the Qur'an as well as the Hadeeths[1] of the Prophet (r) which indicate that all religions called to the same basic principle, to worship Allah alone in exclusion to all others. Allah sent prophets to mankind, and each one’s message abrogated the one prior to it, from the prophet hood of Noah (u) until the commissioning of Muhammad (p.b.u.h).

The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h) said:
“Indeed I am to the other prophets as is a man who built a house beautifully and perfectly, except one brick which was not placed in its corner. People circle and admire it, but say, ‘If only a brick was put in this place!’ I am that brick, and I am the last of all prophets.” [al-Bukhari] No prophet or messenger of Allah will appear after Muhammad (r). The only exception to this is Jesus (u). When the Final Hour draws near, he will descend[2] to the earth and fill it with justice and equity as it was filled with oppression and tyranny. He will not convey a new religion, but rather he will rule with Islam. SO Islam is not a new religion. It is a continuation of Divine revelations. According to Islam, religions are not to compete with one another because all religions came from Allah for the purpose of guiding. Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life.

[2] EVERLASTING RELIGION:
Islam has abrogated all previous religions, and it is the last religion which Allah chose for humanity. Allah will not accept anything else from His slaves. Allah (I) says: (And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad (p.b.u.h) the Book (this Qur'an) in truth, confirming the Scriptures that came before it and a witness over them.) [5:48]

Because it is the last religion, Allah has promised to preserve and guard it from all distortions until the Day of Judgment, contrary to previous religions which were sent at specific times to specific people. Allah (I) says: (Indeed it is We who have sent down the Reminder (i.e the Qurán and Sunnah ) and indeed it is We who will guard and protect it.) [15:9]

[3] COMPREHENSIVE AND COMPLETE RELIGION:
The religion of Islam completed and perfected the legislations which came before it. As these religions were meant only for a specific nation and time, they are not suited for the present world and times. Islam, a universal and eternal religion perfected and completed those aspects which were limited to past peoples and times, affirming those aspects suitable for all times and peoples. Allah (I) says: (This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.) [5:3] For this reason it is the best religion. Allah (I) says: (You [Muslims] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin all that Islam has ordained and forbid all that Islam has forbidden, and you believe in Allah. And had the People of the Scripture [Jews and Christians] believed it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are disobedient and rebellious.) [3:110] Islam is A complete religion not only from spiritual aspect, but also a religion of physical and social life. In other words, Islam does not separate the spiritual life from the materialistic life. Man in Islam is soul and body the soul has its needs and the body has its needs, and all needs should be organized and satisfied.

[4] UNIVERSAL RELIGION
Islam is a global religion that addresses all of humanity. It was not revealed for a specific race or class, but rather one in which all people are regarded as equal. There is no segregation based upon color, language, location, and lineage; rather, it is based upon specific beliefs which all people share, keeping them united. Whoever believes in Allah as the One and only true Lord, that Islam is the correct religion and that Muhammad (r) is the last messenger, he is regarded as a Muslim, irrespective of race, color or ethnicity. Allah (I) says: (And We have not sent you (O Muhammad (r)) except as a giver of glad tidings and a Warner to all humanity.) [34:28] As for the previous messengers, they were sent to their specific nations. 


[5] PERFECT RELIGION
The legislations and teachings of Islam are from Allah; thus they are unchangeable. They are unlike human legislations which contain mistakes, shortcomings and are continuously influenced by exterior factors, of which are surroundings, culture, tradition and society. This is something which can be clearly witnessed at present. Man-made legislations and systems are unstable, often needing revision and change. What suits one society may not suit another, and what suits one time period may not suit another. The legislations and systems of a capitalist society, for example, are not suitable in a communist society. Anyone who tries to introduce legislations and systems into a particular society must take their particular goals and views into consideration. As for the legislation of Islam, it is, as we described, of a divine origin. The one who legislated it is the Creator of all things, the One who knows what best suits their particular conditions and what rectifies their affairs. No one, no matter what status and station he may achieve, has the right to oppose, change, add, or omit from this legislation. Allah (I) says: (Is it the judgment of (the Days of) Ignorance that they seek? And who is better in judgment than Allah for a people who have firm belief.) [5:50]

[6] AN APLICABLE RELIGION TILL THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT
The religion of Islam is a religion whose texts are general, making it suitable for all times and places. It has introduced general principles and teachings which are unalterable; they are not influenced by the passage of time or change of locality, whether they be principles dealing with belief, such as the belief in Allah, His Angels, Books, Messengers, the Last Day, and Predestination; or principles of worship, such as the specific actions of prayer and their timings, the amount to be given in Zakaah (obligatory charity) and to whom it is to be given to, the time of the obligatory Fast, and the characteristics, time and regulations of Hajj. Every new matter which should appear in the world must be made in light of the Qur'an and authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (r) in order that it be given a ruling. If a clear ruling cannot be taken from the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet (r) regarding the issue, the pious, god-fearing scholars should exert their effort to derive a textual-based ruling, keeping the Muslim's interest in mind, and to consider the conditions of his age and society.

[7] A RELIGION OF EQUALITY
There are no prejudices in the religion of Islam. Every item of its legislation applies to everyone; there is no difference between the rich and poor, noble and commoner, ruler and subject or white and black. Everyone is equal in relation to the implementation of Shari'ah law. During the time of the Prophet (r) a woman from the clan of Makhzoom from the tribe of the Quraish (the most noble clan of the most noble tribe) committed theft. Some of those around him said, “Who will intercede with the Messenger of Allah (r) on her behalf?” Others said, “Who can be so bold other that Usaamah bin Zaid, the beloved of the Messenger of Allah (r).” Usaamah tried to intercede, but the Prophet (r) replied, “Do you trying to intercede in one of the set punishments of Allah?” He then stood and addressed them, saying: “O People, the thing which destroyed those before you was that if one of their noble committed a theft, they did not punish him, but if one of their common folk stole, they established Allah’s fixed punishment upon him. By Allah, if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, committed a theft, I would cut her hand off. [4]” [Muslim]

[8] UNCHANGEABLE RELIGION
The textual sources of the religion of Islam are still present today in their original forms, free from any omission, addition, or substitution. The main sources of the religion of Islam are the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Messenger (p.b.u.h). The Qur'an at present is still in its original form, as it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (r), with the same letters, verses, and chapters. It has not been altered in the least. Difference between religion and deen The Holy Quran has described Islam as ad-deen which is generally translated in English as religion. In the light of what has been stated above, it should be clear that this supposed English equivalent is not only incorrect but distorts and vitiates the true significance of deen. According to the Quran, Islam is deen which means a code of life, a social system, a polity (3/18, 5/3). This is the deen which Prphet Muhammad brought (9/33) and which would ultimately triumph over all other ways of life. The word mazhab has not been used anywhere in the Quran. It is, therefore, not proper to term Islam as a religion or mazhab. Mazhab, in the literal sense, means a passage or path made by man, and deen is that code, law or system which one gets from Allah.


الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Definition of islam    الإثنين 2 أبريل - 8:08

TAWHEED:
FAITH IN THE UNITY OF GOD
IMPORTANCE:
The most fundamental and the most important teaching of Islam is faith in unity of God. This is expressed in the primary kalima of Islam as La ilaha illallah "There is no deity but Allah". This beautiful phrase in the bedrock of Islam, its foundation and its essence. It is the expression of this belief which differentiates a true Muslim from a kafir (unbeliever), a Mushrik (one who associates others with God in His divinity), or a Dahriya (atheist). The acceptance or denial of this phrase produces a world of difference between man and man. The believers in it become one single community and those who do not believe in it form the opposite group.

But the difference which occurs between the believers and the unbelievers is not the result of mere chanting of a few words. Evidently the mere utterance of a phrase or two cannot bring about such a mighty difference. The real force lies in the conscious acceptance of this doctrine and its stipulations and complete adherence to it in practical life. Unless you know the real meaning of the phrase "there is no deity but Allah" and the bearing of its acceptance on human life, you cannot realize the real importance of this doctrine. It would never become effective unless these essentials are achieved.
Mere repeating of the word ‘food’ cannot dull the edge of hunger; mere chanting of a medical prescription cannot heal the disease. In the same way if the Kalima is reopeated without any understanding of its meanings and dictates, it cannot work the revolution which its meanings and dictates, it cannot work the revolution which it is meant to bring about. The revolution in thought and life can occur only if a person grasps the full meaning of the doctrine, realizes its significance, reposes true belief in it, and accepts and follows it in letter and spirit. Unless this grasp of the Kalima is developed it cannot become fully effective.

The Meaning of the ‘Kalima’
In the Arabic language the word ilah means ‘one who is worshipped’, i.e. a being which on account of its greatness and power be considered worthy to be worshipped, to be bowed to in humility and submission The conception of ilah also includes the possession of infinite powers. It also conveys the sense that others are dependent upon ilah and that he is not dependent upon anyone else.

The word ilah also carries a sense of concealment and mystery, that is, ilah would be a being unseen and unperceptible. The word khuda in Persian, deva in Hindi, and god in English bear, more or less, similar signification. Other languages of the world also contain words with a like sense.

The word Allah, on the other hand, is the essential personal name of God. La ilaha illallah would literally mean "There is no ilah other than the One Great being known by the name "Allah". It means that in the whole of the universe, there is absolutely no being worthy to be worshipped other than Allah, that it is only to Him that heads should bow in submission and adoration, that He is the only Being possessing all powers, that all powers, that all are in need of His favor, and that all are obliged to solicit His help. He is concealed from our senses, and our intellect fails to perceive what He is.

From the most ancient known history of man as well as from the oldest relics of antiquity that we have been able to obtain, it appears that in every age man had recognized some deity or deities and had worshipped them. Even in the present age every nation on the face of the earth, from the most primitive to the most civilized, dose believe in and worship some deity. It shows that the idea of having a deity and of worshipping him is ingrained in human nature.

But the question is:
What that thing is and why man feels impelled to do so? The answer is that human being is not omnipotent. Neither he is self-sufficient and self-existing nor are his powers without limitations. In fact, he is weak, frail, needy, and destitute. He is dependent upon a multitude of forces and without their assistance he cannot make a headway. There are countless things necessary to maintain his existence, but all of them are not essentially and totally within his powers.

Sometimes they come to his possession in a simple and natural way, and at times he finds himself deprived of them. There are many important and valuable things which he endeavors to get, but sometimes he succeeds in getting them, while sometimes he does not, for it is not completely in his own power to obtain them. There are many important and valuable things which he endeavors to get, but sometimes he succeeds in getting them, while sometimes he dose not, for it is not completely in his won power to obtain them. There are many things injurious to him; chances bring his hops to a sudden end; disease, worries, and calamities, always threaten him and mar his way to happiness. He attempts to get rid of them, and success and failure both visit him in this quest.

In the most primitive stage of ignorance, man thinks that the great objects of nature whose grandeur and glory are visible, and which appear to be injurious or beneficent to him, hold in themselves the real power and authority, and therefore, they are diving. Thus he worship trees, and numerous other objects. This is the worst form of ignorance.

Tawheed is the highest conception of godhead, the knowledge of which God has sent to mankind in all ages through His prophets. It was this knowledge with which, in the beginning, Adam had been revealed to Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (God’s blessings be upon them all). It was this very knowledge which Muhammad (God’s blessings be upon him) brought to mankind. It is The Knowledge, pure and absolute, without the least shade of ignorance.

It is essential that all these divine attributes and powers must vest in one being-it is virtually impossible for two or more personalities having all the powers and attributes equally to co-exist. They are bound to collide.

Therefore there must be one and only one Supreme Being having control over all others. You cannot think of two governors for the same province or two supreme commanders of the same army! Similarly, the distribution of these powers among different deities, for instance, that one of them is all knowledge, the other all providence and still another life-giver-and each having independent domain in his own field-is unthinkable. The universe is an indivisible whole and each one of such deities will be dependent upon others in bound to occur. And if this happens, the world is destined to go to pieces. These attributes are also untransferable.

It is not possible that a certain attribute might be present in a certain deity at one time and at another time it be found in another deity. A divine being who is incapable of remaining alive himself cannot give life to others. The one who cannot protect his own divine power is definitely unsuited to govern the vast limitless universe. Thus the greater you reflect upon the problem, the firmer would be your conviction that all these divine powers and attributes must exist in one end the same Being alone. Thus polytheism is a form of ignorance and cannot stand rational scrutiny. It is a practical impossibility. The facts of life and nature do not fit into that explanation. They automatically bring man to Reality, i.e. Tawheed (the Unity of God). 

Now keeping in view this correct and perfect conception of God, cast a searching glance at this vast universe. imagine- using all your knowledge can comprehend-anyone possessing these attributes. The sun, the moon, the stars, animals, birds or fishes, matter, any man or a group of men-does any of them possess these attributes? Certainly none! For everything in the universe is created, is controlled and regulated, is dependent on others, is mortal and transitory, is not self -acting and self- propelling- its slightest movements are controlled by an inexorable law and it cannot deviate from that law.

This is the meaning of ‘La ilaha,’ i.e. there is no god; no human and material object possesses the divine power and authority deserving worship and obedience. The Creator of this grand universe, the Controller of its superb Law, the Governor of its serene rhythm, the Administrator of all its working: He is Allah, the Lord of Universe and has none as associate in His Divinity.

This is what "illallah" (but Allah) means. This knowledge is superior to all other kinds of know ledge and the greater You exert, the deeper will be your conviction that this is the starting-point of all knowledge. In every filed of inquiry-may it be that of physics chemistry, astronomy, geology, biology, zoology, economics, politics, sociology, or humanities, you will find that the deeper you probe, the clearer become the indications of the truth of La ilaha illallah, in every field of knowledge and inquiry. 

It is this concept which opens up the doors of knowledge with the light of reality. And if you deny or disregard this reality, you will find that at every step you meet disillusionment, for the denial of this primary truth robs everything in the universe of its real meaning and true significance. The universe becomes meaningless and the vistas of progress get blurred and confused.


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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Definition of islam    الإثنين 2 أبريل - 8:10

The Three Types of Tawheed
Tauhid-ar-Rububiyya A confession with your heart that the Creator (of everything) is Allah, subhana watala, it is that you have to say: "I testify that the Creator of all the universe, including the stars, the planets, the sun, the moon, the heavens, the earth with all its known and unknown forms of life, is Allah. He is the Organizer and Planner of all its affairs. It is He Who gives life and death, and He (i.e. Allah Alone) is the Sustainer, and the Giver of Security, etc." And this is called your confession for the "Oneness of the Lordship of Allah," Tauhid-ar-Rububiyya.

Tauhid-al-Uluhiyya
A confession with your heart that you have to say: "I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone." The word "Worship" (i.e. Ibadah) carries a great number of meanings in the Arabic language: It conveys that all kinds of worship are meant for Allah (and none else, whether it be an angel, Messenger, Prophet Jesus - son of Mary, Ezra, Muhammad, saint, idol, the sun, the moon and all other kinds of false deities). So pray to none but Allah, invoke none but Allah, ask for help from none (unseen) but Allah, swear by none but Allah, offer an animal as sacrifice to none but Allah, …etc. and that means, -- all that Allah and Allah’s Messenger, saaws, order you to do (in Qur’an and in As-Sunna [legal ways of Prophet Muhammad]) you must do, and all that Allah, s.w.t, Allah’s Messenger forbid you, you must not do. And this is called (your confession for the) "Oneness of the worship of Allah", Tauhid-al-Uluhiyya. And that you (mankind) worship none but Allah, subhana watala.

Those whom they invoke besides Allâh have not created anything, but are themselves created. [The Noble Qur'an 16:20]

Tauhid-al-Asma was-Sifat
A confession with your heart that you have to say: "O Allah! I testify that all the best of names and the most perfect qualities with which You have named or qualified Yourself in Your Book (i.e. the Qur’an) or as Your Prophet Muhammad (saaws) has named or qualified You, with his statement, I confirm that all those (names and qualifications) are for You without changing their meanings or neglecting them completely or giving resemblance to others."

As Allah, swt, said:
"There is nothing like unto Him and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer." (v.42:11)

This holy Ayat (verse) confirms the quality of hearing and the quality of sight for Allah, subhana watala without resemblance to others, and likewise.

Allah, subhana watala, also said:
"To one whom I have created with Both My Hands," (v.38:75)

And Allah also said:
"The Hand of Allah is over their hands." (v. 48:10)

This confirms two Hands for Allah, swt, but there is no similarity for them.

Similarly Allah, swt, said:
"The Most Beneficent (Allah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne." (v.20:5)

The Effects of Tawheed on Human Life Now let us study effects which the belief in La ilaha illallah brings forth upon the life of a man and see why he should always be a success in life, here and in the hereafter.

a. A believer in this Kalima can never be narrow-minded in outlook. He believes in a God who is Creator of the heavens and the earth, the Master of the East and the West and Sustainer of the entire universe. After this belief he does not regard anything in the world as a stranger to himself. He looks upon everything in the universe as belonging to the same Lord whom he himself belongs to. He is not partisan in his thinking and behavior. His sympathy, love, and service do not remain confined to any particular sphere or group.

b. This belief produces in man the highest degree of self-respect and self-esteem. The believer knows that Allah alone is the possessor of all power, and that none besides Him can benefit or harm a person, or provide for his need, or give and take away life, or wield authority or influence. This conviction makes him indifferent to, and independent and fearless of, all powers other than those of God. He never bows his head in homage to any of God’s creatures, nor does he stretch his hand before anyone else.

c. Along with self-respect this belief also generates in man a sense of modesty and humbleness. It makes him unostentatious and unpretending and unpretending. A believer never becomes proud, haughty or arrogant. The boisterous pride of power, wealth and worth can have no room in his heart, because he knows that whatever he possesses has been given to him by God, and can take away just as He can give.

d. This belief makes man virtuous and upright. He has the conviction that their is no other means of success and salvation for him except purity of soul and righteousness of behavior. He has perfect faith in God who is above all need, is related to none, is absolutely just, and none has any hand or influence in the exercise of His divine powers. This belief creates in him the consciousness that, unless he lives rightly and acts justly, he cannot succeed. No influence or underhand activity can save him from ruin. As against this, the kefirs and the mushriks always live on false hopes.

e. The believer does not become despondent and broken-hearted under any circumstances. He has firm faith in God who is the Master of all the treasures of the earth and the heavens, whose grace and bounty have no limit and whose powers are infinite. This faith imparts to his heart extraordinary consolation, fills it with satisfaction and keeps it filled with hope. In this world he might meet with rejection from all doors, nothing herein might serve his ends,. All means might, one after another, desert him; but faith in and dependence on God never leave him; and upon their strength he goes on struggling. Such a profound confidence can result from no other belief than belief in one God. Mushirks, kafirs, and atheists have small hearts; they depends upon limited powers; therefore in hours of trouble they are soon overwhelmed by despair and, frequently, they commit suicide.

f. This belief produces in man a very strong degree of determination, patient perseverance, and trust in God. When he makes up his mind and devotes his resources to fulfill the Divine Commands in order to secure God’s pleasure, he is sure he has the support and backing of the Lord of the universe, this certainty makes him firm and strong like a mountain, and no amount of difficulties, impediments, and hostile opposition can make him give up his resolution. Shirk, Kufr, and atheism have no such effect.

Belief in God's Angels
This is the second article of Islamic faith and is very important, because it absolves the concept of Tawhid from all impurities and frees it from the danger of every conceivable shadow of shirk (polytheism).

The polytheists have associated two kind of creatures with God:
(a) Those which have material existence and are perceptible to the human eye, such as the sun, moon, stars, fire, water, animals, great men.

(b) Those who have no material existence and are not perceptible to the human eye: the unseen beings who are believed to be engaged in the administration of the universe; for instance, one controls the air, another imparts light, another brings rains, and so on and so forth. Muhammad p b u h has informed us that these imperceptible spiritual beings, whom people believe to be deities of gods or God's children, are really His angels.

They have no share in God's divinity; they cannot deviate from His commands even by the slightest fraction of an inch. God employs them to administer His Kingdom, and they carry out His orders exactly and accurately. They have no authority to do anything of their own accord; they cannot present to God any scheme conceived by themselves, they are not even authorized to intercede with God for any man. Muhammad p b u h forbade us to worship angels, and to associate them with God in His divinity.

He also informed us that they were the chosen creatures of God, free from sin, from their very nature unable to disobey God, and ever engaged in carrying out His orders. Moreover, he informed us that these angels of God surround us from all sides, are attached to us, and are always in our company. They observe and note all our actions, good or bad.

They preserve a complete record of every man's life. After death, when we shall be brought before God, they will present a full report of our life's work on earth, wherein we shall find everything correctly recorded, not a single movement left out, however insignificant and however carefully concealed it may be. We have not been informed of the intrinsic nature of the angels. Only some of their virtues or attributes have been mentioned to us, and we have been asked to believe in their existence.

We have no other means of knowing their nature, their attributes and their qualities. It would therefore, be sheer folly on our part to attribute any form or quality to them of our own accord. We must believe in them exactly as we have been asked to do. To deny their existence is kufr for, first, we have no reason for such a denial, and, second, our denial of them would be tantamount to attributing untruth to Muhammad p b u h .

We believe in their existence only because God's true Messenger has informed us of it. They are not divine or semi-divine, and they are not God’s associates running different districts of the universe. Also, they are not objects to be worshipped or prayed to, as they do not deliver our prayers to God. They all submit to God and carry out His commands.


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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Definition of islam    الإثنين 2 أبريل - 8:13

In the Islamic worldview, there are no fallen angels:
they are not divided into ‘good’ and ‘evil’ angels. Human beings do not become angels after death. Satan is not a fallen angel, but is one of the jinn, a creation of God parallel to human beings and angels. Angels were created from light before human beings were created, and thus their graphic or symbolic representation in Islamic art is rare.

Nevertheless, they are generally beautiful beings with wings as described in Muslim scripture. The greatest of them is Gabriel. The Prophet of Islam actually saw him in his original form. Also, the attendants of God’s Throne are among the greatest angels.

They love the believers and beseech God to forgive them their sins. They carry the Throne of God, about whom the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said: “I have been given permission to speak about one of the angels of God who carry the Throne. The distance between his ear-lobes and his shoulders is equivalent to a seven-hundred-year journey.” (Abu Daud) They do not eat or drink.

The angels do not get bored or tired of worshipping God: “They celebrate His praises night and day, nor do they ever slacken.” (Quran 21:20)

The Number of Angels
How many angels there are? Only God knows. The Much- Frequented House is a sacred heavenly sanctuary above the Kaaba, the black cube in the city of Mecca. Every day seventy thousand angels visit it and leave, never returning to it again, followed by another group.

[1] The Names of Angels Muslims believe in specific angels mentioned in the Islamic sources like Jibreel (Gabriel), Mika'eel (Michael), Israfeel, Malik - the guard over Hell, and others. Of these, only Gabriel and Michael are mentioned in the Bible.

Angelic Abilities The angels possess great powers given to them by God. They can take on different forms. The Muslim scripture describes how at the moment of Jesus’ conception, God sent Gabriel to Mary in the form of a man: “…Then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.” (Quran 19:17)

Angels also visited Abraham in human form. Similarly, angels came to Lot to deliver him from danger in the form of handsome, young men. Gabriel used to visit Prophet Muhammad in different forms. Sometimes, he would appear in the form of one of his handsome disciples, and sometimes in the form of a desert Bedouin.

Angels have the ability to take human forms in some circumstances involving common people. Gabriel is God’s heavenly messenger to mankind. He would convey the revelation from God to His human messengers. God says: “Say: whoever is an enemy to Gabriel - for he brings down the (revelation) to your heart by God’s will...” (Quran 2:97)

Tasks of the Angels
Some angels are put in charge of executing God’s law in the physical world. Michael is responsible for rain, directing it wherever God wishes. He has helpers who assist him by the command of his Lord; they direct the winds and clouds, as God wills. Another is responsible for blowing the Horn, which will be blown by Israafeel at the onset of the Day of Judgment. Others are responsible for taking souls out of the bodies at the time of death: the Angel of Death and his assistants.

God says:
“Say: the Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls, then shall you be brought back to your Lord.” (Quran 32:11)

Then there are guardian angels responsible for protecting the believer throughout his life, at home or traveling, asleep or awake.

Others are responsible for recording the deeds of man, good and bad. These are known as the “honorable scribes.”

Two angels, Munkar and Nakeer, are responsible for testing people in the grave. Among them are keepers of Paradise and the nineteen ‘guards’ of Hell whose leader is named ‘Malik.’

There are also angels responsible for breathing the soul into the fetus and writing down its provisions, life-span, actions, and whether it will be wretched or happy.

Some angels are roamers, traveling around the world in search of gatherings where God is remembered. There are also angels constituting God’s heavenly army, standing in rows, they never get tired or sit down, and others who bow or prostrate, and never raise their heads, always worshipping God.

As we learn from above, the angels are a grandiose creation of God, varying in numbers, roles, and abilities. God is in no need of these creatures, but having knowledge and belief in them adds to the awe that one feels towards God, in that He is able to create as He wishes, for indeed the magnificence of His creation is a proof of the magnificence of the Creator.

Faith in the Books of God
The third article of faith is faith in the Books of God; Books which He has sent down to mankind through His Prophets.

God had revealed His Books to His Prophets before Muhammad and these books were sent down in the same way as He sent down the Qur'an to Muhammad. We have been informed of the names of some of these books: Books of Abraham, the Torah of Moses, Zabur (Psalms) of David, and the Injil (Gospel) of Jesus Christ. We have not been informed of the names of Books which were given to other Prophets.

(1) Therefore, with regard to other existing religious books, we are not in a position to say with certainty whether they were originally revealed books or not. 


(2) But we tacitly believe that whatever Books were sent down by God are all true.

(3) Of the Books we have been told, the Books of Abraham are extinct and not traceable in existing world literature. David's Zabur, the Torah and the Injil exist with the Jews and the Christians, but the Qur'an informs us that people have changed and added to these books, and God's words have mixed up with texts of their own making.

This corruption and pollution of the Books has been so large and so evident that even the Jews and the Christians they admit that they do not possess their original texts, and have only their translations, which have been altered over many centuries and are still being changed We have been commanded to believe in previously revealed Books only in the sense of admitting that, before the Qur'an, God had also sent down books through His Prophets, that they were all from one and the same God, the same God Who sent the Qur'an and that the sending of the Qur'an as a Divine Book is not a new and strange event, but only confirms, restates and completes those divine instructions which people had mutilated or lost in antiquity.

(4) Even a cursory study of the first books of the Old Testament and the four Gospels of the New Testament reveals that they are the productions of men and in these writings some parts of the original Psalms of David and the Gospels of Christ have been incorporated.

(5) The Qur'an is the last of the Divine Books sent down by God and there are some very pertinent differences between it and the previous Books.

These differences may briefly be stated as follows:
1. The original texts of most of the former Divine Books were lost altogether, and only translations exist today. The Quran, on the other hand, exists exactly as it was revealed to the Prophet; not a word, not a syllable of it -- has been changed. It is available in its original text and the word of God has been preserved for all time.

2. In the former Divine Books man mixed his words with God's, but in the Quran we find only the words of God -- and in their pristine purity. This is admitted even by the opponents of Islam.

3. In respect of no other sacred Book possessed by different peoples can it be said on the basis of authentic historical evidence that it really belongs to the same Prophet to whom it is attributed. In the case of some of them it is not even known in what age and to which Prophet they were revealed. As for the Quran, the evidence that it was revealed to Muhammad is so voluminous, so convincing, so strong and so compelling that even the fiercest critics of Islam cannot cast doubt on it.

4. The former Divine Books were sent down in languages which died long ago. No nation or community now speaks those languages and there are only a few people who claim to understand them. Thus, even if the Books existed today in their original and unadulterated form, it would be virtually impossible in our age to correctly understand and interpret their injunctions and put them into practice in their required form. The language of the Quran, on the other hand, is a living language; millions of people speak it.

5. Each one of the existing sacred Books found among different nations of the world has been addressed to a particular people. Each one contains a number of commands which seem to have been meant for a particular period of history and which meet the needs of that age only. They are neither needed today, nor can they now be smoothly and properly put into practice. It is evident from this that these Books were particularly meant for that particular people and not for the world. Furthermore, they were not sent to be followed permanently by even the people they were intended for; they were meant to be acted upon only for a certain period. In contrast to this, the Quran is addressed to all mankind; not a single injunction of it can be suspected as having been addressed to a particular people. In the same manner, all the commands and injunctions in the Quran can be acted upon at any place and in any age. This proves that the Quran is meant for the whole world, and is an eternal code for human life.

6. There is no denying the fact that the previous divine Books also enshrined good and virtue; they also taught the principles of morality and truthfulness and presented the mode of living which was to God's pleasure. But none of them was comprehensive enough to embrace all that is necessary for a virtuous human life. Some of them excelled in one respect, others in some other. It is the Qur'an and the Qur'an alone which enshrined not only all that was good in the former Books but also perfects the way of Allah and presents it in its entirety and outlines that code of life which comprehends all that is necessary for man on this earth.
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Definition of islam
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