Reflection on Islam
Reflection on Islam
Islam derives its meaning from the word salaam, which means to be with peace. However, the same word can also be interpreted as surrender of one’s life to God or Allah in Islam. Islam’s beginning according to Muslims did not begin with god’s prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the 16th century. In relation to the Quran, which is holy book of Islam, there is only one God, Allah and Muhammad is his prophet sent on earth to deliver his message. Islam believes that God created the world, Adam was the first man created, and his descendants lead down to Noah. Noah was a significant descendant because he had a son by the name Shem form which the Semites derive the origin. The descendants of Shem led to Abraham who married Sarah, however Sarah was not able to conceive and only did so after Abraham had a child with Hagar who was a servant in his household whose name was Ishmael. This part of the Quran is clearly identical to what is entailed in the bible as to the origins of man. Ishmael moved to Arabia where he settled and gave rise to the Muslims, in turn Isaac gave rise to the Hebrews in Palestine. The writer tries to affirm the view that all religions have one underlying cause, to seek God and lead the people into light. Islam has evolved over the years and some formations or sects are in existence, which practice radical Islam, which bases its actions on Sharia law (Smith, 1994).
The prominent sects in Islam are the Ahmadiyya, Shi’a Sufism and Sunni. They are identical in their founding beliefs but different in many ways. Ahmadiyya is an Islamic reformist sect was founded in India. They believe that jihad should use non-violent means, which contradicts true Islam. Shi’a is a section if Islam that follows Ali whom they believe as the predecessor of Prophet Muhammad (Smith, 1994). Sufism or Sufi is also known as tassawuf; is a unique type of Islam whereby the followers believe that the religion calls for man to turn away from the ways of the world and seek God. In ancient times, the Sufi followers were characterized by their constant recitation of the names of God also known as Dhikr. Modern followers of Sufi currently practice dhkir after their prayers
The Hadith entails of sayings of the prophet Muhammad in relation to what he was told by God to tell the followers of Islam. Hadith has been summarized in Quran. The Hadith begins with narrations of the visions and events that Muhammad witnessed as God wanted him to warn the community of the imminent punishment of God. Muhammad had the opportunity of the Quran being revealed to him. His visions narrated to him forced him to recite the words that were instructed to him by God and Angel Gabriel. This forms the basis of the act of reciting teachings in the Quran such that they are imitating the actions of Prophet Muhammad and at the same time fulfilling their obligations to learn the Quran and its teachings (Novak, 1994).
The Quran entails of five pillars that are the basic guidance to conduct in Islam. They are Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm of Ramadan. Shahadah refers to the acceptance of monotheism and acceptance of Prophet Muhammad as God’s messenger. It is stated as “I testify that there is no God except Allah and I testify that Muhammad is his messenger” (Novak, 1994). The belief in Muhammad as the messenger of God is the initial step to accepting Islam as most of the teachings found in the Quran emanate from the Hadith, which illustrates how a Muslim should behave. The Salat is an Islamic prayer that is performed at 5 times of the day. They are Fajr, Zuhr, Asir, Maghrib and isha’a. Fajr is preformed in the morning at dawn before the morning light, Zuhr is performed at midday when the sun is at the middle of the sky and Isha’a, which is the sunset prayer. The prayers by the Muslims illustrate the devoutness of the Muslims in their faith (Novak, 1994).As a Muslim, one is urged to pray five times a day such that he is able to attain knowledge from Allah and rid off his inequities as man has an impure heart. This is in direct relation to the teachings and the example set by Muhammad as he used to ray to Allah most of his times numerous times day so as not to become a Kafir.
Novak, P. (1994). The world’s wisdom: Sacred texts of the world’s religions. San Francisco, Calif: Harper San Francisco.
Smith, H. (1994). The illustrated world’s religions: A guide to our wisdom traditions. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco.