Q: Who is Allah, and is He the same as God?
A: When Muslims talk about God, they automatically think of Allah. Allah is the Arabic word for "The One True God". He is the Almighty, the Creator who created the universe, mankind and all other forms of life. Allah is the sustainer of life and the One who regulates all that happens in the universe. Throughout these questions, I will refer to god as Allah and so you know who I am talking about.
Q: What is Islam, and what does the word "Islam" mean?
A: Islam is Allah's eternal message to mankind. Islam originated with our father Adam (peace be upon him) and then the torch was passed on to other elect messengers. Islam's message was, still is and will always be the belief in and submission to the One True God alone, the Creator and the Sustainer of all things, the Exalted and the Redeemer of all things. The word Islam itself means "submission and surrendering" to Allah, wilfully obeying His commands.
Q: I heard something about the 5 pillars of Islam and the 6 pillars of faith. Could you elaborate more on these pillars?
A: You are right! Islam has two different types of pillars: The pillars of Islam and the pillars of faith in Islam. The 5 pillars of Islam are:
1. Al-Shahadatan" the testimony that there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is Messenger of Allah,
2. performing prayer (Salah),
3. giving Alms (Zakah),
4. fasting (Sawm),
5. and performing Pilgrimage (Hajj) for those who are able.
The 6 pillars of Faith in Islam are:
1. The belief in One God, Allah,
2. the belief in His Angels,
3. the belief in His Scriptures,
4. the belief in His Messengers,
5. the belief in Judgment Day.
6. and the belief in the divine decree, the good and the bad of it.
Q: Who is Mohammad?
A: Mohammad (peace be upon him) was born in Mecca 570 CE. At age forty he was elected by Allah to convey His Message to mankind. The Message is to worship Allah alone, not ascribing partners with Him. Mohammad (peace be upon him) spent the last 23 years of his life conveying God's Message to all people. Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) died at age 63 and his resting place lies in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. He is Allah's final Messenger to mankind.
Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) came to re-institute Islam, the religion of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them). The following prophecy is obtained from the Bible regarding Mohammad's cometh from Arabia. In HABAKKUK 3:3 "God (Jesus) came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise." The place of Teman is the area located southeast of Palestine, and Paran is the area of Mecca in Saudi Arabia where the Holy One (Mohammad peace be upon him) came from.
Q: What is the deal with the term(s) "Mohammadeen", "Muhammedanism" or Mohammedans in Islam?
A: There are no such terms at all. Other religions have been named after their founders or after the community in which the religion was prospered. For example, Christianity has been named after Christ. Judaism after the tribe of Judah, and Buddhism after Buddha. Westerners falsely gave the name "Muhammedanism" or Mohammadeen" to Islam after Mohammad (peace be upon him) and also called his followers "Mohammedans". However the terms "Islam" and "Muslims" are actually found in the Qur'an, the final revelation of Allah. (see 27:31»), (3:19») & (22:78»).
Q: Who is Satan and what is his name in Arabic?
A: Satan is an evil being that is focussed on tempting and misguiding mankind away from the religion of Allah. His name in Arabic is Iblis and also by the name of "Shaytaan" (which means Devil). He is from the creation known as the "jinn" or as it is commonly known in English as "spirits".
Q: Why does Satan despise humans and desire their destruction?
A: Satan was a mighty and distinguished creature that was a servant of Allah. However when Allah created Adam, Allah honoured him by commanding the angels and Satan, to prostrate to Adam as a sign of respect and not as a sign of worship. All of them prostrated to Adam except Satan, who was created with freewill and decided to disobey Allah. Allah asked him, "What made you not prostrate to Adam and disobey my commandment?" Satan replied, "I am better than Adam, you created him from clay and created me from fire." Allah cursed Satan and Satan vowed to destroy Adam and his descendants forever.
Q: I am still confused, I thought Satan was an angel like Gabriel and he has no free will but to worship God?
A: False. If Satan was an angel, then we wouldn't have any problems with him at all. Angels are a special creation of Allah. He created angels from divine light and do not have free will in doing things but to worship God and obey his commandments. Satan, on the other hand, is a Jinn, and like mankind, Satan and the "jinnkind" have free will in their actions; free will of doing good and free will of doing bad. Ref. QURAN (18:50)»
Q: Is it true that Adam was the first messenger of Allah?
A: Yes, Adam had the responsibility to convey Allah's message and laws to his descendants. From the beginning, Adam's message to the first generation of mankind was to worship the One True God, Allah alone.
Q: Why did God send messengers, and why not instead communicate with us directly?
A: Allah created us, placed us on Earth and gave us this beautiful life. He gave us intellect, reason and the gift of choice. So this life is a test from Him to see which of us believes, is thankful and obedient to Him. Now if Allah revealed Himself directly to us, there would be no test as none of us would reject Him. If this was the case there would be no need for us to live on Earth, as we may as well all be living in paradise. But rather we are here – even though Allah has knowledge of all things – to see who will believe and submit to Him and who will disbelieve and reject Him.
In addition to this, if we look at the nature of Allah, He is able to do all things that are Holy and Godly. So it is not befitting for Him to come to Earth and communicate to us in this manner. An example of what I mean is, as humans we manufacture appliances for specific purposes. For example, a tape recorder is designed and manufactured by humans. Now it has never been suggested that in order to understand what is good for the tape recorder, or to communicate with it, that the manufacturer (human) should become a tape recorder himself. Rather the manufacturer publishes an instruction manual on the recorder. In this respect, human beings are also complex and we too have a Designer and a Manufacturer. So we wouldn't expect our Designer to come to Earth as one of us to communicate to us in this manner. Rather He revealed the "instruction manual" for mankind and chose messengers, who were ideal examples to be followed and who would explain the "manual" from Allah.
Q: How many prophets and messengers did God send to mankind?
A: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us approximately 124,000 prophets and messengers were sent to mankind. The Qur'an lists 25 of the most popular ones. They are: Adam, Enoch (Idris), Noah, Hud, Salih, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Lot, Jacob (Yaqub), Joseph (Yusuf), Shu'aib, Job (Ayyob), Moses (Musa), Aaron (Haroon), Ezekiel (Dhul-Kifl), David (Dawood), Solomon (Sulaiman), Elias, Elisha (El-Yasa), Jonah (Yunus), Zechariah, John (Yahya), Jesus, and Mohammad, peace be upon them all.
Q: Are you telling me both Moses and Jesus were Muslims? If so, prove it and I would like to see something from the Bible in this regard?
A: Both Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) were Muslims, since both had conveyed the very same Message - "Submission and surrendering" to the One True God.
Here is the proof from the Bible:
Moses said: '"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is ONE Lord."' (DEUTERONOMY 6:4). Approximately 1500 years later Jesus said: '"...The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is ONE Lord." '(MARK 12:29).
Of course Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) came along approximately 600 years later, bringing identical message again: "And your God is ONE God: There is no God but He" (The QURAN 2:163)
Q: I am still confused, if Mohammad was to be God's final and most glorified Prophet, how come we don't see his name in the Bible?
A: Mohammad's name is indeed mentioned in the original Bible manuscripts. The word "Mahmad" is found in the original Hebrew manuscript and it means the "desired one", or the "glorified one". In the 15th century, exactly in 1539, "Great Bible" was the first and official English translated bible to be authorized for public use, and when the Bible was translated to the English language, many words and expressions were translated differently and sometimes omitted altogether, including the word "Mahmad" which is the name of Prophet Mohammad, (peace be upon him). Here is the verse in the Bible: '"And I (God) will shake all nations, and the "desire one" of all nations shall come." 'HAGGI 2:7
Also in the Bible, God is saying to Moses: '"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." '(Deuteronomy 18:18-19)
Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was similar to Moses (peace be upon him) and he was the only prophet from whose mouth the words of God were spoken (Qur'an). Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) spoke in God's name all the time. Also in Isaiah 51:4, it is said that there will be a new law for all the people. Also, in Isaiah 66:20, it was made clear that the prophet would come from the BRETHREN, not children of the Israel. (i.e. the Arabs)
Q: Are you telling me, all other religions are bogus and Islam is the only true religion?
A: Well, isn't that the case with all religions!? Every religion claims to be the right one and others are wrong. Islam is the belief in One God - Allah, the Creator of all things. Islam doesn't believe in the "middleman" fallacy as the case with many religions including Christianity. In Christianity, to be saved you have to believe in Jesus (peace be upon him) as the Son of God, and without such confession and belief in Jesus, you're most definitely going to Hellfire. Islam, on the other hand, declares that believing in One God, and that Mohammad is His messenger, and obeying God's laws and His prophet's doctrine is the only passport to Heaven.
Q: Is it really sensible that God will reward Heaven only to Muslims and punish others that can easily add up to millions or even billions of people of various religions?
A: Yes it is very sensible. If you read both the Bible and the Qur'an you will uncover that God severely punished the unbelievers and the wicked people throughout the history of mankind. That includes the people of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him), the people of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), Lot, Moses (peace be upon them), etc... Numbers don't mean a thing in the eyes of God and that shouldn't be considered as an exception at all. Only faith counts and not numbers.
Q: But what about people in our time! We don't know anything about Islam and Mohammad! Would that be considered against us on Judgment Day?
A: Yes it will be considered against you. Before the coming of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), God vowed not to punish people or hold them responsible without sending messengers. Unlike Moses & Jesus (peace be upon him), Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was very distinct since he was sent to all mankind with God's final message before Judgment Day. Everybody, the least, has heard of Mohammad's name. We live in the information age, and within our fingertips, using computers or TVs, we can learn just about anything including religions. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also told us that everyone of us is born with a natural inclination to worship God alone, the Almighty Allah, but many factors have tendency to force a person to deviate from the right path such as: Satan's influence, Parents, Society, etc.
Q: Why can't Muslims accept the term "Son of God", even though it is in the Bible and referring to Jesus?
A: The term "Son of God" was used metaphorically speaking to those who were godly and pious men. It was never meant to be used literally as the case with Christianity toward Jesus (peace be upon him). In fact, the term "Son of God" is used all over the Bible referring to people other than Jesus, check out the following verses:
'"…the son of Enoch, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God."' LUKE 3:38
'"…that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose."' GENESIS 6:2
'"Then you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the LORD, Israel is My son, My firstborn."' EXODUS 4:22
'"...For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn."' JEREMIAH 31:9
'"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."' ROMANS 8:14
So how come Christians don't regard those people as Gods, the way they regard Jesus (peace be upon him)?
Q: Christians believe that Jesus is the way and their Only Savior; could you give me a solid proof to indicate otherwise?
A: Yes I could, and again, it will be from the Bible. The Bible says:
'"Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, it is truth. . Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. . I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no Savior." 'ISAIAH 43:9-11
God said, to let all nations and people gather together to bear witness to this truth (Islam), and know that I (God) have chosen my servant (Mohammad). And that He is God with none other before or after. The Chapter talks about all nations being unified under one flag (Islam). Also, in verse 11, God very clearly and categorically stated that He is the Only Savior and none else.
Q: Why Muslims don't eat Swine (Pork) meat?
A: For the same reason both Moses & Jesus (peace be upon them) refused to eat it. God commanded Muslims not to eat Swine meet. God also commanded Moses not to eat or even touch the Swine meat as in the following verses in the Bible:
'"…and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you. You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you."' LEVITICUS 11:7-8
Q: But hey, we are not Jews! We are Christians governed by Grace and not Law?
A: Who said anything about the Jews? The above verses are found in the Christian Bible. Plus, we all know that God gave Moses (peace be upon him) numerous commandments and laws including the Ten Commandments, for people to obey, comply and to adhere to. Jesus (peace be upon him) came along 1500 years later to re-institute Moses' laws & commandments and that by itself is a sign that Prophets came from the same institution with the same message & guidance.
Jesus (peace be upon him) said: '"Think not that I am come to make void the law or the prophets; I am not come to make void, but to fulfill."' MATTHEW 5:17. Jesus (peace be upon him) said: '"If you love me, keep my commandments." 'JOHN 14:15. One of these commandments is not to eat Swine meet. I don't see Grace at all, all I see Laws and Commandments that ought to be followed.
Q: According to Muslims, God vowed to preserve the Qur'an. How come the earlier scriptures weren't persevered, and after all, they are God's words?
A: God does not promise such protection or preservation to the former scriptures as the case with the Qur'an. Every prophet was armed with special miracles to prove the authenticity of his message. Moses came to people who rely heavily on magic, so God gave him immense power through his cane. Jesus came to people who were known of strong medical abilities, so God gave him the ability to cure people and even to raise the dead. Both Prophets Moses & Jesus (pbut) were sent to specific people (sons of Israel) with the mentioned miracles and the scriptures. On the other hand, Mohammad (peace be upon him) was sent to people who were fluent in Arabic Language and its grammar. God gave him the Qur'an as his main and lasting miracle. The Qur'an is very unique in its originality and delivery, and the Arabic Language is the best to preserve such revelation. Since Mohammad (peace be upon him) is the final messenger to mankind and the Qur'an was his main miracle, God has promised to protect the Qur'an forever.
Remember, if the miracle dies, then its authenticity will most definitely die and perish. Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) had their miracles but not in their books, but rather in their actions (the power of the cane & healing), and once they're gone, it was easy for people to edit and interpolate their scriptures (Torah & Bible) to fit their own selfish desires. So far, and after 1400 years later, the Qur'an remains untouched and persevered from corruption. Muslims still believe in Mohammad's original revelation and divine message. The preservation isn't only limited to the text, but to the divine message, and to the delivery and originality.
Q: Is it true the Qur'an has scientific and medical facts?
A: Yes it is. But remember though, the Qur'an is not a scientific book. The Qur'an carries a divine message and guidance from the Almighty to all mankind. This message touches upon all aspects of human's life including science and medical aspects. When people embraced Islam, it wasn't because of the scientific facts the Qur'an brought forward, but rather because of the divine message in the belief of the One, the Almighty. People embraced Islam because Islam is a simple religion that is sensible and harmonize with the human instinct. Islam is a complete way of life that is based on fairness, equality, and purity amongst all mankind.
Q: I noticed various Islamic Sects! Could you list them for me?
A: About 84 % of Muslims are Sunni. The word Sunni is based on the word Sunnah which is an Arabic word means the Prophet's tradition. Sunnis believe in Allah as the One Creator and Mohammad is His last and final Messenger. Also, Sunnis believe in the Qur'an and Sunnah as the two main sources of Islam. There are, however, Muslim bunches who deviated from the right path of Islam such as: Shia, Baha'i, Sufi, Ahmadiya, etc. So be cautious in knowing whom you are dealing with.
Q: What is the total number of Muslims around the world?
A: 1997 Statistics shows a population of 1.78 Billion Muslim.
Q: Why do Muslims pray so much, you know, 5 times a day! Isn't belief in Allah enough?
A: Besides the fact it's a Commandment from the Almighty, the prayer (Salah) is considered to be a continuous and daily discipline for Muslims. It's true we have the belief in One God and His messenger Mohammad (peace be upon him) embedded in our hearts, but like earlier Muslims, God has prescribed Laws and Commandments for us to observe and adhere to. When we pray, we recite the Qur'an that has God's genuine words and directions. We also offer supplications and blessings to God. The line of communication between Muslims and God never slows down ever. The prayer (Salah) itself is considered a supplication to the Almighty. It is how we make our connection to God and remember him everyday. It is how we ground ourselves while at the same time elevating ourselves spiritually.
Q: I am spiritually confused! What should I do?
A: You owe it to yourself to search for the truth, and I am sure if you have an honest intention searching for the truth, God will aid you in your endeavor. Read more about Islam and weigh your options. Read more about the early revelations & messengers of God and comprehend their law & guidance that they had conveyed to their people at that time, then compare all present religions and see which one coincide with the early revelations.
Q: But I am satisfied with my own belief, so why should I pursue other religion in the first place?
A: Remember, mankind has a free will to do whatever he desires, and we are all held accountable for what we do. If you are content with your religion, then you are solely responsible for your actions & belief and no one else.
Q: How do I become a Muslim?
A: Unlike other religions, Islam doesn't have certain rituals or baptism by religious groups or individuals. All you need to do is to declare the Testimony (Shahadatan). The Testimony is: '"I testify that there is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah". 'Once you establish this pure belief in your heart, then you can proceed unto the rest of the pillars of Islam. Many Islamic foundations and mosques will be able to help you getting started learning about Islam...