To the Reader vii Part One: Beliefs and Acts of Worship 1
I. Beliefs 3 The Islamic Creed 3 The Islamic View of Reality 7 The Articles of Faith 13 God (Allah) 13 The Angels 18 The Revealed Scriptures 19 The Messengers of God 23 The Hereafter 39 The Divine Decree 45
II. Acts of Worship 49
1. Declaration of Faith (shahadah) 51
2. Prayer (salah) 52
3. Fasting (sawm)56
4. Poor-due (zakah) 58
5. Pilgrimage (half) 61
Part Two: Values and Morals 71
III. Islamic Values and Qualities 73 The Islamic Personality 73
IV. Islamic Morals and Behavior 99
Part Three: The Collective Aspect 109
V. Islam in Society 111
VI. Islam and the Muslim World 127
Part Four: The Islamic Way of Life 137
VII. The Performance of the Acts of Worship 139 Prayer (salah) 139 Fasting (sawm) 145 Poor-Due (zakah) 148
vi What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims
VIII Islamic Festivals and Observances 149 The Festival Ending the Fast 150 The Festival of Sacrifice 151
IX. Family Life 153 Marriage and the Roles of Husband/Wife 153Parent-Child Relations 160 Relations with Relatives 166
X. Relations Between the Sexes 169
XI. Daily Life 177 Work and Striving 178 Knowledge 180 Money and Possessions 182 Food and Eating 184 Dress 187
XII. Human Relationships 193 Relations with Jews 196 Relations with Christians 197
Part Five: Conclusion 209
Notes 213 Suggested Reading 221 Glossary 223 Index 227
p erhaps you have been hearing a lot about Islam andMuslims in the news and are interested in knowing, justifiably, just what this religion is all about. Or perhaps you
know some Muslims and have been stirred to curiosity about the faith they profess. Or perhaps someone you know, maybe even someone in your own family, has decided to embrace Islam. If so, this book is meant for you. Its purpose is to set forth the Islamic concepts and beliefs in a clear, understandable manner and then to give you an idea about how Muslims are supposed to live. In short, it presents a summary of the Islamic beliefs, ways of worship, qualities, values, morals, standards of conduct, and, in concrete and practical terms, the Islamic way of life.
I think you will agree with me that a religion which does not demand anything of its followers, or which leaves those who have newly entered into it more or less where they were before they embraced it, is an ineffective religion, a mere set of "beliefs" or rituals which does not affect the conduct of living.
Islam does not fit this description. For Islam is not a mere belief-system, an ideology or a religion in the usual sense in which these words are understood. Rather it is a total way of life, a complete system governing all aspects of man's existence, both individual and collective. It is in fact a religion which, as I hope to demonstrate in the course of this book, frees the human being from domination by his material and animal aspects and makes him truly human.
viii What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims
The meaning of the word Islam is "submission" and "peace." In the course of making an individual muslim — that is, one who is in a state of islam or submission to the One True God—Islam profoundly affects his thinking and behavior. Indeed, there is noaspect of a person's life, nor of the life of the society which is made up of such people, which it does not touch and transformin keeping with its basic concept, that of the Lordship and Sovereignty of God and the human being's responsibility to Him.Islam's first requirement is belief and its second action. Out of its concepts and beliefs, a certain attitude toward life, toward one'sown self, toward other human beings, toward the universe; a certain kind of personality; a distinctive type of human interaction; a particular mode of worship, of family life, manners, living habits and so on in relation to all aspects of life,develops.
We live in an age of tremendous upheaval and uncertainty. People everywhere are groping anxiously for something that can save humanity, which has lost its way and is on the brink ofunprecedented disaster. It may be true that today we live in an era of the ultimate in material civilization and progress, but in the realm of values and morals mankind appears to be close to bankruptcy. In the Islamic view, these problems are fundamentally of a spiritual nature, the result of the human being's having lost sight of who he is in relation to himself, to other human beings, and above all to God, in Whom being itself, and all human relationships, originate. And until he is able to find meaningful and correct answers to the ultimate questions and solutions to his problems which are compatible with the fundamental realities of existence and his own nature, his life will remain adrift without a base and without a direction, his personality will be distorted and fragmented, his human nature abused by permitting its animal part to dominate, and his societies full of overwhelming problems.
Islam claims to provide such answers and solutions, ones which are compatible with reason, logic, the realities of the physical universe, and with human nature itself. For Islam is, above all, a view of the total Reality, encompassing the existence and attributes of the Creator, the human being's relationship with