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Home > History of religion > Islam > Main Theme of Islam
Main Theme of Islam
By mere knowledge of Quoran, Hadith and Sharia one does not become a Muslim. A Main ThemeMuslim must have faith in the Quoran and the prophet with all his mind, with all his soul and with all his strength. A strong faith issues out in action. Faith is embodied in Kalima which has already been stated i.e. La Ilaha illillahn Muhammad Ur-Rasulallah.

Adhan and Prayers: `Adhan` means `announcement`, but really it means the call to prayer by a muezzin. This may be interpreted as the following:
`God is most High. There is no god but God and Muhammad is His messenger`.
When a child is born in the muslim household adhan is uttered in his ears, such is the importance of adhan.

Main ThemeA Muslim is supposed to read the Namaz five times a day. A Muslim has to dedicate himself to Allah and the Islamic faith from dawn to night. Naturally prayers strengthen a Muslim in his resolve to perform his actions enjoined on him by avoiding prohibited acts. Prayers help to stop the mind from wandering into the materialistic world and it also helps to remember the divine rules of conduct.

Prayers are to be said by purifying one`s body and mind, and, by having clean clothes. A Muslim has to wash the ordinarily exposed parts of his body, called wudu. Then he has to utter the name of Allah, the compassionate and merciful. He stands up as if he is standing before the throne of God begging for the forgiveness of his acts of commission and omission, and asking for the divine help for realizing the Islamic destiny of His worshipper. The prayer starts with the utterance `bismillah` (God, the most merciful and compassionate). Each of the five prayers contains the al-Fatiha, the first sura of Quoran in which God is praised as the creator of Heaven and earth, and, strength from God is sought to walk in the straight paths of Islam.

In every prayer, a Muslim has to assume several postures known as rak`a symbolizing one`s surrender to God. Though their purposes are quite different these postures correspond to Yogic asana. Everyday a Muslim has to pray five times. The first prayer is said at dawn before sunrise. It consists of two kneelings, at the end of which the worshipper sits to salute the Lord. The second prayer is in the afternoon. Then there is the afternoon prayer between mid afternoon and sunset. Both these prayers have four kneelings. The early evening prayer has three kneelings. The last evening prayer is just before sleep-time when the twilight disappears. It consists of four kneelings.

Prayers, five times a day, form the key to Heaven, for the worshipper. Even if a Muslim observes other rules of piety but does not offer prayers, he will not inherit the Heavens. Hence, the saying of prayers is an essential exercise of Islamic faith.

According to Dr. lqbal, through prayers, a worshipper enters into a wider and higher dimension of life by leaving aside the narrower concern of this mundane world. He enters into the higher existence of spiritual life by shunning the life of material pursuits. In addition to private prayers, a special virtue is attached to collective prayers, which are said each Friday, and in larger gatherings at the time of Eid al Fitr and Eid al-adka. This is a fact of life that by participating in group mind in a congregation, the mental and spiritual powers of each participant are heightened. So the creative powers of the worshipper get additional impetus in the pursuit of a virtuous life.

Whenever a Muslim prays either at home or in mosque he faces towards the Ka`ba. This is to ensure unity amongst the Muslims. In the same way uniformity in words, their order and of postures ensure equality and brotherhood amongst all the faithful believers. Thus Islam does not favour caste and does not admit any priestly class.

Observance of Ramadan Fast: Most of the living religions prescribe the keeping of fast for controlling bodily desires and mental fickleness. According to Islam keeping of fast during Ramadan helps in purifying the mind and removing one`s sins. The month of Ramadan is observed in the ninth month, according to the Muslim calendar. A Muslim has to keep fast for the whole month except children, pregnant women, sick and very old men. A Muslim in order to observe fast does not take any food or water from dawn up to sunset every day during the month of Ramadan. He is also abstains from smoking and having sexual intercourse during the state of fasting.

During the period of Ramadan, it is believed that the doors of heaven open and those of hell are closed, and, the powers of the devil are weakened.

A very important part of worship is keeping of the fast. The observer of fast, derives at least two very important kinds of satisfaction. First, he gets full satisfaction of food and drink at the end of the fasting day on account of his increased appetite. Secondly, there is the happiness of spiritual progress in his life. He gets the feeling of coming nearer to his God who strengthens him to observe the fast successfully. He also experiences self-control by not indulging in food and drink and by the control of lower passions. The saying of five prayers every day gives him spiritual strength in the pursuit of his daily life.

A Muslim who keeps fast for the fall month of Ramadan not only gains his physical fitness, but also gains much spiritually. It is hoped that one who can control his senses during one month can also do so for the rest of the year. During this period a believer has to give 7-akat and Sadaqa.

Ramadan reminds the Muslims that their lives have to be tempered and disciplined by sacrifice and self-control. Ultimately a Muslim has to surrender his will to the divine will, so that in the end not he but God lives in him. For this reason a Muslim observes the supreme festival of Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan.

Zakat: Islam permits its believers to enjoy a!l the good things of life, whilst yet praying to God and observing Ramadan fast. But the prosperous Muslims have to render to society what belongs to society. In prayers, a Muslim recognizes his duty to God, but in Zakat he discharges his duty to society, especially to the poor and the needy. According to the Jewish custom a Jew had to pay tithe of his wealth i.e., 10 " of his wealth either in cash or in kind. According to Zakat a Muslim has to pay 1% to 5% of his income for the poor and needy. This may be termed as the religious service tax for the poor. Zakat is as important as the saying of five prayers every day. This giving is a religious obligation of the rich, and, at the same time is the claim of the poor on the rich. Most of the Arabs were shepherds, so they could pay their Zakat in terms of sheep and cattle.

Apart from Zakat, especially during the period of Ramadan, Sadaqu was also an obligation for the Muslim. The difference between the two is that Zakat is religious obligation whereas Sadaqa is voluntary.

Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca is known as Hajj. A Muslim suspends all his worldly activities while performing Hajj. He has to overcome all bad habits and has not to decorate himself. He has to put on very simple prescribed dress. A Haji is supposed to have all his desires under control and not think about marriage.

In prayers, whether private or congregational, Muslims have to turn their face to Mecca. In the beginning the Prophet Muhammad used to turn his face towards Jerusalem. But the Jews objected to his doing that as the Prophet had accepted Jesus as a Prophet, and, in the Quoran Jesus has been mentioned not less than twenty-five times. But afterwards Mecca with Ka`ba in it became the direction in which all prayers had to be offered.

Main ThemeMecca with Ka`ba is sacred to the Muslim, because this place is associated with the name of the prophet Abraham (lbrahim, in Arabic). According to Islam, the prophet Abraham was the first recipient of pure monotheism. Judaism degraded this monotheism, because they mixed it with idolatry. Later on, the Christians added Trinity with the concept of Son and the Holy Ghost of Jesus. Hence, the Prophet won this monotheism by going back to the prophet Abraham.

The life of Abraham is commemorated for his singular obedience to the will of God. Listening to the voice of God, he left his ancestors and sojourned into a strange land. He was so faithful to his God that he was most willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Hence, the prophet Abraham is considered for commemoration. Mecca therefore is dedicated to the memory of the prophet Abraham. By the way Mecca with Ka`ba is supposed to have been built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Mecca is also the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad and it contains the sacred well Zamzam. Hence, it is the psycho-spiritual centre of the Muslims all over the world, and regarded by them as the oldest shrine of the worship of one God.

The Hajj is performed during the second week of the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. In commemoration of the intended sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, there is the festival of Eid al-Adha. This festival also states that instead of human sacrifice animal sacrifice is legal and has to be practiced by all Muslims.

It is not necessary for every Muslim to perform Hajj. But a Muslim who has fulfilled all his earthly obligations, and without incurring any injury to his health or the members of his family can afford the cost, then he should perform Hajj. Before starting for the pilgrimage the intending pilgrim should ask God the forgiveness of his sins, should say his prayers and uttering bismillah should get ready for the pilgrimage.

Hajj is a call to all Muslims of the world. By the performance of Hajj at Mecca, the universal brotherhood of the Muslims is most palpably demonstrated. This also exemplifies Islamic equality of the rich and poor, of the black and white, irrespective of any race. Hence, there can be no caste in Islam. According to Islam, religion determines the nationality of the people. This conception of nationality is essentially Jewish. Islam has borrowed it from Judaism, and now the Sikhs have also adopted it. This has brought special confusion of politics and religion for the Indians.

Muslim Creed: Creed means a system of religious beliefs. Muslims accept the following articles of their faith, namely, Belief in God, Belief in His holy angels, Belief in His revelations in Holy scriptures, Belief in His prophets, Resurrection and the Day of Judgment, and Belief in divine dispensation of things.
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