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Islam- the way to God by submission

Islam and God

Over 900 million Moslems in the world are great lovers of Mohammed. Being one in six of the world religions, it perhaps the fastest growing religion in the world with the expanding Moslem movement in Africa and the western world.

The great man behind Islam made significant impact in the heart of its members, and no wonder the word Islam means “submission”, “surrender” or “commitment” to Allah that makes each of them expressing their innermost attitude of those who have hearkened to the preaching of Mohammed. It pulls an average mind to move towards an understanding of its faith better, knowing how, where and when it got started.Mohammed was born about 570 C.E in Saudi Arabia . Unfortunately his father “Abd Allah died before his birth and his mother died when he was six. But then Arabs practiced the form of worship of Allah that was centered in the Mecca valley at the sacred site of Kabah. It was a building Moslems believed was built by Adam but was repaired by Abraham and Ishmael.When he grew up, he became disturbed on some obscure belief entertained by this earlier worshippers of Allah- the idolatrous polytheism and animism, the immorality of religious connotation and fairs, the drinking, gambling, and dancing that were fashionable, and the burial alive of unwanted infant daughters practiced not only in Mecca but throughout Arabia.

Mohammed’s call to be a prophet came when he was about 40 years of age. He had the custom of going alone to a nearby mountain cave called Ghar Hira for meditation and he claimed that it was on one of this occasion that he received the call to be a prophet. Moslem tradition relates that while he was there, an angel later identified as Gabriel commanded him to recite in the name of Allah. At first he failed to respond and the angel caught him forcefully and pressed him so hard that he could not bear it anymore. The angel repeated it again. Mohammed failed to react to the second choke. It occurred three times before Mohammed started to recite what came to be viewed as the first of the series of revelation that constitute the Quaran.Islamic authority believe strongly on the first five verses of Surah 96 entitled Al-Alaq “the clot of blood”In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful,Read: In the name of thy lord who created.Created man from a clotRead: and thy lord is the most bounteous,Who taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not.At first Mohammed answered, “I do not know how to read”.

So he had to recite them. Arabians were skilled in the use of memory and so Mohammed was no exception. The regulation lasted for a period of 20-23 years, from about 610 C.E to his death in 632 C.E but one quality he displayed on receiving the revelation was that he immediately recited it to those who were near him since the manufacture of paper was unknown to the Arabs, Mohammed had the revelation written out by scribes on the primitive materials the n available such as shoulder, blades of camels, palm leaves, woods and parchments.

However, not until the death of Mohammed’s companions and successors that amendment was made. It was during the rule of the first three Caliphs or Moslem leaders that the amendments took off. With time, those who knew Quaran by heart were killed in battle and a whole collection of Quaran was made and put in writing.

Three authorities - the Quaran, the Hadits, and the Sharia, govern Islamic life. But Quaran in Arabic is the purest form of the revelation since they say it was the language used by God in speaking through Gabriel and for decades Moslems have always depreciated and at times prohibited any attempts to render it in another language.

Mohammed founded his new faith against great odds. The people of Mecca , even of his own tribe rejected him. After 13 years of hatred and persecution, he moved his center of activity north of Yathrib, which then became known as Al-Madina, the city of the prophets. This sudden but strong decision of emigrating or Hijrah in 622 C.E marked the significant points in Islamic history and the death was later adopted as the starting point for Islamic calendar. Thus, the Moslem year is given A.H (year of flight) in opposition to C.E (year of the Lord). Eventually, Mohammed achieved dominance when Mecca surrendered to him in January of 630 C.E (8 A.H) and he emerged its ruler. He went on a march towards cleaning out the idolatrous image from Kabah and established it as the focal point for pilgrimages to Mecca that continued down to this day.

Few decades after his death in 632 C.E, Islam spread to countries like Afghanistan and Tunisia and North Africa . In later years, in 8th century, Islam established eastwards in Pakistan , India and Bangladesh and down to Indonesia . Despite organized crusade led against it by Christianity, it survived down to our day. Its evidence is seen as it has experienced resurgence and great growth and kept expending down to the present time. Also the faith of Quaran penetrated into Spain and was at the French border to the other part of the world.

The prophet died without a male child and it provoked a crisis that survived down to our day. For sure, no one was designated as a successor of him and the adoption of principle of elective office rather than descent from the prophet emerged. They believed that the first three caliphs, Abu Bakr (mohammed’s father in-law), Umar, (the prophet’s adviser) and Uthman (the prophet’s son-in-law) were the legitimate successor to Mohammed. But Shi Ites Moslem who say that the true leadership comes from the prophets bloodline and through his cousin’s son-in-law, Ali Ibn Abi I Alib, the first Imam (leader and successor) who married Mohammed’s favorite daughter, Fatima. Their marriage produces Mohammed’s grandsons, Hasan and Hussayn. Still the Shi Ites argued that the three caliphs had to clear themselves as the ultimate successors of Mohammed.

Ali struggled over leadership that led to bloodshed. Sadly, he was murdered finally when he could not stand the war. The struggle for the survival of Moslems still continued between the two remaining branch- the Sunni and Shiah the first choose a leader from Umayyads, wealthy Meccan chiefs who were outside the prophet’s family. But for thje Shiah, Ali’s first son, Hasan, th prophet’s grandson was the true successor. With time, he resigned and was murdered. His brother became the new Imam, but he too was killed by Umayyads troop on October 10, 680 C.E. Shiah viewed him as martyrdom. His death was a new dawn to fresh commemoration of death, which the Moslems do yearly. They have processions in which some cut themselves with swords and otherwise inflict suffering on themselves. Even in recent times, Shi Ite Moslems have received publicity for Islamic causes. However, they represent 25% of the world Moslem, the majority being Sunni Moslems.

So far as religion is concerned, Islam as we know appeared in 7th century C.E, the first two leading religion as far as he was concerned had wandered from the path of truth. This Islam had long rejected Christians and Jews by stating that “not the path of those who earn thine anger nor of those who go astray”.The principal teaching of Islam, for utter simplicity is what is known as Shahada or confession of faith which every Moslem know by heart, “la ilah illah Allah Mohammed rasul Allah” (no god but Allah, Mohammed is the messenger of Allah). That agrees with the Quaranic expression, “your God is one God, there is no God save him, the beneficent, the merciful”. And the part of Surah states, “so believe in God and the apostles, say no to trinity: desist it, it will be better for you for God is one God”.The other four remaining pillars of beliefs are stated below:

Believe in angels
Believe in may prophets but one message; Adam was the first prophet, others that followed were Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the seal of the prophet Mohammed.
Believe in judgment day
Believe in God’s omniscient prior knowledge and determination of all events yet man has freedom of choice for his actions.

Moslems believe and teach strongly in resurrection, paradise and hellfire. According to their teaching in Quaran, the soul can have different destinies, which can be either a heavenly garden or paradise or the punishment of a burning hell. Also, the belief that a dead person’s soul goes to the Barzakh, or “partition”, the place or state in which people would be after death and before judgment. The soul is conscious there and experiences what is termed “chastisement of the tomb” but finally on the judgment day, each faces his eternal destiny that ends that intermediate state. Moslems entertain this hope: the righteous for paradise finally. Quaran permits polygamy; still many have only one wife. They adopted polygamy because of numerous widows that were left after the costly battle- the quaran.

Yet, Quaran recommends one but more if the man can render justice to them all; minimum of one and maximum of four. For example, a bibliography of Mohammed by Ibn Hesham mentioned that Mohammed married a wealthy widow khadijah who was 15 years his senior. But after her death, he married many women, so when he died, he left nine widows simply because the rule came out shortly after his death.

Another form of marriage in Islam is called Mutah- it is a contract marriage between a woman with a specified dowry like the contract for permanent marriage their children remain legitimate and have the same right like legitimate. It started in Mohammed’s day and they allowed it to continue. Though later opposed, but it survived because of frequent traveling of their men that absent then from their wife.

To be followed are the five pillars of observance and they are known as the five principal obligations:
1.Turning to Mecca five times a day in prayer (sallah). Flocking to mosque for prayer during the hunting call of muezzin from the minaret of the mosque and so forth, etc.

2.Repeating of creed (shadada)

3.Charity (zakah)- the obligation to give a percentage of ones income and the value of some property

4.Fasting (sawm) especially during the month-long celebration of Ramadan

5.Pilgrimage (hajj) once in his lifetime, every male Moslem must make the journey to Mecca- only illness or poverty Mecca is licit excuse.Thus far, to Moslems, Islam- the way to God by submission has been their belief.
Published: 2008-08-23
Author: emmanuel ugokwe

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