Major Religions & Spiritual Beliefs, Islam
ISLAM, MUSLIM RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
Islam World Religion Beliefs
Six articles of belief
God, AllahThe fundamental concept in Islam is the unity of God (tawhid). This monotheism is absolute, not relative or pluralistic in any sense of the word. God is described in Sura al-Ikhlas, (chapter 112) as follows: Say "He is Allah, the one, the Self-Sufficient master. He never begot, nor was begotten. There is none comparable to Him."
In Arabic, God is called Allah, a contraction of al-ilah or "the deity". Allah thus translates to "God" in English; it is not grammatically a proper name, unlike the Israelite divine name Yahweh or the Christian usage of Jesus as a personal divine name. The implicit usage of the definite article in Allah linguistically indicates the divine unity. In spite of the different name used for God, Muslims assert that they believe in the same deity as the Judeo-Christian religions. However, Muslims disagree with the Christian theology concerning the unity of God (the doctrine of the Trinity and that Jesus is the eternal Son of God).
Although no Muslim visual images or depictions exist of God (because artistic depictions are considered idolatry), Muslims define God by the many divine attributes mentioned in the Qur'an, also commonly known as the 99 names of Allah. All but one Surah (chapter) of the Qur'an begins with the phrase "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful". These are consequently the most important divine attributes in the sense that Muslims repeat them most frequently during their ritual prayers (called salah in Arabic).
Notable messengers include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, all belonging to a succession of men guided by God. Islam demands that a believer accept all of the Judeo-Christian prophets, making no distinction between them. In the Qur'an, twenty five specific prophets are mentioned.
Mainstream Muslims regard Muhammad as the 'Last Messenger' or the 'Seal of the Prophets' based on the canon. However, there have been a number of sects whose leaders have proclaimed themselves the successors of Muhammad, perfecting and extending Islam, or, whose devotees have made such claims for their leaders.
One hadith of especial importance for Islamic contractual law should be mentioned here. A merchant named Hakim ibn Hizam reported, "I asked the Prophet: O Messenger of Allah! A man comes to me and asks me to sell him what is not with me, so I sell him and then buy the goods for him in the market. And the Prophet said: sell not what is not with you." This hadith has rendered controversial within the Moslem world much of what is considered routine finance outside of it, including the sale of futures and options, both of which might be characterized as the sale of 'what is not with you.'
In recent times, traditional Islamic law has often been questioned by liberal movements within Islam. In a related development, Mohammad Hashim Kamali has questioned the reliability and contemporary relevance of the above quoted hadith of Hakim ibn Hizam.
The Qur'anFor more in depth information about the Qur'an click here.
The Qur'an is the sacred book of Islam. It has also been called, in English, the Koran and the Quran. Qur'an is the currently preferred English transliteration of the Arabic original, it means “recitation”.
Muslims believe that the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel on numerous occasions between the years 610 and Muhammad's death in 632. In addition to memorizing his revelations, his followers are said to have written them down on parchments, stones, bones, sticks, and leaves.
Muslims believe that Qur'an available today is same as that revealed to Prophet Muhammad without any alteration, due to hifz. Written Qur'an was compiled by the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, sometime between 650 and 656. He sent copies of his version to the various provinces of the new Muslim empire, and directed that all variant copies be destroyed. However, some skeptics doubt the recorded oral traditions (hadith) on which the account is based and will say only that the Qur'an must have been compiled before 750.
There are also numerous traditions, and many conflicting academic theories, as to the provenance of the verses later assembled into the Qur'an. (This is covered in greater detail in the article on the Qur'an.) Most Muslims accept the account recorded in several hadith, which state that Abu Bakr, the first caliph, ordered Zayd ibn Thabit to collect and record all the authentic verses of the Qur'an, as preserved in written form or oral tradition. Zayd's written collection, privately treasured by Muhammad's widow Hafsa bint Umar, was used by Uthman and is the basis of today's Qur'an.
Uthman's version organized the revelations, or suras, roughly in order of length, with the longest suras at the start of the Qur'an and the shortest ones at the end. Later scholars have struggled to put the suras in chronological order, and among Muslim commentators at least there is a rough consensus as to which suras were revealed in Mecca and which at Medina. Some suras (eg surat Iqra) were revealed in parts at separate times.
Because the Qur'an was first written [date uncertain] in the Hijazi, Mashq, Ma'il, and Kufic scripts, which write consonants only and do not supply the vowels, and because there were differing oral traditions of recitation, there was some disagreement as to the correct reading of many verses. Eventually scripts were developed that used "points" to indicate vowels. For hundreds of years after Uthman's recension, Muslim scholars argued as to the correct pointing and reading of Uthman's unpointed official text, (the rasm). Eventually, most commentators accepted seven variant readings (qira'at) of the Qur'an as canonical, while agreeing that the differences are minor and do not greatly affect the meaning of the text.
The form of the Qur'an most used today is the Al-Azhar text of 1923, prepared by a committee at the prestigious Cairo university of Al-Azhar.
The Qur'an early became a focus of Muslim devotion and eventually a subject of theological controversy. In the 8th century, the Mu'tazilis claimed that the Qur'an was created in time and was not eternal. Their opponents, of various schools, claimed that the Qur'an was eternal and perfect, existing in heaven before it was revealed to Muhammad. The Mu'tazili position was supported by caliph Al-Ma'mun. The caliph persecuted, tortured, and killed the anti-Mu'tazilis, but their belief eventually triumphed and is held by most Muslims of today. Only reformist or liberal Muslims are apt to take something approaching the Mu'tazili position.
Most Muslims regard the Qur'an with extreme veneration, wrapping it in a clean cloth, keeping it on a high shelf, and washing as for prayers before reading the Qur'an. Old Qur'ans are not destroyed as wastepaper, but deposited in Qur'an graveyards. The Qur'an is regarded as an infallible guide to personal piety and community life, and completely true in its history and science.
From the beginning of the faith, most Muslims believed that the Qur'an was perfect only as revealed in Arabic. Translations were the result of human effort and human fallibility, as well as lacking the inspired poetry believers find in the Qur'an. Translations are therefore only commentaries on the Qur'an, or "translations of its meaning", not the Qur'an itself.
For more in depth information about the Qur'an see click here.
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