This section contains a wealth of information, related to Answering your questions on Islam . If you cannot find an answer to your question, make sure to contact us
GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT ISLAM
The five major beliefs in Islam, as understood by the Noorbakhshi Muslims, are:
- belief in God;
- belief in angels;
- belief in God’s prophets/messengers;
- belief in God’s revelations in the form of holy scriptures sent to the messengers;
- belief in an afterlife that follows the Day of Judgment on which people will be held accountable for their actions and compensated accordingly in the afterlife; and
Islam’s primary message, as understood by the overwhelming majority of Muslims, is the continuation of the Abrahamic monotheistic tradition’s belief in one God. The three major dimensions of Islam include beliefs, ritual practices, and the effort to improve one’s character and actions. There are six major beliefs in Islam and five central practices that are referred to as the Five Pillars. The last dimension of Islam focuses on the cultivation of excellent moral character to better oneself and the world around oneself. It teaches a set of values that promote life, liberty, equality and justice. Some of these values include:
- Respect for the earth and all creatures
- Care and compassion for those less fortunate
- The importance of seeking knowledge
- Honesty and truthfulness in word and deed
- Striving continuously to improve oneself and the world
Angels are mentioned many times in the Qur’an and hadith (prophetic sayings). Unlike humans, angels are described as not possessing free will but as being by nature assigned to specific duties. Two of the most prominent angels mentioned by name in the Qur’an are Gabriel (Jibril) and Michael (Mikhail). Gabriel is the angel of revelation and Michael is the angel of compassion.
Satan (Shaytan in Arabic) is believed to be a third type of creation, in addition to humans and angels, known as a “jinn.” Humans are said to have been made from clay, angels from light, and jinn from fire. While the Qur’an teaches that some jinn are good and submit to God, it states that others, such as Iblis or Shaytan (Satan), try to tempt people to do evil, as in the belief about Satan in traditional Christian theology.
A: The Holy Qur'an is the holy book of Islam. It is the original Word of Allah revealed in the Arabic language to Prophet Muhammad(saw). The word ‘Qur’an’ literally means something that is read or recited often. It comprises thirty parts and one hundred and fourteen chapters. It has remained unchanged since its revelation as noted in the Quran itself. (Holy Qur’an, Ch.15: V.10) This is a claim unique to the Qur'an and it is substantiated by the fact that the Qur'an has indeed remained unchanged since it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad(saw).
Since only 20% of all Muslims are Arabs, the Qur’an has been translated into and is read in many other languages, with multiple English translations. However, because Muslims consider the original Arabic text to be the literal word of God, during ritual prayers, the Qur’an is recited in its original Arabic language (just as some Catholic churches still perform mass in Latin or synagogues perform part of their prayer in Hebrew). In order to fully comprehend the Qur’an for instruction and spiritual enrichment, non-Arab Muslims also read the translation in their native language.
While the majority of Muslims believe in the five holy books or scriptures mentioned in the Qur’an as original revelations to the prophets (the Scrolls as revealed to Abraham; the Torah as revealed to Moses; the Psalms as revealed to David; the Gospel as revealed to Jesus), they do not believe that they have been preserved in the original form or language in which they were first revealed. However, we believe that the Qur’an contains the same principles included in these previous scriptures.
We believe that respect for freedom of religion and conscience is a basic Islamic principle, and we believe that diversity, including religious diversity, is part of God’s divine plan. Moreover, we believe that the salvation of all people, Muslims included, lies with God alone.
Women in some Muslim cultures understand modesty to require covering not only their whole body and head but also their faces. Therefore, when in public, they wear a burqa (a loose garment which covers the body and face) or niqab (a covering for the face that leaves the eyes exposed).
The Arabic word hijab literally means “curtain.” When used to refer to dress, it either implies modest dress that includes a head scarf or refers only to a head scarf. “Hijab” is often incorrectly used interchangeably with the terms burqa and niqab. “Hijab” is generally used to refer to a headscarf, ”burqa” to a covering of the entire body including the face, while “niqab” refers to a face covering that conceals most of the face but exposes the eyes. Some Muslim women wear hijab while others do not and expressions of hijab vary greatly by culture, individual taste, and conviction.
Domestic violence and spousal abuse violate the Islamic principle of respect for human dignity; if severe enough, they may even violate the principle of respect for life. According to classical Islamic law, spousal abuse is grounds for a Muslim woman to initiate divorce. The extant biographies of Muhammad record him as never having hit a woman or even a child and as condemning those who did.
Many Muslims, in America and elsewhere, advocate and demand complete equality between men and women. Women hold and have held many positions of authority and leadership in the American Muslim community. In Muslim-majority countries women today work as physicians, businesswomen, engineers, and lawyers and have served as heads of state. In other Muslim communities, depending on social, historical, and cultural conditions, the position of women is very different and is not equal either in theory or practice.
Since polygamy was only permitted to provide for widowed women and their children, this purpose would not be served by polyandry, i.e. the marriage of a woman to more than one man, so it was not permitted.
Individual Muslims follow differing guidelines in this matter. Our understanding from the Qur’an and hadith (prophetic sayings) is that people of the opposite gender should avoid situations, relationships, or actions that might lead to a violation of the principle that couples should abstain from sexual intimacy until after marriage.
SCIENCE AND NATURE
There are hundreds of verses throughout the Qur’an that describe the wonders of creation and nature and call upon humankind to reflect on them as signs of God. Humans are described as stewards over this earth (as is the case in Jewish and Christian scripture), entrusted with its oversight. There are also numerous Qur’anic as well as prophetic injunctions to avoid waste, excess, and harm to other forms of creation. A prophetic saying forbids wasting water, even when washing in a river. Living a balanced, moderate lifestyle is an important Islamic principle advocated by most Muslim scholars that applies to all aspects of life, including care of the earth and all of creation.
There are numerous verses in the Qur’an that reference scientific phenomena, including discussions of astronomy, geography, biology, and other aspects of nature and the universe. The Qur’an includes, for instance, a detailed description of the different stages that the embryo goes through in the womb, as well as descriptions of the creation of the earth and of the interaction between fresh and salt water. These repeated Qur’anic references to nature and injunctions to seek knowledge helped create a fruitful environment for science in Islamic history when during the “Golden Age of Islam” in the Middle Ages, Muslims were in the forefront of such fields as mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, and medicine. Unfortunately, the economic and political decline of the Muslim world in later centuries brought about a decline in scientific and technological endeavor until recent decades.