What is Islam?
Notice that here we are not asking: What does Islam mean? But, what is Islam?
Before finding out what it means, let us recall above all and once more, its significance. The word Islam (pronounce: Islaam) comes from the Arabic word "Salaam" which means Peace, therefore, the religion of Peace. Or, it means also Submission, therefore the religion of submission to God (Allah), indeed complete submission to Allah. Thus, Muslims are those who submit to Allah, according to the Islamic faith.
Today, if one trusts its meaning alone, that will not facilitate our comprehension, because another question will arise: Who knows today the value and the true significance of Peace? Or: Who can praise himself to be really subjected to Allah? Thus although it is the basic of Islam, it is nowadays advisable to understand it in a more methodical way, because Islam is above all, a way of life.
Let us understand basic Islam: Islam is the fact of believing in only one God (in Arabic: Allaah means God, which means: one who deserves to be adored). The unique God, who does not have any associate. God whom one cannot see nor imagine (Islam condemns idolatry). This creator God of all: "creations" and “creatures". By creation, all that is visible and invisible (like the universe around us as a whole, therefore all that it contains, stars such as sun, planets, the moon, galaxies and others, the earth our world...). By creatures, meaning any invisible alive beings (angels, geniuses...) and visible (humans, animal, birds...). God has not created all this in vain. He has created it in a programmed way, until a certain end, the day of resurrection and last judgement (yawm-ul-Qiyaamah).
Among its creatures, the human being has the status of "Ashraful-makhlouqaat", which means the "superior of the creatures". The human being that Allah provided with intelligence, he can thus understand and choose the good from the bad, the clean from the unclean, intelligent to be grateful and admire his Creator and Sovereign Lord. Almighty Allah sent the human being as ‘caliph’ on earth, thus placing all it’s surrounding at his disposal.
Thus, the first man who was created and also the first Prophet (nabi) was Hazrat Adam (pbuh) and his wife, Eve (Hawa in Arabic) so that the human race procreates. Allah sent prophets among the men in order to teach them the existence of Allah and to also teach them how to live on earth to please Allah, thus how to adore Allah, in short to learn how to live with dignity as human being. This message, this religion of Allah, this way of life is called Islam.
After Hazrat Adam (a.s), and through times, Allah sent other prophets to the people, to confirm to men the statements of former prophets and each time with a new message, always Islam, but often with a new book of laws, adapted to the time of that particular prophet, therefore of his people (ummah).
The prophets having received a message of Allah in the form of revelation (wahi) via the archangel Gabriel (Hazrat Jibraïl) are in addition called Messengers (rasoul).
Many were the prophets throughout times, approximately 124,000 of them according to narrations'. To quote only the principal ones, let us quote Hazrat Aadam (a.s), the first man and also first prophet. Hazrat Daoud (David) (a.s), who received Zabour (Psalms) in the form of compilation, for his people. Hazrat Mousaa (Moses) (a.s), having received Tawrah (the Torah) in the form of compilation for his people. Hazrat Ibraahiim (Abraham) (a.s), having received Suhuf (sheets) for his people. Hazrat Issa (Jesus) (a.s), regarded as the before-last prophets, having received Injiil (the Gospel) for his people. With each arrival of a new prophet on behalf of Allah, the preceding message is replaced by the new one, considered as more appropriate to his people. God has thus created this world changing unceasingly through the ages and thus each time a new prophet with a message reactualized to be in agreement with his time and his people.
Thus God sent the last and the greatest of the prophets, Hazrat Muhammad (Mahomet) Mustwafâ (pbuh) with a new and last message, the holy Quraan (Koran) in the form of compilation, understanding. By last prophet and last message, note that there will not be other prophets or messengers nor other messages before the end of time. The Koran makes obsolete and void all the old divine writings, considered as falsified by men throughout the ages.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sent at the time when men lived in indiscipline and ruin, in order to guide humanity in the path of Allah, as mentioned in the holy Koran, the right way (swiraatwal-mustaqiim), this right path, complete code of life, the approval of God that is Islam.
Islam forms part of the three principal monotheists religions (with Judaism and Christianity), but it has the advantage of being revealed last by this same and unique God. Who says last, says most recent, most modern of the messages of God. Therefore, the one which must be in force like the last received order. To take an example nowadays, it is as in the field of data processing, one adopts the last state-of-the-art as regards to computer software!
Islam is a way of life. It initially teaches to believe in God (Allah) as He is, with His entity, His qualities, and His attributes. And in His angels, in His books, in His prophets and messengers, to the day of the last judgement, and that ALL comes from Allah. He then teaches men how to distinguish between good and bad, the legal compared to the forbidden. He also teaches us how to pray Allah, how to adore Him and how to please him and to approach him spiritually. He allows the administration of moral and social order whatever the human race or wherever he lives in this world. The holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sent as benevolence and Mercy for the whole universe and is thus a model to be followed. He makes it possible to live a life of happiness on earth, in order to collect the rewards of Allah in this world (dunya) and especially to the beyond hereafter (aakhirat), on the day of the last judgement (qiyaamat), to obtain the paradise, ultimate and eternal reward of almighty Allah.
The virtues of Hadith shareef
The virtues of Hadith shareef
The word hadith means report. It is by definition, the sayings of the beloved Prophet related back by his Sahabis r.a (companions). The lessons which is there make the sunnah (principles) of the holy Prophet , which along with the words of Allah ta’ala in the holy Koran saint, constitute the basis of Shari'at (the Islamic law).
Allah orders us to obey his orders (koranic order) and to obey his beloved Prophet (hadiths), this means to be obedient, i.e. to be Muslim.
Many people think that the words of Allah and the words of the holy Prophet are like two seperate things. But, for us the Sunnis, we have a very great consideration for the lessons of the beloved Prophet since Allah himself specifies to us in the holy Koran: "Those who obey the messenger have in fact obeyed Allah" [ sourah 4 – verse 80].
We also often refer to the "Saha-sittah" which means the 6 books of hadiths considered as authentic (swaheeh). They are the hadiths of: Bukhaari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Abu-Daaoud, Ibné-Maajah and Nasaï. Which does not mean that the other hadiths do not have importance. All the hadiths since they emanate from the holy Prophet must be subjected to our attention. We sunnis, we grant much importance to other hadiths such as: Mishkaat, Baÿhaqi, Tibraani, Ibné-`Aadi, Haakim, etc…
We warn however, those who, with an ease nowadays, think that they are allowed to interpret or use hadiths to divert people, without them having a thorough knowledge of hadiths.
Since these sayings are those of the beloved Prophet who is the most intelligent creature that Allah has created, this means that the lessons which are there are of an eminent level accordingly to the character of the holy Prophet himself. Therefore, it is necessary to be intelligent to be able to understand the essence of these words and lessons full of wisdom. For these reasons, we estimate that those who are allowed to transmit sciences resulting from the hadiths must be those who made extensive studies in hadiths and hadith matters, and in the deen in general, to really be able to understand the deep and true meanings of these prophetic lessons. We highly recommend all of us to consult the `aalims (erudite scholar and wise experts) on the matter.