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Muslims are required to respect all those who are faithful and God conscious people, namely, those who received messages. Christians and Jews are called People of the Book. Muslims are asked to call upon the People of the Book for common terms, namely, to worship One God, and to work together for the solutions of the many problems in the society.
Christians and Jews lived peacefully with Muslims throughout centuries in the Middle East and other Asian and African countries. The second Caliph, Umar, did not pray in the church in Jerusalem so as not to give the Muslims an excuse to take it over. Christians trusted the Muslims, and as such, the key of the Church in Jerusalem is still in the hands of Muslims.
Jews fled from Spain during the Inquisition, and they were welcomed by the Muslims. They settled in the heart of the Islamic Caliphate. They enjoyed positions of power and authority.
Throughout the Muslim World, churches, synagogues and missionary schools were built within the Muslim neighborhoods. These places were protected by Muslims even during the contemporary crises in the Middle East.
Muslims are now established in North America. The Sears Tower and John Hancock buildings in Chicago were designed by a Muslim chief architect, Fazlur Rahman, originally from Bangladesh. Muslims have established academic institutions, community centers and organizations, schools and places of worship. They live in peace and harmony among themselves and among other groups of people in the society. The rate of crime among Muslims is very minimal. Muslims in North America are highly educated and have added to the success of American scientific and technological fields.
The Muslims of the early period of the Islamic era were pioneers in medicine, geography, navigation, arts, poetry, mathematics, algebra, logarithms, calculus, etc. They contributed to the Renaissance of Europe and world civilization.
God instructed the Muslims to practice what they believe in. In Islam there are five pillars:
A. Creed (Shahadah)
The verbal commitment and pledge that there is only One God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God, is considered to be the Creed of Islam.
B. Prayers (Salat)
The performance of the five daily prayers is required of Muslims.
C. Fasting (Saum)
Fasting is total abstinence from food, liquids and intimate relations from dawn to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan.
D. Purifying Tax (Zakat)
This is an annual payment of a certain percentage of a Muslim’s property, which is distributed among the poor or other rightful beneficiaries.
E. Pilgrimage (Hajj)
The performance of pilgrimage to Makkah is required once in a lifetime if the means are available. Hajj is, in part, a memorial to the trials and tribulations of Prophet Abraham, his wife Hagar and his eldest son, Prophet Ishmael.
A. Oneness of God
He is One and the Only One. He is not two in one or three in one. This means that Islam rejects the idea of trinity or such a unity of God which implies more than one God in one.
B. Oneness of mankind
People are created equal in front of the Law of God. There is not superiority of one race over another. God made us of different colors, nationalities, languages and beliefs so as to test who is going to be better than others. No one can claim that he is better than others. It is only God Who knows who is better. It depends on piety and righteousness.
C. Oneness of Messengers and the Message
Muslims believe that God sent different messengers throughout the history of mankind. All came with the same message and the same teachings. It was the people who misunderstood and misinterpreted them. Muslims believe in Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad. The Prophets of Christianity and Judaism are indeed the Prophets of Islam.
D. Angels and the Day of Judgment
Muslims believe that there are unseen creatures such as angels created by God in the universe for special missions. Muslims believe that there is a Day of Judgment when all people of the world throughout the history of mankind till the last Day of life on earth, are to be brought for accounting, reward and punishment.
E. Innocence of Man at Birth
Muslims believe that people are born free of sin. It is only after they reach the age of puberty and it is only after they commit sins that they are to be charged for their mistakes. No one is responsible for or can take responsibility for the sins of others. However, the door of forgiveness through true repentance is always open.
F. State and Religion
Muslims believe that Islam is a total and a complete way of life. It encompasses all aspects of life. As such, the teachings of Islam do not separate religion from politics. As a matter of fact, state and religion are under the obedience of Allah through the teachings of Islam. Hence, economic and social transactions, as well as educational and political systems, are a part of the teachings of Islam.
The legal sources of Islam are the Quran and the Hadith. The Quran is the exact words of God; its authenticity, originality and totality are intact. The Hadith are the reports of the sayings, deeds and approvals of the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet’s sayings and deeds are called Sunnah. The Seerah is the writings of followers of Muhammad about the life of the Prophet. Hence, it is the life history of the Prophet Muhammad which provides examples of daily living for Muslims.
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