by Nadia Esmaeil
I thought it would be a good idea to first introduce myself a bit and share my aims for participating in this particular blog. My name is Nadia and I am a second year international student studying finance at the University of Windsor. My religion is Islam and although I was born and raised as a Muslim I have always been interested in researching other religions to try to understand their concepts and also to compare them with my own religion and see what our differences and similarities are. Being a Muslim international student in this country, I have noticed that Islam is still not well known among the people especially teenage students. It is unfortunate that many of them have just recently heard the word Islam. Also, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding Islam due to lack of resources and inaccurate information .Therefore, I thought this blog would be an opportunity for me to introduce Islam in the simplest way I can ,trying to resolve the common misconceptions , mentioning and explaining them for the blog readers to better understand the logic behind every rule or concept in my religion.
As an introduction to Islam, I would like to start with the basics. The word Islam is derived from the Arabic word Salam, which means peace or submission to the will of Allah.
Islam is built on five pillars. These are obligatory for every sane Muslim adult to carry out. Some are done daily, monthly, annually, while one is only required once in a lifetime. These acts include:
1) Witnessing-(Shahaada )which means “I bear witness that there is no God other than Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger”,
2) Prayer- (Muslims should pray at least 5 times a day),
3) Charity-(Obligatory charity giving, is an act of worship and spiritual investment).
4) Fasting – (Obligatory fasting is done once a year for the period of the month of Ramadan),
5) Pilgrimage-(It is obligatory to make the pilgrimage to Mecca if an adult is financially and physically fit only, at least once in a lifetime)
In addition to those pillars the basic principles of Islam are based on the six articles of faith which are:
Belief in the Oneness of Allah (Muslims call God as Allah since Quran; our holy book, is in Arabic and so Allah is the Arabic word for god),
Belief in the Angels of God,
Belief in the Revelations (Books) of God,
Belief in the Prophets of God,
Belief in Resurrection after Death and Day of Judgment,
Belief in Predestination or the Supremacy of Allah’s will.
These are the principles that are expected of all Muslims to understand and apply in their lives.
Being a Muslim has always been misunderstood and mislabeled as someone who is confined to an absolute, strict and difficult to live with set of rules. But these are all misconceptions of those who are looking from the outside, a mere observer who has never experienced nor understood what Islam is all about.
I hope I was able to help you as a reader to understand some basic facts about Islam and enjoyed reading my first blog. My aim as mentioned earlier is to introduce, resolve misconceptions with evidence from the holy book or Muslims scholars as well as telling you my experiences with my religion and how it has helped me reach where I am at present.