Frequently Asked Questions About Islam and Muslim Culture
The word Islam and the word Muslim both come from the Arabic root word meaning peace and submission. This is the primary objective of the Muslim. The ability to create and maintain peace. In the greeting "As-Salaam Alaikum", you have the same root as the word "Salaam". This means peace. Peace and blessings be with you. Anything that contradicts or goes against this objective is not Islam and does not reflect a true Muslim.
What is Jihad?
Do Muslims believe in the Bible or the Torah?
Is prophet Muhammed G-d for Muslims?
Do Muslims celebrate Christmas?
Are men and women equal in Islam?
Is the head covering required for Muslim women?
Why do Muslims pray five times a day?
1. What is Jihad?
Historically and in present day terms, “Jihad” has meant struggle. It is the struggle to maintain the life that G-d prescribed for the Muslim. It may go from the simplest principle of kindness and devotion to actually defending the life with arms and weapons. However, there has been too much attention on physical or military war defined as “Jihad.” Those who advocate a life of violence, Satan has taken them out of their original nature.
Education should be in the forefront of all our struggles and efforts. Jihad needs education as the weaponry to succeed and fight blocked ways or obstructions in our path. Education leads, uplifts, beautifies, and sustains societies. Education is the herald of civilization. M.A.L.I. is a proponent of Jihad in the form of education.
2. Do Muslims believe in the Bible or Torah (Old and New Testaments)?
The Muslim believes in all of the Holy Scriptures that were revealed, descended, or communicated to man from G-d. Especially the Scriptures followed by the Jews, Christians, Muslims, the Torah, Gospel, and Qur’an. Many Muslim and non-Muslims refer to these scriptures as the Heavenly Scriptures and the religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as the Heavenly Religions, or the Abrahamic Faiths, following the way of Abraham.
3. Is Prophet Muhammed G-d for the Muslims?
Allah is the Name of G-d for the people we call of the Abrahamic faith or the People of Abraham. They also are called the heavenly religions by Christians, Jews and Muslims. Allah is not the name of any person, no human, no object created or existing in the material world. Allah is only the Name of G-d, the Creator. And Muhammed is a Messenger of G-d, a flesh and blood human being that exemplifies the heavenly Scriptures in Community life.
4. Do Muslims celebrate Christmas?
Ordinarily, Muslims do not celebrate Christmas or other Religious Holidays of the people of other faiths. Our country is made up of people belonging to many faiths, especially those that we are akin to in faith such as the Jews and Christians. Thus, we may find that Muslims do give gifts and send cards to their relatives during the times of their Holidays. We do find Cards that may say “Season Greetings” that would be sufficient to send to relatives of other Faiths, which would not be offensive towards any particular religion. The giving of gifts or sending of cards would not be encouraging the celebration of Christmas and other Holidays, but merely recognizing the sentiments and the need to keep family relations in making them happy and feel good that we love them and share the season’s joy with them.
5. Are men and women equal in Islam?
In addressing the inherent equality for males and females, G-d has mentioned in the Qur’an that we have been created from one and the same original source or entity with the same original nature. The responsiblity or the role to uphold society varies between the male and female and are equally important. One of the problems that we find is that this world has down graded and removed the importance of the womans natural responsibility to uphold and protect the moral life of the society. This begins in the home with the development and protection of the young mind, body and soul. Unfortunately this concept has been neglected to the degree that many women have forgotten this great position or are forced to become primary providers of the family. This has resulted in the deterioration of the home life and moral life of the society at large.
6. Is the head covering required for Muslim Women?
Many Muslim women cover their heads in the public in order that they may be identified as Muslim. The style of covering may vary from culture to culture. African American Muslim women have developed a culture of dress that includes colorful head garments of various fabric types, worn in many different ways. If a Muslim woman choses to cover or drape in a style that covers her hands, face or feet, it is acceptable as it is modest. We are cautioned in Islam from being influenced by the styles of the world that are not modest, as they may cause harm to the character or reputation of the woman. Correct Islam promotes modesty and the highest regard for the protection and treatment of women.
7. Why do Muslims pray five times a day?
The Muslim prayer that is performed five times a day is called Salat. We pray to G-d for the reasons that other religious people pray to G-d, and that is to beseech Him for internal and external cultivation and goodness. We also pray to remove from us all corruption, evil intent, and shameful acts. Muslims can also make supplications (dua's) at any time of day, however the five prayers are obligatory.
The times of the prayers are: dawn called Fajr, noon called Thuhr, afternoon called Asr, sunset called Magrib, and night called Isha. Each prayer may consist of two, three, or four units of the salat. The pray is considered an institution as well as an internal discipline for the mind or intellect of the individual. We are instructed to perform the prayer in groups or congregation that it also renders a discipline for society.