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Q&A

Al Khaadem / Q&A

General Questions

What does Islam teach?

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

What are the foundational sources of Islamic beliefs and practices?

The primary sources of knowledge about Islam are the Qur’an, which adherent Muslims believe is the divinely revealed word of God, and the Sunnah, which refers to the example or precedent of the Prophet Muhammad (i.e., what he said, did, approved, disapproved, caused, ordered, or allowed to happen). Much of what is known about the Sunnah is from the collection of sayings or reports known as Hadith, or prophetic tradition. The Hadith describe actions of the Prophet Muhammad or actions that his companions attributed to his teachings. Hadith also elaborate on and provide context to the Qur’an.

Though both Sunnis and Shi’as revere and respect the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, many Shi’a’s consider the rulings of the twelve Imams a primary source having a status similar to that of the aforementioned sources. Other sources may exist for different Muslim sects.

In addition to these primary sources, Muslims have also traditionally relied on the following additional sources: scholarly consensus: that is, the agreement of knowledgeable scholars upon a particular issue; and analogical reasoning: that is, the application of principles or laws derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah to similar situations not explicitly addressed by them. The lived experience of Islam, which naturally varies widely not only in different cultures but also between different individuals, also impacts and determines a Muslim’s understanding and practice of Islam.

What do Muslims believe about angels?

Angels are mentioned many times in the Qur’an and Hadith (prophetic sayings). Unlike humans, angels are described as beings who obey God’s commandments without fail, by nature, and are 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 in charge of rain and earth’s plant life.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Islam

Al Khaadem has been delivering educational presentations about Muslims and their faith for over two decades. The following are answers to some of the most common questions that Al Khaadem across the globe have encountered during that time. While many of the answers address issues relating to creed or issues that are well established because of a clear citation in the Qur’an or Hadith (prophetic sayings)—such as the six major beliefs or the Five Pillars—others focus on areas that are more open to interpretation. These answers reflect the fact that Islamic teachings are the product of a dynamic conversation among Muslim scholars and between the scholars and the laity who apply their best understanding of the primary sources of Islam rather than a fixed set of laws and regulations.

This points to the fact that Islam, like all religions, does not live or speak apart from the people who practice it. There is, therefore, no monolithic Islam, since, like any other religion, Islam exists only as it is understood and practised by its adherents.

We start from five basic principles that ING subscribes to as basic to our vision of Islam in America. These are fundamental values shared by most of the world’s major religious traditions today:

  • We affirm and uphold the sanctity of all human life, the taking of which is among the gravest of all sins.
  • We affirm the right to freedom of thought, religion, conscience, and expression.
  • We affirm the right to security in one’s livelihood, profession, and residence.
  • We believe that God created us all with the diversity of race, religion, language, and belief to get to know one another, respect one another, and uphold our collective human dignity.
  • We believe that Islam is above all a religion of peace and mercy and that as Muslims we are obligated to model those traits in our lives and characters and to work for the good of our homeland and society, wherever that might be.

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