A Brief Guide to the Basics of Islam


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First and foremost for a person to be a Muslim they must have firm belief in the Kalima (Testification of Faith) which is: I believe that there is no god worthy of worshipping except Allah and Mohammed (peace be upon him) is the messenger of Allah.


In Arabic it is pronounced la – illaha – il’lal – lahu – muhamadur – rasoolulah

Try memorising the Arabic version as it was the same thing that the companions of the prophet recited. This Shahada signifies a brotherhood/sisterhood and unites all Muslims. As soon as a person recites this kalima with firm belief in it, they become Muslim.

Everyone has some knowledge and opinions about Islam. However, the majority of these opinions are from incorrect sources.

A misconception of Islam is that Muslims believe in a different god from Judaism and Christianity. However we believe in the same god that Moses, Abraham, and Jesus believed in (peace be upon them). However Muslims do not accept the trinity to be accurate as we believe that Jesus was a messenger of god and that his powers were lent to him by god i.e. the Holy Spirit. The word Allah is not used to describe a different god in fact in Arabic god is pronounced Allah, and even Christians use this word to describe god.

Islam is based on five pillars and these pillars hold Islam in place, below I have listed the five pillars including how it is pronounced in Arabic.

The Five Pillars of Islam
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1. FAITH (SHAHADA)

There is no god worthy of worship except God and Muhammad (peace be upon Him) is His messenger. This declaration of faith is called the Shahada. In Arabic, the first part is la ilaha illa Allah – “there is no god except God”; ilaha (god). Then comes illa Allah:” except God, the source of all creation. The second part of the Shahada is Muhammadun rasulu Allah: “Muhammad (peace be upon Him) is the messenger of God”. A message of guidance has come through a man like ourselves.
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2. PRAYER (SALAT)

Salat is the word for the prayers which are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no authority in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by any person who knows a few verses of the Quran, chosen by the group within the prayer gathering. These five prayers contain verses from the Qur’an, and are recited in Arabic (the language of the Revelation) but personal prayers can be offered in any language.

Prayers are performed at dawn; noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall. Although it is preferable to worship together in a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, offices, factories and universities. Women may pray from the comfort of their own home. Women may pray in their own gathering.
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3. CHARITY (ZAKAH)

One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God. The word zakat means both “purification” and “growth”. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a portion of wealth for those who are in need. This cutting back balances and encourages new growth.

Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually. For most purposes this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of your capital.

A pious person may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqa, and does so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as “voluntary charity” it has a wider meaning. The Prophet said “even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity”.

The Prophet (peace be upon Him) said:

“Charity is a necessity for every Muslim.” He was asked: “What if a person has nothing?” The Prophet replied: “He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity”. The Companions asked: “What if he is not able to work?” The Prophet said: “He should help poor and needy persons.” The Companions further asked “What if he cannot do even that?” The Prophet said “He should urge others to do good”. The Companions said “What if he lacks that also?” The Prophet said, “He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.”
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4. FASTING (SAWM)

Every year, in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are allowed to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically unable to do that, they must feed a needy person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier. This is because fasting during Ramadan is compulsory on all people who have past puberty or are going through the process.

Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded as a method of self-purification. By cutting your self off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry as well as growth in the believers spiritual life. The prophet used to stay hungry one day and eat the next so that he could understand how life is like for a poor person and this created a bond with poor people and therefore he was very empathetic with poor people. Feeding the poor is a very important factor of Islam.
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5. PILGRIMAGE (HAJJ)

The pilgrimage to Makkah — the Hajj — is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. About two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe, providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year. Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that people of all races stand equal before God.

The Hajj should be performed at least once in a lifetime for those people who can afford it. Hajj can be performed on behalf of someone else i.e. a person that has died before they had the chance to perform Hajj.

In previous centuries performing Hajj was a difficult task. However today, Saudi Arabia provides millions of people with water, modern transport, and the most up-to-date health facilities making performing hajj much easier than before.

The close of Hajj is marked by a festival called Eid Ul-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. The Eid al-Fitr is a feast-day signifying the end of Ramadan. They are the main festivals of the Muslim calendar.

Why Muslims Pray

After Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was chosen for Prophet hood, the first thing he was commanded to do by Allah was to pray. The angel Jibrail (Gabriel) came to him, and a spring of water gushed out from the rocks in front of them. Jibrail then showed the Prophet (peace be upon him) how to do ablution (purify himself). He then showed him how to offer prayers to Allah. The Messenger (pbuh) of Allah began to pray two Raka (2 Units of prayer) twice a day; once in the morning and once in the evening. He then went home and showed his wife Khadija (his first wife) what he had learned from angel Jibrail. Since that time, the Prophet never went through a day without praying.

Just before his migration (Hijrah) to Al-Madinah, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was taken by night to Jerusalem and then to the heavens (Miraj by spirit). During this journey, Allah almighty commanded him to pray five times a day. This prayer was a gift given to every believer to enable him/her to experience a spiritual ascension five times in every day. The Prophet (pbuh) explained that “The prayer is the Miraj of the believer.” It gives every Muslim the opportunity to communicate with his Lord.

During each prayer, the worshipper recites Surah Al Fatiha (the first verse of the Quran). This recitation is not a dull monologue (speaking to himself) by the believer, but Allah promises that it is a conversation between Him and the worshipper. The Messenger (pbuh) reported that Allah Almighty says:

“When My slave says (in his prayer): ‘All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds’, I say: ‘My slave has praised Me.’ when he says: ‘ the Merciful, the Compassionate, Master of the Day of Judgment’, I say: ‘My slave has praised and glorified Me’. When he says: ‘ You Alone we worship, and Your Aid we seek, ‘ I say: ‘This is between My slave and Myself.’ When he says: ‘Show us the Straight Path, the path of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not of those who earned Your anger nor of those who went astray.’ I say: ‘This is for My slave, and I give My slave what he wants.” (Hadith Qudsi)

The number of prayers in a day have been set at five by Allah almighty. The believer has no choice in the matter but to obey. To reduce the number of prayers would not only be disobedience, it would also lose the benefits of prayer.

For example, a room is only good for residence if it has four walls and a roof. If only one wall or the roof were to be removed, what use could it be? Similarly, the prayer will only achieve its purpose and be of use on the Day when nothing except one’s deeds will be of use, if it is observed in the prescribed manner.

Prayer is an obligation upon every Muslim, man and woman.

“…Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” (4:103)

Surah Anas narrated that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: “Whoever forgets a prayer, he/she should offer it whenever he/she remembers. There is no explanation for it except this.”

May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet and upon his family and upon all his followers, Ameen.


How to Pray In Islam: Perform Namaaz/Salaat

To pray Namaaz you must first learn 12 Surahs of the Quran, these are the most common paragraphs used and they are very short and it is all you require to pray. The first surah that you must learn is surah fateha – below is the phonetical version of the surah.

(Note: when reciting a paragraph/verse of the Quran you would recite – aoothubillahi minash shaitanir rajeem, bismillahir rahmanir raheem – before it)

Surah Fatiha

Al hamdu lilla hi rabbil alameen, ar rahmanir raheem, maliky yow mi’deen, iya ka na’budu wa iya ka nastaeeen, Ih dinas siraatal mustakeem, siraatal lathee na wa-anta alayhim, ghayril maghdu bi alayhim walad dua’leen. Ameen.

Alamtara

Alamtara kaifafa ala rabbu ka bias ha bil feel, alam yaj’al qaydahum fi tad leel, wa ar sala alayhim tayran aba beel, tar mi him bih jar a tim min sij’jeel, faja alahum qa as fi im maqkool.

Lilafi

Lilafi Qureish ilafi him, rih la tash shi sta wa’saif, fali ya’budu rabba ha thal ba’it, allah thi ath amahum min jue, wa amanahum min khowth.

Araythalathi

Ara ay tal la zi u kazzibu biddeeen, faza li kalla thee ya du’ uli ya teem, wala ya huddu ala tu a mil misqeem, fawai lulill musalleen. Allah thee na hum ansa la thi him saahuun, Allah thee na hum uraa una wa yamnaunal ma uuun.

In’na ‘a’ thaina

In’na ‘a’ thaina kal kauthar, fasal lily rabbu ka wanhar, inna shaa ni aqa huwal abthar

Al Falaq

Cul aoothu bi rabbil falaq, min sharri ma khalaq, wa min sharri ghasikin iza waqab, wa min sharri naffa saati fil uqad.

Izaja

Izaja anassurul la hi wal fath, wa araythan nasa yad khulu na fi di nil la hi af waja, fasabih bihamdi rabbi ka was staghfirhu, innahu kaana tawaba.

Surah Al Kafiruun

Cul ya ayu hal kafiruun, la a’ bu du ma ta’ bu duun. Wala wantum a’ bidu ma abud, wala ana a bidum ma abattum, wala antum a’bidu ma abud. Lakum deenukum wali ya deen.

Tabaththiada

Tabathiada ha bila habew wathab, ma aghna anhum maaluhu wama kasab, sayas la na rangzatha la habew wa am ra athu hamma lathal hathab, fiji di ha hablum mim masad.

Surah An Nas

Cul aoothu bi rabbin naaas, malikin naaas, ilahin naaas, min sharril was waas sil khan naaas, allah thee u was wisu feesadu rin naaas, wa minal jinnathi wan naaas.

Culhuallah hu ahad

Cul hu allah hu ahad, allah hus samad, lam ya lid wa lam ulad, walam ya kullahu kufu wan ahad.

Atta – Hiyyathu

Atta hiyya thu, wa lilla hi wassala wa thu, wa thayi bathu, assalamualika ayyuhan nabiyu warahmathullahi wa barakathu, assalamualina wa alla ibaadil lahis suaaliheen. Ashadu allah ilaha illal la hu wa ash hadu anna muhammdadan abduhu warasuluh.

Durood Shareef

Allah humma salli alla Muhammad, wala ali Muhammad, kama sallayta ala ibrahima, wala ali ibrahima, innaka hameedun majeed.

Allah humma barikala Muhammad, wala ali Muhammad, kama barakta ala ibrahima, wala ali ibrahima, innaka hameedun majeed.

Allah Humma inni Zalamthu

Allah humma inni zalam thu, nafsi zulman kaseera, fala yagfiruz zunuba, illa anta, fagh firili magh firatan, min indika, war hamni. Inaka anthal ghafoorur raheem.

To read the Quran or pray, Muslims first purify using water themselves, this is called Wudhu (Ablution). It is said in a few Hadeeths (sayings of the prophet) that when a person performs Wudhu, it is as if they are washing away their sins with the water.

Ablution/Wudhu

A brief step-by-step procedure for performing Wudhu (Ablution) is as follows:

Before making Wudhu, you should make the intention that the Wudhu is for the purpose of purifying yourself.

This intention (Niyah) can be made in the heart silently to oneself.

Begin by saying: Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

1. Wash the hands up to the wrists preferably three times or more making sure it is wet

2. Get a handful of water and rinse the mouth out three times

3. Use handful of water and carefully put water into the nose and using your left finger clear out both nostrils three times or blow out the water with left hand three times.

4. Wash the face from the forehead to chin and from ear to ear three times making sure that your eyelids are also wet. You can do this by closing your eyes and by rubbing clean water over them.

5. Starting with the right side, wash the arm up to the elbow (preferably slightly above) three times, then do the same for the left arm making sure that both sides of your arm is wet. When washing right arm use your left hand to massage the water on your arm using the tap. And vice versa.

6. Using wet hands, rub them over the head starting with the forehead, wiping it backwards slowly sliding your hands over your hair. Then with your wet fingers, wipe the inside and outside of your ears.

7. Finally, wash your feet up to the ankle three times starting from the right foot. Making sure that the parts in between your toes are wet. This is done by making your left hand wet and then with your small finger clean the in between of your toes starting from right and finishing on the left foot.

When you have done this, you have successfully purified yourself and you may pray or read the Holy Quran. (please note: if you let out gas then you would have to repeat the steps again.) the process of purifying yourself above is the FULL and longest method. There is a shorter method of doing it which are the compulsory parts that need to be done. The above method is the method used by our prophet. But the short method can be done if you want to save time. Contact me if you would like to know the short method, but for the time being I suggest you use the long method so that you can get used to it.

If for some reason you do not have access to water, there is another method of purifying yourself. This method can be used if there is no water available to you or you are so ill that water would make your illness worse. This method is called Taymoom. This method would require you to use dust to cleanse your self (not mud). You can use dust from the wall which is not so thick and the only part you would need to rub the dust onto are your arms (up to elbow), hands (up to wrist) and face (Not inside nostrils). Only a bit of dust is required and not a handful. So in affect it would only be a very, very thin layer and it may not be visible to the naked eye.

Next you must work out the direction of the Qiblah/Kaabah

Muslims, wherever they may be in the world are required to face towards the Kaabah in Makkah to pray.


RAKAATS OF NAMAAZ

The following table may look complex to you, but it is actually very easy to understand once you understand what the Arabic words mean. I have compiled an explanation of the Namaaz types below the table.

TIME OF PRAYER

NAMAAZ

SUNNAT-E MUAKKIDA

FARZ

SUNNAT-E MUAKKIDA

NAFIL

WITR

WAJIB

NAFIL

Before Sunrise

FAJAR

2

2

*

*

*

*

Afternoon

ZOHAR

4

4

2

2

*

*

Midday

ASAR

4

4

*

*

*

*

After Sunset

MAGHRIB

*

3

2

2

*

*

Night

ISHA

4

4

2

2

3

2

Note: The sunnats in circle are Sunnat – E – Gher Muakkida meaning – No sin if left out.

The sections that have a star in them mean that there is no Rakaats/Units for that Namaaz type. The numbers represent how many times you would prostrate to god in each prayer. For example in the Fajar prayer the first Namaaz you read has a number 2 in it. It represents that you would bow down twice. On the first prayer of the Zohar Namaaz you find that there is a number 4 next to it. This means that in this particular prayer you bow down four times.

Namaaz Types Meaning of Rakaats

THE MEANING OF FARZ IS – COMPULSORY, IT IS NECESSARY TO PERFORM, AND TO LEAVE IT OUT IS A GREAT SIN AND QAZA (TO RE DO IT) IS NECESSARY.

NECESSARY, MUST BE PERFORMED, TO LEAVE IT OUT IS A GREAT SIN AND QAZA (TO RE DO IT) IS NECESSARY.

A THING DONE BY OUR PROPHET (P.B.U.H) REGULARALY AT ALL TIMES AND HE DID NOT LEAVE IT OUT WITHOUT AN EXCUSE. ONE SHOULD PERFORM THE SUNNAT MUAKKIDA, TO LEAVE IT OUT WITHOUT AN EXCUSE IS A SIN BUT THERE IS NO QAZA FOR IT.

A THING DONE BY OUR PROPHET (P.B.U.H) SOMETIMES AND LEFT OUT SOMETIMES. TO DO IT IS A GREAT REWARD, BUT CAN BE LEFT OUT WITHOUT AN EXCUSE AND NO SIN IF LEFT OUT.

OPTIONAL TO PERFORM, THERE IS A GREAT REWARD IF PRACTICED BUT THERE IS NO SIN IF LEFT OUT.

1) FARZ =

2) WAJIB =

3) SUNNAT-E-MUAKKIDA =

4) SUNNAT-E-GHER MUAKKIDA =

5) NAFIL =

QAZA – MAKING UP FOR MISSED PRAYERS

If for some reason that you miss your prayers because you are ill or you do not have the facilities etc at work etc, then the prayers can be caught up e.g. Qaza (to re do it) when you read your Qaza namaaz, you only read the Farz and Wajib prayers. You do not read your sunnats when reading Qaza

NAMAAZ

FARZ

WAJIB

FAJAR

2

*

ZOHAR

4

*

ASAR

4

*

MAGHRIB

3

*

ISHA

4

3

All mainstream Muslims follow the Sunnah of the prophet and to practice the Sunnah brings a believer closer to Islam and Allah.

Muslims Rights

A Muslim has the right to practice their religion in their work place e.g. pray if the facilities are available. But this depends on your job. You cannot be treated unfairly because of what you believe in. If you wish to wear a scarf in your workplace then there should be no reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to.

General Stuff

Medina – was where the prophet went with his followers to seek refuge when the Muslims were being badly persecuted in Makkah.

Makkah – was our prophet’s birth place and here it was where he lived with his Uncle Abu Talib after his mother and father past away at the age of 6. The tribe that lived here was called the Qureish, which were mainly Idol Worshippers.

Masjid – al – Haraam (Makkah) – Is the building towards which we pray from all around the world. This was built by the prophet Abraham and it is said to be the place in which Adam (PBUH) lived.

Masjid – e – Nabvi (Medina) – The first mosque to be built by the Muslims in Medina when the majority of the people who lived there had converted to Islam, Since then the mosque has been expanded to fill a higher capacity of people.

Masjid – al – Aqsa (Palestine) – This is one of the most sacred mosques in Islam. It is where Jesus, Mohammad and Moses prayed during the Miraaj (The prophet’s ascension to the heavens). This mosque is located in Palestine – Jerusalem. It is considered to be a holy location for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Khadija – was Mohammad’s first wife. She died a 5 -10 years after the revelation of the Quran by Gabriel.

Aisha – was the prophet’s youngest wife however the marriage was not consummated until many, years later. The marriage was merely an alliance between tribes. According to a Hadeeth, Hadhrat Aisha’s father’s death wish was that the prophet should marry his daughter. The prophet agreed and fulfilled his promise. Many of the Hadeeths that are available today were narrated by Hadhrat Aisha and Mohammad’s companions (Sahaba).

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