The purpose of this article is to provide information for visitors about the Abuja National Mosque.
However, some visitors to the mosque often ask questions on Islam generally. There is therefore the need for such visitors to know more about Islam. This article attempts to provide answers to questions such as – who do the Muslims worship?, who brought the religion of Islam?, what the religion of Islam is all about and how to embrace the religion itself?. Brief information on such inquiries is given below.
Allah (God), The Creator
“Allah” is the Arabic word for the One and only one God, who is the creator and sustainer of the whole universe and everything in it. This means that Allah is not just the God of the Muslims; But of the whole creation; He is the God of the Christians, the Jews, the Hindus and even those who deny his existence.
The Holy Qur’an says: “Say: He is Allah, the One, The Self Subsisting. He doesn’t beget; nor is he begotten. There is nothing (or no one) like him.” (Qur’an:112).
Allah is One without partners. He does not share with anybody or anything in his essence, attributes, actions, or rulings. He is the sole Creator of all that exists, has existed, and will ever exist. Everything other than Him is His creation. Muslims over the world worships Allah, the Creator of all creations.
Muhammad, The Messenger of Allah (The Last Messenger of Allah)
Prophet Muhammad (peace be unto him) was the last of Allah’s prophets. Allah revealed messages to him to guide mankind to a life of obedience to Allah. He was born to a noble family of Makkah (Mecca) in Arabia in the year 570 CE. The first revelation from Almighty was sent to him at 40 years of age, the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to him through Angel Jibril (Gabriel). (Qur’an: 96 v 1 – 5).
In the light of this guidance from Allah, he preached Islam and many who were worshipping idols of Arab tribes became Muslims. These early adherents of Islam were brutally persecuted by the tribal leaders of Makkah. When some of his followers found the persecution at the hand of the leaders of Makkah unbearable, the Prophet asked them to migrate to Abyssina, which was at that time ruled by a Christian king.
This migration became a clear foundation for peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians.
Later, Prophet Muhammad (peace be unto him) had to migrate with the muslims to Madinah, a city about 250 miles north of Makkah. The people of Madinah were more tolerant and gradually accepted Islam. It was from this town that Islam spread to other parts of Arabia, and indeed to other parts of the globe.
The Meaning of Islam
The word, ‘Islam’ means ‘Submission to Allah’; It also means ‘Peace’. Islam is the religion decreed for mankind by Allah, who revealed it to His Prophets; and they in turn, taught it to the people around them. As the religion of Allah, it implies ‘the Peace that a person can attain in this life and in the hereafter, by submitting his whole self to Allah’. From the beginning of mankind, Allah sent revelations through His chosen prophets.
Islam began with the first man, Adam, when he submitted himself to Allah. All the Prophets of Allah, from Adam, the first prophet to Muhammad, the last prophet (Peace be unto him), preached Islam, which is the Religion Allah has destined for mankind.
However, only the followers of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) adopted the right name for the religion of Allah. For this reason, the word ‘Islam’ today is used practically for the religion taught by Muhammad (peace be unto him) alone.
Articles of Faith in Islam
Islam is a complete way of life and one who accepts it has to commit himself/herself totally to Allah. He/She should be ready to bring the entire spectrum of his attitudes, aspirations and activities to be in harmony with the will of the creator.
The Articles of Faith are the fundamental beliefs a Muslim holds as part of his submission to Allah. These are distinguished from the five pillars of Islam, which are daily actions based on the beliefs. The articles of faith are six and are as follows:
Belief in Allah as One, the Creator, the Sustainer, and Sovereign Law-Giver of the Universe
Belief in Allah’s angels who are Allah’s agents of Divine providence and action.
Belief in the Holy Books of Allah; such as the Holy Qur’an, the Last and complete book of Allah revealed to Muhammad (peace be unto him), and in other Holy Books, like Torah, (Revealed to Moses), the Psalms (revealed to David), and the Gospel (revealed to Jesus).
Belief in Allah’s prophets and messengers, who include among others, Adam the first man, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad, The last prophet. “And verily, We have sent among every community a Messenger.” (Qur’an: 16 v 36).
Belief in the Last Day, the day of resurrection of the dead, the day of judgment, and eternal life in the hereafter. Those who believe in Islam and end up as Muslims will be in paradise while those who do not believe in Islam and died as non-Muslims will be in the hell-fire.
Belief in divine pre-ordainment. That is, everything that happens, whether good or bad, can only happen with the knowledge and decree of Allah.
Five Pillars of Islam
Islam is a comprehensive way of life, touching every aspect of human existence. The “Pillars” of Islam are actions, which serve as the foundation of the faith and cover aspects of both belief and practical worship.
The first of these “Pillars” is the belief in the oneness of Allah and that Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah.
The second Pillar of islam is Salat or the five daily prayers in Islam. Five times a day, Muslims turn towards the Ka’bah in Makkah (Mecca) and perform prayers. The method and manner of this prayer is modeled on the example laid down by Prophet Muhammad (peace be unto him) during his lifetime.
The third Pillar of Islam is paying Zakat, or mandatory charity, which is an annual levy on the Muslim’s savings and investments, based on specific conditions and formulae as contained in the Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be unto him).
The fourth Pillar is the fasting on the month of Ramadhan (a month of the Hijra calender). Details of the way and conditions for fasting are also contained in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be unto him).
The fifth Pillar of Islam is the pilgrimage, or Hajj. The Hajj is a pilgrimage undertaken to the holy places in and around the city of Mekkah. This is obligatory on those who are physically able and who can afford it.
How to become a Muslim
To become a Muslim, one simply needs to acknowledge and declare that “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad (peace be unto him) is the Messenger of Allah.” After the declaration, one is expected to observe all acts and deeds of worship like other Muslims, i.e. first take a cleansing Islamic bath, perform the five daily prayers, the fasting in the month of Ramadan, give the Zakat and perform Hajj, (if one has the means and ability). However, the person may as well get a learned Muslim for further guidance and teachings.
Secondly, such person should thereafter, lead a life in obedience to Allah by following the example of Prophet Mohammad (peace be unto him) in all areas of his life. A revert can choose a name from the numerous beautiful Islamic names for himself or herself.