INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM
The term ‘Islam’ is an Arabic word that literally means ‘Surrender’ i.e. surrender to the creator, Allah almighty. Followers of Islam believe that Allah is the only God. He is the soul creator of the world and the mankind. He has created all the existence and runs everything. Believers of Islam are known as ‘Muslims’. Islam was introduced in this world by Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and it was revealed by Allah on him in 7th century.
Who is a Muslim:
The word ‘Muslim’ is an Arabic word that means ‘Submitter’ i.e. Submitter to Allah Almighty. Muslim is the one who submits himself to Allah Almighty, accepts Islam by reciting the Kalma Tayyaba and accepts by heart that Allah is his creator and Muhammad (S.A.W) is the last prophet. Muslims follow Allah’s teachings that were revealed on Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) in the shape of Quran. Quran was revealed by Hazrat Gibrel over a time period of 23 years.
The religion has five pillars without which Islam seems incomplete. It is the foundation of a Muslim’s life and a good Muslim tries his best to follow the pillars throughout his life. For example, a building cannot stand without its pillars the same way Islam cannot stand without its pillars. The pillars are:
• Faith in Allah Almighty and belief that Prophet Muhmmad is the last messenger i.e. Kalma Tayyaba.
• Namaz: A compulsion for Muslims to offer prayers 5 times a day.
• Roza: Muslims are supposed to fast in the month of Ramazan every year. Roza purifies the sins of Muslims and makes them close to Allah.
• Zakat: It is to create equality in the society. Muslims have to donate certain specified amount of money to the poor people every year.
• Hajj: It is an obligation for the people who are financially and physically stable. Muslims go to Mecca in the month of ‘Zil- Hajj’ and perform certain defined prayers wearing white clothes. Hajj is compulsory for a Muslim once in a life.
Who is a mu’min:
A mu’min is a believer of Islam that is a faithful Muslim and refrains from sins. The person who knows that Allah is watching and he does everything for the Fear of Allah, for the Fear that he will be punished for a bad deed. He tries his level best to abstain from all sort of sins for the sake of getting a reward from Allah and getting saved from the fire of Hell.
Difference between Kafir and Muslim:
A Muslim as explained above is the one who accepts Allah almighty to be his God and Muhammad (S.A.W) is his last prophet. Where as the word kafir is an Arabic word derived from kufar that means ‘disbelieve’. A Kafir is the one who does not believes in Allah and his prophet and has a vague believe about creation of the world and living beings. Some kafirs can have a belief that Allah is not the God and there are some other Gods who are running this system.
Difference between Mu’min and Muslim:
A Muslim is a person who submits himself to Allah Almighty and accepts Allah to be his messenger where as a mu’min also has same belief but he has a strong connection with Allah. He plots his life according to Allah’s will and always acts upon Allah’s orders. He performs all the compulsory action mentioned in Islam i.e. Five pillars of Islam and also gives extra efforts for the happiness of his creator.
Normally, according to Islam’s point of view, Mu’min is a word for a true Muslim. According to hadith,Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) was once asked “How will I know that I have become a Mumin?” The Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) replied, “When your heart feels satisfied because of any of your good act and mourns about any of your wrong doing, then know, you have become a true Muslim, i.e., Mumin. Basically both words look alike, but actually they aren’t, for you shall see the difference from Quran.
Muslim is the one who accepts Islam with reciting and accepting kalma tayyaba and with a firm belief that Allah is one, and there is no except for Him and Muhammad (S.A.W) is His last messenger. Whereas a person becomes Mumin when this knowledge penetrates deep into his mind, heart and soul. (Studying-islam.org, 2018)
Difference between Iman and Shahada:
Shahada is accepting the first thing to do to enter in to the religion Islam. Muslims recite Kalma tayyaba to become a Muslim that makes them accept that Allah is the only God and Prophet Muhammad is his prophet.
Iman is basically the faith which is the first thing that that a Muslim has to learn in Islam because it behaves as the basis of religion. Iman is the believe in Allah, His Angels, Quran, His Prophets and all the messengers which He sent down before.
There are basic three levels of Faith:
Ihsan is the highest level of Islam. The last Prophet, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) defined it as: “To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, He sees you.” (Islamic Articles, 2018)
The concept of Ihsan in Islam is that a person is a responsible person where he does things in a good manner.A person who performs his deeds according to the teachings of Quran and Hadith and tries his level best to attain closure to Allah. For that person Allah’s reward is his ultimate desire and Jan’nat is the best reward for him.
Taqwa means ‘fearing-God’ and character building are the two basis of Ihsan. A person who has attained Ihsan has a strong taqwa and has developed his character in such a way that he would abstain from sins and deeds that are disliked by his creator.
In Holy Quran, Allah Almighty says: “Indeed, Allah commands justice, good conduct (Ihsan), and giving to relatives (and He) forbids immorality, bad conduct, and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded” (Quran, 16: 90). (Islamic Articles, 2018)
Islamic Articles. (2018). Three levels of Faith | Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. online Available at: http://www.quranreading.com/blog/three-levels-of-faith-islam-iman-and-ihsan/ Accessed 2018.
Studying-islam.org. (2018). Studying Islam | Articles. online Available at: http://www.studying-islam.org/articletext.aspx?id=925 Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.