FREQUENtLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1) WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE?
MUSLIMS WORSHIP ONE GOD "ALLAH"
Everything around us has been created and Muslims worship the One God "ALLAH" who has created the Universe and all that is in it.
This is the same God that Jesus, Moses, Abraham and all of the Prophets (peace be upon them all) called mankind to worship.
He is the only God – there are no others. He has no children or parents and there is none like Him. He was never born nor will He ever die.
He is Perfect and does not depend on anyone. He has no need for food, drink, sleep, rest or anything else.
He is unique. He does not resemble us nor does He resemble anything else He has created.
WHY DO MUSLIMS WORSHIP GOD?
Firstly, Muslims worship God for all that He has given us: our life, our intellect, our health and our bodies. He granted us loving parents, siblings, children and friends for company. He blessed us with food to eat, shelter over our heads and the very air we breathe. We can never thank Him enough for that but we can at least worship Him.
Secondly, Muslims worship God because He tells us that doing so leads to a successful life and afterlife. We accept this because God, as the Designer and Creator of everything, knows what is best for us.
A Muslim is someone who chooses to submit themselves to God "ALLAH" by following His guidance.
2) LIVE BY HIS MESSAGE
MESSENGERS SENT THROUGHOUT TIME
Throughout human history, God frequently chose the best people of their generation to deliver His guidance. These people were His Messengers and they were ordered to guide their people to worship God alone. These noble Messengers included Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be upon them all)
THE UNCHANGED WORD OF GOD
The final Messenger of God was the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The angel Gabriel conveyed the word of God to him, which was recorded as the Qur’an.
3) WHAT IS A MUSLIM’S PURPOSE IN LIFE?
God has placed us on Earth to worship Him in everything we do by remembering Him and following His commandments.
This life is a test to see who will choose to do good and who will do evil of their own free will.
Just like Christianity and Judaism, Islam teaches us that after we die, every person will be brought back to life. Then, we will individually be judged by God, based on our deeds.
For those who spent their life doing good deeds, they will be rewarded with eternal happiness and bliss in Paradise. For those who spent their life doing evil deeds, they will face unhappiness and sorrow in Hell
4) WHY DO MUSLIMS FAST?
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. [Quran 2:183]
Ramadan is a month of fasting and prayers for the Muslims. The fast consists of total abstinence from food and drink from dawn to dusk. There is, however, a greater significance to fasts than mere abstinence from eating and drinking. The real objective of fasts is to inculcate in man the spirit of abstinence from sins and of cultivation of virtue. Thus the Qur'an declares that the fasts have been prescribed with a view to developing piety in man, as is clear from the Quranic verse quoted above.
How are the many facets of piety sought to be cultivated through the fasts?
1. The most important consideration in undertaking a fast, as in any act of devotion, is to seek nearness to God, and seek His pleasure and Forgiveness. This itself generates a spirit of piety in man.
2. Creating the conditions of hunger and thirst for oneself, simply in obedience to the Divine order, measures the faith of man in God and helps strengthen it by putting it to a test.
3. Fasting enhances, through creation of artificial non availability, the value of the bounties of God which man often takes for granted. This inculcates in man a spirit of gratitude and consequent devotion to God. Nothing else can bring home to a man the worth of God’s bounties than a glass of water and a square meal after a day long fast. This also reminds man that the real pleasure in enjoying God’s bounties lies in moderation and restraint and not in over-indulging.
4. Fasting makes us deeply conscious of the pangs of hunger and discomfort suffered by the less fortunate in our societies. They have to put up with difficult conditions all through their lives. It thus kindles in man a spirit of sacrifice leading to change towards his suffering fellow man.
5. Fasting gives man an unfailing training in endurance, and a spirit of acceptance. This could well prepare him to put up with the unchangeable situations in life in the same spirit of resignation as cultivated during the fasts.
6. Fasting develops courage, fortitude, and a fighting spirit in man to surmount the heavy odds in life with a cool and tranquil mind. It sharpens his power of concentration to overcome obstacles through a vigorous exercise all throughout the month, leading to a steeling of his will power and resolve that could help him in challenging situations in life. It is seen then that many an undesirable habit which is difficult to give up, is more easily given up during the days of fasting.
7. Fasting teaches man reliance on God, and confidence in Him. Just as the vigorous state of fasting for a whole month is undertaken with His assistance, bitter situations in life could also be surmounted with His help.
8. Fasting develops a spirit of patience in man, with the realisation that the days of fasting, though seemingly unending, do have a successful and happy end. Thus is life. All bitter situations pass, and come to an end.
9. Fasting is meant to conquer anger and develop self-control in man. The vigorous effort required to put up with hunger and thirst can well be extended to conquer other infirmities of human character that lead man into error and sin.
10. Fasting inculcates a spirit of tolerance in man to face unpleasant conditions and situations without making his fellow beings the victim of his wrath. Many people, when facing discomfort and deprivation, become irritable and annoyed. This anger is then vented on those around them. Fasting helps a man become more tolerant despite his own discomfort.
11. Fasting mellows a man and enhances his character, giving a jolt to the human instincts of pride, haughtiness, jealousy and ambition. Fasting softens his character, and clears his heart and mind of many negative emotions.
12. Fasting exposes the weakness of man in the event of his being deprived of two basic bounties of God; food and drink. It infuses into him a spirit of weakness and submission, generating humility and prayer in an otherwise arrogant being.
13. Fasting breathes the spirit of forgiveness in man towards others, as he seeks God’s forgiveness through fasts and prayers.
14. Fasting gives lessons in punctuality. Man has to adhere to a strict schedule of time in the observance of the fast.
15. Fasting could impact the economy of the individual as he is less wasteful on food and meals.
16. Fasting demands a rigid sense of discipline, mental, spiritual and physical. This forms characteristics which are an essential ingredient to success in life.
17. Fasting creates spiritual reformation in man, infusing him with a spirit of enthusiasm and zest to change and become a better human being in the eyes of God. This is an excellent opportunity, given to believers each year, to change themselves and consequently their destinies.
18. On the physical side, fasting cleanses the human system of the accumulated impurities of uninterrupted eating throughout the year. It prepares the body to face diseases or conditions of scarcity. The rigid abstinence of a fast regulates man's health, sharpens his intellect and enhances the qualities of his heart.
Source: Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Muslim Theologians), Johannesburg, South Africa.