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Part 2


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This topic is continued here from Part 1 of this topic

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Topics discussed in this essay:

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The meaning of "Allahu Akbar:"

The Western press often implies that this phrase is a phrase loudly proclaimed by terrorists as they commit an attack. The reality is very different.

"Allahu Akbar" in Arabic is referred to as the Takbir, or "declaring greatness." has been translated into English as "God is the greatest." The prophet Muhammad is quoted as crying Allahu Akbar druing the Battle of Badr in 634 CE. The phrase appears, in Arabic, on the flags of three predominately Muslim countries: Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq.

According to "In Islam, it's variously used in prayer, as a declaration of faith, and during times of great joy or distress. In the West, the phrase has become associated with Islamist terrorism."

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Important texts:

There are six main texts consulted by Muslims:

bullet The Qur'an (Recitation) are believed to be the literal words of God in their original Arabic language. Muslims believe that it was dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Jibril over an interval of 23 years. The text was originally preserved in oral form.

The first written version of the Qur'an was completed by 634 CE during the political reign of Abu Bakr. It was accepted as accurate because each verse in written form had to be vouched for by two or more Muslims who had earlier memorized the oral version.

However, within a decade, different written versions of the Qur'an in were in circulation. Caliph Uthman arranged the original manuscripts to be rewritten into four copies. He ordered all of the other full or partial copies of the Qur'an to be destroyed by fire. 1

"Qur'an" is often spelled "Koran" in English. This is not recommended, as some Muslims find it offensive. In it original language, Arabic, it is the only book that is considered free of tahrif (error). Translations of the Qur'an into other languages are referred to as "interpretations."
bullet There were four additional revealed books:

bullet The Suhuf-i-Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham/Ibrahim) which most Muslims believe have been lost.

bullet The Tawrat (a.k.a Tawrah or Taurat) This is the Pentateuch, the first five books from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Many Muslims believe that the text has been altered by ancient Hebrews.

bullet The Zabur which many Muslims believe are the Psalms from the Hebrew Scriptures. According to the Qur'an, the Zabur was revealed to David when he was king of Israel.

bullet The Injil (a.k.a. Injeel). These are the Gospels, referred to as the words of Jesus, Some Muslims believe that this consists of the entire Christian Scriptures (New Testament); others believe it refers to only the four canonical Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. The Injil are also believed to have been distorted and corrupted over time. Other Muslims believe that the Injil is not a book, but a lost group of teachings written by the apostles or authors connected to the apostles.
bullet The Hadith, which are collections of the sayings of Muhammad. They are regarded as the Sunnah (lived example) of Muhammad.  The Qur'an gives legitimacy to the Hadith. It states: "Nor does he say aught of his own desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him" (53:3-4). However, the writings are not regarded as having the same status as the Holy Qur'an; the latter. in its original Arabic form, is considered to be God's exact words. The great Islamic scholar Yahya bin Sharaf Ul-Deen An-Nawawi compiled a collection of 43 sayings of Prophet Muhammad. It is is now known as "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths" 2

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Islamic beliefs:

Muslims consider six fundamental beliefs to be the foundation of their faith:

    1. A single, indivisible God. (God, the creator, is just, omnipotent and merciful. "Allah" is often used to refer to God; it is the Arabic word for God.)

    2. The existence of angels.

    3. The divine scriptures, which include the Qur'an (which is composed of God's words, dictated by the Archangel Gabriel to Muhammad), the Torah, the Psalms, and the rest of the Bible, (as they were originally revealed) and

    4. The Messengers of God, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad -- the last prophet. Muhammad's message is considered the final, universal message for all of humanity.

    5. The Day of Judgment when people will be judged on the basis of their deeds while on earth, and will either attain eternal reward of Heaven or punishment in Hell. They do not believe that the death of Jesus or of any other individual can atone for another person's sin. Hell is where unbelievers and sinners spend eternity. One translation of the Qur'an, 98:1-8, states: "The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures." ("People of the Book" refers to Christians, Jews and Muslims). Paradise is a place of physical and spiritual pleasure where the those with the correct beliefs and good deeds spend eternity after death.

    6. The supremacy of God's will. All actions, whether due to natural causes or human activity, require God's will before they will occur.

Other beliefs include:

  • Allah did not have a son.

  • Jesus is a prophet, born of the Virgin Mary. They regard the Christian concept of the deity of Jesus to be blasphemous. The Christian concept of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is viewed as a polytheistic belief which is the ultimate sin.

  • Jesus was not executed on the cross. He escaped crucifixion and was taken up into Paradise. A person who resembled Jesus was crucified.

  • The existence of Satan drives people to sin.

  • Muslims who sincerely repent and submit to God return to a state of sinlessness.

  • All people are considered children of Adam. Islam officially rejects racism.

  • All children are born in Al-Fitra (a pure, natural state of submission to Islam). Some parents later convert them to Christianity, Judaism, etc.

  • When a child reaches puberty a "Book of Deeds" is opened. All of their subsequent deeds -- both good and evil -- are recorded there. When the person dies, their eventual destination (Paradise or Hell) depends on the balance of their good deeds (helping others, testifying to the truth of God, leading a virtuous life, etc.) and their bad deeds.

  • Alcohol, illegal drugs, eating of pork, etc. are to be avoided.

  • Gambling is also to be avoided.

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Islamic practices:

A Muslim's duties as described in the Five Pillars of Islam are:

  • To recite at least once during their lifetime the shahadah (the creed: "There is no God but God and Muhammad is his Prophet"). Most Muslims repeat it at least daily.

  • To perform the salat (prayer) 5 times a day, if possible. This is recited while orienting one's body with qibia (the shorter of the two great circle routes towards the Kaaba at Mecca) This is generally North East in the U.S. and Canada 4 The five prayers are:
    • Fajr (Morning Prayer) which is performed some time between the break of dawn and just before sunrise.
      • Zuhr (Noon Prayer) offered from just after midday to afternoon.
      • 'Asr (Afternoon Prayer) offered from late afternoon until just before sunset
      • Maghrib (Sunset Prayer) offered between sunset and darkness
      • Isha (Night Prayer) offered at night time, often just before sleeping. 5

The times for the salat are fixed in each location world wide. The Pray-in-time web site provides an Islamic prayer time calculator for locations worldwide. See: Special arrangements are taken in those Northern areas where the sun does not set during some days of the year.

  • To donate regularly to charity through zakat. This is a 2.5% charity tax on the income and property of middle and upper class Muslims. Believers are urged to make additional donations to the needy as they feel moved.

  • To fast during the lunar month of Ramadan. This is believed to be the month that Muhammad received the first revelation of the Qur'an from God.

  • If economically and physically able, to make at least one hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca during their lifetime.

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This topic continues in Part 3

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Is the Qur'an Pure?," Spiritual Technology, undated, at: The web site is based on the book "Gabriel's Faces: Voice of the Archangel by John Zachar. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  2. Yahya bin Sharaf Ul-Deen An-Nawawi , "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths" at: No longer online.
  3. Does the Quran really promise Islamic martyrs 72 virgins?," Just Islam, undated, at: 
  4. "Calculating Qibla Direction," at:
  5. "Correctional Institution's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Excerpts are available at: This is a PDF file.

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Copyright © 1995 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2017-DEC-05
Author: B. A. Robinson

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