Islam

Mercy of God

The Qur’an tells us that the prophets were sent to the world to teach the ways of mercy and compassion. According to one of the Prophet’s sayings, related in the Sahih (authentic traditions) of Imam Muslim, “God has a hundred mercies, one of which He has sent down amongst jinn and men and cattle and beasts of prey. With this they are kind and merciful to one another and the wild creature inclines to tenderness to her offspring.

Marriage

The Qur’an states: ‘They (women) are your garments. And you (men) are their garments.’ (Qur’an, 2:187). These words from the Holy Scriptures define how men and women relate to each other -like body and its garments. Without garments a body is meaningless, and without a body garments are meaningless. The two must go together, for, apart, they have little reason to exist. This symbolizes the closeness of the two sexes in the material and spiritual senses.

Learning

Islam stresses on the importance of learning and demonstrates how all the factors necessary to progress in learning God has provided. An especially vital factor is the freedom to conduct research. Such freedom was encouraged right from the beginning, as is illustrated by an incident which took place after the Prophet had migrated from Mecca to Medina. There he saw some people atop the date palms pollinating them. Since dates were not grown in Mecca the Prophet had to ask what these people were doing to the trees.

Jihad

Jihad means struggle. Any sincere effort for the cause of religion will be called Jihad. Man’s self leads him to evil. So waging war with the self is jihad. Sometimes friends or acquaintances pressurize you into engaging in activities, which are not right from the moral standpoint. At that time, refusing to yield such pressure and sticking firmly to an upright attitude are forms of jihad. Exhorting people to goodness and making them refrain from indecency are tasks entailing a great struggle. Continuing the dawah campaign whilst bearing all hardship is also jihad.

Intentions

Islam attaches the utmost importance to intentions (niyyah). No action is acceptable to God purely on the basis of its outer appearance. He accepts only such actions as are performed with proper intention, and rejects those performed with ill intention. Right intention is the moral purposiveness, which underlies all actions performed solely for God’s pleasure. One who acts on such feelings will be rewarded by God in the Hereafter. Ill-intention, on the other hand, is a negative spur to worldly attainment.

Human Equality

According to Islamic tenets, all human beings are equal. In prayer, all members of the congregation stand in the same rows together, and on the Hajj pilgrimage, all the believers belonging to different countries don identical white seamless robes for the performance of the obligatory rites. On the occasion of the Final Pilgrimage, it is noteworthy that the Prophet of Islam declared that no Arab was superior to a non-Arab and that no white was superior to a black. All were equally servants of God.

Human Brotherhood

According to Islam, all human beings have been created by one and the same God, and for this reason belong to one great brotherhood. So far as their earthly origin is concerned, they are all descendants of the first pair of human beings ever created by God -Adam and Eve. In their subsequent spread over different parts of the world, variations in geographical conditions produced a diversity of skin colorings, languages and other racial characteristics.

Hajj

Hajj, pilgrimage, is an act of worship. It is obligatory only for those who are in good health and who can afford to perform it. The indigent and the sick or disabled are excused. In order to perform Hajj, the individual leaves his home for Hijaz, Mecca and Medina. On entering Mecca he goes to the Kaaba to perform its circumambulation. Then he does a brisk walk (sa’i) between the two hillocks Safa and Marwa, halts at Arafat, casts stones at Jimar, then sacrifices an animal. These are the main rites of Hajj performed in the month of Dhul Hijja.

Greater Jihad

Jihad is regularly misconstrued as war, with all its connotations of violence and bloodshed. However, in the Islamic context, and in literal sense, the word jihad simply means a struggle – doing one’s utmost to further a worthy cause. This is an entirely peaceful struggle, with no overtones even of aggression. The actual Arabic equivalent of war is qital, and even this is meant in a defensive sense. According to Islamic teachings, jihad is of two kinds.