New to Islam
Welcome to Islam. You have now become a part of a family that isalmost a billion and a half strong. Alhamdullah, All Praise to Allah forletting our hearts find the truest and greatest religion in the world.By realizing that Islam is the one and only religion for you, it is timeto translate your words of faithfulness into justifiable actions. It isour actions that will be the essential determining factor of whether ornot we are allowed to enter the paradise of the afterlife. In the followingparagraphs below are the practical guidelines in living Islam to the fullest.The first thing you must do is to purify yourself by taking a completebath. What this essentially does is purify you physically and more importantly,cleanses you from the spiritual impurities of the past. Here are the followingtenets to give you a better understanding of Islam.
PRAYERAfter reciting the Shahadeh, the creed to Islam which is translated into:I bear witness to that there is no deity worthy of worship, except Allahand I bear witness that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah", praying fivetimes a day becomes obligatory for all Muslims. A great way to master theperformance of Salaat (prayer) is to learn from other Muslims face to face.Each prayer of the day must be performed according to its time slot inthe day. Here is the following order:
Fajr (Morning Prayer) begins about one hour and twenty minutes beforesunrise and ends about ten minutes before sunrise.
Duhr (Noon Prayer) begins when the sun passes the meridian and endsabout two and a half hours afterwards.
Asr (Afternoon Prayer) begins from the time the noon prayer time endsand ends about 10 minutes before sunset.
Maghrib (Sunset) begins soon after sunset ends and ends before darknessapproaches. Isha (Night Prayer) begins from the time the sunset prayerends and extends till just before the morning prayer.
For exact timings of each prayer, obtain a prayer timetable from yournearest masjid or any Muslim website.
RULES OF PRAYERBefore attempting any sort of prayer, our bodies should be totally purified.In order for us to be in this state, he or she must perform something calledWudu (Ablution). Again, the best way to learn Wudu is to watch others faceto face. Here are the steps for Wudu:
The first step in performing Wudu, is to have the intentions of purifyingyour heart.
Rinse your palms up the wrist three times; right palm first then yourleft
Rinse your mouth 3 times. (Preferably with three gargles) Wash noseby sniffing in it three times.
Wash the face three times making sure that water reaches all the areasof you face. Then was each hand up to the elbow three times, right handfirst then your left hand. Wipe your hand (hair) with wet hands, and thenrub the ears with wet hands.
Finally, wash your feet up to the ankle three times starting with theright foot.
You are able to maintain the state of Wudu unless you attend the callof nature, pass wind, sleep, or become unconscious. Now, if a person wasin a major state of impurity resulting from actions like, i.e. intercourseor semen discharge, then he must perform Ghusl (Bathing) Women should alsocarry out this cleansing to purify themselves after intercourse, wet dreams,or recovering from menstrual period and child birth.
The procedure for Ghusl (bathing) is as follows:
Make the intention for Ghusl (ceremonial bath)
Wash the private parts,
Perform ablution (Wudu) as you do before prayer,
Pour water over the head
Wash the whole body, head and hair thoroughly so as not to leave adry spot.
Wash feet before getting out of bathing area
Thank and praise Allah and supplicate him. It is required that a Muslimperform Ghusl once a week, that is on Friday before the congregationalprayers but a daily bath is hygienically preferred. Women are excused fromprayers on days of menstruation and childbirth period.
HOW TO PERFORM PRAYERPrayer is the difference from the believer and the non-believer and shouldbe done in complete humility and submissiveness to Allah. Prayer requiresa person to have complete concentration when performing prayer. Also, performingprayer should not converse, look around or attend to any worldly mattersduring the prayer. Certain prayers of the day are performed differentlyfrom one another. First, lets see how the morning prayer is performed.The first thing one should do is face the Kaba (The Holy House of Allah)
Raise their hands to behind their ears and say Allahu Akbar.
Then lower the hands and place the right hand over the left one abovethe navel. Then recite the Fatiha (Opening chapter of the Quran): Bismillahir Rahman ir Raheem. Alhamdullah Rabbil Alameen. Ar Rahman ir Raheem. Malikiyawmid deen. Iyyaka nabudu wa iyyaka nasta'een. Ihdinas siratal mustakeem- siraatal ladeena an amtaalayhim gayril maghdoobi alayhum, WaladdaallinAmeen.
Following the Fatiha, one should recite any Sura from the Quran.
For example is chapter 112 (Sura Ikhlas). Qul hu wallahu ahad, AllahusSamad, lam yalid wa lam yulid, walaam yakin lahoo qufuwan ahad. After thecompletion of the Sura, say Allahu Akbar and then bow down, bending yourhands and knees. This position is called Ruku, and in this position recitethree times: Subhana Rabbiyaal Azeem.
After that, the standing position is resumed with three words,
"Sami Allahu liman Hamidah, Rabbana Wa lakal Hamd" Then say AllahuAkbar and prostrate yourself down with your forehead touching the ground.This position is called Sujud. In this position, recite three times, "SubhanaRabiyaal Ala. Saying Allahu Akbar, resume the erect sitting position whilesaying "Allahu Akbar"; then again prostrate by saying "Allahu Akbar" andrepeating three times, Subhana Rabiyaal Ala while in prostration. Thenstand upright saying "Allahu Akbar" This completes one unit or one Rakah.
After the first Rakah, perform the second one exactly the same wayyou did the first one. In the second one, after you say perform your secondprostration recitals, you remain in the erect sitting position and repeatingthe following of what is called Tashahhud; Attahiyatt lilahi wa'salawatwa tayyibat. Asaalamu Alaika Ayyuhan nabi wa rahmutullah wa barakat. Asaalaamalayna wa ala ibadillahis saliheen. Pointing your index finger straight,say Ashadu Ana la ihlahi illallah, wa ashadu anna Muhammadan was abduhoowa rasoolooh.
Following this, you then recite the following of what is called Durud:Allahuma salli ala Sayyiddna Muhammad wa ali Sayyiddna Muhammad, kama sallaytaala sayyiddna Ibraheem wa ala ali Sayyiddna Ibraheem Wa barik ala SayyiddnaMuhammad, wa ala ali Sayyiddna Muhammad, kama barakta ala Sayyiddna Ibraheemwa ala ali Sayiddna Ibraheem, fil alameen innaka hamidun majeed" Afterthis, you turn your head to the right and say Asalaam Alaykum wa Rahmatullahwa baraktu and then turn your head to the left and repeat the same.
This completes the morning prayer of two Rakah (units)
Number of Rakah (Units) in the five Obligitory Prayers
|Prayer||Number of Units|
The first two Rakah of these prayers are performed in the same manneras the morning prayer. But after reciting the Tashahhud you should standand continue to pray the third Rakah (unit) reciting only Sura Fatiha andnot joining it with other passages of the Quran. Then in the fourth Rakah,after the second sajdah (prostration) sit down as you do in the secondRakah and recite Tashahhud, Durud, supplication and ending the prayer asabove.
The Maghrib prayer (Sunset) consists of three Rakah. First two Rakahare the same as above. Stand up for the third Rakah reciting Sura Fatiha,then complete this Rakah as you did the fourth Rakah above.
It is highly recommended that all people perform the five daily prayersin congregation in a Mosque and we should make our world activities revolvedaround the five daily prayers.
On Fridays, the Muslims perform Prayers in congregation, the Juma Prayer.A Khutba or sermon precedes this prayer. It consists of two Rakah duringwhich the Imam recites Sura Fatiha and then follows up with another verse.This prayer replaces the noon prayer and it is obligatory for all Muslimsto attend the Friday prayers. All mosques hold the Juma prayers each Friday.
ZAKATZakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and is the purification of ourwealth. It is the duty of all Muslims who possess a certain property topay Zakat. Zakat is usually 2.5 percent of our stored wealth and is usuallygiven around the month of Ramadan. Zakat is collected by mosques from individualMuslims and is equally distributed to the needy of the community.
RAMADANFasting is obligatory during the month of Ramadan and it is a way of showingour obedience and submission to our creator by regulating our hunger.
Ramadan is a yearly training session to implement this wisdom and gaincloseness to Allah. It is mentioned often that if one can that if a personcan control his desire of hunger, he could discipline all other physicalcravings. Fasting is obligatory on all Muslims with the following exceptions:Young, sick, travelers on a journey and menstruating women.
However, all missed fasts should be made up. Fasting period begin atdawn and ends at sunset. During this period, all food and all liquids includingwater is forbidden. It is recommended that a predawn meal should be takenbefore the fast begins. This meal provides a source of blessings and nourishment.Fasting should be broken at sunset with dates.
PILGRIMAGEPilgrimage (Hajj) is the fifth pillar of Islam. Hajj is held during theeleventh month of the Islamic calendar. It is the duty of every Muslimto make Hajj once in a lifetime. Hajj gives the opportunity for Muslimsto eternally purify themselves.
People of all races, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds assemblethemselves together in one place, as one big family, and worshipping OneLord.
If you are interested in making Hajj, plan four to six months aheadof time to get decent hotel and transportation services. Ummrah, whichis something similar to Hajj but is different in that it can be performedin any month of the year.
MARITAL RELATIONSHIPIslam encourages marriage to avoid the risk of falling into temptationsand committing bigger sins like adultery. Islam forbids pre-marital orextra marital relationships.
If one is interested in marriage, he or she can check their local Mosqueor any Islamic Internet site for marriage postings. In terms of peoplealready married, Islam offers guidance to the husband, wife, and the children.
Islam also offers each member of the family the ability to preserveand maintain the family structure.
DIETIn order to maintain a healthy body, Islam offers a diet that still isused and recognized by today's standards as very sufficient. There arefour things that Islam has declared unlawful and forbidden. They are: swineproducts, animals found dead, blood, and anything edible credited to inthe name of any one besides Allah.
Also, birds and all carnivorous (animal that eats meat) animals arealso forbidden. Water animals are halal even after perishing. Other forbiddensubstances include: anything that alters one state of mind.For example is alcohol or drugs. A good way to see what kinds ofproducts are being sold is to read the labels on the cans and food packages.Most of the companies that sell food products offer a toll free numberfor those inquiring about food content.
EARNING AND SPENDINGMONEYAllah owns the wealth of the world permanently and humans are the temporaryholders of it. We should spend the wealth of Allah according to His instructions.
His instructions meaning, we should provide financial support for ourfamily, relatives, needy Muslims and the progression of Islam.
Using money for gambling, prostitution, and the paying of interestis undoubtedly and totally forbidden in Islam. It is unlawful for merchantsto earn his or her income through alcohol, prostitution, interest basedloans, gambling tickets, etc.
SPREADING THEWORD OF ISLAMThe spreading of the word of Islam is a responsibility for all Muslims.When a person becomes a Muslim, he or she must be ready to educate thosewho curious in learning about Islam. Muslims must make themselves as knowledgeableas possible so that they will be ready to answer any question that comestheir way.
Encourage non-believers to ask questions when they are not. Make themfeel that Islam is a welcoming religion that doesn't belittle anyone ofrace, sex, or religion. The only way to promote the proper words of Islamis to do it with actions. It is important to realize that actions speaklouder than words and when it comes to Islam, it is no different than anythingelse
PHYSICAL PURITYPhysical Purity means cleanliness of the body, clothing and the enviroment.According to the rules of Islam, Muslims should keep their bodies and clothingclean from any impurity. Impurity is excretion from anything human or animalistic.
It is a must for humans to wipe off the last drops of urine from theirbodies with tissue paper and to not allow specks of dried feces to clingto any parts of their bodies, even on clothing. After wiping with tissuepaper, Muslims should find water and wash away thoroughly all the impuritieson them. Also applying to this rule are semen discharges and ejaculations.
Muslims should wash away any and all discharges received from animalsduring play, etc. This includes the saliva from dogs on the human body,clothing, or on dishes used by humans for food. Also considered impureis unnecessary hair on the body.
Hair of the underarms and pubic area is considered unnecessary andundesirable and should be removed regularly. Circumsicion for Muslims isstrongly recommended because of its health advantages such as cleanlinessand reducing the risk of cancers in that area of the body. It is not requiredor recommended for Muslim women to do the same though
ISLAM AND EDUCATIONEnormous emphasis is put on the gaining of knowledge in Islam. In Islam,knowledge is recognized as one of the most important elements for the progressionof this great religion.
It is through knowledge that a person realizes the wonders of our Creatorin nature and within ourselves. A great way to gain knowledge about Islamis done by interacting with knowledgeable Muslims. People might want toconsider gaining knowledge through books, videos, and lectures at localMosques or universities.
Across the country, there are more and more private Muslim schoolsopening up and offering parents a more Islamic cirriculum for their children.At these Islamic schools, other fundamentals taught are proper etiquetteand practices. Check your local Mosque or any Internet site to see if thereare any full time Islamic schools in your area.
GLOASSARY[A - B - D -E- F - G - H - I- J - K - M - Q- R - S - T - U- W ]
*** A ***
Alhamdulillah: Praise be to Allah.
Allah: The Name of the Creator of the universe.
Asr: Late afternoon prayer.
Ayah: Verse of the Holy Quran.
*** B ***
Bidah: Any innovated practices introduced in the religion ofIslam.
Bismillah: In the name of Allah, this statement is usually madeby Muslims who are about to indulge in a lawful task.
*** D ***
Dawah: Propagation of Islam through word and action, callingthe people to follow the commandments of Allah.
Deen: Usually translated as 'religion'. Deen is a comprehensiveword, which means a total way of life, following the commandments of Allah.
DUA: Supplication: invoking Allah for whatever one desires.
*** E ***
EID AL FITR: Three day festival marking the end of Ramadan -the 9th month (the month of fasting).
EID AL ADHA: The feast of Sacrifice. This feast commemoratesthe Prophet Abraham's obedience to Allah by being prepared to sacrificehis only son Ishmael. A four-day festival that completes the rites an pilgrimageand takes place on the 10th-13th of Duhl Hijjah (the last Islamic month).
*** F ***
Fajr: Early morning prayer.
FATIHA: The opening Chapter of the Quran. Fatiha should be readin every prayer.
*** G ***
GHUSL: Full ritual washing of the body with water. Ghusl shouldbe done after sexual intercourse, wet dreams, emission, menses, and childbirth.
*** H ***
HADEETH: Sayings and traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him).
HAJJ: Pilgrimage to the Holy city of Mecca.
HIJAB: Veil worn by Muslim women for reasons of modesty andprotection.
*** I ***
IMAM: A person who leads the prayer and also for a famous Muslimscholar.
IMAN: Truth, faith, and acceptance.
ISA: Arabic word for Jesus Christ.
ISHA: Night Prayer.
ISLAM: literally means 'submission to the will of Allah'.
*** J ***
JIBREEL: Angel Gabriel.
JIHAD: means struggling one's utmost to be a better person inthe sight of Allah, and to establish Islamic way of life.
JINN: a race of created beings that are made out of smokelessfire.
JUMA: 'Friday', the Muslim's day of gathering on Friday noonprayers.
*** K ***
KABA: Holiest, and first shrine constructed for the worship ofOne God, Allah. Muslims face towards the direction of the Kaba, Mecca.
KAFIR: Unbeliever, who have rejected the truth of Islam.
KHALIFA: A Muslim ruler of an Islamic State.
*** M ***
MAGHRIB: Sunset prayer.
MASEEH: A title which means "Anointed" or 'Christ' Title givento Prophet Jesus.
MASJID: Mosque, places of worship for the Muslims. In one sensethe whole earth is a Masjid for the Muslims, The dome of the Heavens isthe roof.
MIRAJ: The night journey of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peacebe upon him) from Mecca to Jerusalem and then through the realms of theseven heavens.
MUHAMMAD: The name of the final Messenger and Prophet of Godto Humanity.
MUHARRAM: The first month of the Islamic Calendar.
MUSLIM: Literally means 'submitting to the will', i.e. to thewill of Allah, the Almighty.
*** Q ***
QIBLA: Direction in which all Muslims face when praying, whichis the Kaba, in Mecca, Saudi
Arabia. The direction is north, east from New York.
Quran: The last revelation of Allah given to Humanity, through hislast Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad - peace be upon him.
*** R ***
RAMADAN: The month of Fasting, the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar.
*** S ***
SAHABI: Companion of Prophet Muhammad-peace be upon him.
SAJDA: Prostration, as in prayer.
SALLALLHU ALAIHE WA SALLAM: means 'may the peace and blessingsof Allah be upon him. This phrase is recited whenever the name of the ProphetMuhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) is mentioned.
SHAHADA: The creed of Islam: 'I bear witness that there is nodeity worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammadis the Messenger of Allah.
SHAR'IA: Islamic Law. It encompasses both the Quran and Hadith,the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
SHIRK: Associating partners with Allah. The grave sin of Shirkis not forgiven if a person dies in that state.
SUBHAN ALLAH: means 'Glory be to Allah'.
SURA: Chapter of the Quran. Quran has 114 Suras or chapters.
*** T ***
TAHARA: purification of body, clothing and souls.
TAWHEED: The Divine Unity, in its utmost profound sense. Allahis One in His Essence and His attributes and His Acts.
TAYAMMUM: Dry purification when water is not available or isdetrimental to health.
*** U ***
UMMRA: A pilgrimage Mecca, but not during the Hajj period.
*** W ***
WITR: A prayer which has an odd number of Rakat (units). Usuallyreferred to the last prayer of the night after the Isha prayer.
WUDU: Purifying with water before performing prayers.