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Seven Identifications

Muhammad

Muhammad is the name of a distinguished prophet in Islam religion who lived between 570 – 632 CE in Mecca. Does the Quran illustrate Muhammad’s full name as Ab al-Qsim Muammad ibn Abd All'h ibn Abd al-Mu alib ibn H?shim (Fisher, 2013). According to Muslims’ belief, Muhammad was the only prophet sent by Allah (God). His main assignment was to unify Arabia into an indivisible religious polity under Islam religion. Up to date, they still hold onto that belief that Muhammad is the last prophet and God’s messenger to mankind. Allah bestowed upon him the responsibility of restoring the infrangible and original monotheistic faith of Adam and his descendants. Muhammad is said to have lived a turbulent childhood as an orphan under the care of his paternal uncle Abu Talib and got married to Khadija. As a merchant, Muhammad was committed not only to his occupation but also to prayer which he did in seclusion in caves. It is in such spots that at the age of forty he was reportedly visited by the Jibril (Gabriel), the angel of God, who revealed Muhammad’s first revelation from Allah, which proclaimed that God is one and that the only way acceptable to Him was complete surrender.

After this historic revelation, Muhammad would gain great fame that drew to him lots of followers as well as leftists from Meccan tribes. He later migrated to Medina in 622 CE as a way of escaping persecution amid heated hostility, an event that has been hitherto celebrated by all Muslims as the beginning of the Islamic calendar, Hijra. While in Medina, Muhammad also united all the tribes under the Medina Constitution. This gave him the capacity to launch an attack on the city of Mecca eight years later through which he managed to conquer and take control over Mecca. Before his death in 632 CE, Muhammad had managed to unite and convert numerous people of the Arabian Peninsula under a single Muslim religious polity. He has since been regarded as an example worth emulating by all Muslims owing to his name which means ‘Praiseworthy’ PBUH.

Qur’an

The Qur’an is a fundamental scripture of Islam. In the Qur’an, God reveals himself through the suras (chapters) and ayahs (verses). The texts of the Qur’an are believed to have been read to Muhammad when he was the age of forty by God through His messenger, Jibril. The great revelation that lasted 23 years began exactly on 22nd December, 609 CE till 632 CE at the time of his death (Fisher, 2013). To Muslims, this incident was the most significant miracle that happened to Muhammad and was proof of his prophethood. It was a collection of divine messages ranging from those that God had revealed to Adam up to those revealed to Muhammad. The Qur’an is the only book revealed to Muslims by Allah, which He protects from being corrupted or distorted in any way.

Inspired by Allah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did the writing of the scriptures as the scribes helped in compiling. The compilation would continue even after his death as the scribes were then put to task of memorizing parts of the scriptures and spreading the teachings to other quarters. The archetype of the contemporary Qur’an is the standard version known as the Uthman’s codex. The establishment of this version was motivated by Calith Uthman. Nonetheless, the relationship that exists between Uthman's codex to today’s Quran and to Muhammad's revelations is still unclear. This is because of the discrepancies that are contained in the scripts.

Ka’bah

The Ka’bah is an Arabic word which means ‘cube’. This is a structure that is built at the center of Muslims’ most sacred mosque called Al-Masjid al-Haram which is situated in Mecca city, Saudi Arabia. The Ka’bah is considered the most sacred site in Islam religion termed as the ‘House of Allah’. Its role is likened to that of the Ark of the Covenant, Tabernacle, or Temple in Judaism and Christianity. It is the location of the Ka’bah that all Muslims are obliged to face wherever they conduct their prayers – salat. This means that it is the responsibility of Muslim teachers to trace the direction of Mecca from any part of the world during the construction of the mosques.

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Every Muslim is required to perform the pilgrimage at the Ka’bah at least once in his or her lifetime. During the pilgrimage or hajj, pilgrims make tawaf; which entails circumambulation around the Ka’bah in a counter-clockwise direction, in a total of seven times. The climax is usually the day when all the pilgrims gather to circle the building on the same day. Numbers are however usually inundating and sometimes even fatalities would arise in the process, though it is believed such deaths guarantee a direct entry to heaven. The Ka’bah also symbolizes a House of Allah in heavens where angels too perform their tawaf as they pray and worship Allah.

Angels and the Unseen Life

According to the Arabic culture, Jinns are extra-terrestrial beings that are believed to possess superhuman powers. God created jinns on smokeless fire as He created man from the mud. Muslims believe that God created jinns long before He could think of creating human beings. Jinns live in a parallel world, which is perhaps the most confusing mythical feature of the Qur’an. Although jinns are spirits that are invisible to human eyes, they can see humans and they are also entrusted with several responsibilities just like human beings are. In fact, according to the teachings of the Islam religion, jinns too are liable for their actions which will determine whether they will eventually deserve reward or punishment from God (Allah). Just like human beings, jinns are also commanded by Allah to uphold His commands and to serve and exalt Him alone. Jinns were also bestowed with supernatural powers to traverse the galaxy and eavesdrop to listen to the commands that Allah issued to his angels. It is from these powers that it is believed one of the jinns misused and leaked information that was not meant to be meant to people. Allah then had a big difference with jinn who represented Satan concerning the same. After that, sin entered the world. The Qur’an, therefore, specifies that there are good and bad jinns that guide people in righteousness or in wickedness respectively. However, all jinns also have equal chances given by the Almighty to reflect upon their deeds and repent before the Day of Judgment comes, and this has seen quite a number of them repent their sinful deeds and follow the right path.

Last Judgment

The Day of Judgment or Quyamat is believed by Muslims to be a special day when Allah will make His final judgment of humanity. On this day, the living dead and the progenitors would be expected to resurrect so that their deeds can be assessed as well. The sequence of events is believed to range from the annihilation of all kinds of creatures, followed by the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment of all sentient creatures by none other than Allah. However, the exact timing for these events has never been known to any human, angel or even the jinn, but Allah alone. It is believed that people would only be guessing basing on the major and minor signs of the Quyamat (End time), during which two dangerous and evil tribes called Majooj and Yajooj would be released from a wall which Allah makes stronger day by day (Fisher, 2013). A number of Qur’an’s suras especially the earlier ones are categorical about the idea of the nearing of the day of resurrection, making Qiyamah be a fundamental tenet of the Muslim faith. The Qur’an and the hadith also clarify about the trials and tribulation which will be associated with Qiyamah and every Muslim and non-believer alike shall be held accountable for their deeds as they will be judged accordingly by Allah.

The story of the Qiyamah is significant in Muslim faith because it has made people live in harmony and compliance to the religious teachings as a way of evading the eventualities of sinful acts. It also reinforces in believers the trust and reverence to their creator Allah as an omniscient and omnipotent being who takes control of their lives.

Shari’ah

Shari’ah means ‘Islamic law’. It is basically a derivative of the commands in the texts of Islam, the Qur’an, as well as the Hadiths. The etymology of the word ‘shari’ah’ is based on the Arabic term which means ‘body of moral and religious law’. Shari’ah deals with a number of aspects of human life such as politics, economics, crime, personal matters, among others. All Muslims are charged with the responsibility of adhering to shari’ah. This becomes the only distinguishing factor of the Islam faith from other religions. Muslims have also devoted much time and effort on the elaboration of shari’ah to their affiliates to enable them to live in harmony amongst themselves as members of one indivisible religion and their counterparts from other religions. In the Middle East countries, Shari’ah is regarded as a significant source of legislation from which the authority of administering harsh physical punishments is derived. This may include, among others, flogging and stoning of wrongdoers.

The two basic sources of shari’ah are the precepts that are set forth in the ayas of the Qur’an as well as the examples set by the Islamic major prophet Muhammad PBUH in the sunnah. The shari’ah is also subjected to interpretation by the Kadhis (Islamic judges) and imams (religious leaders) in cases where it has official status. Though the introduction of shari’ah has had a longstanding goal for the Islamist movements both locally and globally, the attempts to impose it on some other communities have elicited heated controversies, violence, and even war.

Jihad

In Islam religion, Jihad is a religious duty of Muslims when they are to strive to resist anyone who comes between them and Allah (God). Anyone who engages in jihad is known as mujahid, many are called mujahideen (Fisher, 2013). However, the true of definition jihad has from time to time been accompanied with great controversy. Some Muslim believers have regarded jihad to mean inner spiritual struggle (the great jihad), whereas others literally took it to mean outer physical struggle against potential enemies of Islam. According to the teachings of the Qur’an, the latter is supposed to take either a violent or non-violent form. Jihad has often been translated to mean ‘Holy War’ by Islamic scholars who also strongly claim to have unanimously resolved that the concept of jihad should entail armed struggle against wrong doers. However, other liberal scholars have endeavored to refute that there is no concept in Islam which entirely obliges Muslims to wage war as a way of propagating Islam especially after the time of Muhammad and his accolades. They further allude that the only valid basis of via arms should be to bring any oppression to an end when all other measures would have been exhausted. According to the teachings of Islam, the order of jihad war is only supposed to be issued by the Caliph although Muslims who do not recognize the spiritual authority of Caliphate and have always relied on their area leaders for proclamation of jihad. Irrespective of numerous dynamics and controversies concerning the belief of jihad, Muslims still value jihad as a significant religious duty. In fact, some have hitherto fabricated jihad to be a sixth pillar of Islam, claiming it was erroneously omitted from that important list.