Islamic teachings and terminology, By Yahiya Emerick

Never use this term to refer to Islam. It is considered offensive to Muslims because it implies that Muslims worship Muhammad. Western academics, who coined this term, were merely following a familiar pattern: Christ worshipper = Christian, Buddha worshipper = Buddhist. But Islam does not teach the worship of Muhammad. Islam views him as a man who was given a mission to teach people about God therefore Muhammad’s followers are called Muslims.

Two sources
All Islamic teachings come from only two sources: the Quran and the Hadeeth, or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Think of the Quran like God’s Word and the Prophet’s sayings as the living application of the Book.

During the height of Islamic civilization some 800 years ago, Muslim psychologists diagnosed stress this way: The further away you are from God, the more stressed you will be. They then counseled their patients on how to increase their relationship with God through prayer, fasting, aromatherapy, reading, reflection, and self-denial.

Islam forbids statues, paintings, and drawings of people and animals, equating them with potential idols. Abstract drawings, nature scenes, cartoons, and dolls for children are exempted. A few Muslims even consider photographs forbidden, though this issue is in much dispute among Muslim scholars

The Sunnah is the Way of the Prophet, is contained in the books of Hadeeths. These books are the collected sayings and actions of the Prophet, categorized by topic, that were compiled in the first three centuries of the Islamic era.

Raising hands up
When Muslims supplicate, or make personal requests to God, we hold our hands in front of us with both palms up. After asking for whatever we wish, we pass our palms over our faces. We ask for God’s blessings with open hands and then wash God’s grace over our faces!

Friday prayer
Muslims gather for congregational worship service on Friday afternoons. Prophet Muhammad explained that God ordained Friday to be the day of gathering to show the precedence of Islam over Judaism and Christianity, whose followers meet on Saturday and Sunday.

Men are always chosen to say the azan or the call for prayer, for two reasons: They have louder voices generally, and the sound of a woman’s voice calling through the streets may tempt some men to fantasize about her. Islam believes in protecting the modesty and dignity of women from any unscrupulous men who may be around.

Joining two prayers
There are certain times when some of the five daily prayers can be combined and prayed at the same time. Travelers, pregnant women, and nursing women can combine the two afternoon prayers at either one of the times and also the two evening prayers at either time so there is no hardship on such busy people.

Islamic prayers
Are said in Arabic exclusively so that all Muslims can be unified in their language of worship, in much the same way that Catholicism used to require Latin services. Muhammad even taught non-Arab converts to say the prayers in Arabic. Supplications, however, can be made in any language.

When a person or group begins to pray, any angels who are nearby come and join in the prayer. The angels then report back to God and tell Him what His servants are doing, though He already knows.

Bowing only to Allah
Muslims are forbidden to bow to anything on Earth whether it’s a king, a judge, idol, or an audience for whom we have performed.

Debt accountability
Can a person intentionally go into debt to avoid paying Zakat? Islam teaches that a person’s actions will be judged by his or her intentions. If someone tries this kind of scheme, God knows about it and will hold that person accountable. Besides, debtors have to wait outside of Paradise until their obligations are paid by someone on Earth. Thus, debt is strongly discouraged to begin with.

Who must fast?
Every Muslim over the age of puberty who is sane and healthy enough to do it must observe Ramadan. Those who are exempt are the very young (below puberty), the permanently sick, the elderly who are too weak, and the mentally challenged. Temporary exemptions are given for women in their menses, travelers, and women in labor or after childbirth.

Voluntary Fasting
There are also occasions to fast throughout the rest of the year. The Prophet Muhammad’s personal habit was to fast three days of each month.

The Black Stone
There is a black stone about the size of a basketball set in a frame in one corner of the Ka’bah. It is a meteorite used by Abraham as part of his original shrine. Muslims point to, or kiss this stone while circling the Ka’bah to express their love for Abraham.

Ka’bah and unity
Muslims believe that the Ka’bah exists on two planes at once, both here on Earth and in Paradise. When Muslims pray anywhere in the world, they face toward the Ka’bah as a symbol of their desire to be obedient to God and to go to Heaven. It also provides a sense of unity among Muslims all over the world.

Non-Muslim societies
Muslims who are living in non-Muslim societies are bound by Islamic Law to live peacefully with their neighbors so long as no injustice is being done to anyone. Crime and vice must be opposed regardless.

Islam rejects
Islam does not accept as valid any religion founded between the time of Jesus and Muhammad nor any founded since Muhammad.

Miracles to anyone
Christians take the miracles of Jesus as proof that he is the son of God. Muslims believe that God can grant the power to perform miracles to anyone, yet it does not make them into a god.

The miracle of Quran
Muhammad performed several miracles during his ministry. Although they were not as numerous as the miracles granted to Jesus, Muhammad is credited with healing and other miraculous acts. He always asserted, however, that his greatest miracle was the Quran itself.

Universal message
Islam teaches that all prophets were sent to their local people only. Muhammad’s message, though, was meant not only for the Arabs, but also for the whole world.

Jewish neighbors
Muhammad ordered Muslims to be kind to their Jewish neighbors and to share their food with the Jews. He also had business dealings with Jews and never failed in his end of the bargain.

John the Baptist
The Islamic name for John the Baptist is Yahiya, which means life. The significance is that God created a life in a womb that could bear none.

No divinity
Muslims accept the virgin birth but do not say it is a sign of divinity. Rather Islam teaches that God created Jesus with a mere command as a miracle for people to ponder.

Muhammad The Comforter
Muslims believe that Jesus predicted the coming of Muhammad. The New Testament of the Bible quotes Jesus as saying the Comforter will come after him and will guide people into all truth. The Quran calls itself the completion of all religion. Jesus could not have been referring to the Holy Spirit because according to the Bible, the Spirit was al- ready at work in the world. A thorough reading of John 16:7–14 provides strong indications that a man is being referenced, not the Holy Spirit.

Paul the interpreter
Muslims do not accept Saint Paul as an authentic interpreter of the teachings of Jesus. He is never mentioned in any Islamic source.

In a non-Muslim land
Muslims are allowed to live in non-Muslim lands provided they promote their religion to those around them. They must also respect the local laws of their adopted countries as long as the laws don’t contradict the laws of Islam.

Quicker burial
A deceased person is supposed to be buried within three days at the most according to Islamic Law—the quicker the better.

Popular myth
Contrary to popular myth, Islam does not allow a girl to be forced into marriage. Even though this reprehensible practice is prevalent all over the world, including in some Muslim countries, such a marriage is not of the teaching of Islam and is considered invalid in Islam.

Mass distraction weapon
Nuclear, atomic, and biological weapons are actually forbidden in Islam because they cause indiscriminate destruction of civilians and wildlife. Islamic Law forbids harming women, children, the aged, noncombatants, and the environment in a wartime situation. Any Muslim government that is pursuing programs to invent such weapons is engaging in sinful conduct.