What exactly are the muslim/islamic beliefs from regular to extremists ???

by run dont walk 5 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • run dont walk
    run dont walk

    any sites to learn about their various levels.

    Hate to sound like an uneducated person, but I really have no clue as to what they believe, growing up a JW, why would I care.

    But they are in the news so much the last few weeks, time to learn what this bunch believes in !!

    any thoughts .............

  • stillajwexelder

    Mankinds Search For God published by WTBTS gives a simple introduction - I am serious - that is not a tongue-in-cheek comment

  • diamondblue1974

    Yes stilla but it so easily could have been!


  • stillajwexelder

    Chapter 12 Islam—The Way to God by Submission copywrite WTBTS published 1990

    published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1990

    "IN THE name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful." This sentence translates the Arabic text, above, from the Qur´an. It continues: "Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds: The Beneficent, the Merciful: Owner of the Day of Judgement. Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help. Show us the straight path: The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray."—The Qur´an, surah 1:1-7, MMP.


    These words form Al-Fatihah ("The Opening"), the first chapter, or surah, of the Muslim holy book, the Holy Qur´an, or Koran. Since more than 1 in 6 of the world’s population is Muslim and devout Muslims repeat these verses more than once in each of their five daily prayers, these must be among the most recited words on earth.


    According to one source, there are over 900 million Muslims in the world, making Islam second only to the Roman Catholic Church in numbers. It is perhaps the fastest growing major religion in the world, with an expanding Muslim movement in Africa and the Western world.


    The name Islam is significant to a Muslim, for it means "submission," "surrender," or "commitment" to Allah, and according to one historian, "it expresses the innermost attitude of those who have hearkened to the preaching of Mohammed." "Muslim" means ‘one who makes or does Islam.’


    Muslims believe that their faith is the culmination of the revelations given to the faithful Hebrews and Christians of old. However, their teachings diverge from the Bible on some points, even though they cite both the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures in the Qur´an. (See box, page 285.) To understand the Muslim faith better, we need to know how, where, and when this religion started.




    Muhammad was born in Mecca (Arabic, Makkah), Saudi Arabia, about 570 C.E. His father, `Abd Allah, died before Muhammad’s birth. His mother, Aminah, died when he was about six years old. At that time the Arabs practiced a form of worship of Allah that was centered in the Mecca valley, at the sacred site of the Ka`bah, a simple cubelike building where a black meteorite was revered. According to Islamic tradition, "the Ka`bah was originally built by Adam according to a celestial prototype and after the Deluge rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael." (History of the Arabs, by Philip K. Hitti) It became a sanctuary for 360 idols, one for each day of the lunar year.


    As Muhammad grew up, he questioned the religious practices of his day. John Noss, in his book Man’s Religions, states: "[Muhammad] was disturbed by incessant quarreling in the avowed interests of religion and honor among the Quraysh chiefs [Muhammad belonged to that tribe]. Stronger still was his dissatisfaction with the primitive survivals in Arabian religion, the idolatrous polytheism and animism, the immorality at religious convocations and fairs, the drinking, gambling, and dancing that were fashionable, and the burial alive of unwanted infant daughters practiced not only in Mecca but throughout Arabia."—Surah 6:137.


    Muhammad’s call to be a prophet took place when he was about 40 years of age. He had the custom of going alone to a nearby mountain cave, called Ghar Hira´, for meditation, and he claimed that it was on one of these occasions that he received the call to be a prophet. Muslim tradition relates that while he was there, an angel, later identified as Gabriel, commanded him to recite in the name of Allah. Muhammad failed to respond, so the angel ‘caught him forcefully and pressed him so hard that he could not bear it anymore.’ Then the angel repeated the command. Again, Muhammad failed to react, so the angel ‘choked him’ again. This occurred three times before Muhammad started to recite what came to be viewed as the first of a series of revelations that constitute the Qur´an. Another tradition relates that divine inspiration was revealed to Muhammad like the ringing of a bell.—The Book of Revelation from Sahih Al-Bukhari.


    of the Qur´an


    What is said to have been the first revelation received by Muhammad? Islamic authorities generally agree that it was the first five verses of surah 96, entitled Al-‘Alaq, "The Clot [of Blood]," which reads:

    "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

    Read: In the name of thy Lord who created.

    Created man from a clot.

    Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,

    Who taught by the pen,

    Taught man that which he knew not."



    According to the Arabic source The Book of Revelation, Muhammad answered, "I do not know how to read." Therefore, he had to memorize the revelations so that he could repeat and recite them. The Arabs were skilled in the use of memory, and Muhammad was no exception. How long did it take for him to receive the complete message of the Qur´an? It is generally believed that the revelations came during a period of some 20 to 23 years, from about 610 C.E. to his death in 632 C.E.


    Muslim sources explain that upon receiving each revelation, Muhammad immediately recited it to those who happened to be near. These in turn committed the revelation to memory and by recitation kept it alive. Since the manufacture of paper was unknown to the Arabs, Muhammad had the revelations written down by scribes on the primitive materials then available, such as shoulder blades of camels, palm leaves, wood, and parchment. However, it was not until after the prophet’s death that the Qur´an took its present form, under the guidance of Muhammad’s successors and companions. This was during the rule of the first three caliphs, or Muslim leaders.


    Translator Muhammad Pickthall writes: "All the surahs of the Qur´an had been recorded in writing before the Prophet’s death, and many Muslims had committed the whole Qur´an to memory. But the written surahs were dispersed among the people; and when, in a battle . . . a large number of those who knew the whole Qur´an by heart were killed, a collection of the whole Qur´an was made and put in writing."


    Islamic life is governed by three authorities—the Qur´an, the Hadith, and the Shari`ah. (See box, page 291.) Muslims believe that the Qur´an in Arabic is the purest form of the revelation, since, they say, it was the language used by God in speaking through Gabriel. Surah 43:3 states: "We have made it a Qur-an in Arabic, that ye may be able to understand (and learn wisdom)." (AYA) Thus, any translation is viewed as only a dilution that involves a loss of purity. In fact, some Islamic scholars refuse to translate the Qur´an. Their viewpoint is that "to translate is always to betray," and therefore, "Muslims have always deprecated and at times prohibited any attempt to render it in another language," states Dr. J. A. Williams, lecturer on Islamic history.




    Muhammad founded his new faith against great odds. The people of Mecca, even of his own tribe, rejected him. After 13 years of persecution and hatred, he moved his center of activity north to Yathrib, which then became known as al-Madinah (Medina), the city of the prophet. This emigration, or the hijrah, in 622 C.E. marked a significant point in Islamic history, and the date was later adopted as the starting point for the Islamic calendar.


    Eventually, Muhammad achieved dominance when Mecca surrendered to him in January of 630 C.E. (8 A.H.) and he became its ruler. With the reins of secular and religious control in his hands, he was able to clean out the idolatrous images from the Ka`bah and establish it as the focal point for pilgrimages to Mecca that continue down to this day.—See pages 289, 303.


    Within a few decades of Muhammad’s death in 632 C.E., Islam had spread as far as Afghanistan and even to Tunisia in North Africa. By the early eighth century, the faith of the Qur´an had penetrated into Spain and was at the French border. As Professor Ninian Smart stated in his book Background to the Long Search: "Looked at from a human point of view, the achievement of an Arabian prophet living in the sixth and seventh centuries after Christ is staggering. Humanly, it was from him that a new civilisation flowed. But of course for the Muslim the work was divine and the achievement that of Allah."


    Death Leads to Division


    The prophet’s death provoked a crisis. He died without any male progeny and without a clearly designated successor. As Philip Hitti states: "The caliphate [office of caliph] is therefore the oldest problem Islam had to face. It is still a living issue. . . . In the words of Muslim historian al-Shahrastani [1086-1153]: ‘Never was there an Islamic issue which brought about more bloodshed than the caliphate (imamah).’" How was the problem solved back there in 632 C.E.? "Abu-Bakr . . . was designated (June 8, 632) Muhammad’s successor by some form of election in which those leaders present at the capital, al-Madinah, took part."—History of the Arabs.


    The successor to the prophet would be a ruler, a khalifah, or caliph. However, the question of the true successors to Muhammad became a cause for divisions in the ranks of Islam. The Sunni Muslims accept the principle of elective office rather than blood descent from the prophet. Therefore they believe that the first three caliphs, Abu Bakr (Muhammad’s father-in-law), `Umar (the prophet’s adviser), and `Uthman (the prophet’s son-in-law), were the legitimate successors to Muhammad.


    That claim is contested by the Shi`ite Muslims, who say that the true leadership comes through the prophet’s blood line and through his cousin and son-in-law, `Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first imam (leader and successor), who married Muhammad’s favorite daughter, Fatimah. Their marriage produced Muhammad’s grandsons Hasan and Husayn. The Shi`ites also claim "that from the beginning Allah and His Prophet had clearly designated `Ali as the only legitimate successor but that the first three caliphs had cheated him out of his rightful office." (History of the Arabs) Of course, the Sunni Muslims view that differently.


    What happened to `Ali? During his rule as the fourth caliph (656-661 C.E.), a struggle over leadership arose between him and the governor of Syria, Mu`awiyah. They joined battle, and then to spare further Muslim bloodshed, they threw their dispute open to arbitration. `Ali’s acceptance of arbitration weakened his case and alienated many of his followers, including the Khawarij (Seceders), who became his deadly foes. In the year 661 C.E., `Ali was murdered with a poisoned sabre by a Khariji zealot. The two groups (the Sunni and the Shi`ah) were at loggerheads. The Sunni branch of Islam then chose a leader from the Umayyads, wealthy Meccan chiefs, who were outside of the prophet’s family.


    For the Shi`ah, `Ali’s firstborn, Hasan, the prophet’s grandson, was the true successor. However, he resigned and was murdered. His brother Husayn became the new imam, but he too was killed, by Umayyad troops on October 10, 680 C.E. His death or martyrdom, as the Shi`ah view it, has had a significant effect on the Shi`at `Ali, the party of `Ali, down to this day. They believe that `Ali was the true successor to Muhammad and the first "imam [leader] divinely protected against error and sin." `Ali and his successors were considered by the Shi`ah to be infallible teachers with "the divine gift of impeccability." The largest segment of the Shi`ah believe that there have been only 12 true imams, and the last of these, Muhammad al-Muntazar, disappeared (878 C.E.) "in the cave of the great mosque at Samarra without leaving offspring." Thus "he became ‘the hidden (mustatir)’ or ‘the expected (muntazar) imam.’ . . . In due time he will appear as the Mahdi (divinely guided one) to restore true Islam, conquer the whole world and usher in a short millennium before the end of all things."—History of the Arabs.


    Every year, the Shi`ah commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn. They have processions in which some cut themselves with knives and swords and otherwise inflict suffering on themselves. In more modern times, Shi`ite Muslims have received much publicity because of their zeal for Islamic causes. However, they represent only about 20 percent of the world’s Muslims, the majority being Sunni Muslims. But now, let us turn to some of the teachings of Islam and note how the Islamic faith affects the daily conduct of Muslims.


    Is Supreme, Not Jesus


    The three major monotheistic religions of the world are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But by the time Muhammad appeared toward the beginning of the seventh century C.E., the first two religions, as far as he was concerned, had wandered from the path of truth. In fact, according to some Islamic commentators, the Qur´an implies rejection of Jews and of Christians in stating: "Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray." (Surah 1:7, MMP) Why is that?


    A Qur´anic commentary states: "The People of the Book went wrong: The Jews in breaking their Covenant, and slandering Mary and Jesus . . . and the Christians in raising Jesus the Apostle to equality with God" by means of the Trinity doctrine.—Surah 4:153-176, AYA.


    The principal teaching of Islam, for utter simplicity, is what is known as the shahadah, or confession of faith, which every Muslim knows by heart: "La ilah illa Allah; Muhammad rasul Allah" (No god but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah). This agrees with the Qur´anic expression, "Your God is One God; there is no God save Him, the Beneficent, the Merciful." (Surah 2:163, MMP) This thought was stated 2,000 years earlier with the ancient call to Israel: "Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah." (Deuteronomy 6:4) Jesus repeated this foremost command, which is recorded at Mark 12:29, about 600 years before Muhammad, and nowhere did Jesus claim to be God or to be equal to Him.—Mark 13:32; John 14:28; 1 Corinthians 15:28.


    Regarding God’s uniqueness, the Qur´an states: "So believe in God and His apostles. Say not ‘Trinity’: desist: it will be better for you: for God is One God." (Surah 4:171, AYA) However, we should note that true Christianity does not teach a Trinity. That is a doctrine of pagan origin introduced by apostates of Christendom after the death of Christ and the apostles.—See Chapter 11.


    Resurrection, Paradise, and Hellfire


    Islam teaches that man has a soul that goes on to a hereafter. The Qur´an states: "Allah receiveth (men’s) souls at the time of their death, and that (soul) which dieth not (yet) in its sleep. He keepeth that (soul) for which He hath ordained death." (Surah 39:42, MMP) At the same time, surah 75 is entirely devoted to "Qiyamat, or the Resurrection" (AYA), or "The Rising of the Dead" (MMP). In part it says: "I do call to witness the Resurrection Day . . . Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones? . . . He questions: ‘When is the Day of Resurrection?’ . . . Has not He [Allah] the power to give life to the dead?"—Surah 75:1, 3, 6, 40, AYA.


    According to the Qur´an, the soul can have different destinies, which can be either a heavenly garden of paradise or the punishment of a burning hell. As the Qur´an states: "They ask: When is the Day of Judgement? (It is) the day when they will be tormented at the Fire, (and it will be said unto them): Taste your torment (which ye inflicted)." (Surah 51:12-14, MMP) "For them [the sinners] is torment in the life of the world, and verily the doom of the Hereafter is more painful, and they have no defender from Allah." (Surah 13:34, MMP) The question is asked: "And what will explain to thee what this is? (It is) a Fire blazing fiercely!" (Surah 101:10, 11, AYA) This dire fate is described in detail: "Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise." (Surah 4:56, MMP) A further description states: "Lo! hell lurketh in ambush . . . They will abide therein for ages. Therein taste they neither coolness nor (any) drink save boiling water and a paralysing cold."—Surah 78:21, 23-25, MMP.


    Muslims believe that a dead person’s soul goes to the Barzakh, or "Partition," "the place or state in which people will be after death and before Judgment." (Surah 23:99, 100, AYA, footnote) The soul is conscious there experiencing what is termed the "Chastisement of the Tomb" if the person had been wicked, or enjoying happiness if he had been faithful. But the faithful ones must also experience some torment because of their few sins while alive. On the judgment day, each faces his eternal destiny, which ends that intermediate state.


    In contrast, the righteous are promised heavenly gardens of paradise: "And as for those who believe and do good works, We shall make them enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow to dwell therein for ever." (Surah 4:57, MMP) "On that day the dwellers of Paradise shall think of nothing but their bliss. Together with their wives, they shall recline in shady groves upon soft couches." (Surah 36:55, 56, NJD) "Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the Message (given to Moses): ‘My servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth.’" The footnote to this surah refers the reader to Psalm 25:13 and 37:11, 29, as well as to the words of Jesus at Matthew 5:5. (Surah 21:105, AYA) The reference to wives now makes us turn to another question.


    or Polygamy?


    Is polygamy the rule among Muslims? While the Qur´an permits polygamy, many Muslims have only one wife. Because of the numerous widows that were left after costly battles, the Qur´an made room for polygamy: "And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess." (Surah 4:3, MMP) A biography of Muhammad by Ibn-Hisham mentions that Muhammad married a wealthy widow, Khadijah, 15 years his senior. After her death he married many women. When he died he left nine widows.


    Another form of marriage in Islam is called mut`ah. It is defined as "a special contract concluded between a man and a woman through offer and acceptance of marriage for a limited period and with a specified dowry like the contract for permanent marriage." (Islamuna, by Mustafa al-Rafi`i) The Sunnis call it a marriage for pleasure, and the Shi`ah, a marriage to be terminated in a specific period. States the same source: "The children [of such marriages] are legitimate and have the same rights as the children of a permanent marriage." Apparently this form of temporary marriage was practiced in Muhammad’s day, and he allowed it. Sunnis insist that it was prohibited later, while the Imamis, the largest Shi`ite group, believe that it is still in effect. In fact, many practice it, especially when a man is absent from his wife for a long period of time.


    and Daily Life


    Islam involves five pillars, or principal obligations, and six basic beliefs. (See boxes, pages 296, 303.) One of the obligations is that the devout Muslim turn to Mecca five times a day in prayer (salat). On the Muslim sabbath (Friday), the men flock to the mosque for prayer when they hear the haunting call of the muezzin from the minaret of the mosque. Nowadays many mosques play a recording rather than have a live voice give the call.


    The mosque (Arabic, masjid) is the Muslim place of worship, described by King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia as "the cornerstone for the call to God." He defined the mosque as "a place of prayer, study, legal and judicial activities, consultation, preaching, guidance, education and preparation. . . . The mosque is the heart of Muslim society." These places of worship are now found all over the world. One of the most famous in history is the Mezquita (Mosque) of Córdoba, Spain, which for centuries was the largest in the world. Its central portion is now occupied by a Catholic cathedral.


    With and Within Christendom


    Beginning in the seventh century, Islam spread westward into North Africa, eastward to Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, and down to Indonesia. As it did so, it entered into conflict with a militant Catholic Church, which organized Crusades to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. In 1492 Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain completed the Catholic reconquest of Spain. Muslims and Jews had to convert or be expelled from Spain. The mutual tolerance that had existed under Muslim rule in Spain later evaporated under the influence of the Catholic Inquisition. However, Islam survived and in the 20th century has experienced resurgence and great growth.


    While Islam was expanding, the Catholic Church was going through its own turmoil, trying to keep unity in its ranks. But two powerful influences were about to burst on the scene, and they would shatter even further the monolithic image of that church. They were the printing press and the Bible in the language of the people. Our next chapter will discuss Christendom’s further fragmentation under those and other influences.


    "Qur´an" (which means "Recitation") is the spelling favored by Muslim writers and the one we will use here. It should be noted that Arabic is the original language of the Qur´an, and in English there is no universally accepted translation. In quotations the first number represents the chapter, or surah, and the second is the verse number.

    Muslims believe that the Bible contains revelations of God but that some of them were falsified later.

    In English the prophet’s name has various spellings (Mohammed, Muhammad, Mahomet). Most Muslim sources prefer Muhammad, which we will use. Turkish Muslims prefer Muhammed.

    Thus, the Muslim year is given as A.H. (Latin, Anno Hegirae, year of the flight) rather than A.D. (Anno Domini, year of the Lord) or C.E. (Common Era).

    published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1990

  • Carmel

    If you want a less biased verison of the history of Islam, I'd reccomend "Muhammed and the Course of Islam" by H.M. Balyuzi.

    Beyond that a good copy of the Quran with footnotes.


  • EvilForce

    Perhaps you would like to peruse a muslim board?


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