If you followed the discussion over the past month or so, I hope you recognized the similarities between what Muslims believe and what your faith tradition believes, and I hope I cleared up some misconceptions, especially about God, the One God, the Only God, the Creator, Sustainer, Provider of all that was, all that is, and all that will be.
If all that was too long and dense for you, here’s a brief recap:There are three parts of being a Muslim: the 5 required actions of Islam (testifying that there is nothing worthy of worship except for Allah and Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the final messenger; praying the 5 daily prayers; giving in charity, if you’re financially able; making the pilgrimage, if you’re financially and physically able; fasting the month of Ramada, if you’re physically able); the 6 required beliefs of Iman; and the principle of Ihsan (worshiping God as if you see Him, and if you can’t see Him, knowing that He Sees you).
The five pillars of Islam are well known and more or less easy to adhere to, especially since 3 of 5 are only applicable to people with the ability to adhere to them. The principle of Ihsan isn’t particularly well known, and I might dig into it at some point, but it’s fairly easy to conceptualize and hard to implement with any consistency, for me anyway. The six beliefs of Islam, though, are, I think, not particularly well known, especially here in the United States, and especially among people from the Texas suburbs and countryside, people that I worry and wonder about, people that I deeply respect and admire, my people, and I hope this series has been of some benefit,* and I hope it will be of some benefit in the future, and God knows best.
In case you missed it, here’s a brief outline, with links to the individual posts.
- The Belief in God
- The Belief in His prophets and messengers
- Prophets were sent to teach us about Him and show us how to worship Him
- Messengers were given books containing stories to remind us of Him, as well as laws and regulations for interacting with each other and the world in ways that please Him
- The Belief in the Books given to the Messengers, including, but not limited to, the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, and the Quran
- The Belief in other created beings
- Angels, beings created from light, who obey God unconditionally
- Jinn, beings created from fire, who have free will and are much like us
- The Belief in the Day of Judgement, that we will all die one day, that we will all be raised from the dead and gathered together to be judged on our belief and our actions
- The Belief in the Divine Decree of God, that He Created all and knows all, and that He decreed all, the good and the bad
Some of that is a little bit different from the Christianity I was raised in, but it’s nothing too scary or too different or too outside. But, then, what we believe probably isn’t that important to the people: y’all only see what we do, how we act, how we treat each other and our neighbors, if you know any Muslims at all, and the major media organizations are really only interested in advertising revenue, and sex, blood, and fear are the biggest money makers, so they’re only going to show our mistakes and the evil people commit in our name.
If I can stress one thing, let me be clear: there is no plot. There are 1.5 million Muslims, or so, in the world; there are several hundred thousand in DFW. If we all got together, we could do some great things, but the same could be said for amateur and hack photographers, people with blogs, people who like grilled cheese sandwiches. If all the VW Golf drivers got together, we could ___________. But ain’t none of us going to get together on anything. My neighbors, the 50 or so houses, can’t even throw a block party, and we walk to the mosque for prayer together 5 times a day. We’re all too busy struggling to stay afloat, keep our jobs, keep our wives and husbands and children happy and fed. This is America, after all.
But I digress.
God willing, this series has been of benefit to me first, of help in clarifying and strengthening and identifying flaws in my own belief, and God willing, it’s been of help to you too, whoever you are.
May God bless you and keep you safe, forgive your sins, and may He grant you better in this life and better in the next life, and may He save us from the fire, Amen.