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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions of Islam and Muslims. If your question is not listed, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions and perhaps list it on this page.
What is Islam?
What is G-d?
Who are Muslims and what do they believe?
How does one become a muslim?
How does one become a muslim?
What is the Holy Qur'an?
What does "Islam" mean?
What are the Five Pillars of Islam?
Who are the Muslims?
What about the American Muslim community?
What is the role of women in Islam?
Why do Muslim women cover their hair?
What is Jihad?
What does Islam say about Christianity?
What does Islam say about Judaism?
How does Islam view terrorism?
Does Islam tolerate other beliefs?
What is an appropriate way to greet a Muslim?

What is Islam? Islam is Arabic and literally means "peace". Islam is a total system of living. It means more than that: submission to the One Allah, and to live in peace with the Creator, within one's self, with other people and with the environment. Thus, Islam is the religion of peace, mercy and forgiveness.

What is G-d? Imam W. Deen Muhammad (May G-d reward him with paradise) leader of the largest indigenous group of Muslims, explained that in orderto show due reverence to the Name of G-d Almighty, that we not use any spelling that could in the reverse mean "dog."

Who are Muslims and what do they believe in? Muslim is anyone that submits their live to serve God hence, a Muslim is any person anywhere in the world whose obedience, allegiance, and loyalty are to Allah (G-d), the Lord of the Universe. Muslims believe in one Allah (G-d) and in the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for actions. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets beginning with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob Joseph, Job, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus. G-d's message was reaffirmed and finalized by the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims pray in a mosque in the same way that Christians pray in a church.

How does one become a muslim? Becoming a Muslim is a fairly simple matter. It requires that you make two testifications of faith (referred to in Arabic as ash-Shahadatayn) before at least two witnesses. The two testifications of faith are:
1. (in English) I bear withness that no one deserves to be worshiped except Allah (in Arabic) Ashhadu alla ilaha illallah
2. (in English) Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. (in Arabic) wa ashhadu anna MuhammadAR- rasulullah.

What is the Holy Quran? The Quran is the Muslim holy book, like the Bible is to Christianity. It is the record of the exact words revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad. It was memorized by Muhammad and his companions and then put into writing.

What does 'Islam' mean? The Arabic word "Islam" means "submission," and it derives from a word meaning "peace." In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of G-d. "Allah" is the Arabic name for G-d, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.

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What are the 'Five Pillars' of Islam? These are the framework for Muslim life:

1. The declaration of faith: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of G-d."
2. Prayer: Muslims perform five obligatory prayers each day. Islamic prayers are a direct link between the worshiper and G-d. Islam has no hierarchical authority or priesthood.
3. Zakat: One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to G-d and that wealth is held in trust by human beings. Zakat, or charitable giving, "purifies" wealth by setting aside a portion for those in need.
4. Fasting: Every year in the Islamic lunar month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The fast is another method of self-purification.
5. Pilgrimage: A pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, or Hajj as it is called in Arabic, is an obligation for those who are physically and financially able to make the journey.

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Who are the Muslims? People who follow the Islamic faith come from all over the world. No more than 20% of Muslims live in the Arabic-speaking world. The country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia.

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What about the American Muslim community? An estimated 7 million Muslims live in the USA. They are made up of people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds and national origins. Islam is one of the fastest-growing religions in the United States and around the world.

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What is the role of women in Islam? Under Islamic law, women have always had the right to own property, receive an education and otherwise take part in community life. Men and women have equality and are to be respected equally.

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Why do Muslim women cover their hair? Islam teaches modesty for both men and women. Women are asked to cover so they do not attract unwanted looks the hair can be very attractive, women spend a lot of time in the beauty parlor to assure this, but in order to help society stay focused on their duties.  In the time of Prophet Muhammed (saws) the women asked him how should they dress and he indicated women should reveal only their face and hands.  There is no compulsion in Islam, therefore you may see some Muslim women without a scarf or head covering.

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What is Jihad? Jihad does not mean "holy war." Literally, jihad in Arabic means to strive, struggle and exert effort. It is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself; struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield for self-defense or fighting against tyranny or oppression.

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What does Islam say about Christianity? Islam teaches that Christians and Muslims are both "people of the book." By that it means that the two religions share the same basic divine beliefs. The main difference between Christians and Muslims is that Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the son of G-d. Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet who was granted special powers by G-d to show people the power of G-d.

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What does Islam say about Judaism? Islam teaches that Jews and Muslims are both "people of the book." By that it means that the two religions share the same basic beliefs articulated through the Torah and the Koran. The main difference between Jews and Muslims is that Jews do not believe in the prophets after the Jewish prophets including Muhammad (saws) and his teachings. Muslims, on the other hand, believe in all the prophets including Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Ishmael, Issac and Jesus.

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How does Islam view terrorism? Islam does not support terrorism under any circumstances. Terrorism goes against every principle in Islam. If Muslims engages in terrorism, they are not following Islam. They are wrongly using the name of Islam for political or financial gain.

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Does Islam tolerate other beliefs? Yes. It is one function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities. Islamic law also permits non-Muslims to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves.

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What is an appropriate way to greet a Muslim? This is not difficult or tricky. Remember that most Muslims grew up in the USA and do not require special greetings. Be yourself, and let them be themselves. If they are practicing Muslims or recent immigrants, watch for cues. A smile, a nod and a word of greeting are appropriate in most situations. Some Muslims feel it is inappropriate for unrelated men and women to shake hands. Wait until the other person extends his or her hand before you extend yours.

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