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50 QUESTIONS OF INTEREST ABOUT ISLAM
By Olive Toto
Question 1 : Name the religion which wants its followers to believe in only One God for whom the word in Arabic is Allah, and the word in English is God ?
Answers 1 : Islam is that religion.
Question 2 : Name the religion that believes in all the prophets and also believes in the Prophet Muhammad as the Last Prophet?
Answer 2 : Islam is the only religion that believes all that is said above.
Question 3 : What religion believes that Jesus is a prophet ?
Answer 3 : Islam is that religion.
Question 4 : What are the followers of Islam called ?
Answer 4 : Muslim.
Question 5 : Why cannot a Muslim call himself a Muhammadan ?
Answer 5 : Because, as you know, the Christians worship Jesus Christ or through him, therefore they are called Christians. A Muslim does not worship Muhammad. So he must not be called a Muhammadan, because it gives a wrong impression.
Question 6 : A little child ask this question with reference to the above Answer 5 (the child is a little girl who ask, 'But what if my teacher calls me a Muhammadan and I am too shy to correct her ? ').
Answer 6 : Little girl! If you let anyone call you a Muhammadan you are doing a lot of harm to all Muslims everywhere. Never be too shy to stand up for Islam, if there is any likelihood of Islam being misunderstood. As for your teacher, she will admire you if yu put your hand up and politely give the reason why you must not be called a Muhammadan.
Question 7 : Who gave the name of Islam to our religion ?
Answer 7 : Allah gave the name of Islam to this religion which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. A statement about this is in the Holy Quran (our Holy Book).
Question 8 : Does a Muslim need anyone to wash away his or her sins or did anyone die on a cross to save us ?
Answer 8 : No, definitely no. A Muslim must wash away his own sins with prayers to Allah, if he is truly sorry. We Muslims believe that no man must die for us to wash away our sins, and that Allah could never want anyone to die for our sins.
Question 9 : Does a Muslim, need a priest to confess to ? Does he make confession in a confession box?
Answer 9 : Islam is against such things, and there are no confession boxes. A Muslim prays staright to Allah himself.
Question 10 : What is the meaning of the word Islam?
Answer 10 : The word Islam means submission or to submit to Allah.
Question 11 : In Islam we have five important things to believe in. These importants things we call pillars. You can guess why they are called pillars because they hold Islam up. Islam rest on them. Please name these five pillars ?
Answer 11 : (1) Faith in Allah and the Divine Messengership of Muhammad. (2) Prayer. (3) Fasting during the month of fasting, callled Ramadhan. (4) The Zakat (this is a kind of poor-rate and also a rate for the cummunity's benefit and a charity to help any good cause. This is a 2 1/2 per cent tax on one's yearly earnings, or more if possible). (5) The Hajj, or the pilgrimage to Mecca at a certain time of the year. For this pilgrimage you have to be in Mecca before 7th day of the 12th month of the Muslim year and stay there until the 11th day of the same month. A visit to the Ka'abah at Mecca at any other time is called 'Umrah', which means 'the minor pilgrimage'.
Question 12 : What dose Islam think of labour, or in other words, work?
Answer 12 : Every kind of labour which enables a man to live honestly is respected by Islam.
Question 13 : I have my Holy Quran to believe in and follow. But how must I think about the other holy books ?
Answer 13 : We must respect all holy books because all holy books were brought by a prophet and from Allah. But it is sad to say these holy books have not remained intact.
Question 14 : Why did we need the Last Prophet, the Prophet Muhammad, and the last Holy Book, the Holy Quran ?
Answer 14 : We needed a last prophet, which is Muhammad, because the Divine message many other prophets brought has been altered and misunderstood. We needed a last book because of this, the Quran, is the only book that has not been altered and will not and cannot be altered, as millions of Muslims know it by heart, whereas other holy books have been altered. If all copies of the Quran (which Allah forbid!) were burnt, the very next moment the Quran would spring to live again from the million who know it by heart. So you can see, there is no chance of this book, the Quran, being lost or altered.
Question 15 : We have spoken a lot about Allah, but who is he?
Answer 15 : He is the maker of everything. He made the worlds and all things ini them. He tells us in the Holy Quran (which wan revealed 1,400 years ago) about the worlds, not only this world. He is the maker of everything. He is the spirit that watches over us and guides us. He has no family, sons or daughters. He is one, and only one, not three in one. He sees everything. He knows everything, forgives everything if one is truly repentant. He punishes those who do not repent or try to be good.
Question 16 : If someone asked you, 'Can Islam be understood by all?' What would be the answer?
Answer 16 : It is the simplicity and common sense of Islam that appeals to all who accept itu, 'Why,' one says, 'I must have always been a Muslim because I always believed in One God and all the prophets. Of course, I did not know about Muhammad being the Last Prophet, but now I understand and see how sensible it is.' These remarks I have really heard often.
Question 17 : Does Islam mention the poor and the orphans?
Answer 17 : Yes, so much so that one can write a whole book about it.
Question 18 : Can a Muslim gamble?
Answer 18 : A simple No!
Question 19 : Can a Muslim drink alcohol?
Answer 19 : Definitely NO, and one day all people will see the curse of drink.
Question 20 : What would you call Islam?
Answer 20 : A religion; a way of life which must be in use always, not just for prayer time on Fridays. Islam must always be with you in the home, in politics, in business, in marriage, in sleeping, eating, living and dying. It is what you boys and girls know by the common words -a must.
Question 21 : Name some of things that Islam says it is wrong to do.
Answer 21 : It is wrong to hate, steal, lie, to be jealous, or kill, and to have such pride that it becomes haughtiness; also it wrong to be cruel to animals, to eat pork, used bad language. It is wrong to rob in business or otherwise. Never sign a contract which you do not mean to keep. Never borrow and not pay back. It is a sin. Never incur debts which you will never be able to pay. Just ask your heart, 'Is this right or wrong? It will tell you if you are a Muslim. The Prophet once said, 'Sin is that thing which hurts inside your chest.'
Question 22. : Does a Muslim have any sacred animals as the Hindus have, such as the cow, for instance?
Answer 22 : No, none at all. 'But all animals,' said our Prophets, 'must be treated with kindness.'
Question 23 : Does a Muslim think of any river as sacred and holy?
Answer 23 : No.
Question 24 : Must a preacher be ordained before he can the prayers or give a sermon in a mosque?
Answer 24 : No. There are no priest in Islam. But there are men trained to lecture and lead prayers and to study every point of Islam. These persons are called Imams, but any good man can stand up and lead the prayers in any mosque.
Question 25 : Will another prophet ever come?
Answer 25 : No. The Prophet Muhammad (may be peace and blessing of Allah be upon him!) is the Last Prophet. No more prophet will ever come.
Question 26 : Does a prophet always bring a holy book or message?
Answer 26 : We Muslims believe they always bring a book and a message.
Question 27 : Are we born in sin? What does Islam say about this?
Answer 27 : No. We are born sinless. But we can become sinful if we do not take Allah’s advice and pray for help. I ask you or anyone, 'Can any mother honestly believe her baby is born sinful? Can she believe that her cuddlesome little bundle was born sinful and that some man must say a prayer before it can go to heaven, if Allah calls it?' A Muslim will never believe this, I doubt if any mother really would or does.
Question 28 : Was the good woman, Mary, the Mother of God?
Answer 28 : No. The good woman Mary was not the Mother of God. She was the mother of the Prophet Jesus. Allah has no mother.
Question 29 : Does a Muslim believe that Jesus is God or a part of God and that he took the shape of a man and came down to die for our sins?
Answer 29 : No. A Muslim must not believe in this.
Question 30 : Does our Holy Book, the Quran, mention Jesus and his mother, Mary?
Answer 30 : Yes. With great respect the mother of Jesus is mentioned, but only as a good woman, not as one to pray through or to; and Jesus as a good man and a prophet of Allah.
Question 31 : If I pray to Allah, does He benefit by it?
Answer 31 : Allah does not benefit by your prayer. It is you who benefits. But Allah is happy that you turn to Him and seek Him out in prayer, asking His help in daily life. But always remember, it is you who need Allah, and please do not forget this. Allah can and does exist without you, but you cannot exist without Allah and His help.
Question 32 : How many times a day is a Muslim asked to pray?
Answer 32 : Five times a day : (1) at daybreak to sunrise; (2) in the afternoon; (3) in the late afternoon; (4) at sunset; and (5) before retiring to bed.
Question 33 : Does a Muslim say a prayer before and after meals?
Answer 33 : Yes. A Muslim says a prayer before he starts to drive his car, before he starts a journey or any job. He says: Bismillah. This is an Arabic sentence and means in English 'In the name of God (Allah)', A Muslim thanks at the end of his job with the words Alhamdulillah, which means in English 'God be thanked'.
Question 34 : Are there any statues or figures made in marble or in any other kind of stone and wood which a Muslim has such as the Catholics have?
Answer 34 : Not at all.
Question 35 : Are Muslims called to prayers by bell ringing?
Answer 35 : No. A 'human cry' (Azan) brings the followers to prayers. This cry is much better than a bell. A man calls out to his fellow men to come to prayers in the name of God. Any man can do this, but a special man who has a good voice does it, and is called a Muezzin. You may wonder why I say that a human call is better than a bell. Think for yourself a minute. This man has a heart; he feels a happy to be going to call others to come and praise God. But that bell is just a piece of metal. It has no emotion. The following call is heard from the mosques and Muslim places of worship all over the world: 'Allah is Great! Allah is Great! I bear witness that there is no god but Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Come to prayers! Come to prayers! Come to success! Come to success! Allah is Great! There is no god but Allah.' When calling Muslims for the dawn prayer, these words are added at the end of the call: 'Prayer is better than sleep.'
Question 36 : Does an Imam out on a certain kind of robe like a clergyman in England?
Answer 36 : No. There is no special dress as the Clergyman has, and no laces and embroidered robes as in the High Church.
Question 37 : Are there any nuns in Islam?
Answer 37 : No. We believe in Islam that a woman should marry and have children and she can still say all the prayers that a good person should. But we think it is not God’s wish for a woman to become a nun.
Question 38 : Are there monks in Islam?
Answer 38 : No.
Question 39 : Does a baby have to be christened in Islam?
Answer 39 : No. But we do cry the call to prayers softly in a baby’s ear, when it is only a few days old, as it is best thing for a baby to hear. But if anything should happen to the baby, that cry has not paved its way to heaven. As I said before, a baby is sinless and always goes to heaven, prayer or no prayer. But we like to let the sound of the call to prayers reach a baby’s ear.
Question 40 : What does a Muslim do before he says his prayers?
Answer 40 : A Muslim washes himself, and this is what he does: If he is clean and does not need a bath, then he starts with washing the right hand and up to the wrist three times. Then he washes the left hand three times, followed by rinsing the mouth three times, preferably brushing the teeth before rinsing the mouth. The he should clean his nose by sniffing water up three times. This is to be followed by washing the face three times and arms up to the elbows three times, first the right arm and then the left. After tihis he should pass his wet hands over the head, starting from the front with the inside of the wet hands, passing down to the back of the neck (using the inside of the hands). He should now turn his hands over and use the back of them, wiping the neck all around the back and the back of the ears with the thumbs from the lobe of the ear upwards. He should then put the forefinger of each hand into each ear and work the finger around the grooves of the ears. Last of all, he should wash his feet up to the ankles three times, first the right foot and then the left. The Arabic word for this washing process is Wudhu’.
Question 41 : Does a Muslim say his prayers standing?
Answer 41 : Yes, some part of it. But if he is ill, he can say his prayers in any position best suitable to himself. But if he is strong and healthy, the he has to follow a set form of postures. A Muslim starts his prayers standing, then he kneels, bows down and places his forehead right on to the ground so that the nose also touches it. No position is too humble when one is before God. In our prayers we stand, kneel, and place our foreheads touching the ground many times. I have given you already a detailed description of how to pray.
Question 42 : Can a Muslim say his prayers anywhere or only in a mosque?
Answer 42 : A Muslim can say his prayers anywhere, in a church, in a park or in a train; in fact, as I have said, everywhere. Any clean place can be a place of prayer. Our Prophet once said, 'The whole earth has been made a mosque for me'.
Question 43 : Does a Muslim keep Sunday as his Sabbath?
Answer 43 : Every day is holy to a Muslim. We do meet on a Friday for congregational prayers soon after mid-day, when we have a short sermon and then prayers. A man then leave the mosque and work as usual. A Muslim does not believe that Allah rested on the seventh day, because our Holy Book says: 'Allah is He besides whom there is no god .... sleep does not overtake him ... His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not …'
Question 44 : Are women mentioned in the Muslim’s Holy Book (the Quran)?
Answer 44 : A woman is mentioned every time a man is mentioned. Here is one example: The fasting men and the fasting women, the patient men and the patient women, etc. Never is the woman left out.
Question 45 : In Islam can a women have her own property or did she have to wait as in England until recently to get her rights by a Law passed in the British Parliament?
Answer 45 : A woman was given her rights in the time of our Prophet 1,400 years ago. Her property did not become her husband’s when she married. It is true a woman does not inherit the same as her brother from her parents. But it is argues that a male has more responsibilities and has generally to keep a family, whereas what a woman inherit she can kept for herself even after her marriage.
Question 46 : Which is better, prayers fasting or good deeds?
Answer 46 : We do not like to make comparisons, because prayer and fasting are the duties a
Muslim has to perform as ordained by God. But if asked this question a Muslim would say good deeds.
Question 47 : Does one need a rosary to say prayers?
Answer 47 : No.
Question 48 : What is the Hadith?
Answer 48 : It is a record of the saying of the Last Prophet Muhammad. There are many collections of our Prophet’s sayings.
Question 49 : Is the Prophet Muhammad an historical figure?
Answer 49 : Yes.
Question 50 : What did our Prophet say about mothers?
Answer 50 : He said, 'Paradise lies at the feet of mothers'.
Fifty questions at once are enough for anyone.