Monday, 28 October 2013

Things You Should Know About Islam & Muslims

Although Islam in United States is rapidly expanding as day goes by, I guess not everyone knows much about Islam. 
Let's screen your knowledge about it by going through a few questions I have here.

1. Do you know what does it mean when people tell you, "I'm Muslim"? What's "Muslim"?

2. What is the difference between "Islam" and "Muslim"? You might know the word Islam, but not Muslim.

3. What is that thin little fabric some girls wrap around their head? 

She's so pretty. SubhanAllah.

4. Why do some Arabs always request for "Halal food" at the cafeteria?
*Just so because most of the Muslims you can find here in America are Arabs.

5. Why does whenever someone say he is a Muslim, he kinda knows Arabic (though not fluent in it)?

6. "Would you mind giving us five-minute break? I need to pray." 
What kind of prayer needs 5 minutes break? How many times do you have to pray?

I promise to make this as simple, short and concise as possible. I'll leave out all the jargon words so you wouldn't have to google for them. 
Note: Just bare in mind that I am not trying to convince anyone to convert to Islam. I realize that a lot of people I met at college do not know about Islam, so maybe you might want to know more. It's like getting to know something about your new friend. What he doesn't like, what he can't eat, what he must do and stuff. 


Islam is the name of the religion. It is originated from Arabic word, Salam, which simply means peace. On the other hand, Muslim means someone who believes and follows Islam in his life. This is a religion that strictly states that God exists, there is only one God and Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of God (An individual chosen by God to guide human beings in becoming good Muslims inside and outside too. We refer to God as Allah (which means God in Arabic). Same as Christianity and some other religions, Islam has a holy book too, which we called as Al-Quran/ Holy Quran/ Quran. This book is fully in standard Arabic and is undeniably beautiful in its structure of the sentences. No one can write as beautifully and grammatically correct as what are written in this book. So, the reason why Muslims, not necessarily the Arabs, have sufficiently good grasp of Arabic language is because we read the Quran in our daily life; in our prayers. Many countries where Muslims are the majority offer the opportunity for the citizens to learn Arabic since kindergarten. I personally learned Arabic since I was in kindergarten till I graduated high school at the age of 17. I might not be able to speak conversational Arabic as I never spoke it with my friends, but I do know a lot of words and understand the grammar rules. We, as Muslims, value Arabic language so much because we believe that is is the language of the Jannah (heaven). There are a lot of expressions in Arabic language that are widely used by Muslims such as MashaAllah (God's will; said when someone did a good job), SubhanAllah (God is Glorious), Astaghfirullah (God forgive me; when someone did something sinful), Allahuakbar (God is the Greatest), InshaAllah (If God wills it) and Alhamdulillah (thankful; being grateful for something).

You might not know a guy is a Muslim until he tells you so, but it is pretty much obvious to know what religion does a girl wearing a wrap around her head embraces. It's Islam. The wrap is pretty much known as a Hijab (also originally an Arabic word), but you might as well just call it a headscarf (Make more sense to you, ayte?). That's what I always refer it to whenever people start asking me about it. It basically represents modesty and identity of a Muslim. The correct way to wear the headscarf is to always cover your head, hair and your front chest. More explanation about Hijab. In general, women in Islam are to cover their WHOLE body, including their feet, except their face and two hands (from the wrist to nails).

The left one is how a Muslim woman
should dress up.

"What's up with covering your whole body? It's an oppression to the women!"
Heaven, NO. The reason why, in Islam, women are required to cover their body is to protect them from evil eyes of the men who have bad intentions towards the women. 
P/s: You should read about how women were treated in this world before Islam came. Women were treated like an object, who had no value at all. Who could be thrown away like a trash whenever they are not needed anymore. Who had no freedom of speech and such things. Islam actually helped to increase the status of women in a society. How can that be unfair, man?

Prayers. Muslims should pray FIVE times a day. We pray during morning (before sunrise), afternoon, evening (before sunset), evening (after sunset) and lastly, one prayer at night. We have many other prayers that we can perform at some specific times, but these five prayers I just mentioned are the compulsory ones. Our prayer involves some movements and recitations of the Quran (all in Arabic). Here is a video of how we pray, if you are interested to know:

Christians have churches and Hindus have temples. Do Muslims have one? A place where all Muslims gather and pray together is called a Mosque. Below are some of the beautiful Mosques from all around the world.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Turkey.

Masjid Al-Haram, Makkah,
Saudi Arabia.

Food. Muslims are supposed to eat Halal food and are strictly not allowed to eat pork. By eating halal meat, it simple means that the animals need to be slaughtered by a Muslim. There are also a few other procedures that need to be followed such as using a well-sharpened knife to make a swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, the carotid artery, windpipe, and jugular veins of the animal. The reason is so that the animal doesn't suffer for a long time before it dies. The  animals should also be slaughtered upon utterance of the Islamic prayer "in the name of God." That's why it must be slaughtered by a Muslim in this case. By the way, seafood is excluded from having to undergo slaughtering process. So, slaughtering is basically for most of the animals living on land.

A video of how the slaughtering process is done:

P/s: It starts at 10:00 on the second video.

Considering that it is already 1 oclock in the morning here, I need to stop writing now. I think this explanation would suffice as basic things you should know about Islam, but I might add more if I have time. If there are any mistakes, please let me know. I will correct them as soon as possible. Thanks!

Night! Sweet dream :)

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