Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Your Muslim Friend

Many a times, I come across the situation that as a Muslim, I'll be talking to my non-Muslim friends and use some common Islamic words, facts, phrase, etc. And to my surprise, my friends are unaware about those words at all, although it's so common for me. For example, the word HALAAL is quite common for us, but most of my non-Muslim friends do not know that word at all. And even if they knew, they had a wrong impression that Halaal means killing an animal mercilessly, but in fact HALAAL means just LAWFUL and HARAAM means UNLAWFUL.

In another instance recently, my friends presented me a beautiful and a costly gift: a show-piece for a drawing-room. But it was waste for me since that show-piece has a sculpted face on it. And we Muslims don't decorate our houses with sculptures and pictures of faces of living things. This was of high importance to me, but my non-Muslims friends never knew about this fact.

So, I thought of putting such common facts, common words, common practices, and common misbeliefs about Muslims, so that my non-Muslim friends know me better, and my Muslim friends refresh their knowledge.

In this blog, I've to put together, whatever came to my mind with my experiences. And hence, this blog is incomplete as I need to keep this article updated with more such experiences, etc. In case if you feel to include any other facts, misbeliefs, questions, etc, then please send that information to me by clicking the "COMMENTS" section, at the bottom side of this page (This doesn't require you to login or make an ID). Moreover, please suggest me for any improvement, omition, addition, edition, etc from this page.

In case if you've liked this blog, then please share this link with your friends both Muslims and non-Muslims.

HERE THE LIST GOES! (Just started, not complete yet)

* Muslims believe that "God is He who creates other things, but not the one who is himself created by others".

* Anyone who believes in true God, and worships Him alone, is called as a Muslim. Hence according to Islam, Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc, all worshipped only the one true God, and hence they are all Muslims.

* Prophet Muhammad was an illiterate. He never attended any school, and hence he never had a teacher.

* Qur'an is not written by prophet Muhammad. It was given to him by God, whereupon angel Gabriel recited it, and prophet Muhammad memorized it.

* A Haafiz is a person who memorizes complete Qur'an.

* Although Qur'an is a book of religion, wherein it talks about several rules, it has many historical, scientific and mathematical references, which makes it a book of miracles, as these facts were proved with modern technology only. (Insha-Allah, I'll be coming up with another website to give details about the miracles of Islam, so keep watching...)

* Islam is based upon basically on Qur'an and Hadees (or Hadith). Qur'an is the word from God. And Hadith are collection of books based on the life of Prophet Muhammmad. The actions of the prophet are called as Sunnaths (or Sunnah). So, the books of Hadith have the collection of these Sunnah, which give the practical application of Islam and our everyday activities.

* Every year, Muslims have to pay alms (donate money) to the poor people, as a tax for their money, jewellery, etc; and this practice is called as Zakaath. This is very improtant part of Islam, and in fact one of the 5 basic principles of Islam.

* Muslims don't use nail-polish, as they can't offer namaaz (prayer) with it, since ablution (wuzu) is incomplete if water doesn't touch the nails while washing them.

* Muslims eat Halaal meat only. While slaughtering a permissible animal, God's name is pronounced first.

* Muslims don't eat pork and don't drink alcoholic beverages.

* Both men and women are supposed to clean their private parts after urination. Hence Muslim men enter into a toilet even for urination, so that they can use water to clean themselves. Moreover during urination, Muslims are supposed to take a seating posture instead of standing.

* A Muslim has to perform 5 prayers everyday, and this can be done outside the mosque also, as in home. But the Friday noon prayer has to be performed in a mosque only.

* During fasting like the one in the month of Ramazan, Muslims don’t eat and don't drink anything literally. Not even drink single drop of water.

* Muslims believes that even Jesus is a prophet of Allah. And believe that even the original Bible, called Injeel in Arabic is a book from God given to prophet Jesus, as is Qur’aan given to prophet Muhammad.

* Muslims are not allowed to listen to music. Only a limited form of music from permissible instruments is allowed.

* Drawing, sketching, sculpting, painting, etc of living things is not allowed, except things like trees, etc. Paintings of human faces, etc are not allowed. Now don't quetion me about MF Hussain :-)

* Since sketches of living beings are not allowed, even wearing the clothes with pictures of living things on them is not allowed, and this nullifies the namaaz.

* Muslim men are not allowed to wear gold and silk. But women can enjoy these limitless.

* Muslims have basically only 2 major festivals (Eid): Ramazan and Bakhrid.

* In Bakhrid, it is compulsory to slaughter cattle, depending upon the financial status of the person. The meat from the cattle is divided into 3 parts; one for our own use, one for distribution to family and friends, and one for distribution to the poor.

* Islam started on this earth with prophet Adam. And ended (got completed) with prophet Muhammad. It was in continual phase during different prophets like Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, etc.

* Islam is a Religion, not a Culture. Religion (Dharam) is based on the laws of God, whereas Culture (Parampara) is man-made laws.

* Father's and Mother's brothers are considered as Uncles, and Father's and Mother's sisters are considered as Aunts (and we will be considered as nephews/neices for our Uncles and Aunts). And the children of Uncles and Aunts are considered as Cousins. So, marriage between cousins is permissible in Islam, irrespective of whether they are paternal or maternal cousins. But marriage between Uncle-and-Niece and Nephew-and-Aunt is not permissible.

* A Muslim can marry a Christian, Jew or a Muslim without any issue. But the Christian or the Jew need be reverted to Islam after marriage. And a Muslim can marry a spouse from any other religion also, but need to revert to Islam first before marriage.

* As it was a trend in history to have as many wives one wanted, Islam is the religion that limited the number of wives to a maximum of 4 only, that too with a several conditions (people in other religions had thousands of wives).

* Paying and Drawing of interest on money is Haraam in Islam. So, a Muslim is not supposed to take or give interest, and hence taking a loan becomes non-permissible (except in helplessness). Although many Muslims take it for granted, but its sin is very very great.

* Muslims don't worship the Kaaba (black colored cube-shaped room in Mecca), but just do their prayer towards its direction; united by all the Muslims of the world towards that one point.

* Kaaba is the first temple (worshipping place), which was first built by prophet Adam. Then it was renewed by prophet Abraham.

* Most of the Quranic names and Arabic names are available in Bible too. Examples from Bible-to-Quran/Arabic are:
Adam=Aadam, Eve=Hawwa, Noah=Nooh, Jacob=Yaaqoob, Joseph=Yousuf, John=Yahya, Job=Ayyub, Zechariya=Zakariyya, Moses=Musa, Aaron=Haaroon, David=Daawood, Solomon=Sulaimaan, Jonah=Younus, Abraham=Ibraaheem, Lot=Looth, Ishmael=Ismaail, Issac=Is'haaq, Jesus=Eesaa, Mary=Maryam, Enoch=Khunooq or Idrees, Elah=Allaah, Michael=Meekaaeel, Gabriel=Jibraeel, etc.

* According to Islam there has been about 1,25,000 prophets in this world starting from prophet Adam and ending with prophet Muhammad, who were all sent by God with the same mission.

* Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet and the seal (end) of all the prophets.

* The father of prophet Muhammad died few months before the prophet was born, and the prophet's mother died when he was just six years old. And then after he was taken care by his paternal Uncle.

* Muslims believe that prophet Jesus will return to this world again to save them from oppression in the final days befor the world ends. According to Islam, Jesus was never crucified at all and was raised up by God, and hence he'll be sent back alive to die in this world.

* According to Quran, there are 3 types of living beings: of Clay, of Fire, and of Light. So, all the humans and animals which we see and know in this world are made of earthern material. Another race called Jinn (Genie), is made of smokeless fire, and Satan (Shaitan or Devil) is a type of Jinn. And another type of beings is called as Farishta (Angel), which are made of light.

* Jihaad means struggle. Struggling for good is jihaad, whether it is to save one's own faith, or to help others, etc. And in this course, a person should be ready to die to help the truth. And this willingnes to die is called jihaad if it is in the way of doing good to Islam, of for humanity,etc. But doing suicide for the sake of Islam or anything, is not jihaad.

* Committing suicide is a very big sin in Islam. And hence you may rarely see any Muslim names in the newspaper, about domestic instances of suicides (Exceptions are Muslims suicide bombers, which is a wrong path).

* Farz means compulsory/mandatory rule, and not doing which becomes a sin. Sunnath means a recommendation, practised by prophets, especially prophet Muhammad.

A woman has four immediate Mehrams, a Father, a Brother, a Husband and a Son. Other Mehrams are the derived relatives. Similar relations apply for the Mehrams of a man.

* Women should not wear masculine clothes, as it is not allowed to wear clothes of opposite gender. Hence men can't wear ear-rings, and women can't wear shirts and pants like that of men.

* Men can't wear shorts/bermudas, as it is sin for a man to show his body from navel to knees, in front of anyone, even to a man.

* As women of Indian culture wear revealing clothes and even elder and decent women exhibit their naked navels, waists, backs, arms, etc, in front of their children and even in public, by wearing small blouses, etc, Muslim women don't do so. Muslim women are not supposed to expose their bodies. And hence they are supposed to wear decent clothes.

* It is a very great sin to trim eyebrows, and paint tattoos on the bodies.

* Before doing a prayer (namaaz), Muslimes need to perform ablution (wuzu) in which we need to clearn our mouth by gargling, and need to clean our nostrils with water, wipe our head, and wash our feet, etc.

* Even a simple thing like the sequence/rule of cutting finger nails is documented in books of Hadith. And hence Muslims start trimming their nails from their index-finger (For detailed explanation of this sequence, and other similar rules, I'm planning to come up with another blog called 'Practical Islam' shortly).

* Even men apply the bluish grey powder called Surma into their eyes, although women generally decorate their eyes.

* Brushing the teeth with a twig called Miswaak, before praying, multiples its deeds by 70 times. Hence Muslims generally carry a small stick in their pockets.

* Muslims are recommended to apply perfumes on their clothes. Hence they use only non-alcoholic perfumes called Ittar or Attar.

* All the Muslims of the world pray towards the direction of the city of Mecca (towards Kaaba). And from India, Mecca is towards West. This direction of Mecca is called as Qibla.

* Since the direction of Qibla (of Mecca) in India is towards West, Muslims don't construct their toilets in East-West or West-East directions as it is disrespectful to excrete in that direction.

* Muslims are advised to sleep on their right hand side.

* Before starting to talk, Muslims say greetings (salaam) to each other as "Assalamu-alaikum".

* Muslims are advised to be seated while drinking water, and are advised to drink the water in 3 sips. We are not supposed to drink water continuously, standing.

* The pants/trousers should not touch the ankles for men. Hence, many men wear shorter pants, which generally resemble to be of wrong size. Whereas women are supposed to wear clothes which cover their ankles.

* Place of worship is called a Masjid (mosque), and not Dargah (shrine). In fact, a Dargah would be just a graveyard of great spiritual Muslim

* Prophets used to grow their beards, and all prophets like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc had beards. Hence it is advisable to grow the beard at least of the length of a fist. And moreover, Muslims are supposed to trim their mousetache, so as not to grow it till it enters the mouth.

* Muslims don't pet dogs, and don't hang photographs, and don't have statues at home.

* Muslims don't eat Maggi-Chicken flavor. Although it contains chicken, which can be eaten by Muslims, but the chicken might not be slaughtered in an Islamic (Halaal) way, and it's a sin to eat Haraam food.

* Muslim women don't use lipsticks which are made of non-veg ingredients, since the ingredients may be Haraam, like pig-fat, or of any other haraam animal.

* In Islam, it's even prescribed that a mother can breast-feed the milk to her baby only for 2 years.

* In a Muslim marriage, the boy (groom) has to give a form of dowry called Mehr to the girl (bride).

* The name of prophet as Muhammad is mentioned only 4 times in the whole Qur'an.

* Decency is one of the most important parts of Islamic faith. And it is very importan to guard one's shame.

* According to Islam, while walking in a group, men are not supposed to walk behind the women. Hence Muslim men walk in front of the women so as not to glance upon the figure of the women from the back side.

* Muslims believe in the hell and heaven, and the Doomsday, called as Qayaamath. And accordingly, on the day of Qayamath, the whole world will come to an end. After this day, depending upon one's good and bad deeds one will be in hell or heaven.

* Muslims bury their dead bodies in a deep pit so as to decompose the body into a natural way, and not cremate (burn).

* All the Muslim males are circumcised in their childhood.

* Muslims slaughter all animals in a Halaal way before eating its meat. But Fish and other aquatic animals, especially the ones which have gills, are eaten without slaughtering them.

* The water from the well in Mecca called Zamzam is flowing from the time of prophet Abraham, from which even today millions of Muslims consume the water everyday. It is the holy well whose water gushes from the Paradise, and it is mentioned in the Islamic books that it will not end till Qayamath.

* According to Quran, prophet Jesus spoke to the world when he was just a new-born baby. And according to Islam, only 3 babies had talked in their childhood, including prophrt Jesus.

* Muslims say 'Alhamdulillah' after sneezing unlike what others say as 'Excuse Me', 'Sorry, 'God Bless', etc. And the listener should respond with 'Yarhamukallah'. Similar way Muslims have different phrases for yawning, etc.

* Muslims don't enter a house without knocking the door, even if it is their own. But if it's someone else's house, they can't enter that house without getting the permission to enter, and if they don't get any response after the knocking the door thrice, they are supposed to get away without getting feeling insulted. Moreover, they are supposed to stand aside and not in front of door while talking to the person in that house. And also Muslims use curtains on their doors so as to avoid people looking into the house when the door goes open.

* After birth of a baby, Azaan is said in the ears of the newborn, and then a chewed date is dipped in honey and is given a taste of it to the baby.

* Muslims believe that prophet Jesus Christ was born to Mary, miraculously without a father.

* There were about 1,25,000 prophets in the world starting from prophet Adam and ending with prophet Muhammad. And since Quran says that prophet Muhammad is the last prophet for this world, there will not be anymore prophets from God, till the Doomsday. But prophet Jesus will be sent back to earth again before Doomsday, but he will not be a prophet at that time. He will be a follower of the teachings of prophet Muhammad.

* When Adam and Eve were moved away from Paradise to Earth, Adam was dropped into Sri Lanka, and Eve was dropped nearby to Asia-Africa borders.

* Muslims believe in the giant humans also. According to Islam, the communities called Aad and Thamud were about 30 feet tall. And prophet Adam was 90 feet tall.

* Muslims don’t use hair-dye of black color as it is a sin to use black color once the nature color is lost. But instead they can use some brown or grey colors, and even use henna (mehndi) to dye their hair.

* Muslims believe that the sun will rise from the West near the end of the world. And this one of the major signs of the end of the world.

(Some more to come next time...)

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Update on 2010/Apr/23.

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