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Subject: [alt.religion.islam] Frequently Asked Questions

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All FAQs in Directory: islam-faq
All FAQs posted in: alt.religion.islam
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Archive-name: islam-faq/alt-newsgroup Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1994/9/5 Version: 1.4
***** ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ********* Copyright 1993,1994 Asim Mughal (mughal@caltech.edu) Redistribution for profit, or in altered content/format prohibited without explicit written permission of the author. Any other redistribution must include this copyright notice and attribution. READ THIS BEFORE YOU POST A QUERY. This message is automatically posted once a month to provide answers to commonly asked questions on this forum. If you have any contributions or changes to this document please send me an email message. If you never wish you see this document again, please add the above subject in your KILL file. Sincerely, Asim Mughal (mughal@alumni.caltech.edu) alt.religion.islam FAQ Maintainer [Standard Disclaimer] ================================================================= NOTE: This FAQ posting is now in USENET digest format. If you are using "rn" (or it derivatives) to read news ^G (Ctrl- G) will take you to the next question. If you are using any other news reader search for the next line that begins with "Subject:". ================================================================= ***************************************************************** This periodic posting is now archived. It is available via anonymous ftp from rtfm.mit.edu ( OR sending email to mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu with the body of the message as send usenet/news.answers/islam-faq/alt-newsgroup quit ****************************************************************** ***************************************************************** Contents: 1) About Alt.Religion.Islam 2) Reason for this discussion newsgroup 3) Current statistics on alt.religion.islam 4) Moderated Islamic Forums on USENET 5) Introduction to Islam 6) Islamic History: 1- The coming of the 7) Islamic History: 2- The rise of Islam 8) Islamic History: 3- Islam in the Modern Age 9) The future of Islam 10) The community of the faithful 11) The five pillars of Islam 12) No Trinity in Quran 13) Sufi & marifat (gnosis) Mailing Lists 14) Books & Videos on Islam 15) Prayer Software on the net. 16) Quran on WWW 17) Islamic Hypercard Stacks by FTP 18) This FAQ: Archive Info, History & Credits ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 1) About Alt.Religion.Islam Alt.Religion.Islam: Created Feb '94. Status: Unmoderated. PURPOSE: This forum is for unmoderated discussion of Islam on USENET. REASON: A number of USENET readers in general, including regular readers of moderated forum Soc.Religion.Islam have expressed desire to discuss Islam as a religion in an unmoderated environment. RELEVANCE & GUIDELINES: It is left up to the reader to enforce the following recommended guide- lines for this forum. 1. Direct & indirectly related to Islam 2. No Personal Attacks/Insults. In addition, those readers who believe their postings were relevant to Soc.Religion.Islam and were unduely rejected may find an audience willing to read their articles. ARTICLES POSTED: (To Date) Days in creation: 7 1/2 months (approx) No. of Postings : 1962 FUTURE: Alt.* hierarchy is not a 'main stream' hierarchy. Quite a few of the sites don't carry it. Due to the popularity of the forum, alt.religion.islam. It is being suggested to move this forum under 7 main hierarchies in the near future. CFV-1: talk.religion.islam 84 YES, 80 NO Oct 29, 1993 CFV-2: talk.religion.islam 425 YES, 248 NO Jul 20, 1994 Proponent 'talk.religion.islam' gwydion@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Basalat Ali Raja) ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 2) Reason for this discussion news group >Date: 6 Apr 1994 11:52:05 -0500 >From: hanan@utdallas.edu The reason for this discussion group should be to teach Muslims more about Islam and to inform sincere non-Muslims about Islam. >Date: Wed, 6 Apr 1994 23:07:07 EDT >From: Mansour A. Matboli <MM1878A@auvm.american.edu> It is 100% true that this newsgroup should be devouted to better communication between muslims among each other in one hand, and between muslims and senceer- non-muslims. I noted that many people did reply to the chalange of Islam message, which was not right. Those people have wasted alot of their time. It was alot better for them if they learned a new ayah or a new hadeath. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 3) Current USENET statistics on alt.religion.islam Estimated Readership: 14,000 Source: April '94 USENET statistics ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 4) Moderated Islamic Forums on USENET Asim Mughal(mughal@caltech.edu) Soc.Religion.Islam: (Formed in 1989) Moderated Discussion on Islam as a Religion. Guidelines: Relevance to Islam & No personal attacks/Insults. Bit.Listserv.Muslims: (Gatewayed to USENET in 1993) At least once a week digest on News, Information, Articles & Issues of general on Islam & Muslims. E-mail subscription available from: Muslims@Asuacad.Bitnet ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 5) Introduction to Islam <ahmed@CIM.McGill.CA (Ahmed Helmy)> Date: 3 Apr 1994 09:50:00 -0400 Islam is one of the world's great monotheistic religions. The followers of Islam, called Muslims, believe in one God- Allah in Arabic- and that Muhammad is his Prophet. Today, the worldwide community of Muslims, which embraces the people of many races and cultures , numbers nearly one billion. Historically, Saudi Arabia has occupied a special place in the Islamic world as the very heartland of Islam. Indeed, it is toward the sacred Ka'abah, meaning "the House of God", in Makkah that Muslims turn devoutly in prayer five times a day. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 6) Islamic History: 1- The coming of the Prophet <ahmed@CIM.McGill.CA (Ahmed Helmy)> Around the year 570, Muhammad was born into a family of the ruling tribe of Makkah, the powerful and noble Quraysh. Makkah, a caravan city in the Hijaz region of northwestern Arabia, grew around the Ka'abah, meaning "the House of God," a shrine of ancient origins built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Pre-Islamic Arabia was polytheistic; some 360 idols representing the divinities of the Hijaz were housed in the Ka'abah. Orphaned as a child, Muhammad spent several years of his boyhood among the Bedouins of the desert, developing a love for the rich Arabic language that was the Bedouins' proudest art. He learned the patience and forbearance of the herdsmen, whose life of solitude he came to understand and appreciate. As a young man, Muhammad traveled widely with the trade caravans through Palestine, Syria, and Yemen before dedicating his life to meditation. In 610, God revealed His word to Muahmmad through the Angel Gabriel. In this way, Muhammad became the chosen bearer of the divine message and began proclaiming the oneness of God. The name of this new religion, Islam, means "submission to God." The followers of Islam are called Muslims, meaning "those who submit." God's message as transmitted through Muhammad was not unanimously accepted in Makkah. Pagan worshippers threatened by the new monotheistic religion, and merchants anxious to preserve the profitable pilgrimage trade intensified their opposition to the followers of Islam[, through torture, trade embargo and killing]. To foil an assassination plot against him, Huhammad and a small group of Muslims emigrated to Madinah. This, the Hijrah or emigration, dates the beginning of the Islamic era and the history of the Islamic community. In 629, Muhammad reentered and conquered Makkah without bloodshed, destroying the idols in Ka'abah, and the inhabitants of Makkah embraced Islam. Source: Pamphlet"Saudi Arabia, Islam"2nd Ed.,1989. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 7) Islamic History: 2- The Rise of Islam <ahmed@CIM.McGill.CA (Ahmed Helmy)> Within a century, Islam had swept across the Middle East and North Africa-from modern Iraq to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. At its apogee, Islam held sway as far as Spain in the west, and India and China in the east-virtually the entire known world. By conversion, commerce, and conquest, Islam introduced a comprehensive faith and a political-legal system which established order and justice in a period of world chaos and disintegrating empires. Islam fostered the flowering of brilliant civilizations and the development of great centers of learning. It was a period of dynamism, a melding of ancient and new thought from east to west, producing great contributions in medicine, science, mathematics, physics, law, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, art, language, literature, and history. Islamic civilization-rich, sophisticated, and varied-has taken its place among the cultural achievements of human history. The genius of Arab civilization set the stage for the European Renaissance. Source: Pamphlet"Saudi Arabia, Islam"2nd Ed.,1989. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 8) Islamic History: 3- Islam in the modern age. <ahmed@CIM.McGill.CA (Ahmed Helmy)> With the shift of power to Western Europe and the eventual colonization of parts of the Middle East, Islamic rule and the scope of its political influence began to diminish. Nonetheless, Islam remained a strong spiritual and moral force in many countries and societies. As colonial rule gave way to new, self-governing nations in the 20th century, Islam reemerged on the world stage as a major political and economic force. Despite great changes in traditional societies, as well as the demands of the contemporary age, Islam has grown as a dynamic and universal religion with a continued impact on world affairs. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 9) The future of Islam <ahmed@CIM.McGill.CA (Ahmed Helmy)> Today, Islam is resurgent and flourishing in virtually every corner of the world. Islam continues to address human needs as it has for more than 1,400 years with compassion, creativity, and a deep commitment to God. Dedicated Muslims are striving to meet the challenge of modernization while remaining faithful to traditional Islamic values. Source: Pamphlet"Saudi Arabia, Islam"2nd Ed.,1989. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 10) The community of the faithful: <ahmed@CIM.McGill.CA (Ahmed Helmy)> Islam is at once a religion and a total way of life. It prescribes order for individuals, societies, and governments, codifying law, family relationships, matters of business, etiquette, dress food, hygiene, and much more. The ummah, or community of believers, is unified across national boundaries by its conscious acceptance of the oneness of God and its mission on earth. There is no human hierarchy to intervene between man and God; in the eyes of Islam, all people are equal. The Qur'an is the cornerstone of Islamic faith. Muslims believe that the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, is the word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the Arabic language. It is regarded as the final revelation, as Muhammad is regarded as the final Prophet-"the seal of the prophets." For over 1,400 years, the Qur'an has illuminated the lives of Muslims with its eloquent message, shaping their everyday lives, anchoring them to a unique system of law, and inspiring them by its guiding principles. The sunnah,"way" for devout Muslims to follow, recounts the deeds, sayings, and silent approval of the Prophet Mohammad regarding details of community life. It complements and supplements the Qur'an and embodies the meticulously documented traditions and sayings of the Prophet as preserved by his companions in a body of writings called the hadith. The Qur'an and the sunnah provide the framework for Shariah, the sacred law of Islam, which governs all aspects of the public and private, social and economic, religious and political life of every Muslim. Source: Pamphlet"Saudi Arabia, Islam"2nd Ed.,1989. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 11) The five pillars of Islam <ahmed@CIM.McGill.CA (Ahmed Helmy)> Despite the great body of tradition and law, the practice of Islam is essentially personal-between God and the believer. Islam has five primary obligations or pillars of faith that each Muslim must fulfill in his or her lifetime. 1- Shahadah. Profession of faith, is the first pillar of Islam. Muslims bear witness to the oneness of God by reciting the creed "there is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God." This simple yet profound statement expresses a Muslim's complete acceptance of, and total commitment to, the message of Islam. 2- Salah. Ritual prayer or devotional worship, is the second pillar. The Islamic belief is based on the belief that individuals have a direct relationship with God. There are no earthly intermediaries in Islam. Rather, the world's Muslims turn individually and collectively to Makkah, Islam's holiest city, to offer prayers at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and evening. In addition, Friday congregational service is also required. Although salah can be performed alone, it is meritorious to perform it with another or with a group. The word mosque comes from the Arabic masjid, meaning "place of prostration." Although it is permissible to pray at home, at work, or even outdoors, it is recommended that Muslims perform salah in a mosque. 3- Zakat. Almsgiving, is the third pillar and like prayer is considered a form of worship. Social responsibility is considered part of one's service to God; the obligatory act of zakat enshrines this duty. Zakat prescribes payment of fixed proportions of a Muslim's possessions for the welfare of the entire community and in particular for its neediest members. It is equal to 2.5 percent of an individual's total net worth. excluding obligations and family expenses. 4- Sawm. Fasting, during the holy month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam. Ordained in the qur'an, the fast is an act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a richer perception of God. Fasting is also an exercise in self-control whereby one's sensitivity is heightened to the sufferings of the poor. Ramadan begins with the sighting of the new moon, after which abstention from eating, drinking, smoking, and other sensual pleasures is obligatory from dawn to sunset. Ramadan also is a joyful month. Muslims break their fast at sunset with a special meal, iftar, "break-fast;" perform additional nocturnal worship, tarawih, after evening prayer; and throng the streets in moods that are festive and communal. The end of Ramadan is observed in a spirit of joyous achievement by four days of celebration called eid al-fitr, the feast of the Breaking of the Fast. Customarily, it is a time for family reunion and the favored holiday for children who receive new clothing and gifts from family members and friends. 5- Hajj. Meaning "visit to the revered place," the pilgrimage to Makkah, is the fifth pillar and the most significant manifestation of Islamic faith and unity in the world. For those Muslims who are mentally, physically, and financially able to make the faithful journey to Makkah, the hajj is the peak of their religious life. The hajj is a worldwide gathering of over two million Muslims to the holy city, and a remarkable spiritual happening. In performing hajj, a pilgrim follows the order of a ritual as Muhammad performed the rites during his last pilgrimage. The five pillars of Islam define the basic identity of the Muslims -their faith, beliefs, and practices-which binds together a worldwide community of believers into a fellowship of shared values and concerns. Source: Pamphlet"Saudi Arabia, Islam"2nd Ed.,1989. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 12) No Trinity in Quran <ridha@sonata.cc.purdue.edu (Muhammad Ridha)> Date: Tue, 5 Apr 1994 07:17:49 GMT Bismillahirrahmanirrahim, Many non-Muslims who have been starting reading the Qur'an asked question: "What is the meaning of the word WE in the Qur'an when it is used in referring to Allah?" Some Christians, who are ignorant of Arabic, have been arguing that the Qur'an itself approves the concept of Trinity (God has three 'personalities': Father, Son, Holy Spirit). For clarification, I try to answer the question above... In Arabic, there are two forms of plural: 1. Plural of more than one, 2. Plural of respect. The following is taken from the book "ELEMENTARY MODERN STANDAR ARABIC 1" edited by: Peter F.Abboud (Professor of Arabic, University of Texas, Austin), Earnest N.McCarus (Professor of Arabic, University of Michigan), published by: Cambridge University Press, 1989, on pages: 541-542: ======================================================================== 5. The "royal we" and the use of the plural of respect In Arabic, as in English and other European languages, the "royal we" is often used instead of "I" by persons in high office. Indeed, it is probably more common in Arabic; it is illustrated by the following sentence taken from an imaginary letter sent by the President of one country to another: 'TalabNAA min waziiri khaarijiyyatiNAA an yanqula ilaiKUM ra'yaNAA fii dzaalika al-amr' (in English: I have asked my Minister of Foreign Affairs to convey to you my view on that matter). In this sentence, the plural pronoun "ilaiKUM" is used instead of the singular to convey RESPECT. It is not at all unusual in Arabic to use a plural form (pronoun, adjective, verb) in this way as a sign of respect for the person addressed. ======================================================================== In the case of the word "NAHNU" (We) and its derived words (Us, Our), is used by God in addressing Himself for showing the plural of RESPECT. It does not imply trinity. The Qur'an very clearly states: "Verily I am Allah: There is no god but I, so serve thou Me..." (20:14) "Say: He is Allah, The One and Only." (112:1) "Verily, in blasphemy indeed are those who say that God is Christ the son of Mary (Jesus)." (Q. 5:17) The other clear-cut proof, is the attitude of those pagan Arabs in the time of the Prophet Muhammad who know well about Arabic, as their mother tounges. Everytime the Prophet recited to them verses from the Qur'an, they tried constantly to entangle him. But in the case of the word "We", they never argued with him. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 13) Sufi Mailing Lists/Newsgroup(s). MAILING LISTS: (Salahuddin Ahmad) ahmads@ecn.purdue.edu: There are two informal discussion groups that deal more specifically with Sufism: sufi@world.std.com & (For Muslims Only) tariqas@world.std.com (Open to all) ----- (mughal@alumni.caltech.edu): gnosis@netcom.com (Gnosis Mailing List) maintainer: Dean Edwards deane@netcom.com NEWSGROUPS: alt.religion.shamanism soc.religion.shamanism (Moderated) srs-admin@aldhfn.org soc.religion.gnosis (Moderated) srg-admin@aldhfn.org Please read the relevant FAQs on the above newsgroups for more details. OLD & NEW SUFI REFERENCES: <Blake Ross <bross@calsoft.com>> Aug 19, 1994 Summary: The above Sufi & tarq Also, I would like to inform you that, as a resource for Muslim and non Muslim individuals interested in Sufism, seekers may contact the International Association of Sufism (IAS). They will be on-line in a couple of weeks. For now, IAS may be contacted at PO Box 2382 San Rafael CA 94912 Attn Dirs: Shah Nazar Ali Kianfar / Dr. Nahid Angha -or- people may call the IAS office (9-5PM PCT) at 415 472 6959. IAS is a non-sectarian, non-denominational, California non-profit organization advocating Sufi, Shia Muslim, Muslim and general spiritual points of view. Membership is open to all, dedicated individuals. Regards Blake Ross ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 14) Books & Videos on Islam <AM7925A@american.edu (Abdulrahman Al-Ali) June 08, 1994 Asslamu alaikum I would strongly recommend the following to anyone considering Islam seriously. 1- Try to read Quran and Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH). They are the best and most trusted source of information about Islam. After that try to find a recognized publisher of Islamic material. In North America there are at least two excellent publishing houses: a) World Assebmly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). A publisher of many famous books about Islam. For example, Toward Understanding Islam by Abul A'la Mawdudi. They also publish all Ahmed Deedat's books. Their address: WAMY P.O. Box 8096 Falls Church, VA 22041. (They also have some free books about Islam) b) American Trust Publications. One of their best books is, Islam in Focus, by, Hammudah Abdalati. Their address: American Trust Publications 10900 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46231 2- At the begining, try to contact with Muslims who have similar cultural background. It will help you alot. For your case, I would like to recommend the following lectures on videotapes. The following are just examples: a) Americans Becoming Muslims, by br. Jeffrey Lang. b) ========= ======== =======, by sr. Aminah Assilmi. c) My Journey from Christianity to Islam, by sr. Nancy Ali. You can obtain the above videotapes and many others from: Ghazali Islamic Videotapes 217 Pinecone Drive Lawrence, Kansas 66046 Tel (931)-841-9768 I'm sure you know that Islam doesn't discriminate people based on their color, race, or sex. They are all equal in the sight of Allah. So, please don't think I'm advising you not to socialize with other Muslims who have different cultural background than you. 3- The best organization to contact is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). They will provide you with many useful information. They will also help finding the nearst Islamic center in your area. ICNA is also a good and active Islamic organization. Please note that I'm not affiliated with any organization mentioned in this email. I'm solely recommending them because of their performance and their good reputation. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the wonderful world of Islam. May Allah be with you. I pray to Allah to guide us all to his stright path, ameen. ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 15) Prayer Software A- <mahmood@rpi.edu (Shahid Mahmood)> <Date: 23 Feb 1994 18:47:54 GMT> Assalamoalikum. There is in fact a program available via ftp. It calculates the prayer timing for any specific year or a month of it. It does incorporate the Hanfi/Shafii or any other shool of thought by user defined options. You are required to specify the LAt/Long coordinates of the location of interest. In order to get it do: == This information is no longer current = Sept 05, 1994 % ftp ftp.mcs.kent.edu username: Anonymous Password: <Your Email Address> cd /pub/islam bin get IslamicTimer-2.0.shar.Z ========================================== The file is in shell archive (shar). use uncompress and sh command By the way, the same site has sahih bukhari as well in the directory cd /pub/islam/Bukhari.Z To get the geo-coordinates of a sites in USA, do the following: telnet martini.eecs.umich.edu 3000 then enter your [zip_code], or [city,state]. Whwn you start writing your own program, let me know because I have some suggestions. Jazakallah. B- < famhar@geoinfo.tuwien.ac.at (Fahmi Amhar)> <Date: 24 Feb 1994 > Download from ftp.uni-regensburg.de by anonymous ftp. The program is in /pub/incoming/mawaq12.zip Read the manual at first! The Author of MAWAQIT C- Ftp: ftp.cco.caltech.edu Login: anonymous Dir: /pub/calmsa File: ITimer-2.1.sh.Z ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 16) Quran on WWW SITE: chestnut.enmu.edu <stjeanp@hazelnut (Pat St. Jean)> I wanted to let everyone know that I have put a copy of the Qur'an on my world wide web site over here. Anyone with a web browser can access it at http://chestnut.enmu.edu/~stjeanp/home.html SITE: www.cco.caltech.edu http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~calmsa/home.html ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 17) Islamic Hypercard Stacks by FTP <ihussain@fox.nstn.ns.ca (IHussain) 23 Aug 1994 17:32:00 -0300 Salamalaikum, There are several hypercard stacks on various Islamic subjects available by anonymous ftp at some of the info-mac mirror sites. At ftp.u-tokyo.ac.jp in the pub/info-mac/info/nms/ directory there are a number of stacks including one that teaches children the proper pronunciation of surah al-fatiha. The same site also has the following new stacks: - dua 2.0-hc.hqx (several duas from one of the earliest prayer books in Muslim history - isa 3.01-hc.hqx (A detailed text and graphic presentation of the Muslim view of Jesus) ************************************************************************ ************************************************************************ ------- Subject: 18) This FAQ: Archive Info, History & Credits. ARCHIVE: This FAQ is archived & availble thru anonymous FTP, gopher & world-wide web. Anonymous FTP: 1. SITE: rtfm.mit.edu Directory: /pub/usenet/news.answers/islam-faq/alt-newsgroup 2. SITE: ftp.uu.net Directory: /pub/usenet/news.answers/islam-faq/alt-newsgroup 3. SITE: ftp.caltech.edu Directory: /pub/calmsa/faq.ari Gopher: ------ 1.SITE: gopher.caltech.edu 70 Path: Computing Information/ CCO anonymous ftp archive/ pub/ calmsa/ faq.ari 2.SITE latif.com 70 Path: Resources relating to Islam/ FAQ alt.religion.islam [Usenet Newsgroup] Word-Wide Web: ------------- URL for USENET FAQs: http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/top.html URL for this FAQ: http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/islam-faq/alt-newsgroup.html HISTORY: V 1.0 April 25, 1994 Total Items # 13 V 1.2 June 08, 1994 Items #3, #13,#14 are new. #15 Edited V 1.3 June 26, 1994 New Item #15 V 1.4 Sept 05, 1994 New Item # 16, #1,#13,# 15 updated CREDITS: Ahmed Helmy, Muhammad Ridha, Hussain Helmy, Salahuddin Ahmad, Abdulrahman Al-Ali, Blake Ross, Pat St Jean, I Hussain End of A.R.I. FAQ Digest ************************** -------