The Complete Idiot's Guide To Understanding Islam


UnderstandingIslamby Yahiya EmerickA Pearson Education Company

Contents at a GlancePart 1: Introducing Islam1 Why Has Islam Become So Important?Get to know who Muslims are and why there has beensuch a misperception about them.132 Food for the SoulLearn who Allah is, what Islam teaches about Him, andwhat Islam says about genies and magic.173 Looking at Life the Islamic WayDiscover how Islam views human nature and what happens to people who were good or evil in this life accordingto Islam.274 All About AllahCompare Islam’s understanding of God with Judaism andChristianity.37Part 2: The Spiritual World in Islam475 The Four Stages of Life in IslamLearn about the four stages of life in Islam and whatIslam says about the sanctity of life in the womb.496 Islam on Heaven and HellLearn what will happen on Judgment Day, why everyonemust pass over a bridge to get to Heaven, and why Hell isnot forever for everybody.637 In the Beginning An Islamic PerspectiveRead about the Qur’an’s version of “In the beginning .”758 The Measurement of LifeLearn why Muslims are not taught to be fatalistic, despitepopular stereotypes.899 From Adam to ArmageddonDiscover how Islam explains the spread of humanity allover the Earth and what Muslims believe aboutArmageddon and the return of Jesus.99Part 3: The Five Pillars of Islam11110 Declaring Faith in IslamBecome acquainted with the five pillars of Islam and whatthey mean in the daily life of a Muslim.11311 Understanding Muslim PrayersDiscover what’s actually going on in the ritualistic Muslimprayers and what Muslims are praying for.123

12 Elevating the SoulDiscover why charity and fasting are an integral part ofthe Islamic method for self-improvement.13913 Gathering in MeccaFollow Muslims on their annual pilgrimage to the desertcity of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.15114 Uncovering the Real Story About JihadLearn why jihad is so misunderstood among Muslims andnon-Muslims.165Part 4: Islam and Other Religions17715 It’s All in the ProphetsDiscover the way in which Islam promotes religious tolerance all over the world.17916 Jews in IslamLearn about the history of Jewish-Muslim relations andhow Islam protected the Jews for over a thousand years.19117 Christianity and IslamRediscover Jesus—from the viewpoint of Islam.201Part 5: Regulating Life Within the Laws of Islam21518 Exploring the Sources of IslamRead more about the Qur’an and the other sources ofIslamic teachings that Muslims consult.21719 Living IslamFind out how Islam strives to build an ordered society thatis beneficial to all people in the community.23320 Looking at Women in IslamDiscover the role of women in an Islamic society and howIslam has been one of the most progressive systems forpromoting women’s equality.249Part 6: The History of Islam26721 Muhammad in MeccaDiscover the man who would alter human history foreverwith the cry that there is no god but God.26922 The Victory of IslamLearn how (and why) Islam transformed traditional Arabculture.27923 The Rightly Guided SuccessorsFind out why Islam was able to expand so rapidly fromArabia into the Middle East. Learn about the first Muslimcivil war and why it occurred.287

24 Islamic Civilization: The Dynastic PeriodExplore the wonders of Islamic history and the greatachievements that were produced in the arts, literature,and philosophy.29725 Islam in AmericaFind out how Europe came to dominate the entire Muslimworld in only 300 years and how the legacy of Colonialism has shaped current world events for Muslims.309Part 7: The Legacy of Islam31926 Discover the Influences of IslamDiscover how Islam has touched your life in ways younever would have expected.32127 Meet the Islamic Sectarian MovementsMeet the different sects currently flourishing in theMuslim world.33128 Islam in World Affairs TodayLearn about the misuse of Islam by political factions andhow to read what’s really going on.343AppendixesA The Islamic Calendarvi355B Common Prophets in the Qur’an357C Further Reading359D Glossary365Index373

ContentsPart 1: Introducing Islam1 Why Has Islam Become So Important?13The Muslims Are Coming! .4Why Didn’t I Learn More About Islam in School? .5Muslims, Muslims Everywhere! .7Does Islam Encourage War? .9Muslim Missionary Efforts .10How Did Muslims Get There? Thank the British! .11Is There Really a Clash of Civilizations? .12Bridging the Next Gap .132 Food for the Soul17The Core Beliefs of Islam .18We All Have the Same God .18The Universe Is Muslim! .20Aladdin Rubbed the Wrong Lamp .21Touched by an Angel .22Accepting the Burden .22Was God Right to Make Us? .23Soul Soup .24Our Compass Points Inward .24Can You Stand on One Leg? .263 Looking at Life the Islamic Way27The Three-Fold Journey .28The Animal in All of Us .28Stepping Up to the Plate .29The Supreme Achievement .30Sin and Redemption .30How Does God Forgive? .31Law and Order .32Everything Counts When It Counts .32The Last Payday .33Our Report Card .34There’ll Be Hell to Pay .34

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam4 All About Allah37God and Hollywood .38There Is Only One God .39Does God Show Himself to Us? .39Islam on God .40Pagan Arab Beliefs Before the Coming of Islam .41The Qur’an Speaks .42Man and God .42Do Muslims Believe in Original Sin? .43How Close Is Close? .44Allah Has Many Names .45Part 2: The Spiritual World in Islam475 The Four Stages of Life in Islam49Four Lives for Each Life .50Life in the Womb .50Abortion and Islam .51Islam and Contraception .52When Is a Fetus a Person? .52Life in the World .54Does God Try to Fool Us? .55Careful! You’re Being Watched .55Life in the Grave .58Spirit on a Wing .58Soul Storage .596 Islam on Heaven and Hell63Why Have a Judgment Day? .64The Long Arm of the Law .64When Will It Come? .65The Judgment Cometh .67Allah Is Merciful .68The Bridge over Hell .68Use Your Time Wisely .70The Gardens of Paradise .70No Dancing with the Devil Here! .72Why Does God Punish? .74viii

Contents7 In the Beginning An Islamic Perspective75The Creation of the Universe .76Allah’s Notebook .76Creation in the Qur’an .77Six Days and Still No Rest .78Islam and Evolution .79Adam and Eve: A New Perspective .81An Implausible Theory .83The Angels Had Us Pegged .83The Education of Adam .84The First Racist .84The Great Test .86Pass It On .878 The Measurement of Life89Destiny, Fate, or Free Will—Which Is It? .90It’s Not Written in the Stars .90Watching Time Go By .91All Things Great and Small .92What You Can and Can’t Do .93Living Free of All Worry .94Peace from the Pulpit .959 From Adam to Armageddon99No Tower of Babel Here.100The Rise of the Prophets .101How Religion Becomes Lost .102The Cycle of History.103The End Is Near! .104Prophecies About the Muslim World .105The Signs of the Hour .106The False Prophets .107The Rule of Jesus .108Gog and Magog .109The Last Day .109ix

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding IslamPart 3: The Five Pillars of Islam10 Declaring Faith in Islam111113Introducing the Five Pillars of Islam .114The Shahadah .115Uncompromising Monotheism .115Are Muslims Idol-Breakers? .116And Muhammad Is His Prophet .119Expressions of Respect .120The Welcoming Tie .12111 Understanding Muslim Prayers123Supplication Versus Prayer .124Why Do We Pray? .126The Benefits of Prayer .126The Seven Preconditions .127Cleanliness Is Next To .128The Muslim Call to Prayer.128Humble Pie .131The Prayer Described .133Remembrance of God .13612 Elevating the Soul139The Burden of Wealth .140Bah! Humbug! .141Who Must Pay Zakat? .143Who Gets Zakat Assistance? .144The Sin of Denying Your Brother.144The Fast of Ramadan .145Welcoming Ramadan .146Wake Up! It’s Time for Sahoor .146The Month of Training .14813 Gathering in Mecca151Introducing the Hajj Ritual .152The Origin of a Holy Place .153Why Do Muslims Go to Mecca? .155x

ContentsThe Rituals of Hajj .157On to Mecca! .158Nothing Like Being There .

Discover how Islam explains the spread of humanity all over the Earth and what Muslims believe about Armageddon and the return of Jesus. Part 3: The Five Pillars of Islam 111 10 Declaring Faith in Islam 113 Become acquainted with the five pillars of Islam and what they mean in the daily life of a Muslim. 11 Understanding Muslim Prayers 123 Discover what’s actually going on in the ritualistic .