From this point, on I’m starting an Islamic bookclub with you! I’ll post a summary of each chapter of an Islamic book I’m reading, so you get the rundown without ever picking it up! The first book is Being Muslim, and the first chapter is on Islam.
Let’s start with the basics…
Being Muslim : A Practical Guide by Asad Tarsin.
This is a little background on the religion!
Now for the real stuff
The religion is comprised of three elements: islam, iman, and ihsan.
Islam means to submit or surrender in Arabic. What they mean by submitting is to do the Five Pillars of Islam. Those include; saying the Shahada, praying 5 times a day, to fast during Ramadan, to give to charity, and to make pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in our lives. (Action of the Body)
Iman means to believe in Arabic. This element isn’t an act but a “conviction of the mind which settles in the heart [pg. 7].” (Belief of the Mind)
Ihsan means to make beautiful or good in Arabic. This is just between you and God, because this element is about your relationship with Him. (Purity of the Soul)
There are two primary sources of knowledge in Islam: the Qur’an and the Prophetic Way.
The Qur’an is the direct word of God, and requires specialized training to interpret it in the way it was given to the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh.
The Prophetic Way, also known as the Sunnah, is the perfect interpretation of the Qur’an, according to Islam. It is based off the Prophet Muhammad’s, pbuh, teachings and his actions.
These sources are proof text for scholars which help with religious understanding and legal rulings. There are many different Islamic schools, madhhabs, that differ in these legal rulings. The madhhabs are essential because it shows that you can interpret the verses differently, as long as it is backed by a qualified scholar. This allows many opinions in the religion that are all correct.
There are many many many reasons for misinterpretations. One reason is that Islam is written in Arabic, and Arabic is a very precise language. If you don’t read the context correctly, you will think it’s the wrong word. If you use the wrong pronoun, it will be a different word. Phrases and statements in the Qur’an that are proverbial. By that, I mean that if a verse is quoted alone, without context, you can easily say that it’s an evil thing. With people doing that, they can do some serious danger to the listeners and can lose the intention of the meaning, and we know as stated above, intention is everything!
Read the next chapter here!
Get the book here!