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Allah, Yamn al-Qayamah And Jannah: The Beginner's Guide To Islam

Jul 22, 2008
Islam accounts for approximately 21 percent of the world's religion with some 1.5 billion followers worldwide. The second most popular religion, Islam stems back to the seventh century and originates from the teachings of Islamic Prophet, Muhammad. The Word, Islam, means "submission" or the total surrender of oneself to God. A follower of Islam is known as a Muslim, which translates to "one who submits."

A political and military leader, Muhammad was visited by Allah who passed his revelations through the prophet. Muhammad had been unhappy living in Mecca and so retreated to the surrounding mountains to reflect and meditate. It was at this time, during the month of Ramadan, that Muhammad was first visited by Allah. Some three years later, the prophet began his teachings of Islam. Initially he received much criticism and little recognition from the tribes of Mecca and so, to avoid persecution, he fled to Medina with his followers; a move which consequently formed the beginning of the Islamic Calendar.

Muslims do not regard Muhammad's teachings as an entirely new religion, more the restorer of the original monotheistic belief. Muslims see that the prophet's words were the true message from God, and that both the Jews and Christians distorted God's revelations.

Whilst Muslims do accept the existence of Jesus as a prophet, they dismiss the fact that he was God's son. The idea of the the trinity is equally absurd in Islam and falls into the category of polytheism, or the belief of multiple Gods. God is described in one chapter of the Qur'an as follows: "God, the One and Only, God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He Begotten; And there is none like unto him."

As a follower of Islam, Muslims are required to believe in God and his revelations, his angels and messengers and the Day of Judgement. The Angels are seen as messengers of Allah's words and according to the Qur'an, do not possess free will. Angels have a duty to convey the message of God, glorify God and to take a person's soul at the time of their death.

The Day of Judgement, or Yamn al-Qayamah as it known in Arabic, is the 75th Surah (chapter) of the Qur'an and states that every man (Muslim or not) will be judged on the day of their death. This Surah is central to the belief of Islam and features throughout the Qur'an, especially in the earlier verses of the book.

Other interpretations of Yamn al-Qayamah include Day of Reckoning, the Hour, the Day of Gathering, Day of Distress and the Great Announcement. Yamn al-Qayamah will come at a time unknown to man and will be signalled by the archangel Israfil blowing the "Blast of Truth" on a horn. The Earth will be destroyed and all men and women will instantly fall to their death to be judged by Allah on their lives. Obviously (as is always the case with religion) non believers will burn in the eternal hellfire that results from the destruction of the earth. Believers (those who have obediently served God throughout their lives) will be returned to "Janah (the Garden) beneath which rivers flow."

Jannah (heaven) and Jahannam (hell) await all men and women. After judgement, everyone has to cross "as-Sirat" (the path) in order to reach paradise. It is told that As-sirat is a thorny bridge, invisible to the human eye and the same width as one seventh of a strand of hair. For Muslims who have strong faith and who have been accepted by Allah into heaven, the bridge is easy to cross, and may be seen as a thick stone bridge. All others will fall from the bridge into the eternal fires of hell.

Islam has been divided into two main sub-groups: Sunni and Shia. The former contributes around 85 % of the religion's population whilst the latter comprises approximately 15 %. There are other groups involved with Islam, but these two are by far the most prominent. Sunnis and Shias have fought battles throughout the years and have always endured conflict against each other. The reason for the split is as follows:

When the prophet Muhammad died, there was question as to who should be his successor. The Sunnis believed that the successor should be an elected person, and somebody who is capable of doing the job. The word, "Sunni" means "one who follows the traditions of the prophet." The Shia, however, believe that Muhammad's successor should have been someone of direct relation, Ali. As a result of this, the Shia (whose name means "people of the household") have never recognised Sunni leaders, choosing to respect their own Imams who they believe to be appointed by God himself.

When considering the fundamental monotheistic statement that there is only one God, it appears to the non believer that this rivalry between the two sects is preposterous. If there is only one God, then surely all Muslims, including Shia and Sunni, should live in complete harmony with each other and devote their lives to Allah. The problem with religion, as always, is man's interpretation of it.
About the Author
Samantha is an expert Research and Theatre consultant. Her current interests are UK shortbreaks including LEGOLAND Windsor and Alton Towers.
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