3

What's New?

As we commemorate Eid al-Fitr in the year 1445 of the Islamic calendar, let us embrace the timeless teachings of faith, gratitude, and unity that define this sacred festival. May Eid al-Fitr serve as a source of inspiration for Muslims worldwide to strive for spiritual growth, cultivate gratitude, and extend compassion to all members of the human family. In the spirit of Eid al-Fitr, let us reaffirm our commitment to building a more compassionate, inclusive, and harmonious world for generations to come. Eid Mubarak!

This marks the beginning of the month of Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Dhul Hijjah is a sacred month for Muslims, as it contains the days of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and the days of 'Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice.

Salam Brothers, Afgan sisters and brothers are organizing this event with help from Christian friends who helped them to settle in Eugene. They celebrate world refugee day and this year they embrace Afgan culture with showcasing their food, music and their journey to the US. Please make sure to sign up if you are planning to experience and celebrate Afgan culture. Thank you

Guide for new Muslims

Practices

Islam has seven main practices, with five of them being called the Arkan al Islami or Pillars of Islam. The pillars include:

The Shahada is recited by Muslims as a declaration of their faith and commitment to Islam. The statement of the Shahada is as follows:

“La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun rasul Allah.”

This translates to:

“There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

By reciting the Shahada, a person publicly affirms their belief in the oneness of Allah as the only God and acknowledges Muhammad as the final prophet sent by Allah. 

It is a physical and spiritual act of worship performed five times a day at specific prescribed times.

The five daily prayers are as follows:

  1. Fajr : The pre-dawn prayer performed before sunrise.
  2. Dhuhr: The midday prayer performed after the sun has passed its zenith.
  3. Asr: The afternoon prayer performed in the late afternoon.
  4. Maghrib: The prayer performed immediately after sunset.
  5. Isha: The night prayer performed after twilight has disappeared.

Jumu’ah (congregational) prayer is performed every Friday, where Muslims gather in mosques or designated prayer areas to offer the prayer together. It includes a sermon (khutbah) delivered by the imam, providing guidance and reminders from Islamic teachings.

It is considered a religious duty and a means of purifying one’s wealth and giving back to society

Zakat is typically calculated as 2.5% of a Muslim’s total wealth and assets, including savings, investments, and business holdings, that have reached a certain threshold (nisab). It is meant to be given annually, with the intention of purifying one’s wealth and assisting the poor and needy.

The collected zakat is distributed to specific categories of individuals, known as the eight eligible recipients, as defined by Islamic teachings. These categories include the poor, needy, debtors, those working to collect and distribute zakat, and others in need of financial support.

It’s important to note that zakat is distinct from voluntary acts of charity (sadaqah), which are encouraged and highly rewarded in Islam but not obligatory. Zakat has specific guidelines and criteria, and it is considered an essential duty for financially capable Muslims.

If capable, Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Mecca. Hajj takes place during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah and involves a series of rituals and acts of worship. Pilgrims gather in Mecca and perform various rites, including circumambulating the Kaaba (a sacred structure in the Masjid al-Haram), walking between the hills of Safa and Marwa, and standing in vigil on the plain of Arafat.

The pilgrimage is a deeply significant and transformative experience for Muslims. It is a time of spiritual reflection, seeking forgiveness, and renewing one’s commitment to Allah. Hajj serves as a unifying event, bringing Muslims from all over the world together in a demonstration of unity and equality.

Hajj holds great importance in Islam as it commemorates the actions and sacrifices of the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) and his family. It is a journey of self-discipline, devotion, and submission to Allah’s will. By participating in Hajj, Muslims fulfill a major religious obligation and seek spiritual purification.

It is observed during the Islamic month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

Muslims engage in fasting from dawn until sunset during Ramadan, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs. Fasting is considered an act of worship and a means of self-discipline, spiritual reflection, and seeking closeness to Allah.

During the fast, Muslims also refrain from engaging in sinful behavior, such as lying, backbiting, or indulging in negative thoughts or actions. Fasting is not only about abstaining from physical nourishment but also about cultivating a state of piety and self-control.

The pre-dawn meal before the fast begins is called Suhoor, and the meal to break the fast after sunset is known as Iftar. These meals often become communal gatherings, where family and friends come together to share food and strengthen their bonds.

The other two practices are known as:

Dawah refers to the act of inviting others to Islam and conveying the message of Islam to non-Muslims. It is an important duty for Muslims to share their faith and engage in meaningful dialogue with others about the principles, beliefs, and teachings of Islam.

Dawah can take various forms, including personal interactions, discussions, presentations, literature distribution, and online engagement. The objective of Dawah is to provide information about Islam, address misconceptions, and present the message of Islam in a respectful and compassionate manner.

Muslims are encouraged to engage in Dawah with wisdom, patience, and good manners, seeking to convey the teachings of Islam and the beauty of the faith. The goal is not to impose Islam on others, but rather to provide an opportunity for individuals to learn about Islam and make an informed decision.

Jihad has various dimensions and interpretations.

  1. Greater Jihad (Jihad al-Nafs): This refers to the internal struggle against one’s own ego, desires, and temptations. It is about striving to improve oneself, develop good character, and adhere to the teachings of Islam. The greater jihad emphasizes self-discipline, self-control, and the purification of the soul.
  2. Lesser Jihad (Jihad al-Sayf): This refers to the physical defense or protection of Islam and the Muslim community. It is understood as a defensive action taken in response to aggression or oppression. Islamic teachings emphasize that such defensive warfare must adhere to strict ethical principles, including proportionality, avoidance of harm to civilians, and adherence to the rules of engagement outlined in Islamic jurisprudence.

It is important to note that Jihad does not promote or condone acts of terrorism, violence against innocent people, or aggressive warfare. Islam encourages peaceful coexistence, dialogue, and understanding among people of different faiths.

Beliefs

Islam is a religion that has a set of beliefs that guide its followers. These beliefs are summarized in the Iman ul Mufassal “Amantu bil-lahi wa mala-i-k-atihi wa ku-tu-bihi wa ru-su-lihi wal-yaw-mil-akhiri wal qad-ri khay-rihi wa shar-rihi mi-nallahi taala wal-ba’thi ba’dal-mawt” (Surah 2 Verse 177, Surah 54 Verse 49, Surah 4 Verse 136):

Allah is all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent), and all-merciful. Allah is believed to be eternal, having no beginning or end. Allah is not limited by time, space, or human limitations.

Muslims worship and seek a relationship with Allah through acts of devotion, prayer, and obedience. They strive to align their lives with Allah’s guidance as revealed in the Quran, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad. The concept of monotheism, the belief in the oneness of Allah, is fundamental in Islam.

Muslims believe in angels, spiritual beings created by Allah to fulfill His commands. Angels are made of light, invisible to humans unless permitted by Allah. They carry out various tasks, including delivering messages to prophets, recording deeds, and overseeing natural phenomena, each with specific duties assigned by Allah.

Muslims believe in Allah’s books, including the Quran, which is the final and complete revelation from Allah. The Quran is considered the literal word of Allah, providing guidance for all aspects of life. It is recited, studied, and followed by Muslims worldwide. Muslims also acknowledge previous divine books, such as the Torah and the Gospel, although they believe those books have been altered over time. The belief in Allah’s books emphasizes the importance of seeking guidance and living according to divine teachings.

Muslims believe in the messengers of Allah, including prophets like Adam, Abraham, and Muhammad. These messengers were chosen by Allah to guide humanity and deliver His message. They serve as examples of piety and righteousness, providing guidance on faith and righteous living. Muhammad is considered the final and most revered prophet, completing the line of messengers. Belief in the messengers emphasizes the importance of following their teachings and striving for spiritual and moral excellence.

All human beings will be resurrected from their graves and brought before Allah for judgment. Each person’s deeds, intentions, and the consequences of their actions and choices will be examined by Allah with perfect justice.

Al-Qadar, also known as predestination or divine decree. Muslims believe that Allah has complete knowledge and control over all aspects of existence, including past, present, and future.

The belief in life after death is a fundamental aspect of Islamic faith, affirming that life continues beyond physical death. It includes the understanding of the Day of Judgment, Paradise, and Hellfire as destinations for the eternal afterlife. This belief shapes the way Muslims live, reminding them of the importance of seeking righteousness and preparing for the Hereafter.

Holidays

The two official holidays in Islam are:

  1. Eid al-Fitr: This holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. It is a celebration of breaking the fast and expressing gratitude to Allah. Muslims gather for special prayers, give charity (Zakat al-Fitr), share meals, and exchange gifts. It is a time of joy, forgiveness, and fostering community bonds.

  2. Eid al-Adha: Also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah. It is observed at the conclusion of the Hajj pilgrimage. Muslims gather for special prayers, perform the ritual animal sacrifice, and distribute meat to the needy. It is a time of reflection, gratitude, and demonstrating solidarity with those in need.

These two holidays are widely celebrated by Muslims globally and hold significant religious and cultural importance. They are considered official holidays in Islamic tradition and are based on explicit teachings and practices in the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

Halal and Haram

Halal and Haram are terms used in Islam to describe what is permissible and what is prohibited. Halal refers to actions, practices, and substances that are allowed and in accordance with Islamic law. It includes guidelines for food consumption, such as avoiding pork and following specific methods of animal slaughter. Halal extends beyond food to various aspects of life, including business transactions, finance, and personal conduct. Muslims strive to adhere to halal practices to maintain spiritual purity and righteousness in their daily lives.

On the other hand, Haram refers to actions, practices, and substances that are explicitly forbidden in Islam. These are considered sinful and against the teachings of Islam. Examples of haram include consuming alcohol, eating pork, engaging in dishonest business practices, and engaging in immoral behavior. Muslims are instructed to avoid haram to maintain spiritual integrity and avoid sinful acts. The concept of halal and haram provides Muslims with guidance to lead a righteous and ethical life, making choices that align with their religious beliefs and values.

Names

Islam does not require individuals to change their names upon embracing the faith. It is not mandatory for a person to change their given name unless it has a negative or inappropriate meaning or is associated with idolatry. Muslims may choose to adopt a new name if they desire, particularly if the existing name contradicts Islamic principles or if they wish to embrace a name with positive meanings.

In Islam, names carry significance and reflect one’s identity. Muslims are encouraged to choose names with positive meanings that align with Islamic values and virtues. Good names inspire and serve as reminders of one’s purpose as a Muslim. Islamic names often derive from Arabic and may include names of prophets, companions, or qualities praised in Islam.

The choice of names in Islam should reflect the desire to honor Allah, embody Islamic values, and inspire a sense of purpose and identity. Muslims are encouraged to choose names that are meaningful, virtuous, and in accordance with Islamic teachings.

 – A Dictionary of Muslim Names – The Book of Muslim Names – A Digest of Muslim Names – Names for Muslim Children

Male/Female Relations

In Islam, the relationship between males and females is guided by principles of respect, modesty, and mutual rights and responsibilities. Islam promotes a balanced approach to gender relations, emphasizing the importance of treating one another with kindness, fairness, and dignity.

  1. Equality: Islam teaches that males and females are equal in their human worth and spiritual status. Both genders have equal access to God’s guidance, rewards, and responsibilities. The Quran states, “Surely, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you” (Quran 49:13).

  2. Modesty and Hijab: Modesty is highly valued in Islam, and both men and women are encouraged to dress modestly and behave modestly in their interactions. Women are specifically encouraged to observe hijab, which involves covering their hair and dressing modestly in loose-fitting clothing. Hijab serves to protect women’s modesty and promote a focus on inner qualities rather than physical appearance.

  3. Respect and Honor: Islam emphasizes the importance of mutual respect and honor between genders. Men and women are instructed to treat one another with kindness, fairness, and dignity. Islam prohibits any form of abuse, exploitation, or mistreatment of women or men.

  4. Family and Marriage: Islam places a strong emphasis on family and the institution of marriage. It teaches that marriage is a sacred bond based on love, companionship, and mutual support between a husband and wife. Islam encourages a partnership where both spouses share responsibilities and treat one another with kindness and respect.

  5. Social Interactions: Islam promotes modest and respectful interactions between males and females outside the family unit. Islam encourages lowering the gaze and maintaining appropriate physical and emotional boundaries to uphold modesty and prevent any situations that could lead to impropriety or temptation.