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Questions about Islam

Imaginedangerous replied...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Yea, thanks. You're right, we do seem to meet up a lot in these forums.

 

What's the Dome of the Rock? Isn't it in Me.cca?

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Imaginedangerous replied...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Oh, and one more thing- I was just on the tri.nity thread but thought this question might fit better here. Can you tell me the story of how the devil got to be the devil? (I'm curious to see how similar it is to Mor.monism's beliefs.)

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CollinFThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

to Destinee: Regarding Jes.us' miracles: We don't just rely on the B.ible itself to tell us that J.esus performed miracles. He performed them in public in view of many eye-witnesses. That way, when the disciples recorded the occurrence of those miracles, people would simply have to go ask someone who saw it happen. No one could logically say they didn't occur. Were any of M.uha.mmad's (sorry if I spelled that wrong) miracles witnessed by people, and therefore verified?

 

And I'm also curious about J.esus from the M.uslim perspective. He obviously claimed to be G.od (both r.eligious and s.ecular sources confirm that), and that would either make him a crazy liar, or....well, God. So, how can you say He was just a prophet when He claimed He was God? He didn't leave any room for people to say that. Did He just get a little power-hungry?

 

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CollinFThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm

to Imaginedangerous: There is evidence for the reliabilty of the original B.ible other than personal faith. Check out the "is the current B.ible true" (or something like that) thread on this forum. I'm not sure about the book of M.ormon, but the original B.ible is more reliable than even most believers think.

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Destinee replied...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Imaginedangerous: 

The Dome of the Rock is in Jer.usalem. The Kaba.h (a black box-like building) is in Me.cca. 

The Story of Iblis: 

To be clear: Iblis is what Sat.an is called in Arabic before he became evil. He was a djinn (made of smokeless fire) and had free will. 

I'm going to copy and paste the main part relating to him from the Qur'an. Please bear in mind that God refers to Himself as "We" in the Qur'an as a royal We, the sort that Queen Victoria may have used to emphasise her greatness. Also, the things in brackets in the sentences are used to clarify stuff for English readers, b/c translation often leaves things out. 

This is from Surah al-Baqarah, in case you want to read the whole thing: 

30. And (remember) when your L.ord said to the an.gels: "Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth." They said: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, - while we glorify You with praises and thanks (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You." He (Alla.h) said: "I know that which you do not know."

31. And He taught Adam all the names (of everything) , then He showed them to the an.gels and said, "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful."

32. They (an.gels) said: "Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise."

33. He said: "O Adam! Inform them of their names," and when he had informed them of their names, He said: "Did I not tell you that I know the Ghaib (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing?"

34. And (remember) when We said to the ang.els: "Prostrate yourselves before Adam.". And they prostrated except Iblis (Sa.tan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Al.lah).

35. And We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimun (wrong-doers)."

36. Then the Shaitan (Sat.an) made them slip therefrom (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: "Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time."

37. Then Adam received from his Lor.d Words. And his L.ord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives, the Most Merciful.

38. We said: "Get down all of you from this place (the Paradise), then whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance, there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve.

39. But those who disbelieve and belie Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) such are the dwellers of the Fire, they shall abide therein forever.

So that's the basic story. :) 

CollinF: 

I'll reply tomorrow, God willing. I'm very sleepy right now. Catch ya. 

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Destinee replied...
Apr. 24, 2011 at 12:06 am

CollinF:

OK, I was wrong, I'm replying today. It's going to be long, SORRY! 

Regarding the miracles: What I meant was, was that the B.ible records Je.sus’s miracles. The B.ible is not in itself considered inherently miraculous. In Islam, however, the Qur'an itself is the biggest miracle. Mu.hammad did have other miracles, eg he split the moon in half (well, with God's help, of course), there was a treaty that the Mecc.ans made with the M.uslims (that the Me.ccans broke) that was hanging in the Ka.bah, that when they broke it, bugs ate all of the paper except the part that said "Bismillah" (In the name of God"), etc etc. I'll post a better list tomorrow, but he did have other miracles. With eyewitnesses, obviously. You don't just split the moon without eyewitnesses. 

Anyway, basically, the Qur'an is his greatest miracle. When somebody asked him why they should believe in One God, he would hold the Qur'an out as proof (well, not hold it out, but recite it). Therefore, Mu.slims hold the Qur'an in great reverence. It is the literal Word of God. That means that is infallible. It can't be wrong. Everything it says has to be true. I can't emphasise this enough. Anyway, so the difference is is that Je.sus's miracles are recorded in the B.ible, whereas Mu.hammad's biggest and lasting miracle is the Qur'an. 

And regarding eyewitnesses: before I fully answer this question, I'd like to pose my own: The four gospel-writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John): What do you know about their history? Do you know their last names, even? When they asked eye-witnesses for information, did they record the name of the eyewitness? Did they study the character-traits of the eyewitness to check for reliability? Is there a whole scale of the reliability/authenticity of the eyewitnesses's sayings? 

The people who recorded Mu.hammad's  (pbuh) sayings did all of this and more. Bukhari, the most famous one who recorded Mu.hammad's sayings (hadith, as they're called in Arabic), lived around 200 years after Mu.hammad died. Because of this, obviously, he did not have access to direct eyewitnesses. Obviously, however, if you were lucky enough to have interacted with the Prophet (pbuh), you weren't just going to forget his sayings, now were you? Also, Arabs at the time had super-great memories because most of them couldn’t write, so they were sort of trained to have good memories. So the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) told their children, whom Bukhari did have access to.

So anyway, there are 6 major hadith-recorders (who also recorded Sun.nah, ie Muh.ammad's actions as told by his companions), who separately went out and sought hadith. These people literally had a scale of measurement for the authenticity of a hadith/saying. They checked to see the history of the saying, eg:

Me telling Bukhari a saying of the Prophet (pbuh). He would check to see who told me. (Eg: My dad.) He would then check to see who told my dad. (Say, his dad.) Then he would check to see if his dad ever had access to Mu.hammad (pbuh). << This method is called the “chain of transmission”.

They checked if the dude telling them the saying was considered a good person around town. So, if I had a bad rep, the hadith was chucked out the window. Later, scholars checked to see if certain hadith were present in several of the books, so when you see a saying of the Prophet (pbuh), you might see “Present in Bukhari, M.uslim” next to it, which means that both Bukhari and M.uslim (another hadith-recorder) found this saying separately, which just ups its authenticity.

If the chain of transmission of a hadith is perfect, ie no missing links, then it is deemed authentic, if it fulfills the following:

- compatible with the Qur’an
- my personality isn’t bad

A famous tale about Bukhari is that he went to ask a man about Mu.hammad's sayings. Before the man saw him, however, Bukhari saw the man. The man was calling his horse with an empty basket, pretending there was food in the basket. Bukhari left because he said that a man who lied to his horse could lie about the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh). 

I mean, seriously, who does that?

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that the reason I trust Mu.hammad’s miracles more than say, Je.sus’ (most of which I believe in anyway), is because they’re well-recorded. There’s virtually a whole field in Is.lamic tradition dedicated to studying hadith. If you’re interested, you can Wikipedia “Hadith studies”. I barely know anything about them, really. There’s so much more! Like I said, there’s a whole field dedicated to it.

I hope you didn’t get too bored. :) I’ll answer the Je.sus question tomorrow.

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Imaginedangerous replied...
Apr. 24, 2011 at 10:39 am

Okay, so I got the name wrong- I was asking about the Kaba.h. What is it? And if you're in Mecca, is that what you face to pray?

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Destinee replied...
Apr. 24, 2011 at 11:08 am

The Ka.bah is believed to be the first house of worship to God on Earth. According to Is.lam, it was built first by ang.els (or something, I'm not really that well-versed in its history), then by Adam, then by Abraham (when it became decrepit), and then later by A.rabs for worshipping ido.ls. It's considered the hol.iest site in Isl.am. Google image it, and you'll see thousands of people around it. I've been there several times, and it's the most amazing thing ever. Like, that rush you get of complete certainty? (I guess you'd call it the Holy S.pirit.) That's what I felt.

You also go to the Ka.bah, (amongst other places) when you go to Ha.jj, which is basically mandatory pilgrimage for anyone who can afford it and who is in good health.

Wherever you are, that's the direction you pray. Well, the general direction, which is North-East where I live. So, when I prostrate on the ground, my head is facing North-east, ie in the direction of Saudi Arabia.  

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Destinee replied...
Apr. 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm

CollinF:

OK, hi, I’m back!! Sorry, I write a lot. I’m going to (try to) make this reply more concise. 

OK, so regarding Muh.ammad’s (pbuh) miracles:

- Splitting the moon in half:
Narrated Anas : The people of Ma.kkah (Me.cca) asked the Pr.ophet to show them a sign (miracle). So he showed them (the miracle) of the cleaving of the moon. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 6/4867 (O.P.390)]  <<That’s the reference. Sahih al-Bukhari is a book recording Muh.ammad’s sayings. There are more narrators who told the same thing, but I’m not going to find all of them. Sorry, I’m lazy. :P

And before you say, “Wait! If he split the moon in half, why did people still disbelieve?” Well, here’s your answer from the Qur’an:

[054:001] The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has been cleft asunder.
[054:002] And if they see a sign, they turn away and say: "This is continuous magic."

They said it was magic. -___-

If you want to read more on this particular miracle, you can go on: w w w . isl a m answers[dot] n e t/miracles/moon.htm 

(without the spaces and stuff). Or you could google it. :)

- Night journey and asc.ension to He.aven:
This one, I understand, someone might be a bit sceptical about, but I’ll tell you anyway. Basically, Mu.hammad (pbuh) was feeling really down because, well, obviously, all of the Me.ccans were ridiculing him and calling him a liar and stuff. So during the night, God took him on a winged donkey/horse thing to Je.rusalem, to Masj.id al-Aqsa. Then he ascended to He.aven and stuff happened there as well (he met prop.hets, God assigned pra.yers, etc). On the way back home, he actually overtook some caravans that were heading for Me.cca, and later those caravans testified that he met them. And he described the Ma.sjid to people like an eye-witness, even though he had never been to Je.rusalem previous to that. 

Anyway, this one, like I said, might be a bit hard to believe in. It has hadith too, but no-one was actually with him at the time of the actual as.cension. In fact, when he told the M.uslims, everyone except his best friend Abu Bakr was extremely doubtful, but then they realised that God can do anything and so believed him. 

- The flowing of water:
OK, so basically, the M.uslims were travelling from Me.dina to Me.cca for pilgr.image, and they ran out of water because, well, it was a desert and they were thirsty. So the Pro.phet (pbuh) had this vessel from which he performed ablution (that’s when you wash yourself before pr.aying). He put his hand in it and water began to flow out. 

Here’s an authentic hadith:

 Jabir bin Abdullah, who witnessed the miracle, says of the fifteen hundred men, ‘We drank it and made ablution.” 

(cont'd...trying to figure out what the filter hates...)

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Destinee replied...
Apr. 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Anyway, there are more miracles, with eyewitnesses, some of which I’ll list:

 - Ble.ssing food, which made it become enough for everyone to eat (when Mu.slims were starving)

 - Healing the sick (he did this in front of an entire army once)

 - When he pra.yed for someone, his pra.yer would be answered. Eg: He pra.yed for Jafar bin Abdullah to never fall off his horse (because Jafar complained that he couldn’t ride a horse well), and then he suddenly became a really good horseman

I really can’t type them all out, so I found a we.bsite (!!!) that has them with intense explanations. Here it is: 

w w w . isl am religi on [dot] c o m/articles/152/

Anyway, hope that answers that question of yours. :)

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Destinee replied...
Apr. 24, 2011 at 11:39 pm

CollinF:

OKAY, last one, I promise!!! This is with regards to the Je.sus one.

Here are some confessions:

1. When I first read your question, I was a bit like, "Uh...."
2. I have always been taught that the B.ible has been distorted or it's just a bunch of translations upon translations, therefore not very accurate (referring to the NT here).
3. I realised that I wasn't even sure if (2) was true. 
4. Which is why I'm hoping that you can tell me when the oldest B.ible is from, which language it’s in, etc, reliability of John and Paul, etc. 

Anyway. So, whilst I was dwelling in my ignorance and pondering over your enquiry, I realised:
I should just turn to a.theists!
Because they've already denied that Je.sus is God.

Therefore, I recommend this site with regards to "did Je.sus claim to be God?". 

w w w .in fidels.o r g/library/modern/jim_perry/trilemma.html

Also, I've heard of the Liar, Lunatic, Lord argument before (this really intense C.hristian in my Religions class read C. S. Lewis and summarised the whole book for us), and it got me thinking about M.uhammad (pbuh). 

He clearly wasn't a liar. I mean, would a liar suffer through all that he did (st.oning, boycott, etc) when he was already from a filthy-rich clan who offered him money and women on countless occasion to shut up? No. 

In my humble opinion, he was as much a lunatic as Je.sus was, which is to say, he was not.

Which leaves the option open for P.rophet.

So, I prefer to take the more recent, and far more well-documented life of M.uhammad (if you'll forgive the smugness), before I take Je.sus's.

But could you answer my question anyway? About the oldest B.ible? I think tdnarb forgot or something…

And I know this isn’t a very good answer, but it’s the best I could come up with. Sorry. 

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Stuti C. replied...
Apr. 28, 2011 at 11:19 pm

religion is a big thing.......we end to see more positives in the culture and tradition e have grown up..its better to be secular......if we do good deeds God will love us no matter what...all the messengers have just shown us the path ..to follow it or not is on us....we all children of one lord....lets love each other.

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Destinee replied...
Apr. 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Struti C:

I think the argument is over which deeds are good.

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Imaginedangerous replied...
May 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Okay, I'm back with a few questions that just occured to me.

 

First: Why is your holy day on Friday? Is there a particular reason?

 

2nd: Does that ever make it hard to deal with work and school? (The normal workweek, with the weekend being on Sunday and Saturday, definitely favors Je.ws and Chr.istians.)

 

3rd: What exactly do you do when you worship in a mosque? I'm sure you probably pray, but do you lsiten to sermons? Sing? Do you have seprate areas/classes/activities for small children?

 

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Destinee replied...
May 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm

1. Good question! Dude, I actually don't have a clue. :) I don't think Friday is inherently more important than any other day. I might be wrong. But Friday has a special prayer assigned for that day, and is called a "mini Eid", ie a mini celebration in its own right. 

2. Well, women don't have to go to mosques, period, so I personally don't have a problem :). Men have to go every Friday to pray Salat-ul-Jumuah (special Friday prayer) and listen to the Khutbah (sermon). My parents, for instance, say that in Islam, knowledge is more important than going specially to the mosque for Friday prayers, so my brothers don't skip school. When they do skip school for some random (and generally made-up) reason, they pray in a mosque (otherwise they pray at school). If my dad worked here, I think he'd probably have enough time to go for an hour or so and pray at the local mosque. :) 
So, no, I don't think it's hard. Haha. But in Saudia, when the weekend was Thursday-Friday, they obviously went. X) 

3. Yeah, we pray, if you've ever seen Mu.slims pray. Friday has that sermon I mentioned, where they discuss something of importance in Islam or in the community. Definitely do not sing. It depends on your mosque. Every mosque will have the 5 daily prayers and should have the Friday sermon. Some mosques tend to be more 'community' based, with games and clubs and stuff, others are part of a school, others have charities and stuff. It's generally meant to be the centres for M.uslims to gain knowledge and worship God. The mosque in the Prophet's (pbuh) time was the centre of the whole community, so they used to discuss politics and everything there, and it also acted as a school. :) 

One thing that mosques usually do (especially the bigger ones) is distribute free food during the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is when M.uslims fast from sunrise to sunset, so most mosques give out free water, dates, cakes, etc. :) Another thing is that people go there on Eid (like a celebration) and pray special prayers there and generally thank God for everything. Haha. 

Most mosques also conduct marriage ceremonies. :)

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Imaginedangerous replied...
Jun. 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Another question I thought of:

 

How do you pray? Are there certain prayers you recite by memory or do you just talk with God? Do you pray in groups or alone or both?

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Destinee replied...
Jun. 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Hey, I'm gonna copy and paste my answer from another thread. Sorry for not individualizing it. :)

Well, there are basically two types of prayer. One is 'organised prayer', and that's the one they often show on TV. It's basically a series of motions (standing up, then bending over halfways, then prostrating fully, forehead on the ground). The number of times you do it depends on the prayer--the dawn prayer is 4 prostrations, the sunset prayer is 3 prostrations, etc. 

In the 'organised' prayer, you recite the Qur'an. It's very specific. You recite the Opening chapter of the Qur'an first, and then any random part of the Qur'an that you want to recite. Then there are certain things you recite when prostrating and bending over, such as "God is the Highest, the Greatest" and "Glory to God, how far from imperfections He is" and so on. :) 

This prayer involves discipline (you have to do it at least 5 times a day), unity (because all M.uslims do the same thing, it forms unity and a sense of brotherhood and equality), humility (by prostrating in front of God, you acknowledge Her superiority and greatness) and remembrance (because you remember God as you recite the Qur'an). You don't just have to pray it 5 times--you can pray it virtually any time you want, but the obligatory prayers are 5. 

Also, the organised prayer can be prayed WITH people, in what's called a "jamat", where a leader ("imam") recites the Qur'an out loud and basically says when to prostrate and stuff. That definitely forms unity and equality b/c you realise that we're all equal before God.

The other type of prayer is remembrance. It's basically like C.hristian prayer--i.e. supplication--and just involves "talking" to God, or whispering to Her, or just generally asking Her for forgiveness and mercy and guidance, and so on. You can do it literally any time you want. :)

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Destinee replied...
Jun. 26, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Oh, and yeah, you have to memorise a certain portion of the Qur'an for the organised prayer. It's not hard, and if you don't know it you can use transliteration of the Arabic for a bit, but yeah, eventually you have to learn a chapter (about 7 verses) and something to recite after it. :)

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Destinee replied...
Dec. 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm

*bump*

Cuz we have an "Ask a __" fad going on......

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Josie_Jo replied...
Dec. 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I have a few questions about Islam.

 

1. Why do you believe in Islam? How do you know the Quran is true?

 

2. How come some people have to  cover their hair, but some don't? (I just see that some Muslim girls cover their hair, but some don't. Some people say that their parents force them to cover their hair.) Is it part of different sects in Islam?

 

That's basically it for now. :)

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