Q1: What Is Islam?

Joseph Mwambwa, Mombasa, Kenya.

A. Islam is to believe and accept that there is none to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger. It means that one MUST believe in and accept all that has been brought by Muhammad (s.a.w.w.). For details, see "Islam" obtainable from this Mission. Q2: Why are you a Muslim?

A. I am a Muslim because I realise that: First of all, religion is the most essential thing to develop a man into a perfect human being. And secondly, I have come to the conclusion, after a thorough study of the world religions, that only Islam is the perfect, sensible and wellbalanced religion in the world.

Q3: What is the best religion in this world?

A. Islam is the only perfect religion in this world. See for details the booklet "Need of Religion" published by this Mission.

Q4: Who started the religion of Islam?

A. Islam is a religion which was originally brought in this world by Hazrat Adam (A.S.). All the prophets have been following the same religion (e.g. One God, Day of Resurrection, etc.) but the actual laws of religion differed from time to time depending upon the time of respective prophets. The last Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) brought the same religion, which is commonly known as 'ISLAM' today. There will be no Prophet after him. Therefore, Islam is the first and last religion, having been started by Hazrat Adam (A.S.) and perfected by our Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.).

Q.5: What is the basis of faith and what role does it play in our lives?

A. About basis of faith: In our theology, Reason is the basis of faith. Here we differ completely from the Christianity whose motto is "First believe, then you will understand". But we say "First understand, then believe". The role which our faith plays in our lives is very comprehensive and prevalent. A Muslim's faith governs all his religious, ethical, social, and financial and family activities. It is not like Christianity in which the hold of religion on a Christian's life is limited to a few minutes of Sunday mornings when he attends the church.

Q.6;Where can I go to register myself as a Muslim and am I allowed to be a Muslim since I like the religion very much.

Miss Mary Oyoo, Mombasa, Kenya.

A. If you have studied the tenets of Islam and are convinced of its truth, there is no need to get your name registered anywhere. Islam is the only religion which establishes a direct relationship between a human being and God. There is no organised clergy or priest-hood as in Christianity; there is no forgiving of sins by priests; no dispensation and nothing to show that you depend on some human being for the salvation of your soul. If you are convinced about the truth of Islam and if you recite the following sentences with conviction, you are a Muslim without any need of any witness or priest or registration.

"I BEAR WITNESS THAT THERE IS NO GOD (OR NONE TO BE WORSHIPPED) EXCEPT

ALLAH, AND I BEAR WITNESS THAT MUHAMMAD IS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH".

Q7: What should we do if we want to be the most God-Fearing person? A. The most God-fearing person these days is the one who obeys all the commands of God and abstains from all forbidden things.

Q.8: What should we do if we want to be the richest of people?

A. The richest person is he who is the most perfect in faith.

Q.9: What should we do if we want to be the faithful?

A. The faithful (i.e. ? ): Faith( ? ?? ) has been defined as "Firm belief, declaration by tongue? and Actions according to the commands of Allah.

Q.10: Here I seek some question on Islam. I think of a man, who sincerely believes in all the fundamentals and professes them in words but he neither observes prayer nor performs pilgrimage. Would it be right to call him a true Muslim?

A. Your question concerns the relationship between 'Iman' and 'Good Deeds'. Iman is likened to a flame of a lamp, and worship of Allah and good deeds are like its light. The stronger the flame of the lamp, the brighter its light. Likewise, the stronger the Iman the better and more sincere the worship of Allah and more virtuous good deeds.

If a person is slow in worship and good deeds, it means that his Iman is weak. If he does not worship Allah and performs no good deeds at all his claim of Iman is like a claim that lamp is burning while the whole room (walls, floor, roof, furniture) is absolutely dark. Q.11: How many Muslims are in the World and where is the headquarter?

A. There is no authentic figure available. But it is estimated that there are between 650 and 750 million Muslims in the world.

There is no headquarter if you mean something on the lines of the Vatican. But the holy places of Islam are in Mecca and Medina (Saudi Arabia), Najaf, Kerbala, Kadhimain and Samarra (Iraq), Damascus (Syria) and Masjid-ul-Aqsa (Jerusalem).

Q.12: The other day my cousin asked me what proof have we got that Islam is the true religion. I told him that the Qur'an proves it. But he said that even Christians have Bible for their own proof. How should I reply him?

A. Your approach to that question was wrong and it gave your cousin the chance to object in the way he objected.

According to Shia Ithna-Asheri faith, the matters of belief (known commonly as Usul-e-Deen) must be understood through reason and intellect. When a person has accepted by logical reasoning that there is a Creator who is Omnipotent, Omni-scient, Omni-present; that He is Just and Loves His creatures; that because of that Justice and Love, He cannot leave mankind without a Guide; and that the Last of those guides was our Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W.) who brought Islam and Qur'an, then, and only then, may we argue with him on the strength of Qur'an and Hadith.

Otherwise, if he does not believe in God (or the Holy Prophet), you cannot expect him to accept the verdict of Qur'an and Hadiths.

You have been sent 5 units of the Islamic Correspondence course. You may show them to your cousin and he may find the answer to his problems in them.

If after carefully reading those books, he wants more clarification, he or you may write to me,

Q.13: All religions believe in God. So do I. But where did God come from?

A. God did not come from anywhere. He is "Self-existent"; therefore, His existence cannot be limited by "from" and "to". He is forever. Other things sometime exist, sometime do not exist. We may ask about these things "when" or "how" or "where from" did they come into being.

Q14: Does our Ithna-Asheri faith accept the theory of evolution, i.e., we were not created at an instant, but were evolved?

A. First let it be clear that our faith is based on the "belief in the Creator". If evolution means that Allah created different things in stages, there is not much conflict with religion. If, on the other hand, evolution means that there is no creator and that the things came into being just by progress of matter, then it is naked "Kufr" (atheism) and our faith cannot tolerate it even for an instant.