Islamic FAQs...

A. The definition of the term 'Ahlulbayt' (which is an arabic phrase), literally means "people of the household". In pre-Islamic Arabia, the term was used to refer to one's own clan. However, after the spread of Islam, the term 'Ahlulbayt' became a reference solely to the family of the Holy Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).

A. The 'Ahlulbayt', of whom are The Prophet's family, consist of his daughter, Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (PBUH), her husband, Imam Ali (PBUH), their two sons, Imam Hasan (PBUH) and Imam Hussayn (PBUH) and the nine descendants of Imam Hussayn (PBUH).

A. In Islam, the term 'Allah' refers to the one and only God, the creator of the universe. An Arabic word in origin, the word 'Allah' does not have a feminine or masculine form, nor is it plural. In Islam, there is only one Supreme Being and only one God.

The definition of the word "Allah" means the "One who deserves to be loved" and "into whom everyone seeks refuge".

As humans, we do not have the ability or capacity of comprehending Allah's magnanimity or even 'seeing' him. However, through his 99 names, that describe him and his essence, we are introduced to his attributes. Through his description of himself in the holy Quran, and through his messengers (prophets), we are given the privelage of knowing our creator.

A. Before creating humans physically, Allah gathered all the souls of Adam (PBUH) and his descendants and reminded them of their duty to remember Him as their Lord.

On Earth, He sent guidance to humans through His chosen messengers (prophets).

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the last messenger of God.

At the age of 40, in a cave on Mount Hira, via the arch angel Gabriel, Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation, the word of Allah.

"O Prophet (Muhammad) Verily, we have sent you as a witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner, and as one who calls to Allah." [The Holy Qur'an 33:45,46]

From thereon, for the next 23 years of his life, up until his death, Gabriel continued to descend upon the Prophet Muhammad, with revelation from Allah.

What captivates Muslims to the character of the Prophet, whose life examples provides them with a path to salvation, is the meticulous manner in which he observed and followed himself what he preached to others, whilst demonstrating that Islam, as revealed by Allah; is an absolutely timeless and universal practical form of guidance.

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A. The holy Quran, is a religious scripture, consisting of a compilation of revelations from Allah to the Prophet Muhammad, delivered through the angel Gabriel, were compiled into the Holy Quran, which is a message from Allah to humanity, the perfect form of communication from the lord to the creation.

The Quran is composed of individual verses in Arabic that make up 114 chapters.

A. Muslim, by definition, means "one who submits to God". Followers of Islam are known as Muslims. A Muslim, is one who believes that there is no God but Allah and that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of God. This blog post may be of further helping in understanding Islam

A. Islam is divided in to 72 sects. These sects were formed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The two predominant sects and divisions in Islam are between the 'Shiites' and 'Sunni' followers of Islam.

Nonetheless, all sects of Islam follow the Holy Quran and agree to the main principles of Islam.

A. The key difference between the two sects originates from the question of who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as leader of the developing Muslim community after his death.

While Sunnis believe that Abu Bakr, the father of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)'s wife Aisha, was chosen by a few people as the first caliph (Muslim ruler), Shiites believe that Ali, the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, was ordained by Allah (SWT) to be the successor of the Prophet. This was declared by the Holy Prophet to all Muslims by the Pond of Ghadeer upon return from his last pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca.

Furthermore, Shiites believe that second to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Ali and his descendants were the most divinely inspired men; free from human error and sin, with a flawless understanding of Qur'an and its inner meaning.

A. The Roots of Religion, Usool -e- Deen, are the five beliefs that every Muslim must hold on to. This may also be referred to as the Five Pillars of Islam yet are categorized differently between the sects of Islam.

From the Shite perspective, the Roots of Religion are as follows:

  • Oneness of God (Tawheed) - There is only one God. He has neither a colleague nor a partner. He begets not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like Him
  • Justice of God (Adaalat) - God is Just. He will reward or punish any person according to his or her own deeds.
  • Prophethood (Nubuwwat) - God sent to earth 124,000 Prophets with His message to guide all humans. The first of whom was Adam and the last was Muhammad (PBUH). Muslims believe that Moses, Jesus, Abraham and David were all Prophets sent to guide the nations on earth.
  • Guidance (Imamat) - After Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), 12 Imams, as the rightful leaders and successors, were ordained by God to continue as guides to the Muslims. The first Imam was Ali and the last is the awaited one, the Mahdhi who is currently in occultation by the order of Allah (SWT). Imams are sinless and receive knowledge from God, and their verdict is the verdict of God.
  • Day of Judgement (Qiyaamat) - At the end of the world, all humans shall be resurrected and judged by Allah (SWT) for their deeds. They will be awarded a place in the heavens or punished to hell accordingly.

A. Once a Muslim has accepted the roots of religion, he/she must follow and practice the branches of religion---the Furoo-e-Deen.

  • Daily Prayers (Salaat) - it is obligatory on all Muslims to offer five daily prayers facing the Kaba, situated in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
  • Fasting (Sawm) -in the Islamic lunar month of Ramadhan, all Muslims must fast from sunrise to sunset.
  • Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) - it is obligatory on all Muslims to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, once in their life, provided they can afford to. The annual pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijah, the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The goal is to follow in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his immaculate household by performing a series of rituals.
  • Charity (Zakaat) - charity offered to those who are needy and less fortunate
  • Islamic Tax (Khums) - all Muslims must pay 20% annually from their net savings.
  • Struggle (Jihaad) - struggling to please God. The greater, internal Jihad is the struggle against the evil within one's soul in every aspect of life, called jihaad akbar-the big jihaad. The lesser, or external, jihad is the struggle against the evil of one's environment in every aspect of life, called jihad
  • Guiding others to good deeds (Amr bil Ma'roof) - encouraging good actions in all humans
  • Preventing others from evil deeds (Nahy 'anil Munkar) - encouraging humans away from evil actions.
  • Loving the Ahlulbayt and their followers (Tawalla) - to love and follow the teaching of the Ahlulbayt and their followers. Prophet Muhammad (SWT) has said: "Whoever pleases my family has pleased me, and whoever annoys then has annoyed me."
  • Disassociating from enemies of the Ahlulbayt (Tabarra) - all Muslims must disassociate and separate themselves from the enemies of the Ahlulbayt.

A. Once a Muslim has accepted the roots of religion, he/she must follow and practice the branches of religion---the Furoo-e-Deen.

  • Halal (permissible) - It is the name given to an action or an object which can be used or engaged in, under Islamic law.
  • Haraam (sinful) - Any action or object that is obligatory to abstain from. For example eating pork is haram for all Muslims.
  • Wajib (obligatory) - Certain actions are mandatory for Muslims to follow. For example the five daily prayers are wajib.
  • Mustahabb / Sunnah (recommended) - Actions that carry a reward. For example it is mustahab to greet other Muslims.
  • Mubah (neutral) - Actions or items that don't fall into the categories of obligatory, recommended or sinful. For example, playing football is mubah.
  • Makruh (abominable) - Actions or items from which it is recommended (but not obligatory) to abstain from. For example skinning an animal before it is dead is makruh.

A. The 'Qibla', is the direction that all Muslims must face when offering their prayers. This direction must be towards the Kaba, the black cube, in Mecca, referred to by god as the house of Allah. Praying towards the same direction, symbolizes the unity of Muslims worldwide. Muslims do not worship the Kaba; it is simply a focal point for prayer.

A. The Kaba is the cube in the center of Mecca where Muslims circumambulate during their pilgrimage. It is also the direction towards which all Muslims offer their daily prayers. Historically, the Kaba was built by Prophet Abraham (PBUH) and his son, Prophet Ismail (PBUH).

A. The battle of Karbala is a battle between good and evil, a battle where the prophets grandson and third Imam, Imam Hussayn (PBUH) sacrificed his soul to ensure the preservance of universal dignity and justice, by refusing to give allegiance to Yazid, the caliph of the time. The Battle of Karbala took place on Muharram 10, in the year 61 AH.

Additional information on the events of Karbala can be found at