The Basics

The Basics

Muhammadanism is the religion based on the message and conduct of Muhammad who was born ~570 A.D. and died in the year of 632 A.D.  

Monotheism is the basic theology of Muhammadanism.  Muhammad taught the oneness, the singleness, and the unity of Allah.  Hence, Muhammadanism is one of the world’s monotheistic religions.  Secondly, Muhammad taught that Allah is the Creator of the universe and that nothing is like Allah in our space-time creation.  Essentially, this means that Allah has no equal and that Allah is supremely and infinitely exalted above all creatures.  Also, it means that Allah is uncreated and that all creatures owe their original existence and continued preservation to Allah the Creator (Al-Khaliq) and the Preserver (Al-Hafiz).  Muhammad taught the existence of angels, jinn, the Judgment of the Last Day, Paradise for believers, and Hell for unbelievers.  

The Creed consists of the Five Pillars that were prescribed by Muhammad. Although all of the Five Pillars are crucial to a Muslim believer, the Shahada is probably the most basic.  The Five Pillars are,

1. Shahada (creed). The Shahada is the verbal statement and a Muslim’s public witness saying, “There is only One God (Allah) and Muhammad is the Messenger of God (Allah).”

2. Salat (prayers). The five prescribed daily prayers that a Muslim performs.

3. Saum (fasting). Between sunrise and sunset during the entire month of Ramadan, a Muslim abstains from food, liquids, and sexual relations if married.

4. Zakat (religious tax). This annual tax is collected to aid the poor and other beneficiaries.

5. Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). This pilgrimage to Mecca is required once in a life time if there are adequate means and health to accomplish the journey.

The Qur’an is the most revered book of Muslim believers. They believe that the Angel Gabriel recited the Qur’an to Muhammad. In fact, the word, Qur’an, means Recital.  Muslims believe there is an uncreated book in heaven and that the Angel Gabriel dictated it to Muhammad.  Its chapters are called suras, and its verses are called ayat (singular ayah).  The suras don’t have any logical order with respect to subject, chronology, or historical events.  Except for the introductory sura, the order is dictated solely by the length of the sura with the longer suras appearing before the shorter ones.  Scholars have studied the historical development of the Qur’an and noted its changing emphasis depending upon whether it was authored when Muhammad was living in Mecca or Medina.

Hadiths are the written collections of the oral traditions of the sayings and actions of Muhammad.  These extensive collections provide an abundant reservoir of material for the religion of Muhammad.  An oral tradition is called an hadith (singular); a collection is an ahadith (plural).  These collections give details of the life of Muhammad and provide instructions for those who seek to follow Muhammad as an example for their life.  The hadiths are the heart beat of the legal and culture system of Muslims.  The Shari’ah law is mostly derived from the ancient collections of hadiths.  

Islamization is the logical consequence of idealizing seventh century Arabic culture. From a Muslim’s perspective, the ancient Arabic cultural mores are the ideal to which modern societies ought to strive to attain. An important aspect of the Islamization of a society is the imposition of these seventh century Arabic cultural ideals and superstitions upon today’s societies.  The vehicle to accomplish Islamization is Shari’ah law.  In a fundamental sense, Islamization is the cultural imperialism of ancient seventh century Arabic culture upon the nations of today.

Muhammadanism is a term to which many Muslims object. They argue that they only follow and worship Allah.  However, their objection does not accurately reflect their true devotion and study of all aspects of the life of Muhammad.  Just as Christians study the life of Christ, so Muslims study devotedly the life of Muhammad.  The material on the life of Muhammad is extensive and detailed. They write poems in praise of Muhammad.  They make pilgrimages to his grave.  They try to mimic many aspects of Muhammad’s behavior.   Since Muslims agree that those who accept the message and life of Jesus Christ should be called Christians; then, in fairness, they should agree that those who accept the message and life of Muhammad should be called Muhammadans.  The intimate partnership between Muhammad and Allah are noted in the following quotation.

Ja’far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq said, “No one mentions you as the Messenger but that he mentions Me as the Lord.”
Some of the people of knowledge, such as al-Mawardi, suggested that the Station of Intercession was being referred to by this.
The fact that mention of the Prophet is directly connected to mention of Allah also shows that obedience to the Prophet is connected to obedience to Allah and his name to Allah’s name.  Allah says, “Obey Allah and His Messenger.” (2:32) and “Believe in Allah and His messenger.”  (4:136) Allah joins them together using the conjunction ‘wa’ which is the conjunction of partnership.  It is not permitted to use this conjunction in connection with Allah in the case of anyone except the Prophet.” 
Hudhayfa said that the Prophet said, “None of you should say, ‘What Allah wills and (wa) so-and-so wills.’  Rather say, ‘What Allah wills.’ Then stop and say, ‘So-and-so wills.'”
Al-Khattabi said, “The Prophet has guided you to correct behaviour in putting the will of Allah before the will of others.  He chose ‘then’ (thumma) which implies sequence and deference as opposed to ‘and’ (wa) which implies partnership.” 

Although it is commonly known, it should be noted that Muhammadanism is not the worship of Muhammad, per se.   Rather, the term signifies the particular teachings of Muhammad regarding Allah and the ritualistic ordinances that guide the lives of those who believe that Allah’s truth came to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel.  However, Muhammad is viewed as more than a mere man.  He was pre-existent to his appearance in this world. In contrast to all other human beings, Muhammad was created from the Light (Nur) of Allah. This universe was created for the purpose of Muhammad’s appearance in time.  All intelligent beings of the vast universe, including Allah, are to pray blessings upon Muhammad.  The Qur’an notes that Allah and the angels partner together when they proclaim blessings upon Muhammad.  All believers are instructed to pray with worthy prayers for Muhammad’s exalted blessings.  In Muslim theology, no creature is more exalted and blessed than Muhammad.

Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings [Salat (prayer)] on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings [Salat (prayer)] on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. Sura 33:56 (Pickthal’s translation).

1 Qadi ‘Iyad ibn Musa al-Yahsubi, Muhammad: Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyad) Translated by Aisha A. Bewley, Madinah Press Iverness, Scotland, 1991, pp. 8. (emphasis added to quotation).

Last edited 01-20-2001