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Being a Good Muslim by Hussein Ali

Islam is one of the major world religions. It has grown to occupy every single continent and includes millions of people as its followers. It all began hundreds of years ago in the Middle East when Prophet Muhammad (swt) received messages from God. These revelations received by the Prophet through Angel Gabriel over a period of 23 years were recorded by scribes, under the direct supervision of the Prophet. That is what came to be known as Qur’an, the last revealed Message of God for the guidance of human beings.

 From the teachings of the Qur’an and from the family of the prophet, who were his successors, we derive what is known as the roots and branches of religion. The roots are the core beliefs whereas the branches are the core practices of a Muslim. There are several branches of religion, but I want to highlight some of the signifi cant practices.

 One of the major branches of Islam is prayer. It states that all Muslims must pray five times a day at pecific times. One of the prayers is to be read before sunrise, two during the daytime, and two of them after sunset. All fi ve prayers consist of similar content and vary length. During each prayer, we complete a rigorous exercise routine because of the number of times we bend and kneel throughout the prayer. The physical act of standing, kneeling, sitting down and getting up again numerous times is probably what discourages some people from completing this important part of Islam. Prayer reminds people, whether they be CEO’s, janitors, clergymen, etc. that, despite their busy schedule they are required to stop what they’re doing and remember God.

 A second branch of Islam is charity. It states that at the end of the year, a percentage of one’s savings must be donated to a good cause. This donation is usually for a religious cause, but can also be given to the needy or some other type of charity.

A third branch, and one of the most well known to non-Muslims, is fasting during the month of Ramadaan. All Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset for thirty days consecutively. We are required to fast in order to empathize with what the millions of starving people experience daily in the world today. Another aspect of fasting is curbing one’s desires; it helps to control ones desires, passions and hor-mones, and disciplines one physically and spiritually.

 The last branch of Islam that I would like to discuss is the pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, which is considered the holiest city in the eyes of Muslims and it is the direction Muslims face while praying. The Kaba is the most sacred building for all Muslims and it is the site of millions of pilgrims every year. It was built by Prophet Abraham, and also serves a place where Muslims all over the world gather to meet each other together in worship and harmony.

 These branches of Islam that are highlighted above are some of the most signifcant ones, and serve as a reminder to mankind that we have responsibilities to God. Our responsibilities include helping others as well as ourselves on a day to day basis since we are all connected as creation (makhlooq) of One God. was terrifying. I would prefer to follow in.


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