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This section presents articles that will help the true truth seeker to understand the religion of Al-Islam. Articles discussing the basic tenets of the religion, religious philosophy, and Islamic history as well as articles dispelling common myths, propaganda and deliberate misinformation are also presented. In this open season of outrageous attacks against Al-Islam and Muslims, it is very important that the true truth seeker be able to ascertain truths from falsehood. The articles in this section will help in that process.
I was once asked by a tourist at Al-Fateh Mosque in Bahrain: "Why do you Muslims pray towards the east? God is not in the east!" I smiled and said, "Here in Bahrain we pray towards the west."
So why do Muslims pray in a certain direction? And what is the cubic-shaped black structure in Makkah? And why is Makkah sacred to Muslims?
Muslims all over the globe pray towards a mosque in Makkah. The Qur'an talks about Bakkah (the name of a valley in Makkah) being the location of the first house of worship appointed for humanity (Qur'an 3:96-97). By praying to God towards Makkah, Muslims join other fellow Muslims praying elsewhere in the world in human circles all worshiping God towards the same spiritual center. If you look at the Valley of Bakkah from the air, you will see the physical circles of Muslims praying around a cubic-shaped black structure, known as the Ka'bah. The Ka'bah is the mosque believed by Muslims to be the first house of worship. In every prayer Muslims say to God: You Alone we worship and You Alone we ask for help (Qur'an 1:5). The word we indicates that a Muslim is not praying alone even if he/she is praying individually because Muslims are spiritually connected to others praying with them towards the same spiritual center.
For the benefit of our guests, for those who are perhaps visiting for your first time The Muslim greeting As-Salaam-Alaikum"—it means peace be on to you. And we open with the standard dua which is called the prayer. The title of this prayer is Al-fatihah in Arabic. It means the opening. And I will read the translation of the opening prayer of the Muslims given by one Asian scholar in the translation of the Qur'an. And he gives the English translation as, "In the name of G-d, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to G-d. The Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment. Thee do we worship and thine aid we seek. Show us the straight way. The way of those on whom thou has bestowed Thy grace. Those whose portion is not wrath and who go not astray. Amen.
G-d, Most High says in the last revelation, the last of the revealed books, the Qur'an—revealed to Muhammed, the messenger prophet, peace be on him—in the chapter by the title or by the name Joseph, in Arabic or the Qur'anic language Yusuf. In the Arabic or Qur'anic language, G-d says, Laqad kana fee Yusufa wa ifwatihi ayatul-lis-sa-elin. In the translation given here by the same translator, the Asian, Pakistan translator, "Verily in Joseph and his bretheren are signs". And then he has in brackets, "or symbols". And the he continues, "for seekers". And the he has in brackets,"after truth". So it reads, "Verily in Joseph and his brethren are signs or symbols for seekers after truth". Now let's quickly note or recall some of the major developments or incidents in the life of Joseph or Yusuf—the Qur'anic term. He was one of twelve brothers. And, he felt close to his youngest brother, to the younger of the brothers—whose name is given in the Bible as Benjamin. Here in the next verse of this same chapter titled Joseph—the English translation is given, "Truly Joseph and his brother are loved more by our father than we.
Al Fatihah alludes to “the Opening” and also to “the Victory” in the life of the believer. It represents the opening but what is it opening us up to? There are many openings in life. The first major opening that we experienced as an individual creature was the opening that brought us into the reality of this material world. It was the opening that we experienced coming out of our mother’s womb. That opening brought us from one reality into a new reality and that new reality would then dictate the kind of growth, development and needs that that human life would thereafter long for. Therefore, Al Fatihah is an explanation from Allah to His human creature of what the creature’s true needs actually are once upon exiting the physical womb into the greater womb we call society.
We have been taught that five pillars uphold the structure of our way of life, Al-Islam. In these five ideas, we see the direction that Allah intends for human life. We become conscious of our Creator, we cultivate the self, we give increase to others, we become victorious as an individual, and we become victorious as a group (the biggest group being humanity). These are the five pillars or five principles or five ideas or five senses that guide and govern the Deen of Al-Islam.
We are in the holy month of Ramadhan, the fourth of the five pillars. This is the time for victory over the self. This month is filled with challenge and reward, with difficulty and ease, with seriousness and joy. It is a time of learning, feeling, serving experiencing, yielding, submission, sensitivity, and yearning. In this month, we confront ourselves; we listen to our own bodies, see our own thoughts, feel our own souls, and dream new dreams.