Sunday, May 2, 2010

Islam Part 5

What is the human condition?

In Islam, human nature is called Fitrah and it is the idea that because God created humans, they are good by nature. Humans sin because of Ghaflah, when they forget about their divine origins. Muslims believe that God gave humans the gift of free will and that is why humans sin, because they have free will and the ability to reason. Muslims also believe that Humans are the only creatures in the world who haven’t surrendered to God’s will because they do not just do what they are supposed to and can question everything around them. Muslims believe that as a result of the human condition, a person should constantly be grateful to God and should be working towards trying to fully surrender to God. Muslims also believe that there are three stages of life, and some people will go through all of them, but some people will only reach one or two of the stages. The first stage is called the animal self, where a person is only thinking about survival and relying on his or her basic instincts. The second stage is the Accusing Self, where a person begins to question their life and purpose. The third stage is the Restful Self, when a person has completely surrendered to God and is comfortable with their faith.

Where are we going?

The Islamic concept of the afterlife is called Akhira. There are two places that each soul can go to, Jahanna (paradise) or Jahannum (Hell). The descriptions of heaven and hell in the Qur’an are very descriptive compared to the Old and New testaments. The goal of all Muslims is to enter Jannah and be with Allah, because having an earthly existence means being separated from God, so the goal of humans is to be close to God by entering Jannah. Muslims believe that at the end of the world, everyone will be judged and will either go to Jahanna or Jahannam. Muslims believe that a person is judged based on their actions in life and their devotion to Allah, but during the final judgement, everyone’s worldly possessions will not matter.

How do we get there?

One of the differences between Islam and Christianity and Judaism is that Islam lays out specific guidelines that tell people how to live their lives. Muslims follow the five pillars, which are the five main guidelines for how to live a life in surrender to God. The five pillars say that Muslims must believe in the concept of monotheism, must pray five times a day, give back and help others who are in need, participate in Ramadan, and complete the Hajj once in their life. Muslims must always be thankful to God and constantly be trying to surrender to Him. The Hadiths give people Sunna, or the example the perfect Muslim, through descriptions of Muhammad’s life and how He acted.

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