Islam is Unique and Universal. Prayers, Fasting, Haj – All Confirm It.

The simplicity of Islam, based on the command of God in the Qur’ān, has always been a mystery to others, because the followers of Islam adhere to its proclamation that there is no compulsion in Islam. The believers are answerable only to Almighty God. They pray to HIM without any intermediary scholar or leader; directly…

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Mohammad Yacoob

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The simplicity of Islam, based on the command of God in the Qur’ān, has always been a mystery to others, because the followers of Islam adhere to its proclamation that there is no compulsion in Islam. The believers are answerable only to Almighty God. They pray to HIM without any intermediary scholar or leader; directly communicate with HIM. The Muslims have no responsibility to give answers to any Islamic scholar, pious person or the Imam of the Mosque. They are accountable for their own good deeds and actions. The inquisitive tendencies of people eager to learn more about Islam see the simplicity of Islam, practised by Muslims, learn more about Islam and some accept it. Others equate simplicity to secrecy and start the rumour mill, advance disinformation and misinformation about Muslims and increase the ignorance level of credulous and good-intentioned people of their own religion and other religions.

The human race has always been involved in believing in a supreme being who created this universe. Then there were those, who, because of fear of the created things and objects, committed themselves to worshiping the objects they feared most. On top of this there are those in this world who worship leaders by chiselling their statues and placing them in selected places; naming buildings, streets, airports, parks, and much more after them; and celebrate their birthdays.

The universality of Islam is given in the Qur’ānic command where Almighty God has said that everything in heavens, on earth and in between belongs to HIM; the whole universe belongs to HIM. The first verse in the Qur’ān recited by Muslims during every unit of the five daily prayers is, “All Praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds.” This includes everything in heavens, galaxies and whole universe, the earth and what is in between them.

In addition to the five daily prayers, Muslims are required to fast for a month during the Islamic month of Ramadan, pay Almsgiving (Zakat) and perform Hajj during the Islamic month of Dul-Hijja.

The lunar calendar is being used by Muslims which provides the flexibility that no other religion enjoys, thus making Islam the most Unique and Universal religion. The lunar calendar is approximately 10 days shorter than the solar calendar. The Islamic lunar year makes it possible for fasting during the month of Ramadan to occur in every month of the solar calendar, so does going to and performing Hajj. This means that even nature affirms and makes human beings understand universality of the religion Islam; helps in witnessing no dependency on weather or season; provides freedom to use sound judgment and good sense to comprehend this phenomenon.

A person living in Los Angeles, Southern California, and has never moved to any other place, will be fasting during fall, winter, spring and summer months, meaning, fasting during all twelve months of the year.  Because of lunar calendar, Ramadan occurs in every month of the solar calendar.  This means Muslims will fast during each month of the year, January to December and the four seasons of the year, fall, winter, spring and summer, over a period of approximately 35 to 36 years.

Islam is a unique and universal religion. It is for all people, for all nations, for that matter, during all seasons, for the entire humanity.

As children we were told that Angeles and Maliaka worship Allah Mighty God twenty-four hours a day. This fact could be extended to Muslims who also pray to Almighty God twenty-four hours a day. Say, it is dawn in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia and Muslims are engaged in praying morning prayer – Salat Ul Fajr. This Salat is also being performed by the Muslims living in East African countries; Europeans are still sleeping; Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and other South East Asian countries have already performed Fajr prayer and getting ready to go to offices, businesses, schools and work; China, Japan and Orient countries’ Muslims are performing Zuhr and Asr prayers; Maghrib of yesterday in Honolulu, Hawaii; and Isha of yesterday in Los Angeles. Even though Muslims are praying around the world, the profound fact that emerges from all this is: At this very moment ALL FIVE prayers are being performed by Muslims around the world, bringing out the uniqueness of Islam.

In addition, the example given below shows the flexibility of the five times Islamic prayer.

Astronaut Muszaphar Shukor, an orthopaedic surgeon and youthful man, was selected from a group of 11,500 Malaysians who applied to become an astronaut. It was a very excruciating selection process, involving health history, physical stamina, mental alertness and the ability to conduct scientific experiments, collect and analyse scientific and medical data. He knew that the spaceship goes around the earth every one hour and a half. He consulted a team of Ulema and explained his predicament about performing the Salat in a spaceship in outer space. The team of Ulema, he said, came up with a fatwa that said that he should perform his five times Salat at the same time as they are being performed in the Holy city of Makkah. His direction towards the Qibla would be his direction towards the earth while in space. The International Space Station used to relay the adhaan for the prayer. Because of the weightlessness, astronauts float inside the spaceship, and to perform the Salat, Astronaut Muszaphar Shukor would strap his feet to the floor to perform his salat, including making rukussujud and staying in qaidah. He would end his Salat and return to his work and conduct scientific experiments.

When it comes to performing Hajj, say, if Muslims used solar calendar and the month of Dhul Hijja falls in July, then Hajj must be performed every year in July, the hottest month of the year in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The experience, data and the facts have shown that more people pass away at Hajj in the month of July than in any other month of the year. It is particularly hard for older generation to meet the weather conditions of July. One of the facts available is that older Muslims around the world mostly schedule the Hajj in winter months. This is the uniqueness of the use of lunar calendar.

Yes!! Islam is unique and universal; for all times and all seasons.

[Mohammad Yacoob is a retired Industrial Engineer and Engineering Proposals Analyst who lives in Los Angeles, California, USA]