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Introduction

         Hello, Friends!  I am Aisha, I am 9 years old.  I have just entered the 4th grade in school.  Can I write a book at this age?  Yes and No!

         I cannot write a book because I am too young and I have to learn a lot.  But I can write a little book with somebody's help.  Maybe you would like to try.

         I chose to write about Islam.  My dad and mom and my brothers write about Islam.  But they write for grownups.  I want to write for the little ones like you and me.  I love Islam because it gives us the best rules to live by.

Chapter 1

               What is Islam?

         What is Islam?  It is a simple yet the best guide for us given by God.  Islam means accepting God's rules.  It also means peace.

         If we live without any rules everything will go wrong.  A Muslim is a person who chooses to live by the rules of Islam.  There are more than one billion Muslims in the world.

Chapter 2

                                   

The Guidance

                                   

         THE QUR'AN is the last word of God to people.  Mohammad (our salutes to him) received this last message between the years of 610 and 632.  That was almost 1400 years ago.  The Qur'an is shorter than the Bible.  It has 114 chapters and 6,200 verses.  It has a small number of do's and dont's (or laws).  They tell you that if you do this, then that will happen.  If you don't do this, then that will happen.  Any person or any nation can try these laws and see results.  Therefore, it is a very scientific book.  In it there is no contradiction.  Actually, God says that all people together cannot make one chapter (surah) like this.

         The central ideas of the Qur'an are based on:

1.  "As you sow, so shall you reap."  This means that if you do good, you will get good in return.  If you do bad, bad things will happen in return.  This is "the law of returns." 

2.  Our bodies grow by taking food and drink.  But our soul or personality grows by giving.  That means by helping others.

         The Qur'an explains the reasons for its laws and commands.  It answers the "WHY" of every rule.  It guides you and me.    It guides us all and also tribes and nations.  The teachings of the Qur'an never fail.  This is the only book that can solve all problems of mankind.

         Now let's discuss some basic teachings of the Qur'an. 

         The most important teaching is:

         1.  We can be guided only if we see, listen and think.

         2. If we are too proud of ourselves, we will not be guided.  We should be humble and open-minded.  We must be willing to learn.

         3.  Blind following of our forefathers (like sheep following other sheep) will keep us from learning.  Children and grownups who say "OK yes, sir," all the time might be popular.  Those who say, "I will think," might be unpopular.  Which ones are better?  The second, of course.  Because they are the ones who stop to see what is actually fair and true.  They will walk the right path.  The main difference between us and animals is that we have a thinking mind. 

Chapter 3

The 5 Articles of Faith

         God's Book of instructions wants us to believe in five articles.  This will not be blind faith.  We will use our understanding to accept these five articles.

         1.  Belief in God.  The first announcement of a Muslim is "La Ilaha Ill'Allah".  There is no one I will obey, worship or serve, but the one true God.  This is called "Tawheed, " which is true monotheism.

Some people say that there is no God.  Others believe there are many gods.  Those who say there is no God, I have a question.  Have they ever seen a gas station or store that was created by itself, opens and closes everyday by itself?  Gets filled and emptied by itself.  Handles customers by itself?  I am sure not.

Now look at the great system of the universe. For example, how the earth and the planets go around the sun, how the seasons take turns, and how tiny seeds grow into trees.  If we keep water, dirt, sunshine and a seed apart from each other, the seed will not grow.  All things are needed in the right amount at the right time.  Did the universe create itself to run this way? There is so much order and discipline in our universe!  It cannot be working without a creator.  That is why I believe in one great God who is the Creator and the Master of the Universe.  He created us.  He created all things.  He has to be kind, wise, powerful and good, otherwise there will be chaos.  The seed won't grow.

A good creator would take care of his creation.  God takes care of the universe and He cares about us.  That is why when God gave us life He gave us instructions.  Just like whenever we get something expensive, it comes with instructions.

He chose some very special men to carry his instructions to people.  These special people are called "messengers".  We will discuss them later. 

         2.  Belief in the second life.  We have a body and a mind.  When we die, in fact, only the body dies.  Our mind, soul or personality keeps living.  If we do good things in our life we get excellent grades in the second life.  People call it life after death.  How about calling it life after life?  A great reward in life after life is called "paradise" or "heaven."

         But if we do bad deeds, we fail.  We stay behind.  Just like, if we don't do well, we fail in school.  We are not promoted to the next grade.  We feel sorry.  This is "hellfire."

         3.  Belief in angels.  God has created angels to run the universe.  They must do their job.  They do not have a choice.  They obey God like good servants.  Although we do not know exactly what they are, the angels could be laws of nature.  Such as gravity, wind, sound, light, waves, etc.  It was an angel that took God's message to the Messengers.

         4.  The Book.  The second chapter of the Qur'an tells us that the 4th article of faith is belief in the Book.  In fact the message of God received by prophets is called a "Book".  Mohammad (our salutes to him) was the last prophet and brought the last Book, the Qur'an, to us.

         Before him, Moses received the "TORAH."  Jesus received the "GOSPEL."  And finally, Mohammad received the "QUR'AN." 

         5.  Messengers (or Prophets).  We believe that God sent his guidance to all people in history.  Every nation had its prophet.  All these prophets brought the same basic message from God.  Mainly it said, "God is one."  Likewise, mankind is one.  All people on earth should respect and take care of one another. 

The messengers were wonderful holy people.  They lived their lives by God's rules.  They did not sin.  They obeyed God and did the right things.  They set examples for all humanity.  The Qur'an names more than 25 messengers, including Noah, Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad (our salutes to them all).  They all had perfect human character.

Noah lived about seven thousand (7,000) years ago.  Abraham lived about four thousand (4,000) years ago.  Mohammad lived about one thousand four hundred (1,400) years ago (years 570 to 632).  All of them brought message from the same one True God.  Muslims call Him "Allah."

Tradition tells us that God sent 124, 000 messengers to the world.  Most of them were sent for their times.  Others were sent for their countries and nations.  When civilization grew enough, the last messenger was sent to all peoples for all times.  The message of God was perfected on him and today it is present exactly as received and preached by Mohammad (our salutes to him).

[Dear Friend, do you think I wrote all these lines in one sitting?  No, so far it has taken all of my Sunday.  I stopped to eat some ice cream, played Nintendo, tried to pray, wrote some more, then took my lunch, did a little homework.  Then, I am writing again.]

Why believe in these 5 articles?

Belief or faith in these 5 articles is important.  Important for a Muslim, and in fact, important for any human being.  We can understand the importance of these beliefs.  For example:

 1.  If we did not believe in God we will have to make our own rules.  Our own values.  Every person in the whole world will have different rules.  People would disagree.  They will keep fighting.  There will be no peace. 

 Also, we are not as wise as God is.  He knows everything.  We don't know everything.  Trusting God gives us the mightiest friend.

2.  If we did not believe in the second life we will think that our life is too short.  Even if we lived 100 years.  If we know that only our bodies die and the soul keeps living, we will feel good.  For every good thing we do, we will receive great rewards even after we die.  We must do good for people, for plants, for animals and for the planet.  Even our good thoughts will be rewarded.

         About our soul: 

Our body grows by eating or drinking.  Let us say that bodies grow and live by taking.  But our soul grows by giving.  Our actions leave a mark on our soul.  What is soul?  I don't know.  In the second grade I used to think it was some kind of air inside the body.  Now I have learned that the soul is probably the person inside me.  It is the person inside you.  Grownups call it "SELF."  The Qur'an calls the person inside, "NAFS."  So our self grows by giving.  Meaning we become better persons.  Giving will mean helping other people.

How do we know that our soul never dies?

Now let me explain differently how our self doesn't die.  When we were in our mother's tummy, we were alive.  We lived in a small world.  When we were born, we started to live in a much bigger world.  When we are born into this world, we stop living in our mother's tummy.  Actually we are still living but we only moved from one world to another.  In the same way, when we die in this world, we simply move to the third level (afterlife).  First grade, second grade, and third grade of life.  Our soul keeps living.          

I am Aisha when I am 9 years old.  I was the same person yesterday and I will be the same person after a number of years.  Even though my body changes, the soul doesn't change and therefore it doesn't die. 

         Our faith in God and in the second life helps us become good people.  We know that all our actions are being recorded.  This is so even if no human being is watching us.  Therefore, we will do good and not do bad. 

Are the paradise and the hellfire for real?  Of course, yes!  A classmate asked me, have you seen it Aisha?  No, I have not seen God and I have not seen the paradise or hell.  But I have not seen electricity and wind.  I have not seen the power of a magnet or gravity.  I have not seen an atom.  Yet, I believe in them.

         3.  Believing in angels makes a lot of sense.  A gas station, hospital, any office or business has employees.  The universe is big business.  God employs angels to run this big business.  They don't have to have the shape as we see in toys with baby faces, colors and wings. 

4.  Having the Book of guidance is extremely important.  If we had no Book of guidance, we would have problems.  It would be like going on a long road trip without a map.  The QUR'AN is the book of instructions for all people.  It can teach you and me.  It also teaches the teachers.  Like an owner's manual, it tells us how to live our lives.  (See Chapter 10, page 50.)

5.  The Messengers were perfect people.  God chose them to guide humanity.  No one can become a prophet by trying.  They are chosen.  They receive God's message.  They live by that message.  So they are role models for us. They try to establish a fair and just society.  God's message was completed in the Qur'an.  It is unchangeable and for all times.  So no prophet will come after Mohammad (our salutes to him).  Anyone believing in a prophet after Prophet Mohammad will deny the Qur'an.  He or she could not be a Muslim.

Chapter 4

The Pillars of Islam

There are five pillars of Islam.  We must build a beautiful building on these pillars.

         1.  Iman :  "I declare from my heart that there is no god whom I obey except ALLAH, and Mohammad is His messenger."  This is the declaration of faith. 

2.  Salat :  Regularly remembering Allah.  Collectively trying to share the holy message.  Helping the needy.  Therefore, Salat is prayer and more. 

3.  Zakat :  To keep our wealth open for the needy.

4.  Saum :  This is to train ourselves during the month of Ramadhan every year.  Trying to become better persons.  We do this by staying away from food and drink during the day, and from anger, backbiting, lying, etc.  This teaches us self-control and discipline.

5.  Haj : Visiting Makkah once in life.  This is for those who can afford it.  The purpose is for mankind to unite and think of ways to make the world a better place to live.

We must remember that these pillars by themselves are not Islam.  Good character helps us construct the building on these pillars.  A building in which all people and all nations are one.  These pillars or Islamic worship helps us build character.

Chapter 5

Why Islam?

[When I reached this point I thought that my little book was finished.  I went to sleep.  The next day after school I reviewed my book.  A question came to my mind.  All religions have do's and don'ts.  So how is Islam any better?  I asked my brother who is also my teacher.  My question was simple but he said it has a long answer.  Let me write what he taught me during the last week.]

1.   Islam, because it solves all problems of humanity.

2.  Islam, because it is not just a religion.

3.  Islam, because it is the way of life.

4.  Islam, because it teaches mankind to live together 

     and finally,

5.  Islam, because every rule in it makes a lot of sense and it can be tested.

It is difficult for me to explain these five points in order.  If anything is unclear please call my brother or even my father.  I will learn as you do. 

In Islam, all people are equal. 

Being black or white, Asian or Hispanic, Chinese or Japanese, does not matter. 

Being rich or poor does not count.

Being the child of a powerful king or of a small farmer makes no difference.  Being a child of a first lady or of a poor maid makes no difference.

What makes us good is just one thing: our behavior or character.

Islam also is the way of moderation.  Think of a horse rider going to a distant place.  A rider may think that having an expensive Turkish horse is his goal.  He stands his horse under a big shady tree.  He keeps looking and admiring and patting the horse.  Of course, this rider will never reach his destination.

There may be another rider who thinks that the horse is useless.  This rider lets go his horse and he himself sits down under the big shady tree.  He too will never reach the destination.

The first rider is lost in things.  He is a "thingy" person.  My brother calls them "materialistic."  The second rider is lost in himself.  He denies reality.  The reality of using the things he has.  He is called a yogi in India, Sufi among some Muslims and a monk in the West.

A smart rider will see the horse as a way to reach his destination.  He will take care of himself and his horse and keep riding along to his goal.  Similarly, our soul is the rider and our body is the horse.  And what is our goal?  It is paradise.  Paradise in this world and in the life after life.  A Muslim uses his or her mind and body to help people make this planet a better place to live.  That is how he or she achieves paradise.

You may ask a question here.  If the Muslims know the way of life why are they not doing so well?  Well, there is a difference between knowing and doing.  If we keep looking at books about air travel and not go to the airport, we won't fly.

I know that many Muslims keep looking at the Book without understanding.  If we don't understand directions or don't start travelling, we will not reach our destination.  That reminds me of a joke.  When I was very little I used to tell my dad, " I will never get into the pool until I learn how to swim."  How can you learn to swim unless you get into a pool!

                   

Chapter 6

The Ideal Prophet

We were talking about why we should choose Islam as our way of life.  Another very strong reason is the ideal prophet.  We know all about his life.  His teachings still exist.  He was the greatest man ever to live.  Even non-Muslims agree with that.  Let me tell you briefly about the greatest man who ever lived. 

Prophet Mohammad (our salutes to him) was born after Jesus Christ.  The year was 570.  The place was Makkah (many people wrongly spell it as "Mecca").  This city is in Saudi Arabia.  His life is a great story of success.  Even though he met with many difficulties, he overcame them all.  He removed evil from the society.  He showed people how to live in total peace and justice.

His father, Abdullah, had died before he was born.  His mother, Amena, passed away when he was only 6.  Although he was from a noble family, he had to work for a living.  His grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, and after his death, his uncle, Abu Talib raised him. 

Mohammad (our salutes to him) was born when there was no law in the world.  In Arabia, slavery, fighting, raiding, killing, and drinking were the way of life.  Men and women were immodest and indecent.  They worshipped idols.  They were ashamed of having daughters as children.  There was chaos in Arabia.

But from the beginning, Mohammad (our salutes to him) had lived a very upright life.  This is because he did not follow his people.  He did not worship idols as other Makkan people did.  He did not drink alcohol or do gambling.    He did not waste time on aimless entertainment.  He never gossiped.  He avoided vain conversation and play.  He was a highly intelligent and sensitive person.  He often felt sorry for his people.  Even when he was a young man, people called him "Ameen" (trustworthy) and "Saadiq" (truthful). 

In his early adult life, he became a successful businessman.  God revealed the first verses of the Qur'an  to him in the year 610.  At that time, he was 40 years old. 

Then, the prophet changed the entire situation in 23 years.  Of course, he met with strong opposition.  People of Makkah, forced him to leave his home, his property, and his city of birth.  This happened in the year 623.  Then he settled in Madinah along with a few hundred faithful followers.  Because the Prophet was an upright man guided by God, he succeeded. 

He removed all vices from the society.  He established the ideal system in the country.  At the time of his death in the year 632, all of Arabia had accepted his message.  The Prophet achieved his mission statement as we will discuss in Chapter 8.  He created a paradise on earth.  He was the best father, the best husband, the best ruler, the best commander, and the best neighbor.  Some people think he conquered land.  In fact, he conquered hearts.  Our salutes to him.

Chapter 7

Question Box

[Folks! Today is the 11th of September 1999.  It is a weekend, so I have some company.  My friends are asking me questions.  Am I smarter than they are?  No, but I am learning.]

SOME QUESTIONS:

God

Q1:  Is Allah a loving God?

A:  Allah is the same God as that of Abraham, Moses and Jesus.  Of course, He is kind and loving.  In fact, He does not hurt anyone.  He has made rules and if we break them,  we get bad results.

Q2:  What does "La ilaha ill'Allah" mean?

A:  It means there is no one worthy of obedience or worship but Allah.

Believer

Q3:  Do you think a believer in God is better than a nonbeliever?

A:  How can I judge people?  But I think that a nonbeliever is not watching or understanding the reality.  He or she is not thinking clearly.  I read a beautiful saying.  "If there is no knowledge there is no understanding.  If there is no understanding there is no knowledge."

Q4:  What is wrong with being a nonbeliever?

A:  Then our heart tells us to do what we feel like.  But what we feel like may not be right.  Also in that case, our values come from the society.  This may not be right either.  Guidance from God is always right.  It is never wrong.

Q5:  But many smart people don't believe in God.

A.  As we discussed before, they are not thinking right.  The smartest people today believe in God.

Muslim

Q6:  What is the definition of a "Muslim?"

A:  A Muslim is anyone who follows Islam.  Islam means peace and obeying God.  So a Muslim is one who obeys God and is at peace with the people and the universe.

        

Q7:  What else?

A:  Anyone who believes in the Qur'an as the last word of God, is a Muslim.

Q8:  I read the words "Muslim" and "Qur'an" spelled in different ways.

A:  The correct spelling is "Qur'an."  And "Muslim." "Koran" is the wrong spelling.  "Moslem" is also the wrong spelling.

The Creation

Q9:  Why did God create me?

A:  If someone gives you a gift you say "thank you."  Life is a gift.  It is a chance for us to do good works and get wonderful rewards forever.

Q10:  Can we choose what we do?

A:  Yes.  God gave us free choice. We are not robots.  Angels, plants, rocks, the moon, the sun, the stars have no choice.  Animals have no choice either, since they must follow their instinct.

Q11:  Who is Satan?

A:  Mohammad (our salutes to him) once said "Every person has a Satan (IBLIS)."  People asked him "Do you also have a Satan"?  He answered, "Yes, I have made him a Muslim."  This means that Satan is our uncontrolled desire.  Any wrong thing we feel like doing.  Making Satan a Muslim means controlling our wrong desires and to act nicely.

Q12:  Tell me something.  Is the Satan as powerful as God?  How can he visit and misguide 6 billion people everyday?

A:  The Satan is within us.  We must check our bad thoughts and actions.  In other words, mind should rule our heart.  And our mind must be guided by the Qur'an.  Then our Satan becomes Muslim. 

Q13:  Why are humans responsible for their actions?

A:  Because we have a thinking mind.  Animals have small brains and small minds.  You know even most dinosaurs had brains the size of a walnut?  So, animals don't know the difference between good and evil. 

Q14.  How can God create us after death?

A:  The people of Arabia asked the beloved Prophet this question.  The Qur'an responded, "He will create you as He did before."

 

The Guidance

Q15:  But what is good and bad and what is right and wrong?

A:  Any action that helps people is right or good.  Anything that makes us better persons is right or good. Anything that has the opposite effect is wrong or bad.

Q16:  What is the guide for right and wrong?

A:  It is the last Word of God.

Q17:  But we also have the Bible.

A:  If we had two road maps shall we use the old one or the new one?  Especially when the last one is perfect and good forever. 

Women

Q18:  Aisha, do you wish you were a boy?

A:  No, men and women have equal rights in Islam.  Some people forget this rule.  But followers of any religion make mistakes. 

Q19:  Many people believe that God favors the man over the woman.

A:  They are wrong.  We have no choice on being white or black, short or tall, male or female.  God says men and women have the same rights.  Their actions will count.  God does not do injustice. 

Marriage

Q20:  Aisha, I heard that Muslims force marriage on their children.  How will you handle that?

A:  My female cousin is married.  No one forced her.  And my brother is also married.  No one forced him or his wife.  Our parents only suggest and guide.  Very few marriages among Muslims fail.  

Q21:  How about dating?

A:  Islam does not allow dating.  The Qur'an forbids dating.  A girl and a boy or a woman and a man must not go out by themselves.  And they must not meet privately. 

Q22:  Why is that important?

A:  I asked my dad.  He said, being close without marriage is bad.  It hurts our personality.  It hurts other people also.  Thus, we become less sensitive as humans.

[At this point my friends and I are hungry.   Mummy is calling for dinner.  We eat.  Then we will meet next weekend.] 

[Hello, folks.  Assalamalaikum!  This means peace and safety be on you.  Please have a seat.  We will continue with our conference.  Thank you for being with us again.]

Our conduct

Q23:  Any special manners for Muslims?

A:  A Muslim must be gentle.  Walk humbly.  Speak softly.  Stay calm.  Help others.  Be modest.  Respect parents, teachers and the elderly.  Must show kindness to the young.  Must be generous.  Be nice to animals.  Seek knowledge.  Be good to neighbors.

You see, all these manners are wonderful.  The holy prophet said that a Muslim must

1.  be truthful

2.  keep his promise

3.  be trustworthy

Otherwise he is a hypocrite (not a true Muslim).

                  Drugs and alcohol

Q24:  Why are drugs and alcohol haraam (forbidden)?

A:  a.  They hurt our bodies. 

     b.  They hurt our minds.

     c.  They cause us to behave badly. 

     d.  They make us forget God. 

     e.  Drugs destroy friendships. 

     f.  They create accidents. 

     g.  Drugs break families. 

     h.  They promote crime. 

      i.  They waste our money. 

     k.  They also make a nation weak. 

      l.  They even harm the baby inside the mother's tummy. 

     m.  They are tough to quit.

Q25:  Thank you for giving me so many good reasons, Aisha.  But many people just want to try. 

A:  Many of those who try, get hooked. 

Q26:  They say that drugs give us pleasure.

A:  Momentary pleasure.  Then you need to take more and more every day.  The whole life of a druggie goes looking for drugs.  The life on drugs is a hellfire.

Q27:  Smoking is still a common fashion.  What does Islam teach about that? 

A:  It is a strong habit (or addiction).  Any strong addiction makes us a slave.  Smoking is a big killer.  The Qur'an tells us, "Do not kill yourself."

Our appearance

 

Q28:  Some boys grow long hair or make braids? 

How do you feel about that?

A: I don't like it.  The holy Prophet forbade boys and girls from imitating each other. 

 

Q29:  How about boys putting on earrings? 

A: That will be imitation of girls.

Q30:  Is it okay for a girl to have her hair cut like boys?

A:  That will be imitating boys.

Q31:  How about girls wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts?

A:  It is not allowed except for very little girls. 

Q32:  If a man becomes a Muslim, does he have to grow a beard?

A:  The word of God does not say that. 

Q33:  Do I have to wear any special dress for prayer?

A:  No special dress is required.  Girls and boys must dress properly.  That means the dress should not be short, tight, or see-through kind.  It must be clean.

Q34:  And if a woman becomes a Muslim, does she have to wear the head scarf?

A:  The word of God (Qur'an) does not say that.  I think I am too young to answer these questions.  But my brother told me that beard and head scarf were part of the old Arab culture.

Luck

Q35:  Do you believe in psychics or fortune tellers?  How about zodiac signs and palm reading?  Astrology and things like that?

A:  No, I don't.  The Qur'an says only God has knowledge of the future.   And the Holy Prophet said, "One who believes in fortune-telling, denies me."

Q36:  Do you believe in luck?

A:  I don't.  Let me ask my brother.  He says, a person who tries and succeeds, people call him lucky.  Those who stop trying and fail, call themselves unlucky.  A wise man said, "The harder I work the luckier I get."

 

Jesus

Q37:  Do you believe in Jesus?

A:  I believe in him for what he was: a prophet of God.

Q38:  Why not the "son of God?"

A:   Because the Qur'an says that God has no son or daughter.

      Because God does not have a wife.

      Because God is the Creator.

      Because God is not like humans.  He does not produce like humans.

Q39:  Do you think that Jesus went up to the heavens?

A:  I will only say that God is everywhere.

Q40:  If I follow Jesus, why do I need to follow Mohammad?

A:  The Bible only tells 2 or 3 years of Jesus's life.  This was written by unknown people many many years after Jesus.  The life of Mohammad (our salutes to both of them) was recorded in the Qur'an during his lifetime.  Also, history recorded his life from cradle to grave.

 

The Unseen

Q41:  How can I believe things I have not seen?

A:  If we plant a seed we don't see the plant.  But we know that a plant will grow out of it.  So we believe in the unseen.  We believe in God's laws of nature.  This is real faith.  Call it conviction (strong belief in something).

Mohammad (our salutes to him)

Q42:  How close do you feel Mohammad is?

A:  His instructions and his example are always with me.  He feels like a member of the family. When I was little I used to call him Nabi Dadda (Prophet Grandpa).

Q43:  Christians believe that Christ will save them.

A:  A Muslim wants to be saved, too.  But he wants more.  He or she aims for total success.  In Islam, faith and good actions bring the Grace of God.  Then we achieve success.   

Q44:  Can Mohammad save you?

A:  The Qur'an tells us that our thoughts and actions are important and the Prophet (our salutes to him) said that even his family will have to do good works.  Only then will they succeed.

Q45:  How should Christians believe that Mohammad was a Prophet?

A:  They believe in other prophets.  The same God who sent Moses and Jesus also sent Mohammad (our salutes to him).  They should study the miraculous Qur'an and his life.  Then they will believe in him.

The Prophet's friends

Q46:  Were any of the Prophet's companions prophets too?

A:  You mean whether any of them received the message of God directly?  They did not.  But they followed the Qur'an even after the Holy Prophet.  They also learned from the holy prophet's example. 

Q49:  Can you name for us a few successors?

A:   1.  Abu Bakr

      2.  Umar Farooq

      3.  Uthman

      4.  Ali 

     (Allah's pleasure was with them all) 

Chapter 8

The Goal of Islam

[Friends, I think we should pause here.  Let me tell you something very interesting today.  We all know that we must have a goal.  A high noble goal.  And we should try to achieve it.  It is called "the mission."] 

The holy Prophet stated his mission.  It was the highest and the noblest goal ever.  He stated "We will set up an extraordinary empire.  In this empire a beautiful young lady loaded with jewelry will travel alone hundreds of miles."  Of course, in those days she would travel on a camel or horseback.  So this would take many days.  "Yet, she would have no fear but the fear of God."

This meant that in the Muslim Empire, the life, honor and property of all people would be safe.  There will be rule of law.  Also, discipline in the hearts.  This lofty mission was achieved in the lifetime of the holy Prophet!

It is also a wonderful observation that Islam has been very successful.  Most of the basic rules of the Qur'an have been followed in the world.  For example:

1.   Rule of Law, not that of kings.

2.  Government by people.

3. Universal peace (is now becoming the goal).

4.  All humans are equal.

5.  All mankind is one.

6.  All people have rights.

7.  Rights of women must be respected.

8.  Slavery is wrong.

9.  Kindness to animals.

10.  God is everywhere so He is close to us.  We should not obey people against what God commands.

11.  Do not worship people (kings, priests, monks, etc.).

12.  Consult others before making a decision, whether individuals or institutions.

Chapter 9

Some Sayings of the Holy   

Messenger

(As I Understand)

The Parents

1.  Respect your parents.   When they get old be even more humble to them.

2.  Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.

3.  The best gift parents can give is good training to their children.

 

Neighbors

4.  Make sure that your neighbor does not sleep hungry. 

5.  No one of you can be a believer if he or she troubles the neighbor.

The Poor

6.  Pay the laborer before his sweat dries.

7.  Feed the hungry.

         8.  Give charity.

9.  You can't be a believer if your neighbor sleeps hungry.

10.  The best of homes is one where an orphan is treated nicely.

God's creatures

11.  If you are merciful to creatures, God will be merciful to you.

12.   You will get great reward for having mercy on animals.

13.  Do not destroy trees and plants.

14.  Feed your horses and camels properly.  

15.  Do not cripple animals.

16. Do not remain seated on your ride (animals) while standing.

Anger

         17.  Control your anger.

18.  The strong person is not the one who knocks out another.  The strong man is he who controls himself in anger.

19.   Forgive others.

Modesty

20.  Be modest.

21.  Dress decently.

                    Cleanliness

22.  Always be clean.

23.  Cleanliness is part of faith. 

24. Treat all earth as the place of worship (mosque).  Keep it clean.                

Honesty

25.  Be truthful and keep your pledge.

26.  A believer cannot be a liar.

27.  Be trustworthy.

Knowledge

28.  It is a duty for a Muslim to gain knowledge.

29.  Seek knowledge even if it is in China.

30.  Wisdom and knowledge are the lost property of the believer.  Get it wherever you find it.

                          

Conduct

31.  The best people are those who are best in conduct.

32.  Be gentle.   God loves gentle people.

33.  Actions are based upon intentions.

34.  Treat your guests kindly.

35.  Do not burden your host.

36.  Greet everyone; even a stranger.

37.  Decorate your faces with a smile.

38.  God does not care about your wealth or about your looks.  He cares about your actions.

39.  Forgive others so that you are forgiven.

40.  Do not criticize people behind their back.

 

Justice

41.  One who helps oppression is not a Muslim.

42.  The best jihad (struggle) is to say the right before the tyrant.

43. Keep your weights and measures accurate.

44.  Be easy on the debtor.

45.  A believer is a mirror to his brother.

                           Humility

46. Do not be proud.

47. When you go to an assembly, do not look for a special seat.

                           Generosity

48.  Do not be stingy.

49.  Do not waste.

50. The hellfire is far away from the generous.

51.  The truly rich is the one who is rich of heart.

52.  Islam is the religion of moderation.

Chapter 10

SOME GLIMPSES FROM THE HOLY QUR'AN

 

1.  This Book is beyond any doubt.

2.  This Book answers all questions of man and society.

3.  God is with those who are steadfast.

4.  Preparing a will is a duty.

5.  Meet people by appointment.

6.  Men and women have similar rights.

7.  There is no compulsion in religion.

8.  If you love God, follow the messenger.

9.  Spend of that which you love.

10.  Keep your pledge (promise).

11.  No good action will go to waste.

12.  Help others even if you are needy.

13.  Disturbing the peace is worse than killing.  (No terrorism at all.)

14.  Treat non-Muslims kindly.

15.  Respect other religions.

16.  Muslims can fight only if  

a. enemies fight Islam.

b. enemies drive them from their                  homes.

c. if people are being oppressed by others.

17.  Feed the hungry.

18.  Comfort the grieved.

19.  Give charity.

20.  Have good manners.

21.  Respect your elders.

22.  Be kind to the little ones.

23.  Talk gently.

24.  Remember God frequently.

25.  Respect all prophets.

26.  Attain knowledge.

27.  Be peaceful.

28.  Be truthful.

29.  Stay clean.

30.  Treat your parents nicely.

31.  Be modest.

32.  Everyone will be responsible for his or her own actions.

33.  God is close to you.

34.  Be fair in matters of money.

35.  Disturbing peace is a great sin.

36.  All mankind is one community. 

37.  Spend on people that is more than you need.

38.  Alcohol and gambling are Satan's handiwork.

39. Wisdom is a great blessing.

40.  Be easy on the debtor.

41.  Be truthful in witness.

42.  Be united by the Qur'an.

43.  Invite people to goodness.

44.  Forbid people from wrong.

45.  Control your anger.

46.  Forgive people.

47.  Be thankful to God.

48.  Be generous. 

49.  Fear of death is unbelief.

50.  Every soul will taste death.

51.  God does not love the proud.

52.  Treat people nicely.

53.  Friendliness and peace are better than distance or quarrel.

54.  Seek good for this life and for the afterlife.

55.  Rich or poor, God is close to both.

56.  Do justice even with your enemy.

57.  It is good for you not to take revenge.

These were some of the do's.  I think you will agree that these rules are simple and easy.  Now let's see some don'ts, in this holy Book.

1.  Don't kill or hurt others.

2.  Don't steal.

3.  Don't gamble.

4.  Don't drink alcohol.

5.  Don't tell lies.

6.  Don't break your promises.

7.  Don't do drugs.

8.  Don't eat pork.

9.  Don't be rude to the poor.

10.  Don't forget women's rights.

11.  Don't divide and fight.

12.  Don't reveal your bodies.

13.  Don't obey people against God's Command.

14.  Don't loan for interest.

15.  Don't yell or scream.

16.  Don't backbite.

17.  Don't be proud.

18.  Don't insult others by nicknames.

19.  Don't create disorder.

20.  Don't spoil the environment.

21.  Don't eat too much.

22.  Don't sleep too long.

23.  Don't be lazy.

24.  Do not insult gods of other religions.

25.  Do not lose hope.

26.  Do not kill yourself (even with drugs or bad health habits).

27.  Do not be hasty.

28.  Do not walk with pride.

[I am eating my favorite chocolate as I think that the don'ts in the Qur'an are also simple.  Don't you agree?

If you are a school going child like me, you see how many of these rules we all follow in schools.  Same rules and a few more can create a happy town. Also a happy country.  Finally a very happy planet earth.  A paradise in this life.

Besides these do's and don'ts, the Qur'an explains best how to live together.  How to set up the ideal society.

Ok, folks!  We will meet again next week.  I will think if I missed something.  Please tell me if I did. ]

                                  

Chapter 11

Conclusion

Friends!  I wrote what I knew.  You can see I have much to learn.  Please call if you have any questions. 

After reading this book you may agree that Islam is the best way of life.

Yes, I did not write in this book on how to pray and fast.  I thought about it, then I decided not to.  Almost every book on Islam teaches those things.  And I want to keep my book brief.  So let me stop here.  I hope you like my book.  If you have any comments or ideas please write to me.  I will try to make the second edition better.

God bless me for writing.  God bless you for reading.  Thank you.  Greetings and Salaam to you.

THE END

Islam for the Junior

Some Valuable Comments

"Great for children seven and above. Let them study it by themselves. Answer questions if they have any. Understanding of Islam truly made easy for the junior."

Dr. Iftikhar H. Chishti, Professor of Comparitive Religion, Johannesburg

"Absolutely a novel idea. This book is destined to be a great success."

Dr. Javed Iqbal, Lahore

"The best thing a junior could do to learn about Islam in the new Millenium is read this little book. It is simple, clear, and very intelligently written.

            Mujtahid Ayatullah Naziri, Tabrez

"Easy, interesting, brilliant. This lovable book will give new direction to writers on Islam. Even adults will find Islam for the Junior inspiring."

            Imam Vehbi, Former President, Jamia Al-Azhar

"Want to teach children Islam? This book will help you come up with great ideas. This brand new approach will become a trend-setter in the new millenium."

Shaikhul-Hadith Mufti Mohammad Irshad Nizami, Agra

 Introduction

         Hello, Friends!  I am Aisha, I am 9 years old.  I have just entered the 4th grade in school.  Can I write a book at this age?  Yes and No!

         I cannot write a book because I am too young and I have to learn a lot.  But I can write a little book with somebody's help.  Maybe you would like to try.

         I chose to write about Islam.  My dad and mom and my brothers write about Islam.  But they write for grownups.  I want to write for the little ones like you and me.  I love Islam because it gives us the best rules to live by.

Chapter 1

               What is Islam?

         What is Islam?  It is a simple yet the best guide for us given by God.  Islam means accepting God's rules.  It also means peace.

         If we live without any rules everything will go wrong.  A Muslim is a person who chooses to live by the rules of Islam.  There are more than one billion Muslims in the world.

Chapter 2

                                   

The Guidance

                                   

         THE QUR'AN is the last word of God to people.  Mohammad (our salutes to him) received this last message between the years of 610 and 632.  That was almost 1400 years ago.  The Qur'an is shorter than the Bible.  It has 114 chapters and 6,200 verses.  It has a small number of do's and dont's (or laws).  They tell you that if you do this, then that will happen.  If you don't do this, then that will happen.  Any person or any nation can try these laws and see results.  Therefore, it is a very scientific book.  In it there is no contradiction.  Actually, God says that all people together cannot make one chapter (surah) like this.

         The central ideas of the Qur'an are based on:

1.  "As you sow, so shall you reap."  This means that if you do good, you will get good in return.  If you do bad, bad things will happen in return.  This is "the law of returns." 

2.  Our bodies grow by taking food and drink.  But our soul or personality grows by giving.  That means by helping others.

         The Qur'an explains the reasons for its laws and commands.  It answers the "WHY" of every rule.  It guides you and me.    It guides us all and also tribes and nations.  The teachings of the Qur'an never fail.  This is the only book that can solve all problems of mankind.

         Now let's discuss some basic teachings of the Qur'an. 

         The most important teaching is:

         1.  We can be guided only if we see, listen and think.

         2. If we are too proud of ourselves, we will not be guided.  We should be humble and open-minded.  We must be willing to learn.

         3.  Blind following of our forefathers (like sheep following other sheep) will keep us from learning.  Children and grownups who say "OK yes, sir," all the time might be popular.  Those who say, "I will think," might be unpopular.  Which ones are better?  The second, of course.  Because they are the ones who stop to see what is actually fair and true.  They will walk the right path.  The main difference between us and animals is that we have a thinking mind. 

Chapter 3

The 5 Articles of Faith

         God's Book of instructions wants us to believe in five articles.  This will not be blind faith.  We will use our understanding to accept these five articles.

         1.  Belief in God.  The first announcement of a Muslim is "La Ilaha Ill'Allah".  There is no one I will obey, worship or serve, but the one true God.  This is called "Tawheed, " which is true monotheism.

Some people say that there is no God.  Others believe there are many gods.  Those who say there is no God, I have a question.  Have they ever seen a gas station or store that was created by itself, opens and closes everyday by itself?  Gets filled and emptied by itself.  Handles customers by itself?  I am sure not.

Now look at the great system of the universe. For example, how the earth and the planets go around the sun, how the seasons take turns, and how tiny seeds grow into trees.  If we keep water, dirt, sunshine and a seed apart from each other, the seed will not grow.  All things are needed in the right amount at the right time.  Did the universe create itself to run this way? There is so much order and discipline in our universe!  It cannot be working without a creator.  That is why I believe in one great God who is the Creator and the Master of the Universe.  He created us.  He created all things.  He has to be kind, wise, powerful and good, otherwise there will be chaos.  The seed won't grow.

A good creator would take care of his creation.  God takes care of the universe and He cares about us.  That is why when God gave us life He gave us instructions.  Just like whenever we get something expensive, it comes with instructions.

He chose some very special men to carry his instructions to people.  These special people are called "messengers".  We will discuss them later. 

         2.  Belief in the second life.  We have a body and a mind.  When we die, in fact, only the body dies.  Our mind, soul or personality keeps living.  If we do good things in our life we get excellent grades in the second life.  People call it life after death.  How about calling it life after life?  A great reward in life after life is called "paradise" or "heaven."

         But if we do bad deeds, we fail.  We stay behind.  Just like, if we don't do well, we fail in school.  We are not promoted to the next grade.  We feel sorry.  This is "hellfire."

         3.  Belief in angels.  God has created angels to run the universe.  They must do their job.  They do not have a choice.  They obey God like good servants.  Although we do not know exactly what they are, the angels could be laws of nature.  Such as gravity, wind, sound, light, waves, etc.  It was an angel that took God's message to the Messengers.

         4.  The Book.  The second chapter of the Qur'an tells us that the 4th article of faith is belief in the Book.  In fact the message of God received by prophets is called a "Book".  Mohammad (our salutes to him) was the last prophet and brought the last Book, the Qur'an, to us.

         Before him, Moses received the "TORAH."  Jesus received the "GOSPEL."  And finally, Mohammad received the "QUR'AN." 

         5.  Messengers (or Prophets).  We believe that God sent his guidance to all people in history.  Every nation had its prophet.  All these prophets brought the same basic message from God.  Mainly it said, "God is one."  Likewise, mankind is one.  All people on earth should respect and take care of one another. 

The messengers were wonderful holy people.  They lived their lives by God's rules.  They did not sin.  They obeyed God and did the right things.  They set examples for all humanity.  The Qur'an names more than 25 messengers, including Noah, Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad (our salutes to them all).  They all had perfect human character.

Noah lived about seven thousand (7,000) years ago.  Abraham lived about four thousand (4,000) years ago.  Mohammad lived about one thousand four hundred (1,400) years ago (years 570 to 632).  All of them brought message from the same one True God.  Muslims call Him "Allah."

Tradition tells us that God sent 124, 000 messengers to the world.  Most of them were sent for their times.  Others were sent for their countries and nations.  When civilization grew enough, the last messenger was sent to all peoples for all times.  The message of God was perfected on him and today it is present exactly as received and preached by Mohammad (our salutes to him).

[Dear Friend, do you think I wrote all these lines in one sitting?  No, so far it has taken all of my Sunday.  I stopped to eat some ice cream, played Nintendo, tried to pray, wrote some more, then took my lunch, did a little homework.  Then, I am writing again.]

Why believe in these 5 articles?

Belief or faith in these 5 articles is important.  Important for a Muslim, and in fact, important for any human being.  We can understand the importance of these beliefs.  For example:

 1.  If we did not believe in God we will have to make our own rules.  Our own values.  Every person in the whole world will have different rules.  People would disagree.  They will keep fighting.  There will be no peace. 

 Also, we are not as wise as God is.  He knows everything.  We don't know everything.  Trusting God gives us the mightiest friend.

2.  If we did not believe in the second life we will think that our life is too short.  Even if we lived 100 years.  If we know that only our bodies die and the soul keeps living, we will feel good.  For every good thing we do, we will receive great rewards even after we die.  We must do good for people, for plants, for animals and for the planet.  Even our good thoughts will be rewarded.

         About our soul: 

Our body grows by eating or drinking.  Let us say that bodies grow and live by taking.  But our soul grows by giving.  Our actions leave a mark on our soul.  What is soul?  I don't know.  In the second grade I used to think it was some kind of air inside the body.  Now I have learned that the soul is probably the person inside me.  It is the person inside you.  Grownups call it "SELF."  The Qur'an calls the person inside, "NAFS."  So our self grows by giving.  Meaning we become better persons.  Giving will mean helping other people.

How do we know that our soul never dies?

Now let me explain differently how our self doesn't die.  When we were in our mother's tummy, we were alive.  We lived in a small world.  When we were born, we started to live in a much bigger world.  When we are born into this world, we stop living in our mother's tummy.  Actually we are still living but we only moved from one world to another.  In the same way, when we die in this world, we simply move to the third level (afterlife).  First grade, second grade, and third grade of life.  Our soul keeps living.          

I am Aisha when I am 9 years old.  I was the same person yesterday and I will be the same person after a number of years.  Even though my body changes, the soul doesn't change and therefore it doesn't die. 

         Our faith in God and in the second life helps us become good people.  We know that all our actions are being recorded.  This is so even if no human being is watching us.  Therefore, we will do good and not do bad. 

Are the paradise and the hellfire for real?  Of course, yes!  A classmate asked me, have you seen it Aisha?  No, I have not seen God and I have not seen the paradise or hell.  But I have not seen electricity and wind.  I have not seen the power of a magnet or gravity.  I have not seen an atom.  Yet, I believe in them.

         3.  Believing in angels makes a lot of sense.  A gas station, hospital, any office or business has employees.  The universe is big business.  God employs angels to run this big business.  They don't have to have the shape as we see in toys with baby faces, colors and wings. 

4.  Having the Book of guidance is extremely important.  If we had no Book of guidance, we would have problems.  It would be like going on a long road trip without a map.  The QUR'AN is the book of instructions for all people.  It can teach you and me.  It also teaches the teachers.  Like an owner's manual, it tells us how to live our lives.  (See Chapter 10, page 50.)

5.  The Messengers were perfect people.  God chose them to guide humanity.  No one can become a prophet by trying.  They are chosen.  They receive God's message.  They live by that message.  So they are role models for us. They try to establish a fair and just society.  God's message was completed in the Qur'an.  It is unchangeable and for all times.  So no prophet will come after Mohammad (our salutes to him).  Anyone believing in a prophet after Prophet Mohammad will deny the Qur'an.  He or she could not be a Muslim.

Chapter 4

The Pillars of Islam

There are five pillars of Islam.  We must build a beautiful building on these pillars.

         1.  Iman :  "I declare from my heart that there is no god whom I obey except ALLAH, and Mohammad is His messenger."  This is the declaration of faith. 

2.  Salat :  Regularly remembering Allah.  Collectively trying to share the holy message.  Helping the needy.  Therefore, Salat is prayer and more. 

3.  Zakat :  To keep our wealth open for the needy.

4.  Saum :  This is to train ourselves during the month of Ramadhan every year.  Trying to become better persons.  We do this by staying away from food and drink during the day, and from anger, backbiting, lying, etc.  This teaches us self-control and discipline.

5.  Haj : Visiting Makkah once in life.  This is for those who can afford it.  The purpose is for mankind to unite and think of ways to make the world a better place to live.

We must remember that these pillars by themselves are not Islam.  Good character helps us construct the building on these pillars.  A building in which all people and all nations are one.  These pillars or Islamic worship helps us build character.

Chapter 5

Why Islam?

[When I reached this point I thought that my little book was finished.  I went to sleep.  The next day after school I reviewed my book.  A question came to my mind.  All religions have do's and don'ts.  So how is Islam any better?  I asked my brother who is also my teacher.  My question was simple but he said it has a long answer.  Let me write what he taught me during the last week.]

1.   Islam, because it solves all problems of humanity.

2.  Islam, because it is not just a religion.

3.  Islam, because it is the way of life.

4.  Islam, because it teaches mankind to live together 

     and finally,

5.  Islam, because every rule in it makes a lot of sense and it can be tested.

It is difficult for me to explain these five points in order.  If anything is unclear please call my brother or even my father.  I will learn as you do. 

In Islam, all people are equal. 

Being black or white, Asian or Hispanic, Chinese or Japanese, does not matter. 

Being rich or poor does not count.

Being the child of a powerful king or of a small farmer makes no difference.  Being a child of a first lady or of a poor maid makes no difference.

What makes us good is just one thing: our behavior or character.

Islam also is the way of moderation.  Think of a horse rider going to a distant place.  A rider may think that having an expensive Turkish horse is his goal.  He stands his horse under a big shady tree.  He keeps looking and admiring and patting the horse.  Of course, this rider will never reach his destination.

There may be another rider who thinks that the horse is useless.  This rider lets go his horse and he himself sits down under the big shady tree.  He too will never reach the destination.

The first rider is lost in things.  He is a "thingy" person.  My brother calls them "materialistic."  The second rider is lost in himself.  He denies reality.  The reality of using the things he has.  He is called a yogi in India, Sufi among some Muslims and a monk in the West.

A smart rider will see the horse as a way to reach his destination.  He will take care of himself and his horse and keep riding along to his goal.  Similarly, our soul is the rider and our body is the horse.  And what is our goal?  It is paradise.  Paradise in this world and in the life after life.  A Muslim uses his or her mind and body to help people make this planet a better place to live.  That is how he or she achieves paradise.

You may ask a question here.  If the Muslims know the way of life why are they not doing so well?  Well, there is a difference between knowing and doing.  If we keep looking at books about air travel and not go to the airport, we won't fly.

I know that many Muslims keep looking at the Book without understanding.  If we don't understand directions or don't start travelling, we will not reach our destination.  That reminds me of a joke.  When I was very little I used to tell my dad, " I will never get into the pool until I learn how to swim."  How can you learn to swim unless you get into a pool!

                   

Chapter 6

The Ideal Prophet

We were talking about why we should choose Islam as our way of life.  Another very strong reason is the ideal prophet.  We know all about his life.  His teachings still exist.  He was the greatest man ever to live.  Even non-Muslims agree with that.  Let me tell you briefly about the greatest man who ever lived. 

Prophet Mohammad (our salutes to him) was born after Jesus Christ.  The year was 570.  The place was Makkah (many people wrongly spell it as "Mecca").  This city is in Saudi Arabia.  His life is a great story of success.  Even though he met with many difficulties, he overcame them all.  He removed evil from the society.  He showed people how to live in total peace and justice.

His father, Abdullah, had died before he was born.  His mother, Amena, passed away when he was only 6.  Although he was from a noble family, he had to work for a living.  His grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, and after his death, his uncle, Abu Talib raised him. 

Mohammad (our salutes to him) was born when there was no law in the world.  In Arabia, slavery, fighting, raiding, killing, and drinking were the way of life.  Men and women were immodest and indecent.  They worshipped idols.  They were ashamed of having daughters as children.  There was chaos in Arabia.

But from the beginning, Mohammad (our salutes to him) had lived a very upright life.  This is because he did not follow his people.  He did not worship idols as other Makkan people did.  He did not drink alcohol or do gambling.    He did not waste time on aimless entertainment.  He never gossiped.  He avoided vain conversation and play.  He was a highly intelligent and sensitive person.  He often felt sorry for his people.  Even when he was a young man, people called him "Ameen" (trustworthy) and "Saadiq" (truthful). 

In his early adult life, he became a successful businessman.  God revealed the first verses of the Qur'an  to him in the year 610.  At that time, he was 40 years old. 

Then, the prophet changed the entire situation in 23 years.  Of course, he met with strong opposition.  People of Makkah, forced him to leave his home, his property, and his city of birth.  This happened in the year 623.  Then he settled in Madinah along with a few hundred faithful followers.  Because the Prophet was an upright man guided by God, he succeeded. 

He removed all vices from the society.  He established the ideal system in the country.  At the time of his death in the year 632, all of Arabia had accepted his message.  The Prophet achieved his mission statement as we will discuss in Chapter 8.  He created a paradise on earth.  He was the best father, the best husband, the best ruler, the best commander, and the best neighbor.  Some people think he conquered land.  In fact, he conquered hearts.  Our salutes to him.

Chapter 7

Question Box

[Folks! Today is the 11th of September 1999.  It is a weekend, so I have some company.  My friends are asking me questions.  Am I smarter than they are?  No, but I am learning.]

SOME QUESTIONS:

God

Q1:  Is Allah a loving God?

A:  Allah is the same God as that of Abraham, Moses and Jesus.  Of course, He is kind and loving.  In fact, He does not hurt anyone.  He has made rules and if we break them,  we get bad results.

Q2:  What does "La ilaha ill'Allah" mean?

A:  It means there is no one worthy of obedience or worship but Allah.

Believer

Q3:  Do you think a believer in God is better than a nonbeliever?

A:  How can I judge people?  But I think that a nonbeliever is not watching or understanding the reality.  He or she is not thinking clearly.  I read a beautiful saying.  "If there is no knowledge there is no understanding.  If there is no understanding there is no knowledge."

Q4:  What is wrong with being a nonbeliever?

A:  Then our heart tells us to do what we feel like.  But what we feel like may not be right.  Also in that case, our values come from the society.  This may not be right either.  Guidance from God is always right.  It is never wrong.

Q5:  But many smart people don't believe in God.

A.  As we discussed before, they are not thinking right.  The smartest people today believe in God.

Muslim

Q6:  What is the definition of a "Muslim?"

A:  A Muslim is anyone who follows Islam.  Islam means peace and obeying God.  So a Muslim is one who obeys God and is at peace with the people and the universe.

        

Q7:  What else?

A:  Anyone who believes in the Qur'an as the last word of God, is a Muslim.

Q8:  I read the words "Muslim" and "Qur'an" spelled in different ways.

A:  The correct spelling is "Qur'an."  And "Muslim." "Koran" is the wrong spelling.  "Moslem" is also the wrong spelling.

The Creation

Q9:  Why did God create me?

A:  If someone gives you a gift you say "thank you."  Life is a gift.  It is a chance for us to do good works and get wonderful rewards forever.

Q10:  Can we choose what we do?

A:  Yes.  God gave us free choice. We are not robots.  Angels, plants, rocks, the moon, the sun, the stars have no choice.  Animals have no choice either, since they must follow their instinct.

Q11:  Who is Satan?

A:  Mohammad (our salutes to him) once said "Every person has a Satan (IBLIS)."  People asked him "Do you also have a Satan"?  He answered, "Yes, I have made him a Muslim."  This means that Satan is our uncontrolled desire.  Any wrong thing we feel like doing.  Making Satan a Muslim means controlling our wrong desires and to act nicely.

Q12:  Tell me something.  Is the Satan as powerful as God?  How can he visit and misguide 6 billion people everyday?

A:  The Satan is within us.  We must check our bad thoughts and actions.  In other words, mind should rule our heart.  And our mind must be guided by the Qur'an.  Then our Satan becomes Muslim. 

Q13:  Why are humans responsible for their actions?

A:  Because we have a thinking mind.  Animals have small brains and small minds.  You know even most dinosaurs had brains the size of a walnut?  So, animals don't know the difference between good and evil. 

Q14.  How can God create us after death?

A:  The people of Arabia asked the beloved Prophet this question.  The Qur'an responded, "He will create you as He did before."

 

The Guidance

Q15:  But what is good and bad and what is right and wrong?

A:  Any action that helps people is right or good.  Anything that makes us better persons is right or good. Anything that has the opposite effect is wrong or bad.

Q16:  What is the guide for right and wrong?

A:  It is the last Word of God.

Q17:  But we also have the Bible.

A:  If we had two road maps shall we use the old one or the new one?  Especially when the last one is perfect and good forever. 

Women

Q18:  Aisha, do you wish you were a boy?

A:  No, men and women have equal rights in Islam.  Some people forget this rule.  But followers of any religion make mistakes. 

Q19:  Many people believe that God favors the man over the woman.

A:  They are wrong.  We have no choice on being white or black, short or tall, male or female.  God says men and women have the same rights.  Their actions will count.  God does not do injustice. 

Marriage

Q20:  Aisha, I heard that Muslims force marriage on their children.  How will you handle that?

A:  My female cousin is married.  No one forced her.  And my brother is also married.  No one forced him or his wife.  Our parents only suggest and guide.  Very few marriages among Muslims fail.  

Q21:  How about dating?

A:  Islam does not allow dating.  The Qur'an forbids dating.  A girl and a boy or a woman and a man must not go out by themselves.  And they must not meet privately. 

Q22:  Why is that important?

A:  I asked my dad.  He said, being close without marriage is bad.  It hurts our personality.  It hurts other people also.  Thus, we become less sensitive as humans.

[At this point my friends and I are hungry.   Mummy is calling for dinner.  We eat.  Then we will meet next weekend.] 

[Hello, folks.  Assalamalaikum!  This means peace and safety be on you.  Please have a seat.  We will continue with our conference.  Thank you for being with us again.]

Our conduct

Q23:  Any special manners for Muslims?

A:  A Muslim must be gentle.  Walk humbly.  Speak softly.  Stay calm.  Help others.  Be modest.  Respect parents, teachers and the elderly.  Must show kindness to the young.  Must be generous.  Be nice to animals.  Seek knowledge.  Be good to neighbors.

You see, all these manners are wonderful.  The holy prophet said that a Muslim must

1.  be truthful

2.  keep his promise

3.  be trustworthy

Otherwise he is a hypocrite (not a true Muslim).

                  Drugs and alcohol

Q24:  Why are drugs and alcohol haraam (forbidden)?

A:  a.  They hurt our bodies. 

     b.  They hurt our minds.

     c.  They cause us to behave badly. 

     d.  They make us forget God. 

     e.  Drugs destroy friendships. 

     f.  They create accidents. 

     g.  Drugs break families. 

     h.  They promote crime. 

      i.  They waste our money. 

     k.  They also make a nation weak. 

      l.  They even harm the baby inside the mother's tummy. 

     m.  They are tough to quit.

Q25:  Thank you for giving me so many good reasons, Aisha.  But many people just want to try. 

A:  Many of those who try, get hooked. 

Q26:  They say that drugs give us pleasure.

A:  Momentary pleasure.  Then you need to take more and more every day.  The whole life of a druggie goes looking for drugs.  The life on drugs is a hellfire.

Q27:  Smoking is still a common fashion.  What does Islam teach about that? 

A:  It is a strong habit (or addiction).  Any strong addiction makes us a slave.  Smoking is a big killer.  The Qur'an tells us, "Do not kill yourself."

Our appearance

 

Q28:  Some boys grow long hair or make braids? 

How do you feel about that?

A: I don't like it.  The holy Prophet forbade boys and girls from imitating each other. 

 

Q29:  How about boys putting on earrings? 

A: That will be imitation of girls.

Q30:  Is it okay for a girl to have her hair cut like boys?

A:  That will be imitating boys.

Q31:  How about girls wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts?

A:  It is not allowed except for very little girls. 

Q32:  If a man becomes a Muslim, does he have to grow a beard?

A:  The word of God does not say that. 

Q33:  Do I have to wear any special dress for prayer?

A:  No special dress is required.  Girls and boys must dress properly.  That means the dress should not be short, tight, or see-through kind.  It must be clean.

Q34:  And if a woman becomes a Muslim, does she have to wear the head scarf?

A:  The word of God (Qur'an) does not say that.  I think I am too young to answer these questions.  But my brother told me that beard and head scarf were part of the old Arab culture.

Luck

Q35:  Do you believe in psychics or fortune tellers?  How about zodiac signs and palm reading?  Astrology and things like that?

A:  No, I don't.  The Qur'an says only God has knowledge of the future.   And the Holy Prophet said, "One who believes in fortune-telling, denies me."

Q36:  Do you believe in luck?

A:  I don't.  Let me ask my brother.  He says, a person who tries and succeeds, people call him lucky.  Those who stop trying and fail, call themselves unlucky.  A wise man said, "The harder I work the luckier I get."

 

Jesus

Q37:  Do you believe in Jesus?

A:  I believe in him for what he was: a prophet of God.

Q38:  Why not the "son of God?"

A:   Because the Qur'an says that God has no son or daughter.

      Because God does not have a wife.

      Because God is the Creator.

      Because God is not like humans.  He does not produce like humans.

Q39:  Do you think that Jesus went up to the heavens?

A:  I will only say that God is everywhere.

Q40:  If I follow Jesus, why do I need to follow Mohammad?

A:  The Bible only tells 2 or 3 years of Jesus's life.  This was written by unknown people many many years after Jesus.  The life of Mohammad (our salutes to both of them) was recorded in the Qur'an during his lifetime.  Also, history recorded his life from cradle to grave.

 

The Unseen

Q41:  How can I believe things I have not seen?

A:  If we plant a seed we don't see the plant.  But we know that a plant will grow out of it.  So we believe in the unseen.  We believe in God's laws of nature.  This is real faith.  Call it conviction (strong belief in something).

Mohammad (our salutes to him)

Q42:  How close do you feel Mohammad is?

A:  His instructions and his example are always with me.  He feels like a member of the family. When I was little I used to call him Nabi Dadda (Prophet Grandpa).

Q43:  Christians believe that Christ will save them.

A:  A Muslim wants to be saved, too.  But he wants more.  He or she aims for total success.  In Islam, faith and good actions bring the Grace of God.  Then we achieve success.   

Q44:  Can Mohammad save you?

A:  The Qur'an tells us that our thoughts and actions are important and the Prophet (our salutes to him) said that even his family will have to do good works.  Only then will they succeed.

Q45:  How should Christians believe that Mohammad was a Prophet?

A:  They believe in other prophets.  The same God who sent Moses and Jesus also sent Mohammad (our salutes to him).  They should study the miraculous Qur'an and his life.  Then they will believe in him.

The Prophet's friends

Q46:  Were any of the Prophet's companions prophets too?

A:  You mean whether any of them received the message of God directly?  They did not.  But they followed the Qur'an even after the Holy Prophet.  They also learned from the holy prophet's example. 

Q49:  Can you name for us a few successors?

A:   1.  Abu Bakr

      2.  Umar Farooq

      3.  Uthman

      4.  Ali 

     (Allah's pleasure was with them all) 

Chapter 8

The Goal of Islam

[Friends, I think we should pause here.  Let me tell you something very interesting today.  We all know that we must have a goal.  A high noble goal.  And we should try to achieve it.  It is called "the mission."] 

The holy Prophet stated his mission.  It was the highest and the noblest goal ever.  He stated "We will set up an extraordinary empire.  In this empire a beautiful young lady loaded with jewelry will travel alone hundreds of miles."  Of course, in those days she would travel on a camel or horseback.  So this would take many days.  "Yet, she would have no fear but the fear of God."

This meant that in the Muslim Empire, the life, honor and property of all people would be safe.  There will be rule of law.  Also, discipline in the hearts.  This lofty mission was achieved in the lifetime of the holy Prophet!

It is also a wonderful observation that Islam has been very successful.  Most of the basic rules of the Qur'an have been followed in the world.  For example:

1.   Rule of Law, not that of kings.

2.  Government by people.

3. Universal peace (is now becoming the goal).

4.  All humans are equal.

5.  All mankind is one.

6.  All people have rights.

7.  Rights of women must be respected.

8.  Slavery is wrong.

9.  Kindness to animals.

10.  God is everywhere so He is close to us.  We should not obey people against what God commands.

11.  Do not worship people (kings, priests, monks, etc.).

12.  Consult others before making a decision, whether individuals or institutions.

Chapter 9

Some Sayings of the Holy   

Messenger

(As I Understand)

The Parents

1.  Respect your parents.   When they get old be even more humble to them.

2.  Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.

3.  The best gift parents can give is good training to their children.

 

Neighbors

4.  Make sure that your neighbor does not sleep hungry. 

5.  No one of you can be a believer if he or she troubles the neighbor.

The Poor

6.  Pay the laborer before his sweat dries.

7.  Feed the hungry.

         8.  Give charity.

9.  You can't be a believer if your neighbor sleeps hungry.

10.  The best of homes is one where an orphan is treated nicely.

God's creatures

11.  If you are merciful to creatures, God will be merciful to you.

12.   You will get great reward for having mercy on animals.

13.  Do not destroy trees and plants.

14.  Feed your horses and camels properly.  

15.  Do not cripple animals.

16. Do not remain seated on your ride (animals) while standing.

Anger

         17.  Control your anger.

18.  The strong person is not the one who knocks out another.  The strong man is he who controls himself in anger.

19.   Forgive others.

Modesty

20.  Be modest.

21.  Dress decently.

                    Cleanliness

22.  Always be clean.

23.  Cleanliness is part of faith. 

24. Treat all earth as the place of worship (mosque).  Keep it clean.                

Honesty

25.  Be truthful and keep your pledge.

26.  A believer cannot be a liar.

27.  Be trustworthy.

Knowledge

28.  It is a duty for a Muslim to gain knowledge.

29.  Seek knowledge even if it is in China.

30.  Wisdom and knowledge are the lost property of the believer.  Get it wherever you find it.

                          

Conduct

31.  The best people are those who are best in conduct.

32.  Be gentle.   God loves gentle people.

33.  Actions are based upon intentions.

34.  Treat your guests kindly.

35.  Do not burden your host.

36.  Greet everyone; even a stranger.

37.  Decorate your faces with a smile.

38.  God does not care about your wealth or about your looks.  He cares about your actions.

39.  Forgive others so that you are forgiven.

40.  Do not criticize people behind their back.

 

Justice

41.  One who helps oppression is not a Muslim.

42.  The best jihad (struggle) is to say the right before the tyrant.

43. Keep your weights and measures accurate.

44.  Be easy on the debtor.

45.  A believer is a mirror to his brother.

                           Humility

46. Do not be proud.

47. When you go to an assembly, do not look for a special seat.

                           Generosity

48.  Do not be stingy.

49.  Do not waste.

50. The hellfire is far away from the generous.

51.  The truly rich is the one who is rich of heart.

52.  Islam is the religion of moderation.

Chapter 10

SOME GLIMPSES FROM THE HOLY QUR'AN

 

1.  This Book is beyond any doubt.

2.  This Book answers all questions of man and society.

3.  God is with those who are steadfast.

4.  Preparing a will is a duty.

5.  Meet people by appointment.

6.  Men and women have similar rights.

7.  There is no compulsion in religion.

8.  If you love God, follow the messenger.

9.  Spend of that which you love.

10.  Keep your pledge (promise).

11.  No good action will go to waste.

12.  Help others even if you are needy.

13.  Disturbing the peace is worse than killing.  (No terrorism at all.)

14.  Treat non-Muslims kindly.

15.  Respect other religions.

16.  Muslims can fight only if  

a. enemies fight Islam.

b. enemies drive them from their                  homes.

c. if people are being oppressed by others.

17.  Feed the hungry.

18.  Comfort the grieved.

19.  Give charity.

20.  Have good manners.

21.  Respect your elders.

22.  Be kind to the little ones.

23.  Talk gently.

24.  Remember God frequently.

25.  Respect all prophets.

26.  Attain knowledge.

27.  Be peaceful.

28.  Be truthful.

29.  Stay clean.

30.  Treat your parents nicely.

31.  Be modest.

32.  Everyone will be responsible for his or her own actions.

33.  God is close to you.

34.  Be fair in matters of money.

35.  Disturbing peace is a great sin.

36.  All mankind is one community. 

37.  Spend on people that is more than you need.

38.  Alcohol and gambling are Satan's handiwork.

39. Wisdom is a great blessing.

40.  Be easy on the debtor.

41.  Be truthful in witness.

42.  Be united by the Qur'an.

43.  Invite people to goodness.

44.  Forbid people from wrong.

45.  Control your anger.

46.  Forgive people.

47.  Be thankful to God.

48.  Be generous. 

49.  Fear of death is unbelief.

50.  Every soul will taste death.

51.  God does not love the proud.

52.  Treat people nicely.

53.  Friendliness and peace are better than distance or quarrel.

54.  Seek good for this life and for the afterlife.

55.  Rich or poor, God is close to both.

56.  Do justice even with your enemy.

57.  It is good for you not to take revenge.

These were some of the do's.  I think you will agree that these rules are simple and easy.  Now let's see some don'ts, in this holy Book.

1.  Don't kill or hurt others.

2.  Don't steal.

3.  Don't gamble.

4.  Don't drink alcohol.

5.  Don't tell lies.

6.  Don't break your promises.

7.  Don't do drugs.

8.  Don't eat pork.

9.  Don't be rude to the poor.

10.  Don't forget women's rights.

11.  Don't divide and fight.

12.  Don't reveal your bodies.

13.  Don't obey people against God's Command.

14.  Don't loan for interest.

15.  Don't yell or scream.

16.  Don't backbite.

17.  Don't be proud.

18.  Don't insult others by nicknames.

19.  Don't create disorder.

20.  Don't spoil the environment.

21.  Don't eat too much.

22.  Don't sleep too long.

23.  Don't be lazy.

24.  Do not insult gods of other religions.

25.  Do not lose hope.

26.  Do not kill yourself (even with drugs or bad health habits).

27.  Do not be hasty.

28.  Do not walk with pride.

[I am eating my favorite chocolate as I think that the don'ts in the Qur'an are also simple.  Don't you agree?

If you are a school going child like me, you see how many of these rules we all follow in schools.  Same rules and a few more can create a happy town. Also a happy country.  Finally a very happy planet earth.  A paradise in this life.

Besides these do's and don'ts, the Qur'an explains best how to live together.  How to set up the ideal society.

Ok, folks!  We will meet again next week.  I will think if I missed something.  Please tell me if I did. ]

                                  

Chapter 11

Conclusion

Friends!  I wrote what I knew.  You can see I have much to learn.  Please call if you have any questions. 

After reading this book you may agree that Islam is the best way of life.

Yes, I did not write in this book on how to pray and fast.  I thought about it, then I decided not to.  Almost every book on Islam teaches those things.  And I want to keep my book brief.  So let me stop here.  I hope you like my book.  If you have any comments or ideas please write to me.  I will try to make the second edition better.

God bless me for writing.  God bless you for reading.  Thank you.  Greetings and Salaam to you.

THE END

Islam for the Junior

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Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq

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