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 What is a Muslim?

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PostSubject: What is a Muslim?   Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:42 pm

According to www.wikipedia.com, a Muslim is the following:

A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم, Persian: Mosalmoon Urdu: مسلمان, Turkish: Müslüman, Albanian: Mysliman, Bosnian: Musliman) is an adherent of the religion of Islam. The feminine form of Muslim is Muslimah (Ar: مسلمه). Literally, the word means "one who submits to God)" [Ar. muslim, pl. muslimūn – salma, to submit to God]

Muslims believe that there is only one God, translated to Arabic as Allah. Muslims believe that Islam existed long before the Prophet Muhammad and that the religion has gradually evolved with time. The Qur'an describes as Muslims many Biblical prophets and messengers: Adam, Noah (Arabic: Nuh), Moses (Arabic: Musa) and Jesus (Arabic: Isa) and his apostles. The Koran states that these men were Muslims because they submitted to God, preached His message and upheld His values. Thus, in Surah 3:52 of the Koran, Jesus’ disciples tell Jesus: "do thou bear witness that we are Muslims".

Most Muslims accept others as a Muslim anyone who has publicly pronounced the Shahada, which states, "There is none worthy of worship except God, and Muhammad is His final Messenger." This is often translated as, "There is no God except Allah," however "Allah" is the Arabic word for "the God". Currently, there is an estimated 1.4 billion Muslims, making it the second largest religious body in the world.[1]

Other words for Muslim
The ordinary word in English is "Muslim", also spelled "Moslem", pronounced /'mʊs.lɪm/, also /'mʌz.ləm/. The word is pronounced /'mʊslɪm/ in Arabic.

Until at least the mid 1960s, many English-language writers used the term Mohammedans or Mahometans. (See for instance the second edition of "A Dictionary of Modern English Usage" by H. W. Fowler, revised by Ernest Gowers (Oxford, 1965)). However, many Muslims argue that the terms are offensive because they imply that Muslims worship Muhammad rather than God.

The meaning of Muslim is "The one who stays (believe) in Peace" This word suites the followers of Islam because the meaning of Islam is "Peace". So the word "Muslim" means "The one who stays (believe) in Islam"

English writers of the 19th century and earlier sometimes used the words Mussulman, Musselman, or Mussulmaun. Variant forms of this word are still used by many Indo-European languages. These words are similar to the French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese words for "Muslim".


Muslim and mu'min
Part of a series on
Islam & Iman


Individuals
Muslim — submitter [to God]
Mu'min — believer
Fasiq — open sinner
Fajir — sinner (by action)
Kafir — sinner (by disbelief)
Munafiq — hypocrite

Groups
Ahl al-Kitâb
Ahl al-Fatrah

Terms
Deen (Arabic term)
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One of the verses in the Qur'an makes a distinction between a mu'min, a believer, and a Muslim:

The Arabs of the desert say, "We believe." (tu/minu) Say thou: Ye believe not; but rather say, "We profess Islam;" (aslamna) for the faith (al-imanu) hath not yet found its way into your hearts. But if ye obey [God] and His Apostle, he will not allow you to lose any of your actions: for [God] is Indulgent, Merciful ('The Koran 49:14, Rodwell).
According to the Western academician Carl Ernst, contemporary usage of the terms "Islam" and "Muslim" for the faith and its adherents is a modern innovation. As shown in the Quranic passage cited above, early Muslims distinguished between the Muslim, who has "submitted" and does the bare minimum required to be considered a part of the community, and the mu'min, the believer, who has given himself or herself to the faith heart and soul. Ernst writes:

"The Arabic term Islam itself was of relatively minor importance in classical theologies based on the Qur'an. If one looks at the works of theologians such as the famous al-Ghazali (d. 1111), the key term of religious identity is not Islam but iman(faith), and the one who possesses it is the mu'min (believer). Faith is one of the major topics of the Qur'an; it is mentioned hundreds of times in the sacred text. In comparison, Islam is a relatively less common term of secondary importance; it only occurs eight times in the Qur'an. Since, however, the term Islam had a derivative meaning relating to the community of those who have submitted to God, it has taken on a new political significance, especially in recent history."[2]
For another term in Islam for a non-Muslim who is nevertheless a monotheist believer (usually applied historically in a pre-Islamic context), see hanif.


Disagreements
There are some individuals and groups who consider themselves Muslims, but are not accepted as Muslim by most other Muslims. For example, neither Sunni nor Shi'a Muslims accept Ahmadis or adherents of the Nation of Islam as fellow Muslims. To reject another self-proclaimed Muslim as a non-Muslim is called takfir and is considered un-Islamic by many Muslims. It is, according to Muslims, up to God to decide who is Muslim and who is not.

However, in practice, many Muslim groups, sects, or political factions have labeled other groups, sects, or political factions as non-Muslims; thus, some Sunni will reject other Sunni, some Shi'a will reject other Shi'a, et cetera. In some Muslim-majority countries, the state itself takes a position on certain groups; for example, Ahmadis are not Muslims by the law of Pakistan.

Most Muslims believe that anyone who believes Allah to be the one and only god, submits to Allah, believes that Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet and follows the path of the Prophet Muhammad is a Muslim.

(The part that amuses me most is "The one who stays in Peace".)

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Knyteowl

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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:00 pm

Like I have said before Muslims are not bad people and it is not a bad religion but there are a few people giving it a bad name for there own gains. Does this remind anyone of the Crusaides?
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:23 pm

There are radical and extremist zealots in every religious platform.

I have Experienced Muslim culture and tradition first hand, I can attest that their culture is an entirely different portrait than what the American media and Hollywood have painted for the average American.

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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:22 pm

While it's quite true that as a whole, I have no real problems with Muslims.. there are some -very- nice ones in my community, Heck one of my professors last fall was a local Imam...

But there are passages in the Qur'an that... worry me, rather the same way there are things written in the Bible that are positively horrifying. It has rules for keeping slaves among other things. It's not necessarily a problem in other texts because it's generally accepted that they were written by man and thus could contain error and can be changed if necessary. The fact that there is no allowance made for actually -altering- the text of the Qur'an to reflect important changes in culture, technology that redefine the range what should and should not be and so forth is upsetting.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:41 pm

That's true for the Bible as well. Although that hasn't prevented people from making changes to it over the past two thousand years. Re-translating it at various points throughout time allows cultural changes to alter the output quite significantly.
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tchivai

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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:36 pm

The Bible is also not held to be the exact word of God as spoken and written down verbatim and therefore while the tenets laid forth in it are resistant to change it is not complete heresy to suggest that maybe they were... misworded and needed rethinking.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:10 pm

..or mistranslated.

Hmm, I've been using that word a lot lately.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:04 am

tchivai wrote:
The (Qu'ran) is ... held to be the exact word of God as spoken and written down verbatim and therefore ... complete heresy to suggest that maybe they were... misworded and needed rethinking.

This I did not know. It's supposed to be direct transcription from God to parchment? Really? Who did the writing? How can you be sure they didn't introduce their own agenda into it?

Look, a lot of Christians believe the Bible is the infallable word of God too, and I don't buy that either. So what's really the difference?
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:33 pm

That could be asked between the two religions for so many different things...

Ironically, the primary things each religion was supposed to teach, the things they both have in common, have been overlooked because of their differences.

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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Tue Jun 12, 2007 7:32 am

What if god was real and all the differnt reilions were right but god appeared different in each society so that he could be better understood in that culture. Don't many of the religions say someting about understanding?
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:02 am

Thank you. In my opinion, your could drop the "what if". For those readers in the group, I recommend the book "The Message That Comes From Everywhere" by Gary Beckwith. It discusses the common threads of various belief systems.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:15 am

rogorm wrote:
tchivai wrote:
The (Qu'ran) is ... held to be the exact word of God as spoken and written down verbatim and therefore ... complete heresy to suggest that maybe they were... misworded and needed rethinking.

This I did not know. It's supposed to be direct transcription from God to parchment? Really? Who did the writing? How can you be sure they didn't introduce their own agenda into it?

Look, a lot of Christians believe the Bible is the infallable word of God too, and I don't buy that either. So what's really the difference?

The things you learn in Arabic studies... Mohammad was given the word of God from an angel and he in turn [since he couldn't not read or write when he was given the first revelations] had scribes write it all down to keep track. It is a fundamental part of the religion itself that every word in the original untranslated Qur'an is THE WORD OF GOD directly from the source and thus infallible. There are people who interpret both the way it is to be applied and also the collected sayings and doings of Mohammad but that's separate.

The difference between that and Christianity is that the Christian, barring the fanatics, generally hold the Bible to be a history, written down but not spoken directly. Large chunks of it are obviously people's writings after all, like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the Epistles and such.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:43 pm

I thought the principle difference was that Muslims worshipped the one god, while Christians (claiming to worship god) worshipped and followed the teachings of Christ. Hence the name.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Tue Jun 19, 2007 2:18 pm

In response to tchivai, in high school, I was part of the "Christian" clique, and YES, most of them considered it heresy to suggest that any part of the text might have been "tampered with," despite what history tells us about the text, because "God protected the writings and even through translations and human scribing, wouldn't let anything happen to the meaning of the text."

In response to BMan--during said time in high school, a friend of mine and I got into a discussion about who (most) Christians worshipped. She didn't believe me that they didn't worship God. I asked each person in our group, in turn, who they worshipped, and each one said Jesus. I said "See?" They asked "Why, who do YOU worship?" and we said "God." They argued that Jesus IS god (we won't go back into that...) and I asked why on earth they would choose the most IMPERFECT form of god to lavish their worship on. Inconveniently, I've forgotten what their response was.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:24 am

So what you are saying is that Muslims believe they worship the one perfect form and most Christians follow the imperfect form?
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:08 pm

...sort of. I guess so.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:10 pm

I think the biggest problem I hold in the entire thing is that despite both religions, or every religion for that matter, are based on the teachings of their respective 'prophet', be it Mohammed or Jesus or Buddha... Very few actually follow said teachings. Iraq fights in the name of Allah. U.S. fights in the name of Christ. Neither uphold the actual beliefs of the religion they're fighting for. To me, this is one of the most frustrating things.

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PostSubject: Re: What is a Muslim?   Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:18 pm

Humans fight, it's part of our nature. As morbid as my next statement may seem I believe that our need to fight people that are different from us is almost a form of population control. Universal peace would be a wonderful thing and I hope we get to see it with some form of understanding but I don't think it will ever happen. Religion gets thrown into the mix because it is one of the easiest things to get people angry about. It has been used as an excuse for violence for thousands of years.
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