What Does Islam Say About The Day Of Judgement?

Do You Know?

The present life is only a trial preparation for the next realm of existence.  This life is a test for each individual for the life after death.  A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and the dead will be resurrected for judgment by God.  This day will be the beginning of a life that will never end.  This day is the Day of Judgment.  On that day, all people will be rewarded by God according to their beliefs and deeds.  Those who die while believing that “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God” and are Muslim will be rewarded on that day and will be admitted to Paradise forever, as God has said:

“And those who believe and do good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they dwell therein forever”. (Quran, 2:82)

But those who die while not believing that “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God” or are not Muslim will lose Paradise forever and will be sent to Hellfire, as God has said:

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be one of the losers in the Hereafter”. (Quran, 3:85)

And as He has said:

“Those who have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if it were offered as a ransom.  They will have a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers”. (Quran, 3:91)

One may ask, ‘I think Islam is a good religion, but if I were to convert to Islam, my family, friends, and other people would persecute me and make fun of me.  So if I do not convert to Islam, will I enter Paradise and be saved from Hellfire?’

The answer is what God has said in the preceding verse, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be one of the losers in the Hereafter.”

After having sent the Prophet Muhammad  to call people to Islam, God does not accept adherence to any religion other than Islam.  God is our Creator and Sustainer.  He created for us whatever is in the earth.  All the blessings and good things we have are from Him.  So after all this, when someone rejects belief in God, His Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) , or His religion of Islam, it is just that he or she be punished in the Hereafter.  Actually, the main purpose of our creation is to worship God alone and to obey Him, as God has said in the Holy Quran (51:56).

This life we live today is a very short life.  The unbelievers on the Day of Judgment will think that the life they lived on earth was only a day or part of a day, as God has said:

He (God) will say, “How many years did you stay on the earth?”  They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day….” (Quran, 23:112-113)

And He has said:

“Did you then think that We had created you in jest (without any purpose), and that you would not be returned to Us (in the Hereafter)?  So, God is exalted, the True King.  None has the right to be worshipped but Him”… (Quran, 23:115-116)

The life in the Hereafter is a very real life.  It is not only spiritual, but physical as well.  We will live there with our souls and bodies.

In comparing this world with the Hereafter, the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)  said: {The value of this world compared to that of the Hereafter is like what your finger brings from the sea when you put it in and then take it out.}  The meaning is that, the value of this world compared to that of the Hereafter is like a few drops of water compared to the sea.

“Allah Favors Those Who Nag In Supplications”

Do You Know?

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Allah favors those who nag in supplications”, referring to those who never tire of repeating their supplications over and over again. SubhanAllah! Allah is Great, & for sure, nothing’s more beautiful than meeting Him and nothing is more pleasant than the moments when we praise Him.

The following video, may Allah SWT bless the speaker (Brother Belal Assad)

 

Courtesy : Mystrugglewithin

A Verse From The Glorious Qur’an

A Verse from the Glorious Qur’an from Surah Al-Imraan Chapter #3 Verse #64 which says : Qul ya ahla alkitabi (say oh people of the Book) taAAalawila kalimatin sawa-in baynana wabaynakum (come to common terms as in us and you) which is the first term? allanaAAbuda illa Allaha (that you worship none but Allah, Almighty God) wala nushrika bihishay-an (that we associate no partners with him) wala yattakhitha baAAdunabaAAdan arbaban min dooni Allahi (that we erect not among ourselves Lords and Patrons other than Allah) faintawallaw (if they turn back) faqooloo ishhadoo (say you bear witness) bi-anna muslimoona (that we are Muslims bowing our will to Allah Almighty God).

The Concept of God in Hinduism and Islam

Do You Know?

The much awaited dialogue by Dr. Zakir Naik and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the topic.

The Concept of God in Hinduism and Islam

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In The Light Of Sacred Scriptures

Took place in Bangalore in front of a jam packed crowd of about 50000, at the Palace Grounds on 21st Jan 2006.

Date : January 21, 2006.

IN BRIEF

Dr Zakir Naik : I started my talk by quoting a Verse from the glorious Qur’an from Surah Al-Imraan Chapter #3 Verse #64 which says : Qul ya ahla alkitabi (say oh people of the Book) taAAalawila kalimatin sawa-in baynana wabaynakum (come to common terms as in us and you) which is the first term? allanaAAbuda illa Allaha (that you worship none but Allah, Almighty God) wala nushrika bihishay-an (that we associate no partners with him) wala yattakhitha baAAdunabaAAdan arbaban min dooni Allahi (that we erect not among ourselves Lords and Patrons other than Allah) faintawallaw (if they turn back)faqooloo ishhadoo (say you bear witness) bi-anna muslimoona (that we are Muslims bowing our will to Allah Almighty God).

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Dr. Zakir Naik addresses the gathering.

This Verse of the glorious Qur’an though it particularly speaks to the ahle kithaab, the Jews and Christians, it is meant for all different types of people, it says “taAAalawila kalimatin sawa-in baynana wabaynakum.” (come to common terms as with us and you) which is the first term? allanaAAbuda illa Allaha (that you worship none but God Almighty) wala nushrika bihishay-an (that we associate no partners with him).

It is not appropriate to try and understand a religion or to try and understand the concept of God in a religion, by observing the followers of that religion; because many a times the followers of that religion, they themselves may not be aware about the religion or the concept of God in the religion; neither it is appropriate to observe or look at the traditions or the cultures of the followers of the religion because many of the cultures and traditions may not be part of the religion.

The best and the most authentic way to understand any religion or the concept of God in a religion is to try and understand what the sacred scriptures have to speak about that religion or the concept of God in that religion.

Let us understand what is the meaning of the words Hinduism and Islam.

The word Hindu has geographical significance and was used to describe the people living beyond the river Sindhu or people living in the land watered by river Indus. Most of the historians, they say, that this word Hindu was first used by the Arabs. Some historians say it was used by the Persians when they came to India through the north western passes of Himalaya. According to encyclopedia of religion and ethics, Volume #6, Reference #699, it says that the word Hindu was not found in any of the Indian literature before the advent of the Muslims to India. According to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, he writes in his Book “the discovery of India” on page #74 and #75 that the word Hindu can be earliest traced to a source a tantrik in 8th century and it was used initially to describe the people, it was never used to describe religion. Its connection with religion is of late occurrence according to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The word Hinduism is derived from the word Hindu. The word Hinduism was first used by the English writers in the 19th century to describe the multiplicity of faiths of the people of India. According to new Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume #20, Reference #581, it says the word Hinduism was first used by the British writers in the year 1830 to describe the multiplicity of the faiths of the people of India excluding the converted Christians. That is the reason today, majority of the Hindu scholars they say that the word Hinduism is a misnomer. The correct word should be Sanatan Dharm, the eternal religion or the Vedic Dharm, the religion of the Vedas. According to Swami Vivekananda, he says the word Hindu is a misnomer; the correct word should
be a Vendantist, a person who follows the Vedas.

The word Islam comes from the root Arabic word salam, which means peace. It is also derived from the Arabic word silm, which means to submit your will to Almighty God. In short, Islam means peace acquired by submitting your will to Almighty God and this word Islam occurs in several places in the Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith including in the Qur’an in Surah Al-Imraan, Chapter #3 Verse #19 and Surah Al- Imraan Chapter #3 Verse #85. Any person who acquires peace by submitting his will to Almighty God, to Allah, he is called as a Muslim and this word Muslim also occurs in several places in the Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith including in the Qur’an in Surah Al-Imraan Chapter #3 Verse #64 and Surah Fussilat Chapter #41 and Verse #33.

Many people have misconception that Islam is a new religion, which came into existence 1400 years ago and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the founder of this religion. In fact, Islam is there since time immemorial. Since man set foot on the earth, and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not the founder of this religion but he is the last and final messenger sent by Almighty God, the last and final Prophet.

If we ask the common Hindu that how many Gods does he believe in? Some may say 3, some may say 100, some may say 1000, while others may say 33 crores, 330 millions. But if you ask a learned Hindu who is well Versed with his Hindu scriptures, he will tell you that in Hinduism you should believe and worship only one God. But the common Hindu, he believes in a philosophy known as pantheism, everything is God. The common Hindu believes that the tree is God, the sun is God, the moon is God, the human being is God, the snake is God. What we Muslims believe is everything is God’s, everything belongs to God’s, ‘G’ ‘O’ ‘D’ with an apostrophe ‘s’; the tree belongs to God, the sun belongs to God, the moon belongs to God, the human being belongs to God, the snake belongs to God. So the major difference between the common Hindu and the common Muslim is that the common Hindu says everything are Gods, we Muslim say everything is God’s.

Let us try and understand what would the sacred scriptures of Hinduism have to speak about Almighty God.

It is mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad Chapter #6, Section #2, Verse #1; ekam evaditiyam God is only one without a second. It is a Sanskrit quotation. “I know that I am speaking in front of a great scholar of Vedas Sri Sri Ravi Shankar I am just a student. So if my Sanskrit pronunciation is a bit poor, I would like to apologize. He is a great scholar of the Veda, I am just a student of Islamic comparative religion as well a student of the Hindu scriptures and the Vedas.

It is mentioned in Swethaswethara Upanishad, Chapter #6, Verse #9, Na casya kasuj janita na cadhipah, which means of him of Almighty God, there are no parents they have got no lord. Almighty God has no true father, he has no true mother, he has no true superior.

It is mentioned in the Swethaswethara Upanishad; Chapter #4, Verse #19 Na Tasya Pratima Asti of that God there is no Prathima, there is no likeness, there is no image, there is no picture, there is no photograph, there is no sculpture, there is no statue.

It is mentioned in Swethaswethara Upanishad; Chapter #4, Verse #20; no one can see the Almighty God and it is further mentioned in Bhagwat Gita Chapter #7, Verse #20; all those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires, they worship many Gods. Some of the translation says that all those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires, they worship idols and this quotation is also mentioned by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in his Book “Hinduism and Islam the common thread” in the section of not worshiping other Gods on page #3. He gives the quotation but does not give the reference. The reference is Bhagwat Gita Chapter #7 Verse #20.

It is further mentioned in Bhagwat Gita Chapter #10 Verse #3, that they know me as the unborn not begotten, the supreme lord of the world. Amongst all the Hindu scriptures, the most sacred are the Vedas.

It is mentioned in Yajur-Ved Chapter #32, Verse #3 Na Tasya Pratima Asti of that God there is no Prathima. Prathima as I said, means likeness, image, picture, photo, sculpture, statue.

It is further mentioned in Yajur-Ved Chapter #40 Verse #8 Almighty God is imageless and pure.

It is further mentioned in Yajur-Ved Chapter #40 Verse #9 Andhatma pravishanti ye asambhuti mupaste. Andhatma means darkness,pravishanti means entering, and Asambhuti means the natural things like fire, water, air. They are entering darkness those who worship the natural things like fire, water, air, etc and the Verse continues, they are entering more in darkness those who worship the Sambhuti. The Sambhuti are the created things like tables, chairs, etc; who says that? Yajur-Ved Chapter #40 Verse #9.

It is further mentioned in Atharva-Ved Book #20 Hymn #58 Manthra #3 Dev maha osi verily great is Almighty God; and amongst the Vedas, the most sacred is the Rig-Ved.

It is mentioned in the Rig-Ved Book #1, Hymn #164, Manthra #46, ekkam sat vipra bhuda vidyante Truth is one, God is one, sages call him by various names. God is one but the saintly people call him by many names and there are no less than 33 names given to Almighty God in Rig-Ved Book #2 Hymn #1 alone. One of them is Brahma. The Brahma is called as the creator. If you translate creator into Arabic, it means khaaliq. We Muslims have got no objection if someone says that Almighty God is khaaliq or Creator, but if someone says this Almighty God has got 4 heads and on each head is a crown, you are giving an image to Almighty God. We Muslims take strong exception to it. More over, you are going against Swethaswethara Upanishad Chapter #4 Verse #19 which says Na Tasya Pratima Asti, of that God there are no images.

The other name given to Almighty God in Rig-Ved, Book #2, Hymn #1, Verse #3 is Vishnu. Vishnu is called as the God who is the sustainer. If you translate Sustainer into Arabic, it is somewhat similar to Rabb. We Muslims have got no objection if someone calls Almighty God as Rabb or Sustainer, but if someone says he is Almighty God who has got 4 hands and giving an image to Almighty God, in one hand is the lotus, the second hand is the conch, traveling on the sea on the bed of snakes, we Muslims take strong objection to it. Moreover you are going against the Yajur-Ved, Chapter #32, Verse #3 which says Na Tasya Pratima Asti of that God there is no prathima. There is no likeness, there is no image, there is no picture, there is no statue, no sculpture. It is further mentioned in Rig-Ved Book #8, Hymn #1, Manthra #1 Ma chitanidi sansad worship him alone, one God, praise him alone. It is mentioned in Rig-Ved, Book #6, Hymn #45 Manthra #16, praise him alone, worship that one God and the Brahma Sutra of Hinduism is dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan Bhagwan ek hi hai doosra nahi hai, nahi hai, nahi hai, zara bhi nahi hai. There is only one God not a second one, not at all, not at all, not in the least bit. So, if you read the Hindu scriptures, you shall understand the concept of God in Hinduism in the light of the sacred scriptures.

Let us understand the concept of God in Islam.

The best reply anyone can give you from the scriptures is quote to you Surah Ikhlaas, Chapter #112 Verse # 1 to 4 which says Qul Hu-wallaahu Ahad (say he is Allah one and only) Allaahus-Samad (Allah the absolute and eternal) Lam yalid, wa lam yuulad (he begets not nor is he begotten) walum yakul-la-Huu kufu-wan ahad (there is nothing like him). This is a 4-line definition of Allah subhaanawa thaala, of Almighty God given in the Qur’an. If any person says so and so candidate is God, if that candidate fits in this 4- line definition, we Muslims have got no objection in accepting that candidate as God. The first is Qul Huwallaahu Ahad (say he is Allah one and only) God is only one without a second. ekam evaditiyam Chandogya Upanishad Chapter #6, section #2, Verse #1. The second is Allaahus- Samad (Allah the absolute and eternal) same as Bhagwat Gita Chapter #10 Verse #3, they know me as unborn not begotten without a beginning, supreme Lord of the world. The third test is Lam yalid, wa lam yuulad (he begets not nor is he begotten) same as Swethaswethara Upanishad Chapter #6 Verse #9 Na casya kasuj janita na cadhipah of him there are no parents, no lords. Almighty God has got no mother, has got no father, he has got no superior. The fourth test is walum yakul-la-Huu kufu-wan ahad (there is nothing like him). Swethaswethara Upanishad Chapter #4, Verse #19, Yajur-Ved Chapter #32 Verse #3 Na Tasya Pratima Asti of that God there is no prathima, there is no likeness, there is no image, there is no picture, there is no statue. If any person says so and so candidate is God, if that candidate fits in these 4-line definition which we discussed of the Qur’an and the Hindu sacred scriptures, I have got no objection accepting that candidate as God.

We Muslims, we prefer calling Allah with the Arabic word Allah instead of the English word God because a person can play mischief with the English word God. But when any Muslim is speaking to the non Muslim, who may not understand the meaning of Allah and uses the English word God like what I am doing today, I have got no objection but I would like to mention that God is not the appropriate translation of the Arabic word Allah and this word Allah is mentioned in the scriptures of all the major world religions including Hinduism.

It is mentioned in Rig-Ved Book #2, Hymn #1, Verse #11, one of the names of God is given as Allah. Allah is also mentioned in Rig-Ved, Book #3, Hymn #30 Manthra #10 and also in Rig-Ved Book #9, Hymn #67, Manthra #30, there is a separate Upanishad by the name of AllOpanishad which is also mentioned in one of the books of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar a separate Upanishad, that is AllOpanishad.

This was in brief regarding the concept of God in Islam according to the sacred scriptures of Islam.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ACCEPTS MISTAKES in his BOOK “Hinduism and Islam – The Common Thread”

I know there are mistakes in that book. I have told before also; this book was printed in an emergency, in urgency, when there was riots in Gujarat. I wanted this book to immediately go. I did not go to big scholars because I do not know much about Quran. I MYSELF NOT A BIG SCHOLAR.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Sources:

http://www.thetruecall.com
Various Webpages.

Is Terrorism a Muslim Monopoly?

Do You Know?

Is Terrorism a Muslim Monopoly?  –By Dr  Zakir Naik

Lecture Date : September 11, 2006.

Judge : Hosbet Suresh – A Retired Mumbai High Court Judge

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The Conference took place in Mumbai in front of a jam packed crowd, at the Shanmukhananda auditorium on 11th Sept 2006. He also gave a similar lecture at Jeddah in the last week of September, 2006.

The stage was set for Dr. Zakir Naik to present his much needed views on this important topic.

The stage was set for Dr. Zakir Naik to present his much needed views on this important topic.

Please view the Complete video in 3 (three) Parts below:

Part 1 : Speaker – Justice Hosbet Suresh

Part 2 : Speaker – Dr. Zakir Naik

Part 3 : Speaker – Dr. Zakir Naik – Question & Answer Session.

Dr. Zakir Naik said that historic records proved that a large number of terrorist acts in the 20th and 21st century were committed by non-Muslims. The so-called global phenomenon of “Islamic terrorism/militant Islam” was a creation of the western governments and their media outlets, he said.“Politics lies at the heart of labeling Muslims across the globe as perpetrators of terror acts,” he added.Dr. Zakir, who is one of the Muslim world’s leading and most prolific speakers, quoted from the scriptures of other religions and proved that associating killing with Islam is incorrect.“It says in the Book of Numbers that whoever worships other than God should be killed,” he said, referring to the Bible, yet such militant verses were conveniently ignored by the Western media.“In every religion there are black sheep and the media keep putting these people forward. This is a media conspiracy and a way of pushing people away from Islam.” he added.

Dr. Zakir Naik addresses the gathering.

Dr. Zakir Naik addresses the gathering.

On Islam, Terrorists And Terrorism


Dr. Zakir Naik said, “No religion encourages terrorist acts or violence. The word ‘Islam’ itself means ‘Peace, obtained by submitting yourself to the Almighty’. Anyone, be it Muslim or non-Muslim, who kills an innocent Muslim or a non-Muslim, kills the entire humanity. However, Islam goes a step further to say that if one saves innocent lives, the whole of humanity is saved. Injustice is the root cause of terrorism…”

He continued, “Palestinians are called terrorists just because they are fighting to get their land back.” By citing examples of LTTE (in Sri Lanka), IRA (in UK), Lord’s Salvation Army, which trains the young children to conduct terrorist attacks, and many other non-Muslim terrorist outfits he further said that, the lives claimed by these outfits are more than the ones by the Muslim terrorists.

Dr. Zakir said Naxalites/Maoists across India and the LTTE in Sri Lanka were non- Muslim terror organisations, which had had developed pan regional bases beyond national boundaries. Other such non-Muslim terror outfits included the United Liberation Front of Assam(ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland and All Tripura Tiger Force in the Northeast, Naik noted.

Drawing on international examples, Dr. Zakir said that the Japanese Red Army, Lord’s Salvation Army and the ETA in Spain were also non-Islamic in character and composition.

“So nothing is more removed from truth as to suggest that Muslims have monopolized terrorism,” said Dr. Naik. He said the Irish Republican Army, which was considered to be terrorist group, has a history of 100 years of violence against the British, but the British government doesn’t seem to be scared about them as they are about radical Islamic groups.

Besides, he also mentioned, “Even a single killing by a Muslim is condemned by Islam, whatsoever the reasons.”


On the Media, Judiciary and Politicians


Dr. Zakir appreciated the Indian media for being unbiased and upright while reporting the communal riots. He further expressed that it is the plot of the Western media to destroy Muslims.

He also said that the media controlled by the political authorities is biased and does not portray the truth or reality. He stated, “Islam does not justify using wrong means to reach the right goals. People should not take the law in their hands.”

“India has seen maximum number of communal riots in recent years. Politicians have been using the ‘Divide and Rule Policy’ to secure their vote banks. However, the masses should not get instigated by them. Terrorism is a monopoly of politicians. People, regardless of their religion, wish to live harmonious lives, but politicians feed the feeling of hatred amongst them,” he opined while speaking about the role of politicians in the society today.

“We should learn how to turn the tables and convey the real meaning,” said Dr. Zakir, while calling on Muslims to dispel the media’s vilifying of Muslims and the importance of having Muslim television channels and newspapers.

Later at a private Iftar organized for journalists at Jeddah, Dr. Zakir called on Muslim businessmen across the world to boycott the US dollar and predicted that such a move would, within two years, see the end of the US as an economic superpower.

Having described the war on terror as an excuse to take control of Middle Eastern oil reserves, Dr. Zakir called on businessmen to boycott the dollar. “Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has provided us with a strategy to stop the US, which is to target the US economy. The first thing we should do is to stop dealing in dollars… America is presently in debt, the dollar is in debt and half the finance of the country is in debt,” he claimed.

Dr. Zakir added that if governments were unwilling to boycott the dollar then businessmen and businesswomen should themselves individually boycott the currency and advised them to deal in riyals, dirhams, gold and euros.

“Use the euro as an alternative. The process of having an Islamic currency would take time and so we shouldn’t wait for that,” he said, adding, “Now if someone insists on dealing in dollars then make sure you change currency as soon as possible. When you change the currency then the banks will send the dollars back to the US — within two years their economy will collapse. For us to achieve this, we need our businessmen to stop dealing in dollars. Once their economy collapses then their position as an economic superpower will end.” Dr. Zakir Naik said.

Islamic Peace Conference Held In Mumbai 2008..

Do You Know?

So Many People Accepted Islam Infront Of More Than 30000 People In Mumbai.

A Ten-Day Islamic Peace Conference began on 14th November to 23rd November 2008, 10 Am to 10 Pm..

Mumbai: Somaiya Ground has rarely witnessed gatherings of this proportion that comprises people from different sections of the society- Muslims and non-Muslims, males and females. The Peace Conference called by Dr. Zakir Naik is continuing to attract thousands of people to the ground spread over 30 acres beside the Eastern Express Highway in Sion (East), Mumbai.

There are more people attending the conference this year as compared to the last year when the conference was on similar topic but in English. Topic of the conference is ‘Islam: The Solution For Humanity’ but all lectures are in Urdu this year.

Approximately 30,000 males and females attend the program on daily basis with about 40% being females. Though most of the attendees are youths, children and aged persons can also be found there having come for various reasons.

Some say the gathering of so many ulamas and practicing Muslims refreshes their Iman (faith) and creates in them a motive to propagate the teachings of Islam even the least that they know. They take an inspiration from the speakers preaching to the audience the information about different aspects of Islam.

Many came here to know more about Islam. They are Muslims that want to learn more about Islam, ulamas in search for listening from those who are of higher caliber and non-Muslims trying to know the true teachings of Islam.

Males and females listening to the speakers have separate areas for sitting either in open air ground after Maghrib prayer till 10 pm or in the AC lecture hall.

The vast AC hall that is open from 10 am to 1 pm and 2:15 pm to 5:15 pm where in the speakers address in two sessions. With the capacity of 5,000 sitting chairs it has 60% chairs for males while 40% for females. The hall is almost full during speeches.

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People who have interest in listening to the speeches are in the AC hall while some others have nice time in the Exhibition Hall. This hall is vast air conditioned hall wherein there are 200 panels and 50 models. They display the teachings of Islam, its history, Iman, pillars of Islam, prophets of Allah, the books of Allah, the works of Muslims in many fields such as calligraphy, architecture, science, medicine, astronomy, geology, geography, and other sciences, many sayings of the Prophet (saws), biographies of many Fuqaha and Muhaddiseen and the verses related to science are displayed with scientific realities. On each panel and model there is a volunteer detailing before the visitors about the contents of panels and models. He talks giving reference to the verses he recites and the hadees he reads.

Within the conference complex there are about 2,000 volunteers who devote their day and night for the conference. Therefore on every few steps one can easily find the volunteers for guiding the guests to their desired places.

The conference with this splendid management is for presenting the real face of Islam as the solution for the humanity, before as many people as possible. It also aims at removing the misconception spread about the religion Islam.

Maulana Abdul Aleem Nadwi, working in the department of Qirat in IRF, when I asked him why IRF had called the conference, he counted many benefits of it. Among them is one that many people accept Islam after listening to the speeches. He also said that through this conference we are by the blessings of Allah able to present before the world the true face of Islam and tell them that Islam is the solution for whole humanity.

Muhammad Maqsood of the media committee for the conference told that they started Peace TV channel through which they try to propagate the true message of Islam. He said that the conference is also a part of their Da’wah activities. Explaining about the need for the conference he added that for benefiting more and more people they intend to make a video of the whole program and then put it on their website. He also said that and they will let users download the video free from their website.

The most important characteristic of the conference is that about 23 representatives from all denominations of Islam were invited in it. But some of them for personal difficulties could not participate in the conference. Some of the people say that the conference is an example of the unity of the Muslim community.

The same opinion is expressed by Mamoon Rasheed Qasmi who says, ‘when I came here and found the speakers of different denominations, I hoped that the Muslim community can one day surely come on one platform to work for the betterment of the humanity.’

Sources:
Various Sources

Michael Jackson Confirms Conversion to ISLAM..

Do You Know?

LONDON, Nov 21 –Michael Jackson has become a Muslim – and changed his name to Mikaeel. The skint superstar, 50, donned Islamic garb to pledge allegiance to the Quran in a ceremony at a pal’s mansion in Los Angeles.

Jackson sat on the floor wearing a tiny hat after an Imam was summoned to officiate.

The singer, who was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, converted to Islam in a ceremony at a friend’s house in Los Angeles. The ceremony took place while Jackson, 50, was recording an album at the home of Steve Porcaro, a keyboard player who composed music on his Thriller album.

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The star – whose hits include “The Way You Make Me Feel” – was spotted looking “a bit down” by a producer and a songwriter who had both embraced Islam.

The source said: “They began talking to him about their beliefs, and how they thought they had become better people after they converted. Michael soon began warming to the idea.

“An imam was summoned from the mosque and Michael went through the shahada, which is the Muslim declaration of belief.”

Mikaeel is the name of one of Allah’s angels.

“Jackson rejected an alternative name, Mustafa – meaning ‘the chosen one’”.

British singer Yousef Islam, 60 – who was called Cat Stevens until he famously converted – turned up to help Jackson celebrate.

It was his pals David Wharnsby – a Canadian songwriter – and producer Phillip Bubal who counselled Jackson.

The pair’s new names are Dawud Wharnsby Ali and Idris Phillips.

Jackson now prays to Mecca after the ceremony at the Hollywood Hills home of Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro, 51, who composed music on the singer’s Thriller album.

Last year his brother, Jermaine Friday, suggested Jackson would convert having taken an interest in Islam since Friday’s conversion in 1989.“When I came back from Mecca I got him a lot of books and he asked me lots of things about my religion and I told him that it’s peaceful and beautiful,” said Friday.“He read everything and he was proud of me that I found something that would give me inner strength and peace.

“I think it is most probable that Michael will convert to Islam.“He could do so much, just like I am trying to do. Michael and I and the word of God, we could do so much.”

Five Pillars of Islam

Do You Know?

The Five Pillars of Islam is the term given to the five duties incumbent on every Muslim. These duties are Shahadah (profession of faith), Salat (ritual prayer), Zakaat (alms giving), Sawm (fasting during Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). The concept of five pillars is taken from the Hadith collections, notably those of Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. The Qur’an does not speak of five pillars, although one can find in it scattered references to their associated practices.

The Five Pillars of Islam are core beliefs that shape Muslim thought, deed, and society. A Muslim who fulfills the Five Pillars of Islam, remains in the faith of Islam, and sincerely repents of his sins, will make it to Jannah (paradise). If he performs the Five Pillars but does not remain in the faith, he will not be saved.

The Islamic faith is built upon 5 Pillars

  • Shahadah – Declaration of faith
  • Salah – Five compulsory daily prayers
  • Zakaat – Welfare contribution
  • Sawm – Fasting during Ramadan
  • Hajj – Pilgrimage to Makkah

Shahadah – Declaration of faith

A Muslim declares his faith by reciting:

shahadah2

The arabic words mean:
“There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”

La ilaha illal lahu muhammadur rasulul lah
The testimony of faith is saying with conviction, “La ilaha illal lahu, muhammadur rasulul lah.” This saying means “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” The first part, “There is no true god but God,” means that none has the right to be worshipped but God alone, and that God has neither partner nor son. This testimony of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which should be said with conviction in order to convert to Islam(visit webpage “How to Convert to Islam and Become a Muslim”). The testimony of faith is the most important pillar of Islam.

Salah – Five compulsory daily prayers

Salah is the second pillar of Islam. It refers to the five compulsory daily prayers. Salah is offered five times a day individually or in congregation. We offer Salah to remember Allah. It brings us closer to him.

The Quran Says:
“Establish Salah to remember me (Allah)” (20:24)

Salah is the Practical proof of our faith in Allah and Islam. It has been made compulsory at certain fixed times.

The five daily prayers are:

  • Fajr – From dawn until just before sunrise
  • Zuhr – After midday until afternoon
  • Asr – From late afternoon until just before sunset
  • Maghrib – After sunset until daylight ends
  • Isha -Night until midnight or dawn

namaz

Each salat is performed facing towards the Kaaba in gratitude and worship. According to the Qur’an, the benefit of prayer “restrains [one] from shameful and evil deeds”.

Before we pray we do Wudu, or clean up in a special way. Wash before prayer as a symbol that they are cleansing their minds in order to pray. Salat consists of set prayers and movements. The fact that all Muslims pray at the same time, in the same way and facing in the same direction emphasises unity in islam and that everyone is equal before Allah.

Zakaat – Welfare contribution

Zakaat (welfare contribution) is the third pillar of Islam. The Arabic word Zakaat means to purify or cleanse. Zakaat is to be paid once a year on savings at the rate of two and a half percent(2.5%). This rate applies to cash, bank savings and gold & silver jewellery. The rate for cattle and agricultural produce is different.

Payment of Zakaat is a means of keeping our wealth clear of greed and selfishness. It also encourages us to be honest in our earnings and expenditure.

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Zakaat is a compulsory payment and is neither charity nor a tax. Charity is optional and taxes can be used by the state for any purpose, but Zakaat has to be spent under fixed headings like helping the poor, the needy, payment of salaries to its collectors, to free captives and debtors, for travellers in need, to win over hearts and for the cause of Allah.

Zakaat is an act of Ibadah. Ibadah is an Arabic term which means worship and obedience. It includes all activities of life, if we do them to please Allah. We pay Zakaat to gain Allah’s favour.

Zakaat provides us with the opportunity of sharing our excess wealth with those less fortunate than ourselves. In fact we and our wealth belong to Allah. He is the real owner and we are mearly the trustees of His wealth. We do our duty as trustees if we pay Zakaat as an obligatory part of Ibadah.

In addition to the compulsory payment of Zakaat, Muslims are encouraged in the Qur’an to make voluntary contributions to help the poor and needy, and for other social welfare purposes. This voluntary contribution is called Sadaqah (Charity).

Through the payment of Zakaat, the rich share their wealth with the poor and thus the process of concentration of wealth is checked and fair distribution ensured.

An individual may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqah, and does so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as “voluntary charity” it has a wider meaning.
The Prophet(PBUH) said, “Even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is an act of charity.” The Prophet(PBUH) also said: “Charity is a necessity for every Muslim.” He was asked: “What if a person has nothing?” The Prophet(PBUH) replied: “He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.” The Companions of the Prophet(PBUH) asked: “What if he is not able to work?” The Prophet(PBUH) said: “He should help the poor and needy.” The Companions further asked: “What if he cannot do even that?” The Prophet(PBUH) said: “He should urge others to do good.” The Companions said: “What if he lacks that also?” The Prophet(PBUH) said: “He should check himself from doing evil. That is also an act of charity.”

Sawm – Fasting during Ramadan

Sawm (Fasting), the fourth pillar of Islam, is another act of Ibadah. All adult Muslims must fast from dawn to sunset every day of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This means abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and conjugal relations during the hours of fasting. Travellers and the sick can defer fasting during Ramadan and make up for it later.


Sawm develops self-control and helps us to overcome selfishness, greed, laziness and other faults. It is to refresh us for carrying out our duties towards Allah, the Creator and Sustainer.

Sawm gives us the feeling of hunger and thirst. We experience for ourselves what it is like to have an empty stomach. This develops our feeling for the poor and hungry people. Fasting teaches us to control the love of comfort. It also helps us to keep our sexual desires within control. Hunger, comfort and sex are three factors which must be kept under control to behave as Allahs servants.


It helps us to remain truly obedient to Allah’s commands. That is why the Qur’an says:
“O you who believe; Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you are expected to be truly obedient”. (2:183)


A truly obedient Muslim is called a Muttaqi and his true obedience or piety – developed through Sawm – is known as Taqwa in Islam. Taqwa keeps a person away from sin.
The month of Ramadan is a month of forgiveness, mercy and means of avoiding that punishment of Hell.


The following acts will break the fast:
-Deliberate eating or drinking during fasting hours.
-If anything enters the body through the nose or mouth; this includes smoking or sniffing any powdered substance.
-Having any conjugal relations during fasting hours.
-Unintentional eating or drinking due to forgetfulness or rinsing out the mouth or bathing do not make the fast invalid.
-A Muslim is expected to remain away from all bad actions during his fast. He should not tell a lie, break a promise or do any deceitful act.

During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, harsh language, gossip and to try to get along with each other better than normal. In addition, all obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided.
The very purpose of fasting is to make a Muslim able to control his passions, so that he becomes a person of good deeds and intentions. Anger – a common human weakness–can also be brought under control by fasting.
Many Muslims break their fast with a dates because it is claimed Muhammed(PBUH) broke his fast with a dates.

800px-date-seller

Many Muslims traditionally break their fasts in Ramadan with dates (like those offered by this date seller in Kuwait City), as was the recorded practice (Sunnah) of Muhammad(PBUH).

In addition to the compulsory fasting in Ramadan, a Muslim may fast during other times of the year. These facts will be treated as Sunnah.
Fasting is not allowed during menstruation of women. They are required to make up the days lost during this period at some other time.

A Muslim must not fast:
On the day of Idul Fitr
On the day of Idul Adha


The Qur’an was revealed in the month of Ramadan. There is a night in the month which is …
“better than a thousand months”

This night is called Lailatul Qadr (Night of Power). According to Hadith, this night occurs during the last ten days of Ramadan (most probably the odd numbered nights). It is a night of great importance; we should worship as much as we can on this night.


An additional prayer known as Tarawih (20 rakah or 8 rakah) is offered during Ramadan after Isha. This is a sunnah prayer in which efforts are made to recite as much of the Qur’an as possible. In many mosques, the whole Qur’an is recited in Tarawih prayer. This prayer is generally offered in congregation.
At the end of Ramadan Muslims celebrate Idul Fitr, a day of thanksgiving and happiness. It is one of the great occasions for the Muslim community. On this day, Muslims offer special prayers in congregation and thank Allah for His blessings and mercy.

Hajj – Pilgrimage to Makkah

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. The Hajj is a pilgrimage that occurs during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar, to the holy city of Makkah, and derives from an ancient Arab practice. Kaaba, known as Baitullah (house of Allah), is a cube-like one storey building which was built originally by Adam and later rebuilt by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismail (Ishmael). It is the first house ever built for the sole purpose of the worship of Allah.

uiatm19a

Every able-bodied Muslim is obliged to make the pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in their lifetime if they can afford it. When the pilgrim is around ten kilometers from Makkah, he must dress in Ihram clothing, which consists of two white sheets. Both men and women are required to make the pilgrimage to Makkah, as the Hajj is mandatory for both males and females. The main rituals of the Hajj include walking seven times around the Kaaba, touching the Black Stone, traveling seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah, and symbolically stoning the Devil in Mina.

The pilgrimage, or the haji, is honoured in their community. For some, this is an incentive to perform the Hajj. Islamic teachers say that the Hajj should be an expression of devotion to Allah, not a means to gain social standing. The believer should be self-aware and examine their intentions in performing the pilgrimage. This should lead to constant striving for self-improvement.

A pilgrimage made at any time other than the Hajj season is called an Umrah.

Ban Bajrang Dal and VHP…

Do You Know?

Put A BAN On Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP)

The Bajrang Dal a Hindu organization in India, is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and is based on the ideology of Hindutva. Founded on October 1, 1984 in Uttar Pradesh, India, it has since spread throughout India. The group claims to have 1,300,000 members, of whom 850,000 are workers, and runs about 2,500 akhadas.

The Bajrang Dal’s slogan is “service, safety, and culture.” An integral part of its agenda is preventing the slaughter of cows. Other goals include protecting India’s Hindu identity from the perceived dangers of communism, Muslim demographic growth and Christian conversion.

Bajrang Dal is a religious extremist terrorist outfit that often gets into various activities such as moral policing (particularly on Valentine days), rioting, killing and burning Christians, their houses and churches. In the early days, they and their supporters used to deny their crime charges as Christian conspiracy or “it was not us, but the Hindus in general retaliating“. But ever since their political supporters (BJP) have formed the Government in the Indian states of Karnataka and Orissa, they have come out in public and claimed before the TV cameras that they have done it and they will do it again.

A Bajrang Dal Activist

Bajrang Dal leaders killed while making bombs in Kanpur.

Kanpur(24 Aug ’08): A powerful explosion killed two Hindutva terrorists in a mixed colony of Kanpur. The powerful explosion destroyed the door and walls of the room where it occurred on Sunday.

Rajiv alias Piyush Mishra (25) and Bhupinder Singh (32) are among the dead, they both are reported to be Bajrang Dal core members. Bhupinder was Bajrang Dal’s city chief 10 years ago and according to Hindi daily Hindustan Piyush was present in RSS’s morning shakha the day of the blast, quoting a Sangh activist Surendra Mishra.

Police found eleven live bombs, and enough material to make nine additional bombs, seven timer devices, and batteries. Ammonium nitrate and potassium nitrate was also recovered from there.

The explosion occurred at a hostel in Kalyanpur area of Kanpur, about 80 km from Lucknow. Piyush Mishra is the son of SS Mishra who own this hostel.

Deeds of Bajrang Dal

  • The Bajrang Dal, formed in 1984, played a big role in the events leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992, which led to widespread Hindu-Muslim violence in the country.
  • According to the Human Rights Watch, Bajrang Dal had been involved in riots against Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat violence.

A mass grave in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, in which sixty-one bodies — thirty-four of women and twenty-seven of children — are buried. Since February 27, 2002, more than 850 people have been killed in communal violence in the state of Gujarat, most of them Muslims. Unofficial estimates put the death toll as high as 2,000. The attacks against Muslims in Gujarat have been actively supported by state government officials and by the police. Police told Muslims, "WE DON'T HAVE ANY ORDERS TO SAVE YOU."

  • In April 2006, two Bajrang Dal activists were killed in nearby Nanded in the process of bomb making. The same group of activists were also suspected for perpetrating the 2003 Parbhani Mosque blasts. Those arrested later told interrogators they wanted to avenge several blasts across the country. NDTV subsequently accused the police of a coverup in Nandhed. A report by the Secular Citizen’s Forum & PUCL, Nagpur claimed to have found maps of mosques at the home of one of the deceased.
  • The VHP leader, Praveen Togadia, was arrested in April 2003 after distributing tridents to Bajrang Dal activists in Ajmer defying ban and prohibitory orders. Togadia asserted that the coming Assembly polls in the Indian state of Rajasthan would be fought on the issue of tridents and attacked the ruling Congress Party for “placating” Muslims for electoral gains. He expressed satisfaction at the publicity received due to the incident.

An Armed Training Camp of Bajrang Dal in Sarojini Nagar, outside Lucknow.

  • The Bajrang Dal has been accused of not allowing Muslims to own land in parts of Gujarat by attacking traders who sell to Muslims and by attacking Muslim homes and forcing the sale of the house or flat. This creates a ghettoisation of large cities in Gujarat, like Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
  • On several occasions, acting as “Social Police” the activists of Bajrang Dal have caught un-married couples on Valentines day and forced them to apply sindoor or tie rakhis against their wishes. The activists of Bajrang Dal have often indulged in violence, invading gift shops and restaurants and threatening couples on Valentines day.
  • The Bajrang Dal has also been involved in bomb making accidents on August 6, 2006 in Nanded, and on August 24, 2008 in Kanpur.
  • In September 2008, a fresh wave of attacks directed against the Newlife Christian churches and prayer halls in Karnataka by the Bajrang Dal, as a protest against defaming hindu gods and against religious conversion carried on by the Newlife Missionaries. Later, Mahendra Kumar, the convener of Bajrang Dal was arrested in connection with it even after he publicly announced that they are not reponsible for the attacks, after the Center had strongly criticized the state Government. In addition, the National Commission for Minorities has also blamed them for the religious violence in BJP-ruled states of Karnataka and Orissa. However, some police reports claim that the Bajrang Dal was not involved and that the attacks were carried out by splinter groups. However, testimonies of Bajrang Dal activists show exactly the opposite, as they described the attacks and openly warned of more violence.

Christians wanting to return to their homes have been told by the HINDU EXTREMISTS:

“COME BACK AS HINDU OR DON’T COME BACK AT ALL”

A Hindu Extremist

DEMAND for BAN on BAJRANG DAL

  • Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.
  • Minister for Steel Ram Vilas Paswan
  • Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar
  • Members of the Samajwadi Party
  • The Indian National Congress, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati have demanded a ban on Bajrang Dal and Sri Rama Sena. In this regard, Deve Gowda sent a letter to prime minister and accused Bajrang Dal “for perpetrating senseless violence” against minorities in Karnataka and Orissa.
  • Wakf and Minorities Welfare Minister Mumtaz Ali Khan has urged the government to ban any organisation, including Bajrang Dal, if found to be involved in anti-national activities disturbing communal harmony.
  • Former Karnataka Chief Minister Veerappa Moily told that the party is in favour of banning the right-wing Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). “The Bajrang Dal deserves to be banned. They have earned this image for themselves. The terrorists hide and do it, Bajrang Dal do it openly,” He also said that the activities of the saffron outfit are more pronounced in the BJP-ruled states and alleged that these state governments were collaborating with the Bajrang Dal rather than checking their activities. “The BJP-ruled states think that the Bajrang Dal is an oxygen for their survival. This is very unfortunate,” Moily said while attacking the outfit for its role in anti-Christian violence in some parts of the country.“In the case of Bajrang Dal, we find that the BJP-ruled states have not recommended the ban. This means they are collaborating with the organisation,” he said.

Durga Vahini training camp on outskrirt of Kanpur. Durga Vahini is the womens armed wing of Bajrang Dal. Training camp coordinated by Ved-Prakash Sachchan. Durga Vahini training camp June session. June 24th, 2001

  • The National Minorities Commission has recommended a ban on the Bajrang Dal for its alleged role in the attacks on churches in Karnataka and Orissa. The Commission is working towards a unanimous decision seeking tough measures against the Bajrang Dal as its involvement in “frequent attacks on the minorities and their places of worship across the country has been established beyond doubt”. “Despite repeated assurances from top state officials, the attacks on churches and Christians are continuing in Karnataka. It shows the state government(BJP) is not serious in reining in the elements responsible for pre-planned attacks,” commission vice-chairman Michael P. Pinto said.
  • The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that it had urged the Union Home Ministry to put the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on the watch list of organisations indulging in terrorist-like activities and take the “severest action.”
  • The monthly magazine Communalism Combat started by civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad demanded an immediate ban on the Bajrang Dal in August 2008.
  • Leader of the Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) Ramchandra Paswan describing the Bajrang Dal as communal organization said, “Bajrang Dal and VHP should immediately be banned.”

Bajrang Dal Dares Government to BAN it…

The Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), has dared the Indian government to ban it, warning that the authorities would face the ‘consequences’ if it was outlawed.

‘We will fight the ban and we will go to the people to explain the injustice done to us. The elections are coming up soon and it (a ban) will prove costly for the government,’ Prakash Sharma, national convenor of the Bajrang Dal, told…

The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has decided to call a special cabinet meeting to discuss a possible ban on the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad over the continuing attacks on Christians and its institutions in Orissa and Karnataka.

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Sources:
Various Webpages…
Published in: on October 23, 2008 at 11:04 pm  Comments (3)  
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The Origins and History of the Alphabet

Do You Know?

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Although we call it the Latin alphabet, and it has a Greek name, the alphabet actually has far older origins.

We all learn our ABC’s as children, but do we know where the alphabet comes from? We call it the Latin alphabet, but then why does it have a Greek name? The alphabet wasn’t invented by the Greeks either. Where does it come from?

Egypt, Sumeria and the Origins of Writing

Writing began in ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both writing systems were developed independently, and they are very different from each other.

  • Cuneiform. Cuneiform is the system of writing developed by the ancient Sumerians, between 3500 and 3100 BC. Sumeria was one of the first civilizations to develop in the world. It resided in the area of what is now Iraq, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Their system of writing consisted of wedge shaped marks made with the edge of a stylus pressed into clay. The clay would then be baked so the marks could not be removed. “Cuneiform” is a Greek word meaning “wedge-shaped.”
  • Hieroglyphs. The ancient Egyptians, another of the first civilizations, developed a very different system of writing than the Sumerians. It was developed about the same time as cuneiform, but involved tiny pictures or glyphs which were used to represent words.

Neither of these writing systems incorporated a true alphabet. The majority of symbols were used to identify whole words, or multiple syllables, unlike our own monosyllabic alphabet. Because of this they incorporated a far greater range of symbols in order to write than cultures using an alphabet.

The Phoenicians and the First Alphabet

The developers of the first true alphabet were the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians originate from the coast of the Mediterranean, in what is now Lebanon. They were a trading and seafaring culture, and had contact with both the Egyptians and the Sumerians.

The Sumerians had originally developed their writing system in order to make trading easier, and so it would be with the Phoenicians. However, the system of writing developed by the Phoenicians would be very different than that created by either the Egyptians or the Sumerians.
The Phoenicians had closer contact with the Egyptians than with the Sumerians. For much of their history they were at times under Egyptian control. Their writing symbols developed somewhat from Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Phoenician symbols did not represent entire words, though, but rather single syllables.

Having forms that represent a single syllable allow for much more freedom in writing with far fewer symbols. It also allows for the easier writing of words in other languages, because the writing is based on sounds rather than what the word actually means. Any new word that you come across can easily be adapted to writing based on the sound of the word.

The Phoenician alphabet took several centuries to develop, but had been fairly well completed by about 1000 BC, over 2000 years after the development of the first writing system in Sumeria.

The original Phoenician alphabet consisted of 22 letters, none of which were vowels. Other alphabets such as the Hebrew alphabet would not contain vowels. While many of the symbols have great similarity to our own letters, they often represented very different sounds. For example, there is a letter which looks like an x, but rather represents the “taw” sound.”

The Phoenicians were the major traders on the Mediterranean, and they took their alphabet with them as they traded. Many different cultures began to pick up their alphabet, and modify it to their own uses. The most important of these cultures in the ultimate development of our own alphabet were the Greeks. However, there are still remnants of its Phoenician origin in our own language, as we still call the study of how letters actually sound “phonetics.”

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Phoenician words are found in Greek and Latin classical literature as well as in Egyptian, Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic and Hebrew writings. The language is written with a 22-character alphabet that does not indicate vowels.

The Greek Alphabet

It is from the Greeks that we get our name for the word “alphabet.” It comes form the first two letters of their alphabet, Alpha and Beta. These names actually came from the Phoenicians; however, whose first two letters were ‘Aleph and Beth.

Scholars are not quite sure when the Greeks first came into contact with the Phoenician alphabet; however it seems to have been about 1000 BC. They changed the alphabet some, both the look of the symbols as well as adding some symbols of their own. For example their alphabet had an F character, unlike the Phoenicians, although it originally stood for the “w” sound.” Because different languages use different sounds, the need to create new letters was common as the alphabet was distributed.

The Greeks were the first to introduce vowels into the alphabet. While the Phoenicians did have the letter “aleph” which became “alpha,” it originally represented a gutteral tone, rather than what we consider the letter “a.” Within Greece there were many different alphabets, most of them had about 25 letters and were mostly similar, with some slight differences.

 

The Latin alphabet

The Etruscan peoples of Italy picked up the alphabet from the Greeks, in about the 7th Century BC, and from the Etruscans it ultimately came to the Romans.

During its nearly thousand year history, the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire grew to be the most influential power in the world, and one of the most influential empires of history. At its height the Roman Empire spread from England to northern Africa, from Spain to Mesopotamia.

The Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th Century AD, but its alphabet would remain. The illiterate barbarians who conquered the remains of the Roman Empire would ultimately adopt its alphabet as they developed their own written languages.

Many of the new countries formed in the aftermath of the Roman Empire would actually adopt Latin as their language as well as the Latin alphabet. Spanish, Portuguese, French, Romanian, and Italian are all descended from the Latin language. Those countries such as Germany and England that did not adopt the Latin language still adopted the Latin alphabet into their written language.

Changes to the Latin alphabet

There have been some changes in the Latin alphabet since it was finalized under Roman authority. Originally the letter C stood for both g and k. The letter I stood for both i and j. V stood for both U and V.

The original alphabets did not have lower case letters. Lower case letters came during the Middle Ages, with the development of cursive writing. Prior to the Middle Ages all writing was done in print. It was during this time that the English picked up the Latin alphabet, and eventually brought it to us.

The alphabet has undergone many changes in its thousand years of history, but it has become the most used alphabet in the world today. It is used all across Europe and around the world for thousands of different languages, including, of course, our own.

Writing systems of the world today.

Sources:
http://www.googobits.com
by Allen Butler