1. Unity of God (al-islam.org)

Muslims believe that Allah is ONE. He was neither begotten nor does He beget. He has no Partner. He is the Beginning and He is the End. He is Omniscient and Omnipresent.

The Quraan says that He is closer to man than his jugular vein yet He cannot be encompassed by human intellect.

See the following verses of the Quraan:

II:115 II:163 II:255 VI:101 VII:7 XXIII:91-92

Imam Ali says in a supplication:

"Oh God, verily I ask Thee by Thy Name, in the name of Allah, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate, O the Possessor of Majesty and Splendour, the Living, the Self-subsistent, the Eternal, there is no God other than Thou, Oh He of Whom no one knows what He is, or how He is, or Where He is, or in respect of what He is, And yet, we know that He is."

2. Justice of God
Allah is Just. In XCV:8, the Quraan says "Is not Allah the most conclusive of all judges?"

Again in XXI:47 "And we have provided a Just balance for the Day of Judgement. No soul shall be dealt with unjustly in any way. (Any good deed or evil deed) though it be as small as a grain of the mustard seed, will be brought forth by Us (in testimony). We suffice as the best of reckoners."

The Sunni School of thought subscribes to the view that nothing is good or evil per se. What God commanded us to do became good by virtue of His command. What he forbade became evil.

The Shias believe that there is intrinsic good or evil in things. God commanded us to do the good things and forbade the evil. God acts according to a purpose or design. Human reason cannot comprehend this design or purpose in its entirety though man must always strive to understand as much as he can.

Compulsion or Freedom?
The various schools of thought are divided.


  1. Mutazzilas believe that man is totally free and God exercises no power over his action. Those who subscribe to this view are also known as Qadariyyas.


  2. Mujabbira school of thought believe that man has no freedom and is only a tool in the hands of God.


  3. The Asharia school of thought to which most Sunnis subscribe believe that though man has no free will, he will earn the reward of his good deeds. The Sunni scholar Al-Ghazzalli sums up this doctrine as follows: "No act of any individual, even though it be done purely for his benefit, is independent of the will of Allah for its existence. There does not occur in either the physical or the extra-terrestrial world the twinkle of an eye, the hint of a thought, or the most sudden glance except by the Decree of Allah, of His Power, Desire, and Will. This includes evil and good, benefit and harm, success and failures, sin and righteousness, obedience and disobedience, polytheism and true belief."


  4. The Shias believe that there is neither total compulsion nor total freedom. The true position is the one in-between. They maintain that Allah has fore-knowledge of human action but does not compel man to any particular course of action.


See Quraan:

II:284 IV:79 VI:17 IX:51 X:107 XI:6
XI:56 XXVII:62 XXX:60 XXXIX:52-54 XLII:30

God created mankind to serve Him (LI:56). He endowed man with faculties and freedom of action and out of His Grace (LUTF) and Justice sent Prophets to instruct and guide mankind. No nation or community was left without such guidance. (X:47 and XVI:36).

Some of these prophets were sent with Divine Revelation, scripture and miracles. The first Prophet was Adam and the last was Muhammad, the Seal of Prophets (XXX:40).

While Quraan mentions only twenty-five most prominent of the prophets it also states that there were many more whose names have not been revealed in the Quraan. (XL:78). Muslims believe that there have been 124,000 prophets. Amongst those specifically mentioned are Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Issac, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, Ezekiel, David, Solomon, Jonah, Zachariah, John the Baptist, Jesus and Muhammad.

Five of these prophets brought new codes of law. These were Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. These are called the "ulu l-azm" prophets meaning those of great constancy.

Quraan mentions five divine books.

  1. The Book of Abraham, sometimes referred as the Booklet (LXXXVII:19).
  2. The Psalms given to David (IV:63 and XVII:55).
  3. The Torah granted to Moses (II:87, III:3 & 4, VI:91 & 154).
  4. The Evangel or the Gospel revealed to Jesus (V:46).
  5. The Quraan revealed to Muhammad.

A Muslim must believe in all the Holy Books. (II:4 & 285). He must also believe in all the prophets. (IV:152).

The Shiahs also believe that all the prophets were infallible and sinless. Not all the Sunnis subscribe to this belief.

4. Resurrection
The world will come to an end on the Day of the Rising (Qiyamah), the day of final human accountability. All men will be resurrected and presented before God Who will decide their fate according to their deeds. The good will be rewarded with paradise (jannah) and the evil will be punished with hell (jahannam). (XXII:6-9 & 1-2; III:185; VI:62). The dominant factor in the administration of His Justice by Allah will be His Mercy (VI:12).

5. Imaamah
Only the Shiahs believe in the institution of Imaamah. Literally "imaam" means a leader. In Shiah belief an Imaam is the person appointed by God and introduced by the Prophet and then by each preceding Imaam by explicit designation (nass) to lead the Muslim community, interpret and protect the religion and the law (shariah), and guide the community in all affairs.

An Imaam is first and foremost the Representative of God and the successor of the Prophet. He must be sinless and possess divine knowledge of both the exoteric and the esoteric meaning of the verses of the Quraan.

There are many Shiah sects e.g. the Zaidis, the Ismailis etc. The principal sect is the Twelvers (Ithnasharis).

(NOTE: In these Notes, unless specifically stated otherwise, references to the Shiahs and Shiah beliefs, should be construed as references to the Shiah Ithnasheriyya school of thought.)

The Twelvers believe that the Prophet was succeeded by twelve Imaams. These are:


1. Ali ibne Abu TalibDied 40 A.H./659 A.D
He was the Prophet`s son-in-law, having married his daughter Fatimah.
2. Hassan ibne Ali Died 50 A.H./669 A.D.
3. Hussain ibne Ali Died 61 A.H./680 A.D.
4. Ali ibne Hussain Died 95 A.H./712 A.D.
5. Muhammad ibne Ali Died 114 A.H./732 A.D.
6. Ja'far ibne Muhammad Died 148 A.H./765 A.D.
7. Musa ibne Ja'far Died 183 A.H./799 A.D.
8. Ali ibne Musa Died 203 A.H./817 A.D.
9. Muhammad ibne Ali Died 220 A.H./835 A.D.
10. Ali ibne Muhammad Died 254 A.H./868 A.D.
11. Hassan ibne Ali Died 260 A.H./872 A.D.
12. Muhammad ibne Hassan Born 256 A.H./868 A.D.

On the death of his father in 260 A.H. the twelfth Imam went into occultation (Gaybah), appearing only to a few leading Shiahs. Until 329 A.H./939 A.D. he performed the functions of the Imaam through representatives appointed by himself. He then went into major occultation which will continue until the day God grants him permission to manifest himself.

The Sunni View
The Sunnis use the term Imaam synonymously with the term khalifah. A khalifah may be elected, or nominated by his predecessor, or selected by a committee, or may acquire power through military force. A khalifah need not be sinless. It is lawful for a person of inferior qualities to be made a khalifah while persons of superior qualities are present.




Assalaamu alaykum,

My name is Jennah and I am a revert to Islam. When you're just discovering Islam there's so many unanswered questions.  You can't seem to get enough information and sometimes not being able to find the right information and then even sometimes finding far too much information to digest. It can be a bit overwhelming 

For those of you who are thinking to convert to Islam making the decision to be a Muslim is a big event in ones life. It should not ever be taken lightly and I would recommend you get as much facts as possible taking the time to learn as much as you can before taking that leap. It's the right leap but it's a big leap and you need to prepare yourself. 

You have already been guided this far and so I would like to encourage you the rest of the way. It's good to see that you bypassed all the negatives and all the misconceptions out there about Muslims, about people of the middle East, about the different Muslim sects. 

You're here on this site because you're either considering a conversion to Islam or you're simply curious and would like to know more about our faith in order to ease your mind about some of what you may have heard in the media. Inshallah (if Allah wishes) I will attempt to give you all the information I have at hand in order to enlighten you on your journey. 

A revert ( A converted Muslim) and born Muslim is always discovering Islam, it never stops. You will reach different levels of knowledge. Don't be discouraged if you can't pronounce the Arabic language right away. This takes time, and often people are making errors even years after learning to do their salat (prayer) entirely in Arabic. Allah(swt) is always so pleased with your efforts. You never have to worry in that regard as God(swt) is all merciful and compassionate. It's ok to print off a prayer sheet and have it beside you while you do salat. It's ok to make mistakes. it took 23 years for the Qur'an to be revealed, so you shouldn't expect to learn everything overnight. 

Just stay on track, slow and steady, and ask those who are reliable for unanswered questions. We offer help here and you can contact us if you have any questions. We will either answer them or forward them on to our scholars and get back to you as quickly as possible. Don't assume anything and it's always best to ask so that you do not fall into a haram(sinful) situation. 

Salams and duas

Sr.Jennah Heydari

To contact the Administration and support staff at RMA email us at: revertmuslims@cogeco.ca 


This list is under construction at the moment. We are sorry for the inconvenience. It should be complete soon, please check back. 

Also see: Religious Questions Answered: Logic for Islamic Rules, by Al-Islam.org ...>>>here

Questions and Answers





Who is Allah?

Allah is an Arabic-word for: The One and Only Deity/ God,

Islam is the only religion that can describe themselves as True-monotheists, why?
In Islam, we do not believe in anthropomorphism (i.e. attributing human-facets to The Divine One)

In the Old Testament, in Genesis it says:

26 And God said; Let us make man in our image, after our likeness : and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image , in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

So it is said that "God created man in his own image" which we reject in Islam, because our belief is that God cannot be likened to any form which He Himself created, He is far beyond the perception of man, through man's mortal means of :

Along with "Allah" the Qur'an contains 99 names which are the attributes of Allah

They can be found at the  following link: http://www.revertmuslims.com/islam/Allah_99names.htm 

Similarities between the Bible & Quran



'The Lord is One' (Deuteronomy 6:4)   'Say: He is God, the One ' (112:1)

'above all gods' (Psalm 135:5)   'Glorify the name of your Lord the Highest'   (87:1)

'His understanding is infinite' (Psm 147:5)   '...and of all things He is the Knower' (2:29)

'He who lives forever' (Isaiah 57:15)   '...God, the Eternal ' (112:2)

'He is holy' (Psalm 99:5)    'the Holy'(62:1)

'The Lord is righteous' (Psalm 11:7)    '...the Right in Guidance' (11:87)

'He loves righteousness' (Psalm 7:11)   '..indeed full of mercy and love' (11:90)

'Your wrath .brings You praise' (Psalm 76:10)   '...We shall exact due retribution' (32:22)

'merciful' (Psalm 145:8)   'In the Name of God, the Merciful ...' (1:1)

'The Lord is. compassionate' (Psalm 111:4 )   'In the Name of God, ..the Compassionate..' (1:1)

'God is not man, that He should lie' Num 23:19   "...God is the Truth..." (22:6)
-- taken from http://www.jewsforallah.org/

Allah has no English equivalent:

Allah is an Arabic-word for: The One and Only Deity/ God


Who are the ahlulbayt?

"Ahlulbayt" literally means "People of the House" ('Ahl' means "people", while 'bayt' means "house"). Its meaning in context of Islamic vernacular is "members of the household of the Prophet". The Ahlulbayt are one of the two most important sources of Islamic guidance after the demise of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). The holy Qur'an, when referring to them, states:

" . . . . Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O' People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and purify you with a perfect purification."

(The last section of Verse 33:33)

This verse attests to their sinlessless, as all sins are a form of impurity, and this has been completely removed from them.

The Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet consist of the following individuals:

* Fatimah al-Zahra (AS) - the only daughter of the Prophet.
* Imam Ali (AS) - first cousin, and son-in-law of the Prophet.
* Imam al-Hasan (AS) - grandson of the Prophet, and eldest son of Fatimah al-Zahra (AS)
* Imam al-Husain (AS) - grandson of the Prophet, and second eldest son of Fatimah al-Zahra (AS)
* Nine descendants of Imam al-Husain (AS).

More about the Ahlulbayt and their uniquely honorable status in Islam can be read at the following web page: ...>>>here

Is it 'revert' or 'convert'?

Both terms are correct. However, often people who convert to Islam often call this a "reversion" as opposed to a "conversion", because of the understanding that Islam is simply the extension of our innate human nature (fitrah). Because of this, these converts feel that they were always "Muslim", but due to the influence of their society or environment, their ideas and viewpoints differed from those expressed in Islam. But upon studying the teachings of Islam, they feel this unique resonance between their innate nature and Islamic ideology, and thus call their choice to accept Islam a "reversion" to their true nature.

The holy Qur'an speaks about this when it says:

So set your purpose for religion as a man upright (hanifan) by nature (fitrah) - the nature (fitrah) framed by Allah, in which He created mankind. There is no altering (the Laws of) the creation of God. [The holy Qur'an - 30:30]

How do Muslims pray?

The method of offering the prescribed prayers in Islam (also referred to as salah/salat) can be seen here:...>>>here 

How often do Muslims pray?

There are five daily obligatory prayers. These are the dusk prayer (Maghrib), night prayer (Ishaa), dawn prayer (Fajer), noon prayer (Zuher), and the afternoon prayer (Asr). Besides these there are a few other prayers that should be performed only on certain occasions, but not regularly, like the prayer at the burial ceremony of a Muslim who has passed away, the prayer on two specific Islmaic festivals (called "Eid"), etc.

Other than these, one can pray whenever he or she desires, but these are counted as supererogatory prayers. Basically, Muslims must offer the five daily prayers (these are obligatory), but there is no limit to how much extra a person can pray.

Do all Muslims pray the same way?

No. There are many different denominations within Islam, and the mothod of offering prayers by certain denominations may differ from that of others. For example, the Ja'fery Shia method of offering prayers (which is described on this page: http://www.revertmuslims.com/sala.html  is different from that of Hanafi Sunnis. 

These differences arise because of lack of consistency in the reports that describe the praying style of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). However, these differences are usually very minor. All Muslims pray to the only God, Allah. We all pray facing the same direction (the Ka'ba in Mecca). We all have the same number of obligatory prayers, with the same number of units in each prayer. We all have to recite Qur'anic verses in our prayers, and most of the actions performed in the prayers are also alike.

The differences include things like, how most Sunni Muslims will fold their hands in front of them while they are standing in prayer, whilst Shias (and Maliki Sunnis, among others) leave their hands by their sides. How the sitting and standing postures might vary slightly - for example, some denominations believe that the feet should not be far apart when standing, while others believe that there should be a considerable gap between them. There are also other minor variations in issues like the recitation while sitting during prayers, and also on the issue of what materials are permissible to prostrate on. So although Muslims don't all pray the same way, the differences are not very significant.

What's wudu mean?

Wudhu is the ritual ablution in Islam. It is the act of washing or wiping specific parts of the body with clean water, which Muslims perform prior to certain acts of worship (primarily Salah). The method of performing this ritual ablution can be seen here: http://revertmuslims.com/sala_wudu.html 

What does "Ghusl" mean?

Ghusl literally means "bath". In cetain circumstances Muslims are required to bathe completely with clean water as a means of purification. This ritual bath in Islam is called "Ghusl". The circumstances where ghusl is required include (but is not limited to):

. After ejaculation (through sexual intercourse or otherwise)
. Upon coming in contact with a dead body
. Ghusl for menstruation

More details about the circumstances that require ghusl and the method of performing it can be seen here: http://revertmuslims.com/sala_wudu.html 


What's Tayammum mean?

Tayammum is the Islamic term for "dry ablution". This is the type of ablution performed when clean water is not readily available, or it is not feasible for a person to perform regular ghusl or wudhu because of medical reasons or similar issues. In such circumstances, instead of water, the person wipes a small amount of sand, dust or dry earth on his/her face and hands. More details about tayammum and the method of performing it can be seen here: http://revertmuslims.com/sala_wudu.html 

Why do so many Muslim women cover their heads with a scarf?

The act of covering one's hair by Muslim females is an integral part of the larger concept of Hijab. Hijab, in essence, is the notion of displaying a sense of modesty in dress and demeanour. 

Modesty and chastity are very important ideologies in Islam, and the most effective approach to achieve these qualities is by prescribing standards on behavior and the dress of Muslims. As a result, Muslim women who choose to follow the tenets of Islam are asked to cover (or veil) their bodies (all of it, except the face and hands) from men who are not either their direct family members, or their husbands. In this way Muslim women are recognized as individuals, who are admired for their mind and personality, and not for their physical appearence.

For more information about the concept of hijab, especially it's philosophical and practical importance, feel free to read the following online book by the late Ayatollah Murtadha Mutahhari:



What does haram or halal mean?

"Haram" is derived from the Arabic word "Hurum" which means "impermissible". Thus "haram" means that the thing under discussion is Islamically impermissible. (For example, pork is haram for consumption.)

Conversely, "halal", being the opposite of haram, means "permissible".

Why did the Shi'a separate from the Sunni?

The Shia-Sunni split is not a recent phenomenon. The root of this division can be traced to just a few days after the death of our Prophet (pbuh&hp). Shi'as believe that the Prophet within his lifetime unambiguously appointed Imam Ali bin Abi Talib as his successor, and the caliph of the Muslim ummah (nation) after his death. However, Sunnis believe that the Prophet did not decicively fix the choice of the caliph after him, nor did he fix or proscribe any method of selection of this next caliph. As a result, Sunnis accept Imam Ali (a.s.) to be the fourth caliph, not the first (the first three recorded in their histories are Abu Bakr, Umar al-Farook and Uthman bin Affan).

The Shi'a call themselves so, because we describe ourselves as "Shi'an-e-Ali" (Party/Followers of Ali - "Shia" means party member or follower). Now this difference of belief did not immediately result in a division amongst Muslims at that time. The division occurred later when the self-appointed caliphs of the Islamic nation began persecution of Shi'as because of their refusal to acknowledge the caliphate of these rulers. These Shi'a refused to acknowledge the caliphate of these rulers because of the Shi'a belief that only the Prophet (under instructions from Allah) could appoint a caliph for the Muslim ummah, as he had already done so during his lifetime.

The history of the Muslim ummah, after the demise of the Prophet, unfolded in the following manner. After a large portion of Muslims refrained from acknowledging Imam Ali as the first caliph, he (Imam Ali) chose to wait with patience over this affair, rather than fight for his right, since the Prophet had advised him in the last days of his life to deal with the clamities that followed his (the Prophet's) death with patience, so as to not cause divisions within the Muslim ummah. As a result, he withrew himself from active participation in political affairs and with matters regarding the handling of the government. 

After the death of the third caliph, the state of the Muslim nation had severely deteriorated since the time of the Prophet, and much of the injustice and suffering that was prevalent during the pre-Islamic era had creeped back into society. Muslims, acknowledging the dire situation their nation was in, then earnestly appealed to Imam Ali to take up the caliphate as they realized that there was no one more worthy than him for that position. After a lot of persuasion, Imam Ali reluctantly agreed.

Now within the rule of Imam Ali, Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan rose up and waged a bloody war against him. He (Muawiyah) unjustly claimed that Imam Ali was either responsible or connected to the death of the previous caliph, and that this war of his was revenge for that death. Eventually, after a long war, a compromise was reached, and partial peace was restored.

However, after the death of Imam Ali, Muawiyah declared himself caliph of the Muslim ummah, and confronted Hasan bin Ali (a.s.), the son of Imam Ali, who was appointed by him as his successor. Again Muawiyah tried to wage a war against the true caliph, but this time Hasan bin Ali (a.s.) managed to work out a compromise with him that permitted him governance of the Muslim ummah till his death, after which it would return to Hasan bin Ali (a.s.) or his successor.

However, before Muawiyah died, he appointed his son Yazeed bin Muawiyah as the next caliph, blatantly contradicting the terms of the peace-treaty that he had given his oath of allegiance to earlier with Hasan bin Ali (a.s.). Meanwhile Hasan bin Ali (a.s.) had appointed his brother Husayn (a.s.) as his successor, and he was thus the rightful caliph. But Yazeed had taken that title for himself, and ordered Husayn (a.s.) to pay allegiance to him. Husayn (a.s.) refused. As a result, Yazeed's forces salughtered Husayn (a.s.), the grandson of the Prophet (pbuh&hp), and his family members in the land of Karbala, on the day of A'shurah.

In Yazeed's rule, and in the rule of the succeeding rulers appointed by him, the Shi'as suffered extreme levels of injustice and mistreatment from these rulers, who deliberately persecuted Shi'as without inhibition, and without any regard for Islam or morality. As a result the Shi'as withdrew themselves from the government (which was mainly Sunni), and remanied secluded from matters of caliphate for hundreds of years that followed, and this seclusion has resulted in the prominent Shi'a-Sunni split that you see today.

For a much more detailed analysis of the historical causes of this issue, read the following online book:

The Origins and Early Development of Shi`a Islam

Is Islam a terrorist religion?

Not in the least. Islam strictly condemns the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for terrorism. Targeting the lives of innocent civilians and their property through suicide bombings or any other means of attack is haram (impermissible), and those who commit these acts are criminals, not martyrs.

The Qur’an states in this regard: "Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind." (Qur’an, 5:32)

Respect for persons of all faiths and backgrounds is integral to Islamic principles. As it has been said by Imam Ali (a.s.): "People are divided into two groups. Either they are your brothers in faith, or your brothers in humanity."


What are the pillars of Islam?


Islam is divided into two categories. Think of Islam as a tree. You have the roots of religion, without roots a tree cannot grow, and then the branches of Islam, without which there will be no beauty.


We will start by explaining the roots of religion. There are 5. They are called the Usool-e-Deen.


1. Tauheed


Tauheed refers to the oneness of Allah. It means there is no God other then Allah (Swt). He isn't the son of anyone, nor is anyone His son. He does not have a family, he is alone and one.


2. Adalat


Adalat refers to the justice of Allah. He is just to everyone and everything. Some people tend to believe that everything we do in our life is because Allah has pre-planned it for us, though this is not the case; and shows great injustice and gives man no choice to make decisions between the right and wrong. It may seem to us sometimes that injustice is being done to us or others, but this is not the case, rather it is our lack of knowledge and understanding.


3. Nabuwat


Nabuwat means Prophethood. Muslims must believe in the concept of Prophethood, and that there were about 124, 000 Prophets sent down on earth to guide us. All the Prophets were sinless, and all preached the correct message, from the time of Hazrat Adam (as) till the last and final Prophet; Muhammad (PBUH).


Prophethood is divided into Nabi and Rasool. Every Rasool (Apostles) is a Nabi (Messenger), but not all Ambiya (Plural of Nabi) are Rusul (Plural of Rasool). A Rasool brings divine law, and a Nabi continues the message of the Rasool before him.


4. Imamat


Just like Prophethood is in the hands of Allah (swt), same is the case with Imamat. An Imam is a leader. Muslims believe that there were 12 Aaima (Plural of Imam) after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). An Imam does not bring new law or rulings, but continues the message of the last and final Prophet. The Imams were also sinless, and did not make mistakes. The Aaima have authority over us as our leader, and we have to obey them, just like we obey Allah and his Messengers.


O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end. (4:59)


5. Qiyamat


Last but not least, the concept of Qiyamat; the Day of Judgment. Every Muslim must believe in the Day of Resurrection, where all human beings will be judged according to their deeds. People will either be rewarded for their good deeds, or punished for their evil deeds.





Now we will take a quick definition-type look at the branches of Islam. The Firo-e-Deen. They are 10 in number.


Namaz: Praying; 5 times a day.


Roza: Fasting, in the month of Ramadhan


Hajj: Making pilgrimage to the Holy city of Makkah, atleast once in their lifetime; whenever given the chance.


Zakat: Islamic tax, given from one's wealth to the poor and needy.


Khums: Islamic tax; one-fifth of certain items which a person acquires as wealth, and which must be paid as an Islamic tax.


Jihad: To struggle, or strive. Jihad is divided into two. Jihad-e-Akbar (Major Jihad) and Jihad-e-Asghar (Minor Jihad). Major Jihad involves fighting against one's desires, where as the Minor Jihad involves fighting against the enemies of Islam when attacked upon first.


Amar-bil-Maroof: Means to enjoin in what is good and telling or asking others to enjoin in good.


Nahi-anil-Munkar: Staying away from evil, and telling or asking others to stay away from evil.


Tawalla: To love the Ahlul Bayt and their followers.


Tabarra: To disassociate from the enemies of Ahlul Bayt


Where is Mecca and what's the kabba and hajj?


Mecca is the capital city of Saudi Arabia's Makkah province, in the historic Hijaz region. It has a population of 1,294,167 (2004 census). The city is located 73 kilometers (45 mi) inland from Jeddah, in the narrow sandy Valley of Abraham, 277 meters (909 ft) above sea level. It is located 80 kilometers (50 mi) from the Red Sea.

The city is revered as the holiest site of Islam, and a hajj pilgrimage is required of all able-bodied Muslims who can afford to go, at least once in their lifetime. 

The Hajj: In Arabic, the word, Hajj means a resolve of magnificent duty. Hajj also means visit to the revered place, or the pilgrimage to the Ka’bah in the Grand Mosque (Masjid AlHaram or Haram AlSharef), in the City of Makkah (Mecca), in Arabia, which is one of the basic manifestations of the Islamic faith, and a display of unity of the Muslims throughout the world.

The Kabba: (The Sacred House"), is a building located inside the mosque known as Masjid al Haram in Mecca. The mosque was built around the original Kaaba.

The Kaaba is the holiest place in Islam. The qibla, the direction Muslims face during prayer, is the direction from any point to the Kaaba.


As a Muslim, can I marry anyone I wish?


Marriage in Islam is the uniting, or creating a bond between a man and a woman, who will gradually develop into a deep spiritual, sentimental and socio-economic relationship. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said: "No institution of Islam is liked by God more than that of marriage." When one marries in Islam, he/she has saved half of his religion.


The basic object of marriage is to secure a comfortable atmosphere for a man and a woman, and also to produce a new generation of healthy, faithful and virtuous children. A Muslim husband and wife should always be a source of comfort for each other, and their relationship should be far above mere sexual enjoyment.


When one is looking to get married, he/she should at best, try to consider the following qualities in a spouse. Faith, Morals, Knowledge, and Compatibility; Faith obviously being the most important factor to consider.


A Muslim man or woman cannot marry a Mahram. Mahram relationships on the grounds of blood-relationship include that of:


- Mother/Father (includes grandparents)

- Daughter/Son (includes descendants)

- Sister/Brother (includes descendants)

- Paternal aunts/uncles

- Maternal aunts/uncles


One can also not marry those with whom he/she had relationship on the grounds of nursing, which is established on the requirements of some special conditions (which we will not get too much into)


One can also not marry those people who are declared Mahram on the account of affinity, relationships created by marriage. They are the following:


- Mother/Father in law

- Daughter/Son in law

- Stepmother/father

- Stepdaughter/son

- A man can not marry his wife's sister

- A woman can not marry her sister's husband


Marriage with one's cousin is allowed.


What does Imam mean? 

Imam can mean prayer leader and elder of a mosque. The word ‘Imam’ also describes the infallible Imams or religious leaders who were all members of the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) family.

The Fourteen Ma'soomeen...>>>here


Who is the Mahdi 

A figure more legendary than that of the Mahdi, the Awaited Saviour, has not been seen in the history of mankind. The threads of the world events have woven many a fine design in human life but the pattern of the Mahdi stands high above every other pattern. He has been the vision of the visionaries in history. He has been the dream of all the dreamers of the world. For the ultimate salvation of mankind he is the Pole Star of hope on which the gaze of humanity is fixed.

For more information visit.....>>>here

What is a shariah law?

There is a difference but a yet a strong link between the words deen and sharia. Deen means religion, while Shari'a means the laws of Islam. Shari'a are the Islamic laws that govern our way of life, and without it, the deen is incomplete.

What is the source of Shari'a law in Islam? In Islam we are bound by rules formulated by the following:

1. Directly by Allah (Qur'an)
2. By the Prophet or Imams; the Sunnah (Hadith)
3. Mujtahids* (Mujtahid (jurist), capable of inferring and deducing from the religious sources and evidence)
4. Ijma (consensus)
5  Aqal (reasoning and intellect)

*The Mujtahids base their laws from the Qur'an and Hadith, and if an answer is not available there they will go to number 4 and/or 5.

What is Taqleed and Ijtihad? 

Islam is a way of life. The laws and teachings of Islam are known as Shari'ah, and these laws have come to us through the Qur'an and the sunnah. The Qur'an has over 6000 verses, and the Sunnah derived from various ahadith are thousands in number. This means that not every Shia can spend time to study for so many years the Qur'an and the ahadith (plural of Hadith); that too in Arabic.

All baligh (those at the age of maturity) males and females, have to follow a mujtahid. This concept is called Taqleed. If one wishes to study the Qur'an and Hadith on his/her own, then that is called Ijtihad.

There are a few conditions of becoming a Mujtahid (One that has done Ijtihad, and has the right to pass religious rulings derived from Qur'an and Sunnah). They are:

1. Alive
2. Sane
3. Male
4. Baligh 
5. Born in wedlock
6. Shia
7. A'lam (well learned alongside all other mujtahids)
8. Adil (just)

Most of the Mujtahids now a days live in Iran or Iraq. If you would like an answer to a question on behalf of your mujtahid, you can do the following:

- Ask your local Aalim
- Read your Mujtahids law books (Tawzihul Massail)
- E-Mail the question to his office
- You can also travel to Iran or Iraq and meet them in person

Most Mujtahids now a days have their own websites, with their laws and rulings posted online. Two of the well-known Mujtahideen of todays times are:

1. Ayatollah Al-Udhma Sayyid Ali Al-Hussaini Khamenei

2. Ayatollah Al-Udhma as-sayyid Ali Al-Hussaini as-Seestani

What's this about men marrying as many wives as they want?

Polygamy; or in other words, the plurality of wives. First of all, it should be recognized, that polygamy existed before the Islam brought by the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, among the Jews, Arabs, Persians etc. All Islam has done, is put some restrictions on it. It is mere propaganda, started in Europe during the Middle Ages that polygamy was introduced by Islam. This is not the case.

There are some conditions of men marrying more than one woman in Islam. They are:

1. Equal treatment of all the wives
2. Preserving the purity and feeling of family life, so that it does not become the cause of disruption in family affairs
3. The number of wives does not exceed four

If you look at point number one (Equal treatment of all the wives), we will realize as to how hard that task is, to accomplish. Let's see what the Qur'an has to say about polygamy: "And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course." (4:3)

As mentioned earlier, that polygamy existed prior to Islam, but it existed with no limitations or restrictions. It was Islam which has restricted it as it was used and abused a lot by the wealthy people, rulers etc. that were not just at all. If a man lacks that special spirit and strength of treating more than one wife equally, he is not allowed to take more than one wife.

At the end, the best and the most satisfactory form of marriage is naturally monogamy, and therefore men should avail themselves of the permission of polygamy only in exceptional circumstances..

What does sunnah mean?

Sunnah refers to the deeds, sayings and approvals (including silent approvals) of Prophet Muhammad pbuh and the twelve Imams. The twelve Imams however also followed the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad pbuh, so the sunnah of the Imams, is infact the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad.

What is the Koran or Quran?

The Qur'an is the Holy Book of Islam, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, and it is the literal word of Allah (swt). It was revealed over a period of 23 years by the angel Jibraeel. It consists of 114 Surahs (chapters) with 6236 ayahs (verses). The original text of the Qur'an is in Arabic, but it has been translated in a lot of languages.

Can I still drink wine or smoke after I become a Muslim?

No, a Muslim can not drink wine and other alcoholic beverages, as the Qur'an clearly forbids it.

"They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit. And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare. Thus does Allah make clear to you the communications, that you may ponder." (2:219)

As far as smoking is concerned, the opinion of some Mujtahids might differ. For example; Ayatullah Fadhlullah has declared smoking as haram. Others will say that it is haram to start and get addicted to it in the first place. And some might say that it is haram once the person is aware of the damage being done on his body from smoking.

How do I greet fellow Muslims?

The Islamic way of greeting a Muslim is by saying "As-Salamu Alaykum". It means "Peace be upon you", and the response of it is "Wa Alaykum As-Salam" meaning, "and on you be peace". It is highly recommended to greet a fellow Muslim in this manner, and once greeted, it is wajib (compulsory) on the other person to reply back.

It is also stated in the Qur'an to say this greeting when one enters his/her house, even if the house is empty. "...So when you enter houses, greet your people with a salutation from Allah, blessed (and) goodly;..." (24:61).

What happens to people that kill themselves?

Allah (swt) is the one that gave us life and only He has the right to take it away from us. Suicide is clearly haram in Islam. This is what the Qur'an has to say about suicide:

[4:29] O ye who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities: But let there be amongst you Traffic and trade by mutual good-will: Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you Most Merciful!
[4:30] If any do that in rancour and injustice,- soon shall We cast them into the Fire: And easy it is for Allah.

However, now-a-days, we see on the news, the acts of 'suicide bombing' during Jihad. The killing of any innocent, elderly, women, children, is haram in Islam. So any form of suicide with the intention of Jihad, should not be carried out on those who are not taking part in a war against you.

What is a mosque/masjid? 

A mosque is a place of worship for Muslims.. Masjid is the Arabic term for a mosque. This term is used widely throughout the Islamic world, and the word masjid is widely preferred by many Muslims. The word masjid is from the Arabic root sajad which means to prostrate (Islamic prayers require prostration.)

Islamic Center of America 

What does Zakat mean?

Shia Muslims not only pay 2.5% left over from savings as zakat, but also an additional 20% as khums or general charity. However most prefer to pay directly to the needy. 

Note that it is forbidden to give Zakat and charity to the descendants of the Prophet. Thus Zakat revenues and charities go to those needy who are NOT the descendants of the prophet, while half of the Khums goes to those needy people who are the descendants of the Prophet. One should also note that during the history of Islam till now, the descendants of the prophet were being prosecuted every where and were deprived of their rights. Also a minority among Muslims continue to pay Khums (i.e., only Shia follow this Sunnah of the Prophet). In other words, only 20% of all Muslims pay Khums which heavily decreases the amount of what the needy descendants of Prophet get from Khums (=20%*1/2*1/5=2%) when it is compared with the amount that needy people who are not the descendants of the Prophet get through Zakat from all Muslims (2.5%) plus all the charities which could be much more than 2.5%.

Who are the Shi'a?

The word Shi'a, to quote Ibn Manzur, means "those people who love what the Prophet's Progeny loves, and they are loyal to such Progeny". Hameedullah Khan states "Shiat Ali means specifically that party which, after the death of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) attached itself to Hazrat Ali...considering him the successor of the Prophet (PBUH) both in temporal and religious matters".

1. Lisan al-'Arab, by Ibn Manzur, vol. 8, p189
2. Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, by Hameedullah Khan p121

The term Shi'a in fact derives its actual origin from the Qur'an, in which Allah (swt) calls Prophet Ibrahim (as) a Shi'a of Prophet Nuh(as) . In another verse Allah (swt) informs us of a fight between two men, one was a Shi'a of Prophet Musa (as) and the other was an enemy of Musa(as) .

1. The Holy Qur'an 37:83
2. The Holy Qur'an 28:15

It is in praise of the Shi'a of Ali that Allah (swt) sent down the following revelation: "Those who believe and do righteous deeds are the best of the creatures. Their reward from their Lord shall be everlasting gardens, below which flow rivers, they will abide there forever. Well pleased is God with them and they are well pleased with Him.
The Holy Qur'an 98:7

What can Muslim's eat?

[5:88] Eat of that which Allah hath bestowed on you as food lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah in Whom ye are believers

Muslims can eat meat and vegetables.

The restrictions are moslty realted to the type of meat we can eat. We must eat food that is halal, i.e. slaughtered in an Islamic manner. We are allowed to eat animals such as cow, sheep, camel and chicken etc. Muslims can not eat pigs, carnivorous animals, reptiles, insects, animals that were already dead and halal animals that were not slaughtered in Islamic fashion. 

[16:5] And He created the cattle for you; you have in them warm clothing and (many) advantages, and of them do you eat.

[2:173] He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits,- then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful

In terms of eating fish, since they die once out of water, we do not have to worry about it being salughtered in a halal manner, but are only allowed to eat fish that has scales on it.

Muslmis can also eat, plants which are not intoxicant, vegetables, fruits, grain foods; such as wheat and rice.

What is Hajj and Umrah?

Umrah: this is the lesser pilgrimage which is optional and can be performed at any time.

Hajj: The pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able must make at least once in his or her lifetime. About 2,000,000 persons perform the hajj each year, and the rite serves as a unifying force in Islam by bringing followers of diverse backgrounds together in religious celebration. Hakeem's first pilgrimage was in 1991.

HajjA more detailed explanation

Shahada: The shahadah, or the Islamic creed, is the declaration of belief in the unity of Allah(Swt) and the prophethood of Muhammad(pbuh).  When stated aloud, one is considered to have officially declared oneself a convert to Islam.

details ..>>here

Do I have to change my name?

No you do not have to change your name when you convert to Islam. However if your name were considered unIslamic or against Islam such as having pagan origin ie: Tyrone, it is desirable to change the first name but in fact you should keep your given last name. Many new Muslims find themselves changing their names to an Islamic first and or first and middle name but do not have it changed legally. 

What is Mutah/Nikkah?

Mutah: is a fixed-time marriage which is a marriage with a preset duration, after which the marriage is automatically dissolved. It is the second form of marriage, described in the Qur'an (4:24).  

Details regarding Mutah here

Nikkah: is the contract between a bride and bridegroom and part of an Islamic marriage, a strong covenant (mithaqun Ghalithun) as expressed in Qur'an 4:21).

The first part of the marriage ceremony, Nikah, is the signing of the marriage contract itself

What is Islam?

Islam is a monotheistic religion originating with the teachings of Muhammad (pbuh), a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. It is the second-largest religion in the world today, with an estimated 1.4 billion adherents, spread across the globe, known as Muslims. Linguistically, Islam means submission, referring to the total surrender of one's self to Allah(Swt), and a Muslim is "one who submits to God".

As Muslims we believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad (pbuh) and that Muhammad (pbuh) is God's final prophet. The Qur'an and the traditions of Muhammad in the Sunnah are regarded as the fundamental sources of Islam. Muslims do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Adam, Ibrahim and other prophets whose messages had become corrupted over time (or according to some authorities only misinterpreted). Like Judaism, Christianity, and the Bahá'í Faith, Islam is an Abrahamic religion.

It is the fastest growing religion in the world. There are now up to 5 million Muslims in the U.S., and over 1,100 mosques or Islamic centers.

Who is the Prophet Muhammad?

The Prophet as the founder of Islam and the messenger of God's revelation to mankind is the interpreter par excellence of the Book of God; and his Hadith and Sunnah, his sayings and actions are, after the Qur'an, the most important sources of the Islamic tradition.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Makkah in the year 570.  Since his father died before his birth and his mother died shortly thereafter, he was raised by his uncle who was from the respected tribe of Quraysh.  He was raised illiterate, unable to read or write, and remained so till his death.  His people, before his mission as a prophet, were ignorant of science and most of them were illiterate.  As he grew up, he became known to be truthful, honest, trustworthy, generous, and sincere.  He was so trustworthy that they called him the Trustworthy.  Muhammad (pbuh) was very religious, and he had long detested the decadence and idolatry of his society.

What does school of thought mean?

Schools of thought (madhahib) are the paths people follow to the Holy Qur'an and Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hf).  Obviously, these schools of thought were founded considerably after the death of the Prophet (pbuh&hf) and, in fact, never took shape until the time of the Umayyid Caliphate.  The common phrase ahl al-sunnah wal-jama'ah, for example, became prevalent during the third century hijri.  By the year 250 h., the four Sunni schools of thought were being popularized and patronized during the 'Abbasid Caliphate.  The Shi'a school of thought, on the other hand, continued its growth and progress after Imam 'Ali (pbuh) through his descendants who were connected to each other through a chain of narration and knowledge.  The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hf) and the designated imams in the Shi'a school of thought were shielded by Allah from any sin, religious error, or forgetfulness. 

Today, the five schools of Islamic thought accepted by all Muslims are the Ja'fari, comprising 23% of the Muslims; the Hanafi, comprising 31% of the Muslims; the Maliki, comprising 25% of the Muslims; the Shafi'i, comprising 16% of the Muslims; and the Hanbali, comprising 4% of the Muslims.  The remaining small percentage follows minority schools such as the Zaydi and the Isma'ili.

more here

Who are the Sunni?

Sunni Muslims are the largest denomination of Islam.   They represent the branch of Islam that accepted the caliphate of Abu Bakr . There are four schools of thought for Sunni Muslims: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii or Hanbali.

Who are Wahabis?

Wahhabism is a movement of Islam named after Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792). It has become an object of increased interest because it is the major sect of the government and society of Saudi Arabia. Some will claim that Wahabis are the most extreme of Muslims (also known as Salafism). Wahhabis differentiate themselves from orthodox Sunnis by labeling themselves Salafis, which refers to the word salaf – the time period in which the early Muslims lived in the first 300 years after the Hijra, or emigration, of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622.  It is said that the Wahabis are anti-Sunni and anti-Shi'a. Wahabis have been religiously criticized for labeling many major Muslim groups, such as Sufi and Shi'a Muslims, as apostates. They also take stances against the the graves of saints, and the practice of Tawassul which consists of asking the saints for prayer on their behalf.

Was Islam spread by the sword?

The Holy Quran clearly says "Let there be no compulsion in religion". In addition to this, Islam teaches that a person's faith must be pure and sincere, so it is certainly not something that can be forced on someone. In debunking the myth that Islam was "spread by the sword", the (non-Muslim) historian De Lacy O'Leary wrote:

"History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever accepted." (Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p. 8.)

Temperamentally the Prophet Muhammad was not inclined to war; he had not once handled the sword in actual fighting up to the fifty-fifth year of his age, and this in a country where, owing to constant internecine warfare, fighting had become a vocation of the people. The religion which he preached, Islam (lit. peace or submission), was a religion of peace, laying stress on prayer to God and the service of humanity, and he was required to preach this religion; to deliver the message, not to enforce it on others:


There is no compulsion in religion. [2:256]


As a Muslims, can I still eat bacon/pork?

In Islam, pork was forbidden for human consumption more than 1400 years ago. The wisdom behind this Divine prohibition was only discovered in the 20th century by doctors and scientists.

The abstention from eating pork is one of the steps taken by Islam to practice hygiene and to attain purity of soul. There is a saying in English that "a man becomes what he eats". According to physicians and medical experts, pork is a harmful diet. The Qur’an has prohibited the swine-flesh, hence why Muslims would not touch it. The Bible has also forbidden swine-flesh, but Christians but most will still consume it.

The life of a man is a compound of body and soul. Anything, which is harmful for the body, hurts the soul as well.


Who are the Sufis?

The Suffi are considered by some as  the inner or mystical dimension of Islam They are not considered a sect of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a Sūfī , though some senior members of the tradition reserve this term for those practitioners who have attained the goals of the Sufi tradition. Another common denomination is the word dervish. The word, 'Sufi' has been ascribed various origins, among them words meaning 'purity' and 'wisdom.

Shi'ite beliefs had a lot of influence on Sufism, but mostly in the early days. One important idea which was transmitted from from the Shi'a to Sufism is that of the Mahdi (as), will come to save Muslims from corrupt worldly rulers.

Sufism is an esoteric doctrine transmitted by word of mouth, and sometimes, is is told, without even a spoken or written word, by an authorized teacher to a disciple, and from disciple to another disciple, in confidence. These secret instructions are acted upon by a disciple with perfect faith in the teacher. The disciple gives a report of his condition and experience in confidence to his teacher and receives another set of instructions most suitable to his state.

Do I have to learn to speak Arabic?

If you are a new Muslim and you don't speak Arabic you are not obligated to speak Arabic. However you are obligated to speak it while in prayer. You must recite salat (prayer) in the Arabic language. It is encouraged to learn the language, both to speak it and to read it since the Holy Qur'an is in the Arabic language.  You can learn this by going over the 'Salat page' of the Revert Muslim website, or contact us for a copy of the Salat prayer book.

The Arabic language is a complicated language and some of which can not be properly translated into English or other languages, thus it's importance to learn it so that you could better understand the Qur'an and better concentration while in prayer.

Do Muslims get along with Jews and Christians and other faiths or non-faiths?

Yes, of course Muslims get along with people of the Jewish and Christian faiths. It is a myth or bad rumor that Muslims hate Jews and Christians or anyone else, for that matter, who isn't Muslim.  The Qur'an, sadly, has been taken out of context more then once surrounding this issue.

It is incumbent upon us, as Muslims, to get along with those around us regardless of their beliefs, epically those of other faiths who believe in God. The Prophet (pbuh) lived along side Jews and Christians in Madinah where by they got along and did not force their beliefs on one another but instead respected each other and helped one another. 

When the Prophet settled in Madinah, he wanted to create a cooperating human community and establish an exemplary civil society at a time when these poor Arabs could never imagine what a civil society could mean. So for the first time in history, he established the pact of Madinah.

In this constitution, all signing parties — including Muslims, Jews, and other (pagan) Arabs — agreed that they would live in Madinah together as a society and would defend it in case of an attack and would never help any outsider against any of the other signing parts and would never betray the agreement.

At Revert Muslims Association we encourage Interfaith dialogue and we encourage all those new to Islam to respect the beliefs of others and to not force your beliefs of Islam onto them. It's important to defend your beliefs and to discuss them when others are curious of your faith.  

Treat others as you would like to be treated and do not judge someone based on their beliefs or cultures, only Allah(Swt) may do that.


Now that  I'm a Muslim do I have to stop talking to my non-Muslim friends?

Of course not!! Your beliefs are your beliefs and they should not stop you from interacting with your friends and family. 

What a lot of new Muslims find, however, is that the lifestyle of a Muslim is not conducive to that of a Western individual. 

As Muslims we dress more conservatively/modestly, we do not drink Alcohol and our overall behaviour is very different to that of someone who is not a practicing Muslim.

It is hard for the family and friends of the 'new' Muslim/Revert Muslim. They are confused and bewildered by your move to Islam. They most likely have little information about Islam and Muslims and they have misconceptions which have them feeling afraid. 

It's important to keep contact with your friends and family. It's important to let them know that you are still you and that being a Muslim is only going to improve who you are. 

On average some reverted Muslims say it can take any where from 1 to 6 years for family/friends to accept or understand your being Muslim. 

The Revert Muslims Association offers support to all those who become Muslim by means of the forums/msn and phone. 

What is a fatwah?

A fatwa is issued by a recognized religious authority in Islam.  The people who pronounce these rulings are  knowledgeable, and base their rulings in knowledge and wisdom. They need to supply the evidence from Islamic sources for their opinions, and it is not uncommon for scholars to come to different conclusions regarding the same issue.

As Muslims, we look at the opinion, the reputation of the person giving it, the evidence given to support it. When there are conflicting opinions issued by different scholars, we must compare the evidence.

Can I still own my pets when I become Muslim?

Yes, you can! What you need to know, however, is that there are certain pets that are najis and so they need to be kept away from the area in which you pray. Cats are not najis and so they are permissible, although some Muslims are not comfortable with any pet that leaves hair behind. Dogs are another matter, their hair is najis and if you pray with dogs hair on your clothing your prayer will be invalid. It's very important that if you own a dog and he spends some of his time indoors that you consider making sure you have removed all of his hair from your person before you begin salat/prayer.  It is recommended that if at all possible you keep your dog outdoors.  It is our duty, as Muslims, as humans - to care for our domesticated pets, with love and kindness. 

This 72 virgins story has been abused and used as a propaganda tool by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. As with most things, the answer is in the interpretation. 

Firstly with respect to suicide and therefore suicide bombers, is forbidden in the Traditions (Hadith in Arabic), which are the collected sayings and doings attributed to the Prophet and traced back to him through a series of trustworthy witnesses. 

However a distinction needs to be between the martyr and the suicide bomber. A martyr killed in a real Jihad is an honorable thing to do in Islam, and rewards in paradise for this are offered. What occurred on 911 was not a Jihad, but mass murder. In Iraq Ayatollah Ali Sistani - the leader of the majority of Shia's has not declared a Jihad, similarly in Afghanistan and its religious authorities. 

The Quran does make reference to virgins, though the definition of the word virgin is disputed. Some claim the definition of the Arabic word "Abkarun" is not virgins, but Angels. 

Christopher Luxenberg's book, Die Syro-Aramaische Lesart des Koran, available only in German, has an enjoyed an enthusiastic reception, particularly among those scholars with a knowledge of several Semitic languages at Princeton, Yale, Berlin, Potsdam, Erlangen, Aix-en-Provence, and the Oriental Institute in Beirut. 

Luxenberg tries to show that many obscurities of the Quran disappear if we read certain words as being Syriac and not Arabic. Luxenberg claims that the context makes it clear that it is food and drink that is being offered, and not unsullied maidens or houris (virgins). 

In Syriac, the word hur is a feminine plural adjective meaning white, with the word "raisin" understood implicitly. 


Hajj (Pilgrimage To Mecca)

Every Muslim who has attained puberty and has sufficient means not only to undertake a journey to Mecca but also for the subsistence of his dependants during his absence, must once in his life time perform pilgrimage.

Kaaba is the edifice which was presented to God as a gift by His Prophets Abraham and Ishmael.

The rites for the pilgrimage begin on the 8th of the eleventh month and culminate into the Idd of Sacrifice on the 10th. (II:158, 196-203; III:97; V:3; XXII 26:33).

A muslim's journey to the House of God, and there seeking his Maker's forgiveness through expression of repentance and the performance of all the rituals attending pilgrimage, is a spiritual experience so overwhelming that the pilgrim's very soul appears to undergo a purification.

The pilgrimage has another philosophical aspect.

In the Quraan, like in the Old Testament, there is the story of Abraham having been commanded to sacrifice his son. The Quraan, however, states that the son was Ishmael.

The father communicates the message to the young lad who had just attained puberty. The lad exhorts the father to comply with the divine command adding, "God willing, you shall find me amongst the patient ones."

Unbeknown to the mother, the father and the son travel to the planes of Arafaa, a short distance from Mecca. There they spend the night in prayers. The following afternoon they travel to the town of Meena where the sacrifice was to take place. They spend the night on the outskirts of the town. The following morning they enter Meena.

On the way to the appointed place, the Satan tries thrice to lure them into abandoning the enterprise, but each time the father and the son chase him away by throwing pebbles at him.

When they get to the place of sacrifice, the father blindfolds his son saying that he did not wish the lad to see the anguish on the father's face. He then blindfolds himself for, as he reasoned, how could any father watch his son die ?

God saves Ishmael by substituting a ram and sends His salutations to Abraham for his act of obedience. God also promises Abraham to immortalize the event. (II:125-127; III:96-97; XXXVII:101-111).

The mother, on learning what had happened, screams and falls unconscious at the thought of what might have happened had Allah not intervened to save her beloved son. Shortly afterwards she dies and is buried close to Kaaba. Her burial place is treated as being included in the hallowed ground around which the pilgrim circumambulates.

Every pilgrim takes the same route which Abraham and Ishmael had taken. He too spends the first night, as they did, in Arafaa and the second night outside Meena. He too symbolically stones the satan at the three places in Meena.

While of-course the visit to the House of Allah has its own great spirituality, the pilgrim also must reflect upon the rituals which appear to enshrine family values, parents' love for their off-spring, the vanquishing of the satan, the one within man's heart, by symbolically stoning him and above all the willingness to make sacrifices for the pleasure of God.