On November 16, 2010, Khalid Saeed, Director Public Relations of the Islamic Center of Woodland and member of 'Woodland Ecumenical Minister' group spoke about Islam at the Bible Study class at the Woodland Presbyterian Church.
Khalid Saeed began his speech by thanking Rev. Kathy McIntosh Smith of Woodland Presbyterian Church for inviting him and pointed out that there is so much misinformation floating around about Islam which he will try to rectify. He emphasized that he will be taking about Islam and not about any individuals or their acts.
Dr.Hamza El Nakhal, a retired professor of UC Davis, his wife and his daughter, Dina, also joined Khalid Saeed at the class. Ms. Dina works for State Of California as a senior engineer.
After his brief lecture on Islam he invited the class to feel free to ask any questions. It was a lively discussion on Islam during the question hour. In the backdrop of an anti-Shariah measure passed by Oklahom state, questions were asked about the Islamic law. Other questions related to the Taliban, Islamophobia in US as well as Hajj rituals and the Shia and Sunni sects. Here under are answers to the questions:
Q: What an Authentic and unauthentic Hadith or the saying of the Prophet Muhammad
Ans: The prophet’s life and his sayings were based on the divine book, the holy Quran. If a saying or his life incident reported by someone contradicts with the commandments of Quran then we do not consider that to be authentic and do not follow that.
Q: Hajj is a pillar of Islam but what is stoning at Hajj?
Ans: We all know the story of Prophet Ibrahim’s attempt to sacrifice his son at the command of the Almighty. Traditions relate that when Ibrahim was taking his son to sacrifice him with a knife in his hand, the Satan appeared three times to tempt the prophet, his son and his wife to not to go through this. At those three locations Muslims throw stones at the devil. Today it signifies as lessons to Muslims to push back sinful temptations which often chase us in our lives.
Q: What is Sharia Law?
Ans: Shariah is the code of law derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of prophet Mohammed.
The English common law evolved from Magna Carta, the American Constitution is "the Supreme Law of the Land”, the same way the Islamic Shria is a legal system, law is based on the Divine book the holy Quran. Like American legal system the Sharia law is a body of different studies, documents, case law from courts which is based on interpretation of jury or judges in certain legal cases, resolutions & acts are passed which become law.
There is tremendous variety in the interpretation and implementation of Islamic Law in Muslim societies today. Liberal movements within Islam have questioned the relevance and applicability of Sharia from a variety of perspectives. Modernists, traditionalists and fundamentalists all hold different views of Sharia, as do adherents to different schools of Islamic thought and scholarship.
Different countries and cultures have varying interpretations of Sharia as well. Some of the largest Muslim countries, including Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, have largely secular constitutions and laws, with only a few Islamic Law provisions in family law. Turkey has a constitution that is officially strongly secular.
Q: Can we know about Sects of Islam - Shia and Sunni
Ans: The Shia and Sunni are two major sects of Islam. The Muslims split into Shia-Sunni sects few decades after the death of the Prophet of Islam. Initially, the major difference was not on the theology of Islam, but on the political set up of the government. Shia’s wanted succession to go to someone in the prophet’s family and the Sunni’s wanted to pick someone suitable from among all Muslims Sunnis regard Ali, a son-in-law of the Prophet, as the fourth and last of the "rightly guided caliphs" (successors to Mohammed as leader of the Muslims) following on from Abu Bakr 632-634, Umar 634-644 and Uthman 644-656.
Shias feel that Ali should have been the first caliph and that the caliphate should pass down only to direct descendants of Prophet Mohammed via Ali and Fatima (Prophet’s daughter).
There may be some religious differences as well but all basic beliefs and basic practices of Islam are followed by both sects. Sunnis and Shias agree on the core fundamentals of Islam - the Five Pillars - and recognize each others as Muslims.