Here's an article I had written a while ago. It was written mainly for Muslims so contains information about Quran Commentary too. You can give it to Muslims or can edit it for nonmuslims.
What is Islam? Some basic information about the Religion Islam:
Islam is the religion of God.
It was the religion of all the Prophets and Messengers from the beginning of time. It is the only religion acceptable to God and is the only way to get to Heaven.
Allah says in the Holy Quran: و من يبتغ غير الإسلام دينا ً فلن يقبل منه و هو في الآخرة من الخاسرين
If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and in the hereafter he will be one of the losers. Surah Ali-Imran,
Islam is a monotheistic religion
. In Islam we believe that there is only one God. The Arabic name of God is Allah. God is one, single, and unique. He has no son or partner. He is the creator of everything. Only one God deserves to be worshipped and obeyed.
Allah says in the Holy Quran, chapter 112: قل هو الله أحد . الله صمد . لم يلد و لم يولد. و لم يكن له كفوا ً أحد
Say, He is God, the One and Only. God, the Eternal, Absolute. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like Him
. (chapter 112)
Thus to become a Muslim, belief in one God Allah is necessary.
Those who don’t believe in God or who believe in more than one God or who believe that God has a son or partner are not believers.
God is very Kind.
One proof of God’s Kindness is that God sent Prophets and Messengers عليهم السلام for the guidance of people.
God gave Prophets and Messengers Holy Books. God didn’t leave people in darkness.
To be Muslims we have to believe in all the previous Prophets, Messengers, and Holy Books.
Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم was the final Messenger and Prophet of God
. He was the messenger of God for all people in every place and time up to the Day of Judgment.
Since he is the final messenger of God, there is no Prophet or Messenger after him.
Belief in the finality of Prophethood is a basic Islamic belief. Those who don’t believe that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم was the final Prophet and final Messenger of Allah are not Muslims.
The Holy Quran is the final Book of God.
Holy Quran was revealed to the final Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم . It contains guidance and a complete way of life for all mankind from the time of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم up to the Day of Judgment.
Furthermore, the Quran has been preserved by Allah so it will never be changed.
Allah says in the Quran, Chapter 15 (Al-Hijr), verse 9: إنا نحن نزلنا الذكر و إنا له لحافظون
We have, without doubt, sent down the Message [Quran], and We will assuredly guard it.
As Muslims we have to believe in the previous Prophets / Messengers and the previous Holy Books as well. However, the Holy Books we must believe in are the original books that were revealed by God. Since the previous Books were changed and the originals do not exist anymore, therefore, we don’t follow the ones existing today.
Some of the previous Holy Books were: انجيل Gospel revealed to Prophet Jesus, توراة Torah revealed to Prophet Moses, and زبور Psalms revealed to Prophet David عليهم السلام .
Once again, these books don’t exist in their original forms so we don’t follow them. Quran, along with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم , are enough for our guidance , so we should only rely on the Quran and Sunnah to get guidance.
Those who hold fast to the Quran and Sunnah will not be led astray
. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said in a hadith that he was leaving behind two things. If we hold fast to them, we will not go astray. These two things are the Quran and the Sunnah of the Final Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم .
Reading and understanding the Holy Quran is necessary to have a strong foundation.
A strong foundation will keep you from going astray. It is important to build a strong foundation and not be a lone sheep in the herd which can easily be led astray. Therefore to keep ourselves from being misled we should avoid reading books of other religions and should instead concentrate on reading the Holy Quran and its explanation (commentary تفسير ).
The Holy Quran is a very easy book to understand and to get guidance from.
Allah says in Surah Al-Qamar: و لقد يسرنا القرآن للذكر فهل من مدّكر
But We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember; then is there any that will receive admonition?
The Quran is the Criterion فرقان so it helps you differentiate between right and wrong.
Allah Himself called the Quran Criterion in Surah Al-Furqan (25th chapter). (Criterion is a standard to judge between good and evil.) Allah says: تبارك الذي نزل الفرقان على عبده ليكون للعالمين نذيرا
Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures.(25:1)
A good explanation of the Quran that you can read is Tafseer Ibn Kathir, تفسير ابن كثير . The commentary (explanation) of the Quran should be read to properly understand the Quran.
To be a Believer مؤمن we have to believe in all the pillars of faith (أركان الإيمان
). Those who don’t believe in any one of the pillars of faith are not believers. The pillars of faith are
Belief in one God, belief in Angels, belief in Messengers, belief in Holy Books, belief in the Last Day and Judgment Day, and belief in the Divine Destiny, the good and bad thereof. See Surah Al-Baqarah (chapter 2) verse 285.
We must also believe in the reward in Paradise for the righteous believers and punishment in Hell for the Disbelievers and wrongdoers.
When we believe in the pillars of faith, we are believers or المؤمنون.
Believers will go to Paradise and nonbelievers will not. In Islam, only the belief in God is not enough to become a believer and enter Paradise. It is also necessary to believe in the final Messenger of God Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم , to believe in the angels, to believe in the Holy Quran (the final Holy Book), to believe in the previous Holy Books and the previous Prophets, to believe in the last Day and the Accounting on the Day of Judgment, to believe in the reward in Paradise and punishment in Hell, and to believe in the Divine Destiny.
Those who believe in these and do good deeds are on the Straight Path الصراط المستقيم . Those who don’t are not on the Straight Path
الصراط المستقيم is the Straight Path. To be on the Straight Path, the correct Islamic belief is very necessary.
Only Muslims are on the Straight Path. Righteous deeds are also necessary to be on the Straight Path. However, only good deeds are not enough. Good deeds will only be accepted from a person if he/she has the correct Islamic faith.
See the following verses of the Holy Quran: Chapter 4, verses 150 – 151, Chapter 5, verse 93, Chapter 16, verse 97 for more information.
For more information about Islam go to http://www.islam-guide.com