How would I go about entering a mosque. The only other Muslim I know is a Smiley (spelling?) Muslim, and I am told non-Smileys are not allowed in.
According to the Qur'an and Sunnah, non-Muslims are not forbidden to enter Masjid. The Prophet -peace be upon him- used to receive non-Muslims in his own Masjid. In the year 9 of Hijrah he received a delegation of sixty Christians from Najran in his Masjid. The Prophet -peace be upon him- invited them to Islam. They argued with the Prophet defending some of their Christian beliefs. The Prophet patiently listened to them, recited to them verses from the Qur'an and gave them his answers. When they refused to participate in the mubhalah, then he returned them with kindness to their land. They were not compelled to accept Islam and until the time of the Khalifah 'Umar (R) most of them remained in Najran as members of their Christian community. Thereafter they and their children accepted Islam by their own free will. (See Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, vol. 1, p. 368).
Abu Hurairah (R) has also reported that Jews used to come to the Prophet in his Masjid. (Reported by Abu Da'ud). Imam Khattabi has said that non-Muslims can enter all Masajid except the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah (see Fath al-'Allam Sharh Bulugh al-Maram, vol. 1, p. 115).
In the light of the Qur'an and Sunnah and the opinion of trustworthy and pious Islamic scholars I do not see anything wrong in inviting non-Muslims to the Islamic centers as visitors. We should invite as often as possible non- Muslims, especially our non-Muslim neighbors, to our Masajid to learn more about Islam. This is our obligation and duty to give them Da'wah with wisdom and with kindness.
Also, is it better to be a Sunni Muslim or a Shia Muslim? Do both sects believe in the same version of the Holy Qu'ran?
Sunni muslims follow the Qur'an and the actions and sayings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (salalahu alai hi wasalam.) All the people did this at the time when the Prophet (salalahu alai hi wasalam) was in this world, hence this is proof that the true Muslims are of the sunni. Even hazrat Ali (pbuh) followed the sunnah and sayings of the Prophet (salalahu alai hi wasalam) and believed in the three caliphs:
Abu Bakr Saddiq (first caliph)
U'mar-e-Farooq (second caliph)
Uthman bin Affa'an (third caliph)
then finally hazrat Ali ibn Talib was the fourth caliph.
The shia's believe that the first three caliphs shouldn't have been there and that hazrat Ali (pbuh) should have been the leader after the passing away of the Prophet (salalahu alai hi wasalam.) for this reason they do not respect the other 3 caliphs.
You can find the stories of the caliphs on this link:
The majority of the muslim ummah is sunni (around 85%-90%[source:http://www.answers.com/topic/shiite]
) - ahle sunnah, so they follow the ways and sayings of the beloved Prophet (salalahu alai hi wasalam). the hadith:
the Prophet (peace be upon him) says:
"This Ummah will get divided into 73 Firqah, and except one Firqah all the others will be destined to Hell. That one Firqah will be such as will follow my way and the way of my Companions.
" (At-Tirmidhi, 7/397)
"One group from my Ummah will always hold fast to truth and it will always have the assistance of Allah. No one who dissociated from it will be able to do harm to it up to the Day of Judgement." (Al-Bukhari, 13/293)
In the phrase of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama 'ah, Sunnah means the way and practice followed by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Sahaba. The heretical innovation and different creeds had not come into being till then. The word Jama 'ah stands for the people who assemble. Here it means those Sahaba and the Tabi'een (the generation immediately following the Sahaba) who unanimously accepted the truth proved from the Qur'an and the Hadith and gathered together.
go on this site and insh Allah you'll be able to get more understanding (you'll have to sign up 1st)
i hope this helps.. insh Allah it will.
When I have a little more time, I would like to share why/ how I came into Islam. I can't express enough gratitude to the Prophet (may Allah's blessings be with him always) for giving us this faith.
yeh that would be excellent! i agree the Prophet (salalahu alai hi wasalam) was the best of mankind and perfect in every way, mash Allah they were created that way.. we look forward to reading your story on how u came to and got interested in Islam.