Islam means surrender. A Muslim is one who surrenders to god.
Islam began in the Arabian Peninsula during the 7th century AD. It was devised by Muhammad, a local leader who attempted to combine Judaism and Christianity. Muslims believe that Islam was revealed to Muhammad by one of the angels, Gabriel.
It has many cultural aspects of the desert (women hidden away from the men, spreading the faith with the sword). Islam is very strictly monotheistic. To be a Muslim one has only to utter the words There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet (preferably in Arabic). The name Allah is the Arabic for the god.
Muslims are forbidden to make images, drink alcohol or eat pork. They worship in mosques after a ritualistic cleansing of their bodies.
Islam has five pillars:
· Prayer five times a day (facing the holy city Mecca in Saudi Arabia)
· Giving alms to the poor
· Making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during a lifetime
· Fasting during the month of Ramadan
· Defending the faith
The holy day is Friday. The holy book was written down from the sayings of Muhammad shortly after his death. It is written in Arabic and called the Quran (recitation).
Muslims consider Muhammad to be the last and greatest prophet but others are recognized. These include Moses (called Musa), Abraham (Ibrahim) and Jesus (Isa).
Mecca is the holiest city with Medina (also in Saudi Arabia) and Jerusalem (called Quds which means The Shrine) close behind.
Islam is found amongst the Arab countries, North Africa, and many parts of Asia. It is the world's second largest religion. To believers, Islam is more than a religion - it is a way of life. To outsiders it seems harsh and compassionless reflecting the values of the inhospitable deserts that spawned it. Strict Islamic countries ban all drinking, mixing of the sexes outside of marriage, music, dancing, the taking of photographs, and other forms of worship. Afghanistan recently blew up a group of 1500 year old Buddhist statues because of the ban of making images.
30 Facts about Islam
1) "Islam" means "peace through the submission to God".
2) "Muslim" means "anyone or anything that submits itself to the will of God".
3) Islam is not a cult. Its followers number over 1.5 billion worldwide. Along with Judaism and Christianity, it is considered to be one of the three Abrahamic traditions.
4) There are five pillars of practice in Islam. These practices must be undertaken with the best of effort in order to be considered a true Muslim: A) Shahadah - declaration of faith in the oneness of God and that Muhammad is the last prophet of God. B) Formal prayer five times a day. C) Fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan. D) Poor-due "tax" - 2.5% of one's savings given to the needy at the end of each year. E) Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once, if physically and financially able.
5) There are six articles of faith in Islam. These are the basic beliefs that one must have in order to be considered a true Muslim. They are belief in: A) the One God. B) all the prophets of God. C) the original scriptures revealed to Prophets Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad. D) the angels. E) the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter. F) the divine decree (or destiny).
6) Islam is a complete way of life that governs all facets of life: moral, spiritual, social, political, economical, intellectual, etc. continued