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What is Islam?

The word Islam means “submission to God” and shares the same root word as the Arabic for “peace.” It is a monotheistic religion which emphasizes the oneness of God. Islam is the world’s second-largest religion, and followers of Islam are known as Muslims. Islam was preached and taught to the people by the last of the prophets, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). God sent His Message and let people know of His Existence via many messengers, starting with the first human, Adam, and ending with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the final, universal, protected and complete form of the previous messages delivered by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them). The core beliefs of Islam are preserved in the holy Qur’an. All Muslims who have faith in Allah, and those who want to be a Muslim, are required to believe in the oneness of Allah, in angels, in the sacred books, in all prophets sent by God, in the Afterlife and in Divine Will. Islam also teaches honesty, good relations with people, social solidarity, justice, protection of the environment, and more. It is a comprehensive blueprint for achieving a spiritually content life in this world and a blissful eternity in the Hereafter.

Who is a Muslim?

The word Muslim means “submitter to God”. A Muslim is a person who believes in Islam, and who has submitted to belief in the Oneness of Allah. Muslim refers to people who believe in one God, the messengers of God and the message sent by God. Anyone who believes in the six articles of faith in Islam can be considered a Muslim. A Muslim is guided in life by the holy Qur’an, revealed by Allah, and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as he lived according to the Qur’an. Muslims always strive to please Allah by worshiping Him and doing good deeds. 

What do Muslims believe?

The most basic beliefs are known as the six articles of faith. Every Muslim has to believe these six things to be considered Muslim. These are:

  1. Belief in one God: Allah. The most crucial belief in Islam is the belief that Allah is one, and He is the creator of everything. Muslims believe that He has no gender and His reality is too great for us to fully comprehend.
  2. Belief in Angels
  3. Belief in the previously-revealed sacred Books in their original form
  4. Belief in Prophets: It is believed that Allah sent messengers to every nation. The first prophet was Adam while the last prophet was Muhammad (peace be upon him).
  5. Belief in an afterlife that follows the Day of Judgment: Every person will be held accountable on the day of Judgment for every good and bad deed they have done.
  6. Belief in God’s divine Will and His knowledge of what happens in the world.

How do Muslims practice their faith?

Even though practice may vary, there are five pillars of Islam to be practiced by all Muslims. There are:

  1. Declaration of faith (shahadah): This includes saying, “I testify that there is no God but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.” This is the first step to becoming a Muslim.
  2. Daily prayers (salah): Every Muslim has to pray five times a day, as a way of worshiping and praising Allah.
  3. Fasting (sawm) from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan.
  4. Charity (zakah): Muslims who have enough savings have to give 2.5% of their excess wealth to poor people. 
  5. Hajj: A Muslim has to make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime, if he or she is mentally, physically, and financially able to do so.

Who is the prophet Muhammad?

Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the seal of the prophets. He was the last prophet to convey the final completed message of God to humankind. He received his first revelation when he was 40 years old. He was an illiterate person. He was known to be honest, merciful, compassionate, truthful, and brave. Muslims follow him as a perfect example of a human being, because of both his character and his religious devotion. 

What is the Qur’an?

The Holy Qur’an is the Holy Book of the Muslims. It is the Word of God, and guidance for mankind to lead a good and balanced life, spiritually, personally and socially. It covers essential principles as well as good moral conduct. It was written down as it was revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) and memorised by many of his companions at the time, and has not been changed since then.

What is a mosque?

The mosque is a Muslim place of worship where they perform their prayers, both individually and in congregation. Most commonly, Muslims gather at mosques after daily calls to prayer, as well as on Friday and on religious festivals for congregational prayer. Mosques are important places both for worshiping Allah and for maintaining a sense of community.

Why do women cover their heads?

In Islam, both men and women are instructed by Allah to be modest in their appearance and behavior. For women, modesty in their appearance involves covering their whole body—apart from their face, hands and feet—in the presence of men who are not close relatives. Before Allah commanded women to cover themselves, He commanded men to lower their gaze. Muslim men are forbidden to leer at women regardless of how they are dressed.

Where is Mecca and why is it important?

Mecca is a city in Saudia Arabia. It was founded by the prophet Abraham when he brought his wife Hajar there with his son Ishmael. When Ishmael grew up, Abraham and his son built the Kaaba there, as a place of worship dedicated to Allah. It is an important building. Muslims face the Kaaba during their daily prayers, and visit it as part of the Muslim pilgrimage. Millions of Muslims gather together there to worship Allah every year. 

How does one become a Muslim?

A person who believes in one God and the other articles of faith can become Muslim just by reciting a “declaration of faith” (shahadah) which translates to: “I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is His messenger”. 



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