What is Islam?
Based on its linguistic origin, the Arabic word “Islam” means to achieve peace with God, peace within oneself, and peace with the creations of God through submission to God and commitment to His guidance. Islam is not a new religion but the final culmination and fulfillment of the same basic truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world’s population, Islam is not just a personal religion but a complete way of living.
Over a billion people from all races, nationalities and cultures across the globe are Muslim, from the rice farms of Indonesia to the deserts in the heart of Africa, from the skyscrapers of New York to the fjords of Scandinavia. Only 18% of Muslims live in the Arab world; a fifth are found in Sub-Saharan Africa; and the world’s largest Muslim community is in Indonesia. Substantial parts of Asia are Muslim, while significant minorities are to be found in the Central Asian republics, India, China, North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and in the world.
The 5 Pillars of Islam
- Faith: The declaration of faith (or Shahadah),
- Prayer: Performed five times a day, Salat (or prayer) is a direct link between the worshipper and God,
- Fasting: The act of abstaining from food, drink (including water), and sexual relations, each day from dawn until sunset, during the month of Ramadan,
- Charity: Giving a proportion of one’s wealth (or zakat) to those in need,
- Hajj: For all Muslims who can afford it, a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Makkah.
Muslims believe in the One, Unique, Incomparable, Merciful God—the Sole Creator, Sustainer and Cherisher of the Universe; in the angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to humankind; in the Day of Judgment and in individual accountability for actions; in God’s complete authority over destiny, be it good or bad; and in life after death.
Muslims believe that God sent his messengers and prophets to all people beginning with Adam and include Noah (Nuh), Abraham (Ibrahim), Lot (Lut), Ishmael (Isma’il), Isaac (Ishaq), Jacob (Ya’qub), Joseph (Yusuf), Job (Ayb), Moses (Musa), Aaron (Harun), David (Dawud), Solomon (Sulayman), Elias (Ilyas), Jonah (Yunus), John the Baptist (Yahya), and Jesus (‘Isa); peace be upon them all.
God’s final message to humanity, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing up of all that has gone before, was revealed to the last prophet, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the Archangel Gabriel.
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