Facts about Islam

Facts about Islam

Islam is an Arabic word meaning submission to God. As a religion Islam calls for complete acceptance of and submission to the teachings and guidance of God. The word has connotations of peace and wholeness. It has the same root as “salam” - peace (read more on the True, Peaceful Face of Islam).

A Muslim is one who freely and willingly accepts the supreme power of God and strives to live his or her life in accord with the teachings of God.

Allah is the Arabic language word for God. Allah is also used by Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews in prayer or speaking about God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the three great monotheistic world religions.

Muslims believe that the Qur‘an (or Koran) is God‘s word as revealed to the prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. The Qur‘an is the basis for Muslim beliefs regarding God, worship, morality, knowledge, wisdom, the human relationship to God, and relationships among human beings. Just as Christian believe that the person of Jesus was the Word or manifestation of God, Muslims believe that it is the Qur‘an itself which is that Word and manifestation. The original text of the Quran is in Arabic and translations are available in major libraries and bookstores everywhere.

Muhammad is respected as a prophet. He is not regarded as the “founder” of Islam, but rather as one in a long line of prophets from Adam to Abraham, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus. Islam therefore did not begin with Muhammad, whose role was that of a “messenger” who received and passed on a revelation from God. He made it clear that Muslims should “call me the servant of God and His messenger.” He is regarded as a human being and in no way divine. He is seen as the final prophet who completed the revelation began by the earlier prophets.

The Hadith — the teachings, sayings and actions of Muhammad — were reported and collected by his devoted companions. They explain and elaborate the Qur‘anic verses and provide a model for the conduct of Muslims.

Every action done with the awareness that it fulfills the will of God is considered an act of worship, but the specific acts termed the Five Pillars of Islam provide the framework of Muslim spiritual life.

1) The Declaration of Faith: “I bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is his messenger.”

2) Prayer is prescribed five times a day as a duty towards God. Prayer strengthens and enlivens belief in God and inspires one to a higher morality.

3) Fasting is called for during the month of Ramadan. This involves abstention from food, beverages, and sexual activity from sunrise to sunset and it means curbing evil intentions and desires. Allowances are made for health, age