Islam is a major world religion originating in the 7th century CE. Its followers, numbering over 1.8 billion, believe in the teachings of Prophet Muhammad and the Quran as the word of God.
The core principles of Islam are encapsulated in the Five Pillars, which are considered fundamental practices for Muslims.
These pillars include:
- The declaration of faith (Shahada)
- Ritual prayers (Salah)
- Giving to charity (Zakat)
- Fasting during the month of Ramadan (Sawm)
- The pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)
Islam emphasizes monotheism, moral living, and seeking Allah’s guidance. It has made significant cultural and intellectual contributions throughout history.
Islam is diverse, with various interpretations and practices among its global followers.
1. Islam is one of the world’s major religions, with over 1.8 billion followers
Islam is one of the world’s major religions, with over 1.8 billion followers, making it the second-largest religion globally.
Also Read: Different Types of Religions
It originated in the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century CE and has since spread to various parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Muslims, the followers of Islam, come from diverse ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds.
2. Muslims believe that Islam is the final and complete revelation from God
Muslims believe that Islam is the final and complete revelation from God, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years in the 7th century CE.
Muslims regard Muhammad as the seal of the prophets, meaning that he is the last and final prophet in a long line of messengers, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, among others.
3. The Quran is the holy book of Islam
The Quran is the holy book of Islam and is considered by Muslims to be the literal word of God as revealed to Prophet Muhammad. It is written in Arabic and is believed to contain the exact words that were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel.
Also Read: Facts About the Quran
The Quran covers various aspects of human life, including moral guidance, legal principles, and spiritual teachings. It serves as the primary source of authority for Muslims and is memorized and recited in its original language by millions of Muslims around the world.
4. The Five Pillars of Islam are the core principles and practices that Muslims follow
The Five Pillars of Islam are the core principles and practices that Muslims follow. They are:
- Shahada (faith): The declaration of faith, which states, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” By reciting this declaration sincerely, a person becomes a Muslim.
- Salah (prayer): Muslims are required to perform ritual prayers five times a day. These prayers involve specific physical movements and recitation of verses from the Quran. The prayers are performed at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, and evening, and they serve as a means of establishing a direct connection between the worshipper and God.
- Zakat (charity): Muslims are obligated to give a portion of their wealth to those in need. This act of charity, known as Zakat, is seen as a means of purifying one’s wealth and helping to alleviate poverty and inequality in society.
- Sawm (fasting during Ramadan): Muslims fast from dawn to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Fasting involves abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs during daylight hours. It is a time of self-discipline, increased devotion, and reflection.
- Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca): Muslims who are physically and financially able are required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, at least once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage, known as Hajj, takes place during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah and involves specific rituals performed at the Kaaba and its surroundings. The Hajj is a significant event in the life of a Muslim, emphasizing unity, equality, and the remembrance of God.
These Five Pillars form the foundation of Islamic practice and serve as a guide for Muslims to lead a devout and fulfilling life according to the teachings of Islam.
5. Muslims believe in monotheism
Muslims believe in the concept of monotheism, which is the belief in the existence of one God. This belief is known as “Tawhid” in Islam. Muslims consider Allah (God) as the one and only deity, with no partners or associates.
Also Read: Islam Timeline
This belief in the oneness of God is a fundamental principle in Islam and is emphasized throughout the Quran. It is considered the cornerstone of Muslim faith and shapes their worldview, worship, and moral values.
The belief in monotheism distinguishes Islam from other religions and is central to the religious practices and teachings of Muslims.
6. The Prophet Muhammad is considered the last and final prophet in Islam
The Prophet Muhammad is considered the last and final prophet in Islam. Muslims believe he was chosen by God to deliver His message to humanity. Born in Mecca in 570 CE, Muhammad received the first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel at the age of 40.
He continued to receive revelations throughout his life, which were later compiled into the Quran. Muslims hold great reverence and respect for Muhammad, considering him an exemplary role model in terms of character, piety, and leadership
7. Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia, is the holiest city in Islam
Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia, is the holiest city in Islam. It is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the site of the Kaaba, the most sacred shrine in Islam.
The Kaaba is a cuboid structure made of black granite and is believed to have been built by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael. Muslims around the world face the Kaaba during their daily prayers.
Every year, millions of Muslims from different corners of the globe gather in Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, a journey of spiritual purification and renewal.
8. Muslims observe Friday as the primary day of communal worship
Muslims observe Friday as the primary day of communal worship and congregational prayers at the mosque, known as Jummah. Muslims gather at the mosque for Friday prayers, where a sermon is delivered by an imam, a religious leader.
Friday prayers provide an opportunity for Muslims to come together as a community, listen to religious teachings, and strengthen their bond with fellow believers.
9. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is a significant period of fasting and spiritual reflection for Muslims worldwide. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs.
The fast is broken each evening with a meal called iftar. Ramadan is a time of increased devotion, self-discipline, and reflection on one’s relationship with God. It is also a time for acts of charity, Quranic recitation, and increased attendance at the mosque.
10. Sharia is the Islamic legal framework derived from the Quran and Hadith
Sharia is the Islamic legal framework derived from the Quran and Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad). It provides guidelines for various aspects of Muslim life, including personal conduct, family matters, business transactions, and criminal justice.
Sharia covers a wide range of topics, including marriage, divorce, inheritance, dietary laws, and ethical standards. It is interpreted and applied by scholars and jurists based on the principles and objectives of Islamic law, aiming to promote justice, equity, and the well-being of individuals and society.
11. Islam places a strong emphasis on charity and helping those in need
slam places a strong emphasis on charity and helping those in need. Muslims are encouraged to give a portion of their wealth as Zakat, a mandatory form of charitable giving.
Zakat is typically calculated as 2.5% of a Muslim’s eligible assets, such as savings, investments, and business profits, and is distributed to specific categories of recipients, including the poor, the needy, those in debt, and the wayfarer.
Giving Zakat is considered a religious duty and a means of purifying one’s wealth and sharing blessings with others.
12. The Islamic calendar, known as the Hijri calendar, is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months
The Islamic calendar, known as the Hijri calendar, is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months. It is based on the sighting of the crescent moon and is approximately 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar.
The Islamic year starts with the migration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE, known as the Hijra. The Islamic calendar is used to determine important religious dates and festivals, such as Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr (celebrated at the end of Ramadan), and Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice).
13. Muslims believe in the concept of angels as spiritual beings created by God
Muslims believe in the concept of angels as spiritual beings created by God to carry out His commands and assist humanity. Angels are unseen beings made of light and possess various roles and responsibilities.
For example, the Angel Gabriel played a crucial role in delivering the revelations to the Prophet Muhammad, while the Angel Israfil is believed to be responsible for blowing the trumpet on the Day of Judgment.
Angels are an integral part of the Islamic belief system and are seen as a link between the spiritual and physical realms.
14. Jihad is an Arabic term that means “struggle” or “striving”
Jihad is an Arabic term that means “struggle” or “striving.” It is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Jihad can refer to an individual’s internal struggle to maintain faith and do good deeds.
It can also refer to the collective effort of Muslims to defend Islam or protect their communities from aggression or oppression.
The concept of jihad emphasizes self-defense, preserving justice, and promoting peace. It is not synonymous with acts of terrorism or violence, as these actions are condemned in Islam.
15. Islam has a rich cultural and intellectual heritage
Islam has a rich cultural and intellectual heritage, contributing to various fields such as science, mathematics, art, architecture, literature, and philosophy throughout history.
During the Islamic Golden Age (8th to 14th centuries), Muslim scholars made significant advancements in areas such as astronomy, medicine, algebra, optics, and cartography.
Islamic art and architecture are known for their intricate geometric patterns, calligraphy, and decorative motifs. Islamic literature encompasses a wide range of genres, including poetry, philosophy, and historical works. This cultural and intellectual legacy has had a profound impact on global civilization and continues to inspire and influence diverse societies.