Islam means, “surrender to god” and believers in Islam are called Muslims, or “those who surrender”. They worship Allah, an Arabic term that means “the God” (al-El).
The Islamic house of worship is a mosque. Unlike Jews and Christians, Muslims do not have a Sabbath, but many Muslims gather in mosques on Friday afternoon for prayers.
Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last of a series of holy prophets that included Abraham, Moses and Jesus. A prophet is a holy messenger. Christians believe that Jesus is God, while Muslims believe Allah is the only God and that Muhammad was his messenger.
Muhammad lived about 600 years after Jesus Christ in what we now call Saudi Arabia. Muslims believe that Muhammad was visited in a cave by an angel. Muhammad repeated the words of the angel to others who learned them by heart. Eventually, Muhammad’s followers collected these messages and gathered them into a book known as the Quran, which in Arabic means “the reading.” The Quran is the holy book of Islam. Some Muslims memorize the entire Quran. The Quran has been translated into many languages, but many Muslims believe that the only true version of the Quran is written in Arabic. This is why Arabic spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Often Muslims will learn Arabic as a second language, as a Jew would learn Hebrew or a Christian would learn Latin.
Muhammad taught that believers should pray five times every day while facing the holy city of Mecca. Faithful Muslims will stop whatever they are doing, and bow down to pray. It is important that surface a Muslims prays on is clean, a Muslim often travel with a prayer rug. Muslims are expected to give to the poor. Finally, every Muslim is expected to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia if they have the financial resources. A pilgrimage is a long journey to a sacred place as an act of devotion.
Islam is one of the three major religions in the world that professes the belief in a single God. In Arabic language, the word Islam means surrender or submission to the will of Gods. A follower of Islam is called a Muslim meaning to surrender to God. The Arabic word for God is Allah refers to the same God that is worshipped by the Jews and Christians.Islam's teaching of God is that there is only ...
Mecca is a holy city to Muslims because it is the site of the Kaaba, a small shrine that Muslims believe to be the most sacred spot on earth. Muslims orient themselves toward the Kaaba during their daily prayers. Every Muslim who makes the pilgrimage to Mecca walks around the Kaaba seven times. Many touch or kiss a black stone in the Kaaba. Islamic tradition states that the stone was originally white, but it had become back by absorbing the sins of the millions of pilgrims who have kissed and touched it.
Ramadan is a sacred month to Muslims, and faithful Muslims fast (or do not eat) between dawn and dusk during Ramadan. Muslims use a lunar calendar, so Ramadan falls at different times each year. Ramadan is sacred because it is the month in which the Quran was revealed to Muhammad. Ramadan will begin November 17, 2001.
There are more than one billion Muslims, including five million in the United States. Nations with large Muslim populations include Indonesia (180 million), Pakistan (125 million), Bangladesh (109 million), India (84 million), Iran (66 million), Egypt, Turkey (60 million each), Nigeria (52 million), Algeria, Morocco (29 million each), Ethiopia (24 million), Sudan, Afghanistan (22 million), Iraq (20 million) and Saudi Arabia (19 million).
Russia also has a huge Muslim population, but estimates on its size vary.
Icons of Islam
The crescent, star, and the color green are traditional symbols of Islam. The star represents knowledge and light, and the crescent represents progress. You will find these symbols on the flags of many Muslim nations.
Islamic art includes calligraphy, or decorative penmanship, but no images of people. Muhammad taught that it is wrong to take a picture of a living thing because no one should copy what Allah has made. This is why you will not find a picture of Muhammad in Islamic literature.
Islam is the world’s second great monotheistic religion (Armstrong, 2002). Islam, an Arabic word, comes from a root word meaning commitment or surrender: hence the foundation of Islam is submission to the will of the Only God, Allah. The word ‘Muslim’ also itself means ‘one who lives his life according to Allah’s will (Esposito, 2002). Allah also has laid down the five pillars of foundations of ...