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Book of Faiths

Islam - General
Islam
by Linda Silva DeSola

The atrocities committed by a small group of terrorists overshadow the fact that the vast majority of Muslims condemn terrorism and quietly practice the religious faith known as Islam, which means submission to God. Islam is the youngest of the world's three monotheistic faiths. It was born through the prophet Muhammad in Arabia nearly 1,300 years ago in the midst of Arab idolatry and animistic polytheism. Muhammad was born in 570 AD into the Quraish tribe at Saudi Arabia. Muslim tradition says that at age 40, while Muhammad was meditating in a cave near Mecca, the Archangel Gabriel revealed to him a series of messages and told him to recite them. These messages became the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an.The atrocities committed by a small group of terrorists overshadow the fact that the vast majority of Muslims condemn terrorism and quietly practice the religious faith known as Islam, which means submission to God. Islam is the youngest of the world's three monotheistic faiths. It was born through the prophet Muhammad in Arabia nearly 1,300 years ago in the midst of Arab idolatry and animistic polytheism. Muhammad was born in 570 AD into the Quraish tribe at Saudi Arabia. Muslim tradition says that at age 40, while Muhammad was meditating in a cave near Mecca, the Archangel Gabriel revealed to him a series of messages and told him to recite them. These messages became the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an.

Muslims believe Muhammad to be the last and greatest prophet of God- "the seal of the prophets." In the beginning, his message encompassed two main points: there is one God to whose will people must submit, and there will be a day of judgment when all people will be judged.

Muhammad considered himself the supreme seer of God because the Qur'an was dictated to him. When his message was met with rejection and hostility, Muhammad was forced to flee from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. Muslims date their calendar from this date, known hijrah. In 630 AD, Muhammad entered Mecca with an army and destroyed all idols and images. There he established the Islamic faith and became the sole prophet and leader of the Arabian people. Muhammad died in 632 AD. From Medina Islam spread to Palestine and the entire Middle East. Islam faced periods of stagnation but eventually reached all six continents.

Islamic beliefs are:
  • There is no God but Allah. Allah is omnipresent and omnipotent. Allah is not triune.
  • Jesus was a lesser prophet: The Qur'an affirms Jesus' virgin birth, life of miracles, and compassion but not his crucifixion. Muslims believe that God took Jesus from the cross and substituted Judas or someone who looked like Jesus. Jesus was then taken to heaven, where He is alive and from where one day he will return. Muslims believe that Muhammad was prophesied in the Bible. "Deut.18:18-19; John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7."; Unlike Jesus, who was sent only to the Jews, Muhammad was sent to all people.
  • The Qur'an is the Muslim's source of authority - The Qur'an is about the length of the New Testament and is divided into 114 chapters called surahs. Each chapter is divided into verses called ayat. The chapters are arranged by length, from the longest chapter to the shortest. The Qur'an contains many references to the Torah, the psalms of David, and the four Gospels. However, the Qur'an emphatically claims to be the final source of authority.
  • Humankind is born without original sin. According to Islam, Humankind is born pure. However, we are weak, fragile, and forgetful; therefore, we commit sin. Islam's central demand of followers is submission to Allah's will.
  • Sin is breaking Allah's Law and not doing his will.
  • Salvation requires adherence to the Five Pillars

    • The confession: "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah."

    • Prayer: Each Muslim is to perform ritual prayers five times a day; Before sunrise, at noon, in mid-afternoon, at sunset, and before sleep. These prayers are preceded by ceremonial washing of hands, face, and feet. Muslims are required to say these prayers facing the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

    • Fasting: Fasting is required during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

    • Almsgiving - The Qur'an commands Muslims to practice regular charity. They are expected to give 21/2% of their capital wealth to the causes of the poor and for the propagation of Islam.

    • Pilgrimage - A pilgrimage to Mecca is required of every Muslim at least once. Each pilgrim must walk seven times around the kaabah -the shrine of the sacred black stone - and kiss it. Muslims believe that the kaabah was the original place of worship for Adam and for Abraham; On the 10th day sheep and goats are sacrificed, and a huge festival is celebrated to commemorate Abraham's sacrifice of an animal as a substitute for his son Ishmael not Isaac as in the Christian Bible.

    One of the most controversial practices in Islam is holy war or jihad. Jihad represents both internal spiritual struggle and external war against adversaries of Islam. Muslims who perform good deeds and obey the Five Pillars and the Qur'an will enter paradise.

Muslims believe Muhammad to be the last and greatest prophet of God- "the seal of the prophets." In the beginning, his message encompassed two main points: there is one God to whose will people must submit, and there will be a day of judgment when all people will be judged.

Muhammad considered himself the supreme seer of God because the Qur'an was dictated to him. When his message was met with rejection and hostility, Muhammad was forced to flee from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. Muslims date their calendar from this date, known hijrah. In 630 AD, Muhammad entered Mecca with an army and destroyed all idols and images. There he established the Islamic faith and became the sole prophet and leader of the Arabian people. Muhammad died in 632 AD. From Medina Islam spread to Palestine and the entire Middle East. Islam faced periods of stagnation but eventually reached all six continents.

Islamic beliefs are:
  • There is no God but Allah. Allah is omnipresent and omnipotent. Allah is not triune.
  • Jesus was a lesser prophet: The Qur'an affirms Jesus' virgin birth, life of miracles, and compassion but not his crucifixion. Muslims believe that God took Jesus from the cross and substituted Judas or someone who looked like Jesus. Jesus was then taken to heaven, where He is alive and from where one day he will return. Muslims believe that Muhammad was prophesied in the Bible. "Deut.18:18-19; John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7."; Unlike Jesus, who was sent only to the Jews, Muhammad was sent to all people.
  • The Qur'an is the Muslim's source of authority - The Qur'an is about the length of the New Testament and is divided into 114 chapters called surahs. Each chapter is divided into verses called ayat. The chapters are arranged by length, from the longest chapter to the shortest. The Qur'an contains many references to the Torah, the psalms of David, and the four Gospels. However, the Qur'an emphatically claims to be the final source of authority.
  • Humankind is born without original sin. According to Islam, Humankind is born pure. However, we are weak, fragile, and forgetful; therefore, we commit sin. Islam's central demand of followers is submission to Allah's will.
  • Sin is breaking Allah's Law and not doing his will.
  • Salvation requires adherence to the Five Pillars

    • The confession: "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah."

    • Prayer: Each Muslim is to perform ritual prayers five times a day; Before sunrise, at noon, in mid-afternoon, at sunset, and before sleep. These prayers are preceded by ceremonial washing of hands, face, and feet. Muslims are required to say these prayers facing the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

    • Fasting: Fasting is required during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

    • Almsgiving - The Qur'an commands Muslims to practice regular charity. They are expected to give 21/2% of their capital wealth to the causes of the poor and for the propagation of Islam.

    • Pilgrimage - A pilgrimage to Mecca is required of every Muslim at least once. Each pilgrim must walk seven times around the kaabah -the shrine of the sacred black stone - and kiss it. Muslims believe that the kaabah was the original place of worship for Adam and for Abraham; On the 10th day sheep and goats are sacrificed, and a huge festival is celebrated to commemorate Abraham's sacrifice of an animal as a substitute for his son Ishmael not Isaac as in the Christian Bible.

    One of the most controversial practices in Islam is holy war or jihad. Jihad represents both internal spiritual struggle and external war against adversaries of Islam. Muslims who perform good deeds and obey the Five Pillars and the Qur'an will enter paradise.


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