Islam is a monotheistic
religion based upon the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and
political figure. It is the second-largest religion in the world today, with an
estimated 1.4 billion adherents, known as Muslims.
Muslims believe that God revealed
his final message to humanity through Muhammad ibn Abdullah (c. 570 - July 6,
632) via the angel Gabriel on numerous occasions between the years 610 and his
death on July 6, 632. Muhammad is considered to have been God's final prophet,
the "Seal of the Prophets". The revelations Muhammad preached form the
holy book of Islam, the Qur'an. The Qur'an is believed to be the flawless final
revelation of God to humanity, valid until the day of the Resurrection.
Muslims hold that the message of
Islam - submission to the will of the one God - is the same as the message
preached by all the messengers sent by God to humanity since Adam. From an
Islamic point of view, Islam is the oldest of the monotheistic religions because
it represents both the original and the final revelation of God to Abraham,
Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Members of all sects of Islam believe that the
Qur'an codifies the direct words of God
believe that Islam was revealed to humanity by the Prophet Muhammad
was a human being, not a god
says all Muslims are equal before God, and all Muslims belong to one
community, regardless of ethnic or national background.
was founded by the prophet Mohammed, who Muslims believe was the last and
most important in a series of prophets, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
believe that there is only one god. The Arabic word for God is Allah
word Islam means submission to God
Muslim scripture is the Holy Qur'an (Koran)which means "the timeless
words of God." It has 114 chapters and comprises the main teachings of
Muslim building for communal worship is called a Mosque
Five Pillars of Islam are practices through which Muslims put their faith
Shahadah: declaration of faith
Salat: ritual prayer 5 times a day
Zakat: giving a fixed proportion to
Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca
Muslims are from many
different nations and races
There are two main groups of Muslims:
Sunni Muslims make up 90% of the
The other main group are the
Islamic law forbids the artistic
representation of God, the prophets and -- sometimes -- of human beings in
Islam (a word that literally means "surrender to the will of
God") arose in Arabia with what Muslims believe are a series of
revelations to the Prophet Mohammed from the one and only God, the
God of Abraham and of Jesus. These revelations, conveyed by the
angel Gabriel, are recorded in the Qur'an. Muslims believe that
these revelations, given to the greatest and last of a chain of
prophets stretching from Abraham through Jesus, complete God's
message to humanity. The Hadith, which recount Mohammed's sayings
and deeds as recorded by his contemporaries, are another fundamental
source. A third key element is the Sharia, the code of law derived
from the Qur'an and the Hadith.
Belief in one God, Allah in
Arabic, constitutes the very foundation of Islam. There is no deity except
Allah. He is indivisible and absolutely transcendent. God is the Almighty, the
Creator and the Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing and nothing
is comparable to Him. Worship and obedience belongs to Allah and Allah alone.
Joining other gods with God is an unforgivable sin. Any one who joins other gods
with God has strayed far, far away from the Truth.
Prophet Muhammad was born in
Mecca(Makkah), a city in the present-day Saudi Arabia in 570 C.E. He is a direct
descendant of Prophet Ishmael, the first son of Prophet Abraham. Peace and
blessings of God be on all His prophets. Muhammad received divine revelations
(The Holy Quran) over a period of 23 years in the seventh century of the
Christian Era. Muslims believe that he is the last Messenger sent by God for the
guidance of mankind until the Day of Judgment.
The primary sources of knowledge
are the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad. Anyone wanting to
live a life in worship and obedience to God should follow these teachings.
The Holy Quran (also written as
Koran) is the Divine Book revealed to Muhammad . The Holy Quran confirms what
was revealed to earlier messengers of God and serves as the Criterion of right
and wrong. The Quran is the only divine Book extant in its original text and is
therefore the only source of Guidance from God for all mankind.
The Sunnah of the Prophet
Muhammad refers to his sayings and actions, his approvals and disapprovals. The
Sunnah is collected in books separate from the Holy Quran and are known as
Hadith books. While the Holy Quran is 100% word of God revealed to the Prophet,
not every Hadith is authentic. Early Muslim scholars have classified hadith into
various categories ranging from different levels of authenticity to false hadith.
The Sunni are the largest group
in Islam. In Arabic, as-Sunnah literally means "principle" or
"path." The sunnah, or example of Muhammad is described as a main
pillar of Sunni doctrine, with the place of hadith having been argued by
scholars as part of the sunnah. Sunnis recognize four major legal traditions, or
madhhabs: Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi, and Hanbali. All four accept the validity of
the others and a Muslim might choose any one that he/she finds agreeable to
his/her ideas. There are also several orthodox theological or philosophical
traditions. The more recent Salafi movement among Sunnis, adherents of which
often refuse to categorize themselves under any single legal tradition, sees
itself as restorationist and claims to derive its teachings from the original
sources of Islam.
Shi'a Muslims, the second-largest
branch of Islam, differ from the Sunni in rejecting the authority of the first
three caliphs. They honor different accounts of Muhammad (hadith) and have their
own legal traditions. The concept of Imamah, or leadership, plays a central role
in Shi'a doctrine. Shi'a Muslims hold that leadership should not be passed down
through a system such as the caliphate, but rather, descendants of Muhammad
should be given this right as Imams. Furthermore, they believe that the first
Imam, Ali ibn Abu Talib, was explicitly appointed by Muhammad to be his
Sufism is a mystical form of
Islam followed by some Muslims within both the Sunni and Shi'a sects. Sufis
generally believe that following Islamic law is only the first step on the path
to perfect submission; they focus on the internal or more spiritual aspects of
Islam, such as perfecting one's faith and subduing one's own ego. Most Sufi
orders, or tariqas, can be classified as either Sunni or Shi'a. However, there
are some that are not easily categorized as either Sunni or Shi'a, such as the
Bektashi. Sufis are found throughout the Islamic world, from Senegal to
Indonesia. Their innovative beliefs and actions often come under criticism from
Salafis, who consider certain practices to be against the letter of Islamic law.
About 2 million
Muslims from more than 70 countries journey to the holy city of Mecca each year
to make the spiritual pilgrimage known as the Hajj. The pilgrimage is one of
five Pillars of Islam that form the framework of Islamic life. All Muslims who
are physically and financially able are expected to perform the Hajj at least
once. The Hajj begins on the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah (month for Hajj), the
12th month of the Islamic year, and lasts for as long as six days.
few miles outside Mecca, there is a cutoff referred to as the "Christian
bypass". ... If you remain on the main highway, there is a police
checkpoint just after the exit, where non-Muslims are kept out of the holy city.
Exit before entering Mecca
Entrance to Mecca
itself is forbidden to non-Muslims, and the entire city is considered a holy
site to Islam.
While in Mecca for
the Hajj, male pilgrims are required to dress only in an Ihram, a garment
consisting of two sheets of white unhemmed cloth, the top draped over the torso
and the bottom secured by a white sash; plus a pair of sandals. The ihram is
intended to show the equality of all pilgrims in the eyes of Allah, symbolizing
the idea that there is no difference between a prince and a pauper when everyone
is dressed equally. The Ihram also symbolizes purity and absolution of sins.
This also portrays simplicity. Many female pilgrims traditionally wear a simple
white or black dress with a head covering.
A place designated
for changing into Ihram is called a miqat. While the pilgrim is wearing the
Ihram, he cannot shave, cut his nails, or wear jewellery. An invocation known as
the talbiyah should be chanted as the pilgrim is donning the garment.
Upon arrival in Mecca, the
pilgrim (locally known as a 'Hajji'), performs a series of ritual acts symbolic
of the lives of Abraham (Ibrahim) and Hagar (Hajarah), and of solidarity with
Muslims worldwide. These acts of faith are:
a tawaf, which consists of
walking around the Kaaba three times at a hurried pace, followed by four times,
more closely, at a leisurely pace, in a counter-clockwise direction. the sa`i,
walking seven times back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah now
enclosed in the Masjid al-Haram. This is a re-enactment of Hagar's frantic
search for water, before the Zamzam Well was revealed to her by an angel sent by
Allah. These rituals comprise the Umrah, sometimes called the lesser Hajj. The
Umrah can be taken at any time throughout the year and although completing it is
highly commendable, Muslims are still required to perform the greater Hajj,
during the appointed time.
Despite not being part of the
ritual, most pilgrims drink water from the Zamzam Well when the Umrah is
completed. Also, men and women trim off approximately one inch of hair.
At this point, the pilgrim can
change from the ihram to regular clothes. This release from ihram is known as
the mut'ah of Hajj.
The greater Hajj (al-hajj al-akbar)
begins on the eighth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Pilgrims again put on
ihram. They leave Mecca for the nearby town of Mina, where they spend the rest
of the day.
The next morning, on the ninth of
Dhu al-Hijjah, the pilgrims leave Mina for Mount Arafat. They must spend the
afternoon within a defined area on the plain of Arafat until after sunset. No
specific rituals or prayers are required during the stay at Arafat,but is said
that all prays will be answered, called the wuquf, although many pilgrims spend
the time praying, talking to God, and thinking about the course of their lives.
After sunset they leave for Muzdalifah, an area between Arafat and Mina, where
pebbles are gathered for the stoning of the jamarat.
Having spent the night in
Muzdalifah, the pilgrims now go back to Mina. It is now the 10th of the month,
the day of Eid ul-Adha. As the first part of the stoning of the jamarat ritual,
pilgrims throw seven pebbles at the large jamrah (wall) in Mina. After this, an
animal is sacrificed. Traditionally the pilgrim killed the animal himself or
oversaw the killing. Today many pilgrims buy a sacrifice voucher in Mecca before
the greater Hajj begins; this allows an animal to be slaughtered in their name
on the 10th without the pilgrim being physically present.
On this day pilgrims are released
from most ihram restrictions; they have their heads shaved and change out of the
ihram garment. The head shaving is a symbol of rebirth, signifying that the
pilgrim's sins have been cleansed by completion of the Hajj. On this or the
following day the pilgrims visit the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca for a tawaf called
the Tawaf az-Ziyarah (or Tawaf al-Ifadah) which is an obligatory part of the
Hajj. The night of the 10th is spent back at Mina.
On the afternoon of the 11th,
pilgrims must stone all three jamarat in Mina. The same ritual must be performed
on the following day. Pilgrims must leave Mina for Mecca before sunset on the
12th. (If they are unable to leave Mina before sunset, they must perform the
stoning ritual again on the 13th before going to Mecca.)
Finally, before leaving Mecca,
pilgrims perform a farewell tawaf called the Tawaf al-Wada.
The core purpose of
the Hajj is not to look out on the wonders of the Kaaba and the beautiful
mosque, but to look within -- to discover oneself.
The Kaaba is the
shrine that Muslims turn to five times each day when praying. During the Hajj,
pilgrims circle the Kaaba seven times.
The Kaaba is
located inside the mosque known as al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The mosque was
built around the original Kaaba.
of Kaaba taken in 1880
The Kaaba is a large
masonry structure roughly the shape of a cube. (The name Kaaba comes from the
Arabic word "muka'ab" meaning "cube"). It is made of granite
from the hills near Makkah, and stands upon a ten inch marble base, which
projects outwards about .3 metres (1'). The most reliable approximations for the
structural dimensions are: 15 metres (49') high, with sides measuring 10.5
metres (34') by 12 metres (39'). The four corners of the Kaaba roughly face the
four points of the compass.[In the eastern corner of the Kaaba is the "Rukn-al-Aswad"
(the Black Stone or al-Hajaru l-Aswad), generally thought to be a meteorite
remnant; at the northern corner lies the "Rukn-al-Iraqi" ('The Iraqi
corner'); at the west lies "Rukn-al-Shami" ('The Levantine corner')
and at the south "Rukn-al-Yamani" ('The Yemeni corner').
It is covered by a black silk
curtain decorated with gold-embroidered calligraphy. This cloth is known as the
kiswah; it is replaced yearly. The Shahada is outlined in the weave of the
fabric. About two-thirds of the way up runs a gold embroidered band covered with
Entrance to the inside of the
Kaaba is gained through a door set 7 feet above the ground on the north-eastern
wall of the Kaaba, which acts as the façade. It is accessed by a wooden
staircase on wheels, usually stored between the arch-shaped gate of Banu Shaybah
and the well of Zamzam. Inside the Kaaba, there is a marble floor. The interior
walls are clad with marble half-way to the roof; tablets with Qur'anic
inscriptions are inset in the marble. The top part of the walls is covered with
a green cloth decorated with gold embroidered Qur'anic verses. The building is
believed to be otherwise empty.
- The call to prayer.
- Another name for Muhammad.
- The Arabic word for "god." It is often used as a name
for God in Islam.
- The place of the first significant battle between and the pagans of the
Quraish. It is located in Saudi Arabia.
- A Muslim ruler.
- The proliferation of Islamic teachings through word and deed.
- Obedience to the revelation of Allah's Qur'an (Koran). It involves
- Legal verdict given based on the Qur'an (Koran) and the Sunnah which are
the recorded sayings and deeds of Muhammad.
- Religious law.
- The sayings and deeds of the prophet Muhammad recorded by his followers.
Considered authoritative and perfect. A saying is called a Sunnah.
- The Black Stone set into the corner of the Ka'aba in Mecca.
Tradition states it fell from heaven.
- The pilgrimage to Mecca which takes place in the last month of the
Islamic calendar. One of the five pillars of Islam.
- The sixth level of hell which is the place for Christians.
- Muhammad's immigration to Medina. It begins the Muslim calendar.
- Moving from a land where a Muslim cannot practice his faith to a land
where he can.
- All the words and deeds with which Allah is pleased. These deeds could be
prayer and charity.
- The inspired sayings of Jesus. The message of Jesus.
- Submission, the religion of all the prophets of Allah culminating in
- The heavenly garden, Paradise. The place of the faithful in the
- Striving. Fighting against one's own sinful self. Also, a
physical fight for the truth of Islam, not allowing anyone to steal the
ability to worship. It also can mean "holy war."
- Supernatural, invisible beings race of beings, below angels.
They were made from fire and are capable of looking like humans or animals.
Some may dwell in rocks, trees, etc, and may possess black dogs, and black
cats. There are good and bad Jinn and all will be judged on Judgment
- A cube shaped building in Mecca containing a stone laid there by
Abraham and Ishmael. All Muslims face this cube when praying.
- Also spelled Qur'an. The holy book of Islam given to Muhammad by
Allah through the Archangel Gabriel. Koran literally means "the
recital." It is the final revelation of Allah given to the
prophet Muhammad. It has 114 surahs, or chapters.
- A sermon given in a Mosque, usually on Friday.
- Sinful act
- A center for Muslim activity. It is like a local mosque.
- The Holy City of Islam. It is the birthplace of Muhammad.
- The city, then called Yathrib, that Muhammad fled to after announcing
- Immigrant, one who leaves his home town to join a Muslim community.
- the final messenger/prophet of God whose message abrogated all previous
revelations. He received the Koran through the angel Gabriel over a 23
ibn Abd Allah - the full name of Muhammad.
- Someone who holds to the religion of Islam.
- The multitude of people who are not dedicated to Allah and sway to and
fro to various teachings.
- A word used in the Koran to designate those who are Christians.
- A shortened designation for "Peace be upon him" which is placed
in writing or said after the word "Muhammad" is used.
- Another word for heaven. A garden (79:41) of bliss and fruit
(69:21-24), has rivers (3:198), with maidens pure and holy (4:57), and
carpets and cushions, (88:8-16). It is the hope of all Muslims.
- Preordainment is the teaching that all things, good and bad, are
preordained to occur.
- The direction which Muslims turn for daily prayers, towards Mecca.
- An ancient Arab tribe to which Muhammad once belonged.
(rak'ah) - One complete cycle of sacred words and gestures during the
- The ninth month of the Islamic calendar which is the month of the
- A sect of Islam that teaches that leaders should be political rulers.
- Associating another god with Allah. Associating anything with Allah
that is not true and revealed in the Koran.
- A sect of Islam. It is very mystical and teaches strong self denial
with the hope of union with God.
- The life, practices, and sayings of Muhammad recorded as examples of
perfect conduct in society, religion, action, etc. They contain the
- One of the sects of Islam
- A chapter of the Koran.
- Everything that is worshipped or followed other than Allah.
- Pure, clean, wholesome.
- Proper fear and veneration of Allah. A divine spark that enables the
person to understand God.
- Monotheism in Islam is the teaching that there is only one God who alone
is worthy of worship.
- Declaring that God is one, the sovereign who performs all his will.
- Declaring that God is the only one worthy of worship.
- A religious community, usually referring to an Islamic one.
- A Minor form of pilgrimage to Mecca.
Alaikum Assalam - The Arabic way of saying "peace be upon
- The Psalms
- The third pillar of Islam. Alms giving, charity that is given to the
- Fornication and adultery.
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