Islam is a religion, revealed to mankind with the intention of presenting a peaceful life where the infinite compassion and mercy of God manifests on earth. God calls all people to live by the moral values He sets so that compassion, mercy, peace and love can be experienced all over the world.
What you will read below are some of the basic features of Islam.
The Arabic word ‘Islam’ means to submit, total surrender and resignation to God. Therefore, a ‘Muslim’ is ‘one who submits to God’. In Arabic, God translates to “Allah”. Therefore, Islam means to submit to Allah alone and to worship and serve Him alone.
Muslims believe that there is no God except Allah, the same God who created Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and Muhammad, amongst many others. Muslims believe that each of these prophets, including Jesus and Moses, were sent to convey the purpose of their creation: to worship and serve their Creator, Allah alone.
Muslim’s believe prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final messenger of God upon whom was revealed the holy book, the Quran, more than 1500 years ago. He was sent as a mercy to the world and is believed to be the best of humankind; thus, Muslims implement the practices of the Prophet Muhammad to the best of their ability.
Islam is a way of life. Allah has legislated guidelines for Muslims to follow that include specific instructions regarding what to do and what to avoid. For example, Muslims must abstain from alcohol and eating pork amongst other things.
Muslims are taught by the prophet Muhammad to dress modestly by virtue of the Hijab, just as Allah requires this of both Muslim men and women. Although the term ‘Hijab’ has become a common way of referring to a woman’s head covering, it is actually an Arabic term that reflects a lifestyle of modesty in actions/words/dress along with respect that Islam honors both women and men with. The Islamic rulings regarding the dress code part of Hijab for women in Islam, entails a complete covering of the entire body, except the face and hands. This dress code is to be adhered to in public, in front of unrelated males.
Islam honors women, protects their rights and elevates in their status. In fact, Islam was the first to give women their right to inheritance, property, the choice in marriage, voting, rights over her husband, etc.
Muslims celebrate two main festivals: Eid al-Fitr which is the celebration commencing the end of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, “the feast of sacrifice”, which is around the time of Pilgrimage, for which Muslims sacrifice an animal and share the meat with the poor. Eid al-Adha commemorates the great event when Allah asked Abraham in a dream to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience.
There are approximately 1.9 billion Muslims globally, making Islam the 2nd largest religion in the world. Islam is the dominant religion in Central Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and other parts of Asia and Africa. Contrary to popular belief, not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arab.