Background on Islam • Islam has more followers than any religion except Christianity. • Muslims believe that Jews, Muslims and Christians pray to the same God. • All three religions trace their origins to the prophet Abraham; and include such figures as Adam, Noah, and Moses in their scripture. • The Torah, the Jewish Bible, is the Old Testament, in the Christian Bible. Muslims believe that the Qur’an is a more perfect version of the Torah and the Bible.
The Qur’an and the Sunnah • The Qur’an is Islam’s sacred book and considered by Muslims to be the words of God. The Sunnah is the example set by Muhammad. • Several of the figures in the Torah and the Bible are also found in the Qur’an. The Qur’an states that God “earlier revealed the Torah and the Gospel as a source of guidance.”
The Qur’an and the Sunnah (cont) • Muslims do not let the Qur’an touch the ground or get dirty. Most Muslims memorize all or part of the Qur’an. • The Sunnah (Islam’s second most holy book) are Muhammad’s words and deeds. Hadith are a written record of examples from the Sunnah.
The First Pillar: Shahadah (Profession of Faith) • “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.” • According to Muslims, Allah is the one all-powerful God who created the universe. • They believe that everyone will face God’s judgment, some will go to paradise, others to hell.
The Second Pillar: Salat (Daily Worship) • Muslims pray five times a day, wherever they are. Men stand in different rows than women when praying in a mosque. • Muslims pray toward the Ka’ba in Makkah. • Muslims must perform ritual washings of their hands, face, arms, and feet before praying.
The Second Pillar: Salat(cont) • mosques are where Muslims gather to worship • rugs are for kneeling • the qibla is in the direction of Makkah • muezzins call others to prayer • imamsare prayer leaders.
The Third Pillar: Zakat(Almsgiving or Charity) • Muslims believe that wealth is purified by giving some of it away, that sharing helps to control greed, and that giving reminds people of God’s gifts. • Muslims give about a 2.5% of their surplus wealth and possessions.
The Third Pillar: Zakat(Almsgiving or Charity) cont. • Zakat pays for orphanages, hospitals, soup kitchens, and clothing and shelter for the poor.
The Fourth Pillar: Siyam(Fasting) • Siyam is daily fasting from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. • Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset.
The Fourth Pillar: Siyam(Fasting) continued • Muslims break the daily fast at sunset. The end of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr) is celebrated with prayers, special foods, an exchange of gifts, and giving to the poor. • Pregnant women, the sick, the elderly, and young children do not have to fast. • Ramadan encourages generosity, equality, and charity
The Fifth Pillar: Hajj(Pilgrimage) • All adult Muslims who can do so are expected to make the hajj once during their lifetime. • Muslims believe the hajj promotes fellowship and equality. • Muslims wear simple white clothing for the hajj.
The Fifth Pillar: Hajj(Pilgrimage) continued • Muslims travel along a passage between two small hills, as Hagar did when she searched for water. They camp in tents at Mina, pray at the plain of Arafat, and some climb Mount Arafat. Before leaving, they circle the Ka’ba seven more times.
Jihad (Struggle) • Jihad gives Muslims a way to respond to external and internal challenges. • The “lesser jihad” relates to the external struggle against oppression. It has become synonymous with “holy war.” • The “greater jihad” is the fight against evil within oneself.
Jihad (Struggle cont.) • The Qur’an and Muhammad say that there are specific terms for war. • Muslims should honor agreements made with enemies • They should not mutilate the dead, harm innocents, or destroy property, orchards, crops, sacred objects, or houses of worship.
Shari’ah: Islamic Law • Shari’ah is the body of Islamic law based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah. • It guides Muslims in their personal behavior. It was developed by caliphs and scholars who used the Qur’an and the Sunnah to solve problems that arose. • Shari’ah promotes obedience to the Qur’an.
Shari’ah: Islamic Law (cont.) • Muslims may not eat pork, drink alcohol, or gamble. Women must dress modestly. • Western codes of law have replaced or supplemented shari’ah in many Muslim countries.