It is the world's second-largest religion with 1.9 billion followers or 24.9% of the world's population, known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 51 countries.
Muslims are monotheistic and worship one, all-knowing God, who in Arabic is known as Allah. Followers of Islam aim to live a life of complete submission to Allah. They believe that nothing can happen without Allah's permission, but humans have free will.
Main beliefs of Islam
The religious obligations of all Muslims are summed up in the Five Pillars of Islam, which include belief in God and his Prophet and obligations of prayer, charity, pilgrimage, and fasting. The fundamental concept of Islam is the Sharīʿāh—its law, which embraces the total way of life commanded by God.
The start of Islam is marked in the year 610, following the first revelation to the prophet Muhammad at the age of 40. Muhammad and his followers spread the teachings of Islam throughout the Arabian peninsula.
Muslims view Christians to be People of the Book, and also regard them as kafirs (unbelievers) committing shirk (polytheism) because of the Trinity, and thus, contend that they must be dhimmis (religious taxpayers) under Sharia law.
This meat is called “halal.” Muslims are also prohibited from gambling, taking interest, fortune-telling, killing, lying, stealing, cheating, oppressing or abusing others, being greedy or stingy, engaging in sex outside of marriage, disrespecting parents, and mistreating relatives, orphans or neighbours.
Muslims believe that there is only one God who created the universe and everything within it. Muslims pray five times a day, primarily because they believe that this is what God wants them to do.
Belief in the Books of God: Muslims believe that God revealed holy books or scriptures to a number of God's messengers. These include the Quran (given to Muhammad), the Torah (given to Moses), the Gospel (given to Jesus), the Psalms (given to David), and the Scrolls (given to Abraham).
The five pillars – the declaration of faith (shahada), prayer (salah), alms-giving (zakat), fasting (sawm) and pilgrimage (hajj) – constitute the basic norms of Islamic practice. They are accepted by Muslims globally irrespective of ethnic, regional or sectarian differences.
The 3 types of Islam
Basic beliefs shape the Islamic way of life.
Muslims believe that the Quran was orally revealed by God to the final prophet, Muhammad, through the archangel Gabriel incrementally over a period of some 23 years, beginning in the month of Ramadan, when Muhammad was 40; and concluding in 632, the year of his death.
According to religious historians, Islam was founded by Muhammad the Prophet around 622CE (Common Era), or about 1,382 years ago in Mecca. Christianity was founded by Jesus Christ approximately 1,971 (33CE) years ago.
Etymologically, the name Allah is probably a contraction of the Arabic al-Ilāh, “the God.” The name's origin can be traced to the earliest Semitic writings in which the word for god was il, el, or eloah, the latter two used in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).