Origin of Islam
Based on history, Islam began in Arabia in the Middle East. Now known as Saudi Arabia, this is where the prophet Muhammad was born, raised, lived, and died. Islam is the second largest religion in the world, despite the huge following around the world; Islam is foreign to many Americans. Due to the many misconceptions about the Muslim religion, many people judge the religion without making an effort to learn more about their traditions, faith and history. Islam is a monotheistic religion, which basically means that they believe in one God. Prophet Muhammad proclaimed the religion in the 7th century A.D. The word "Islam" means, "To surrender to God" and is described as a "Deen" in Arabic, meaning "way of life and/or religion." The Muslims refer to God as "Allah" who is the creator of the world. Allah revealed the Qur’an (Koran) to his messenger, Muhammad. Based on the beliefs of the Islamic religion, Muhammad is the last of a series of prophets, which brings the final message of God to all the people through the Qur’an.
Muhammad / Allah
Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca around the year 570 A.D. His name means, "highly praised." His parents died when he was young and he was raised by his extended family. Under the care of his uncle Abu Talib, Muhammad began to earn a living as a businessman and a trader. As Muhammad aged, he became disappointed with Polytheism and came to believe in one God. Based on Islam tradition, in 610, around the age of 40 Muhammad decided to retreat to a cave deep in the mountains for meditation. While on his retreat, he had an encounter with the Angel Gabriel. Muslims believe that the Qur’an was reveled to Muhammad when Allah (God) sent the Angel Gabriel to reveal a series of revelations. Three years later, he began to preach the revelations, proclaiming that “God is one” and the only way to be acceptable to God is to surrender completely to him. Allah is viewed as the sole God, creator and restorer of the world. Muslins believe that they must submit to the will of Allah through the scriptures of the Qur’an (Koran). Muhammad is the central figure of the religion of Islam, and he is regarded by Muslims as the messenger and the last profit of Allah.
“Five Pillars of Islam”
The “Five Pillars of Islam” are formal acts of worship that strengthen a Muslim’s faith and obedience. The first pillar is the declaration of faith, Shahaadah. “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” To become a Muslim the Shahaadah must be repeated three times before witnesses.
Prayers are the second pillar of Islam. Salah are the obligatory prayers performed five times a day. The prayers are said at dawn, mid-day, late afternoon, sunset and nightfall. Muslims worship in a mosque and can pray almost anywhere.
Financial obligation is next. Muslims believe that everything belongs to God and that wealth is held by human beings in trust. Zakah means purification...