Acts of Worship

The Arabic term used for Acts of worship is Ibaadah.  This does not mean worship but rather service.  To serve God in the manner in which He has commanded his creatures to serve Him is Ibaadah.  The term would include all acts of piety as well as the mandatory acts of worship.  The mandatory acts of worship are:

1.     Salaah (Daily Prayers)

2.     Saum (Fasting)

3.     Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)

4.     Zakah (The Wealth Tax)

5.     Jihad Struggle or Striving (Jihad Al-Akbar and Jihad Al-Asghar)

6.     Amr Bi L-Ma’Aroof (Directing Others Towards Good)

7.     Nahy An Al Munkir (Directing Others Away From Evil)

8.     Khums (The One-Fifth Tax)

Adherents Worldwide

There are approximately 1.5 billion Muslim adherents that make Islam the second largest religion in the world. (Next to Christianity with approximate 2.1 billion.)      


The term Allah is derived from a contraction of the Arabic definite article al “the” and ilah “diety, god” to allah meaning “the sole deity, God”.  The Muslim name for the one and only God is Allah, meaning: the Name of God’s own presence, Almighty God, the Supreme Being, God, Absolute.  “He begetteth not nor was begotten, and to Him have never been one equal.” (Sura 53:19).

To Muslims, Allah is considered to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.  According to the Qur’an (67:16), He is said to be “in heaven” and “in the heavens and theearth. (66:3) Also, Allah is said to be “nearer him (man) than his jugular vein.” (50:16) 


Adherents to Islam believe in the Unseen world as mentioned in the Qur’an.  From this world are the angel’s emissaries of God, each assigned with a specific task.  They have no free-will or ability to disobey; it is their very nature to be God’s faithful servants.  Angels are not to be taken as demigods or objects of praise or veneration; they are mere servants of God obeying His every command.

Belief in Life after Death

Muslims believe that a day will come when all of creation will perish and resurrected in order to be judged for their deeds:  The Day of Judgment.  On this day, all will gather in the presence of God and each individual will be questioned about their life in the world and how they lived it.  Those who held correct beliefs                         about God and life, and followed their belief with righteous deeds will enter Paradise, even though they may pay for some of their sins in Hell if God out of His Infinite Justice chooses not to forgive them.  As for those who fell into polytheism in it many faces, they will enter Hellfire, never to leave therefrom.

Central Religious Holy Days Eid-al-Fitr, Eid-al-Adha, Ramadan


The Qur’an enjoins the spending of one’s wealth in the cause of Allah, for the poor, the needy, the freeing of slaves, the curing of the sick and other good causes.  Charity is a precondition to the attainment of piety.

Church and State        

To Muslims, it is integrated into all of society where there is no separation of Church and State.


Muslims are the largest single religious group to circumcise boys.  In Islam circumcision is also known as tahara, meaning purification.  Circumcision is not mentioned in the Qur’an but is highlighted in the Sunnah (the Prophet Muhammad’s recorded words and actions).  In he Sunnah, Muhammad stated that circumcision was a “law for men and a preservation of honor women.”

The main reason given for the ritual is cleanliness.  It is essential that every Muslim washes before praying.  It is important that no urine is left on the body.  Muslims believe the removal of the foreskin makes it easier to keep the penis clean because urine can’t get trapped there.  Supporters of circumcision also argue that excrements may collect under the foreskin which may lead to fatal diseases such as cancer.  Some Muslims see circumcision as a preventive measure against infection and diseases.

For the majority of Muslims, circumcision is seen as an introduction to the Islamic faith and a sign of belonging.  In Islam there is no fixed age of circumcision.  The age at which it is performed varies depending on family, region and country.  The preferred age is often seven although some Muslims are circumcises as early as he seventh day after birth and as late puberty.

There is no equivalent of a Jewish ‘mohel’ in Islam.  Circumcisions are usually carried out in a clinic or hospital.  The circumciser is not required to be a Muslim but he must be medically trained.  In some Islamic countries circumcision is performed after Muslim boys have recited the whole of the Qur’an from start to finish.  In Malaysia, for example, the operation is a puberty rite that separates the boy from childhood and introduces him to adulthood.  Circumcision is not compulsory in Islam but it is an important ritual aimed at improving cleanliness.  It is strongly encouraged but not enforced.

The ritual dates back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.  According to tradition Muhammad was born without a foreskin (aposthetic).  Some Muslims who practice circumcision see it as a way of being like him.

Compulsion or Freedom

The various schools of thought are divided: 1) Mutazzilas believe that man is totally free and God exercise no power over his action.  Those who subscribe to this view are also known as Qadariyyas.  2) Mujabbira school of thought believes that man has no freedom and is only a tool in the hands of God.  3) The Asharia school of thought to which most Sunnis subscribe believe that though man has no free will, he will earn the reward of his good deeds.  4) The Shias believe that there is neither total compulsion nor total freedom.  The true position is the one in-between.  They maintain that Allah has fore-knowledge of human action but does not compel man to any particular course of action.

Compulsory Charity (Zakah)

In Islam, the true owner of everything is God, not man.  People are given wealth as a trust from God.  Zakah is worship and thanksgiving to God by supporting the poor, and through it one’s wealth is purified.  It requires an annual contribution of 2.5 percent of an individual’s. Wealth Tax wealth and assets.  Therefore, Zakah is not mere “charity”; it is an obligation on those who have received their wealth from God to meet the needs of less fortunate members of the community.  Zakah is used to support the poor and the needy, help those in debt, and in, olden times, to free slaves.

Criminal Justice

“Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered.” (2:178) “As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands.” (5:38)  “The adulterer and the adulteress, scourged ye each one of them with a hundred stripes.”(24:2)

Culture (Islamic)

Culture has been defined as “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought characteristic of a community or population.  It is the set of shared beliefs, attitudes, values, and behavioral patterns of a group or organization.

Religion on the other hand is “the expression of man’s belief in and reverence for God who created the universe and govern it.”  It is as naïve to think that any religion encompasses the totality of culture as it is to think that any culture is solely the product of a religion.  Islam like many other religions claims to be universal accommodating within its fold the cultures of all its adherents provided that the bounds of the religions laws are not transgressed.

Islam consists of beliefs, acts of worship, a code of conduct and jurisprudence.  So long as the culture of a society lies within the parameters of Islamic beliefs, acts of worship, code of conduct and the shariah, that culture would be acceptable in Islam.

Day of Judgment

Muslims believe that all human beings will ultimately be judged by God (Allah), the Absolute Sovereign King and Judge, for their beliefs and actions in their earthly lives.

Day of Worship


Declaration of Faith

A Muslim is one who testifies that “none deserves worship but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”.  This declaration is known as he “shahada” (witness, testimony).  Allah is the Arabic name for God, His exclusive right to be worshipped, as well as the doctrine that associating anything else with God is the one unforgivable sin as the Koran reads: “God does not forgive anyone for associating something with Him, while He does forgive whomever He wishes to for anything else.  Anyone who gives God partners has invented an awful sin.” (Quran 4:48)

The second part of the testimony of faith states that Muhammad is a prophet of God like Abraham, Moses and Jesus before him.  Muhammad brought the last and final revelation.  In accepting Muhammad as the “seal of the prophets,” Muslims believe that his prophecy confirms and fulfills all of the revealed messages, beginning with Adam’s.  In addition, Muhammad serves as the role model through his exemplary life.  A believer’s effort to follow Muhammad’s example reflect the emphasis of Islam on practice and action.

Directing Others Away From Evil (Nahy’An Al Munkir)

Directing Others Towards Good (Amr Bi L-Ma’Aroof)

Divine Books 

The Qur’an mentions five divine books: 1) The Book of Abraham, sometimes referred as the Booklet.  2) The Psalms give to David.  3) The Torah granted to Moses.  4) The Evangel or the Gospel revealed to Jesus.  5) The Qur’an revealed to Muhammad.  A Muslim must believe in all the Holy Books.  He must also believe in all the prophets.  The Shiahs also believe that all the prophets were infallible and sinless.  Not all the Sunnis subscribe to this belief.

Divine Decree

Islam asserts that God has full power and knowledge of all things, and that nothing happens except by His Will and with His full knowledge.  What is known as divine decree, fate, or “destiny” is known in Arabic as al-Qad.  The destiny of every creature is already known to God.

This belief however does not contradict with the idea of man’s free will to choose his course of action.  God does not force one to do anything; one can choose whether to obey or disobey Him.  The choice is known to God before one even does it.  One does not know what their destiny is; but God knows the fate of all things.  Therefore, one should have firm faith that whatever befalls a person, it is according to

God’s will and with His full knowledge.  There may be things that happen in this world that a person does not understand, but one should trust that God has wisdom in all things.


Islam permits divorce where the marriage has Irreparably broken down.  But first there must be a process of reconciliation in which the elders of the two families as well as the community must strive to get the parties to reconcile.  The Prophet Mohammad has said that of all the permissible things divorce is the most detestable to Allah.


The Qur’an commands both men and women to “lower their gaze and be modest”.  The women have been further commanded “not to display their ornaments except what appears thereof and to wear their head covering over their bosom and not to display their ornaments except to their husband.

The proper dress is interpreted by some jurists as requiring a veiled face and body and others as requiring a scarf over the head to conceal the hair (an essential ornament) and the rest of the body, except the face, the hands and the feet, to be covered by a loose fitting outer garment.  In different cultures different forms of women’s dress, or veil or purdah have evolved.  The Quraanic object clearly appears to be protection of women from molestation and disrespect and not their treatment as inferior beings.


“Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities.  Lo!  Allah loveth not aggressors.  And slay them wherever ye find them.” (2:190) “O Prophet!  Exhort the believers to fight.”(8:65) O ye who believe!  Fight those of the disbelievers who are near you, and let them find harshness in you.” (9:123)   “Lo!  Allah loveth those who battle for His cause in ranks, as if they were a solid structure.” (61:4)

Evil Afterlife                           Eternal hell

Fast of Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar which is spent in fasting.  Healthy Muslims abstain from dawn to sunset from food, drink, and sexual activity.  Fasting develops spirituality, dependence upon God, and brings identification with the less fortunate.  A special evening prayer is also held in mosques in which recitations of the Quran are heard.  Families rise before dawn to take their first meal of the day to sustain them till sunset.  The month of Ramadan ends with one of the two major Islamic celebrations, the Feast of the Breaking of the Fast, called Eid al-fitr, which is marked by joyfulness, family visits, and exchanging of gifts.

Freeing of Slaves

This is not only an act of piety but is also prescribed as the primary penalty for certain willful acts or omissions, failure to fast or repay a lapsed fast, infringement of any regulation required to be observed during pilgrimage, etc. Liberation of slaves is highly recommended as an atonement of various sins.  Ill treatment of slaves and servant s is forbidden.  It is highly recommended that zakaah and other alms be   spent for liberating slaves.

God’s Purpose and Plan

Allah does as He pleases. Allah has created mankind primarily so that they may know their creator through his creation.  Muslims believe that God (Allah) in the end of time will bring all the world into submission and worship of the only true God (Allah).  

To the Muslim, the Islamic way of life is pure and wholesome.  It builds self-discipline and self-control through regular prayers and fasting.  By accepting to live as God conscious life, and realizing that the only thinking that distinguishes people in the sight of God is their consciousness of Him in which a person’s true dignity is realized.

God is not a Spirit

An angel can be a spirit but God is not a spirit.

God’s Spokesmen 

Old Testament Prophets, Jesus, culminating in Muhammad.  Muhammad was the final prophet of God.

God’s Written Word

al Qur’an (the recitation) of 114 suras (units)                       supported by many volumes of hadith (traditions).  The Qur’an was dictated to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel in pure Classical Arabic.  It is our link to God.


The six major hadith collections; Arabic: Al-Kutub Al-Sittah) are collections of hadith by Islamic scholars who, approximately 200 years after Muhammad’s death and by their own initiative, collected “hadith” attributed to Muhammad.  They are sometimes referred to as Al-Sihah al-Sittah, which translates to “TheAuthentic Six”.

Sunni Muslims view the six major hadith collections as their most important.  They are in order of authenticity: 1) Sahih Bukari, collected by Imam Bukhari 2) Sahih Muslim, collected by Muslim b. al-Hajjaj 3) Sunan al-Sughra, collected by Al-Nasa’i  4) Sunan Abu Dawood, collected by Abu Dawood   5) Jami al-Tirmidhi, collected by al-Tirmidhi  6) Sunan ibn Majah, collected by Ibn Majah.

Head Covering/Hijab

Hijab refers to the traditional head, face, or body covering worn by Muslim women or men.  It does not only refer to the physical body covering, but also embodies a metaphysical dimension, where al-haijab refers to “the veil which separates man or the world from God.”

Hijab can also be used to refer to the seclusion of women from men in the public sphere.  Most often, it is worn by Muslim women as a symbol of modesty, privacy, and morality, particularly in the presence of nonrelated adult males.

According to the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, modest in the Qur’an concerns both men’s and women’s gaze, gait, garments, and genitalia.


God (Allah) has said in the Qur’an: “Those who                 have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if one offered it as a ransom.  They will have a painful punishment, and they will have not helpers.” (3:91)

So, this life is the only chance to win Paradise and to escape from Hellfire, because if someone dies in disbelief, he will not have another chance to come back to this world to believe.  As God (Allah) has said in the Qur’an about what is going to happen for the unbelievers on the Day of Judgment: “If you could be see when they are set before the Fire (Hell) and say, “Would that we might return (to the world)!  Then we would not reject the verses of our Lord, but we would be of the believers!” (6:27)

Islam teaches that Hell is a real place prepared by God for those who do not believe in Him, rebel against His laws, and reject His messengers.  Hell is an actual place, not a mere state of mind or a spiritual entity.  The horrors, pain, anguish, and punishment are all real, but different in nature than their earthly counterparts.  Hell is the ultimate humiliation and loss and nothing is worse than it. 

Hell exists at the present time and will continue to exist forever.  It will never die down, and its inhabitants will remain in it forever.  No one will come out of Hell except sinful believers who believed in the Onenes of God in this life and believed in the specific prophet sent to them (before the coming of Muhammad).

The Names of Hell are: 1) Jaheem – fire – because of its blazing fire 2) Jahannam – Hell – because of the depth of its pit 3) Ladthaa – blazing fire – because of its flames  4) Sa’eer – blazing flame – because it is kindled and ignited  5) Saqar – because of the intensity of its heat6) Hatamah – broken pieces or debris – because it breaks and crushes everything that is thrown into it  7) Haawiya – chasm or abyss – because the one who is thrown into it is thrown from top to bottom.

House of Worship


Human Nature

The Islamic view of the nature of man is that human beings are not believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen as equally capable of both good and evil; it is their choice.  Islam teaches that faith and action go hand in hand.  God has given people freewill, and the measure of one’s faith is their deeds and actions. However, since human beings have also been created innately weak and regularly fall into sin, they are in need of continually seeking guidance and repentance, which is, in itself, also a form of worship accepted by God (Allah).  The nature of the human being as created by God in His Majesty and Wisdom, is not inherently “corrupt” or in need of repair. 

Adam is believed to have been tempted by Satan and disobeyed God.  However, God forgave him for his sins.  Muslims have no concept of original sin.  Adam  is considered a prophet.

Idle Chatter, Slander and Infringement of Privacy

These are totally forbidden for Muslims.


Only the Shiahs believe in the institution of Imaamah.  Literally imaam means a leader.  In Shiah belief an Imaam is the person appointed by God and introduced by the Prophet and then by each preceding Imaam by explicit  designation (nass) to lead the Muslim community, interpret and protect the religion and the law (shariah), and guide the community in all affairs.

An Emaam is first and foremost the Representative of God and the successor of the Prophet.  He must be sinless and possess divine knowledge of both the exoteric and the esoteric meaning of the verses of the Qur’an.


And infidel is known as a kafir  and is someone who “rejects submission to God” even though he is fully aware of His existence, as well as meaning a person who is a true Atheist, one who “rejects the very existence of God.”  Just because someone believes there is a God, they can still be a kafir and be (technically) condemned to hell.  There are specific things that make someone an infidel, which Arabic words describe such as Kafir, Kufr, Mushri and, Shirk.

Kafir – Generally the word kafir means “unbeliever” and it is not meant as a derogatory label (unless it is used against Muslims by another Muslim).  Of course, there are different levels of Kufur (disbelief) so although a person may be correctly identified as a kafir, that person is not kafir in the strongest sense of the word.  Absolute kufur is the denial of God.  Here are some examples of kufur:

1)    A person is known as a Kafir if they are disbelievers in Allah, in His Oneness, and in His final Messenger, Muhammad (SAW). (An apostate from Islam).

2)    A “Muslim” who disbelieves in a necessary tenant of Islam like the 5 Pillars or some other things, is known as a disbeliever.

3)    An originally non-Muslim person who denies the religion of Islam while knowing in his heart that it is true.

4)    A disbeliever in Islam only because they originally follow another (monotheistic) faith.

5)    A person who follows another (monotheistic) faith and know nothing about Islam.

6)    A person who believes in many gods (polytheist).

7)    An agnostic who is a monotheist is a lesser kafir than a polytheist.

8)    And Atheist – ultimate kufur.

Generally a Christian or Jew is not identified as a kafir but they are known as Ahlul kitab – People of the Book (s), and Islam considers their religions valid but once they find Islam they are expected to follow the updated covenant sent by God (Allah).

Kufr – The action of showing ungratefulness to                   Allah and disbelief in Him and His Prophets.  One who does this is known as a Kufr.

Mushrik – Polytheist, pagan, idolater, disbeliever in the Oneness of Allah, a person who worships others along with Allah, and also those who set up rivals with (or partners to) Allah.

Shirk –Associating false gods with the One, True God, or adding partners in worship with Allah (God).  This is a form of Kufur (disbelief in the religion of God), and any person who does this is not a Muslim.  A person who commits shirk is a mushrik (polytheist).


The Gospels of Jesus Christ: The words of Jesus.  To Muslims, those accounts have been corrupted over the years.  Others believe the Injil is not a book, but a group of teachings.

Inspiration of Sacred Text    

Literal Word of God (Allah)


Date Founded 622CE - Name derived from an Arabic word for “submission”: a state of submission to God worshipping Allah alone and reverently accepting and obeying His Law.  Through this submission, the peace, security and wholesome well-being implied in its literal meaning is achieved. Place Founded Arabian Peninsula.


One of many accepted prophets of God, whose message has been corrupted, but he is not the Son of God and not the Savior of mankind.    

He was born of a Virgin.  Jesus did not die, but ascended alive, bodily into heaven.  Jesus Resurrection is denied, since he did not die. Jesus Second Coming is affirmed.

Jesus Christ is a prophet of God, born of Virgin Mary, by the word of the God as told to Mary by Angel Gabriel.  He was taken up by Allah without experiencing death.


There are two kinds of jihad, the major jihad and the minor jihad.  The Major Jihad: (Jihad Al-Akbar) is the struggle against one’s inner self (nafs) to subjugate and control one’s passions and carnal desires.  The Minor Jihad (Jihad Al-Asghar) means to struggle for Islam for the defence of Islam and the protection of its values.  Such a struggle can take many forms, through the use of pen, through the use of tongue or through the use of sword.  This last form is often referred to in the Qur’an as Quital (Warfare).


A Muslim is required to act with justice in all his dealings with other human beings and in all circumstances.

Justice of God 

Allah is Just.  The Sunni school of thought subscribes to the view that nothing is good or evil per se.  What God commanded us to do became good by virtue of His command.  What he forbade became evil.

The Shias believe that there is intrinsic good or evil in things.  God commanded us to do the good things and forbade the veil.  God acts according to a purpose or design.  Human reason cannot comprehend this design or purpose in its entirety though man must always strive to understand as much as he can.

Lewdness and Indecencies

These are totally forbidden for Muslims.

Life after Death

Muslims believes that a day will come when all of creation will perish and be resurrected in order to be judged for their deed: The Day of Judgment: Paradise or Hell On this day, all will gather in the presence of God and each individual will be questioned about his life in the world and how he lived it.  Those who held correct beliefs about God and life, and followed their belief with righteous deeds will enter Paradise, even though they may pay for some of their sins in Hell if God out of His Infinite Justice chooses           not to forgive them.  As for those who fell into polytheism in its many faces, they will enter Hellfire, never to leave therefrom.

Major Branches 

Sunni and Shi’ite

Major Division 

Sunni and Shia, 650 CE This division occurred due to a dispute as to the legitimate successor of the prophet Mohammed.  There is also a mystical/ascetic movement in Islam known as Sufi.

Major Location Today

Middle East & Southeast Asia

Major Sacred Rituals


1.     Declaration of Faith

2.     Prayer (Salah)

3.     Compulsory Charity (Zakah)

4.     Fast of Ramadan (Sawm)

5.     Pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca

Major Symbols

Crescent, name of Allah in Arabic


Marriage is a solemn contract between a man and a woman, each giving his or her consent freely and without any duress, to become life partners and enjoy the rights conferred and fulfill the obligations imposed by the shariah.

Marriage Temporary (Mutaa)

The Shiah law also permits temporary marriages.  It has the same rights and obligations as a permanent marriage except that the marriage will terminate by effluxion of time, and, if the parties so agree, the relationship may be for companionship only without consummation.


The Qur’anic Arabic word shaheed means “witness” and can also denote a “martyr”.  It is used as an honorific for Muslims who have laid down their life fulfilling a religious commandment, or have died fighting defending their faith, country or family.

A shaheed is considered one whose place in Paradise is promised according to these verses in the Qur’an: “Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead.  Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord; They rejoice in the bounty provided by Allah: And with regard to those left behind, who have not ye joined them (in their bliss), the Shudada’s (martyrs’) glory is in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve.” (Qur’an Sura 3 (Al-i-Imran), Ayat 169-10)

Allah hath purchased of the believers their                           persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah?  Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” (Qur’an, Sura 9 (At-Twba), Ayah 111)

“Those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, and are then slain or die, on them will Allah bestow verily a goodly Provision: Truly Allah is He Who bestows the best provision.” (Qur’an, Surah 22 (al-Hajj), Ayah 58)

Muslims note that the above Quranic passages are often misinterpreted to mean that martyrsare promised Paradise, but it is also promised to those who die.  In other words, it is not the way that a Muslim dies that determines if they go to Paradise or not, rather, it is their faith and deeds.

Means of Repentance & Salvation

According to Muslim belief, the avenue of salvation and repentance is open to all.  God (Allah) knew that humans were going to make mistakes, so the real test is whether they seek repentance for their sins and try to avoid them, or if they choose a life of heedlessness and sin, knowing well that it is not pleasing to God.  The true balance of an Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of God’s (Allah) rightful punishment for crimes and sins, as well as a sincere belief that Allah, in His infinite Mercy, takes pleasure in bestowing His reward for our good deeds and sincere worship to Him.

Once a person reaches puberty, his/her account of deeds is opened in Paradise.  To attain paradise at death, their good deeds: (Helping others, Testifying to the Truth of Allah, Leading a virtuous life) must out way evil deeds.

In summary, there must be the following:

1) Correct belief 2) Good Deeds 3) Adherence to the Five Pillars: a) Prayer b) Pilgrimage c) Charity d) Fasting e) and Confession of faith. 

Mode of Divine Revelation

Muhammad wrote the Qur’an as instructed by the angel Gabriel, which was transcribed by his followers.


“Tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest…and to draw their veils overtheir bosoms…let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.” (24:31) “Tell thy wives and thy daughters to draw their cloaks close round them…” (33:59)


Muslims regard Muhammad more as the restorer of the true monotheistic faith, rather than the founder of a new religion.  Muhammad is believed by Muslims to be the last and final prophet whom God (Allah) sent to humanity.  At the age of forty, he is purported to have received the revelation from God (Allah).       

He then spent the remaining portion of his life explaining, and living the teachings of Islam, the religion that Allah revealed to him. He is believed by Muslims to guide humanity until the Last Day because he has been sent as a mercy to all of mankind.  To Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad, was sent as the final Messenger to all humanity.

Muslims believe the result of his mission has brought more people into the pure belief in One God than any other prophet.  Since the beginning of time, God sent prophets to the earth, each one to his own specific nation.  The Prophet Muhammad, however, was sent as the final Messenger to all of humanity.

To Muslims, all of God’s Messengers preached the message of Islam, i.e., submission to the law of God and the worship of God alone, but Muhammad is the last prophet of Islam who brought the final and complete message which was never to be changed until the Last Day.

Muhammad’s Childhood 

Mohammad’s early life in the Arabian Peninsula is a story of tragedy and struggle.  He was born around AD 570.  His father, Abd-Allah, died before he was born.  Allah was a part of his father’s name because that was the name of the primary deity of his clan.  Amina, Muhammad’s mother, followed an old Arab custom of giving the infant to a Bedouin woman to be nursed for a significant period of time.  When he was six years old, his mother died.  To be an orphan in the sixth century Mecca was a sad situation.  Abui-Talib, the head of the impoverished Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe and Muhammad’s uncle, was given charge of the boy.  He grew up in the midst of violent conflicts between individuals and tribes.

Muhammad’s Marriage

One of the ways a person in Muhammad’s position could gain wealth and power would be to marry well.  A forty-year-old businesswoman named Khadijah decided to marry the twenty-five-year-old Muhammad if he proved himself responsible by acting as her agent on a caravan to Syria.  She had been married twice before.  Until her death, Khadijay was Mohammed’s only wife.  They raised four daughters but their two sons died in infancy.  In spite of his influential wife, Muhammad struggled to gain respect from the merchants in Mecca who excluded him from their inner circle.  It is probable that this is one factor that led him to seek spiritual help.

Muhammad’s Religious Quest

Muhammad found the Arabian religious life more troubling than helpful.  The Christians of the Roman and Byzantine empires dominated much of the world and had gained converts in Arabia.  Even Khadijah’s cousin, Waraqah, had become a Christian.  There were also wealthy Jewish tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, yet the main religion of the country and the faith of Muhammad’s tribe was idol worship.

Mecca was the center of this polytheistic religion of which Muhammad belonged.  These pagans prayed by facing Mecca.  They traveled to Mecca for annual pilgrimages.  There they would enter an arena (Masjid) where they circled around an ancient stone building, which was filled with idols.  A black stone could be seen from the outside of the Kaaba like a cornerstone.  The stone or meteorite was kissed in veneration.  About one mile away from the Kaaba, at the Wadi Mina, the pilgrims threw rocks at a pillar that represented the devil.  They believed in a lunar month of fasting and giving alms to the poor.

When Muhammad seized control of Mecca, he destroyed all the idols inside the Kaaba, except the revered black stone.  However, he preserved each of these pagan practices and today they remain a significant part of the Islamic monotheistic rituals.  This certainly made conversion to Islam easier for the people of Muhammad’s day.  Many of today’s Muslims, though, have trouble following these rituals while still keeping with a highly technological society.  The vast majority of Muslims also live far from Saud Arabia where they must go for their pilgrimage, which becomes a great financial burden to them.

Muhammad - Qur’an 

Muhammad’s distressing situation culminated in reported spiritual experiences.  For reasons of his own, Muhammed began to meditate in wilderness caves.  He claimed that it was during one of these times that he was visited by a spiritual being which commanded him to recite a few sentences.  Later, Muhammad believed he was being demon possessed and tried to kill himself but then again claimed to be rescued by another spiritual appearance, which assured him of his prophet-hood.

According to Muslim history, Muhammad continued to receive messages.  He recited them to his followers who wrote them on any objects available such as rocks or bones.  These messages came as Muhammad had episodes in which he would seem to have seizures.  In the midst of these spells, Muhammad spoke as if Allah were speaking instead of him.  He claimed that his spiritual guide, whom he later identified as the angel Gabriel, funneled messages through his poetic revelations.  The Qur’an makes it clear that most and Jews of the time believed this behavior to be either insanity or demonic.  At first the sayings were short, but later in his life they became quite lengthy.

Muhammad – The Qur’an Becomes a Book

Shortly after Muhammad’s death, his verses remained written on stones, bones, leather, and hidden in the memories of his devoted followers. Years passed and most of those, who claimed to remember all of the Qur’an by heart, were killed in battle.  Some of the items on which verses were written were damaged or lost.  So with great urgency experts shared what they remembered and gathered the verses recorded by others to produce the first Qur’an.  They were copied and distributed throughout the Islamic communities. 

Muslims today are committed to the idea that there was one original Qur’an which was compiled without any mistakes, omissions or additions.  Yet, Islamic history shows that perhaps four to seven different versions of the Qur’an emerged.  One of Mohammad’s   successors, Caliph Uthman, was shocked by this fact.  He assigned a committee of three people to construct a standardized version of the Qur’an.  Then Muslim leaders tried to burn all other versions of the Qur’an (Sahih Bukari, Vol. 6, p. 479). 

The vast majority of Muslims are strongly offended by scholars who suggest that the Qur’an was edited, changed or was in any way different from the original pronouncements of Allah through Muhammad.  They believe that the burned Qur’ans had only minor differences and that the standard copy, blessed by Caliph Uthman, was made by devout followers of Muhammad who had memorized the verses with unerring perfection.  They would reject the traditions that imply any deficiencies in the Qur’an as unreliable Islamic history.  They revere the Qur’an as the perfect word of Allah and resist critical scholarly inquiry into imperfections in the text.           

Muhammad - Qur’an Attributes

Thy physical characteristics of the Qur’an are interesting.  It is a book that is somewhat shorter than the Christian New Testament.  Its chapters were not arranged in the sequence that they were spoken, but by size with most of the largest chapters first and the shortest last.  For this reason, it has no chronology of events or ideas.  The Koran, published by Penguin Classics, attempts to correct this by rearranging the chapters according to when they might have been recited by Muhammed.

Following the train of thought within a chapter is a challenge.  The subject within a chapter and even a verse may change to different topics with no transition.  This is why a topical study is so important.

When Muhammad spoke the verses, he did not use the first person singular as in “I say that you must believe”.  He spoke as if he were relaying a message from Allah, transmitted by an angel (Gabriel), who was supposed to have spoken in the first person plural: “We created the world and we command the people to believe in you (Muhammad) as a prophet,” for example.  Muslims do not believe that the use of “we” for Allah is a contradiction of the oneness of Allah.

Muhammad spoke Arabic which is the language of the Qur’an.  Even Muslims who do not understand the language are instructed to memorize the Qur’an in Arabic.  They do this because they believe that the Qur’an stops being the true Qur’an when it is translated into another language losing the true meaning in the process.

Muhammad - Qur’an Teachings

A few themes repeat themselves often in the Qur’an.  The foremost are the commands to believe in Allah’s oneness as opposed to idolatry and Muhammad’s validity as a prophet equal to Biblical prophets.  In support of these beliefs, the Qur’an repeats the wonders of creation, the foolishness of idol worship, the terrors of Judgment Day and the alleged confirmation from the Bible.

The word “alleged” is used in reference to the Qur’an’s link with the Bible for a good reason.  When the Jews and Christians of the time heard the Qur’an’s references to the Bible, they recognized two problems.  They found many strange tales being portrayed as Biblical stories.  One example is King Solomon communicating with ants and birds.  This was one reason Muhammad lacked the support he expected from the other monotheistic faiths.  The second was that the theology of the Qur’an contradicted the Bible.  The Qur’an claimed to agree with the Gospel of Jesus Christ while denying the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and salvation through the cross and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

To persuade readers to believe and obey the teachings of the Qur’an, several incentives are reiterated in the text.  Earthly regards are extended such as victory in battle and the spoils of war which come from fighting for the cause of Islam.  After death, there are promises of sensual pleasures in the Gardens of Paradise contrasted with the many horrors of hell.

There are five basic pillars of Islam which Muslims highlight as being taught by the Qur’an and their sacred history books call the Hadith.  They include the confession that Allah is one and Muhammad is a prophet (Kalim), prayer facing Mecca five times each day (Salat), alms giving (Zakat), a month of fasting during the daylight hours practices annually (Ramadan), and a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a Muslim’s life (Hajj).

Muhammad’s - Rejection 

The Qur’an has a certain poetic quality which Muslims believe is miraculously beautiful.  Even so, the vast majority of Muhammad’s contemporaries did not believe Muhammad’s verses to be extraordinary since the Arabian Peninsula was famous for its many poets and mystic seers.  This fact is attested to in the Qur’an itself.

Aside from the writing style, the content of the message was offensive to the idol worshipers of Mecca.  Muhammad was reciting verses that announced that Allah was the one and only deity.  His message condemned idol worship, upon which the Meccan economy relied.  As a result, Muhammad gained a very small following in the first ten years of his self-proclaimed prophet-hood.  Even his tribe turned against him which was unheard of in an age when clan loyalty was the foundation of the culture.  When Muhammad sought to transfer his movement to a town called At-Taif the leaders ended the negotiations with such strong opposition that they encouraged the residents of the community to throw stones at Muhammad as he retreated.

Muhammad - Holy War

The Meccans were plotting to take Muhammad’s life so relocation to a different place was essential.  Negotiations with the town of Medina went much better than those at At-Taif.  Medina was a prosperous agricultural center that struggled with tribal friction.  Some in Medina hoped that the presence of the Muslims would bring a spiritual sense of peace and Muhammad was invited to come as an arbitrator of disputes.  Just before the Meccans tried to execute their plan to kill Muhammad, he and his small group of believers fled to Medina where the community of followers began to grow in influence and power.  The first day of this move was July 1, 622.  Muslims cite this date as the first day of the Islamic calendar.

Shortly after the migration, the Islamic religion turned to violence as a means of dealing with their enemies.  Muhammad proclaimed verses that allowed Muslims to fight for Islam.  They began by targeting the Meccans.  The Muslims raided caravans in the name of Allah, which eventually led to formal battles between them and the armed forces of Mecca.  The fighting expanded to include those who supported Mecca.  The Muslims began to acquire riches in the way of spoils of war.

The Muslims were experiencing success.  The fact that they were now a military force unified their ranks and increased their membership.  The Muslims’ influence over the tribes of Medina grew as their enemies began to fear them.  For example, there were three Jewish tribes in Medina.  All three rejected Muhammad as a genuine prophet in the tradition of Biblical prophets.  This must have been a great disappointment to Muhammad as the Qur’an claims to be an extension of the Bible.  There is no evidence that they took military action against the Muslims, but Muhammad attacked them one at a time.  The first two, Banu Qaynuqah and Nadir, were forced into exile.

The Islamic forces confiscated their homes, lands and rich orchards.  The last remaining Jewish tribe in Medina was the Banu Qurayzah.  Muhammad’s forces surrounded the Banu Qurayzah.  The siege was a success.  Upon surrendering all their weapons they received a sentence which was severe even for those times.  The Muslims executed all the Jewish men, somewhere between 600 and 900, and their women and children became the slaves of their Muslim conquerors or were sold.  Muhammad was in charge of distributing their riches.  Muhammad also took one of their widows, Rayhana, whose husband had just been executed, to be his concubine.

The soldier of Mecca met the Muslim forces in battles at Badr and Uhud.  At the Battle of Uhud in AD 625, Muhammad himself was wounded in the head so severely that a mistake cry went out that he was dead.  The battle was a draw, but for the Muslims to have faced Meccans and survived was, in a sense, some kind of victory.

Eventually, Muslim forces became strong enough that Mecca agreed to a peace treaty with Muhammad called the treaty of “Al-Hudaybiya” in March AD 628.  It was to have insured peace for ten years.  The mistake the Meccans made in the treaty was to allow Muhammad the freedom to attack neighboring tribes who were not protected by the truce.  Muhammad also allowed raids to continue on Meccan caravan by groups whom he claimed were not member of his forces.  They were allegedly operating beyond Muhammad’s control.

The treaty was broken only two years after it was ratified.  There are differing reasons for how the truce ended, but the outcome is history.  Muhammad claimed that the Al-Hudaybiyah Peace Treaty had been broken by the Meccans.  His Islamic forces invaded and conquered Mecca in January AD 630.

Following Muhammad’s death, the Islamic military victories in northern Africa, Europe and the Middle East certainly added to the spread of the religion as did international trade with Asian countries.  The Muslim’s use of violence against their enemies, as a part of their religious duty called “jihad” or “holy war,” is still widely practiced around the world into the new millennium for self-defense and to enhance Islamic power and influence.  The question Muslims face is how and when jihad should be practiced.

Muhammad - Success

Muhammad had tremendous wealth and power at the age of sixty.  His rise to prominence in Medina and the Muslim’s eventual victory over Mecca brought Muhammad into complete control over an expanding domain.  He was revered as the voice of Allah.  He controlled the fate and property of those who opposed Islam.  Many Jewish and Christian communities were allowed some freedom of worship as long as they paid taxes to Muhammad, submitted to Islamic rule and stopped sharing their faith in order to evangelize others.

The respect given to him was so great that even to this day his opinions on rules for conduct, dress, daily habits and even beard style are held as examples to follow around the world.  Muhammad’s opinions and the history of his rise to power are recorded in writings call the Hadith.  The Hadith is not one volume but rather a large number of texts compiled several hundred years after the time of Muhammad.  The most respected of these is the collection called, Sahih Al-Bukari.  It details the rules Muhammad gave for daily life, boasts of Muhammad’s exploits and offers the faithful Muslim a guide for daily life.

For one who had to prove himself worthy to marry a wealthy widow, Muhammad now had numerous female relationships.  Following the death of Khadijah, Muhammad had approximately sixteen wives plus slave girls who were captured in battle.  Upon his death Muhammad had nine wives still living and two slave girls.  Two of his more controversial marriages were to Ayisha and Zainab.  Ayisha was wed to Muhammad when she was only six years old with the marriage being consummated when she was the age of nine.  At the time, Muhammad was fifty three years old.  Zainab was his adopted son’s ex-wife. 

Muslim View of Christianity

When Muslims and Christians read the Bible and the Qur’an, it is evident to both communities that there are vital differences, as well as similarities that exist between these religions.  The differences, Muslims feel, are innovations and corruptions introduced by Christians and Jews into the Bible during the course of history.  These innovations and corruptions, Muslims would say, do not belong to the original holy Books which the prophets received from God.  Thus, they conclude, the Qur’an also corrects the Bible where it had become corrupted.

Moreover, some Muslims would add, Jews and Christians wrongly interpret portions of their Scriptures which, Muslims feel, refer to Muhammad as God’s final messenger and to the Qur’an as God’s final message for mankind.

Some of the following teachings in the New Testament, which Muslims view as innovations, corruptions and false interpretations, are as follows:

1.     Christians Worship Several Gods - The Qur’an frequently recognizes that Jews and Christians worship one God.  Some Muslims also recognize that Jews and Christians worship one God.  Yet some verses in the Qur’an also suggest that Christians are worshippers of more than one God, or of Jesus the Messiah in the place of God: “They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three.” (5:73)   “And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary!  Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?” (5:116)   “They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo!  Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary.” (5:17)

 When as some Muslims think, Christians believe in three gods or associate another god with God or substitute someone or something for God, they become idolaters and polytheists.  To associate anything or anyone with God is the supreme and unforgiveable sin, according to the Qur’an.

In fact, many Muslims view Christians as tritheists rather than as Trinitarians, worshippers of three gods: God, Mary and Jesus (or God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit). Thus Christians appear to Muslims to contradict the cardinal belief in Islam that God is one, that there is no god except God (Allah).


2.     God is Not Father and Jesus is Not the Son of God – Related to the Muslim affirmation that God is one, is the Muslim denial that God is Father and that Jesus is the Son of God.

The Qur’an says: “The Originator of the heavens and the earth!  How can He have a child, when there is for Him no consort…? (6:102)   And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah…How perverse are they!” (9:30) “I befitteth not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should take unto Himself a son. … (19:35) “Say: He is Allah, the One!  Allah, the eternally besought of all!  He begetteth not nor was begotten.  And there is none comparable unto Him. (112:1-4)

From the above and other Quranic passages, many Muslims conclude that Christian belief in the Fatherhood God and the Sonship of Jesus rests on the belief that God has a consort.  Apart from a woman how else can one beget a son and become a father!

3.     Jesus Did Not Die on the Cross – Muslims generally deny that Jesus died on the cross on the basis of the following Quranic verses:

“And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, Allah’s messenger.  They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them, and lo!  Those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture: they slew him not for certain, but Allah took him up unto Himself.  Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.” (4:157-158)


4.     Jews and Christians Have Changed Their Scriptures – It has already been noted that the opinion of many Muslims that Jews and Christians no longer possess the Scriptures originally given them by God or accurate copies of them.  Muslim responses to the Bible usually take the form of one or a combination of the following claims: 1) The Scriptures previous to the Qur’an have become textually corrupted.   2) The scriptures previous to the Qur’an have been abrogated by the Qur’an.  3) The Injil (Gospel) was taken into heaven with Jesus at the time of his ascent.


5.     The Bible Prophesies the Coming of Muhammad – The following Quranic passages encourage Muslims to seek predictions of Muhammad in the Bible: “Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them… (7:157)   “And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel!  Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is Praised One. (61:6)


Muslims appeal particularly to two portions of the Bible to substantiate their claim: The Torah, in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 and the Gospel in John chapters 14 through 16.


6.     The Message of Jesus Is for Israel Only – Many Muslims say that Christians have altered the original Gospel.  Yet some Muslims freely cite the following passage from the Gospel accounts to support their assertion that in an absolute sense Jesus’ message was solely for Israel:  “Jesus answered: I am sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)


The Quranic passage in (3:71) summarizes the Muslim view of the corruption of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures: “O People of the Scripture!  Why confound ye truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth?”

Nature of Man 

Man is sinless at birth with capacity for unlimited moral and spiritual progress through belief in God and faithful adherence to the teachings of Muhammad.  In the Qur’an, Allah teaches human beings that they were created in order to glorify and worship Him, and that the basis of all true worship is God-consciousness.  All of Allah’s creatures worship him naturally and only the humans have the free will to worship Allah their Creator or to reject Him.  This is a great test, but also a great honor.

Since the teachings of Islam encompass all aspects of life and ethics, God-consciousness is encouraged in all human affairs.  Islam makes it clear that all human acts are acts of worship if they are done for God alone and in accordance to His Divine Scripture and Law.  As such, worship in Islam is not limited to religious rituals, and for this reason it is more properly known as a “way of life” than a religion.

The Islamic view of nature of man is that human beings are not believed to be inherently sinful, but are seen rather as equally cable of both good and evil; it is their choice.  Islam teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand.  God has given people free-will, and the measure of one’s faith is their deeds and actions.  However, since human beings have also been created innately weak and regularly fall into sin, they are in need of continually seeking guidance and repentance, which is, in itself, also a form of worship loved by Allah.  The nature of the human being as created by God in His Majesty and Wisdom, is not inherently “corrupt” or in need of repair.

The avenue of repentance is always open to all.  Almighty God knew that humans were going to make mistakes, so the real test is whether they seek repentance for their sins and try to avoid them, or if they prefer a life of heedlessness and sin, knowing well that it is not pleasing to God.  The true balance of an Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of Allah’s rightful punishment for crimes and sins, as well as a sincere belief that Allah, in His infinite Mercy, takes pleasure in bestowing His reward for our good deeds and sincere worship to Him.

The Holy Qur’an as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, also contains a great deal of teachings about life in the hereafter and the Day of Judgment.  Muslims believe that all human beings will ultimately be judged by Allah, the Absolute Sovereign King and Judge, for their beliefs and actions in their earthly lives.  In judging human beings, Allah the Exalted will be both Absolutely Just, by only punishing the truly guilty and rebellious unrepentant criminals, and Absolutely Merciful for those people who He, in His wisdom, judges worthy of mercy.  None will be judged for that which was beyond their capacity, or for that which they did not actually do.  It is sufficient to say that Islam teaches that life is a test designed by                  Allah, the Creator, Almighty and Most Wise; and that all human beings will be accountable before Allah for what they did with their lives.

Original Language


Other Good Deeds

This includes the respect of the elders, teachers and scholars, hospitality, keeping of promises, adhering to contracts and covenants, and repayment of debts, and the forgiving of any debt owed to one by a person unable to repay.  All of these good deeds are mandatory.

Other Holidays

Mawlid and Ashura

Other Spiritual Beings

Angels, demons, jinn

Other Written Authority

Hadith (See study of Hadith above)


Janna is the Arabic word for garden and is described as translated into English as, “Paradise, a garden on high, a home that will last, garden of eternity, garden of everlasting bliss, gardens of delight, home of peace and home of the righteous.  There will be no sickness, pain, sadness or death there. 

The Prophet Muhammad said that there are things in Paradise “which no eye has seen no ear has heard and no human mind has thought of.”  According to Surah 55:72, “The prophet Muhammad said, The smallest reward for the people of paradise is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from Damascus to Yemen.”

“Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring: and angels shall enter unto them from every gate: Peace unto you for that ye persevered in patience!  Now how excellent is the final home!”

The Islamic texts describes life for its immortal inhabitants as: one that is happy, without hurt, sorrow, fear or shame, where very wish is fulfilled.  Traditions relate that inhabitants will be the same age (33 years), and of the same standing/equal.  Their life is one of bliss including: wearing fancy robes, bracelets, perfumes as they partake in exquisite banquets, served in priceless vessels by immortal youths, as they recline on couches inlaid with gold or precious stones.  Other foods mentioned include meats, scented wine and clear drinks bringing            neither drunkenness nor rousing quarrelling.  Inhabitants will rejoice in the company of their parents, spouses, and children (provided they were admitted to paradise) conversing and recalling the past.

Dwellings for inhabitants will be pleasant, with                   lofty gardens, shady valleys, fountains scented with camphor or ginger, rivers of water, milk, honey and wines; delicious fruits of all seasons without thorns: One day in paradise is considered equal to a thousand years on earth.  Palaces are made from bricks of gold, silver, pearls, among other things.  Traditions also note the presence of horses and camels of dazzling whiteness, along with other creatures.  Large trees are described, mountains made of musk, between which rivers flow in valleys of pearl and ruby.

In spite of the goodly dwellings given to the inhabitants of paradise, the approval of God and nearness to him is considered greater.  According to the Qur’an, God will bring the elect near to his throne, a day on which some faces shall be shining in contemplating their Lord.  The vision of God is regarded as the greatest of all rewards, surpassing all other joys. 

Finally, quoting from Surah 52:17, 19, 20 & 22-24) “As to the righteous, they will be in gardensand in happiness to them will be said: Eat and drink ye, with profit and health, because of your good deeds.  They will recline with ease on thrones of   dignity arranged in ranks; and we shall join (marry) them to companions with beautiful big and lustrous eyes…And we shall bestow on them, of fruit and meat, anything they desire.  They shall there exchange one another, a cup free of frivolity, free of all taint of ill, and round about them, youth (handsome) as pearls well-guarded.”


Respect for, and obedience and kindness to, parents are enjoined upon Muslims.  Obedience is, however, excused where the parents require injustice to be perpetrated.

Personal Accountability

The activities of the wicked and of the saint, of the generous and of the grasping, are all Allah’s creation.  Allah may give up to seven spirits to a man.  But those who choose good will be rewarded and evil punished.

Pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca

At least once in a lifetime, every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able is required to sacrifice time, wealth, status, and ordinary comforts of life to make the Hajj pilgrimage, putting himself totally at God’s service.  Every year over two million believers from a diversity of cultures and languages travel from all over the world to the sacred city of Mecca to respond to God’s call.

Political Science

Sovereignty belongs to God.  The ruler, whether a king or an elected or nominated representative, can only rule as His vicegerent and in accordance with His laws.


A marriage with up to four wives is permitted.  There are, however, strict conditions as to equal and just treatment of all the wives.


(Ob’adah-b-Swa’met reported that Muhammad had said: “Five prayers i.e., times of prayer – the Almighty Allah made them obligatory.)  When the call is heard for the prayer of the day of congregation, haste unto remembrance of Allah” (62:9)

Muslims worship five times a day: at daybreak, noon, midafternoon, sunset and evening.  It helps keep believers mindful of God in the stress of work and family.  It resets the spiritual focus, reaffirms total dependence on God, and puts world concerns within the perspective of the last judgment and the afterlife.  The prayers consist of standing, bowing, kneeling, putting the forehead on the ground, and sitting.

The Prayer is a means in which a relationship between God and His creation is maintained.  It includes recitations from the Quran, praises of God, prayers for forgiveness and other various supplications.  The Prayer is an expression of submission, humility, and adoration of God.  Prayers can be offered in any clean place, alone or together, in a mosque or at home, at work or on the road, indoors or out.

It is preferable to pray with others as one body united in worship of God, demonstrating discipline, brotherhood, equality, and solidarity.  As they pray, Muslims face Mecca, the holy city centered around the Kaaba-the house of God built by Abraham and his son Ishmael.


God created mankind to serve Him.  He endowed man with faculties and freedom of action and out of His Grace and Justice sent Prophets to instruct and guide mankind.  No nation or community was left without such guidance. 

Some of these prophets were sent with Divine Revelation, scripture and miracles.  The first Prophet was Adam and the last was Muhammad, the Seal of Prophets.  Five of these prophets brought new codes of law.  These were Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.  These are called the ulu l-azm prophets meaning those of great constancy.

Prophet Succession

The Twelvers believe that the Prophet was succeeded by twelve Immams: 1) Ali ibne Abu Talib who died 40 A.H./659 A.D. (He was the Prophet’s son-in-law, having married his daughter Fatimah.)  2) Hassan ibne Ali who died A.H. /669 A.D.  3) Hussain ibne Ali who died 61 A.H. /680 A.D.  4) Ali ibne Husain who died 95 A.H. /712 A.D.  5) Muhammad ibne Ali who died 114 A.H. /732 A.D.  6) Ja’far ibne Muhammad who died 148 A.H. /765 A.D.  7) Musa ibne Ja’far who died 183 A.H. /799 A.D.  8) Ali ibne Musa who died 203 A.H. /817 A.D.  9) Muhammad Ibne Ali who died 220 A.H. /835 A.D.  10) Ali Ibne Muhammad who died 254 A.H. /868 A.D.  11) Hassan Ibne Ali who died 260 A.H. /872 A.D.  12) Muhammad Ibne Hassan who was born 256 A.H. /868 A.D.

On the death of his father in 260 A.H. the twelfth Imam went into occultation (Gabah), appearing only to a few leading Shiahs.  Until 329 A.H. /939 A.D. he performed the functions of the Imaam through representatives appointed by himself.  He then went into major occultation which will continue until the day God grants him permission to manifest himself.

The Sunni view is that the term Imaam is synonymous with the term khalifah.  A khalifah may be elected, or nominated by his predecessor, or selected by a committee, or may acquire power through military force.  A khalifah need not be sinless.  It is lawful for a person of inferior qualities to be a khalifah while persons of superior qualities are present.

Prophets and Messengers 

According to Muslims, Islam is a universal and inclusive religion.  Muslims believe in the prophets, not just the Prophet Muhammad, but the Hebrew prophets, including Abraham and Moses, as well as the prophets of the New Testament, Jesus, and John the Baptist.  Muslims believe in all the prophets sent by God mentioned in the Qur’an, without making any distinction between them.  Muhammad was sent with the final message, and there is no prophet to come after him.  His message is final and eternal, and through him God completed His Message to humanity.

Pursuit of Knowledge

Islam regards ignorance as impure (najasah) and the acquisition of knowledge as a great act of piety.


The word Qur’an means “recitation”.  When used in regards to Islam, the word Qur’an means God’s final message to mankind, which was revealed by the Arch-Angel Gabriel in Arabic in sound, word and meaning to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years.  To Muslims the Qur’an is the literal word of God and has been perfectly preserved in both its words and meaning in a living language.

Muslims believe that the entire Qur’an was written down in the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, and that numerous companions of the Prophet memorized the entire Qur’an and thus perfectly preserved.

To the Muslims, the teaching of the Qur’an is a universal scripture addressed to all mankind.  The message is the same as all the prophets: Submit to Allah the One God and worship Him alone and follow Allah’s Messengers for success in this life and salvation in the hereafter.  God’s revelation to Mohammad focuses on teaching human beings the importance of believing in the Oneness of God and forming their lives around the guidance which He has sent.

Additionally, to Muslims the Qur’an contains the stories of the previous prophets, such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus; as well as many commands and prohibitions from God.  To Muslims, the Quranic teachings offer solutions to the emptiness and turmoil gripping the world today.  In short, the Qur’an is the book of guidance par excellence.

Religious Law


Religious Leaders



The world will come to an end on the Day of the Rising (Oiyamah), the day of final human accountability.  All men will be resurrected and presented before God who will decide their fate according to their deeds.  The good will be rewarded with paradise (jannah) and the evil will be punished with hell (jahannam).  The dominant factor in the administration of His Justice by Allah will be His Mercy.

Sacred Text

Qur’an, which to Muslims is the final revelation of Allah to all of mankind, which was spoken by Allah the Exalted Himself and conveyed through the Arch-Angel Gabriel in Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad, in sound, word and meaning.  The Qur’an was then relayed to the Prophet’s companions, and they memorized it verbatim and meticulously compiled it into written form.  The Qur’an (Koran) has been continually recited by the companions’ successors until the present day.  Thus to Muslims, the Qur’an is the revealed book of Divine scripture from Allah to all humanity for their guidance and salvation.


1)   What is Salvation to the Muslims?  Islam teaches that salvation is attainable through theworship of God alone.  A person must believe in God and follow His commandments.  This is the same message taught by all Prophets including Moses and Jesus.  There is only One worthy of worship: One God, alone without partners,      sons, or daughters.  Salvation and thus eternal                    happiness can be achieved by sincere worship.

In addition to this, Islam teaches that human beings are born without sin and are naturally inclined to worship God along (without any intermediaries).  To retain this state of sinlessness, humankind must only follow god’s commandments and strive to live a righteous life.  If one falls into sin, all that is required is sincere repentance followed by seeking God’s forgiveness.  When a person sins, they push themselves away from the mercy of God; however, sincere repentance brings a person back to God.

Salvation is a powerful word that the dictionary defines as the act of preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or evil.  Theologically it is spiritual rescue from sin and its consequences.  “Those who remember God (always and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying), “Oh Lord, You have not created this without purpose, glory to You!  (Exalted are    You above all that they associate with You as partners).  Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.” (3:191)

2)  Worship and Obey God!  Salvation in Islam is through tawheed, monotheism.  Tawheed is an Arabic word that means oneness, and when we talk about tawheed in relation to god it means realizing and affirming God’s oneness.  It is the belief that God is One, without partner or associate.  There is no god worthy of worship but Allah, and this is the foundation of Islam. To profess such a belief along with the belief that Muhammad is His messenger is what makes a person Muslim.  To believe in tawheed with certainty is what guarantees salvation.

There is no need for God, or even a Prophet of God to sacrifice himself for humankind’s sins in order to buy forgiveness.  Islam refuses this view entirely.  The foundation of Islam rests on knowing with certainty that nothing should be worshiped but God alone.  Forgiveness emanates from the One True God; so, when a person seeks forgiveness, he must turn to God submissively with true remorse and ask for forgiveness, promising not to repeat the sin.  Then and only then will sins be forgiven by God Almighty. 

Islam teaches that Jesus did not come to atone for the sins of humankind; rather, his purpose was to reaffirm the message of the Prophets before him.  The Islamic belief about Jesus’ crucifixion and death is clear.  He did not die to atone for humankind’s sins.  There was a plot to crucify Jesus but it did not succeed; he did not die but rather ascended into heaven.  In the last days leading up to the Day of Judgment, Jesus will return to this world and continue to spread the belief in the Oneness of God.  The Qur’an tells us that on the Day of Judgment Jesus will deny ever asking the people to worship him instead of, or along with God.

God tells us in the Qur’an that there is only one unforgiveable sin, and that is if one dies having associated partners with God and did not repent from it before his death.   Every human being can attain salvation by worshipping One God.  Staying connected to God and repenting from mistakes and sins is the road to salvation.

3)  Repentance!  Islam states unreservedly that there is no such concept as original sin and that God does not require a blood sacrifice in order to forgive humankind for their sins and transgressions.  Making mistakes, falling short in our obedience to God, forgetting, and committing sins are all part of the imperfect nature of humankind.  No human being is free from sin, no matter how good they appear to be and every human being is in need of God’s forgiveness.  We are all vulnerable, we all commit sins, and we all need to be forgiven. 

We have an innate need to feel close to God and God in His infinite wisdom has made the path to forgiveness easy.  Prophet Muhammad himself experienced the sublime joy that came from feeling “right” with his Lord.  He said, “By God, I seek the forgiveness of God and I turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times each day.”

God the creator knows humankind perfectly, He knows our imperfections and our shortcomings, and thus He has prescribed repentance for us and left the door to repentance open unto the sin rises from the west (near Judgment Day).  “And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith to your Lord and submit to Him, before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.” (39:54)

Repentance is essential for a person to lead a peaceful life.  The reward of repentance is a good life close to God and covered with contentment and peace of mind.  However, there are three conditions to repentance: 1) Giving up sin. 2) Feeling regret forever having committed the sin.  3) Resolving never to go back to the sins.  If these three conditions are fulfilled with sincerity then god will forgive.  If the sin was to do with the rights of another person then there is a condition 4) To restore, if humanly possible, the rights taken away.

God’s mercy and forgiveness are so all encompassing that He will go on forgiving.  If a person is sincere, God will forgive him until the moment that the death rattle reaches the throat.  The noted Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir said, “Surely, when hope in continued living diminishes, the Angel of Death comes forth to collect the soul.  When the soul reaches the throat, and is gradually pulled out, at that point there is no accepted repentance.”

Genuine repentance marks the road to salvation.  Salvation is attained through sincere worship of God.  There is not God but Him, the most powerful, the most merciful and most forgiving.


Shia Islam encompasses most Muslims who are not counted among the Sunni.  The division between Sunni and Shi’a, dates to the death of the Prophet Muhammad when his followers were faced with the decision of who would be his successor as the leader of Islam.  Shi’ites are those who followed Ali, the closest relative of Muhammad, as Muhammad’s successor.  Today there are approximately 120 million Shite Muslims in the world.  The Shi’a consist of one major school of thought: known as the Jafaryia or the “Twelvers”, and a few minor schools of thought, as the “seveners” or the “Fivers.”  These names all refer to the number of imams they recognize after the death of Muhammad.  The term Shi’a is usually meant to be synonymous with the Jafaryia/Twelvers.        


With approximately 940 million adherents out of about 1.5 billion Muslims, Sunni Islam is the largest Islamic sect.  Followers of the Sunni tradition are known as Sunnis or Sunnites; they sometime refer to themselves as Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa’h, “adherents to the Sunnah and the assembly.”

Sunnis have their historical roots in the majority group who followed Abu Bakr, an effective leaders, as Muhammad’s successor instead of the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law Ali.  The Sunnis are so named because they believe themselves to follow the sunnah (“custom” or “tradition”) of the Prophet.

Status of Biblical Prophets 

Biblical Prophets are True prophets.

Status of Jewish Bible 

Non-canonical but useful as (corrupted) inspired text

Status of New Testament

Non-canonical, but useful as a (corrupted) inspired text

Summary of Doctrine 

Six Articles of Faith


Some scholars trace the roots of Islamic terrorism back to the 11th Century Assassins, and order of Isma’ili Shi’ism that targeted political and religious opponents who stood in the way of the Assassin’s sectarian ideology.  In positioning a continuity between Islamic terrorism’s medieval and modern   manifestations, namely loyalty to a divine         imperative, and similar tactics, such as actively          seeking out martyrdom.

The emergence of modern Islamic terrorism has its roots in the 19th Century.  The Wahhabi movement, an Arabian fundamentalist movement that formed in the18 Century, began to establish a broad following during the 1800’s and gradually inspired other fundamentalist movements during the 20th Century.  Waves of politically motivated terrorist movement in Europe during the 1800’s and early 1900’s served as inspirations and models which would inspire the Islamists over the course of the 20th century and beyond,  During the Cold War, the United States and the United Kingdom supported the rise of fundamentalist groups in the Middle east and South Asia as a hedge against Soviet expansion and as a means to weaken anti-Western nationalist movements in some countries.

The escalation of terrorism during the later 20th Century has its roots in several pivotal events circa 1979: Iranian revolution; the post-Cold War global religious revival; and the Soviet invasion and withdrawal from Afghanistan is often seen as the global trigger of Islamic terrorism.  These events were factors and fueled a recourse to religious terrorism. 

“Ideology”, rather than any individual or group, is the “center of gravity” of al-Qaeda and related groups, and the ideology is a “collection of violent Islamic thought called Qutbism.  A summary of the tenets of Qutbism as being the following: 1) A belief that Muslims have deviated from true Islam and must return to “pure Islam” as originally practiced during the time of the Prophet Muhammad.  2) The path to “pure Islam” is only through a literal             and strict interpretation of the Qur’an and Hadith, along with implementation of the Prophet’s commands.  3) Muslims should interpret the original sources individually without being bound to follow the interpretations of Islamic scholars.  4) That any interpretation of the Quran from a historical, contextual perspective is a corruption, and that the majority of Islamic history and the classical jurisprudential tradition is mere sophistry.

The role played by the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred text, in opposing or in encouraging attacks oncivilians is disputed.  Some scholars say, “At notime did the (Muslim) jurist approve of terrorism.  Nor indeed is there any evidence of the use of terrorism (in Islamic tradition).  Muslims are commanded not to kill women, children, or the aged, not to torture or otherwise ill-treat prisoners, to give fair             warning of the opening of hostilities, and to honor agreements.  Similarly, the laws of Jihad categorically preclude wanton and indiscriminate slaughter.  The warriors in the holy war are urged not to harm non-combatants, women and children, “unless they attack you first”.  A point on which they insist is the need for a clear declaration of war before beginning hostilities, and for proper warning before resuming hostilities after a truce.  What the classical jurists of Islam never remotely considered is the kind of unprovoked, unannounced mass slaughter of uninvolved civil populations that were seen in New York in 2001.  For this, there is no precedent and no authority in Islam.

Other scholars say: “It is the duty of those who have accepted them (Allah’s word and message) to strive unceasingly to convert or at least to subjugate those who have not.  This obligation is without limit of time or space.  It must continue until the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state.”

Finally, a word concerning terrorist’s use of suicide bombing.  This tactic is used against civilians, soldiers, and government officials of any regimes the terrorists oppose.  The use of suicide bombers is seen by many Muslims as contradictory to Islamic teachings; however, groups who support its use often refer to such attacks as “martyrdom operations” and the suicide-bombers who commit them as “martyrs” (Arabic: shuhada, plural of “shahid”).  The bombers and their sympathizers often believe that suicide bombers, as martyrs (shaheed) for the cause of jihad against the enemy, will receive the rewards of paradise for their actions.


Islam does not have the concept of secularism.  All human activities must be either in accordance of the law (The Shariah) or the prescribed code of conduct.  An act which is within accord with either is an act of piety.

A Muslim considers his life on this earth as a journey from his Maker to his Maker and must strive to gain the pleasure of his Maker.

Type of Theism 

Strict monotheism: the Oneness of God (Allah)

Ultimate Reality

One creator God (Allah)

Unity of God

The Islamic creed is that “There is no God save Allah and that Muhammad is His Prophet.  Muslims believe that Allah is ONE.  He was neither begotten nor does He beget.  He has no Partner.  He is the Beginning and He is the End.  He is Omniscient and Omnipresent.

View of Other Religions 

Christians are a “People of the Book”, but theyhave mistaken beliefs and only partial revelation.  Jesus was a prophet, but not the son of Allah.  The Old Testament          prophecies of, and fulfilled by, Jesus, were mere coincidence.

Women in Islam

Islam does not accept that the first woman was created of any inferior composition or that it was Eve who fell to the promptings of Satan in disobeying God.  Both were equally to blame.

The wife is under a duty to obey the lawful and just commands of her husband.

“Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property.  Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding.  And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them.” (Sura 4:38)         

As a mother, the woman occupies a unique position.  She is the pivot of the family, and Islam holds the family as being the most important unit of the society.  From the moment of conception to birth and up to the attainment of puberty, it is the mother who shapes the mind, the thinking and the behavior of that future member of the society.  The Prophet Muhammad repeatedly emphasized the importance of the upbringing of children and the role of the mother. 



*Research References:

A Topical Study of the Qur’an

Definitions & Translations

Faith Freedom

Guide Dones

Introduction to Islam


Islam Religion

Islamic Dictionary


Qur’an and the Bible

Religion Facts

Religious Tolerance;

The Religion of Islam



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