Islam

Islam was founded in the 7th century in Saudi Arabia by the Prophet Muhammad.  Currently, Muslims are 13.4% of the population of India and its second most practiced religion.  Islam was first brought to India by Arab merchants and traders who on the Malabar (southeastern) coast during Muhammad’s lifetime; again in the 8th century when the Sindh province (Pakistan) was invaded by an Arab army. Arabs again invaded in the 10th, 11th and 12 century, and thereafter became a great religious and cultural influence.

The Islamic world is divided into two sects.  Sunnis represent 85% of Muslims, with Shi’ite Muslims are the largest minority group.

The Qur’an, according to Islamic tradition, is the actual word of God given to Muhammad, and it is the physical manifestation of God on the earth. To disrespect it in any way is to disrespect God. Muslims avoid all forms of idolatry and representations of the divine.

Core Beliefs

There is one God, whose name is Allah (“the one who is God”).  God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, omnipotent, and unique.

Mohammad is considered the final and best prophet of God.  Muslims believe that God communicates to the world through these messengers.  Prophets of Islam also include many Hebrew and Christian prophets, including: Abraham, Moses and Jesus.

The life of a Muslim is to be lived in submission and obedience to the will of God as explained in the Qur’an.  Muslims who are obedient to God’s commandments will go to heaven; while those who are disobedient will be to hell.

Submission is expressed by following the Five Pillars of Faith:

  • Shahada: Professing that “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.”
  • Salat: Muslims face Mecca and pray five times a day.
  • Zakat:  Almsgiving to the poor.
  • Sawm: Self-purification through fasting between sunrise and sunset during the month of Ramadan.
  • Hajj:  Making the pilgrimage to Mecca in one’s lifetime.

The Qur’an, according to Islamic tradition, is the actual word of God given to Muhammad, and it is the physical manifestation of God on the earth. To disrespect it in any way is to disrespect God. Muslims avoid all forms of idolatry and representations of the divine.

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