When it comes to the beliefs of Muslims, there are various sects and individual believers that differ in opinion and overall way of thinking. To identify some of the common points and facts pertaining to the religion of Islam, this article aims to present what is considered the majority view.
The Islamic faith was founded in 622 CE in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It was an Arabian camel driver by the name of Muhammad who is credited with the founding of the religion. Today, it is believed that there are more than 1.3 billion followers, scattered about the globe with high concentrations throughout the Middle East and North Africa. A variety of sects and denominations are connected to the Islamic faith, such as major sects, including the Sunnis and Shiites along with the mystical branch called Sufi. The religion is so prominent that it is estimated as possessing the second largest following in the world.
The scared text that guides the majority of Muslims is called the Qur’an (also known as the Koran), which when presented in its original language , is written in Arabic. Religious guides are called sheikhs and imams within the Shi’ite faith, where the mosque serves as their house of worship. When exploring the type of theism associated with the Islamic faith, you will learn that followers adhere to strict monotheism. They believe in God (Allah in Arabic), which is the same God that is found within the Jewish and Christian texts.
A common viewpoint within the Islamic faith is that inhabitants are born within a state of purity, where despite imperfections, followers possess the capacity to seek God and achieve goodness. When following Islam, the main purpose of life is seen through the submission to the will of Allah, where the attainment of “paradise” after death is a lifelong desire. In order to fulfill this desire for the afterlife, one must follow the Qur’an, Haddith, as well as the Five Pillars of Islam. In regards to the afterlife, the body is resurrected and the soul follows a path to either eternal “paradise” or hell.
The Five Pillars of Islam consist of (1) the confession of faith (shahada); (2) prayer on a daily basis (salat); (3) following an alms tax (zakat); (4) completing a pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj); and (5) fasting during Ramadan (sawm). When studying the book of the Qur’an, there are many different components to take note of, including books titled, “The Banishment,” “The Table Spread,” “The Mutual Deceit,” “The Prohibition,” and “The Ways of Ascent.” The Haddith is known as the oral traditions that relates to the words and deeds of Muhammad.
Followers of Islam are often seen wearing or supporting the crescent moon and star, which serves as the symbol of the faith. Celebrations take place throughout the year, including Ramadan (a month-long holiday, which begins in October); Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast); Hijra (a week-long holiday); and Eid al-Adha (known as the Festival of Sacrifice).