..The Intuitive Times
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"There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet"

Muslims believe that Islam is the faith of all God's prophets from Adam onward, and therefore is the original religion. They see the formal creation of a distinct religion in the seventh century CE as the final form of the religion, explicitly revealed in the Qur'an.

Islam is an Arabic word meaning "to submit," and a Muslim is "one who submits" - that is, one who lives life in the way God intends. Islam is a total way of life, not just concerned with spiritual matters. Muslims believe that from time to time God has sent prophets such as Moses, Abraham (lbrabim in Arabic) and Jesus to enshrine this way of life in human society, but that their message has often been mistaken, forgotten or distorted. They believe that Muhammad was the last of these prophets, and that because his message was written down almost as soon as it was revealed, it has been passed on as God intended in the words of the Qur'an. Muslims give Muhammad deep love and respect. They regard him as God's final prophet, and seek to follow his example. After the Qur'an, the words and actions of Muhammad are the second highest authority in Islam, but worship belongs only to God. Muslims recognize the revealed nature of the Hebrew Bible and of the New Testament but claim that the texts have become corrupted over the centuries, and that they have lost their original message. Muslims worship one God (Allah in Arabic), who is the creator and ruler of the universe, all-powerful and with no equal.

Today there are over a billion Muslims worldwide, especially in the Middle East, North and West Africa, southeastern Europe, and Malaysia. There are two main branches of Islam: Sunni, who comprise eighty percent of all Muslims, and Shi'a, who are found mainly in Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain.

From the Qur'an

He is God - there is no god but He.
He is the Knower of the unseen and the invisible.
He is the Merciful, the Compassionate.
He is God - there is no god but He.
He is the King, the Holy, the Peaceable, the Faithful,
the Preserver, the Mighty, the Compeller, the Sublime.
Glory be to God, above what they associate (with Him).
He is God - the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper.
To Him belong the most beautiful names.
All that is in the Heavens and the Earth magnifies Him.
He is the Mighty, the Wise.
(From Surah 59)

Basic Beliefs

A Muslim is one who can say with understanding and sincerity: There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet These two linked ideas - the oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad - form the basis of Islamic belief.

The Oneness of God
The Qur'an forbids the worship of idols, and therefore Muslims do not make images either of God or of the Prophet. Many Muslims object to any form of representational art because of the danger of idolatry. This is why mosques and other Muslim buildings are often decorated with geometric patterns: the beauty of the patterns reflects the beauty and unity of God's creation. One of the greatest sins in Islam is shirk, or blasphemy – that is, associating anything or anybody with God, who is unique and transcendent.

In the Qur'an and the Hadith, God (Allah in Arabic) is spoken of with ninety-nine names, each one saying something of his character (for example, Revealer, Sustainer, judge, the All-wise, the All-Compassionate). However, Islam also teaches that there is a hundredth name that has never been revealed. This emphasizes that God has a dimension that is unknowable.

The names of twenty-five prophets are mentioned in the Qur'an, including Noah, Abraham and Jesus. Muslims believe that earlier prophets were given messages that were relevant for their time, but that these were incomplete or only partially understood. Muhammad received the full, complete and final revelation, and is loved and honored as God's final prophet.

The Five Pillars of Islam

There are five main beliefs in Islam: belief in God, in the Qur'an, in the angels, in the Prophet Muhammad and the prophets sent before him, and in the Last Day. These are known as the five pillars of faith. But belief alone is meaningless, and Muslims express and uphold their faith in their daily lives by practicing the Five Pillars of Islam, described as the actions that arise out of belief.

1) THE DECLARATION OF FAITH There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet. These words are repeated in daily prayer and are written on Muslim buildings. This is the core of Islam as defined by the Prophet himself in the Hadith: Sufyan ibn'Abdullah said. "I asked the Messenger of Allah: 'Tell me something about Islam which I can ask of no one but you.' He said. 'Say I believe in Allah-and thereafter be upright"'

2) PRAYER (SALAH) Five daily prayer times are laid down: before sunrise, after midday, late afternoon, at sunset and during the night. These are obligatory for all Muslims, unless they are ill or traveling, but private prayer at other times is also very much part of Islamic life. On Fridays, Muslims are expected to perform the after-midday prayer together in the mosque.

3) FASTING (SAWM) The ninth Muslim month, Ramadan, is laid down as a month of fasting: an adult Muslim refrains from eating, drinking, smoking and conjugal relations from dawn to sunset. The intention of the fasting is to clear the body in order to be filled by the spirit of piety and righteousness. It is a time to take stock and to be reflective. The Qur'an describes it thus (Surah 2:183): 0 you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, so that you may learn self-restraint

4) WELFARE TAX (ZAKAT) Zakat is the right a community of Muslims has on all the surplus wealth of an individual. It is frequently calculated at an annual rate of 2.5% and is usually distributed among the needy. The zakat is the minimum amount expected--many Muslims offer far more than that in private donations or charity. As the Qur'an says (Sur-ah 3:92): You will never attain righteousness until you give freely of what you love...

5) PILGRIMAGE (HAU) If they can afford it all Muslims are expected to perform the pilgrimage to Makkah during the month of pilgrimage (Dhu-I-Hijja) at least once in a lifetime. This is a time of fellowship, a place to share and perhaps shed worries and anxieties and find peace with oneself, with God and with all creation. But it is not obligatory - The Qur'an is specific that individuals must only go if they are physically fit to travel, can really afford to do so and do not put their family's well-being at risk.

Islam and Community

Let there arise among you an ummah advocating all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. They are the ones to attain peace and prosperity. (3:104)

The word ummah is central to Muslim life. It can be translated as "community," but also includes the concepts of brotherhood, nation and way of life. Family life is an essential part of being a Muslim, and every member of a family should care for the others. The Prophet Muhammad was especially emphatic that a man should take care of his mother.

This concept of community extends to animals too: There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but forms part of communities like you (6:38) Human beings are enjoined not to treat animals in a way that violates their life in communities.

Within a local community there is a shared sense of responsibility and all members should try to care for each other in practical ways, such as by visiting the sick or bereaved, and giving hospitality freely.


The word jihad means "to strive" or "struggle," and has frequently been translated as "holy war," although its meaning is far wider. It includes armed struggle to defend the Muslim community if attacked, but also encompasses "inner jihad"- the struggle to make Muslim society and one's own life more truly Islamic, developing greater understanding and commitment to Islam.

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