Islam is derived from an Arabic word ‘aslama’ meaning submission to the will of God. According to the Encyclopedia dictionary, Islam is a monotheistic religion that is characterized by acceptance of the doctrine of total submission to God and obedience to Muhammad who is the last and most significant prophet of God. The foundations of Islam are based on strict adherence to Allah through the sacred teachings as recorded in the holy Qur’an. In addition, the adherents of Islam are guided by the religious obligations which are outlined in the Five Pillars of Islam. Islam has its origin from the same foundation as Christianity.
Fundamental Islam Beliefs
The adherents of Islam are expected to live a distinctive life based on what the Quran outlines. Islam has a clearly stated guidance on how its followers ought to live which includes even the minor details like how the followers are supposed to dress. Those who fail to follow these rules are punished especially in most Arab countries.
The Muslims are also expected to submit to Allah through the five basic requirements (Afghan Network, 2010). These requirements involve belief in Allah as the only true God and his prophet Muhammad, religious obligations of prayer, charity, pilgrimage and fasting. In the observance of these obligations the followers of Islam are expected to pray five times a day facing Mecca. All believers are also expected to visit Mecca, the holiest city, at least once in their lifetime. In addition, Muslims also fast during the month of Ramadan, abstain from the consumption of pork and alcohol, and also participate in assisting the poor and the less privileged.
The observance of the five pillars in Islam is so fundamental that the recitation of the Creed which is known as Kalima for instance, becomes the first words the child hears after birth and the last words he or she utters before death. This confession which states that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his true prophet is supposed to be known by all adherents of Islam. Islam, therefore, objects the Christianity belief in the trinity. Prayer to a Muslim is basic with the faithful praying five times a day. The prayer is often learnt in early childhood which is often in Arabic.
During each prayer session, they recite this prayer in various body postures while facing Mecca. Initially only the men attended the Mosque while the women often prayed from their homes. However, in the current times, the mosques are built with a separate area for women to pray from. Almsgiving which is referred to as Zakat involves giving up to 10 percent of ones income which the individual can share with the poor around him or her.
The fasting and Pilgrimage are other important obligations to all Muslims. Islam is believed to have the same origin as Christianity. Their connection is where after the Christians and Jews failed Allah, He decided to choose his last true prophet called Muhammad who was given instructions through the Qur’an to warn the people that judgment was awaiting all those who did not submit to his will.
Islam’s is basically a religion that is viewed as the one of the religion with most strict rules. At some point, the Shari’ah law which the followers use has raised criticisms due to insensitivity to the changes in the society thus making it appear as if it is oppressing those following it. Despite this, the rate of individuals converting from other religions to Islam has kept on increasing decade after another.
Its strict adherents to the teachings of Muhammad are seen as the reason for its growth.
Afghan Network. (2010). Islam: An overview. Retrieved 29th Nov 2011 from http://www.afghan-network.net/Islam/