Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah) and that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the messenger of Allah. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, unique and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (c. 570 – 8 June 632 CE).
Muslims believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam (عليه السلام), Ibrahim (عليه السلام), Musa (عليه السلام) and Isa (عليه السلام). Muslims consider the Quran in its original Arabic to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Like other Abrahamic religions, Islam also teaches a final judgment with the righteous rewarded paradise and unrighteous punished in hell. Religious concepts and practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law (sharia), which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society from banking and welfare to women and the environment. The cities of Makkah, Madinah and Jerusalem are home to the three holiest sites in Islam.
Aside from the theological narrative Islam is historically believed to have originated in the early 7th century CE in Makkah and by the 8th century the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate extended from Iberia in the west to the Indus River in the east. The Islamic Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century, during the Abbasid Caliphate, when much of the historically Muslim world was experiencing a scientific, economic and cultural flourishing. The expansion of the Muslim world involved various caliphates, such as the Ottoman Empire, traders and conversion to Islam by missionary activities (dawah).
Most Muslims are of one of two denominations; Sunni (75–90%) or Shia (10-20%). About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country; 31% of Muslims live in South Asia the largest population of Muslims in the world; 20% in the Middle East–North Africa where it is the dominant religion and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sizeable Muslim communities are also found in the Americas, the Caucasus, Central Asia, China, Europe, Mainland Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Russia. Islam is the fastest-growing major religion in the world.
Etymology and meaning:
Islam is a verbal noun originating from the triliteral root S-L-M which forms a large class of words mostly relating to concepts of wholeness, submission, safeness, and peace. In a religious context it means "voluntary submission to Allah". Islam is the verbal noun of Form IV of the root, and means "submission" or "surrender". Muslim the word for an adherent of Islam is the active participle of the same verb form and means "submitter" or "one who surrenders". The word sometimes has distinct connotations in its various occurrences in the Quran. In some verses, there is stress on the quality of Islam as an internal spiritual state: "Whomsoever God desires to guide, He opens his heart to Islam." Other verses connect Islam and religion (deen) together: "Today, I have perfected your religion (deen) for you; I have completed My blessing upon you; I have approved Islam for your religion." Still others describe Islam as an action of returning to God—more than just a verbal affirmation of faith. In the Hadith of Gabriel (عليه السلام), Islam is presented as one part of a triad that also includes Imān (faith), and Ihsān (excellence).
Islam was historically called Muhammadanism in Anglophone societies. This term has fallen out of use and is sometimes said to be offensive because it suggests that a human being rather than God is central to Muslims' religion, parallel to Buddha in Buddhism. Some authors, however, continue to use the term Muhammadanism as a technical term for the religious system as opposed to the theological concept of Islam that exists within that system.
Articles of faith:
Faith (Iman) in the Islamic creed (Aqidah) is often represented as the six articles of faith, notably spelled out in the Hadith of Gabriel (Jibrail عليه السلام).
Concept of God:
Islam is often seen as having the simplest doctrines of the major religions. Its most fundamental concept is a rigorous monotheism, called tawḥīd. God is described in chapter 112 of the Quran as: "Say, He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him" (112:1–4). Muslims repudiate polytheism and idolatry, called Shirk, and reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension and thus Muslims are not expected to anthropomorphize him. God is described and referred to by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahmān, meaning "The Compassionate" and Al-Rahīm, meaning "The Merciful"
Muslims believe that the creation of everything in the universe was brought into being by God's sheer command, "Be, and it is" and that the purpose of existence is to worship or to know God. He is viewed as a personal god who responds whenever a person in need or distress calls him. There are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God who states, "I am nearer to him than (his) jugular vein." God consciousness is referred to as Taqwa.
Allah is the term with no plural or gender used by Muslims and Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews to reference God, while ʾilāh is the term used for a deity or a god in general. Other non-Arab Muslims might use different names as much as Allah, for instance "Tanrı" in Turkish, "Khodā" in Persian or "Ḵẖudā" in Urdu.
The first chapter of the Quran, Al-Fatiha (The Opening) has seven verses
The Islamic holy books are the records which Muslims believe were dictated by Allah to various prophets. Muslims believe that parts of the previously revealed scriptures, the Tawrat (Torah) and the Injil (Gospel) had become distorted—either in interpretation in text, or both. The Quran (literally, "Recitation") is viewed by Muslims as the final revelation and literal word of Allah and is widely regarded as the finest literary work in the classical Arabic language.
Muslims believe that the verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ by Allah through the archangel Gabriel (Jibrīl عليه السلام) on many occasions between 610 CE until his death on June 8, 632. While Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was alive, all of these revelations were written down by his companions (sahabah), although the prime method of transmission was orally through memorization.
The Quran is divided into 114 chapters (suras) which combined, contain 6,236 verses (āyāt). The chronologically earlier suras, revealed at Makkah, are primarily concerned with ethical and spiritual topics. The later Madinan suras mostly discuss social and legal issues relevant to the Muslim community.
The Quran is more concerned with moral guidance than legislation, and is considered the "sourcebook of Islamic principles and values". Muslim jurists consult the hadith ("reports") or the written record of Prophet Muhammad's ﷺ life, to both supplement the Quran and assist with its interpretation. The science of Quranic commentary and exegesis is known as tafsir. The set of rules governing proper elocution of recitation is called tajwid.
Muslims usually view "the Quran" as the original scripture as revealed in Arabic and that any translations are necessarily deficient, which are regarded only as commentaries on the Quran.
Prophets and Sunnah:
Muslims identify the 'prophets' of Islam as those humans chosen by Allah to be his messengers. According to the Quran, the prophets were instructed by God to bring the "will of God" to the peoples of the nations. Muslims believe that prophets are human and not divine, though some are able to perform miracles to prove their claim. Islamic theology says that all of God's messengers preached the message of Islam—submission to the will of God. The Quran mentions the names of numerous figures considered prophets in Islam, including Adam (عليه السلام), Noah (عليه السلام), Ibrahim (عليه السلام), Musa (عليه السلام) and Isa (عليه السلام), among others.
Finally Allah sent Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as the last law-bearing prophet (Seal of the prophets) to convey the divine message to the whole world (to sum up and to finalize the word of God). In Islam, the "normative" example of Prophet Muhammad's ﷺ life is called the Sunnah (literally "trodden path"). Muslims are encouraged to emulate Prophet Muhammad's ﷺ actions in their daily lives and the Sunnah is seen as crucial to guiding interpretation of the Quran. This example is preserved in traditions known as hadith, which recount his words, his actions, and his personal characteristics. Hadith Qudsi is a sub-category of hadith, regarded as verbatim words of God quoted by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ but is not part of the Quran.
Resurrection and judgment:
Belief in the "Day of Resurrection", Yawm al-Qiyāmah is also crucial for Muslims. They believe the time of Qiyāmah is preordained by God but unknown to man. The trials and tribulations preceding and during the Qiyāmah are described in the Quran and the hadith, and also in the commentaries of scholars. The Quran emphasizes bodily resurrection, a break from the pre-Islamic Arabian understanding of death. On Yawm al-Qiyāmah, Muslims believe all humankind will be judged on their good and bad deeds and consigned to Jannah (paradise) or Jahannam (hell). The Qurʼan in Surat al-Zalzalah describes this as, "So whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it (99:7) and whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it (99:8)." The Qurʼan lists several sins that can condemn a person to hell, such as disbelief in God, and dishonesty; however, the Qurʼan makes it clear God will forgive the sins of those who repent if he so wills. Good deeds, such as charity, prayer and compassion towards animals will be rewarded with entry to heaven. Muslims view heaven as a place of joy and blessings, with Qurʼanic references describing its features. Mystical traditions in Islam place these heavenly delights in the context of an ecstatic awareness of God. Yawm al-Qiyāmah is also identified in the Quran as Yawm ad-Dīn, "Day of Religion"; as-sāʿah, "the Last Hour" and al-Qāriʿah, "The Clatterer".
The concept of divine will is referred to as al-qadāʾ wa l-qadar, which literally derives from a root that means to measure. Everything, good and bad, is believed to have been decreed.
Acts of worship:
There are five basic religious acts in Islam, collectively known as 'The Pillars of Islam' (arkan al-Islam; also arkan ad-din, "pillars of religion"), which are considered obligatory for all believers. The Quran presents them as a framework for worship and a sign of commitment to the faith. They are (1) the creed (Shahada), (2) daily prayers (Salah), (3) almsgiving (Zakat), (4) fasting during Ramadan (Sawm) and (5) the pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj) at least once in a lifetime. Both Shia and Sunni sects agree on the essential details for the performance of these acts. Apart from these, Muslims also perform other religious acts. Notable among them are charity (Sadaqah) and recitation of the Quran.
The Shahadah which is the basic creed of Islam that must be recited under oath with the specific statement: "ʾašhadu ʾal-lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāhu wa ʾašhadu ʾanna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh", or "I testify that there is no god but God, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the messenger of God". This testament is a foundation for all other beliefs and practices in Islam. Muslims must repeat the shahadah in prayer, and non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam are required to recite the creed.
Prayer:پھر جب تم نماز ادا کر چکو تو اٹھتے بیٹھتے اور لیٹے اللہ تعالیٰ کا ذکر کرتے رہو اور جب اطمینان پاؤ تو نماز قائم کرو! یقیناً نماز مومنوں پر مقرره وقتوں پر فرض ہے
And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allah standing, sitting, or [lying] on your sides. But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times. Al Quran 04:103
Ritual prayers are called Ṣalāh or Ṣalāt. Salat is intended to focus the mind on God, and is seen as a personal communication with him that expresses gratitude and worship. Performing prayers five times a day is compulsory but flexibility in the timing specifics is allowed depending on circumstances. The prayers are recited in the Arabic language, and consist of verses from the Quran. The prayers are done with the chest in direction of the kaaba though in the early days of Islam, they were done in direction of Jerusalem. The act of supplicating is referred to as dua.
A Mosque is a place of worship for Muslims, who often refer to it by its Arabic name masjid. A large mosque for gathering for Friday prayers or Eid prayers are called masjid jāmi. Although the primary purpose of the mosque is to serve as a place of prayer, it is also important to the Muslim community as a place to meet and study. In Madinah, Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque, was also a place of refuge for the poor. Modern mosques have evolved greatly from the early designs of the 7th century, and contain a variety of architectural elements such as minarets. The means used to signal the approach of prayer time is a vocal call, known as the adhan.
تم نمازیں قائم رکھو اور زکوٰة دیتے رہا کرو اور جو کچھ بھلائی تم اپنے لئے آگے بھیجو گے، سب کچھ اللہ کے پاس پالو گے، بےشک اللہ تعالیٰ تمہارے اعمال کو خوب دیکھ رہا ہے
And establish prayer and give zakah, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves - you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do, is Seeing. Al Quran 02:110
"Zakāt" ("alms") is giving a fixed portion of accumulated wealth by those who can afford it to help the poor or needy and for those employed to collect Zakat; also, for bringing hearts together, freeing captives, for those in debt (or bonded labour) and for the (stranded) traveller. It is considered a religious obligation (as opposed to voluntary charity) that the well-off owe to the needy because their wealth is seen as a "trust from God's bounty". Conservative estimates of annual zakat is estimated to be 15 times global humanitarian aid contributions. The amount of zakat to be paid on capital assets (e.g. money) is 2.5% (1/40) per year for people who are not poor.
Sadaqah means optional charity which is practiced as religious duty and out of generosity. Both the Quran and the hadith have put much emphasis on spending money for the welfare of needy people and have urged the Muslims to give more as an act of optional charity. The Quran says: "Spend something (in charity) out of the substance which We have bestowed on you, before Death should come to any of you" (63:10). One of the early teachings of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was that God expects men to be generous with their wealth and not to be miserly (Quran 107:1–7). Accumulating wealth without spending it to address the needs of the poor is generally prohibited and admonished. Another kind of charity in Islam is waqf which means perpetual religious endowment.
Fasting from food and drink, among other things, must be performed from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan. The fast is to encourage a feeling of nearness to God, and during it Muslims should express their gratitude for and dependence on him, atone for their past sins, develop self-control and restraint and think of the needy. Sawm is not obligatory for several groups for whom it would constitute an undue burden. For others, flexibility is allowed depending on circumstances, but missed fasts must be compensated for later.
حج کے مہینے مقرر ہیں اس لئے جو شخص ان میں حج ﻻزم کرلے وه اپنی بیوی سے میل ملاپ کرنے، گناه کرنے اور لڑائی جھگڑے کرنے سے بچتا رہے، تم جو نیکی کرو گے اس سے اللہ تعالیٰ باخبر ہے اور اپنے ساتھ سفر خرچ لے لیا کرو، سب سے بہتر توشہ اللہ تعالیٰ کا ڈر ہے اور اے عقلمندو! مجھ سے ڈرتے رہا کرو
Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do - Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah . And fear Me, O you of understanding. Al Quran 02:197
The obligatory Islamic pilgrimage, called the ḥajj has to be performed during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the city of Makkah. Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it must make the pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in his or her lifetime. Another form of pilgrimage, Umrah, can be undertaken at any time of the year.
Sharia is the religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its scholarly interpretations. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim traditionalists and reformists.
Historically, sharia was interpreted by independent jurists (muftis). Their legal opinions (fatwas) were taken into account by ruler-appointed judges who presided over qāḍī's courts, and by maẓālim courts, which were controlled by the ruler's council and administered criminal law. In the modern era, sharia-based criminal laws were widely replaced by statutes inspired by European models.
To reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, Islamic economic jurisprudence encourages trade discourages the hoarding of wealth and outlaws interest-bearing loans (usury; the term is riba in Arabic). Therefore, wealth is taxed through Zakat, but trade is not taxed. Usury, which allows the rich to get richer without sharing in the risk, is forbidden in Islam. Profit sharing and venture capital where the lender is also exposed to risk is acceptable. Hoarding of food for speculation is also discouraged.
The taking of land belonging to others is also prohibited. The prohibition of usury has resulted in the development of Islamic banking. During the time of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, any money that went to the state, was immediately used to help the poor. Then in 634, Umar formally established the welfare state Bayt al-mal. The Bayt al-mal or the welfare state was for the Muslim and Non-Muslim poor, needy, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. The Bayt al-mal ran for hundreds of years under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century and continued through the Umayyad period and well into the Abbasid era. Umar also introduced Child Benefit and Pensions for the children and the elderly.
Jihad means "to strive or struggle" (in the way of God). Jihad, in its broadest sense, is "exerting one's utmost power, efforts, endeavors, or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation". Depending on the object being a visible enemy, the Devil, and aspects of one's own self (such as sinful desires), different categories of jihad are defined. Jihad also refers to one's striving to attain religious and moral perfection. When used without any qualifier Jihad is understood in its military form. Some Muslim authorities, especially among the Shi'a and Sufis, distinguish between the "greater jihad", which pertains to spiritual self-perfection, and the "lesser jihad", defined as warfare.
Within Islamic jurisprudence, jihad is usually taken to mean military exertion against non-Muslim combatants. Jihad is the only form of warfare permissible in Islamic law and may be declared against illegal works, terrorists, criminal groups, rebels, apostates, and leaders or states who oppress Muslims. Most Muslims today interpret Jihad as only a defensive form of warfare. Jihad only becomes an individual duty for those vested with authority. For the rest of the populace, this happens only in the case of a general mobilization. For most Twelver Shias, offensive jihad can only be declared by a divinely appointed leader of the Muslim community, and as such is suspended since Muhammad al-Mahdi's occultation in 868 AD.
Society: Family life
In a Muslim family, the birth of a child is attended with some religious ceremonies. Immediately after the birth, the words of Adhan is pronounced in the right ear of the child. In the seventh day, the aquiqa ceremony is performed, in which an animal is sacrificed and its meat is distributed among the poor. The head of the child is also shaved, and an amount of money equaling the weight of the child's hair is donated to the poor. Apart from fulfilling the basic needs of food, shelter, and education, the parents or the elderly members of family also undertake the task of teaching moral qualities, religious knowledge, and religious practices to the children. Marriage, which serves as the foundation of a Muslim family, is a civil contract which consists of an offer and acceptance between two qualified parties in the presence of two witnesses. The groom is required to pay a bridal gift (mahr) to the bride, as stipulated in the contract. Most families in the Islamic world are monogamous, Polyandry, a practice wherein a woman takes on two or more husbands is prohibited in Islam. However Muslim men are allowed to practice polygyny, that is, they can have more than one wife at the same time, up to a total of four, per Sura 4 Verse 3. A man does not need approval of his first wife for a second marriage as there is no evidence in the Qur'an or hadith to suggest this. The testimony of a woman is deemed in Islam to be worth half that of a man. With Muslims coming from diverse backgrounds including 49 Muslim-majority countries, plus a strong presence as large minorities throughout the world there are many variations on Muslim weddings. Generally in a Muslim family, a woman's sphere of operation is the home and a man's corresponding sphere is the outside world. However, in practice, this separation is not as rigid as it appears. With regard to inheritance, a son's share is double that of a daughter's.
Certain religious rites are performed during and after the death of a Muslim. Those near a dying man encourage him to pronounce the Shahada as Muslims want their last word to be their profession of faith. After the death, the body is appropriately bathed by the members of the same gender and then enshrouded in a threefold white garment called kafan. Placing the body on a bier, it is first taken to a mosque where funeral prayer is offered for the dead person, and then to the graveyard for burial.
Etiquette and diet:
Many practices fall in the category of adab, or Islamic etiquette. This includes greeting others with "as-salamu 'alaykum" ("peace be unto you"), saying bismillah ("in the name of God") before meals, and using only the right hand for eating and drinking. Islamic hygienic practices mainly fall into the category of personal cleanliness and health. Circumcision of male offspring is also practiced in Islam. Islamic burial rituals include saying the Salat al-Janazah ("funeral prayer") over the bathed and enshrouded dead body, and burying it in a grave. Muslims are restricted in their diet. Prohibited foods include pork products, blood, carrion, and alcohol. All meat must come from a herbivorous animal slaughtered in the name of God by a Muslim, Jew, or Christian, with the exception of game that one has hunted or fished for oneself. Food permissible for Muslims is known as halal food.
In a Muslim society, various social service activities are performed by the members of the community. As these activities are instructed by Islamic canonical texts, a Muslim's religious life is seen incomplete if not attended by service to humanity. In fact, In Islamic tradition, the idea of social welfare has been presented as one of its principal values. The 2:177 verse of the Quran is often cited to encapsulate the Islamic idea of social welfare. Similarly, duties to parents, neighbors, relatives, sick people, the old, and minorities have been defined in Islam. Respecting and obeying one's parents, and taking care of them especially in their old age have been made a religious obligation. A two-fold approach is generally prescribed with regard to duty to relatives: keeping good relations with them, and offering them financial help if necessary. Severing ties with them has been admonished. Regardless of a neighbor's religious identity, Islam teaches Muslims to treat neighboring people in the best possible manner and not to cause them any difficulty. Concerning orphaned children, the Quran forbids harsh and oppressive treatment to them while urging kindness and justice towards them. It also rebukes those who do not honor and feed orphaned children (Quran 89:17–18).
The Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ prescribe a comprehensive body of moral guidelines for Muslims to be followed in their personal, social, political, and religious life. Proper moral conduct, good deeds, righteousness, and good character come within the sphere of the moral guidelines. In Islam, the observance of moral virtues is always associated with religious significance because it elevates the religious status of a believer and is often seen as a supererogatory act of worshipping. One typical Islamic teaching on morality is that imposing a penalty on an offender in proportion to their offense is permissible and just; but forgiving the offender is better. To go one step further by offering a favor to the offender is regarded the highest excellence. The Quran says: 'Repel (evil) with what is best' (41:34). Thus, a Muslim is expected to act only in good manners as bad manners and deeds earn vices. The fundamental moral qualities in Islam are justice, forgiveness, righteousness, kindness, honesty, and piety. Other mostly insisted moral virtues include but not limited to charitable activities, fulfillment of promise, modesty (haya) and humility, decency in speech, tolerance, trustworthiness, patience, truthfulness, anger management, and sincerity of intention.
As a religion, Islam emphasizes the idea of having a good character as Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: 'The best among you are those who have the best manners and character' (Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:73:56). In Islam, justice is not only a moral virtue but also an obligation to be fulfilled under all circumstances. The Quran and the hadith describe Allah as being kind and merciful to His creatures, and tell people to be kind likewise. As a virtue, forgiveness is much celebrated in Islam, and is regarded as an important Muslim practice. About modesty, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reported as saying: ' Every religion has its characteristic, and the characteristic of Islam is modesty'.
Mainstream Islamic law does not distinguish between "matters of church" and "matters of state"; the scholars function as both jurists and theologians. Currently no government conforms to Islamic economic jurisprudence, but steps have been taken to implement some of its tenets.