Islam as a world religion Essay

            Islam is one of the popular world religions that believe in one God, or the so-called monotheism. It is founded by Muhammad in the 7th century. The word “Islam” in the Arabic language means “submission” or “surrender” to the will of Allah. Followers of Islam are known as “Muslims,” which in Arabic means “one who surrenders to God.” The central teaching of Islam professes “that there is only one all-powerful, all-knowing God,” who created the universe. Moreover, the five pillars – shahada or the profession of faith, salat or prayer, zakat or almsgiving, sawm or fasting, and hajj or pilgrimage – are the central rituals in the practice of Islam by adult Muslims. The sixth pillar, jihad or holy war, is an individual or collective undertaking where a Muslim can lead a virtuous life by carrying out acts of charity and education, preaching Islam, and fighting to defend fellow Muslims (Dallal, 2007).

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            Furthermore, Islam teaches that Muhammad is “the last in a series of prophets and messengers.” Through these messengers, God had given different codes or systems for living, which culminated in the Qur’an or Koran (Dallal, 2007) the holy book of Islam. The book speaks mainly of God’s relationship to humanity, thus oral recitation of it brings a believer in direct contact with Allah. Moreover, the Qur’an proves that there is indeed “only one God and one true religion” that exists. For Muslims, the Qur’an is important as it is the basis to find meaning in their lives. In addition, the holy book also serves as guide for different occasions and great events in Muslim life, such as the rites of passage to the Muslim world and the rites of marriages and funerals, new undertakings and endeavors in both public and private life, and even in public meetings and gatherings. The importance of Qur’an in Muslim life is evident in Muslim’s utmost veneration to the holy book, as they strictly practice rituals such as “washing and preparing of the mind, body, and spirit” before holding the sacred book, guarding it against contact to any unclean substance, and never allowing it to lay upon the ground (Poonawala, 2007).

References

Dallal, A. S. (2007) “Islam.” Microsoft MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia.

Retrieved November 9, 2007 from

http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761579171_1/Islam.html

Poonawala, I. K. (2007) “Qur’an.” Microsoft MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia.

Retrieved November 9, 2007 from

http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761557364_2/Qur%E2%80%99an.html

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