The Muslims follow the religion of Islam. Today in the world, the number of Muslims is always increasing due to their religious beliefs and practices. The Muslims believe in their god Allah. They also believe in Prophet Muhammad, who received a calling when he was meditating on the mountain. Since the inception of Islam by Prophet Muhammad, Mecca has served the pilgrims as the center of worship and a holy place. Many Muslims all over the world travel to Mecca to offer their pilgrimage to Allah in Mecca. The Quran is a sacred book that is used by Muslims to worship their god. This paper will take a look at the elements key to the Islamic faith and their significance, as well as comparing the different branches of Islam.
The Quran is the Muslim holy book that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in stages over a period of 23 years (Molloy, 2012). The Revelations are regard to be the sacred word of God that were meant to correct any mistakes found in previously written holy books such as the Bible. It can be dated back to the 8th and 9th centuries (Molloy, 2012). However, the oldest existing copy of the Quran is dated back to the 9th century. The Quran consists of 114 chapters written in Arabic as was revealed to Mohamed. All of the chapters except one begin with the words Bismillahir Rahmani Raheem (Molloy, 2012) which mean by the name of Allah the kindest and merciful. These are the words that all Muslims should adopt while starting anything (Molloy, 2012). The longest chapter is Quran is Surah Baqarah which contains 286 verses, and Al-kawther is the shortest with 3 verse (Molloy, 2012).
Muslims treat the Quran with immense respect as it is the only way they get to learn about the will of Allah (Molloy, 2012). They consider it the sacred words of God that is meant to guide them in this life as they prepare for paradise. Muslims are taught how to recite the Quran in Arabic regardless of whether it is their native language or not. This is because during the time or revelation, there were nowhere to write the Quran. Therefore, the followers had to commit it to memory (Molloy, 2012). This help them preserve and pass it quickly to the next generation. Members should behave in utter reverence while the Quran is being read out loud (Molloy, 2012). They should refrain from taking, eating or distracting the reading at all time.
The Five Pillars of Islam
The five pillars are the most important practice of the Islamic faith (Molloy, 2012). They are the five obligation of every Muslim, and every follower ought to satisfy them to lead a good and responsible life (Molloy, 2012). They consist of:
Shahadah. Here each believer is obligated to recite, sincerely, the Muslim faith
Salat: A follower ought to perform prayer rituals five times a day and in the right manner.
Zakat: Every Muslim should give alms to help the poor and the need.
Sawn: Every Muslim should take part in the annual fasting and prayer month of Ramadan that comes at every 9th month of the Islamic calendar
Hajj: It is advisable and significant that all Muslims take part in the annual pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lives. The pilgrimage practices entail circling the shrine at Mecca and stoning the devil (Molloy, 2012).
The importance of the five pillars in the faith of a Muslim cannot be underestimated. Carrying out the practices provides the basis for the life of the Muslim faithful (Molloy, 2012). It weaves the daily activities and beliefs into a single religious devotion. Irrespective the sincerity of one life, it would be pointless if they do not put into active the five pillars (Molloy, 2012). Practicing the five pillars shows that Muslims is placing their hope and trust in Allah.
Ramadan is the 9th ninth of the calendar of Islam. It is the month where all Muslim faithful enter into a period of fasting and prayer (Molloy, 2012). While a Muslim can go into fasting at any daylight time of the year. Ramadan holds particular significance. Ramadan is considered a crucial period of the Islam faith due to its historical significance;
First, it was on the month of Ramadan that the Holy Prophet received the revelation concerning Quran (Molloy, 2012). The Quran is a fundamental element of the Islam faith and the first night of it revelation took place in during this month. Although the actual day is not known, Muslim scholars believe it was about the last days of the month. During this month, Muslims believe that day of prayer is better than a thousand days of constant worship (Molloy, 2012).
Secondly, Ramadan was the month where the gates of heaven opened, the gates of hell are closed and the devil is placed into chains (Molloy, 2012). Muslims believe that by doing good actions during this month, they receive a greater reward as this month is blessed. Since the devil is placed in chains they believe it easier for them to do good as he cannot tempt them. During this month, they try to give up all bad habits by reading the Quran and praying and fasting.
The branches of Islam
Islam is divided into two major groups; the Shia and Sunni Islam (Molloy, 2012). And a minor group of the two; the Sufi. Shia and Sunni division are the oldest and largest in the Islamic history. Shia Islam derives its name from the Arabic name, Shia, which means faction (Molloy, 2012). The group finds it origin from the group that followed Muhammad, son in law- Ali. The Shia Islam believed that Ali was the rightful successor of the Prophet. Sunni, on the other hand, acquire they name from the Arabic word, Sunna, meaning tradition (Molloy, 2012). It referred to the traditional teaching of the life of the Prophet and revealed in the Quran and the Hadiths. One their part, Sufi are described as the mystical devout Muslims (Molloy, 2012). This Islam adheres strictly to the teaching of Quran, They pray five times a day, give to charity, praying and fasting.
The similarities between the three groups of Islam is on their belief in the position of Prophet Mohamed and the place of Quran as the holy book and the observance of Ramadan (Molloy, 2012). All this group recognizes and keep the holy month of Ramadan, doing everything written in the Quran regarding it.
Initially, the difference between the two major division of Islam- Shia and Sunni was with regards to Muslim leadership (Molloy, 2012). Where the Shia followed Ali while the Sunni stuck with the traditional order of things. However, as time went by, major differences were witnessed, with Shia Islam giving more preference for specific Hadiths and literature in the interpretation of the Islamic religion. On the contrary, the Sunni consider all the hadith and literature on the Islamic science with the same weight and importance. . For the Sufi, they have differentiated themselves from the two group by taking literary the teaching of Quran and staunchly carrying out their faith with more zeal and devotion (Molloy, 2012). Ultimately, these differences have led to a different understanding of the Islamic laws and practice.
The Islamic religion has been misunderstood for a long time throughout history. It has been labeled as the religion of t extremism and a force of terrorism. However, while there are those who use Islam to cause mass atrocities and harm, this paper shows us that Islam was meant to be a peaceful and uniting force in the world.
Molloy, M. (2012). Experiencing the worlds religions: Tradition, challenge, and Change (6th ed.).Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database
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