Islam now consists of over an estimated 1 billion followers. About a quarter of the religion live in the Middle East, and currently This religion follows the teachings of a sacred text known as the Quran which is the holy scripture that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet Muhammad is an important figure in this religion because Allah who is known as the one true God to Muslims revealed these revelations to Muhammad which was remembered and transcribed into text. The Quran is known to Muslims as a guide to living which encompasses all of daily life from marriage and food laws all the way to gambling and alcohol. Followers of Islam are known as Muslims and the teachings of Islam are strictly a monotheistic religion that was developed in the Middle East around the 7th Century. The term Islam translated in literal terms means “surrender” or “submission.” The Quran is considered the most truthful speech because it is the word of Allah which is to be read to Muslims.
It contains Allah’s message to all people which is like a guideline of how to live life. The Quran states that Allah has prepared paradise for good people and hell for the people who choose to live their life against the teachings of the Quran. It is said that the Prophet Muhammad remembered the words spoken to him from Allah who later had his companions transcribe it from memory. It is also said that no word has been altered and the words are in its original form. The Five Pillars of Islam are what dictates Muslim life and consist of five functions. They are described as the testimony of faith, prayer, giving zakat (support of the needy), fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Makkah for those that are able to. Faith is stating with honest and truthfulness, “There is no true god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” Prayer is an important because Muslims must perform five prayers a day with each lasting no more than a few minutes to perform.
These prayers are perform in the early morning, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and the evening. Directions of prayer are towards Mecca. Support of the needy means giving a specific percentage on certain properties to certain classes of needy people but may also give an unlimited amount voluntarily to charity. Fasting during the month of Ramadan occur during daylight hours. Fasting means removing yourself from indulging in food, drink and sexual relations. It is done as a method of spiritual purification. The last pillar is the pilgrimage to Makkah. This is something that is done if one is able to physically and financially perform it. This pilgrimage brings in an estimated two million people a year from around the world. Ramadan is the ninth month under the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslims must fast every day of this month during daylight hours.
It is meant to purify the soul and reevaluate one’s life, strengthen bonds, and do away with bad habits. It involved a total commitment to the Muslim faith because one must abstain from food, drink, and even thoughts and words that may be considered unlawful to Muslims. The Sunni Islam is a sec that is the largest denomination of Islam followers. It is estimated between 80 to 90 percent of Muslims are Sunni’s. Shi’ites is the second main sect within Islam. This is similar to how Christianity is divided with Catholicism and Protestantism. After Muhammad’s death is where the disagreement occurs because the Shi’ite’s believe that the teachings of the Quran are best taught by the successors of Muhammad which are his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali. Sufi’s are another large group but are not a specific sect like the Sunni’s or Shi’ites because they can be either.
Sunni and Shi’a. (2009, August 19). Retrieved August 5, 2014 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/subdivisions/sunnishia_1.shtml