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Facts About Islam


The word translates as "submission" or "surrender." In a religious context, it means “voluntary submission to Allah”. Allah - Arabic for God.
The root word of Islam is 'Salam', which means 'peace'.

Islam is NOT the name of some faith presented for the first time by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The Quran makes it abundantly clear that Islam (Chapter 3 Verse 19), the complete submission of man before God, is the one and only faith consistently revealed by God to mankind from the very beginning. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Them All) - Prophets who appeared at different times and places all propagated the same faith. They were not founders of faiths to be named after them. They were each reiterating the faith of his predecessor.

Islam is the second-largest religion in the world, following Christianity. Indonesia has the largest following of the Islamic religion - 12.6%. Pakistan, India and Bangladesh also have large Muslim populations. Muslims make up .9% of the US population.


“Muslim” means “anyone or anything that surrenders itself to the true will of God”. By this definition, everything in nature (trees, animals, planets, etc.) are “muslims” because they are in a state of surrender to God’s will. In other words, they are fulfilling the purpose for which God created them.
Muslims believe the Quran is the divine words or revelations on which they base their faith.
Muslims believe the Angel Gabriel delivered the ideas in the Quran to Muhammad.
Muslims, believe in one God, Allah, and believe Muhammad was his prophet. They also believe Adam, of the Bible's Old Testament, was the first prophet. Other prophets include Abraham, Moses, Noah, David and Jesus.
According to a report by the Pew Research Center, there are 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide (2015 est.). That number is projected to increase to 2.9 billion by 2060.
All Muslims are not Arab, Middle-Eastern or of African descent. Islam is a universal religion and way of life that includes followers from all races. There are Muslims in and from virtually every country in the world. Arabs only constitute about 20% of Muslims worldwide. The countries with the largest Muslim populations are not located in the Middle East. They are Indonesia (over 200 million Muslims) and Pakistan and India (over 350 million Muslims combined).

Muslim Denominations

There are two major denominations of the Islamic faith, and these are known as Shia and Sunni. They both follow the same Quran, but they have different opinions on Hadith, which are the records of words and actions attributed to Muhammad. It is the second source for moral guidance and religious law after the Quran. Shia and Sunni divided into two groups after the death of Muhammad.


Sunni - The largest branch of Islam. They accept that the first four caliphs (leaders) are the legitimate successors to Muhammad.


Shia - The second-largest branch of Islam, believes only the caliph Ali and his descendants are the legitimate successors to Muhammad and reject the first three caliphs.
There are other sects of both Sunni and Shiite in African and Arab nations.

The Pillars of Shia Islam

Shia Islam has five Usul al-Din and eight Furu al-Din and They are:

1- Tawhid (monotheism: belief in the oneness of God)
2- Adl (divine justice: belief in God's justice)
3- Nubuwwah (prophethood)
4- Imamah (succession to Muhammad)
5- Mi'ad (the day of judgment and the resurrection)

In addition to these five pillars, there are eight practices that Shia Muslims must perform, called the Ancillaries of the Faith (Arabic: furūʿ al-dīn).

1- Salah: 5 daily prayers
2- Sawm: Fasting Ramadan
3- Zakat: Almsgiving, similar to Sunni Islam, it applies to money, cattle, silver, gold, dates, raisins, wheat, and barley.
4- Khums: An annual taxation of one-fifth (20%) of the gains that a year has been passed on without using. Khums is paid to the Imams; indirectly to poor and needy people.
5- Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca
6- Jihad: Striving for the cause of Allah
7- Tawalla: Expressing love towards good.
8- Tabarra: Expressing disassociation and hatred towards evil.

The Five Pillars of Sunni Islam

1- Shahada (Profession of Faith)
2- Salat (Prayer)
3- Zakat (Almsgiving)
4- Sawm (Fasting)
5- Hajj (Pilgrimage)

Basic Beliefs in Islam

1- Belief in the Oneness of God: Muslims believe that God is the creator of all things, and that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. God has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.
2- Belief in the Angels of God: Muslims believe in angels, unseen beings who worship God and carry out God's orders throughout the universe. The angel Gabriel brought the divine revelation to the prophets.
3- Belief in the Books of God: Muslims believe that God revealed holy books or scriptures to a number of God's messengers. These include the Quran (given to Muhammad), the Torah (given to Moses), the Gospel (given to Jesus), the Psalms (given to David), and the Scrolls (given to Abraham). Muslims believe that these earlier scriptures in their original form were divinely revealed, but that only the Quran remains as it was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad.
4- Belief in the Prophets or Messengers of God: Muslims believe that God's guidance has been revealed to humankind through specially appointed messengers, or prophets, throughout history, beginning with the first man, Adam, who is considered the first prophet. Twenty-five of these prophets are mentioned by name in the Quran, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Muslims believe that Muhammad is the last in this line of prophets, sent for all humankind with the message of Islam.
5- Belief in the Day of Judgment: Muslims believe that on the Day of Judgment, humans will be judged for their actions in this life; those who followed God's guidance will be rewarded with paradise; those who rejected God's guidance will be punished with hell.
6- Belief in the Divine Decree: This article of faith addresses the question of God's will. It can be expressed as the belief that everything is governed by divine decree, namely that whatever happens in one's life is preordained, and that believers should respond to the good or bad that befalls them with thankfulness or patience. This concept does not negate the concept of "free will;" since humans do not have prior knowledge of God's decree, they do have freedom of choice.


The Hadith is a collection of the traditions and sayings of Muhammad, also used to frame the Muslim way of life and beliefs.

The Meaning of "Jihad"

The word “jihad” means “to struggle” or “to strive”. According to Islamic traditions, Jihad is the struggle exerted while following God's commands at both a personal level as well as at a community level.
The greater jihad is the struggle that each person has, as an individual, to follow God’s will in their life. The lesser jihad is the fight to defend Islam.

Sharia Law

Sharia is an Arabic word originally meaning "the path leading to the source of water."
Is derived from the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers.
Is a system of morals, religious observance, ethics, and politics that covers both religious and non-religious aspects of life.
Many Muslim countries use Sharia law as a basis for their laws.
Differs from Western legal systems in that the scope of Sharia law is much larger and the Islamic concept of law results from the expression of the divine will.

Hijab (Head-covering)

Muslim women wear the head-covering (hijab) in fulfillment of God’s decree to dress modestly. This type of modest dress is cultural traditions and has been worn by religious women throughout time such as traditional Catholic nuns, Mother Teresa and the Virgin Mary.

The Kaaba

In the five daily prayers Muslims face the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a cube-shaped stone structure that was built by Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael on the same foundations where Prophet Adam is believed to have built a sanctuary for the worship of the One God. Muslims do not worship the Kaaba. It serves as a focal point for Muslims around the world, unifying them in worship and symbolizing their common belief, spiritual focus and direction. Interestingly the inside of the Kaaba is empty.


The hajj is an annual pilgrimage to the Kaaba made by about 3 million Muslims from all corners of the Earth. It is performed to fulfill one of the pillars of Islam. The rituals of hajj commemorate the struggles of Abraham, his wife Hagar and their son Ishmael in surrendering their wills to God.


Ramadan is the month of fasting, also known as Sawn, one of the pillars. It occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory for all Muslims except those who are ill, traveling, elderly, pregnant or menstruating. The fasting goes on for a whole month from dawn until sunset.
Fasting in Ramadan is a unique opportunity to develop spiritually and gain strength and control over ourselves, our egos, the nafs, the unconscious automatic primitive nature that tends to dominate our lives when unchecked.
By observing fasting in Ramadan, a Muslim has a profound and unique opportunity to become more peaceful, present and spiritual.


570 AD - Muhammad is born in Mecca, Arabia (now Saudi Arabia).
610 AD - The Angel Gabriel visits Muhammad and tells him "you are the messenger of God."
610-632 AD - Muhammad spreads the teachings revealed to him in Mecca and Medina, over a 22-year period, until his death.
632 AD - Muhammad dies.
645 AD - Muslims become divided into two branches, the Shiite and the Sunni, over a disagreement about future leadership.
650-652 AD - The sayings/teachings revealed to Muhammad are collected in a book called the Quran.
657 AD - The Shiite Muslims are divided further when a portion of its followers break away and starts a third division, the Kharijites.