Meaning of Islam
Islam emerged with the prophet Muhammad during the 7th century, in the city of Mecca , Arabia. According to Islam, it was in a cave that the angel Gabriel would have found Muhammad and made revelations that gave rise to the Islamic religion.
From then on, Muhammad began to preach in Mecca , claiming that Allah was the only God. Even with great opposition at the beginning, which led to the migration of a large part of his followers to the city of Medina , Muhammad managed to convince the majority of the population of Arabia to follow the Islamic religion.
After his death, there was doubt about who would succeed him. Thus, Muslims came to be led by the caliphs (successors). There , Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, he became a caliph, but was murdered by opponents. Ali’s followers formed the group that came to be known as Shia , for which the leadership of Islam must always be that of the descendants of Muhammad’s family.
The expansion of Islam was rapid and intense, having reached, in addition to the Middle East and other regions of Asia, also North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, where Portugal and Spain are located.
In 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, about 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide were counted, making it the second largest religion.
For Islamists, there are five pillars that are considered obligations of every Muslim:
- believe in the existence of only one God, Allah, and his prophet Muhammad;
- pray five times a day;
- practice charity, donating part of your wealth for social use;
- fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar cycle, in which one month should be spent without eating or drinking anything during the day;
- go to Mecca at least once in your life
Shiites (Shiat Ali) – Supporters of Ali, who according to Shiites, should have been the first successor (caliph), for being a relative of the Prophet Muhammad (Mohammad). In the political hierarchy, Shiites determine that the leader of the nation must be a descendant of the prophet Muhammad. They are the majority in Iran and numerous in Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Sunnis – They represent 90% of Muslims. For them, leadership was always up to whoever was elected, as long as he has the capacity.
Caliphs – They were the first leaders of Islam and ruled until 1918, when the Ottoman Empire ended. At first they ruled with strength and wisdom, and lived simply. With the growth of the Empire, their powers became greater and then they began to live like kings.
Imam – Religious leader, person who conducts prayers in the mosque or the nation.
Shaikh – Person who has high knowledge of any area of knowledge, or a person who reaches an advanced age.
The main focus of Islam is Monotheism (the conception of the one God) and the revelation of Him to the prophet Muhammad (Mohammad).
“There is no god but Allah (God), and Muhammad is his Prophet.”
Muslims follow a set of five religious obligations, called “The Five Pillars”: creed, prayer, zacat (charity, fasting and the pilgrimage to the Kaaba that is in the city of Mecca (Makkah).
The holy book of Muslims is the Koran or Koran, written in Arabic, and which contains God’s revelations to Muhammad. The first Koran was compiled around 650 CE (Common Era).
This wonderful book from the point of view of the teachings and its literary style, is a set of 114 chapters (suras), which are organized as follows: the longest texts come first, followed by the shortest. Exception to the rule is sura 1, which initiates the Koran. Called “Al Fatiha” (the opening), this opening chapter praises Allah and asks for His guidance.
For Muslims, the Koran contains the exact words of God, which as they were revealed to Muhammad, he recited them and his followers wrote them. Some stories are from Old and New Testament prophets of the Bible.
The laws of the Koran divide human actions into several groups:
- Fard – what should be done.
- Mandub – actions encouraged and rewarded by God.
- Mubah – actions neither punished nor rewarded, as the Koran says nothing about them.
- Makruh – acts discouraged, but not punished.
- Haram – illegitimate and punishable by law.
- Sunna – Word that means “way” or “law”. These are the words and deeds of the prophet. It is the practical explanation of the content of the Koran through the sayings, acts and affirmations of the prophet Muhammad.
- Hadith – Sayings and accounts of the actions of the prophet, which were compiled, to serve as an example for the future generation. Two of the most reliable collections are that of Imam Bukhari and that of Imam Muslim.
Mosques – These are Muslim temples. Most have a rectangular floor plan. An arch in the wall, called “mihrab”, indicates the direction of Kaaba. To your right, usually with three steps, is the “mimbar”, where the imam speaks. In large mosques in the Middle East, officers stand on a platform called “dakka”; next to it is the “kursi”, a shelf on which the Koran is supported.
Kaaba – It is the physical center of the Islamic faith. All prayers are said in your direction. First sanctuary built by Ibrahim to worship the One God, Kaaba is located in the city of Mecca (Makkah). Hollow cube-shaped structure, with black stone embedded in the eastern side, constitutes the beginning and end of Hajj – pilgrimage to the city of Mecca (Makkah).