What Do Muslims Believe?
Number of Followers: 1.8 Billion
Place of Origin: Mecca (Saudi Arabia)
Date of Origin: 610 A.D.
Sacred Text(s): Qur’an, Hadith
- Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the word of God spoken to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. Its words are the exact words of God. The 114 chapters, or Suras, are arranged in order of longest to shortest. It is common for devout Muslims to memorize large portions of the Qur’an.
- Muslims believe Muhammad was the supreme prophet of Allah, chosen to be the recipient of Allah’s revelation of the Qur’an. He was a trader in Mecca, who had grown disenchanted with the polytheistic religion of the region. While praying in a cave, he was visited by the angel Gabriel who told him the words of the Qur’an. He went on to found the religion of submission to Allah, Islam. By his death in 632 A.D., Islam had grown to have a major presence in the Arabian Peninsula. It is important to note that while Muslims hold Muhammad in high esteem, they simply view him as a man and a prophet.
- Monotheism (Tawhid)
Monotheism stands at the core of what Muslims believe. Islam was founded during a time in the Arabian Peninsula in which polytheism was rampant, and Islam stood in stark contrast to the religious world around it. Tawhid is so important within Islam that to become Muslim, one needs to recite the “shahadah”, which says, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”.
Islam literally means “submission” in Arabic. Muslims are “submitted ones”. They view themselves as those who have submitted to Allah and his teachings.
- Day of Judgment
Muslims believe that on judgment day every human will be judged for their behavior during their lives. If their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, they will be rewarded with paradise. If their bad deeds outweigh their good deeds, they will be punished with hell.
Muslims believe that Allah has sent a line of prophets throughout history to teach humans about Islam. These prophets include Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Muslims believe Muhammad was sent as the final prophet to share the completed message of Islam.
Five Pillars of Islam
- Shahadah (Profession of faith)
Based off of Sura 3:18, Muslims believe that the shahadah must be recited by a convert as their confession of Allah’s divinity, his oneness, and Muhammad’s position as his prophet.
- Salat (Ritual Prayer)
Muslims perform five ritual prayers each day, all facing Mecca. These prayers can happen individually, or as part of the gathering of Muslims at a Mosque. The prescribed movements Muslims perform during prayers are called “rakat”.
- Zakat (Charity/almsgiving)
Muslims are required to give a portion of their income to help those in need and the community as a whole.
- Sawm (Fasting during Ramadan)
During the ninth Islamic month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Sura 2:185 says that the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad during this month and that Muslims should fast during this time. They refrain from most pleasurable activities and do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours. Eid al-Fitr is a major Islamic holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan.
- Hajj (Pilgrimage)
Muslims are required, as they are able, to perform one pilgrimage to Mecca in their lifetime during the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. While there, they observe many rituals and practices that highlight Muhammad’s life, in hopes that they will grow closer to Allah spiritually by participating in things resembling the life of his prophet.