Learn About Islam
Orthodox Islam holds to five fundamental beliefs, with belief in one God as its supreme principle. All Muslims, whether of the Sunni or Shiite sect, agree upon these five basic tenets.
- Monotheism: “There is no god but Allah.” The heart of Mohammed’s message was absolute monotheism.
- Angels: Angels are a very real and important part of Islamic teaching. According to Islam, they are sinless, genderless beings formed from light. These include four archangels: Gabriel, Michael, Azrail and Israfil. Two Interrogating angles: Munkar and Nakir, and a host of recording angels.
- Scripture: Muslims consider Mohammed the final prophet and his revelation, the Qur’an, as the purest and most complete revelation Allah ever gave to humankind. Islam teaches that the message of the Qur’an came directly from Allah in order to confirm the revelations given to the prophets of the past.
- Prophets: The exact number of prophets is not stated in the Qur’an, the Hadith suggests that Allah has sent 124,000 prophets into the world. The Qur’an mentions twenty-five prophets by name including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Mohammed.
- Day of Judgment: The Qur’an clearly teaches that each individual will stand before the throne of Allah and be judged for his or her actions on earth to determine whether his destiny will be paradise or hell. Paradise or “Gardens of Felicity” is a place where Muslim believers will be granted their hearts’ desires.
- The Confession or Creed (Shahada): “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is Allah’s messenger.” One needs merely speak these few words, the shortest creed of any major world religion, to accept Islam and become Muslim. The heart of Muslim theology and philosophy lies in this brief, yet often repeated statement, and it is always spoken in Arabic.
- Prayers (Salat): The Qur’an stipulates prayer at five regular, specific intervals throughout the day. Five times a day, Muslims will hear the prayer call issuing from the local mosque. They are to then perform a specific cleansing ritual before turning to face Mecca and perform the rite of prayer. The five times of prayer are: at dawn (fajr); just after noon (zuhr); in late afternoon (‘asr), just after sunset (maghrib); and at night before going to bed (‘isha).
- Fasting (Sawm): Islam teaches that Allah first revealed the Qur’an to Mohammed during the month of Ramadan. Faithful Muslims will fast from all food, drink, smoking, and conjugal relations from sunrise to sunset each day during this holy month. This practice is designed to produce self-discipline in the believer.
- Almsgiving (Zakat): This alms-tax is a mandatory donation to charity. This obligation to share one's wealth with the less fortunate is stressed throughout the Qur'an, and constitutes about two and a half percent of one's annual income.
- Pilgrimage (Hajj): It is required of every Muslim who is physically and financially able to go on at least one pilgrimage to Mecca during his lifetime. While non-Muslims are banned from Mecca, the millions of Muslims who journey there for the annual pilgrimage arrive in the same pilgrim dress of unsewn white material, and perform the same prescribed rituals.