Islam is an Arabic word which means Submission or to Submit to The Supreme Being, The Creator, whose proper name is ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala. The Oneness of ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, is the basic principle of Islam, and is called Tawheed. Muslims are those who submit, totally, to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala.

The guidance for Muslims comes from two primary sources, the Noble Quran, which is the Divine Scripture of Islam, and the Hadith, which are the recorded deeds and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, the final Messenger of ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala. The Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, over a period of 23 years, through the Angel Jibril (Gabriel), alaihis salaam. The Quran contains the words of ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Since its initial revelation, over 1400 years ago, the entire book has been committed to memory by many Muslims. It will continue to be memorized by many Muslims until the end of life on earth. The Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, practiced the guidance of the Quran to the point where he is said to have ‘lived the Quran’. His actions and teachings, which helped explain the wisdom and guidance of the Quran, have also been recorded in what is referred to as the Hadith or the Sunnah of the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam. This too has been committed to memory by numerous Muslims. The science of recording and authenticating the Hadith is one of the most precise sciences known to man. Every Hadith must have an authentic chain of narrators which leads back to the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam. Muslims worship ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, The Creator and Sustainer. As part of this worship, Muslims are required to believe in :

  • The Oneness of the Creator
  • The Angels created by ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala
  • All the Divine Scriptures, including the Books of Ibrahim (Abraham), alaihis salaam, the Torah revealed to Musa (Moses), alaihis salaam, the Injeel revealed to ‘Issa (Jesus), alaihis salaam, the Scriptures of Dawoud (David), alaihis salaam, and all other Divine Scriptures.
  • All the Prophets and Messengers, alaihim assalaam, from Adam, alaihis salaam, through Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam. These include Adam, Idris, Nuh (Noah), Hud, Salih, Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’eel (Ishmael), Is-haaq (Isaac), Ya’qoub (Jacob), Lut (Lot), Yusuf (Joseph), Ayoub (Job), Thil-Kifl, Yunus (Jonah), Musa (Moses), Haroon (Aaron), Ilyas-sa’ (Elisha), Ilyas (Elijah), Dawoud (David), Sulaiman (Solomon), Zakaria, Yahya (John), ‘Issa (Jesus), alaihim assalaam, and Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, as well as the over 124,000 others whose names have not been revealed.
  • The Day of Resurrection, also referred to as the Day of Judgement or Day of Reckoning, when all human beings will be evaluated based on their own deeds and will be rewarded a place in Paradise or a place in Hellfire.
  • The existence of Paradise and Hellfire.
  • Al-Qadar. Al-Qadar is the understanding that some facets of our lives have been pre-destined by ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala. These include the existence of all creatures, the length of a person’s life span, and the amount of provision (or wealth) they will receive. Although ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, has the Supreme authority, HE has granted man, HIS Vicegerent (deputy) use of a limited authority in exercising discretion and making choices. Since accountability presupposes authority, ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, equipped man with all the necessary and appropriate faculties to understand and exercise judgement. ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, out of HIS Mercy, revealed additional guidance through HIS chosen Prophets, alaihim assalaam, to explain the rewards and the consequences of one’s deeds. It is up to man to make or mar his own future.
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Islam is based on 5 pillars :

  1. Shahada
  2. Salat
  3. Zakat
  4. Siyam
  5. Hajj

These will be explained later. Some of the additional practices Muslims are required to observe include Modesty, Kindness to neighbors, Cleanliness, Justice, Close family ties and Facing the direction of the Ka’ba during Salat. Some of the practices which are forbidden to Muslims include Eating pork or pork by-products, Consuming alcoholic beverages, Incest and Riba, which is dealing with usury. It should be noted that a prohibition in Islam requires totally avoiding any association with the prohibited item. For example, the prohibition of alcohol means it is not allowed to drink it, transport it, buy it, sell it, manufacture it, grow the raw materials for producing it or in any way being involved with it.

The Muslim calendar is called the Hijra Calendar and is a lunar based calendar. It consists of 12 months, with each month beginning upon the sighting of the new moon. This results in months that are 29 or 30 days long. (No month can be longer than 30 days.) Hence the Hijra calendar seems to float or span through the Gregorian Calendar. The calendar gets its name from the Hijra (migration) of the Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, from Makkah to Madina.

In the following sections, you can find a brief explanation of the 5 pillars of Islam. For more information on Islam or Muslims, please contact IFANCA or your local Islamic Center or Masjid.
The next section briefly discusses the 1st pillar of Islam: Shahada, or the Oath.