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What do Muslims believe? Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgement and individual accountability for actions; in God's complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But God's final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through Gabrie.
By definition, Islam is the worship of Allah, the One and Only true god. It is NOT solely the religion preached by Muhammad, but the religion preached by each and every prophet that Allah has blessed mankind with, starting from Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist and Jesus, through to the final prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all). NOTE: The prophets I have just mentioned are often referred to in the Qur'an and other Islamic literature by their Arabic names. What are the Five Pillars of Islam?
1. Faith (Iman) "Ashadu Allah Illa Ha Illah Lah, Wa Ashadu Ana Muhammad ar-Rasulullah" - "There are no gods besides Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah". This declaration of faith is called the Shahada, and saying this is the first step on the path of Islam. When one says 'There are no gods besides Allah', the believer is not only shunning the worship of idols, prophets, saints and other people, but he/she is also shunning things such as wealth or power which, in this day and age, often replace Allah as a person's goal in life.
2. Prayer (Salat) All Muslims must perform five daily prayers as an act of worship. Although it is preferable to pray in congregation within a mosque, Salat can be performed almost anywhere; in the home, in fields, in the street, at the office... basically anywhere that is reasonably clean. The manner of performing prayers is covered in How To Pray.
3. Charity (Zakat) Although the word Zakat is usually taken to mean the obligatory charity donations given at the end of Ramadan by those who can afford it, the word can also be taken to mean 'purification' and 'growth'. One's possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion of our wealth and giving it to those less fortunate or who are eligible to receive it. Of course, charity is not restricted to giving money, as it can have a much wider meaning. As Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "...even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity". Charity is also any act of helping poor or needy persons, urging others to perform good deeds and checking yourself from committing sinful acts.
4. Fasting (Sawm) One of the most well known tenets of Islam is fasting during the month of Ramadan. Fasting during this month is obligatory on all those who are able to do so above the age of puberty (although many children begin fasting before this age). However, fasting can be performed any time of the year, and there are certain occasions when it is particularly beneficial such as Ashura (the day when Moses (peace be upon him) and his followers crossed the Red Sea during the Exodus. Fasting begins from first light (fajr) and ends at sunset (maghrib) and simply involves abstaining from eating, drinking and legal sexual relations (i.e. with one's wife/husband). Fasting is regarded as an effective method of self-purification, because by cutting yourself off from comforts, you gain a true sympathy with those who are poor and hungry.
5. Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) This annual pilgrimage must be performed by those Muslims who are physically and financially able to do so at least once during their lifetime. The rites of Hajj, which originate from the time of the prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) include circling the Ka'ba seven times (left), and walking between the mountains of Safa and Marwa seven times, just as Abraham's wife Hagar did during her search for water. Then the pilgrims (who number in their millions) throw stones at pillars representing the devil (Jamarat), and congregate at the mountain of Arafat to pray for Allah's forgiveness (this act is often regarded as a preview of the Day of Judgement). As with fasting, pilgrimages are not restricted to Hajj but can be performed at any time of the year, especially during Ramadan. These pilgrimages are known as Umrah. What do Muslims Believe? Muslims believe in: One True Incomparable creator and lord of all that exists, Allah. The Angels created by Allah. The prophets through whom Allah's revelations were brought to mankind. Allah's revelations, i.e. the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospels and the Qur'an. The Day of Judgement, where each and every person shall be held accountable for their deeds and actions. Allah's complete authority over human destiny. Life after death (Paradise and Hell). Why is God known as Allah in Islam? Allah is the name of the one true God. Nothing else can be called Allah, and the word Allah has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word God, which can be made plural (gods) or masculine / feminine (god and goddess). So the term Allah is a reflection of the uniqueness of our Creator; Allah is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Allah. Many of Islam's opponents deny that Allah is the same God as the one worshiped in the Bible - they often say that Allah is in fact a pagan god. However, it is not only Muslims who use the word 'Allah' - it is also used by Arab Christians and Jews. It is also worth pointing out that the Arabic word 'Allah' is derived from the Aramaic word 'Alaha' (God). And when you consider that Jesus himself often spoke Aramaic, there can be no doubt that Allah is indeed the God of the Bible.

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