Islam is among the major religions with many followers around the world. The number of Muslim adherents is about 1.2 billion across the globe. The founder of Islam is Muhammad. He was born in 570. Majority of Muslims attest that Allah (God) gave him the authority as a portent of timely news to mankind. His early influence through teachings made many people in Mecca admires Islam and its practices thus, contributing to its growth and expansion.
Islam has continued to hold the traditional practices anchored in the Quran (Islam holy book) and those created by their founders. Significant rituals of Islam include; the sacred time, the five pillars among other rituals and ceremonies which are normally performed in Mosques (Islam place of worship).
The rituals and ceremonies have continued to define their faith to date. Also, Islam has continued to increase their faith through their religion beliefs. Beliefs such as the sacred narratives, human nature and ultimate reality and divine being form the basis of Muslim faith.
Islam’s assume that most people mistake Jihad as a “holy war”. However, for them, Jihad appoints constant struggles that one is involved in protecting his/her faith and privileges of worship.
According to Maqsood, Muslims describes Jihad has having a strong connection in the Quran (85). Thus, it is a network of checks and balances that Allah left them with “to check one people with another. Hence, when a person or a group violates their limits or rights of others, Muslims have the right and duty to control them, so they can adapt to what is right.
According to Maqsood Islam does not tolerate unprovoked aggressions from their companion Muslims (77). They are commanded in the Quran not to create hostilities, violet the welfare and rights of other people, associate in acts of aggressions and harm the innocent. Moreover, even destroying or hurting trees or animals is forbidden. However, war is only a last resort waged to defend the Islam faith against oppression and harassment (Maqsood 94).
Islam’s classifies Jihad into three distinct groups. These groups are physical, verbal and personal Jihad. Muslims invoke physical Jihad when they are protecting themselves against exploitation and oppression from their perceived enemies and Allah.
They affirm that Allah allows Muslims to embrace peaceful lives and not to offend against anyone. However, when they are oppressed and persecuted, the Quran affirm that they need to migrate to tolerant and peaceful land. On some occasions, when the migration or relocation is not possible, then Allah allows Muslims to protect themselves against themselves by against those who fight them.
Verbal Jihad allows Muslims to aim for justice through words rather than threatening activities. Muslims believe that Mohammed encouraged them to ask for justice by pleading the name of Allah. During his life in Makkah (Mecca), he embraced non-violent methods.
However, after fixing his leadership in Medinah, by Allah permission, he used armed struggle against his transgressors whenever he thought it was unavoidable”. Muslims believe personal Jihad is the most fundamental form embraced by them. This form of Jihad is called the Jihadun-Nafs. It shows the profound campaign that one is involved in purifying his/her spirit against evil influences.
According to Syed Muslims describes different contexts in which the Quran and the Hadith (the sayings of Mohammed) use the word Jihad to refer to personal struggles (124),. Some of the explanation put forward is making Allah a priority rather than wealth, worldly ambitions, loved ones and our own lives (Syed 45).Others include, striving for righteous deeds, spreading the message of Islam and resisting pressures from the society, peers and parents.
Islam is believed to have begun in the 7th century C.E when Mohammed received and preached the message of Islam to the people of Arabia. Islam was an Arabic word which means “submission, acceptance, obligation or surrender” (Farah 191). A follower of Islam is called Muslims, literary, those who make peace.
Muslims are those people who submit to the will of Allah in all aspects of their lives and enjoy peace with Allah and one another in return (Robinson & Rodrigues 132). Mohammed gave Islam to the religious group he founded. There are various events that historians believe was the beginning of Islam. Other historical accounts suggest that Islam source is credited to God’s early creation of the universe, and all things in it, this included Adam and (Farah 33).
Islam is a leading religion in the world. Its followers are called Muslims. They worship in a place called mosque, and their holy book is known as the Quran. It is estimated that, since its origin, Muslim faith has spread and become one of the largest religions in the world in the 21st century. It has estimated followers of 1.2 billion across the globe.
Muhammad is considered as the founder of Muslims faith. Mohammed was born Mecca in 570. Muslims believe that God send him as the messenger of good news. Farah (74) illustrate that Mohammed was born in a wealthy family. He married Khadija. When he was 40 years old, it is believed that he was directed by angel Gabriel about the oneness of God, but when he shared these revelations to other Meccans, they rejected his teachings with raging hostility.
This saw Muhammad flee to the city of Medina where he won many Muslims followers. He went back to his city of Mecca, his birth place after 8 years with an army and did a cleansing of Ka’aba which had pagan idols, and dedicated the temple to Allah, Muslim Supreme Being. Muhammad died two months after preaching to a congregation of about 30,000 followers on the plains of Arafat in 632 (Farah, 153).
Islam believes in sacred narratives such as the story of creation and the prophets. The stories usually revolve around the life and experiences of Muhammad, his prophetic roles. Although, other prophets such as; Abraham narratives are widely embraced by Muslims. Muhammad’s stories are covered extensively in the Quran through the accounts of revelation from creation (Robinson & Rodrigues 200).
Islam also believes in ultimate reality and divine beings. They believe that Allah is the author of all living and noon-living things including the angels. The obedience to Allah is the heart of Muslim faith (Warren 135). Hence, one who surrenders to Allah is a true Muslim. The Quran draws Allah as the judge, the creator and ruler, all powerful, compassionate and all-knowing of all things. He is also regarded as the master of all things present in the universe.
Islam also teaches about the purpose of life and human nature. They assert the purpose of life is to serve and love God through serving and loving others. Islam claims that people can always forget this principle, but God being gentle always shows them the way. Islam is a monotheistic religion hence it teaches that God created the earth and all things therein (Warren 123). All things created by God fulfill their obligation by serving and loving him. In this sense, the whole world is Muslim.
Islam also belief in the afterlife and salvation, Muslim followers believe in the Day of Judgment and heaven and hell. According to Farah (184) a person is responsible for his/her final judgment he/she will receive. They will be charged basing on their deeds and their intentions.
In heaven and hell, Muslims believe the ultimate journey of a person to heaven or hell depends on the level in which the person acted and intended as God desires mercy and justice towards others. Whereas it is difficult to predict the trip to either heaven or hell, those who have faith in God’s revelation and live according to these revelations may hope for heaven.
Islam is a religion with diverse rituals. Hence, the rituals have continued to carve their way of worship and style of worship. Muslims consider sacred time as indispensable to their faith. They have a strict calendar which follows a lunar pattern punctuated by several significant public celebrations and feast.
These celebrations and feasts have religious and historical roots. Islam calendar is divided into twelve months each having 29 to 30 days. The months are also divided into weeks of seven days each. The programme is significant. It marks the annual times that are critical to Muslims such as the Night of Power which is celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. Daily life is also punctuated by moments of holiness symbolized by the call of Muezzin to prayer.
Islam embraces various rites and ceremonies. Various ceremonies and rites follow pertinent transitions in life such as birth, marriage and death. Besides the Five pillars of Islam, various religious practices affect the lives of Muslims and accord value to significant life’s transitions. The Quran contains restrictions against drinking of wine and consuming pork. The restriction of wine is primarily interpreted to illustrate a universal prohibition on alcohol and associated products. Charging high interest on loans is also outlawed.
The basis of Islamic worship is anchored in the five pillars of bearing a witness to the oneness of God, charity, prayer, pilgrimage and fasting. Muslims are united in culture and across boundaries of geography through their observance of the five pillars. These include ritual prayer (salat) charity to the poor (zakat), fasting (sawm), witnessing (shahadah) and pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj). These five pillars are mentioned in the bible are mandatory for all Muslims.
The star and crescent moon are the most recognized symbol of Islam whereas the colors red, black and green and blue have a symbolic meaning. The absent of holy figures and humans in monuments, public places building s and mosques reflect the Islamic beliefs. They assert that by having holy figures, in mosques and other public places is an attempt to challenge God who is the supreme creator and sustainer of life.
The Islamic art and architecture is widely renowned. It is characterized with patterns of interlaced lines, a design known as the arabesque. The art and architecture also comprises of complex surface patterns created in dazzling colors (Robinson & Rodrigues 213). Various artists have created many artistic realizations’ of the phrase Bismallah (in the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate) in either Kufic (geometric) calligraphy or nakshi (flowing style). These are key symbols in Islam.
Islam is one of the world religions which have a stimulating origin and history. Despite of its initial concentration in Mecca, its widespread across the world has enabled to gain more followers and preserve its established practices.
Like any other main religions of the world such as Christianity and Judaism, Islam is a religion which embraces God’s commandment of love one another as I love you. Although, many people see Jihad as radical Islam approach to life, The Islam view jihad as a justification from the Quran. Hence, different circumstances compels jihad to be invoked.
Farah, E Caesar. Islam: Beliefs and Observances. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2003. Print
Maqsood, Ruqaiyyah Waris. Islam. London: Heinemann, 1995. Print
Robinson, Thomas Arthur & Rodrigues Hillary. World Religions. London: Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd, 2006. Print.
Syed, Ameer Ali. The Spirit of Islam or the Life and Teachings of Mohammad. New Jersey: Gorgias Press LLC, 2002. Print
Warren, Matthews. World Religions. Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.