What is Islam & Who are the Muslims?

 Islam is a monotheistic religion based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The word ‘Islam’ is Arabic and literally means ‘surrender’ or ‘submission.’ As a faith, it means “Total and sincere submission to the One Almighty God (Allah)”. A ‘Muslim’ is therefore one who has voluntarily submitted his or her will to God. Islam is not named after a tribe of people or an individual as is the case with other religions; rather it is a global faith and a universal call, preached not by just one individual but by all of the Prophets and Messengers of God throughout the history of humanity, starting with Adam (peace be upon him). The teachings of Islam dictate a complete way of life, and its core message is found in the two testimonies of faith: 

 │ Laa ilaha illallah; Muhammadur rasulullah │
– “There is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

A person who willingly makes this testimony and truly believes in the meaning of these words becomes a Muslim

Five Pillars of Islam

There are Five Pillars of Islam based on the sayings of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) i.e It is narrated on the authority of Abdullah son of ‘Umar, that the Holy Prophet (may peace of Allah be upon him) said: (The superstructure of) al-Islam is raised on five (pillars), i. e. Allah (alone) should be worshipped, and (all other gods) beside Him should be (categorically) denied. Establishment of prayer, the payment of Zakat, Pilgrimage to the House, and the fast of Ramadan (are the other obligatory acts besides the belief in the oneness of Allah and denial of all other gods).

1) Testimony of Faith –  This is to openly declare: Laa ilaha illallah; Muhammadur rasulullah – “There is no god worthy of worship except Allah (God), and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” In order for a person to become a Muslim, a person must recite this testimony willingly and sincerely.

2) Regular Daily Prayers – Muslims observe 5 required prayers that are spread throughout the day during the following times: Dawn, Noon, Afternoon, Sunset, and Night.

3) Fasting in Ramadan – Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic (lunar) Calendar. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims observe fasting beginning at dawn and ending when the sun sets. During the fasting period, Muslims do not drink or eat anything and refrain from sexual relations with their spouses.

4) Annual Charity (Zakat) – Each year Muslims are required to give 2.5% of their savings to the needy.

5) Pilgrimage to Makkah – Muslims who are physically, mentally, and financially able are obligated to journey to Makkah and perform the Hajj (pilgrimage) and all of its rituals. The pilgrimage to Makkah is one of the most rewarding and spiritually fulfilling experiences a Muslim can ever embark on. It compels the pilgrims to break down the racial, economical, and social barriers that may still plague their society, and invites each pilgrim to practice patience, self-restraint, and piety.