"Islam is the complete submission and obedience to God. He is the one God, Who has no partner. Nothing is like Him. He is the Creator, not created, nor a part of His creation. He is All-Powerful, absolutely Just, All-Knowing, All-Merciful, the Supreme, the Sovereign. There is no other entity worthy of worship besides Him. He sent His Messengers to guide all of mankind. God's book, the Qur'an, is the only authentic and flawless revealed book in the world."
From the Atlantic Ocean across North Africa, the Middle East, and Southern and Central Asia to the Pacific Ocean, the world's predominantly Muslim nations form a long, continuous band. Altogether there are about 750 million Muslims around the world, though there are no precise statistics. Some estimates range as high as 1 billion. The word Islam means "surrender" or "submission," submission to the will of Allah, the one God. Muslims are those who have submitted themselves. The basic creed of Islam is brief: There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah. One night in the year 610, the first of many revelations came to Muhammad from God by way of the angel Gabriel. The message Muhammad received told him that there was but one God, not many gods, as most Arabs believed. This God was creator of the world, and He would one day judge mankind. The revelations that Muhammad received were collected into a new book, the Koran, directing his followers what to believe and how to live. Because Muslims believed that everything Muhammad said and did was inspired by Allah, many reports of his sayings and deeds were collected. At first these were just remembered and spread by word of mouth. Later they were captured in writing, to serve as an additional guide for believers, along with the Koran.
Islam teaches that there is one God, the creator and sustainer of the universe. This God, Allah, is compassionate and just. Because He is compassionate, He calls all people to believe in Him and worship Him. Because He is also just, on the Last Day He will judge every person according to his deeds. On the Last Day, all the dead will be resurrected and either rewarded with heaven or punished with hell. Mankind is regarded as the crown of creation, entrusted by God with management of the whole created order. Yet humanity is also seen as weak and prone to disbelief in God and to disobedience to His will. Humanity's weakness is pride: It does not realize its limitations and views itself as self-sufficient. To compensate for this frailty, God has sent prophets to communicate His will. These prophets, all mortal men, were elected messengers to whom God spoke through an angel or by inspiration. Unfortunately for mankind, most of the prophets have been ignored. People, deluded by Satan, or the Devil, continued to disbelieve in Allah. In spite of this, God is always ready to pardon the individual and restore him to the sinless state in which he started life. The life of each Muslim is always within the community of the faithful: All are declared to be "brothers to each other," with the mission to "enjoin good and forbid evil." Within the community, Muslims are expected to establish social and economic justice. They are also expected to carry their message out to the rest of the world. In the early Islamic community, this meant the use of force in the form of jihad, or holy war. The intent was not to force conversion on anyone; this was forbidden by the Koran. The object of jihad was to gain political control over societies and run them in accordance with the principles of Islam. During the decades following the death of Muhammad certain essential principles were singled out from his teachings to serve as anchoring points for the Islamic community. These have come to be called the "five pillars of Islam." Some early, and more fanatical, believers added jihad as a sixth pillar, but it was never accepted by the whole community.
1) FAITH There is no god worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is His messenger. This declaration of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which all the faithful pronounce. In Arabic, the first part is la ilaha illa Llah - 'there is no god except God'; ilaha (god) can refer to anything which we may be tempted to put in place of God - wealth, power, and the like. Then comes illa Llah: 'except God', the source of all Creation. The second part of the Shahada is Muhammadun rasulu'Llah: 'Muhammad is the messenger of God.' A message of guidance has come through a man like ourselves.
2) PRAYER Salat is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Quran, chosen by the congregation. These five prayers contain verses from the Quran, and are said in Arabic, the language of the Revelation, but personal supplication can be offered in one's own language. Prayers are said at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall, and thus determine the rhythm of the entire day. Although it is preferable to worship together in a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories and universities. Visitors to the Muslim world are struck by the centrality of prayers in daily life.
3) THE 'ZAKAT' One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both 'purification' and 'growth'. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth. Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually. For most purposes this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one's capital. A pious person may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqa, and does so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as 'voluntary charity' it has a wider meaning. The Prophet said 'even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity.' The Prophet said: 'Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. ' He was asked: 'What if a person has nothing?' The Prophet replied: 'He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.' The Companions asked: 'What if he is not able to work?' The Prophet said: 'He should help poor and needy persons.' The Companions further asked 'What if he cannot do even that?' The Prophet said 'He should urge others to do good.' The Companions said 'What if he lacks that also?' The Prophet said 'He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.'
4) THE FAST Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically unable to do this, they must feed a needy person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier. Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry as well as growth in one's spiritual life.
5) PILGRIMAGE (HAJJ) The annual pilgrimage to Makkah - the Hajj - is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not solar, so that Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winter). Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God. The rites of the Hajj, which are of Abrahamic origin, include circling the Ka'ba seven times, and going seven times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa as did Hagar during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of Arafa and join in prayers for God's forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Last Judgment. In previous centuries the Hajj was an arduous undertaking. Today, however, Saudi Arabia provides millions of people with water, modern transport, and the most up-to-date health facilities. The close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. This, and the Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are the main festivals of the Muslim calendar.
This is just to give you a general idea.. It is not as detailed as I would like it to be but I guess it should do..
I obtained this information from dictionaries and websites, and I hope that you find this info useful..
Here are some links to Islamic web sites.. These sites are great at giving you very precise facts.. I can't do that in here because there are too many things..
The Modern Religion. Has lots of info from different points of view.
Islamic City. An excellent site, very good content.
A guide to different topics/articles about Islam.
This is just to give you a general idea.. It is not as detailed as I would like it to be but I guess it should do.. I obtained this information from dictionaries and websites, and I hope that you find this info useful..
Here are some links to Islamic web sites..
These sites are great at giving you very precise facts.. I can't do that in here because there are too many things..
The Modern Religion. Has lots of info from different points of view.