Islam

Islam

Islam translates to submission or peace, as it involves the total surrender to Allah's will. 

The decleration of faith is where someone says they believe in Shahadah- the first pillar of Islam. This states that 'There is no God but Allah, Muhammed is the messenger of Allah' 

Islam is monotheistic, beliving in only Allah. This is known as Tawhid. Saying that Allah is the only God is the first part of Shahadah. The worst sin is Shirk. This is where you believe in multipul Gods, or think that something could share Allah's oneness. Because of this images of God are not allowed. 

Allah has many characteristics, recited in the ninety-nine names- used to show God is incomparable. Including that he is: merciful, omnipotent, benevolent, just, immanent, transcenent. 

All muslims accept that Gods actions are meant to be and that they are not in control iof the future. They should not question the bad things which happen because Gods will is sumpreme. 

'Misfortunes can only happen with Gods permission'

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Sunni Islam

About 85% of muslims are Sunni muslims. Sunnis believe that Muhammed did not choose a succesor before he died. They also believe that the next successor does not have to be a blood relative but instead shoud be someone who truely emodies Islam, because noone after Ali recieved knowledge from Allah. The next leader is always choosen by the group of leading Muslims. These leader are called the Caliphs, and the first four are named the rightly guided as they truely follow Muhammed. These in order are: Abu Bakr, 'Umar, Uthman, Ali. 

Their six main articals of faith vary from Shi'a muslims:

1) Allah is the only God

2) Belief in Angels

3) Belief in holy books

4) Belief in Allah's prophets 

5) Belief in the day of judgement

6) Allah decides all that willl happen

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Shi'a Islam

15% of Muslims are Shi'a, with the highest populations in areas such as Afganistan. Shi'as belief that Muhammed was told by Allah that his cousin Ali was to be the next Caliph, and his attempts to make this know were ignored. Because of this they do not recognise the Sunni caliphs as the true leaders of the Muslims- apart from Ali who was the 4th Caliph. Instead they call leaders Immans, these are people who are free from sin, has perfect knowledge of the faith, and provide guidence on the inner knowledge of the faith. They must also be members of Muhammeds bloodline

Their five articals of faith:

1)Allah is the one and only God

2)Belief in divine justice 

3)Belief in Prophethood

4)Belief in the authority of Immans

5)Belief in the day of ressurection 

Shi'a muslims agree with Sunni muslims for 1 and 3

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Angels

Angels act as the angels of Allah on earth. They are created of light and do not have free will, they are sexless immortal and invisable to humans, but they can take on any form they want. 

'messangers with wings, two, or three, or four.'

Micheal sustains life, protects the faithful and gives out food. 

Izra'il is the angel of death who is at everyones death bed waiting for the soul. 

Isfrafil will oversee the final destruction of the earth 

Malik is in charge of hell and has nineteen angels 

Ridwan is in charge of paradise 

Munkar and Nakir question a dead person about their faith 

Iblis is the devil, he refused to worship humans after Allah made them. 

Al-kiram and Al-katibun record all good and bad actions of humans for judgement day while sat on their shouders. 

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Prophethood

Muslims belief God has choosen many prophets to bring the word of Islam to humankind. This belief is named Risalah

Prophethood is a gift from God to help humans understand God's message, and spread the way God wants humans to live. When people forget or missunderstand Allahs message, he calls prophets to guide them back. 

Muslims belief there have been 124,000, and the Qu'ran names 25 of these. 

Of these the three main Prophet are Adam, Ibrahim and Muhammad. 

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Adam and Ibrahim

The first prophet was Adam, who was the first man, created in Allahs image. Adam was sent to earth after eating fruit forrbidden to him by Allah, but Allah forgave his sin. 

Because of this Adam is known as the first muslim, and sin was introduced to the world. Adam passed on his knowledge to his decendants including; Halal (what is allowed) and Haram (what isn't allowed) how to cook, repent, and bury the dead. 

' We have bestowed great honour on the children of Adam, and have born them on the land and the sea'

Ibrahim was also devout, who worshiped only one god. He is the father of all nations and is Muhammeds ancestor. He proved his faith to god by being willing to sacrifice his own son- in rememberance of this muslims slaughter a animal at the festival of Id-ul-Adha. 

He also belived idol worship was false and destroyed them all. It is also believed he rebuilt the Ka'aba after it was destroyed by the flood. 

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Muhammad

Muhammed was born about 570 CE. Whilst he was meditating one day he angel Jibril revealed the message of Allah to him. So, Muhammad began preaching this to others. He taught of only one god, Allah, and Judgement day, later he taught how muslims should live their lives. 

Eventuallly this was written in the Qur'an. This is seen as a mirical and as the final revelation from Allah. 

He was Allahs last prophet and so muslims pay particular attention to his words and teachings, and see him as a role model. 

Later Muhammed conquerd Mecca- after having to flee to Medina. Once he was there he destroyed all the idols and statues in the Ka'aba, introduced muslim law, and rode around the Ka'aba 7 times. 

'He is God's messanger and the seal of the prophets' 

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Holy Books

The Qur'an is the most important holy book, it is Allah's exact words to Muhammed 'he revealed to his servant what he revealed. the heart did not lie about what it saw'. this allows humans to know Allah. The book sets out the duties and responsibilities of muslims to reach Heaven. Many muslims memorise the whole Qur'an- seen as a miracle of God. they always read the quran in arabic- the language in which it was revealed so the meaning doesnt change with translation. 

the quran is divided into 114 surahs- like chapters and read from the back. many muslims treat their copy with immense respect, covering it to keep it clean, washing their hands before touching it, placing it on a higher shelf than other books. 

There are other holy books such as the Hadith- reports of muhammeds words and actions recorded by his followers. The Sunnah- sets out muhammeds way of life reorded in the hadith. both of these books give muslims more information in addition to the quran on how to life daily life in acordance with the prophet muhammed. 

The angel Jibril revealed the Qur'an to Muhammed. 

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Predestination

The idea Allah has decided everything which will happen 'does not bring about... anything allah has not decreed'. Some poeple may argue in reponse to this why is there a day of judgement then?

Sunni's- Allah knows everything that will happen, he's above normal laws of time and knows what people will choose before they have chosen it. Humans choose their actions, but cannot choose anything allah has not decided. once someone has chosen to act it becomes thier action and they can be judged for it. 

Shi'as- Allah has ultimate control and the power to change things in the world if he wants but people have more free will within their lives. allah knows what will happen- he is above time- but people ultimately choose their actions. 

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Judgement and the Afterlife

Yawn ad-Din is the Day of Judgement. on this day Allah decides how people will spend the afterlife based on their actions. it is tooo late to beg forgiveness. Allah will judge everyone not just muslims and the dead will be resurected and given a record of there good and bad deeds. this encourages muslims to live ther life in a good way. 'we will call forth every people with their records of deeds' 

Before they are judged peoples souls go to Barzakh first. 

al-akhrah is the beliefin the afterlife where people go after the day of judgement. jannah= paradise 'gardens of pleasure' jahannam= hell a place of fire and boiling water. Allah is merciful so people in jahhanum may eventually be sent to paradise. 

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Duties

Sunni muslims folllow the five pillars of islam; Shadahadah, Salah, Zakah, Sawm and Hajj. 

Shi'a muslims have ten obligatory acts. these are four of the five pillars (salah, sawm, zakah and hajj) they also have:

- khums an anual tax of 20% of any exess money they earn, this money goes to supporting islamic education and any people decended from muhammed in need. 

- jihad, the struggle for Allah. 

- Amr-bil- Marrof and Nahi Anil Munkar, this the act to encourage good deeds and discourage bad ones. 'enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong' 

- Tawalla and Tabarra is the love for those who follow Allah and not associating with enemys of Allah or Muhammed. 

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Salah

Is the five daily prayers said by all muslims, ideally done in a mosque but can take place at home. Shi'as combine prayers and so nly pray three times a day, but still say the same prayers. Prayers are done in cycles called rak'ahs, in a group prayer these are done at the same time, and the movements show submission and prostration to allah. All Men should go to friday noon prayers, called Jummah prayers. the imam will also commonly give a sermon to remind muslims of the qualities of allah. 

Salah keeps muslims in close contact with allah and encourages moral and spiritual dicipline, keeping them from sinning and connects with the ummah, as the same prayers are repeated. 'prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing and the remeberance of allah is greater' 

There are several ritualals involved in prayer, one is Wudu, where muslims wash any part of their body touching the prayer mat. they must be clean physically and spiritually before approaching allah. in the mosque men and women pray seperate as they should concentrate on allah not the opposite sex. women dont have to attend the mosque they can pray at home. 

Shi'as may touch their head to wood or clay, as it is something naural. 

Du'a are personal prayers which help muslims gain a better sense of connection with allah. 

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Zakah

is charity and it involves muslims giving 2.5% of thier yearly profits. 

The money can be paid to 'the poor and the needy' eg to an islamic charity or a mosque. this money is often paid after ramadam when muslims have developed a sense of knowing and sympathy of what the poor go through. 

'zakah is a way of bringing hearts together' 

Allah is the qiver of wealth, and so the poor should accept the money as it is allahs will to help them 

Zakah helps the wealthy purify their wealth. 

Sadaqah is the volutary giving of charity and can be throug actions or money, 

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Sawm

Sawm is the fasting during the month of Ramadam, determined by the lunar months, meaning it changes yearly. Muslims cannot eat during daylight and eat a meal before sunlight and after sunset- this may be eaten with friends or at the mosque, the fast is usually broken with dates before a big meal. 

The month of ramadam is a time for muslims to concentrate on stopping bad habits and also involves abstaining from things like sex and smoking, as well as thinking bad thoughts. 

'o you who believed, decreed upon you is fasting ... that you may become righteous.' 

the month is a time of moral and self-discipline which shows muslims what it is like to go without, making them sympathetic to the poor. the time is a time of greater jahid and struggle for Allah. 

the month also containsthe night of power when some of the quran was revealed to muhammed and is a time of thanksgiving of the quran, it is the most important day of the year- 'better than a thousand months' 

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Hajj

A pilgrimage to meccah in the month of Dhu'l-Hijja. Must be completed one time in a muslims life, if they have the finance and the health. 'proclaim to the people the Hajj' 

All male pilgrims wear white clothing- ihram, so they are all equal before allah. Women where garments of one colour. 

- They do seven ciricits of the ka'aba anticlockwise- called the tawaf. 

- sa'y, journey seven times between the hills f safa and marwa, where Hajar searched for water for isma'il. 

- they go to Mount arafat and pray for allahs forgiveness, as this is where adam was forgiven when he was thrown out of eden. this is where the day of judgement will take place 

- spend the night at muzdalif- and collect pebbles

- stoning of the devil, to sto temptaption of evil, throw pebbles at the three pillars in mina. this happens of the festival of id ul-adha. 

This helps muslims understand and grow closer to their faith and experience the ummah. 

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Jihad

One of the ten obligatory acts for Shi'a muslims. It involves the struggle for Allah and to defend his will. 

Greater Jihad, is every muslims duty to obey Allah and respect his teachings and be the best muslim possible. it is greater as it id individual and personal. 'no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another' you and you alone will be held responsible for your sins. 

Lesser Jihad, is the struggle to make the world a better place, including fighting against wrongs such as poverty and injustice. it is also to defend islam against threats- this can be simple to help people be better muslims. Fighting should only be in self defence. 'permission to fight has been given to those who are being fought' 

The term can also be used within muslims as a term for terrorism. this does not meet the conditions of greater jihad and the vast proportion of muslims believe that they are not true muslims. 

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Festivals

Id ul-Adha (at the end of Hajj) commemorates the sacrifice of ismail by his father ibrahim for allah in a test of loyalty. Muslims attend a mosque on this day and listen to sermons on the importance of obedience to allah. an animal is often sacrificed and divided into three, one for the family, one for relatives, and one for the poor. Generally this is a time joy and festivity with friends, food and gifts. 

Id ul-Fitr (at the end of ramamdam) is a day of thanks for allah for giving muslims to fast for a month, it is a time of joy as muslims have completed the fourth pillar and feel closer to allah. Muslims some times give charity at the timeto help the less fortunate celebrate. like wise muslims may attend a mosque to break the fast and give gifts ect. 

Ashura- is mostly a shi'a festival where some people fast. Sunnis who celebrate it think of it as a day of atonement. For Shias it is the day Husayn (muhammeds granson) was killed in battle, the ten days up to and including ashura is a time of mourning for shias. they nomally where black and there are passio plays where the story of husayn is performend, some people hurt themself to commemorate husayn's suffering, in some places this is banned. the timeis also a rememberance of the hardships shias have endured as a minority group of muslims

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