Islam Practices

5 pillars of Islam

Sunni beliefs - form the basis of worship

1. Shahadah - declaration of faith

2. Salah - prayer

3. Zakah - charity

4. Sawm - fasting during the month of Ramadan

5. Hajj - pilgrimage

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10 Obligatory Acts

Shia beliefs - form the basis of Shia worship

1. Salah - prayer

2. Zakah - charity

3. Sawm - fasting

4. Hajj - pilgrimage to Mecca

5. Khums - 20% tax split between charity + Shia religious leaders

6. Jihad - struggle to maintain + defend Islam

7. Amr-bil-Maruf - encouraging ppl to do good

8. Nahi anil munkar - discouraging ppl from doing bad

9. Tawllah - loving friends of G-d + Muhammad

10. Tabarra - disassociating w enemies of G-d

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Muslim declaration of faith

announces that Allah is the only G-d + that Muhammad is his prophet

Said when:

  • someone becomes Muslim
  • A baby is born
  • before you die

Shias add to the Shahadah - Ali was the true successor of Muhammad

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Sunnis pray 5 times a day from sunrise to sunset whereas Shias pray 3 times a day - they combine services together

Muslims prepare for praying through ritual washing - Wudu

Muslims pray facing Mecca + on a prayer mat - Quiblah wall in a mosque shows which direction

Prayers led by an Imam - in Arabic

Men + women pray separately

Daily prayers are made  up of a set of rak'a - actions + recitations, e.g. prostrating/ reciting G-d is great/bowing

At the end of praying, Muslims turn to each side to wish peace for others

Most important prayer: Jummah prayer on Friday at midday - all male Muslims expected to attend - leave work early

During Jummah imam gives a sermon

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Muslims fast during 9th month of the Islamic calendar - Ramadan

Qu'ran revealed to Muhammad during Night of Power - makes it the holiest month

Night of Power - important festival during the 2nd half of Ramadan - Muslims stay awake all night + pray/study Qu'ran

During, Muslims fast all daylight hours, only eat at night/ early morning

During the day, cannot:

  • have sex
  • smoke
  • drink alcohol
  • eat/drink

Muslims give charity + read Qu'ran during this time

Some exceptions to fasting are: children, illness/ travelling

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2.5% to charity

Said to purify the soul

Doesn't come from income - only Muslims with savings have to give

Muslims also give some to their time to volunteer - called Sadaquah

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Shias also give 20% extra to Shia religious leaders + to charity

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Hajj - what it is

Pilgrimage to Mecca

Muslims should try + make this journey once in their lifetime

Starts + ends in Mecca

Happens in the last month of the Islamic calendar

Takes 10 days

Before Hajj, must enter a holy state - ritual washing, prayers + wear special clothes:

  • Men wear 2 sheets of white cloth
  • Women cover their whole body except faces

Hajj v important, some go more than once - helps ppl to become more spiritual + reminds of important lessons

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Hajj - what happens

1. Starts w pilgrims circling Ka'abah 7 times + reciting a prayer

2. Pilgrims walk  between 2 hills 7 times - story of Hajirah running to look for water for Ismail

3. Return to Ka'abah, collect water from the Zamzam well - remembers well that opened for Hajirah

4. Walk/ ride 13 miles to Arafat, stop overnight in Mina - pray + read the Qu'ran then carry on the journey

5. At Arafat (where Muhammad made his last sermon), Muslims pray in sun all day

6. At the end of the day, Muslims walk to Muzdalifah to spend the night - on the way collect 49 stones + throw at 3 pillars in Mina (represent devil + temptation) to show they reject evil like Ibrahim

7. Next day return to Mecca + circle Ka'abah 7 times again

8. return to Mina for 2 more nights

9. Once completed, some travel to Medina where Muhammad is buried

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Refers to struggle against evil - individually/ as a community

About improving oneself

2 types:

  • Greater: refers to the inward struggle of all Muslims to follow G-d's path
  • Lesser - refers to defending Islam from a threat 

Spiritual practice + brings Muslims closer to G-d

Fighting for religious reasons - holy war + must be declared by a religious leader

War can only be waged in response to a threat + if all efforts of peace have failed

Holy war is NOT to convert ppl/ gain land or money

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Festival of breaking the fast

Marks the end of Ramadan

Celebrate that Muslims have completed a month of fasting + thank G-d for given the strength to do it

Celebrated for 1, 2 or 3 days

Muslims gather in Mosques + say special prayers, Iman gives a sermon to encourage ppl to forgive others + give charity

Ppl wear smart clothes, decorate home + cards/gifts are exchanged

Ppl who observe will attend mosque for morning prayers + visit cemetery to remember family members buried there

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Festival of sacrifice

Known as the Greater Eid

Lasts 4 days

Remembers prophet Ibrahim - willing to sacrifice his son for G-d

Part of Hajj as well as celebrated by Muslims worldwide

An animal usually sacrificed but in UK - Muslims may buy Halal meat instead

1/3 of meat eaten, 1/3 given to friends, 1/3 given to poor

Some ppl distribute money instead of meat

Cards + gifts exchanged

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Celebrated differently by Sunnis + Shias

Sunnis observe festival as a day of atonement - optional to fast, day to give charity + learn

Muhammad in

Shias call it a day of remembrance - on this day Hussein (Muhammads's grandson) killed in battle against Sunni leaders - plays are staged + Shias gather to mourn

Some Shias beat themselves to express mourning but Shia leaders encourage ppl to donate blood instead

In Iraq, some mat journey to where Hussein is buried

Some believe it commemorates the day Noah left the ark after the flood

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