Islam , the world’s main religion spread by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the 7th century AD. The Arabic term Islam, which literally means “surrender”, describes the basic idea of Islam —that a believer (called a Muslim, from the active particle of Islam) accepts submission to Allah’s will (in Arabic, Allāh: God). God is seen as the only God—the creator, sustainer, and restorer of the world. Allah’s will, which humans must submit, is expressed through the holy book, the Qur’an (often spelled Qur’an in English), which Allah revealed to His messenger, Muhammad. In IslamMuhammad is considered the last of a series of prophets (including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus), and his message simultaneously completes and completes the “revelation” attributed to the previous prophets.
Maintaining its emphasis on uncompromising monotheism and strict adherence to certain important religious practices, the religion taught by Muhammad to a small group of followers spread rapidly through the Middle East to Africa, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Malay Peninsula, and China. At the beginning of the 21st century there were more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. Although many sectarian movements have emerged within Islam , all Muslims are bound by the same belief and sense of belonging to one community.
This article examines the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam and the relationship between religion and society in the Islamic world . The history of various nations that embraced Islam is covered in the article on the Islamic world .
The basics of Islam
Since the dawn of Islam , Muhammad had instilled a sense of brotherhood and bonds of faith among his followers, both of which helped develop between them a feeling of close connection that was strengthened by their experiences of persecution as a nascent community in Mecca. . The strong attachment to the revealed principles of the Qur’an and the conspicuous socioeconomic content of Islamic religious practice strengthen this bond of faith. In 622 AD, when the Prophet migrated to Medina, his message was immediately accepted, and the Islamic community-state emerged . During this early period, Islamacquires its characteristic ethos as a religion that unites the spiritual and temporal aspects of life and seeks to regulate not only the individual’s relationship with God (through conscience) but also human relations in the social environment. Thus, there are not only Islamic religious institutions but also Islamic law , the state, and other institutions that regulate society. It was not until the 20th century that religion (private) and secular (public) were distinguished by some Muslim thinkers and formally separated in certain places such as Turkey.
Prophet Muhammad’s Character
The period of Islamic conquest and empire building marked the first phase of the expansion of Islam as a religion. Islam ‘s essential egalitarianism within the community of believers and its official discrimination against followers of other religions makes them fast converts. Jews and Christians were given special status as scriptural communities and were called “people of the Book” (ahl al-kitāb) and were, therefore, allowed religious autonomy. However, they are required to pay a per capita tax called the jizyah, in contrast to unbelievers, who are required to accept Islamor die. The equal status of “People of the Book” was later extended at certain times and places to Zoroastrians and Hindus, but many “People of the Book” joined Islam to avoid the defect of the jizya.
Apart from jihadist activity and Sufi missionaries, another factor in the spread of Islam was the widespread influence of Muslim traders, who not only introduced Islam quite early to the east coast of India and South India but also proved to be the main catalytic agent (alongside the Sufis) in embracing Islam . in Indonesia, Malaya and China. Islam entered Indonesia in the 14th century, barely having time to consolidate itself there politically before the region came under Dutch hegemony.
The racial and cultural diversity embraced by Islam (an estimated over 1.5 billion people worldwide at the beginning of the 21st century) has resulted in important internal differences. However, all segments of Muslim society are bound by the same belief and sense of belonging to one community. With the loss of political power during Western colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries, the concept of the Islamic ummah has not weakened, but has become stronger. The Islamic faith assisted various Muslims in their struggle for political freedom in the mid-20th century, and the unity of Islam contributed to political solidarity later in life.
Sources of Islamic doctrine and social views
Islamic teachings, laws, and thought are generally based on four sources, or basic principles (uṣūl): (1) Al-Quran, (2) Sunnah (“Tradition”), (3) ijmāʿ (“consensus”), and (4) ijtihād (“individual thought”).
The Qur’an (literally, “recitation” or “recitation”) is considered to be the word for word, or utterance, of God that was conveyed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. Divided into 114 surahs (chapters) of unequal length, it is the basic source of Islamic teachings . The Surahs revealed in Mecca during the earliest part of Muhammad’s career are mostly concerned with ethical and spiritual teachings and the Day of Judgment. The Surahs which were revealed in Medina in the later period of the Prophet’s career are mostly concerned with social laws and political-moral principles for shaping and governing society.
The Sunnah (“well treaded path”) was used by pre- Islamic Arabs to denote their tribal or common law. In Islam it means the Prophet’s example—that is, his words and deeds as recorded in the compilations known as Hadith (in Arabic, adīth: literally, “report”; collection of sayings attributed to the Prophet). Hadith provides written documentation of the words and deeds of the Prophet. Six of these collections, compiled in the 3rd century Hijri (9th century AD), are considered highly authoritative by the largest group in Islam , the Sunnis. Another major group, the Shi’ites, have their own traditions which are included in four canonical collections.
The doctrine of ijmāʿ, or consensus, was introduced in the 2nd century AH (8th century AD) to standardize legal theory and practice and to address individual and regional differences of opinion. Although understood as “the consensus of scholars,” ijma in practice is actually a more fundamental operating factor. Since the 3rd century Hijri ijmāʿ has been the principle of stability in thinking; points at which consensus is reached in practice are considered closed and further substantial inquiries from them are prohibited. The accepted interpretations of the Qur’an and the actual content of the Sunnah (ie, Hadith and theology) all ultimately rest on ijmā in the sense of acceptance of their community’s authority.
Ijtihād, which means “to make an effort” or “to put forth effort,” is needed to find a legal or doctrinal solution to a new problem. In the early days of Islam , because ijtihād was in the form of individual opinions (ray), there were many conflicting and chaotic opinions. In the 2nd century Hijri ijtihād was replaced by qiyas (reasoning by strict analogy), a formal procedure of deduction based on the texts of the Qur’an and Hadith. The transformation of ijmā into a conservative mechanism and acceptance of the definitive body of Hadith almost closes the “gates of ijtihād” in IslamSunni while ijtihād continues in Shia. Nevertheless, certain prominent Muslim thinkers (e.g., al-Ghazāl in the 11th-12th centuries) continued to claim new rights of ijtihād for themselves, and reformers in the 18th-20th centuries, due to modern influences,
The Qur’an and Hadith are discussed below. The significance of ijmāʿ and ijtihād is discussed below in the context of Islamic theology, philosophy and law .
The Doctrine of Divinity in the Quran
The doctrine of God in the Qur’an is highly monotheistic: God is one and unique; he has no partner and is unrivaled. Trinitarianism, the Christian belief that God is three persons in one substance, is strongly rejected. Muslims believe that there is no intermediary between God and creation which He brought into being only by His command, “Be.” Even though his presence is believed to be everywhere, he doesn’t incarnate in anything. He is the only creator and sustainer of the universe , where every creature is a witness to His unity and divinity. But he is also just and merciful: his justice ensures order in his creation, where nothing is believed to be out of place, and his mercy is limitless and all-pervading. Creation and arrangementHis universe is seen as the ultimate act of mercy in which all things sing His glory. The God of the Qur’an, described as great and sovereign, is also a personal God; he was looked upon closer to one of his own jugular veins, and, whenever someone in need or distress called for him, he responded. Above all, he is a God of guidance and shows everything, especially mankind, the right path, the “straight path.”
This image of God—in which the attributes of power, justice, and mercy penetrate each other—is related to the concept of God held by Judaism and Christianity and is also radically different from the pagan Arab concept, which provides an effective answer. The pagan Arabs believed in a blind and inescapable fate over which humans had no control. For this strong but unreasonable destiny, the Qur’an replaces a God who is strong but full of love and mercy. The Qur’an practices uncompromising monotheism by rejecting all forms of idolatry and eliminating all gods and deities worshiped by the Arabs in their holy places (ḥarams), the most prominent of which is the shrine of the Kaaba in Mecca itself.
Universe in Islam
To prove the oneness of God, the Qur’an often emphasizes design and order in the universe . There are no fissures or dislocations in nature. Order is explained by the fact that every created thing is endowed with a definite and defined nature in which it falls into a pattern. This nature, although it allows each creature to function as a whole, sets limits, and this idea of the limitations of all things is one of the most certain points in both cosmology and theology of the Qur’an. Therefore, the universeseen as autonomous, in the sense that everything has its own inherent laws of behavior, but not as autocratic, because behavior patterns have been God-given and very limited. “Everything we have created according to size.
Humanity in Islam
According to the Qur’an, God created two seemingly parallel species of creatures, humans and jinn, one from clay and the other from fire. About the jinn, however, the Qur’an says little, although it implies that the jinn are endowed with reason and responsibility but are more prone to evil than humans. It is with humanity that the Qur’an, which describes itself as a guide for mankind, is of primary concern. The story of the Fall of Adam (the first man) which is promoted in Judaism and Christianity is accepted, but the Quran states that God forgave Adam’s act of disobedience, which is not viewed in the Koran as original sin in the Christian sense of the term. .
In the story of the creation of man, Satan, or Satan, who protested to God against the creation of man, because they “would sow corruption in the earth,” lost the competition of knowledge against Adam. Therefore, the Qur’an declares humans as the most noble of all creations, creatures who carry a mandate (responsibility) that is rejected by other creations. The Qur’an thus reaffirms that all of nature has been made subject to man, who is seen as God’s representative on earth; nothing in all of creation has been created without a purpose, and man himself was not created “in sport” but rather has been created with the purpose of serving and obeying God’s will.
The Qur’an describes human nature as weak and shaky. Whereas everything in the universe has a finite nature and every creature acknowledges its limitations and shortcomings, humans are seen as having been given freedom and therefore prone to rebellion and pride, with a tendency to boast about the attributes of self-sufficiency. Pride, therefore, is seen as the chief sin of mankind, because, by not recognizing in themselves the essential limitations of their creatures, they become guilty of considering themselves partners with God (shirk: associating creatures with the Creator) and breaking the law. monotheism. True faith (īmān), thus, consists of belief in the Immaculate Oneness of God and Islam(surrender) in one’s submission to the Divine Will.
Concept of Satan, Sin and Repentance in Islam
In order to communicate the truth of Divine Oneness, God has sent messengers or prophets to mankind, whose weakness in nature makes them prone to forgetting or even deliberately rejecting Divine Oneness under the whispers of Satan. According to the teachings of the Qur’an, the being who became Satan (Shayṭān or Iblis) had previously occupied a high position but fell from divine grace due to his act of disobedience in refusing to honor Adam when he was ordered to do so. Since then, his work has tricked humanity into error and sin. Satan, therefore, is a contemporary of mankind, and Satan’s own act of defiance is interpreted by the Quran as a sin of pride. Satan’s machinations will only stop at the Last Day.
Judging from the records of the Qur’an, the record of human acceptance of the messages of the prophets is still far from perfect. The whole universe is full of God’s signs. The human soul itself is seen as a witness to the unity and grace of God. Messengers of God, throughout History, has called mankind back to God. But not everyone has accepted the truth; many of them have rejected it and become infidels (kāfir, plural kuffār; literally, “to hide”—that is, God’s blessings), and, when a person becomes so stubborn, his heart is sealed by God. However, it is always possible for a sinner to repent (taubah) and redeem himself with true repentance to righteousness. There is no point in turning back, and God is forever merciful and always willing and ready to forgive.
Prophet Muhammad’s Prophecy
Prophets are people specially chosen by God to be His messengers. Prophethood is indivisible, and the Qur’an demands the recognition of all such prophets without discrimination. But they are not all the same, some of them stand out in the qualities of fortitude and patience under trial. Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jesus were such great prophets. As justification for the truth of their mission, God often gave them miracles: Abraham was saved from fire, Noah from the Flood, and Moses from pharaoh. Jesus was not only born of the Virgin Mary, but God also saved him from being crucified at the hands of the Jews. The belief that God’s messengers are ultimately justified and saved is an integral part of the Qur’anic doctrine.
All prophets were human and were never part of divinity: they were the most perfect human beings who received revelations from God. When God wants to talk to man, he sends angelic messengers to him or makes him hear voices or inspires him. Muhammad is accepted as the last prophet in this series and its greatest member, because in him all the messages of the previous prophets were perfected. The angel Gabriel brought the Qur’an to the “heart” of the Prophet. Gabriel is represented by the Qur’an as a spirit that the Prophet could sometimes see and hear. According to early tradition, the Prophet’s revelation took place in a trance state when his normal consciousness changed. This condition is accompanied by profuse sweating. The Qur’an itself explains that these revelations carry an extraordinary weight:
This phenomenon is at the same time accompanied by an unshakable belief that the message came from God, and the Qur’an describes itself as a transcript of the heavenly “Master Book” inscribed on the “Preserved Tablet.” The belief is so strong that the Qur’an emphatically denies that it comes from any worldly source, for in that case it would cause “doubled doubt and turmoil.”
Eschatology (doctrine of last things)
In Islamic doctrine, on the Last Day, when the world will end, the dead will be resurrected and judgment will fall on everyone according to their deeds. Although the Qur’an primarily speaks of personal judgment, there are several verses that speak of the rise of different communities who will be judged according to “their own book.” In accordance with this, the Qur’an also speaks in several passages about the “death of the community”, each of which has a definite life span. The actual evaluation, however, is for each individual, regardless of his or her performance frame of reference. To prove that the resurrection will take place, the Qur’an uses both moral and physical arguments. Since not all vengeance is done in this life, final judgment is required to complete it.
Some schools of Islam deny the possibility of human intercession but most accept it, and after all God Himself, in His mercy, can forgive certain sinners. Those who are condemned will be burned in hellfire, and those who are saved will enjoy the eternal joys of heaven. Hell and heaven are both spiritual and physical. Apart from suffering in physical fire, those who are cursed will also experience fire “in their hearts”. Likewise, the blessed will experience, apart from bodily pleasures, the greatest bliss of divine pleasures.
Social Service in Islam
Since the purpose of human existence is to submit to God’s Will, as is the goal of every other creature, God’s role in relation to man is that of commander-in-chief. While the rest of nature submits to God automatically, humans are the only creatures who have the choice to obey or disobey. With a deep belief in the existence of Satan, the fundamental role of man becomes one of moral struggle, which is at the core of human endeavor. The acknowledgment of the oneness of God lies not only in the intellect but entails consequences in terms of the moral struggle, which consists primarily of freeing oneself from narrow-mindedness and pettiness of the heart. One has to get out of oneself and spend one’s possessions for the sake of others.
The doctrine of social service, in terms of alleviating suffering and helping the needy, is an integral part of Islamic teachings . Praying to God and other religious acts are considered incomplete without active service to the needy. In this regard, the Qur’anic criticism of human nature becomes very sharp: “Humans are timid by nature; when evil befalls him, he panics, but when good things come to him, he prevents him from reaching others.” It is Satan who whispers in a man’s ear that by spending his money on others he will become poor. On the contrary, God promises prosperity in exchange for such expenses, which are credits on God’s side and grow more than the money people invest in.usury . Hoarding wealth without acknowledging the rights of the poor is threatened with the heaviest punishment in the hereafter and is stated as one of the main causes of the collapse of society in this world. The practice of usury is prohibited.
In addition to measures of economic justice and the creation of a strong notion of community, the Prophet Muhammad carried out general reforms of Arab society, particularly protecting the weaker segments—the poor, orphans, women, and slaves. Slavery was not legally abolished, but the emancipation of slaves was religiously encouraged as an act of merit. Slaves were granted legal rights, including the right to obtain their freedom in exchange for payment, in installments, of the amount agreed upon by the slave and his master of his earnings. A female slave who gave birth to a child by her master automatically became free upon her master’s death. The killing of infant girls committed among certain tribes in pre- Islamic Arabia—out of fear of poverty or shame—was forbidden.
Distinction and privileges based on ethnic or racial rank are denied in the Qur’an and in the Prophet’s “Farewell Speech” which was celebrated shortly before his death. All of them are declared as “sons of Adam’s equal,” and the only distinction recognized before God is based on piety and good works. The institution of ancient Arab intertribal revenge (called the thaʾr)—where it was not necessarily the murderer who was executed but the equivalent of the person killed—was abolished. Pre- Islamic ethical ideals of masculinity have been modified and replaced by more humane ideals of morals and piety.
The concept of the 5 Pillars of Islam
During the early decades after the death of the Prophet, certain basic characteristics of Islamic socio-religious organizations were chosen to serve as the points of support for people’s lives and were formulated as “Pillars of Islam “. To these five, the Khawarij sect added a sixth pillar, jihad, which, however, was not accepted by the general public.
The Creed, or Confession of Faith
The first pillar is the confession of faith: “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God,” upon which membership in the community depends. The creed must be pronounced at least once in a lifetime, loudly, truthfully, and purposefully, with an understanding of its meaning and with the consent of the heart. From this basic belief derives belief in (1) angels (especially Gabriel, the Angel of Inspiration), (2) the Book that was revealed (the Quran and the holy books of Judaism and Christianity), (3) a series of prophets (among whom very prominent figures of the Jewish and Christian traditions, although it is believed that God has sent messengers to every nation), and (4) the Last Days (Judgment Day).
Prayer in Islam
The second pillar consists of the five daily canonical prayers. These prayers can be done individually if one is unable to go to the mosque. The first prayer is performed before sunrise, the second after noon, the third in the afternoon, the fourth immediately after sunset, and the fifth before bedtime.
Before prayer, ablution is performed, including washing hands, face and feet. The muezzin (the one who calls the call to prayer) sings loudly from a high place (such as a minaret) in the mosque. When the prayer begins, the imam, or leader (leader of prayer), stands at the front facing towards Mecca, and the congregation stands behind him in a line, following him in various positions. Each prayer consists of two to four units of prostration (rakah); each unit consists of a standing posture (in which verses of the Qur’an are recited—in certain prayers aloud, in others silently), as well as prostration and two prostrations. At each change of posture, “God is great” is recited. Tradition has defined the material to be recited in each posture.
Special congregational prayers are performed on Fridays, not prayers after noon. The Friday service consists of a sermon (khuṭbah), which partly consists of a sermon in the local language and partly the reading of certain formulas in Arabic. In his sermons, the khatib usually recites one or several verses of the Qur’an and builds his speech on it, which can have moral, social, or political content. The Friday sermon usually has a considerable impact on public opinion on moral and socio-political issues.
Even though it is not ordained as an obligatory obligation, night prayer (called tahajjud) is recommended, especially in the second half of the night. During the month of Ramadan, a long prayer called tarawi is performed in congregation before retiring.
Perhaps no religion deals in such graphic detail as Islam with its creation, death, “life in the grave”, and the ultimate destiny of mankind….
In strict doctrine, the five daily prayers cannot be neglected even for the sick, who may pray in bed and, if necessary, lie down. When en route, the two zuhr prayers can be followed with each other; Maghrib and Maghrib prayers can be combined as well. But in practice, there are many weaknesses, especially among modern classes, even though Friday prayers are still attended by large numbers of people.
The Concept of Zakat in Islam
The third pillar is a mandatory tax called zakat (“purification,” indicating that the payment keeps one’s remaining wealth purely religious and legal). This is the only permanent tax levied by the Qur’an and paid annually on food grain, livestock and cash after one year’s ownership. The amount varies for different categories. So, in grains and fruits it is 10 percent if the soil is watered with rain, 5 percent if the soilartificially watered. On cash and precious metals it is 21/2 percent. Zakat can be collected by the state and will be used primarily for the poor, but the Qur’an mentions other purposes: redeeming Muslim prisoners of war, redeeming chronic debts, paying tax collectors’ fees, jihad (and by extension, according to Qur’anic commentators). , education and health), and creating facilities for tourists.
After the breakup of Muslim religious-political power, the payment of zakat became a matter of voluntary charity that depended on the conscience of the individual. In the modern Muslim world, it has been left to the individual, except in some countries (such as Saudi Arabia) where Sharia ( Islamic law ) is strictly maintained.
Fasting in Islam
Fasting during Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar), prescribed in the Qur’an (2:183–185), is the fourth pillar of faith. Fasting begins at dawn and ends at sunset, and during the day eating, drinking and smoking are prohibited. The Qur’an (2:185) states that it was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed. Another verse from the Qur’an (97:1) states that it was revealed “on the Night of Power,” which is generally observed by Muslims on one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan (usually the 27th night). For people who are sick or on a trip, fasting can be postponed until “the same number of days.” The elderly and the incurable sick were released by daily feeding one poor person if they could afford it.
Hajj in Islam
The fifth pillar is the annual pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca which is obligatory for every Muslim once in a lifetime—“provided one can afford it” and provided one has sufficient provisions to go to his family in his absence. A special service is held at the holy mosque on the 7th day of the month Dhū al-Ḥijjah (the last in the Muslim year). Pilgrimage activities begin on the 8th and end on the 12th or 13th. All pilgrims enter the state of iḥrām; they wore two unstitched garments and avoided sexual intercourse, cutting hair and nails, and certain other activities. Pilgrims from outside Mecca perform iḥrām at certain points on their way to the city. The main activities consist of walking seven times around the Kaaba, a temple inside the mosque; kissing and touching the Black Stone (Ḥajar al-Aswad); and the ascent and running between Mount Afā and Mount Marwah (which is now only elevation) seven times. In the second stage of the ritual, pilgrims continue their journey from Mecca to Mina, several miles away; from there he went to Arafāt, where it was very important to listen to the discourse and spend an afternoon. The final ritual consists of spending the night at Muzdalifah (between Arafāt and Minā) and offering a sacrifice on the last day of iḥrām, which is the d (“festival”) of sacrifice. See Eid al-Adha. The final ritual consists of spending the night at Muzdalifah (between Arafāt and Minā) and offering a sacrifice on the last day of iḥrām, which is the d (“festival”) of sacrifice. See Eid al-Adha. The final ritual consists of spending the night at Muzdalifah (between Arafāt and Minā) and offering sacrifices on the last day of iḥrām, which is the d (“festival”) of sacrifice. See Eid al-Adha.
Many countries have imposed restrictions on the number of pilgrims leaving due to foreign exchange difficulties. Due to the increase in communication, however, the number of visitors has increased rapidly in recent years. At the beginning of the 21st century the number of annual visitors was estimated to exceed two million, roughly half of that of non-Arab countries. All Muslim countries send official delegations on the occasion, which are increasingly being used for religious-political congresses. At other times of the year, performing a minor Hajj (umrah) is considered meritorious, which is not a substitute for Hajj.
The holiest place for Muslims is the Kaaba Sanctuary in Mecca, the object of an annual pilgrimage. It’s more than just a mosque; it is believed to be the place where happiness and heavenly powers touch the earth directly. According to Muslim tradition, the Kaaba was built by Ibrahim. The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina is next in holiness. Jerusalem follows in third place in holiness as the first qibla (i.e., the direction in which Muslims prayed initially, before the qibla was changed to the Kaaba) and as the place from which Muhammad, according to tradition, made his ascent (miʿrāj) to heaven. For the Shia, Karbalāʾ in Iraq (the place of the martyrdom of Alīusayn’s son) and Meshed in Iran (where Imam Alī al-Riḍā is buried) are special places of worship where Shiites make pilgrimages.
Islamic holy place
For the Muslim masses in general, the shrine of a Sufi saint is a particular object of reverence and even veneration. In Baghdad the tomb of the greatest saint, Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlān, is visited annually by a large number of pilgrims from all over the Muslim world.
In the late twentieth century, the Sufi shrines, which were privately administered in the earlier period, were almost entirely owned by the government and managed by the waqf department (plural of waqf, a religious endowment). The official appointed to care for the temple is usually called a mutawal. In Turkey, where the endowment was previously a very large part of the national wealth, all endowments were confiscated by the Atatürk regime (president 1928–38).