Islam is a religion practiced by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, so it’s important to know some basic facts. Here are a selection…

  1. The word Islam means submission.
  2. Islam is a monotheistic religion.
  3. It dates back to seventh century Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
  4. Muslims follow the teachings of the Qur’an, which they believe to be the word of God.
  5. The Qur’an is said to have been received in a series of revelations by Muhammad through the angel Gabriel.
  6. Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 AD and is the founder of the Islamic faith. Muslims believe he was the final prophet of God.
  7. The Qur’an is written in classical Arabic and is divided into 114 chapters or suras of varying length.
  8. In addition to the Qur’an, Muslims refer to the hadith, which are collections of sayings by Muhammad.
  9. Muslims also revere the Injil (Gospel) and Tawrat (Torah) and hold many biblical figures as prophets, including Adam, Moses and Jesus.
  10. However, they believe that the Injil was corrupted, so they do not follow its teachings.
  11. Like many religions, Islam has its own denominations and sub-denominations. Sunni and Shia are the main denominations. Sub-denominations include Sufism, Wahhabism, Salafism, Ibadism… Way too many to list!
  12. In Islam, God is said to have created the universe but he is incomprehensible and unknowable. Man was created to worship him, as a slave honours his master.
  13. This is done by practising the five pillars of Islam. These are a creed, daily prayer, fasting, giving to the poor and pilgrimage.
  14. Muslims worship at a mosque, a building which often has a domed roof and a minaret, from which the call to prayer is issued at dawn, noon, afternoon, evening and night. Inside it is carpeted with separate sections for men and women.
  15. Before entering a mosque for prayer, a Muslim must perform a cleansing ritual and remove his or her shoes. An imam will lead the time of prayer.
  16. Friday is the holy day of the week for Muslims. On this day, there is usually an extended time of prayer at the mosque, perhaps with some teaching.