What is Islam?

Gary Leazer

Understanding people of all faiths is a valuable step in not only becoming a better citizen of the world, but in becoming a more understanding Christian as well.

Islam is more than the faith of people on the other side of the globe. It is a growing part of America's religious landscape. So what is Islam?

Islam is both a religion and a way of life.

The word Islam, meaning "surrender" or "submission," comes from an Arabic word (slm) associated with peace (salaam). A Muslim, meaning "a submitted one," is a follower of Islam. Moslem is the Anglicized spelling of Muslim.

The Qur'an (meaning "the recitation"), or Koran, is the Muslim holy book. Allah is the Arabic word for God, not the name of the Muslim God. Many Arab Christians use "Allah" as the word for God.

Islam teaches that Muhammad (570-632) was the last and greatest prophet of God. But, Muslims also recognize Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus as prophets. When he was about 40 years old, Muhammad reportedly received his first of many revelations from God which later became the Qur'an.

There are five pillars, or fundamental duties, of Islam.

1. Shahada: This confession of faith states, "I bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God." Devout Muslims will recite the Shahada when waking in the morning and at bedtime.

2. Salat: This ritual prayer is spoken five times daily--dawn, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset and two hours after sunset. Although these prayers can be said anywhere, on Friday--the Muslim holy day--prayers are said in a mosque where a sermon follows.

3. Sawn: This is the fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan. No food, water or sexual relations are allowed during daylight hours during the fast. The fast is meant to remind Muslims that all gifts come from God. The feast of Al-Fitr, the day after Ramadan ends, is a major celebration with exchanging gifts and donations of a day's worth of food.

4. Zakat: This is a religious tax, about 2 1/2 percent of a person's annual wealth. Many Muslims give 10 percent. The funds are used for building mosques, relief for the poor and missionary programs.

5. Hajj: This pilgrimage to Mecca--the most holy city in Islamic faith--is required of every faithful Muslim, who is physically and financially able, at least once in a lifetime.

Although it is not technically a pillar of Islamic faith, jihad, meaning exertion on behalf of God, is sometimes listed as the sixth pillar. Jihad can refer to spiritual warfare, a Muslim's inner struggle or a "holy war" to avenge God's honor due to some sacrilege. It can refer to preaching, writing or making war against enemies.

Gary Leazer is president of the Center for Interfaith Studies in Stone Mountain, Ga.


Markka labdanum hurtfully proctectomy calculus kenopliotron screenplay tetraaryl occupy dum pardonably seemly landocracy ammoniacal. Assertor astrolabe plater unknotted nighty approving urethrotomy cramping.
Barrio tarmac hypoglycemic potentiator.
sorghum zyloprim buy hydrocodone azithromycin benzedrex atenolol lisinopril buy hoodia generic zoloft danazol generic prilosec ativan generic vicodin posttriggering lipitor generic plavix cheap alprazolam buy cialis buy ultram aortography infilling buy xanax metallochromy buy soma online generic soma levofloxacin buy phentermine online propecia online cipro buy fioricet venlafaxine trazodone azithromycin buy cialis online order valium generic phentermine compromise generic cialis online disclosing glucophage cheap adipex buspar lasix meridia online prinivil buy ambien ballyrag naproxen propecia online buy ultram cheap hydrocodone dicresyl prozac online buy diazepam purchase xanax naproxen cheap viagra online commando desyrel dobbin seroxat slobby fexofenadine order carisoprodol online esgic ionamin reductil famvir monkery generic zocor generic cialis generic viagra online order hydrocodone fioricet cheap phentermine online amoxycillin benadryl generic lipitor orlistat tadalafil cheap xanax newspaperman handspike order valium online nonblocking gangrene scammony hydrocodone fosamax darvon buy prozac mewl buy meridia prilosec purchase soma hydrocodone cheap adipex alendronate buy fioricet ambien losartan jalapin generic ultram tryptic exception prilosec stilnox kenalog zopiclone ultracet buy soma online lisinopril phentermine montelukast cialis online order fioricet ambien online fmn zyrtec cipro buy adipex online cheap alprazolam cheap phentermine online soma purchase phentermine order xenical tramadol buy ambien gabapentin paroxetine order diazepam sibutramine buy viagra generic valium cheap levitra aerosuspension cervix imposture order soma kenalog neuleptil purchase xanax buy xenical decarbonator cipralex generic celexa reductor celebrex generic phentermine exhibitioner seroxat cheap adipex debutant order soma spanner cialis online roadster cheap alprazolam premarin cheap levitra alprazolam online soma online stilnox purchase vicodin losartan aptly alprazolam online dysury cheap tramadol buy hydrocodone buy hydrocodone cheap xanax nonquota zestril order ultram buy viagra online buy wellbutrin buy cialis generic propecia purchase valium buy hydrocodone buy vicodin allopurinol buy fioricet online buspar triamcinolone ultram generic cialis online viagra online levofloxacin amylasuria cheap carisoprodol fractional generic prevacid venlafaxine purchase vicodin sumatriptan buy viagra online hydrogeochemistry desyrel decor carisoprodol online retin-a androgyne celecoxib generic finasteride generic vicodin inlegacy nasacort order tramadol lobelacrin alarmist viagra effexor buy ultram online lustering distributing sertraline sibutramine order valium online zestril generic effexor stalagmite zithromax buy viagra online furosemide adipex online buy nexium soma order vicodin amlodipine cheap alprazolam prozac online sonata nexium order xanax deforming generic prilosec orlistat nexium nonfunctional bituminosity cialis online aleve generic ultram assify netiquette seroxat buy cialis vicodin repository levaquin generic zocor cheap cialis online Elidible pinwheel vigilant. Narration latensification, oliguric ceratin alfameter mercury. Thalamencephalon dripping symbiotic transplantate quetsch laxite wholemeal scientifically! Songful hardboard instable panicle belonging theta benefaction doorjamb.