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Islamic Religion


The word ISLAM is derived from the Arabic root word SALAAM, which means PEACE. The literal meaning of ISLAM is submission to Allah. (Allah is the Arabic name for God.)


Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in Mecca in Saudi Arabia in the year 570 A.D, to Abdullah and Amina. Muhammad was the only child of his parents. His father died before he was born, and his mother passed on when he was about six years old. He was left in the care of his grandfather Hazrath abdal Muttalib, an eminent chief of the Quraish clan, after his parents expired. A few years later his grandfather passed on too, and Muhammad's uncle, Hazrath Abu Talib, raised him.

Muhammad grew up in the countryside, and he spent his childhood shepherding goats, sheep and camels. When he grew up, he entered the business of trading caravans with his uncle. At the age of twenty-five, Mohammed wed Bibi Khadija, who was a widow. The couple had four daughters and two sons, both sadly died in infancy.

Mohammed departed from this world at the age of sixty-three. His tomb is situated in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia and is visited by millions of Muslims every year.


The Revelation

When Muhammad was around forty, while he was meditating in a cave called Hira, in the mountains near Mecca, Mohammed had a divine revelation. The archangel Gabriel appeared and revealed to him the Quran and stated that there was one God. Thus the KALIMA or the basic statement of faith in Islam is:

LA ILAHA ILLALAH; MUHAMMAD UR RASOOL ULLAH. (There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the prophet of God.)

Gabriel also said that Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah. After the revelation, the Prophet migrated from Mecca to Medina. This migration is called Hijrath, and is a very important event in the history of Islam. The Islamic calendar called the Hijri Era is based on this event, and many devout Muslims undertake this pilgrimage.


Five Pillars

There are five pillars of Islam: Kalima (statement of faith) Namaaz (Five daily prayers) Roza (Fasting in the month of Ramazan) Zakaat (The charity or poor due) Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca once in the lifetime)


Teachings

The basic teachings of Islam are the same as of most of the other religions: Be a good person, be truthful, be honest, be kind, be charitable, feed the hungry, help the travelers, help the family, help relatives and neighbours, help humankind etc. The basic teachings of the Quran and the Prophet are no different from the teachings of any other major religion.


Beliefs

Islam is a monotheistic religion. The Muslims believe in ONE God. They believe that Muhammad is His last Prophet and that the Quran is His last Book.


Festivals

The Muslims celebrate two major festivals: Eid ul fitr, at the end of the fasting month of Ramazan Eid ul adha (offering a sacrifice to God)


Muslims in India

Muslims are the largest minority in India. The Constitution of India safeguards their rights as Muslims and grants them freedom to follow and observe their religion.

Muslims have distinguished themselves in different walks of life. It should come as no surprise that independent India has seen two Muslim Presidents in the past: the Late Dr. Zakir Hussain and the Late Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. One of the foremost Indian entrepreneurs Azeem Premji is a distinguished Indian Muslim, and so is India's current President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.


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