Here I have tried to answer some questions that non-muslims usually have regarding Muslims and Islam.
- What are the 5 pillars of Islam?
- How Muslims celebrate Eid?
- How Muslims greet?
- How Muslims pray?
- How Muslims fast?
- What Muslims say when someone dies?
- What Muslims believe in?
- What is adultery in Islam?
1: What are the 5 pillars of Islam?
The five pillars of Islam are considered to be the core beliefs and faith of Muslims. They are the profession of faith (Shahadah), prayer (Salat), Alms (Zakat), Fasting (Sawm), and the pilgrimage (Hajj).
- The profession of faith (Shahadah): “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. The Shahadah promotes the unity of faith claiming that there is no god but Allah and the tawhid which states that there is only one God Allah. Shahadah is said five times a day during prayers and also to the newborn baby and the person on the deathbed.
- Prayer (Salat): Muslims pray for salat five times a day. Muslims can pray anywhere, however they just need to face toward Qibla (Mecca). On Friday Muslim men gather in the mosque during mid-day to pray and listen to the sermon (Qutba).
- Alms (zakat): it is the third pillar of Islam which means Muslims donate a fixed portion of income to the people who are in need. Zakat means purity which means the payment makes one’s wealth pure and legal.
- Fasting (Sawm): Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan which is considered to be the holy month in the Islamic calendar. Missing fasts in Ramadan usually must be made soon afterward. Ramzan ends with the Eid-ul-Fitr which lasts for three days.
- The Pilgrimage (Hajj): every Muslim whose health and finances permit must visit the holy place Mecca at least once in a lifetime. The pilgrimage takes place in the last month of the Islamic calendar.
2: How Muslims celebrate Eid?
Muslims celebrate Eid twice a year. There are two major festivals of Muslims they are, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-al Adha.
Eid-ul-Fitr lasts for two or three days after the month of Ramadan. It is considered the end of the month of Ramadan. Eid includes special morning prayers and greets each other “Eid Mubarak”. Muslims prepare special sweet dishes and the children are given gifts. Most people decorate their homes on the occasion of Eid. Special congregational prayers are performed by Muslim men.
Eid-al-Adha lasts for four days which is known as the festival of sacrifice. It comes at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. This eid recalls the story of Allah’s command to Ibrahim (a.s) to sacrifice his son Ismail (a.s) as the test of faith. But, just when Ibrahim (a.s) attempts to kill his son, Allah intervenes and a ram was sacrificed in place of Ismail (a.s). Muslims slaughter an animal to remind themselves of the sacrifice of Ibrahim (a.s). It is celebrated in the last month of the lunar Islamic calendar.
3: How Muslims greet?
Muslims greet each other with the Islamic greeting “As-Salamu-Alaikum wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuh” which means (Allah’s peace, mercy, and blessing be upon you) which is responded by the greeting “Wa-Alaikum-Assalam wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuh” which means (upon you the peace).
In Islam who greeted first is praised either you are younger or older than the other person. According to Quran, the salam greeting has been mandatory in Islam since the creation of Adam aand is commanded by Allah (s.w.t).
4: How Muslims pray?
Prayer (Salah) is one of the five pillars(faiths) of Islam. It is mandatory on every adult Muslim to perform daily five prayers. Muslims believe that salah is the way to connect to Allah. The way Muslims performs salah is to first ensure whether the area is clean and pure. Then make wudu (ablution). Men are highly recommended to pray in mosques.
Face towards the Qibla and make the intention called niyyah in your heart. Muslims pray salah in Arabic. During salah Muslims recites prayers and complete movements in a series called rakat. Rakats in every salah varies but it includes standing, bowing, and prostrating in every salah.
The Prostures of Salah in Islam
Standing: Standing with respect and stillness starts the prayer. One must cross their hands right hand over the left hand while reciting surah in rakah.
Bowing: This is called ruku which is the action of bowing with your hands on knees and keeping your back straight. It is said that prophet kept his back so straight while bowing that a drop of water could not roll over.
Prostrating: It is known as Sajdah. It is when you place your face on the ground with the kneeling position. This concludes one rakah of salah.
Sitting: After every two rakah, sit on your knees and recite tashahhud, if salah has four rakahs sit on your knees after fourth rakah and recite prayers then conclude with tasleem.
5: How Muslims fast?
Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan which is the ninth month of Islamic calendar. Muslims have to abandon food, water and sexual activity during the 30 days of ramadan from dawn to dusk.
Muslims are recommended to have a meal before the dawn known as suhoor and a meal after the sunset to break their fast known as iftar. Muslims are permitted to have anything between these two meals.
6: What Muslims say when someone dies?
When Muslims hear someone had died, the most common thing they say is:
إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
“Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raji’un” means (indeed we belong to Allah and indeed we will return). This is the most common verse which is said in Islam when someone dies. It directly comes from the verses of the Quran in the second surah (Surah-al-Baqarah).
7: What Muslims believe in?
The main belief of Muslims is monotheism (Tawhid). Muslims believe in one God (Allah) and believe Muhammad (p.b.u.h) was his prophet.
The seven major beliefs of Muslims are:
- Believe in one God(Allah).
- Believe in Angels.
- Believe in holy books which were sent for the prophets, Torah revealed to Prophet Musa, Zabur revealed to prophet Daud, Bible revealed to prophet Isa, Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h)
- Believe in the day of judgment and the life after the death.
- Believe in all the prophets.
- Believe that Prophet Mohammed(p.b.u.h) is the final messenger of God(Allah).
- Believe in divine decree. This means everything happens with the permission of Allah. However, he has given the freedom to humans to choose whether good or bad. In the end, everyone will be questioned how they lived his life.
8: What is adultery in Islam?
Adultery is the sexual relationship between two individuals who are not married to each other or are married to someone other. It is considered to be a foremost crime by Allah. It is termed as Zina in Arabic. There are several verses of the Quran which prohibit Zina.
Some Quranic verses and hadith say that the one who commits adultery should be punished with 100 lashes for the unmarried regardless of their gender and if a married person commits adultery(Zina) they should be stoned to death.