Muslims believe there is only one God who is the only God that can exist, he has created all things, he is all powerful, omnipotent, eternal, beyond time and is present with Muslims all the time. They believe in the books revealed by God, angels, the day of judgement, life after death, the prophets and the Prophet Muhammad was God’s messenger and his seal.
A Muslim’s beliefs and values are found in the Five Pillars of Islam which are obligatory.They are:
1. Shahadah: This affirms that God is the only God, and Muhammad is his messenger – ‘There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.’
2. Salat: Performing set prayers in the direction of Makkah 5 times a day, prior to the prayers Muslims must ceremonially wash themselves (wadu). The prayers are at specific times of the day and have specific postures which Muslims have to undertake. The prayers are in Arabic.
3. Sawm: Fasting each day during the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the lunar calendar. A Muslim during Ramadan is not allowed to eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. They are allowed to eat and drink during the night.
4. Zakat: Giving alms to the poor, a compulsory percentage of income (2.5%) is given to the poor, this is either given to the Imam at the Mosque or can be handed over to a specific charity by the individual.
5. Hajj: making a pilgrimage to Makkah at least once during a Muslim’s lifetime, if physically able. Makkah is the most holy place for Muslims and contains the Kabbah first built in tradition by Abraham.
OTHER TRADITIONS OF ISLAM
‘Sunna’, – custom or usage of the prophet, which helps to interpret the Qur’an. This is the oral law of Islam, the collection of the traditions is called the Hadith and contains the records of conduct and sayings of Muhammad and his companions.
All male Muslims are circumcised, following in the footsteps of Muhammad. This can be done between 0 –12 years of age, though normally it will happen at the celebration feast called Aqiqah after the birth of the baby (normally 7 days after the birth of the child).
Jihad – has two meanings, one of inner struggle and the other of outer struggle. The inner struggle is for Muslims to ensure that they are able to keep to all the requirements of being a Muslim. The outer struggle is better known in the West as a Holy War against those who openly oppose Islam.
Shariah – Islamic law consisting of the teachings of the Qur’an, the sunna of the prophet which is incorporated in the recognised traditions and the general agreement of the scholars of the orthodox community
The Din is also an important aspect of Muslim life.
There are many different festivals celebrated throughout the Muslim calendar.