History of the Islamic religion
Islam is the second most widespread religion in the world, with more than 1.8 billion believers.
The different cultural areas that Islam has touched over the centuries have given rise to different religious approaches, but they all have unique foundations, common to each believer and absolutely inviolable.
Islam is actually a monotheistic religion in which one and only one God is worshiped - Allah, and all believers at least once in their lives make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy city, in the direction of which they all pray several times a day.
Muslims (the word "Muslim" comes from muslim - believer) all over the world, regardless of their ethnicity, culture and social status, feel a strong connection with each other. This affects not only their spirituality, but also their economic, political and ethical choices. The Qur'anic laws, in fact, are a teaching that greatly unifies the life of believers, not only from a religious point of view, but also determines their daily morality and actions towards themselves and others.
Symbol of Islam
The symbol of Islam is a crescent with a star. It points not only to the path, but also to the goal, i.e. paradise.
Muhammad: brief biography
Five centuries after the birth of Christ, 300 gods were worshiped in Mecca (Arabia) and they believed in the existence of invisible creatures - genies. Muhammad was born in this place around 570.
He belonged to the Quraish tribe, the most powerful and rich thanks to trade and pilgrimage to the deities of the Kaaba. Around 610, Muhammad received his first revelations, and his first wife Khadija urged him not to deviate from his mission, which was also supported by the prophet's father-in-law Abu Bakr and Ali, his cousin and son-in-law.
Muhammad was persecuted for the new religious idea he professed - belief in one God, Allah. If this truth were accepted by the Arab population, no one would make the pilgrimage to Mecca anymore, trade would suffer, and the first losers would be the Quraish.
Muhammad was forced to take refuge in Medina (then Yathrib) with his family and first followers (mujajirun) in 622 (this date is indicated by the Hijra and is the beginning of the Islamic calendar).
In 628 he returned to Mecca, and in 630 he finally conquered the city and destroyed the idols in the Kaaba sanctuary. From this moment the rise of Islam began, and by the time of Muhammad's death (632) all of Arabia was under Muslim rule.
Five Pillars of Islam
Every believer, in order to be considered a good Muslim, must observe the five pillars of the Islamic religion:
- Profession of Faith;
- obligatory alms;
- fasting in the month of Ramadan;
- Pilgrimage to Mecca.
Ritual prayer (Salad)
The five daily prayers, which a believer with his head covered must always perform facing Mecca (for this there is a special niche in the mosque, but if necessary, you can use a small compass), are performed at dawn, at noon, at sunset and in the evening.< br /> The clock was installed some time after Muhammad's death; the most important is noon, especially on Fridays, which are public holidays (on which, however, work is not prohibited).
Friday prayer in the mosque is obligatory for every male believer.
Prayer must be preceded by a mandatory ritual ablution: the face, arms up to the elbows, and legs up to the ankles are washed with clean water, not necessarily running water. If the “contamination” is serious (for example, during sexual intercourse), then a complete ablution is required, only after which it is allowed to read a prayer and touch the Koran.
If water is not available, you can use sand or powder using another method.
From the top of the mosque's minaret, the muezzin calls believers to prayer. But you can pray at home and at your workplace, wherever you are.
Men and women gather separately, in rows, standing side by side: the rich next to the poor.
The prayers, said very quietly, are short, all of them are taken from the Koran and hadith - stories about the life of Muhammad and sayings recorded by his followers.
Lawful charity (zakat)
Lawful almsgiving (zakat) is the government collection of taxes (usually 2.5% of net annual income) for charitable or public purposes, for community expenses and the maintenance of the clergy, for insolvent debtors or converts, and for the spread of Islam or its protection.
But voluntary donations to the mosque treasury are also possible. Legal almsgiving is considered not only the basis of social justice, along with the prohibition of usury, but also a means of atonement for sins, therefore its value is both legal and moral.
Fasting in Ramadan (Saum)
Fasting involves abstaining from any food and drink, smoking, perfume and sexual intercourse during the month of Ramadan - the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which was already considered sacred by the ancient Arabs.
Due to the lunar calendar, Ramadan occurs at different times of the year, and fasting is especially difficult in the summer.
Only 33 years later it falls on the same date.
Muhammad began by introducing the Jewish fast of Kippur, which lasts from sunset one day to sunset the next. But due to a break with the Jews of Medina, he replaced it with this month's fast, limited by sundial.
Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)
Every Muslim should visit Mecca at least once in his life. The poor are exempt from pilgrimage.
In Mecca are the holiest places of Muslims, forbidden to infidels. According to the Koran, Muhammad began his ministry there, and Abraham, with the help of his son Ishmael, rebuilt the Kaaba (built by Adam) there as a sign of submission to God.
The Kaaba is a cubic structure measuring nine meters by twelve, rising in the courtyard of the Great Mosque. In the south-eastern corner, on the outside, is mounted the famous Black Stone - a meteorite, which before Muhammad was identified with the local god Hubal and which was broken into fragments in 683 AD.