Crescent Moon

Introductions to World Religions
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

An Overview of Islam

Allah - Muslim name for God

What Is Islam? Who Are Muslims?

Current Demographics:

Five Pillars of Islamic Practice (for Sunni Muslims; some others add a sixth pillar):

  1. Shahada = declaration of faith
  2. Salat = ritual prayer or worship
  3. Zakat = alms-giving
  4. Sawm = fasting during Ramadan
  5. Hajj = pilgrimage to Mecca
  6. [ Jihad = struggle or exertion ]

Six Pillars/Articles of Muslim Faith (central beliefs as enumerated by the majority Sunni Muslims):

  1. Oneness, Absoluteness of God / Allah
  2. Existence of Unseen World: Angels & Spirits
  3. Chain of Prophets throughout History, culminating with Muhammad
  4. Divine Revelation as recorded in various Holy Books
  5. Resurrection, Judgment, Afterlife, Heaven and Hell
  6. Divine Destiny & Individual Responsibility (Choice of Good vs. Evil)

Life of Muhammad and Islamic History, including:

Foundational Muslim Literature, including:

Islamic Calendar and Feasts, including:

Holy Cities and Sites of Islam:

  1. Makka (also spelled Mecca in English) - an ancient trading center in Southwestern Arabia; birthplace of Muhammad; destination of the annual Hajj.
  2. Madinah (also spelled Medina; called "Yathrib" in pre-Islamic times) - about 250 miles (400 km) north of Makka; the first Muslim city-state, governed by Muhammad himself from 622–632 CE.
  3. Jerusalem - center of ancient Judaism and Christianity.
  4. Several cities in modern Iraq are also considered holy by Shi'ite Muslims:
The Kabah in Mecca The Prophet's Mosque in Medina The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
The Ka'bah, in Mecca Mosque of the Prophet, in Medina Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem

Muslim Leadership & Islamic Law:

Other Possible Topics:

Some Helpful Websites on Islam:


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