Some Basic Facts About Islam
Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion, that is, teaching that Muhammad is the last prophet sent by God to earth. It is the second-most common religion with 1.9billion followers or 25.3% of the entire world’s population, called Muslims. Most Muslims live in northern Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. About half are Arab.
Some definitions of Islam include the following: Islam, the religion of Islam, the Sunnah, or the way of Islam, and the creed, which is the fundamentals of the religion of Islam. Islam also includes customary law under which an individual must follow. These include: Hajj (visit Mecca at least once by any Muslim), Fasting, and obligatory prayer. Other important elements of Islam are: Spending time for prayers, visiting the mosque regularly, and taking part in community activities.
There are three main branches of Islam: Masnawi, Shia, and Ahmadi. The Ahmadi sect is considered to be heretical by most scholars and is also sometimes referred to as the Revivalists’ Islam. The Ahmadi is believed to have existed in Pakistan since the time of Mullahs, who were dead. They are the minority in the country. They are divided into two main sects, the Maliki and the Khurasani.
Islam believes in four pillars of Islam, as mentioned in the hadith, or Islamic tradition. These are: Hajj, Fasting, Zakat, and Asr. Islam also includes twenty other pillars or values, such as: humanity, spirituality, and intellectualism, fairness, integrity, and charity. All Muslims follow these values, as stated in the constitution and teachings of Islam. In addition to the four basic pillars, there are also twenty-one Additional Principles of Islam, as defined in the light of various discussions on Islam by the umma or Muslims throughout the globe.
Islam has a history of encountering several centuries of internal schism and conflict with the western world and its adherents. Islam states that all Muslims are governed by Islamic sharia or law. This is a constitution which grants the duties and freedoms to its citizens according to the dictates of their religion. For example, all Muslims are forbidden from participating in wars of aggression, killing innocent life, cutting off hands, feet, properties, or person belonging to the infidels, and forcing others to become Muslim. In addition, Muslims are prohibited from carrying firearms except for self-defense, and women must remain at home during child-bearing and any other time when they are not menstruating.
Two main groups of Islamic followers are the Shias and the Twelighters. The Shias are spread across Iraq and the peripheries of Asia and Arabia. They are primarily of Berber descent and are also of Arab decent. Their religious writings include the bible and the various works of Islamic scholars, though there are some who do not consider themselves scholars. They believe in obeying Allah and adhering strictly to his word.
The Twelighters are a religious minority within Islam. They are closely affiliated to the school of Ismailism and are regarded as heretics by the majority of Muslims. They are mostly found in Morocco and the Eastern part of Algeria. They do not consider themselves Muslims, but are considered to follow the dictates of prophet Muhammad (SAW) and have adopted many of his practices and beliefs.
Those who follow the Jihab and the Sunnah (prophetic tradition) are called by the Arabic term mujahedeen. These are the followers of prophet Mohammed (SAW), who adhere to his teachings, and his methods of teaching. To be categorized as a mujahedeen is to be a person who belongs to the school of Ismailism. Those who adhere strictly to the Sunnah (the traditions or teachings of prophet Mohammed) are called by the Arabic term sharafat and are believed to number in the millions of mujahedeen throughout the globe.