Short Paragraphs on Islam!
The term ‘Islam’ is of Arabic origin, meaning ‘submission’, and the followers of this religion founded by the Prophet Muhammad are Muslims—those who submit (to God).
According to Muslims, God sent a number of prophets to mankind to teach them how to live according to His law.
Jesus, Moses and Abraham are respected as prophets of God. Muslims believe that the final Prophet was Muhammad. They also believe that Islam has always existed, but for practical purposes, date their religion from the time of the migration of Muhammad.
The word of God was revealed to Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel and his messengers and it is embodied in the Quran. Muslims base their laws on their holy book, the Quran, and the Sunnah. The Sunnah is considered to be the practical example of Prophet Muhammad.
The basic tenets of Islam are belief in the one God, Allah; belief in Muhammad as the final prophet and messenger of God; and belief that the life on earth is a period of testing and preparation for the life to come after the Judgement Day when everyone shall be recompensed by God according to the actions performed.
The followers of Islam are bound to certain duties: the five ritual prayers every day; a weekly uma prayer on Friday noons; a dawn-to-dusk fast in the month of Ramzan; a pilgrimage to Mecca for the annual congregation of hajj at least once in a lifetime; and payment of zakat (charity) to the poor and needy.
There are two mains sects in Islam: Sunni and Shia. The division between Sunnis and Shias is the largest and oldest in the history of Islam. Both sects agree on the fundamentals of Islam and consider the Quran as their holy book, but there are differences mostly derived from their different historical experiences, political and social developments, as well as ethnic composition.
These differences originate from the question of who would succeed the Prophet Muhammad as leader of the emerging Muslim community after his death. Sunnis argue that the Prophet chose Abu Bakr to lead the congregational prayers as he lay on his deathbed, thus suggesting that the Prophet was naming Abu Bakr as the next leader.
The Shias’ evidence is that Muhammad stood up in front of his companions on the way back from his last Hajj, and proclaimed his son- in-law, Ali, the spiritual guide and master of all believers. It was only later that these terms came into use. Sunni means ‘one who follows the Sunnah’ (what the Prophet said, did, agree to or condemned).
Shia is a contraction of the phrase ‘Shiat Ali’, meaning ‘partisans of Ali’. It is necessary that the word ‘successor’ is not taken to mean that those leaders that came after the Prophet Muhammad were also prophets; both Shia and Sunni agree that Muhammad was the final prophet. All Muslims are required to pray five times a day.
However, Shia practice permits combining some prayers into three daily prayer times. A Shia at prayer can often be identified by a small tablet of clay from a holy place (often Karbala), on which they place their forehead whilst prostrating. The majority of Muslims in
Islam came first to India with Arab traders on the west coast, but spread with the conquest of the north-west areas. There are four schools of jurisprudence—Hanafi, Shafei, Maliki and Hambali.
The coming of Islam brought about a fusion of two vibrant cultures, and Indo-Islamic styles in art and architecture, music and literature evolved. A peculiar interaction between Islamic thoughts and the bhakti movement of medieval India is said to have contributed to the Sufi movement in India.