Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammad, who lived fifteen hundred years ago in what is now Saudi Arabia, is the final prophet of God in a long line of prophets. God revealed to him his word in Arabic which is called the Holy Qur'an. The Holy Qur'an calls upon all humankind to submit to the will of Allah and to practise their faith through the Five Pillars of Islam which are:
Iman or Faith
No one is worthy of worship except God and Mohammad is his messenger.
Salah or Prayer
Obligatory prayers are to be said five times a day.
Zakah or Giving
All our possessions are purified (Zakah) by giving a proportion to those in need.
Sawm or Fasting
Fasting during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Hajj or Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime for those physically and financially able.
Muslims say their prayers in the direction of the holy city of Makkah. In the Mosque the Imam who leads the prayers also gives guidance first in Arabic and then in everyday language based on the Holy Qur'an and the Hadith (Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). Muslims believe that all will be judged by God after death and only those who have been obedient will enter paradise. Muslims make up 22% of the world's population.
The main festivals are:
- Al-Hijra - Muslim New Year (Information to be provided later)
- Maulid Al-Nabi - Birthday of the Prophet Mohammad
- Lailat-ul-Bara'h - Night of Forgiveness (Information to be provided later)
- Ramadan - The Month of Fasting
- Eid-Ul-Fitr - The end of Fasting (Information to be provided later)
- Eid-Ul-Adha - The completion of the Hajj and the sacrifice of Ishmael by Abraham
(Text copyright © Bolton Interfaith Council)