Muslims are people who follow Islam. The Islamic religion was explained by the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) almost 1500 years ago in Arabia. He explained that Islam is not a new religion, but one that follows the same line as Judaism and Christianity, believing in all the prophets from Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses to Jesus (peace be upon all of them). He also explained that God was unique and created everything, and as such, He has no equal. Muslims are supposed to follow the Islamic lifestyle of peace, love and consideration for all, although in recent times political issues have caused great controversy and misunderstanding. Terrorism is the indiscriminate killing of innocent people which has nothing to do with the pure Islamic lifestyle.
The Islamic lifestyle is based upon five pillars.
The first is the testification of faith which one utters to become a Muslim. This reads as 'There in no other god except Allah, and Muhammed is his Messenger.' This has to be said with sincerity which means people cannot be forced to become Muslim. The Belief in God (Allah) requires certainty with complete understanding that nothing else deserve worship or reverence except Him, and all depends upon Him without partners.
The second pillar is to pray five times daily in order to keep in constant state of devotion and direct communication with the Creator. Islam does not have a clergy and each individual, man or woman, ask of their Lord whatever they wish.
The third pillar enjoins the wealthy Muslims to share their wealth with the less fortunate by giving a small part of their money away as charity called Zakat. Thus Islam is not only a personal and spiritual faith, rather it requires Muslims to engage with their fellow humans to work towards a better, fairer and more equal society.
The fourth pillar is to fast during the month of Ramadan which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. During Ramadan Muslims do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. They will also refrain from marital relations and generally remain as god-conscious as possible. Muslims are encouraged to do as many good deeds as possible during this time as it is a time for spiritual purification, self control and an opportunity to keep desires in check.
The fifth pillar is to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime and is called the Hajj. It entails the following of Abrahamic rituals culminating in a sacrifice which feeds the less fortunate. The Hajj rituals stress upon sacrifice, tolerance and equality.
Many misconceptions exist about Islam and Muslims and we would like to encourage our listeners to interact and engage in dialogue with each other so that we can create that harmonious society that we all desire.