Islam translates into "submission" to the will of God. To Muslims, the sacred book of Islam, the Koran, is the infallible Word of God. The Holy Koran is a compilation of 114 "suras" (chapters); a transcript of revelations revealed to the Prophet Muhammed by the Angel Gabriel 1400 years ago. Muhammed was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 570 AD and died in 632 AD. During this time he married, fought many battles and established the Ka'ba in Mecca as the primary religious center for Islam. Islam is the largest and fastest growing religion on Earth. It is estimated that there are between 1.2 and 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. (roughly 1/4 of the Earth's current population of 6 billion). The two other monotheistic (belief in One God) religions of the world; Judaism and Christianity, comprise roughly 30-60 million and 1 billion+ (mostly catholic), respectively. Today the cities of Mecca and Medina (Saudi Arabia) and Jerusalem (Israel/Palestine) serve as the 3 main centers of worship and impor tance to Islam and Muslims worldwide.
The Muslim year is based on the lunar cycle and is divided into 12 lunar months; each with 29 or 30 days. The Muslim year is 10 to 11 days shorter than a typical Christian solar year. According to the Muslim Calendar, a day begins at sunset, while in the Christian calendar, a day begins at midnight. We are currently in the Muslim year 1421, calculated in the number of lunar years since 622 AD, the year of the Hegira, when the Prophet Muhammed travelled from Mecca to Medina. In comparison, the Jewish calendar puts the year at 5761, while the Christian calendar, of course, puts us at the year 2000.
|Year||New Years||Ramadan||Id al-Fitr||Eid al-Adha|
Ramadan is the holiest period in the Islamic year; it honors the lunar month in which the Koran was revealed to humanity. The first day of Ramadan is dependent on the sighting of the crescent moon in the night sky. Id al-Fitr represents the end of Ramadan. Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday, occurs after the month of Ramadan has ended.
2. Koran/Text/Scripture: Koran 2
3. Koran/Text/Scripture: Koran 3
***Addenum*** Index to the Koran
Five times a day Muslims perform prayers to Allah. Every mosque and prayer hall has at least one minaret or balcony where the muezzin, or crier, can fullfill his duty. He cries out to Muslims to stop their worldly tasks, face towards Mecca and pray. The prayer, in essence, declares that there is "No God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet". Muslims believe that by offering prayers five times a day they are strengthening and enlivening their beliefs in Allah, and that they are aspiring to a higher morality. This constant reminder of the devout's place in the greater universe is believed to purify the heart and prevent temptation towards wrong-doings and evil. The act of prayer is one of five fundamental practices, or Pillars of Islam, that are required of all devout Muslims. Thus the Call to Prayer plays an important role in the day and life of every pious Muslim.