Islam is very similar to Judaism. Both are semitic religions and share the common ancestry of Abraham. The main
points of Islam are included in these five pillars:

The Five Pillars of Islam:
  • First is the confession of faith known as the Shahadah. "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His
    Prophet." The affirmation of a monotheistic belief and the faith in the authenticity of the Koran that
    Muhammad transmitted from God.
  • The second pillar is the canonical prayer. Muslims must stay constant in prayer and keep their lives in
    perspective. Submitting one's will to God's as it's rightful sovereign. Prayer must be done five times a day
    (unless there is a reasonable explanation not to), In the morning when you first wake up, when the sun
    reaches its zenith, when the sun reaches its mid decline, sunset, and before retiring for the evening.
  • The standard prayer consists of praise to God, gratitude to God and supplication.
  • Charity is the third pillar of Islam. Islam understands that not everyone is financially equal and the Koran
    states that 2 1/2% or an annual one-fortieth of the middle and upper class' income and holdings should be
    given to the poor.
  • The fourth pillar of Islam is the observance of Ramadan the month on the Islamic calendar that
    corresponds to Muhammad's initial revelation and his Hijrah from Mecca to Medina ten years later. It is a
    time for fasting during daylight hours. During evening hours food may be taken in moderation. The point
    behind fasting is to make you think, to teach self discipline, underscores your dependence on God, a
    reminder of human frailty and dependence and sensitizes compassion by allowing one to share the feeling
    of hunger.
  • The fifth pillar is pilgrimage. Once during his or her lifetime men and women should make the pilgrimage to
    the holy city of Mecca where God's revelation was first revealed if they are financially able. The purpose is
    to heighten one's devotion to God. It is also a reminder of human equality for all pilgrims must dress in a
    sheet like garment that does not show rank or social status and allows people from all over the world to
    worship God without social restrictions.

The social teachings of the Koran are broad and encompass many aspects of Islamic life.
  • Economically a society's health requires goods be appropriately distributed. Wealth is to stay in circulation
    and business is to be encouraged as long as the guidelines set by the Koran are followed.
  • The role of women has greatly improved in the Arabic world due to the adoption of the Islamic faith.
    Before Islam women were treated with contempt and girls were even buried alive at birth. The Koran still
    leaves open the possibility of the equality of women depending on the customs of the Muslim nations as
    they become modernized. Islam sanctified marriage, required that a woman give free consent before
    marriage, and even included them in family inheritances, not fully but half of a man's, which is more that the
    previous nothing before Islam.
  • Racial equality is stressed in Islam. Racism has no precedent in Islam and cannot be accommodated to it.
  • Regarding the use of force, the Koran does not counsel pacifism as does Christianity but teaches
    forgiveness and the return of good for evil when the circumstances warrant. Justice requires that
    wrongdoers be punished to the full extent of the injury that they impart. Islam is not forced on others for in
    the Koran it is written- "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (2:257).

There have been many misconceptions about the forcing of Islam on other peoples. Muslim conquerors were
very lenient with other religions especially with Judaism and later Christianity. Islam has reached every corner of
the world and even Muhammad has been regarded the most influential person in history.
Information compiled from individual study.
The phrase "All people are children of Allah" has been edited out of this essay. A reader has pointed out the
verse 112:003 of the Quran "He begetteth not, nor is He begotten" directly contradicts my statement gathered
from my studies. I offer my thanks and my apopogies.

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