Here is a short overview of Muslims and their belief. To start, humanity is one and is created by the same God (Allah), Who created the universe.
(1) Muslims believe in the strict Oneness of God. God has no gender or shape or form that we can comprehend. God is without any equal, Eternal. Nothing precedes Him, He is without any end. He is the First and the Last. He knows everything…. .
(2) Belief in the prophets, who received God’s revelations from Abraham to Prophet Mohammed, the last prophet, through whom the Quran was revealed. Jesus is a prophet and not a son of God. God sent his message to other people but those messengers are not mentioned.
(3) Belief In the Day of Judgment when everything ends. There is no free pass for Muslims, who will be judged like everyone else based on deeds and actions.
Islam has no defined clergy. It is the responsibility of every individual to read the Quran and follow the religious obligations and these can be done in a mosque or at home without the presence of an imam. It is not necessary to belong to a mosque. One may pray in any mosque or any place that is convenient. The imam of a mosque does not have a status anywhere near close to a priest or a minister in a church .
Before I go to obligatory duties I will clarify terms often heard in the media. A Fatwa is simply a religious opinion of a scholar and is not binding on any one.
“Infidel”. It is also not an Islamic term. The word “Kafir” simply means a person who denies the existence of God or does not believe in God(Allah). A non believer..
Obligations or religious duties are Prayers, (namaz or salat) 5 times a day, morning, noon, late afternoon, at sun set and a few hours after sun set. It takes a few minutes. One can pray at any place, at home or in a mosque. In Muslim countries it is a common sight to see people taking a few moments to pray in a park, a bus or train station or an airport.
Fasting(no food or water) from sunrise to sunset in the month of Ramadan. Your fast is negated if you indulge in anger, envy or other negative emotions or bad deeds. It is a month of prayers and devotion. However, your good deeds and actions should continue as long as you live. It is a religious duty to be just, fair in your dealings in business, work and everyday life and to obey the laws of the land.
Zakat is compulsory giving to the poor and needy.
Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime is obligatory if one can perform it without incurring economic liabilities or debt. Several million people perform the Hajj every year. Its ritual takes 5 days and is centered around the Kaaba.
“Verily men who submit (to God) and women who submit,
And men who believe and women who believe,
And men who are devout and women who are devout,
And men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth,
And men who are patient and women who are patient,
And men who are humble and women who are humble,
And men who give alms and women who give alms,
And men who fast and women who fast,
And men who guard their modesty and women who guard,
And men who remember God and women who remember,
God has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward”.
An often recited supplication (Prayers, dua)
“O Allah (God)! Give my soul Piety and my conscience purity. You are the Master of my soul and guardian of my conscience. O God I seek refuge in you from oppressing others or being oppressed, from doing wrong or suffering wrong, and from committing an error or a sin that You will not forgive”.
More Suras from the Quran
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).
O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well acquainted with all that ye do.”