In the seventh century, within a period of about twenty-five years, Islam brought the desert nations together in one religion. Where there had been no government save a loosely knit tribal society, a sophisticated civil society began to emerge. In the years following, Islamic law became the basis for government, and seats of rule based on the tenets set forth by Muhamed through the Koran were established in Damascus, Mecca, Basra, Jerusalem and Alexandria.
Today, there are seven hundred million Muslims in the world, several million of whom are in Europe, particularly in Russia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Turkey and Siberia.
In the past thirteen centuries, the Islamic rules of absolute justice and equality have linked societies and nations with different cultures and civilizations without inhibiting their own traditions except when they deviated from the basic Islamic laws of human equality. "Islam" in Arabic means peace, purity, obedience and submission, to the Will of God. It does not profess to be a new religion but sees itself as a continuation of the early religious principles decreed by God through all the Prophets, including Moses and Jesus. The religion preached by Muhamed has often been called by westerners, Muhammedanism, and its followers, Muhamedans. These labels are distasteful and unacceptable to Muslims since
they are based on the misconception that Muslims worship Muhamed. Muhamed was merely a human being, chosen to be the prophet of the one Almighty God, whose Arabic name is Allah.
Islam demands faith in God, The Angels of God, The Books of God, The Apostles of God, and the Day of Judgement and Resurrection. Every Muslim must believe in Godís Oneness -- that He has no partner, that He is Omnipotent, Eternal and Ever-Qualified with the Attributes of Supreme Greatness.
Muslims believe that angels exist but they are not to be worshipped. The Angels are created free from carnal desires. With regard to the Testaments and Scriptures, Muslims believe that God, in different ages of the world revealed His Will to the Prophets. Every Muslim is enjoined to believe in not only the Holy Koran but also in the previous Scriptures.
They must believe that God at different times has sent messengers and Apostles to save man from infidelity, idolatry and superstition. There is no distinction in the Holy Koran between the Prophets of God. All must believe in them. Every Muslim must believe in the Day of Judgement, Paradise (Heaven) and Hell. The dead shall rise from their graves and every individual must account for his actions.
The devotions in Islam are divided into five articles of practice (the five Pillars). These are: reciting the Creed; praying to God five times a day (at dawn, mid-day, midafternoon, directly after sunset, and an hour-and-a-half later); paying the Zakat (a form of charitable tax); fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar; and making a Pilgrimage to Mecca to pray at the Holy Kaaba once in a lifetime for those who can afford it.16
We quote from the Koran on the principles of Islam:
O you who believe, be maintainers of justice, bearers of witness for the sake of God, though it may be against your own selves, your parents, or near relatives.
And let not hatred of a people because they hindered you from the sacred Mosque seduce you to transgress, but help ye one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression.
And if one of the idolaters seeks your protection, grant to him protection so that he may hear the Word of God and then convey him to his place of safety; that is because they are a folk who know not.
Invite them into the way of the Lord by wisdom and mild exhortation, and dispute with them in the most kindly manner, and if you make reprisal, then make it proportionate to the injuries inflicted upon you. But if you patiently endure, it will be best for those who are patiently enduring. Endure, then, with patience, but your patient endurance must be sought in none but God, and do not be grieved about them, (the idolaters) nor be troubled for that which they subtly devise, for God is with those who fear Him and do good deeds.
God does not forbid you to be generous and to deal justly with those who have not on account of your religion waged war against you and have not driven you from your homes.17
Muslims are required to cultivate within themselves an international character and attitude, and to accept as friends and neighbors any and all human beings.
Similarities among the three religions and comparisons of the Old and New Testaments and the tenets of Islam, can be found in the Koran.
On the creation:
Lo, Your Lord is Allah who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then he established Himself upon the Throne, directing all things. There is no intercessor save after His permission. That is Allah, your Lord, so worship Him. O, will ye not remind?18
The Virgin Birth is described:
She said: 'Lo, I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou are God fearing.' He said: 'I am only a messenger of Thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless Son.' She
Arab Boys of Cardiff's Tiger Bay Learn the Koran
A band of inscription of a Koranic verse in decorated Kufic. (Ancient Arabic Calligraphy) The inscription says, "May God fulfil his favours to you and guide you on the straight way."
said: 'How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste?' He said: 'So it will be. Thy Lord saith, It is easy for me, and it will be that we may make Him a revelation for mankind, and a mercy upon us, and it is a thing ordained.'19
There is an allusion to the Eucharist:
When the disciples said: 'O Jesus, Son of Mary, is Thy Lord able to send down for us a table spread with food from Heaven?' He said: 'Observe your duty to Allah if ye are true believers.' They said: 'We wish to eat thereof, that we may satisfy our hearts and know Thou hast spoken Truth to us -- and that therefore we may be witnesses --.' Jesus, Son of Mary said: 'Oh, Allah -- Lord of us. Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast for us ... for the first of us, and the last of us, and a sign from Thee. Give us sustenance for Thou art the Best of Sustainers.'20
On the Resurrection:
He asketh .. 'When will be this Day of Resurrection?'
But when sight is confounded .. and the moon is eclipsed .. and the sun and moon are united. On that day man will cry, 'Whither to flee!' Alas, no refuge! Unto thy Lord is the recourse that day.21
The shares of inheritors are clearly defined: To sons, a percentage, to daughters, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters on the mother's side, and a widower is obliged to give to his wife's brothers and sisters their rightful share. If a man divorces his wife, he must see that she is provided for.
On the status of women and their rights, the laws are explicit:
And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others.
Unto men, a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned ..22 And if you fear a breach between them twain, (husband and wife) appoint an arbiter from his folk, and an arbiter from her folk. And give unto the women, (whom you marry) free gift of their marriage portions.23
There is no deviation from these practices for the True Believer.