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The Arabic word "ISLAM" means "to submit to the will of Allah (God)" The followers of this religion are called Muslims. Currently over 1 billion people worldwide belong to Islam. The connecting link for all believers is the Koran. It is the holy scripture of Muslims and contains the Islamic rules and principles of belief. These rules not only determine religion, but encompass all areas of life. Muslims obey the teachings of the great God-sent prophets of Islam, such as Moses, Jesus and Mohammed. Muslim belief says that Muhammad is the last and greatest prophet sent by Allah. However, Muhammad is not worshiped as divine. For Muslims, the Koran is the revelation of the words of Allah to Muhammad. The Koran is taught in the original Arabic language, e.g. not in Turkish in Turkey either. Muslims feel connected to each other not only through the Koran but also through "The Five Halls of Islam", the maintenance of which is seen as a duty of every Muslim.
The five pillars of Islam
The first pillar says that anyone who sincerely and publicly speaks the creed of the Shahada can become a Muslim. The Shahada reads: "There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet."
The second pillar is the prayer "Salat", which has to be performed five times a day. Devout Muslims pray in the morning, at noon, in the afternoon, at sunset and at night. If possible, wash your head, face, arms, and feet before prayer. This ritual washing is called wudu and is used for purification. After performing that ablution, the Muslim is not allowed to do any more unclean acts until the end of His prayer (being touched by the unclean, looking at a woman, etc.) The muezzin (crier) calls all the faithful from the minaret of a mosque to prayer during prayer times. It is not mandatory for Muslims to go in or in front of the mosque. If possible, you interrupt what you are doing and praying, looking to the holy city of Mecca (not always to the east of the location) in which the Prophet Mohammed was born.
The third pillar is a commitment to support those in need. The duty to give alms is called zakat. Poor people are seen as victims of circumstances and not as a burden for everyone. Islam teaches that giving food, clothing, money or even kind words, i.e. sharing with those in need, serves both Allah and the dignity of mankind in every respect.
The fourth pillar is the duty of fasting for Muslims in Ramadan and is called Sawm.
The fifth pillar of Islam is the pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims want to undertake this pilgrimage, called Hajj, to the holy city of Islam at least once in their lives, which is a forbidden city for unbelievers. For those who can really afford the Hajj, it is a duty and even those in need make great sacrifices to perform the Hajj. Muslims who have undertaken the pilgrimage and have hiked around the Kaaba, the great sanctuary in Mecca and touched the black meteorite in it with their lips, enjoy a special stand within their community and are allowed to wear the Tietel Hajji in their honor. As an outer sign, you are now entitled to wear a white headgear.
Laws and Prohibitions
Muslims follow the teachings of the Koran and the Sunnah. Sunna means custom and is the exemplary life practice of Muhammad, who lived the revelation of the Koran. The Koran and Sunna represent a moral, social and ethical code that is binding for all Muslims. This code forms the basis for the Shari'a, the law of Islam. In the Koran and Sunna one can find all the details about the meaning of Halal (illegal) and Haram (forbidden). The Koran and Sunna deal with almost every imaginable area of daily life such as nutrition, clothing, family, leisure time, marriage, business conduct, communication and much more. Muslims have very strict ideas about Halal and Haram. They believe that these rules of conduct come directly from Allah and that following them is therefore of great importance for life.
Sunnis / Shiites
In a religious dispute over the rightful leader of the Muslim religious community, the Muslims split into three groups in 661: Sunites, Shiites and Charidjites. the latter hardly exist today. Around 92 percent of all devout Muslims today are Sunnis. They follow the Sunnah, which they see as the second source of faith after the Koran. The life practice of Muhammad is for you the sole yardstick for understanding the revelation. Around 7.5 percent of Muslims (e.g. in Iran) belong to the Shiite faith. For you, only the direct successors of Muhammad are eligible imams, i.e., religious leaders. Mohammed's direct heir was his cousin and son-in-law Ali. That is why Shiites are also called Shi'at Ali - followers of Ali. For many people from predominantly Christian countries it is difficult to understand the world of Muslims. Within the "Western societies", religion often has a lower status today. The Islamic faith, on the other hand, also determines the life of Muslims today. They believe that the laws of Islam are a truth proclaimed by Allah and therefore its rules are obeyed by everyone, Muslim or not. There are guidelines (see Laws and Prohibitions) for everything Muslims do. What you should wear and how you should wash yourself, what and how to cook, how you should behave when praying, in the community, family and in business life not even long ago often lived according to the strict rules of their beliefs.
Life with the Muslims
The family is the center of life for the Muslim. The traditional Muslim family has numerous members and is characterized by strong cohesion. So it is normal that many relatives often live together in one house or apartment. Everyone supports each other at work and around the house and all parties and special occasions are celebrated together. Children are the focus of Muslim society everywhere and are part of all activities. Children can be seen everywhere in Muslim countries even late at night as they are the focus of all areas of family life.
The most important events in Islam are Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adaha. The calendar of Islam begins with Muhammad's move to Medina in the year 622 AD, 2000 is therefore 1421/1422 according to the Islamic calendar. The dates of these festivals also change from year to year, since the Islamic year is based on the lunar calendar.
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. That month Mohammed received God's revelation, the basic doctrine of Islam. Observing ramadan is one of the five halls of Islam. All Muslims must observe Lent during Ramadan. Nothing is allowed to be eaten or drunk between dawn and sundown. Exception: old, sick and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and small children. During this time you greet each other with "Ramadan Karim" - Ramadan is gracious. When traveling to Muslim countries during Ramadan, consideration should be given to those who are fasting. Restaurants and snack bars can also be closed during the day, as life in the villages and towns is generally more tranquil during this time.