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What is Islam

Islam(literally "submission to God") is the religion of whichMuhammad  ﷺ_ cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_(Mohammed) was a prophet and constitutes a system of rites and acts of faith based mainly on theKoran, which is its sacred book.

Whoever professes this religion is defined as a Muslim, bymuslim, "Submissive": he,   that is, who embraces Islam and follows it.

Islam is at the same timereligionAndtemporal community: that is, it is a community that unites on the one hand the relations of the believer with God and on the other the relations of believers with one another.

Islam is transnational and tends to eliminate ethnic-social differences.

The terms of people and nation are found united in the noun umma (community): the Muslim does not forget that "all Muslim believers are brothers" (Koran, sura 3,110).

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Who is Allah

Allahhe is considered the only God: this is in fact the translation of the Arabic termAllah: The God (or God, as they say in Italian). He is revered with99 "beautiful names", each of which expresses an aspect of his personality. Islam teaches that there is a hundredth name that has never been revealed: God in fact surpasses all human knowledge.

Man isAbd-Allah, the servant, the slave, the dependent of divinity. The otherworldly world is populated by angels (of which the most important is Gabriel), spirits (ginns) and demons, the latter led byIblis(Satan).


Who is Muhammad  ﷺ

Muhammad ﷺ_ cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_("He who is praised") was born around 570 AD in Mecca, from a collateral and impoverished branch of the noble Quraishite family. He was soon orphaned and had to work as a shepherd, until he was hired by the rich widow Khadigiah as a camel driver and then as the leader of his commercial caravans; later, at twenty-five, he married the widow, fifteen years his senior.

Thanks to a series of visions he had in a cave in Mecca, in which, according to tradition, thearchangel Gabriel, he found himself having to assume the role of"Prophet" of the Arabs, to announce the uniqueness of Allah, who was, in those times, one of the deities venerated in a polytheistic environment in which the most varied cults existed (eg litholatry, cult of stones considered sacred).

Little by little various influential personalities also gathered around him; but the opposition of most of the citizens of theMeccait was so strong that  decided to leave his hometown and move to Medina ("city of the prophet").

This transfer (egira) took place on July 15-16, 622 and since that time, Muslims compute their calendar.

Muhammad  ﷺ became one of the most influential people of Medina and in 630 he conquered Mecca with his army, becoming the head of a theocratic state to which more and more Arab tribes joined.

He died on June 8, 632. The expansion of Islam continued thanks to the caliphs, his successors.


The pillars of Islam

Islam is founded on five pillars:

1. The witness(Shahada). It is the profession of faith and for Muslims it is the commitment not to have other than Allah as their master and not to take, as a teacher of life and as a model of behavior, anyone other than the prophet Muhammad ﷺ. (“I testify that there is no divinity except Allah and I testify that Muhammad ﷺ is the Apostle of Allah.” This sentence is pronounced in front of witnesses and actually introduces those who utter it into the Islamic community).

2. Prayer(Salah). Prayer is considered the backbone of Islam. The daily prayers of the Muslim are five and must be performed in conditions of ritual purity, in the time prescribed for each of them, dressed appropriately and facing Mecca.

The prayer times are five, a number fixed - according to tradition - by the angel Gabriel, who on the night he took Mohammed to God, on a journey from Jerusalem to Heaven, prayed with the Prophet five times. The time of prayer marks the day: Dawn, Noon, Afternoon,   Sunset and Night. Each time the faithful are called to prayer with an appeal, repeated several times.

The prayer takes place according to a ritual consisting of a series of positions and movements of the body accompanied by recitations. The Koran indicates the main formulas to be recited, others have been added by theSunna, which is the Tradition that is traced back to Mohammed ﷺ.

Ritual purity is achieved through ablutions of certain parts of the body *. (The prohibition to enter the mosque with shoes on and the general use of carpets are customs originated precisely by the imperative need to keep the places intended for prayer as pure and clean as possible).

In addition to daily prayers, believers gather in collective prayer on Fridays, which are not a real holiday, such as Sunday or Shabbat, since work is suspended only for the time necessary for the rite.

Friday prayer has a primarily social function, since it is the moment of reunion of the entire Islamic community. Friday is in fact called "day of the congregation" and the one who directs the collective prayer is definedimam. An essential element of this common prayer is the sermon, which in Arabic is called khutba.

The faithful are called to each prayer by the azàn which is pronounced aloud by the muezzin from the top of the minaret (al-ma'zanah).


3. The Koranic tax(Zakat). Money, gold and silver, goods, and agricultural products, jewels, entail a tax liability of 2.5% of their value on the owner. Taxes are also foreseen for livestock and land, as well as for hidden treasure and mines. The tax is called "Koranic" because the final recipients are (specified by the Koran): the poor, the needy, tax collectors, converts to Islam who, due to their conversion, have suffered a financial damage, prisoners, debtors and travelers.



Zakat is not a means of "encouraging idleness and laziness", nor is it a form of exploitation of the productive class for the benefit of the unproductive one. To be recipients of the ritual almsgiving of must be forced into inactivity  or have suffered damage independent of ours. In fact, the Prophet said: "The zakat is a bitter remedy prescribed for specific evils: if  it avails those who are well, they will end up doing harm to themselves, depriving at the same time of a remedy those who need it ".

4. Ramadan fasting. The month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar year and on all the days that constitute it (29 or 30) Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink, marital relations from dawn to dusk. The month of fasting is also a month of spiritual exercises, which the Muslim practices for an ever increasing elevation of the soul and is the month in which, according to Muslims, the Koran was revealed, on the "night of destiny".

Fasting and the nocturnal vigil of prayer entail, for those who carry them out with sincere faith and for the love of God, the forgiveness of all sins.


5.The pilgrimage(Hajji). The pilgrimage is a complex of rites, which takes place every year in the sacred territory of Mecca. Every Muslim, if he has the economic possibility, is obliged to make the pilgrimage at least once in his life. The key elements are:

  • the circoambulation of the Kà'baa

  • the prayer at Abraham's station

  • the race between Safa and Marwa

  • the stop in the plain of 'Arafah

  • the stoning of Satan

  • the sacrifice of the consecrated victim.


The pilgrimage, which symbolizes the unity of the Islamic community and of mankind, takes place in the last month of the lunar year.

For Islam the articles of the Islamic faith (Iman) are six:

1. Believe inAllah, one, unique, who has no share in his divine quality, under any title ("He is the only God, the eternal God. He does not generate and is not generated, and no one is equal to him»Sura CXII);

2. Believe in the existence ofangels, who, however, have no title to receive worship and no power to give thanks;

3. Believe indivine originof thebooks indicated in the Quran as coming from Allah(the so-called "children of Abraham": the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, the Koran). Of these, however, only the Koran, according to Muslims, contains the divine text free from human manipulation;

4. Believe in the apostolic-prophetic mission entrusted to Muhammad, having as recipients all men, and in the messengers of Allah, sent before him, among whom Adam, Noah, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Solomon have prominent positions , David, Jesus, John;

5. To believe in the existence of a future life, in which, after the Day of Judgment, every man, in relation to his earthly life, will be destined to the place of eternal bliss or the place of eternal torment;

6. Believing that nothing happens by chance, luck or bad luck, but everything originates from the will of Allah.

The prophets

Mohammed, prophet and messenger of God, did not consider himself the founder of a new religion, but the standard bearer of the only original monotheistic religion, absolutely true and announced since the dawn of time.

The Koran, in fact, reports the stories of some prophets of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is the case ofAbraham, deemed onfirst monotheistand then thefirst Muslim(Sura XXVI, 69-102 and XIX, 41-49). Defined khalili Allah, or friend of God (Sura IX, 125), he was originally an idolater and then decided to rebel against the cult of his father, Adhar (sura VI, 74), professing monotheism ._cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_

The first biblical character mentioned by the Koran (Sura VII) isAdam, defined kalifà, or "vicar" of God on earth.Noah, on the other hand, (Sura LXXI), is the protagonist of the events that narrate the "punishment" par excellence and the Sura follows, briefly, the biblical account of the flood.

The most cited biblical figure isMoses, of which the Koran reports all the main episodes of his life. Alongside many other biblical characters, it occupies a prominent placeJoseph, to which an entire sura is dedicated (XII), which substantially follows the story of Genesis, but whose story admirably underlines the profound affinity with the prophet Mohammed.

Jesus in Islam

Jesus, 'Isà, he is "guide and light for men" (Sura V, 46); son of the virgin Mary, he is the "word come from God and deposited in Mary" (Sura IV, 171).

The Koran makes Jesus a figure with markedly supernatural features. The last of the prophets who preceded Mohammed, foretells his coming: «Jesus, son of Mary said:“ O children of Israel! I am the Messenger of God sent to you, in confirmation of that Torah which was given before me, and for the happy announcement of a Messenger who will come after me and whose name is Ahmad! " »(Sura LXI, 6).

The Koranic discourse on Jesus seems to be addressed not only to Christians, but also to Jews, who are explicitly reproached for not wanting to recognize the "mission" of Jesus and for having treated Mary as a dishonored woman.

The Koran claims that the one who was crucified was not Jesus, but his owndouble.

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The mosque in Islam

Theremosqueit is the building where the religious practices of Islam and especially congregational prayer take place. It was the Prophet himself who founded the first mosque in Medina.

From the early days of Islamic expansion, when the schematic plan of a mosque was still composed of a large rectangular courtyard in which, in the center, stood a fountain intended for the ablutions of the faithful (in fact, one must enter purified into the sacred place), we moved on to courtyards around which a simple or multiple portico often runs, covered by a roof with a characteristic series of small domes.

From its primitive shape, with the large fenced courtyard and small wooden buildings leaning against the wall (of which those placed towards Mecca intended for worship and the others for housing) soon the mosque, in addition to being the seat of religious activity, also center of social, political and military life of the Muslim community. In some cases, in fact, the outer wall of the mosque is fortified for the defense of the faithful in the event of an enemy attack. On the side facing Mecca there is a niche, called al-mihràb in Arabic, which indicates the direction of prayer. Each mosque can have one or more minarets.

Halal food in Islam

The Islamic diet is based on the precepts and prohibitions contained in the Koran and the Sunna: the consumption of vegetables and fish is allowed, while the consumption of carnivores, birds of prey, domestic and wild pigs (pig and wild boar) and derivatives is prohibited. their slaughter, blood, meat of animals killed without having pronounced the name of God on them and without having been left to bleed, or died from disease or tearing. The Islamic slaughter (al-zàbh) consists, after having pronounced the name of God on the animal, in the cutting of the jugular, performed with a very sharp blade.

Furthermore, all substances, solid or liquid, which produce alteration of the state of consciousness, even in small doses, are prohibited: drugs and alcoholic beverages, mainly, because they are considered harmful both to the health of those who consume them and to social relationships.


Art in Islam

Islamic art is characterized by the absence of depictions of living creatures. This feature is calledaniconism(from the Greek a = not + eikon = image).

The rejection of the figurative representation of men and animals has its roots in the prohibition of idolatry, since they were often the starting point of various cults that Islam has opposed.

This is the reason why works of painting and sculpture dealing with living creatures are scarce in Islam.


The decorative and ornamental sense is artistically expressed by decorations called arabesques, with which works of extraordinary beauty have been created: interweaving of stylized plant elements (flowers, leaves), or geometric motifs, or harmonic combinations of plant and geometric elements, to which purely calligraphic motifs are sometimes added.


Calligrams are also frequent, that is "beautiful scriptures", mainly dedicated to verses of the Koran and made in one of the numerous graphic styles of the alphabet of the Arabic language.

The Imams in Islam

Those charged with bringing the heavenly message to the world are definednabiAndrasul. The nabi carries a message, but not a book; the rasul, on the other hand, carries a message accompanied by a heavenly book.

The prophet is the one who reminds people of eternal truths, and Muhammad has been commissioned to bring the divine message to mankind.

Islam does not have ecclesiastical hierarchies. The celebration of divine service is entrusted to a member of the community considered suitable for his wisdom or to an imam (model or leader) designated by the community. It is customary to celebrate weddings and burials, direct the local community, dispense its advice, remember Islamic law and customs (sharia), Connoisseurs of the Koran and Islamic law are called ulema and, although they do not form a real ecclesiastical state , they exert a great influence especially for their opinions.


The Quran in Islam

The sacred text of Islam is the Koran, a work written in Arabic rhythmic prose, divided into 114 chapters (suras), arranged in such a way that after a short initial sura the single pieces follow each other in descending order according to their length: the the second sura has 286 lines, while the last contains only a few lines. According to the conception of the Muslims, the Koran (literally the Reading) contains the revelations received by the Prophet directly from God through the archangel Gabriel. The Koran is not a text "inspired" by God (like the Bible), but it constitutes a real literal transcription of His word.

The content of the Koran is however very varied. There are praises to God, descriptions of his uniqueness, his greatness, his mercy, descriptions of the last judgment, descriptions of the beauty of heaven, etc.

The Hadith in Islam

Great space occupy in Islam  the provisions on worship, on social life and observations on events concerning the prophet himself.

To meet the changing times and the need for new laws and precepts, a law born from tradition, the sunna (ie the norm), was consolidated alongside the Koran.

There you can find accounts of the words and actions of the Prophet and his early disciples, which represent the model and guide for the thought and work of all Muslims: they are called hadiths, and have been collected in a vast series of anthologies. .

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