There are numerous resources on the web with information on Islam, therefore, only a few very simplified concepts will be discussed here. Beyond that, those interested may wish to explore the links provided at the bottom of this page.

Submission to God

Islam is one of the great monotheisms of the world, a younger sibling to Judaism and Christianity. Islam was revealed to the prophet Mohammed, (c. 610-630 ce) the last of the great prophets which include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.

The word Islam means "submission to God" or "have peace with God", and an adherent to Islam is a Muslim ("one who submits"). There are approximately one billion Muslims in the world today, less than one fifth of which are Arab.

The word of God was revealed to Mohammed and transcribed into the book called the Qur'an (Koran). According to the eschatological beliefs of Muslims as revealed in the Qur'an, there will be judgement at the end of the world. Heaven awaits the faithful, and hell burns for the nonbelievers. The Sunna, a collection of anecdotes and sayings of Mohammed, compliments the Qur'an.


The Five Pillars of Islam

Faith (Shahada)

The Shahada is a declaration of Faith and is intoned frequently:

La ilaha illa Llah - 'there is no god except God';
Muhammadun rasulu'Llah - '
and Muhammad is his messenger'

Prayer (Salat)

This is a reference to the prayers spoken five times a day, once at dawn, then at noon, then again at mid-afternoon, again at sunset, then finally at nightfall. A translation of the Call to Prayer into English follows:

"God is most great. God is most great. God is most great. God is most great. I testify that there is no god except God. I testify that there is no god except God. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. Come to prayer! Come to prayer! Come to success (in this life and the Hereafter)! Come to success! God is most great. God is most great. There is no god except God."

Charity (Zakat)

The term 'Zakat' means 'charity' or 'growth'. The Qur'an dictates that each person should set aside two and a half percent of their income to give to those in need. In giving up this portion of one's resources, one's remaining wealth is purified and allowed to continue to grow.

Fasting (During Ramadan)

Each year during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are required to fast from all food, drink and sexual relations from first light of day until nightfall. Exceptions are made for the sick, the aged, travelers, pregnant or nursing women, and children who have not yet reached puberty. If one is unable to participate in the Fast of Ramadan, one must feed a needy person for each day missed. Fasting is meant not only as a method to purify the body, but also to gain empathy for the hungry and those less fortunate.

Pilgrimage (Hajj)

The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The Hajj includes a variety of rituals including group prayer on the plains of Arafa asking for forgiveness; this is considered to be a preview of the Day of Judgement.

For those with a deeper interest in Islam, we recommend the following internet resources:

Introduction to Islam with sections on beliefs and practices, history and current events, the Quran, Allah, and the household of the Prophet.
Extensive collection of resources which includes directories of education, Islamic organizations, and texts. Listen online to Radio Al-Islam.
Muslim Online
Serves the Muslim Internet community with free email accounts, free web page hosting, mailing list, chat, and search engine for Muslim sites.
The Islam Page
Includes news, translations of the Quran, basic beliefs, prayer, calendar, family issues, ethics, publications, and dictionaries.
About Islam and Muslims Offline
Contains outline of the religion, including beliefs, issues, newspapers, and publications.
Discover Islam
Explore the basics beliefs of Islam through a series of 25 posters. Covers the Five Pillars, Muhammad, Quran, status of women, and other topics.
GISCO Islamic Site
Online version of the Quran in Arabic and English and information about the Hajj and Umrah. Other sections under development or in Arabic only.
Islam - An Introduction Offline
Articles from Seyyed Hossein Nasr's book "A Young Muslim's Guide to the Modern World" explain basic aspects of the Islamic faith.
Islam Questions and Answers
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid answers questions about Islam for Muslims and non-Muslims. Browse through answers or submit a question.
Islam Web Ring
Find out how to add your site to this group of linked pages or visit the pages themselves via consecutive or random links.
Find books and articles on basic Muslim beliefs, including a FAQ and beginner's guide to prayer. Also provides information on Islamic medicine.
IslamChannel Offline
Directory of Islamic sites organized into many different categories. Entries are annotated.
Islamic Affairs Department
Division of the Saudi Embassy provides a variety of introductory material about Islam, Islamic prayer, the Hajj and Umrah.
Islamic Centers Online
Find directories of Islamic centers as well as Muslim businesses, organizations, and job listings. Includes links to prayer schedules.
Islamic Gateway
Information on Islamic law, culture and traditions. Sponsored by the Ummah Trust, a charitable educational trust in London.