The second largest
Strict monotheism. God is the creator, is just, omnipotent
Respect for earlier prophets and belief in their teachings:
Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them).
That Mohammed (pbuh) is the last of the prophets
Belief in the existence of Satan who drives people to
That Muslims who sincerely repent and submit to God
return to a state of sinlessness
Belief in Hell where unbelievers and sinners spend eternity.
One translation of the Qur'an 98:1-8 states: "The
unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans
shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the
vilest of all creatures." ("People of the
Book" refers to Christians, Jews and Muslims
Belief in Paradise, a place of physical and spiritual
pleasure where the sinless go after death
Abstinence from alcohol and gambling
Rejection of racism
Avoid the use of alcohol, other drugs, eating of pork,
That Jesus (pbuh) is a prophet. They regard the Christian
concept of the deity of Jesus (pbuh) to be blasphemous
That Jesus (pbuh) was not executed on the cross
Originally, in Islamic countries, there
was no separation between religious and civil law, between
Islam and the state. Turkey and some other countries
have become secular states during this century. This
is a controversial move in Islamic circles.
of Jesus (pbuh), within Islam and Christianity:
Traditional Christians and Muslims
have certain beliefs in common concerning Jesus (pbuh).
They both accept that:
His birth was miraculous.
He was the Messiah.
He cured people of illness.
He restored dead people to life.
However, they differ from Christians
in a number of major areas. Muslims do not believe
In original sin (that everyone inherits a sinful nature
because of Adam and Eve's transgression)
That Jesus (pbuh) was killed during his crucifixion.
Muslims believe that he escaped being executed, and
later reappeared to his disciples without having first
That Jesus (pbuh) was resurrected (or resurrected himself)
circa 30 CE.
Salvation is dependent either upon belief in the resurrection
of Jesus (pbuh) (as in Paul's writings) or belief that
Jesus (pbuh) is the Son of God (as in the Gospel of
There are different schools of jurisprudence within
Islam. The main divisions are:
Sunni Muslims: These are
followers of the Hanifa, Shafi, Hanibal and Malik schools.
They constitute a 90% majority of the believers, and
are considered to be main stream traditionalists. Because
they are comfortable pursuing their faith within secular
societies, they have been able to adapt to a variety
of national cultures, while following their three sources
of law: the Qur'an, Hadith and consensus of Muslims.
Shi'ite Muslims: These are followers of the Jafri school who constitute
a small minority of Islam. They split from the Sunnis
over a dispute about the successor to Mohammed (pbuh).
Their leaders promote a strict interpretation of the
Qur'an and close adherents to its teachings. They believe
in 12 heavenly Imams (perfect teachers) who led the
Shi'ites in succession. Shi'ites believe that the 12th
Imam, the Mahdi (guided one), never died but went into
hiding waiting for the optimum time to reappear and
guide humans towards justice and peace.
Sufism: This is a mystic tradition
in which followers seek inner knowledge directly from
God through meditation and ritual and dancing. They
developed late in the 10th century CE as an ascetic
reaction to the formalism and laws of the Qur'an. There
are Sufis from both the Sunni and Shi'ite groups. However,
some Sunni followers to not consider Sufiism as a valid
Islamic practice. They incorporated ideas from Neoplatonism,
Buddhism, and Christianity. They emphasize personal
union with the divine. In the Middle East, some Sufi
traditions are considered to be a separate school of
Islam. In North and sub-Saharan Africa, Sufism is more
a style and an approach rather than a separate school.
Unlike Christianity, Islam does not
have denominational mosques. Members are welcome to
attend any mosque in any land.
A relatively new world religion, the Baha'i faith attempts
to unite all humanity in the belief that there is only
It began when a young man announced that a new messenger
of God would appear.
Unfortunately this announcement was made in Iran a very
and the young prophet Bab was executed along with thousands
of his followers.
One of his followers, a member of a wealthy family was
banished to Iraq and eventually imprisoned.
While imprisoned he realized that he was the messiah
that his former leader was speaking of. While in prison
Bahá'u'lláh which means Glory of God spread
his inspirational message to his followers through extensive
correspondence. After his death in 1892 his successor
took the faith to other parts of the world as a missionary.
The Baha'i faith has it's roots in Islam as they believe
in one God but rejects some of the teachings of Muhammad
such as the practice of polygamy and slavery.
The Bahais principals are summed up as:
- The end of prejudice
- Equality for women
- Acceptance of the relativity and unity of spiritual
- Just distribution of wealth
- universal education
- an individual's responsibility to seek the truth
- the development of a world federation
- Harmony of science and true religion.
Bahá'u'lláh led a group
of people in a time where the present religion of Islam
seemed to stagnate. A new modern world seemed to beckon
on the horizon and a new prophet would lead the way
to unite mankind.