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Simplified: Islam (free)

Islam is one of the world’s major religions. It’s not just a set of beliefs but also a way of life. It’s like this whole package deal that guides you on how to live your life in a meaningful way. The word “Islam” itself means “submission,” as in submitting to the will of God. The main idea in Islam is that there’s only one God, called Allah in Arabic.

Muslims, the followers of Islam, are all about submitting to Allah’s will and following His teachings. They believe that there is only one God and that Muhammad is His final prophet.

The story of Islam starts in the 7th century in a place called Mecca, which is in modern-day Saudi Arabia. Muhammad, a merchant, began receiving these revelations from Allah through the angel Gabriel. These revelations were later compiled into Islam’s holy book, the Quran. Think of the Quran as the ultimate guidebook for Muslims. It’s written in Arabic and is considered the literal word of God.

Islam is built on five pillars, which are like the main things you need to do to live a good Muslim life. The first pillar is the Shahada, which is a declaration of faith. You say, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet,” and you really have to believe it in your heart. The second pillar is Salah, or prayer. Muslims pray five times a day facing Mecca. It’s a way to stay connected with God and remind yourself of your faith throughout the day. The third pillar is Zakat, which is all about charity. Muslims are required to give a portion of their wealth to those in need, which helps create a sense of community and responsibility. The fourth pillar is Sawm, or fasting during the month of Ramadan. From sunrise to sunset, Muslims fast to develop self-control and empathy for the less fortunate. And finally, there’s the Hajj, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim must try to make at least once in their lifetime if they’re able to. It’s this massive gathering of Muslims from all over the world, and it’s supposed to be super powerful.

There are different branches of Islam, mainly Sunni and Shia. They disagree on some stuff about leadership after Muhammad died, but they agree on most of the basic beliefs. Islam has influenced art, architecture, and culture in a lot of places. You can see it in beautiful mosques and calligraphy.

Muslims have some dietary restrictions, like not eating pork or drinking alcohol. Many Muslim women wear hijabs or other modest clothing as part of their faith, which can be a personal choice but sometimes causes controversy.

There’s also a lot of focus on community and family in Islam. It encourages Muslims to be kind, fair, and honest with each other, and it places a huge emphasis on social justice and helping others. While there are different interpretations and cultural practices within Islam, the core principles of faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage are universal among Muslims.

Islam has spread all over the world and there are over a billion Muslims now. It’s not just an Arabic thing – there are Muslims everywhere from Indonesia to the U.S.. Like any belief system, different people interpret and practice it in different ways. Some are super strict, others are more chill about it.

So yeah, Islam is more than just a religion; it’s a comprehensive lifestyle that guides millions of people around the world on how to live a good, ethical life. Overall, Islam is a complex, diverse religion with a long history and a huge impact on the world. It’s definitely worth learning more about to understand a big part of global culture and society.

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