Islam was founded by Muhammad in the 600s AD in Arabia. The religion shares some of the core beliefs of Judaism and Christianity, and also recognizes many prominent figures of those religions, including Jesus, Moses, and especially Abraham. Muslims (people who follow Islam) consider Muhammad to be God’s last messenger.
Muhammad was born in the Arabic city of Mecca around 570 AD. In the early 600s, he began preaching a new religious doctrine with some similarities to the Christian and Jewish religions, and he became a religious leader who attracted a group of followers.
However, Muhammad met opposition with Meccans who followed Mecca’s traditional religious practices, and he decided to regroup in the city of Yathrib/Medina. After sending many of his followers to Medina, Muhammad made a pilgrimage from Mecca to Medina in 622, and established a Muslim community there. That pilgrimage, referred to as hijra, is the starting date on the Muslim calendar.
In 630, Muhammad and the Muslims conquered Mecca, and by the time of Muhammad’s death in 632, they controlled most of Arabia. Muslim leaders such as Abu Bakr and his successors extended that territory throughout Arabia and beyond, and a united Muslim Empire lasted until the 1200s.
There are currently about 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide, many of whom live in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Middle East.
Islam is an Arabic word that means submission / surrender to God. Muslims refer to God as Allah, an Arabic term that is not exclusive to Islam, and is used by many Middle Easterns who belong to other religions.
Islam is based on a holy scripture known as the Qur'an / Koran, which is a major influence on the conduct and lifestyle of Muslims. The book was written and put into its current form in the 600s AD. Like other religious scriptures of the world, the Qur'an has been translated into many languages; however, Muslims emphasize that the only authentic Qur'an is the original Arabic version.
Muslims also study Hadith, which are written recordings of the sayings and acts of Muhammad. There are numerous collections of Hadith, and Muslims often differ on which ones they consider authentic.
Some themes of Islam include mosques (houses of worship), tahara (ritual purification), salat (prayer, performed five times daily), shahadah (a proclamation of faith / bearing witness to God), sawm (a.k.a. saum or siyam;fasting from sunup to sundown during the Muslim month of Ramadan), zakat (almsgiving), and repentance for sins. Another main aspect of Islam is hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are expected to perform at least once in their lifetime if health and finances permit.
Most Muslims belong to two main sects of Islam: Sunni and Shi’i (a.k.a. Shi’a or Shiite). Sunnis constitute about 85% of Muslims; Shi’is comprise about 10%, and are found primarily in Iran, as well as in Iraq and several other countries.
Would you exchange what is better for what is worse?… (2:61)
…Wherever you turn, there is Allah’s presence/appearance/face…(2:115)
Remember Me, and I will remember you… (2:152)
… [The righteous are] steadfast in trial and adversity… (2:177)
Fight in God's cause against those who attack you, but begin not transgressions; for Allah loves not transgressors. (2:190)
Kind speech and forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury… (2:263)
… The grace of God is infinite… (3:74)
… [Those who guard (against wrong)] do not knowingly persist in what [wrong] they have done. (3:135)
…If you patiently persevere and guard against evil, it will be a determining factor of affairs. (3:186)
… [God] knows what you hide and what you reveal… (6:3)
Vision does not comprehend Him [God], and He comprehends [all] vision. He is the [knower of the] subtle, the aware. (6:103)
…Every soul gets what it deserves on none other than itself… (6:164)
… Eat and drink, but do not be excessive… (7:31)
…Be patient and persevering; for God is with those who patiently/firlmy persevere. (8:46)
…Whoever follows the right way does so for [the good of] his own soul, and whoever goes astray does so to his own detriment… (10:108)
...God does not change the condition of a people until they change it within themselves [within their hearts/souls]...(13:11)
...Nothing on earth or in heaven is hidden from God. (14:38)
God imposes being just, doing good, and giving to family/community; and He forbids all shamefulness, injustice, and rebellion…(16:90)
Whoever goes rightly, does so for his own soul; and whoever goes astray, does so to his own detriment. And the bearer of a burden cannot bear the burden of another…(17:15)
You shall not follow what you do not know—you must use your hearing, sight, and heart/brain. (17:36)
Do not turn your face in contempt from others, nor walk insultingly/arrogantly through earth. (31:18)
… He [God] is aware of what is in [people’s] hearts/brains/thoughts. (35:38)
… Avoid excessive suspicion… (49:12)
… God is aware of all you do. (57:10)
It is the most hateful sight to God when you say what you do not practice. (61:3)
And so I call witness by the sunset’s glow,
The preoccupation of abundance [in material wealth] diverts you [from higher things], (102:1)
Distress goes to all slanderers and libelers. (104:1)
He [God] neither begets, nor was he begotten. (112:3)
Muslim Proverbs, Teachings, Etc
Note: Most of these are based on or derived from Hadith entries.
The most ignorant one is he who does not learn from the world’s changes. The richest one is he who is not trapped by greed.
Be generous but not wasteful; be economical but not stingy.
Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and free the captive who is unfairly confined.
Avoid greed, for greed in and of itself is poverty.
Be persistent in good actions.
The best man is he whose life is long and actions are good. The worst man is he whose life is long and actions are bad.
The quest for knowledge is every Muslim’s obligation.
Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.
The person who gives life to learning does not die.
There is no greater wealth than wisdom, no greater poverty than ignorance, and no greater heritage than culture.
The truly learned are those who apply/practice what they know.
Knowledge that remains on the tongue is very superficial; the main value and excellence of knowledge is to apply it.
Learn to know yourself.
Whoever knows his own self knows God.
Do what you should do when you should do it; don’t to do what you shouldn’t do; and when it is unclear, wait until you are more sure.
It is best to leave alone the things that do not concern you.
No one is truly true except he who is true in word, action, and thought.
Speak rightly or be silent.
Protect and honor the earth, for the earth is like your mother.
A bad [but] learned man is the worst of men; a good learned man is the best.
Time spent learning/contemplating is better than time spent praying.
An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer
All actions are judged by the motives that cause them.
Being alone is better than being in bad company, and being in good company is better than being alone; being silent is better than speaking of evil, and speaking of good is better than being silent.
Give the laborer his pay before his sweat is dry.
Riches do not originate from an abundance of material wealth, but from a contented mind.
Do not get involved in long religious discussions—they only result in making religion a complicated and confusing subject. God made religion easy and simple.
A true Muslim does not slander or abuse others.
Aim for compassion, and avoid oppression and impurity. Compassion is grace, and a lack of it is disgrace.
Make peace between one another.
The most honorable among you are those who carry themselves with the most outstanding conduct.