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Introduction to Islam

A high level overview of Islam, the 5 pillars of Sunni Islam, and the Muslim belief that Islam is the extension of the faith of Abraham, Moses and Jesus.

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  • female robot grace style avatar for user tahsinamin
    Who was the first messenger in Islam? Why do you think?
    (14 votes)
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    • leaf green style avatar for user Eman
      According to orthodox interpretations of Islamic scripture, there is a distinction between prophets and messengers; messengers differed in that they had a revelation of scripture. Adam is considered the first prophet but is not considered a messenger. There are numerous messengers in the Islamic faith, so it's difficult to discern which one is the first messenger chronologically; there is considerable debate about this. Ibrahim/Abraham is one of the earliest and most important messengers in Islam. Muslims also regard Moses and Jesus as messengers. Orthodox interpretations of Islam have Muhammad as the last messenger. Hope that helps!
      (18 votes)
  • leafers ultimate style avatar for user Justin
    I know that Muslims believe the Quran to be the direct word of God (Allah). That this belief is significant in that in their eyes because it means that it is pure. There are no alternative translations like that of the Bible. Around Sal says that Muslims believe that the Torah, Psalms and Gospel are also sent from god. How do they view subsequent translations? Do they hold these books to the same purity ad the Quran?
    (11 votes)
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    • piceratops seed style avatar for user a.sannoYL2014
      First of all prophet Mohammad (pbh) did not write the Quran, and It was sent down to him by the angle from God. When Qur'an first came to the messager, it came by revelation and messager (pbh) taught his people by reciting it to them. It was later on when the prophet (pbh) passed away that his companions decided to write down the word of God (Qur'an) into a book because people might forget it. As for your question, yes we Muslims believe in all the books that were send to the prophets because they all have the same message. Believe in God, and follow the way he wants you to worship him in the books he send down to human mankind. However, we do not accept the many copy's that humans made from the books of God like the many bibles out there. We believe in the original bible which is the word of God, and each book was send down to different nations. The Quran is the last book sent by God and it has never been changed in its Arabic form, and it is for the rest of humanity to follow no matter what religion, color, or race you are from. The Quran is for all of us and it is a light to guide you to get closer to God.
      (24 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user hmaidouchyounes
    When the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received the first revelation and then asked Khadija's Christian cousin who confirmed the existence of a prophet after Christ (PBUH).
    Does that mean that Christians those days knew that there would be a prophet after Christ (PBUH) who will complete the religion of God?
    According to the Quran, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were all parts of the religion of God.

    So, why nowadays Christians, Jewish, and Muslims don't have the same religion?
    (4 votes)
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    • leaf yellow style avatar for user ✿ ✨💎 мααяiуα 💎✨ ✿
      (According to Islam)
      Khadija's cousin confirmed the existence of a coming Prophet after Christ (PBUH) because the cousin was a scholar of the old sriptures and he therefore knew and believed a lot of things that others didn't.

      In Islam, we believe that God sent the same message to Moses, Christ and Muhammad (Peace be upon them) but the followers of the previous religions strayed from their path. Nowadays they don't have the same religion because Jews, Christians and Muslims believe very different things, for example, Christians believe that Christ (PBUH) was the Son of God which Muslims find completely untrue. Because of beliefs like this, the three religions can't possibly have the same faith.

      However, in the Qur'an, Christians and Jews are referred to as "The People of the Book" because we believe, in the beginning, all these messages came from the same source and preached the same thing.

      I hope this answered your question!
      (6 votes)
  • female robot ada style avatar for user Emily W.
    Who translated the Quran passages? I thought that the muslims didn't want to translate it into any other language because
    they thought it would lose it's meaning.
    (0 votes)
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    • leaf yellow style avatar for user ✿ ✨💎 мααяiуα 💎✨ ✿
      Yes, David Alexander is right. The Qur'an was revealed in the Arabic language, but it is translated into other languages out of necessity - some people may want to read the Qur'an but not know how. The Arabic language is a very beautiful one and when translated into English/other languages it loses a lot of deeper meaning. That's why a lot of Muslims try to learn Arabic - so they can understand the original and true meaning. To answer your question, it is perfectly fine to read the translation in other languages, but better to read it in Arabic. :)
      (8 votes)
  • hopper happy style avatar for user DadsPat
    Are we to accept that Sunni has a different set of pillars than all other Muslims?
    (0 votes)
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    • starky tree style avatar for user imamulhaq
      Shia and Sunni Muslims are just titles trying to divide Islam and change it from what it really is. Islam is the religion in the Quran and what is in the Quran is then put in example through Hadith and Sunnah of the Prophet. I have studied the division of Sunni and Shia and the main difference is just a disagreement in history and the controversy of Ali's rule. Since this divide happened other things became different due to the rivalry like the Shia group not accepting hadiths just because it might have had a Sunni origin so they might state the same hadith through a Shia origin.A true Muslim is a Muslim even if they are Shia and Sunni as long as if they follow the five pillars of Islam, they follow the Quran's laws, and they follow the Sunah and Hadith (not mattering its origin as long as it is the same hadith).Nothing added to this or less than this to be a Muslim.
      (8 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user David Zhang
    What's the relationship betwwen Kaaba & mosque?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Kyle Blando
    How did this video change the way you think about the religion of Islam?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user nina.erminio
    Why do Muslims pray at the beggining of Sawn
    (0 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user christina
    Wait, wasnt Jesus born in the year 0. why is it saying he was born in 4BC?
    (0 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user ekremmerke99
    At There is no need for witnesses to convert into Islam. What made him think there really is?
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] The world Islam can best be translated into English as meaning surrender, and the context of the Islamic faith is referring to a surrender to the will of God. Now, a Muslim is someone who practices Islam, one who submits to the will of God, and the central text in Islam is the Quran, which Muslims believe is the revealed knowledge or the revealed words of God through the messenger Muhammad. Now, it's very important, sometimes, especially in older texts, older western texts, you might see Islam referred to as Muhammadism the same way that Christianity refers to Christ. Now, Muslims are very sensitive to this, because they don't view Muhammad as a divine figure the way that Christians view Christ. They view Muhammad as a human, a human whose practices and whose life they view, they revere, but they don't view him as a divine figure. They view him as the messenger who revealed God's words through the Quran, and they take this so seriously in most Muslim traditions, they don't create images of Muhammad for fear that people would start to worship it as some type of an idol. Now, on this timeline, you see other significant Judeo-Christian figures, and that's because according to Muslims, they are following in the same tradition of these figures. They view these other figures as people who have submitted to the will of God, and Moses and Jesus in particular are the most frequently mentioned prophets in the Quran. Now, Muslims also believe that the Quran isn't the first book that God had revealed to mankind. They also believe that the Torah, which is the first five books of the Hebrew bible, and also the first five books of the Christian Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, they believe that to be a revealed text from God through the prophet Moses. They also believe that Psalms is a revealed text from God through King David, so through the prophet David, who lived around 1000 BCE, and they think that the Gospel is a revealed message through Jesus. Now, above and beyond these revealed texts, another significant part of the Muslim tradition or faith are the notions of Sunnah and Hadith, and Sunnah are the practices and life and sayings of Muhammad, and many of them are accounted for in the Hadith. Hadith are second hand accounts of other people who lived at the time of Muhammad, although many of them were written decades or sometimes hundreds of years later, and so it is a debate in the Muslim community on which Hadiths are considered more trustworthy than others. The one commonality, regardless of sect, is a centrality of the Quran and viewing that as the actual word of God. To see this a little bit more concretely in terms of how much Muslims view themselves as the same tradition that we see from the Old and New Testament, here are some Quranic quotes, and the first one essentially speaks to this core idea of being in that same tradition. "He has ordained for you of religion "what He enjoined upon Noah "and that which we have revealed to you, O Muhammad, "and what we enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus, "to establish the religion and not be divided therein." And this is speaking to the importance of Abraham. "And who is better in religion than "one who submits himself to God while being a doer of good "and follows the religion of Abraham, "inclining toward truth? "And God took Abraham as a friend." And Abraham in particular plays a very central role. The Kaaba, which Muslims view as the house of God, based in Mecca, right over here, is viewed as being built by Abraham and Ishmael, and so Medina, which is where in future videos we'll talk more about, where the early Muslims sought exile to escape persecution, that's often viewed as the city of Muhammad, but Mecca, which is the direction that all Muslims pray in during their ritual five times a day prayer, which we'll talk about in a little bit, that's often referred to as the city of Abraham. And now here is reference to Moses. "And before it was the scripture of Moses "to lead and as a mercy. "And this is a confirming book in an Arabic tongue, so this" this being the Quran. This is a quote from the Quran. "And this is a confirming book in an Arabic tongue "to warn those who have wronged "and as good tidings to the doers of good." So once again, a very clear message, in at least the Islamic tradition, that this is the same faith or tradition as that of Moses. And now here's reference to Jesus. "Then we caused our messengers to follow in their footsteps "and we caused Jesus, son of Mary, "to follow and gave him the Gospel "and placed compassion and mercy "in the hearts of those who followed him." The key difference between Muslims and Christians in terms of the life of Jesus, is that Muslims do not believe in the crucifixion and the resurrection, and they do not believe that Jesus was God or the son of God. They believe him to be a very significant prophet, the prophet before Muhammad came to reveal to the Quran. Now, for a practicing Muslim, there are often considered to be five pillars, and this is especially the case for the majority of Muslims, for Sunni Muslims. Shia Muslims have a slightly different combination of pillars, but there's a lot of commonality. So the five pillars, the first is this notion of faith, which is referred to Shahadah. Shadahah can also be interpreted as testifying or testimony, and it's this notion that a Muslim needs to believe and say that there is no God but God. Muhammad is God's messenger. And in fact, to convert to Islam, you need to say this, and you have to say it in the presence of at least two witnesses, and that's all that's necessary in order to convert. Now, the other key element of Islam, the second you could say of the five pillars, is this notion of prayer. So Muslims pray five times a day at dawn, noon, in the afternoon, evening, and night, and they face in the direction of the Kaaba, which is based in Mecca, which once again, they believe that Abraham constructed with his son Ishmael, who they believe that the Arab people are descendant from. Now, what's interesting about this, this has a lot of parallels with the five times a day prayer of the Zoroastrians, including the ritual washing of your body before each prayer. Now, the third pillar is charity, and it's called Zakat, and this is customarily two and half percent of wealth. Now, two and half percent might not sound like a lot, but this isn't of income, this is of wealth. The fourth pillar is the notion of fasting dawn to dusk during the ninth month of the Islamic calender, and that month is Ramadan, and it's fasting without food or water, once again, from dawk to dusk, and the Islamic calender is a lunar calender, and the notion of a month, in fact in English, it comes from the word moon, because it's referring to a full cycle of the moon. Now, the end of this month ends with the Eid-al-Fitr, which is the Festival of Breaking the Fast, which is considered one of the two major holidays in Islam. Now, the fifth pillar of Islam is the notion of pilgrimage to the Kaaba during the 12th month, and it's during a certain period in that 12th month, and then also in that 12th month, you have the second major holiday in Islam, and that's Eid-al-Adha, the Festival of the Sacrifice, and that once again is making reference to Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son before God stops him. So this is the general idea of Islam. In other videos, we're going to go into much more detail in terms of how it started, the life of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in Mecca and Medina, and then how it spread through the world shortly after or even during the life of Muhammad in the sixth and seventh centuries of the common era.