Facts about Islam

Friday, March 28, 2008 | 1:00 p.m. CDT; updated 4:23 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Think you know about Islam? Here are some quick facts:


With an estimated 1 billion Muslims worldwide, Islam is considered to be the fastest growing religion. Indonesia, with 170.3 million Muslims, has the largest population.


Islam is monotheistic with an omnipresent and omniscient god who created the universe.


In Islam, everyone is equal before God, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.


The Quran, which means “timeless words of God,” is the holy book of Islam. It has 114 chapters and describes the teachings of Islam.


Islam was founded by the prophet Mohammad, whom Muslims believe was the last prophet after Abraham, Jesus and Moses.


There are a number of sects within Islam, including Sunni Islam, Shiite Islam and Sufism. At 83 percent of adherents, the majority of Muslims are Sunni. Shiite Islam comes in at second with 16 percent. The difference between Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam involves the successor to the prophet Mohammad; while Shiite Muslims believe it to be Ali, Mohammad’s cousin and son-in-law, Sunni Muslims believe it is Abu Bakr, the father of Mohammad’s wife, A’ishah.


In Islam, the Five Pillars of Faith form the basis of Islamic belief. They include:

• The profession of faith, known as “shahadah”;

• Ritual worship, or prayer, known as “salah”; Muslims must pray five times a day (at dawn, midday, afternoon, evening and night);

• Almsgiving, or “zakah.” Muslims must donate a portion of their money to help those who are sick or poor;

• Fasting, known as “sawn.” During Ramadan, Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to sunset.

• Pilgrimage to Mecca, or “hajj.” If means are available, Muslims are required to make the journey to Mecca.



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