Islam

Background: Based on the teachings of one man, Mohammed. He was a merchant in the Arabian city of Mecca, had Christian in-laws and did business with the Jewish community outside Mecca. From these contacts he built his teachings upon a vague understanding of Judaism and Christianity.

Sacred Book: The Qur’an is a record of the words of Mohammed as written down by his followers. The Koran is believed to have existed in heaven for all eternity before Mohammed recited it. It is called “The one great miracle.”

The Nature of God: The majesty and might of Allah is often portrayed in the Qur’an, and it is emphasized that his purposes are always serious. Justice is Allah’s most important feature for Muslims. Allah is also merciful and compassionate, but mercy is shown mainly in his sending messengers who proclaim the truth of man’s responsibility to live according to Allah’s dictates.

Human Condition: Islam teaches that all people are sinners (Qur’an 16,61). Man is endowed with taqwa, a sort of divine spark manifested in his conscience that enables him to perceive the truth and to act on it. Conscience is thus is of the greatest value in Islam.

Eternity: Those who do not conform their lives to the demands of Islam will surely be thrown into hell, a place of extreme physical pain (56, 42-45; 94-95).

What is Salvation? If a man is capable of achieving salvation, he will find in paradise an eternal life of gratification of physical desires: he will have one or more virgins, will live in comfort, and will have all desires met.

How is a person saved? Salvation can be attained through observing the Five Pillars of Islamic practice: 1) the belief that Allah is the only god and Muhammad is his messenger; 2) performing the five daily prayers; 3) fasting throughout the month of Ramadan; 4) giving to the poor; 5) the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. By performing these works, the Muslim hopes that at the judgment day his good deeds will exceed the bad ones, and so he will reach the paradise of material and sensual delights (56, 16-41). Yet, despite all deeds, Allah reserves the absolute right to send the deceased to wherever he pleases paradise or hell.

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