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Being a Muslim
ISLAM We are Muslim. That means that we practice the religion of Islam. Muslims live in many different countries and cultures. The word Islam means "submission to God." Being a Muslim means following a way of life every day in order to please God. We pray five times a day. When we pray, we take off our shoes and kneel toward Mecca, a holy city in Saudi Arabia. ALLAH The word for God in Arabic, the language of our religion, is Allah. Nothing can be compared to Allah. Allah is different from all people and all things. Nothing is like Allah. We believe that Allah knows all things, can do all things, and has always existed. Everything exists because Allah wills, or wants, it to exist.

MUHAMMAD We believe that a man named Muhammad was one of Allah's prophets. Muslims call him the Great Prophet and the Chosen Messenger. The book about how Allah wants us to live our lives was revealed to Muhammad in Arabic. This book is called the Qur'an. It was written in Arabic. Muhammad taught us that there is only one Allah. Whenever we say the name of Prophet Muhammad, we also say "Peace be upon him".

THE QU'RAN We believe that Muhammad received the Qur'an from Allah's angel. We believe that the Qur'an came from Allah. We should read the Qur'an often. We study it so that we can understand how Allah expects us to behave. In the Holy Qur'an God teaches us everything we need to know to become the best human beings so that we can be close to Him. MOSQUE Muslims go to a mosque to pray and to learn about our faith. Muslim religious leaders, called imams, teach us. Every mosque has a tower called a minaret. Five times a day, a muezzin calls us to prayer from the tower.

ISLAMIC LAW Islamic law is called Sharia'a. It is based on the Qur'an. Shari'a helps us understand how to practice our religion in our daily lives. Sometimes we ask our imams to explain the law and how we should understand it.

PILLARS OF ISLAM There are five main duties or pillars in Islam.
FAITH: Iman The first pillar of a Muslim is to recite the Shahada, or confession of faith: There is no god but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God

PRAYER: Salat A second pillar is to pray correctly. We believe that an angel showed Muhammad how to pray. All Muslims pray in the same way. First, we remove our shoes. We wash our hands and face and feet. We kneel down on a clean spot on the ground or on a mat. When we pray, we face toward Mecca. We pray five times a day: at dawn, in the middle of the day, in the afternoon, afternoon, after sunset, and before going to bed.

PILGRIMAGE: Hajj A third pillar is the Hajj, journey to the holy city of Mecca. Every Muslim must try to make the Hajj at least once in his or her life. During the Hajj, people say prayers and listen to sermons. There are special activities that everyone does together. In Mecca is the Ka'ba, the sacred cube building. It is the most sacred and holy place in Islam.

FASTING: Siyam A fourth pillar is the observance of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar. In this month, we fast from dawn to sunset. This means that adults and older kids do not eat all day. Younger children do not have to fast. During Ramadan, we remember our duty to God. At the end of the month, we have a great feast. It is called 'Idu l-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast.

CHARITY: Zakat A fifth pillar is giving alms, or charity to the poor. The giving of charity is a very important part of being a good Muslim. It is called Zakat. The Qur'an teaches us to give to the poor, the needy, and to travelers.

MUSLIM BELIEFS We believe in one God (Allah), His Messengers from Adam to Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), His Divine Books including Taurat [Torah], Injeel [Gospel] & Holy Qur'an, His Angels [and Jinn], Paradise & Hell, and the Last Day.  
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