Islam

"Islam" comes from an Arabic word meaning "submission", and it is a religion based around a life of surrender to the will of Allah (God). It was first taught by "the Prophet", Muhammed, who lived in Arabia from 570-633 CE. The Prophet received many revelations from Allah which were eventually written in the Qur'an, Islam's holy book, which is believed to contain the exact words of God.

Islam is founded on three elements: the unity of God, Muhammed as the messenger of God to all people, and a belief that all living things will be brought back to life after death to be judged by God.

Five practices (the "five pillars of Islam") are required of every Muslim:

"Testimony of faith" - bearing witness aloud to Allah as one God and Muhammed as his prophet,
the spiritual exercise of prayer and worship of Allah,
giving charity to those in need,
fasting during the month of Ramadan - abstention from food, drink and sex during daylight hours,
pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj) at least once in a lifetime, if the person is able.