You might be surprised how much Islam and Christianity have in common. The name “Allah” literally means “The God.” Allah has no gender (although the pronoun “He” is typically used), no physical appearance, and shares power with no one.
There are six articles of faith in Islam:
· Belief in the one God
· Belief in angels
· Belief in the scriptures, and revelations of God
· Belief in the prophets and messengers
· Belief in the Day of Judgment
· Belief in the Afterlife (Heaven and Hell)
This probably sounds very familiar to Christians.
The Five Pillars
In Islam, there are also five “pillars,” or acts of faith, which every Muslim must perform. They are:
· Declaration of faith (shahadah)
· Prayer (salah)
· Fasting (sawm)
· Charity (zakah)
· Pilgrimage (Hajj)
The cornerstones of Islamic teaching are the belief in only one God followed by the practice of justice, peace, mercy and compassion. This is manifested in the following beliefs:
· Kindness, respect, and being obedient to one’s parents are among the best deeds.
· Kindness and charity should be extended toward everyone – family, neighbors, travelers, orphans and the poor.
· Even plants and animals have the right to gentle, kind treatment.
· All human beings are to be respected and loved, regardless of gender, age, race, culture or ethnicity. Racism and bigotry are to be condemned.
· Women are equal to men spiritually, intellectually, and as contributing members of society. They must be respected and treated equitably.
· Muslims must treat everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, with honesty, sincerity, justice, compassion and mercy in business dealings and other interactions.
· Muslims must strive for what is right and just, and forbid what is unjust, unethical, or morally wrong.
· Men and women must pursue knowledge, and make knowledge the basis for faith.
· As a way of life, Islam requires purity of body, mind and soul.
· Muslims must be modest and exercise moderation.
That’s what being Muslim is all about. Islam is also, like Christianity, predicated on forgiveness. Muslims are taught that all human beings will undoubtedly makes mistakes – some worse than others – and that God is the Most Forgiving. The difference between Islam and Christianity in this regard is simple. Some Christian denominations require their adherents to seek forgiveness through a mediator, like a priest or other spiritual leader. A Muslim seeks forgiveness directly from God.
A Muslim declares her/his belief by pronouncing: “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.”