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There is no doubt that through the prophet Muhammad, the Arabs were raised to the level of an ethical high religion, grounded in belief in the one God and in a basic ethic of humanity, with clear imperatives for more humanity and more justice. From its origins onwards, Islam was a religion not so much of the law as of an ethic. And there is also something like the Ten Commandments, the basis of a common ethic of humanity.

Muslims see Muhammad as the seal of the prophets, the messenger of God who brought God’s final revelation to humankind. However, Muslims attach the greatest importance to the fact that the Prophet Muhammad does not stand at the centre of Islam, as Jesus Christ stands at the centre of Christianity. For Muslims, the Word of God did not become a man but a book. And it is the Qur’an, the original version of which lies with God himself, that forms the centre of Islam.

So Islam is a religion of the book par excellence. The Qur’an completes and replaces the Torah of the Jews and the Gospel of the Christians. For Muslims it is unsurpassable, perfect, absolutely reliable. So it is also solemnly recited and above all learnt by heart by the experts.

From left: The Ka'ba, Mecca; Daily ritual prayer.

The confession of faith is the central message of Islam which can be rendered with two words:
Allah: Belief in the one God is the first obligation for Muslims, the foundation of the Islamic community and the sole content of their prayer liturgy.
Muhammad: Although Muslims regard Muhammad as the last emissary of the one God, he is in no way more than a human being: “I am but a man like you”. Qur’an, Surah 41.6

Islam means submission to the will of God. It is the message of the Prophet Muhammad, which was gradually revealed to him in the sixth century by an angel and was later written down in the Qur’an by Muhammad’s companions and followers.

The five pillars of Islam are:
Belief in God and Muhammad as his last Prophet,
Daily ritual prayer,
Ramadan, the annual month of fasting, with a complete fast from dawn to
sunset, and
Pilgrimage to Mecca if possible once in a lifetime.

There are around 1.2 billion Muslims; the most important movements are the Sunni and the Shi’ites.

Most Muslims today live in South-East Asia and India, Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Turkey, but increasingly so in Europe and North America.

 Muhammad Iqbal

Muhammed Abduh

Gamaladdin al-Afghani

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