21.05.2018 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

Islam is one of the oldest religions and was formed in the early 7th century in Mecca (Western Arabia).

Islam is a world religion, the second largest after Christianity (It has more than 1.8 billion followers). The territory of Islam includes 125 countries. The strictness of the spiritual rules and belief in a single God significantly distinguishes Islam from other world religions, albeit with the presence of biblical ideas in the Koran.

The name of the religion “Islam” translated from the Arabic means “submissiveness” and “devoting yourself to God.”

Five pillars of Islam

The history of Islam began in the 7th century. In 610, Muhammad, an active hanif from Mecca, declared himself the messenger and the prophet of Allah. He began to preach the religion of the only God—Islam. The teaching quickly spread among ordinary people but was critically perceived by the authorities. During years of bitter struggle, followers of Islam and Muhammad conquered Mecca in 630.  This was the date when Islam became a general Arab religion, and Mecca became its holy center.


The essence of Islam is explained in the sacred regulations obliging Muslims to comply with the five rules that were highlighted during the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

  1. Testimony of faith. Recognition of the only God and the prophet. There is only one god – Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
  2. Muslims must pray five times a day (dawn, noon, afternoon, dusk, after sunset) and observe a certain ritual. Prayers are obligatory during holidays, funerals, after ablution, and before entering the mosque.
  3. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and it is a time when Muslims must give up all food, drink, smoking, and other carnal pleasures from dawn to dusk. Minors, the sick, the elderly, and other categories of Muslims are not obliged to fast.
  4. Charity is a donation that is paid annually by Muslims for the benefit of the poor, travelers, debtors, and other disadvantaged people. The size of the alms is settled by the Shariah and amounts to 1/40 of the annual income. Islam also encourages voluntary donations, known as sadaqah.
  5. People are encouraged to go on pilgrimage between the 7th and the 10th days of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, to the holy city of Mecca. The travelers visit the Great Mosque of Mecca, the hills of Safa and Marwa, and other sacred sites in the area. They also perform purification rituals. Such pilgrims enjoy special respect from other Muslims.

Some theologians highlight another pillar of Islam — Jihad. This is related to Islam’s active spread as a world religion through internal perfection, armed struggle with non-believers, pacification of one’s own passions, punishment of criminals, and the observance of prohibitions.

Principles of the faith

Compared to Christianity, there is no institution of the church in Islam, and spiritual laws have many differences. The essence of Islam is contained in the Koran and the Sunnah. The first source describes revelations from God, and the second projects examples from the life of the Prophet Muhammad. There are six principles of Islamic belief in Sunni Islam, which have projected Islam as a religion of peace.

  1. Allah is the only and almighty God, the Creator of all things, without a particular image. He is the only object of worship for Muslims. The Lord is merciful to good believers and harsh with sinners. Allah is the one, he is absolute and perfect.
  2. Angels are creatures created from light to fulfil the divine will. Each person is accompanied by two guardian angels who record all deeds in a book to present to God on Judgment Day.
  3. Originally in Islam, the Divine revelation was contained in several Jewish and Christian sources as well as the Koran. Muslims believe that the scriptures given to other nations have been distorted over time. Only the Koran has been preserved in its original form. It is protected by God.
  4. Prophets are God’s chosen ones who relate what God wishes to tell the believers and also show them the paths of truth. The Koran contains 25 names of prophets. Muslims believe that only the Prophet Muhammad is the conduit of true faith.
  5. Judgment day will follow the End of the World. On judgment day, God will ask people about their actions in life and send them to hell (fire) or paradise (graceful gardens).
  6. Divine Predestination. God decided the fate of all things before the creation of the world. Nothing can change the course of life because there is nothing that does not depend on the will of God.

What is the nature of the religion of Islam? It is characterized by authenticity and fanaticism, which are combined with the ease of understanding of the Muslim faith. The picture of the world of Muslims is in many ways theocentric and, in some ways, anthropocentric.

Culture of islam

Muslim culture is aimed at glorifying the Islamic cult and its rituals. Muslim art is imbued with the idea of monotheism and the unity of religious attitudes. The Koran for many centuries prohibited any depiction of living beings. Relentless debate in the circles of Islamic theologians have resulted in the view that the image of a person or animal is allowed but not as an object of worship.

Works of art in Islam must meet these criteria:

  • adherence to religious ethics
  • practicability (must be useful)
  • order of the elements

One of the ways to express the Islamic understanding of beauty in the past was through calligraphy and ornament.

Muslim culture is full of strict ethical standards and rituals. Celibacy is not encouraged because founding a family is a religious duty. According to the Koran, a man has the right to have up to four wives, but in reality, this is rare.

Birth and death rituals are similar in many Muslim countries. When a child is born, a name is given, the child’s hair is cut, a ritual sacrifice is performed and alms given in his/her honor.

Funerals are held on the day of death. The body of the deceased is washed and wrapped in a shroud. A funeral prayer is recited and the body placed into the grave without a coffin, facing in the direction of the Kaaba.

Muslims pay special attention to holy sites in Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, and other cities. Every year they make pilgrimages to the Kaaba in the center of the Great Mosque, the Prophet’s Mosque, Al-Aqsa Mosque, the tombs of Ibrahim, Ishaq, Yaqub and the tombs of prophets and famous theologians.

Culture of islam

Islam belongs to the world religions and is an ideology for secular life. It defines social norms of behavior in society. The totality of Muslim norms organizes the lives of followers and makes them more stable. The religion of Islam in Russia ranks second in number after Christianity, but the exact number of followers is unknown.