Daughters of Abraham includes participants of the three major religions that have their roots in Abraham. All three of the faiths began in the Middle-East. All were founded by a particular person whose life was committed to one God. All are ethical monotheisms. All have a sacred book; thus all three are often called “People of the Book.”
Islam is the latest of the three Abrahamic faiths and acknowledges it roots in Judaism and Christianity, with many of the same and similar stories carried down through Jewish and Christian tradition in its holy book, the Qur’an. Followers of Islam believe that Islam actually began with the creation of the world, but it was born as a religion when the Angel Gabriel dictated sacred words to the Prophet Muhammad in the late 5th century. These writings provide a manuscript for submission to One God (referred to in the Arabic as Allah) and moral personal and social behavior. Those who practice these behaviors are called Muslims, which means those who have “submitted their will to Allah’s will.” Islam has roots to Abraham, but through Ishmael rather than through Isaac.
The Five Pillars of Islam outline the behavior expected by Allah:
- Shahadah – Confess that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger
- Salat – Pray five times a day facing Mecca
- Zakat – Give money to the poor
- Sawm – Fast during the month of Ramadan
- Hajj – Make a pilgrimage to Mecca, if able
When Muhammad was living, Muslims became both a religious and political community, with the Prophet Muhammad as the head of state. Thus, as in the Hebrew scriptures, there is mention of war and conflict. In Islam, there is no distinction between the religious and the political spheres of life. Muslims believe that all of life in unified, interconnected, and ultimately divinely balanced, a concept called Tawheed (oneness of God).
As with the other religions, Islam has developed differences over the centuries, but they are primarily limited to two sub-groups, Sunni and Shi’a. Sufism, the mystical expression of Islam, is found among both Sunnis and Shi’as. All Muslims, however, are centered in a strong monotheism which directs them to the One God, Allah, and to the needs of their neighbor.