A monotheistic religion characterized by the acceptance of the doctrine of submission to God and to Muhammad as the chief and last prophet of God. The Arabic word 'Islam' simply means 'submission," and derives from a word meaning "peace." In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. 'Allah' is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arabic-speaking Muslims, Jews and Christians alike as the normal word for God. "Allah" is also used to refer to God by Muslims speaking other languages, including English. A Muslim is an adherent of the religion of Islam. Literally, the word means "one who submits (to God)". Islam is not a new religion, but the final culmination and fulfillment of the same basic truth that God revealed through his prophets to every people. A way of life symbolized by peace; peace with God, peace with the creations of God through Submission to God and His guidance. Over a billion people from all races, nationalities, and cultures across the globe are Muslim; from the rice farms of Indonesia to the deserts in the heart of Africa; from the skyscrapers of New York to the Bedouin in Arabia. Muslims believe in the One, Unique, Incomparable, Merciful God; the sole creator and Sustainer of the Universe; in the angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to humankind; in the Day of Judgment of actions; in God's complete authority over destiny, whether it is good or bad; and in life after death.
Muslims believe that God sent his messengers and prophets to all people and God's final message to humanity, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing up of all that had gone before, was revealed to the Last Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. The sacred text of Islam is the Qur'an (also spelled Koran; multiple spellings).
Holy war, the duty to spread Islam by arms, recently modified to "holy struggle" by persuasion (Ahmadiya) and sometimes extended to include war against other Muslims deemed too Westernized (extremist fundamentalism).
Jihad can also refer to the internal/spiritual struggle within one self.
An organized group of people with a common belief. Most religions strongly stress ethics and morals along with setting guidelines for people to follow in their day-to-day life.
- Taoism (Daoism)
The adhan (also spelled Athan, Azan, Ezan) is the Islamic call to prayer. The Muslim call to Friday public worship and to the five daily hours of prayer. It is proclaimed by the muezzin, a servant of the mosque chosen for good character, as he stands at the door or side of a small mosque or in the minaret of a large one. The adhan was originally a simple "Come to prayer," but, according to tradition, Muhammad consulted his followers with a view to investing the call with greater dignity. The matter was settled when 'Abd Allah ibn Zayd dreamed that the faithful should be summoned by a crier. The standard Sunnite adhan can be translated as: "Allah is most great. I testify that there is no god but Allah. I testify that Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. Come to prayer. Come to salvation. Allah is most great. There is no god but Allah." The first phrase is proclaimed four times, the final phrase once, and the others twice, the worshipers making a set response to each phrase.
It’s simply a way to alert people when they are busy; that the time for the prayer (“Salah” in Arabic; one of the 5 pillars of Islam) has come. Especially in the Muslim world; because in Islam, the five daily prayers are supposed to be carried out in congregation as much as one can. And so in the old days, before the development of technologies (alarm clocks, mobile phones, etc) that was a fast way to let people know. Recently, in the past fifty years or so, they started using loudspeakers on top of minarets to call the adhan. It’s a beautiful and enchanting sound and it’s just calling people to come and worship.
Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Buddha. Buddha taught that 1) life permates around suffering, 2) humanity suffers because of their desires, 3) to overcome desires, one must obtain nirvana, and 4) to obtain nirvana, one must follow the eight-fold path (Right Views, Right Resolve, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration). These are known as the four noble truths. Buddha accepted the concepts of karma and samsara, but rejected the idea of the Brahman and atman. Buddha also taught different understandings of reality and psychology which was based on the idea of anicca; that reality is not permanent and predictable but rather transient and changing. Thus all things flow according to cause and effect. The idea that there is a self, or ego, is an illusion. Buddhism teaches anatman or anatta, No Self. Acting on this illusion of the Self leads to dissatisfaction in existence - Dukkha.
Buddhism teaches that karmic cause and effect leads to the generation of energy, a process called dependent co-arising. The workings of karma cause those energies to coalesce as five bundles of energy called skandhas. The skandhas are: Body (rupa), Perception (jamjna), Feelings (vedana), Inherent Impulses (karmic predispositions, samskaras), Consciousness/Reasoning (vijnana). These are always in flux and disperse at death. Karma causes them to reform as a new existence unless the chain of cause and effect is broken.
A monotheistic religion which combines beliefs from Islam and monotheistic Vaishnavite bhakti Hinduism, founded in northern India in the 16th century by the guru Nanak. Nanak spent his off hours singing, praying, and thinking with others from the same monotheistic Vaishnavite or Islamic background as himself. Seeking truth, Nanak reached a crisis at the age of 30. After bathing in a forest stream, Nanak received a vision. He emerged from the forest and annouced what he learned to those who would listen. His message stressed there was one true God, but it was not Vishnu and not Allah, but the Sati Nam, the true name. From that point on, Nanak spent the rest of his life gathering disciples (Sikhs). When Nanak was on his death bed, an arguement broke out over whether he should be buried or cremated (Islamic ritual or Hindu ritual). Nanak said that when he died, Hindu disciples should place flowers on his right and Muslims disciples should place flowers on his left. The flowers that were fresh the next morning could have the body. The morning following his death, the body had disappeared, and all the flowers were fresh. Thus whether originally Hindu or Muslim, to be Sikh places one in a new community of faithful devoted to the One True Name. Sikhism rejects caste distinctions, idolatry, and asceticism and is characterized by belief in a cycle of reincarnation from which humans can free themselves by living righteous lives as active members of society.
Sikhism also teaches that The True Name created Maya, the created world, by his Word. This means the world is real, but only God has ultimate Reality. Maya covers God like a veil. Only spiritual pure minds free of selfishness and desire can pierce the veil and perceive God. Nanak accepted karma and samsara. He also taught that selfish egoism and desire cause humans to make negative choices, accumulating negative karma. The Lord of Death, Yama, uses this to ensnare those separated from God and lost in the world, locking them into the cycle of rebirths. Ethical behavior, the prayerful repetition of the True Name, and focus on God brings control of egoism and desire. When the disciple dies free of karmic guilt, the soul is absorbed into the Sati Nam. The final goal, then, is to attain nirvana, defined as being absorbed into total blissful unity with God like water into water. In total union with God, one is free of samsara, and enjoys bliss forever. The final human guru, Gobind Singh, founded the military order of the Khalsa (The Pure). Initiates in the Khalsa signify it with the five Ks - 1) the kesh: uncut hair on head and chin. The hair is covered by a turban. 2) The kangha: the comb. 3) The kacht or kaccha: short drawers. 4) The kara: the steel bracelet. And 5) the kirpan: the short sword or knife.
An ascetic religion of India, founded in the sixth century BCE that teaches the immortality and transmigration of the soul and denies the existence of a perfect or supreme being. Both Jainism and Buddhism was rooted in dissatisfication with Brahmanic ritual and was founded by rough contemporaries in the 7th-6th centuries BCE by memebers of the kshatriya varna. It appealed to the masses by offering methods of salvation free from priestly control and rejecting the caste system. It Focuses on the need for extreme self mortification, the absence of possessions (including clothing) and the necessity of ahimsa, the practice of no-harm. They practice ahimsa to the point that they wear no shoes so that they do not step on insects and kill them. By doing bad deeds, they believe that karmic matter sticks to the soul. By doing good deeds, they believe that karmic matter loosens from the soul. Along with the act of ahimsa, Jains cannot lie, and commit sexual unchasity or infidelity. They must also guard against evils that can be avoided, observe regular meditation, observe regular periods of self denial, ocassionaly observe days as monks, control greed, and give alms (especially to ascetics).
The goal of Jainism is to rid one's soul of karmic matter and so escape samsara (cycle of re-birth/re-death) in moksha (release). There are 3 monastic sects - Digambaras (the Sky-Clad), The Shvetambaras (the White Clad), and The Sthanakvasis (those who reject idols and temples).