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Part 3


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This topic is continued here from Part 2 of this topic

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Topics discussed in this essay:

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Other teachings of Islam:

bullet Jihad (struggle) is probably the most misunderstood religious word in existence. It often mentioned on Western TV and radio during news about the Middle East, where it is implied to be a synonym of "holy war" -- a call to fight against non-Muslims in the defense of Islam or to encourage its spread. The vast majority of Muslims have an entirely different definition of Jihad. It is seen as a personal, internal struggle with one's self. The goal may be achievement in a profession, self-purification, the conquering of primitive instincts or the attainment of some other noble goal. 2 More details.


Calendar: Muslims follow a lunar calendar which started with the Hegira, a 300 mile (480 km) trek in 622 CE by Muhammad when he relocated from Mecca to Medina. Al-Hijra/Muharram is the Muslim New Year, the beginning of the first lunar month. It is also known as the Arabic New Year or Hijri New Year. The beginning of the year 1431AH occurred on 2009-DEC-18 of the Gregorian calendar. Other Islamic New Years occurred:

  • 1435AH on 2013-NOV-04
  • 1436AH on 2014-OCT-25
  • 1437AH on 2015-OCT-14
  • 1438AH on 2016-OCT-03
  • 1439AH on 2017-SEP-21
  • 1440AH on 2018-SEP-12
  • 1441AH on 2019-SEP-01

The date ocurrs about 11 days earlier each year.


Salvation: As in Christianity, Islam teaches that there are two destinations where people will spend eternity after their life on Earth:

  • Jannah, a Paradise of 7, 8 or 11 levels (sources differ)

  • Hell, a place of punishment where the fire is 70 times hotter than fire on Earth.

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bullet Separation of church and state: Originally, in Islamic countries, there was no separation between religious and civil law, between Islam and the state. Muhammad and his successors were both religious and political leaders. Turkey became a secular state during the 20th century. This was a very controversial move in conservative Islamic circles. Today, many predominately Islamic countries have laws on the books that call for the execution of Atheists, persons who engage in same-sex sexual behavior, who commit blasphemy against Islam, or who leave Islam and convert to another religion or who abandon religion.

bullet Proselytizing: Muslims are not required to actively recruit others to Islam. In the Qur'an, Allah told Muhammad that "You certainly cannot guide whomever you please; It is Allah who guides whom He will. He best knows those who accept guidance." (28:56). Muslims are expected to explain Islam to followers of other faiths, but it is up to Allah to guide those whom he wishes to.

bullet Suicide: This is forbidden. The Qur'an clearly states: "Do not kill yourselves as God has been to you very merciful" (4:29). Only Allah is to take a life. Since death must be left up to Allah, physician assisted suicide is not allowed. On the other hand, Muslim physicians are not "encouraged to artificially prolong the misery [of a person who is] in a vegetative state." 5

Islamic holy days:

The main holy days are listed below. They are scheduled according to a lunar calendar and thus happen about eleven days earlier in successive years.

bulletAl-Hijra/Muharram is the Muslim New Year, the beginning of the first lunar month.

bullet For Sunni Muslims, Ashura is a day of fasting that was originally observed by Jews to recall when God saved the Children of Israel from the Pharoah in Egypt. Muhammad made the observance compulsory for Muslims as well.

For Shiite Muslims, Ashura recalls an event circa 680-OCT-20 CE in Iraq when an army of the Umayyad regime martyred a group of 70 individuals who refused to submit to the Caliph. One of the martyrs was Imam Husain, the youngest grandson of Prophet Muhammad. 

bullet Mawlid al-Nabi is a celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam in 570 CE. "The Mawlid al-Nabi was first observed around the thirteenth century and was preceded by a month of celebration. The actual day of Muhammad's birthday included a sermon, recitation of litanies, honoring of religious dignitaries, gift giving, and a feast. The festival spread throughout the Muslim world and is celebrated in many countries today. However, some conservative sects (e.g., the Wahhabiyah) consider the celebration to be idolatrous." 6
bulletRamadan is the holiest period in the Islamic year; it is held during the entire 9th lunar month of the year. This was the month in which the Qura'n was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The first day of Ramadan is listed above. It is a time at which almost all Muslims over the age of 12 are expected to fast from sunup to sundown.

bullet Id al-Fitr (a.k.a. "'Id") is the first day of the 10th month -- i.e. the day after the end of Ramadan. It is a time of rejoicing. Houses are decorated; Muslims buy gifts for relatives. 

bullet Id al-Adha (a.k.a. the Feast of Sacrifice or Day of Sacrifice) occurs during the 12th month of the Islamic year. This is the season of the Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca). It recalls the day when Abraham intended to follow the instructions of God, and sacrifice his son Ishmael. (This is not a typo; Muslims believe that Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his elder son Ishmael; Judeo-Christians believe that Isaac was involved in the near sacrifice).

The dates for the past, current, and future years are listed elsewhere on this web site.

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Beliefs about Jesus, within Islam and Christianity:

Traditional Christians and Muslims have certain beliefs in common concerning Jesus. They both accept that:

bulletHis birth was miraculous.
bulletHe was the Messiah.
bulletHe cured people of illness.
bulletHe restored dead people to life.

However, they differ from Christians in a number of major areas. Muslims do not believe:

bullet In original sin (that every human who ever lived inherited a sinful nature because of Adam and Eve's transgression)
bulletThat Jesus was killed by crucifixion. Muslims believe that he escaped being executed, and later reappeared to his disciples without having first died.
bulletThat Jesus was resurrected (or resurrected himself) circa 30 CE.
bulletThat Jesus ascended bodily to heaven after his resurrection.
bullet Salvation is dependent either upon belief in the resurrection of Jesus (as in Paul's writings) or belief that Jesus is the Son of God (as in the Gospel of John). They agree with various statements in the synoptic gospels (as in the Sheep and Goats passage in Matthew 25) that salvation and the attainment of Heaven/Paradise is achieved through good works and is less likely to those who have performed many evil deeds.

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This topic continues in Part 4

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Correctional Institution's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Excerpts are available at:  You need software to read this file. It can be obtained free from:
  2. "His birth," at:
  3. Louis Hammann, "Ahmadiyyat: An introduction," at:
  4. "Calculating Qibla Direction," at:
  5. Shadid Athar, "Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide," at: 
  6. "Islam," Weebly, undated, at:
  7. "How many Levels are There in Jannah?," As a Question To.US, 1430 to 1438 H, at:
  8. "The Hereafter," As a Question To.US, 1430 to 1438 H, at:

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Site navigation: Home page > World Religions > Islam > here

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Copyright © 1995 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last update: 2017-DEC-05
Author: B. A. Robinson
Hyperlinks checked: 2001-OCT-15

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