Muslims (Arabic: مسلم, romanized: Muslim) are people who follow or practice Islam, a monotheisticAbrahamic religion. The derivation of "Muslim" is from an Arabic word meaning "submitter (to God)". Muslims consider the Quran, their holy book, to be the verbatim word of Godas revealed to the Islamicprophet and messengerMuhammad. The majority of Muslims also follow their own versions of compilations claimed to be the teachings and practices of Muhammad (sunnah) as recorded in traditional accountsMuslims are monotheistic and worship one, all-knowing God, who in Arabic is known as Allah.
Muslims believe several prophets were sent to teach Allah’s law. They respect some of the same prophets as Jews and Christians, including Abraham, Moses, Noah and Jesus. Muslims contend that Muhammad was the final prophet.
Mosques are places where Muslims worship.
Some important Islamic holy places include the Kaaba shrine in Mecca, the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, and the Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina.
The Quran (or Koran) is the major holy text of Islam. The Hadith is another important book. Muslims also revere some material found in the Judeo-Christian Bible.
The beliefs of Muslims include: that God (Arabic: الله Allah) is eternal, transcendent and absolutely one (tawhid); that God is incomparable, self-sustaining and neither begets nor was begotten; that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that has been revealed before through many prophets including Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, and Jesus; that these previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time (tahrif) and that the Quran is the final unaltered revelation from God.
Muslim culture or Islamic culture are terms used to describe the cultural practices common to Muslims and historically Islamic people. The early forms of Muslim culture, from the Rashidun Caliphate to early Umayyad period, were predominantly Arab, Byzantine, Persian and Levantine. With the rapid expansion of the Islamic empires, Muslim culture has influenced and assimilated much from the Persian, Egyptian, Caucasian, Turkic, Mongol, South Asian, Malay, Somali, Berber, Indonesian, and Moro cultures.
The prophet Muhammad is credited with building the first mosque in the courtyard of his house in Medina. Mosques today follow some of the same principles he established in 622 A.D.
Muslim prayer is often conducted in a mosque's large open space or outdoor courtyard. A mihrab is a decorative feature or niche in the mosque that indicates the direction to Mecca, and therefore the direction to face during prayer.
Men and women pray separately, and Muslims may visit a mosque five times a day for each of the prayer sessions. In addition to hosting prayers, mosques often function as public gathering places and social centers.
The two major Muslim holidays are:
Eid al-Adha: celebrates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for Allah.
Eid al-Fitr: marks the end of Ramadan—the Islamic holy month of fasting.
Muslims also celebrate other holidays, such as the Islamic New Year and the birth of Muhammad.