I am ashamed to say I don't know much about Islam. I have had several students who practiced it, so I know the basics. However, I know more about Judaism and Catholicism. I know about Islam from an academic more than a practical standpoint.
I'm in the same boat. As a former history teacher I have taught about Islam and understand the basic philosophy and tenets of the religion. I don't have a deep personal connection to the faith nor do any of my close friends, so pretty much all of my knowledge is only academic.
I know that basic things that most people know. I know that Islam was founded by Muhammad who had (according to Muslims) an angel dictate the Koran to him. I know that Islam is an "Abrahamic" religion that honors people like Moses and Abraham. I know that there are many differences among Muslims in the world -- Sunni and Shi'a, of course, but others as well.
Islam is a religions of peace. Live in peace and let other live in peace. Do good for yourself, your family, neighbours, community and world as a whole by following the commands of Allah (God) the way His prophet Mohammad (may peace be upon him) demonstrated by his practice by becoming a true servant of Allah.
Islam ensures justice. It cannot be dispensed with completely in this world (just think of a serial killer) so it is based on the concept of an eternal life after death wherein dispensation of justice is to be completed. Great rewards for the servants of Allah with abundance of mercy and forgiveness and hellfire for the disobedient and disbelievers. It's like all other Abrahamic religions.
Islam is very easy to follow as it keeps the door of pardon open for the sinners who believe provided they try their level best to stay away from it in future. But transgressors are not promised this.
To help Muslims to saty steadfast to their beliefs, they are required to say their contact prayer five times a day, give elms from their savings, fast for a month, make pilgrimage to Makkah (if they have the travel expenses). But this is not all. Muslims are encouraged to spend in in the name of Allah to help the needy and poor and for any other good cause.
They are also required to fight against the oppressor and spend for it, however, killing of innocent is like killing the whole human race and saving a life is like saving the whole human race.
Not too much, actually. There seem to be so many different varients out there, that it's hard to say what it really is. I've heared Mohammud was the last prophet after Jesus, who was also a prophet. And that muslims believe that the savior is still to come. From what I understand, they take the Torah and the New Testament as parts of the religion. What else....you have to pray five times a day, and you should try to make a trip to the holy land once in your life. You fast to appreciate the goodness of food. You are to be charitable to the poor. That's it. That's all I know.
I have lived for a year in Indonesia. I have lived for many months in Egypt and Jordan and Turkey. I've travelled through Syria and Iran. I have lived for 2 years in India (one of the largest Muslim populations in the world) So... as a westerner with extensive conatct with Islam... what do I know about Islam? I know that no-one in Islam dares to tell the truth about how rubbish they are at being a muslim.
Individually, it is extremly dificult to be a good Muslim. It demands very high levels of obedience that almost no-one can do. But nobody talks about it. Nobody dares to say that Islam is not what they feel inside. So Islam is a culture of frightened hypocrisy. Islam is an extremely strict religion, and muslims are very scared of failing.
Collectively, in groups, Muslims are very loudly committed to Islam. They shout about how good it is to be a Muslim. Allah Akbar! They show 'the world' how good they are. BUT... according to Google's statistics... Muslims countries watch more pornography than any other cultural group. So I think Muslims are trapped inside a strict religion. I have lived worked, taught and played with many, many Muslims. And I think their religion blocks their development and genuine honesty.
I think Muslims are lonely.
The word Islam is Arabic in origin which means "peace" and "submission." It is considered as one of the Abrahamic and monotheistic faiths.
There are 5 pillars of Islam:
- Shahadat: Declaring that there is no god except Allah, and that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the last Prophet of Allah.
- Salat: prayer 5 times a day.
- Zakat: Giving 2.5% of a person's wealth to poor and needy people, only if that person is able.
- Fasting during the month of Ramazan.
- Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca only if one is able.
Other beliefs include:
- Belief in Holy Scriptures (Quran, Torah, Zabur, Injil), and that the Quran is the last Book of Allah, revealed on His last Prophet, through the Angel Gabriel.
- Heaven and Hell
- Belief in all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah.
- Judgement Day ( Akhirat)
- Jihad: which means fighting in the name of Allah. There are many types of Jihad which include Jihad al-nafs (jihad against one’s self),jihad al-Shaytaan (jihad against the Shaytaan), Physical jihad (i.e. fighting) etc. [Also, Jihad does not promote the killings of innocents or suicide bombings (since suicide is prohibited in Islam)].
- Justice should prevail in all aspects.
- Having good relations with family, friends, neighbors and everyone else.
- Sunnah (way of the Prophet) and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet)
Other details can be found on the link i've attached.