College and University > Religion > Islam
Islam is another majority religion of the world. It is practiced by some 1.3 billion people all over the globe, though the most number of Muslims are in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian nations. It is one of the so-called “Abrahamic religions”, sharing many roots with both Christianity and Judaism. It is called “Abrahamic” because a key person in the holy books of the three religions is named Abraham. Adherents of these religions claim that Abraham was their main ancestor.
For Islam, though, their origin story diverges starting from one of the sons of Abraham, whose name is Ishmael. The Judeo-Christian Bible does not mention a lot about what happened to Ishmael; for Muslims, however, he is a key figurehead. Muslims believe that Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic religion, descended from Ishmael.
Although Judaism, Christianity, and Islam had similar origin stories, they technically have different gods. Muslims believe in the deity they call “Allah”; whether this is the same as the God that Jews and Christians believe in is a matter of contention.
Like Judaism, though, Islam has very strict standards when it comes to their religious rules, which they call Sharia Law. Muslims have a handful of rituals they always perform daily, such as what they call “Salat”. This is the obligatory practice of prayer which is done five times per day. There are set times of day for each prayer: one at dawn, one in the early afternoon, one in the late afternoon, another at sunset, and a final one at night.
This ritual is quite strict in Islam, and missing prayers is considered a grievous sin. For this reason, Muslims have developed quite a disciplined lifestyle that always makes time for the five prayers each day. Missed prayers can be made up for, but it is highly discouraged.