The Islamic Society of Milwaukee is part of the worldwide community of Muslims which are estimated to number 1.5 billion people*. The most populous Muslim country is Indonesia. 300 million Muslims live in countries where Islam is not the majority religion. The country that has the largest number of Muslims, but is not a Muslim majority country, is India. In the United States, a credible estimate of the number of Muslims is between six to eight million. In Southeastern Wisconsin, there are an estimated 15,000 Muslims.
What are the main beliefs of Muslims?
Muslims are the followers of the monotheistic faith tradition known as Islam.
Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God. Muslims believe that God's eternal message was conveyed to a chain of prophets throughout history, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, John the Baptist, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). Muslims believe that a number of these messengers received scriptures from God. Muslims believe that Muhammad was the final in the chain of prophets who received revelation from God. Muslims believe in personal accountability for one's actions, a Day of Judgment, and an afterlife.
Is Allah a Muslim God?
Allah is an Arabic word used as the personal name for God. It comes from a combination of the definite article "al" or "the" and the word "ilah" or God. So it literally means "the God". It is a word that has no gender nor can it be made plural. It is the word that is used to describe the one, unique, omniscient, Creator of all that exists.
The word Allah is not unique to Muslims, nor do Muslims try to lay any exclusive claim to the word Allah.
The word Allah (not God!) is used by Christians and Jews who speak Arabic. So, if you happen to pick up a Bible in Arabic, the word Allah (written in Arabic, of course) will be used instead of God.
Unfortunately, there are some individuals who falsely claim that Allah is a Muslim God, or that Muslims follow a "moon god" or other equally ludicrous claims. Individuals who propogate such nonsense are only exhibiting their own ignorance and/or anti-Muslim views.
Who is Muhammad (PBUH)?
Muslims believe that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was the last in a line of prophets and messengers chosen by God to receive revelation. Muhammad was a descendent of Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him). The Prophet Muhammad was born in the year 570CE in Arabia, received his first revelation in the year 610CE and passed away in 632CE.
Throughout this life Muhammad was a very humble individual who was known for his truthfulness, his high moral character, his sincerity, his concern for the less fortunate members of society, his generosity, and his exemplary behavior with his family, his friends, his neighbors, and even his enemies. For more in depth information about Prophet Muhammad, we recommend one of the following books:
What is the Qur'an?
Muslims believe that Muhammad (PBUH) received a final revelation from God. The revelation that Muhammad received, the Qur'an (sometimes spelled Koran), was revealed to Muhammad from God through the Angel Gabriel over a period of more than two decades. Prophet Muhammad and many of his followers memorized the entire text of the Qur'an. Scribes also wrote down the entire Qur'an in its original language (Arabic). Although the Qur'an was revealed over fourteen centuries ago, not one word of the original Arabic text has been altered. In fact, every copy of the Arabic Qur'an found in every part of the world throughout these fourteen centuries is the same.
The most important theme of the Qur'an is the relationship of God with His creation. The Qur'an addresses many other issues including worship, morality, ethics, guidelines for a just society, as well as freedom and accountability.
Although bookstores may carry many different translations of the Qur'an, most translations have been made by individuals who lack the competency needed to provide an accurate rendering of the meaning of the Qur'an in English. The ISM recommends the following translations, both of which include extensive commentary: