Last updated: October 11, 2019
Want to know more about Islam? Here are 25 Interesting facts about Islam that you probably didn’t know before reading this!
Islam is a religion, and Muslims are those who follow Islam. These two terms tend to get mixed up sometimes, so I thought it was better to clarify it right in the beginning.
1. Islam means “surrender” or “submission”
The Arabic root word for Islam means submission, obedience, peace, and purity. In a religious context, it means “voluntary submission to God”.
2. Haji pilgrimage
This is the annual pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca. Every Muslim should do this pilgrimage at least once in their life, and every year about 3 million Muslims from all over the world come here.
3. It’s the second largest religion in the world
Only Christianity has more followers, and the latest estimates say that there are at least 1,8 billion Muslims in the world.
It is the fastest growing religion in the world, and as of 2017, there are 50 countries in the world where Islam is the major religion.
4. Muslims should pray 5 times a day
Also known as Salat. Every Muslim should pray five times a day at specific times as of the following:
- Salat al-fajr: dawn, before sunrise
- Salat al-zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest
- Salat al-‘asr: the late part of the afternoon
- Salat al-maghrib: just after sunset
- Salat al-‘isha: between sunset and midnight
5. The Quran is the holy book
Just like the Torah in Judaism and the Bible in Christianity, the Quran is the holy book within the Islamic faith.
The literal meaning of the Quran in English would be “The Recitation” and Muslims believe that these are the words of Allah, revealed to Muhammad (the last prophet) through Archangel Gabriel.
6. There are five pillars
- Shahada – The declaration of faith.
- The Salah, or Salat – The five daily prayers
- Zakat – The practice of charitable giving
- Sawm – The fasting
- Haji – The Pilgrimage to Mecca
7. Jihad does not mean “holy war”
This is often translated wrongly in Westernized media, and Jihad simply means “to struggle” or “to strive”. The term of holy war does not appear in the Arabic text of the Quran.
8. The original Arabic text of the Quran has not been altered
None of the Torah or the Bible exist in their original form as revealed to Moses and Jesus. However, the Arabic text of the Quran has not been altered since the revelation.
9. The Islamic calendar started in 622 AD
In Western countries, we begin our counting of year 0 at the time of Jesus Birth. The Islamic calendar, however, begins in 622 AD, which means that it is now the year 1440 according to the Islamic faith.
One of the many interesting facts about Islam!
10. Allah means god in Arabic
In the Arabic language, Allah means God. But it’s not a different god than the God of Abraham, Moses or Jesus because according to the faith, there is only one Creator.
11. Men who oppress women are not following Islam
Muhammad even said, “the best among you are those who treat their wives well.”. Islam in its true form grants women many rights, and any Muslim man that oppresses women is not following the true words of Allah.
Many countries who accept the oppression of women have their own interpretation of the Quran or simply follow old cultural traditions and tries to justify it via religion.
12. Shia and Sunni
There are two major denominations of the Islamic faith, and these are known as Shia and Sunni. The majority of Muslims belong to the Sunni, and about 15% follow the Shia.
They both follow the same Quran, but they have different opinions on Hadith, which are the records of words and actions attributed to Muhammad. It is the second source for moral guidance and religious law after the Quran.
Shia and Sunni divided into two groups after the death of Muhammad.
13. It is a religion for everyone
Everyone can convert to Islam, and it doesn’t matter which skin-color or ethnicity you have. In fact, only 15% of Muslims are Arabs, even though many from Western countries think of Arabs first when it comes to Islam.
14. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all dates back to Abraham
Unlike Hinduism that has several gods, the Abrahamitic religions are monotheistic which means that they all believe in one god. There is only one almighty creator, and all of the three religions dates back to Abraham, as well as Adam and Eve.
Indeed one of many interesting facts about Islam.
15. The Quran speaks about tolerance between Muslims and non-Muslims
Extremist groups often claim that they have the right to kill others who don’t share the same faith as them. But if you read the Quran, and take a closer look at some examples from Muhammad, tolerance is encouraged.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
“Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians — whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord. And there will be no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.” (The Holy Quran 2:62 )
“Know that people are of two types: they are either your brothers in religion or your equals in creation.” (Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 53)
“And argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and in good manner), except with such of them as do wrong, and say (to them): “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our God and your God is One, and to Him we have submitted”(29:46)
“There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned.” (Holy Quran: 2/ 256)
“Allah does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you due to your faith or driven you out of your homes. Allah loves those who deal justly. Allah only forbids you from those people that fought you because of your faith, drove you out of your homes and helped in your expulsion, that you take them as intimate associates. And whosoever takes them as intimate associates, then it is they who are the wrongdoers.” [al-Quran, 60:8-9]
5 x Random facts about Islam
- Indonesia has the largest Muslim population
- Muhammad is important in Islam, but he was only a prophet and shouldn’t be worshiped
- You can convert just by saying “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah.” which means “There is no true deity but God,”
- Mary, the mother of Jesus is the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran
- Both pork and alcohol are forbidden (Haram)
The Six Pillars of Faith
- Belief in Allah
- Belief in the Angels
- Belief in the Holy Books
- Belief in the Prophets and Messengers
- Belief in the Day of Judgement
- Belief in the Will of Allah
5 x Islam facts for kids
- Allah has 99 names and each name has a meaning
- Mecca is a sacred place and only Muslims are allowed to enter
- The Mosque is a place of worship
- Muslim means ‘anyone or anything that surrenders itself to the will of God.’
- Muhammad is considered to be the last prophet, where others before him include Moses and Jesus
Ramadan is the month of fasting, also known as Sawn, one of the five pillars. It occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory for all Muslims except those who are ill, traveling, elderly, pregnant or menstruating.
The fasting goes on for a whole month from dawn until sunset.
Why it matters
Being respectful and open to other cultures is important. Not only on a personal level but also on a global scale where we need to share the place with other people and beings.
No matter if we believe in the same god, or if we have different ways of thinking, we should always be mindful of one another. By taking the time to learn about other religions and cultures, we can appreciate them, or at least accept them instead of making presumptions and judge others.
For example, now you know more about Muslims and their religion after reading these facts about Islam, and hopefully, it will give you a better understanding of the faith of Muslims, even if you’re not one yourself.
I’m not a Muslim, but I have several Muslim friends. I respect all people on Earth and believe that we are equals. The faith of a person is between him/her and God, or whatever else you believe in or not believe in.
I also believe it is important to be able to see religions from an objective point of view.
Extremism within Islam
The authentic Muslim community does not support the extremism that terror groups practice because they are not following Islam, they are just hiding behind the religion. Islam in its originality is a religion of peace and the majority of Muslims worldwide are following the traditional teachings of Islam, which are found in the Quran.
Terrorism, oppression of women, honor killings, female genital mutilation, and forced marriages are all forbidden according to Islam.
And I think it’s important to highlight this because the people who practice these terrible acts are not following the real teachings of Islam. Instead, they follow cultural traditions or interpret the words of God for their own winning and try to justify it via religion when in reality, it goes against the very foundation of the religion and the words of Allah.
If you’re looking for facts about Islam, it might also be good to know some glossary.
- Halal = lawful, permitted, good, beneficial, praiseworthy, honorable
- Haram = Forbidden
- Sūrah = Chapter in the Quran
- Allah = God
- Quran = The Holy Book
Do you know any other interesting facts about Islam? Feel free to share in the comment section!