Islam in India
Islam is one of the noticeable religions of India and scores approximately 12 percent of India’s population. The Arabic term “Muslim” actually means “someone who is in a state of Islam (submission to the will and law of God).” The message of Islam is intended for the entire world, and anyone who accepts this message displays a Muslim. There are over billions of Muslims worldwide, and they represent the majority population in fifty-six countries. Several people are surprised to know that the majority of Muslims are not Arab. Only 20 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims come from Arab countries. Although most Arabs are Muslims, there exist Arabs who are Jews, Christians and atheists. There are significant Muslim populations in India, China, Russia, Central Asian Republics, America, and Europe. If one just takes a survey of the diverse peoples who live in the Muslim World – from Morocco to Indonesia and from Nigeria to Bosnia – it is easy enough to see that Muslims come from all different ethnic groups, races, nationalities, and cultures.
As for the Quran, Muslims acknowledge it to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God. Religious notions and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are essential acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which involves from virtually every perspective of life and society, from welfare and banking to the status of women and the environment.
The ‘Declaration of Faith’
A Muslim is one who witnesses that “none deserves worship, but Allah and Muhammad are the messengers of Allah.” This statement is known as the “shahada” (testimony, witness). Allah is the Arabic name of God just as Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God. By making this simple proclamation, one matures a Muslim. The announcement affirms Islam’s absolute belief in the oneness of God, His exclusive right to be worshiped, as well as the doctrine that connecting anything else with God is the one unpardonable sin as we read in the Quran:
“God does not forgive anybody for associating something with Him, while He does forgive whomever He wishes to for everything else. Anyone who gives God partners has invented an offensive sin.” (Quran 4:48)
The second part of the testimony of faith declares that Muhammad, may the compassion and blessings of God be upon him, is a medium of God like Jesus, Abraham, and Moses before him. The Muhammad earned the last and final prophecy. In accepting Muhammad as the “seal of the prophets,” Muslims believe that his prophecy endorses and fulfills all of the reported messages, beginning with Adam’s. Besides, Muhammad serves as the role model for his exemplary life. A believer’s attempt to follow Muhammad’s example reflects the importance of Islam in practice and action.
The Prayer (Salah)
Muslims worship five times a day: i.e., at daybreak, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and evening. It treats keep believers mindful of God in the pressure of work and family. It resets the spiritual center, reaffirms complete faith on God, and sets worldly concerns within the perspective of the last judgment and the eternity. The prayers consist of standing, kneeling, bowing, sitting, and putting the forehead on the ground. The Prayers is a means in which a relation between God and His invention is maintained. It involves recitations from the Quran, prayers for forgiveness, praises of God, and other various appeals. The prayer is an expression of obedience, humility, and devotion to God. Prayers can be offered in any clean place, in a mosque or at home, alone or together, on the road or at work, indoors or out. It is favored to pray with others as one body joined in the worship of God, exhibiting discipline, equality, brotherhood, and solidarity. As people pray, Muslims face Mecca, the house of God built by Abraham and his son Ishmael, the holy town centered around the Kaaba.
The obligatory charity (Zakah)
In Islam, the true heir of everything is God, not a person. People are assigned wealth as a trust from God. Zakah is thanksgiving and worship to God by supporting the poor, and by it, one’s wealth is purified. It entails an annual contribution of 2.5 percent of an individual’s wealth and assets. Hence, Zakah is not mere “charity”, and it is a burden on those who have received their wealth from God to meet the obligations of less fortunate members of the community. Zakah is used to support the needy and the poor, help those in debt, and, in olden eras, to free slaves.
The Fast of Ramadan (Sawm)
In Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan is the ninth month which is absorbed in fasting. Muslims abstain from dawn to sunset from food, drink, and sexual activities. Fasting develops the dependence upon God, spirituality, and brings association with the less fortunate. A particular evening prayer is also held in mosques where recitations of the Quran are heard. Families awake before dawn to take their first meal of the day to maintain them till sunset. Ramadan concludes with one of the two major Islamic festivities, the Festival of Breaking of the Fast, which is called Eid al-Fitr, which is marked by gladness, family visits, and exchanging of gifts.
Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca
At least once in a lifetime, each adult Muslim who is corporally and financially able is compelled to sacrifice time, status, wealth, and everyday comforts of life to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, putting himself totally at God’s service. Every year over two million adherents from a diversity of languages and cultures travel from all over the world to the holy city of Mecca to respond to God’s call.
The country with the largest Muslim population today is Indonesia, and India follows it. The adherents of Islamic religion, Muslims constitute India’s greatest religious minority, and they estimate about 105 million. This addresses India one of the large Islamic nations in the world. India has had two Muslim Presidents and several cabinet and state chief ministers since Independence. Additionally, Muslims in India have always carried various responsible positions and posts in all walks of life.
In the state of Kerala, the noted Mopillah community is said to have descended from Arab merchants. Another popular Indian Muslim community is Pathan. The Pathans are Muslims who came from Afghanistan to India. The Pathans put their surname as Khan. They are marked as brave, honest and righteous. In India, the Muslims are classified into two main sects- Sunni and Shia. Each one of these two sects has many various schools. Along with these main sections, the Indian Muslims also have other divisions. It is mainly because the different communities that affirmed Islam have different names. The Khoja and The Bohra Muslim communities are prominent in West India. The Nawait call themselves as descendants of Persian and Arab immigrants.
Muslims, like Christians, believe that Jesus displayed miracles. These miracles were carried out by the will and permission of God, Who has command and control over everything.