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What does "Islam" mean?
The Prophet Mohammed and Koran
Mohammed was born in Mecca around 570 AD. He preached that there is only
one God and that he, Mohammed, was God's messenger. Those that accept
him as such are called Muslims, which means "one
who submits to God." The Koran (Koran,
Koran) is the Islamic Bible, believed to be an exact record of
the words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet
Mohammed. Its basic theme is the relationship between God and his
creations, yet at the same time, it provides guidelines for a just
society, proper human conduct, and an equitable economic system. UP
The following are the "Five Pillars"
of Islam and are considered the framework of the Muslim life. The first
pillar is faith in God and Mohammed as his messenger. The second pillar
is prayer, performed five times a day. The third is concern for the
needy, given as a tithe estimated at two and a half percent per annum.
Next is self-purification. Every year in the month of Ramadan, all able
Muslims fast from dawn till dusk, abstaining from food, drink, and
sexual relations. Finally, physically and financially able followers are
expected to make a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca. About two
million Muslims accomplish this trip each year. UP
Five times a day the call to prayer drifts over each Moslem village,
town, and city. Even though the Republic of Turkey is a secular country,
ninety nine percent of the population profess to be devout followers of
the Islamic faith. Thus it is no surprise that the evocative sound of
what has been called "Moslem music,"
the call to the faithful, is ubiquitous in the Middle East. Every mosque,
or prayer hall, has at least one minaret and a balcony where the muezzin,
or crier, can fulfill his duty. He cries out to Moslems to stop their
worldly tasks, face toward Mecca, and pray. The prayer, in essence,
declares that there is "no God but Allah and
Mohammed is his Prophet."
There are 935 million Moslems in 172 countries of the world today. This is nearly 18% of the world's population. 6% of Moslems live in Turkey. More than 33% of the world population are Christian.
Among the Islamic countries there are two different models: The first is fundamentalist, like Iran or other Arab countries and the second is modern like Turkey. Although 99% of the Turkish population are Moslem, Turkey is a secular state and people have freedom to choose their religion and beliefs. No one is forced to participate in any religious ceremonies or rites against his will and no one is viewed as being at fault because of his beliefs.
In secular Turkey all religious affairs are carried out by a central government organization affiliated to the Prime Ministry, namely the Department of Religious Affairs. The function of this organization is to carry out tasks related to the beliefs, divine services and moral principles of Islam and to enlighten citizens on religious matters. UP