Islam is a religion that revolves around the teachings in the Quran, which is considered the prime message of the God, or Allah, revealed by the Holy Prophet Muhammad over 1,400 years ago.
The word Islam directly translates to ‘peace’. Other meanings are interrupted as surrendering of one’s will and pleasure for the sake of God. The main focus and message of Islam is the unity of God and that he is the one and only God.
Allah is believed to be the sole creator of all life and the giver of rain. The Holy Prophet Muhammad is considered to be the last prophet and the servant and messenger of Allah, who was to convey the divine message to the world.
Islam believes that each person is born pure. Muslim followers have five main duties and responsibilities to their religion. Firstly, bearing witness to the unity of God and Muhammad; secondly, practicing the prescribe prayer; thirdly, payment of Zakat, fourthly, fasting for Ramadan; and lastly, taking part in a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Things to do when interacting with Muslims / visiting mosques:
- Remove footwear before entering the prayer area. Wearing a pair of clean socks is a good idea.
- Don’t talk loudly inside the mosque.
- Wear appropriate clothing; women should be covered up and men should only wear shorts that go below the knee.
- Men and women have different entrances to the mosque so be aware of this and look out for signs.
- Don’t point your feet toward the Qibla, which is the wall with an alcove, unless you have a medical condition that makes it the only possible option.
Things not to do when interacting with Muslims / visiting mosques:
- Shake hands with members of the opposite sex.
- If one of the five daily prayers is in progress then as a visitor, do not join in; only observe. It’s best to find a spot at the back of the room and keep quiet.
- Women are expected not to come to a mosque during their menstrual period.
- Don’t criticize the Islamic worship or beliefs whilst talking to Muslim followers.