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The Qur’an

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God to the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia revealed Islamic scripture, the Qur’an, in the seventh-century CE. Muslims believe it was revealed verbatim. The center and foundation of Islam are God, whom Muslims call Allah, or ‘the God’. Allah is believed to be the transcendent, all-powerful, and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer and judge of the universe. The absolute monotheism of Islam is preserved in the doctrine of unity (tawhid) and sovereignty (rabb, ‘ruler’ or ‘lord’) of God that dominates Islamic belief and practice. As God is one, His rule and will or law are comprehensive, extending to all creatures and in all aspects of life. God is not only powerful and majestic but also merciful and just. Reward and punishment follow from individual ethical responsibility and accountability before God. Islamic ethics follow from human beings’ special status and responsibility on earth.

The Six Articles of Faith can sum up the key beliefs of Muslims. Belief in all six is required to be a Muslim. They are:

belief in God, and that he is the only god;

belief in angels;

belief in the books (mainly the Qu’ran, but the earlier revealed scriptures hold relevance too);

belief in messengers;

belief in the Day of Judgment;

the belief in destiny.

Muslims also have Five Pillars of Islam, which are acts rather than beliefs, which must be carried out at least once in one’s life (in the case of the Hajj), annually (in the case of zakat) or daily (in the case of prayer). They are:

shahada (professing God’s greatness and oneness);

salah (daily prayer, five times per day);

sawm (ritual fasting);

zakat (a form of charitable tax, paid as to the size of one’s wealth);

Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca).

Contemporary revivalism is rooted in Islam’s tradition of renewal (tajdid) and reform (islah) embodied in Muhammad’s leadership of the first Islamic movement, 17th and 18th-century revivalism, and 19th and 20th-century Islamic modernist movements. At the heart of the revivalist worldview is the belief that the Muslim world is in a state of decline owing to Muslims’ departure from the straight path of Islam. The proposed cure is to return to Islam in personal and public life so as to ensure the restoration of Islamic identity, values, and power. For Islamic political activists, Islam is a total or comprehensive way of life, stipulated in the Qur’an, mirrored in Muhammad’s example and the nature of the first Muslim community-state, and embodied in the comprehensive nature of Shariah, God’s revealed law. Islamic activists or Islamists believe that renewal and revitalization of Muslim governments and societies require restoration or reimplementation of Islamic law, which they believe is a blueprint for an Islamically guided and socially just state and society. Revivalism continues to grow as a broad-based socio-religious movement, functioning today in virtually every Muslim country and transnationally. Its goal is the creation of a just society through the Islamic transformation of individuals at the grass-roots level.

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