Islam, along with Judaism and Christianity is an Abrahamic faith that started 1436 years ago when Prophet Muhammad (s) started to receive revelation at the age of 40. The Quran was revealed to him in instalments over the space of 23 years.
Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad is the last messenger from God and the Quran is the final revelation. The Hadith are teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and the Sunnah are his practices.
Religion is what is described in religious sources, scriptures and the teaching of the Prophets whereas culture is often based on country, family or race of origin. There are about 1.8 billion Muslims populating a vast expanse of land from China in the East to Africa.
In order of importance, the five pillars of Islam are: To declare that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad (s) is his messenger, to perform the five daily prayers, to pay the annual tax of 2.5 percent of wealth if eligible, fasting in the month of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia.
In Islam there are at least three types of beings including Angels, humans and Jinn. The purpose of life is to worship God which leads to peace and a strong connection to God.
The world is a place wherein we are tested to give us the opportunity to become the best version of ourselves. This is the purification of the soul or ‘nafs’ in Arabic.
In Islam, angels are believed to be made of a type of light and do not have freewill and will not be held accountable whereas Jinn (spirits) are created from smokeless fire and humans are made from clay and both have free will and shall be judged for their actions.
God sent scripture and Prophets to both Jinn and humans, Prophet Sulaymaan (Solomon) was the only Prophet given the ability to rule over the animal kingdom and Jinn-kind too who worked for him.
Jinn are believed to be able to travel vast distances in an instance and can see us but we cannot see them. Evil Jinn are known as Shaytaan/devils or demons.
Life is a Jihad (to struggle) which is of two kinds, the struggle when we defend ourselves is the lower Jihad but the greater Jihad is the struggle of the self – seeking to improve ourselves by removing spiritual diseases such as anger, envy, greed and lying to name a few.
In Asian culture, not the religion of Islam there is shame in having a mental illness which is hidden and members of the community are resistant to acknowledge mental health even leading to complete denial. Prophet Muhammad himself was accused of being a ‘madman’ for claiming to receive revelation from God.
Muslims believe that illness – physical or mental – are from God, so there should be no shame in it.
There is religious healing using the Quran where its words are recited in Arabic and there is also healing in the five daily prayers which is a conversation with God.
There are others forms of healing derived from the life of the Prophet (s) such as cupping, herbal remedies, black seed oil and drinking holy Zam Zam water.
There is also self-healing where a person may recite passages of the Quran and prayers. Practicing on the five pillars of the faith are also a form of protection.