In the world we live in today there are many different religions. Islam is a religion that has over one billion followers worldwide. It teaches that one must submit to God (Allah) in heart, soul, and deed. A person that follows Islam religion is called a Muslim. Islam is based on the teachings of Muhammad, the central figure in Islam. He symbolizes to Muslims the perfect man that shows what it means to be a Muslim. The Quran is the book of Allah and it is written in Arabic. The word Quran means recitation in Arabic. All Muslims must recite the Quran in Arabic, regardless of their national language. The Quran consists of one hundred and fourteen chapters of six thousand verses, originally revealed to Muhammad over a period of twenty-two years (Esposito, Islam 17). These chapters which are called surahs are arranged according to length, from the longest being some twenty-two pages of Arabic text for sura two, through the shortest being only a single line for sura one hundred and eight (Rippin19). The name of Allah appears more than two thousand five hundred times in the Quran (Esposito, Islam 22). The Quran emphasizes service to God. “It envisions a society based on the unity and equality of believers, a society in which moral and social justice will counter balance oppression of the weak and economic exploitation” (Esposito, Islam 29). The Quran is the central religious text used by most Muslims to guide their prayer rituals, worship services, and family traditions. Muslims have many different forms of prayer rituals that they perform on a daily basis. To them, prayer is very important in their way of life and they use the Quran for many of their prayers. They perform prayer rituals called Salat five times each day. They pray at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening. These five prayers, in the order of which they are performed, are called salat al-subh, salat al-zuhr, salat al-asr, salat al-maghrib, and salat al-isha (Rippin 101). Since Muslims live all over the world, there are Muslims praying all the time because of the time differences. Prayer is always done in the direction of the Kaaba shrine in Mecca. Kaaba is the House of God and Mecca is the holiest city of Islam and the birthplace of Muhammad (Esposito, What Everyone 24). The prayers are said in Arabic and they combine “meditation, devotion, moral elevation, and physical exercise” (Esposito, What Everyone 24). Their basic physical positions for prayer are standing, bowing, sitting or kneeling, and prostration (Zepp 82). The prayers take about five to ten minutes each (Ahmed 33). “The whole sequence of the ritual is repeated twice in the morning, three times at sunset, and four times in the noon, afternoon and evening prayers” (Rippin 101). This equals to seventeen daily prayers. Additional prayers can also be performed. There is the witr prayer which is performed at night (Rippin 102).
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