Islam (whose followers are known as Muslims) is the most popular religion in the world, with 1.8 billion followers. They worship in a mosque and their God is known as Allah. There are two different denominations of Islam: Sunni and Shi’a. They each believed that a different person should have lead Islam after Muhammad, the last prophet, died.
Call to prayer
If you have been or are planning to go to a mainly Muslim country, such as Turkey and are near a mosque, you will probably hear a person calling out in Arabic. This is the call-to-prayer, which is why mosques have large towers.
A simple diagram of a mosque tower (Homework Help For Kids)
Frequency of prayer
Different denominations of Islam pray different amounts each day. Shi’a Muslims, who make up about 15-20% of the Muslim population, pray three times a day whilst Sunni Muslims, who makeup 80% of the religion, pray five times a day.
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1. While standing, Muslims recite the first chapter of the Qur’an (their holy book.)
2 – 3. While bowing, Muslims say “Glory be to my Lord who is the very greatest” (in Arabic) 3 times. The bowing position shows that they believe God is great.
4. Returning to an upright position, they make a recitation praising God.
5 – 8. Then, they kneel with their forehead, nose, knees and toes touching the floor. This is called prostration and shows complete obedience to God. They recite ‘How perfect is my Lord the most high’ (in Arabic.)
9 – 10. Muslims then sit whilst reciting “God is the greatest” and after pausing for a few seconds, prostrate themselves once more whilst repeating “God is the greatest” whilst turning their heads left and right.
Once a year (round about mid-May to mid-June, but it varies year by year) Muslims fast (go without food or water) for a month during the daytime, meaning that they cannot eat or drink from when the sun rises until when the sun sets.
The celebration at the end of Ramadan is called Eid-ul-Fitr. You can find out more about Eid-ul-Fitr here.
Hajj pilgrimage is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca which is the Islam holy city. It is strictly compulsory for those Muslims who can physically and financially afford to go there. They also need to be able to support their family in their absence.