Islam is the second largest religion in the world. It is a monotheistic religion whose followers are known as Muslims. The word 'Islam' means 'submission to the will of Allah'. According to Islam, Allah (Arabic term for God) is the source of all creations. Adam is believed to be the first prophet, followed by a long chain of prophets including Noah, Ibrahim and Ismail.

Shariah - a set of rules and laws - directs the Muslim world. The focal point of the Islamic worship is Ka'bah in Mecca. Ka'bah is a stone structure with Hajral Aswad, a black stone believed to have been given to the prophet Ismail by angel Gabreil. Hajj - the pilgrimage to Mecca - is compulsory to all Muslims of good health and sufficient fund, at least once in a lifetime.

An integral part of Muslim worship is Namaz, which is performed five times a day. The Quran, considered the direct word of Allah, is the sacred book of Muslims. It was revealed to the last prophet Mohammed in pieces over a period spanning approximately 23 years. Charity and fasting during the Islamic lunar month of Ramzan are the other fundamental principles of Islam. All these are collectively referred to as the 'Five Pillars of Islam'.

In India, about 13% of population follows Islam and Muslims form a majority of the local population in Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep. Muslims are also scattered in different parts of Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

Updated on 5th May, 2014

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