Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah!!(Peace And Mercy of Allah be upon you!)
Brothers and sisters,let us first define ISLAM:
it means "Peace through the submission to God".
--> Islam is not a cult. Its followers number over 1.5 billion worldwide. Along with Judaism and Christianity, it is considered to be one of the three Abrahamic traditions.
--> There are five pillars of practice in Islam. These practices must be undertaken with the best of effort in order to be considered a true Muslim:
A) Shahadah - declaration of faith in the oneness of God and that Muhammad is the last prophet of God.
B) Formal prayer five times a day.
C) Fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan.
D) Poor-due "tax" - 2.5% of one's savings given to the needy at the end of each year.
E) Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once, if physically and financially able.
--> There are six articles of faith in Islam. These are the basic beliefs that one must have in order to be considered a true Muslim. They are belief in:
A) the One God.
B) all the prophets of God.
C) the original scriptures revealed to Prophets Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad.
D) the angels.
E) the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter.
F) the divine decree (or destiny).
I'd like to firstly clear some common myths and misconceptions about islam
1) Islam was not spread by the sword. It was spread by the word (Islamic teachings) and the example of its followers. Islam teaches that there is no compulsion in religion (the Holy Qur'an 2:256 and 10:99).
2) Terrorism, unjustified violence and the killing of innocent people are absolutely forbidden in Islam.
ISLAM IS AWAY OF LIFE that is meant to bring peace to a society, whether its people are Muslim or not. The extreme actions of those who claim to be Muslim may be, among other things, a result of their ignorance or uncontrolled anger. Tyrant rulers and those who commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam are simply not following Islam. These people are individuals with their own views and political agendas. Fanatical Muslims are no more representative of the true Islamic teachings than Timothy McVeigh or David Koresh are of Christianity. Extremism and fanaticism is a problem that is common to all religious groups. Anyone who thinks that all Muslims are terrorists should remember that the famous boxer Muhammad Ali, perhaps the most celebrated person of our era, is a practicing Muslim.
3) The word "jihad" does not mean "holy war". Instead, it means the inner struggle that one endures in trying to submit their will to the will of God. Some Muslims may say they are going for "jihad" when fighting in a war to defend themselves or their fellow Muslims, but they only say this because they are conceding that it will be a tremendous struggle. But there are many other forms of jihad which are more relevant to the everyday life of a Muslim such as the struggles against laziness, arrogance, stinginess, or the struggle against a tyrant ruler or against the temptation of Satan, or against one's own ego, etc.
4) Women are not oppressed in Islam. Any Muslim man that oppresses a woman is not following Islam. Among the many teachings of Prophet Muhammad that protected the rights and dignity of women is his saying, "...the best among you are those who treat their wives well." (Tirmidhi)
5) Islam grants women numerous rights in the home and in society. Among them are the right to earn money, to financial support, to an education, to an inheritance, to being treated kindly, to vote, to a dowry, to keep their maiden name, to worship in a mosque, etc., etc.
6) Muslim women wear the head-covering (hijab) in fulfillment of God's decree to dress modestly. From a practical standpoint, it serves to identify one as attempting to follow God in daily life and, therefore, protects women from unwanted advances from men. This type of modest dress has been worn by righteous women throughout history. Prominent examples are traditional Catholic Nuns, Mother Teresa and the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him welcomed even those people who had previously fought him and killed his loved ones. These people later on were to become the heroes of Islam. So no matter what your background and no matter what you may have done or said to Muslims or others in the past, you should rest assured that you will be welcomed with open arms!!
So finally i'd request you my friends to add any item which directly or indirectly bears any significance to the fundamental aspects of islam !
May Allah bless you with a wonderful life in this world and the hereafter!!Ameen