By Abdullah Saeed
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This means that every human being starts life with a totally clean slate and develops according to the upbringing of his or her parents and the environment in which he or she is placed, thus growing up as a Christian, Jew, Muslim or any other. When a person reaches maturity, it becomes their duty to reflect upon the choices they make and to select the right course of action. Whenever God’s message reaches a person, they have the duty to decide whether to follow it or not. QXD 26/5/03 1:04 PM Page 45 Islamic world view answerable for the choices they made in their life.
Daily prayers (salat) The first practice is to perform five daily prayers, known as salat in Arabic. QXD 26/5/03 1:04 PM Page 53 Essential beliefs and practices the prayer has to be performed. The five daily prayers and times are: Fajr (between dawn and sunrise); Zuhr (from noon until afternoon); Asr (from afternoon until sunset); Maghrib (from sunset until about an hour later); Isha (from an hour or so after sunset through the rest of the night). Just as a church bell rings out to call the faithful to church in some countries, in Muslim countries a call to prayer, or adhan, can be heard from the mosque five times a day.
Having gained control of Mecca, the Prophet returned to Medina where he stayed until his death two years later in 632. QXD 26/5/03 1:04 PM Page 25 The story of Islam or had at least concluded peace treaties with the Prophet. An indication of his success by this time is that just before his death, he made a pilgrimage to Mecca where he was joined by 100 000 Muslims from all over Arabia. The death of the Prophet When the Prophet died in 632, the community was left without any clear instructions as to who would succeed as political leader of the Muslims, by this time the most powerful force in Arabia.