Origins & beliefs


The Muslims’ religion and way of life, spiritually and materially, is Islam.

  • Islam is an Arabic word which means submission to God.
  • The root of the word Islam comes from a word meaning peace and it is the way of peace as laid down in the Quran.
  • The word can also mean submission and it is through submission to God’s will that a Muslim finds peace.

Islam is a world religion that originated in the Middle East in the seventh century CE. Now it is practised by about a fifth of the world’s population.

Muslims originally came to live in Scotland in the early 1940’s mainly from Pakistan or India. Thereafter others came from Africa and the Middle East.


At the heart of Muslim belief is belief in the unity and universality of God. The Arabic word ALLAH means the One God.

Muslims also believe in the unity of mankind, under one father, Adam, and have a strong sense of the Muslim community or Ummah and are aware of their solidarity with all Muslims worldwide.

Muslims recognise the prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses and Jesus, and see Mohammed (peace be upon him) as the last and final prophet.

Mohammed (pbuh) was born in Makah in 570 CE. He received the Holy revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel over a period of 23 years.

This revelation was recorded in Islam’s Holy Book known as the Quran, which is regarded as the literal word of God. Muslims are taught to recite the Quran in Arabic as any translation of the Holy Book is seen as inadequate.

Customs & worship

Customs and practices:

Islam has two principal bases of faith:

  • there is no god worthy of worship but the one universal God (Allah), creator and sustainer of all beings
  • Mohammed (pbuh) is his messenger

Islam has five pillars that represent the foundation stones of Islamic worship and action:

  • Shahadah: There is no God but the one true God and Mohammed is his messenger. Reciting this with intention three times makes someone a Muslim.
  • Salat: Prayer takes place five times a day at given times. It involves a prescribed sequence of kneeling and standing postures and is made facing Makah.
  • Zakat: Two and a half percentage of a Muslim’s assets over a given specified amount is given in welfare tax to benefit the poor and needy each year.
  • Hajj: This is an annual pilgrimage to Makkah which takes place at a fixed time of the calendar. It is a requirement at least once in a lifetime for those who can afford it.
  • Sawm: During the month of Ramadan Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink and sexual acts from dawn till sunset. The ill, old and travellers are exempt.

Places of worship:

Prayer can take place anywhere and often a rug is used to mark out the place of prayer.

The word Mosque means a place of prostration and can refer to any place of prayer. Purpose built Mosques will be used for communal prayer, community gatherings, Quranic education and the gathering together for the traditional Friday mid-day sermon.

No images representing a living being are allowed in the Mosque, which could be decorated very artistically using calligraphy.


Main festivals:

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar and the month of the Islamic fast. The appearance of the new moon at the end of Ramadan marks the beginning of the festival of Eid ul Fitr.

During this festival Muslims visit the Mosque, give charity, exchange presents and cards and celebrate with family and friends. Eid ul Adhi coincides with the completion of the pilgrimage to Makkah.

It is celebrated by pilgrims and non-pilgrims alike and unites the whole Islamic community, the Ummah with the Hajj. At this time Muslims offer sacrifices of lambs or other animals to commemorate the sacrifice of Abraham’s son.

Food and diet:

Muslims differentiate between food which is allowed (halal), and food which is forbidden (haram).

Pork,any other part of the pig, carnivorous animals or blood are haram. Meat must also be slaughtered according to biblical rites by a Muslim butcher. The consumption of intoxicants is also forbidden.

Concerns of the community:

The Muslim community is concerned about the recent increase in Islamophobia and wants
to rectify wrong images of Islam.