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Islam is the youngest among the three Abrahamic religions and shares a number of social and ethical values with Judaism and Christianity. Islam recognises all the prophets explicitly known to Judaism, and Jesus (and a Muslim adds: Peace be upon all of them). The Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) is regarded as the seal of the prophets. To understand the implications for the financial sector the basic religious contents should be briefly outlined.

Anybody becomes Muslim by stating that there is no God but Allah (The God) and that Muhammad is his messenger; it is the first of five pillars of Islam and the only formal requirement to become Muslim. Furthermore a Muslim is obliged to perform five prayers to certain periods of time in a special ritual manner, fasting in the month of ramadan for those capable of it, the pilgrimage (hajj) to Mekka for those who could afford it and payment of Zakat for Muslims owning wealth as an obligatory social tax.

Articles of belief

There are six articles of belief which are the belief in the one God, in Arabic Allah, in the Angels, in the books (Thora, Evangelium and Quran), in all the Messengers and Prophets, Fate and Day of Judgement. All Muslims believe in the Prophethood of Jesus and Moses, and describe the Abrahamic religions as the family of the books. The Quran explains in Sura 5:48 why these different religions exist, as God himself says I could make all of you one religion; but you should compete for the good.

Differences among the Abrahamic Religions

Consequently there are a number of differences among the Abrahamic religions, e.g. knows Islam no original sin, we are accounted according to our own deeds only which we are responsible for because of the freedom of will. Religious duties in Islam are covering wordly living quite far, including the daily work to support your own family, as well as science and education.

Fate (arab. Qadar) is among the most criticized point by non-Muslims in regard to Islamic cultures. Muslims belief that Allah has written down everything what occurs but in the same time also that each individual has a freedom to act. An issue which many great scholars and philosophers attracted. One of the sayings (arab. hadith) of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) explained the issue as follows: A bedouin came to him and listened a public speech about fate and God fearness; afterwards he complained to him: I trusted Allah and did not bind my camel and now it is gone away! The prophet replied: First bind your camel, and then trust Allah. The basic guideline is therefore to do our own best and then entrust Allah with the success of our deeds.

The Quran demands the usage of rationality many times. As well it is taught that beyond human rationality there is another sphere which we cannot look into in the here. Knowledge and education are subject to several famous sayings of the prophet (pbuh) including “Demand the knowledge, even from China” or “The ink of the pupils are worthier than the blood of the martyr.” Cultivation was among the cornerstones of all Islamic empires and the inspiration for the European developments in philosophy. Greek philosophy were lost in Europe and preserved and elaborated further in the Islamic world.

Important for the understanding of the retail markets is that religious devoutness includes the intention and the form, which we will discuss later again, with the terminus “form over substance”. A good deed is not valid without the proper intention. Devoutness demands to keep your promises, being patient in bad times and help others in good times.

Tawhid is the Islamic concept of strict monotheism. It implies the commitment to the will of Allah, and to structure human life according to his guidelines. Man has the freedom to deviate from the supreme will which, however, causes disbenefits, as Allah gives rulings for the benefit of mankind itself and not for himself. As everything goes out from the one creator, ultimate ownership belongs to Him and man is only his trustee or custodian. As such he is allowed to exploit resources but keeps accountable for its reasonable usage. The Quran states in Sura 8:28 that our possesions and progeny are nothing than a trial.