In essence, Islam (derived from an Arabic word inferring peace and submission) is the message of all messengers believed by their followers to be sent by God to guide humans. Islam teaches that true peace of mind and surety of heart is attained through submission to a single omnipotent omnipresent creator.
The most noble, in Islam, are the most pious. Piety emanates from patience, doing good and promoting it; and avoiding evil, and opposing it.
The Quran (which Muslims believe to be verbatim revelations of the word of God to prophet Muhammad) clearly states that this message of monotheism was the message of all messengers, including Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, as well as many other prophets.
Beliefs in more detail
Central to the message of Islam is the belief in One God (Allah in Arabic), the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. An expression of this belief is the basic testimony of faith that “there is no deity that is worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad was God’s servant and messenger”.
“The best of people are those who bring most benefit to humanity.” -Prophet Muhammad (PUH)
The pillars of Islam shape the life of a Muslim (one who believes in Islam). They begin with a testimony of faith and include: The five daily prayers, charity, fasting and the pilgrimage to Makkah (once in a lifetime for those who can afford it).
Daily prayers are a direct link between the worshiper and God. Even though congregational prayers are encouraged to foster a sense of community, there is no ordained clergy or priesthood in Islam.
A fixed percentage of one’s savings has to be given to those in need. However, additional charity is highly encouraged.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan (9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar) is required of all adult healthy Muslims. Fasting teaches self-control and heightens one’s awareness of one’s Creator. Optional fasting is encouraged throughout the year.