The ultimate goal for a Muslim is admittance to Paradise following the Day of Judgment. God has the final say regarding who goes to Paradise, but the Quran's general requirements for entering Paradise are a belief in God, a belief in the Day of Judgment and the leading of a righteous life. Islam's goals are to create favorable conditions for a person to meet these criteria and live forever in Paradise.
Submission to God
The word "Islam" means submission to the will of God. This means replacing your will with God's will, replacing your laws with God's laws and accepting God's guidance as it has been revealed through the prophets. "Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance; and we have been commanded to submit to the Lord of the worlds," states surah 6, verse 71 of the Quran.
Islam is primarily concerned with law, seeking a righteous course of action for every situation. Sharia, which is Arabic for "the path to water," is considered God's prescription for righteous action. This includes individual commands such as the Five Pillars of Islam -- reciting the profession of faith, performing the daily prayers, paying a poor tax called the zakat, fasting during the month of Ramadan and making a pilgrimage to Mecca -- but it also contains the path to righteousness for an entire society.
The Muslim profession of faith is simple: there is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God. This means professing the oneness of God, or tawhid, and not assigning divinity to anyone but Him. To declare that Muhammad is the Messenger of God means accepting the Quran as God's revelation and the authority of Muhammad as a prophet. The belief regarding Muhammad is generally extended to Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the other prophets: "We make no distinction between any of them," states surah 2, verse 136 of the Quran.
Passing the Final Judgment
The Day of Judgment, also called the Day of Resurrection, is, according to Islam, the time when all humans will be resurrected and judged by God. Surah 84 of the Quran offers a vivid description of the Day of Judgment, when the righteous are given "their record" in their right hand and can expect to enter Paradise. Surah 75 also contains a description of the Day of Judgment, and verses 22 and 23 state that the faces of the righteous will be "radiant" on that day when looking at God.
Islam holds that Paradise contains the rewards prepared for those who were able to follow "the path" during their earthly lives. Paradise is described in many parts of the Quran, including surah 56 verses 10 through 38. Among the promises to the faithful are: luxurious furniture, good company, beautiful servants, wine that does not harm the body, fruit, meat, beautiful companions, endless water, the comfort of shade and eternal peace.
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