Special Report: A Faith of Law and Submission

God's grandeur, and a path to follow

Eight words in Arabic sum up the central belief of the world's 750 million Muslims: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God." Five times a day, from Djakarta to Samarkand to Lagos, this shahada (confession of faith) is recited by the devout as muezzins (callers to prayer) summon them to worship God.

In the prescribed daily prayers, a pious Muslim does not beseech God for favors, either material or spiritual, so much as for guidance and mercy. The word Islam means submission,...

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