The official religion of Qatar is Islam, which requires submission to the will of Allah (God). The Qur'an is the holy book of Islam. Muslims believe that Allah revealed himself to his prophet, Mohammed. Mohammed's followers wrote down what he told them, and these revelations are preserved in the Qur'an. In Islam, prophets are entirely human, not divine. They are simply recipients of revelation from Allah. To Muslims, Mohammed is the last and greatest prophet and the messenger of God.

There are five main practices associated with the Islamic faith, which are known as the Five Pillars of Islam. Shahada is the profession of faith. Every day, Muslims recite the words, "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His prophet." Salah is the requirement to pray five times a day: at dawn, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening. Zakat is the giving of alms to the poor. Saum is the requirement to fast from dawn to dusk every day during the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, which must be performed at least once in a lifetime, if possible.

There are two main forms of Islam: Sunni and Shi'ite. Generally, orthodox Sunni Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the final authority on matters of religion. Shi'ite Muslims maintain that the imam (spiritual guide) has Allah's authority to interpret the message of the Qur'an. More than 90% of Qataris are Sunni Muslim. Many follow a very strict form of Islam known as the Wahhabimovement. Wahhabis reject the veneration of Muslim saints, the decoration of mosques and the influence of non-Islamic ideas.

Qatari Muslims take time to pray during the day, either at work, at home or at a mosque. The call to prayer is broadcast by loudspeakers five times a day from minarets, the slender towers beside mosques. Prayers must be preceded by ritual cleansing. Prayer and washing facilities are provided in most buildings and public places. Friday prayers have special significance, and most men go to the mosque on Fridays. Prayers in the mosque are followed by sermons given by religious teachers.

Social service, which takes the form of alleviating suffering and helping the needy, is central to Islamic teaching. Since Qatar is a prosperous country, its charities usually help Muslims in poorer countries, such as the Muslim orphans and widows who are victims of war in the Balkans.

Among the foreign workers, there are many Sunni Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and other parts of Arabia. Most Iranians are Shi'ite Muslims. The Indians in Qatar are Hindus, Muslims or Christians. Most Filipinos and Europeans are Christians.
   Did you know?
When Muslims pray, they face the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. In Qatar, this means facing almost due west.