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 ISLAM RELIGION

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PostSubject: ISLAM RELIGION   Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:57 pm


Introduction



With an estimated 1.2 billion followers worldwide, the religion of Islam ranks second only to Christianity in number of believers. Islam was founded by the prophet Muhammad in Arabia during the early AD 600s. The Arabic word Islam means ‘submission to Allah (God)'. Followers of Islam are called Muslims, meaning ‘those who submit'. Most Muslims live in countries in North Africa, the Middle East and southern and central Asia.



Beliefs


At the core of Islam is this creed: ‘There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah'. The content of the Qurʾan (or Koran), the holy book of Islam, is believed by Muslims to be the word of Allah as told to Muhammad. Muslims regard Muhammad as the last and most perfect of God's messengers, who also include Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others. They believe that Allah inspired all that Muhammad said and did.
The Qurʾan helps followers to understand Allah and guides them on what to believe and how to live. Muslims believe Allah created the universe. Humankind is thought of as the highest form of Allah's creation and is given the duty of looking after the world that Allah made. However, humans are also seen as weak and prone to too much pride. Because they do not realise their limitations, they believe they can take care of themselves and do not need Allah. This can lead to disbelief in Allah and disobedience of his will.
Like many religions, however, Islam offers the hope of salvation. Allah is always willing to pardon people who ask for forgiveness for their disbelief and disobedience. This act, called repentance, removes all sins and restores a person to the state of sinlessness in which he started his life. Muslims believe that on the Last Day, when the world will come to an end, the dead will be resurrected and judged according to their deeds. Each person is either rewarded with heaven or punished with hell.



Practices





  • The five pillars of Islam

Five duties are expected of every Muslim. These obligations are known as the five pillars of Islam.

The first duty is the profession of faith, and it is considered the most important. Only a person who accepts the belief that there is only one God and that Muhammad was Allah's prophet can be called a Muslim.





  • Muslims pray at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan.

The second duty is prayer. Muslims offer prayers five times a day – at dawn, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset and before going to bed. These prayers are either said alone or with others in an Islamic place of worship, called a mosque. Muslim communities gather together for special prayers on Friday and also hear a sermon based on the Qurʾan.

The third duty is charity. In the past Muslims were required to pay a tax to the community once each year. This money was used mainly to help poor Muslims, but it also could go towards holy wars, ransoming Muslim war captives and creating facilities for travellers. In modern times this duty has become a voluntary charitable contribution.
The fourth duty, fasting, takes place during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month during which Allah revealed the Qurʾan. Muslims fast every day during this month from sunrise to sunset.
The fifth duty is a journey, or pilgrimage, to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. All Muslims are expected to make a trip to this holy city at least once in their lifetime. In Mecca they visit the holy shrine of the Ka'aba in the Great Mosque. The trip brings together Muslims from various parts of the world, helping to create a sense of community among Muslims from different backgrounds.



Divisions


After the death of Muhammad in AD 632, differences arose over who should lead the Muslims. This situation eventually led to the break-up of Islam into two major branches: the Sunnah and the Shiʿah.
Most Muslims belong to the Sunnah branch. They are called Sunnites. The word Sunnah means ‘well-trodden path', and Sunnites are known as traditional Muslims. They follow the sayings of Muhammad and emphasise community and tolerance of a wide range of views.
A smaller number of Muslims belong to the Shiʿah branch. They are known as Shiʿites. A main idea of this branch is that the truths of the Qurʾan are revealed through the Shiʿite community leader, known as the imam. Interpretations by other people are seen as useless. For this reason Shiʿites are not as open to other views as Sunnites are. Most Shiʿites live in Iran or Iraq.



History


Muhammad


According to Muslims, in AD 610 Allah sent a message to Muhammad telling him that he was chosen to be a prophet. At various points from this time until the end of his life, Muhammad received verbal messages that he believed came directly from God.
Among the things Muhammad said he was told is that there is only one God. This idea was unusual for Arabs at the time, for most believed in many gods. Many people in Muhammad's home town of Mecca disliked this new religion because of that belief. The hostility towards Islam led Muhammad to believe that he and others who practised the religion might be in danger. Therefore he encouraged his followers to leave Mecca for the nearby city of Medina. Muhammad's personal journey to Medina, known as hijrah in Arabic, ended on 24 September 622. This date is considered the starting point of Islamic history.



Division and Spread of Islam


Muhammad eventually persuaded many people to practise Islam, including citizens of Mecca. By the time of his death in AD 632, Muhammad had united most of Arabia under the religion. Nevertheless, Muslims soon divided over the issue of who should rightfully follow Muhammad as their leader. Some Muslims insisted that Muhammad had chosen his son-in-law ʿAli as his successor. Others disagreed. ʿAli became the Muslim leader, or caliph, in 656, but he was murdered in 661. After his death, his followers formed the Shiʿah branch of Islam. They maintained that Muslim leadership belonged to ʿAli's descendants alone. The Muslims who disputed this claim became the Sunnites. The differences in beliefs between the two groups developed over time.
Despite the leadership struggle, Muslims began to spread their religion far beyond Arabia in the years after Muhammad's death. During the 600s and 700s lands from the western Mediterranean region to central Asia were made part of a Muslim empire. Although the Qurʾan forbids using force to convert people to Islam, holy wars called jihads were fought to gain political control over societies so that they could be run using Islamic principles.
In the 1000s the Turks began their rise as an Islamic power. Invading from central Asia, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Christian Byzantine Empire in a major battle in what is now Turkey in 1071. In the same year they seized control of the holy city of Jerusalem from the Egyptians. The Seljuks angered Christians by refusing to allow them to visit holy sites in the land they controlled. Over the next two centuries, Muslim powers fought off Christian attempts to win back the Holy Land in a series of wars known as the Crusades. In the 1200s another group of Turks, the Ottomans, began a Muslim empire that delivered a final defeat to the Byzantines in 1453. The Ottoman Empire eventually ruled over North Africa, the Middle East and south-eastern Europe for hundreds of years.



Islam in Modern Times


During the 1800s and 1900s the political power of Islamic leaders decreased as Western powers colonised Muslim nations for the purpose of trade. However, Muslims drew together more as a community in the face of colonisation. In the 1900s this sense of unity helped many Muslim countries in their struggles to gain political independence.
In the early 1900s a unique version of Islam arose in the United States. It was known as the Nation of Islam. Its main idea was that all non-white races should unite to form one nation. The religion drew many African American followers, especially in the 1960s. Its best-known leader was Malcolm X. By the mid-1980s many members had left the group to join the mainstream Muslim community.
In recent years Islam has been one of the fastest-growing world religions. Muslims in some parts of the world have resisted changes brought about by Western ways. Some see the influence of the West as leading to a loss of traditional Muslim values. In Iran a revolution brought Islamic religious leaders to power in 1979. Islam has had a strong influence on government as well as on the everyday lives of believers in other countries as well.

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PostSubject: Re: ISLAM RELIGION   Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:16 pm

Introduction


With an estimated 1.2 billion followers worldwide, the religion of Islam ranks second only to Christianity in number of believers. Islam was founded by the prophet Muhammad in Arabia during the early AD 600s. The Arabic word Islam means ‘submission to Allah (God)'. Followers of Islam are called Muslims, meaning ‘those who submit'. Most Muslims live in countries in North Africa, the [url=http://religion.forum-motion.com/ebcid:com.britannica.oec2.identifier.ArticleIdentifier?articleId=441062&library=EBK&query=null&title=Middle East#9441062.toc][/url]Middle East and southern and central Asia. 



Beliefs


At the core of Islam is this creed: ‘There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah'. The content of theQurʾan (or Koran), the holy book of Islam, is believed by Muslims to be the word of Allah as told to Muhammad. Muslims regard Muhammad as the last and most perfect of God's messengers, who also include Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others. They believe that Allah inspired all that Muhammad said and did.
The Qurʾan helps followers to understand Allah and guides them on what to believe and how to live. Muslims believe Allah created the universe. Humankind is thought of as the highest form of Allah's creation and is given the duty of looking after the world that Allah made. However, humans are also seen as weak and prone to too much pride. Because they do not realise their limitations, they believe they can take care of themselves and do not need Allah. This can lead to disbelief in Allah and disobedience of his will.
Like many religions, however, Islam offers the hope of salvation. Allah is always willing to pardon people who ask for forgiveness for their disbelief and disobedience. This act, called repentance, removes all sins and restores a person to the state of sinlessness in which he started his life. Muslims believe that on the Last Day, when the world will come to an end, the dead will be resurrected and judged according to their deeds. Each person is either rewarded with heaven or punished with hell. 

Practices



  • The five pillars of Islam



Five duties are expected of every Muslim. These obligations are known as the five pillars of Islam. 

The first duty is the profession of faith, and it is considered the most important. Only a person who accepts the belief that there is only one God and that Muhammad was Allah's prophet can be called a Muslim. 



  • Muslims pray at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan.



The second duty is prayer. Muslims offer prayers five times a day – at dawn, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset and before going to bed. These prayers are either said alone or with others in an Islamic place of worship, called a mosque. Muslim communities gather together for special prayers on Friday and also hear a sermon based on the Qurʾan. 

The third duty is charity. In the past Muslims were required to pay a tax to the community once each year. This money was used mainly to help poor Muslims, but it also could go towards holy wars, ransoming Muslim war captives and creating facilities for travellers. In modern times this duty has become a voluntary charitable contribution.
The fourth duty, fasting, takes place during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month during which Allah revealed the Qurʾan. Muslims fast every day during this month from sunrise to sunset.
The fifth duty is a journey, or pilgrimage, to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. All Muslims are expected to make a trip to this holy city at least once in their lifetime. In Mecca they visit the holy shrine of the Ka'aba in the Great Mosque. The trip brings together Muslims from various parts of the world, helping to create a sense of community among Muslims from different backgrounds. 



Divisions


After the death of Muhammad in AD 632, differences arose over who should lead the Muslims. This situation eventually led to the break-up of Islam into two major branches: the Sunnah and the Shiʿah.
Most Muslims belong to the Sunnah branch. They are called Sunnites. The word Sunnah means ‘well-trodden path', and Sunnites are known as traditional Muslims. They follow the sayings of Muhammad and emphasise community and tolerance of a wide range of views.
A smaller number of Muslims belong to the Shiʿah branch. They are known as Shiʿites. A main idea of this branch is that the truths of the Qurʾan are revealed through the Shiʿite community leader, known as the imam. Interpretations by other people are seen as useless. For this reason Shiʿites are not as open to other views as Sunnites are. Most Shiʿites live inIran or Iraq. 



History


Muhammad


According to Muslims, in AD 610 Allah sent a message to Muhammad telling him that he was chosen to be a prophet. At various points from this time until the end of his life, Muhammad received verbal messages that he believed came directly from God.
Among the things Muhammad said he was told is that there is only one God. This idea was unusual for Arabs at the time, for most believed in many gods. Many people in Muhammad's home town of Mecca disliked this new religion because of that belief. The hostility towards Islam led Muhammad to believe that he and others who practised the religion might be in danger. Therefore he encouraged his followers to leave Mecca for the nearby city of Medina. Muhammad's personal journey to Medina, known as hijrah in Arabic, ended on 24 September 622. This date is considered the starting point of Islamic history. 



Division and Spread of Islam


Muhammad eventually persuaded many people to practise Islam, including citizens of Mecca. By the time of his death in AD 632, Muhammad had united most of Arabia under the religion. Nevertheless, Muslims soon divided over the issue of who should rightfully follow Muhammad as their leader. Some Muslims insisted that Muhammad had chosen his son-in-law ʿAli as his successor. Others disagreed. ʿAli became the Muslim leader, or caliph, in 656, but he was murdered in 661. After his death, his followers formed the Shiʿah branch of Islam. They maintained that Muslim leadership belonged to ʿAli's descendants alone. The Muslims who disputed this claim became the Sunnites. The differences in beliefs between the two groups developed over time.
Despite the leadership struggle, Muslims began to spread their religion far beyond Arabia in the years after Muhammad's death. During the 600s and 700s lands from the western Mediterranean region to central Asia were made part of a Muslim empire. Although the Qurʾan forbids using force to convert people to Islam, holy wars called jihads were fought to gain political control over societies so that they could be run using Islamic principles.
In the 1000s the Turks began their rise as an Islamic power. Invading from central Asia, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Christian [url=http://religion.forum-motion.com/ebcid:com.britannica.oec2.identifier.ArticleIdentifier?articleId=439935&library=EBK&query=null&title=Byzantine Empire#9439935.toc]Byzantine Empire[/url] in a major battle in what is now Turkey in 1071. In the same year they seized control of the holy city of Jerusalem from the Egyptians. The Seljuks angered Christians by refusing to allow them to visit holy sites in the land they controlled. Over the next two centuries, Muslim powers fought off Christian attempts to win back the Holy Land in a series of wars known as the Crusades. In the 1200s another group of Turks, the Ottomans, began a Muslim empire that delivered a final defeat to the Byzantines in 1453. The [url=http://religion.forum-motion.com/ebcid:com.britannica.oec2.identifier.ArticleIdentifier?articleId=441294&library=EBK&query=null&title=Ottoman Empire#9441294.toc]Ottoman Empire[/url] eventually ruled over North Africa, the Middle East and south-eastern Europe for hundreds of years. 



Islam in Modern Times


During the 1800s and 1900s the political power of Islamic leaders decreased as Western powers colonised Muslim nations for the purpose of trade. However, Muslims drew together more as a community in the face of colonisation. In the 1900s this sense of unity helped many Muslim countries in their struggles to gain political independence.
In the early 1900s a unique version of Islam arose in the United States. It was known as the Nation of Islam. Its main idea was that all non-white races should unite to form one nation. The religion drew many African American followers, especially in the 1960s. Its best-known leader was [url=http://religion.forum-motion.com/ebcid:com.britannica.oec2.identifier.ArticleIdentifier?articleId=440964&library=EBK&query=null&title=Malcolm X#9440964.toc]Malcolm X[/url]. By the mid-1980s many members had left the group to join the mainstream Muslim community.
In recent years Islam has been one of the fastest-growing world religions. Muslims in some parts of the world have resisted changes brought about by Western ways. Some see the influence of the West as leading to a loss of traditional Muslim values. In Iran a revolution brought Islamic religious leaders to power in 1979. Islam has had a strong influence on government as well as on the everyday lives of believers in other countries as well.
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