Islam

What is it?

Essential Question

Why are Islamic followers so dispersed, diverse, and populous, across the globe?


Origin of the Islamic Religion

The Islam Religion was formed in 622 CE on the Arabian Peninsula. The term "Islam literally means "Surrender" or "Submission". The religion was formed on the teachings of the prophet Mohammad. They worship Allah, the almighty god of the Islamic Religion. Five fundamental practices were put on the religion which is now referred to as the Five Pillars of Faith.

Inside Mecca

This video is about Mecca. For a general overview, watch from 00:00 to 02:50.
Inside Mecca

Map of Distribution of the Islamic Religion

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Where has Islam diffused?

The Islamic religion has diffused through the Middle East, through parts of eastern Asia, and northern Africa. It has also diffused to parts of Indonesia.

Where Islam is practiced today

If you glance at the map above, the areas colored with green are those where Islam is followed today.

Number of Followers

The Islamic religion has apporimately 1.5 billion follewers making it the second largest religion in the world, right below Christianity.

Holy Places of the Islamic Religion

Notable Mosques

  • Al-Aqsa, in Jerusalem
  • Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt - the mosque university is the foremost school of Sunni Islam
  • Al-Hakim Mosque - one of the largest Fatimid mosques in Cairo, Egypt
  • Ar-Rifaye Mosque in Cairo, Egypt
  • Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India - now destroyed and a site of recent violence between Muslims and Hindus
  • Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan
  • Bajrakli Mosque in Belgrade, Serbia - burned in 2004 after ethnic violence
  • Dome of the Rock (Masjid Al Sakhrah) in Jerusalem - technically a shrine, not a mosque
  • Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, destroyed in 1993
  • Great Mosque of Djenné in Djenné, Mali
  • Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey - was a mosque from 1453 until 1934; is now a museum
  • Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco
  • Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, People's Republic of China
  • Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq - the holiest Shi'ite mosque
  • Isabey Mosque in near Izmir, Turkey
  • Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia - the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.
  • Masjid al Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia - the "Great Mosque"; holiest in Islam
  • Masjid al Nabawi in Medina, Saudi Arabia
  • The Mezquita in Córdoba, Spain - now a Catholic cathedral
  • Masjid al-Quba, just outside Medina, Saudi Arabia - foundation stone was laid by the Prophet Muhammad
  • Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, in Cairo, Egypt
  • Mosque of Ibn Tulun, in Cairo, Egypt
  • Mosque of Mohammed Ali at the Citadel, Cairo, Egypt
  • Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey
  • Suleiman Mosque (Süleymaniye Mosque) in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Sultan Ahmed Mosque ("the Blue Mosque") in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Tsar's Mosque in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Holy Cities

  • Mecca
  • Medina
  • Jerusalem
  • Karbala
  • Najaf

Spread of the Islamic Religion

Early Islamic followers spread their religion essentially the same way the early Christians, but instead of death threats, people were not forced to follow Islam, but were instead forced to pay heavy taxes. When people noticed the extra benefits were receiving for being Islamic, they were convinced to switch over. Migration of Arabs and other people, also had key factors in the spread of Islam.

Key Figures and Important People

  • الله (Arabic) or Allāh, known as God in english
  • Muhammad, the last messenger of Allāh
  • The Kaaba, found in Mecca, is a building that muslims are required to face during every prayer, and is required for the pilgrimage (See The Five Pillars of Islam) of a follower


Holy Texts

  • The Qur'an is the central religious text of Islam
  • Fiqh basically retells the code of conduct (Sharia) from the Qur'an in greater detail

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The Qur'an, displayed above.

Religious Symbols

  • The colour green is one of the identifying colours of islam, usaully paired with gold, green can be found in another religious symbol, the Star and Crescent.
  • The star and crescent appear in combination in finds from in and around ancient Palastine

The symbol of Allah

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The Star and Crescent

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Places of Worship

  • The Kaaba (Arabic: الكعبة‎ al-Kaʿbah) is found in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is an extremely sacred place of worship in Islam.
  • Mosques are scattered round the world, and are places where muslims go to pray.
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The Kaaba, in Mecca

Impact on Social and Family Structures

  • Most muslims believe that they are all in the same family, since they are all descendants of God, and treat each other like so.
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Many muslims unite as the same family to complete their ultimate goal of returning to God. Displayed above

Impact on Social Beliefs and Expactations

  • "The Prophet Muhammad knew Christians in his lifetime and respected them along with Jews as "People of the Book."
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Muhammad Ali, preaching Islam, displayed above.

Basis Religious Beliefs

The Muslims believe in the Five Pillars of Faith

  1. There is no god worthy of worship except the one god, the source of all creation, and Muhammad is the messenger of god.
  2. Five times daily, a Muslim prays, facing the city of Makkah (Mecca), as a direct link to God.
  3. A Muslim gives generously to charity, as an act of purification and growth.
  4. A Muslim fasts during the month of Ramadan, as an act of self-purification.
  5. If physically and financially able, a Muslim makes a pilgrimage to Makkah.

Classification of Religion

  • Islam is a universalizing religion, being the second highest behind Christianity.
  • It is also monotheistic meaning they only have one god.

Branches of Religion

  • There are two branches of the Islam religion.
    • Sunni
      • make up 83% of Muslims and is the largest branch of the Muslim religion.
      • comes from the Arabic word orthodox
    • Shiite
      • makes up 16% of Muslims in the world.
      • nearly 40% live in Iran, 15% in Pakistan, 10% in Iraq, and 10% in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Sources Cited

"Religions Comparison." Hughes History. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2005. <www.hugheshistory.com/religionscomparison.pdf>.

"Islamic Places: The Muslim World." Islamic Sacred Sites and Places. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012. <http://www.religionfacts.com/islam/places.htm>.

"Spread of Islam." Middle East. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2012. <http://histclo.com/chron/me/islam/is-spread.html>.

"Islam Origins, Islam History, Islam Beliefs." Patheos | Hosting the Conversation on Faith. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012. <http://www.patheos.com/Library/Islam.html>