Eric Sun, Ajay Verma, Kaila Butler, and Jaimee Nguyen

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Origin of the Islam Religion:

The origin of Islam can be traced back to the 7th century Arabian peninsula. Islam was founded on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as an expression of surrender to the will of Allah.


Islam started in the Arabian peninsula, including countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Iraq, and Jordan. It diffused quickly throughout the middle east, all the way to west Africa, all of Spain, and east of Afghanistan.

Basic religious beliefs:

Muslims believe that they must practice their religion using the “five pillars of islam”. The first pillar is reciting the saying "There is no god but the One God, and Muhammad is his prophet,” multiple times a day, and having faith and serenity while saying it is what makes you a muslim. The second pillar is daily prayer. They pray 5 times a day while facing Mecca, a holy city in Saudi Arabia. The third pillar is the giving of alms. It’s when they give to the needy, muslim communities even have a set percentage of income they give to people that have poverty. The fourth pillar is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the holy year, all Muslims have to fast each month, but since the Islam has a lunar calendar Ramadan comes at different times of the year.The last pillar is going to Mecca. Every adult Muslim who is able to go to Mecca is expected to go once in their lifetime, in the month of Dhul-Hijah. There are also three foundational beliefs. The first one is that there is only one God in the muslim religion, that is reflected in the first pillar and everything else that is Islam.The next one is the concept of Mohammed being Allah's prophet. The Muslims do not worship Mohammed but they do respect

Classification of religion:

Islam is an urbanizing religion. Since it has a certain starting location and has diffused throughout the Middle East, and it can’t be ethnic, because there is a huge percentage of people that are Muslim.

Branches and Divisions of Islam:

Many of the Branches of Islam don’t believe in each of the others orthodox. The majors branches are Sunni, Shiite, Ahmadiyya, and Druze. The Sunni believe that Muhammed died without appointing a leader for the Muslim community. After the death of Muhammed there was a lot of confusion of who would be the Muslim leader, which lead to the election of Abu Bakr, who was a close friend and father-in-law of Muhammed. This created arguments with the Shiite, that believed Muhammed appointed a leader before he was dead that was Ali ibn Abi Talib. This argument made the people split in two branches, Sunni, and Shiite.The Ahmadiyya branch believe that Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the Muslim leader, and prophet in Islam. And that Jesus survived the crucifixion, traveled in search for the remaining tribes in the east, died in India and was later buried in Kashmir. The Druze believe that al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah is their leader, manifested from God, and will return as the Mahdi redeemer. They believe that they are related to Moses father-in-law tying the Druze to the Bible. Although Jethro or Shoaib was not a Jew he helped Moses’ Jews and accepted Moses God (Christianity), before going back to his home.
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Holy Places


Mecca is the most known holy place to Muslim people. Mecca is located in Saudi Arabia. The Ka’ ba is a mosque said to be built by Abraham under Islamic Traditions. The Ka’ ba is a mosque that contains a black stone that is of which special to Muslim people. Ka'ba is believed to be the first place that was built on earth and the place of which heavenly bliss and power touch the earth directly. Mecca is located in the Hijaz region of western Saudi Arabia.


Medina is the city of Prophet for Muslim people, it is the second holiest to the islamic religion. Located within the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia. Medina city was where Muhammad fled when he was initially driven out of Mecca, and the place where he attracted his first followers. Medina currently has a population of about 600,000 people and is the home of The Prophet's Mosque. Its importance as a religious site derives from the presence of the Masjid al Nabawi other known as the Mosque of the Prophet, which was built on the site of Muhammad's home and where he is buried. The first mosque of Islam is also located in Medinah and is known as Masjid al-Quba, the Quba Mosque.


Jerusalem is the third most sacred place to the Islam religion. It was the original qibla or direction that Muslim people would pray to, but was later changed to Mecca. The special places within Jerusalem that is important to Islamic religion are the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. The dome of the Rock is similar to Ka’ ba and is built over sacred stone. This stone is also sacred to Jews and thought of as the place in which Abraham prepared Isaac for sacrifice. Al-Aqsa Mosque is built on top of the mount in which Muhammad ascended to the heavens. This Mosque is also important to Mount Jews.


Najaf is a city in Iraq that is known for the site of the tomb of Ali Ibn Talib who is considered the first founder of Imam. This city is now a great center of pilgrimage for the Islamic world.The Meshed Ali is a structure with a gilded dome and many precious objects in the walls. Nearby is the Wadi-us-Salaam, claimed to be the largest cemetery in the Muslim world and is probably the largest in the world. Wadi-us-Salaam contains the tombs of several other prophets. Many devout from other lands aspire to be buried here, to be raise from the dead with Imam Ali on Judgement Day.
Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar: Crash Course World History #13

Where it is Practiced Today:

It is a very wide spread religion being practiced everywhere but mostly within the middle eastern area.

Number of Followers:

Islam is now a religion that is the 2nd largest right behind Christianity. Making up over 23% of the worlds population making it have over 1.62 billion adherents.

Place Of Worship:

The place where Islamic people worship is called a Mosque. Muslims view the Mosque as a place to gather for worship rather than a sanctified place.
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Key Figures and Important People


Allah is the Islamic God. They believe that he is the ruler of Heaven and earth. They believe he is capable of doing everything, and that he is the master of everything. Islam is not only a belief in God (Allah), but also a practice, spiritual and temporal.


They believe that Noah warned people of the error of their sinful ways, built an ark, survived the flood, rebuilt civilization, and shared new laws governing God's creation.


They believe that Jesus was born by the Virgin Mary and over the course of his life performed a lot of miracles. However, they Qur'an specifically denies that Jesus was the divinely appointed son of God. The Qur'an also doesn't support the belief that Jesus died on the cross. Instead they believe that Jesus never died and that he will return to aid humanity again in the future.


They believe that Muhammad is the "Seal of the Prophets", the last of those who have come to convey the divine wisdom of God to humanity. He is afforded the highest spiritual prominence because he directly got the word of God. Muhammad is the last prophet, who completed the teachings of all the prophets who came before him.


They believe Abraham is one of seven other prophets who received scriptures from God. He is frequently mentioned in the Qur'an. Abe taught people to abandon idolatry. Abe proved to be the source of two great prophetic families: the Arab lineage thought his son Ismael and Ismael's mother. In the end, Abraham gave people a sense of their moral and religious obligations.


They believe that Moses was sent to proclaim the one God to the idolaters of Egypt. Moses is very highly regarded to Islam. Moses used miracles to demonstrate God;s power over the egyptians. He received God's law in the form of the 10 Commandments.

Holy Text

The Qur’an:

The Qur'an is the primary text of Islam, revealed to the Prophet Muhammed beginning in the year 610 C.E. It was canonicalized between 644 and 656. The Qur'an is required reading for anyone who wants to understand Islam. Qur'an means "The Recital" in Arabic; according to the story, the angel Gabriel commanded Muhammad to "Recite!".


The Hadith, second only to the Qur'an in importance and authority, are collections of Islamic traditions and laws (Sunna). This includes traditional sayings of Muhammed and later Islamic sages. By the ninth century over 600,000 Hadith had been recorded; these were later edited down to about 25,000.

Religious Symbols

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The Star and Crescent

The star and crescent is the best-known symbol used to represent Islam. It features prominently on the flags of many countries in the Islamic world, notably Turkey and Pakistan.
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This is the written text for the Islamic deity Allah.

Impact on social and family structures:

The social life of a Muslim is designed to secure happiness with prosperity for the person as well as for the society. Some ways to secure this happiness is by mercy for the young, respect for elders, comfort and consolation for the distressed, visiting the sick, and relieving the grieved. Muslims view family as the basic building block of Muslim society. Marriage is a strong bond, a commitment to life itself, to society, and to the dignified. The average size for an Islamic family is 10-15 people. People who are not Islamic, often view the religion as a radical or extreme religion because of the large families and many expectations.

Impact on cultural beliefs and expectations:

There are many expectations of a Muslim to secure happiness, especially for Muslim women. In traditional Muslim societies, women are not allowed to expose her husband to humiliation, they must care for their children, and they must be educated. All men and women are to fulfill the five pillars, the five principles to Islam. The five pillars include to participate in hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), fasting during the month of Ramadan, giving charity, praying 5 times a day, and the belief in the oneness of the Almighty and that Muhammad was his final prophet. Each year in the 12th month of the Islamic Calender, Muslims who are physically and financially able make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city of Islam. Because of the 3 million that make this pilgrimage and the immensity of the gathering, hundreds of lives have been lost. But those who have made the hajj show increased belief in peace.

Essential Question:

Why is Islam an universalizing religion?