By: Nick and Jacob
Origins Of Islam
Islam is a monotheistic religious tradition that developed in the Middle East in the 7th century. Essential to Islam is the belief that Allah is the one and true God with no partner or equal. One of the defining characteristics of Islam is the primacy of sacred places including Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. Muslims gather at mosques to worship Allah, pray, and study scripture. There is not a sharp distinction between the religious and secular aspects of life in Islam; all aspects of a Muslim's life are to be oriented to serving Allah. Islam expanded almost immediately beyond its birthplace in the Arabian peninsula, and now has significant influence in Africa, throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Allah and Muhammad
Muhammad is a prophet, messenger, and leader in the Islam religion. He is also Islams founding father. He is the prophet of Allah. He received visions from Allah or from the angel Gabriel. The Holy Book was used by Muhammad which he read and taught to Muslims. The Holy Book consisted of writings that Islamics believed were written by god to various prophets to teach god's word.Muhammad and Allah are central figures in Islam. Allah is known as the creator and Muhammad is the creation. Muhammad is the last prophet and messenger which signifies the fulfillment of Allah’s other revelations and prophets.
The 5 Pillars
1. Profession of Faith: Muslims bear witness to the oneness of God by reciting the creed "There is no God but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God." This simple yet profound statement expresses a Muslim's complete acceptance of and total commitment to Islam.
2. Prayer: The Islamic faith is based on the belief that individuals have a direct relationship with God. It is permissible to pray at home, at work, or even outdoors; however it is recommended that Muslims perform salah in a mosque.
3. Almsgiving: Social responsibility is considered part of one's service to God; the obligatory act of zakat enshrines this duty.It is equal to 2.5 percent of an individual's total net worth, excluding obligations and family expenses.
4. Fasting During The Holy Month of Ramadan: Ordained in the Holy Qur'an, the fast is an act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a richer perception of God. Fasting is also an exercise in self-control whereby one's sensitivity is heightened to the sufferings of the poor.
5. The Pilgrimage to Makkah: The most significant manifestation of Islamic faith and unity in the world. For those Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey to Makkah, the Hajj is a once in a lifetime duty that is the peak of their religious life. The Hajj is a remarkable spiritual gathering of over two million Muslims from all over the world to the holy city.
Diffusion of Islam
One of the reasons Islam spread so quickly and easily is its simplicity. Islam calls for believing in only One God and encourages man to use his powers of intelligence and observation. Another significant factor was that during the early years of expansion, a lot of land came under Muslim rule through conflict and war, forcing the religion upon the inhabitants of the conquered lands.